Tuesday, May 31, 2005

It's A-L-I-V-E! (Google Print)

Yes, like everyone is reporting, Google Print beta is available for us to use. The site says, "Search the full text of books (and discover new ones)." Go ahead -- try it out. My first search was on the word "copyright." For the book, The Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Patient Workbook, the word copyright appears on every page. Does this mean that I could view (and capture) every copyrighted page in the book! No, some pages (determined by what I don't know) are restricted because the book is still under copyright, but lots aren't.

Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata

From the press release:

OCLC and RLG are pleased to announce the release of a comprehensive guide to core metadata for supporting the long-term preservation of digital materials. Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata: Final Report of the PREMIS Working Group...

The data dictionary is the final product of the PREMIS (Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) working group. Jointly sponsored by OCLC and RLG, PREMIS is an international set of more than 30 experts from libraries, museums, archives, government, and the private sector. The working group has been chaired by Priscilla Caplan, assistant director for digital library services at the Florida Center for Library Automation, and Rebecca Guenther, senior networking and standards specialist at the Library of Congress. Brian Lavoie, OCLC senior research scientist, and Robin Dale, RLG program officer, have served as liaisons to the group.

Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata and related materials can be viewed and downloaded at the Working Group's web site either as separate sections or as one 237 page report.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Kenneth D. Crews Wins American Library Association's L. Ray Patterson Award

Diglet reported on Wednesday that Kenny Crews had become the first recipient of the "L. Ray Patterson Award: In Support of Users' Rights" given by the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) Copyright Advisory Committee. ALA's press release can be read here.

I've had the pleasure years ago of attending a copyright workshop that Kenny Crews did. It was entertaining and informative. (He is actually a former entertainment lawyer, so he must have picked up some techniques from his clients.) I have never forgotten how he answered questions from the audience by going back to the law. It instilled in me that -- with copyright -- you cannot make assumptions. You should indeed go back through the four factors of Fair Use and to the law to help ensure that the answer you come up with is correct.

And when people talk about bringing in "a name" to do a copyright workshop, he is the first person I mention. Yes, he's that good.

Kenny, congratulations! This is well deserved.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Event: Pirates, Thieves and Innocents: Perceptions of Copyright Infringement in the Digital Age

From the digital-copyright discussion list.

* * * * *

Announcing Open Registration for the Live Webcast

Pirates, Thieves and Innocents: Perceptions of Copyright Infringement in the Digital Age
Online June 16-17, 2005

A symposium sponsored by The Center for Intellectual Property http://www.umuc.edu/cip/symposium

Due to high demand, registration for the face-to-face symposium is now closed. However, we are still committed to making the programming available. Please join us online for the symposium webcast!

Visit http://www.umuc.edu/cip/symposium/webcast.html for details on how you can participate remotely in this event.

Visit https://nighthawk.umuc.edu/CIPReg.nsf/Application?OpenForm to register now.

Jack Boeve
University of Maryland University College Center for Intellectual Property


Yesterday I did a copyright discussion for members of the Rochester Regional Library Council. The idea was to talk a bit about copyright and Fair Use, then do some problem solving. All of the attendees were knowledgeable about copyright, but -- indeed -- is was the application of the law that "hung" them up. The questions/problems that face us are sometimes not straightforward. Add to that users who think they know best, and we all feel like burying our heads in the sand. However, yesterday we did not bury our heads; we addressed the questions head on.

One of the handouts was Quick List of Resources. Feel free to download the handout and investigate the resources listed. One attendee mentioned Copyright Bay which is also worth checking out.

I ended the session by asking what they each would do when they got back to the office. One noted that she was going to suggest sending every faculty member at her college the library's pamphlet on copyright and Fair Use. If done, that will be a good start to having an informed faculty -- one that better understands that boundaries of Fair Use. It seems like getting our teachers (at all educational levels) more knowledgeable in copyright law, AND more willing to seek proper permissions when needed, will be a tremendous step forward. They can then educate their students on how to respectfully use (or refer to) the creative works of another.

One of the topics discussed was around the word "intent." When the author created that work, what was the person's intent? Was the intent that it be shared? How did the author make his/her intent known? Intent leads us into murky waters. We quickly move from the intent of the author to the intent of the user, yet it is the author's point of view that must prevail. The only way we know an author's intent is if the person states it. As users of information, we can't assume intent -- we must know for sure. The Creative Commons help us with that.

None of the participants had heard of the Creative Commons licenses, yet many saw an area in their institution that could use it. Some of us -- like me -- have good intentions of adopting it, but haven't yet. However, these licenses would clear up those Fair Use assumptions and allow us to more readily share information. My stated task at the end of the session was to create a Creative Commons license for some of the materials I produce. Now I just need to do it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


I spent part of this morning seeing a demo of ArchivalWare by PTFS. ArchivalWare allows organizations to store, access, and manage digital archive collections. The software can handle various types of digital assets (e.g., MP3, PDF, etc.) and seems quite flexible. The search feature is powerful, giving lots of options to the user. Thankfully, you can customize the user view and limit what a user can do. You might do that to give a group of users only the functionality that they can handle or to inhibit them from doing something (like e-mailing images).

