Friday, July 31, 2009

The Paper of Record - good news

On July 13, I finally blogged about the changes and problems with the Paper of Record, which had been bought by and integrated into Google. Commenters noted that there were still problems. Well, today that blog post received the following comment (links added):
Finally, we've just completed another go around with Google and will return in it's normal form at World Vital Records. Institutional subscribers will access POR in the format most academics and students have grown accustomed to. A press release will follow in the next few days.


Bob Huggins
I know of many people who will be anxious to read the press release. I'm sure that once the Paper of Record is available through World Vital Records that researchers will test the archive for completeness. I hope that they truly do find everything that has been lacking on the Google site.

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Books about digital libraries available for the Kindle

I had someone comment (in Facebook) after my blog post yesterday that:
a digital library could be considered the downloads everything you want from newspapers to books
And that got me thinking about what is available for a Kindle. Lo and behold, there are books about digital libraries available for the Kindle! Even the textbook I'm using this fall (Understanding Digital Libraries, Second Edition) for my digital libraries class is available for the Kindle. I wonder if any of my students will read it in that format? Guess I'll have to survey the class and ask.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

What is a digital library? I need YOUR definition.

What is a digital library? The answer seems easy, but is it?

In Building Digital Libraries: A How-to-do-it Manual , Reese and Banerjee use these words when talking about a digital library:
It is not just the information itself, but the organization, structure, and presentation of that information, that give a repository its value.
Many others have also tried to describe a digital library, such as:
CESA8 in Wisconsin:
A digital library is a collection of documents in organized electronic form, available on the Internet or on CD-ROM (compact-disk read-only memory) disks. Depending on the specific library, a user may be able to access magazine articles, books, papers, images, sound files, and videos.
World Technology Evaluation Center Inc. (WTEC):
an integrated set of services for capturing, cataloging, storing, searching, protecting, and retrieving information
Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science (ODLIS):
A library in which a significant proportion of the resources are available in machine-readable format (as opposed to print or microform), accessible by means of computers. The digital content may be locally held or accessed remotely via computer networks.
ConfusionAll of these definitions are similar, but there are differences. For example, the ODLIS includes non-digital content in its definition. WTEC includes activities that occur outside of the public eye, like cataloguing. Intriguing.

In reality, many things are named digital libraries. A library may name its online presence a digital library. A specific online collection may be called a digital library (e.g.). A database may be considered a digital library (e.g.).

So given the differences in definitions that exist and how the term is actually used, how should we be defining digital libraries? Is it true, as David Lankes has insinuated, that that the more we know about digital libraries, the harder they are to define?

And so my challenge. I would like to collect from you how you define digital libraries and what you use as good (and bad) examples of what a digital library is. Not only do I want your words and examples to help educate us all on what digital libraries are, but I also want to point graduate students to your ideas as they learn about DLs.

With all of that in mind, I hope you'll take up my challenge....

Please create a blog post, audio (podcast) or video (vodcast) where you talk about your definition of a digital library and provide examples that support your definition. Please include a little information about yourself and what you do, which will help to provide context for your definition.

And please include in the resultant web page a link back to this blog post, which will help me (and others) find your work.

If you do not have a blog and would like to do a blog post defining digital libraries, please contact me about having your post become part of Digitization 101.

Question? Let me know!

Now I'll begin sitting on pins-and-needles waiting for your thoughts on this!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Three-Pronged Solution for Largeformat, Document and Film Scanning

When I think of case studies, I think of unbiased works that talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. Vendors who write their own case studies don't do that. Yet this one is of interest because it shows that digitization vendors are willing to create new hardware-software combinations to satisfy a client's needs.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Event: Digital Curation and Preservation Outreach and Capacity Building Event

From an email announcement....
Digital Curation and Preservation Outreach and Capacity Building Event
14-15 September 2009
Holiday Inn, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Joint Systems Information Committee (JISC) and the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) in co-operation with the Strategic Content Alliance (SCA), the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce that we will deliver a joint two-day workshop in Belfast to help to establish more effective digital curation and preservation networks of support across the UK and between domains of public sector activity.

