Thursday, November 30, 2006

The index to history is in our heads

Today I had lunch with Sally Roesch Wagner, the Executive Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. Matilda Joslyn Gage -- along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony -- was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Her life was dedicated to woman's rights.

I first met Sally in 1999, when I was working on a demonstration project called Winning The Vote. (Although the project is not maintained, it still receives good usage.) As with our first meeting, today we talked about many things, sharing stories as well as pointers to information.

Above you see a photo taken of a suffrage parade in 1914 (the original is owned by the Rochester Museum & Science Center). This is one of my favorite photos because of what the women were wearing. As soon as I saw the photo, I insisted that it become part of Winning The Vote. The text from Winning The Vote says:

The women in the picture wore "dominoes." A domino is a hooded robe. These types of robes were worn by priests and other religious people, such as monks. A domino is also a type of mask that is worn at a masquerade to conceal someone's identity. In this parade, the women wore the dominoes and the masks so that the public would pay attention to their message, not to them. The placards they carried advertised an upcoming lecture by Reverend Anna Howard Shaw and others.
In the U.S., we associated this type of garb with a group that is not generally beloved (the Ku Klux Klan). The text above teaches you what the garb originally meant and allows you to understand why some groups adopted it.

Sally was very surprised when she saw the photo. She had seen none other like it. After I showed this photo to Sally, she showed me a book published in 2005 that was filled with suffrage photos and none of the photos in that book (ironically also called Winning The Vote) showed suffragists wearing dominoes. We both know that the author of that book would have wanted to have this photo included, if he had known about it.

And so here is my thought for the day...

For all that we have documented, indexed, cross-referenced, etc., it is apparent that the best index to what exists about our history is still in people's heads. Unfortunately, the index is not in one person's head, but in the heads of multiple people. Right now, there is luck involved in finding some pieces of history (like the photo above). Maybe, maybe, maybe at some point in the distant future -- when all of the holding of every historical society have finally been indexed and detailed collection information for every institution are available electronically -- we can take happenstance out of the equation. However, for now, we must rely on luck and our own wits.

Addendum, Dec.1: One reader messaged and pointed me towards this Wikipedia article on the Ku Klux Klan. For those who are unfamiliar with the KKK, this will help you understand who they are and why it would seem so unusual to see suffragist women in similar garb.

Press Release: Global Newspaper Initiative to Inventory Newspaper Archives of Developing Nations

Wow...this sounds very interesting! Quoting the press release:
Apex CoVantage, a leading provider of knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) solutions, announces the second meeting of the Apex Advisory Board for its Global Newspaper Initiative at Online Information 2006. The focus of this meeting will be to lay the foundation for the Initiative's 2007 goals in driving the preservation of the world's archival newspapers through modern digitization technology.

Foremost, the Advisory Board will map the development of a comprehensive inventory of archival newspapers in Latin America and Africa. According to board member Frank Menchaca, Senior Vice President of Thomson Gale, "The Global Newspaper Initiative's charter centers on preserving the historical newspapers that are not included in current projects, and Latin America and Africa represent regions where opportunities for success are most immediate".

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Event: Best Practices Exchange 2007: Libraries and Archives in the Digital Era

From the SIGDL-L discussion list:

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is pleased to host:

Best Practices Exchange 2007: Libraries and Archives in the Digital Era
Wednesday, May 2 - Friday, May 4, 2007
Crowne Plaza San Marcos Hotel
Chandler, Arizona

Don't miss out! Online registration is now open! Registration Fee: $180

Following the example set by the State Library of North Carolina at the Best Practices Exchange 2006, the conference format will focus on small group exchange sessions where we encourage you, the attendees, to present your projects and experiences, successes, failures and lessons learned as you manage and preserve digital state government information.

Join fellow librarians, archivists, records managers and other information professionals in this two and a half day collaborative exchange.