From looking at products such as ArchivalWare and CONTENTdm, I know that doing a true comparison cannot occur without long exposure to both products. In my past life in information technology, I could do software evaluations quickly but that was back in packages focused on one thing and didn't manage a broad range of processes (thinking of content management systems). I wonder how many organizations have the time to do that? Can an organization really evaluate multiple products or does it go with the product that someone else (someone reputable) has selected? Are organizations turning en masse to outside consultants to do product comparison? Do many organizations regret their selection decisions because they didn't take time to do a full evaluation?

What I really want to know about Google

Back in December, when Google first made their plans known, I was very excited. My excitement wasn't so much about how many books they would digitize, but what we would learn from their efforts. I looked forward to hearing how they were going to do this. Unfortunately, the sharing of information that normally occurs in the library community has been replaced by the corporate need for non-disclosure.

Instead of hearing about technology, making content searchable, content presentation, etc., we're hearing about other entities being upset at Google's work, either because they see it as U.S.-centric or an attack on the copyright law. I'm not discounting those talks and articles, but I wish some of the other aspects of the project would be discussed and written about.

Google -- you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by lifting the cloak of secrecy, even if it is just for a moment. Tell us about the technology, the problems, the successes...teach us what you are learning.

That's what I really want to know.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Article: Some Publishers Not Happy With Google's Library Digitization Program

Gary Price has written a new article for Search Engine Watch on Google's digitization program. There is no new news; just more analysis of "who's saying what." The question, of course, is will the publishers (copyright holders) take Google to court for its actions and, if yes, will the court feel that Google is acting in good faith? There is no indication that a lawsuit is imminent (although we seem to expect one), however, such a suit -- once settled -- would help other digitization efforts understand how they might handle copyrighted materials. As beneficial could be the meaningful negotiations that would begin once a lawsuit is filed.

Article: University-Press Group Raises Questions About Google's Library-Scanning Project

The Association of American University Presses, which represents 125 nonprofit scholarly publishers, has posed sixteen (16) detailed questions about Google's digitization project to Google's lawyer. The Association notes that the project "appears to be built on a fundamental violation of the copyright act." Other organizations have sent formal questions to Google about this project in hopes of clarifying the company's stance on copyright and Fair Use.

The article in the Chronicle of Higher Education provides a bit more information (but nothing earth shattering).

Friday, May 20, 2005

Article: Spielberg internet archive now has over 300 films

The Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, which contains more than 10,000 film titles, now has 300+ films available via the Internet as part of a five-year upgrade and digitization project. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post:
A number of rare historical items are included in the latest additions to the "virtual cinema." These include the film "Work and Ceremony in Palestine" (1926), donated to the archive by Gerard Yuness, whose father had hidden the film in the backyard of his house in Tunisia before fleeing to France during World War II.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Article: The Problem of Orphan Works

Written by Tobe Liebert, who is the Director of Special Projects at the Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law. This article at LLRX.com talks about how the problem of orphan works occurred and briefly describes some possible solutions. One possible solutions proposed is to adopt the Canadian approach which allows its copyright office to issue a license to use an orphan work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Survey being conducted by NC ECHO

Posted on DigiStates. If you have a statewide or regional project and have not completed this survey, please help NC ECHO by contacting kcumber@library.dcr.state.nc.us and getting a copy of the survey form. Details from the e-mail message are below.

* * * * *

North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online (NC ECHO), http://www.ncecho.org, is a multi-faceted collaborative statewide initiative that maintains an online portal to the special collections of North Carolina's libraries, archives, museums, historic sites, and related organizations. Supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, this project seeks to build a statewide framework for digitization in order to facilitate comprehensive access to the holdings of North Carolina's cultural institutions.

NC ECHO is presently in our fifth year of operations, and we are nearing the end of the first phase of our project-the completion of a needs assessment and opinion survey of all cultural institutions in the state of North Carolina. We are seeking input from and about other like projects so that we may make informed decisions as we plan for the future of the project.

If you work on a statewide or regional digitization project, it would help us a great deal if you would take just a few minutes to complete a short survey. Once compiled, all data gathered will be shared via the Digistates list.

Event: Statewide Digitization Project Planners Meeting

This was posted on DigiStates. This is a relatively small group that has been meeting. Even though you may not fit this group's profile, I think it is important that you know they exist.

* * * * *

Please mark your calendars - the next Statewide Digitization Project Planners Meeting will take place during ALA Annual in Chicago on Saturday, June 26, 2005 from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. We will send an invitation to attend that includes the location details and registration information in the next few weeks.

One of the key topics at this meeting will be an update on the planning for the October 2005 Statewide Digitization Planners Conference.