In particular, this workshop will explore:
  • the current capacity of small and medium-sized organisations (including universities) to effectively undertake long-term preservation of digital materials
  • how the mixture of organisations and support agencies in the area of digital preservation and curation can best work together, and how they relate to international initiatives
  • recent and emerging technical developments in the curation and preservation field
The workshop will provide a mixture of presentations, breakout sessions and practical exercises and aims to:
  • inform the ongoing refinement of the content and objectives of training and professional development courses for the widest possible audience.
  • establish requirements for curation and preservation support, advice, and guidance for various domains from both a local and UK wide perspective.
To this end, the workshop will provide half-day taster courses for both Digital Curation 101 (DC 101) and Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) courses.

Benefits of participation will include:
Participation in this workshop will provide registrants with an opportunity to establish peer support networks to share their concerns, experiences, and approaches both with colleagues from Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK for digital curation and preservation activity within their institutions. The workshop will also enable participants to help inform the development of future training and professional development courses to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
Following this event, a short report will be drafted offering:
  • Recommendations for improved local and UK-wide communications and interactions between a range of support networks and public sector institutions;
  • A summary of local and UK-wide training and professional development requirements as gathered from the workshop participants.
  • A set of recommendations from a local and UK-wide perspective to inform the future development of digital curation and preservation training courses.
The venue:

The workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn, Belfast. If required, accommodation will be provided on-site for participants for the nights of September 13th and 14th 2009.

Holiday Inn
22 Ormeau Avenue

For directions to the venue, please see


Registration is open to participants from the university; schools; library; cultural heritage; local government; health; public broadcasting sectors. Preference will be given to participants from Northern Ireland but will also be open to eligible registrants from the rest of the UK and from the Republic of Ireland. Registration is free and participation is limited to 40 participants.

To register for this event, please complete the online form at

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Friday, July 24, 2009 adds collections

I don't blog much about new digital collections, but thought I would about this one. Why? I think this is a great example of how long it can take to go from an idea to a fully formed program.

In 1998, at least two of the multi-type library consortia in New York State began planning for digitization programs. Since then, each of the nine multi-type library consortia in the State have created digitization plans and embarked on a program. But most took a while to get started. Some even started, then stopped when member libraries realized that to capitalize on the promise of digitization took a lot of work. (I refer to this as "hitting the wall". They went from "wow" to "oh no" and came to a complete stop.)

From that slow beginning, and starts-n-stops, have emerged nine well-thought out programs. In 2007, they began to think about the next step -- could the develop a statewide digital repository? When a collaborative grant proposal didn't receive funding, the nine consortia looked to see if they could do something on their own. Their resolve launches New York Heritage is a research portal that provide entree into the digital collections of the nine library consortia (or New York 3R Councils). As the site says:
When doing a search from the search box, this website will locate items that match your search criteria in all collections in all NY 3Rs CONTENTdm sites. Your search results may retrieve items from only one collection or multiple collections depending on the topic. When you click on a particular item in the search results a new window will open directly into the regional 3Rs CONTENTdm site and specifically into the collection in which the item is housed.
The site launched in 2008 and has continued to grow since then (as you can see below).

10 years is a long time, but sometimes it takes a long time to go from baby steps to running a marathon. Yes...digitization programs are like marathons. Much has to happen before any work is done. Most of all, the people need to be committed to the effort. Resources need to allocated and always available. And everyone needs to keep their eye on the goal. adds collections

The New York 3Rs Association has added sixteen more online collections to its collective digital heritage web site, The site now connects more than 200 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.

