Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The end of a month full of meetings

Earlier this month, I wrote a short post saying that this was a month full of meetings and that my blogging might suffer. Actually what emerged were long, thought-filled posts, in several blogs that I write for, on the conferences and meetings I attended. I was blessed to have attended several inspiring events during the month. It was a shame to have them all occur in one month, since I hardly had time to contemplate the lessons of one event before heading off to another.

So where have I been and what have I learned?

Oct. 9 - 10, I attended the iPRES conference on digital preservation. You've already seen the notes from this conference. I learned a tremendous amount from this conference, but perhaps value meeting people involved in digital preservation even more. (notes 1, 2 & 3)

Oct. 12, I attended a conference for women entrepreneurs who work in business, the arts and science. The one keynote was given by Lois Frankel, author of Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office. What stood out about this event was the wisdom that each person has about their field. The panelists -- mostly from Upstate NY -- were wonderful. We often look for high-powered, well-known panelists, and overlook those people around us who have so many valuable things to say. (notes)

By the way, several people from Cornell University came to this conference and videoed the presenters. Those videos will eventually become part of their e-clip collection on leadership, entrepreneurship and business. (more)

Oct. 17, I did a workshop in Rochester entitled "Social Networking: Tools for Connecting Staff & Patrons." I am continually amazed at how many librarians are still not using or experimenting with social networking tools. I am coming to believe that we are not -- by nature -- experimenters. Those of us who are experimenters brave paths that we hope others will follow, perhaps once the path is worn and smooth.

Oct. 26, I was able to have lunch with Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, along with about 10 others. Then I attended an event where she was the keynote speaker. Wow! I have not considered how her thoughts/ideas could be implemented by or affect a library. Libraries (and other cultural heritage organizations) tend to be value-led, but I don't think we see ourselves real "active" change agents in the societies where we live. (notes)

I also attended sessions for a mini-business boot-camp during the month, which reminded me of those things I already knew, as well as taught me a few new tricks. It can be difficult for people in any profession dedicate time to being refreshed on those basic things we all need to know. We tend to assume that we know/remember that stuff. We often don't want to appear like we don't know "whatever." Yet it can be helpful to step back and relearn the basics. And by sitting with people who are indeed starting out, it can be a great way of seeing the world through their eyes...and maybe seeing a way that we can make their journey easier.

October is done. Now onto November!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Article: Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects on Libraries and Information Policy

The Oct/Nov issue of the assis&t Bulletin has this article entitled "Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects on Libraries and Information Policy." Included in the article is commentary on the role of publishers, booksellers and libraries in the digital age.

And what caught my eye in this article?
In regard to the types of works involved in the Google 5 project, about 15% are out of copyright, in the public domain. For the 85% that are in copyright, about 20% are in print and available for sale via normal retail channels, and about 65% are out of print and available via used booksellers, libraries, document delivery and print-on-demand. It is this last group – those that are still under copyright but not in print – that will be most impacted. Nearly every book in America goes out of print within five years. Mass digitization will mean that nothing will ever go out of print.
And in talking about orphan works...
The orphan works problem is huge because only 4% of books are in print, and more than 75% are in a “twilight zone” – they may be in print but they are not for sale because the rights have reverted to the author. Or they may be in the public domain, but we do not know for certain – only 20% are known for certain to be in the public domain.

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Event: Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) 2007

From the Sigdl-l distribution list.


Dubrovnik and Mljet, Croatia
28 May - 1 June 2007

Inter-University Centre <http://www.iuc.hr/> Don Ivana Bulica 4, 20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Hotel Odisej, island Mljet, Pomena, Croatia <http://www.hotelodisej.hr/>
Web site: <http://www.ffos.hr/lida/>
Email: :lida@ffos.hr

The general aim of the annual international conference and course Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA), started in 2000, is to address the changing and challenging environment for libraries and information systems and services in the digital world, with an emphasis on examining contemporary problems, advances and solutions.

Each year a different and "hot" theme is addressed, divided in two parts; the first part covers research and development and the second part addresses advances in applications and practice. LIDA seeks to bring together researchers, practitioners, and developers from all over the world in a forum for personal exchanges, discussions, and learning, made easier by being held in memorable locations.

Themes LIDA 2007

Part I: Users and Use of Digital Libraries

Over the last decade numerous digital libraries have been designed and developed world wide. One can evaluate the importance of these projects in terms of their resources, collections, services access, and other related aspects. However, the ultimate measure of success of digital libraries is their acceptance and use in the work and every day life of their users.

The goal of the first part of LIDA 2007 is to explore the behavior, place, and role of users of digital libraries and the reasons, ways, and means related to their use of digital libraries. Special attention will be on users -- information behavior and moreover, on the role of users throughout the process of design, development, and evaluation of digital libraries. The general aim is to concentrate on works that increase our understanding of the needs, interests, and experiences of users in the context of digital libraries. Many research approaches and understanding users could be examined, e.g., behavioral, cognitive, affective, organizational, social.

