Friday, April 28, 2006

Social networking (when opportunity knocks)

Since January, I have found myself giving presentations on social networking tools and even talking about them a bit in some workshops. This all grew out of the blogging workshops I did during the fall and winter. Social networking seems unrelated to digitization, yet these are tools that can be integrated into digital libraries or used to promote a brick-and-mortar library. They are tools that allow us to do electronically -- make connections and build community -- which we have historically done in person. You may be familiar with some of these tools, for example:
  • Instant messenger (IM)
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Web sites for sharing creative works (e.g., YouTube and Flickr)
  • Sites for finding/managing information (e.g., Technorati and
  • Sites and tools that allow for online collaboration
These tools all provide opportunities for us to reach out and connect to our users -- our communities -- in different ways. They also allow us to connect in ways that are independent of time and space.

If you are not using these tools, then you need to begin experimenting with them and find ways of implementing those that will serve you well. You might even think creatively like PictureAustralia has in including photos from Flickr in its collection. Consider fielding questions from users using instant messenger or creating a blog to keep users (or team members) informed of your project's progress. Consider a wiki for keeping information on how your project was implemented, standards used, etc.

Social networking tools are knocking at your door, wanting to be part of what you are doing. It's time to answer the door and use them.

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Article: The Digital Black Hole

E-mails have announced that the article -- "The Digital Black Hole" by Jonas Palm -- is now online. Jonas Palm is Director, Head of the Preservation Department of the National Archives of Sweden.

The article presents an analysis of costs for digitizing and long-term storage at the Riksarkivet (National Archives, RA) in Stockholm, Sweden. This example includes forecasts of cost development for the next few years which may help other institutions in analyzing their own costs and budgeting for long-term storage.

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Reminder: Ways to read Digitization 101

This is just a gentle reminder that you can read Digitization 101 in several ways:
  1. You can come to the blog's web site and read it. If you're doing this, you might want to save the URL in your browser's bookmarks or perhaps make it a link on a toolbar.
  2. You can have new postings e-mailed to you through FeedBlitz (free). There is a place in the blog's sidebar where you can sign up for this service.
  3. You can read Digitization 101 through Bloglines (free). There is a button in the blog's sidebar that will help you do that.
  4. You can read Digitization 101 through Feedburner (free). There is a button in the blog's sidebar that will help you do that.
  5. You can just use the Atom feed to read it in any other RSS/blog reader.
Please use whichever method makes the most sense for you.

If you're reading Digitization 101 through Bloglet, please consider switching to FeedBlitz. FeedBlitz is a more stable service and you won't miss any of the postings (which seemed to occur with Bloglet).

Gary McGath of File Format Blog found this web site a few weeks ago. does contain a lot of information and I'll trust McGath's recommendation and will assume that this site is full of good stuff. (Not being a file format geek, I'm a bit hesitant passing judgment on this site.) I do wish that the person behind would say more about who he is, since knowing the author helps us understand the validity of the information.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Report: Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation

I just saw mention of this report on IMAGELIB. More and more institutions are looking to digitize sound recordings, so reports like this are a huge help.

Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation: Report of a Roundtable Discussion of Best Practices for Transferring Analog Discs and Tapes
March 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Article: BBC unveils radical revamp of website

Several of my recent presentations have been about social networking, so this caught my eye and I thought I would share a link to the article. The author writes:
The BBC today unveiled radical plans to rebuild its website around user-generated content, including blogs and home videos, with the aim of creating a public service version of
MySpace is wildly popular, more popular than Google. It is populated primarily by Millennials as well as those who see the Millennials as customers like libraries and bands, which means that "who" finds MySpace to be an acceptable place to be is growing and changing.

Even as we build digital libraries, we need to consider the social networking phenomena. Social networking tools can and should be integrated into the library systems that we build in order to increase and enhance interaction and collaboration.

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Mass digitization

In case you have found it, the webcasts for "Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects" have been archived on the symposium's web site.

Also, Eric Lease Morgan has written a lengthy travelogue on the symposium which contains notes from some of the presentations.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Google and copyright (moral rights)

Diglet reports that the family of Joan Miro and the Artists Rights Society asked Google to take down the Miro-esque logo that Google created to celebrate the artist's birthday. Google quickly complied.

Now, I don't know if Google's logo violated the artist's moral rights, but I do know that many people look at that logo and then follow-up to see who or what is being honored on the day of a special logo. It is likely that many, many more people became aware of Joan Miro on April 20 because of the logo. I know that doesn't make doing something Fair Use, but it is sad that the Artists Rights Society couldn't see the benefit and perhaps find a way to work with Google to help the company find an acceptable middle-ground that it can use in the future.

