Monday, December 31, 2007

Digitization (definition)

Once an area is established, we tend to forget that some people don't know the basic terms or might not use the same definitions as the rest of us. So, this is the first of several posts of definitions.

What is digitization? Digitization is the process of converting analog information into digital format. The materials to be converted could be letters, manuscripts, books, photographs, maps, audio recordings, microforms, motion pictures, ephemera, etc. Three-dimensional objects can also be digitized. The goal of digitization is improve access to the materials. To that end, most digitized materials become searchable via databases on the Internet.

In order for the materials to be digitized, they must be converted using a method to capture the material digitally (e.g., scanning, digital photography, digital recording) without altering the information that the material contains. That means that the digital representation contains the same information/data as the analog representation.

A wide variety of equipment is available to assist in this process. Standards and guidelines exist in order to ensure that the conversion processes used are consistent and that the results are of a high-quality.

Other Digitization 101 posts on digitization include:

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Friday, December 28, 2007

JPEG2000 (J2K) vs. TIFF

I've just been looking at a presentation Ronald J. Murray, from the Library of Congress, did at MCN 2005 on J2K. In it, Murray compares J2K with TIFF, using information that is familiar to some about photography (e.g., Halide-Based Imaging Systems).

In the presentation, he notes that TIFF is like taking a photograph, where you may make some adjustments to the image when it is taken, but then fix the image and make it permanent. Derivatives are made by making copies of the master.

He then talks about J2K as being a format where much data is captured, then
File management and delivery system meters out image quality (up to a maximum established or available) on demand
Notice that "creating" different quality access images with J2K doesn't require creating derivative images (files), but instead relies on the delivery systems for displaying on-demand what the user wants.

You can view Ron Murray's complete presentation here.

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Sound Directions audio preservation guide released

Aaron Michael Bittel -- former student and soon to be Archivist-Librarian -- sent this to me.

The Sound Directions project at Harvard University and Indiana University announces the publication of Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation, which is available as a PDF from the Sound Directions website at This 168-page publication presents the results of two years of research and development funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in the United States. This work was carried out by project and permanent staff at both institutions in consultation with an advisory board of experts in audio engineering, audio preservation, and digital libraries.

Sound Directions: Best Practices for Audio Preservation establishes best practices in many areas where they did not previously exist. This work also explores the testing and use of existing and emerging standards. It includes chapters on personnel and equipment for preservation transfer, digital files, metadata, storage, preservation packages and interchange, and audio preservation systems and workflows. Each chapter is divided into two major parts: a preservation overview that summarizes key concepts for collection managers and curators, followed by a section that presents recommended technical practices for audio engineers, digital librarians, and other technical staff. This latter section includes a detailed look at the inner workings of the audio preservation systems at both Harvard and Indiana.

This first phase of the Sound Directions project produced four key results: the publication of our findings and best practices, the development of much needed software tools for audio preservation, the creation or further development of audio preservation systems at each institution, and the preservation of a large number of critically endangered and highly valuable recordings. All of these are detailed in this publication, which provides solid grounding for institutions pursuing audio preservation either in-house or in collaboration with an outside vendor.

For further information on the Sound Directions project:

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For New Yorkers: Summary of Nov. 30 Regents Advisory Council on Libraries

At the November 30 Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting, the Council decided that it would write and disseminate brief summaries of its meetings. Below is the summary -- written by Jerry Nichols with input by all Council members -- that has been circulated on several distribution lists. You can also read the blog post I wrote after the meeting here.

December 21, 2007

Colleagues in New York Libraries and Library Systems –

A brief summary of the November 30 meeting of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (RAC) follows. Please contact me or any of the Council members if you have questions or ideas to share. Visit to find a list of current RAC members with contact information.

Happy Holidays!

Lucretia McClure

Chairperson, Regents Advisory Council on Libraries


Regents Advisory Council on Libraries

Unofficial Meeting Notes

November 30, 2007

METRO, New York City

Please note: This summary is not intended to be all inclusive. Its purpose is to highlight issues of statewide importance discussed by the Regents Advisory Council that will significantly impact the New York library community.

New York Library Initiative: 2008 Regents Legislative Proposal: The Regents have sent their budget proposals to the Governor for consideration. They include several increases over current funding and a restructuring of recent system aid increases and construction grants to make them permanent. Details are available online at: This site, as well as other advocacy tools were reviewed and critiqued by the Council.

2009 Legislative Priorities: The Council continued its discussion of a New York Digital Library/Museum/Archive that would be both a statewide platform and a funding source for local libraries and other cultural institutions. This would expand the role of libraries from providing access into providing content as well. The development of standards, regional training and strategies for linking local resources are areas to be explored. This concept offers great potential for LSTA funding should the State begin to support the NOVEL program. This, and other possible legislative proposals for 2009, must be presented to the Regents at their May 2008 meeting.

