Monday, July 31, 2006

Are you reading Digitization 101 using Bloglet?

Bloglet was a great tool when it I first discovered it, but other tools have since come along that are much better. The biggest problem with Bloglet is that will sense a problem with the blog and stop delivering content to readers. And it will not correct or fix itself (or even alert me that there is a problem). So when a problem occurs, you might go without seeing any new content for days or weeks, until I stumble into Bloglet and see that it is broken. Other services are much better at fixing themselves and ensuring that readers do not miss content.

So if you are reading any blogs using Bloglet, consider changing to Feedburner, Bloglines or another RSS reader. Feedburner will deliver blog content directly to you via e-mail and it is free. Bloglines can deliver content to you in a couple of ways. I use Bloglines to read/monitor more than 100 blogs/RSS feeds and really like its features. And Bloglines is also free. Of course, you might already be using an RSS reader that you like, so why not add Digitization 101 to it?

Remember that most blog/RSS readers will automatically find the RSS feed for any blog. However, just in case there is no doubt -- the RSS feed for Digitization 101 can be found at

Finally, I write new content for Digitization 101 nearly every day. That means that you should see five new blog postings per week and often more. If you are not seeing Digitization 101 blog postings on a regular basis from your blog/RSS reader, the saying goes "Houston, we have a problem." (A quote from the movie Apollo 13.)

What's in a name? (Product Branding)

What is a brand? It has been defined as a name or symbol used to identify a product of manufacturer. Many brand names are trademarked, like Coca-Cola, Kleenex and Xerox.

Getting the brand name correct can be very important. For example, if you ask for a Coca-Cola in a restaurant -- and the restaurant only serves Pepsi -- they have to ask if Pepsi is okay. Coca-Cola means something specific!

Sometime brand names have become the generic name for their type of product. This has happened to Kleenex. Xerox has tried to keep people from making its trademark something generic. Xerox employees -- especially sales people -- are quick to correct those who use the word "Xerox" incorrectly. (It is a company name, not an action.)

When naming businesses, products and projects, we often look to create meaningful names (The Internet Archive), but sometimes create names that could stand for anything (Hurst Associates, Ltd.). What becomes important is that people who see the name understand what it stands for, whether or not the name itself conveys that information. Sometimes the "what" is learned from interaction. Going to the Christmas Tree Shop, for example, one learns that it is a shop, but that it isn't focused on Christmas trees at all. It is a place for bargains. Gee, the name doesn't say that!

If the name doesn't convey what the "thing" is, then there is more work that must be done in order to ensure that people associate the name with the right thing. If you're going to name a new digitization project, for example, you might use the word "digitization" or perhaps "digital library." However, even those words don't have stable meanings, so you might instead name the project after your location or the content. mmm...yes...decisions...and important ones. Changing a name can be a huge hassle. (And we know that some people will always call "it" by the old name. For example, I still refer to Marine Midland Bank, although it hasn't existed in many, many years. Long ago it became part of HSBC.) I've been thinking abut names, these questions came to mind:
  • Can you create a name -- a brand -- that people will recognize?
  • Will the name convey what it is?
  • Are you willing to do the additional marketing that might be necessary if the name is fuzzy?
  • Are you willing to continually explain the name to people who "don't get it"?
  • If people use the wrong name, are you willing to correct them, even if you have to it over and over again? (BTW this might be a clue that you selected the wrong name OR that you're dealing with stubborn people!)
When you decide to create a new name, you might want to employ someone who does "branding." Yes, it is a cost, but depending on what you are naming (your organization, for example), having an expert help you could be quite useful. For example, the Pioneer Library System in New York State went through a re-branding process. The System covers Livingston, Ontario, Wayne and Wyoming counties. The people in the libraries had always thought of the counties in that order. However, a branding expert looked and saw the possibility of a cool acronym -- OWWL. And so now the System's URL and logos, etc., all have to do with an owl (OWWL). (Perhaps a library staff member would have thought this up, but the branding expert was able to think up the acronym AND create all the new branding materials.)

One final question (or two or...). When you tell people your project's name, your department's name or even your organization's name, what do they think of? Does the name convey the right meaning? If not, can you do more marketing and brand awareness? Or is a name change in order?