Fedora has a wiki

Fedora now has a wiki. There is already a good amount of content in it. What is Fedora? As the web site says:
Fedora open source software gives organizations a flexible service-oriented architecture for managing and delivering their digital content.
Many organizations are using open source software because of its flexibility and the fact that it is free. Open source software, however, may needs more customization/programming in order to mold it into what you want. For those who are delving into Fedora, the wiki will be a big help.

Thanks to DigitalKoans for finding this.

Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS)

The Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS) in England provides consultancy and production services for digitization and digital resource development and management. The group was begun in 1996 and began a Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) service in 1998. HEDS is run by the University of Hertfordshire.

HEDS has an interesting business model. It provides advice, consulting, and production services. Some of its services are free while others are fee-based. According to the group's 2002 annual report:
In the year ended July 31, 2002 HEDS delivered approximately 370,000 digitised pages of textual material, 4,700 images and over 77 million characters re-keyed. In addition, HEDS staff delivered 120 Person Days of paid consultancy.
HEDS has done a excellent job of preserving papers and presentations that its staff have presented. They are available on the Resources page. It looks like many of the items are from 1998 - 2002.

From the web site, I can't tell what HEDS is doing now. From one of its projects, I can see that the group is still active, but the HEDS web site seems to contain only older content. It had a goal of becoming self-funding in 2003. (If anyone knows, please leave a comment...thanks!)

One project that HEDS worked on is "The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674 to 1834." This is described as:

A fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.
The details available on how this project was done and who was involved is quite nice. Of course, not as much detail as you would like, but much more than most projects.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Article: Six Lessons Learned: An (Early) ARTstor Retrospective

Max Marmor, from ARTstor, writes about their experience and the lessons they have learned. He feels that the six key lessons are:
  1. the feasibility and importance of building a campus-wide resource that engages users across a range of disciplines without being balkanized into narrow, discipline-specific collections;
  2. the importance, when it comes to digital images, of providing tools for teaching and research;
  3. the ramifications of such a resource for "buy vs. build"” decisions on the part of libraries and other campus entities;
  4. the trade-offs entailed by building valued, "“user-driven"” collections while also striving to accommodate a strong interest in interoperability with other collections and services;
  5. the (perhaps unique) complexities surrounding contemporary art;
  6. the challenge represented by the lack of appropriate assessment metrics for online resources that support both research and classroom teaching.
This stood out to me:
Users want to do things with digital images. "“Read only"” is not enough. They want to assemble images, often in huge numbers, to shuffle and re-shuffle them into unpredictable and unanticipated permutations, to sift and filter them in sometimes indiscernible ways, and then to actively use them in teaching, learning, and research.
As the Pew Internet and American Life project has found, people are creating things online. "Online" is an active medium. So we can't just assume that people will just want to look at our stuff; we must realize that they want to use them. It's in our best interests to give them the tools to do that. We also need to give them guidance on what uses are not acceptable.

Report: Use and Users of Digital Resources

The following was disseminated through SIGDL-L last week.

Use and Users of Digital Resources: A Focus on Undergraduate Education in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Copies of the report are available at:

Generous funding for this multi-year project was provided by the A.W. Mellon Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Additional support was provided by CITRIS, Hewlett-Packard, CDL, and UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor of Research.

Authors: Diane Harley, Ph.D., Principal Investigator; Jonathan Henke, Shannon Lawrence, Ian Miller, Irene Perciali, Ph.D., and David Nasatir, Ph.D.

The purpose of our research was to:
  1. map the universe of digital resources available to a subset of undergraduate educators in the humanities and social sciences, and
  2. to investigate how and if available digital resources are actually being used in undergraduate teaching environments.
We employed multiple methods, including surveys and focus groups. Our definition of digital resources is intentionally broad and includes rich media objects (e.g., maps, video, images, etc.) as well as text.

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction and Rationale for the Project
  • Understanding the Humanities/Social Science Digital Resource Landscape and Where Users Fit Into It
  • How Are Digital Resources Being Used Among Diverse Communities?
  • Faculty Discussion Groups and Faculty Survey
  • Transaction Log Analysis and Website Surveys
  • Why Study Users?
  • Interviews with Digital Resource Providers
  • Site Owners and User Researchers Meeting
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Appendices

Sunday, April 23, 2006

RLG News: Highlighted web sites

The April 15 issue of RLG news highlighted five blogs, including this one. Besides Digitization 101, the other blogs listed are:
RLG, thanks for the mention!

Friday, April 21, 2006

How do you get digitization started in a region?

This is a question that I have thought about, talked about and worked on for years. It is not a question of getting an institution to digitize materials, but one of how to get digitization to be prevalent in a region. How do you get institutions to see digitization as something that they do along with their other collection building?

In some regions, a consortium introduces digitization to its members and begins to plan how it and its members can get involved. The institutions will be interested and will send people to be trained. Enthusiasm will continue until people have learned enough in order to see how much work is involved in creating a collection of digitized materials. Then enthusiasm wanes. The institutions look at their other priorities and don't see creating digital assets as one of them. Yes, they will scan materials for interlibrary loan (ILL) or for electronic reserves, but they will not build collections of digitized materials.

