Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Metadata is still not understood

The word metadata is not new. There are graduate classes in library schools about metadata as well as workshops and conference sessions. The word metadata is also being used in museums and archives, yet there are still professional and technical people (e.g., librarians, archivists and their staff) who don't know what the word means. Why is this a problem? Those who don't know what metadata means are:
  • Not being involved in conversations about what is happening in information retrieval now. Perhaps they are excluding themselves from those conversations or maybe those conversations just aren't happening at their institutions.
  • Not positioning themselves to work implementing a digitization program or federated search software. They may use the resultant web site, but they won't be on the project team.
    • This also means that they are limiting their job/career options.
  • Not good role models for new employees who need to know that continual learning is part of job.
Metadata is described as "data about data." I often describe it as cataloguing, since the librarians I talk with understand what cataloguing is. Yet most of us don't like cataloguing, so we avoid things that seem like cataloguing. But we cannot avoid metadata. Metadata is how the Internet is being described for easier access (embedded on web pages). Metadata is also how digital assets are being described in content management systems. Metadata has become a necessity.

If we exchange the word "indexing" for metadata, then we can talk about the indexing that people are doing on the Internet with, tags/categories/labels in blogs, and tags in other sharing sites like Flickr. People do understand that this type of data helps with information retrieval. Of course, with folksonomies, there are no rules. Not so with metadata. Metadata -- as we think of it -- has rules and guidelines, which -- like cataloguing -- must be followed.

What can we do to make metadata more understood?
  1. Forget workshops and conference sessions. The conversation needs to happen locally in staff meetings, in front of computer screens and at the coffee pot.
  2. Show people what metadata looks like. Seeing it can make is less mysterious.
  3. Demonstrate that metadata does not need to be complex. Let people learn about adding metadata to a web page and how it helps with search engine rankings, then move on to thinking about the role of metadata in a content management system.
  4. Talk about cataloguing as "creating metadata." Do short sessions about what's in a catalogue records and how it is created. Talk about the need to create original metadata, just the way we used to create original catalogue records.
  5. Challenge your staff to talk about metadata and ask questions about it. Even if the conversations are basic, they will be helpful.
By the way, I describe myself as a non-cataloguing librarian. I don't like cataloguing at all. But once I became involved in digitization and life on the Internet, I recognized that metadata was something I needed to understand. I am not an expert in metadata (and never will be), but I have to know what it is, how it is used, what the standards are, etc., in order to be a part of the conversations about digitization and life on the Internet. Let's hope that more of our peers will see that they also need to understand metadata in order to be part of the conversations around them.

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Blog post: Data curation education

Lorcan Dempsey wrote a post recently about data curation education. Besides his thoughts on the topic, he mentioned that the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) is introducing a data curation concentration. The school also has a Certificate of Advanced Study in Digital Libraries. That makes for an interesting combination of courses available through that program. Congrats Illinois!

Illinois participates in the WISE program -- "A collaborative distance education model that will increase the quality, access, and diversity of online education opportunities in Library and Information Science." Looking at its catalogue of course, Illinois obviously is taking advantage of the courses available through WISE in order to broaden its course offerings. And that's good for its students.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Event: Digital Futures

Digital Futures
5-day training course
21st - 25th May 2007

Digital Futures focuses on the creation, delivery and preservation of digital resources from cultural and memory institutions. Lasting five days, Digital Futures is aimed at managers and other practitioners from the library, museum, heritage and cultural sectors looking to understand the strategic and management issues of developing digital resources from digitisation to delivery.

Digital Futures will cover the following core areas:

+ Planning and management
+ Fund raising and finance
+ Sustainability
+ Copyright
+ Metadata - introduction and implementation Implementing digital
+ resources Digital preservation Strategic issues Group and individual
+ exercises throughout the week

Items of special note for 2007 are:
+ Visit to the National Gallery to see digital camera and digital delivery systems
+ Visit to another major national cultural organisation to see digitisation activities (tbc - previous visits include the National Archives and Kew Gardens)

See the full programme at:

Registration is available at:

Digital Futures is led by Simon Tanner (KDCS) and Tom Clareson (PALINET).

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Event: DC-2007 International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications


DC-2007 International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications

"Application Profiles: Theory and Practice"

27-31 August 2007, Singapore


Papers submission: 2 April 2007
Acceptance notification: 1 June 2007
Camera-ready copy due: 2 July 2007


The annual Dublin Core conferences bring together leading metadata researchers and professionals from around the world. The 2006 conference in Manzanillo, Mexico attracted 234 participants from 25 countries. DC-2007 in Singapore will be the seventh in a series of conferences previously held in Tokyo (2001), Florence (2002), Seattle (2003), Shanghai (2004), Madrid (2005), and Manzanillo, Mexico (2006).