Invited are contributions (types described below) covering the following topics:
* reasons for and approaches to use of digital libraries; related experiences of various categories of users. Why and how do users interact with digital libraries?
* users? experience with digital library content in various forms of presentation (text, audio, visual) and accessibility (mobile, handheld, wireless, wearable, etc.)
* usability evaluation of digital libraries; methodologies for and results of usability studies
* impact of digital libraries on various categories of user populations and in various contexts (within specific cultures, countries, disciplines, professions, age groups; with various technology use levels, access problems, etc.)
* cross-cultural and international studies of the opportunities and barriers to development and use of digital libraries
* use of various digital library services, such as virtual and chat reference
* users as interactive creators of a new generation of digital libraries
* application of various theories and models in study of users and use of digital libraries and associated human information behavior
* relating such theories and user information needs assessments to design and development of digital libraries.

Part II: Economics and Digital Libraries

The goal of the second part of LIDA 2007 is to address economic factors: costs, resources, sharing, consortia, and the nature and control of expenditures. Digital libraries, like all other libraries, have costs that must be paid. In addition to the familiar costs of providing services, digital libraries assume a responsibility to serve as portals, for their complex communities of users and to the exponentially expanding resources of the World Wide Web. Finally, the costs of conversion from older forms such as paper and microfiche, to new digital forms, are of vital importance because, increasingly, materials that have not been converted will not be used.

There are several approaches to library economics, including most importantly so-called unit cost, or functional cost analysis, and econometric modeling. As most libraries are today a mix of paper and digital, it is particularly difficult to separate costs into the costs of becoming digital, and the ongoing costs of remaining digital. As libraries reference each others' materials, the collaborations dreamed of in the 1970's and 1980's become a practical reality. But the forms of operational collaboration needed to make all of this both efficient and effective are still being discovered. At the same time, some dramatic commercial initiatives are putting vast amounts of material into digital searchable form.

The general aim is to bring together working librarians, academic researchers, industry representatives and government officials, to review our present understanding of library economics in the Digital Age, to identify needed research, and to sketch a road map for the transition.

Invited are contributions (types described below) covering the following topics:
* application of library performance measures to the digital realm, to new forms of service, and to new methods of delivery
* methods for measuring or estimating the costs of digital operations in a scalable and generalizable fashion
* real world experience of moving from a non-digital situation to a fully digital one, with regard to some area of service, with particular focus on the costs, both tangible and intangible, of the transition. This can be from the perspective of a library, a publisher, or an Internet firm
* case studies of governmental intervention to accelerate the digitization of national resources, or of more specialized collections
* other issues related to the economics of digital libraries - novel approaches, are particularly welcome.

Types of contributions

Invited are the following types of contributions:
* Papers: research studies and reports on practices and advances that will be presented at the conference and included on the conference Web site. Papers of up to 4000 words in length should be submitted, following the American Psychological Association
(http://www.apastyle.org/index.html) style, followed, among others, by the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
and Information Processing & Management

The papers will be refereed and published in LIDA 2007 Proceedings.
* Posters: short graphic presentations on research, studies, advances, examples, practices, or preliminary work that will be presented in a special poster session. Awards will be given for Best Poster and Best Student Poster. Proposals for posters should be submitted as a short, one or two- page paper.
* Demonstrations: live examples of working projects, services, interfaces, commercial products, or developments-in-progress that will be presented during the conference in specialized facilities or presented in special demonstration sessions. These should involve some aspect of users and use. Proposals for demonstration should provide short description and a URL address, if available.
* Workshops: two to four-hour sessions that will be tutorial and educational in nature.
Workshops will be presented before and after the main part of the conference and will require separate fees, to be shared with workshop organizers. Proposals for workshops should include a short description, with indication of level and potential audience.
* PhD Forum: short presentations by PhD students in a session organized by the European Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (EC/ASIST).

Submissions should be sent in electronic format (as an email attachment) to Prof. Tatjana Aparac at taparac@ffos.hr.
Inquires can also be addressed to the Co-Chair of the conference Prof. Tefko Saracevic and Program Chairs (for Part I Prof. Sanda Erdelez. and for Part II Prof. Paul Kantor). Full contact information is provided below. All submissions will be refereed.

For papers and workshops: 15 January 2007. Acceptance by 15 February 2007.
For demonstrations and posters: 1 February 2007. Acceptance by 1 March 2007.
Final submission for all accepted papers and posters: 15 March 2007.

Invitation to institutions
We are inviting libraries, information agencies, professional organizations, publishers, and service providers to consider participation at LIDA by providing a demonstration, workshop, or exhibit about their products, services or advances, or by presenting a paper or poster about their activities, as related to themes.

