Friday, December 30, 2005

Happy New Year!

2005 was a wonderful year full of interesting projects, challenging ideas, exciting people, and fun conversations. Thank you for being a part of my 2005! May 2006 bring you joy and prosperity.

Happy New Year!


Jill Hurst-Wahl

Hurst Associates, Ltd.

Sun Microsystems is using Grokker

If you have not seen Grokker, you should. It is a very interesting and useful information visualization tool that can be used for federated search. Some call it a research platform. At Internet Librarian in October, the CEO of Groxis, said that Grokker "clusters documents and categorizes them on the fly to make sure that users get the information they are looking for." Christy Higgins of the Sun Microsystems Library talked about how they are using the product. According to notes from her session, "engineers [at Sun] are visual learners and are making widespread use of the system." The Sun case study can be viewed here.

Having seen demonstrations of Grokker, I would considering testing it as a federated front end to several repositories of digitized materials as well as using it in a digital library setting. The visual nature of the product definitely gives us something that we're missing in our search engines (as well as something that others have tried and failed at).

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Larry Lessig on the Creative Commons

As you should know, the Creative Commons has created licenses for people to use that allow them to give away some intellectual property rights on their creative works, while also retaining soom. You also should know that the Creative Commons (CC) is doing some fund raising in order to continue its work, and hopes that it can remain a not-for-profit organization. Larry Lessig yesterday did a nice job talking about the funding raising effort (why and what the money will be used for), as well as how the fund raising ties into remaining a not-for-profit. It is not a long post and is easy to read.

As a person who often preaches about respecting intellectual/creative rights, I was thrilled when I became aware of the CC and its efforts. Their licenses help us to what we often intend -- to allow people to use our works in a way that is fair and respectful. If you have not checked out the licenses available from the Commons, please do. I think you'll be pleased at the options they provide to you and to your users.

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Report: Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005)

Each year, OCLC does a study on the information industry. This year's is entitled "Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources." The free report is a window into the perceptions that users and non-users have of libraries, search engines, and the other information services they use. The report is available in sections, so you can read part or all of it. I would recommend that you at least read the conclusion (8 pages) because of the insights it contains.

Here's a quote just to peak your interest:
Search engines fit the information consumerÂ’s lifestyle better than physical or online libraries. The majority of U.S. respondents, age 14 to 64, see search engines as a perfect fit.
You can find links to the previous OCLC reports on the left side of this page or here.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Event: International Conference on Graphical Models and Imaging (GMAI'2006)

This conference will be held in London, UK on July 5 -7, 2006. The web site has details, including their call for papers. The scope of the conference does include digital imaging and digital libraries.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Search is hard (off-topic)

From an unlikely source, Seth Godin (a marketing guru), comes a quick critique of Google and how it searches. He assumes that Google is overpromising on what it can do for you (the searcher). Is it? Does it deliver what you want? Interesting to think about...

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Here are pointers to two software initiatives for archiving materials that are in electronic formats including materials that were born digital and materials that have been digitized.

digitizationblog mentioned recently the aDORe Archive developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. digitizationblog says:
The Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library has released the aDORe Archive Solution, a “write-once/read-many” framework for archiving files, assigning persistent identifers, and disseminating metadata about the file via the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. adoreArchive is made available under the GNU Lesser General Public License.
The Digital Archive at McGill University recently mentioned software developed there that:
...was developed by a Ph.D student here at McGill, that captures dynamically-generated webpages such as the McGill University website.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

The Creative Commons needs OUR help

Back in early October, Larry Lessig wrote a post on the Creative Commons blog about their first fund raising campaign. They need to raise $225,000 by Dec. 31, 2005 in order to keep going and maintain their not-for-profit status. (In order to remain a not-for-profit, they must show community support.) The Creative Commons has now less than a week to raise the remainder $55,000. If you have used a Creative Commons license, mentioned them as a positive asset in a lecture/speech, or used materials that had a CC license, please go to their web site and contribute something.

Support the Creative Commons. I did.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Article: Digitization is rolling through the museum world

At this time of year (the holidays), in the U.S. we often see works by Norman Rockwell on cards, ornaments, etc. Those objects might be the closest many get to seeing Rockwell's work, but there is Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. Now comes word that the museum is going to create a "cyberspace archive." The online archive "will link the letters, photos, fan mail and newsclips amassed by the museum's namesake one of most popular and successful illustrators of his time to pictures of his artworks." (The Norman Rockwell Archive contains more than 100,000 photographs, letters, and other rare mementos.) The museum has received more then $1 million in grants to fund this effort, but says that the work may cost ten times that amount before it is completed. They hope to have materials accessible via the Internet in 4 - 5 years.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

What equipment does Cornell have?