The DC-2007 theme focuses on the theory and practice of developing application profiles. Application profiles provide the means to document the use of metadata terms within specific contexts and to combine terms from disparate namespaces. Application profiles may apply to communities of practice (e.g. cooperation projects) as well as to organizations in the public and private sectors. Emerging experience in the creation of application profiles reveals layers of complexity involved in combining terms from mixed abstract models. DC-2007 seeks to explore the conceptual and practical issues in the development and deployment of application profiles to meet the needs of specific communities of practice.

In addition to contributions focusing on the DC-2007 conference theme, papers and workshop proposals are welcome on a wide range of metadata topics, such as:

+ Accessibility
+ Business Models for Metadata
+ Conceptual Models
+ Cross-domain Processes (e.g., Recordkeeping, Preservation,
Institutional Repositories)
+ Domain Metadata (e.g., Commerce, Corporate/Enterprise,
Cultural Heritage Institutions (Museums, Libraries, and
Archives), Education, Geo-Spatial, Government, Social Spaces)
+ Metadata Generation Processes (e.g., Human, Automatic, and
+ Metadata Harvesting
+ Multilingual Issues
+ Interoperability
+ Knowledge Organization Systems (e.g., Ontologies, Taxonomies,
and Thesauri)
+ Localization and Internationalization
+ Normalization and Crosswalks
+ Quality and Evaluation
+ Registries and Registry Services
+ Search Engines and Metadata
+ Social Tagging


All paper submissions to the Conference Proceedings are peer reviewed by the International Program Committee. The Committee is soliciting paper contributions of the following two types:

-- Full Papers (8 to 10 pages). Full papers either describe innovative original work in detail or provide critical, well-referenced overviews of key developments or good practice in the areas outlined above. Full papers will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Originality of the approach to implementation
  • Generalizability of the methods and results described
  • Quality of the contribution to the implementation community
  • Significance of the results presented
  • Clarity of presentation

-- Project Reports (3 to 5 pages). Project reports describe a specific model, application, or activity in a concise,
prescribed format. Project reports will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Conciseness and completeness of technical description
  • Usability of the technical description by other potential implementers
  • Clarity of presentation

Paper submissions in both categories must be in English and will be published in both the print and the official electronic versions of the conference proceedings. Accepted papers must be presented in Singapore by at least one of their authors.



Workshop Proposals (1 page). Workshop proposals define the topic of a workshop session at the conference, identify
session organizers, and describe a process for inviting and reviewing contributions.



Authors wishing to submit papers or workshop proposals may do so through the DCMI Peer Review System at Author registration and links to the submission process appear under
the "Information for Authors" link.



Abdus Sattar Chaudhry, Nanyang Technological University

Stuart A. Sutton, University of Washington

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Asking people to openly criticize your program

Every year, I have my students look at Winning the Vote with a critical eye. Winning the Vote was a true demonstration project completed in 2000 and it has not been maintained. Much has changed on the Internet -- in building sites, etc. -- since 2000 and so some of the comments reflect what we have learned since then. And there are comments on broken links, of course. How we think about digitization has also change and some of the comments reflect that. What truly intrigues me are how the students think about why and how the content was select, metadata, image display and more.

Today a student asked what I would do differently if I could go back and re-do the project. Wow! This was a demonstration project which was meant to teach a broad range of people and institutions about digitization. It achieved that goal. Everyone then could take what they had learned from the project and apply it elsewhere. And given all that I have learned since 2000, there are many things I would do differently (too many to think about), while trying to stay within the budget. But there are also things I would not do differently. They are:
  • The project team
  • The focus of the project
  • The general content (text and images)
  • The teams that formed to think about aspects of the guidelines (plan). They did so not only to help create the guidelines, but also to learn more about digitization.
  • The many meetings I attended with other groups in order to tell them about the project.
  • The way we promoted the web site using discussion groups, brochures, bookmarks, and press kits. We were able to promote the site to people around the world who are interested in the suffrage movement and women's history.
If you have not asked a group to criticize your project/program, please consider doing so. Whether it is a few experts, users, or library science students. Ask them for their honest feedback -- positive and negative. If possible, do before the project goes "live" so you can act on the information, if necessary. I know you will learn from the experience.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA)

This notice below appeared on the History-Digitisation discussion list. The AHDS web site (see other blog post) has excellent information on it, as well as a growing collection of digitized items.

Stained glass has been the Cinderella of the medieval arts, largely because the material is so little known. Yet during the Middle Ages it was a highly prestigious vehicle for a wide variety of images, brightly coloured and brilliantly lit, as the famous surviving examples in York Minster, Canterbury Cathedral or King’s College Chapel in Cambridge still show today.

Following a major digitisation project many of the surviving examples of medieval stained glass in Great Britain are now available to view online. Over 15,000 digitised photographs from the archive of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA) have been added to the AHDS Visual Arts image catalogue at:

The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA), or the survey of medieval stained glass, was founded in 1949 as an international research project which aims to publish everything that survives. The CVMA has committees in 14 countries and over 65 printed volumes have been published so far. In Great Britain, the CVMA is a British Academy research project hosted by the Courtauld Institute of Art. The photographic archive of the CVMA is housed at the public archive of English Heritage, the National Monuments Record, and a large proportion of the archive has now been digitised and made available online with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

With the addition of the CVMA collection, the number of digital images available via AHDS Visual Arts now totals around 80,000 images. The images of medieval stained glass can now be cross-searched with other related collections, such as the Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI) and the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s (PMSA) National Recording Project. These high quality digital images are all freely available for use in research, learning and teaching.

