Thursday, December 31, 2009

Digitization 101: 2009 Year in Review

New Year's Eve BallKeeping with tradition, here's what stands out to me about this last year...
  • Google: Founded in 1998, it is hard to believe that a company that is still relatively young could have such a huge impact. 10 years later, it is nearly impossible to avoid Google if you're using the Internet. For those of us interested in copyright and digitization, the Google Book Settlement is something we thought would be completed this fall. Now perhaps it'll become a done deal in early 2010. Of course, it may take years for us to full understand it's impact. (posts on Google)
  • The economy: While things maybe getting better, the improvements are slow. The impact on libraries, museums and archives hasn't been pretty. Resources are being cut, including people. Thankfully, agencies that give grants have still been giving grants, and that has been helpful.
  • Such a deal: A down economy does mean that many vendors are giving deals. That's good for their customers. However, times like this remind us about the "survival of the fittest". Hopefully, the fittest (strongest) also have the best products and services.
  • Advocacy: The economic pressure on our cultural heritage institutions has led more of us to become outspoken advocates. In times like this, I'm glad to be a part of the Regents Advisory Council for Libraries and to donate to organizations that work to help libraries. What we need, though, is for every user to become an advocate. We need to make it easy for our users to be our advocates by providing them with postcards, etc., that they can use. (posts specifically for New Yorkers on the Regents Advisory Council for Libraries)
  • Teaching: I've been teaching full-time for a calendar year! I teach three classes each semester, which is really keeping me busy. Thankfully, I enjoy the school I'm in, its faculty and staff, and its students. And the schedule does allow me to continue to consult, which keeps me grounded in the real world.

    By the way, it is likely that you know someone that is attending a university program either on campus or virtually. If so, please reach out to that person with words of encouragement and help. Being in school -- especially a graduate program -- can be difficult and stressful. This past year, I've seen how the stress has impacted our students and it can be devastating. Please be supportive - be unconditionally supportive.

  • Social media: Because of the U.S. Presidential campaign in 2008 and other world events, social media was in the spotlight as 2009 began, and the spotlight is still on it. Social media -- or web 2.0 -- isn't about tools; it's about conversations and connecting with people. If you are not connecting with people online -- and hopefully in places where conversations flow quickly and effortlessly -- then you're missing out personally and professionally. Talk t your colleagues and friends about places online that they are using in order to be part of larger conversations, and then join them. You don't have to be active on a lot of sites or use a wide variety of tools. Start with one or two (e.g., LinkedIn and Facebook) and then experiment with a few more. Use what works for you and drop what doesn't.

    By the way, I do have a second blog on social media that I launched in 2007. Feel free to add it to your RSS reader.

  • Saint Peter's Cathedral
  • Be in the present: 2009 took me to Arlington VA, Washington D.C, Columbus OH, New York City (many times), Geneva CH, Philadelphia PA, Oklahoma City OK, Albany NY, Florida and...? Being on the road, in the classroom and online reminded me that it is important to be present in the moment. It's not helpful to anyone -- and certainly not fun -- the be physically in one place and mentally in some other place. Life is enjoyed when we're in each moment, and neither living in the past or in the future (or in some alternate mental universe).
I'm sure that there are things I should note about the state of digitization, but I'll leave that for another time. This (above) is what's on my mind today at the end of 2009.

You are also on my mind. Thank you for continuing to believe in this blog. Thanks for the comments that you leave, the emails that you send, and the people that you recommend this blog to.

2009 has been a rough year for many people. Let's make 2010 a better year.

Virtual lighterHappy New Year!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Web resource: Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright: Issues Affecting the U.S. Government

Because I'm going to be teachign copyirght during the spring 2010 term, this web site from CENDI is of interest to me, and may be of interest to you. “Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright: Issues Affecting the U.S. Government” was published on Oct. 8, 2008. It includes:
1.0 Glossary of Terms
2.0 Copyright Basics
3.0 U.S. Government Works
4.0 Works Created Under a Federal Contract or Grant
5.0 Use of Copyrighted Works
6.0 Applicable Copyright Legislation and Other Resources on the Internet

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A new outlet for publishing in Digital Preservation Management and Technology announced

Received via email from the publisher Emerald.