Other suggestions for discussion topics include:
  • Research from IMLS/OAI repository
  • Digital Preservation
  • Update on Digital Funding Initiatives
Please forward additional discussion items to Amy Lytle at amy_lytle@oclc.org .

Googlezon (2014)

You may have seen this, but I had not until last Friday. It is a view of the future that could happen depending on what we do now.
In the year 2014, The New York times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate's fortunes have waned. What has happened to the news? And why is EPIC?
View the 8 minute video here (random mirror site) or here (Georgia Tech).

This video was created in 2004, which makes some of their predictions for 2005 quite prophetic.

Technorati Tag:

Event: Basics and Beyond on-line digitization training courses

The Illinois Digitization Institute at the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), in partnership with the Illinois State Library and the Illinois Heritage Association, is offering two more of their Basics and Beyond on-line digitization training courses in 2005.

This three-week on-line course allows busy professionals the opportunity to learn more about digitization from the convenience of their own computers! Using the Web, participants can access the on-line course materials, have access to a course facilitator and digitization experts, engage in on-line discussions, solve real world digitization problems, and do readings on various aspects of the digitization process. Cost: $300.00 per person.

Courses will be directed towards participants from libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural heritage institutions who are seeking in-depth digitization training to enable them to apply information standards and best practices in their work with cultural heritage materials. Discussions and assignments will focus on the following topics:
  • Benefits and costs of digitization projects
  • Issues involved with designing and evaluating digitization projects, and goal-setting
  • Selection of materials for digitization
  • Determining the best way to digitize a collection and make it accessible to the target audience
  • Planning issues including: budgeting, workflow, copyright, storage, and preservation
  • Metadata: best practices and creation
  • Evaluating, selecting, and purchasing digitization equipment
  • Basic scanning and image manipulation
  • Delivery and access of digital images
Courses are scheduled for July 11- 29, 2005 and September 12 – 30, 2005.

Illinois cultural heritage associations may be able to qualify for a scholarship to cover the cost of either of these courses.

To learn more about the “Basics and Beyond” digitization course series and available scholarships or to register for courses, please visit http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/IDI or contact:

Amy Maroso, Project Coordinator
Grainger Engineering Library Information Center
Phone: (217) 244-4946
E-mail: maroso@uiuc.edu

Basics and Beyond is funded through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Article: Google shareholders meet for first time

This article in the San Francisco Chronicle talks about the first meeting of Google's shareholders on May 12. The articles notes that, "Google's executives used the opportunity to address the company's potential for growth abroad, its competition against Yahoo and Microsoft and its efforts to keep employees motivated."

Does Google want to expand its digitization program to more overseas libraries? Yup. Looks like this a project that -- assuming its success -- will just keep getting bigger.

Event: Blogging in Academic Research Libraries: The "Why" and the "How"

From the ALA web site:

Live Webcast
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
11:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. Central Time

This presentation will explore the “why?” of blogging as a trend, giving examples of practical blogging applications and analyzing what drives the movement. It will also show the “how” of getting started with blogging, providing detailed, no-nonsense examples of creating a blog from scratch and developing a robust blogging strategy that complements the research library Web mission.

See the web site for full details and registration information.

Monday, May 16, 2005

SLA conference blog

The Special Libraries Association conference blog is up! The conference is June 6 - 8 (with stuff happening before and after), but the blogging is already beginning. Look for me and a host of others to be posting soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Normative Data Project

One project that Steve Abram mentioned on Friday was the Normative Data Project. According to the press release issued in January:
The goals of this cooperative effort are to compile transaction-level data from libraries throughout North America; to link library data with geographic and demographic data on communities served by libraries; and, thereby, to empower library decision-makers to compare and contrast their institutions with real-world industry norms on circulation, collections, finances, and other parameters.
This is a cooperative project between several organizations, including hundreds of public libraries in North America. The organization involved do include Sirsi and the GeoLib Program at Florida State University. Participating libraries do not have to be Sirsi clients.

The web site (which is best viewed in IE or Netscape) contains sample reports with real data that may be useful to you. There are also a couple of case studies, with the one from Huntsville-Madison County Public Library showing how they got into this project and what they have learned from it.

A yearly subscription to the Normative Data Project costs $500 and gives the user unlimited access to the database.

Articles and presentations by Stephen Abram

Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop given by Jane Dysart and Stephen Abram for SCRLC in Binghamton, NY. The workshop was entitled "Recreating Services with New Technologies: Service Strategies for the Millennium" and was the first in a series of workshops SCRLC is hold on Library: Place, Service, or Both?

Steve, who is the vice president of innovation for Sirsi, does a lot of thinking about libraries and their services. Not only does he do work in this area, but he talks and writes about it constantly. There is a page on the Sirsi site with many presentations and articles that he has done. The presentation "Recreating Services with New Technologies: Service Strategies for the Millennium" is similar to what was presented on Friday, but not exactly the same. His presentation entitled "Next Generation Libraries: Bricks, Clicks & Tricks" also contains some of the information he presented on Friday. Unfortunately, you can't hear the running commentary that he and Jane provided, including examples that were very up-to-date (as in things that had occurred the day before).

