Friday, December 29, 2006

Digitization 101 Year in Review: Words to Take into 2007

Here are a few words and phrases to take with you into 2007. None are new, but they are increasing in importance and usage:
  1. Digital preservation
  2. OAIS (Read about, study it...people will assume that you know its acronyms and terminology, so learn them.)
  3. LOCKSS, CLOCKSS and other digital preservation initiatives
  4. Mass digitization
  5. Crowdsourcing
  6. Trusted repository
  7. Certification
  8. The long tail
  9. Image coordinates
  10. Dark archive

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Digitization 101 Year in Review: News

There is one ongoing news story that everyone is watching, whether they want to or not. Mass digitization and specifically Google. Yes, there are other mass digitization programs underway including the Internet Archive and programs in Europe. But it is Google that got the world to stand up and take notice. Google made digitization nearly a household word, although most people don't really understand it. It is Google that has given people the impression that everything is or well be online, and Google is working to try to make that fantasy a reality.

The idea of mass digitization is thrilling to many people because many projects/programs cannot dream that big, nor do they have the resources even if they could envision it. So the thought that someone can even think about pulling it off is mind-boggling.

Mass digitization, however, will do more than just digitize millions of items. Like early innovators in other areas, mass digitization programs are creating processes and procedures that should help other programs in the future. I emphasize the word "should" because currently must of the work is being done under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), which means that the rest of us are learning nothing from them. But there is the possibility that these programs, like Google, will commercialize (or productize) their processes and procedures OR decide to place the information in the public domain, once they have gotten the needed value out of what they are doing.

So mass digitization news in 2006? In brief:
  • More mass digitization programs were announced.
  • Existing programs grew in size.
  • Major funding groups are getting involved and see these efforts worth supporting.
  • The fact that mass digitization is not just an American thing was reinforced as programs in other part of the world captured headlines.
And the impact on small digitization programs? Very little. The modest programs see Google, etc., as being on a different plain of existence, with different technologies, resources, and goals. And since there are NDAs in place, there isn't much information that filters out that might even inspire small digitization programs. What is needed is for missionaries from these mass digitization programs to tour the countryside and talk honestly about what they are doing (and how) so that others can be inspired. (Oh...that's right...there are non-disclosure agreements to prohibit that. Stupid me!)

How does the mass digitization movement intersect with the digital preservation movement? There is some thought that mass digitization is not thinking about preservation. Only those intimate with the program details would know for sure. Those of us "on the outside" hope that these mass digitization programs are thinking of everything, including preservation, and not doing what is often done (do the project, then think about how to preserve it).

In 2007, news of mass digitization programs will continue. I suspect that we already pay less attention to these news items because its no long novel. In 2007, it could be that this news will fade further into the background until something astonishing occurs.

Relevant Digitization 101 blog post here. (I'm using the BlogSpot search feature which may retrieve a few posts that are not "spot on.")

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Digitization 101 Year in Review: Influences

This is the first of several posts looking back at 2006.

Those things that influenced me during 2006 left an important mark on the year and -- directly or indirectly -- on Digitization 101. Things? Well...people, places, events, and news items...some related directly to digitization while others were not. Yet all changed my perceptions and what I deemed important as an information professional and blogger.
  • iPRES -- iPRES opened my eyes to the number of people who are not only concerned about digital preservation, but are also working on the problem. What I saw were groups forging ahead, developing strategies and implementing plans. Clearly just thinking about preservation is not enough. It was interesting, though, to realize that not everyone agreed on the methods to be used. There were whispers in the halls about what direction was "best."

    So iPRES forced me to talk more about digital preservation. It is something that projects want to ignore, but it is clear that what a project does upfront will impact its preservation efforts. So we need to ask ourselves -- and those involved in projects/programs around us -- how they will preserve what they are doing? Do they think that they will do it themselves or will they turn to someone else for the service? Do they understand what preservation really means? (Like digitization, it is not as easy as it sounds.)

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Copyright -- Although copyright has been a forte of mine for a long time (and I know I've digested documents about copyright -- green papers, white papers, etc. -- that many others haven't), this year I learned more of the subtleties of copyright law that can impact a digitization program. That learning really influenced my workshops as well as how I talk about material selection for a digitization program (more granularity). It can, however, be quite difficult to get others to understand how the law impacts them because they see one law, rather than many subparts that are separate and distinct, yet sometimes impact each other.