Exchange Session Tracks include:
  • Metadata & Discovery
  • Access
  • Preservation
  • Technology
  • Project Management & Outreach
  • Emerging issues
Important Dates:
  • Submit your Presentation by March 26, 2007 -Register for the Conference by April 2, 2007
  • Book your Hotel Room by April 2, 2007
For more information on the Best Practices Exchange, visit: or contact Sara Muth at:

Sara Muth
Digital Librarian
Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Re-reading "The Digital Black Hole"

Back in April, I mentioned the article "The Digital Black Hole" by Jonas Palm. I've been re-reading the article and want to point out several of his graphics (figures).

First on page 2 (Figure 2) is "The Life Cycle of Digitization Projects." Palm has created this based on "The Life Cycle of Massive Stars." This graphic says much about how projects live and die! (And -- yes -- project do die.)

Then on page 11 are graphics that show the activities involved in digitizing materials and their percentage of the costs (Figure 13 & 14). While scanning takes the most cost, many people will be amazed at how much cost administration incurs. These graphics would be good to show project management when discussing what goes into a project and the costs associated with them. Although the graphics give no specific costs, they would help teams think about all of the costs that must be considered.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Is Open Access?

In February (2006), Charles Bailey Jr. released a pre-print of his paper "What Is Open Access?". The paper was later incorporated in the book entitled Open Access, published by Dr. Neil Jacobs in July. Bailey's 18-page paper does an admirable job defining open access and talking about the OA movement.

Open access is reliant on materials being available in digital form, and being adequately accessible and preserved. For those reasons, if you are not familiar with this movement, I encourage you to read Bailey's paper so that can participate in OA discussions and developments.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

100 Year Archive Task Force

The Storage Network Industry Association (SNIA) has created the 100 Year Archive Task Force. The Task Force is a global, multi-agency group working to define best practices and storage standards for long term digital information retention. It looks like the Task Force has just begun its work. Although not focused specifically on our needs (i.e., cultural heritage organizations), undoubtedly we will benefit from their work.

Thanks to David Mattison for finding this!

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Thomas Jefferson, Google & the Revolution

This blog post about the Google Book Search Project really caught my eye because of the photo and the talk of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, was a revolutionary and a forward thinker. What image do you now have of Google when they connect this historic figure to their project? Does Google seem more benevolent? More revolutionary (in a good way)? More American? Is there a subliminal message here or am I reading too much into this?

Perhaps you should read the blog post, written by Google Book Search in celebration of the University of Virginia joining their project, and decide for yourself.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Digital preservation through emulation

The Koninklijke Bibliotheek is working on digital preservation through emulation. A recent e-mail message summarizes discussion at the Emulation Expert Meeting, held in October.

Why do emulation?
Quoting the e-mail message:
  • It preserves and permits access to each digital artifact in its original form and format; it may be the only viable approach to preserving digital artifacts that have significant executable and/or interactive behavior.
  • It can preserve digital artifacts of any form or format by saving the original software environments that were used to render those artifacts. A single emulator can preserve artifacts in a vast range of arbitrary formats without the need to understand those formats, and it can preserve huge corpuses without ever requiring conversion or any other processing of individual artifacts.
  • It enables the future generation of surrogate versions of digital artifacts directly from their original forms, thereby avoiding the cumulative corruption that would result from generating each such future surrogate from the previous one.
  • If all emulators are written to run on a stable, thoroughly-specified "emulation virtual machine" (EVM) platform and that virtual machine can be implemented on any future computer, then all emulators can be run indefinitely.
The KB has several digital preservation projects underway, including work in file formats, emulation and migration. You can view a full list here.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Article: VHS, 30, dies of loneliness (part reality, part humor)

Variety -- the premier entertainment magazine -- has published this obituary for the VHS format. Of course, there are still homes with VHS tapes and players, so even though Variety believes VHS to be died, it is not. But its days are truly numbered.

Keep in mind that as formats become obsolete, our need to preserve those materials saved in those formats becomes more important. Somethings touched upon in my other post for today.

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Webcast: Digital Preservation: An Overview

Peter Van Garderen has posted a webcast version of his presentation entitled ‘Digital Preservation: An Overview’ given at the Managing Information Assets in the Public Sector Conference. The webcast is 77 minutes in length with thought provoking images. He has also posted online the reference list from his presentation. Of course, he's blogged about it too.