RAC Communications: It was agreed that Council members should feel free to share the issues raised in our meetings with their colleagues in the field and seek their input in whatever way possible in order to promote broader discussion and understanding. An excellent example is the blog by Jill Hurst-Wahl at:

State Library Update: This year the Division of Library Development and the Research Library have been allowed to begin filling several positions that have been vacant for many years. This has helped and should continue to help significantly. The State Library was awarded a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Opportunity Online Hardware Grant, which will bring more than 2,100 computers valued at $5.6 million to more than 400 public libraries and branches over the next two years. The State Library is also preparing a grant proposal to IMLS as a follow-up to the successful “Making It REAL” librarian recruitment program.

Shubert Award: Nominations are being sought for the Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award. For further information:

Jerry Nichols


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Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Bloglines Blogroll on Digitization

I spent some time this morning preparing the graduate class I will teach this spring at Syracuse University ("Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets"). Today I uploaded the syllabus to the course management system, posted a copy on the Internet, and did some template changes for the course blog. (The students will be blogging by the end of January.) While updating the links on the left side of the blog, I decided to include a link to the digitization section of my Bloglines blogroll.

Below is the blogroll for you to check out, if you so desire. Perhaps you'll find a source that is new to you and that you want to follow. (And if you have suggestions for me, please let me know!)

Jill's Bloglines Blogroll on Digitization

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Have you built a mobile digitization lab?

I'd be interested in receiving comments from anyone who has built a mobile digitization lab.
  • What type of scanner did you use?
  • What did you sacrifice for the sake of mobility?
  • Did you have problems with the equipment because you moved it too much?
Your comments and lessons learned will be greatly appreciated, not only by me but by readers who are thinking about such an operation.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

TASI has updated five digital imaging documents

Thanks to DigitalKoans for letting us know that the "Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI) has updated the following documents that deal with digital imaging issues:"

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Blog post: "What Do You Know About Copyright?" Survey Results and Answers

Kelli Staley, 'Brary Web Diva surveyed library people about their knowledge of copyright. The answers are interesting, for example:
Pictures on the Internet are not protected by copyright and may be used however I wish.
94.5% of the respondents answered correctly (false).

Overall only half of the 278 people who responded to the survey were comfortable with their knowledge of copyright. Sounds like every library should do some copyright training for its staff.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thank you (and some statistics)

Holiday decorations in the fountain at Manhattan Mall
I'm sure I'll blog next week, but wanted to take a moment before everyone goes on vacation to say thank you to YOU (my readers). When this blog began in August 2004, I couldn't have envisioned the reach it would have. As you can see from the Cluster Map on the left side of the blog, Digitization 101 has readers from around the world. Knowing how many of you there are is a very imperfect science, but here are some quick statistics:
  • Average number of visits per day to the blog site: 145 - 180
  • # of Bloglines subscribers: 221
  • # of subscribers via FeedBlitz: 207
I continue to receive feedback through email and face-to-face communications that tell me that the content of Digitization 101 is valued. I hear that not only from those of you who are beginning projects, but also from those of you who are deeply involved in this area. Lee Dotson from the University of Central Florida Libraries gave a very public thumbs up to Digitization 101 in the October 2007 issue of C&RL News. Dotson said:
As a digital services librarian, I am always on the lookout for the latest information on digitization, copyright, metadata, content management systems, social networking tools, preservation, and imaging as well as any and all related standards, grants, resources, software, conferences, ideas, and marketing concepts. Trying to find all that in one place is a little easier with the Digitization 101 blog. I don’t know how she does it, but Jill...jam packs her blog with the best of everything I need to stay current.
Wow...thanks, Lee!

Although the number of comments on Digitization 101 likely didn't increase in 2007, the number of emails -- and behind the scenes conversations based on content -- did. Thank you for the questions, the comments, and the things that you have taught me!

If you have been reading Digitization 101 since 2004, you've seen some changes in content. For example, you have seen posts on federated search software, which may be used to search digitized materials and other digital collections simultaneously. You've also seen posts on social networking, which is an area that I am involved in. Since social networking really shouldn't be part of this blog, I launched a blog specifically for that topic in October called eNetworking 101: The Blog. This has given me an outlet I really needed and ensured that the content of Digitization 101 didn't get diluted.

So what is in store for 2008 for me and this blog? When I started Digitization 101, I promised myself that I would blog every day and that has generally been true...and I doubt that will change in 2008. In 2008, I want to write more about JPEG2000 (no, I haven't forgotten about that), federated search, institutional repositories and other topics that those involved in digitization need to be aware of. I'd also like to write more about actual programs/projects. As I write, I hope you'll continue to let me know your thoughts. Knowing what's on your mind truly helps me.

