Friday, October 31, 2008

More on the Google settlement: Is it all good?

As I noted on Tuesday, Google has settled the lawsuit over the digitization and display of book in Google Book Search. Here are places for more information on the settlement:
I highly recommend reading or skimming the posts by Larry Lessig and Siva Vaidhyanathan, who point out both the good and perhaps bad of this settlement. This is a complex settlement with more to be worked out.

And keep in mind that this settlement still needs to be approved by the court.

Related posts: (added 12/01/2008 & updated 6/22/2009)

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Press release: PALINET Launches Mass Digitization Collaborative

If you are unfamiliar with PALINET, it is:
One of the largest U.S. member-owned and governed regional Library Networks, PALINET represents 600+ libraries, information centers, museums, archives, and other similar organizations throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and beyond.
For those of us not in their region, you may have seen PALINET exhibiting at a conference like Computers in Libraries or heard one of its staff members give a presentation (e.g., Tom Clareson).

The fact that they are starting a mass digitization collaborative is great news.

Press release:
PALINET Launches Mass Digitization Collaborative

Philadelphia, PA, October 21, 2008 — PALINET announces the launch of the PALINET Mass Digitization Collaborative, a project funded by the PALINET membership and supported in part through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Mass Digitization Collaborative offers PALINET members the capability to contribute important historical and archival materials for digitization as part of a regional digital collection. Through PALINET’s partnership with the Internet Archive, the new digital resources will be shared on the Web, ensuring unprecedented open access to the rare and special library collections of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Catherine C. Wilt, PALINET’s Executive Director, says, “The Mass Digitization Collaborative is an outstanding example of how cultural heritage institutions of all types can work together to build local and regional digital collections for free and open access to all. This effort will result in the availability of 20 million pages of digitized text from PALINET members.” Robert Miller, Internet Archive’s Director of Books, adds, "PALINET is a perfect partner. The extensive academic and research collections of the members combined with our mass digitization infrastructure makes for a great low-cost, high value partnership that will serve as a model for others."

Collaborative participants select unique items from their collections for digitization at regional scanning centers, and add the new digital assets to their online collections. PALINET staff support members throughout the process, as project participants work together to create best practices, standards, and policies. Through participation in the Collaborative, PALINET members create a community of practice dedicated to development of the regional digital collection. For more information on the PALINET Mass Digitization Collaborative, please contact Laurie Gemmill, PALINET’s Digital Services Manager, at or visit

Founded in 1936, PALINET is a member-owned and governed regional library network, representing 600+ libraries and cultural heritage institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Now offering hundreds of products and services from over 80 business partners, PALINET enables members to maximize budgets through group discounts and consortial savings programs. PALINET serves as a premier technology advisor to members, providing access to cutting-edge education and leadership on current innovations and emerging trends. Members access critical new skills, current technology tools, and traditional library skills through the PALINET Education Program, and expert consulting advice in a wide variety of library and management areas. In other initiatives, PALINET facilitates collaborative member projects in digitization, preservation, and resource sharing on national, regional, and statewide levels. For the latest information on PALINET, visit

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New York Heritage launched as a portal to NYS digital collections

Congratulations to the New York 3Rs for their new initiative, New York Heritage. John Hammond, Executive Director of the Northern New York Library Network, said in email that they hope to see many, many collections added to this effort. With 10,000 cultural heritage organizations in New York State, there could indeed be a lot of growth!

The site uses many web pages that are not part of CONTENTdm to provide additional information. That really helps the site be more robust. The layout is clean and with 160 digital collections already, there is a ton of content!

Here's the press release about this new site:
The New York 3Rs Association has launched a new digital heritage web site, The site connects more than 160 digital collections from around the state, contributed by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions, and builds on existing digital repository services administered by each of the nine reference and research library resources councils. uses OCLC's CONTENTdm Multisite Server to bring these collections together, allowing the public to search across all items simultaneously. This project provides free, online access to images of cultural and historical significance in New York State.