Looking down through the list of articles and presentations, one that stood out to me was "The Kids are Alright! Millennials and their Information Behaviors." According to the research, libraries lost Gen X. Gen X -- in general -- doesn't care about the library. We can't afford to lose the Millennials. And in order not to lose them, we must be relevant to their needs. We must especially be aware of how they want to access information (and when).

Article: The monk who would give us history

Parade magazine -- a staple in many Sunday U.S. newspapers -- contains an article on a monk who is digitizing materials at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai desert. A brief version of the article can currently be read online here.

The monastery is 1,700 years old. Its library contains 4,570 manuscripts (mostly illuminated), 7,000 early printed books, and 6,000 modern ones. Some of these works are off-limits even to the monks in order to keep them preserved. Father Justin, who is actually from Texas, received a grant that got him started on digitizing the materials so that they could be viewed by a wider audience over the Internet. He is now in search of additional monies in order to keep the project going.

Please note that the monastery's web site is underdevelopment. It will eventually be available in Greek, English and Arabic; however, the Greek version is being developed first.

Blog: Digital Odyssey 2005

The Digital Odyssey 2005, held on May 13, created a blog for the event. The bloggers have posted notes from several speaker and my guess (hope) is that there are more to come. The notes are well organized and long. I especially like the notes from Dr. Brian Detlor presentation entitled "Enabling Researchers in the 21st Century through Library Portals."

Event: Implementing Strategies and Sharing Experiences

The 8th International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL 2005) will be Dec. 12 - 15, 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference focuses on the creation, adoption, implementation and utilization of digital libraries. ICADL 2005 is looking for papers to be presented. Those interested in presenting must submit their abstracts electronically by June 8.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age

This is a very interesting article in the New York Times (free registration required). The article notes:
By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's 90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic information commons, a fast-spreading phenomenon that is transforming research and study on campuses around the country.
This new/changed library will contain:
"software suites" - modules with computers where students can work collaboratively at all hours - an expanded center for writing instruction, and a center for computer training, technical assistance and repair.
The original press release from UT Austin is available here.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Another Vatican digitization project

As reported in the Asahi Shimbun:

Hoping to unlock secrets hidden in the ancient and medieval texts in its collection, the Vatican Library has turned to Tokyo-based Toppan Printing Co. for some high-tech help.

They will look at 200 parchment manuscripts with ultraviolet rays using experimental equipment now in development by Toppan Printing in hopes of reading was had been erased and written over. The technique will focus on "reading" ink residues. The process, which includes digitization, should turn the erased writings green and thus make them readable.

The end of the semester

Graduate students have finished the class I taught this semester in creating, managing and preserving digital assets at Syracuse University. So what did they learn? The 15-week online class allowed them to learn about the various aspects of a digitization project from a variety of readings as well as online discussions. Of course, they looked at completed digitization projects, talked about them and critiqued them. And they thought about how they might apply what they've learned to specific situations.

Of all of the topics covered, it stands out to me that they learned that:
  • Digitization is more than technology. That was a big lesson. They were perhaps relieved that the class was not all about technology and also overwhelmed with all the topics that were covered.
  • Copyright is very important. Most students have little knowledge of the copyright law and how it impacts us, let alone how to apply the rules of copyright to a digitization project. The readings and the assignment that focused on copyright really go them thinking about the law and Fair Use.
  • Vendors do not exist everywhere and that often they are difficult to find. Students became sleuths in trying to locate vendors in their geographic region.
  • This class didn't teach them everything. There is more to learn, especially if any of them want to get into a specialty area like metadata creation. (This was not a nuts-n-bolts metadata class.) There is also more to learn because the field keeps changing and growing.
  • There are job possibilities for them. Yes, they do wonder that.

It has been a long and interesting semester. Now may they all go out and continue their education by finding interesting project that will use the skills they have, while allowing them to learn more.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

ICDLCommunities project

You've likely heard of the International Children's Digital Library. There have also been research on what will become ICDLCommunities (International Children's Digital Library Communities), an extension of the digitization project. A report entitled "Evaluating A Cross-Cultural Children's Online Book Community: Sociability, Usability, And Cultural Exchange" has been issued that summarizes the research results to date. The abstract says:
As an extension of the International Children's Digital Library, the ICDLCommunities project will enable children's communities to develop around the book collection, build tools that allow intercultural communication between children without the use of machine translation, and promote cross-cultural understanding. It will provide a supportive, safe environment for children (aged 7-11) who speak different languages and are from different cultures to come together and use activities related to books in the ICDL to provide common ground. This report presents a review of the research on children, technology, and online communities; describes an evaluation of the prototype activities and tools conducted with children in Argentina and the U.S.; and discusses the lessons learned and their implications on the design of the ICDLCommunities interface.
The research report provides lessons learned as well as suggestions for the interface. One of the recommendation is to "provide spaces for sharing images." They learned that children like to share images of themselves, their things, and their work. Therefore, project needs to provide more space where materials can be shared, as well as the ability for children to post an image that they want associated with themselves (like the icons used in Instant Messenger).

