Friday, March 31, 2006

Larry Lessig at RIT: video online

Larry Lessig spoke at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on March 24. You can view the video here. The video is captioned which will make the content accessible to more people. (RIT houses the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.) Looks like the video is nearly 2 hours in length. You can read the original announcement of the event here.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Creating metadata in more than one language

A conversation earlier this week got me thinking about creating metadata in multiple languages for every item described. In communicating about this with my students, a student in Japan agreed that this can be a problem. In Japan, they use three different character sets -- Chinese character, Hiragana, and Katakana ("kana") -- interchangeably to write Japanese. An author's name, for example, can be written using three different character sets. None of the character sets is more correct or more dominant. The student pointed to this piece of metadata to illustrate the problem. Notice that the title, imprint and author are written three times, each in a different character set (and in this case, the third character set is a more Romanized set).

The same problem would occur in some areas of the world where more than one language is spoken, and where neither language is more dominant.

Of course, you will immediately think about doing machine translations, but machine translation may not be accurate. Humans would do better work.

What is the impact? In some cases, this means that digitization is done in order to preserve the content, but not to provide access, since "access" means searching and searching means metadata. At the moment, there are digitization projects occurring in Japan, but most are not for access, due to the metadata problem (at least that is what I have been told). This is a problem -- and impact -- I had not considered. I'll be interested to hear how projects are overcoming it. Perhaps some solutions will come out of the projects being developed in the European Union.

4/18/2006: See a follow-up post here with updated/corrected info.

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Palinet resources on digitization

Palinet is a multi-type network and provider of OCLC services in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Palinet web site includes best practices, notable member projects, FAQs, and vendor information for organizations that are considering digitizing materials. The web site is available to anyone, except for including the information on vendors. Member references for specific vendors, however, is only available to Palinet members. [Updated 3:05 p.m.]

I learned last week that Tom Clareson, who has been involved in OCLC's digitization efforts, joined Palinet last fall. Clareson is now the Program Director for New Initiatives.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CIL2006: A final wrap-up

I can't believe how much I've written about CIL! I'm slowly catching up on reading what other bloggers have written and seeing what information they captured. Those that used their laptops in the sessions capture more raw information. I used a pen and paper during the sessions, then used my laptop to posted some of that content online. I hope that I wrote meaningful highlights, even if I didn't give every detail.

Someone said that this CIL had more energy. I think that might be attributed to the use of technology (the blogs, the wiki and Flickr) before and during the conference. People got jazzed and expectations were raised. Of course, after the conference, there are still more things being posted. And this is when all of us get a chance to catch up and read about the sessions we went to (in order to gain a different perspective) as well as read about those we missed.

Information Today, because it is a publisher, does an excellent job of disseminating information from the conference. Every attendee received a book of handouts from the sessions. These handouts were gathered back in January, so some will have changed (and not everyone turned in a handout), but still an excellent resource. All of the sessions were recorded, so the audio will be available for sale. And many of the PowerPoints (or whatever people used) will be on the Information Today web site. Some are already there! Add to all that the blogs and you've got a tremendous amount of information coming out of this conference. Not quite like "being there", but still very useful.

The amount of positive feedback I got on my presentation was incredible! And my session was blogged. Here are links to those posts, so you can read what people got out of my talk:
I was pleased that my presentation seemed to set the stage for some of the other presentations that followed, including more talk of innovation and of the Millennials. Are we talking too much about the Millennials? I don't think so. Steve Abram, though, reminded us in mid-March that the seniors (those over 65 years old) are a growing group and should not be neglected. True, we can't ignore the other age groups nor those who aren't as technology immersed as the Millennials. However, the Millennials will set the stage for years to come, so they truly cannot be evaded.

At the end of CIL, I think people left feeling hopeful. New technologies are being developed that will help our users (and us). Libraries are adapting in positive ways to the changes happening around them. For those in libraries that seemed to be "behind", I think people saw ways of getting their libraries to move forward. Everyone, I'm sure, left with at least one new thing to try!

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Drop the jargon

Rick Roche, who writes the ricklibrarian blog, did a quick review of the Computers in Libraries CIL) blog postings and wrote:
Writers of library technical blogs, your less technical [colleagues] are also trying to read your work. Please consider them in your writing. It will advance librarianship and perhaps give you more influence in your home libraries if you do.
He points to the fact that many of the postings from CIL had acronyms and jargon in them, which may not be understandable to less technical librarians (e.g., FRBR).

Perhaps we should add a list of acronyms/jargon to the wiki with definitions or point to sources (glossaries) that people can use? Something to consider for next year. Imagine if every speaker contributed just a few terms from their talks...could be quite interesting and very useful.

For those of us working on technical projects in the library community, we need to keep Rick's wishes in mind. We will have no impact if our audience does not understand up. We need to talk about projects in terms that our users and our coworkers will understand.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

CIL2006: Digitization Project Management Essentials (deed of gift forms)

K. M. Dames and I did a workshop on Digitization Project Management Essentials on Saturday afternoon. We packed a lot of content into three hours and posted even more online.

There are always more questions than time will allow. One question that emerged was about deed of gift forms. I wrote about this form in 2004 and you can read that posting here. It contains basic information as well as links to sample forms.

The Society of American Archivists guide to the deed of gift form gives good information on what can/should be included in such a document. It is written for those that might donate materials, but is still a good source of information for institutions that are receiving donations. Let me pull out some key sentences from that guide:

  • The signed deed of gift establishes and governs the legal relationship between donor and repository and the legal status of the materials.
  • The typical deed of gift identifies the donor, transfers legal ownership of the materials to the repository, establishes provisions for their use, specifies ownership of intellectual property rights in the materials, and indicates what the repository should do with unwanted materials.
  • The deed will specify a point in time (usually upon signing the deed or upon physical transfer of the material to the repository) when the materials become the legal property of the repository.
  • Unless you note to the contrary in the gift agreement, when you transfer legal ownership of your materials to the repository, you agree that the staff may make reformatting decisions.
  • Ownership of intellectual property rights (primarily copyright, but including trademarks and patent rights) may also be legally transferred by the deed of gift.
    • Donors are encouraged to transfer all rights they possess in and to the materials donated to the repository; this assists researchers in their scholarship by making it easier to quote from documents.
Notice that the deed of gift can transfer both legal ownership and intellectual property rights. Those transfers should be explicitly stated. Notice that when the legal ownership is transferred, then the repository can make decisions about "reformatting." Although the SAA guide does not say it explicitly, this would including digitization.