Search the CVMA collection and the entire AHDS Visual Arts image catalogue at:

For more information about the CVMA see:

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AHDS Visual Arts web site

Looking at the AHDS Visual Arts web site, there are several resources there for Creating Digital Resources, including subsections on:
One of the papers on the site is "A life after the project - continuation and sustainability." This paper begins by saying: (emphasis added)
Although it may seem difficult to imagine at the start of a project, the time will come when the project ends. That may be because the object of the project is fulfilled or because the project funding runs out. Hopefully the project will have created a number of good electronic resources by then, whether these are the main output (such as in resource creation or resource enhancement projects) or a by-product of a research project. To make sure the electronic resources are not lost but can be shared and/or reused also after the end of the project, the project needs to think about sustainability. Sustainability is, however, not something that only needs to be considered at the end of a project. Indeed, at that stage it may already be too late.
Those words should make anyone stand up and take notice.

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IMLS grant proposals due next week

Grant proposals for Institute for Museum and Library Services are due next week (March 1). This year, IMLS will be giving grants for collaborative planning projects. I know of two groups that are submitting proposals for that grant and there are likely many more. Proposals for the National Leadership Grants are also due.

Here's my plea...if you have been asked to submit a letter of support for a grant applicaton, please do it. Those letters of support are meaningful for the projects (who need to know that others believe in what they are doing) and for IMLS who wants to know these projects aren't "going it alone."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Event: COPYRIGHT UTOPIA: Alternative Visions, Methods & Policies

Join the Center for Intellectual Property, your peers and colleagues as they convene for the Seventh Annual Symposium on copyright and information use.

COPYRIGHT UTOPIA: Alternative Visions, Methods & Policies
May 21-23, 2007
Marriott Inn & Conference Center
Adelphi, Maryland

What would copyright utopia look like? Do you envision an island paradise surrounded by oceans of free content lapping at your feet? Is every piece of data or content freely and fully available--no restrictions, no fees, and no questions asked? Or is everything under lock and key with access granted only to a privileged membership? Or do you wish to live somewhere in between? As colleges and universities continue to make decisions managing third party copyrighted works, let's pause and ask difficult questions of our legal structure and human needs. What methods and policies would best serve students, faculty, publishers, and the academic enterprise?

Some confirmed speakers and panelists include:

* William Fisher, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law;
* Fred von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation;
* Donna Ferullo, Purdue University;
* Kenneth Crews, Indian University Purdue University Indianapolis;
* Patricia Aufderheide, Center for Social Media;
* Heather Joseph, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition;
* Tracy Mitrano, Cornell University;
* Ann Bartow, University of South Carolina;
* Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge;
* Matt Skelton, Office of Policy and International Affairs, U.S Copyright Office;
* Elizabeth Winston, Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law;
* Miriam Nisbet, American Library Association;
* Denise Troll Covey, Carnegie Mellon University;
* Reed Stager, Digimarc Corporation;
* Mike Carroll, Villanova University School of Law;
* Brian Crawford, American Chemical Society Publications;
* Karen Coyle, Digital Libraries Consultant;
** And many more...

Visit for registration details and specials from our travel partners.

The CIP is one of the leading centers providing training and solutions on the copyright issues that affect scholars and industry.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Dead presidents

When I was a child, President's Day did not exist. Instead we celebrated Abraham Lincoln's birthday on Feb. 12 and George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22. We got two days off from school! Then the celebrations were combined into one day (the third Monday in February) and now school children in the U.S. only get on vacation day.

In the spirit of Washington and Lincoln, here are two web sites to explore that contain digitized materials.

George Washington: A National Treasure -- This site includes an interactive portrait for people to explore. What do the symbols in the Gilbert Stuart portrait mean? The site also includes audio (voiced by Roger Mudd) as well as a timeline of Washington's life and other information. The last sentence in the timeline is "In his will, he frees his slaves, numbering about 300, upon Martha’s death." Which is a nice segue to...

