Friday, November 28, 2008

Article: Is Google Deal a Setback for Rival Digitization Efforts?

Has Google stopped paving the way for others to follow in its footsteps? For a while, it seemed that it settled challenges in a way that were good for the industry, but this settlement gives the rest of the industry a hurtle. As quoted from the University of Richmond law professor James Gibson from a Washington Post op-ed:
The settlement itself is proof that a company can pay licensing fees and still turn a profit. So now, no one can convincingly argue that scanning a book requires no license. If Microsoft starts its own book search service and claims fair use, the courts will say, ‘hey, Google manages to pay for this sort of thing. What makes you so special?’ By settling the case, Google has made it much more difficult for others to compete with its Book Search service.
Has Google given itself a monopolistic advantage? Is this a decision that we will soon regret? Time will tell.

Related posts:

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Imaging Service Vendors - list maintained by New York State Archives

The URL for this has changed over the years. The list is not comprehensive and they are not all in NYS, but it is still a good list. (Hey...since there are so few lists of vendors, any list is a good list!) Do keep in mind that the best vendor may not be in your region.

Other relevant blog posts:

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Monday, November 24, 2008

For New Yorkers: Informal notes from the Nov. 21 Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting

On Nov. 21, the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meet in New York City. We had a very lively discussion, due to the changes that are occurring to the State budget and its impact on libraries. These are my informal notes from the meeting from both the orientation session for new members to the Council, which I sat in on it again, and the meeting itself. I'm sorry that these notes are a bit staccato, but that is the impact our discussion, where much information was brought in and exchanged. I've tried to group information together, which means that the topics are not covered in the same order as our meeting.

Budget Information:

The income for the State Library comes from three sources:

64% from document transfer fees paid within NYS
35% from LSTA funds
1% from other (e.g., grants)
Monies from document transfer fees are decreasing. It is hoped that the legislature will increase the amount per transfer, in order to keep this income stream going. An example of the fees are those paid when a house is purchased to transfer documents (like land titles). The fee is currently $15.

Money coming from the federal government via LSTA is decreasing because it is based on population and the population of NYS is decreasing.

Therefore, two of the income streams that fund the State Library are decreasing, leaving the State Library in a precarious position.

The Stated Education Department is not a government department. It is run by the Regents.

Some libraries in NYS are on the verge of failing. At least one library has had to re-mortgage its building in order to meet current expenses, due to budget cuts.

The cuts enacted by the State are effecting libraries and library systems unequally. A system may have already advance money to member libraries in anticipation of receiving money from the State. So its members may be nearly fully funded, but the system itself may be feeling a 20% - 40+% decrease in funding.

Libraries tend to be on a calendar year fiscally, rather than the fiscal year used by the State. (I believe school libraries are on a different fiscal year, too.) So there are overlapping budget years, which is leading to confusion.

Many unintended consequences from the Governor's actions. It is unclear what additional monies from the State may be released and when.

NOVELny costs $2.8 million, which is currently being paid through LSTA funding. BTW the web site is currently being re-designed.

State law Chapter 414 deals with library funding. (Can't find a URL...)

Libraries are like "anchor stores" in a community.

Library Leadership:

We talked about Bernie Margolis, the incoming State Librarian. He is being charged with leading New York State libraries firmly into the 21st Century and placing NYS in a leadership role when it comes to libraries.

Jeff Cannell noted that there was a diverse candidate pool for the position of State Librarian and that Margolis was clearly the best candidate. The group then discussed the future of library leaders. Several noted that the candidate pools for positions seem to be getting smaller. From the discussion, the group said that in order to have a good candidate pool for library leadership positions in the future:
  • Possible future library leaders need to be given leadership experience.
  • Possible future library leaders need to stay in the library profession, rather than moving to other professions.
  • Civil service issues need to be addressed.
  • Current library leaders need to not stay in their jobs too long. If a leader stays in place for many, many years (decades even), those who could succeed may decide to do something else.

State law 90.18:

State law 90.18, which deals with school library systems is being changed in order to:
  • Remove outdated language
  • Clarify text
  • Bring up-to-date with other regulations

Trustee Training:

There was much discussion about the need for library trustee training
. It is hoped that the State -- at some point -- will make trustee training mandatory (similar to school board training).