Announcing "Digital Preservation Management and Technology", a new section in The Electronic Library journal. Section Co-editors are Dr Gillian Oliver and Professor G E Gorman Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Digital preservation management and technology are two inter-related issues confronting all memory institutions: libraries, archives, galleries and museums. Such institutions are addressing very similar questions regarding the management of preservation activities and of preserved artifacts, as well as the technologies required to preserve, disseminate and access these artifacts. For many, this has been the unexpected consequence of rushing to reformat existing collections to enable digital accessibility. Resourcing issues (shortage of expertise, limited availability of funding) are forcing collaborative activity to an unprecedented degree between the distinctly different collecting paradigms represented by these institution types. As the functionality of web technologies and social media software increasingly influence the ways in which these institutions operate, the focus on DPMT, on collaboration between technologists and managers, and on inter-institutional collaboration will increase. It is therefore timely to consider devoting a significant section of an existing journal (The Electronic Library) to capture interest and research in this sector.

In time, Digital Preservation Management and Technology may become a full journal, the focus of which will be research in the broad field of digital preservation management and related technologies in this cross-sectoral domain, which includes academic, corporate, government, scientific and commercial contexts. It will address issues relating to the continuity of digital information, including digital objects, metadata and the context of their creation, management and use. It will encompass all purposes for which information is managed by the different occupational groups: as evidence, for accountability, for knowledge and awareness and for pleasure and entertainment. Coverage is intentionally international. The emphasis will be on research and conceptual papers in these fields.

Articles should be either conceptual papers or research papers in the region of 3000-6000 words.

All submissions will be double-blind peer reviewed. by members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

There will be an international Editorial Advisory Board whose specific task will be to double blind peer review submissions. The 20-30 Board members will be from North America, the UK, Australasia, Asia and elsewhere.

Submissions please, to Digital Preservation Management and Technology at

Monday, December 28, 2009

NYPL Digital Gallery & sharing images

If you haven't seen it, then take a few moments to go to the New York Public Digital Gallery, do a search and then see the options they have for sharing images. They provide the code for linking to an image as well as the code for embedding an image, like:

Nubian women at Kortie, on the... Digital ID: 1263773. New York Public Library

In fact, if you click on that photo, you'll go to its web page and see the link options on the lower right.

Having content shareable is what we all want. Nice to see NYPL actually doing it. I don't know who is the person behind this (perhaps Josh Greenberg), but whomever it is deserves "two thumbs up".

Thursday, December 24, 2009

DIGITIZATION ACTIVITIES: - Project Planning and Management Outline

Received via email. This should be of interest to many people.

The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) has just released a new planning document, "DIGITIZATION ACTIVITIES - Project Planning and Management Outline".

The aim of this document is to define activities relating to the digitization of original cultural materials, and to outline general steps for planning and management of this process. The activities described in this document address library/archival issues, imaging and conversion work, and IT infrastructure issues in particular, and were identified using project management outlines from several organizations with significant experience working with cultural materials. This document defines "digitization" as a complete process, and covers all project components from content selection = through delivery of digitized objects into a repository environment.

You can access the document from the FADGI homepage - or, go directly to the document page at:

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Event: 14th European Conference on Digital Libraries

Received via email....
14th European Conference on Digital Libraries

September 6-10, 2010

Glasgow, UK

Call for Contributions


The European Conference on Digital Libraries (ECDL) is the leading European scientific forum on digital libraries and associated technical, practical, and social issues, bringing together researchers, developers, content providers and users in the field. ECDL 2010, the 14th conference in this series, will be organised by the University of Glasgow. The proceedings will be published as a volume of Springer’s Lecture Notes on Computer Science (LNCS) series.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Digital Libraries and Mobility
  • Digital Library Architectures
  • Digital Library Infrastructure
  • Digital Preservation and Curation
  • Information Mining in Digital Libraries
  • Information Retrieval in Digital Libraries
  • Interoperability of Digital Library Systems and Services
  • Knowledge Organisation Systems
  • Metadata Standards and Protocols in Digital Library Systems
  • Multilinguality in Digital Libraries
  • Multimedia Digital Libraries
  • Personal Information Management and Personal Digital Libraries
  • Personalisation in Digital Library Systems and Settings
  • Policies for Digital Library systems
  • Social Networking, Web 2.0 and Collaborative Interfaces in Digital Libraries
  • User Interfaces for Digital Libraries
  • User Studies for and Evaluation of Digital Library Systems and Applications
  • Visualisation in Digital Libraries