Those institutions that do move forward and create a digitization program, do so because someone has a vision and that person knows how to overcome obstacles in order to make the vision a reality. In some regions, a strong institution will be able to spearhead a collaborative project that will get more institutions involved. Again, there must be someone with a vision to keep that collaboration going. Unfortunately, it is not easy to create visionary people.

Yesterday morning, I sat and talked with someone who is struggling with the question of how to get institutions in his region more involved in digitization. We talked about the stoppers/inhibitors. We commiserated. We know that some libraries and historical societies just don't have the resources to think about digitization, even if they have materials that should be digitized for broader access. We know that digitization is not for everyone, but struggle with how to get those involved who should be doing it. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. And as the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink." So it is with digitization.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006


For those of you in museums, you might want to add Musematics to your blog reader. This is a new blog with seven contributors. It is described as:
Rants and raves on the latest trends in the world of museum informatics and technology. An intrepid cast of experts from the Museum Computer Network and AAM's Media & Technology Committee share their insights, observations and tricks of the trade.
Musematics will include posts on copyright and digital media.

Looking for a possible digitization partner/collaborator?

I saw the following message posted on a discussion list this morning. Looking at this RLG site, my first thought was that this might allow a collection to find a similar collection to partner with on a project.

Since the release of ArchiveGrid, the response to RLG has been overwhelming: in March alone close to 200,000 visitors came to the site, dozens of institutions asked to become contributors, and more than 1,000 websites linked to ArchiveGrid -- and these numbers are growing every day.

Use RLG's ArchiveGrid free now through May 31, and let us know what you think:

We have received an enormous amount of positive feedback from faculty, library and archives staff, and genealogists -- many thanking us for making this site available. To read what the press has to say about it, see "ArchiveGrid in the News" at

RLG received funding to make ArchiveGrid available for three months but continued free access has not been guaranteed; therefore, we are making plans to provide institutional and individual subscriptions.

Please contact the RLG Information Center ( for more information.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Digitization in Japan

In Creating metadata in more than one language, I wrote:
At the moment, there are digitization projects occurring in Japan, but most are not for access, due to the metadata problem...
The person I spoke with about metadata in Japan has just e-mailed me with a correction. Creating metadata in Japan is more expensive, due to the number of character sets used. Past digitization projects were not done for access purposes, because the proper metadata could not easily be created. However, now digitization projects realize the need for good metadata so that the materials are truly searchable. The cost of creating the metadata will remain a barrier unless tools can be developed to help or collaborative efforts emerge that can create metadata in a more cost effective manner.

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Digital preservation: are your materials worth the investment?

The latest issue of D-Lib magazine contains an article on digital preservation. James Currall and Peter McKinney write in the introduction: (my emphasis)
Most work that has described 'sustainable' digital preservation has assumed that the organisation in question will only ask, 'how much?' not, 'why?' The 'why' is the hardest question to answer, particularly when the objects being described are digital and the values derived from them are for the most part intangible. Decision-makers need to have very good reasons to divert resources from primary activities to digital preservation practices, and being able to answer 'why' is more than a matter of saying: 'because it is important'.
The idea is more than just some things aren't worth preserving (even if they are digital), but that the value of the assets will change over time. Some assets may not be worth preserving forever. This is an interesting article. Well written and with good graphs.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Digital preservation is more than what you think

This week, one of the topics being discussed in the class I'm teaching (IST 677 at Syracuse Univ.) is digital preservation. This is a topic that we all can understand and perhaps all feel a bit helpless about, especially when some of the things that mess us up are out of our control. For example, last week Microsoft issued critical updates to its PC software. As it turns out, one of the software patches (MS06-015) raised havoc with Hewlett-Packard hardware. An article published on Friday talked about. Fortunately, the article contained information on how to fix the problem (or at least what might work). And thankfully -- since I had installed the patch and was having very unusual MS Office problems -- the article helped me fix my system.

But what if it had been more serious? What if a digital library had installed a recommended software update that then incapacitated the library? We tend to think of digital preservation as being about preserving the files themselves, perhaps through refreshing or migrating them. But preserving also means ensuring that a third party knowingly or unknowingly does not harm the files or the system that accesses them.

Large data centers historically have tested software updated in test environments that are replications of their production environments. They test the software to ensure that it functions as promised and does not harm the system. This helps them ensure that their production systems are not damaged and that valuable data is not lost.

We tend to not be as strict with every update and every new piece of software. However, when our trusted software companies disseminate software that unintentionally harms our systems, we should begin to put in place the procedures to do like the "big boys" and test, test, test before we implement anything.

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Event: Oral History and Digital Technology: Recording, Preservation, and Digital Archives

Any project that is considering including oral histories might be interested in this three-day institute.