When talking about digitization in Upstate NY, at some point someone will ask about some university and wonder out loud what that institution is doing. What are they digitizing? What equipment do they have?

And why do we want to know? Generally because we see these institutions as benchmarks. We also figure they've done good research on what to purchase, and so we might learn from seeing what they have. (Whether or not we can afford what they have is a different question.)

Here's a page that describes the equipment being used in Cornell University's Digital Consulting and Production Services group. There are also a couple pictures, so you can see some of the equipment. You also get a little peek into their process.

SAA workshops

The Society of American Archivists offers a variety of workshops, including workshops that relate to digitization or the creating of finding aids. For example:
  • Style Sheets for EAD—Delivering Your Finding Aids on the Web
  • IT Training for Practicing Archivists Series: Digitization of Archival Material
  • IT Training for Practicing Archivists Series: Digital Libraries and Digital Archives
The workshop calendar is available here.

CILIP workshops in the UK

One of the RSS feeds I get is for training, events & conferences announcements from CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals). Generally these are one-day workshops on timely topics. If your in the UK, you may want to add the CILIP RSS feed to your blog reader, so you can stay up-to-date on their offerings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Technology Analysis of Repositories and Services

The Ten Thousand Year Blog mentioned this a couple of weeks ago and I'm just getting around to checking it out. This wiki's homepage says:
The Digital Knowledge Center (DKC), working with the University of Virginia (UVA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and an extensive network of collaborators, will conduct an architecture and technology evaluation of repository software and services such as e-learning, e-publishing, and digital preservation. The result will be a set of best practices and recommendations that will inform the development of repositories, services, and appropriate interfaces. This project is funded by the Mellon Foundation.
The repository systems currently listed on the site are:
  • Digital Commons
  • DiVAD
  • PubS
  • DSpace
  • ePrints
  • Fedora
  • JSR 170
  • OJS
  • Sakai
  • "Status Quo" Core Internet Technologies
There aren't notes available for all of them, but then this is a work in progress. Nothing on the site states their timeline, so patience may be in order.

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Paper/article: How to speak a teen's language, even if you're not one.

This paper is not rocket science, but it is a quick and interesting read. Written by Josh Shipp, it gives some general techniques/hints about talking to young people. The biggest technique, I think, is to engage them. Shipp does that by playing the game "Simon Says."

As information professionals, how can we make our interactions with teenagers more engaging, more interactive, more on their level, and more fruitful?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The cost of "whatever"

In every area of a library's operations -- brick-n-mortar as well as digital -- we have to be aware of costs and realize that many costs are not fixed. There is often room for a little give-n-take and some creativity.
  • Don't have quite enough images to digitize to get that wonderful price break? Do you have something that vendor needs like an introduction to a prime prospect? Could you do case study for that vendor in return for the price break? Could you include images from another institution or collection in your order in order to get the price break?
  • Can't get that vendor to come to you to do training without paying big bucks? Could a larger organization (and a big client of that vendor) get them in to do training for several organizations at a low (or no) cost? The vendor might do it in order to keep that major client happy.
  • Can you collaborate with other institutions in your region to get a price break on equipment? We often think of consortia as helping with this, but are there informal (ad hoc) arrangements that you can take advantage of?
  • Negotiating for a price break on attending workshops and conferences can be impossible, but is there some other way of lowering the cost of attendance? Or might you use posted presentations, blog posting, and other communications from conferences to learn without actually attending the sessions? (A strategy promoted recently by ALA TechSource in some of its postings.)
  • Need a database, but the cost is too high? Figure out what you could pay and then approach the vendor for a negotiation. The vendor isn't going to give-away the database for nothing, but might be very willing to come down in price a bit in order to get a new client. This negotiation can work anytime, but might especially be effective towards the end of the year when vendors are trying to get more sales on the books. (The vendor might ask for a non-disclosure agreement, so that you won't go telling everyone what a great deal you got.)
Often the key in negotiation is being able to "walk away" from the deal. No, can't pay that price. No, guess I don't need it. No, my management isn't convinced. Guess we'll have to look around at other options. So sorry...yup...walking away can often open a few doors and options, if you're truly ready to walk away and do without the product.