A variety of materials can be found among the New York Heritage Digital Collections, including photographs, postcards, correspondence, manuscripts, oral histories, yearbooks and newspapers. Many kinds of institutions from New York State have partnered to make this project possible, including public, academic and school libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. The power of collaboration is what makes this new service possible.

Participants to New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the 3Rs organization that serves their region.

The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York's nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.

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Event: 2009 NFAIS Annual Conference, Barbarians at the Gate? The Impact of Digital Natives and Emerging Technologies on the Future of Info Svcs


The 2009 NFAIS Annual Conference, Barbarians at the Gate? The Impact of Digital Natives and Emerging Technologies on the Future of Information Services, will take place February 22 - 24, 2009 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. The preliminary program, online and fax registration forms, and general information are now available (early bird registration rates are in effect until January 9, 2009 go to:

The conference will take a look at how the born digital generation, with a lifetime of information seeking skills shaped by search engines and the Web, will impact the scholarly, scientific and business information services that they are beginning to use in their professional lives, and will highlight the opportunities for all information providers - publishers, librarians and educators - to adapt their products, services and business practices to the needs and expectations of this new generation of information seekers.

Highlights include:

  • A provocative opening keynote by John Palfrey, author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives and a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will look at how living digitally is globally transforming how people relate to information and to one another, and how the now ubiquitous and ever-evolving Internet is fundamentally changing information behaviors as we move from generation to generation.

  • Key results of two recent studies -- one, by the British Library and Dr. Ian Rowlands of the City University of London, to identify how the researchers of the future, currently in school, are likely to access and interact with digital resources in five to ten years time, and a second, by Dr. Nora Barnes, Director of the Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, that looks at the use of social media by higher education and the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. ( Inc. 500).
  • A panel of Digital Natives discussing the information tools they use and why and what needs to be changed in order for libraries and traditional information services such as journals and databases to be truly useful to them.
  • A look at some transforming technologies that can be used to ensure that your information products and services can be accessed and used by Digital Natives around the world, including delivery to iPhones via Modality and state-of-the art translation technology from IBM.
  • Examples of how the information and communication behaviors of Digital Natives are driving new business practices in libraries and in publishing houses, including the use of open source tools and innovative projects such as the University of Michigan's delivery of books on demand.
  • A look at how scientific, scholarly, and business communities are embracing social networks, how organizations such as BioInformatics are creating and monetizing such global networks, and insights from the Gilbane Group on the importance of multilingual content and local/regional products and services in today's truly global information economy.

If you want to learn more about the information and search expectations of the Born Digital generation as they enter their professional careers, and the technologies, business practices and innovative projects that are emerging to meet those expectations, join us and find out how your organization can ultimately attract loyal followers and long-term users from among the Barbarians at the Gate!

For more information, contact Jill O'Neill, NFAIS Director of Communication and Planning ( or 215-893-1561) or visit the NFAIS Web site at

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Article: The End of Snippet View: Google Settles Lawsuit with Book Publishers

Quoting ReadWriteWeb: (emphasis added)
Google today announced that it has reached a deal with book publishers to settle two copyright lawsuits over potential copyright violations in its Google Book Search product. This $125 million settlement, which still needs approval from a U.S. district court, will be used to establish a Book Rights Registry that will ensure that publishers and authors receive compensation from subscription services and ad revenue. For users of Google Book Search, this settlement will mean that they might soon be able to build an "online bookshelf" and buy licenses to read the full-text of books in Google's index.

Google will now be able to fade out the 'snippet view' in Google Book Search, which only showed very small amounts of text from a given book. Instead, most books will now allow readers to preview 20% of the book.

This will make Google Book Search even more popular. I can imagine libraries and schools licensing specific content. (I could definitely imagine a virtual bookshelf for specific classes or academic programs.) And getting rid of the snippets is a blessing! They really weren't useful. While 20% of a book is a lot, it means that people can make a better decision about purchasing it or borrowing it from a library.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Report on book scanners by Kirtas, Qidenus, Treventus and 4DigitalBooks

This report was written by Julian Ball, who attended an event at the Munich Digitisation Centre in June 2008, where four vendors exhibited and demonstrated their scanners: Qidenus, Kirtas, Treventus and 4DigitalBooks. The report lists basic information/specifications for each scanner as well as cost/supply and the author's personal specifications. At the end of the report, Ball provides some overall observations including which scanner works best when. He notes:
There is no one scanner at the current time that meets all the requirements when considering source material, handling and output.
This report will definitely be of interest to anyone who is interested in digitizing books, even if you are not considering an automated scanner (because you'll still learn useful information from it). The presentations given by the four companies are also available.