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA)

I'm posting this because what people can access -- and from where -- can change in an instant, if the government creates new rules. Here the U.S. House of Representative has passed the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) and now the U.S. Senate will need to review and vote on the bill. As TechCrunch writes:
If the Resolution becomes law social networking sites and chat rooms must be blocked by schools and libraries or those institutions will lose their federal internet subsidies. According to the resolution's top line summary it will "“amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms."
TechCrunch (Marshall Kirkpatrick) gives a good summary of the bill and pointers to commentary to read. What stands out to me is that libraries, librarians and teachers have tried to place themselves in places where young people hang out online, as a way of interacting with them and showing them resources that they can tap into. Now it may be that young people will not be able to see those pages or interact with the these people (librarians/teachers) on these social sites when in the library or at school.

And instead of saying that we need to teach young people how to successfully negotiate the online world, we're just going to block access to it and hope that when young people do enter that world that they know what to do. Wouldn't it be better to say "do it here, so I can help you, advice you, and ensure you're okay"?

For those of us involved in creating web sites and online content, there is a message here that says that the playing field can change quickly. What we build may be good today, but may become forbidden in the drop of a hat.

Digital library content mgmt. system in Drupal

Mark Jordan (digitizationblog) is starting to write a simple, general purpose digital library content management system (DLCMS) based on Drupal. In his July 19 blog posting, Jordan asks for feedback on a page-turner prototype that he has built. According to his post, Jordan hopes to demonstrate a version of this DLCMS at the Access 2006 Conference in October.

If this is a topic that interests you, please encourage Mark Jordan. I'm sure he'd like to know that he is not toiling away in the "wilderness." Hopefully he'll post updates about his efforts to his blog, as well as his Access 2006 demostration.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Article: Developing a Digital Libraries Education Program

In the July/August issue of D-Lib is this article about "a full-day workshop aimed at digital library professionals, researchers, and educators to cover prominent issues surrounding digital libraries education" hosted by the Indiana University Bloomington (IU) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). For those of us who teach digital libraries and our students, we are constantly wondering if the right information is being covered and in the right amount of depth. According to the article, the student panelists understood their degree work to be a beginning, not an end.
Ms. Richmond noted that she feels familiar with many DL issues and the terminology, and she feels capable of holding an intelligent conversation with someone in working in the digital library area. However, because so much of her knowledge is theoretical, she is unsure of her ability to apply it immediately in a job setting. All of the student panelists noted that they will need significant on-the-job training despite the rigor of their academic preparation.
Here are some things from the article that really stand out to me (all, of course, taken out of context):
  • In one survey, it was found 'Markup languages' was the most desired current IT knowledge, while knowledge of 'Content Management Systems' was identified to be the most important knowledge that will be required in the future. 'Metadata' was identified to be most important current content management knowledge and 'Digital Preservation' was projected to be the area most likely to grow in importance with time. The topic of 'Legal Issues in Digital Libraries' was pointed out as the most important and most likely to grow in importance under the area of digital library organizational management.

  • It was pointed out that building systems and managing them probably are essential parts of becoming a successful digital librarian.

  • ...Ms. Richmond noted that digital libraries were not mentioned in any of her non-digital library classes, leaving the students to draw their own conclusions about the relationship between the class material and the digital library world.

  • Ms. Schlosser noted that faculty emphasize theory along with a small amount of practical implementation, but not enough practical implementation for students to apply that knowledge to real-world tasks. She felt, however, that this is a conscious decision on the part of faculty, because technologies change and people have varying technical expertise.
I don't know who attended this conference (like perhaps faculty and program directors from other I-Schools), but I hope that the lessons learned from this conference do not fall on deaf ears.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Are you using federated search software with your digital repositories?

In the last year, I've become more interested in federated search software, partial due to work that I am doing and partially due to seeing changes in the technology that might actually make federate search do what we want! The promise of federated search is awesome, but the reality can be disappointing.
  • Will it provide a reasonable decent search across databases?
  • Can it do more than just provide the lowest common denominator of search?
  • What do you sacrifice with federate search and what do you gain?
  • Will users see it as a plus (and something to continue to use) or will they be frustrated by it?
At the SLA conference, I saw a product from a well-known company and liked what I saw in the demo. Unfortunately, that company hasn't been forthcoming in providing more information about the product. (No, I'm not looking for trade secrets, just basically the same information given during the demo, but in writing.) I must admit, having a company take this long during the sales circle to provide information makes me uneasy. Is this an indication of their customer support?