Important dates

Research papers

Abstract submission: February 26, 2010
Full paper submission: March 1, 2010
Notification of acceptance: May 3, 2010
Submission of final version: May 24, 2010

Posters and demonstrations

Poster and demo submission: March 31, 2010
Notification of acceptance: May 3, 2010
Submission of final version: May 24, 2010

Doctoral consortium

Paper submission: April 15, 2010
Notification of Acceptance: May 10, 2010
Submission of final abstract: May 24, 2010

Call for Research Papers

Authors are invited to submit research papers describing original, unpublished research that is not (and will not be) simultaneously under consideration for publication elsewhere. Research papers must be up to 12 pages in length. Paper acceptance can be as long paper, short paper, or poster. The authors of the best research papers will be invited to submit substantially extended versions of their papers for publication in a Special Issue of the International Journal on Digital Libraries (Springer). For further information, please refer to

Call for Posters and Demonstrations

Posters provide an excellent opportunity for presenting late-breaking results, significant work in progress, or research that is best communicated in an interactive or graphical format. Demos showcase innovative digital libraries technology and applications, ranging from research prototypes to operational systems, allowing you to share your work directly with your colleagues in a high-visibility setting. Poster and demo submissions must be up to 4 pages in length. For details, please visit

Call for Doctoral Consortium Papers

The ECDL 2010 Doctoral Consortium (DC) serves as a forum for PhD students to share ideas about the development and use of Digital Libraries, compare approaches, discuss future research problems and receive feedback from the international Digital Library community. PhD students, whose doctoral research is related to digital libraries and is at a stage of progress where feedback from the international community might be of value, are invited to submit extended abstracts of up to 10 pages describing their work. For detailed information, please see


All contributions must be written in English. They must follow the formatting guidelines of Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) and must be submitted via the conference submission system.

Further information

For further information, please visit the conference web site at or email

Conference organizers

Honorary Chair
Keith van Rijsbergen, University of Glasgow, UK

General Chairs
Joemon Jose, University of Glasgow, UK
Mounia Lalmas, University of Glasgow, UK

Local Chair
Ingo Frommholz, University of Glasgow, UK

Programme Chairs
Andreas Rauber, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Fabrizio Sebastiani, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy

Poster & Demo Chairs
Matt Jones, University of Swansea, UK
Jaap Kamps, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Doctoral Consortium Chairs
Ian Anderson, University of Glasgow, UK
Birger Larsen, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Press release: IIPC Access Working Group Launches Web Archive Registry

Received in email....

The International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) has launched a new registry ( of its members’ web archives. Preserving the web is not a task of any single institution. It is a mission common to all IIPC members, and many practices and lessons are transferable.

The launch of the members' web archive registry showcases international collaboration for preserving internet content for future generations. The registry currently includes descriptions of twenty one archives from around the world. As additional archives are made available by IIPC members, the registry will be updated.

The registry provides an overview of all members web archiving efforts and outputs, offering a single point of access to users of archived web content. It also provide detailed description of each web archive, including information about the collecting institution, the harvesting methods (domain, selective, or thematic), the language of the user interface, methods for accessing the archived content, and whether there are any access restrictions that researchers need to be aware of.

The registry was put in place by IIPC’s Access Working Group, which focuses on initiatives, procedures and tools required to provide immediate access and to preserve the future access to Internet material in a Web archive. The registry provides a basis for IIPC to explore integrated access and search in the future.

General information about the IIPC can be found at

For more information, contact Abbie Grotke, IIPC Communications Officer,

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Society of American Archivists: EAD Help Pages

The Society of American Archivists EAD Roundtable has created this resource which contains:
If you are interested in Encoded Archival Description (EAD), then this site is worth checking out.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Digital "librarians"

Since I teach graduate classes in the Digital Libraries Certificate Program at Syracuse University, I often have students ask about job opportunities. Are there really jobs out there? Yes! And during the course of the conversation, I end up talking about specific librarians or organizations. In order to make my life a bit easier for the next conversation ("...and read this..."), I'm writing this blog post. If you have information that you'd like to add to it, please leave a comment. You're wisdom will be greatly appreciated!'re interested in digital libraries and are wondering if people really do the work that you want to do. Yes, there are indeed people working as digital librarians, although that may not be their title. They are working with electronic/digital information, helping to create products and services, talking to (and maybe working for) vendors, educating users, and shaping how we use information online. Here are a few people, etc. that come to my mind when I talk about opportunities. (These are in no particular order.)

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Event: Digital Preservation - The Planets Way. February 2010, British Computer Society, London, UK

I received an announcement about the Planets workshop. Because the formatting had gotten altered (received via discussion list digest mode which often doesn't look pretty), I've pulled information from the Planets web site and pasted it below. For information is available here.

Digital Preservation - The Planets Way, February 2010
The British Computer Society, London

Registration is now open for the Planets training and outreach event on digital long-term preservation in London. Find out how to plan and execute your digital preservation plan for the future.

Planets (Preservation and Long-term Access through NETworked Services) will host the fourth in its series of three-day training events at The British Computer Society, London on 9-11 February 2010. Digital Preservation – The Planets Way will examine the need to preserve digital content, the action that needs to be taken and the Planets approach to addressing these issues.

Day 1 will consider the case for preserving digital objects, the technical issues involved, the Planets framework, tools and services. On days 2 and 3 delegates will gain hands-on experience of working with Planets and a scenario (sample collection) to develop a preservation plan and preserve digital objects. The event will include plenty of opportunity for discussion, sharing ideas and best practice and to ask questions and case studies from other institutions about preserving digital content.

You can register for either Day 1 only at a cost of 95 EUR, or for all three days at a cost of 199 EUR.

Due to the nature of the event there is an upper capacity of 100 delegates on Day 1 and 40 delegates on Days 2 and 3.

Final closing date for all registrations is 2nd February 2010.

Morning and afternoon coffee breaks and lunch will be provided and are included in the registration fee.

Participants are encouraged to bring a wireless-enabled laptop since there will be practical exercises on Days 2 and 3. Bringing your own laptop also means that you can use the sample collection and exercises after the event.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a good digitization program

I'm not sure how long it took to build Rome (Italy not New York), but the saying goes that it wasn't built in a day. The meaning behind that saying is that whatever is worthwhile takes time to create. Yes, some things can be rushed. Extreme Makeover Home Edition really can build a new how in a week, but I bet turning that house into a home takes a lot longer. And so it is with digitization programs. We may want to get the funding today and begin scanning tomorrow, but it takes longer than that to put the processes in place, test them, modify them, and then let them run.

While there are many things that can slow a program down, let me just mention those that we forget:
  • Other priorities -- You may not have the luxury of having dedicated staff for your program. If you are expecting them to divide their time between digitization and other tasks, you might find that the other tasks -- those things that they are used to -- take priority. Yes, they will say that the digitization program is their top priority, but do they act like it?
  • Meetings, vacations, holidays, etc. -- How much can you get done? You think you know the answer, but have you considered those things that will interfere like meetings, vacations and holidays? I have every intention of making great progress between Thanksgiving and New Years, but will you really?
  • Obtaining approval -- Not only can building consensus take time, but normal decision-making that requires several levels of hierarchy to get involved can take time too. Depending on your organization, purchases above a specific amount may need several signatures (approvals) and it only takes a delay by one person to cause a problem.
  • Too many cooks -- The says is that "too many cooks can spoil the soup". While it is important to have people involved and to build consensus, having too many people making decisions can be counterproductive and can slow a program down. What you need instead is a strong head chef along with a sous-chef and line cooks that are all working in harmony with each other.
Yes, equipment will break and you'll run into other problems. While you'll be frustrated, it could be that your program will be stronger and more stable because you didn't rush. I know of one program that took five years from idea until its formal roll-out. Along the way, they got campus-wide buy-in, built teams and processes, and launched a site that is both used and admired.

Yes, make your goals both aggressive and realistic, but remember that it's not all going to happen overnight. It'll take time. That's just the way it works.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A note about canned ham

Those people who leave junk comments (or spam) are getting smarter. I write a post that mentioned Cornell and a spammer, claiming to be someone at Cornell, leaves a enthusiastic, generic comment. Of course, I delete them, but it's likely that you can see that a comment was deleted. You'll have to trust that don't delete legitimate comments. However, I do delete junk comments very quickly as well as comments that cannot be verified.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not as exciting as Tiger (a.k.a. my life)

My fall semester is coming to a close. I taught three graduate classes this semester: Digital Libraries; Creating, Managing & Preserving Digital Assets; and Business Resources & Strategic Intelligence. You may not realize that I used to do competitive intelligence research, so that last class really is in my area of expertise.

I always enjoy teaching Creating, Managing & Preserving Digital Assets, which I teach online (not in the classroom). The class introduces students to all of the areas that they would need to be concerned with when involved in a digitization program. The class is a real eye-opener for them. The students blogged this semester as they have for several semesters in this class.

Digital Libraries introduces them to the concept and reality of digital libraries. It really complements the class is Creating, Managing and Preserving Digital Assets, and some students take both classes at the same time. This semester, the students build a digital library on digital libraries using SharePoint. (Did we really create digital library? Ah...)

The third class I taught had several differences from the other two: it was a campus (face-to-face) class, it was not a library science class (most students were from our information management program), most of the students were not from the U.S., and it was a hands-on class. I've taught this class twice this calendar year and I've both times have had students research Fortune 1000 companies. The companies and their industries provide a reason for the students to learn a variety of resources and gain experience in reporting on what they have found.

Each class has its ah-ha moments, when students "get it". For the students that are learning about digitization, an early ah-ha is when they realize that digitization is much more than the conversion process. In digital libraries, the students have a huge ah-ha with the definition of a digital library. In business resources, the ah-ha is around the high quality resources that are available through our libraries.

My ah-ha is that every day is exciting. No, not scandalously exciting, but exciting nonetheless.

How are your days?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Blog post: How do I plan for a career in DAM?

Henrik de Gyor blogs about digital asset management (DAM) software, but not specifically about their use in a library, museum or archive setting. Over the past year, he has included some interesting blog posts on why DAM software is needed, software features, and even DAM careers. Some will l find his latest blog post, How do I plan for a career in DAM?, to be of particular interest. I agree that there are a variety of way to become proficient is understanding, using and customizing digital asset management software. I don't think that Twitter, which he mentions, is really helpful for learning about digital asset management software, but do think it can help you make connections to other users as well as some of the vendors. He doesn't specifically mention on-the-job training or hands-on training, which may be a method that many use.

If you surf through de Gyor's blog, I'm sure that you'll find other blog posts that are of interest. You'll also note that he has run several polls. The polls that I viewed had limited votes, so if you find one that interests you, consider submitting an answer. More data or even comments on blog posts can be helpful. (Honestly, a poll can collect bad data if people answer just to see the numbers change. Thoughtful comments can be much more meaningful especially if the response pool is small.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Assessing user needs

I was asked recently about how people are assessing user needs before beginning a digitization program. As I researched information for my answer, I found these links which I thought I would pass along to you.
By the way, most of the assessment I've seen, in order to justify a digitization program and help with material selection, has been done by (1) surveying users or (2) looking at usage trends. What have you done?

Reader question about professional film scanners

A reader left this comment, which I thought warranted highlighting. If you have information or an opinion that you would like to share on this, please leave a comment. I'm sure the commenter (Barbara) would be interested to know what institutions are doing.
Here at the National Library of Australia we have been very concerned about the recent news that production of Kodak archival scanners Creo iQsmart series is about to be discontinued. We use these scanners, particularly iQsmart2 and iQsmart3, to digitise both reflective and transparent collection material. As far as we know Kodak are the only manufacturers making professional flatbed scanners at this level and so it looks like it will be very difficult to replace the existing equipment once it reaches the end of its useful life.

It seems that in the very near future (as early as next calendar year) most, if not all, professional film scanners will be discontinued worldwide. We are having discussions about how to deal with this situation with managers from other cultural institutions in Australia early next year. Obviously institutions such as ours will still be acquiring negatives and transparencies, including obsolete formats (glass negs and albumen prints etc) for decades to come. Naturally, they will want to continue digitising such materials.

I was wondering if you are aware of any American cultural institutions considering the future of technical means to digitise negative materials.