Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blog Day 2006

Today is Blog Day and bloggers are encouraged to recommend "5 new Blogs, Preferably, Blogs different from their own culture, point of view and attitude...." So here are five blogs for you to check out.
Restoration Tips & Notes / Media Formats & Resources -- I have recently become aware of Richard Hess' blog. He does not write frequently, but often enough and there is good content here for those dealing with sound recordings.

Confessions of a Mad Librarian -- I am a big Eli Edwards fan. She has her MLS and is now going to law school. She doesn't blog often anymore, but when she says something, people listen. (Reminiscent of the old E.F. Hutton TV commercial.) Generally she writes about copyright-related concerns.

BTW I met Eli face-to-face at the SLA conference in Toronto after the Copyright Roundtable. She came up and introduced herself. I didn't recognize her name, but once she said her blog's name, I knew exactly who she was! -- "HangingTogether is a place where some of the staff at RLG Programs, part of the OCLC Programs and Research division, a partnership of libraries, archives, and museums, can talk about the intersections we see happening between these three different types of institutions."

Guenter Waibel, one of the bloggers here, also teaches part-time at Syracuse University (as I do) and reading this blog has been one way of getting to know him.

Lifehacker -- "Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time. Don't live to geek; geek to live."

Presentation Zen -- This is "Garr Reynolds' blog on issues related to professional presentation design." I must admit that I skim this blog, rather than read it in depth. What I find interesting about it are the screen shots from people's presentations and comments he makes about those presentations. There are a few people out there who are masters at doing presentations and we all could learn from them.

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Article: Google Book Search Offers Free Downloads of Public Domain Books

Quoting the press release:
Working with our library partners, we're expanding access to books that are out of copyright and have become public domain material. Users can search and read these books on Google Book Search like always, but now they can also download and print them to enjoy at their own pace.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Article: ProQuest Selected to Digitize Major Historic Newspapers (Revised)

This caught my eye....
The Library of Virginia is partnering with ProQuest Information and Learning on the digitization of historically significant newspapers. The Library is one of six pilot sites to receive funds from the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP -- and ), a long- term effort by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress to develop an internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers. ProQuest is working with the Library of Virginia to digitize key titles covering the time period 1900-1910, including The Richmond Times-Dispatch. In addition, the Library of Congress has chosen ProQuest as a partner to digitally convert 10 years of the New York Tribune to NDNP specifications for inclusion in the NDNP repository.
Notice that the newspapers being digitized are in the public domain. The "ProQuest Historical Newspapers(TM), encompassing the full runs of America's most notable newspapers totaling more than 14 million pages of news, dating back to 1764." K. Matthew Dames, when he talks about materials being digitized, will mention that public domain materials can become the property of someone through digitization. Here we have public domain materials that we will now have to pay to use through ProQuest, since ProQuest will be digitizing them and making them available for a fee. We are reminded that public domain does not equal free or freely accessible. {Added 3:15 p.m.} Let's hope that the proper agreements are in place to ensure that these newspapers are freely available even though ProQuest, a for-profit company, is involved.

Addendum (3:15 p.m.): Richard Hess e-mailed and noted that these newspapers should be available for free, since their conversion is being funded by NEH. In fact, the NEH web site says:
NEH recently solicited proposals from institutions to participate in the development of a test bed for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet.
The press release I read (and have linked to in the title here) was written by ProQuest, so it doesn't highlight fully the efforts of NEH or the Library of Congress. Richard is correct -- these newspapers, digitized by ProQuest for NEH and the Library of Congress -- should be freely available. Let's hope that ProQuest didn't take a page out of the Google play-book.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More on the agreement between CDL and Google

More people are reading the California Digital Library-Google agreement, and commenting on it. (See yesterday's post) Different details stand out to different people. In an e-mail this morning, Steve Abram noted about the provision that CDL cannot give copies of the digitized materials to other third parties. Quoting ComputerWorld:
The university agreed not to charge or receive payment "or other consideration" for services it provides that use the scanned material, except for supplementary services, such as copying costs or access to annotations. The university is also forbidden from sharing, licensing or selling the material to any third party. It can distribute no more than 10 percent of the scanned material to other libraries and educational institutions for academic purposes.
In the contract, this is covered in section 4.10 on page 6, which talks about use of the Image Coordinates and the University Digital Copy (both defined earlier in the contract).