Sponsorship of an event is also invited.

Institutions can benefit as well: we will provide course materials to participants so that they can communicate and transfer topics of interest to their institution. Thus, we are organizing LIDA to reach a wider audience.

Conference contact information
Course co-directors:
Department of Information Sciences
Faculty of Philosophy; J.J. Strossmayer University 31000 Osijek, Croatia
(contact for general correspondence)
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies; Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ, 08901 USA

Program chairs:
For Part I:
School of Information Science and Learning Technologies; University of Missouri -- Columbia Columbia, MO, 65211 USA

For Part II:
School of Communication, Information and Library Studies; Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ, 08901 USA

Organizing chairs:
Organizing committee:
Department of Information Sciences
Faculty of Philosophy; J.J. Strossmayer University 31000 Osijek, Croatia

Local organizing committee:
Dubrovnik Libraries
20000 Dubrovnik, Croatia


The first part of LIDA 2007 will be held in Dubrovnik and for the second part the conference will move to island Mljet, less than a two-hour ride from Dubrovnik on a fast catamaran.
Pre-conference workshops are planned for 28 May 2007 in Dubrovnik and post-conference workshops for 2 June 2007 on Mljet.

Dubrovnik, Croatia is recognized as one of the World Cultural Heritage sites by UNESCO. It is a walled city, preserved as it existed in medieval times. A beautiful natural location on the Adriatic Sea, a lavish architecture of squares, palaces, and churches, small, intriguing hill-hugging streets, pedestrian-only traffic within the walls, outings to the enchanting near-by islands - all these and more combine to make Dubrovnik one of the most popular destinations in Europe. For Croatia see http://www.croatia.hr/ and for Dubrovnik, http://web.tzdubrovnik.hr/, travel information at http://www.dubrovnik-online.com/

Mljet is one of the most enchanting islands in the Adriatic, a sea that abounds with beautiful islands to start with. Hotel Odisej is in a small harbor. Near the hotel is the entrance to Mljet National Park with lush vegetation surrounding three inland lakes, a small island with a monastery in the middle lake, paths for walking, and spots for swimming in the blue and green sea.

For Mljet National Park see http://www.np-mljet.hr/
and for hotel Odisej (with further information about the surroundings) see http://www.hotelodisej.hr.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Privacy and safety on the Internet


In a recent workshop on social networking tools, I talked about privacy. For everyone, privacy and safety on the Internet are huge issues, yet they are issues that we face everyday in our brick-n-mortar worlds.

I think of privacy online as being like riding a subway -- an activity that I enjoy. When you're on the subway, you need to be aware of what's going on around you. If you're with friends or colleagues, you need to know where they are, since friends will watch out for each other. You need to keep your things (pocketbook, shopping bags, luggage, etc.) close you, if not "attached" to you. Somethings (e.g., wallet, passport) you need to keep close to your body, and perhaps in a pocket or pouch that is not easy for someone else to reach. Of course, there are somethings that you need to keep hidden. For example, you don't want to flash your expensive jewelry or cash.

Privacy is also like coming home from Las Vegas. Many of us have heard the saying -- What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! In other words, there is no need to tell everyone everything. Somethings are personal and private, and should stay that way.

Finally, you see the word "copyright" on the slide. Copyright has nothing to do with privacy, but if you want to remain safe (and out of court), you'll not violate the copyright (property) of others.

So when you are online, remember:
  • There is no need to tell everything about yourself.
  • You need to protect those things you value (e.g., your money and your identity).
  • You must know who your friends are, as well as those colleagues you can trust. Please watch out for them and ask that they do the same for you.
  • Respect the property of others.
  • Finally, remember to enjoy what you're doing.
One person asked how I deal with privacy and security online. Here are some of the things I do:
  • I protect my passwords.
  • I use passwords that are a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, thus making them harder for someone to break.
  • I don't have any online information that discloses my street address. Actually, even in printed literature about me and my company, there is not a street address (only a post office box).
  • Even in Flickr, there aren't clues to exactly where I live.
  • I "talk" a lot online, but don't talk a lot about the details of my life. Actually, I know my personal life is interesting only to a few people, so why bore everyone else!
  • I use an alternate e-mail (Yahoo) addresses when I think I'm giving out it out to a place that may cause me to be spammed.
  • I think before posting, e-mailing, etc. about what I'm saying and who I'm saying it to. (This also means I think about the tone of my message as well as the words.)
The hard part about privacy and security online is that you have to be constantly aware of what you're doing. But isn't that also the same as in real life? If we can have our guard up when we're walking down the street, we should be able to have our guard up as we "walk" through the Internet.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

National Digital Newspaper Program: presentation summary

The August/September 2006 issue (PDF) of the Bulletin of the Information Technology Division/SLA contains a summary of the June conference presentation "One Million Pages a Year and More: the National Digital Newspaper Program." (The NDNP is anticipated to be a 20-year program.) The presentation was given by people from the Library of Congress and the University of Kentucky. UK is one of the six institutions awarded grants to become part of the first phase of NDNP.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing updated on project/programs like these, because I know that they are learning things that the rest of us could benefit from. And when I can't attend live, I like reading about the presentations, even if it is several months after the fact.