New materials include the Historical Portraits Collection from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Elmira College's Mark Twain Archive, the New York Historical Association's Murder Pamphlet Collection Exhibit , early Robert Montgomery materials housed at the Trinity-Pawling School Collection, Alfred University's Image Archives, Rochester Medical Museum and Archives, NYU's Abraham Lincoln Brigade Collection, images from the Onondaga Nation at the Liverpool Public Library, folk art collections at the Crandall Public Library Folklife Center, the Steinmetz Collection of Schenectady, the Almquist Green Lakes Collection housed at the Fayetteville Public Library, and many others from around the state. For an up-to-date list of collections and contributors, please go to

Additionally, The Tools of History regional digitization site, created by the South Central Regional Library Council, has been added, as have been the Rochester Regional Library Council's Finger Lakes-Genesee Valley Heritage and the Capital District Library Council Digital Collections regional sites.

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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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Event: Frankfurt Book Fair

The 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) will occur on October 14-18 in Frankfurt, Germany. According to the materials I received, the Fair includes:
  • 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries
  • 299,000 visitors
  • 10,000 journalists
  • 2,900 events
Individual registration cost range from Euro 23 to Euro 56.

On interesting event will occur on Oct. 13 and is called Tools of Change Frankfurt. According to the web site:
"Tools of Change for Publishing" (TOC), the most important US conference for innovation in the publishing industry, is celebrating its European premiere. The Frankfurt Book Fair is now bringing this leading event to Frankfurt, in cooperation with O'Reilly Media, Inc.

TOC Frankfurt will take place on 13 October 2009, immediately preceding the fair, in Frankfurt. The one-day conference is aimed at international industry players. It provides them with a comprehensive overview of trends, innovations and issues dealing with the future of publishing.

"Connect with Global Publishing Innovation"

Under the motto "Connect with Global Publishing Innovation", experts will present the newest technological developments. In doing so, they will also feature possible business models for the future. In addition, O'Reilly CEO and Web 2.0 pioneer Tim O'Reilly will communicate his very personal vision of the future of the industry.

Check the site for additional information.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Report on the First International Workshop on Innovation in Digital Preservation (InDP 2009)

While this D-Lib article is of interest, what really stood out was that:
All presentations were filmed by Spencer Lee (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) and will be made available in Second Life on the virtual island of Digital Preserve via streaming video.
The workshop had sixteen participants, so filming then streaming the video in Second Life is an interesting way of making the content more broadly available.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

iPRES 2009 - registration is now open

IPRES 2009 (International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects) is the sixth annual event in the series. This year, the conference is back in the U.S. and will be held in San Francisco. The conference brings together researchers and practitioners from around the world to explore the latest trends, innovations, and practices in preserving our scientific and cultural digital heritage. iPRES will occur on Oct. 5 & 6 and there are several related events on Oct. 7 - 9.

Registration costs are (U.S. Dollars):
  • Through September 11, 2009: $275.00
  • September 11-30, 2009: $325.00
  • After September 30, 2009: $400.00
Having been to iPRES 2006, I can tell you that this conference is definitely worthwhile!

(Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be at this one...)

09/18/2009: I had intended to go to iPRES because it is back in the U.S., but a realistic look at my schedule and commitments convinced me that I should use other methods to learn more about digital preservation.

More information - Related Digitization 101 blog posts on past iPRES events.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

A good analogy for the size and requirements of digitization programs

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Gregg Tripoli, executive director of the Onondaga Historical Association Museum & Research Center. Before the meeting that we were both attending, our conversation rambled and at one point we talked about homes. Yankees baseball player, Derek Jeter, is building a 31,000 square-foot home in Tampa, FL. I suspect that most homes in my neighborhood are around 1,200 sq. ft. Gregg spoke of a home that has 2,800 sq. ft. that he is acquainted with. Each home required a different number of people to maintain it. That conversation laid the groundwork for a great analogy later in the day.

Digitization programs come in different sizes.

Some organizations conceive of small programs whose long-term maintenance can be done in-house by a few people. This is like the owners of a 1,200 sq. ft. house who can do the upkeep themselves.

Some organizations conceive of programs that will require a group of people who can handle different chores on an as-needed basis. Some large homes, especially vacation homes, operate on this principle. Everything is maintained as long as each person does his/her job. If the people are doing this as "side jobs" or as volunteers, there could eventually be problems when people get tired of doing their chores.