The deed of gift form can be your friend when you are receiving donations. Look at the samples that are online as well as the SAA guide. Then review your deed of gift form and see how you can make it better, so that you won't have questions in the future about what you can and cannot do with donated materials.

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CIL2006: Digitization vendors

Yes, there were a few digitization vendors at CIL. I visited a couple of them, but really concentrated on attending sessions and networking. Why? First, the breadth of content was such at CIL that I wanted to take as much of it "in" as possible. Second, I had an opportunity to meet and talk with a lot of people that I had interacted with online. I could not give up those opportunities.

I did talk with PTFS, which is based in the D.C. area. Two things that CEO John Yokley mentioned were "mixed raster content" and "GIS-enabled" PDFs. (I think I have those phrases correct.) I'm going to follow-up with him later this week and hope to learn more about what they are doing.

Digital Library Systems Group was demonstrating its walk-up color digitization centers, geared for academic libraries, that can be used by students, faculty and staff. A very cool looking system! From the quick demo, it did seem very easy to use. Since it is an overhead scanner, it can be used with books and other bound materials.

Northern Micrographics and NMS Imaging were also there, as were companies like Palinet that offering training and consulting. Given the sessions at CIL, I would think more vendors that provides services and software needed for digitization project would exhibit at it. Perhaps we'll see more of them next year?

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CIL2006: Is Google the next Dialog?

K. Matthew Dames gave one of the last sessions at CIL. To him, Google is not a search engine or an ad agency, but a peer-to-peer (P2P) multifaceted computing system on the web. It is the company's backroom technology and processing capabilities that allow it to do what it does.

Dames compared Google to a database company, pointing out the similarities and differences. Generally the differences has to do with its computing power and flexibility.

He noted that where Google plays is often an indication of what direction the company is going in. Right now, Google is "playing" as a marketer, content aggregator, publisher and service provider.

Dames says that the opportunities for librarians are to be the "pro" Google, or -- in other words -- to enhance Google with our skills and capabilities. Words that stood out from that part of his presentation where classify, cluster and contextualize as well as create or co-opt services.

BTW Dames has two blogs that I follow: CopyCense and OpenWyre. And -- yes -- we're doing workshops together this spring, so I'm slightly biased when I say it was a good session! The workshop we did at CIL went well (see this posting for info).

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CIL2006: The Web 2.0 Challenges to Libraries

Paul Miller, the author of Talis' report on Library 2.0, gave a session entitled "The Web 2.0 Challenges to Libraries." One of the points he made is that libraries are trusted, but that they are bypassed online. In other words, even though people trust libraries to deliver needed information, they choose to use other resources when they are online, and do not -- at first -- turn to the library.

Miller has pointers to his actual presentation here and have follow-up content here. I would encourage you to look at his presentation because he had very good visuals (and better to look at them than for me to try to describe them).

He made a point that was also made in the session given by Andrew Pace and Roy Tennant -- we need to build "systems" that make sense to our users. We have been building systems based on what the vendors would create, not based on our needs (or those of our users).

One analogy Miller used was about Legos. When a child gets Legos, he builds the creations that are pictured on the box. Later the child builds what he envisions. We must do the same with library systems. We've gotten software "out of the box" and now need to use it to create what we really want. Perhaps that means using totally different software tools or doing a mashup.

As for Talis, a recent press release says, "Talis unveils new technology platform and new business model for Union Catalogues, Resource Discovery and Resource Sharing." From what Paul Miller said, Talis is creating a platform that will allow for interoperability and sharing between systems (getting us away from the silo mentality we have now).

BTW Paul Miller has a blog as does Talis. They might be worth adding to your blog reader.

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CIL2006: Moving across the river for 2007

Just a quick note that Computers in Libraries will be at the Hyatt in Crystal City next year (April 16-18, 2007). Jane Dysart notes in her blog that CIL is being moved out of the Hilton by a larger conference. The Hyatt has recently been remodeled and is where CIL used to be held! Jane said at CIL that we'd be taking over the Hyatt next year! Sounds kinda cool!

The Washington Hilton, by the way, is where President Reagan was shot (outside the Terrace level entrance). And it hosts one of the Presidential Inaugural Balls. Interesting trivia.

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Call for Proposals: Converging Information, People and Technology

Sorry...I'm posting this late....If you can't submit a proposal, perhaps this is something you'd like to attend?!

Call for Proposals

2006 Special Libraries Association NorthWest Regional Conference
Content Management – Converging Information, People and Technology
October 6 - 7, 2006 - Vancouver, BC
Hosted by Western Canada, Oregon and Pacific Northwest Chapters

You are invited to submit a proposal for presentation at the 2006 SLA NorthWest Regional Conference.

Submission guidelines: Please see the Submission Form for guidelines and evaluation criteria at the conference web site: Questions may be addressed to Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2006.

Venue: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

Introduction: Content management (CM) has, in recent years, moved from the back room of the web designer onto the desk of almost every information professional who has responsibility for getting their organisation’s content out to a suitable audience. CM professionals have helped to articulate the process and develop the systems to manage it. Many librarians, on the other hand, are meeting CM for the first time, even if they recognise elements of it in their existing skill sets.

The keynote speaker will be Bob Boiko. As the author of the Content Management Bible, Bob is, without exaggeration, the guru of content management. He is a teacher, consultant, writer, programmer, and itinerant businessman. Bob is currently President of Metatorial Services, Inc. ( and an affiliate faculty member of the Information School at the University of Washington (

Target Audience: The primary objective of the conference is to bring together SLA members and others with a professional or academic interest in content management and related disciplines. The conference will focus on developing content management skills for attendees of all knowledge levels, from novice to advanced, and demonstrating the added value of content management.