In 2009, the State will celebrate three anniversaries
  • 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson exploring this region for the Dutch (New Amsterdam).
  • 400th anniversary of the northern region by the French (Samuel de Champlain).
  • 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton’s successful steamboat voyage.
The State Library -- along with the State Archives and State Museum -- will be participating in activities to educate people about this part of our history and to promote these important events. Mentioned during the discussion was the New Netherland Project, which is making original documents more widely available.


  • There is a new Statewide New York State Performers & Programs Database, which libraries can use,
  • The Gates Foundation is working on another grant program and NYS is part of the pilot. The program is to build computing infrastructure for libraries.
  • The New York State Library is participating in the Persistent Digital Archives and Library System (PeDALS) project, which is being funded by NDIIPP.
  • There is a web site geared towards people that might be interested in a career working in a library in NYS. The site is
  • The State Library has been experimenting with resident borrowing. It hopes that a new regulation will be adopted to extend borrowing privileges to all NYS residents.
  • The 2008 annual report for the NYS Research Library is online.

2009 Meeting Schedule:

Our 2009 meeting schedule is:
  • Friday, Jan. 30 - conference call
  • Feb. 24 - legislative visits in Albany
  • April 20 or 21 - Regents Meeting, Albany
  • Sept. 25 - meeting, NYC
  • Dec. 4 - meeting, NYC
During our conference call in January, we will begin to work on our report for the Regents. At this meeting (11/21) we began some discussion about this, with the idea of perhaps emphasizing areas of concern that can be addressed without impacting the budget.

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Podcast: Siva Vaidhyanathan on the Googlization of Everything

In March 2008, Siva Vaidhyanathan spoke at Simmons College and the event was turned into a podcast (71 min.), with a transcript also available. Vaidhyanathan is associate professor of Media Studies and Law at the University of Virginia. Although not a librarian, in 2002, Library Journal cited Vaidhyanathan among its “Movers & Shakers” in the library field.

Vaidhyanathan is currently working on a book entitled The Googlization of Everything: How One Company is Disrupting Culture, Commerce, and Community — And Why We Should Worry, which has a blog.

Vaidhyanathan -- okay, Siva for short -- is interested in the extent which Google has imposed itself on us. Google -- its products/services, appliances, etc. -- are everywhere and are very difficult to avoid. We often use Google without realizing it, because many institutions are using Google tools on their web sites.

Siva noted three areas of life where Google is having an effect (likely there are more):
  • Shaking up the mobile phone industry by working to make the technology open. With people increasingly using mobile phones as Internet appliances, Google needs to be sure that these appliances are able to access everything on the Internet and are not locked into specific tools.
  • Altering the notion of what counts as knowledge. Siva argues that knowledge is "what Google decides is important" and not what we might think is important.
  • Tracking/changing our preferences. Google's records, mines and analyzes what we do in order to customize our search experience. "Search results tailored to the local." In other words, my results in Syracuse, NY on a specific term will likely be different than your results on the same term, because Google wants the results to be customized to fit your point of view (i.e., your location). Even if you do not have a Google account, Google does know your IP address and can use that to customize results.
Siva asks three questions in the podcast:
  • Is it possible to organize the world's information?
  • Is it possible to make that information universally accessible?
  • Is Google the correct vehicle for doing that work?
Siva notes that libraries are charged with organizing knowledge and making it accessible. For example, an academic library might be charged with collection/organization as much information as possible, then making it accessible to the college community. So Google is doing what has historically been done well by libraries.

Siva argues that Google is not the correct resource for this work. One of this reasons is that we know very little about how Google operates. How does Google decide what information to display to you? When Google tweaks its search algorithms, what changes does it make and why? Does Google really select the best resources to display to you?

That last question is an interesting one. Siva says that the web search results are good for Google, Yahoo and MSN (the top three search engines in the U.S.) and likely fairly similar. However, Google Scholar and Google Book Search do not give you the best, most authoritative resources on the first page. He said that if you are knowledgeable about a subject and selected the top five book resources for that topic, then did a Google Book Search, that those five resources will be scattered throughout the search results and will not appear at the top. He gave an example of doing a copyright search which retrieved a very old book as the best resources in Google Book Search (when he did the search).