Can't negotiate? Then hire someone to do the negotiation for you. It might be someone on staff or a consultant.

And what if it doesn't work? Hey, at least you tried.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Google's Newsletter for Librarians, Dec. 2005

This is not related to digitization, although it is something digital library or digital images projects might imitate.

Google has released its first newsletter for librarians. This newsletter contains an introductory letter and an article entitled "How does Google collect and rank results?" The article includes two exercises that you (or your students/patrons/??) could perform in order to learn more about ranking search results.

Google undoubtedly sees this as a way of answering/addressing the questions that the librarian community has about its system. They also see it as a way of engaging in a conversation with librarians. (Odd that the own Blogger, but chose not to blog.)

Here are questions for you -- How are you addressing the questions of your user community? Do you have a newsletter, a blog, an FAQ? How are you engaging your users in conversation?

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January - June 2006 Speaking/Training/Travel Schedule

Here's my speaking/training/travel schedule for the first half of 2006. Most of it is digitization related.
  • Jan. 2 -- Presentation -- Looking Back, Looking Ahead, Women Business Owners Connection (WBOC), Syracuse, NY
  • Jan. 10 -- Workshop -- How to Create a Blog for Your Business, Syracuse, NY
  • Jan. 17 thru May 7 -- Graduate Class -- Creating, Managing & Preserving Digital Assets through Syracuse University's School of Information Studies (taught online) [The link will take you to the syllabus.]
  • Feb. 8 -- Presentation -- Using Blogs & Other Social Networking Tools for Business, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Syracuse, NY
  • Feb. 17 -- Workshop -- Library Outreach, Redefined: It’s a Wide New World, SCRLC, Binghamton, NY
  • Feb. 24 -- Workshop -- Train the Trainer: Business Resources, SCRLC, Ithaca, NY
  • March 22 -- Session -- Failing to Innovate: Not an Option, Computers In Libraries, Washington, DC
  • March 25 -- Workshop -- Digitization Project Management Essentials, with K. Matthew Dames, Computers In Libraries, Washington, DC
  • April 12 -- Virtual Seminar -- Digitization Project Management in a Nutshell, with K. Matthew Dames, Special Libraries Association
  • April 26 -- Virtual Seminar -- Managing Intellectual Property Issues Within the Digitization Project, with K. Matthew Dames, Special Libraries Association
  • May 3 -- Workshop -- Digitization Planning, RRLC, Fairport, NY
  • May 9 -- Presentation -- Blogging, ICON, Ithaca, NY
  • May 12 -- Faciltated Discussion -- Digitization Discussion Series: Exploring Legal Issues for Digitization Projects, WNYLRC, Amherst, NY
  • June 10 - 11 -- Workshop -- Digitization Essentials Workshop, with K. Matthew Dames, Special Libraries Association Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD
  • I'll also be doing several facilitated discussion on digitization in Buffalo for WNYLRC (dates to be determined).
Dames has put the workshop descriptions in his blog for those that we are doing together. He comes from a solid intellectual property and library science background. The workshops we do together will definitely be very informative in looking at all aspects of a digitization project and what one needs to know in order to succeed.

Published: Dec. 8, 2005
Updated: Dec. 19, 2005; added SCRLC workshop
Updated: Dec. 20, 2005; added RRLC workshop & ICON presentation
Updated: Jan. 20, 2006; added 2/8, 2/17 and 5/12

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Event: TAPE Workshop on Management of Audiovisual Collections

The web site says:
TAPE [Training for Audiovisual Preservation in Europe] will organize an annual 5 days’ European training course on preservation and digitization of audiovisual collections. The programme has been developed by experts from different countries with training expertise, among them the TAPE partners, some of whom have extensive experience with training in this specific area.
The workshop will be from April 19 - 25, 2006 at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. Complete details are available at:

Thanks to Digital Audiovisual Archive for posting about this.

Using your project's blog to really communicate & be transparent

One of the speakers at the 2005 SLA Annual Conference talked about transparency. He (whose name I can't remembers) believes that organizations should be transparent. In other words, what they do and how they do it should be visible to all; obvious to all. One way of doing that is to use your blog -- and your web site -- to communicate to your users about what's happening. Tell them the good and the bad.