    K. Matthew Dames has talked and blogged about the need for more people to understand copyright law. Unfortunately, most people -- including librarians -- can go through college and graduate school without a firm grasp of copyright law. Fortunately anyone -- who takes a class or workshop with me -- will become more aware of the law.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Computers in Libraries (CIL) -- At CIL, I got more jazzed (excited) about social networking tools, Library 2.0, new library catalogues, and how it "all" can be tied together. Yes, digitization was discussed at CIL, but what stood out to me was how the tools can be connected and even mashed up.

    CIL is also where I met a group of people that I had been reading or talking to online -- Michael Stephens, Paul Miller, Roy Tennant, Christina Pikas, Meredith Farkas and others. Yes, face-to-face does still matter, even if it occurs only once! Since we knew each other from online, we didn't need to stop for the normal pleasantries. We had already connected and could quickly move onto important matters.

    Finally, CIL was a reminder that we need to get out of our silos, stand in the barnyard, and tackle problems together.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Working with clients -- Working with clients is what I do for a living. I help them think about, talk about, plan for, and implement digitization programs. I tackle the details that give them headaches and give them the answers/solutions that they need. In some cases, I work with a small team who are leading a program, while at other times, the client might be a large committee. I am always influenced by and learn from the client's perspective. What words are they using the describe their wants and needs? What is their stumbling block? What can they learn from the other programs I've been involved with? Each program is unique, yet each is the same. Each forces me to talk about digitization in a way that makes sense to them, using words and examples that are natural for them. And each program provides new lessons that can passed along.

  • Second Life -- If at the beginning of the year, you had told me that I would be involved in an online digital world called Second Life, I would not have believed you. Yet now Second Life (SL) is an important part of my thinking. And, yes, I can relate SL to digitization.

    First, digitized materials (e.g., photos) can be used in SL to build educational and cultural exhibits. Earlier this month, the Alzheimer's Society of Ontario (Canada) opened an exhibit in SL that contains photos of people who are dealing with the diseases as well as digital views of a MRI, and more. This exhibit is what I think many people have envisioned for the Internet (photo). Perhaps Second Life will spawn technology that will allow people to walk in virtual exhibits easily on "normal" web site. (BTW walking through the MRI -- and thus layers of the brain -- is very cool!)

    Second, Second Life, for me creates concerns of preservation. Should we preserve this digital environment? Or perhaps what should we preserve from this digital environment? And if we should preserve, then how? Answers to these questions are not easy, yet I'm sure more people in 2007 will be asking them as SL continues to grow and important work (i.e., work you want to save) is done there.

    Relevant Digitization 101 postings:

  • Teaching -- I conduct workshops and teach a graduate class at Syracuse University (IST 677). All of the teaching I do keeps me on my toes! There is a saying that those who can't do, teach. Well, not in digitization! The components of this topic called digitization are evolving, so teaching about digitization means constantly learning (a theme that will re-occur below).
  • My other blogs -- Unbeknown to many people, I actually have been blogging in several places. (See below) Early on, I realized that blogging was not just about writing, but about learning. All of the blogs I contribute to force me to keep learning, to rethink what is important, and to be able to talk about those things coherently. They have also given me a place to "put" what I had learned, so I could find it again.
    • Besides Digitization 101, for more than a year, I have written for two blogs owned by Syracuse University's Michael J. Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship. Both blogs -- Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship blog and the South Side Entrepreneurial Connect Project blog -- provided an outlet for talking about business, entrepreneurship and Central New York. They helped me focus more broadly on business and forced me to think about other things besides digitization, competitive intelligence and social networking. As 2007 begins, my efforts with the Falcone Center and its programs will change (I'm now on two boards related to new initiatives) and others -- I hope -- will take over the blogs.
    • I also blog for the Special Libraries Association annual conference and for its Information Technology Division (Blogging Section). Again, these blogs gave me outlets for other thoughts and ideas. They ensured that I stuck my head "out of the sand" on a regular basis and took account of what else was happening.
You may look back and decide that you don't see these influences when you look at Digitization 101. That may be true, but these things have certainly influenced the person behind the blog.

Well, that's the first view of 2006. We'll look at the year from a different perspective tomorrow.

12/29/2006: Copyright blog posting URLs added.