Thanks to JISC and Julian Ball for this report! You have made many people happy!

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Article: Digitizing Holocaust memories

This is wonderful news, especially in this economy:
The University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation Institute has begun digitizing 100,000 hours of interviews at a cost of more than $8 million, including a $2 million hardware donation from Sun Microsystems. The five-year project requires a state-of-the-art system, which includes the use of robots and an 8-petabyte archive. The goal is to save and disseminate testimonies of genocide survivors, including those from Rwanda.
It is nice to see this project, begun by Steven Spielberg in 1994, not only survive but thrive in order to save more historic records.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FUMSI: Federated Search Report and Tool Kit

This report for Free Pint was a long time coming! Thanks to Robin Neidorf at Free Pint for asking me to write this. From the web site...

So many datasets, so little time. Federated search can streamline the process of searching across internal, subscription and web-based sources of information. But when is an organisation a strong candidate for investing in federated search solutions? And how can the information staff research, plan and implement a federated search solution that meets the organisation’s needs?

Jill Hurst-Wahl, a noted industry expert in digital collections, federated search, the nexus between information and technology and recent full-time appointee to the faculty of the information school at the University of Syracuse, provides a compact yet comprehensive resource with her Federated Search Report and Tool Kit. She begins with an explanation of federated search – what it does well and what it does not do well – and then lays out a process for making informed decisions about if and how to move forward.

The report’s 5 chapters provide guidance on conducting a needs assessment, building a project team and gaining buy-in – all essential yet often overlooked steps. Hurst-Wahl also covers researching the industry, considering open source as well as proprietary solutions, researching specific projects, and establishing success criteria so that the project can be measured.

Everyone faces the challenge of choosing the best resource to search for the right information… and we all want it to function as easily as a certain search engine whose name rhymes with ‘frugal’. Whilst that may not be a realistic goal, the Federated Search Report and Tool Kit can help you develop solutions that save your team time, improve usage of key datasets and help users more efficiently get to the information they need to make better decisions.

More...including the table of contents and a sample from the report.

11/4/2008 addendum: Sol Lederman reviewed the report.

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The economy and digitization

Everyone knows that the economy is bad and many argue about how bad it is. This economic downturn has affected every country; some more seriously than others. With people and businesses seeing their savings/investments decreasing and governments having less money for providing services, money that digitization programs rely on may disappear. For example, it could be that the amount of money available for grants will decrease, while the number of organizations looking for grants will increase. Organizations that do receive grants may have a more difficult time raising the matching funds.

For digitization to continue, it will need to be seen as an integral component of the organization. It will need to be component that helps the organization meet the needs of its customers. The idea of "What can I digitize?" will need to be replaced with "What does my customer need? How does digitization satisfy that need?" Some of you may already be thinking that way, but some of you (I know) are not.

Once the argument has been made that digitizing materials will help to satisfy a customer need, then the organization will need to decide whether to do the work in-house or to outsource it. This analysis might include how the organization wants to use its fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs of those costs that are in your budget every month. Variable costs are those costs that vary from month-to-month, and that are easily cut. If the conversion is outsourced and then the budget becomes tighter, it is easy to stop that activity and save the money. However, if the organization invests in equipment, space, etc., those are fixed costs that cannot easily be eliminated.