As 2007 draws to a close, I hope you can look back and be pleased with the year you had. I also hope you are looking forward to what will surely be an awesome 2008! As always, I hope our paths cross whether at a conference, a small gathering, over coffee or via email/IM. Please...don't be a stranger!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Side-by-side demonstration of automated book scanners, June 2008

A comment on yesterday's blog post gives good news. The commenter wrote that on "18-20th June 2008 there will be an interesting event at the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek in Germany. This event will group 4 manufacturers of automatic book scanners, that will present side to side their products. It is an excellent opportunity to invite all professionals who would like to make an independent comparison of these products." You can view the flyer for the event here.

The four manufacturers taking part in this are:
I've not known about two of the manufacturers before. Thankfully, both side give a peek at the products.
  • Video of the Qidenos QiScanRBSpro shows the machine working without the help of an operator. In fact, the way the machine is built, it isn't meant to have constant human interaction. It reportedly scans 1500 pages per hour.
  • Treventus' web site also contains a video of its scanner. Their scanner reportedly scans 2400 pages per hour.
So...Two more competitors to watch and learn more about!

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Event: ECDL2008, Sept. 14-19, 2008, Denmark

This is relevant to what we're all concerned about. It was posted on the Sigdl-l list.


12th European Conference on
Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries

September 14-19, 2008
Aarhus, Denmark

ECDL2008, the 12th conference in the series of European Digital Library conferences, will be held in Aarhus, Denmark from September 14 to September 19, 2008.

ECDL is the major European conference on digital libraries and associated technical, practical, and social issues, bringing together researchers, developers, content providers, and users in the field.

ECDL2008 is jointly organised by the State and University Library and Aarhus University.

Conference focus
ECDL2008 will provide an opportunity to present and discuss new research and development in areas supporting an ambition of the Ubiquitous Digital Library, a vision where information can be easily accessed in the user environment and where new objects can be produced by analyzing, processing and combining existing information.

Topics of contributions include but are not limited to:
  • Concepts of Digital Libraries and digital content
  • Collection building, management and integration
  • System architectures, integration and interoperability
  • Information organisation, search and usage
  • Multilingual information access and multimedia content management
  • User interfaces for digital libraries
  • User studies and system evaluation
  • Digital archiving and preservation: methodological, technical and legal issues
  • Digital Library applications in e-science, e-learning, e-government, cultural heritage, etc.
  • Web 2.0 and associated technologies
Contributions consist of peer reviewed papers, posters and demos, of tutorials and workshops and of panels and themes. Below is a short description - more information can be found at


Papers are invited on substantial, original and completed research, applications and development that have not previously been presented elsewhere and that make new contributions to all aspects of Digital Libraries. Papers should present completed work rather than intended work, and should indicate clearly the state of completion of the reported results. Wherever appropriate, concrete evaluation results should be included. Submissions will be judged on clarity, originality, technical strength, significance and relevance to the conference, and interest to the attendees. Reviewing will be managed by an international Conference Programme Committee which will also take final decisions on the technical program.

Posters and Demos

Poster and Demo presentations offer researchers a unique opportunity to present late-breaking results, significant work in progress, or research that is best communicated in an interactive or graphical format. Poster and demo presentations further provide researchers with an opportunity to obtain feedback about their work from a wide range of persons during the poster session.

Accepted posters and demos will be displayed during a dedicated session, preceded by a plenary poster spotlight presentation session. The poster and demo session will allow attendees to have first-hand views of innovative digital library technologies and applications and to talk informally with system developers and researchers.


Proposals are invited for one day workshops to be held on Thursday 18 September and/or Friday 19 September. In special cases two day workshops will be considered. Workshops are intended to bring together communities of interest and to provide a platform for presenting novel ideas in a less formal and possibly more focused way. Workshops differ from tutorials in encouraging information sharing and discussion amongst highly focused groups of peers, rather than the presentation of information by the organisers and presenters.

Panels and Themes

Panels and themes should address controversial subjects of interest to a larger community of ECDL participants and are meant to create a lively discussion.

A theme will consist of three short, provocative presentations addressing a specific subject where each presentation is the basis of a discussion. Panels are dynamic and provoke discussions where presentations should be kept brief (not more than half of the total
time) and time should be allowed for questions and discussions from the audience. The number of panel members should be limited to ideally three-five plus the panel leader.

Doctoral Consortium

ECDL2008 will feature a Doctoral Consortium. The main idea of the Consortium is to give Doctoral students the opportunity to discuss their PhD thesis proposal with experienced researchers from the digital Library Community and other Doctoral students.

Attendance at the Doctoral Consortium will be based on a written paper, singly authored by the student wishing to attend the Consortium.
Two-page abstracts of the papers will be published in the ECDL Conference Proceedings. Additionally, consortium participants will have the chance to present their work to the whole ECDL community in poster form during the standard ECDL poster session.