PLANETS presentation from iPRES is available

The PLANETS web site announces that:
The presentation, given at the iPres 2006 conference, provides an overview of PLANETS with emphasis on preservation planning. It also includes a brief digression on the Office OpenXML file format and how it addresses some of the root causes of digital obsolescence. View the presentation [PPT, 2MB]
What is PLANETS? Again quoting the web site:
The Planets project brings together European National Libraries and Archives, leading research institutions, and technology companies to address the challenge of preserving access to digital cultural and scientific knowledge.
The web site contains additional information on this project, which was "kicked off" in June of this year.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Copyright (second of two articles)

Yesterday I posted an article I had written for the September/October issue of WNYLRC Watch, a publication of the Western NY Library Resources Council. I've been working with WNYLRC for more than a year on a grant funded digitization planning project, including writing articles read by their members. Below is the second article on copyright that will appear in the November/December issue.

In the previous issue of WNYLRC Watch (September/October), we looked at copyright and the rights of copyright holders. Now let us look at the copyright clearance process.

There are two keys to successfully navigating the copyright clearance process. The first key is being methodical. This is not a process where one can skip steps or follow a whim. The second key is understanding and following the Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code). It can be very helpful to go to the law itself as well as commentary when navigating the process. Be sure that you understand the letter of the law and that you do not make assumptions. The language in the Copyright Law can be particular, so be sure that you do not interject words that do not exist there.

With those two keys for success in mind, the steps to the copyright clearance process are:

  • Determine the intellectual property (IP) issues
  • Determine if permission is necessary
  • Identify the owner's rights involved
  • Identify owner of the rights you are seeking
  • Request permission

What intellectual property issues are involved? Is it copyright only or are there other issues (e.g., trademark)? If the issue is copyright, are you seeking to make a copy or a derivative work? Do you want to display the work? These are rights that the copyright owner has and no one else.

Are there issues surrounding privacy or publicity? Those are not -- strictly speaking intellectual property issues -- but now would be a good time to identify them. While copyright is governed by federal law, privacy and publicity are governed by state law. Every citizen has rights of privacy, but those rights generally end at the person's death. For example, I cannot display the private letters of someone without that person's permission. However, the right of publicity does not necessarily end at a person's death. Consider, for example, the right to use Elvis Presley’s image. The right to use his image is still controlled by his family.

Is permission necessary? Thinking only about copyright, was the material copyrighted? If yes, has it since passed into the public domain? Peter Hirtle's chart is a good place to begin to understand what might be in the public domain (www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/copyrightterm.pdf).

One thing to consider when looking at the exceptions, especially Fair Use, is that you are determining that you can use the exception. The determination is not made by the copyright holder. The exception is only proved to be correct if the outcome of a lawsuit determines it to be so (this is especially true with Fair Use).

If you determine that you do not need permission in order to use the work, and there are no other issues in your way (e.g., privacy), then go ahead and digitize the materials. It would be good practice to keep track of how you came to that decision in case there are any questions.

If you decide that you need to obtain permission, what rights do you require? When digitizing materials, three rights come immediately into play: the right to reproduce the work, the right to create a derivative work, and the right to display the work. Depending on what you are doing, there may be other rights for which you will need permission.

When thinking about the rights you require, now would be a good time to consider how long -- months or years -- you want those rights. That information will be important to communicate with the rights owner and may impact the cost of obtaining those rights. For example, a rights owner might allow you to digitize and use the materials for a short time for free, but require a licensing fee for longer use.

It is doubtful that many digitization projects budget for licensing fees. Most will only use materials that are available without paying a fee. However, you may come across something so important that you will want to pay the licensing fee, so be ready-- if necessary -- to find the money for it.

Now that you know what rights you want, the next step is to identify the current owner of those rights. First ask, what rights does the current owner of the material have? For example, does the current owner have the right to reproduce the work, create derivative works, distribute the work, publicly perform the work, or display the work? Does the current owner have any of those rights, or some of the rights, or all of those rights? Those are the rights granted to the creator of the work under Copyright Law. The creator can give any or all of those rights to someone else, during his lifetime or upon his death. Have those rights been passed to the current owner of the original work? Hopefully the current owner of the work will know what rights she has and can prove them. Be sure to ask the person specifically about the rights that you will need. If the person grants permission to you, obtain the permission in writing so that you have documentation.