Siva notes that Google's clients are its advertisers, who pay Google. Google's users (e.g., searchers) don't pay Google. Google tries to keep us happy, but may not try to delight us. In contrast, libraries exist in order to serve their users and librarians (and library workers) aim to delight their users.

So we have Google trying to organize content (top down) and we have users tagging content (bottom up), but what is lacking is information quality control, wisdom and "professionalization." The people who provide this are librarians...and librarians not being properly utilized in this process. Rather than handing this task of building a comprehensive digital library over to Google, Siva believes that we need to sit down "as a species" to understand how to build a universal digital library. And he thinks we need to build this universal digital library slowly, so that "quality and utility" can be priorities. He sees UNESCO and the Library of Congress as being instrumental in this. This, he believes, is too important to leave to one company, whose processes are unknown.

There is so much in this podcast, but I want to end with one more tidbit that occurs early in his presentation. Siva said, "the more motivated subjects and groups get privileged [online], not necessarily the most popular, dominant or relevant." Fringe groups have been able to use the Internet to ensure that their information is easily found. Historically, some searches brought up fringe information (e.g., Holocaust denial sites) before sites that would be deemed more legitimate. For example, does a search on the phrase "popular religions" really retrieve what you expect? He noted that Google altered its algorithms so that the results more closely match our expectations (e.g., on the holocaust), but what did Google change in order to do this? We'll never know.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you will know that I mention Siva occasionally. I was fortunate to hear him speak in May 2007 and found him incredibly insightful (and really down to earth). Even though I am biased, I think this is a podcast that everyone, who is involved in digitization and digital libraries, should listen to. It will make you stop and think...and ask a few questions. (And those are all good things to do.)

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Podcast: Nora Young interviewing Don Tapscott on the "Net Generation"

Earlier this month, Nora Young of CBC Radio interviewed Don Tapscott (24 min.). Tapscott is the the author of several books, including most recently Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is changing your world. In the interview, he outlines several norms for digital natives (or Net Gen as he calls them), including their desire:
  • To customize everything.
  • For choice.
  • To scrutinize things.
  • For innovation.
  • For speed in everything.
  • To have fun with the products and services that they use.
I highly recommend that you listen to the podcast (perhaps even twice), because Tapscott presents information on this generation clearly and in a way that will make you think.

And as you listen to the podcast, think about your digitization program and the web site you have created for it. Will digital natives -- including those school students that you want to use the information -- find it attractive? Will they be able to interact with the information in ways that they find appropriate? Or will they find that your site is similar to a department store window (which you can only look at and not do anything else with)? Will your site hold their attention or will they walk away?

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Copyright Clearnance Center launches Ozmo for licensing digital content

I blogged about this yesterday in the SLA IT Division Blogging Section Blog and included the press release. This seems geared towards people who have digital content that they want to sell or license, not organization that have massive content. I wonder, though, what would happen if a digitization program used it to license high quality images from their collection? Would there be a way to input items quickly into Ozmo (bulk loading) or is the process geared towards doing one item at a time?

Some digitization programs might want to use Ozmo (if getting their stuff in there isn't tedious) in order to expose their materials to a different market -- a market that is willing to pay.

I wonder, too, how many sales -- for a specific program -- would make the effort deemed worthwhile?

I have lots of questions. I hope some members of the blogosphere will experiment with Ozmo and provide a few answers.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on what the Google Book Search settlement means (and my vision of Google's future)

Since my posts on the Google settlement (here and here), more people have weighed in on what it means. I appreciate everyone who has waded through the proposed settlement and figured out why we should be concerned. One of those people is Jill O'Neill, from NFAIS, who wrote in an email to me (quoted with permission):
Clearly all parties involved in this settlement believe that a searchable repository of book material that has been evaluated and selected by research-oriented librarians represents an information resource of value to knowledge workers, researchers, students and scholars. Despite PR window dressing, very little attention was paid to the general public's interest in and need for access to a fully functional repository. Google Book Search and Google Scholar are aimed at elite populations, just as are the services from NFAIS member organizations. The question becomes whether Google Book Search is a glorified card catalog or if it matches the value and quality of licensed content offerings on platforms from Ebsco, Proquest and Dialog.
O'Neill's email sent my mind in motion and you might not like how my thoughts flowed. (What follows is totally my opinion.)