The easiest question to ask is how will this impact interlibrary loan (ILL) or normal sharing that libraries do? Harder is how will this impact what we know as "the long tail?" Does this limit access to the long tail via CDL? Does it mean that at some point CDL will need to send people to Google to obtain the materials they need? Does CDL then become a "feeder" for Google? And what will the long-long-term effect of this contract be? These questions may take time and experience to answer. Let's hope that the answers are not painful for users.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Agreement between California Digital Library and Google

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about the agreement between the California Digital Library (CDL) and Google. The article includes a pointer to the actual contract. Thankfully, the Chronicle has read the contract and tell us:
According to the document, the university will provide at least 2.5 million volumes to Google for scanning, starting with 600 books a day and ratcheting up over time to 3,000 volumes a day. Materials pulled for scanning will be back on the shelves of their libraries within 15 days.
The contract outlines who will pay for what between Google and CPL, how each party can use the digitized materials, and how branding will be handled.

Everyone will find something of interest in this document. What I find interesting is that the books can go off-site to a site selected by Google for digitization. (The agreement uses the words "provided by" and "controlled by", but does not say "owned by.") The external facility will be named in the project plan. The agreement also says:
Google will use reasonable commercial efforts to ensure that Selected Content is returned within ten (10) business days of its being scanned or after a determination is made by Google that Selected Content will not be scanned. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Google agrees that no materials in a Project will be off University's shelves for longer than fifteen (15) business days or for a longer period as may be specified in the Project Plan.
I know of a facility that was bulking up during the spring and was hiring more technicians to do actual digitization; all in anticipation of a project that was coming. There is nothing out in public that connects this contract with that facility/vendor, so I'll not publicly tie the two together, since it may be pure coincidence. However, I would have to wonder about the impact on 3,000 books a day on any digitization facility. How many book scanners -- running 24/7 -- would you need? Even if the scanners are doing 1,200 - 3,000 pages per hour, that is a tremendous load. (The automated book scanners by Kirtas and 4DigitalBooks fall within that range.)

Of course, the confidentiality portion of the agreement will ensure that we may not know how things proceed and what problems (or successes) they have. Will they really be able to do 3,000 books per day? Maybe someone will give us a clue.

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Jump then look (Social networking tools)

This summer, I have run into several circumstances were people jumped into doing an activity, then realized that they needed to do some planning. Of course, they didn't want to stop what they were doing, so the belated planning was hampered even further by the need to continue with the status quo. Messy.

This fall, I will be doing presentations and workshops on social networking tools. It is very easy to begin using blogs, wikis, file sharing services, etc. Easy to jump in without doing any thinking or planning. One of my goals in these sessions will be to get people to "look before they leap." The look does not have to be a prolonged look, but it needs to be long enough so that people understand what they are getting into.

For example, with blogs, I think the first unwritten rule should be that you must read or look at many blogs before starting your own, especially if you are starting a professional/business blog. By looking at and reading others, you will understand better what blogs are, how they function, what your software/feature options are, and begin to understand better the effort a blog takes. In one blogging workshop, I asked participants how many blogs they read and found that most read very few. The person who read the most read eight blogs. None of them had heard of blog/RSS readers. (Thankfully, they were taking my workshop that walked them through this and much more.)

In October, I'm doing a full-day workshop on social networking tools with hands-on ("Social Networking: Tools for Connecting Staff and Patrons"). I'm excited about being able to not only explain, but to then get people involved in how they can use some of the tools AND how those tools can interconnect. It will give them a good look before they jump...or perhaps for some, give them a chance to pause and see what they could be doing different. Either way, it will give them a chance to plan and that will be a good thing.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a note to the SLA-IT Blogging Section blog about cool tools people had implemented on their sites. The post received several comments with information about what people have done. Feel free to read and add your comments.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Event: meta/morphosis: a University of Kentucky film-to-digital

Found on the Archives discussion list.

meta/morphosis: a University of Kentucky film-to-digital institute

Note: Please send inquiries and replies to There are only a few spaces left in this institute.

September 6-7, University of Kentucky Libraries is hosting a two-day institute about incorporating microfilm-to-digital solutions into digitization programs. UK is currently participating in the National Newspaper Digitization Program ( with NEH and Library of Congress and is the only one of the six awardees using an in-house process. The Preservation and Digital Programs group at UK Libraries has created a concentrated learning experience limited to 25 participants to learn how to incorporate the microfilm-to-digital solutions (either in-house or outsourced) into a digitization program.

The timing of the institute will allow participants who are considering applying for the next round of the NDNP to incorporate what they learn into applications. For those still contemplating these issues, the institute will provide a great way to quickly survey the landscape and to gather information on building your digitization program.

Information on "meta/morphosis: a University of Kentucky film-to-digital
institute" is available on the institute web page at

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The mindset of incoming college freshman & why you should care

Every year, Beloit College releases a list about the mindset of incoming college freshman. There are 75 items on the list. The first seven are:
  1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
  2. They have known only two presidents.
  3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
  4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
  5. They have grown up getting lost in giant retail stores known as "big boxes."
  6. There has always been one Germany.
  7. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
It's an interesting list, but why should you care should you care about it? The biggest reason that comes to my mind is that the analogies we use and the stories we tell may be totally meaningless to them. We may think we've made a brilliant point in conversation -- or in a training situation -- and not realize that our words were meaningless.