If the current owner of the material does not own all of the rights that you seek, you will have to track down the other rights owner(s) and negotiate those rights. You may think that is unusual for the creator of a work to split the rights and give them to different parties, but it is not. You can only hope, that if this has happened, that it is clearly documented somewhere.

Finally, you must request permission from whoever the rights owner is. Please be sure to obtain permission in writing, so that you have documented proof. You might place that rights information in the metadata.

What if you cannot find the rights owner (an "orphaned work") and thus cannot obtain permission? Can you digitize the materials anyway? There is a risk of litigation if you digitize the materials without proper permission. You will need to evaluate the risk as well as you ability to tolerate such a risk.

I have presented the steps briefly, but likely you can see that each step will take time and effort. Indeed copyright clearance can take a long time. Do you have the time, staff and budget to do it? You may decide upfront that you do not have time for this process. It is also likely that you will get into the process itself and then determine that you do not have the time to devote to it. If you cannot devote the time needed, then re-examine your project to see if digitizing only the public domain materials will yield a worthwhile project. You may also find some items where permission could be granted quickly (perhaps a copyright holder that is sympathetic to your project).

Remember that the two keys to this process are being methodical and having a firm understanding of what you are doing. Read articles and books on this topic and attend workshops. Take time to obtain the information you need in order to navigate this process well. The time you spend learning will help you be methodical and give you the confidence you will need for the task at hand.

Resources: This list includes the resources from the Sept/Oct issue of WNYLRC Watch.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Copyright (first of two articles)

For more than a year, I have been writing articles for the Western NY Library Resources Council newsletter called WNYLRC Watch. All of the articles have been specific to activities occurring in that region, but two recent articles are more generic.

Below is the first of two articles for the WNYLRC Watch focused on copyright. Tomorrow I'll publish here the second article. (BTW Privacy and publicity will be dealt with in future Watch articles.)

When digitizing materials you must understand concerns related to intellectual property issues (i.e., copyright), privacy and publicity. In this WNYLRC Watch, letÂ’s begin to look at copyright, then continue with copyright, then privacy and publicity in future articles.

The owner of the copyright is given the following rights (from Copyright.gov):

  • To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

We normally think of the first five rights, but -- with the ability to digitize audio -- it is important to recognize the last one.

Notice that the owner of the copyright has these rights. Who is the owner? The original owner is the creator of the work. For example, the author of an article. However, the creator can transfer the rights to someone else. For example, an author may transfer all of some of the rights to the publisher of the work. All or some? Yes. Each right is different and distinct. The creator can transfer all of the rights to someone else or just specific rights. This can make it difficult when trying to clear the copyright on a work, since you must understand which rights you need, then figure out who owns those rights, find that person (or organization) and ask for permission to use that right.

Next WNYLRC Watch --– What is the process for clearing copyright?

Resources: There are many excellent resources on copyright. Here are several to get you started.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Project management and Six Thinking Hats

Late in September, the Upstate NY Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) held a day-long meeting entitled "The Accidental Manager: Project Management and Leadership Strategies for Information Professionals." The morning speaker was Penelope J. M. Klein
Executive Director, Central New York Library Resources Council. As she talked about project management, Klein mentioned the technique of looking at a project from several different viewpoints. The technique she discussed is taught in the book Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono. Each hat is a different color and a different role. For example, red hat thinking is emotional, while black hat thinking looks at the negative aspects of the project.

Klein said it can be helpful to declare that, within a specific discussion, everyone is going to wear a specific color hat. You might, for example, have a green hat meeting, where everyone thinks of alternatives or a yellow hat meeting where everyone examines the positive effects of project.

Six Thinking Hats looks like a good book for a project team to read together, then use. Someone knowledgeable with the technique might be able to use it even with people who aren't familiar with it, by setting some basic ground rules.

Looks like this is a book I'll have to make time to read...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blog comments

Months ago -- because of comment spam -- I decided to moderate comments submitted to Digitization 101. I do receive interesting comments in the blog, as well as interesting e-mail messages from readers. Comments and messages have provided additional information, challenged my thinking, and helped me realize who my readers are (and why they continue to read). Comments are important.

I have never rejected a legitimate comment in this blog until today. I wish I had the person's e-mail address in order to explain why, so I giving the explanation here. Although the comment is likely truthful, there was a "spin" to it that could cause a "flame" war, and that I don't need.

So -- to the commenter (and I'm sure you know who you are) -- don't stop communicating, but realize that you might be presenting information in a way that will cause more harm than good. I promise to always read what you submit, but can't promise that I'll always be able to publish it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Article: Microsoft in digital book deal

I've had two e-mails wondering if I saw the news. Yes, I had. Another large company is diving into digitizing books.