EBSCO, ProQuest, and others spend a lot time selecting their information sources.
Their reputations are built upon those selections as well as their ability to update their sources quickly and to provide flexible search options. Having worked for a company that was negotiating content for building a search engine, I can tell you that the negotiations go slowly and that much work goes into ensure that the data from those sources is loaded correctly. Quality is extremely important. Missing pages, blurred pages, etc., due operator error are not tolerated.

Also important is depth and completeness of the content. "Holes" in the content -- however they might manifest themselves -- are bad. Sometimes they cannot be avoided (often due to specific licensing agreements). Professional searchers pride themselves on knowing which service has a more complete run of specific journals or higher quality information or more depth of content.

With Google Book Search, the company is digitizing materials that have been selected by librarians who specialize in specific subject areas. (Subject-specific librarians exist in academic research libraries.) Google doesn't have to do any selection because that work has been done for them. But libraries and their users don't just rely on the books in their libraries, they also access books in other libraries through interlibrary loan. And they use databases -- provided by services such as EBSCO, ProQuest and Dialog -- to complement what is in the physical library.

So what does Google need in order to match the value and quality of content that exists in libraries? They need the type of content that is held by fee-based services like EBSCO, ProQuest and Dialog. (Yes, there are many others.)

On June 18, I wondered out loud in the SLA Blog if Google would -- at some point -- purchase Dialog, which had just been purchased by ProQuest. In a comment to that post, Roger Summit wondered what would have happened if Google had purchased Dialog instead of ProQuest. I now know the answer to Summit's question -- We would be closer to having a true digital library, held by one company, that would meet the needs students, researchers and knowledge workers. Yes, this would be a collection for the elite -- those on the good side of the digital and information divide. And it would send shivers through the information industry.

So, here's the next question: Does Google have the vision and guts to do this? We'll have to stay tuned for the answer.

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Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter

The latest issue of Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter is available. In it is an article on "Meeting the Challenge: Federal Agencies Collaborate on Digitization Guidelines."

To subscribe to this newsletter, go to this web page, type in your e-mail address and press Enter. After you confirm your email address, you'll be asked to select what you want to receive from the LOC -- scroll down and click on “Digital Preservation.”

If you are interested in past newsletters, they are archived online in PDF/A.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Report: Keeping the records of science accessible: can we afford it?

Keeping the records of science accessible: can we afford it? is a 14-page report on the 2008 Annual Conference of the Alliance for Permanent Access, held in Budapest on Nov. 4, 2008. Abstract:
This summary aims to highlight those presentations and comments with the greatest relevance for the key theme of the conference, ‘Business models for permanent access’, leaving the reader to gain more detailed insights from the individual powerpoint presentations. Reported by Inge Angevaare, coordinator of the Netherlands Coalition for Digital Preservation.
I won't have time to read this for a while, but as I skim through the report, these points from Neil Williams stand out:
  • Massive and rapidly increasing data flood
  • Responsibility to preserve the correct data, for future need
  • Importance of unified policy either at (inter)national or disciplinary level
  • Preservation is a specialist skill in its own right. Be clear, and separate who is responsible for archiving data (the provider) and preserving and organising the archive (the archivist).

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

For New Yorkers: Budget cuts to further impact libraries

Earlier this week, I posted about the legislative session at the New York Library Association Annual Conference. On Wednesday, Governor Paterson announced proposed additional cuts in the current NYS budget. The proposal includes an additional $20 million cut in library aid, on top of the cuts that have already been made. If this is adopted, library aid will have been cut 22% this year. (It should be noted that libraries in NYS are already underfunded.) This reportedly will roll-back state funding for libraries to the level in 1993 (15 years ago). This is occurring when library use is increasing (due to the recession) and cost of library resources continues to increase.

As has been repeated many times recently, libraries provide free access to information, but libraries are not free. There is a cost to running them and ensuring that they are meeting the needs of their patrons.