How can you get into the mindset of this group? The easiest way is to talk to them, read what they read, watch what they want, and listen to the things they listen to. (Okay, so you may not like their music, but you should at least know something about it.) And play with the "toys" they play with -- that means trying out the games, the web sites, the Internet tools, etc. You might even find things that you like and that you want to add to your life.

If possible, then, try to incorporate images and analogies (for example) that are familiar to them. Relate events to things that they know. And use language that is relevant to them. Watch out for those phrases that "show our age."

Finally...our history is not their history. And the history that we may be digitizing may seem like ancient history to them. We need to draw connections for this group that will help them relate to our history and the history of their ancestors. Perhaps it is talking about how that event influenced modern life. Or drawing analogies to something that is occurring today. We can't assume that they will understand the context or the implications, or even why we consider the events important.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Power-searching the “3-click world…”

As I research resources about federated searching, I continue to find useful articles and presentation. One presentation is Power-searching the "3-click world...?": An evaluation of Federated Search Engines and Link Resolvers for Academic Libraries (University of Pretoria, September 8, 2005.). [The presentation must be viewed using Internet Explorer.]

According to the working group at the University of Pretoria, the advantages of federated search are:
  • Single one-stop searching point for access to a hybrid library's diverse e-collections & catalogues
  • Simple & easy to use & access
  • Save time
  • Independent researchers /users --– discover! Less training needed
  • Immediate access to full text with link resolver
  • Merged result lists
While they found the limitations to be:
  • Quality of searching
  • Database licensing issues
  • Response rate
  • Limit of hits per database
  • Results list orders
  • Increased traffic -- every search run against every database
Some may feel that the limitations are too limiting, but what if federated search allows users to search more content (including databases that they might not naturally search) and discover materials that they would not have discovered otherwise? Are then limitations then worth it? That decision seems to depend on the institution and what it is trying to accomplish. Some try federated search then given up. Others decide to pour money into an option in order to make it do what they really want. Some even are happy with what comes "out of the box." As I continue to read, I'll be interested in seeing how people come to those decisions.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

A State College and Historical Society collaborate; possible digitization

Buffalo State College and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society have announced a two-year agreement with two immediate goals:

...increasing the historical society's access to Buffalo State resources, including faculty expertise and student placements to bolster staffing; and increasing the college's access to the historical society's resources, which include more than 100,000 artifacts and a research library with 20,000 books, 2,000 manuscripts and 200,000 photographs.

Other opportunities that will be explored involve shared use of space and facilities; library digitization; cultural tourism activities; joint grant applications and publications; human resources consultation; and internships, docent training and service learning opportunities.
Both institutions are members of the Western New York Library Resources Council, which is implementing its regional digitization plan (adopted earlier this year). Any efforts in digitization could bolster use of the Historical Society's materials, draw attention to the region, and help the region's overall efforts to digitize -- and make available -- more information. Let's wish both institutions much success in this endeavor.

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Article: Companies take different approaches when going digital with home movies

This article is about everyday people having home movies converted to DVD. The costs really vary, as do the services. Three companies that provide nationwide service are: (quoting from the article)
  •, which started in 1999, can digitize a two-hour videotape for $5. Customers can then edit their footage on the company's Web site and order DVDs for less than $20.
  • Videos dropped off at these stores [Walgreens, Target and Ritz Camera] are sent to YesVideo to be converted into a DVD for about $25.
  • Pictureal, the relative newcomer of the three, is a Web service that offers automated editing. The firm claims its technology can sift through video footage, eliminate errors and scenes with little action, and provide a final product that looks good without hours of editing. Their higher prices -- $99 to convert three hours of video into one DVD -- reflect that service.
Although these are likely not services we'll use on our projects, they are important to know about for people in our community who are looking for ways to share old videos and film of family events in a cost-effective way.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

What is a digital library?

If you've had to give a definition, then you know that a digital library is hard to define. David Lankes, associate professor at Syracuse University, gave this definition in the spring 2006 issue of Home Page (published by the School of Information Studies):
The ultimate answer is a digital library is a collage of software, data, services, and users, that when taken as a whole, forms the contours of the people who created it.
Ah...nebulous and on target!