The Kentucky Oral History Commission and the Kentucky Historical Society will hold a summer institute entitled Oral History and Digital Technology: Recording, Preservation, and Digital Archives on July 12, 13, and 14, 2006 in Frankfort, Kentucky. The 3-day institute will provide hands-on training in various aspects of digital recording, preservation and digitization of analog interviews, as well as discussion of the design and maintenance of a digital archive. The institute is designed for oral historians, librarians, archivists, and all others who seek knowledge and assistance in making the transition to digital recording and processing of their oral history interviews.

Participants in the summer institute will examine a wide variety of digital recorders and recording formats and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each. In addition, participants will closely examine best practices for archival processing of these recordings. We will discuss in great detail the computer’s role in digital field recording and the digitization of oral history interviews. We will examine a variety of hardware and software options, discuss budgetary needs for relevant equipment, and assist participants in formulating and implementing a future technology plan for their oral history repositories.

Registration will be $250 which includes breakfast and lunch each day. To make reservations or to obtain more information, contact the institute’s director Dr. Doug Boyd at (502) 564-1792 or via email at Registration is due by June 12. Enrollment is limited.

April 20 - June 2006: Speaking/workshop/travel schedule

Here's my speaking/workshop/travel schedule through June 2006.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Web site: Decision Tree for Selection of Digital Materials for Long-term Retention

The introduction states:

Clearly defined selection policies will enable cost savings in terms of time taken to establish whether or not to select and also potential costs further down the track of needing to re-assess digital resources which are either in danger of becoming or are no longer accessible.

This Decision Tree may be used as a tool to construct or test such a policy for your organisation. The decision process represented in the tree should be addressed by your policy for selection of digital materials for the long-term.

The decision tree exists as an interactive web site and PDF document. It took me a bit to see that I need to click on my decisions -- you can't just scroll! Although we assume that materials that we digitize should be preserved, going through this decision tree would yield clearer thoughts on the topic.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

We get our work done through networking

This winter and spring have been very busy. Hopefully, I'm not the only one who is being pulled in multiple directions. The saving grace is business networking. Business networking allows us to find resources that we can tap into for help on projects. Sometimes those resources don't come from the people we network with, but through them and from the people who are in their networks. Unfortunately, sometimes networks don't yield immediate resources to tap into, so it may take time to "work the network" in order to locate needed help. Thankfully, at the moment, my network is helping me locate resources and make valuable connections.

The question I posed to my students this week was about what words stood out to them this semester. Some students listed technical works or concepts. Several students pointed to the phrase "the long tail." At least a couple, thus far, have talked about the word cooperation. They are pleased and relieved to know that there are people and institutions willing to cooperate (or collaborate) on digitization projects. They know that through cooperation and collaboration, they will be able to get projects completed successfully. And they are learning what we all know -- we get work done through our networks.

The library and archive communities are known for their networking. We network and build relationships at work, at workshops, and at conferences. It is what we do. We need to also network with business people and others who can help further our causes or link us to resources. And we can't expect for these people to come to where we are in order to network, so we need to reach out to where they are (wherever that might be).

This week there was huge networking event for women entrepreneurs in Syracuse. There were a few information professionals in the crowd, which was wonderful to see! I blog for the group that put on the conference and blogged the event (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship). If you'd like to read what the speakers said and what the participants learned, you can read the postings here. Speakers including Anson Dorrance (UNC Chapel Hill) and Sheila Johnson (Black Entertainment Television). Dorrance, coach of the UNC-CH women's soccer team, rocked!

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For Fun: It Happened @ the Library

You may have already seen this around. It's cute, it shows that library science students are learning to be creative about marketing, AND it uses the YouTube web site, which is growing in popularity daily.

From Uber Geek to Super Chic: It Happened @ the Library

“Rock n’ Roll Library”

A Short Film celebrating National Library Week (April 2-8, 2006)

Produced by the students in “Marketing and Public Relations for Libraries” class at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences

The boy, stereotypically wearing a pocket protector and rumpled clothes, stumbles into the overflowing stacks of his local library. Four minutes later, he emerges as a super cool rock star. All this is set to the driving beat of Pachelbel’s Cannon in D Major for electric guitar. You can experience this transformation yourself by viewing “Rock n’ Roll Library,” a four minute short film produced by Library and Information Science students at the School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Pittsburgh. View the film at

“Rock n Roll Library” is a video produced in celebration of National Library Week, April 2nd -8th, 2006. The video reflects the theme of National Library Week, Change Your World @ the Library. The American Library Association (ALA) has been supportive of the project from the outset, featuring the students and their work on their Techsource Blog – A link to the video will be available on the Blog during National Library Week – April 2 – 8.