Civil War@Smithsonian -- "The initial 250 objects that comprise this site were selected from thousands of artifacts by Smithsonian curators at six organizations and include uniforms, equipment, weapons, and paintings and photographs of some of the war's most celebrated personalities." I kept looking for a place where I could search or select from a group of items those that I wanted to see. That is not the way this site is built. However, you can select a category, then page through to see and read about individual items. I appreciate that they tell you who created each item, its size & composition, who donated it, and where it resides. Those "small" details are important -- especially where each item resides, since these materials come from different Smithsonian collections.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Event: iPRES2007, Oct.11-12, Beijing, China

From he Digital-Preservation discussion list:

Announcement: iPRES2007, Oct.11-12, Beijing, China

The International Conference on the Digital Preservation (iPRES 2007) will be held during October 11-12, 2007, at the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

The theme of this year's iPRES is Digital Preservation: Sustainable Programs and Best Practices. Following on the successful iPRES 2004 at LCAS, Beiing, China, iPRES 2005 at SUB, Goettingen, Germany, and iPRES 2006 at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, U.S.A., iPRES 2007 will explore:
  1. management: planning, administering, staffing, financing, certifying
  2. operations: system evaluating and selecting, workflow managing, and rights managing
  3. new directions in preservation: service environments, grid, personal archives, linking scientific data and primary publications

It is to provide the “customer” institutions and communities real-life examples and best practices, and to reflect the progresses accumulated since 2004.

iPRES 2007 will be organized by the National Science and Technology Library of China (, and hosted by the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences (

We invite contributions in the above topics by sending a brief abstract to the, before June 15, 2007. Deadline for contributed papers is August 15, 2007. Deadline for early registration is September 1, 2007.

For details about the iPRES 2007 agenda and to register, please visit our web site:

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow, digitization, Anna Nichol Smith, and astronauts


Here in Upstate New York, it has been snowing and snowing. The news today reported that we have received 11 inches of new snow since yesterday. This photo shows the two picnic tables in my backyard. Depending on how the snow has drifted, it is either above your knee, up to your hip, or higher! Some areas north of here have received over 150 inches of snow.

So since this is not a good time to be "running the streets", sitting inside and thinking about digitization is a good alternative.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been two stories that dominated the news and neither had to do with digitization, business, government or libraries. The first was about a NASA astronaut who found herself in legal trouble. This dominated the news in the U.S. for two days, knocking everything else to minor portions of the news. Then this story was knocked to the back page by the death of Anna Nichol Smith. Her tragic death and the ensuing legal maneuvers have dominated the news for over a week, with no let-up in sight. Perhaps it is our desire to not focus on those things that are truly important that is keeping us focused on Anna Nichol Smith and what captivated us about the NASA astronaut.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if a news story about digitization so captivated the media and those who watch/listen/read the news? Not even Google's digitization efforts have garnered this much attention, yet in the grand scheme of things, the mass digitization programs that are occurring are much more important than these two events.

And think about the digitization that is occurring at NASA and the EPA (as well as the libraries being downsized) -- those are important stories that are affecting researchers, scientists and us (because their inability or ability to get information quickly will affect us).

What will it take to get digitization to dominate the news? Will it be a specific program? Some revolutionary technology? The effect on some library that we all feel passionate about (like our own local libraries)? What????

So that's my thought for this snowy Friday afternoon. May you have a wonderful weekend! And if snow is piling up in your yard, I know how you feel!

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Survey on long-term preservation (Major Correction)

Jan Hutar, manager at the National Library of the Czech Republic, has given me permission to post this notice to a wider audience. They are interested primarily in responses from Europe, but believe that feedback from U.S. institutions -- as well as those in other regions of the world -- would be helpful.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SURVEY IS NOT AVAILABLE ONLINE. (Sorry, I thought it was, but Jan corrected me. Thank you!)

National Library of the Czech Republic, on behalf of DPE project team, would like to ask you for cooperation to complete the "Survey on long-term preservation" questionnaire. Similar survey has been done for national libraries, now we are looking for university libraries and other research institutions to complete it.

National Library of the Czech Republic is one of the partners of the European Digital Preservation Europe project. DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE) fosters collaboration and synergies between many existing national initiatives across the European Research Area. DPE addresses the need to improve coordination, cooperation and consistency in current activities to secure effective preservation of digital materials.

You will find more information at the website of the project:

The DPE Dissemination Model identifies different target groups and dissemination outputs focused on their special needs.

We would like to disseminate results that will be really useful for all the target groups. This is impossible without having feedback from them. Please, be so kind and fill in the survey by no later than the end of February 2007.

Please return your completed survey to Jan at or in hardcopy to:

Mgr. Jan Hutar
National Library of the Czech Republic
Klementinum 190
110 00 Prague 1
Czech Republic