Will mass digitization projects need to be re-done?

A colleague told me about a discussion list post by Joseph J. Esposito, president of Portable CEO, where he posits about the requirements for mass digitization projects. According to Esposito, the big name mass digitization projects (e.g, Google) are not paying attention to four specific requirements:
  • ...the first requirement of such a project is that it adopt an archival approach.
  • Archives of digital facsimiles are important, but we also need readers' editions...
  • ...scanned and edited material must be placed into a technical environment that enables ongoing annotation and commentary.
  • The fourth requirement is that mass digitization projects should yield file structures and tools that allow for machine process to work with the content.
You can read the full-text of Esposito's remarks here. It would be interesting to hear from those who are "close to" these mass digitization projects about whether or not they agree. If you have a comment, why not leave it here?

BTW I was unfamiliar with Esposito's name (obviously my fault). One A German language blog re-posted Esposito's words and included a short biography (in English).

Thanks to the commenter yesterday (12/27) who corrected the information I had on the Archivalia blog. The blog is not just in German.

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In an October blog post, Lorcan Dempsey uses the word "crowdsourcing" to describe the way that the National Library of Australia is adding content to its digital collections. What is crowdsourcing? Lorcan, elsewhere, says:
According to Wikipedia Crowdsourcing is a term coined by Wired magazine writer Jeff Howe and editor Mark Robinson. Crowdsourcing relies upon unpaid or low-paid amateurs who use their spare time to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D. [YRUHRN? - Crowdsourcing: Many Voices]
Perhaps you should think about whether there is a way that you can use crowdsourcing to increase or improve your digitization program?

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Event: 8th annual WebWise Conference

From the IMLS web site

IMLS Announces Registration for 2007 WebWise

Conference to be Held February 28-March 2

Washington, DC--The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announces open registration for the eighth annual WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World, to be held February 28 to March 2, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The conference is sponsored annually by IMLS and is co-hosted again this year by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the J. Paul Getty Trust.

This year's theme is "Stewardship in the Digital Age: Managing Museum and Library Collections for Preservation and Use." The conference will feature presentations and panel discussions by library, museum, and other information experts who will address issues and emerging practices in the preservation of digital content from digitized text to “born-digital” art. It will also provide a forum for discussing the general state of preservation and “digital preservation readiness” in the nation’s museums and libraries and the potential for technology to improve the management of physical collections and the documentation of cultural heritage. Demonstrations will feature online tools for disaster planning, projects that are addressing challenges such as preserving audio and visual media, and projects to document and preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Preconference workshops, requiring separate registration, will be offered on February 28:

1) Preserving Digital Collections (half-day)
2) Sharing Images and Data: Making Access to Collections Easier and Better (half-day)
3) Producing Broadcast-Quality, Preservation-Worthy Video (full day).

For more information about this year’s conference, including the agenda and on-line registration, visit Visit for more information on past WebWise conferences.

Article: Book-scanning agreement works for U-M

Here is a Christmas Eve feel-good story about the Google digitization project and the University of Michigan. Of course, everything is goodness and light!

The first step is to admit that you have a problem

As the year winds down, I have had to admit that some of the things on my to do list are not going to get done. More specifically, I have too many things I want to read! With new materials being published daily on digitization, digital preservation and other topics of interest to me, the pile of things I want to read is being crushed by its own weight! Over the last week, I've begun to implement my solution -- a cut-throat look at what I'm saving to read and then tossing those things that are no longer relevant, are outdated, or that I know I won't make time for. It is liberating!!! My PC desktop, which was littered with documents I wanted to read, is much cleaner. And now my Bloglines account is looking cleaner (although the progress is slow).

As you end the year, this may be a time to admit those things that are causing you problems, then vowing to do "whatever" different next year, so the problem doesn't occur again. Maybe it not the amount of material you have save to read, but whatever it is...take time to address it. 2007 will thank you for it!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Event: School for Scanning, May 1 - 3, 2007

[As posted on the DigiStates discussion list.]

The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) presents:

The A-Z of Creating Digital Collections
Celebrating its 11th year

May 1-3, 2007
Marriott Minneapolis City Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota

This popular three-day conference takes digitization from theory into practice and is geared toward participants with a beginning or intermediate level of digital knowledge. Participants who already have experience in digitization can obtain an up-to-date briefing. From metadata to rights management, from file formats to funding, learn how to create and manage sustainable digital collections.