This short film challenges the traditional view of the library, and offers a lighthearted take on the millions of possibilities the library has to offer. The student’s efforts have already received national attention on the popular ALA Techsource Blog. In addition, the video is posted on the very popular YouTube website at

“I think a lot of us were interested in exploring new technologies (like online video streaming) and ways to reach patrons with these new technologies,” says Stephanie Iser, a SIS student working on the project. “We decided to do something that was both fun and promotional of libraries in general.”

In the upcoming weeks, the students will be working to market the video to fellow students and librarians. They will be focusing a good deal of their attention on the world of online news sources, especially blogs. So, keep checking your favorite blogs, you just might see a mention of these resourceful students.

The students are members of the “Marketing and Public Relations for Libraries” class at the School of Information Sciences. The School of Information Sciences has been educating information professionals for more than 100 years. SIS offers degree programs in Information Science, Library and Information Science, and Telecommunications. The SIS faculty, staff, students, and programs - uniquely interdisciplinary, multicultural, and international by design - are dedicated to the building of a global society and an informed citizenship based upon the foundation of knowledge made possible only through access to reliable and useful information.

For more information go to or contact Sue Alman at 412-624-5142 or via email at

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Article: Some sound advice on preserving old audio

At the bottom of the article "Historians strive to save old sounds" is information that many people can use on preserving old audio recording. In this sidebar are hints and techniques for keeping old recordings viable. Techniques include transferring old recordings to CDs and the article states that might cost $100 - $150 per hour to have an audio archivist do the job. Of course, the article ends with the reminder that even CDs don't last forever.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Event: Digitization Expo & Vendor Exhibit, May 24

Exhibitors and Presenters Announced for the Digitization Expo, May 24, at the WNY Event Centre

Buffalo – April 11 – The Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC) has announced both the presenters and exhibitors for its Digitization Expo on May 24, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the WNY Event Centre (11163 Main Street, Clarence). The companies that will be exhibiting products and services at the Expo include:
  • Backstage Library Works

  • Biel’s Information Technology Systems

  • Crowley Micrographics

  • Hudson Microimaging

  • IKON

  • Indus USA

  • Kirtas Technologies

  • OCLC/Nylink

  • S-T Imaging
These companies provide:
  • Manual scanning equipment including patron-friendly machines

  • Automated book scanners

  • Digitization/scanning services including microfilm scanning

  • Content management software
Attendees at the Digitization Expo will also be able to hear presentation about successful digitization projects. The scheduled presenters include:
  • Angela O'Neal from Ohio Memories

  • Peter D. Verheyen and Nicolette Schneider from Syracuse University

  • Pam O'Sullivan from Rochester Public Library
The Digitization Expo is free and open to the public. The Expo is geared for librarians, archivists and record managers from for-profit and not-for-profit institutions who want to improve access to their materials by making the materials available electronically.

WNYLRC Executive Director, Gail M. Staines, Ph.D., anticipates that this event will spark more organizations in the Western NY region to embark on programs to increase access to materials through digitization. “Researchers, library patrons and taxpayers as well corporate and government employees want to be able access more information electronically,” Staines said, “Besides creating more information in electronic form, we need to digitize the information that already exists, including historic materials that are unique to our region.”

Event Registration

Although the Digitization Expo is free, attendees are encouraged to register to ensure the proper quantities of handouts and other materials. To register, go to

About the Western NY Library Resources Council

The Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYRLC) is a not-for-profit consortium of libraries and library systems serving six counties: Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, and Orleans. Its members include academic libraries, special libraries, hospital libraries, and public and school library systems. The Council’s reach extends to 1,250 librarians and support staff that work in the libraries and library systems in its region. WNYLRC provides a range of support services to its members including continuing education, consulting, information technologies and access to digitizing training/services. WNYRLC has embarked on a multi-year project to increase the number of digitization programs in the region. For more information, visit WNYLRC on the Web at

Media Contact Information:

Jill Hurst-Wahl, Digitization Consultant
Tel: (315) 243-4403

Sheryl Knab, Assistant Director, WNYLRC
Tel: (716) 633-0705 X121

Addendum (5/10/2006): The event brochure is at

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Using a Magic Lens

Handwriting can be very difficult to read. When we digitize old letter or diaries (for example), we want people to see or read the original, but we know that people may not understand the handwriting. Transcripts can be effective, but are not glamorous. Last week I was introduced to an interesting way of overlaying a transcript onto handwritten text. It's called the "magic lens."

Here at the DoHistory web site, you can see a magic lens applied to Martha Ballard's diary. As you move the lens over the text, you can view the transcription.

This example from Memorial Hall Museum Online is a bit different. Here you can expand the magic lens so that more of the transcribed text can be seen at the same time.

This magic lens provides several benefits:
  1. Users of the site can now better understand the text because they can read it, while still viewing the original handwriting.
  2. It allows people who are visually impaired to better view the text. (There is also an implementation of the magic lens that reads the text to the user.)
  3. It is fun, which may lead users to spending more time looking at documents.
If you are including handwritten documents, you may want to look into adding this type of feature. (You might even talk to a site that has already implement it and ask if they can share what they did.)