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Friday, August 18, 2006

iPRES 2006 is really attracting attention

iPRES is being held in Ithaca, NY at Cornell University in October of this year. It was announced in the spring and I mentioned it here in May. Since the early registration deadline is approaching, more messages are circulating about it. One person mentioned yesterday that is exciting to have an international conference on the preservation of digital objects here in NYS (and not in New York City). Yup -- very cool. Cornell is accustomed to hosting international events and has their act really together.

The registration cost for iPRES is very reasonable. Ithaca can be a challenge to get to, so if you are considering coming to iPRES be sure to check flight schedules, etc. The iPRES site has good info on hotel and local transportation.

And...just so you know...Ithaca in October will be very pretty. The leaves on the trees should be changing colors as our landscape prepares for winter.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

OCLC acquired DiMeMa

From Andrew Pace's blog (Hectic Pace):
Following a distribution partnership that dates back to 2002, OCLC has acquired DiMeMa (Digital Media Management), the creator of CONTENTdm digital management software. Greg Zick, the former University of Washington professor who founded the company in 2001, will become vice president of OCLC Digital Services. DiMeMa staff (11 employees) will remain in Seattle.
BTW I bet most people thought that OCLC already owned CONTENTdm! Well, now they do.

Addendum 8/28/2006: Barbara Quint has a good article about this on the Information Today web site.

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The Distant Librarian: Federated Search Symposium wrap-up

As I've mentioned, I'm looking at federated search and how it might be used to search across digitization projects. Today I came across this blog posting by the Distant Librarian who attended the federated search symposium sponsored by The Alberta Library. Paul R. Pival, the Distant Librarian, provides a very good (and long) summary. He includes a list of questions that Roy Tennant believes should be asked of any federated search vendor. Those questions are:
  • Exactly how difficult is it to customize your interface? Show me.
  • Will we need to redo our customizations with system upgrades?
  • Do you have an API? If so, please show me the documentation.
  • What resources are available for metasearching?
  • And through what types of connections? For each, do you bring back actual records, or only a hit count?
Lots of good information and worth reading, if you're into federated searching.

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Article: Light Levels Used in Modern Flatbed Scanners

On the IMAGELIB discussion list, Timothy Vitale wrote a long a thoughtful response to a question about digitizing rare negatives. In his response, he pointed to this 1998 article he published in the RLG DigiNews.

In the article, Vitale wrote:
Scanning an image on a flatbed scanner involves passing a sensing array (Charged Couple Device, CCD) along an object resting face down on a glass platen. The array has a light source attached. Today these sources are usually of the cold-cathode type because of their color characteristics and cooler operating temperature. The method is similar to that of a photocopy machine. This has caused a misinterpretation of the scanning process. Until recently, copy machines used very strong light to produce an image on a relatively light-insensitive coated drum, which resulted in toner being deposited onto paper. The amount of light needed was dictated by the low sensitivity of the coating on the copy transfer drum. Today's CCDs have sensitivities between 0.1 and 0.001 lux. This means that a CCD does not need blazingly bright light to achieve its goal. Scanner lamps have evolved for a technology with greater light sensitivity.
So will light used to scan an item damage that items? Vitale says "no" and provides data to back up that claim. (He tested several machines and measured their light intensity.)

BTW in his conclusions, he provides good information for those thinking of using copystands to photograph works (the digitize the photos). If that is something you are considering, be sure to read the tips he provides.

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Article: Library digitization projects, issues and guidelines: A survey of the literature

digitizationblog found this excellent article written by Laurie Lopatin in Library Hi Tech. As the abstract says:
Literature published from 2000-2005 on library digitization projects was examined. Issues involving digitization projects are presented, as well as case studies and resources for digitization projects. The paper has the following sections: project management, funding digital projects, selection of materials, legal issues, metadata creation, interoperability, and preservation issues.
This article can be purchased online from the publisher for US $24.60 or GBP £13.00. If you are affiliated with a college/university, you might find it through one of its online databases. Or use interlibrary loan to acquire a copy.

This is an excellent article! Lots of good information, including a wonderful bibliography. It's an article that should be widely read. I know that it is one that my students will be reading.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Event: 2006 International Conference on Digital Archive Technologies (ICDAT)

Thanks to the Ten Tousand Year Blog for finding this.

From the announcement on various lists calling for participation in the 2006 International Conference on Digital Archive Technologies (ICDAT 2006):

Main Theme: Bridging Technology and Content in Digital Archive

19-20 October 2006, Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Sponsored by:

  • Technology R/D Division, National Digital Archives Program Office, Taiwan
  • Content Development Division, National Digital Archives Program Office, Taiwan
  • Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • National Science Council, Taiwan
  • Association for Computational Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing, Taiwan


About the Conference:

Digital archives/libraries are widely recognized as a crucial component of a global information infrastructure for the new century. Research and development projects in many parts of the world are concerned about using advanced information technologies for managing and manipulating digitized cultural heritage and valuable documents, ranging from data storage, preservation, indexing, searching, presentation, and dissemination capabilities to organizing and sharing of such valuable content over networks. ICDAT 2006 is the fourth in a series of International Conferences on Digital Archive Technologies sponsored by the National Digital Archives Program, Taiwan. The goal of this conference is to provide unique opportunities for participants to share their research results and best practices in the utilization of advanced technologies for and the approaches to the development of digital archives/libraries/museums.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Lost: NASA tapes from the first moon landing

Nothing to do with digitization, but a reminder that data is easily misplaced/lost. And what has been lost?