As I wait for more information from that company (who shall for the time-being remain nameless), I'm seeking information on other software. I've posted to a couple discussion lists about federated search software being used to search across multiple digitization projects and have received a couple replies. One person mentioned SingleSearch from Sirsi and another mentioned Auto-Graphics AGent and still another mentioned MetaLib. From the responses, it sounds like one must fully test software against your content in order to fully understand how it performs. Obviously, the sales pitches can truly paint rosy pictures when that may not be true in your case.

So...are you using federated search software to search across multiple digitization projects/programs? If yes, what are you using? How is performing for you? Please leave a comment here or send a message to hurst {at} hurstassociates {dot} com

Thanks! Yes, I'll be reporting on what I learn, as I learn it.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Meeting students & faculty

This evening, I went to Syracuse University to a reception for the distance learning students who are on campus this week in the School of Information Studies. I traveled seven miles to the reception, but some of the student had travel across country or even further. I had wonderful conversations with three students in particular who are interesting in digitization:
  • One from NYC is in a wonderful position at work where he is will be able to work on a digitization project. His thinking, I'm sure, is already far ahead of his classmates because of the environment he is in. He will likely "eat up" everything that he learns and quickly apply it to his real world situation.

  • I had already met at the SLA conference a new student from Baltimore. He is interested not only in an MLS, but also in a Certification in Advance Studies in digital libraries, AND in medical librarianship. It will be interesting to hear how he combines his classes in order to learn all that he wants.

  • I met a student who was in my spring 2006 class from Orange County, California. He has a background in "computers" (information technology) and now wants to move into information science. For him, the library world is still all new and still a bit mysterious, even though is more than halfway through his course work. Where are the jobs? What conferences should he attend? Can he combine his skills in information technology with his MLS? (Yes!)
I enjoyed talking about courses, possible independent studies, conferences and even consulting. These are conversations that practitioners need to have with students and new librarians. These are the conversations that can impact what they learn, how they learn it, and how the apply what they learn. These are the conversations that might change their futures. These are conversations that are too important to pass up.

BTW last week, I spent time talking with two adjunct faculty members who travel from San Francisco to Syracuse each summer to teach a one-week class on digitization. (This is the same class that I teach in the spring, but they do the three-credit class in seven consecutive days. Some people call these "suicide" classes because they are very intense and very tiring.) I met Mary Elings and Guenter Waibel after one of their long days. I had met Guenter online (blogs and e-mail) and so was looking forward to meeting him in person. What a joy to be able talk about work and teaching with two people whose viewpoints are broadly similar to mine. Again, this was an opportunity I could not pass up. It was too important to share information and stories with them. I look forward to doing it again, if not with them, then with other people who are deeply involved in understanding and teaching about digital assets.

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IMLS begins RSS feed

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has begun an RSS feed in order to disseminate:

  • press releases
  • grant program guidelines
  • publications
  • Project Profiles
  • their Primary Source newsletter
  • and more!

The RSS feed is located at: Feel free to add this RSS feed to your RSS/blog reader so you can keep up-to-date on IMLS news. (Remember that IMLS does give grants, etc., that relate to digitization.)

Thanks to the Ten Thousand Year blog for passing along this information!

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's not like being there

I spent last weekend in New York City, which is always fun. There is something worthwhile seeing, no matter where you go. I enjoy wandering the streets, wandering through grocery stores (which often have things you can't find here in Syracuse), and visiting places that have "stories to share" (parks, museums, historic sites, etc.).

As I walked through an exhibit at the New York Historical Society (Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery), it occurred to me that a version of this exhibit could be done online. One might create a virtual tour of the exhibit that included allowing people to "walk around" three-dimensional pieces. The audio/visual works could easily be displayed online and might even be used more heavily. (It is hard to stand and watch a video -- of unknown length -- all the way through, no matter how interesting it is.) But some of the works would lose their power. For example, a larger-than-life photograph done by Renee Cox is printed in a way that makes the foreground really stand out (almost a three-dimensional quality). It is very powerful, but that power is lost when printed in the exhibits catalogue, and would it be lost if displayed online? (Likely so.)