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

National Library Week

This week is National Library Week in the U.S. Appropriately, my graduate students this week have been talking a bit about what a digital library. Some of them have taken a class in "digital libraries" and are trying to reconcile that with what they now know about digitization. The questions they are asking have to do with what a digital library is and how do digital collections relate to a digital library. There is, however, no single definition of what a digital library is and how the students define "digital library" will change as their knowledge/work changes.

How does a digitized collection relate to a digital library? Some digitized collections are referred to as "digital libraries." If you define a digital library as "collection of texts, images, etc., encoded so as to be stored, retrieved, and read by compute," then -- yes -- a digitized collection can be a digital library. Hopefully a digital library is much more than just a digitized collection. Hopefully it contains other content and tools -- e.g., online databases, the library's catalogue, search engines, federated search options, finding aids, and virtual reference. Hopefully a digital library makes the user feel as if he/she has truly been to the library.

There are a couple days left in National Library Week...but as we know, brick-n-mortar libraries and digital libraries are important every day of the year. I hope you will celebrate your libraries -- the library perhaps that you work in and those that you use to find information.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Event: JCDL 2006 (call for papers & registration)

JCDL Registration Now Open for Conference and Workshop


Workshop on "Digital Curation & Trusted Repositories: Seeking Success"
Workshop website:

To be held on Thursday, June 15th in conjunction with the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2006) June 11-15, 2006 - Chapel Hill, NC, USA (

Preservation of access to digital assets stands as one of the grand challenges of the early 21st century. A decade of work in digital preservation and access has resulted in many projects, numerous metadata and encoding standards, open institutional repository platforms such as DSpace and Fedora and the OAIS Reference Model. The Research Libraries Group (RLG) and OCLC have described the attributes and responsibilities of such trusted repositories, and RLG and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) have drafted an audit checklist for certifying digital repositories as trustworthy (
) . Guidelines, such as those provided by RLG and NARA, offer technical and managerial attributes for a trusted digital repository, but will adherence to such a checklist, by itself, ensure a successful digital repository, especially the institutional repositories emerging on university campuses today? What are the most promising approaches for implementing the attributes? What does “trust” really mean in the context of a contributor-based repository and will individuals or organizations contribute to a repository just because they trust that it will preserve digital assets over time? What incentives and assistance are needed? What is the role of the archivist vis-à-vis the digital life cycle and the stewardship of digital assets over time. What, indeed, constitutes a “successful” digital repository and how can we ascertain and measure such success?

This workshop will serve as a forum for discussion as to how the emerging principles of digital curation, "the active management and appraisal of data over the life-cycle of scholarly and scientific interest" (Digital Curation Center,, can work with technical and managerial models to produce not only trusted, but successful repositories that will house rich digital assets over the long-term.


• Presentation of digital curation principles.
• Exploration of what constitutes success and excellence in digital curation and digital repository management.
• Discussion of how to identify and define criteria for success, including exploration of a shared lexicon for describing digital repository attributes.
• Examination of strategies for measuring and evaluating success criteria.
• Discussion of next steps, potential collaborations, and needed research in the application of digital curation to repository development.

*****Who Should Attend*****

• Digital repository developers and curators
• Digital archivists and electronic records managers
• Institutional repository developers
• Institutional administrators and policy developers
• Digital librarians
• Scholars engaged in research intended to benefit the above
• Researchers and administrators charged with preserving research data

*****Workshop Logistics*****

All interested parties are invited to submit a brief (3-4 pages) paper on any of the following topics:

• What constitutes success in a digital repository?
• How can we best measure the success of digital repositories?
• How is certification of digital repositories related to success?
• Beyond meeting certification guidelines, what does it mean to be a trusted repository and what role does trust play in repository success?
• How can the principles and activities of digital curation help repositories to be successful?

The submitted papers will be assessed for their relevance to the workshop and a limited number of papers will be selected for presentation. Emailed submissions in RTF, Microsoft Word, or PDF are welcome. Each position paper will be refereed and results emailed to authors. Selected papers will be distributed to attendees at the workshop and mounted as proceedings on the workshop website. Development of papers into journal articles will be explored at the workshop. All interested persons are invited to register for the workshop even if they do not submit a paper but papers are encouraged to focus discussion and increase participation.

In order to ensure that this workshop will not be cancelled, please submit your paper by April 15, 2006 and register for the workshop by April 15, 2006. JCDL registration page to be open by end of March.