Survey on long-term preservation issues in European institutions

1. Is digital long-term preservation (including migration, emulation, preservation metadata and planning etc.) one of key strategic priorities of your institution?
  • 1 a) Yes
  • 1 b) No
  • 1 c) Not yet (please, specify when it will be)
2. Do you (or will you) have the trusted digital repository (according to criteria listed in An Audit Checklist for the Certification of Trusted Digital Repositories)?
  • 2 a) Yes
  • 2 b) No
  • 2 c) Not yet (please, specify when you plan to have it)
3. Digital preservation is too big an issue for individual institutions to address independently. Your institution will cooperate in this area with
  • 3 a) Memory institutions (libraries, museums, archives etc.)
  • 3 b) Research institutions (schools, universities etc.)
  • 3 c) Digital documents producers (publishers, broadcasting etc.)
  • 3 d) SW developers and vendors, IT, computer science
  • 3 e) Others (please, specify)
4. Building and operation of a trusted digital repository is a big and expensive business. You will create and operate the repository
  • 4 a) Only for your institution
  • 4 b) Share it with other institutions (please, specify)
5. The system used for your digital repository is (will be)
  • 5 a) Developed in your institution
  • 5 b) Open source based
  • 5 c) Commercial
  • 5 d) Combination of 5a),b),c) (please, specify)
  • 5 e) Another solution (please, specify)
6. Which of the outputs listed in the model of DPE dissemination do you consider to be the most relevant for your institution?
  • 6 a) Website
  • 6 b) Press releases
  • 6 c) Associate partnership
  • 6 d) Recommendations
  • 5 e) Tutorials
  • 6 f) Guidelines
  • 6 g) Newsletters
  • 6 h) Conferences, seminars, workshops
  • 5 i) Training
  • 6 j) On-site visits and hands-on practice
  • 6 k) Evaluations
  • 6 l) Awards and prizes
  • 6 m) Others – not listed here but desired (please, specify)
7. In the vision of FP7 national competence centres are seen as an integral way of ensure effective development of expertise and services. Which institutions in your country do you consider to have the best background for becoming fully operational and trusted national competence centres?
  • 7 a) Memory institutions (libraries, museums, archives etc.)
  • 7 b) Research institutions (schools, universities etc.)
  • 7 c) Private companies and industry experienced in digital preservation
  • 7 d) Governmental institutions
  • 7 e) Others (please, specify)
Addendum (3/1/2007): The survey is now online at

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Web site: Know Your Copy Rights

My schedule had me driving to SUNY Cortland today to do a presentation entitled "What’s Yours is Mine (Not!): Innovation, Culture & Copyright." However, with some counties under travel restrictions due to the massive amounts of snow we've received (and more snow on its way), it was decided to cancel the event. (It will be rescheduled.) I enjoy driving in snow, but I know the drive to Cortland today would not have been pleasant.

With copyright on my mind today, I was pleased to see this new web site -- Know Your Copy Rights produced by the Association of Research Libraries. This is a "Web site for librarians who are developing positive educational programs for academic users of copyrighted materials in US not-for-profit institutions." The three main sections on the site are:
The site is focused on explaining the "opportunities provided it in the law." The opportunities are in form of the limitations (or exceptions) that are written into the law to help librarians and educators. By the way, there is information included about using copyrighted materials online.

This site is still being developed, so look for more content to be available soon.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Article: NAPC Digitizing ERIC’s Document Backfile

This news has been out for a couple of weeks, but I'm not sure it has received much notice. As the article says:
The National Archive Publishing Co. (NAPC; has announced a 2-year project by which they will digitize a backfile of microfiche reports in ERIC (Education Resources Information Center; All documents date from 1966 to 1992—about 340,000 documents or 40 million pages. Due to a conservative interpretation of contract language used until 1993 for submitting documents to ERIC, the project will also involve chasing down copyright holders, both corporate and individual authors, for permission to offer access to the electronic documents. Though the digitization will proceed independent of the permission-seeking process, the availability of full-text PDF files of the documents (free at the ERIC Web site) will depend on securing permission.

Later in the article it says that the hardest thing about this project may be obtaining permission from copyright holders, which NAPC is responsible for doing. We all know that will be true! I hope that NAPC will write an article (or do a presentation) in the next 1 - 2 years to tell us all how this copyright clearance process worked. They may learn lessons that would be valuable to all of us. And given the interest in Orphaned Works, maybe they will learn things that legislators could benefit hearing about.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blog: Survey of Digitization

There is another class on digitization that is blogging. This one is INF 385R: Survey of Digitization at the University of Texas at Austin being taught by Megan Winget. Winget obviously gives these students specific criteria for what they are suppose to look at and include in these reviews. (More guidance than what I give my students!) There is good stuff here.

BTW Megan Winget and I have been in contact with each other and even swapped syllabi. (I've done the same with other instructors, too.) It is always interesting to see how someone else approaches a class, the readings they include, etc. I think we can always learn from each other.

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Lessig on Orphaned Works

On Feb. 1, Larry Lessig wrote a blog post talking about the Copyright Office's report on Orphaned Works and outlines his own proposal for dealing with Orphaned Works. It is worth reading. Will you agree with it? Maybe. Maybe not.

At the bottom of the post, there is a 35-minute video (PowerPoint with Lessig's talking). He begins with a history of the copyright law in the U.S. and then talks about Orphaned Works. For those unfamiliar with the history of the law, you might want to listen to the first 8 minutes (or so).

How the problem of Orphaned Works is resolved is important to us. Will the proposals on the table make copyright clearance easier? Would a "reasonable diligent search" be something you could do (and afford)? Take time to learn and then consider getting involved in the discussion.