Presentations: We welcome presentations on the use of CM in and outside of library settings and from introductory to advanced levels. We expect that most programs will run for just under one hour including time for questions and answers, although we are open to suggestions of other formats (workshops, panel discussions, etc.) that might run for longer or shorter periods.

Topics: We welcome presentations on, for example:

· fundamentals of CM · CM systems
· best practices · metadata
· case studies · taxonomies and thesauri
· CM jobs in special libraries · information architecture
· CM challenges

Speakers should bear in mind that their audience may encompass a range of knowledge and experience of both CM and information skills.

The time and effort to copyright clear materials

K.M. Dames reports in CopyCense about the successful efforts to copyright clear -- after the fact -- materials used in a documentary called "Eyes on the Prize." Dames wrote:
I'm unsure of how or why I missed this news, but I am glad to read (per The Chutry Experiment) that the groundbreaking civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize will begin airing again in Fall 2006. As CopyCense posted in January 2005, the documentary had not been broadcast for more than a decade (nor had it been made available on DVD) because the licensing rights to its massive aggregation of archival film had lapsed in the mid-1990s.

But last summer, Wired News reported that the Ford Foundation and a philanthropist Richard Gilder granted $850,000 to save the project. The money will go toward licensing fees and post-production work. (It also is likely that the footage and the masters tapes will have to undergo some level of professional archival and preservation work, since the 14-part series first aired in 1987.)

According to the Wired News article,

The task of reacquiring rights [to still photos, video footage and music] has fallen on [Blackside lawyer Sandy] Forman and a team of film industry veterans who worked on the Eyes series. They have a formidable job ahead: Blackside used video footage from 82 archives, and approximately 275 still photographs from about 93 archives. About 120 song titles were used as well.

In January, PBS announced that the series would be rebroadcast on the station's American Experience program.

When we talk about copyright clearing materials for digitization, we know that we are talking about -- possibly -- a massive effort. Many side step that effort by only using materials that are clearly in the public domain. Others will seek to digitize materials where it is known that copyright clearance will be easy to get (perhaps limiting this effort to a few items). Here we have a large effort, involving materials from many, many sources.

Obviously, from what Dames has written, the entire $850,000 is not being used just for copyright clearance/licensing, but also to help preserve the master tapes. What we are reminded from this is that we do need funding to help preserve the media we are creating.

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Event: Preserving Photographs in a Digital World Seminar

"Preserving Photographs in a Digital World" Seminar
August 19-24, 2006
George Eastman House
Rochester, New York

Sponsored by:
  • George Eastman House
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Image Permanence Institute
A week-long program of lectures and workshops on photograph collection preservation techniques will expand your expertise on what materials are typically found in collections, how they deteriorate, how to store and protect them, and how preservation fits in with other collection activities.

Throughout the week, you'll also learn about the use of digital imaging and how various image-capture, storage, display, and output strategies compare. In addition, presentations will explain the design and application of image database systems-always keeping in context the
balance that must be struck between traditional and digital preservation and access.

Program Fee: $1,495

For registration and further information visit or contact Stacey VanDenburgh at (585) 271-3361 ext. 323 or

Monday, March 27, 2006

Digitization Project Management at Computers in Libraries

K.M. Dames and I gave a workshop at Computers in Libraries on Saturday (March 25) entitled "Digitization Project Management Essentials." The workshop covered not only the essentials of digitization project management, but also the intellectual property (IP) considerations. Attendees were from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and other countries.

Below are links to the presentation and to additional resources. Unfortunately, you cannot hear our voices giving you the "meat" (content) of the workshop. However, we'll be doing similar workshops for SLA in April (virtual/online seminars) and June (at the Annual Conference in Baltimore). The workshop in June will be a full-day and much more in-depth, if you have an opportunity to attend that one.

Slide Presentation

Supplementary Materials: Websites

Supplementary Materials: Articles, Guides & Papers

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Friday, March 24, 2006

CIL2006: Minds/lives

There is a healthcare group in the hotel today. In talking with one gentleman, he said that they save lives, while libraries save minds. Cool thought!

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ISE2006: SchoolRooms (and a study on Millennials)

I went to two sessions in the ISE2006 track in order to hear something about the work being done in Ohio. INFOhio and SirsiDynix are working together to create online space for K-12 students where they can learn more about the subject areas being taught in school (an integrated portal). The content is being created by teams of teachers and school librarians (very cool). The entire project is receiving help/input from Kent State Univ. They are even doing usability studies.

See for some information from INFOhio. You can see the project at This product, once complete, will be available to others areas of the U.S. And those areas will be able to add local content (like info taught in their local history classes).

BUT the coolest part wasn't discussed (and why I sneaked into this session) -- Student Learning through Ohio School Libraries : The Ohio Research Study. This study evidently looked at the Millennials in more detail and has found that there is a difference between the older and younger Millennials. Steve Abram said that those under 16 are a new generation. I have not read the study, but plan on reading it when I get home. Perhaps this study can help all those developing services for this age group?!

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CIL2006: The Future of Catalogs

Roy Tennant and Andrew Pace talked about how online catalogs are changing. They purposefully did not use the term OPAC (a horrible term) and weren't talking about ILS, but only about the catalog/catalogue as a finding tool, which it can be good at (and with some of the new things...very good!).

Catalogues do well:
  • Inventory control
  • Known item searching
  • ...for items within a particular collection
Don't do well:
  • Any search except "known item"
  • Anything beyond books and journal TITLES
  • Displaying results by logical groupings
  • Faceted browsing
  • Relevance ranking
  • Recommendations
The online catalogues are a staff tool that became a public tool. It wasn't meant for the public.