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Liz Liddy speaks on metadata and MetaExtract

In the May/June issue of Educause Review, Liz Liddy -- Trustee Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University and Director of its Center for Natural Language Processing -- talks about metadata creation and the ability to do it automatically. Her team has developed MetaExtract, which automatically generates and assigns metadata to electronic documents. Liz talks about using it on lesson plans, for example, and said that it performed well. (Which, knowing her, I believe.)

When creating metadata for Rochester Images, the cataloguers found that it could be quite time consuming. Part of the problem was the research needed to ensure that the right terms were assigned. Some of the information, however, was in the documents so using an automatic metadata generator would have helped by leaving to the cataloguers those things that could not be automatically assigned.

Books that are being digitized could benefit from this, as well as lab notebooks and other documents that corporations, etc., are digitizing. It brings to mind some interesting possibilities how this technology could be integrated into digitization systems.

I've known Liz since 1993 and worked with her for several years when we were both associated with MNIS/TextWise and its efforts to commercial DR-LINK (an natural language processing retrieval system). Whatever application of natural language processing (NLP) Liz puts her mind to, she masters. Hopefully this is one that we'll see integrated into digital asset management software.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mentoring / shadowing

Steve Cohen has a post today about mentoring. His starts off by talking about a workshop that he and I both spoke at in Binghamton, NY, for the Upstate NY Chapter of SLA. The Chapter has adopted the technique of assigning student "shadows" for the day to each speaker. My shadow was introduced to me first thing in the morning. I talked informally with her during the morning breaks and was seated with her at lunch. She then introduced me when my turn came to present and will write an article about my presentation for the Chapter's Bulletin. As far as mentoring goes, this was very limited, but I'm sure it gave her information and a view of the industry that she might not have gotten otherwise.

So here's my question. How can we set up these types of "shadowing" arrangements for students at our places of work? Could we have students come and shadow us for a day, so they can see what the work is really like? No, I'm not talking about an information interview, but truly having someone follow us and see the exciting moments, the boring moments, the information we handle, the decisions we make, etc.

Having a student shadow someone during his first semester would help the student understand what he needs to learn and why. It might also help the student sort out what he wants to do after graduation (something that is often a moving target). And having someone around for a day who is new the profession could help to rejuvenate us.

In every semester, I have student do interviews with library managers or people in charge of collections that might be digitized. I've found that this really helps the student understand libraries (and other cultural heritage organizations) from a viewpoint that they have not seen before -- the viewpoint of the manager. It is often a real eye-opener for them. In a few cases, it has led to internships. Sometimes it has made the students realize how broad a field this is.

An interview is not the same as shadowing, but it helps the students. Now let's open the doors for those shadowing experiences. Perhaps you should ask the next student who interviews you for a class assignment if she would like to shadow you for a day?

Monday, May 09, 2005

John Wiley to digitize older journal content

Building on efforts begun in 2003, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. today announced that it will digitized back issues of all of its journal holdings, which go back into the 1800s. The digitized content will be housed on Wiley InterScience. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2007, which is the 200th anniversary year for the company. The completed backfile will span two centuries of scientific research and comprise over 7.5 million pages. The full press release can be read here.


Reading diglet, I saw mention of Ariadne. Ariadne magazine is targeted towards information science professionals in academia in the UK, but it read by others. Issue 43, published at the end of April, contains at least two articles that may be of interest to those involved in digitization: Supporting Digital Preservation and Asset Management in Institutions and Digital Preservation: Best Practice and its Dissemination. There are other articles that may capture your attention, such as Search Engines: Using the Right Search Engine at the Right Time. So look at the table of contents. You may be pleased with what you'll find.

Research awards to advance digital preservation

As announced on May 6:

The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and the National Science Foundation...awarded eleven university teams a total of $3 million to undertake pioneering research to support the long-term management of digital information. These awards are the outcome of a partnership between the two agencies to develop the first digital-preservation research grants program.

The announcement goes on to give details and list the institutions. The institutions are:

  • University of California San Diego, Scripps Institute of Oceanography; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • University of Maryland
  • Drexel University
  • University of California San Diego
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Michigan
  • Old Dominion University
  • University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Johns Hopkins University

Sunday, May 08, 2005


The wearing of a red or white carnation on Mother's Day historically was a visual clue to whether one's mother was living (red) or dead (white). An observer did not have to ask an awkward question because the answer was obvious.

Does your digital library contain those obvious clues that people need when they visit the site, for example to tell them what is there, what to do, and who to ask for help? Do you make them ask questions that you could have answered upfront? Or worse -- do people leave the site, without using it, because there were no clues to tell them what to do?

EU wants to go full-throttle

Breaking news from Library Journal says:

In a meeting of European Union (EU) culture ministers in Paris last week, members strongly backed a plan to create a huge digital library from European library collections, a rival to Google’s plan to digitize books from four libraries in the United States and one in the United Kingdom.