I had hoped, when the first book digitization project was announced, that those who are not involved in the project would be able to learn from the project. I had hoped that those involved would share what they were learning and that the rest of us would "do better" because of what we could learn from them. I want them to blaze a trail and leave some markers along the way.

That hasn't happened because of the competition and thus the need for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).

And so Microsoft is entering the fray. Microsoft has done work, I believe, with natural language processing (NLP), so there could be some interesting twists to what they will produce. But will they disclose information about their process so that other projects will benefit from what the learn?

I'm not holding my breath.

Useful URLs from iPRES

At the iPRES conference last week, the organizers promised to post the web site the PowerPoints from the presentations. The PowerPoints aren't there yet, but you should check back periodically to look for them (which would allow you see URLs mentioned in context). Most of the presenter had PowerPoints and they will be useful to review.

I was able to write done some of the URLs mentioned (yes, woefully out of context):

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Event: An International Symposium on Digital Curation

Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: An International Symposium on Digital Curation
Chapel Hill, N.C.
April 19-20, 2007

"Please join us at our first symposium in Chapel Hill, NC, on Thursday, April 19, and Friday, April 20 at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education. This event will feature presentations from members of our advisory board of 17 international scholars and digital preservation specialists as well as from other experts in the field. Click here to download a PDF flyer for this event."

Friday, October 13, 2006

New books preservation and digitization

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

iPRES 2006: Day 2 and conference report

The weather in Ithaca was beautiful for the conference (Oct. 9 - 10). Often October in Ithaca (NY) can be cold and gray, but the skies were blue and it was sunny. Those who came to the conference truly saw the area at its best, at least in terms of its weather. It was a good time to see the fall foliage. Now however, there is talk of snow in the forecast for this weekend. C'est la vie!

Rather than talking about each individual session, let me write what stood out to me about the iPRES conference.
  • Merging of libraries and archives -- Okay, they aren't physically merging, but libraries and archives are realizing that they are more similar than different these days. Ian Wilson impressed upon us that our users want access to information and that the distinction between a library and an archive means nothing to them. (We might also say that the distinction between these institutions and museums is also fading in our users' minds.) It is imperative that we learn each others lingo, start to use a common language, and jointly create systems that will meet our users' needs.
  • Acronyms -- There were many acronyms used during the conference. That brought to mind the question of what constitutes basic familiarity in regards to digital preservation. What acronyms should a person know? What technologies or systems? What should be intuitive obvious? Answering those questions may not be important to you, but as I think about introducing graduate students to digital preservation more -- in a class that is not specifically about digital preservation -- I will need to make decisions on what will be critical for them to learn as building blocks for the future. Must they, for example, know all the acronyms that were used during the conference?
  • Modern oral history -- We think that we are producing more documentation now, then ever before, but some government agencies are using oral methods more in order to prevent formal records from being kept (from Ian Wilson). In order to preserve a record of what has occurred, we must find ways of capturing information through interviews, etc., whenever possible.
  • What should governments preserve? -- Ken Thibodeau from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration talked about the amount of information being transmitted in the government via e-mail. Should all e-mails be archived or can they devise methods to eliminate e-mails that are not important, such as travel arrangements? We can each likely quote an incident where it was the informal records in a government that showed the government's intent. Personally, I think that although weeding through e-mails sounds good, in the long run it may be detrimental to understanding how a government functioned, but I'm sure others will disagree.
  • Sell your funders on preserving access -- Yes, preserving content for the future is good to do, but funding agencies will care more if you say that you are preserving access. You want to ensure that this digital information is available for people to use for the long-term AND that people can indeed access it.
  • Dark archive -- On Tuesday, a few of us talked about this term over lunch. Is it a good term to use? Does it send the correct message to our funding agencies? We also talked about when information in a dark archive can "come into the light" and be accessed by regular people. None of us at the table had a good handle on that. We all realized that it was a licensing issue (and something that some of the presenters might have tackled briefly). Most importantly, we saw it as something that would need to defined, since we are preserving the information so that a copy can be accessed.
  • What is important for you to archive? -- China is putting plans in place to archive foreign and domestic science and technology literature. They analyzed their information needs and identified a weakness. The weakness is that they heavily reliant on foreign science and technology e-literature. What would happen if a disaster struck and they suddenly did not have access to it? Are they archiving other things? Yes, but I found it interesting that this specific digital preservation effort was based on a real understanding of what is important to them as a nation.
  • Social issues -- As with many technologies, it is not the technology that matters but the social issues that go along with them. Ian Wilson talked about this and other presenters also touched on it. In order to work on digital preservation and create the needed systems/methods, we need to talk to each other, understand each other, and figure out ways of working together (collaborate). Once we do that, we can tackle an technology problem that comes our way.
  • Look-and-feel -- When you create a digital archive of materials, do you maintain the original look-and-feel of those materials? Do you normalize the file formats, which might alter the look-and-feel? Does the look-and-feel convey important information? It was interesting hearing presenters talk about normalizing file formats, maintaining or not maintaining the original look-and-feel, as well as migrating files on the fly. Which is right? Likely they all are.
  • Active preservation -- Digital preservation is not a passive activity. Vicky Reich, from the LOCKSS Program, talked about how a book on a shelf will (basically) not change if it is ignored. After a year, it can still be read. But the same cannot be said for digital files. Evidently there have been studies done on the changes that will occur with digital files that are ignored. Think of it this way -- if a page in a book yellows due to the environment it is in, it is doesn't change the content on the page. The book can still be read. But if the environment changes a file -- even just a byte -- data can be lost and the file may be unusable.
  • Trusted repository -- There was talk of checklists under development in order to audit digital repositories and understand if they could be trusted. Although it may be possible to certify a repository, it seems better (at least for now) to use the checklists to understand processes, shortfalls, and manage risk. The checklists and audits also help to create transparency. It is important that what a trusted repository does not be all "smoke and mirrors." The more transparent the repository's work, the more it will likely be trusted. (It could be that the repository is not transparent to everyone, but only to those who audit it and make some pronouncement of the repository's abilities.)
  • Rights -- There was talk about copyright and other legal restrictions. Depending on what you are archiving, rights may be an important concerns. Do you have the right to digitally archive the materials? Is the information so important that you archive it anyway (understanding that archive and access are two different things)? Can you honor any legal restrictions concerning access of the materials, if access is granted?
  • Distributed responsibilities -- Can we work together to create digital archives and make those digital archives trusted through distributed responsibilities? We talk about collaborative digitization projects as being the most successful projects. Is the same true for digital preservation programs? I think the concept of distributed responsibilities ties into that of a "safe place network." This is a network of digital archives where you know your materials will be safe.
  • Life cycle management -- What we are doing is managing electronic files through a life cycle. Many libraries may not think of documents (electronic files) as having life cycles, but I'm sure corporations and government agencies -- who maintain retention schedules -- do.
I'm sure there is more that I should note, but I'll stop. It was two days full of answers and questions. A conference full of ideas and ideals.