And while we might think that this cut will impact only public libraries, keep in mind that many non-public libraries in the state rely on resources that are made available to all New Yorkers. This cut will impact knowledge-seeker in the State.

For more information on the proposed cut and its impact, go to the NYLA web site.

BTW many digitization programs receive funding through local and national grants. Are budgets tighten, we should expect that the amount of grants funds available for these programs will tighten, too.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Old Fulton NY Post Cards" is more than it seems

This blog post is long overdue...

During the summer, I ventured to Fulton, NY to visit the public library and to talk to Tom Tryniski, who runs the site "Old Fulton NY Post Cards." First of all, the site isn't really about postcards. Yes, it started as a small postcard digitization program, but has grown to be so much more. When I saw him, Tryniski has digitized over 6.12 million old New York State historical newspaper pages and would soon be placing another 1.3 million pages online. That's more than 2.8 terabytes of content from 1837 to 2007. This has translated into the site being a popular destination for people who are doing research (more than 1.4 million hits in 30 days).

When I first heard about Tom Tryniski earlier in the summer, I was amazed that I hadn't heard of the project sooner. When I met him, I understood why. This isn't a library doing a project or some other organization. This project is a labor of love by a former IT executive, who has the skills, technology and time to created a growing archive. At first, Tryniski digitized postcards that he had received and placed them online. When they got positive feedback, he digitized some other materials. Soon he stumbled upon content that was rich in information -- newspapers -- and began digitizing newspapers from microfilm. The amount of content he has digitized is amazing. what about his "process"? Is he following recommended practices? As we talked, he told me about his equipment, etc., and - yes - his is following recommended practices. In talking about the equipment he uses, Tryniski says on the site, "Old Newspapers found on this site has have been Scanned by production grade Wicks and Wilson Microfilm scanners which in the authors opinion are the Finest available. " Yes, he backs up and backs up and backs up. (This is a former IT guy, remember.)

Does he copyright clear the materials? Tryniski has a good understanding of copyright and the public domain. When things are not in the public domain, he seeks permission. In some cases, he has worked directly with content sources on digitizing materials and they've given him permission. When taking about copyright, Tryniski often points people to Mary Minow's article "Library Digitization Projects and Copyright." (BTW I mentioned Peter Hirtle's chart to him, which I find very valuable.)

Why does he do this? Tryniski recognizes that there is a lot of valuable content in newspapers and other analogue sources. He also knows that many small libraries and historical societies don't have the capacity to do this work (or even pay for it). Therefore, he set himself on a mission that bring a huge smile to his face when he talks about it. And he is open to working with any organization to further this cause. His only stipulation is that whatever he digitizes, he is able to add to his collection and give people free access to it.

What concerns does he have about this work? Actually, he and I have the same concern about various efforts to compile historic information online. I worry about projects, like this one by Joyce Tice, that are done by volunteers. I worry about the content surviving long-long-term. For example, what happens when the volunteers are old and unable to maintain the site? Have they made provisions for someone to take over? Personally, I think it would be great if there were someone (or an organization) that was willing to "inherit" these sites in order to ensure their longevity. (BTW if you search for my name on that site -- once you figure out how to search the site -- you'll see that I have a vested interest in having this site not disappear.) I did not ask Tryniski what specific long-term plans he had made, but given his passion, I'm sure he's already got that documented.

And what do I think of the "Old Fulton NY Post Cards" site? Wow...what a lot of content! What is missing for me is information on the project's background and standards, as well as a list of content sources. I wish the site was less animated, which some may find inhibiting. It would be great to have resources available to help students, teachers and researchers understand and use the materials. The things I want are things that you will see in digitization projects that have been done by institutions, but this is one person and a labor of love. I wonder if he would be open to having interns, who could add supporting materials to the site?

Now that I have told you about it, go check it out!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

JISC study on Digital Preservation Policies

In case you haven't seen this announcement in email:
The JISC are pleased to announce the publication of a study on Digital Preservation Policies which can be downloaded in PDF format from

A major business driver in all universities and colleges over the past decade has been harnessing digital content and electronic services and the undoubted benefits in terms of flexibility and increased productivity they can bring. The priority in recent years has been on developing e-strategies and infrastructure to underpin electronic access and services and to deliver those benefits. However any long-term access and future benefit may be heavily dependent on digital preservation strategies being in place and underpinned by relevant policy and procedures. This should now be an increasing area of focus in our institutions.