Then there are large programs that require a team that works constantly to keep things going. This is like Derek Jeter's home. With 31,000 sq. ft., staff will have to be available all the time to ensure that nothing goes wrong. So too the large scale digitization programs and large digital library programs that are becoming more the norm.

Unfortunately, some large programs think that they don't need many resources to maintain their efforts. They want the owner to maintain a 31,000 sq. ft. house by himself. That just doesn't work.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book: Building Digital Libraries: A How-to-do-it Manual

I am continuing to read and think about digital libraries. As I peeked around the Internet for additional resources, this 2008 book -
Building Digital Libraries: A How-to-do-it Manual - by Terry Reese and Kyle Banerjee came to my attention. Chapters include:
  • Planning a Digital Repository
  • Acquiring, Processing, Classifying, and Describing Digital Content
  • Choosing a Repository Architecture
  • General Purpose Technologies Useful for Digital Repositories
  • Metadata Formats
  • Sharing Data: Metadata Harvesting and Distribution
  • Federated Searching of Repositories
  • Access Management
  • Planning for the Future
In the preface, they provide this reason for the book:
A digital library exists within a very different framework. A single resource (e.g., a portal) may consist of objects in many formats (full-text articles, databases, etc.), yet each of these objects is a resource in its own right. These objects may be updated frequently, and their original formats may become obsolete as technological developments lead to new types of information resources. Due to these differences, creating a digital library requires a new set of skills. Building Digital Libraries: A How-to-do-it Manual® is a tool kit for the new world of digital libraries. It demystifies the challenges of designing, constructing, and maintaining a digital repository.
While we may all us different terms to describe what a digital library is, I like this:
It is not just the information itself, but the organization, structure, and presentation of that information, that give a repository its value.
Those three things - organization, structure and presentation - are concepts that every digital library (and digitization program) should keep in mind. This book seems like a good complement to the Lesk book.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Article: Antitrust and the Google Books Settlement: The Problem of Simultaneity

The 26-page paper is available for download (free). I'm putting it on my "to read" list and hope to get to it soon.

By the way, Eric Fraser holds both an MBA and a JD from the University of Chicago.

Fraser, Eric M., Antitrust and the Google Books Settlement: The Problem of Simultaneity (June 10, 2009). Available at the Social Science Research Network:

Google Books represents the latest attempt at the centuries-old goal to build a universal library. In 2004, Google started scanning books from libraries around the world. Although it made copyright licensing agreements with some publishers, it did not obtain permission from each rights-holder before scanning, indexing, and displaying portions of books from the stacks of libraries. Unsurprisingly, authors and publishers sued for copyright violations. Google settled the class action lawsuit in a sweeping agreement that has raised suspicion from librarians, users, and the government. In this paper, I analyze the antitrust and competition issues in the settlement agreement. I find that the simultaneous aspects of agreements and pricing pose serious antitrust problems. The settlement effectively gives Google simultaneous agreements with virtually all the rights-holders to in-copyright American books. It also requires that Google set prices for books simultaneously. In a competitive market, both agreements and pricing would occur independently. Under current law, however, no potential competitor can make agreements with the rights-holders to orphan works. The simultaneity, therefore, concentrates pricing power, leading to cartel pricing (a problem under § 1 of the Sherman Act) and monopolization (a § 2 problem).

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bagit: Transferring Content for Digital Preservation (video)

The Library of Congress, along with the California Digital Library and Stanford University, have "developed guidelines for creating and moving standardized digital containers, called “bags.” A bag functions like a physical envelope that is used to send content through the mail but with bags, a user sends content from one computer to another." In order to explain BagIt, the LOC has released a video on its web site and a transcript of the video is also available.