The tapes with the video of the first moon walk and other data have been lost. NASA has been searching for a year for them and can't find them. Thankfully, NASA says "we've got all the data. Everything on the tapes we have in one form or another." (If they can't find the original tapes, how do they know that's true?) Although the tapes would have degraded, NASA hopes to find them and use modern technology to pull the original content off the tapes, if they are found.

New at Digitization 101

Over the last few weeks, I have made changes to Digitization 101 and the content of the sidebar.

First, I added a linked to digitization-related books offered by One book displays and it is not always the same book. I did this because there are many books being published that are related to digitization, most of which come and go without us knowing about them. So here is a gentle reminder of books that you might want to know about and perhaps might want to read.

Second, I added RSS Calendar, so I can better communicate my schedule. I wish I had known about this last spring, when "where?" was not easy to answer due to a hectic schedule. RSS Calendar is a cool RSS tool that can be used in a number of situations. Imagine using it to post your schedule of programs, classes, etc.?! Not only can the RSS Calendar appear on a web site, but people can also subscribe to the feed.

I'm sure there are other tools that will give similar functionality to RSS Calendar. It is not the "only game in town," but it seemed like a game worth trying.

So that is what's new. Take a look and feel free to give me feedback.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Airline travel, computer equipment & us

The world again changed yesterday when airlines quickly updated their security policy in the wake of an alleged terrorist plot uncovered in England. I have heard of people not being able to take computer equipment or electronic devices on airplanes. (Although the Transportation Safety Administration says that this equipment is allowed on flights in the U.S. However, Continental notes that on flights from England, electronic devices must be checked.) If this is true on any flight, it means allowing your equipment to go out of your control. It could be lost, stolen or broken. It means not being able to work (or play) electronically while waiting for your flight or while sitting on a plane. And it means not being able to contact people to tell them where you are and that you are safe.

If checking electronic equipment becomes more widespread, then people will travel with fewer electronic devices and expect to be able to use devices wherever they are going (for free or at cost). This could change amenities at hotels and convention centers. It could also change the number of people coming to libraries and Internet cafes to do work. If you are connected with a library of any kind, you might want to think about the impact this could have. If the rules changed, and people couldn't carry electronic devices, how might that effect your library? And if you are not in a library, still ask -- what impact would this have on my organization and how we work?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Lorcan Dempsey on PictureAustralia and Flickr

Lorcan Dempsey has a post that mentions PictureAustralia, Google and Flickr and how the combination are exposing content to more users. Rather than duplicate his entire post, go here to read it. Quite interesting!

The idea of enhancing a digital collection with modern content from users is a very cool. I like how PictureAustralia has done it. As I mentioned recently, the Brooklyn Museum is also using Flickr to enhance one of its exhibits.

BTW with PictureAustralia, the people who take the pictures loaded into Flickr keep their copyright if they want. With the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum wants to assume the copyright on the images. Whatever the institution does, it need to be clearly communicated (which it is not in PictureAustralia). Also, then, the institutions need to instruct users about what they can or cannot do with the images that are donated. It can be easier not to say anything, but users need to be informed so they will hopefully do the correct thing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Article: Google and U.C. sign contract to digitize books

The deal is done. The University of California (U.C.) will join Google's book digitization project. U.C. is also working on a competing project with Yahoo, Microsoft and the Internet Archive, and they see no problems being involved in two projects at the same time. However, the CNN article says:
Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle said he was pleased that U.C. will continue to work with the OCA, but he criticized the school for "privatizing its library system" by agreeing to Google's limitations on distributing and sharing copies of digitized books.
It had been thought that U.C. would only allow Google to digitize those books that are in the public domain, but the article doesn't say that. It does say that U.C. will comply with the law.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

FirstMonday: WebWise 2006: Selected papers from the Seventh Annual Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World

The August 2006 issue of FirstMonday contains selected papers from the Seventh Annual Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, which was held in February. The papers include:
In total, nine of the papers are available through FirstMonday.