The future:
  • The catalogue must interoperate
  • Can be part of a unified finding tool
  • Refocused in local inventory only
Roy mentioned two reports:
  • To get one of them, do an Internet search on: BSTF final report
  • There is a report from the Library of Congress by Karen Calhoun that is not out yet (written in Feb. 2006), which echoes things from the BSTF report.
Andrew Pace gave a copy of subtitles for his presentation. One was "Library Automation: Yesterday's Technology Tomorrow." He (and Roy) showed off some new catalogs. The coolest was the catalog at NCSU, which anyone can search. (TRY IT!) Go to This was built in collaboration with Endeca. You can read more about that at

The whole idea is to better use catalogues for what they are good at. Yes, there is hope for catalogues.

[And...yes...I did meet Roy Tennant!]

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CIL2006: Supporting the World with Digital Gadgets

Hope Tillman did an update of her SLA presentation. She discussed lots of gadgets, pointed to resources to learn more, and talked about trends.

  • Convergence
  • Personalization and customization
  • Miniaturization and portability
I won't list everything, but will mention geocaching which I had not heard of before. Something to learn about.

Definitely check out ZDnet's Top 10 Gadget Must Haves to see what people are buying/discussing. (Which I can't find....I must be rushing.)

Hope's presentation will be on her web site at

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CIL2006: Life Online: The Internet enhancing work & play

Mr. Lee Rainie, from the Pew Internet & American Life, did this session and talk about about young Internet users. His discussed eight realities of the Millennials (but I only caught seven of them -- how did I miss one?):
  1. They are a distinct age cohort
  2. They are emersed in a world of media and gadgets. "If they can't be with the device they love, they love the device they are with."
  3. ???
  4. The Internet plays a special role in their world. It is where they show off their creativity.
  5. They are multitaskers. In their world, we might position librarians as "information support" to help them when it is needed.
  6. They are often unaware of or are indifferent to teh consiequences of their Internet use (e..g, copyright & privacy, disclosure)
  7. Their (our) technology world will change radically in the next decade. His discussion here included the Long Tail.
  8. The way they approach learning and research will be shaped by their new technology world. For example -- It will be more self-directed. They will rely on group knowledge.
These are my highlights...I'll be interested to read what others thought were the key points.

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CIL2006: Recreating the Civil War Provenance & Digitization

This session talked about two projects.

The first project was from Western Michigan Univ. to digitize eight diaries from Civil War veterans, who all had some relationship to the state of Michigan. The diaries came from different collections...and in digital format are creating a new collection. This new collection does have some additional information with it to help with context.

The group has previously done two small digitization projects for itself, but this one is more ambitious -- 1,100 pages from the diaries.

The team of seven people who worked on the project included someone who focused on color management.

Some of the work was done by students (scanning and transcribing), which helped with cost. Students are transcribing and encoding 3 - 5 pages/hour. The reviewer can do 8 pages/hour.

To digitize, they used a digital camera and copystand. One of the pieces of equipment I noticed on the list was color balancing light bulbs.

Everything will eventually end up in CONTENTdm. Of course, they are not as far along as they had hoped, but will be done by the end of the summer.

If they could do the project over, they would do more planning.

The second project was to digitize the History of Women Physicians being done at Drexell Univ. in Philadelphia. The is being funded by an IMLS grant. One cool thing about this project is the flash-based image viewer called Zoomify. Lots of overlap with the first presenter in some ways.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

CIL2006: Weblogs as Customer Communication and Collaboration Tools

This session has three people talking about their use of blogs either for external or internal communications (Christina Pikas, Susan Klopper and Clara Hudson).  Key phrases/thoughts:

  • “From watching and consuming to participating and creating.”  Online, April 2006, pp. 38 – 40.

  • Customer facing

  • Personal knowledge management

  • Knowledge management

  • Get the blog advertised on the pages that your customers visit

  • Blogs speak to our customer focus initiatives

  • People do need to be trained to blog

  • Use blogs and social software to connect with Millennials

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CIL2006: Digi TechForum

There are no notes that can truly capture the evening event – Digi TechForum Looking at Dead & Emerging Technologies. There were seven presenters, lots of slides and a rowdy audience talking about what’s hot and what’s not – or in the terms of the night – what is 1.0 vs. 2.0. The 2.0 list includes (and this is not even close to everything mentioned):

  • Disruptive innovation

  • Two-way web

  • Games for training & instruction


  • Mashups

  • Library blogs


  • Yahoo’s IM which will include VOIP

  • Thumb drives

  • Next gen OPACs and portals

  • Second Life

  • Teen Second Life

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CIL2006: Planning for a Handheld Mobile Future

Megan Fox from Simmons College spoke about the tools (hardware and “software”) that are being deployed to keep people connected 24/7 and able to use services normally viewed on a PC.  She noted that worldwide there are more mobile subscribers than land line subscribers.  Worldwide there are 350 billion text messages per month.

Using mobile devices, people can receive information “at the point of need.”

One of the key things is having a mobile optimized web site.  This allows the sites to be viewed efficiently (and effectively) on a mobile phone.  From what she said, it doesn’t sound like it would be difficult for most sites to be mobile optimized.  She also mentioned some web site that will act as intermediaries and optimize content for delivery to a mobile device (sadly, I didn’t catch what those sites were).

Her slides were packed full of information.  Packed.  Better to look at her slides than my notes.  You can view her slides at  If there are not there now, they soon will be.

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CIL2006: Creative Visibility: Toolbars and Game Nights

I went to the session on Creative Visibility, but got there late, so I have no coherent notes for the first presenter.  However, the second presenter was “Giz” Womack from Wake Forest Univ. who spoke about having gaming in the library.  He has done several gaming events for the college students.  He has been creative in how he has obtained equipment as well as advertising the events.  He really partnered with people on campus (including students) in order to make it happen.  The goal was not to “sell” library services, but to just get the students aware of and comfortable with this thing called “library.”

Giz is very enthusiastic about what they have been able to do and would like to talk with other librarians about having game nights.   He’d even like to talk to librarians who have not been successful, since we learn both from successes and failure.  His e-mail is .