An interesting example of this is Bloglines where they've been having some problems. Their news says, "Bloglines performance has sucked eggs lately. Why? In short, Bloglines has been busting at the seams like the Incredible Hulk." Nothing like being honest! What are they doing to fix it? They are taking the system off-line in order to move to a bigger data center. Every Bloglines page contains a note/link to additional information.

Is your digital library/digitization program being transparent? Are you telling your users what they really need to know? Are you communicating with them, perhaps even over-communicating?

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Library terms evaluated in usability tests and other studies

Steve Abram pointed to this in his blog. This web page lists several studies of library web pages and the terms used, and what was learned from those exercises. If you think you're using clear wordings to describe your online offerings, you might want to think again.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Adding Technorati tags to Digitization 101

If you're using a blog reader, then you may see some older posts coming up as new. I've edited some older posts so I could include Technorati tags at the bottom. I'll try to add Technorati tags to all new posts (emphasis on the word "try'). [Although not this one, since I doubt it needs a tag.]

Event: Sixth Annual Symposium on Intellectual Property, June 14 - 16, 2006

The Sixth annual Symposium on Intellectual Property is sponsored by the Center for Intellectual Property at University of Maryland University College. The theme will be: "Copyright at a Crossroads: The Impact of Mass Digitization on Higher Education."

There will be two full days of seminars and discussions on June 15-16. Pre-symposium seminars will be held on the afternoon of June 14.

The symposium will take place at UMUC Inn and Conference Center in Adelphi, MD

Details will be forthcoming at

Are there job in digital libraries or working with digitized materials?

Okay, since you're reading this blog, that will seem like an odd question to you, but students (e.g., MLS students) do wonder about that. Some are specializing in digital libraries but are unsure if a job will be waiting for them. Part of the problem could be that the jobs are posted in various places, so the ads can be hard to find. Jobs are posted in library discussion lists as well as those focused on digital imaging. This one below was posted in IMAGELIB.

I'm not going to make it a habit of posting job announcements here (unless that's something you all want), but thought I'd post this one as proof that jobs are out there. This one in particular caught my eye because it is for a Metadata Librarian!

Metadata Librarian Posting of 12/12/2005

Primary Purpose:

The Metadata Librarian at the Libraries of The Claremont Colleges will serve as resident authority on existing and emerging metadata schemas; catalog digital objects selected for the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL); serve on the CCDL Policy Task Force; ensure quality control on digital objects in the CCDL; and create and maintain CCDL best practices documentation. This position reports to the Digital Initiatives Librarian.

Essential Functions: The Metadata Librarian will:
  • Collaborate with Special Collections, subject specialists,catalogers, and other library staff to select appropriate schemas for descriptive, structural and administrative metadata and authority controls for CCDL collections.
  • Catalog digital objects from our Special Collections andcampus wide resources in all formats for dissemination in theCCDL.
  • Participate on the CCDL policies, guidelines and bestpractices task force.
  • Identify, create and maintain documentation on bestpractices for creating and preserving digital objects and applying metadata schemas and authority controls.
  • Perform second level quality control on all digital objectscreated for the CCDL.
  • Participate in departmental and libraries-wide committees and work groups established to further the mission of the Libraries of The Claremont Colleges.
  • Contribute to providing user services, including referenceservice in an area related to CCDL collections.
Required Qualifications:
  • ALA-accredited MLS, MLIS (required for Librarianappointment) or equivalent degree.
  • Knowledge of AACR2r, LC classification, and MARC21.
  • Comprehensive understanding of authority controls like LCSH,TGM, AAT, LCNA, ULAN, etc.
  • Minimum two years experience cataloging digital objects.
  • Experience using metadata schemas such as Dublin Core, EAD,XML, TEI, METS, MODS, MADS, or PREMIS.
  • Knowledge of how digital library collections are used in anacademic setting.
  • Advanced computer skills, and experience with MicrosoftWindows 2000 and XP operating systems and commonly-used productivity applications.
  • Effective communication, planning, time management andorganizational skills.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Adeptness at working in a rapidly changing technologicalenvironment.
Desired Knowledge and Skills:
  • Familiarity with digital asset management systems.
  • Knowledge of best practices for digitization of primaryresources.
  • Awareness of copyright laws and rights management issues in a digital environment.
Hours: 40 hours per week

Salary: Minimum starting annual salary is $42,507. Starting salary offered and appointment to rank in the Librarian Series are commensurate with education and experience. In addition the Claremont University Consortium provides an attractive benefits program that includes medical insurance, sick leave, 22 days vacation, two personal days and ten paid holidays per year.