ECDL 2008 will feature a full day of tutorials on Sunday 14 September 2008. Tutorials are intended to present a topic in detail over either a half-day or a full day. Short abstracts of the accepted tutorials will be published in the conference program guide. Copies of the presentation slides will be required for distribution to the tutorial attendees. Each tutorial should cover a single topic pertinent to ECDL?s list of relevant topics in detail.

Important Dates:
  • Paper, Tutorial, Poster & Demo, and Doctoral Consortium submission deadline: March 14
  • Acceptance notifications: May 16
  • Camera ready versions (Paper, Poster, Demo and Doctoral Consortium): June 2
  • Workshop submission deadline: February 15
  • Workshop acceptance notification: March 31
  • Early registration deadline: July 31
  • Conference dates: September 14-19, 2008
Organising committee

General Chair
  • Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard, State and University Library, Aarhus, Denmark
Program Chair
  • Anders Ardö, Department of Information Technology, Lund University, Sweden
  • Donatella Castelli, The Institute of Information Science and Technologies (ISTI), Pisa, Italy
  • Joan Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information, Washington DC
Organisation Chair
  • Kaj Grønbæk, Department of Computer Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark
Workshop Chair
  • Ee-Peng Lim, Division of Information Systems, School of Computer Engineering, Singapore
  • Doug Tudhope, School of Computing, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Wales, UK
Panel and discussion Chair
  • Seamus Ross, HATII, University of Glasgow, UK Mike Papazoglou, Infolab, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Poster and demonstrations
  • Heiko Schuldt, Computer Science Department, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Lars Clausen, State and University Library, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Rudi Schmiede, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany
  • Andreas Rauber, Department of Software Technology and Interactive Systems, Vienna University of Technology, Switzerland
  • Ee-Peng Lim, Division of Information Systems, School of Computer Engineering, Singapore
  • Jill Cousins, The European Library, National Library of The Netherlands
Doctoral Consortium
  • Ingeborg Solvberg, Department of Computer and Information Science, Trondheim, Norway
  • Geneva Henry, Digital Library Initiative at Rice University, Houston, Texas

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Podcast: Why is Google showing us the way forward in digitisation? asks senior UK librarian

This 12 min. podcast is about change, potential and the user...and is not purely about digitization. Worth listening to.

Abstract: A recent European digitisation conference explored some important challenges facing national and university libraries across the continent as they attempt to join together to deliver a 'European Digital Library'. In this podcast interview Paul Ayris, librarian at University College London and a senior figure in these European developments, asks a number of challenging questions of the library community.

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Wanted: Side-by-side hardware comparisons

I spent some time talking to a company yesterday afternoon that does digitization about equipment to digitize bound materials. We jointly listed off the competition, then focused on comparing the Kirtas machines to the Scribe. In other words, an automated book scanner to a manual book scanner. [BTW an article in November's Information Today used the word "semiautomated" when talking about the Kirtas BookScan machines.] We talked about their stated throughput, etc. and along the way I voiced my "want." My "want" is to see an independent side-by-side comparison of the various machines that are being used to digitize books. And not just the Kirtas and the Scribe, but also the machines produced by Atiz, Konica Minolta and others. By digitizing the exact same materials on each machine, the answers to the following questions -- and more -- could be discerned:
  • How quickly was each item scanned?
  • What interaction did the technician need to have with the machine and item during the scanning process?
  • Can the technician multi-task or must the person be dedicated to the scanning process?
  • What stress was placed on the items being scanned? (e.g., books laid in a way that could harm the binding)
  • How many pages per hour were scanned?
  • When is each machine appropriate?
Imagine a Consumer Reports-type report that outlines everything you really need to know!

Now that would be a wonderful holiday gift for every institution that is thinking about digitizing bound materials could use.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Researching the North Country Writing Competition

Are you looking for a way to promote your digitized materials? You might take some clues from the Northern New York Library Network which is sponsoring the Research the North Country Writing Competition. The purpose of the competition is:
to encourage original research concerning the people, places, and institutions of Northern New York. Participants are particularly encouraged to make use of the collections of libraries, archives, and other cultural resources in the region as primary resource materials.
And what materials are available for entrants?
Primary source research materials are available throughout the region, and many may found on-line through the Northern New York Library Network's website. Names and locations of academic and public libraries are available at Libraries in NNY; town/village/county historian information may be found through the Directory of Archival and Historical Document Collections; and electronic resources focusing on the region can be found at NNY Historical Newspapers [digitized materials] and North Country Digital History [digitized materials].
Very cool!