As he notes, this is an introductory presentation meant to give people an overview of the problem and the solutions. And although sitting at your computer for over an hour listening/watching a presentation may not sound thrilling, this is a good way of being introduced to this important topic.

BTW one of the things I like about it is that Van Garderen introduces some of the terminology and ideas from outside of the library profession.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Copyright Management for Scholarship

This web site was mentioned recently on the digital-copyright discussion list. This web site "deals with copyright ownership in higher education, university policy on copyright and arrangements between universities, authors and publishers." The site was created as part of what seemed to be a multi-year project and was last updated in July 2006. It is now seen as a reference tool for many people to use. It includes information on university copyright policies and examples.

It always seems that we never have enough information on how reputable groups are dealing with copyright concerns. For that reason alone, this site is worth bookmarking.

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"A trip to the local library may no longer be necessary..."

An Arizona Republic article opens with those words. The article goes on to talk about local efforts to make information available to library patrons online and includes information on local digitization programs, including:
Arizona's state universities are getting involved primarily by digitizing special collections. These are collections that are unique to the university and often consist of photographs, letters, maps, manuscripts and sound recordings.

Since 1994, Northern Arizona University has steadily been converting its Colorado Plateau Archives to digital. The archives span 8 million items and focus on the Grand Canyon, Colorado River and the Native American communities...The archives get up to 2 million hits a year.
Newspaper articles like this one are great for promoting local efforts and reminding people that important work is being done by libraries in their region (and not just by the big boys like Google). Of course, I'm sure the opening phrase will send shivers down many spines, but the reality is that the library is not going away, it is morphing. It is moving from being a brick-and-mortar place to an online place. It's mission is shared by a number of non-library organizations and businesses, so the "who" behind these services we associate with the word "library" has changed and continues to change.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Book Review: Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge

This is a review of 2005 French book by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, which has been updated and translated into English. The review of Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe contains interesting information (written by a Philadelphia Inquirer book critic) from the book itself. Whether Jeanneney's view of Google is correct or not can be argued, but we should be thankful that he has at least given it, so we can see Google from another point of view.

BTW If anyone has read this book, I hope you'll leave a comment with your thoughts about it.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Article: Digital Library Education in Library and Information Science Programs

This paper identifies the "state of the art" in digital library education in Library and Information Science programs, by identifying the readings that are assigned in digital library courses and the topics of these readings. The most frequently-assigned readings are identified at multiple units of analysis, as are the topics on which readings are most frequently assigned. While no core set of readings emerged, there was significant consensus on the authors to be included in digital library course reading assignments, as well as the topics to be covered. Implications for the range of assigned readings and topics for digital library education in library science education are discussed.
Most interesting to me is the list of core digital library (DL) topics and their related topics. Digitization isn't a specific topic, but you can see how aspects of it are sprinkled throughout the list.

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Moment of need

I used to go to conferences and bring back (or ship back) lots of brochures and other paper materials. In recent years, I've gotten a little better at not accepting so much paper, but still I seem to acquire brochures, case studies, etc., that are useless to me because they are on paper. I tend to look for materials online first (even if I've met the company) and often forget to check through my paper files. In my moment of need, I go to my computer and to the Internet first to check for the information these vendors want me to have.

And so here I sit with a small stack of paper in front of me, wondering if I should keep any of it. Will life end if I throw it all out? No.

And what do we likely do to our users? We either give them too much paper or not enough. If we give them too much, it is likely that they won't read it and will throw it out. If they do keep the paper, will they be able to find it when they need it? Do they have a filing system that will help them retrieve the info at their moment of need?

And if we give them too little paper, have we at least given them something that will point them towards the information when that moment of need occurs?

So here is a plea for using one tool more creatively -- the business card. The lowly business card allows us to remember who we have met. But what if you created business cards as a way of allowing people to remember your projects/programs? Create a business card for your digital collection that contains its name, location (URL), brief description, and a way to obtain more information (perhaps another URL). If you use the MiniCards, then you can incorporate photos from your digital collection on the cards. (Paul at Idea Sandbox blogs here about how he is using them.)