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Monday, February 12, 2007


Last week the graduate class I teach was focused on copyright. We also talked about the rights of privacy and publicity, which in the U.S. are governed by laws at the state level. This week in the semester is always a busy week on the discussion board! There are many long posts and many interesting questions. The questions are never simple, but always require some thought and some looking at the law and other resources. It is a week when the students feel both liberated (because they know understand the law better) and confused (because they still don't know how to apply everything they are being exposed to.

There are a number of readings that are assigned to them for the week and a list of sites to bookmark for later use. During the week, there are more sites and pages that are posted as additional references and examples. The last resource I posted to the class on copyright was Adventures of the Cyberbee. This is an adult site to help adults (educators) teach children about copyright. One of the resources on the site is an interactive page for children with questions and answers about copyright. I'm not sure what age group this page is for...the graphics seem to be for elementary school children, but the language is for an older group. However, at least it presents some questions and answers that an adult could use as a starting place.

One of the last questions I answered for the class had to do with copyright on photos taken by a professional photographers. Students had questions and came up with examples to back their questions. I actually talked to a friend who is a professional photographer and then gave the students the "it depends" answer. So much of copyright clearance -- and understanding who has what rights -- depends on "it depends."

  • It depends what rights the photographer gave you when he gave you a CD of your wedding photos.
  • It depends what rights the photographer retained.
  • What did the paperwork say?
  • No, just because the photographer is allowing you to print copies of the photos does not mean that the photographer has given up all of his rights.
  • It depends...
Last week was also marked by a discovery that this blog is being used to create a spam blog (or spam blogs) on the travel-ontour dot com domain. Content from other blogs is also being copied. When I looked last week, it seemed that all of the copied content was coming from blogs housed on Blogger, but of course this spam blog is not on Blogger, not on a U.S. domain, and not owned by anyone in the Western hemisphere. As my e-mails to the site owner and ISP are being ignored, I am living the nightmare that copyright holders fear -- having your work used in a way that you do not feel is appropriate. Copyright law legislates a level of respect for people's creative works. Even the Creative Commons licenses allow for proper respect to be shown. But what happens when someone is not respectful and engages in wholesale copying? (I know...see an attorney...)

BTW wouldn't it be funny if the spam blogs publishes this post that talks about it being a spam blog?

Back to the class...This week the class moves on to another topic, but I'm sure the copyright discussion will keep resounding in their heads. Hopefully, they will continue to learn more about the topic and feel comfortable trying to apply what they are learning.

Addendum (2/14/2007): First, thanks to my photographer buddy for e-mailing me corrections. Sometimes I can be the queen of making typos! Second, yes, the spam blog did pick up this post, which I think is funny.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Press release: I3A Launches Digital Photo Preservation Web Site to Educate Consumers

Notice that I3A is looking for feedback on how to improve the web site.


Easy Step-by-Step Approach to Assuring Safe Storage of Precious Memories
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Feb. 5, 2007 --

The International Imaging Industry Association (I3A;, the leading global association for the imaging industry, today announced the launch of its Consumer Photo Preservation (CPP) Web site, at The site was created to educate and motivate people to take steps to protect and preserve their digital photos - to take the mystery out of preserving digital images by revealing the needs, risks and proper methodology for storing, cataloging and preserving digital photos, in an easy-to-follow step-by-step approach.

The new Web site showcases the results of I3A's recent Consumer Photo Preservation Initiative, in which industry leaders collaborated to investigate the issues and develop comprehensive, practical solutions for protecting against the accidental loss of consumer's digital photos. The site explains:
  • how to create a backup solution for long term storage;
  • the pros and cons of various methods and media; and
  • tips for organizing photo collections to make it easy to locate individual photos in the future.
"For more than 150 years, photography has shaped our lives, preserving precious memories of people, places and events. Digital technology has changed the way we capture, use and save these photographs, but the need to safeguard our visual heritage today, and in the future, is as important as ever," said Lisa Walker, I3A President. "Our member companies understand this very well, and have teamed up to show consumers what is needed for preparing and preserving digital photographic memories for years to come. The lack of information previously available to consumers on storage methods and media makes this site a valuable industry initiative.

"Using a "cookbook" approach, the site walks visitors through easy steps to preserving digital photos, organized around sections entitled Learn, Prioritize, Prepare, Protect, and Recover. A wealth of additional information is also included or linked. As new technology is developed, the site will be updated to reflect new approaches to image preservation and storage. I3A welcomes feedback from the industry to improve the site over time.

In the unique I3A Initiative process, a varied group of industry-leading companies that provide photographic products and services determined the scope of the project and its objectives. Participants agreed upon the importance of providing consumers with a simple approach to managing their photo collections, and worked together to create the framework and contents for the Web site. Companies participating in the Initiative included Acmeworks Digital Film, Creative Memories, Eastman Kodak Company, HP and Sprint Corporation.