New format includes concurrent break-out sessions and vendor exhibits.

Watch NEDCC's Web site for complete conference details in early January:

To receive a conference brochure when available, contact: Julie Carlson,

NEDCC is grateful for support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its field services.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Is your web site winning you business?

I'm cleaning my desk and thought these notes would be useful. They are also posted here.

Is your web site winning you business?

This was the title of a presentation done on July 26, 2006 by Brian Bluff of Site-Seekers as part of the Dollar$ and Sense Workshop, held at the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.

Bluff talked about the need to:
  • Drive traffic to your web site
  • Convert that traffic into contacts and sales
  • Measure the results
In his fast paced and information packed presentation, Bluff gave the audience some tips and information. Among them were:
  • He noted that the Internet is outside of most companies' core competencies. Therefore, companies may need to look to an outside "expert" to help them with their web site.
  • 45% of companies cannot measure the effectiveness of their web sites.
  • People will judge a web site in milliseconds. Therefore, it is important that people instantly be able to recognize what you do when they visit your site. He actually showed us web sites and counted how many seconds it took for us to recognize what the site did. "What" definitely should be evident in under five seconds.
  • Have your contact information on every page.
  • Keep your web site content fresh, which means updating content on a regular (frequent) basis. This will attract the search engine "spiders" that index the Internet.
  • Include a site map on your web site, since a site map helps spiders find and index all of your pages.
  • In the title tag on your web pages, place the product information first, not your company name. This helps with the indexing of your site in search engines.
  • Bold important text. Search engines assume that what is bolded is important.
  • Have target phrases for each page.
  • Make sure that there is synergy between the words in your title tags, the phrases that you bold, and the target phrases on each page. This is important so that the search engine spiders clearly understand what the page is about. It also helps with your search engine ranking.
  • Those sites that you link to should be "natural." In other words, if you are a software company, link to other web sites in your industry or in a related industry. Don't link to a site that is totally unrelated to what you do. (Of course, you should link to client sites.) Why? Because you want everything on your site to be focused on what you do and your subject domain.
  • Create your web site to be viewed on 1024 x 768 pixel size screen. Evidently, this is now the prevailing screen size.
  • Hotlink your logo so that it returns the person to your homepage.
  • Solicit and include customer testimonials.
  • Write white papers on your topic area and make them available on your web site.
  • The more pages a person has to go through to get the information they need, the fewer people who will do it. There is a 40% drop off for each page a person must go to in order to find the information he wants.
  • There is useful search engine optimization tools and information at SEO Book.

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"U" is for...

Dr. Michael Geist is the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He has published an A to Z year-end roundup that focuses on law and technology happenings. Many of the things he notes happened in Canada, but some (like the AOL mention at "A") did not. And, yes, one of the items is about digitization!
U is for 18 Canadian universities that established Alouette Canada, an ambitious digitization initiative that is working to digitize thousands of Canadian texts, documents, and photographs that are currently in the public domain.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

$1 million grant to digitize materials

Today the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation...

will announce a $1 million grant to the Internet Archive, a leader in the Open Content Alliance, to help pay for digital copies of collections owned by the Boston Public Library, the Getty Research Institute, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The works to be scanned include the personal library of John Adams, America's second president, and thousands of images from the Metropolitan Museum.

The Sloan grant also will be used to scan a collection of anti-slavery material provided by the John Hopkins University Libraries and documents about the Gold Rush from a library at the University of California at Berkeley.

The deal represents a coup for Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, a strident critic of the controls that Google has imposed on its book-scanning initiative. (Complete article)

The Internet Archive wants to build digital resources that are open to everyone, while Google is scanning materials that may have restricted access. I'm sure, though, that the difference -- between what the Internet Archive and Google are doing -- is more than access to the materials once scanned. Both may be trying to prove who can do "it" better (technology, process, etc.) as well as trying to assure their spot in history. [You may think I'm nuts for saying that, but the mummers behind the scenes point to this being a competition on various levels.]

The good news is that while Google, the Internet Archive and others try to "one up" each other, content is being digitized and we all will benefit from that.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Article: Why Digital Asset Management? A Case Study

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City began discussing a digital asset management system before 2002. Now the Met is in the second year of a planned three-year digital asset management implementation project. The project -- named Met Images -- "is one of the most expensive non-construction projects ever undertaken by the Met."