This JISC funded study completed by Charles Beagrie Ltd aims to provide an outline model for digital preservation policies and to analyse the role that digital preservation can play in supporting and delivering key strategies for Higher and Further Education Institutions. Although focussing on the UK Higher and Further Education sectors, the study draws widely on policy and implementations from other sectors and countries and will be of interest to those wishing to develop policy and justify investment in digital preservation within a wide range of institutions.

Two tools have been created in this study:

1) a model/framework for digital preservation policy and implementation clauses based on examination of existing digital preservation policies;

2) a series of mappings of digital preservation to other key institutional strategies in UK universities and colleges including Research, Teaching and Learning, Information, Libraries, and Records Management.

Our aim has been to help institutions and their staff develop appropriate digital preservation policies and clauses set in the context of broader institutional strategies.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

For New Yorkers: Notes from NYLA legislative & library leaders, and Commissioner Mills

NYLA session on Nov. 7On Friday, I was able to attend two events at the New York Library Association annual conference where the future of library funding in New York State was discussed. The speakers were:
  • Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, District 88 and Chair, Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology
  • Assemblyman Marcus Molinaro, District 103 (corrected 11/12/2008)
  • Assemblyman Robert Reilly, District 109
  • Mark Leinung, Governor's Assistant Secretary for Education
  • Richard Strauss, President, New York State Association of Library Boards
  • Kathy Miller, Chair, NYLA Legislative Committee
  • Regent James C. Dawson
  • Jeffry Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education and Interim State Librarian
  • Richard P. Mills, President of The University of the State of New York (USNY) and Commissioner of Education (Commissioner Mills has announced that he will step down from his position in June 2009.)
Introduced was Bernard A. Margolis who will assume the position of New York State Librarian in January 2009. Among the 100+ people in the audience were staff from the State Library, representatives of various library consortia, and members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries (Gerald Nichols, Sara Kelly Johns and myself).

Notes below are grouped by speaker and are not a transcript. Some are just sound-bites.