The tools are available for download via SourceForge. Documentation is available on the LOC web site.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Problems and resolution with the Paper of Record (Google)

Back in Dec. 2008, I noted that Google has purchased the Paper of Record. At that time, the Paper of Record had 20 million digitized historical newspaper pages. This came a few months after Google announced a newspaper digitization project with ProQuest and Heritage Microfilm (post, post). The April 2009 Google Book Search newsletter said:
Try a search for "Americans walk on moon" on Google News Archive Search, and you'll be able to find and read an original article from a 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed -- photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all.
While this alerted (or re-alerted) people to the fact that Google was adding newspaper content, at least one email discussion list began talking about this in January and the effect the acquisition was having on research. At some point, the web site was redirected to Although that seems minor, researchers from around the world noted that content once available through the Paper of Record was missing from the Google site.

In February, a Google employee said in email (as part of the discussion):
We're currently working on the most effective way to search and browse this valuable content. We're doing our best to find a solution to include as much of the acquired content as possible.

While a lot of this content has been made available through Archive search, we're still refining processes to include incompatible newspaper images in our index. We're also working with certain publishers to acquire the rights to display their content. All of this takes time, and we appreciate your patience. We're constantly making improvements to ensure the best user experience.
Researchers wondered by Google had not left the old site available while it when through this transition. Google's blindness to Paper of Record users made matters worse. Several things happened between February and June when things seemed to get resolved (article). In his article on the topic, Robert B. Townsend said:
Regrettably, this proves yet again Roy Rosenzweig’s warning to the profession six years ago about the “the fragility of evidence in the digital era.” While it may be beyond our capacity to adjust copyright laws and the behavior of large corporations (however well meaning), as a profession we can and perhaps should develop new habits for working with digital materials—by copying down information when we see it online, and not becoming overly dependent on any one data source or having illusions about its permanence.
In early June, a Google employee provided this information on the content from the Paper of Record:
  • 4.91M articles representing 522 titles obtained from Paper of Record are now live on Google News Archive search. This includes previously live content as well as content added as of this week from Paper of Record, all free of charge. Please note that all articles from these titles may not be comprehensively available, but will otherwise be made available in browse-only mode within 3 months. The full list is here [2].
  • ~0.5M pages representing 381 titles obtained from Paper of Record will be made available in browse-only mode within 3 months, also free of charge. The full title list is here [3]. Many of the images we obtained were of low quality, and we were therefore unable to get quality text after following the OCR process. We are working to put up content from these titles so that they can be browsed.
  • Finally, for these 10 titles here [4], we don't have the rights to display these newspapers. We've reached out to the publishers who hold rights to these papers, but not all want to participate in Google's programs. To access these, you may need to travel to a library if you can't find an online source, or contact the publisher directly.
So, nine months after announcing the acquisition of the Paper of Record (and actually three years after it had secretly acquired the database), Google finally was able to provide information that users needed. In between, Google frustrated researchers who wrote blog posts, articles, and letters of protest. Google's inability to be customer focused left a bad taste in many people's mouths.

I heard today that there is one remaining question - Will the Paper of Record (or which seems to have access to the same content) make institutional access available to historical and genealogical societies. Evidently societies have inquired about this, but have not received a response. I believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that part of the issue is that the Google search interface is not robust enough.

Finally, while some people saw the acquisition as moving Google one step closer to world domination, what it really showed was:
  1. Google can be sneaky in its dealings.
  2. Google doesn't have the users' best interests in mind.
  3. We cannot have an illusion over the permanence of any content.
Sadly, every day we all become more reliant on Google. Google, however, is not some government agency that receives public oversight. Google is a large for-profit company. If it becomes the center of all of our universes (whether we like it or not), it will make a profit.

BTW on the gossipy side of things, this blog, Gawker, carries news tidbits about Google that some might find interesting (e.g., which executives are leaving the company like Doug Bowman).

Thanks to Rod Nelson for alerting me to the Paper of Record story. Rod, sorry that it took me so long to dig into it.

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First Monday Podcast: Maureen O'Sullivan on Copyright

Last year, Maureen O'Sullivan, author of “Creative Commons and Contemporary Copyright”, was interviewed by the First Monday Podcast team to discuss copyright and the potential of the Creative Commons. Both the podcast (7.76MB, 16:58) and the transcript are available online.