Part of the reasons given for diving into this are the fears in Europe of having an Internet dominated by the United States.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Are you focusing too much on cost?

I dealt with a vendor earlier this week who wanted to sell me something I needed and focused his pitch on the cost. He didn't talk about convenience or need. He didn't talk about their quality. He only talked about cost. The tactic backfired and got me thinking about cost as a selling point.

It seems to me that vendors (service providers) need to talk about things like their quality, skills, customer focus, and flexibility before they mention cost. I can't justify a vendor's cost until I know the other components. I may find it beneficial to pay more for the quality I want. Yes, this seems obvious, but how many vendors have you talked to that pushed their cost first?

It also seems that when we request information from vendors, that we need to ask about cost last. We need to first ask about all those other things that we are concerned about and then ask about the price. Asking the price per page, for example, to have materials digitized is important, but it is also important to ask about their quality, handling procedures, turnaround times, etc. I suspect that we all would pay more (whatever that really means) if we're ensured of getting exactly what we need.

Yes, if everything is equal and cost is the only variable, focus on cost. But be sure that everything is equal. Ask the questions that you need to ask in order to put cost in its proper place.

Newspaper Digitization Forum

The announcement says:

The first in a series of four digital forums sponsored by OCLC Western Digital & Preservation Services Program, Newspaper Digitization will be held in beautiful Portland, Oregon on August 11-12, 2005. Co-sponsors for the event include the Utah Digital Newspapers Project, the California Newspaper Project and the ORBIS CASCADE Alliance.

Forum Overview

The Western Digital Forum - Newspaper Digitization will provide a national forum for the discussion of issues relating to newspaper digitization and will provide an opportunity to continue the national discussion of coolaborative solutions to newspaper digitization. The forum will highlight existing major projects, encourage discussion of problems relating to newspapers in digital format, and foster collaboration on finding solutions and funding mechanisms. Speakers will discuss issues such as funding projects, indexing, metadata, copyright, permissions and foster discussion that leads to solutions. The forum will address needs and interests expressed by OCLC Western membership and the wider national interest in newspaper digitization projects.

Registration Information:

Early Registration (received by July 15th) - $75
After July 15th - $100

Addtional information is available here.

Library Journal article: The Entry Level Gap

Do we have too few librarians? We keep being told that we need to recruit more people to become librarians, yet I bet we all new of new librarians who had a very difficult time finding a full-time job, not because they were incapable, but because there weren't any appropriate positions available.

Here is a well-thought out article in Library Journal on this topic that talks about hiring, mentoring, training, the impact of reduced library budgets and the crisis that will occur. For example:

The evidence strongly suggests that new librarians are neither sought nor considered for even entry-level librarian positions. The evidence also suggests that the jobs that new professionals need to gain vital experience are the very jobs being cut or greatly reduced. This population is being squeezed from both sides. They cannot find viable jobs to apply for nor can they get hired when they do apply. The threat to librarianship is clear: many qualified individuals will abandon the profession if the situation does not improve.

The final paragraph lays out the remedies needed -- basically implementing changes everywhere in training, hiring, etc.

This article is attracting a lot of attention. Please read it too, and then think about what you can do to help entry level librarians.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Well...months ago, I added the ability for people to read Digitization 101 using Bloglet. Since then I've found that Bloglet can be unreliable. Then this week, I found that changing my password on my blog, stopped Bloglet from working. I changed my password weeks ago, but I got no complaints when Bloglet stopped working. I'm not sure if that means that people weren't using Bloglet or what. (And perhaps I don't really want to know the answer.)

So I've fixed the problem with Bloglet. If you like Bloglet and are using it to read Digitization 101, please let me know. It would be good to know if people find Bloglet useful or if people are using RSS readers instead (which have much more functionality and are just cool).

Focus, follow, finish

Roy Williams, a Detroit Lions football player, was on ESPN Bowling Night (sports players bowling against each other in a fun to watch tournament). When asked about his bowling technique, he said, "focus, follow, finish." Good words for bowling and other tasks/projects that face us.

  • Focus on the goal.
  • Follow through on all that needs to be done.
  • Finish what you start.

In digitization, some projects seem to have the goal of "using the technology." A digitization project, however, is not about technology, but about goals such as increased access. The technology is only a means to the end.

So perhaps there is a step before focus which is "find." Find the right goal to focus on, then follow though and finish.

Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday. What do we know of this holiday? TV ads show people partying and drinking beer. One beer company makes a big deal out of the holiday. Thankfully, because of the Internet (and not what I learned in history classes), I now know that Cinco de Mayo commemorates a victory by Mexican troops over the French in La Batalla de Puebla (Battle of Puebla, Mexico) on May 5, 1862.

Viva la Mexico!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Best of the Web Awards

** Museums and the Web 2005 **
** Best of the Web Awards **

Winners announced in Vancouver, April 15, 2005.