To apply: Send resume with cover letter and the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least three references who are knowledgeable about your qualifications for this position to:
Search Committee: Metadata Librarian, Attention: Alberta Walker, Associate Director, Libraries of The Claremont Colleges, 800 Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, Email:, Applications received by January 10, 2006 will receive first consideration.
Located at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains in the city of Claremont, California (population 36,500), 35 miles east of Los Angeles, the Claremont Colleges are a geographically contiguous set of five top-ranked liberal arts undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions, uniquely configured to support and encourage interdisciplinary study. The Libraries, a part of The Colleges' supporting organization, the Claremont University Consortium, support all seven colleges across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Comprising four buildings, three of which are located on individual campuses, the Libraries hold more than 2 million volumes and subscribe to a vast array of electronic resources.


Claremont University Consortium is an Equal Opportunity Employer, Committed to providing career opportunities to all people, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability.

Email Instructions: You may apply for positions via email. The address is Please do not include attachments in the message. Include the resume as normal text in the body of the message. You must follow up the email application with visit to Office of Human Resources or a copy mailed to the address above.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Do sign your work?

An item I ordered arrived yesterday and inside the box was a note from the person who packed the order. The note basically said that they try very hard to pack the orders correctly, but to call the company if there is a problem and to tell them the name of the packer. In other words, that person signed her work so she could held responsible for any problems!


Looking at the Internet, we can easily find web sites (business, library, museum, etc.) where you don't know who to contact if there is a problem or if you have a question. What if you see a digital imaging project online and you want to contact the group that did it with a professional question, is there something that tells you who to contact? For example, the Rochester Images site give no contact information for the group that spearheaded the project, but you can contact the webmaster for the site (and hope that person forwards your questions).

Contrast that with the UBdigit web site where the About page provides a phone number to call as well as lists of people responsible for various aspects of the site. (Yes, their actual names are listed. You could then use the main Univ. of Buffalo web site to locate their full contact information. So the About page doesn't get you directly to everyone involved in the project, but it definitely helps you make the right connections.)

Another example can be found at the American Memory web site that provides several ways for people to contact them, depending on the need.

What does your organization do? Do you sign your work? Do you provide some contact information so people can target an inquiry? And do you ensure that those inquiries are answered?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Placing project background information online & the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive

I spent a part of this morning looking at collaborative digitization projects online. I'm always pleased when a project places good information about its background online. For example, the Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive gives information on its funding, technical & metadata guidelines, goals and more. They provide enough information for it to be truly useful, yet don't burden you will too much to wade through.

The Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive web site is also an interesting site to use. The homepage held my attention and got me to try out the search feature, and dig deeper. Notice the "slider" to the left of the images on the homepage. You can use it to move the images, so you can see them better. Cute, huh?!

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Book scanning is everywhere (including HarperCollins)

With projects begun in -- for example -- the U.S., Europe, and India, and groups digitizing public domain as well as copyrighted texts, book scanning is here to stay...and more are entering the fray.

The Wall St. Journal (as noted in CopyCense) reported that HarperCollins Publishers will "...produce digital copies of its books and then make them available to search services offered by such companies as Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and, while maintaining physical possession of the digital files."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Who should judge the quality of your digitization efforts?

In a previous post, I talked about Google's digitization quality and some of the problems that can be seen in the items digitized. If you've looked at Google Book Search, then you've perhaps seen the problems I mentioned and also noticed the link at the bottom of each page asking that you report any problems with the pages that are displayed. Does that mean that Google does not do quality control and expects the users to do it for them? (Or maybe that link is there just in case something doesn't display correctly?) Interesting questions...

So, who do you count on to judge the quality of your product? Is it:
  • Those that do the actual work?
  • A quality control team?
  • Usability testers?
  • Anyone who uses the product (digital library, digitized materials or whatever)?
Hopefully, you're using all of those resources. If you do, then the majority of the problems will be found before you users see your work. Sometimes it can be hard to catch every problem, so it is likely that users might find something, but they should not be the primary source for ensuring that you're producing good quality work.