Although recorded in the UK, the podcast talks mentions situations in the U.S. The 17 minutes go fast and you might find yourself "rewinding" in order to take a second listen.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Newspaper digitization

I'm going through notes from various conferences I attended this spring and have come across notes from a session at the Society of Ohio Archivists Annual Conference where members of the Ohio Historical Society talked about newspaper digitization. They began this past winter on a two-year newspaper digitization program under the auspices of "Chronicling America". Here are my notes:
  • Newspapers have not had a standard format over the years, which makes them more difficult to digitize.
  • Chronicling America is using a standard set of practices that were outlined by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).
  • Ohio Historical Society is selecting one newspaper from each of its 10 regions.
  • Difficulties have included copyright on the microfilm as well as some technology concerns.
  • They are doing three levels of quality control.
  • Scanning at 300-400 dpi, grayscale. They are creating TIFF file (master), then derivative files (PDF and JPEG200 files) as well as OCR'd text.
  • Metadata is being embedded into the files themselves so that the metadata can travel with the files. (As much metadata is embedded as possible.)
  • They are using descriptive, structural, administrative, technical and preservation metadata.
  • Rather than plain OCR, they are doing optical word recognition (OWR) which tries to predict what the word is not just what the characters are.
If this topic interests you, the Documents section of the project wiki contains links to both presentations the team did at the SOA Annual Conference.

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Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project Wiki

Using a wiki is not unique for documenting a project. However, if you've not thought about how to use one, then viewing this by the Ohio Newspaper Digitization Project may provide some inspiration. And if you surf the site, be sure to look under Documents for pointers to presentations and other materials.

Please note that this project is a work-in-progress. The first roll of microfilm (a sample) was digitized in December 2008.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

New videos about Central Florida Memory

I've blogged about Central Florida Memory before and the promotional video they created. Since then, the Orange County Library System (OCLS) has brought the Central Florida Memory project to a new audience through an interactive exhibit built within the virtual world of Second Life (teleportation URL). OCLS has also created two videos about Central Florida Memory's presence in Second Life, which are below. In the videos:
Viewers follow the adventures of Nik Mortenwold (real world OCLS employee Nick Martinolich) as he explores a turn of the century Florida homestead complete with cracker house, barn, school house, and more. Nik interacts with the residents of the exhibit to learn more about their daily lives and routines.
It's nice to see Central Florida Memory to continue to think creatively!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blog post - DH2009: Digital Curiosities and Amateur Collections

This session at Digital Humanities 2009 was also blogged by Jeanne Kramer-Smyth. Session description:
Review of 100 virtual museum websites and multiple flickr groups plus surveys of amateur website creators, memory institutions and Arts & Humanities academics leads to new perspective on digitization and creation of collections online by dedicated enthusiasts.
Kramer-Smyth notes that many of the amateur sites reviewed "get more traffic than most standard museum sites. More than 50% of museum digitized images are never visited."

Later in the post, she wrote:
This session considers the ways cultural memory institution can take advantage of the web by looking at what the successful enthusiasts are achieving. This research-backed approach confirms what I would have expected. Libraries, museums and archives are leaving a lot on the table when it comes to putting their collections online. Sites run by non-professionals are doing an amazing job of drawing in new audiences, keeping people around and then initiating conversation within that audience.
Kramer-Smyth's notes are extensive and will get your thinking about what programs could be doing.

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Blog post - DH2009: Digital Lives and Personal Digital Archives

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth blogged about the Digital Humanities 2009 conference, including the session "Digital Lives: How people create, manipulate and store their personal digital archives." The Digital Lives project sought to create "a better understanding of how people manage digital collections on their laptops, pdas and home computers." The research was conducted by interviewing 25 people in-depth.

Kramer-Smyth did a nice summary of the session (which I cannot in good faith summarize even further) and provides links to additional information.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Book: Free by Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson, who gave us The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, has released his latest book entitled Free. While we'll have opportunities to purchase the book, he is also giving it away for free in a variety of formats. Not all formats will be free forever, so watch his blog for announcements.