  • 20% of the State's yearly income comes from taxes paid by Wall Street (business and personal taxes, etc.)
  • One-third of children in NYS do not receive a high school diploma.
  • Just getting more money for libraries doesn't solve the (fiscal) crisis that is occurring.
  • Need consolidation of services.
  • Need to straighten out structures.
  • We tend to cut services, but don't fix bureaucracies.
  • We need to work our way out (of this mess), not cut our way out.
  • A strong public library is a part of a strong democratic society.
  • Our most precious commodity is information.
  • When Wall Street sneezes, NYS get a cold. NYS is getting pneumonia.
  • 160,000 people may loss their jobs in the state. 6.5% unemployment rate.
  • Deficit is $47 billion in four years and is the largest in the State's history.
  • There is a 35% gap in the general fund used by NYS.
  • As the state looks at what to cut, nothing is sacred.
  • A library is an economic engine in the community.
  • Library trustees must unit to sustain and improve library funding across NYS. Need consistent and stable funding.
  • State needs to provide trustee training. Should be mandatory for all trustees in NYS. They are trying to make this a law.
  • Across NYS, library systems are providing Internet access and continued learning through the library for unaffiliated people.
  • Libraries are part of the education infrastructure.
  • Libraries are the poster child for efficiency.
  • Librarians are forceful, knowledgeable and polite. Librarians need to be less polite as they ask for funding.
  • Libraries are a place for people to improve their quality of life.
  • Need to think outside the box in regards to advocacy.
  • Need to get users involved in our advocacy efforts and create a bigger movement.
  • Need to tell legislators what is really happening in our libraries.
  • Need to compete against the other interest groups.
From left - Jeffrey Cannell, James Dawson and Richard MillsCannell:
  • In talking about the budget, he said "everyone needs to get their allowance."
  • Within the budget discussion, member items are also being discussed.
  • This crisis is a change to learn how to be more nimble.
  • Need less regulation.
  • Important to get to fundamentals.
  • "I cannot live without books" - Thomas Jefferson. Mills then modified it to say, "I cannot live as a free person without books."
  • "A library is the most democratic of all institutions."
  • "The reach of libraries is vastly greater" now.
  • "A library is where people go to learn the language."
  • Libraries...
    • Lost 2% in the last budget
    • Lost 3.35% in operating funds (early this year)
    • Lost an additional 7% in July in operating funds (clarified: 11/12/2008)
    • Have lost $874,000 this year due to state funding cuts
  • Governor wants to cut another $2 billion from the budget this month.
  • Cultural Education's income (day-to-day sustaining budget) is primarily from various fees (e.g., real estate transactions). It also receives some federal money. The fees need to increase in order to sustains the Department (from $15/transaction to $22.50). Cultural Education includes the State Library, State Archives and State Museum. (clarified: 11/12/2008)
  • Advocacy needs to be local and regional.
  • Advocacy needs to be fact-based.
  • We need to get legislators into our libraries, so they can see what is happening there.
  • All cultural institutions in the State are under the University of the State of New York (USNY).
  • "Everyone needs resources. What value do we add?"
  • 1.5 million children have been in free literacy programs.
  • The average book in a school library in NYS is 21-25 years old. The amount spent on library resources for pupils needs to increase from $.625 to $10,00 per student.
  • A family without books cannot educate its children without a library.
  • The Regents are working to raise education standards, graduation standards, and graduation rates.
Audience Member:
  • Libraries are an economic force in the community. Libraries hire local people and services.
  • Librarians have master degrees. Why not use libraries and librarians more in the State as resources to get things done? Libraries are not seen as partners. They are not integrated into other State activities.
Audience Member:
  • Libraries are not free, but they provide free access.
  • Should be mandatory to have librarians in every school.
  • Libraries need "just a little bit of money."
Audience Member:
  • Should use library school students to help with advocacy efforts.
Audience Member:
  • "We're not far from closing the doors" on our libraries.
Audience Member:
  • Cutting libraries is not going to save the budget.
  • Think about the future.
  • Libraries are a life-line.
I believe that I noted all of the figures mentioned correctly. If I did not, I hope people will leave comments to correct me. (And let me know of other mistakes too! This is important stuff and worth getting correct.)

Thanks to Sara Kelly Johns for allowing me to use her photos.

Corrections and clarifications made on 11/12/2008.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blog post: Quality of Book Digitization

Tim O'Reilly asked to use comments by Juliet Sutherland of Distributed Proofreaders as a guest blog post. Sutherland, whose organization does all the quality checking and correction for Project Gutenberg, is concerned about the quality being produced by mass digitization programs, i.e., missing pages. Her concerns are with projects such as those run by Google and the Internet Archive, while she says:
Our experience with various (book page) image archives suggests that those archives associated with libraries are usually reasonably good.
Her comments are well thought out and articulated. Worth looking at.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

MOS: le magazine du stockage et de la gestion d'informations

Francis Pelletier from MOS magazine mailed to me the August and September 2008 issues, which contained information on new and interesting products. MOS: le magazine du stockage et de la gestion d'informations (the magazine of storage and management of information) is written in French, so let me try to give you a bit of information on the articles of interest, as well as links for more details.

The August issue had an article on Pixelion (Aix-en-Provence, France), a company produces software for image processing. (Check the web site for more information.)

There was also an article on "des microformes de haute densite pour un archivage perenne" (microforms of high density for a perennial filing). The photos in the article were intriguing. Since my French is not that good, I checked online for information on the company mentioned and found this text:
La société ARnanO est l’une des dernières start up créée par le laboratoire français LETI (Laboratoire d’Electronique et de Technologie de l’Information) , avec la vocation de développer les produits avancés permettant la gravure de graphismes ou de textes infiniment petits et inaltérables.
A rough translation is:
The company is one ARnanO recent start-ups created by the French laboratory LETI (Laboratory of Electronics and Information Technology), with the aim to develop advanced products to burn graphics or text and infinitely small and unalterable.
It looks like the micro-images are stored in very high density on a "wafer" that is 200 mm in diameter.