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

CIL2006: My presentation PowerPoint & resources

I have this in another posting, but thought I should put the stuff in a separate posting too:

The PowerPoint
The additional resources (longer than what is in the "collected presentations" book)

As I posted elsewhere, "I'll post more about my talk later. Please be patient...access here is spotty and I may have to do a major catch-up on everything next week."

CIL2006: Failing to Innovate: Not an Option

The session went quite will with a large crowd and some people standing. Here is the PowerPoint and list of additional resources. The questions asked afterwards were excellent and good comments/input, too, from the audience.

Questions included:

What are innovation stoppers?
  • Tying ideas to money (we don’t have the money).

  • We’ve done it before.

  • Fearful of change.

  • Waiting to see what others have done (and how it worked for them).
How do you get staff to be more innovative?
  • Do innovation training,

  • Use the process, even without training, to step people through how to generate and select ideas.

  • Use an outside facilitator for the ideation session (idea generation session).
I'll post more about my talk later. Please be patient...access here is spotty and I may have to do a major catch-up on everything next week.

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CIL2006: Chris Sherman (Opening keynote)

Tom Hogan Sr. opened the morning and gave statistics on the conference.

This is the 21st year of the conference.

  • 2,386+ attendees

  • 2,005 registered for the full conference

  • 198 coming for the exhibit all only

  • 183 who are staffing the exhibit hall

The group represents 39 U.S. states plus D.C. and Puerto Rico (missing was Mississippi) and 17 countries including Egypt, Thailand, Taiwan, U.K., Canada and Slovenia.

There are 150 speakers and moderators.  60 companies exhibiting.

Chris Sherman in the Executive Editor of  He spoke about:

  • Ask

  • Google

  • MSN

  • Yahoo

I have lots of notes (which I’ll not type in now).  Key thoughts:

  • The search engines are constantly changing

  • They are doing more than just search

  • What they do now may have to do with a longer-term strategy that we cannot yet see

  • They are developing very cool tools

  • We need to keep looking and what they are doing and experimenting with what they have

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CIL2006: The company of strangers

One thing that is interesting about library-related conferences is how friendly people are. We find and connect with each other on airplanes, in lines, on the street and at the conference. Yesterday, I heard a woman on my flight to DC mention libraries, so I turned and asked if she was going to CIL. I had instantly made a friend and someone to travel the subways with. (I knew a bit better than she where we were going.)

More new friends surfaced in the lobby last night over drinks. Instant connections because we are librarians and at the conference. And we are always helpful.

BTW dinner last night was with Margie Hlava from Access Innovations. She is staying at the Cosmos Club, which used to be a men’s club. The club walls are filled with pictures of members who have won very prestigious awards (Nobel Laureates and such). Very exclusive. We were out of place sitting the bar. We did try to have dinner there, but could not get in to the dining room because I had on “tennis shoes!”

Oh....I should mention that Michael Bloomberg is at this conference. No, not the NYC mayor, but a librarian from Minnesota. a business card from Iris Jastram (Gould Library, Carleton College) and it is VERY is a librarian trading card -- two-sided.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thinking about industry awards

Sitting in an airport gives one time to think (especially since we now have to arrive so early to ensure getting through the various security checks). As I watch the tarmac and consider what I should be reading, my mind turns to the idea of industry awards. I follow a few industries for myself and clients, and notice the awards that are given out. Generally they are people in the industry noting the accomplishments of someone else in the industry. Insiders giving awards to other insiders.

What we need, though, is the recognition of people who are not in our industry. In the information industry, for example, we need people outside of the industry to understand and value what we do. We need businesspeople in aerospace, bioengineering, banking, security, etc., who see us as part of the solution. For indeed, we have skills and knowledge that they can use and profit from.

The struggle is always how to get people in other industries to recognize the value of information professionals. It is a constant struggle.

In the area of digitization, we too need to get people outside of the information industry to recognize the value of librarians and others trained in creating and managing digital assets. They need to understand how we can help them work better, smarter and faster. Again, we struggle in getting them to recognize our skills, but it is something we must keep working at.

Along with that recognition will eventually lead to awards given by other industries to members of the information industry (and not just those denizens at the top). When that happens, we will know that we are having real impact.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The week ahead (CIL)

Tomorrow morning, I will fly to Washington, D.C. and participate in the Computers in Libraries (CIL) conference. It is hard to believe that this is my first CIL conference, but it is. I know it will be full of information and I will blog about it as much as possible.

I'm looking forward to meeting people whom I talk to online including Michael Stephens, Meredith Farkas and Christina Pikas. Roy Tennant will be there at the end of the week and I hope to have a chance to meet him.

I am also looking forward to the sessions. There will undoubtedly be new ideas surfaced and discussed, which is one reason we all attend conferences. We go in search of new information and inspiration. I hope to not only be inspired, but also to help inspire others at my session on Wednesday (Failing to Innovate: Not an Option) and the workshop that K.M. Dames and I are doing on Saturday. I have already been inspired by the information people have posted as they have prepared their presentations (both in their blogs and in Flickr).

I am sure that I will hear about projects and ideas that you need to know about. And I'll be sure to tell you all about them.

BTW You can see the list of bloggers in the CIL wiki, which was built by Meredith Farkas. You can also grab the OMPL file to "subscribe" to the conference-related feeds.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Plan your work

When students interview people who are working on digitization projects, they learn quickly the importance of planning.  Although preached in the classroom, there is nothing like hearing someone “in the field” talk about the need to plan, plan thoroughly, and plan ahead.  (I know that sounds redundant, but it isn’t.)  Students return to the classroom with the eyes wide open to the fact that not planning can lead to disaster.

There is the old adage – Plan your work and work your plan.  That is true for everything in all areas of our work.  Being haphazard can cause inconsistent results.  Yet we can also over plan, which leads to paralysis.  There is a balance between planning “enough” and planning “too much.”  It is a balance that one those involved can recognize and keep.  