Or maybe you create a playing card (a la the Librarian Trading Cards) for your program. Again think about using a photo from the digital collection and adding the pertinent information to the cards. I had a librarian give me her trading card at a conference and I haven't thrown it out! It is so unique that it is a "keeper."

Now your mind might begin to consider creating magnets. Stop. Magnets passé and you can only use one side for what you are trying to say.

Okay...bookmarks. Bookmarks seem to never be passé, but people expect libraries to give out bookmarks, so why not do something different?

So think creatively about how you can provide information to your patrons in their moments of need. Can you give them something that will point them to the info the need? Something they will hold on to and that they will be able to find? I think the answer is definitely "yes."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The last 24 hours: Information at decision points

The last 24 hours have been interrupted by mis-communication, bad communication and no communication. Of course, lots of things have gone right, but as I scan back over what I've been doing, it is the communication problems that stand out to me. Of course, we (you and I) never communicate badly , but let's see what we can learn from one of the mis-communications.

Yesterday afternoon, I was driving on the New York State Thruway (a toll road) and heard on the radio that part of the Thruway was closed due to a fatal accident. This closure was going to affect my route, so I tried to keep close tabs on its status. The problem? The Thruway's notification system (AM radio) only works in specific areas on the Thruway and not everywhere, and the normal radio stations only give traffic reports during rush hour. So at my most critical decision point, I had no/bad information and ended up being stuck in traffic. A drive that should have taken me 2 - 2.5 hours took 4.5 hours instead.

The lesson: We need to provide information when people need it, which is often at a decision point. Even if the information has been provided earlier, how does the person know if it is still valid when that person gets to the decision point? At that decision point, could the person gain access to the information again (or even updated information)?

An easy library example, is telling patrons the library's layout. Often this is done at the front door or near the elevators, if there are any. Yet a person can be anywhere in a library and need to decide where to go next. Could those facility maps (or whatever you use) be placed at other locations?

Thinking about our online environment, this could translate into giving people easy access to site maps, etc., so that they do not get lost on a web site.

Another example has to do with our digital collections. When a person is looking at an image and deciding what to do next (print, save, etc.), can that person easily tell what s/he can do with it legally? Is there a link to the Terms & Conditions?

I'm sure you can think of other decision points where you could provide better information. If not, ask your users. I bet they'll have suggestions for you.

As for me, time to e-mail a suggestion to the Thruway Authority!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Blog post: Results from the DSpace Community Survey

DigitalKoans has posted summary results from the DSpace Community Survey. You can read his summary here. The complete summary of survey results is here (zip file).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Second Life

SLLast Friday, I did a TV interview about the online digital world Second Life (SL). The reporter had learned of SL, found it interesting, and wanted to expose more people to it. You can view the video of the interview here (~2 min., use Internet Explorer).

What is Second Life? If you can't answer the question, then you're not alone. Second Life is not a game, but a three-dimensional online digital world create by its residents. Yes, residents. Currently, there are more than 1.3 million residents of Second Life. As I write this, more than 13,000 people are online interacting with each other in this world that contains buildings, restaurants, clubs, parks, libraries and more -- all created by the people who are living there. You can even buy and sell things (with real money) as well as take classes and attend lectures.

Residents? Living? Yes.

I heard about Second Life last spring and have been slowly exploring it. My interest was peaked, when I heard that librarians were going to build a library in SL in order to provide services to the people there. The blog chronicles some of the work that librarians are doing in Second Life. Tonight I attended a meeting of 20+ librarians in Second Life to talk about the work that is occurring. (Just so you know, at the meeting in the library, we communicated through our avatars by typing what we wanted to say.)

And what does this have to do with digitization? Nothing but this does relate to preserving items that are born digital (similar concerns to preserving our digital assets from a digitization program). Are things being created in Second Life that should be preserved? Are there conversations happening that should be saved? Items created that should be remembered? If yes, how do we do it?