The bottom line? As your funds tighten, focus on what your clients need. Make sure that your efforts are meeting their needs. And if digitization is that important to you, then ensure that it is clear -- crystal clear -- how your users/clients/customers will benefit from it.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chapter: Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Policy and Academic Culture

I have a feeling that I may want to refer to this book chapter, written by Clifford Lynch, at some point -- Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Policy and Academic Culture. It is part of The Center for Intellectual Property Handbook. The chapter discusses:
  • Creation of the scholarly record
  • The central role of fair use in academic production
  • Public domain and orphan works
  • University missions as determining policy choices
  • The role of university presses and scholarly societies

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Monday, October 20, 2008

ePrint: Durable Digital Objects Rather Than Digital Preservation and Professional Implications

This 14 page paper was deposited into ePrints in June 2008 and may be of interest to anyone focused on digital preservation.

Abstract: Long-term digital preservation is not the best available objective. Instead, what information producers and consumers almost surely want is a universe of durable digital objects—documents and programs that are as accessible and useful a century from now as they are today. Given the will, we could implement and deploy a practical and pleasing durability infrastructure within two years. Tools for daily work can embed packaging for durability without much burdening their users. Moving responsibility for durability from archival employees to information producers also avoids burdening repositories with keeping up with Internet scale. An engineering prescription is available. Research libraries’ and archives’ slow advance towards practical preservation of digital content is remarkable to outsiders. Why is their progress stalled? Ineffective collaboration across disciplinary boundaries has surely been a major impediment. We speculate about cultural reasons for this situation and warn about possible marginalization of research librarianship as a profession.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

What digitization cannot capture

Fall 2001 on Rt. 13 in NYS

I spent Friday afternoon on two-lane rural roads in New York State. It is autumn and the leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. The air has that "fall" smell to it and birds are thinking about migrating south (some already have).

Digitization, web 3.0, or the 3-D web cannot yet capture this. Personally, I hope it never does...

Project management

What I find interesting about project management is that we often look for people who have managed similar projects. If you have managed a digitization project in the past, then you can manage a digitization project in the future. However, project management is a skill that can be applied to any type of project. If I can manage all of the steps (and contractors) in order to successfully build a home, then I can have the skills to manage a digitization program. However, I may not have the subject area knowledge about digitization that I need. The good news is that knowledge can be attained.

What has been the most successful project that you have managed? Was it work related or perhaps something that happened in your personal life (remodeling a kitchen, settling a tricky estate, coordinating an international move)? If it wasn't completely successful, what did you learn from it and how will that impact your next project?

If you are interviewing someone for a project management position, consider asking both about professional and personal projects that they have managed. You may find that the person has managed large projects as a volunteer or managed interesting projects in his/her personal life.

If you know nothing about project management, there is an open source project management handbook online. Although written specifically for IT projects, anyone may find it useful. [10/20/2008: URL corrected]

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ch-Ch-Changes (or "Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude")

How do you impact your industry? We generally think about just doing our jobs, but really we should be thinking about making an impact -- not only in the place where we work, but also in a larger community. We can influence the "larger community" (however you want to define that) by writing books and articles, by speaking and giving presentations, and by teaching. Not only is it important to teach those who are already "in the field", but equally important to teach those who are the "next generation."

iSchool StudentsWhile I have been influencing my "community" through writing, speaking and project work, I have decided to do something that allows me to influence the next generation of information professionals even more. In January, I'll be joining the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University (SU). Some of you may know that I have been associated with SU since 2001. This year, I decided that teaching full-time would move me towards my goal of influencing the industry more, and SU decided that adding me to their faculty would be a good thing! As a Professor of Practice, I will be charged with connecting the iSchool to "the practice" (that which occurs outside of academia). That means that the things that you know me for -- writing, speaking, consulting, and committee work -- will continue. It also means that I'll be looking for ways to connect students to you (the industry) in ways that are beneficial for them and you. And -- yes -- I'll be teaching. I'll be teaching three classes a semester (spring and fall). How will I continue to write, speak and consult with that course load? Carefully! Happy Smiley

iSchool at SUIf you know nothing about the iSchool at Syracuse University, I hope that, through me, you'll learn more about it -- about the faculty, the research centers, its degree & certificates programs, and its students. The 40+ member full-time faculty includes people such as:
The full-time and adjunct faculty members are a wonderful group and I am looking forward to working more closely with all of them! (BTW the adjuncts are primarily practitioners who are bringing their practice into the classroom. One adjunct is a former FBI unit director!)