As one listens to a poem about families being ripped apart because of slavery, one can watch a video art piece about lynchings, and scan the room and see other artwork that reflects on the legacy of slavery. The combination pulls on the heart, saddens the eyes, and makes one want to be able to change the past. Would the effect be the same online? No. Now it might be the same in virtual reality (I'm thinking like "The Matrix"), but something that cool is still off in the future.

No, at the moment, what we can do online is not the same as being there. However, what we digitize and make available should educate people to what is available, what they might travel to see, and teach them something that they can only learn from experiencing those materials (even if it is virtual). If our museums, libraries, historical societies and archives find themselves busier because of their online exhibits, then they have truly reached out and touched their audience and shown that group that they need to "be there," not just see it online.

The photo above is from Strawberry Fields in Central Park, a place where people still leave tributes to John Lennon.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Graffiti Exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum

This is an exhibition of twenty large-scale graffiti paintings from influential artists (and an exhibit at the museum, not online), but what makes it different is that people can submit photos of graffiti art in Brooklyn by submitting digital photos through Flickr (see the growing collection here). The Museum has posted its guidelines which includes that the photographers gives the Museum all rights to the photos. (There are both positives and negatives to assigning the museum all rights. Generally, I suspect people will just enjoy being part of this effort and having their photos recognized.) This is a good use of software/web site like Flickr. It gets people involved in the exhibit, creates more interest, and enhancing the exhibit.

BTW the exhibit web site is interactive, which is very cool. Users can even create their own virtual graffiti.

Thanks to Steve Cohen for finding this project.

Workshop: Audiovisual Preservation for Culture, Heritage and Academic Collections

As found in e-mail...

Audiovisual Preservation for Culture, Heritage and Academic Collections A One-Day course of what you need to know - and who! Preliminary announcement

Seventy percent of all audiovisual material is under immediate threat of deterioration, damage or obsolescence - and seventy percent of collection managers don't know it. Surveys have found serious shortages of trained staff and equipment, and an even more serious shortage of concerted preservation actions. The immediate needs are: awareness - and help.

This one day course will provide basic information on the problems of audiovisual material, what to do about them - and where to get help and more information. The targets are culture, heritage and academic collections, to focus on a group of people and collections with broadly similar issues and solutions.

Sponsored by:
10 November 2006, at King's College London, Centre for Computing in the Humanities.

Fee: £60 includes lunch for non-profit making organisations (VAT will not be charged) or £180 (plus VAT) for the corporate sector (who will be allocated any remaining places not taken).

Early registration is advised, as numbers will be limited to approximately 25 persons.
For registration and further information

Programme for the day

Basics: (1.5 hrs)
  • Welcome and Introduction - KDCS
  • Basic facts about audiovisual materials - BBC
  • Lessons to be learnt from major film and video digitisation projects - BUFVC
  • Digital Audiovisual Preservation: AHDS - Arts and Humanities Data Service
Case Studies: (1.5 hrs)
  • The ITN News Archive - a JISC project
  • The British Library Sound Archive - a JISC project
  • Preservation and access at the BFI - British Film Institute
  • Preservation and Commercialisation - Imperial War Museum
  • Preservation in a Research Institute - Welcome Institute
Advanced topics: (2 hrs)
  • Preservation Cost models - Southampton University (PrestoSpace)
  • Audiovisual Websites and Portals - System Simulation Ltd (PrestoSpace)
  • Metadata - BBC
  • Sources of Help: PrestoSpace, TAPE, JISC, KDCS, AHDS, EC - BBC
  • The JISC strategy for the future of audiovisual collections - JISC
  • Open Question and Answer session.
Attendees may book 15 minute individual consultancy sessions with the speakers from BBC, AHDS, KDCS and Prestospace after the end of the course until 6.00pm.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Agents of change

There is a quote on one of the walls of the New York Historical Society that says:
...hundreds had come on foot and in all sorts of vehicles...most of them as ignorant as their horses as to what a railway train really was...
-- Edward Lamson Henry
This quote is above a painting by Henry that shows a steam locomotive sitting on new tracks the moment before it is fired up and running. It shows the moment before a monumental change in transportation. From then on, transportation methods continued to increase in speed. How we defined "local" became much broader. And our world in general got much smaller.