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Grant Opportunity: New York State Council on the Arts

Interesting to note that the NYSCA is giving a "special opprotunity" for organizations to get deeply involved in digitizing materials. Perhaps this is being done in recognition that there are wonderful collections within the state, but relatively few large digitization projects/programs. Hopefully their efforts will spark the creation of rich digital collections.

If you are interested in this grant, please be sure to check the NYSCA web site since it contains needed information on who can qualify, etc.

Posted: August 4, 2006
Deadline: September 22, 2006

New York State Council on the Arts Announces Special Opportunity to Digitize Grantees' Collections

The New York State Council on the Arts is awarding a total of $2 million through a special opportunity to assist organizations in digitizing their collections to make these collections more accessible to the public.

Applications from NYSCA-funded organizations in all arts disciplines are welcome.

Organizations may submit one application for a project that involves digitizing materials and increasing public access to arts and cultural collections. The project may provide access through Web sites, electronic kiosks, CDs, DVDs, or other electronic distribution means.

Projects may engage the public at large and also have educational and research goals. Collection materials may include, but are not limited to, text, photographs, two- and three-dimensional art and cultural objects, sound and moving image, and documentation or new interpretation that relates to the arts and cultural materials. Projects may have a secondary value in expanding the organization’s use of materials for marketing, publications, collections management, or other purpose.

Awards in the $20,000 to $100,000 range are planned. NYSCA generally will fund no more than 25 percent of project costs. Project budgets should include the costs of digitization and public access components.

These applications are exempt from the council’s four-project limit.

Sponsored projects are not eligible; consortium projects may apply through an eligible NYSCA grantee.

To be eligible, an applicant must currently be receiving NYSCA funding and must own or have designated rights to release the collection materials digitally.

Organizations interested in applying may register online until September 22, 2006. Visit the NYSCA Web site for complete program information and application procedures.

More information:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Event: Taxonomy Boot Camp

During KM World & Intranets 2006, there will be a two-day Taxonomy Boot Camp on Nov. 2 - 3, 2006. The event is being held in San Jose, CA. This event seems more geared for the business community (rather than traditional libraries), yet this bootcamp looks widely applicable. As the web site says:
Built and implemented effectively, a taxonomy or categorization scheme is the secret to navigating Web sites and internal data collections, thereby ensuring that users find precise answers to their search queries.
Sessions include:
  • The Categorization Quandary
  • Defining Your Strategy
  • Automatic Metadata Generation
  • Testing Your Taxonomy
  • Social Tagging
  • Between Folksonomies & Taxonomies
I wonder if some of the attendees are working on business/corporate digitization projects? If yes, are they learning different things than what is discussed at library and museum conferences (for example)? Or are all the ideas the same, but the language (terminology) is different? (When I learn the answers, I'll post them as an addendum.)

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Pulling those around us up the technology curve

In the last few days, I have had experiences that reminded me that we don't all have the same level of understanding about technology. Yet isn't it easy for us to assume that we all know the same lingo, acronyms and abbreviations? Isn't it easy to assume that we all know how things work behind the scenes? And easy for us to assume that we all have the same ideas about what is easy or difficult with technology (and how long doing "whatever" will take). Our assumptions, though, can cause a rift between us. We might instead of creating allies, find that we're causing people to feel technologically inferior.

So instead of getting frustrated with your coworkers and users when they don't understand what you mean (like how to do "x"), take a deep breath, say a silent word of thanks for having the knowledge that you have, and then explain whatever it is in words that the person will understand. Remember to stay away from technology/computer jargon (especially with users). Instead, try to use examples and analogies that are in their frame of reference.

If you find several people having the same problem, take that has a sign that you need to rewrite the directions they are trying to follow OR create/expand your list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Remember to make the FAQs easy to find as well as easy to understand. And keep in mind that some FAQs -- in a brick and mortar facility -- may need to be on paper (posted around the facility) rather than on the computer.

Want to post questions (with their answers) or FAQs in a place (within your facility) where people will read them without feeling stupid for reading them? IWell, consider posting them in creative, fun ways near the restrooms, in elevators, and stairwells. In other words, post them where people will be bored and ready to be distracted.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Norman Rockwell Museum received an IMLS grant

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded $148,625 in the form of a "Museums for America" grant to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. According to an article at, "Museums for America" grants can be used for the digitization of museum collections and ventures using new technology. The article notes that:
The Norman Rockwell Museum will protect and disseminate the cultural heritage of the 20th century American artist Norman Rockwell by hiring two collections interns to inventory and catalog the museum's voluminous art and archival collections. The funds will also support research with the addition of a webmaster, Web access software and the design and architectural framework necessary to create a searchable database for worldwide audiences.
Although the Museum is not using the money to directly fund digitization, the work that it will undertake is important work when thinking about a digitization program.