Jill Hurst-Wahl warhol-izedNow I suspect that a few students will see this blog post and wonder who is this "new" faculty member, so let me give them a few pieces of information:
  • What will I be teaching in spring 2009? IST 677 (Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets), IST 626 (Business Information Resources & Strategic Intelligence) and one other course (to be named).
  • Where can you find me on campus besides the iSchool? Wherever there is good coffee. (Honest, I'm not a coffee-aholic!)
  • Where do I hang out online? Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed.
  • Do I "bleed orange"? Not exactly, but I do enjoy sports and listen to ESPN every day (especially Mike & Mike in the Morning).
  • Seriously, how can you learn more about me? Google.
Okay...let the happy dance commence!

10/23/2008 addendum: The iSchool's press release.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Article: Digitizing History

If you are interested in digitizing moving pictures (e.g., movie films, videotapes, etc.), then you will be interested in this article. The article is about the work at the Packard Campus of the Library of Congress (LOC) National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. This...
structure contains a vast number of recordings preserved on a variety of media, and in an almost limitless number of formats including, film, tape, disc, wire and cylinder.

The physical size of the complex itself is staggering—it measures in at 415,000 square feet (that’s equivalent to more than seven football fields)—and contains literally millions of items. There are actually four building components: a collections storage building, conservation building, the “nitrate vaults” and a central plant.

Although it’s still a work in progress—10 years have passed since its inception—some areas are operational and additional ones are coming on line at regular intervals. It’s currently staffed with 60 government workers; a number that will more than double when all systems are installed and running.
Photos of the facility are included in the article.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog posts from IPRES 2008

Several people blooged iPRES 2008, which was held in England. Below are e excerpts from their posts. Much more information is available if you follow the links back to the complete posts.

At the close of day 1, we heard a summary of the findings of the international survey on the impact of copyright law on digital preservation. That indicated that the UK had one of the strictest set of constraints of all the countries looked at - in terms of who is permitted to carry out certain acts in the name of preservation and what those acts are. Other countries have more relaxed exemptions and that doesn’t appear to be causing the major rightsholdfers [sic] any significant financial loss. That should give us hope for some change in the law in the UK at least. And Horst Foster, making the keynote speech opening day 2, appeared to echo this at the European level, implying that the case for change had been made and accepted, although he was notably cautious about making any promises as to when this change might come about. -- da blog
Questions: should we just ignore the copyright problems like Internet Archive and Google? -- Digital Curation Blog
Trends in archives and libraries are toward JPEG2000 as an image storage format, even though it has to be converted before browsers can use it. Oya Rieger, talking about digitization of books, cited the smaller file size compared to JPEG, and the support of archival features such as incorporation of metadata into the file.

PREMIS is gaining traction as a format for preservation metadata. For instance, the British Library is using PREMIS 1.1, along with METS and MODS, for an eJournal archiving project. The article is available on the D-Lib site.