Implementing will take a shorter time than the planning did. As the article states:
The lengthy planning period was due, in part, to the Met’s commitment to asking and answering a series of questions not always built into the development process for digital asset management activities in the not-for-profit world. Our questions included quantitative ones such as: “How big is the collection of assets?” and “How much storage will be required?” We asked questions about proprietorship and access: “Who uses the assets?” and “Who will manage them?” We wondered about the quality and value of the assets: “Should images that are made available to the public be color corrected?” and “If the object’s descriptive record has not been reviewed, may it be distributed along with the asset?” and finally, “Are existing descriptions adequate to support successful searching at all?” We also asked a number of questions that forced the Met’s staff and executives to think through fundamental intellectual property policy positions: “Who decides who may use the assets, both inside and outside of the museum?” and “Is the Met’s goal to profit from the licensing of images, or to support an educational mandate for broad distribution?” All of these questions needed to be considered in light of a process that would, inevitably, seek to automate the answers. Processes and policies that had heretofore been entrusted to individuals within the organization would need to be formalized so that a system might manage them; decisions that had been made on an ad hoc basis now needed to be seen as patterns that formed policies. And as we found answers to our questions, the scope of the project inevitably grew.
To read the entire case study -- including their key concerns -- go here.

What stands out to me, as I read the case study, is that implementing such a system (and on the scale that the Met did) requires many skills and buy-in from many parts of the organization. (Of course, we all knew this, but it needs to be re-inforced constantly.) This is not something that one department can do alone and ensure that it will endure. It needs everyone from the top of the organization to the bottom to understand and support it.

As we've noted before, projects also take time. Notice that they began talking about the project before 2002 and have been formally planning it for several years. Now the implementation will take three years (if it stays on schedule). So this is a project that requires tremendous commitment to ensure that it just gets done.

This issue of RLG DigiNews is focused on digital asset management, so be sure to read or skim the entire issue.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Presentations from iPRES online

I don't know when they became available, but many of the presentations from the iPRES conference, held at Cornell University in October, are online.

Presentation: Threats to Preservation

On Dec. 5, David Rosenthal from LOCKSS talked at the CNI meeting in Washington, D.C. His presentation was Threats to Digital Preservation. According to Rosenthal, we must guard against bad things happening and causing failures. What are the threats that he perceives?
  • Media failure
  • Hardware failure
  • Software failure
  • Network failure
  • Obsolescence
  • Natural Disaster
  • Operator error
  • Internal Attack
  • External Attack
  • Organization Failure
  • Economic Failure
How do we guard against these threats? Rosenthal's presentation does not explicitly state an answer, but you'll find on every slide the words "lots of copies keeps stuff safe." Obviously this is the tactic that Rosenthal and others believes can help guard against these threats. LOCKSS, however, is one of several preservation strategies being developed. At the iPRES conference in October, we heard of other efforts that are underway. If you were unable to attend the conference, and want more than what has been in blog postings, many of the presentations are online here.

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Time's Person of the Year: You

Time magazine ends the year by looking back and seeing who has had the biggest influence on the year. For 2006, Time found not one person, but many people who have impacted the year. The editors wrote about the story of 2006:
It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
The Person of the Year is YOU! You are creating content and/or making content available on the Internet, rather than waiting for someone else (a media conglomerate, for example) to do it. You are communicating person to person, sharing information among citizens, doing things locally that impact globally.

Now that Time has recognized you, let's ensure that you continue to have a huge impact. Maybe 2007 will be the year of you, too!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Event: TAPE workshop on management of audiovisual collections

As posted on the DIGITAL-PRESERVATION discussion list:

TAPE workshop on management of audiovisual collections
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
18-24 April 2007

Introduction: Librarians, archivists and curators in charge of audiovisual collections need to know about the role of new technology in collection management. Digitisation offers unprecedented opportunities for access to historical materials. But how can it be combined with established preservation methods in an integrated strategy, to ensure optimal access today as well as in the future?