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Proceedings: Document Lifecycle Management conference

Electronic Records Supporting e-Government and Digital Archives

The Document Lifecycle Management conference took place in Budapest from 5 till 7 October 2005. The participants included users from all sectors, information and records management, and IT specialists. The DLM Forum Conference 2005 consisted of plenary sessions and parallel general and specialist sessions. Proceedings are now available online:

This TinyURL links to the same site, avoiding broken links due to line breaks:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Digiwik: The Digitization Wiki

diglet found and mentioned this. I'm not sure who's behind it, but there is good content here already, although much more needs to be said/included. It's a wiki, so it if you have time, chip in!

BTW perhaps we should get some students, who are learning about digitization, the assignment to add in information?

Addendum (4:40 p.m.) -- Looking at the wiki, you'll see that the person stated in out of a need "to put together a paper on digitizing audio and video for my library...." So, yes, it leans more in that direction at the moment (as a commenter noted). But it is a start that we can add to!

I'm teaching a class in digitization in the spring and can see getting students to spend some time adding to it.

Article: Web log promotes connection: South Side Entrepreneurial Connect Project begins to yield results.

This article relates to another project I'm involved in (and is unrelated to digitization). I thought I'd post the link so people will know that I actually do more than just think about digitization (although I do think about digitization for most of my waking hours). [The article will be available for free online for another week or so.]

The South Side Entrepreneurial Connect Project was started last year by Syracuse University, and brings together students and faculty with local business owners. From their work, the students learn more about entrepreneurship. The business owners benefit by having access to resources to help them improve their businesses. The Project has spawned an association (South Side Entrepreneurial Association) and a business incubator that will open in 2006. And there is a blog, which I maintain. The benefits I reap are in the networking opportunities as well as learning from presentations given at the SSEA meetings.

I don't think the people who attend the SSEA meetings have yet figured out what an information professional can do for them. For now, I've been just trying to get them to contribute information to the blog and promote the blog as a way of telling others about what's going on. Next year I'll have to begin banging on the "information is power" drum!

How do you describe your digital library or digital assets?

Let me tell three stories as a way of introducing this topic.

Story #1: Several years ago, I used a printing/reprographics service that was new and family owned. They did excellent work, but failed. One of the reasons I think they failed is that the one partner described their products in a technical way. According to her, they did four-color offset printing. But people didn't care about that, they wanted brochures, business cards, letterheads, etc.

Story #2: I was at an auction last night that was a fund raiser. You could view some items, while you only had descriptions of others. Some items definitely didn't raise as much money as they should perhaps because the descriptions weren't enough. So, the bag contained wine, but what kind? A gift certificate to use at a store, but what does that store sell (really)? Everything is not always obvious.

Story #3: There is a Japanese TV show called "Iron Chef" that has been shown in the U.S. for years. (I think it is also shown in other countries.) In the U.S., this has spawned a show called "Iron Chef America." In both version, an "iron chef" (a master chef) is challenged by a world-renown chef in a culinary battle where there is theme ingredient. At the end of the show, the prepared dishes are judged and a winner declared.

In the American version, I have noticed that the Iron Chefs spend time describing their dishes to the judges. They talk about the ingredients, what they were trying to achieve, and more. These verbal descriptions help the judges understand the dishes and, I think, help to influence their decisions. (Although a bad dish is always a bad dish.)

The Lessons:
  1. What we are presenting to our users in not always obvious. We need to describe the "what" in ways that make sense to them, using words and examples that they will understand.
  2. We forget how influential a description can be. It can mean the difference between someone trying "something" or not. The description can truly "sell" the product.
  3. The description can't just be plain words; it needs to paint a picture or set a mood. Only then will you draw the person in and capture his/her attention.
The Questions:
  • How do you describe your digital library or digital assets?
  • Do you describe them in ways that are inviting, that paint a picture in the user's mind, or that capture the person's imagination?
  • Do you use words/descriptions that are meaningful to your audience?
  • If you have multiple audiences, do you have multiple entries (homepages), each geared for a specific group?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Book: Introduction to Metadata

Obviously, this 47-page book isn't new, but it looks like a well-written resource AND it is available online (for free) in full-text! The online edition is version 2.1, but is not dated.