At the moment, I only have questions and no answers. I don't even know if I have the correct questions. I do know that I'll be pondering this topic for a while and hopefully discussing it with some of my SL as well as RL (real life) colleagues.

BTW Michael Stephens posted on his blog an e-mail message I sent to him about the TV interview. You can read it here.

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BackStage Library Works Newsletter: The BackStage Star

BackStage Library Works produces a bimonthly newsletter called the BackStage Star. Anyone can subscribe for free to the newsletter and then receive it in e-mail, with links to the complete stories on the web site. However, you cannot just access the newsletter from the web site. (To subscribe, see the link on the homepage in the upper left corner.)

The current issue of the newsletter contains a short article on "Newton Rings." As the newsletter says:
Newton rings are a type of interference pattern caused by light being reflected as it passes through multiple surfaces.
The article then goes on to explain briefly how to scan materials without getting these rings. Newton rings are often associated with digitizing transparencies, so if you're doing that, you'll be interested in this article.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Describe, display, explain...

How do you describe your work, your project, or even the materials you are digitizing?

If you have watched Iron Chef America, you will have noticed that the Iron Chefs always use many words to describe their culinary creations.They will talk about the ingredients, the cooking methods, the intent, the history... You may also notice that the judges always seem to like the taste of the dishes prepared by the Iron Chefs. Coincidence? No. It is proven fact that the descriptions influence our perceptions of taste and quality.

However, we tend to under-describe what we do. We fail to use language -- adjectives, adverbs, analogies, etc., -- to our advantage. In addition, we don't show enough graphics to help with our explanations. (Think of that tray of desserts that restaurants will bring around to the tables.) We don't try to evoke people's feelings, fears, memories, or desire for nostalgia. Yet these things capture a person's attention and imagination.

Sometimes we under-describe in order to hide a flaw. However, people like designer Isaac Mizrahi have shown that imperfections can become defining, positive qualities.

When working on Winning the Vote (a small demonstration project), we under-described the region where the suffragists lived. We downplayed it because we used the region that the library council (sponsor) covered, which did not include Seneca Falls, NY. Seneca Falls is "the place" where the movement began. thus we saw our region as a flawed because it didn't include this place. In hindsight, we should have displayed a map of the five counties covered by the Council and shown its proximity to Seneca Falls. The message could have been that, "yes, Seneca Falls was important, but there were women and men in small towns and villages who were working for suffrage. You may not know who they are, so we're going to tell you." That could have been very powerful.

Giving fuller descriptions is not something that comes naturally to all of us. So challenge yourself to work on it. You might start with more fully describing what you had for lunch or how you talk about what you did over the weekend. And as you think about your work, start to collect words, images, etc., that will help you better describe what you do. Find words that will connect with the listener and draw that person in. That description will allow your listener to better appreciate what you do, how you do it, and why.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What's going on at the Library of Congress? Part 2

After I wrote my original post, a colleague e-mailed and said, "It can be argued that the digital repository is more cost-effective than a proper bricks-and-mortar archive." And he then goes on to say, "I don't see this one item as all bad..." I can argue both sides on all of the points Thomas Mann makes. And yes, I think relying on digital formats, in this day and age, makes sense, as long at the Library of Congress employs digital preservation techniques.

And maybe that is what is important about Mann's report and the actions that the Library is doing -- you can argue about them. You can feel passionate about them. And most importantly, you can think about what they mean to you and your institution, either because you rely on the Library of Congress or because you see them(LC) as a model that you want to emulate.

By the way, my personal hot button is over the LC Subject Headings. Although they are a standard, I find them hard to use (yes, and I am a librarian). I remember filing cards in a real card catalogue and learning the rules about the LC Subject Headings, but that memory faded l-o-n-g ago. Now I like to search using terms that are more familiar to me. So I don't see moving away from LCSH as being a bad thing. I think the work that people are doing to re-think "the catalogue" (like Andrew Pace) will help us as we move away from the old standards and towards something that fits with our current and future expectations.

Digital Preservation Award

As found on the Digital Preservation discussion list:

The Digital Preservation Coalition is delighted to announce the call for entries for the third Digital Preservation Award.