Submit papers electronically to Helen Tibbo:

*****Important Dates*****

Deadline for paper submissions: April 14, 2006 Notification to authors: May 12, 2006 Final copy of papers: June 2, 2006 Authors should use the ACM SIG proceedings template (

*****Organizers/Program Committee*****

Philip Eppard, SUNY-Albany; Christopher Lee, UNC-Chapel Hill; Karen Markey, Univ. of Michigan; Soo Young Rieh, Univ. of Michigan; Helen Tibbo, UNC-Chapel Hill; Elizabeth Yakel, Univ. of Michigan.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Presentation at UB: Non-Traditional Career Paths for Librarians

Today I went to the University at Buffalo (UB) do to a lecture in the School of Informatics as part of a Speaker Series for 2005 -– 2006. My presentation was on "Non-Traditional Career Paths for Librarians." You can view the PowerPoint here (use Slide Show to see all of the content). I was fortunate to have lunch with four students, the Upstate SLA Chapter liaison to the student group at UB, one faculty member, and a member of the external relations team. The presentation was attended by more people than I would have imagined ("sold out") and the dean of the School of Informatics, David Penniman, introduced me.

So why me? I have not had a traditional library career at all. I have consistently intertwined library science with information technology. I've been a corporate librarian in a library that focused on competitive intelligence, worked for a start-up high-tech company, and -- for the last eight years -- had my own business. If you had asked me in library school what I would be doing, I wouldn't have even guessed this, but it is what do and what I enjoy!

What did I talk about?

I started of talking about my career. Here's the two-second overview:
  • Began working in libraries in fifth grade and then continued to work in libraries through my undergraduate degree.

  • Worked in radio (announcer and program/commercial scheduler) for four years. (We all deviate into other careers at some point.) Working in radio was fun, even if it didn'’t pay much. And it taught me a lot about speaking and thinking on my feet.

  • Went to grad school to get my MLS and began working with computers.

  • Worked professionally in IT and then switched to become a corporate librarian doing mostly competitive intelligence (CI).

  • Worked in a combination of IT and library science for a while.

  • Began work in scanning/digitization in 1990 (as part of my corporate library duties).

  • Started Hurst Associates, Ltd. in 1998 and now do both competitive intelligence/business research and digitization planning. (Those two areas are not as dissimilar as you might think.)
Then I talked about the need for libraries to become more interactive and how that could lead to new jobs and also mentioned some of the non-traditional jobs that are available. BTW I mentioned the idea of working for companies that provide products to libraries or companies that provide information products to businesses. We often don't think of working for them, but that'’s a viable option (and they need us).

I mentioned Library 2.0 (L2) and saw a few people taking notes. I like mentioning L2 because it shows that the profession is looking to change. As I said, it is a move to become more interactive, collaborative, and driven by community needs -- and those are all good things. (And you don't have to like the label to like what it about.)

I talked about some of the skills they will need to develop. Unfortunately, some of those skills still are not taught in library school.

At some point, I talked about billable hours and covering expenses, which are important when you run your own business, as well as other business matters.

I mentioned an article in Searcher about resumes, but couldn't remember the title or when it was published. Well, it was in the July/August 2002 issue (which is a great issue). The article was "A Resume That Works." The article isn't on the Searcher web site, but would be available in a library or from one of the database services.

What questions did I get? Well, I got asked many questions, but only -- at the moment -- remember a few!
  • What job to I see in the future for librarians that doesn't exist now? I said "information guide" which might mean that someone develops tools to guide people to information or actually works as a guide. I see this as being different that the intermediaries we have today and the ways people now find or connect to information.

  • How do I estimate the cost of a client project?

  • Is there a book or article about how to package information?

  • What information (database) sources do I use?
The package information question is an interesting one. I'll look around to see what sources I can pass along, but really I learned by reading other people's work (especially reports from major consulting firms). I also learned from my corporate experience which taught to get to the answer quickly (also know as "answer up-front"), create executive summaries whenever possible, and keep the reports short (and the appendices long). I keep things factual and allow the client to develop his/her opinion, rather than me telling a client what this information means to his/her business.

BTW with my class this semester, I am using the paper "How to Write a White Paper -- – A White Paper on White Papers" by Michael A. Stelzner as a reference for their last assignment. The assignment is for them to write a position paper and hopefully this document by Stelzner will help them formulate something that is more business-like, less academic, and helps them "sell" their point of view.

What should I have mentioned?
  • I should have mentioned the book The NextGen Librarian's Survival Guide, which may not be about being a non-traditional librarian, but would likely be of interest to students.

  • I should have pointed them towards Meredith Farkas' posts about her job hunting experience. (Check the link and go back to her posts from summer 2005.) I think her insight is of value to any library science student.

  • I should have mentioned that being an independent information professional is not for everyone. It takes discipline to work independently and a tolerance for risk (risk of failure). Some people find that they need real structure to their work. Fortunately, I have found that I can thrive working independently and I enjoy the flexibility.

  • Having your own business can mean working all the time. I did kind of say that, but it is worth emphasizing. There are deadlines to meet and clients to please.