In other iPRES news...

Salwa from the Judaica Sound Archives gave me a brochure about their collection. What stood out to me was that the brochure has a section that says "Check Out Our Website to..." and the first thing listed is:
Find out more about how to safely and inexpensively mail your precious recordings to us.
This is a project that understands that it is saving history and culture. It wants to save as much as it can and the only way to do it is to obtain recordings from other people. In another part of the brochure, they say that "The Judaica Music Rescue Project can provide special packing boxes so that mailing the records from anywhere in the world is both easy and safe."

I do not know who else may have blogged iPRES except Emmanuelle (Figoblog). You can read her thoughts -- in French -- at http://www.figoblog.org. If you do not read French, you can use Babelfish to translate the text. The translation is not perfect, but hopefully good enough so that you will understand her thoughts. If anyone else did blog the conference -- no matter the language -- please let me know. Thanks!

Meeting a group of people with similar professional interests was great. We had a chance to talk about our work. But the fun conversations were about other aspects of our lives -- and isn't that how we get to know each other? Topics? Queen Noor, the design of the Bibliotheque nationale de France, zoning laws, how people traveled to Ithaca, and more. The conversations were always lively and showed us that we had more in common than our interest in digital preservation. Now that we know each other, it will be easier to work together and collaborate.

Finally, iPRES 2007 will be held in China, where the first iPRES was held in 2004. I hope they will implement some podcast or webcast options for those who will not be able to be physically present at the conference.

Oh...I'll post some useful URLs from the conference later in the week. Most are actually in the PowerPoint presentations, but those are not online yet. (10/16/2006: Okay...I still haven't posted the URLs. I've been in too many meetings. I'll get to in the next couple of days. I promise.)

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Relatively new blog: ArchivesBlogs

Have you seen ArchivesBlogs? If not, it is worth checking out. Quoting the web site:
ArchivesBlogs syndicates content from weblogs about archives and archival issues and then makes the content available in a central location in a variety of formats.
ArchivesBlogs follows blogs on digitization, including Digitization 101. I have found it a nice addition to my blog reader, even though I do get a little duplication with the other blogs I follow. (You can view all of the blogs & RSS feeds I follow here.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CopyCense: Quote of the Week

I just saw this in CopyCense (written by my colleague, K.M. Dames) and thought it was worth passing along:

Quote of the Week

"The British Library last week voiced its concern after it found that of 30 licensing agreements recently offered to the library for use of digital material, 28 were more restrictive than the rights existing under current copyright law. 'Our concern is that, if unchecked, this trend will drastically reduce public access, thus significantly undermining the strength and vitality of our creative and educational sectors,' Chief Executive Lynne Brindley said in a statement."
- Reuters. Rallies Protest Limits on Digital Copying. News.com. Oct. 3, 2006.