Sometimes the way to stop planning is to take “small steps” and begin to work on the project.  “Dip your toe in and test the waters.”  You may find that the “water is fine” and you can proceed with the work at hand.  If there are problems, then you also have time to stop and fix them.  It is not too late.

Take a moment and look at your workload and your calendar.  Look to see what’s coming up and what is already in the works.  What projects do you have on your plate?  Have you planned how you will carry them out?  Have you done enough planning and are now ready to jump in (or perhaps wade slowly into the project)?  If the answers are “no,” schedule time over the next few days to beginning your planning.  You will be happy that you did.

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Creative Commons license upheld in court

I use a Creative Commons license on this blog and often mention them to others. I believe that it is best to state your intentions, either by using a copyright statement or by using a Creative Commons license.

Yesterday in the Creative Commons blog, Mia Garlick writes:

Many people have asked us over the years whether any court had held that CC licenses were enforceable. I have always found this question to be amusing. In my many years as a lawyer in private practice, if the licenses I had drafted were *not* litigated, then I was considered to have done my job well. But for some, it seems that keeping people out of court is not an indication of CC's success; the legitimacy of the CC licensing system depended on some judicial validation.

So now we have that to some extent. The first known court decision involving a Creative Commons license was handed down on March 9, 2006 by the District Court of Amsterdam. The case confirmed that the conditions of a Creative Commons license automatically apply to the content licensed under it.

Good news! You can read her entire post here.

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Larry Lessig @ RIT, March 24 (Rochester, NY)

Cyber-Law Expert Lawrence Lessig Speaks at Rochester Institute of Technology on March 24th, 2006

RIT’s Teaching Learning Center invites you to attend Lawrence Lessig’s presentation on intellectual property, copyright and cyber-law!

Visit the URL below to learn more about the session:

Cyberspace and Cyber-Law

Presented by Lawrence Lessig

Friday, March 24, 2006

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Ingle Auditorium (Limit 500) in RIT’s Student Alumni Union (SAU)


Student Alumni Room #1829 will accommodate overflow;
Interpreters will be present and the event will be captioned.

Visitors need to visit the VLC (glass booth in front of the Sentinel). After obtaining a pass, you may park in General Parking (non-reserved) for any of the following Lots: D, N or U. Maps to RIT and RIT Campus maps:

Event Description:
Lawrence Lessig is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of cyber-law. Lessig, a Professor of Law at Stanford University, is widely known for his work on intellectual property and the limitations of copyright in the digital age. He is a central voice in steering public discourse towards recognizing the restrictions being imposed upon cyberspace. Lessig has authored three books; Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999). He has also won numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award, and was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries.

This event is co-sponsored by the following RIT departments and individuals:
Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of the College of Liberal Arts; Dean of the College of Business; Dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology; Dean of the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences; Department of Computer Science; Department of Information Technology; Department of Software Engineering; RIT Technology Licensing Office; RIT Student Government; RIT Office of Student Affairs; RIT Teaching Learning Center; and RIT Libraries.

Comments and questions can be directed to the following URL:

Proceedings from The Library in Bits and Bytes

Found on the Digital-Preservation discussion list:

The University of Maryland Libraries' Digital Collections and Research is pleased to announce the online publication of symposium proceedings from The Library in Bits and Bytes: A Digital Library Symposium, held September 29th, 2005 at the University of Maryland. The online publication contains remarks from session presenters, panelists, and poster presenters on how library practice has embraced and is challenged by digital library initiatives.

Symposium proceedings can be found at:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

D-Lib and a million books

The March issue of D-Lib magazine is out and contains two articles that will be of interest:
These are articles that will require time to read. I can tell that they can't easily be skimmed.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created a web site that "is designed to provide current and accurate information on how to make health-related information Web sites and other user interfaces more usable, accessible, and useful. The site also links to a variety of quality Web sites and resources on usability, accessibility, and related topics that exist in the field." Although the Department's concern is with health-related web sites, this information is useful to any organization that is creating a web site for any purpose. The sections on the site include:
  • Usability Basics
  • Methods for Designing Usable Web Sites
  • Guidelines and Checklist
  • Accessibility Resources
  • Server Log Analysis
  • Statistics and Market Research
  • Events and Meetings
  • Newsletters and Current Publications

There is a lot here and there are extensive resource lists.

If you are building a new web site, revising an old one or just in the planning stages, you should check out this web site and see what you should be thinking about in regards to usability. Thinking of testing your site with users? There are resources here to help with that too.

BTW one flaw in the site is that I see no revision dates posted. The documentation says that new information is added monthly, but without revision dates (or update dates), it is impossible to tell when a page has been changed.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Digitization, SXSW, CIL and the role of librarians

South by Southwest Music and Media Conference (SXSW) is in its 20th year, yet there are likely tons of people who have never heard of it. Held in Austin, TX on March 10 - 19, the conference and festival includes conferences sessions, films and music (hundreds of bands). And -- yes -- digitization is a topic being discussed there. Two bloggers have posted noted from the session "Book Digitization and the Revenge of the Librarians." The panelists at the session were:
  • Dan Clancy, manager of the Google book search project
  • Danielle Tiedt from Microsoft's book search project
  • Bob Stein from a think tank about the future of the book
  • Elizabeth Lawley, professor, RIT
The blog postings by Josh and Laura capture different information from the session, so it is good to look at both.

Josh notes that Danielle Tiedt said:
  • Sees Microsoft'’s digitization efforts as intended to help them "answer questions better"” [I'm assuming that "them" is Microsoft]
  • Wishes government would take a larger role in digitization --– from Microsoft'’s perspective, she'd rather everything was already scanned so that all she had to do was crawl it, index it and create a user interface that makes users want to use it via Microsoft.
Thinking about the role of librarians, Laura writes:
Lawley is asked about the role of librarians. She says that librarians are still needed to organize and help people choose the right sources. They will serve as guides to information. Joy of searching vs. joy of finding.