In recent history, there was also a moment before our communications explosion when the methods of communicating were changing. Communications became faster and then instantaneous. We now can communicate voice, sounds, pictures, moving pictures and data. Our ability to share information has changed because of these changes in how we communicate.

So too there was a moment just before the first item was digitized, when the inventors had only an idea of how it would be used. But then that "one" invention sparked other changes and other technologies. We can now digitize many more types of materials than perhaps those first people envisioned.

And what changes are occurring today and how will they impact us in the future? Only time will tell. Maybe a quote on the walls of the New York Historical Society in 2106 will point to an invention in our era that indeed changed the world.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Presentations available from JISC/CNI conference

As found in e-mail...

CNI and the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) held a conference in York, England on July 6-7, 2006. Many of the speaker presentations from the conference are now available for viewing at:

Topics included access and preservation, how users are changing, open access, e-theses, massive digitization projects, and resource discovery. Additional presentations will be added to the website as they become available.

Event: ICDL 2006, December 5-8, 2006

As found in e-mail...

Invitation for Participation/ Registration for
International Conference on Digital Libraries (ICDL 2006)
December 5-8, 2006
India Habitat 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

As you may be aware that TERI had earlier organized the ICDL (International Conference on Digital Libraries) 2004, in partnership with Department of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India from 24 to 27 February 2004. The conference was inaugurated by Hon'ble President of India. More than 750 participants from 36 countries and 55 invited speakers from 16 countries and 80 contributed speakers shared their experiences on a single platform. The conference was able to create awareness and enthusiasm within the community which afterwards witnessed several digital library and knowledge management initiatives in India.

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

For any queries contact at:

Debal C Kar
Organising Secretary
ICDL2006 Conference Secretariat
TERI, (The Energy Research Institute)
Darbari Seth Block
IHC Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003, India
Phone - 91-11-24682141, 24682111 or 24682100
Fax - 91-11-24682144, 2468 2145

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A blog holiday

It's summer and time for a short break. I'll be back on Tuesday, July 18.

May you also find time to stop and enjoy the flowers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Article on the SLA conference

FreePint did a survey of Special Libraries Association (SLA) annual conference attendees and then interviewed a few people -- including me -- for more information. The resultant article -- Impressions of SLA -- will be of interest to those who wonder why people value this conference.

One interesting tidbit from the survey is a list of job titles of those who attended the conference. Those job titles included:
  • Head of Content
  • CEO
  • Public Relations
  • Membership Database Associate
  • Consultant
  • Principal
  • Lead Information Specialist
  • Managing Director
  • Knowledge Centre Manager
Those who attend library conferences have become a diverse group!

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The TEACH Act: New Roles, Rules and Responsibilities for Academic Institutions

I have this in paper form and just realized that it is online too. This two-page document (PDF) was created by the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). Written in plan language, it should help to educate teachers/faculty, librarians, and staff about the use of copyrighted materials for distance education by institutions that meet the TEACH Act's qualifying requirements.

One should note that the TEACH Act seems simple, but it isn't. Besides this piece by the CCC, I would encourage those who are thinking of using the Teach Act to read commentary on the Act, examples, etc., in order to become better educated about its nuances. One place to start is with K. M. Dames ' piece entitled "Using Copyrighted Works in the Classroom."

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

C21st curation 2006 public lectures -podcasts and presentations now available

This was posted to the DIGITAL-PRESERVATION discussion list.

Following the highly successful inaugural series of C21st Curation public lectures last year, SLAIS organised a second series of public lectures by eight leading speakers, open to students, professionals and general public during April and May 2006. Podcasts and presentations from the series are now available online (

The four evening sessions each attracted an audience of professional librarians, archivists, records managers, museum curators, publishers, and students. Each session provoked lively discussion and debate. Details of the key themes and speakers are given below.