Monday, October 09, 2006

iPRES 2006: Day 1

Today was the first day of the iPRES conference being held at Cornell University. iPRES is the International Conference on the Preservation of Digital Objects. This is the third iPRES with the other two held in Asia (China) and Europe (Germany). This year's theme is "Words to Deeds: Collaboration in the Realm of Digital Preservation." The conference has 220 participants from 12 countries and five continents. It is a bigger crowd than they imagined they would get and it is a crowd that is very much interested in this topic. Why else would someone travel from Nigeria to Ithaca for a conference?

The organizations I work with are general not thinking about preservation, but are trying to develop and implement a digitization plan. They are learning about the breadth of what digitization is and realizing that it is not just technology. (Some are shocked when I explain all the digitization entails.) Many organizations understand that preservation is important, but aren't ready to think about it. No matter how the need is phrased, some put off thinking about it and hope that an easy solution will come their way.

So today it was good to be among people who are past convincing those around them of the benefits of digitization and are involved in thinking about, learning about, designing and implementing preservation programs for digital objects.

About 50% of the group today said they are using developed guidelines (e.g., RLG's) to do self assessments of their digital repositories. So indeed this is a group that is moving forward and wants to ensure that their preservation initiatives are in-line with emerging industry expectations.

One project presented was DAITSS, which is an interesting acronym and oxymoron -- Dark Archive in the Sunshine State!

The PowerPoint presentations from the presenters will be on the iPRES web site. Hopefully soon since taking notes -- even if you had a laptop -- was challenging with a couple presenters.

By the way, there were lots of useful URLs mentioned and I'll post them later this week. For example, there are good reports on the Library and Archives Canada web site. (Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, was an excellent keynote speaker. He was informative, inspiring and entertaining.)

Finally, I met many interesting people today, among them Emmanuelle, Dennis, Bennett, Vicky, Lynn and Salwa. Hopefully we'll have a chance to compare notes tomorrow about what we are "taking away" from this conference. I'm sure what will stand out to each person will be quite different. For me -- at the moment -- is the need to integrate more digital preservation concepts into the SU graduate course I teach on digitization. Getting them to think about preservation more upfront should be very beneficial to them in the long run.

Updated 10/10/2006: I misheard the number of countries yesterday. There were 12 countries represented at iPRES, not 22. The countries represented were Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Switzerland, UK and USA.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Article: Google print outshines the European Digital Library

In talking about the long road to creating the European Digital Library, this stood out to me:
In 2010, the European Digital Library should have 6 million e-books available, a much lower figure than that given by Google for the same year: 15 million.
Both numbers are hard to get your head around. As one local businessman in Upstate NY would say, these projects are H-U-G-E.

You can read the entire article here.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

October is the month for meetings & conferences

My calendar this month is full of meetings and conferences. Thankfully, some of the events I'll be attending this month are digitization related. Blog postings, though, may be sporadic as I'm pulled in multiple directions at once.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Off-topic: Thinking about getting another degree?

Occasionally I run into someone who is thinking about getting another advanced degree (or just an advanced degree, period). The person always feels that another degree will help his/her marketability and that may be true. I always think, though, of the time and cost associated with "one more degree" and play devil's advocate. Is the person sure it will be worth it? Are there other ways of achieving the same goal? Will another degree make the person over-qualified?

If you ever find yourself with thoughts of going back to school, a colleague of mine recommends this book Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning a Master's or a Ph.D.. I haven't read it, but he -- someone who did get his Ph.D. -- believes it is well worth reading before taking the plunge. I just recommended it to a fairly new MLS, who is thinking of getting a Ph.D. in order to become more marketable in business...

10/5/2006: The Geeky Artist Librarian has a nice follow-up post on this here.

The Environmental Protection Agency libraries are closing

You may be aware that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun to close its network of 27 technical libraries. The process began officially yesterday and is expected to save the U.S. government $2 million. Russell Shaw notes:
Although the EPA says in part that the closure is being prompted by the trend to make records accessible online rather than in dead-tree form, virtually none of the EPA records that exist prior to 1990 have been digitized.
Since the older records can be very valuable when dealing with environmental issues, he says:
Tens of thousands of unique holdings will be boxed up and inaccessible for an unknown period; public access to EPA holdings will cease; and EPA scientists, enforcement agents and other specialists will have a much harder time doing their jobs.
The libraries of the EPA are heavily used. What will we do without them? And if the EPA wants to digitize these materials, when will it happen? Since the U.S. government is already actively digitizing materials, we would hope that implementing a digitization program for the EPA would not be difficult.

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