Clancy says the need for librarians is actually increasing because of the proliferation of information. Search is not the end all be all of finding information. The library is still a community. People still need to find community; they want to be around people.
By the way, looking at the information on the SXSW web site, this is definitely one "happening" conference! Probably what we wish every conference would be like -- top-notch content, a great venue, and celebrities! (Neil Young is giving one of the keynote addresses.)

Next week the topic of digital assets and other digital "tools" will be the topic of Computers in Libraries (CIL) in Washington, D.C.

Although I bemoan the fact that there is not one major conference dedicated to digitization, I am pleased to see the topic covered in so many conferences (including PLA which is also next week). This demonstrates that the creation of digital assets is important to many segments of our society. It is not just the purview of librarians. Yet, it needs librarians (information professionals) to ensure its success.

This topic arose among my students last week. If there are groups outside of the library creating digital assets, what is the role of librarians? Is there truly a need for information professionals who have studied this area? The students seemed suddenly panicked that they had selected a career choice that anyone could do (and is doing). They saw their job outlook evaporating in front of their eyes.

The reality is that there are successful projects being done without the aid of librarians. But that does not mean that librarians have not influenced what was done by:
  • creating guidelines/standards
  • working with/for vendors on technology and processes
  • setting the standards for "search"
  • teaching the importance of metadata, indexing and access
  • understanding and talking about how end-users work with information
It also does not mean that a project couldn't benefit from having a librarian on staff helping to ensure that the project does meet the requirements of its users, especially in how it can be searched and accessed. But it does means librarians must find ways of interjecting themselves into the conversations and into the projects. It means not assuming that our skills will be understood, but being able to frame what we do in a way that these projects then see how we can help them succeed.

One student in my class wrote about a project where the project manager had librarians working on metadata, but didn't understand its importance. Thus he didn't allow them to do what should have been done. Once he saw the results, though, he had them go back and re-do their work (and extra cost). To me, that sounds like the librarians did not frame (talk about) their skills in a way that he would understand. They perhaps didn't talk about access and how metadata ensures that. A good example of how we need to talk about our work in ways that others will understand. We need to use their words and their frames of reference.

And that brings me back to SXSW. We tend to attend library-related conferences. Digitization, though, is not confined to the library (nor the archive or museum). We'd better get involved in the digitization-related conversations that are happening at other conferences like SXSW where these non-librarians are talking about the things we care about.

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Article: Excuse Me... Some Digital Preservation Fallacies?

In this article, Chris Rusbridge, who works for the Digital Curation Centre, argues with himself about some of the assumptions behind digital preservation thinking. Rusbridge admits that some of his thoughts might be heretical, but they are worth getting out into the open and discussion.

The fallacies are:
  1. Digital preservation is very expensive [because]
  2. File formats become obsolete very rapidly [which means that]
  3. Interventions must occur frequently, ensuring that continuing costs remain high.
  4. Digital preservation repositories should have very long timescale aspirations,
  5. 'Internet-age' expectations are such that the preserved object must be easily and instantly accessible in the format de jour, and
  6. the preserved object must be faithful to the original in all respects.
After explaining each, Rusbridge restates each with what he believes are true. I won't spoil it for you -- go read the article!

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Article: Checking Out the Machines Behind Book Digitization

If you have been reading this blog consistently, then you won't find anything that is new in this article about Kirtas, but some new information on 4DigitalBooks machines and a bit of who is using what (nothing shocking).

In talking about the Google Book Search, the University of Michigan said:
Some of the books are scanned onsite, with a nondestructive -- but non-robotic -- scanner from German company Zeutschel, or a flatbed scanner from Fujitsu that requires destroying the books' bindings. But most are sent offsite to Google for scanning, says John Wilkin, associate university librarian for library information technology and technical and access services.
4DigitalBooks now has a book scanner that will do 3000 pages per hour, making it the fastest book scanner (if that throughput holds true). The scanner costs $225,000. (Actually, I'm using the word scanning loosely, since 4DigitalBooks reportedly takes very high quality pictures of the pages, which is the same thing Kirtas does.)

4DigitalBooks will rent it equipment to a library and says that the cost per page (even if rented) can be as low as 4 cents/page. However, its equipment is large which can make it prohibitive if space is not available for it.

The article again says that Google is using a proprietary system (as is Amazon). I'm skeptical about that. Why would either company use proprietary systems given the technology that is available in the marketplace? Maybe they have added a proprietary twist to technology that is in the marketplace? Now that I might believe.

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Article: Confronting Digital Age Head-On

This article is about how the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is changing, now that many documents are published electronically. The GPO recognizes that people who are using government documents want them electronically and for free.

The Future Digital System will respond to that trend by making available online all 2.2 million government documents -- a total of 60 million pages -- by the end of the 2007, tagged by keywords so they can be easily searched. It is a nearly $30 million endeavor and will include documents all the way back to the nation's founding.

The secure and intelligent documents unit is working to ensure that digital documents are certified as authentic and that important documents are extremely difficult to counterfeit, something that has posed more of a problem as technologies have emerged to assist counterfeiters.

We do think about the need to not have electronic documents altered. With government documents (including passports), the idea that there could be counterfeit versions raises the stakes. It will be interesting to see whose technology they implement to help manage these documents and insure their authenticity.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

March - June 2006: Speaking/workshop/travel schedule

Here's my speaking/workshop/travel schedule for the next four months. Most of it is digitization related.

4/3/2006: Added info on April 20 & 25.

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Webcast & blog: Scholarship and Libraries in Transition

I've mentioned this event previously (Scholarship and Libraries in Transition), which is happening today and tomorrow (March 10 - 11). I've just noticed that there will be a live webcast of the event. They have also started a conference blog.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mind the Gap: Report shows the extent of digital data loss

Below is a press release from Tessella Support Services plc. I've added bolding within the text to point out important information:

Mind the Gap
Report reveals major gaps in long term management of valuable digital assets

A ‘state of the nation’ report has revealed that less than 20% of UK organisations surveyed have a strategy in place to deal with the risk of loss or degradation to their digital resources - despite a very high level of awareness of the risks and potential economic penalties.