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Oct. 2007 issue of Computers in Libraries

On a recent trip I read the October issue of Computers in Libraries magazine AND I read it nearly cover-to-cover. (Unheard of for me these days.) The October issue is focused on online public access catalogues (OPAC) and integrated library systems (ILS), and includes articles on open source OPACs as well as possible next generation ILS. One article is available for free on the Information Today web site ("Fac-Back-OPAC: An Open Source Interface to Your Library System") with the rest available for a fee. If the articles seem of interest to you, you might check your library to see if it has the issue.

Why should we care about OPACs and the like? Some digitization programs are loading their materials into OPACs rather than using something like CONTENTdm. Placing the materials in the OPAC means that the items will be discovered along with other materials when users do searches. However, the OPAC may not display the materials the way we really want. So there are pros and cons, just like many of the other decisions we make.

If you are a library, should you consider using your OPAC to house your digitized materials. Yes, consider it, along with the other options available to you. You may find it to be the right option, at least for the moment.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Blog post: Digital Books in Catalogs: The Bad and the Ugly

At the end of November, Roy Tennant commented on New York Public Library connecting to digitized books through its library catalogue. Worth reading.

If you'd like to view a list of the digitized books in the catalogue, click here.

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Copyright Crash Course

The University of Texas has a "Copyright Crash Course" on its web site. Tim Vollmer in the Creative Commons blog says that the Copyright Crash Course is"
a great resource, providing a clearinghouse of information on many topics such as ownership and management of copyrights, open access materials, fair use and orphan works, and copyright issues within libraries and universities.
Content on the site carries a Creative Commons license.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Event: CIP's Annual Symposium on Intellectual Property, May 28 - 30, 2008

The date and topic for this annual event have been announced. The theme is: (c) Monopoly: Playing the Innovation Game! It will be held:
May 28 - 30, 2008
Inn & Conference Center
Adelphi, MD
According the email sent about the event:
This two and a half day event will bring to you top copyright scholars and legal specialist who will address some of the most burning issues affecting the management and use of copyrighted materials.
More details will become available once they are known. Information from previous events is at

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Event: WebWise 2008

I had a couple people ask me about when WebWise 2008 will be. The web site wasn't findable. Well, the answer to our questions arrived in email today. The 2008 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World will take place on March 6-7 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, FL. The theme of the conference is "WebWise 2.0: The Power of Community." There will be pre-conference workshops on March 5. It is anticipated that the conference will sell out, so people are being encourage to register early. See the web site for more details.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Notes from Trends in eRepositories presentation

My presentation at E-Info Global Symposium was entitled "Trends in eRepositories."

Over the years, our institutions have built large hardcopy repositories for the items they felt were important. Today we are engaged in building digital repositories to house a broad range of materials. In order for these repositories to be good stewards of the information they contain, we must focus on management, infrastructure and community support. We also must be aware of the trends that are occurring, since these repositories are still in their infancy.
The note attached to the first slide provides a list of resources that may be useful to you.

Photo by Helen Black in FlickrOver the years, our institutions have built large repositories for the items they felt were important. Those archives generally look like this. We hope that they also provide adequate access, but access has often meant digging through boxes for useful nuggets; something that everyone will not do.

We also must wonder if some repositories are like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where materials enter, but then are lost forever.

Photo by Stan Wiechers in FlickrNow the repositories we are building are digital. These can be right sources of:
  • Information
  • Data
  • Images
  • Research
  • Published & unpublished materials
  • Background information
  • Cultural materials
  • Items that document our institutions
They contain materials that were born digital as well as digitized. They may contain complex objects. And they may contain pointers to non-digital assets.

In Feb. 2003, Clifford Lynch used these words to describe an eRepository:
…a set of services…for the management and dissemination of digital materials created by the institution and its community members. It is most essentially an organizational commitment to the stewardship of these digital materials, including long-term preservation where appropriate, as well as organization and access or distribution.
Based on his words and the experiences I've witnessed, I focused the remainder of my talk on three areas:
  • Management
  • Infrastructure
  • Community Support
The rest of the presentation should make sense to you, except for one slide:

Photo by Roger Cullman in FlickrYes, this is a fork in the road. As Yogi Berra said:
"When you come to a fork in the road....Take it"
Although many digital repositories are focusing on a broad range of materials, some are only focusing on scholarly publications and building repositories that provide open access to those publications. The open access movement hopes that scholarly publications will be made available either through open access repositories (the Green Road) or by being published in open access journals (the Gold Road). [A benefit would be if a publication was made available both ways.] Unlike the photo, the Green and Gold Roads are not a fork in the road. {That spiel likely worked better in the live version.} [12/12/2007 -- well...I guess the text would make more sense without the typo! Fork in the road, not folk!]