Recognizing achievement in cultural and heritage Web site design, a committee of museum professionals selects the Best of the Web each year. See the conference web site at http://www.archimuse.com/mw2005/best/ for full details about the competition, the judges, and the judging criteria.

Congratulations to the following sites:

Best Educational Use

Making the Modern World Online - Stories about the lives we've made
Institution: The Science Museum, (London, UK)

Judges' Comments: Learning Modules are an exemplary illustration of what a museum can do with its collections to support specific educational usages for the K-12 educational systemŠ. Two of the most compelling aspects of education are the notion of relationships and theory/application. This site addresses both in an elegant manner.

Best On-line Exhibition

Cycles: African Life Through Art
Institution: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Judges' Comments: The design of this online exhibit is a piece of art itself. Beautiful and fun to explore. ... A highly visually appealing and thought provoking site which provides a rich user experience through interactivity, text and images. A particular highlight is the 'context' link that a user can click on when viewing an object. The graphic elements also nicely enhance the content and navigational options available to the user.

Honorable Mention

Raid on Deerfield
Institution: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) / Memorial Hall Museum, Deerfield

Judges' Comments: ...raises the bar for historical interpretation online. The site models the value of the whole that derives from a consideration of multiple perspectives. The designers have cast a magical spell that draws the user into another place, another time, another world where one finds truth painted in many shades of grey.

Best E-Services Site

Seminars on Science
Institution: American Museum of Natural History

Judges' Comments: The human touch in the interface gives nice feeling that the seminar is tutored ... by real humans and that the learner is interacting with real people.

Best Innovative or Experimental Application

Eternal Egypt
Institutions: Egyptian Government: The Supreme Council of Antiquities and Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, and IBM Corporation

Judges' Comments: An arresting site. Visually appealing and quite innovative. Good execution of multiple pathways towards making discoveries about Egypt, including multiple languages and collaboration with like-minded institutions. Text -to-speech feature lends itself nicely to those with visual restrictions, and for ESL candidates, but computerized voice effect can become monotonous ...

Best Museum Professional's Site

ASTC (Association of Science - Technology Centers)
Institution: Association of Science - Technology Centers

Judges' Comments ... covers the gamut of basics -- references, publications, articles, and such. With the addition of the online workshops, ASTC shows itself to be responsive to the field and willing to be innovative.

Best Research Site

Timeline of Art History
Institution: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Judges' Comments: ... an excellent site for a range of audiences, including researchers.... considerably expanded and geographical and time coverage is much more comprehensive than a year ago. Good content depth (in a variety of formats, e.g. multimedia) and opportunities for drilling down, as well as relevant interactive features to enrich user experience.... a great balance of content and visuals and alternative exploratory routes for both the serendipitous and more serious researcher. Š beautifully done, easy to use, visually engaging, and intuitive. I didn't even need to read any directions -- the user interface was easy to grasp and use ...

Best Overall Museum Web Site

Making the Modern World Online - Stories about the lives we've made
Institution: The Science Museum, (London, UK)

Judges' Comments: "Making the Modern World" is a robust demonstration of how museum artifacts can be offered online to engage audiences in an innovative learning experience.
... a highly interactive site that gives the user many options for shaping their experience and makes good use of new technologies (I especially liked the use of rich media). It is deep and provides interdisciplinary learning. I was fascinated and could have stayed for hours just poking around and exploring. Great site. Funducational and very informative. Something for everyone! The whole family will be fighting for computer time!

* * * * *

Congratulations to all of the winners, and thank you to all who participated. A full list of sites nominated, is available at http://www.archimuse.com/mw2005/best/list.html

* * * * *
A call for nominations for the Best of the Web 2006 will appear in the fall of 2005.

DELOS Summer School 2005

DELOS Summer School 2005
Sophia Antipolis, France
5th-11th June, 2005

The DELOS Network of Excellence is a four-year project funded by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme to synergize and foster technology for the next-generation of Digital Libraries (www.delos.info). It builds on the work of an earlier project under FP5 which ran from 2000-2003 (www.delos-noe.org). At its Scientific Board Meeting of July 2004 in Corvara it was agreed that DELOS should run a summer school on 'Digital Preservation in Digital Libraries'. The DELOS Network of Excellence is pleased to announce that the summer school programme has been developed and is now available for registration. This delivery of this event is co-sponsored by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and ERPANET.

The aim of the summer school is to assist participants in understanding how to address digital preservation challenges in the context of the digital library. The workshop will also provide a networking opportunity for participants to meet with other students and researchers, international experts, and practitioners across disciplinary and national boundaries.