With the release of the report, Mind the gap: assessing digital preservation needs in the UK, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) aims to help government, public institutions and private companies turn high awareness into concerted action.

The survey reveals that the loss of digital data is commonplace – it is seen as an inevitable hazard by some – with more than 70% of respondents saying data had been lost in their organisation. Awareness of the potential economic and cultural risks is high, with 87% recognising that corporate memory or key cultural material could be lost and some 60% saying that their organisation could lose out financially. In 52% of the organisations surveyed there was management commitment to digital preservation – but only 18% had a strategy in place. A pdf version of the report is available from

Prior to the survey, a number of high profile cases had helped raise awareness of the risks of digital data loss. In a recent judgement in the US, Morgan Stanley had more than $1 billion awarded against them as a result of their failure to preserve and hand over some documents required by the courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission in the US are also looking at fining the same bank over $10 million – specifically for failing to preserve email documents.

The data tapes from the 1975 Viking Lander mission to Mars were recently discovered to have deteriorated despite careful storage, and scientists also found that they could not decode the formats used and had to rely on the original paper printouts.

The BBC’s 1986 Domesday project is another example of the unique fragility of digital material. Designed to capture a picture of Britain in 1986, the collection of photographs, maps and statistical information was recorded onto 30cm laserdiscs. But less than 20 years on, the laserdiscs and player are obsolete. The date was only rescued thanks to a surviving laserdisc player and more than a year’s effort by specialist teams.

According to the DPC-commissioned report, the principal risks to digital material are: the deterioration of the storage medium; obsolescence of hardware, software or storage format; and failure to save crucial document format information (a common example is preserving tables of numbers without preserving an explanation of their meaning).

The report identifies 18 core needs, each of which has recommendations which will address them. Recommendations are addressed to organisations, government, and funding bodies. Among the key needs: awareness of digital preservation issues needs to be more commonplace – particularly amongst data creators; organisations need to take stock of their digital materials (55% of the respondents to the survey do not know what digital material they hold); and projects need to be funded from the outset with the long-term value of the information produced and the cost of retention taken into account. There needs to be funding for more digital archives

This UK Digital Preservation Needs Assessment study, carried out by the software services company Tessella, looked at digital preservation practice in government bodies, archives, museums, libraries, education, scientific research organisations, pharmaceutical, environmental, nuclear, engineering, publishing and financial institutions.

“Gone are the days when archives were dusty places that could be forgotten until they were needed” said Lynne Brindley, Chair of the Digital Preservation Coalition. “The digital revolution means all of us – organisations and individuals – must regularly review and update resources to ensure they remain accessible. Updating need not be expensive, but the report is a wake-up call to each one of us to ensure proper and continuing attention to our digital records.’

Dr Peter Townsend, Commercial Director of Tessella said: “It is critically important that organisations create long-term pro-active information management plans, and allocate adequate budget and resource to implementing practical solutions.” Dr Robert Sharpe of Tessella added: “Organisations that create large volumes of digital information need to recognise the benefits of retaining long-term information in digital form so that these can be balanced against the costs of active preservation.”

Notes for Editors:

About the DPC: The DPC is a cross-sectoral membership organisation dedicated to securing the preservation of digital resources in the UK. It currently has 28 members and associate members: The British Library, the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (MLA), the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL), the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the National Archives, the National Archives of Scotland; the National Library of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI); the University of Oxford, University of London Computer Centre (ULCC), Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS), the BBC Information & Archives, the Centre for Digital Library Research at Strathclyde (CDLR); the Corporation of London, Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) , the Ministry of Defence, National Electronic Library for Health, National Library of Wales, Natural History Museum, Online Computer and Library Center (OCLC), Open University, Publishers’ Association, Research Libraries Group (RLG), Trinity College Library Dublin, the University of Southampton, UK Data Archive, and the Wellcome Library.

Previous DPC research: A DPC Members survey, which was undertaken in 2003, revealed details of volumes and formats of digital materials held by DPC members and the issue they faced in their preservation. Additional work was undertaken to provide real-life scenarios of circumstances in which digital materials become vulnerable to loss. In 2005, the Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, funded a sample survey of local and regional organisations in two regions. The report, Mind the gap: assessing digital preservation needs in the UK is the culmination of the two earlier surveys, and a more detailed, wider survey undertaken in 2005.

About Tessella: Tessella Support Services plc specialises in the application of innovative software solutions to scientific, technical and engineering problems. Tessella has over 20 years of proven expertise in the area of reliable and authentic long-term preservation of electronic records, both for government and scientific organizations. In recent years a number of mainly academic and government organisations have been at the cutting-edge of facing up to the digital preservation challenge, and Tessella has played a key role in a number of the most practical of these initiatives.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Articles/Commentary: CommuniK.

Last fall, K. Matthew Dames began a periodic commentary under the title CommuniK.™ Dames has now made CommuniK.™ available in its own section on, so you can easily read through what he has written. Topics covered in CommuniK.‚™ include (most recent five titles):
  • Demystifying Fair Use
  • Editorial On Libraries & Google Book Search
  • Revisiting Section 108 & Corporate Libraries
  • The Context of Fair Use: Action or Apathy?
  • CopyCense's Sony-BMG DRM Bibliography (v. 1.1)
I'd encourage you to look at these article and check back periodically to see what else Dames has written. (Dames holds an MLS and JD, so he knows what he is talking about.)

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Article: Europe's digital library taking shape

The article says:
The [European] Commission noted that Google's digital library project had "triggered a reflection" on how to deal with Europe's cultural heritage in the digital age.
Nice to see that Google is getting people/institutions to think and act in positive ways. (And not just talk about copyright concerns.)

The project in Europe will include two million books, films, photographs, manuscripts and other works which are expected to become available through the European Digital Library by 2008. The number of digital assets will rise to 6 million by 2010.

Additional information from the European Commission can be found here.

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