Stephen Abrams gave a presentation on JHOVE2, which is still in the design and prototyping stages. It's getting obvious from various discussions that the problems in JHOVE are becoming more of a concern. -- File Format Blog
Oya Rieger has been speaking about their large scale book digitisation processes. They first entered an agreement with Microsoft, and later with Google; they were naturally very disappointed when Microsoft pulled out, although this did give them unrestricted access to the books digitised under that programme. On the down-side, they suddenly found they need 40 TB of storage to manage these resources, and it took a year or so before they could achieve this. Oya related their work to the OAIS preservation reference model, and it was interesting to see not only that infamous diagram, but also a mapping of actual tools to the elements of the process model. It’s worth looking at her paper to see this; I noted that they were using ADORe for the archival storage layer, but there were several other tools that I did not manage to note down. -- Digital Curation Blog
Alex Ball is talking about the problems in curating engineering and CAD data. In what appears to be a lose-lose strategy for all of us, engineering is an area with extremely long time requirements for preserving the data, but increasing problems in doing so given the multiple strangleholds that IPR has: on the data themselves, on the encodings and formats tied up in specific tightly controlled versions of high cost CAD software, coupled with “engineering as a service” approaches, which might encourage organisations to continue to tightly hold this IPR. An approach here is looking for light-weight formats (he didn’t say desiccated but I will) that data can be reduced to. They have a solution called LiMMA for this. Another approach is linking preservation planning approaches with Product Lifecycle Management. In this area they are developing a Registry/Repository of Representation Information for Engineering (RRoRIfE). Interesting comment that for marketing purposes the significant properties would include approximate geometry and no tolerances, but for manufacturing you would want exact geometry and detailed tolerances. -- Digital Curation Blog
Richard Wright talking about storage and the “cost of risk”. In early days dropping a storage device meant losing a few kilobytes, now it could be GBytes and years of work. Storage costs declining and capacity increasing exponentially roughly related to Moore’s law (doubling every 18 months). Usage is going up, too, and risk is proportionate to usage, so risk is going up too. Risk proportional to no of devices and to size and to use… plus the more commonly discussed format obsolescence, IT infrastructure obsolescence etc. So if storage gets really cheap, it gets really risky! -- Digital Curation Blog
Question from Steve Knight about how we move to a position where there is a market for digital preservation solution? -- Digital Curation Blog
Sarah Jones on developing a toolkit for a Data Audit Framework: to help institutions to determine what data are held, where they are located and how they are being managed. 4 pilot sites including Edinburgh and Imperial already under way, UCL and KCL in planning. Detailed workflow has been developed as a self-audit tool. Four phases in the audit process, the second being identifying and classifying the assets; looks like major work. Turns out the pilots are related to department level rather than institutions, which makes sense knowing academic attitudes to “the Centre”! I did hear from one institution that it was difficult getting responses in some cases. Simple online tool provided. DAF to be launched tomorrow (1 October) at the British Academy, together with DRAMBORA toolkit. -- Digital Curation Blog
In discussion, we felt that the point of David’s remarks was that we should understand that perfection was not achievable in the digital world, as it never was in the analogue world. We have never managed to keep all we wanted to keep (or to have kept) for as long as we wanted to keep it, without any damage. -- Digital Curation Blog
One recurring them, picked up at the outset by Lynne Brindley and in Steve Knight’s closing remarks, was that ‘digital preservation’ is not the term to be using in discussions with our institutions and the world, echoing remarks on the DCC blog which Brian later picked up on here. Steve prefers the phrase ‘permanent access’. which is indeed outcome-focussed. However, we’ve also said in PoWR that preservation isn’t always forever, so I would prefer something a little more all-embracing - ‘long-lived access’ might fit. -- JISC PoWR

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Blog: Thoughts on digitization (Tankar kring digitalisering)

Earlier this year, David Hansson and Gunilla Wiberg of Sweden started a blog on digitization. The About section says (translated into English by Google):
We are interested in publishing similar material on the Web through digitization (image capture, optical character recognition, textuppmärkning, work with metadata, archiving files, etc.). Here we collect links and other information we find to be of interest.
The blog is written in Swedish, with a button that allows you to receive an automatic machine translation into English. With so few blogs that are specifically about digitization, I hope that David and Gunilla continue to write and share their thoughts. The more information we can get "out there" for others to consider, the better.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Are X and Y the same?

Day 64: Tile has been groutedSo many interesting lessons have flowed out of remodeling a kitchen. As the tile was put into place, we learned another one. Not all 2"x2" tiles are alike. In the photo, the white ceramic tiles are not the same size at all as the blue glass tiles, yet we thought they were the same size (and we were told they were the same size). The white tiles are bigger (width and height), while the blue tiles are thicker. Of course, both tiles come from two different companies, with different ideas about what a 2x2 tile is.

With all of our project -- work & home -- digitization and non -- we need to be sure that we know what products and services we are purchasing and how they compare. Sometimes it can be important to take the extra step to ensure that they are indeed the same, and not take someone's word for it (the salesperson). While this tile-work turned out great, finding out that your file formats, for example, are not exactly the same would not be so good.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Workers do learn from doing

I was reminded recently that those "who do" learn from what they are doing. This isn't just book-learning, but often book-learning followed-up with on-the-job experience.