The online format below is so easy to read that I immediately started reading it! (Embedded with permission.) This paragraph on page 4 provides a peek into what the book is about:
Thus this book, an exploration of a concept that is in the midst of radical evolution. As I came to learn, Free is both a familiar concept and a deeply mysterious one. It is as powerful as it is misunderstood. The Free that emerged over the past decade is different from the Free that came before, but how and why are rarely explored. What's more, today's Free is full of apparent contradictions: You can make money giving things way. There really is a free lunch. Sometimes you get more than you pay for.

FREE (full book) by Chris Anderson

BTW I'll be looking for discussions that might spring up around the book. I think just the way he is releasing it will be worthy of conversation.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Are digitization providers in financial trouble?

I've been hearing from people whose ears are to the ground and who are raising concerns about some digitization providers. If you are making a huge investment, then you want to know that company is going to be around for a number of years. (You might want the company to be around for the length of your project or for the length of the warranty, for example.) The question becomes do you know how your service or hardware provider is really doing? Here are some suggestions:
  • Ask for references and then talk to the people/organizations that are on the list. Ask them about the company, its products and services, changes it has seen in the company, etc. (Have there been a lot of personnel changes?) Be sure to ask if they know of any other customers and then talk to them. How many reference do you need to check? I don't want to create a rule, but start with three that the company has given you and then see if you can talk to three who are not on the list. Perhaps you can even find organizations who used to use that vendor and have switched to someone else. (And why did they switch?)
  • Check the news for any tidbits about the company. The key here is to check the news media in that company's geographic location. Check using any news databases that you have access to as well as news sites on the Internet. The local business journal may have written stories on the company, so be sure to check that source. In general, check for stories from the last 1-2 years.
  • Consider contacting the reporter who wrote a story about the company and asking if they have any additional (more current) information. Do they have an idea of how the company is really doing?
  • When checking for news, check for the company's name, product names, and its top executives. Check for stories from the last 1-2 years.
  • Organizations in the U.S. such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Chamber of Commerce may be of some help. However, the BBB only knows about those companies that have registered with them and who have received complaints. The Chamber generally only knows about its members and may not want to tell you if a member is in trouble.
  • The local court (city/town or county) should have records of any judgments against the company (if indeed any have occurred).
  • If the company is in your geographic region, then stop by and look at the facility. Make an unannounced visit! I would also advocate talking to other businesses in the area and asking what they know. (Fast food joints and coffee shops might know more then you think.)
  • A private company does not have to release its financial statements. Any financials they tell you have not been independently audited like those for public companies. Therefore, don't take as being completely true any financials you are given (e.g., sales figures or growth rate).
  • Don't immediately dismiss any rumors that you hear. I learned many years ago that 80% of rumors are true. Now that could mean that 80% of all rumors are true or that 80% of any rumor is true! Keep track of rumors and then see if the information can be verified. Do not base your decisions solely on rumors.
  • If the vendor is not in your geographic region, or if information is being published in a language that is not your own, consider working through your colleagues in that region for help. These are people that you know through your professional associations, conferences, etc. While they may not be able to dedicate a lot of time to your efforts, they may be able to gather a few pieces of information for you.
  • Talking to former employees (if you happen to stumble across any) can be useful, but keep in mind that they may have an ax to grind. Therefore, be ready look for information that supports or refutes their claims.
  • You might want to post questions on appropriate email discussion lists or social networking sites asking for information. This may surface rumors and facts, and it will be important to be able to tell the difference and do some additional research, if warranted.
I can hear you saying that you don't want to do this research and that it would take too much time. If you are not establishing a long-term relationship with the vendor, then this may be overkill. If you are expecting no long-term support from the vendor, then this is not needed. However, if you are working on a project that requires your vendor to be around (and healthy) for a long time, then spending time to investigate the vendor is warranted.