Scholarly Communications

Astrid Wissenburg, Director of Communications at the Economic and Social Research Council
The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (

David Brown, Head of Scholarly Communications at The British Library
The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (

Digital Resources in the Humanities

Professor Susan Hockey, UCL
The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (

Suzanne Keene, UCL
The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (

Service Delivery in National Institutions

Natalie Ceeney
, Chief Executive of The National Archives
The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (

Jemima Rellie, Head of Digital Programmes at the Tate
The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (

Curation and Access for Scientific Data

Neil Beagrie, The British Library and JISC
The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (

Prof. Michael Wadsworth, Dept of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL
The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (

Feedback from those attending the lecture series has been overwhelmingly positive. We are extremely grateful to all the speakers who gave their time to make the second series of public lectures so enjoyable and stimulating intellectually and professionally for the audience. We hope making podcasts and presentations from the lectures available online this year will be welcomed by those who were unable to attend some of the lectures and the many individuals from overseas who asked if this would be possible. We would welcome further feedback from those who attended or download the lectures and any suggestions on topics for future public lecture series.

The Philippine Declaration of Independence

One July 4, Von at Filipino Librarian mentioned the Philippine Declaration of Independence which was signed by Harry S. Truman on the same date in 1946. Von noted that a translation of the Philippine Declaration of Independence was only available on a school site and not on a government web site. The image of the Declaration that he pointed to resides on the University of Michigan web site. Von ended his post by wondering why his country has neglected to make this document available online in a ways -- and in places -- that others can access it. Since then, Von has done a side-by-side arrangement of two translations of the Declaration for people to read.

I applaud Von for his efforts. I know that he has any say in the matter, more historic materials from the Philippines will be digitized and made available. Hopefully others will join his effort.

So here is a question for us all to ponder. What historic documents from our countries should be available online? Have the images already been created? If yes, can people find them and use them?

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Monday, July 10, 2006

New York State Archives: Imaging Production Guidelines

As the e-mail message said, "The frequently mentioned but rarely seen Imaging Production Guidelines finally exist on the web!" These guidelines have been in the works for more than two years. Along the way, other things took precedence, but now the guidelines are completed. As the web site says:

These guidelines list the minimal standards for producing and inspecting digital images of records. Where applicable, these guidelines follow national digital imaging standards and industry practices. All references to industry standards (ANSI, AIIM, etc.) are to the latest revision thereof.

The guidelines are available here.

Thanks to Geof Huth, Michael Martin and whomever else helped to make these guidelines a reality. I know they will be important to those in NYS who are managing government records, as well as others who are seeking guidance in this area.

2/6/2008: URL updated.
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Dial-up Internet access still rules in some areas

I spoke to a friend last night who was bemoaning the lack of high-speed Internet access in her community in the Catskill area of New York State. Now the Catskill Mountains are known to be quite beautiful. Many people live there permanently, while others have vacation homes in the region. (Visiting one community last summer, Cragsmoor, I found a group of people with New York City accents who had escaped from the City permanently or at least on the weekends.) However, what parts of this region are missing is high-speed Internet access. For some, it has cost thousands of dollars to be connected to a high-speed Internet service. Others have decided to use satellite connections. And some are stuck using dial-up.

In the New York State's North Country (above Watertown), you see advertisements for satellites for use to connect to the Internet. Although broadband is much more prevalent there these days, evidently it is still not ubiquitous.

Here in the U.S., we tend to think that everyone -- at least in the U.S. -- has access to broadband and if they don't, it is because they have decided not to connect. But these examples show that broadband is not everywhere, even in states like New York. As we build Internet sites, online databases, digital repositories, etc., we need to keep in mind all of the devices/methods people are using to connect -- dial-up, broadband, satellite, handheld device, desktop computer, Internet computer -- and need to ensure to the best of our abilities that what we build can be accessed through those methods.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Article: Distributed Preservation in a National Context: NDIIPP at Mid-point

Abby Smith has written an article on the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) . This program is very important, since it is looking at how to capture and preserve digital content, and is focused on Internet content that is important and can change quickly. She writes (my emphasis):

In December 2000, recognizing that born-digital content of value to the nation is at risk of being lost to current and future generations, Congress created the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program – NDIIPP. The Library of Congress was charged to create a plan that "should set forth a strategy for LC, in collaboration with other Federal and non-Federal entities, to identify a national network of libraries and other organizations with responsibilities for collecting digital materials that will provide access to and maintain those materials." In addition, the "program is a major undertaking to develop standards and a nationwide collection strategy to build a national repository of digital materials."