In this 5-day workshop, the characteristics of film, video and sound recordings and the different recording systems and devices will be reviewed. Specific requirements for their handling and preservation will be related to the nature and function of different kinds of audiovisual materials. The workshop will explore the different transfer and conversion methods, technical requirements in relation to quality, and long-term management of digital files. Issues will be approached as management problems, and due attention will be given to aspects like needs assessment, setting priorities, planning, budgeting and outsourcing, and project management

Participants will acquire knowledge of technical issues that will enable them to make informed decisions about the role of digitisation in care and management of audiovisual collections. The speakers will present outlines of issues and practical cases, and a substantial part of the workshops will be spent on discussions and group assignments to develop participants' skills in finding their own solutions.

Target group: All those responsible for audiovisual collections in archives, museums, libraries. For this introductory course, no specific technical expertise is required.

The workshop will be in English. Participants are expected to have a working knowledge of English in order to participate in discussions.

Organisation: European Commission on Preservation and Access, Amsterdam, the Netherlands The workshops are supported by the Culture 2000-programme of the EU as part of the TAPE project

Venue: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam

Registration fee: 600 euros, this includes coffees, teas, lunches and a course pack with reading materials. Participants from institutes who are TAPE partners or ECPA contributors will pay 500 euros.

How to apply: For online registration: The registration deadline is 9 February 2007. By 20 February you will be informed whether your application has been accepted. In view of the character of the workshops which require group work and active participation, the number of participants is limited. If the number of applications exceeds the number of available places a selection will be made. Preference will be given to those applicants who manage an audiovisual collection. A detailed programme will be mailed after confirmation.

For more information on the TAPE project:

For more information on the workshop contact the ECPA:

European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) c/o KNAW, P.O. Box 19121, NL-1000 GC Amsterdam

visiting address: Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, NL-1011 JV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

tel. ++31 - 20 - 551 08 39
fax ++31 - 20 - 620 49 41

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It shouldn't be about the money

Thinking about "the holidays" is about to dominate everyone's waking hours. Part of the thinking will be about gift giving and the cost of those gifts. For many people, the amount of money spent on a gift equates to love. If I love you, I'll spend a lot of money on you.

However, in gift giving, it shouldn't be about the money. It should be about what you and the gift recipient value. Some people value simplicity, frugality, gifts from the heart, or hand-made gifts, for example, rather than spending lots of money.

In digitization, it also shouldn't be about the money -- or more correctly -- how cheaply you can have work done. Rather it should be about those things that will be meaningful (valued) long-term. Do you value the work being done correctly and to your specifications? Do you value creating an end-product that is easy for your users/patrons to use? Do you value knowing that what you have built is of high quality and that it will last?

In digitization and digital preservation, do spend your money wisely, but keep in mind that being cheap may be harmful to your program in the long run. Rather than focusing on the money first, focus on the quality that you want to produce. If you find that you don't have enough money for what you have in mind, either find additional funding or re-work your program idea so that it fits into the budget that you have. But do not skimp on quality.

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Blog post: How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media

Ad Terras Per Aspera wrote a blog post entitled "How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media" on Oct. 30, 2006. This is a hot topic that has generated 70 comments so far (including ones added today). You might want to go and read the post yourself, and see what you can learn.

Thanks to digitizationblog for pointing me to this!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

British Library looks at intellectual property issues

Back in August, the British Library released a manifesto entitled "Intellectual Property: A Balance." The four-page document talks about the Library's position and those areas that need to be addressed:
  • The fact that digital is not different
  • Fair Dealing (or as termed in the U.S., Fair Use)
  • Archiving
  • Term of copyright
  • Orphan works
  • Unpublished works
The document, which is the Library's input into what is called the Gowers Review, ends with a call for the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property to look at these issues. Now the Gowers Review has done just that and has released its 150-page report, which touches on a broad range of intellectual property (IP) concerns. And as you might expect, the British Library has released its response.

To those in Britain, the details of these documents will be important. For me, however, what is important is that the issues are out on the table and are being discussed. Discussion can lead to changes that will help us to harness and use creative efforts. As the the report from the Gowers Review states in its conclusion:
Creativity, innovation and investment are crucial to boosting the productivity of the UK economy. Looking forward, their importance is set to remain centre-stage as we enter the ‘third industrial revolution’. The UK must be able to harness creativity and promote innovation in order to compete in the global, knowledge-based economy. Intellectual Property creates the link in the chain which incentivises individuals and firms to innovate and create, with the confidence that their investment is protected.
Indeed, the same words can be applied to every country. Perhaps these efforts in the UK will lead others to open discussions and to think about these matters.