From the Museum's web site, I can see that they are making some digital images available as a way of advertising their exhibits. I'm sure that they are and will be very careful in what they digitize and how they make the materials available, since they have a valuable (money-making, I'm sure) collection. Let's hope that these steps do lead towards something that will allow us to peek a bit more at the collection online.

By the way, there is more than one Norman Rockwell museum. I'm not sure how they are got started or how they related (or not) with each other. There are, however, the Norman Rockwell Museum of Vermont and the Museum of Norman Rockwell Art in Wisconsin, as well as the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, which received the IMLS and boasts having the largest collection of Norman Rockwell art.
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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Event: Open DELOS Seminar on Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation

Open DELOS Seminar on Digital Libraries and Digital Preservation

A two-day seminar for digital preservation specialists and practitioners National Library of Estonia, Tallinn 4th and 5th September 2006

The DELOS Digital Preservation Cluster is pleased to announce that it will be presenting results from the work of the Cluster at an open seminar in Tallinn, Estonia. The seminar is being co-hosted by the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Business Archives, and will be held at the National Library of Estonia.

Initial Digital Preservation Cluster results will be presented at this seminar, including the testbed framework for digital preservation experiments. Presentations will also cover work completed on modelling preservation activity, including incorporating preservation into digital library design, and the development of a digital library reference model.

Other invited presentations will address digital preservation issues from library (National Libraries of New Zealand and Estonia) and archive perspectives (National Archives of Estonia). The full seminar timetable is presented below.

Online Registration Form
To register, please complete the online registration form at
Registration is open until August 20th, 2006.

Seminar Timetable

Monday, 4 September 2006
Chair: Raivo Ruusalepp (Estonian Business Archives)
13:00 - 13:45: Arrival, registration, coffee
13:45 - 14:00: Welcome and opening (Raivo Ruusalepp, Estonian Business
14:15 - 14:45: Delos digital preservation cluster: activities and results (Prof. Seamus Ross, HATII, University of Glasgow)
14:45 - 15:30: Delos report Framework for Testbed for digital preservation experiment (Prof. Andreas Rauber, Vienna University of Technology, and Hans Hofman, National Archives of the Netherlands)
15:30 - 16:00: Coffee
16:00 - 16:45: Preservation Modelling (Prof. Manfred Thaller, Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Informationsverarbeitung, Universität zu Köln)
16:45 - 17:15: Digital preservation problems in a library (Liina Enok, National Library of Estonia)
17:15 - 17:45: Panel-led Discussion (Seamus Ross, Liina Enok, Manfred Thaller, and Andreas Rauber)
17:45: Close

Tuesday, 5 September 2006
Chair: Hans Hofman (National Archives of the Netherlands)
08:45 - 09:15: Coffee
09:15 - 10:00: Digital Library Reference Model, TBA (DELOS)
10:00 - 11:00: National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA) Programme at the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mãtauranga Aotearoa) (Steve Knight, Digital Innovation Services, National Library of New Zealand)
11:00 - 11:30: Coffee
11:30 - 12:15: Encapsulate or not? Wrapping records in their metadata (Leeni Langebraun and Kuldar Aas, National Archives of Estonia)
12:15 - 12:50: Panel-led Discussion (Steve Knight, Leeni Langebraun)
12:50: Closing comments (Prof. Seamus Ross)

The seminar will be held at the National Library of Estonia <>, Tõnismägi 2, Tallinn.
Further directions and a route planner can be found using the interactive map of Tallinn>.
View a comprehensive list of accommodation in Tallinn at

Seminar Fees
Participation in this seminar is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited to 50. The places will be offered on a first come first serve basis. To book your place at the seminar, please register here <> by August 20th, 2006.

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Relying on e-mail to manage your projects

We all rely on e-mail to get work done. It is efficient and it leaves a trail. But e-mails can get lost. For example:
  • Last week, I received an e-mail message more than a year after it was sent! When I replied (a bit confused by it), the sender responded that now he knew what I hadn't written back sooner; I hadn't received the message! Thankfully, it wasn't critical.
    • Often delays in delivery are a few hours, if they are going to occur, but sometimes even that is too long.
  • E-mail can just go into the ozone. We don't know why, they just do.
  • Important e-mails can be flagged as spam and go into your junk mail, perhaps never to be looked at.
    • You should make it a habit to skim your junk mail before you delete it. You might be amazed at what you'll find.
As you work with your project team -- especially if it is a collaborative team that crosses institutions -- be sure to talk about the best way to communicate.
  • Should you be relying on e-mail?
  • Do you want to do instant messenger for quick communications, then e-mail to document any decisions?
  • Is the telephone a better communications method, especially in a rush (or maybe IM)?
  • Does everyone value the same methods and use them? Will any training (or prodding) be needed to ensure that people use the agreed upon methods?
  • Should you incorporate blogs and wikis to help your team communicate better and remember what was said?
By the way, e-mail -- electronic -- communication can be problematic. It is easy to write something that is misinterpreted. There are books on effective e-mail communications, including Understanding E-body Language: Building Trust Online by Bob Whipple.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Creating public documentation