Are you completing an exceptional digital preservation project? If so, why not apply for the Digital Preservation Award, worth £5000.

This is the eleventh anniversary of the Conservation Awards, sponsored by Sir Paul McCartney, and is the third year to include the prestigious Digital Preservation Award, which recognises the many new initiatives being carried out by museums, libraries, galleries and archives in the challenging field of digital preservation.

The Awards will be presented at the British Museum on the 27th of September 2007. Short-listed applicants attract significant publicity, and receive a certificate recognising their achievement at the presentation event.

To be eligible for the Digital Preservation Award, a project must demonstrate leadership and advancement in digital preservation which will benefit the UK. It must focus on preserving digital materials (whether "born digital" or digitised copies), rather than on the use of digitisation as a preservation reformatting tool. Only projects that have been completed by 31 March 2007 will be considered for the Award.

Applicants from overseas are welcomed, providing that the project can demonstrate benefit to the UK.

The deadline for applications is 31 March 2007.

To apply for the Digital Preservation Award online, please complete the DPA/07 application form on the Conservation Awards website:

Queries about the Digital Preservation Award should be directed to Carol Jackson, Administration Manager, Digital Preservation Coalition, by e-mail at or by tel. no. 01904 435 362.

Further information about the Conservation Awards is available on the website:

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Event: International Conference on Digital Preservation, Dec. 14 - 16, 2006

As found on the Digital-Preservation discussion list:

Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, a member of Digital Preservation Europe consortium ( is organising an International Conference on Digital Preservation "Cultural Heritage on line - the challenge of accessibility and preservation" that will be held in Florence (Italy) on 14 - 16 of December 2006 ( In this event the new projects on digital preservation funded by the European Commission, namely DPE, CASPAR, PLANETS, will present their planning. On Saturday 16 December a Workshop organised by DPE will take place, entitled "Scholarly Research Citation of Web Resources and Long-Term Preservation" (

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What's going on at the Library of Congress?

LISnews pointed to two pieces about recent developments at the Library of Congress. I would assume that most of us don't keep close tabs on the Library of Congress (LC), yet what it does impacts the rest of us. We often do what the LC has done because we assume that they made a good decision.

The first piece was written by Thomas Mann for AFSCME 2910, the Library of Congress Professional Guild, which represents more than 1,500 professional employees. This 22-page document examines five decisions (my text is extracted from the report):
  1. The commissioning of “The Calhoun Report” to provide an ostensibly objective cover to justify abandoning the system of Library of Congress Subject Headings.
  2. The unilateral decision to stop creating Series Authority Records, in violation of the standards the Library previously agreed to in the national Program for Cooperative Cataloging.
  3. The decision to accept digital formats for preservation purposes in place of paper copies or microfiche for traditional materials that are not “born digital.”
  4. The decision by the Library’s Copyright Office to dumb down the cataloging of copyright receipts by recording only the information on the registrant’s application form, without any inspection of the actual deposited items.
  5. Perhaps most disturbing of all, the continual starvation and dilution of the Library’s book-cataloging operations over a period of several years, with the claim that “inelastic funds” necessitate a massive retrenchment in this area, when in fact it is the administration’s change in “vision” that now ranks the digitization of copyright-free special collections as a higher priority for the Library’s funding than maintenance of traditional book cataloging operations.
The report then goes through why these are bad decisions and how the decisions were based on skewed information. The report ends with the words:
If scholars in this country, in all subject areas, want to maintain efficient, deep, extensive, and systematic access to book collections in research libraries, they had better speak up now.
Steven Chabot in his commentary selects only two items on which to comment: the move to abandon the LC system of headings and the move digital copies of those things not born digital. Yes, these are moving us away from what is considered traditional methods of research, but they are also moving us into the digital age (or acknowledging that we're already in the digital age). Could these moves inhibit "book discovery" and"serendipitous browsing"? Chabot argues that they don't have to. As he says:
Let us have Google-like searches, Amazon-like ratings and tagging alongside subject classification. We can gain much from folksonomies, and we don’t have to do so at the loss of traditional hierarchical ontologies. The digital catalogue is flexible enough for both.
Mann points to a "sky" that might be falling (like in the Chicken Little story). Chabot, though, sees possibilities of making this a positive and not a negative. We can make changes, improve services, and move into the digital age.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Electronic Media Group