In the law and accompanying conference report, Congress made clear not only what to capture – materials of value and materials that are "at risk" – but also how to do so: in a way that is sustainable and legal. "In addition to developing this strategy, the plan shall set forth, in concert with the Copyright Office, the policies, protocols, and strategies for the long-term preservation of such materials, including the technological infrastructure required at the Library of Congress." Congress named specific government agencies and private-sector nonprofit groups LC should work with. They also indicated the need to find partners in the commercial and technical communities. "The information and technology industry that has created this new medium should be a contributing partner in addressing digital access and preservation issues inherent in the new digital information environment."
I have heard two presentations on NDIIPP (at SLA and CIL). [Also see this presentation.] Both gave a sense for how massive this effort is, the problems that they are finding, and the solutions that they are pursuing. For example, how does one discern which web sites to harvest? How do you find them? How can you quickly and easily create metadata for thousands of web pages?

Smith's article doesn't give that "wow" that you get when you hear someone talk about the project, especially someone who is on the inside. But Smith does provide an overview of what is occurring and what is yet to come. It is all very massive and very important. Therefore, if you have not heard of NDIIPP, read or skim Abby Smith's article. If you have a chance to hear someone talk about it at a conference, take it. This is a long-term project that we all need to be aware of.

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BSLW Newsletter

I've been getting the newsletter from Backstage Library Works (BSLW) via e-mail. I don't know if other digitization service providers do newsletters regularly, but a newsletter is a great way of getting your point of view "out there." no matter who you are (including a digitizationproject itself). BSLW's latest newsletter is online and contains a brief article on a project they have done for Hamilton College here in New York State. That article not only demonstrates BSLW's capabilities, but give the project broader exposure -- a definite "win" for the project.

Sadly, I can't find an archive of back newsletters on the BSLW web site. It would be interesting read about other projects they have done and any tidbits they have given. Yes, of course, the articles are meant to put BSLW in a positive light (you'd do the same), but -- for me -- they help to show who are doing digitization projects, what types of materials are being digitized, etc. And newsletters help us get comfortable with a group (company) and back issues help us to understand the group's history. So, if you are producing a newsletter, please make the back issues available online. Those who are interested in you will be glad that you did.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Book: Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe.

Jeanneney, Jean-Noël.
Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe.
Translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan. Foreword by Ian Wilson.
Cloth $18.00, ISBN 0-226-39577-4, Fall 2006, 96 pp.

According to the publisher:
Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of France'’s Bibliotheque Nationale, here takes aim at what he sees as a far more troubling aspect of Google'’s Library Project: its potential to misrepresent -- —and even damage -- —the world's cultural heritage. In this impassioned work, Jeanneney argues that Google'’s unsystematic digitization of books from a few partner libraries and its reliance on works written mostly in English constitute acts of selection that can only extend the dominance of American culture abroad. This danger is made evident by a Google book search the author discusses here -- one run on Hugo, Cervantes, Dante, and Goethe that resulted in just one non-English edition, and a German translation of Hugo at that. An archive that can so easily slight the masters of European literature -- —and whose development is driven by commercial interests -- cannot provide the foundation for a universal library.
Since the book is not yet available in English, people can only react to what the publisher has said or read the French version. For example, there is a review/commentary on the book and other reactions here.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Event: JISC Open Access Conference

JISC Open Access Conference – bookings now open

The UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) wishes to invite leading representatives of funding agency, university, author, publishing and library communities to a conference to discuss how to progress Open Access. The Conference is to be held at Keble College Oxford 27-28 September 2006. The conference programme includes an opening keynote by the Director-General of CERN, Dr Robert Aymar.

Progress towards open access to research outputs has been significant in respect of both repository development and the availability of open access journals. Opportunities exist for authors to make their work available in outlets which will yield higher citations and provide increased value from publicly or charity-funded research. A number of academic organisations representing funding agencies and universities have made policy statements supporting developments in scholarly communication and JISC has supported these developments as part of its strategic commitment to improve the effectiveness of scholarly communication.

While much is being achieved, the momentum of change can be maintained through a greater understanding of the priorities of different stakeholders.

The event will be free of charge and places will be limited. To find out more and to register for the Conference please go to: