Thursday, March 31, 2005

Model supports archiving of digital information

The University at Albany’s Center for Technology in Government has developed a national capability assessment and planning model (toolkit) "-- containing information about the governance structure, business model, architecture, and data standards -- to assist governments in identifying, capturing and archiving digital content critical to government operations." The Center's work was funded by a National Science Foundation grant ($800K).
As part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, the Library of Congress will distribute this toolkit during three workshops that will be held beginning in late April and through May for state and territorial government representatives. Library officials hope to collaborate with their state and territorial counterparts in devising long-term strategies, and receive feedback that can be used to help create a second version.

Read the rest of the article here.

Writers Settle Tasini Case for $18 Million

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press news release states:

The $18 million settlement grew from a series of class-action lawsuits filed after the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) ruled in 1999 in the Tasini case that the uncompensated use of electronic copies of articles constitutes copyright infringement. The lawsuits were stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2001. After the high court ruling, Judge Daniels consolidated the cases and ordered mediation, resulting in the settlement.

The Tasini case caused content to be removed from databases because publishers had not gotten permission from freelancers to disseminate it in that way. The case caused publishers to explicity ask for permission and sometimes pay fees to writers in order to ensure that articles could be placed in online databases. I doubt that this ruling will change things going forward, but "cleans up" the past. However, it does reinforce the fact that not asking explicit permission can be an expensive mistake.

Larry Lessig talking about copyright at M3 Summit

Professor Lawrence Lessig gave a great talk at the M3 Summit on copyright history and its impact on music...and how technology has impacted the law...and how the law has impacted creativity. Click here to get to the video.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Jeff Taylor of

In a webconference today, Jeff Taylor, founder of, had a bullet point that said, "Customer is silent - please fix what hurts." Taking that completely out of context [grin!], this is how most customers interact with digital libraries. Customers (patrons) generally don't contact a digital library when things are going great. They contact the DL when something is wrong. We can't predict when something is going to go wrong, so we need to be available -- in some form or another (like IM) -- all the time.

When a patron is using your digital library and she needs a hurt fixed, can someone at the DL be contacted? Can the hurt get fixed in the now (in the moment)? If your answers aren't "yes", what do you need to do to change so that when the customer is not silent, someone is there to listen?

IMing in libraries

In Christina’s Library Rant, she has notes from the CIL2005 session on Collaboration & IM: Breaking Down Boundaries. During this session, Michael Stephens talked about the use of Instant Messenger (IM) at St. Joseph County Public Library. The library dropped its virtual reference service and is using IM instead? Why? It is less expensive and many Internet users are already IMing. It is a known technology that people are used to AND like using.

Do you tell people your IM screen name(s)? I haven’t broadcasted mine yet (jillNYS on AIM), but I do tell my graduate students and occasionally one will message me. In the last week, I’ve had a student contact me about an assignment and another contact me about her status in the class. In both cases, IM allowed me to address the situation in the now and avoid the delay that would be caused by e-mail. With one student, we did continue the conversation by phone and a follow-up e-mail.

For digital libraries, having a tool that allows users to ask questions when they’re in the product could be very useful. It would stop users from being frustrated when they “hit a wall”. They could get help when they need it. The staff member who is IMing could be anywhere, which would allow the responsibility to be shared and even done by someone who is working from home (or in a different time zone), rather than sitting in the library's cubicle.

Interesting food for thought.

Computers in Libraries 2005

Christina’s Library Rant contains wonderful notes from the Computers in Libraries 2005 conference. Definitely worth reading. Blogging at its finest.

OCLC's Digital and Preservation Dispatch

After a 10 month absence, the Digital and Preservation Dispatch is again being published. The publication will be delivered via an e-mail distribution list on a semi-monthly basis. The March 2005 issue contains the following stories:

  1. New Jersey is preparing to move its documentation into the digital age
  2. Allen Weinstein becomes ninth archivist of the United States
  3. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor administered the oath of office
  4. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announces cooperative agreement.
  5. Mold Outbreak: An Immediate Response
  6. Disaster Map of Tsunami
  7. OCLC Members Council Discusses Impact of Technology on Delivery of Library Services
  8. Why Google Uncle Sam?
  9. Google’s Scholarly and Digitization Initiatives
  10. New Approaches to Television Archiving
  11. Article details the David Rumsey Collection of Historical Maps Online
  12. Technology Watch Report 3 from Digicult
  13. at the Miller Center of Public Affairs
  14. George Grantham Bain Collection – The Library of Congress
  15. Linus Paulding and the Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History

You can sign up to receive the Digital and Preservation Dispatch by contacting

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Google Print

As reported in digitizationblog and slashdot, as well as other places, results are appearing from Google's digitization efforts when you search in Google. For example, if you search for book mull flanders, books are listed at the top of the results page. Notice that these books display the words "Copyrighted Materials" in the margin. The book I viewed was copyrighted in 1996. I wonder was the publisher (Dover Publications) thinks of this?

Digital Negative Format promoted by Adobe

The Ten Thousand Year blog has reported the following:
Adobe is promoting an open specification called the Digital Negative format (DNG) according to this March 15, 02005 article by Kathy White in Publish. Adobe describes DNG as “a new, publicly available archival format for the raw files generated by digital cameras. By addressing the lack of an open standard for the raw files created by individual camera models, DNG helps ensure that photographers will be able to access their files in the future.”

9th DELOS Network of Excellence thematic workshop, 11-13 May, 2005

See the web site for registration information.
DELOS announces a forthcoming workshop on the topic of digital repositories. Digital repositories as 'managed collections of digital objects' are an essential part of the architectural framework within many domains. In this workshop we will focus in particular on the role of repositories within e-learning and e-research and related digital library services, and will consider such repositories as providers of both preservation and access services. Digital repositories support the requirements of a number of communities, and the workshop will welcome participation from content providers and practitioners, as well as those with a research interest in the development of repositories.

This is a joint workshop of the Semantic Interoperability and Preservation clusters of the DELOS project. DELOS is an interdisciplinary Network of Excellence funded by the European Union to support the development of the next generation of digital library technologies.

METRO Digitization Expo on May 9 at Baruch College

An announcement from METRO:

On Monday, May 9, 2005, the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) is hosting the METRO Digitization Expo. This is an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the leading digitization hardware, software, and service providers to find the perfect tools and resources for digital projects. Vendors expected to appear include: Academic Imaging, Backstage Library Works, Center for Digital Imaging, Image Access (OPUS), Innodata Isogen, JJT Inc., OCLC (CONTENTdm, Digital Archive), Olive Software, RLG, and many more.

Digitization experts will be on hand to present workshops on project planning, funding for digital projects, and a variety of other topics.

METRO members will also be present to demonstrate their ongoing digitization projects.

The METRO Digitization Expo will be held from 10:00 AM -- 4:00 PM on Monday, May 9, 2005 at the Baruch College – Newman Conference Center. Come for an hour or stay for the day. This event is open to METRO members and non-members. The registration fee is $10.

Register today at:

For more information, contact Richard Kim, Digital Library Services Coordinator, at

Monday, March 28, 2005

NARA's regional facilities

Having been pointed to one of the NARA regional web pages, I tried to locate pages (sites) for the other regions that NARA has. You would think that there would be a page would that listed all of the regions...and if there is, I can't find it. But what I did find was the Staff Contacts at NARA's Regional Records Services Facilities that then gets you to the specific pages for the reigonal sites. Why is this important? Because you might want to see the classes that a specific region (your region) is offering.

So if you want figure out which NARA region you're in, see how close you are to a NARA facility or find out what workshops are being given, start at this page. By the way, yes, there is a global listing of record management workshops, but there are workshops and briefings listed on the regional pages that are not listed in the global listing.

Workshops given by the NARA Mid-Atlantic Region

The National Archives - Mid Atlantic Regional Program serves the geographic areas of Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. It helps federal officials manage information by offering technical assistance and training and setting records retention and disposal guidelines. The Records Management Training includes workshops that would be of interest to those of us involved in digitization:

Follow the links for more details including dates, locations and registration fees.

Tackling digital preservation: a discussion with leading experts

This article on the JISC web site is an interview with three experts:
  • Professor Seamus Ross, Director of Humanities Computing and Information Management at the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, University of Glasgow
  • Eileen Fenton, Executive Director of the Electronic Archiving Initiative
  • Leona Carpenter, JISC Programme Manager for Digital Preservation and Services
Ms Fenton states:
The scale of the material that will require active preservation effort is significant and extends well beyond what any single institution can preserve. As a community we are finding our way toward a network of preservation organisations, models, and networks that together will ensure that broad-based preservation is accomplished. Developing models that ensure the sustainability of this emerging network is one of the most critical issues at this junction.

Race against time to digitize decaying images

From Computerworld:
If the thought of backing up e-mail evokes feelings of dread, spare a thought for Australia's librarians who are racing against the clock to digitize millions of decaying photographic images before nature has its cruel way.
This sounds like a race against time to ensure that the images are preserved. The last paragraph in the article give the value of these images:
And while the Mitchell's [NSW State Library] cellulose collection may be physically fleeting and priceless, the library values the non-transient assets to be hosted on its donated facilities at $1.5 billion. It can be seen at

Friday, March 25, 2005

Making books readable on computer proves trying task

This article was written in December 2004 and gives an overview of the problem with Optical Character Recognition (OCR). If you haven't thought much recently about Optical Character Recognition, you should. Although it has gotten better, it is still not perfect. Dean Tang, CEO of OCR software-maker ABBYY USA Software House, says that on perfect text, OCR can top 99% accuracy. That means out of 1000 words, 10 will be incorrect. No bad, but what do you have to do to find and correct those 10 mistakes? And if you don't correct them, how will text searching be affected?

How long will our libraries last?

At a presentation last night about water, I was reminded that we tend to be short-sighted in how long something is suppose to last. Some culture think very long term (e.g., seven generations), while others think about the next year or so. Many organizations have a hard time thinking 5 - 10 years into the future, yet they must do so in order to put the right processes in place for survival. One group that is trying to move us all to think more long-term is the Long Now Foundation founded by Stewart Brand.

So today I have simple questions for us to think on. How long will our digital libraries survive? Have they been built to last for ten years? Are there plans in place to have them last and grow for 40 years? And if a generation is 17 - 20 years, how long will our brick and mortar libraries last and be effective?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

So what should happen to that draft standard?

In my other posting today, I mentioned a draft standard that was circulated nearly two years ago but was not formally released. What should happen to it? I would like to see it released as a draft (with markings on every page stating that it is a draft). I would also like to see it placed online in an environment where comments or additional information could be added (a wiki?). In essence, it would be a working document that was evolving before people's eyes. Doing this would mean that the work already completed on it would not be lost, but available for people to use. Perhaps parts of the draft would receive seals of approval, while other sections would be improved through the notes and comments posted on it.

Let's not lose whatever valuable knowledge is in this document. Let's get it out there and shared.

Standards vs. Specifications

At lunch today with a fellow consultant, the conversation wove from knowledge management to the retention of e-documents, then to the legal ramifications, and to digitization and then finally to standards. We had both been privy to viewing a draft standard nearly two years ago. Each of us had spent a different amount of time viewing it (..there are indeed only so many hours in the day...) and had different opinions of the document. The standard has not been formally published, although we know that the draft has been used by some.

As I drove back to the office, I began to wonder who should be writing standards for digitization. Is there one group that can do this? Is it too much work (and responsibility) to lay in one group's hands? It would be wonderful if a reputable group could come out with a standards document (or likely a series of documents) that covered every aspect of creating, describing and preserving digital assets (from various source materials), but it is unlikely that one group could do that.

Is there an alternative? Yes, have a reputable group (e.g., NARA) review specifications that have been published for specific digitization projects and give them a seal of approval. The group could even write comments, so that anyone would know why they approved of that specification. The group would give its seal of approval to different specifications for different materials and might choose to approve of several specifications that covered the same type of materials, if there were a legitimate reason to do so. New projects then looking for "standards" could search for and locate approved specifications that they could review, learn from and use.

A group that decided to create and bestow a seal of approval would need to dedicate time and resources to find and review specifications. The group would probably bring on board consultants and industry experts who could give their views and comments born out of their experiences with digitization. The group and those that work on reviewing the specifications would need to be seen as top notch, reputable, and worth trusting.

If this were done, would the specifications then be cast in concrete? Yes and no (at least that's my hope). Technology continues to change and what we know continues to change. I would hope then that the specifications would be allowed to evolve in a way that readers would know what had been added/changed since the seal of approval was given.

Wait...aren't there specifications that we all point to as being good? What about those? Yes, they are good and wouldn't it be great if an organization like the National Archives, Library of Congress, UNESCO, AIIM gave them a formal stamp of approval? Yup.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The sweetest words...

Great salespeople learn that it is important to call a prospective customer by name. Not only do people like to be called by their right names, but organizations do too. Unfortunately, we do things that inhibit people from getting names correct.
  • We don't call people by name in meetings. This can make it difficult on the new person, who doesn't yet know everyone.
  • When talking about organizations or projects, we often use acronyms. Worse, sometimes we will create a word from the acronym that will confuse a person who is "not in the know." Imagine the acronym CICS suddenly being pronounced "kicks".
  • We refer to organizations by previous (former) names even though we know it is not correct. Sometimes this says something about who is in the conversation and their relationship to what's being talked about. (Like old-timers calling a building by is old-old name.) However, this habit only helps those who have the same memories and causing confusing in those who don't.

Why should you care? What if people are talking about your digitization project, but they aren't sure of the right name or can't get the name right? Could that ruin a good referral? Yup.

How can you help others get your project name, organization name or personal name correct?

  • Make sure that your organization name and project name are on everything. If the project is called by a nickname, have that information included.
  • Have business cards with your organization and project name on them. Business cards are very inexpensive. If you don't want personalized business cards for people on the project, then create a business card that anyone on the project can use. And once you have the business cards, use them.
  • Place your organization, project and personal names in your e-mail signature file. Many people don't use this file to its full extent. It is a great way of ensuring that the people you communicate with have the same basic (contact) information.
  • When you talk about your project, remember to use the right name and use it often. It has been said that people need to hear something three times before it begins to stick. (This is why preachers will repeat the location of the reading or hymn several times.) If the name is difficult to pronounce, this will allow the listener to hear it several times and have a chance to learn how to pronounce it correctly.
  • Create a document for your organization that contains the proper names and titles for every employee as well as the proper names for projects, products, departments, etc. PR firms do this to ensure that they refer to clients (in press releases, etc.) by the correct names.
  • If the name is hard for people to grasp, find a way to get people to learn it. The best one I heard was from a librarian whose nickname was "Lib like in library." (Okay, not pronounced quite the same, but you quickly understood the spelling.)

Our names -- personal, project, or organizational -- are indeed the sweetest words we hear. Let's help those around us use say and use them correctly.

Digitization Standards For Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage Program Collections

Written by the Standards Working Group of the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage Program, this 27-page document "outlines procedural specifications for all digitization centers and partner projects of the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage Program." The introduction says:
The following document is meant to provide standards and guidelines for digitization projects created by the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage (MDCH) program. The use of standards creates a model for measuring the success of a project and sets a mark for creating a project of lasting, educational value. MDCH partners will produce digital files from collections belonging to public libraries and other cultural heritage institutions throughout Maryland. Projects will be created by one of the regional digitization centers or by enlisting the services of commercial vendors. These standards and principles should be applied to all digitization projects to be included in the MDCH Union Catalog. The Union Catalog will aggregate collections from disparately located institutions, providing a powerful new analytical tool for students, researchers and patrons.

The Digitization Standards is a living document and will be re-evaluated to reflect the evolution of technologies and international standards on a semi-annual basis. Each project will present unique problems and some may not be explicitly covered in this document. The MDCH Digitization Standards offers broad principles for this reason. Additionally, the MDCH Standards Working Group will be actively involved in addressing such issues to ensure continuity of all digital collections available in the MDCH Union Catalog.
The document version information indicates that this version is from March 17, 2004.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Digital Futures: from digitization to delivery

26th - 30th September 2005, London, UK. The web site says:

King's College London and OCLC-PICA are pleased to announce the Digital Futures 5-day training event. Led by experts of international renown, Digital Futures focuses on the creation, delivery and preservation of digital resources from cultural and memory institutions. Lasting five days, Digital Futures is aimed at managers and other practitioners from the library, museum, heritage and cultural sectors looking to understand the strategic and management issues of developing digital resources from digitisation to delivery.

Digital Futures aims for no more than 30 delegates and every delegate will have the opportunity to also spend one-to-one time with a Digital Futures leader to discuss issues specific to them. Digital Futures will issue a certificate of achievement to each delegate.

Next hot trend for cell phones: Reading?

This story is a few days old and still worth knowing about if you haven't seen it. "Tens of thousands of Japanese cell-phone owners are poring over full-length novels on their tiny screens." Wow! Here are some more quotes from the Associated Press article:

In the latest versions, cell-phone novels are downloaded in short installments and run on handsets as Java-based applications. You're free to browse as though you're in a bookstore, whether you're at home, in your office or on a commuter train. A whole library can be tucked away in your cell phone - a gadget you carry around anyway.

Surprisingly, people are using cell-phone books to catch up on classics they never finished reading. And people are perusing sex manuals and other books they're too embarrassed to be caught reading or buying. More common is keeping an electronic dictionary in your phone in case a need arises.

Libraries need to be sure that they have a part in this and other delivery methods that are placing information/content into people's hands. Could we deliver content from digital libraries to cell phones? Can we place the library at a person's fingertips via his keypad?

BTW My geekiness must be showing 'cause I can't want to try this out! I read book on my Sony Clie (PDA), so I can definitely see reading a book on my cell phone.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Once a year trip into Hades

Once a year, my computer (hardware or software) takes me on a trip down the River Styx and into Hades (the Greek netherworld). On that day, I am reminded how fragile computers are. If one "core" program or one setting is in error, the computer becomes as useful as an anchor on dry land. On days like these (like today), I hope that every critical computer system and every project that is creating digital assets has not been foolish -- not put its faith on one computer system (like many of us do) -- but instead has a disaster plan and has tested its disaster recovery procedures.

Most organizations do have disaster plans, even though many have not tested those plans and procedures, including the procedures to get everything back online after the disaster has happened. For example, can they quickly get the computer systems back online using an alternate (disaster recovery) site?

Here are some general questions that might set your mind into motion on this topic:
  • If your digital library had severe hardware problems, how fast could you resume service? What efforts would it take?
  • If a disaster struck, would the members of your team know what to do even if all of the team members weren't present? In other words, could anyone on your team carry out the disaster plan?
  • Do you have a location (with the correct computer hardware) that you can use during and after a disaster in order to bring your digital library (and other computer systems) back online?
  • Do you have list stored off-site of the hardware and software in use? (Such a list could be critical to ensure that the right software, etc., is used to rebuild the system.)
  • In the case of a disaster that is bigger than a hardware failure (e.g., flood, fire), do you have a way of knowing who from your staff was in the building? If you're in a library, for example, would you know if everyone -- including patrons -- had gotten out of the building?
  • After a major disaster, would you have access to critical information from your business systems (e.g., payroll)? Is there a copy stored off-site in a secure location?

There are many more specific questions you could consider. A disaster plan would cover many areas. Books on this topic include:

  • Disaster Planning: A How-To-Do-It Manual With Planning Templates on Cd-Rom (How-to-Do-It Manuals for Libraries, No. 129.) being release by Neal-Schuman later this year.
  • Disaster Recovery Planning: Strategies for Protecting Critical Information Assets by Jon William Toigo and Jon Toigo.
  • The Disaster Recovery Handbook: A Step-by-Step Plan to Ensure Business Continuity and Protect Vital Operations, Facilities, and Assets by Michael Wallace and Lawrence Webber.
  • Contingency Planning and Disaster Recovery: A Small Business Guide by Donna R. Childs and Stefan Dietrich.

Check for information on these and other titles.

Museums and the Web 2005: Papers online

From the IMAGELIB discussion list.

* * * * *

Museums and the Web 2005
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, April 13 - April 16, 2005
The international conference for culture and heritage on-line!

MW2005 Papers: Now On-line
Papers to be presented at Museums and the Web 2005 are now available on-line. Follow the links from the speakers list or click on any highlighted title in an Abstract to view the full paper text. (All papers will be available on-line before the meeting.) A printed volume of Selected Papers - including a CD of all submissions - is also available; see for details.

Closing Plenary: Converging Culture
Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Ian Wilson, as National Librarian and Archivist of Canada, is the first person to hold the joint national responsibility for both archives and libraries. He will address the real, apparent, and possible convergences of cultural repositories and programmes and explore the challenges that face us in the very near future.

Friday, March 18, 2005

4DigitalBooks and i2S

An anonymous reader pointed out that the Swiss book scanner is created jointed by 4DigitalBooks and i2S (located in France). The i2S web site says:
Designed by 4DigitalBooks, the Digitizing Line integrates i2S SUPRASCAN scanner technology allying high productivity without any compromise on optical resolution.

The Swiss company 4DIGITALBOOKS - ASSY SA is specialised in manual and automated digitising of bound documents. It designs and develops the DIGITIZING LINE, an automatic turn page and digitising system.

World’s oldest Christian bible to be digitized

The article on says:
On Friday 11th March, the British Library in London announced an ambitious historical international project to reinterpret the oldest Bible in the world, the Codex Sinaiticus. A team of experts from the UK, Germany, Russia, Egypt and the United States will combine efforts to make the Bible accessible to a global audience using innovative digital technology.

The Codex is the ancient Greek Bible, written between the 1st and 4th centuries A.D., which is the period when the Roman Empire split and the Emperor Constantine, who ruled the Eastern Empire, adopted Christianity. The Codex was produced as the Greek version of the principal Jewish and Christian scriptures to match Greek heritage.

Later the article notes:
According to the British Library, the project encompasses four strands: conservation, digitisation, transcription and scholarly commentary to make the Codex available for a worldwide audience of all ages and levels of interest. It is estimated that the project will take four years to complete and cost £680,000.

With the Codex divided among four physical locations, having one copy in electronic format and accessible by many will be a great achievement.

A documentary is planned of the entire project.

The Best of Eyetrack III: What We Saw When We Looked Through Their Eyes

Seth Godin's blog today has a link to this preliminary report. Although the work was based on news web site, it has implications for the design all web sites.

"The Best of Eyetrack III: What We Saw When We Looked Through Their Eyes" researched how people read news web site. It looks at the impact of headlines, graphics, fonts, paragraph sizes, and more on the time a person spending reading the page. The preliminary report provides lots of details and may spark some interesting conversations on web design.

Here's one interesting fact. The first few words of a headline, paragraph, or blurb matter the most. Thus being succinct helps. Read the report for details!

Practical quality control procedures for digital imaging projects

The journal OCLC Systems & Services (2005, v. 21, n. 1 p. 40-48) contains this article by Jenn Riley and Kurt Whitsel. According to the abstract, "This article illustrates a set of quality review processes implemented in the Indiana University Digital Library Program's Digital Media and Image Center." The article is available online (subscription required).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

How can we all help to get books digitized? (an opinion)

Right now, there are several large libraries and Google involved in digitizing books. Although it would be easy for the rest of us to sit on the sidelines and let them do all the work, that is not what we need to be doing. I think there are two things we can do to help this effort.

First, talk to library consortia organizations and vendors (e.g., existing reprographic or microfilm service bureaus) about creating service bureaus that are focused on digitization. The service bureaus -- one in each region? -- should have machines and software for efficiently scanning at least books and flat materials. Adding technology for scanning microfilm or other formats would be very useful and would allow the service bureau to become a one-stop shop.

Since an organization might not want to invest all of the money necessary to create a high-end service bureau, I see the need for several organizations to cooperate on its creation. For example, several libraries (or maybe a combination of libraries and corporations who also need digitization services) could fund the creation of a digitization service bureau in their region in cooperation with a vendor that has the know-how to run such as facility and can ensure its staffing.

It is important to recognize that digitization work will not be completed quickly. Digitization service bureaus should be busy well into the future. So these are not being created to fulfill some short-term need; they are long-term investments.

Second, every library needs to be looking at its collection and identifying those books that should be digitized as a way of making their content more readily available while lessening the wear on the original text. I'm hesitant to suggest selection criteria since books might be selected for different reasons by different institutions. However, once the books are selected, the library needs to make it known (perhaps through some yet-to-be-created clearinghouse) that it wants specific books digitized. Then the library would work to ensure that the book is digitized by either having it done itself or by ensuring that the same book is digitized by another institution. I know -- there is a level of coordination implied here that will take time and resources. I'm not sure who should oversee this coordination, but it needs to be a group that can work efficiently and effectively to assure that timely decisions are made.

Assuming that these two suggestions are worth pursuing, what should be done next? Meetings between regional stakeholders to get things moving. These meetings need to have a sense of urgency -- a sense that this must be done now. Yes, plans need to put into place. However, these are not plans that are acted on in 2- 5 years, but plans that need to be acted on in the coming months. We need to get to work now.

Okay, I've voiced my opinion. Leave a comment and tell me yours. How do you think we should be proceeding?

Resources on the NAGARA web site

The National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) is dedicated to the improvement of federal, state, and local government records and information management. The web site includes publications and other resources to help administrators stay up-to-date on e-records as well as the transfer of older records to digital formats. Among the publications is a spreadsheet called the State Electronic Records Resources List. This list shows -- by state -- links and contact information for their rules surrounding electronic records. According to the date on the bottom of the page, it was last updated in 2003. One hopes that means there have been no changes to the list. (Assuming that there have been no changes, it would be helpful if NAGARA said that so users of the information could be sure that they were using the most current version.)

Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications

The following announcement is from the GPO web site.

* * * * *

Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications. June 14, 2004 (PDF 140 KB)

Comments should be directed to Judith C. Russell ( ) by Monday, March 28, 2005.

GPO is working with the library community on a national digitization plan, with the goal of digitizing a complete legacy collection of tangible U.S. Government publications. The objective is to ensure that the digital collection is available, in the public domain, for no-fee permanent public access through the FDLP.

The project will ensure that the collection is digitally reformatted for preservation purposes. The digital preservation masters and the associated metadata will be preserved in the GPO electronic archive (in addition to any other places that the materials might be held), and there will be no-fee public access to the content through derivative files on GPO Access.

The Report on the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Metadata Specifications is a summary of the second of two meetings held to assist GPO in developing specifications for the digitization project. This meeting, focusing on descriptive and preservation metadata, was held at GPO on June 14, 2004. A summary of the overall discussion of the experts and the necessary resources for the metadata package submission are included in the report. Also included is a listing of metadata elements that is not meant to be viewed as a final list of required metadata elements, but a list of metadata elements, based on this discussion and the recommended readings as put forth in the meeting. It provides a common set of elements from which to build for digitization project. GPO encourages all to review the report and provide comments to Judith C. Russell ( by Monday, March 28, 2005.

The first meeting of experts on digitization and digital preservation was held at the GPO in Washington, DC in March 2004. That meeting brought together practicing experts in the field of digital format conversion and digital project development to discuss the current standards and specifications for the creation of digital objects for preservation and to put forward a proposed set of minimum requirements for digitizing documents for this project. The Report of the Meeting of Experts on Digital Preservation: Digital Preservation Masters is located at:

Chirac Rivals Google with French Online Book Plan

Reuters reports:
President Jacques Chirac told France's national library on Wednesday to draw up a plan to put European literary works on the Internet, rivaling a similar project by U.S.-based Web search engine Google.

Chirac asked Jeanneney and France's culture minister to look at ways "in which the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe could be made more widely and more quickly accessible by Internet," Chirac's office said in a statement.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The impact of the Kirtas book scanner

According to Kirtas' CEO, the University of Toronto, has digitized 500 year old books with the Kirtas book scanner and the books were unharmed. We know that scanning these books will allow them to be handled less, since now the electronic versions can be used. We might not automatically think of the other benefit. The digital images of those books can be used to print facsimiles. Those facsimiles can be placed in general circulation or sold. For example, religious texts never go out-of-date. Scholars and other researchers like to be able to read the older texts. What if some of these texts could be digitized and then reproduced? Now a scholar could own an exact reproduction. Imagine the impact that could have on the research community.

Of course, once the digital files are created, the facsimiles could be produced on demand, which is what Brewster Kahle's printing bookmobile does. Printing on-demand is a great option since it eliminates the cost of inventory.

Does the facsimile lessen the value of the original book? I don't think so. In fact, given that more people could have access to the book, I think it would make the book better known and could heighten the books value. I'm sure that will have to tested and proven before libraries begin making facsimiles that they sell.

The key to all of this is getting the books into electronic form. Not every institution that has books worth digitizing can afford the technology, so how should we proceed? I'll write about that tomorrow.

Mark Jordan and Developing Digital Collections

Mark Jordan teaches at the University of British Columbia and last summer taught a class entitled "Developing Digital Collections." His syllabus and course materials are online. Two of his presentations -- Project Management for Digital Collection Development and Project Operations For Digital Collections Development -- are worth reading and/or bookmarking for later. (Please note that he has made these materials available through a Creative Commons license.)

The 4DigitalBooks scanner

Although I had read articles about the Swiss book scanner, it wasn't until last night that I visited the company's web site. Why? A comment on one site said that it was the size of an SUV, so I needed to see pictures of it. The 4DigitalBooks web site does have pictures and the specifications note that it weighs 2867 lbs. No cost information is available on the web site. For those who want to see it in person, they will be exhibiting at the AIIM conference in May in Philadelphia.

Harvard-Google Project Faces Copyright Woes

This Harvard Crimson article presents interesting and opposite viewpoints. For example, Sally Morris, chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, is quoted as saying:

The law does not permit wholesale copying (which is what digitisation is) by a commercial organisation of works that are still in copyright. It is also illegal to make those works available digitally once they have been copied.

She also cautions that "Harvard might not be able to discern which books are copyrighted because of varying copyright regulations in different countries."

Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of the French national library, commented that the project is too American. He believes that it will favor English language and Anglo-Saxon publications, although Harvard has said that non-English publications are a large part of its collection and will be digitized.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Today I saw a demo of the Kirtas book scanner

Today I saw a demo of the Kirtas Bookscan 1200. The marketing literature said that I would be amazed, and I was! The scanner itself is impressive. It can scan a page in three seconds (1200 pages/hour) and works automatically, needing very little human intervention. The machine weighs under 200 lbs. and can be taken to the books, if necessary. Unlike those scanners of yesteryear, this one can be moved without becoming temperamental. The software allows for efficient post-processing including cropping, adjusting contrasts, etc., and storing files in PDF and/or TIFF format. Using templates, the software can work automatically on scanned pages. Some books do require human attention during post-processing. For example, a bound journal, where most of the inner margin has been trimmed off, may require a human to recenter the pages. However, it seems that most books could be post-processed with little human intervention.

Although the scanner is referred to as a book scanner, Lotfi Belkhir, Kirtas' CEO, said that it works with any bound document. For example, you could use it to scanner bound reports, journals, product instruction books, and lab notebooks.

A video demo of the scanner is available on the Kirtas web site.

I'll write more about this tomorrow. For now, I need to meditate on one question -- What (where) will be the real impact of this technology?

Scanned texts from Canadian libraries

A January posting to the SHAKSPER discussion list talks about books that have been scanned by the University of Toronto and placed online with the Internet Archive. Currently, the Canadian Library gateway, which includes books from several Canadian libraries, has 786 books available with more being added. Books may be downloaded as DjVu facsimiles (similar to PDF files) and require the DjVu plug-in/viewer. The University of Toronto is housing the scanning facility for this project, and is using a Kirtas scanner. The web site report that they are scanning at a rate of 10,000 pages per day.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Study shows online citations don't age well

Today's Edupage by Educause contains a story about a study conducted by two academics at Iowa State University about online citations. The study "looked at five prestigious communication-studies journals from 2000 to 2003 and found 1,126 footnotes that cite online resources. Of those, 373 did not work at all, a decay rate of 33 percent; of those that worked, only 424 took users to information relevant to the citation." The original article was in the Chronicle of Higher Education, March 14, 2005 (subscription required). The Edupage archives are available here.

How do you find a digitization consultant?

Finding someone to help you plan and carry out a project may be even more difficult than finding a vendor to do the actual work. Digitization consultants -- who may be considered a document management consultant -- are not always in the phone book. So how do you find them? Here are places to contact that should be able to help you find a consultant that will meet your needs:
  • Your local library consortia group -- They may be your best source, since they talk to their members and know whom their members are dealing with on projects.
  • Local consultant/entrepreneur association -- Many areas have associations of consultants or entrepreneurs. Such an association should know of a digitization or document management consultant in the region.
  • Local government agencies (e.g., town planning board) -- Many local governments have been putting in processes for managing their documents. Often they work with outside vendors and consultants on these projects. Therefore a local government may be able to point you towards a consultant.
  • Local digitization vendors -- I suspect that these vendors (e.g., vendors of scanning services) are oblivious about who the consultants are. It's a suspicion based on nothing but gut feel. However, it is worth asking them, just in case they do know.
  • The chamber of commerce -- The chamber is not as "all-knowing" as we all think, but since they are interested with many businesses in your region, they might know of consultants.
  • The Internet -- The search term "digitization consultant" retrieves very few web sites. Broader searches may help even though it will be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Can you do something now that will help you when you need to find a consultant? Yes. Given that you may need a consultant in the future, or may be asked to recommend a consultant (or a digitization service), start a file of those that you find. The notes that you keep now may be extremely valuable in the future.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Page Archives of the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper

The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse has scanned back issues of it and other Syracuse papers (Herald-Journal and Herald American) and placed them in an online database. There are currently nearly 4 million pages available, with more being added. By the end of the year, there will be nearly 5 million pages available. Most of the pages are from 1900 to the present, with some going back to the mid-1800s. Heritage Microfilm Co. created the digital assets for the newspaper.

The Page Archive web site notes that:
These Syracuse Newspapers pages are hosted by, but brought to you by The Post-Standard with the generous contributions of the Onondaga Historical Association.
Unlimited access to the archives is available for $6.95/month or $59.95/year.

Laura Soto-Barra, Assistant Managing Editor/Library of The Post-Standard, is thrilled that these archives bring together materials that were owned by different organizations, thus creating in one spot the breadth of materials that was not available before.

Blogger (BlogSpot) status (or why this and other blogs have been acting up)

According to the Blogger status page, the site is having stability problems. Blogger notes that most of these problems have been caused by an increased amount of load on the application servers. An increased amount of load means both more people reading blogs and more people creating blogs. Blogger (BlogSpot) promises to work on the problems by increasing capacity and making other changes to the system.

Now anyone can post a comment to Digitization 101

I didn't realize that the default was not "anyone", so I've changed it. Now you can leave a comment here to any of the blog postings. Tell me what's on your mind. Comment!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Don't Get Goggle-Eyed Over Google's Plan to Digitize

This opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education lists five reasons why we shouldn't tear up our library cards just yet:
  • Copyright
  • Past failures
  • Preserving books
  • Google's future
  • Ecological concerns
Under preserving books, Mark Y. Herring notes:
My guess is that Google has underestimated, perhaps substantially, the percentage of books that will be damaged or that cannot undergo rapid digitization. Not only will some books be too fragile, or bound too tightly to lie flat, but even some newer books, owing to rapid manufacture, fall out of their bindings in 12 months or less. Handling -- even by careful digitizers -- will doubtless leave more than a few volumes without covers. Working with both groups of titles will increase Google's costs.
Imagine the wrath that will occur if even one fragile book is harmed during the digitization process. Could several instances kill the project by causes Google to slow down and be more careful, or by giving libraries second thoughts?

The Mind's Eye: Theory and Practice of Digital Imaging in Cultural Heritage Institutions

This program to be held on April 22, 2005 is sponsored by Los Angeles Chapter of American Society for Information Science and Technology (LACASIS). Registration deadline is April 11 and space is limited to 50 people. There is no registration fee.

The featured speaker will be Brian O'Connor, Professor & Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Information Science Ph.D. Program, School of Library & Information Science, University of North Texas.

Featured presenters on cultural heritage digital imaging projects and copyright will be:
  • Ben Blackwell, Principle Photographer, UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
  • Nancy Goldman, Librarian, UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
  • Mary O'Connor, Visiting Digital Imaging Specialist, UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
  • Layna White, Head of Collections Information and Access, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Copyright case may conclude with public burning

Native American Times has a story on an interesting copyright case out in California. According the article, permission was given by an elder, who has since died, to allow the recording of sacred ceremonies. However, there was no permission given for those recordings to be disseminated. An out-of-court settlement was reach and the tapes were returned to the tribe. Now those types may be destroyed (burned) in a public ceremony.

The article notes that "the majority of the people that bought the tapes and CDs were Me-Wuk Indians interested in learning more about their history." Let's hope that the Me-Wuk will work to create works that can legally be disseminated so that their members can learn and preserve their history.

3 Day Course in Document Imaging and Document Management: Spring 2005, Summer 2005

ArchiveBuilders has announced its course schedule for the spring and summer of this year. Details can be found on its web site. Course materials are also available online even for those not taking the class.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Blogger problems?

My blog is acting up a bit today. The system (Blogger) is slow and the pages aren't displaying correctly. I've checked out a few other Blogger blogs and see errors on their pages, too. Hopefully "whatever" is happening will be fixed soon.

Why is this item important? (A personal deed of gift experience, part 2)

On September 30, I wrote "A personal deed of gift experience." Today is a good day to tell more of that story. I want to talk about context.

In September, I donated 20 items to Elmira College (EC) that had belong to my mother, who had graduated from EC in 1931. In meeting with the Alumni Office, it was important for me to build context about the items. I built the context by connecting everything into a story; a story about my mother. The items taken together told the story of my mother, an African American woman, who was the first African American to graduate from Elmira College (actually its music school). I had her diploma, articles from the newspaper (which documented her status as 'the first'), event programs (and the commencement program) that listed her, and her resume from the 1930s that outlined her entire academic career. Building the entire story was important because the Alumni Office didn't know that there had been a music school, but there in black-and-white was the proof -- diploma and commencement program. The diploma was signed by the school's president at the time and her principle instructor was known to have been at EC. I also gave them a photo of her from that era, so that they could see what she looked like.

The lesson -- It is important for donors to build context, even if they think it's obvious. We know from experience that what is obvious to us may not be obvious to someone else! Documenting the context will help the institution retain the understanding of why the items are important. It also helps to ensure that the institution re-tells the story (rebuilds the context) correctly.

So why tell more of this story today? Today I received the alumni magazine from EC that contained an article about the donation, with photos of my mother and myself (also an EC graduate). I am not sure if my mother, who died in early 2004, would be pleased with the attention she is now getting, but my thought is that the attention is well deserved.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

NYPL Digital Gallery

Several blogs and media sources have heralded the arrival of the NYPL's new online gallery of images. The site says:
NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 275,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.

The About NYPL Digital Gallery page contains information on how the images were selected, organized and delivered. Good information that other projects may find useful.

Natl Geo copyright case decision upheld

Confessions of a Mad Librarian has a good post on the Faulkner v. National Geographic Enterprises Inc. copyright case, which was recently ruled on by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case regards the rights of freelance writers/photographers versus those of publishers. This court and the lower court both ruled in favor of the National Geographics. Misseli writes:

The big issue appears to be context. In Tasini, the republished works of the freelancers were made available separate from the other published material (whether through web archives or aggregated databases like Lexis/Nexis and Factiva). For Faulkner, the court has found that the circumstances of the digitization AND display made the CD-ROM compilation functionally equivalent to a microfilm of the magazine and thus non-infringing.

U.K. copyright law leaves much open to interpretation

This article by Paul Pedley is a good two-page overview of the U.K. law. It was published in the November 2004 issue of Information Outlook, the journal produced by the Special Libraries Association.

How International Copyright Law Works

I keep telling my students that learning about copyright is an ongoing process. It is a reality that probably calms and frustrates them simultaneously.

Lesley Ellen Harris wrote an article in the January 2005 issue of Information Outlook on international copyright law. This a good overview article -- not too technical. She even talks about the digital copyright issues, but admits that all of the answers around jurisdiction and liability are not yet known.

How to Manage the RFP Process

The November 2004 issue of Information Outlook contains this article by Debbie Schachter. She notes that, "Many organizations use the RFP for service or technology-related projects." Thus her advice gained from personal experience and research would be useful to those considering engaging a vendor in a digital assets project.

A cost benchmark

The HistoryMakers is a project that is "committed to preserving, developing and providing easy access to an internationally recognized archival collection of thousands of African American video and oral histories." Looking at their materials, they provide an interesting cost benchmark. Their printed background material from 2004 says:
Each HistoryMaker interview is approximately two hours in length and costs $2,500 to $5,000 to produce. This includes the cost of background research, videotaping, editing, transcribing, encoding, digitizing, archiving, and disseminating the information.
Thus this important work is not inexpensive. In fact, the project has been doing intensive fund raising from various sources in hopes of securing the $30 million it needs for the initial five-year archival efforts.

I blogged about this project in October after meeting Julieanna Richardson, who started this project. This is really a project worth watching because of what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Imaging services vendors for digitizing government records

There are compilations of digitization vendors online, each with its own focus. (None though as truly comprehensive as I dream about.) Here is information on a list maintained by the New York State Archives of "imaging services vendors to aid government agencies, local governments, and other entities searching for companies and individuals providing imaging services. This inventory lists organizations, their contact information, as well as a brief summary of services offered when the information was available. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and completeness, you are encouraged to contact vendors directly for verification. "

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Thanks to Geof Huth at the State Archives for his reminder about this list.

Library of Congress encouraging collaborative national digital preservation network

I have finally gotten around to reading this post on the Ten Thousand Year Blog from March 1. The first paragraph states:
The Library of Congress is inviting U.S. states and territories to form collaborative arrangements and develop strategies for preservation of significant state and local government information in digital form. This activity is part of the Library’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), which is building a national preservation network. The Library seeks to include state governmental entities (state libraries, archives, and other state agencies) in its national network to preserve “born digital” state and local government information that is both significant and is at risk of loss.
This wonderful since most would agree that those materials that are only in digital form (born and stored digitally) are truly at risk because they rely on technology.

The Tsunami

It has been more than two months since the tsunami in South-East Asia. Although it is not in the broadcast news every day, news is still be made there. Please take a moment and check out The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog so you know what has been happening. Why? Because it is important that we all know something about the world outside of our own "village."

Announcement: Inventory of Library Digital Collections

The Reference and Loan Library is working with the Wisconsin Heritage Online (WHO) planning project to develop an inventory or register of websites with digital collections about Wisconsin or sites hosted by Wisconsin libraries, museums, or historical societies. The primary audience for the website is library or museum staff who are planning future digitization projects. Reference staff may also find the site useful for identifying digital collections. Staff will be able to determine if another library has already digitized specific collections and whether or not that library's collections are unique or would complement work already done. The website is a work in
progress and currently contains about 40 records. The WHO informational website is operated by WiLS and can be found at It has a link to the digital collection inventory and associated data entry form on the left-hand menu. The digital collections inventory is operated by the Reference and Loan Library and can also be found at

The inventory was recently demonstrated at the WHO Summit held February 22, 2005 in Madison. Library and museum staff are invited to search the database to determine if their site is already listed, and if not, to enter information about any digitized collections they are making available to the public. The form for entry of digitized collection information can be found
at and the data entry form can be found at

If digitized collections are not web-based, then this should be specified in the notes section. Only information about digitized collections that are about Wisconsin or hosted by Wisconsin libraries should be entered at this time. Reference and Loan Library staff will review all records entered by library or museum staff and will assign LC subject headings to each record. Contact Sally Drew ( with any questions.

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Thanks to Barbara J. Arnold at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for passing this along to me.

What to do about Google...

The February 2005 issue of the Montague Institute Review contains an article entitled "What to do about Google..."
The inspiration for this article was a question submitted by one of our members, the project manager of a "Taxonomy Center of Excellence." She asked: "How do we position ourselves against Google, which is in essence,anti-classification/taxonomy? (OR do we embrace it... and if so, how?)"

The excerpt of the article goes on to say:

As we show in this article, there are times when Google works well. But because it's ubiquitous and deceptively easy to use, Google creates unrealistic expectations for many users. It also fosters an over-simplified model of information work. Everyone uses Google, but everyone uses it in a different way depending on their job role, personality, and other factors. Furthermore, most professional employees play more than one role, often within the same work day.

The article is available for members of the Montague Institute, however others will find the full excerpt to be of interest.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Digital Preservation Management: Short-Term Solutions to Long-Term Problems

This has been posted on several discussion lists.

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Digital Preservation Management: Short-Term Solutions to Long-Term Problems May 15-20, 2004Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NYCornell University Library is offering a digital preservation training program May 15-20, 2005 with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The workshop targets managers at organizations that are facing the digital preservation challenge and highlights the need for the integration of organizational and technological issues to devise an appropriate approach. This limited-enrollment workshop has a registration fee of $750 per participant. Registration opens on Tuesday, March 15 for the May workshop. There will be two additional offerings of the workshop this year in July and November 2005. See the workshop website for more details:

Two vendor problems that have yet to be solved

The lecture I'm preparing this week for my graduate students has to do with outsourcing, which has gotten me thinking about the digitization vendors we deal with. I have realized that there are two problems that have yet to be solved.
  1. There is no comprehensive list of vendors. We need a list (directory) that not only lists vendors, but also states their capabilities so that you can decide easily which vendors to contact about a possible project. Right now we rely on word of mouth, referrals, online searches, etc., to find vendors.
  2. Vendors are not qualified or certified based on any standards. We rely on what others tell us about working with a vendor, samples, information gathered via RFIs and RFPs, vendor visits, etc. This also means we have no way of comparing vendors in a way that stands up over time.

Who should create the comprehensive list? The one group that I think could do this is AIIM. Currently AIIM captures information on a limited list of solution providers. Although they are focused on "the tools and technologies that capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content in support of business processes", I don't think it would be a huge leap for them to capture information on vendors who work with historic items, etc.

Who else could create the list? Perhaps a publisher or the government...whomever, it would need to be a group that would see it has part of its mission (which is why I think AIIM could be a logical choice).

And who should set the standards used to certify vendors? A group of people who have had lots of experience with digitization vendors. Perhaps representatives from those projects what we all marvel at (American Memory, etc.)? I would want key people from the National Archives and Library of Congress at the table, and perhaps someone who could bring the vendor's viewpoint. Definitely someone who understands that all projects are not alike.

And who should actually do the certification? Should vendors self-certify? With the importance of digitization on our future, I would think some independent group (government funded?) should certify vendors, using information provided to them. It would be a lot of work, but very much worth it. And vendors would go through the process when they understood the benefit (like those companies that go through the ISO 9000 certification).

It's all do-able. Perhaps we should call on AIIM to help get the first ball rolling?

Lawrence Lessig's speech last week at the Library of Congress

Lawrence Lessig, inventor of the Creative Commons, spoke about copyright and its impact on our intellectual advancement. You can view his speech (video and audio) here.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The UK Digital Curation Centre (DCC) Conference, September 29-30, 2005

The 1st International Digital Curation Conference will be held at the Hilton Bath City (UK), from September 29 - 30, 2005.
The overarching aim of the DCC is to provide leadership in digital curation and data preservation. The conference will provide an important forum, helping to raise awareness of the key issues and encouraging active participation and feedback from all stakeholder communities. The programme will include Keynote Speakers, will provide an overview of the work of the DCC and an opportunity via a "Symposium" to discuss the concepts and principles of Digital Curation. There will also be a series of parallel sessions, which will look in more detail at specific topics including Socio-Legal Issues, Format Registries, Storage Media, Training & Staff Development and Certification.

Bobby by Watchfire

Looking at a web site, I notice a note a link to something that was "Bobby Accessible," but I had not heard of Bobby. A quick search took me to WatchFire's Bobby web site. The site helps you (a web designer) understand if your site meets accessibility guidelines, such as Section 508 and the W3C's WCAG. You can type in a URL and get a quick report on the site/page. A quick look at my site shows that I've got some errors messages to review and perhaps some things to fix. One thing I could do would be to create an alternate web site that is Bobby Approved. Looks like I've got some work ahead of me.

Is your web site -- your digital library -- Bobby Approved? Is it accessible to everyone? Time to check it out.

Friday Advice: What I really meant to say

In every day communications, as well as those formal documents we write, we often find ourselves not saying what we meant. Sometimes the communication problems are caused by typos and grammatical errors, but sometimes it is because we are not clear ourselves about what we should communicate.

Today talk a moment to review your web site, your project site, your signature file, your bio...whatever...and ensure that you understand what you are trying to communicate and then check to see if that is what you are communicating. Make sure that you are being clear.

Unsure if you are being clear? Get feedback from your clients, your patrons, and your friends. Remember that you aren't communicating well if your reader/listener does not understand you.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Creating, managing, MARKETING, and preserving digital assets

In the beginning, we didn't think about preserving digital assets, but only about creating them. In fact, it probably took a few failed projects for us to think seriously about methodologies around managing digital assets. Then came the need to ensure long-term access and we began to talk about preservation. So we talk about creating, managing and preserving, but we need to add marketing to that list. Marketing is one of the activities done when working on a digitization project, but might not be consider a major activity. Yet, if there is no marketing, then people will not find or use the materials. Marketing is critically important and thus should be listed along with creating, managing and preserving.

As you work on your projects, keep in mind the phrase "market or die." Marketing will help your projects survive and thrive.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Libraries Matter!

Maija McLaughlin at Fayetteville (NY) Free Library messaged me with a link to a group selling rubber bracelets (wrist bands) that say "Libraries Matter". This is a project of the Alliance Library System in Illinois. Orders for the bracelets must be placed through libraries. And libraries across the U.S. (public and special/corporate) are selling them. Proceeds for the sales held library-related causes.

This is very cool! I need get one!

SNT Report: Hush is the Word on Google's Digitization Project

SNT Report: Hush is the Word on Google's Digitization Project quotes the Chicago Trubune:

Beyond vague talk about Google having developed a much more efficient process, the project's specifics are secret. At Harvard, for instance, Google won't allow reporters to visit or photograph the scanning currently being done -- of 40,000 volumes as a kind of pilot project, just to make sure the books don't get damaged or lost -- at the university library's 5-million-volume off-campus storage facility.
Steve Johnson. "How Google Will Scan the World, 1 Book at a Time." Chicago Tribune. Feb. 25, 2005. (Free registration required)

Those rubber bracelets

I'm not sure who began this trend of creating and selling rubber bracelets as a fundraiser and awareness-builder, but they are now everywhere. I own one (only one so far) that says "Fight Hunger and Homelessness" (from the Rescue Mission). Lance Armstrong's foundation sells one (LIVESTRONG™) as does the University of Maryland (Fear the Turtle), the American Cancer Society, and others. Now that we know people like these, how about a rubber bracelet that promoted something that affects all of us like reading? Perhaps the saying could be "Reading is FUNdamental"? (Yes, someone does own that phrase as a trademark, but perhaps they'd let it be used for something like this.) And what if people didn't buy these "reading" bracelets, but were given one for buying a book or checking a book out of the library? Could we create a trends of people wearing bracelets to pronounce that they read? That would be cool!

The site says:
When you can't find copyright holders, copyright becomes a quagmire.

Let's fix it.

The U.S. Copyright Office has asked for comments on the problem of "orphan works" (works still under copyright, but the copyright holder is hard to find). This site is accepting comments on the "orphan works" problem that it will pass along to the Copyright Office.

Comments are due by March 25, 2005.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Google's Digitization Project — What Difference Will it Make?

This article -- Google's Digitization Project — What Difference Will it Make? -- from Library Issues, March 2005, is available for free online until March 7.

In this well-written article, Barbara Fister states:

Google’s partnership with libraries was a strategic move. Not only have they “co-branded” their name with those of prestigious libraries, they have scored an end-run around reluctant publishers. Over a year ago Google rolled out a plan to engage willing publishers in a “Google Print” program, arguing better visibility of the content of books would lead to sales. But Amazon had already signed agreements with publishers to make the full text of tens of thousands of current consumer-oriented books searchable at Amazon’s site, allowing customers to search full text and browse a limited number of pages without copying or printing pages.

Google’s Projects Continue to Generate Shock Waves

Paula Hane in her article entitled "Google’s Projects Continue to Generate Shock Waves" for Information Today's NewsLink e-newsletter (March 2005) comments on remarks made about Google at the NFAIS conference. Hane writes:
Much of the NFAIS conference seems to focus on if and how content producers should embrace new opportunities and business models in an age of Googlization. Discussions with Google representatives highlighted details of Google’s three projects and Kaser reported that conference delegates "were urged to think about how their materials might be of use and interest to a wider market." Of course, the supposition is that Google would be the enabler to those wider markets.

BTW Google’s director of business development, Cathy Gordon, who has worked for both Dialog and LexisNexis, gave the opening keynote on "Capturing Diverse User Mindshare." John Lewis Needham, Google’s strategic partner development manager, was also on hand and spoke about the expand content in Google Scholar.

Newspaper writes on the importance of digital archiving

The Ten Thousand Year Blog today reports on an article in the Tucson Citizen newspaper on February 25 "on the importance of digital archiving and how digitization programs are enabling access to information for individuals who would otherwise be unable to see it. The downside of this positive spin, however, is that user visits to archives and museums appear to be dropping."

The article states that "nearly two-thirds of the people now using the Wisconsin collections are viewing them online. "