About the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A)I3A is the leading global imaging industry association, driving growth of and setting standards for the photographic and information imaging markets. As the industry focal point, I3A offers a framework and environment where members can quickly find resources to solve critical issues and develop market solutions. Members of I3A work together to find common ground for advancing the industry and to enable better products and services for their customers.I3A is an accredited Standards Developing Organization, serving as secretariat for the International Organization for Standardization Technical Committee 42 (ISO/TC42) on Photography, and as administrator for the USA Technical Advisory Group for this committee. Information about I3A can be found on the World Wide Web at or by phone at 914-285-4933.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Social networking explained in 5 minutes

Here is a link to a draft video produced by a Kansas State University professor. It is awesome! What does this have to do with digitization? Nothing directly, but I find it an interesting look at how our technology has changed. And maybe it will spark ideas for tools that we could be implementing in/with our digitization programs.

Be aware that a high-quality version of the draft is available for download. And be sure to read the notes for more information.

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The IST677 blog

My graduate students at Syracuse University are blogging this semester for IST 677 (Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets). They are each charged with creating seven blog posts during the semester about specific digitization projects. I tell them to only spend 30 - 45 minutes total (research and writing) on each post. Why? There are other assignments that they must do during the semester (as well as reading and participating in discussions), so I don't want blogging to take up too much time. Who knows how much time they each really spend for these interesting and enlightening blog posts. I just hope the blog posts do not become a "black hole" (and I do "comment" if I think they are).

Here are titles of five recent posts:
  • Medieval Manuscript of Syracuse University Library
  • Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archives
  • Stanford's Dime Novels & Penny Dreadfuls
  • Connecticut History Online
  • Exploratorium: Digital Library
Please feel free to read this blog and leave comments.

By the way, you will notice that there are older posts from last year. This is a continuation of the blog that I started last year for this class, so there are already over 100 posts there. A good repository of information on digitization programs/projects.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Book: Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libraries

One of my students (D. Harrison) found this new book. [This week's lecture is on copyright, so they are very focused on this important topic.]

The web site says, "The Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues for Libraries is a practical guide to topical legal questions affecting the information work of libraries in the fast moving digital environment. Each topic is described briefly, the main policy aspects for libraries are outlined, and there are links to library policy statements for further reading."

The book is available for free from the web site and carries a Creative Commons license.

URLs updated on 9/29/2010.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Interview with Brewster Kahle

In this interview, Brewster Kahle talks about orphaned works, copyright, book scanning projects and more. Two quick quotes:
We digitize 12,000 books a month and have 100,000 on the site now for free use and download.

We have been able to scan books for a total cost of 10 cents a page, so about $30 a book.
You can read the entire two-page interview here.

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Event: First International Workshop on Database Preservation

I don't normally post information on one-day events, but this one really caught my eye. Those of us who are reading this likely are concentrating most of our efforts on preserving content that has not been created and stored in a database. Yet there is a tremendous amount of data stored in databases. Historically, that content could be "preserved" (and I'm using that term very loosely) by converting it to a homogenous format that could be read by a different program OR by (heaven-forbid) printing the data. But our database structures are now too complex and what we store in these databases can be in itself very complex. And so how do we preserve -- truly preserve -- these complex structures?

I know that several people who read this blog work on campuses where you are dealing with collecting and preserving content from across your institution, including administrative records, which are now stored in complex systems (e.g. PeopleSoft). You are already attacking this problem. The notice of this one-day workshop is a wake-up call for the rest of us wke up and also pay attention.

First International Workshop on Database Preservation (PresDB’07)
23 March DCC, Edinburgh, UK

Most of scientific research is now based on digital data resources, and databases are playing an increasingly important role. Much of the data is either impossible (e.g. climate and
demographic data) to reproduce or can only be recovered at enormous costs (e.g. data from high energy physics experiments or space flight missions). Nearly every reference manual, dictionary and gazetteer benefits from some form of database management support, and there has been an explosion in the number of curated databases in biology. These databases represent a huge investment of human effort. The need for preservation is self-evident.

While considerable thought has been given in the past to the preservation of fixed "digital objects", the preservation of databases, which have an internal structure and which may change over time, poses new challenges. Typically databases are centrally managed, and their survival depends on the viability of commercial organisations or the continued public funding of data centres. Libraries, the traditional curators of scientific and scholarly reference material, have largely abrogated their archival responsibility to databases.

Database preservation raises new technical, economic and legal issues. For example:
  • What are the salient features of a database that should be preserved?
  • What are the different stages in the database preservation's life cycle?
  • How do we keep archived databases readable and usable in the long term (at acceptable cost)?
  • How do we separate the data from a specific database management environment?
  • How can we preserve the original data semantics and structure?
  • How can we preserve data while it continues to evolve?
  • How can we have efficient preservation frameworks, while retaining the ability to query different database versions?
  • How can multi-user online access be provided to hundreds of archived databases containing terabytes of data?
  • Can we move from a centralised model to a distributed, redundant model of database preservation?
  • What documentation is preserved together with a database, and in what format?
  • What are the legal encumbrances on database preservation?
  • What can be learned from traditional archival appraisal for the selection of databases for preservation?
  • To what extent can the preservation strategies, and procedural policies developed by archivists be adapted for databases?
The workshop aims to bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners who will address archival issues associated with databases. All participants’ presentations will be hosted by the workshop site and a short report with the final conclusions of the workshop discussions will be published.