Years ago (when I was a corporate citizen), my manager wondered why we couldn't scan as many pages per hour as the vendor had said. Yes, the book said "X", but our experience taught us differently. We knew what was slowing us down and why, and we knew what could and could not be changed in order to make us go faster. Our on-the-ground learning was important and we needed to take that learning into account when we scoped out new scanning projects.

Day 50: New vinyl flooringRecently, I had new vinyl flooring laid. The supervisor has one opinion of how it was going to be laid and the workers another. After the vinyl ripped while being installed to the supervisor's specifications, I learned that the workers had better knowledge. They used their plan the second time and the flooring looks great.

So...the lesson...when you're planning a project, get input from everyone, including the people who will be doing the work. What is their opinion of how things will go? Is there a legitimate reason why they are thinking differently?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Notes from the FLICC Forum

Time flies and it has been nearly a month since the FLICC Forum in Washington, D.C. The 25th Annual FLICC (Federal Library and Information Center Committee) Forum was held the day after the 7th anniversary of 9-11 at the Library of Congress. (I flew to D.C. on Sept. 11.) Last week,

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Web Guide: State Digital Resources: Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections

Christine Pruzin at the Library of Congress has compiled "State Digital Resources: Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections."
The Library of Congress American Memory project and other digital initiatives provide free access through the Internet to the treasures of the Library's collections that document America's history, culture, and creativity. Across the country, the archives, cultural institutions, museums, and libraries of many states are collaborating to create similar projects. They provide unprecedented access to materials that document local and regional growth and development as well as a look at the cultures and traditions that have made individual states and communities unique. The following is a compilation of state and regional digital projects and collaborations identified thus far. For each project, the primary institution or institutions overseeing the project are noted. The list will expand as new projects become available.
This is an amazing list! All 50 U.S. states are represented either with state/regional digital project or with multi-state collaborations. There is not an obvious entry for the District of Columbia, but I hope that they are "in here" perhaps as part of a collaboration.

For those who are what to know what is being done on a regional level, this list is a great place to start. For those who have regional projects, here is a place for them to get their projects listed and better known. And for students who need to find and review digitization programs in their classes, here is another list of programs to use.

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Web site for the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative

On Sept. 30, the web site for the U.S. Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative became available to the public. According to the email announcement:
The initiative represents a collaborative effort to establish a common set of guidelines for digitizing historical materials. Under this initiative, two Working Groups have been established.

The Still Image Working Group will focus its efforts on books, manuscripts, maps, and photographic prints and negatives. Its members include the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Gallery of Art, the National Library of Medicine, the National Technical Information Service, the National Transportation Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Government Printing Office.

The Audio-Visual Working Group will address standards and practices for sound, video, and motion picture film. Its members include the Defense Visual Information Directorate of the Department of Defense, the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, the Smithsonian Institution, the Government Printing Office and the Voice of America.
The web site contains some draft guidelines and information on guidelines that will be developed. This is obviously a work-in-progress and a site to watch in order to see what they do.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Online training course: Digitisation of Heritage Materials

The need for digitization training continues and while some areas are able to hold many workshops, others must turn to online resources and hands-on training. Therefore, it is always good to see new training materials being developed like these at the National Library of Australia. Quoting the web site:
...the National Library explored possible [training] alternatives and in due course developed a basic training program in digital copying and archiving of still images. The objective of the program is to provide participants with practical skills to capture, manage, preserve and provide access to digital images. The course's aim is to teach best digitisation techniques and practices using least expensive options currently available.
The materials available for download are:

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Blog post: 'Orphan Works' Copyright Law Dies Quiet Death

Wired said that the Congress had been distracted by the economy (and the bailout plan) and so could not get this legislation done in time.Personally, I am not upset that this has died. We need to ensure that we get the Orphaned Works legislation as "correct" as possible AND that implementing the rules are not onerous.

Let's hope that Congress does address this issue after the November elections (and that they are not distracted by the economy and war).

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