During my presentation, I mentioned that it is important for faculty members to see a real benefit in submitting materials to the repository. After my presentation, Scott Nicholson mentioned that faculty need to produce a body of evidence, when they come up for tenure and promotion, that shows the impact of their work. He said:
If the library is involved with the repository, they could produce for each faculty member, a summary of how many times their work was accessed over a period of time, and a list of places that link to their works. That's something we can't get from a journal article nearly as easily.
Afterwards, I received a number of positive comments including a person who said (basically) that she understands now what her colleagues do when they digitize and build repositories. eRepositories are important undertakings and it was good to give the group a better appreciation of them.

All photos were used with permission or through a Creative Commons license.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Notes from E-Info Global Symposium, Dec. 6 & 7, Huntsville, AL

I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers at the E-Info Global Symposium. This was a regional conference held in Huntsville, AL geared towards academic librarians. There were nine speakers from the U.S. andCanada who presented on a variety of topics. I spoke on "Trends in eRepositories."

This Symposium (conference) was held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), however, librarians from across the state as well as Mississippi attended (and perhaps from other states too). Huntsville is in the northern part of Alabama. There seems to be many defense-related businesses in that region. Driving from the airport to campus, we passed the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where Space Camp is held. Visible from the highway were several rockets and a space shuttle. Huntsville has the second largest research park in the U.S., so this is indeed a place of much activity.

The conference was opened on Thursday afternoon by Dr. David Williams, President, UAH and Dr. Wilson Luquire, Dean of the Library. The first speaker was Stephen Abram, who was also the Conference Chair. Tidbits from his presentation:
  • The cell phone is the dominant device now.
  • Libraries are becoming social spaces and not solely focused on content. (BTW Learning used to be quite social in how it occurred, so we're returning to our roots.)
  • Rather than focusing on books, we're moving to focusing on articles and chapters. (So metadata, etc., needs to ensure that we can get down to that level efficiently.)
  • Don't build libraries for librarians; build them for users.
  • Although we rail against Wikipedia, mistakes in Wikipedia are corrected quickly. Mistakes in a printed publications aren't corrected until the next version is printed (if it is printed).
  • Librarians need to help to improve the quality of the questions that are asked. Improved questions will help people find the answers they really want.
  • Students start with Internet searches. Where do they go after that?
  • LibraryThing is the second largest library in North America (I hope I have that correct).
Stephen, during his presentation, shows us this video from Mike Wesch entitled "A Vision of Students Today." (Really worth watching!)

Jeff Trzeciak, University Librarian at McMaster University, was the second speaker and he spoke on "Transformation Leadership: Process & Change." Jeff has been at McMaster for 18 months and spoke about the changes that library is undertaking as well as other useful facts.
  • He mentioned the "expanding digital universe" and noted that YouTube had 100 million downloads per day in 2006.
  • Library users now move easily from physical to virtual.
  • Students are learning through discovery.
  • In the McMaster Library, there were not enough electrical outlets. Our users are coming with devices that they want to plug in and use. Our libraries need to be able to accommodate them.
  • McMaster will be digitizing World War I and World War II materials.
  • McMaster has approx. 22,000 students and 14,000 of those students each day come to the library building.
By the way, I learned from Jeff that the NAFTA treaty allows librarians (MLS) to move across the borders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. quite easily for employment purposes. Evidently, more than a few librarians from the U.S. have found positions in Canada.

Elizabeth Unger, Academic Fellow at Kansas State University, gave a talk entitled "Social Tools on a Shoe String" but talked very little about social tools, yet made us all think.
  • She showed us several math programs and we quickly saw the context of the questions, which allowed us to answer them correctly. However, the last question she displayed reminded us that we can't assume the context. Assuming is something we're good at.
  • What will the university of the future look like?
  • How do we assure the integrity of the information?
  • How do we improve the quality of the communication?
  • She mentioned this book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet is Killing Our Culture.
  • Identity theft happens to one in 40 people. We're sharing personal information all the time online (even through our library systems). How can we help to protect personal information?
Beth shows us this video from the YouTube Ethnography Project headed by Mike Wesch.

Rolf Goedhardt, from, talked about the changes that have not occurred in our classrooms over the last 100+ years and then talked about a product that his company is marketing which provides a new tool for teachers. What really stood out to me is that we are still teaching the same way that we have for decades (if not longer), and we assume that paradigm will still work today, yet we know from test scores, etc., that it isn't working.

The last speaker on Thursday was Amanda Etches-johnson, who also works at McMaster University. Amanda talked about staff development and five weeks to a social library project. Her presentation is here (4.9 MB). One of her key points is that we need to focus on learning, not on training. We need to get people exploring, experimenting and playing with technology.