Formed in 1998, the Electronic Media Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works has a twofold mission:
(1) to preserve electronic art, electronic-based cultural materials and tools of its creation; and
(2) to provide a means for conservators and related professionals to develop and maintain knowledge of relevant new media and emerging technologies.
The group holds workshops and conferences, and publishes useful information on its web site. Its Library contains "informational documents by various authors about electronic and related media." For example:
This is a site worth bookmarking for future reference.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blog post: Godin on Trademark

Trademarks surround us daily. Understanding what they are, why you should get one (or not), and how to use/respect them can be important. Seth Godin in this blog posting gives his viewpoint on creating trademarks. His core question is whether you want to potentially stifle your idea/product through a trademark. Wow!

Even if you work for a digitization program, you should read this post. Why? Because maybe you have something that should be trademarked...and you should go into that process reading different points of views.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Are you getting things done?

If you're in the middle of some type of digitization-related project (or any type of project for that matter), have you kept up with everything that is on your list or are some things "sliding"? We tend to work on the things we like and push everything else to the background. Or we work on the items that seem like priorities (to someone) and forget everything else. Yet it is important to get many things done (if not everything).

So before you head home for the weekend, take 20 minutes and:
  • Make a list of everything you need to be working on, then prioritize the list. (If you don't remember everything, that's okay. Listing as much as possible will still be helpful.) THEN schedule time to work on the things you have listed. If it helps, group things by category, then schedule time to work on things in that category.
  • Clean you work area, so that the things you need to pay attention to are visible.
  • If there are items that should be delegated, then delegate them.
  • If you find items that you're doing because you want to (not because you are suppose to), re-think whether you really have time for them.
  • Think about using "down time" (like when your computer is booting up or rebooting) to take care of some of those small/quick items on your list.
Now you're thinking that this is a more than 20 minute task, and it might be. But likely you'll make a huge dent in the task in 20 minutes, so it is worthwhile doing.

And do one more thing before you walk out the door. Write down one thing you want to learn next week about "whatever" (digitization, preserving digital assets, metadata, etc.). Plant that idea and plant it on paper. Once planted, I bet you'll find that the right information or opportunity to learn exactly that.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Podcasts from Access

In case you haven't found them, there are podcasts from the Access conference that was held in Ottawa in October. For example, Panel on National Digital Initiatives (MP3).

It is very cool to see conferences creating videos and podcasts, so that the content can be shared more widely. I hope more conferences -- including smaller ones -- will follow down this path.

Blog post: Google buys JotSpot, the application wiki company

This title from the Ten Thousand Year Blog says it all:
Google buys JotSpot, the application wiki company
I did an interview yesterday with a reporter from IDG, who is writing about Blogger, something Google purchased several years ago. The question people are asking about Blogger is why Google hasn't improved that service, given the resources Google has at its disposal. As Google continues to purchase established companies that create content, I think the spotlight will shine bright on what it does and doesn't do with these acquisitions. Google is obviously amassing content (or access to content), but is it doing it in a way that allows it to continue to make friends, or is annoying people who will begin to turn elsewhere for services?

I hope that those institutions that are doing massive projects with Google step back and ask hard questions of the company. What does its management of Blogger, for example, say about the company and how it operates?

Addendum (7:30 p.m.): The InfoWorld (IDG publication) article, that I was interviewed for, is here.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Report: Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning

The report Using Digital Images in Teaching and Learning has been released to the public. The report was commissioned by Wesleyan University in collaboration with the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE). It focuses on "the pedagogical implications of the widespread use of the digital format." The information presented in the report was formed from hundreds of survey results.

The web page for the report provides access to the Full Report and Executive Summary. There are also two spaces where readers and the author can interact (Image Project Forum and the Image Project Wiki).