The horrid heat here in New York State (yesterday up to 100F/37.7C) and no air conditioning has made it hard to concentrate on work. Yes, work has gotten done, but a bit slower than normal. As part of my work-aversion, I have been catching up on some reading. The text below is from John Blyberg on "Public documentation" in his post Overcoming the "“Tech Deficit" (and helping others to):
Be sure to document both successes and failures diligently. This makes sense not only for future reference in-house, but when made publicly available, those notes can be a valuable resource to others. As libraries, we should be no stranger to maintaining documentation. Of course it's a matter of training yourself to write documentation on a daily basis -- In IT, we're all busy and we all know that documentation is the first thing to slip off the table. Also, some details are sensitive, so you'll need to know which notes to make available and which ones to place under access control.

The point is that if we maintain a good working record of how we've done what we've done, whether it be in a blog, wiki, or even word files, we can point to it later when someone comes to us and asks, "how did you do that?" From experience, I can say that no matter how much time you spend on a project, if you walk away from it for a few months, it becomes very hard to recall specific details. Write it down clearly and concisely.
It can be very difficult to create documentation since often we're tired of the project by the time the documentation is to be written. And sometimes we create documentation that is good for us (the creators) and lousy for others, like the people who will maintain the project long after we're gone.

If you have documentation that should be written, schedule time to do it. Yes, make real appointments with yourself so it gets done. You may not be happy while you're writing it, but I guarantee that you'll be happy later on when you need it.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Book & DVD: Field Guide to Emergency Response

Although this is not digitization related, I think it is worthwhile passing along.

New Guide Helps Cultural Institutions Cope When Disaster Strikes

Multimedia Field Guide to Emergency Response published by Heritage Preservation

WASHINGTON, DC – Every year, hundreds of museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites across the country experience emergencies large and small. In most cases, staff and volunteers are unprepared. The new Field Guide to Emergency Response explains clearly and simply the steps to take in the first few hours of a disaster, enabling even those with no prior training to save collections without endangering themselves.

The Field Guide to Emergency Response distills the expertise of conservation professionals who have responded to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the recent flooding in the Northeast. Its interactive nature makes it unique. In addition to an easy-to-follow handbook, a companion DVD illustrates salvage techniques for typical problems like mud, mold, and soot. The DVD can be used on-site in a laptop or vehicle player, as well as for preparedness training. Also included are information panels that can be customized before disaster strikes, as well as helpful checklists such as a Disaster Supplies Shopping List organized by type of store.

“The Heritage Health Index found that 80 percent of cultural institutions lack an emergency plan with staff trained to carry it out,” said Heritage Preservation President Lawrence Reger. “The Field Guide to Emergency Response will help those institutions get through an emergency and then better prepare for the next one.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities funded the development of the Field Guide and the distribution of 5,000 free copies to nonprofit institutions in early August, before the peak of hurricane season. NEH Chairman Bruce Cole noted that small institutions in Gulf Coast states will be among the primary beneficiaries of the complimentary distribution. He added, “The Field Guide to Emergency Response is a significant and timely new tool for educators, archivists, and curators. Books, records, manuscripts, art, and cultural artifacts remain at risk from emergencies. For institutions with important collections, the Field Guide provides staff with information to protect treasures under their care.”

The Field Guide to Emergency Response follows Heritage Preservation’s successful Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel, which has become the gold standard for practical salvage advice for collections. The handy slide chart is found in more than 40 countries and has been translated into six languages. Both publications were produced in support of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, which Heritage Preservation co-sponsors with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To learn more, visit

The Field Guide has already won fans among early reviewers: "Every museum administrator should have a Field Guide handy at all times," said Jack Nokes, Executive Director, Texas Association of Museums. Randy Silverman, Preservation Librarian, University of Utah Marriott Library, said, "This straightforward primer is an invaluable tool for emergency planners and responders, small collecting institutions, and the public. The Field Guide is a real life saver!"

The Field Guide is available for $29.95; it can be purchased with the Wheel for a special price of $34.95. Both are available at Heritage Preservation’s secure online Bookstore at or by calling toll-free 888-388-6789.

For over 30 years, Heritage Preservation has been the national, nonprofit advocate for the proper care of all cultural heritage—in museums, libraries, homes, and town squares. For more information, visit

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is the largest funder of humanities programs in the United States. For more information, visit