  • I didn't tell them that I generally don't mention to business clients that I have an MLS. Business clients only want to know what skills I have to locate the information they need, if I understand their business/industry, and what I'’m going to deliver (and how much it will cost). I always frame the "how" in terms that they will understand and don't use library jargon. I've found that allows me to come across as a businessperson and an equal. The degree doesn't matter to them. Now, with my library clients, I do tell them that I have an MLS, because it matters to them and they see me as an equal (and I'll use library jargon with them).

  • And...likely there are a ton of other things I should have said. Hopefully if the students have questions, they'll e-mail or IM me.
Believe it or not, I only spoke for 45 minutes and then likely fielded about 10 minutes of questions. I packed a lot in! Hopefully what I presented will help them see their options differently and maybe lead them down an unexpected -- but exciting -- career path.

Addendum (4/5/2006): I mentioned the Talis report on Library 2.0 (Do libraries
matter? The rise of Library 2.0). Here is a link to that.

One of the students gave me her business card. We're in an era where even full-time students should have business cards, especially when going out on interviews or attending conferences. She was fortunate to have a roommate that could design a very professional-looking card for her. If you're a students and you want a business card, check your local copy center. Likely they can great a good business card for you at a low cost. Or check online...there are even some places where you can get business cards for free.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

HigherEd BlogCon 2006

Although we think of digitization projects as "things" unto themselves, they need to integrate into other services and perhaps rely on other tools to reach (and impact) their audiences. With that in mind, you might want to follow HigherEd BlogCon 2006. HigherEd BlogCon 2006 is a "fully web-
based event focused on how new online communications technologies and social tools are changing Higher Education." This virtual event will run through April 28. The topics to be covered are:
  • Teaching, April 3-7, 2006
  • Library & info resources, April 10-14, 2006
  • Admissions, alumni relations, and communications & marketing, April 17-21, 2006
  • Websites & web development, April 24-28, 2006

Event: International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL 2006)

FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PAPERS : International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL 2006)
December 5-8, 2006 – India Habitat Center, New Delhi, India

Dear Colleagues,

ICDL is a major international forum focusing on digital libraries and related issues. It aims to consolidate and expand concerted efforts to bridge the digital divide. ICDL2006 proposes to focus on Information Management for Global Access through the creation, adoption, implementation and utilization of DLs. It also intends to offer a common platform to put forth innovative ideas, discuss classical knowledge management and DL concepts in an open forum, and promote closer cooperation between experts and end-
users. About 40 renowned and experienced speakers from India and abroad will be sharing their experiences. For detail information about the conference please visit the website

You are invited to submit your papers to the 2nd International Conference on Digital Libraries, to be held in New Delhi, India 5-8 December, 2006.
Contributions are invited for conference sessions, tutorials, poster presentations and workshops.

The relevant topics include the following (but not limited to) :

Planning, development, and management of digital libraries
Online information management
Content organization and knowledge management
System scalability and interoperability
Semantics, thesauri, and ontology
Information storage and retrieval for global access
Open archives initiatives
User studies and system evaluation
Multi-lingual information retrieval system and unicode
Digital divide
Digital preservation
Standards in digital library design and development
Dublin core and metadata standards
DRM and copyrights issues
Digital library services
Digital library network and information sharing
Economic issues of DL and e-learning
Tools and techniques for DL
DL models and architectures

Paper Submission Information

All papers must be original in contribution and authors are expected to transfer the copyright to TERI. Papers must be written in English and limited to 5000 words. Each paper should contain a list of about five keywords. The paper should also mention the topic under which it falls from the above list of topics or any other. Send your paper in MS Word (any version) format. For Detail submission details and author guidelines, please refer to the conference website. Full paper should be submitted electronically at ( by 1 June, 2006.

Important Dates

Intimation with interest to submit paper with extended abstract - 1 May 2006

Submission of full papers -1 June 2006

Notification of acceptance of paper with comments - 15 Aug 2006

Submission of the final paper after incorporating comments -15 September 2006

Early Bird Registration Deadline -
15 Oct 2006

Registration Information
For details about the conference registration fee for all presenters and participants and other registration information, please refer to the conference website ( )

Sponsorship details, Products & Services Exhibitors and business sessions

For details visit conference website ( or e-mail at

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Speaking Mandarin

An article in the April 2006 Wired Magazine talks about the efforts to get more people in the world to speak Mandarin. Mandarin is the most popular first language on Earth, with 500 million more people speaking Mandarin than English. Now China (and others) are trying to get more people to speak or understand Mandarin. This, the magazine points out, is no different than past efforts to export French or English around the globe.

Here's the question:
As we look to make information available to more people, should be automatically be adding pages in other languages (like Spanish, French or Mandarin) or adding translation services that will automatically translate web page content?
Likely you'll answer the question with a "yes." Of course, saying that it should be done and then actually doing it are two different things! Doing it will require additional planning and perhaps more cost. Yet doing it would allow us to reach a wider audience.