On Friday morning, Barbara Tierney, Information Desk Coordinator for University of North Carolina at Charlotte, talked about "The Information Commons: Arena for Innovation." You can read an overview of her presentation here as well as download a bibliography and view photos/details of several learning commons (53 MB file, but worth downloading to view). We've gone from having computer labs to information commons and now to learning commons. And there are commons that integrate faculty, teaching and research into their spaces. She said that if you can't get to the library from Google, you won't get there. (A similar point was made by other speakers, including myself.)
  • She suggested that we must be tuned into what is new -- or coming -- in a student's world. We need to be ready for the "next thing."
  • Place the commons near the front of the facility.
  • Design a flexible space.
  • Provide for collaborative learning spaces.
  • Temple University has the largest information commons.
She made lots of other points, but I couldn't write them down fast enough. However, I'm sure they are in the book she just co-authored as well as in other writings.

The next speaker was me and I'll post about that tomorrow. Unfortunately, I did not get to hear the final two speakers -- Scott Nicholson (Program Director, Masters in Library and Information Science for the iSchool at Syracuse Univ.) and Rick Luce (Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries, Emory Univ.) -- because I had to catch my flight. Scott talked about gaming trends in libraries while Rich talk about transformation leadership. Their presentations should be on the E-Info Global Symposium web site soon.

The staff at UAH did a wonderful job putting this conference together. Thanks to Annette Parrish for her attention to details and Daniel, Daniel & Tom (or D-D-T) who oversaw the technology used during the event. They all could give lessons to other small conferences on how to ensure that things go well.

At the start of my presentation, I encouraged everyone to find one thing in each presentation to take back to the office and share. Imagine the innovations that could occur from that effort?!

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trends in eRepositories (presentation link)

Yesterday I spoke at E Info Global Symposium on "Trends in eRepositories." The presentation can be viewed here. I'll post more notes on the Symposium soon, as well as an explanation of the "fork in the road" slide that I used.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Some things must be seen/done live

New Year's Eve Ball displayed at Macy's in NYCTomorrow morning I am off to Huntsville, AL to speak at E-Info Global Symposium, where I'll be presenting on "Trends in eRepositories." The more time I spend in airports, the more it amazes me that we are not yet using our digital technology to its full potential. That is likely due to cost (although really if you considered the cost of travel...could connecting us all for an online conference be that outrageous?), the importance of face-to-face interaction, and the fact that some things must be seen live. Seeing a digital copy of a book is not the same as seeing the physical book with my own two eyes.

The photo above is the New Year Eve Ball that "drops" in Times Square in New York City. Most of us have seen it on TV and even seen close ups of it. We've read the descriptions and details of it. Yet seeing it live as it was displayed in Macy's was a major "wow". Although I had seen photos of it with people standing next to it, I was still amazed at its small size. Me standing by it put it in perspective for me.

We know that placing digitized materials online often causes more people to come and view the materials. Why? Because they believe that they will know more about the item if they see it live. If nothing else, it may allow them to connect to the materials in a more personal way.

I wonder if digital will ever be a real substitute for "live"? In my lifetime?

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Blog by the University Librarian at the University of Michigan

In case you haven't found it, Paul Courant, University Librarian at the University of Michigan, has begun a blog called "Au Courant." Yes, he's talking about Google and answering questions that others have posed about the contract. He provides interesting thoughts on the subject and hopefully is helping to allay fears that working with Google is bad.

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Blog: Mass Digitization -- changing copyright law and policy

Last week, Georgia Harper completed a six-week experiment which resulted in seven posts (chapters), which are a draft for a paper on the effects of mass digitization projects on copyright law and policy. The sections are:
  1. The effect of mass digitization projects on copyright law and policy
  2. All quiet on the legislative front, while business is rockin'
  3. Will Google Book Search change anything?
  4. Ok, Ok -- DRM and long terms were a big mistake; now what?
  5. Search engines make sense of our massively digitized world, and make good law in the process
  6. Rescuing orphans from obscurity
  7. Conclusion
Harper encourages people to read the posts as well as to look at the Resource List. Of course, commenting is appreciated! (She only received three comments, although many, many page views.)

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

For New Yorkers: Quick thoughts from Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting

* NOTE: This are my thoughts and not the thoughts of other Council members. Feel free to pass along to others. *


In September, I was appointed to the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries in New York State. This 12-member Council advises the Board of Regents on matters concerning libraries within the State. Every member was nominated to the Council and then had to supply information to the Regents regarding his/her background so that the Regents understood what knowledge the person would bring to the position. Once appointed, each member affirmed that she/he will voluntarily serve on the Council for generally a five-year term. Yes, we are all connected to libraries in some way, even if some of us don't work in a library (for example, I'm an MLS who has libraries and library consortia as some of my clients). Although some might think this is an honorary position, the Regents look to this Council to present proposals concerning the future of libraries in New York State. And...yes...the Regents do listen to this group.