While this type of research won't take a long time, it may be a more time that you have available, therefore, consider using a library science student to help with it. Given the economy, you might have the student compile information on all of your vendors in an effort to discern if any are in vulnerable positions. Not only would this be worthwhile information for you, but it would be a great project for a student.

If you find information that you want to discuss with the vendor, please do so. Hearing the company's perspective is important, but remember that it is one piece of complete the story.

Finally, a company (vendor) should not dissuade you from doing this research. A company that is in good standing and that has nothing to hide will want you to know how good they are. A company that is on shaky ground may encourage you to forego any check of their background. If the company seems to protest too much, that may be a clue.

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Event: International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL 2010)

Call for papers received via email.

International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL 2010)
Shaping the Information Paradigm
New Delhi * 23 – 26 February 2010

Venue: Conference at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi • 24–26 February 2010
Tutorial at IGNOU, Convention Centre, New Delhi • 23 February 2010

Continuous capacity development and awareness programmes are necessary to achieve the objective of transforming the novice into digital librarians of future. The success of ICDL 2004 and ICDL 2006 has encouraged and motivated TERI in partnership with IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and in Association with ISIM and SLA to conduct of the ICDL 2010 which will provide yet another stimulating forum for DL professionals to share their knowledge, experience and wisdom.

  • Provide a platform and enable interaction among DL experts and researchers
  • Facilitate creation adoption, implementation and utilization of DL‘s, and their future implications
  • Bridging the digital divide through knowledge sharing
Who should participate?
  • Information professionals
  • IT and knowledge service providers
  • Policy makers
  • Academicians, students and distance learner
  • E-publishers and virtual communities
  • Other stakeholders

Call for papers

Original papers focusing on the theme of the conference—Digital Libraries: Shaping the Information Paradigm are invited for the conference poster and tutorial. Some of the topics are listed below:

  • DL development, architecture, and management
  • Contents management in DL
  • Multi-linguality and interoperability issues
  • Digital rights management
  • Digital preservation and access management
  • Semantic web
  • KM (knowledge management) and organizational repositories
  • E-learning and e-publishing
  • DL standards and policy
  • Open archives initiatives
  • ODOL (Open distance online learning)
  • Multimedia content
  • Virtual support to distance learners
  • E-resources management for distance learners
  • Access management
  • m-learning technology

For details of paper submission guidelines and submission process, visit .

Important dates

Submission of full papers 15 September 2009
Notification of acceptance of paper with comments 30 October 2009
Submission of the final paper after incorporating comments 30 November 2009

For Early–bird registration offer please visit 10% special discount to SLA members in registration.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kevin Kelly on "movage"

Late last year, Kevin Kelly, the founding editor for Wired magazine, wrote a blog post on "Movage." Kelly argues for the continuous moving of digital assets (or what we might call refreshing and migrating) rather than storage. He says:
This movic rythym [sic] of refreshing content should be as smooth as a respiratory cycle -- in, out, in, out. Copy, move, copy, move.
While this concept is not new, what the blog post did was to make me think about the term "storage". When I store something, I tuck it away and likely won't touch it again until I decide to finally use it or throw it out. However, we don't want to tuck our digital assets away and ignore them. They need to be touched, maintained, and moved. The word "store" and its permutations don't convey that. Movage may not be the correct work, but it is interesting.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Digital Curation (definition)

Digital curation is not a term that is broadly used yet. What is it? (emphasis added)
Digital curation, broadly interpreted, is about maintaining and adding value to a trusted body of digital information for current and future use. (DCC)

The term digital curation is...the actions needed to maintain digital research data and other digital materials over their entire life-cycle and over time for current and future generations of users. (DCC)

... it is the active management and appraisal of digital information over its entire life cycle. (Pennock)

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Resources on Digital Curation

Last week, a colleague asked me for a few resources on digital curation in advance of some meetings he was going to attend. After emailing this list off to him, I thought it might also be useful to you.
If there are others that are your "short list" for this topic, please leave a comment and tell us what they are. Maybe some that you feel are more appropriate?

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