Also in the August issue was an article on NanoArk (Rochester, NY), which is using waferfiche(TM) for long-term storage. The NanoArk web site says:
In the Waferfiche(TM) technology, data is stored in such a way that it is visible to the human eye with or without magnification. The data from print, digital or any other media is converted to images as a first step. These images, with the help of photolithography tools and fabrication techniques are then imprinted and etched on silicon wafers. The use of silicon makes the information temporarily resistant to high temperatures (up to 400°C) and water, ensuring longevity, which is very useful in preserving documents. In this technique, since the stored data is not processed or digitized before storing, the data is stored for long periods without any loss of data over time. The added advantage of the new technique is retrieval of the data can be as simple and straightforward as magnifying the image on the silicon wafers thereby eliminating the need for a computer. This feature enables archival of data in a technology free environment. Also depending upon the semiconductor fabrication technique used (smallest feature size in the order of 200 nm, 100nm, 90 nm or below), nano-scale images can be imprinted thereby making it possible to store large amount of data on a single silicon wafer.
I suspect -- but could be wrong -- that ARnanO and NanoArk are working on similar solutions for long-term storage of information. We know that microforms are the best solution for long-term preservation of information. These wafers seem to allow for much more information to be stored and on a medium that is less susceptible to environmental changes.

Finally, in the September issue is an article on book scanners produced by Metis Systems. The company has two book scanner: DRS 5070 and DRS A1 Plus. From what I can tell, the operator must turn the pages. They also make a large format scanner (DRS 2AO).

For those of you in Europe, who perhaps have read these articles OR are familiar with the companies mentioned, please leave a comment if you can provide more information. Thank you!

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Video: Brewster Kahle: A digital library, free to the world

This 20-minute video on the web site became available in September 2008, but the talk is from December 2007. At 7 minutes into the video, Kahle talks about using a $100 laptop as an ebook reader. At 9 minutes, he talks about digitizing books and about using robotic book scanners then about creating their own.

He also talks about capturing and storing film, audio, video (e.g., TV), and software at the Internet Archive.

Kahle is always informative and always make a compelling case. To me -- although he is not always in the limelight -- he is one of the people who is moving book digitization through his actions as well as his words.

Below you may only see two "boxes" asking you to select the video player that you want to use. (At least, that is what I see.) Pick a player and the video should begin.

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The Vietnam Center and Archive (and John McCain)

For those interested in the Vietnam War, this is a wonderful archive and digital collection. Interestingly, it also contains materials that mention John McCain.

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U.S. Presidential Election

Today is the first Tuesday in November, which means it is time for the general election in the United States. Every four years, we elect a president. Below is a short video about the presidential election process.

If you are following people on Twitter or FriendFeed, for example, it is likely that you are seeing many voting-related posts. This election is a big deal...perhaps the most important election since Kennedy-Nixon in 1960 (Kennedy won). This election has captivated people and it is expected to draw many more people to the polls than normal. What is most interesting about this election is that people have become very involved in this election -- there is more talk, more analysis from ordinary people, etc. "We the people" understand that we have a role in deciding how government is run and who our leader is.

I am sure that this election will be analyzed for years to come. Seth Godin has already posted his analysis -- Marketing lessons from the US election -- which is worth reading.

I suspect that people will get some work done today in the U.S., but don't expect miracles. We're focused on the election and who our next President of the United States (POTUS) will be!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Jill's November schedule

It's November and a time when the weather really changes here in New York State. With that in mind, this Thursday, I will be driving to Saratoga Spring, NY for the New York Library Association Annual Conference. Thursday night, I will attend the Syracuse University iSchool alumni reception. Friday, I'll be at the conference all day and will be part of a panel called "Meet the Bloggers" (4 p.m.) where I and two others will talk about our experience as library bloggers and provide tips to the audience. If you are attending the conference, please feel free to stop me and say "hi". Who knows...maybe we can grab a cup of coffee?!

I do have two other business trips planned for later in the month, so you might see in an airport to/from Texas (Nov. 12 - 14) or in New York City on Nov. 21 for the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting. If we do cross paths, remember -- say "hi"!

My December and 2009 schedule is on the left side of this blog. Please take a look. For more information on any of the events on my calendar, please contact the sponsoring organization or me. If you would me to speak at your event, please give me a shout.

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