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meets four times per year: a conference call meeting in January, a meeting with the Regents in May, and two face-to-face Council meetings in the fall (or at least this is the current pattern to the meetings). We also communicate between meetings via email. We are encouraged to meet with out legislators and some of us will be traveling to Albany in February 2008 just to do that, so we can advocate for libraries.

Our goals give you an idea of what we do. In order to ensure that our proposals (advice) are appropriate, we need to gather information from libraries across the State. We also need to provide information to the libraries in the State, so they know what we are considering. Each Council members likely goes about this information transfer in a different way. However, what I've learned since September is that librarians in the State may not realize that member of the Council (or RAC as it is generally called) can help them be heard in Albany, both with the legislators and with the Regents. At our meeting on Nov. 30, we talked about doing more outreach to libraries within the State to enhance the flow of information. (More to follow on this soon, I'm sure.)

If you look at the list of RAC members, you will see that we live/work in various parts of the State. Although we are geographically dispersed, we do not represent different parts of the State. Therefore, librarians are encouraged to contact any Council member. (For example, if you are a school librarian, you might want to contact someone on the Council who is a school librarian.)


I attended my first RAC meeting in September as an observer, since my term did not start until October 1. I was pleased to see the breadth of knowledge and experience on the Council and awed by the details covered in the meeting. For example, we discussed the Statewide Internet Library, the budget requests for libraries in the next budget cycle, activities at the State Library, and what "bold initiative" we might present to the Board of Regents in May 2008. (My understanding is that Governor Spitzer is asking all government agencies to think of "bold initiatives" that will help New York State to provide better services to its residents.)

It quickly became apparent to me that I need to learn more about the State budget, especially where money to libraries is allocated in the budget. Money for public libraries, school libraries, and library construction, for example, may be in different line items. Thankfully, members of the NYS Division for Library Development attend our meetings and are very willing to explain these details that are not yet common knowledge to me. I also look to the other members of the Council to explain details that are new to me, but not new to them (and they happily comply).

I just attended my second RAC meeting as well as an orientation session for new members (there are three new members this year). With the information from the September meeting and other materials, I felt much more comfortable with the discussion. I understood the budget better, as well as the things that we must do in the coming months. It was clear to me at the first meeting that I have ideas to contribute and, after this meeting, I'm pleased to know that my ideas are respected.

Our big task is to present a "bold initiative" to the Regents in May. In order to do that, the Council must look at what has been done within the State, consider the priorities that have been set in previous years (i.e., recommendations made by the Board of Regents Commission on Library Services in 2000), and then decide what to recommend that will ensure that our libraries continue to serve our changing population in New York State. Our population is diverse in age, education achievement, cultural heritage, digital comfort, and language. Our population comes into our physical libraries and also visits our libraries via the Internet. They use our books, CDs, DVDs, videos, digital collections, databases, and local history collection. And by the way, one million NYS residents live in areas that are not covered by chartered public libraries.

What we recommend in spring 2008 to the Regents will impact their proposals for the 2009-2010 budget; therefore, we must be sure that our recommendations are good for "today" as well as for many tomorrows. In order to do that, it is clear that we need input from librarians within the State. (Yes, we've talked about digitization being part of this.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO: These are MY thoughts/ideas based on conversations I've had with librarians and with Council members.
  1. Know who is on the Board of Regents.
  2. Talk to you library consortia about how you might interact with the Regent in your geographic area.
  3. Know who is on the Regents Advisory Council for Libraries.
  4. Talk to your library consortia about how you can provide information to the Regents Advisory Council as well as how you can receive information from this group.
  5. Watch NYLINE and your library consortia distribution lists for news from the Regents Advisory Council.
  6. If you have stories you can share about users that have benefited from NOVELny (formerly called NOVEL and now part of the Statewide Internet Library), please send them to me (or another Council member). We need real stories about how individuals have used NOVELny to locate useful information, especially when they could not find useful information on the open/general Internet. It would be great to have stories that said "I used an Internet search engine and couldn't find what I needed, and then I used NOVELny and found...."
  7. Check to see who is on the NOVELny Steering Committee and give them input about the resources that are there as well as what you believe is needed. (BTW meeting minutes are here.)
  8. Look at the Shubert Award information and consider applying for it. My understanding is that the award is given to a project that was significant (at least to that library) and that might be seen as inspirational. In the last few years, 12 - 14 libraries per year have applied for the award. It would be wonderful to have more apply.
  9. Leave a comment on this blog post and let me know what questions you have about the Regents Advisory Council. I'll answer them.
Nine (9) items may seem like a lot, but you don't have to do them all at once. In fact, you could delegate some of them! However, please do #6 soon, if possible. We need real stories that we can share that demonstrate the value of having access to the content in NOVELny. Thanks!

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