PresDB is an informal workshop organized by a small executive committee. The one-day program of the workshop will consist of oral presentations and brainstorming sessions. Attendance will be mainly by invitation from the executive committee. To stimulate interaction and discussion, participants are also invited to submit short position papers until
02/03/2007 (submissions will be send via e-mail to Vassilis Christophides

Timing and Venue
The workshop will be take place the 23 of March at the UK Digital Curation Centre and the Database Group in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh.

Executive Committee
Peter Buneman, University of Edinburgh, UK Vassilis Christophides, University of Crete and FORTH-ICS, Greece (Chair) Bertram Ludaescher University of California, Davis, USA Chris Rusbridge, Digital Curation Center (DCC), UK Wang-Chiew Tan, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA Ken Thibodeau National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), USA

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Monday, February 05, 2007

My spring schedule is very cold here, but spring is on its way. I know that because our most famous Pennsylvania groundhog predicted that spring would be early this year.

Thinking ahead to spring, just so you know, I will be giving digitization workshops at Computers In Libraries (April) and the SLA Annual Conference (June). There are also a number of other things on my speaking schedule. If you are reading this post in an RSS reader or e-mail (e.g., FeedBlitz), go to the Digitization 101 blog site and check the calendar in the left column.

Article: Almost 30 percent of Internet users tag online

Quoting the IDG News Service article:
Among U.S. Internet users, 28 percent have tagged online content like blog entries, photos, Web sites, video clips, and news articles, The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports in a study released Wednesday. On any particular day, 7 percent of users engage in this activity to categorize and label material they upload or find on the Web.
As I said in the article, there are still many people who don't understand what tagging is, even if they are doing it. However, I know that as more people become more familiar with tagging, they will also become more familiar with searching using tags, including searching the collections that are being digitized and catalogued using metadata.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quick follow-up: Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerrilla marketing

One person e-mailed me and wondered if the real story was that Boston overreacted. I wonder if the real story is that these things did not cause alarm for many days. They had quickly become part of the environment. Many people saw them, but these lights did not "stand out" to them. If anyone was curious about them, they were not curious enough to inquire and figure out what they were. Of course, some people knew what the figures were and thought the things were cool.

Like many ads, they blended in. In a world that is plastered with ads, how can our messages about the information products that we are producing stand out? In Chip Heath's words, how can we create sticky messages about our products that people will remember?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blog post: 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important

This list mentions digital libraries digitization and Google, and likely a few hot buttons. There is much here to think about and digest. I could see using this list in a class or staff meeting to spark discussion.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerrilla marketing in Boston

On Wednesday, what were suspected to be bombs were found in the city of Boston. This captivated every TV news channel and many people. By the time I saw the news, they had determined that some of them were not bombs, but they weren't sure what they were. They turned out to be advertisements. (news story) This was a guerrilla marketing tactic. I wondered what Seth Godin, who is well-known for his writing on guerrilla marketing would have to say about this event. Yesterday he published his thoughts.

What stood out to me in his words is when he says that it is almost impossible to go anywhere where there isn't an ad. With so many ads, it is harder to stand out -- to make an impression. For us -- who often work at institutions with non-existent marketing budgets -- the ability to compete with the other ads and marketing messages is very difficult. We need to be creative. We also need to understand how our marketing messages will be accepted. Will they be so creative that people won't understand them? Will they receive the wrong message? Or will they understand the message and re-tell it to others?

I suspect that some of those behind this marketing work for Aqua Teen Hunger Force are asking these same questions...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Article: Library of Congress to digitize brittle books

Quoting the article:
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Wednesday the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the world's largest library for a program to digitize thousands of works with a major focus on "brittle books."
The work is to begin in a few months. But here's the cool quote from the article:
The library also plans to develop suitable page-turner display technology and the ability to scan and display book fold-outs.
I can't wait to see what they develop!

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EPA and NASA libraries

As you may know (especially if you are in the U.S.), the U.S. government is looking to "downsize" the library systems that support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NASA. This is part of a larger effort which has included closing the headquarter libraries for the General Services Administration (GSA) and Department of Energy (DOE). In order to save money and increase access, the government is digitizing documents that will then be available electronically. Looking specifically at the EPA, libraries have been closed before it was known that their contents would be available/accessible in electronic format. (And that means both having the content digitized and knowing that they truly can be accessed.)

I've created two searches in Topix so I can follow the happenings with these libraries a bit more. The searches will likely not find everything, but since this is big news to many people, many publications are covering the story...and these searches will surely find that information. (And honestly, I don't want to be flooded with information.) Here are links to the searches I've created, in case you would like to also read recent articles on this topic:
(BTW I've added these searches to my Bloglines account, so I'll get new content as it becomes available. Aren't RSS feeds wonderful?!)

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