Introduction to Metadata: Pathways to Digital Information
By Tony Gill, Anne Gilliland-Swetland, and Murtha Baca
Published by the
Getty Research Institute (v. 2.1)

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The Ministry of Reshelving

I spent some time this morning talking to K. Matthew Dames (executive editor of CopyCense), with whom I'm doing several workshops in 2006, and our conversation transitioned to the future of libraries and then meandered from there. Libraries struggle constantly -- if they are honest -- with what their users will want and will use. What users want and what libraries have traditionally provided can be quite different. We all struggle with how to bridge that gap.

I mentioned this project on the phone this morning and then realized that I had not mentioned it in my blog. Here Jane McGonigal, with some friends, had launched a reshelving project. The idea is to go to a bookstore and reshelve the book 1984 to where you think it belongs. There is a whole methodology outlined in her blog posting (as well as the suggestion of helping bookstore staff members by reshelving out of place materials and placing them in their proper spots).

Librarians and bookstore owners have set ideas -- based on the Library of Congress cataloguing -- of where a book should go, but is that where the reader/user expects to find it? The Ministry of Reshelving is using its efforts to show us that the traditional categories don't fit everyone's ideas.

Dames pointed out this is a version of the tagging that people have been doing with blog postings and other items. In other words, creating their own -- hopefully more useful -- categories.

Rather than being incensed by this effort (which you might be), step back and think about what our users really want. How do they want information categorized? What would make sense to them? What services do they want? How can we get them to use the information that we have?

BTW Dames has a posting that ties into this idea of providing services to attract users entitled "MICs, The Library Mashup, & The Next Level."

Event: Digital Preservation in State Government: Best Practices Exchange 2006

When: March 27th - 28th, 2006
Where: Wilmington, North Carolina at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside
Registration Fee: $150
Registration Deadline: February 23, 2005

Come join fellow librarians, archivists, records managers, and other information professionals as they share their experiences in managing and preserving digital state government information for public access. Bring examples of your successes, failures, and lessons learned to share with colleagues in facilitated exchange sessions. You will most certainly provide and take away something of value from this experience.

The Best Practices Exchange consists of two facilitated large group sessions (an opening forum and a closing wrap-up), six small group topic-based exchange sessions, and an evening reception.

For more information on the Best Practices Exchange, visit:

or, contact Christy Allen at:

Christy E. Allen
Digital State Documents Librarian
Documents Branch, State Library of North Carolina
4643 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4643
Phone: 919-807-7447
Fax: 919-733-1843

Monday, December 05, 2005

In a comment to my posting about Google's digitization quality, it was suggested that I look at the public domain books digitized by the Internet Archive and available at

There are fourteen books online (I believe). Each book was digitized in color, so you can see stains and the yellowing of the pages. The interface was inspired by a kiosk used by the British Library (according to the web site). You can flip through each book as if you were really turning the books. You can also listen to audio of the books, if it is available. Unfortunately, the audio starts at the beginning of book. It would be nice to be able to point to a specific page and have the audio start there. More enhancements, like being able to magnify the pages, are "coming."

Very cool!

One interesting tidbit, you can't see a "full size" image of the covers and when you look inside the book, the cover that shows (the edging of the inside cover) is always red. Obviously that "inside cover" is a ploy so you get a better visual of looking at the inside of the book.

Too bad that no details are given about how they're developing this site. It would be informative to know what technology their using, what they've learned from this effort, etc.

How do you get people to come to training (and then use what they've learned)?

That can be a very interesting question, especially when it comes to providing training on aspects of a digitization project. People may avoid training until they feel more prepared to use what they are going to learn. However, the training will help them develop ideas and partners.

The problem is that going to one workshop is often not enough. When being training on digitization, people need to attend a series of workshops (or a multi-day event or a semester-long class). How do you get people to attend multiple workshops?

Then -- having been trained -- how to do you get people to use what they have learned?

The Southeastern NY Library Resources Council has a solution to these two problems. First, they offer a series of workshops with a special price of $100 per registration (one person or different people from the same institution). Those who do not want to participate in the entire series can attend individual workshops at a cost of $50.00 per workshop. Wow! So right off the bat, it makes sense to do the entire series.

Second, participating institutions are expected to contribute 30 digital objects from their collections to the Hudson River Valley Heritage program, which the Council is overseeing. This gets institutions over that hurdle of learning what digitization is and then feeling too overwhelmed to do anything. With this model, the institutions must do something. The hope is that the institutions will not just do 30, but will continue and do more (making their efforts not just a one-time event, but an ongoing program).