Workshop Format

During this 6-day summer school, internationally established lecturers will each lead half-day sessions and most will be available through the week for further discussion. By the end of the course, participants will have:

  • gained an appreciation of the issues surrounding digital preservation within the context of digital library development and management; developed a grasp of the core research in the area of digital curation and preservation;
  • developed a coherent and practical understanding of activities surrounding digital preservation;
  • gained experience with issues surrounding workflow modelling, metadata definition, and ingest process management;
  • acquired an appreciation of the different approaches to selecting and appraising potential digital acquisitions;
  • become familiar with the OAIS model and gained a knowledge of the approaches to repository design and deployment;
  • a working knowledge of the issues surrounding audit and certification of digital repositories;
  • a working knowledge of the techniques and practices that underlie digital curation;
  • developed a firm understanding of the issues of authenticity, integrity, and reliability in relation to digital libraries; and
  • considered how digital curation and preservation requirements can be integrated into approaches to digital library development.


A detailed programme can be viewed on the DELOS website at http://www.dpc.delos.info/registration/.

Lecturers include:

Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard (Staatsbibliotek Denmark), Michael Day (UKOLNand the DCC), David Giaretta (CCLRC and DCC), Stephan Heuscher (iKeep AG,Digital Archives Services), Professor Ross Harvey, (Charles Sturt University), Hans Hofman (National Archives of the Netherlands), Anne Kenney (Cornell University), Professor Andreas Rauber, (Vienna University of Technology), Professor Seamus Ross (University of Glasgow), Professor Manfred Thaller, (University of Cologne)


The summer school will take place at Sophia Antipolis (near Nice and Antibes in the South of France).

To Register

The registration fee is:

  • €200 for students from EU Universities (although bursuaries covering even this fee may be available for some students).
  • €500 for professionals and students from universities, public libraries, archives and museums.
  • €650 for staff from commercial enterprises.

The fees include: Reception Sunday evening (5 June), Wine tasting (7 June), Summer School Dinner (9 June), lunches each day, coffee and tea in the morning and afternoon, pre-course reader, and course materials. The course fees do not include accommodation, travel, or other expenses.

Note: Bursaries will be available to students for all member states, and to both students and professionals from the new member states and

The closing date for registration is 10 May 2005.

Register at http://www.dpc.delos.info/registration/index.php?register=register

For more information contact Seamus Ross at s.ross@hatii.arts.gla.ac.uk

Man Pays $2,190 Library Fine

With so many public library systems suffering financial hardship, here is a story of someone helping out in an unusual way.
A man [Joel Schlesinger] who borrowed a book in 1981 from his hometown library in suburban Buffalo has returned it, along with $2,190.
The maximum fine charged by the library in 1981 was $10. The Orchard Park Public Library considered the rest to be a very appreciated donation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This Day in Wisconsin History

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) has digitize materials and placed them online. The site also has a "This Day in Wisconsin History" feature. What makes this feature really cool is that you can add it to your own web site every day by using the code available from WHS for free.

Now how cool would that be if other projects did the same thing?!

Remembering May Day

Two days late...but better late than never.

In an age where our communication methods allow us to work all the time, it is important to remember why May 1 is International Workers Day. According to Wikipedia:

...in 1884 the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday in the United States, to come in effect as of May 1, 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the U.S. Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday.
Of course, we thought that technology would allow us to work smarter and thus work less. Instead it has opened up global markets and the ability to communicate (and work) constantly. Officially, we may work an eight-hour day, but unofficially the work never ends.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Are you into metadata?

Thom Hickey, at OCLC, has a blog named Outgoing that focuses on library metadata techniques and trends. Thom is an OCLC Chief Scientist who's been with the company since 1977. Given the projects listed in his bio, he will definitely have postings that are worth reading.

SLA annual conference will have bloggers

The Special Libraries Association has been asking people to blog for it during its annual conference in June. Yup, I got asked and I'm looking forward to doing it! Once I know where the blog will be located, I'll let you know.

Orphan Works: Issues and Legislative Strategies

I'm online listening to the ARL, MLA, AALL online conference, “Orphan Works: Issues and Legislative Strategies.” The audio is being delivered via audio bridge (telephone) as well as VOIP. The slides are being delivered over the Internet.

I really enjoy being able to attend meetings/presentations in this way. Unfortunately, the VOIP audio quality isn't good for everyone who is listening to this online conference. My audio went from great to lousy, and others have complained to the Tech Moderator. (And I need to keep my phone line free for another conference call. Poor me.)

The PowerPoint for this online conference is available here. I do wish some of the presenters had put more text on their slides.

The PowerPoint says that a streaming video of the conference will be available May 12 at the conference's web site.

A look back at the trains of yesteryear

The Frisco: A Look Back at the Saint Louis-San Francisco Railway is an online exhibit of the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, MO. What's on this site?
This digital collection presents several groups of records which were previously held by the now defunct Frisco Museum in Springfield, Missouri. Postcards, employee information cards, Frisco employee magazines, and photographs have been chosen to tell the story of the railroad. The Museum collection is privately owned and not available for public research.
The pictures, postcards and employee magazines on the site show life in an era where trains ruled. You can see equipment, buildings, people and even train wrecks!

The site may evoke feelings of nostalgia for an era that you didn't even know. It's worth taking a peak at it during a coffee break.