I'm sure other consortia might be doing something similar. If you know of any, please let me know.

Webinar: Maximizing Economic Value from Large-Scale Digitization Projects

Presented by Innodata Isogen, this "Webinar will offer a primer on the key issues facing companies about to tackle large-scale digitization projects and provide a detailed look at a number of industry success stories." The webinar is being given at two different times to accommodate people in North America and Europe. Go to the web site for more details.

Event: Joint Workshop on Future-proofing Institutional Websites January 19-20, 2006 Wellcome Library London

The Digital Curation Centre and the Wellcome Library are pleased to announce that they will be delivering a two-day workshop on future-proofing institutional websites. This event will be held at the Wellcome Library in London on 19–20 of January 2006.

Institutional websites have become an increasingly integral tool for disseminating key institutional information and for promoting institutional identities to the general public. The long-term survival, value, and usability of the information presented via institutional websites depends on numerous criteria such as the formats and codes selected for presentation, the capture and binding of associated metadata, the identification of the web resources, and the perceived quality of the web resources among current and future users.

This event will focus on practical tools and techniques that can help to ensure that institutional websites are future-proofed against risks such as institutional change and technological obsolescence. In particular, this event will examine appraisal processes, formats for curation and preservation, international curation and preservation activity, and specific experiences via a series of case studies.

Benefits of Attendance
The workshop will be of benefit to institutions who are in the process of implementing or managing an institutional website.

This workshop will be held on Thursday, January 19th and Friday, January 20th 2006.

The workshop will be delivered over three sessions — international activity, practical tools and techniques, and selected use cases. Each session will be chaired by a leading expert on the topic. The chair will begin the session by placing the topic into the context of digital curation and provide references to international efforts in the area. Following this introduction, each session will highlight specific tools and techniques, practical experiences and/or emerging standards in the form of presentations. Each session will conclude with an open question period which will be moderated by the session chair.

Key themes include
  • Overview of international curation and preservation activities
  • Tools and techniques to create and persistently identify website content for curation and preservation
  • Examples of real-life experiences in web archiving
Programme Committee
  • Joy Davidson, Digital Curation Centre (DCC)
  • John Kunze, California Digital Library (CDL)
  • Dave Thompson, Wellcome Trust
The Venue
The Wellcome Library will host this event and the venue will be the Wellcome Trust Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road. For more information about the Wellcome Library and the Wellcome Trust, see and

Travel Instructions
See detailed options for travelling to the Wellcome Trust Gibbs Building.

For a list of accommodation options near the venue, see

Registration fees are £75 for DCC Associates Network members and £125 for non-members. These fees include all workshop materials and handouts, lunch on both days and refreshments. Membership of the DCC Associates Network is FREE!
For more information, see our Associates Network page

Friday, December 02, 2005

ASIS&T 2006 - Call for Papers

"Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All"
November 3-9, 2006
Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas

ASIS&T 2006 challenges us to explore this moment in the history of information science as people seamlessly move between their physical and digital worlds to create information realities for themselves and others. Submissions by researchers and practitioners are solicited on a wide range of topics.

  • Contributed papers
  • Contributed posters/short papers
  • Practitioner/Industry track
  • Symposia and panels
  • Pre-conference sessions
  • New theoretical perspectives on information use and management
  • Ethical and legal implications of digital worlds
  • The nature of the information profession in the digital future
  • User, organizational and cultural analyses of information realities
  • Future information architectures to both build and harness information realities
  • Implications for information (seeking) behavior and retrieval
  • New forms of human-computer/information interactions
  • Distributed collaboration and information sharing
  • Enhanced access to multi-format and multimedia information
  • Learning and education in the digital future
  • Digital storytelling and presentation
  • Conflicts in information realities, their recognition and resolution
  • Preserving our cultural records in a digital age
  • Scientific underpinnings of new information designs and uses
  • February 13, 2006 -- Proposals due for contributed papers, technical sessions and panels, and pre-conference sessions
  • February 25, 2006 -- Proposals due for contributed posters/short papers
  • April 28, 2006 -- Acceptance notices issued
  • May 27, 2006 -- Final versions due for conference proceedings

Full Call for Papers is at
All submissions are made electronically via a link from the ASIS&T Web site (

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Report: Descriptive Metadata Guidelines for RLG Cultural Materials

This looks like an excellent document for anyone looking at/for metadata guidelines. The document is 64-pages (PDF format).

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