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Event: Best Practices Exchange 2007

From the web site:

The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is thrilled to host Best Practices Exchange 2007: Libraries and Archives in the Digital Era at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Hotel in Chandler, Arizona, May 2-4, 2007.

Following the format of Best Practices Exchange 2006, this is not a conventional conference. To facilitate a true exchange of ideas, there will be no speakers in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, we encourage you, the attendees, to present your projects and experiences, successes, failures and lessons learned. Multiple small-group Exchange Sessions will be conducted simultaneously, allowing for more in-depth and intimate "round table" type discussions. These sessions will cover six broad tracks related to digital information in the government environment.

BPE 2007 is open to practitioners in government and university archives and libraries; educators/researchers in the fields of library science, information science, technology, archives, and records management; and product developers working to create systems for managing and preserving digital assets.

Registration is now open ($180).

Important Dates:
  • Submit your Presentation by March 26, 2007
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Friday, December 08, 2006

Please insist that the URL for your projects be printed in the articles about them!

I'm just reading an article about photos digitized by the Berkeley Public Library. The article was published in the Daily Californian, which is published by UC Berkeley students. The article says:

The Berkeley Public Library last month added 200 photographs like these, many of which are too fragile to be publicly displayed, to an online archive.

The historical images of Berkeley, which date from 1873 to 1996, were digitized with the help of a grant from the California State Library and can now be accessed by anyone via the Online Archive of California, a statewide media center run by the University of California.

The article goes on to give more details and includes a photo from the collection. The article does not include the URL for the Berkeley Public Library or for the collection. I'm not sure how frequently this happens, but even one time where a project is mentioned without the URL is "one time too many."

Whenever your project is going to be mentioned in the press, insist that they include the URL. If they don't want to include a long, clunky URL, then have them include the domain level URL at least. Explain to them that this will ensure that the readers can make the jump from what they have read to the web site itself (and that the readers will be pleased with the media for helping them do this).

Now what is interesting about the Berkeley Public Library's 200 photos is that they are actually part of the Online Archive of California and not hosted on the Public Library's web site (although there is a link there to the collection). Yes, the URL is a bit long and ugly, but maybe they could have included a shortened URL using DigBig or TinyURL.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

New book: Web Archiving

Web Archiving
Masanès, Julien (Ed.)
2006, VII, 234 p., 28 illus., Hardcover
ISBN-10: 3-540-23338-5
ISBN-13: 978-3-540-23338-1

Description (from Springer):

The public information available on the Web today is larger than information distributed on any other media. The raw nature of Web content, the unpredictable remote changes that can affect it, the wide variety of formats concerned, and the growth in data-driven websites make the preservation of this material a challenging task, requiring specific monitoring, collecting and preserving strategies, procedures and tools.

Julien Masanès, Director of the European Archive, has assembled contributions from computer scientists and librarians that altogether encompass the complete range of tools, tasks and processes needed to successfully preserve the cultural heritage of the Web. This book serves as a standard introduction for everyone involved in keeping alive the immense amount of online information, and it covers issues related to building, using and preserving Web archives both from the computer scientist and librarian viewpoints.

Practitioners will find in this book a state-of-the-art overview of methods, tools and standards they need for their activities. Researchers as well as advanced students in computer science will use it as an introduction to this new field with a hopefully stimulating review of open issues where future work is needed."

Data Preservation, Digital Repositories, European Archive, Hidden Web, Internet Archive, OAIS Model, Web Collections

Read more detailed information (including table of contents and sample chapter):

To order from, go here.

Article: Microsoft debuts book search tool

News from the Microsoft vs. Google book digitization world:

Microsoft is releasing [today] its Live Search Books, a rival to Google's Book Search, in test, or beta, version in the US.

The digital archive will include books from the collections of the British Library, the University of California and the University of Toronto.

Books from three other institutions will be added in January 2007.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Review: Digital Preservation Management: Implementing Short-term Strategies for Long-term Problems

I wrote a review of the Cornell University tutorial -- Digital Preservation Management: Implementing Short-term Strategies for Long- term Problems -- for the Dec. 7, 2006 issue of FreePint (hot off the presses). You can read the review here.

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference

Random Musings from the Desert is blogging the NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference. Go to Ruth's blog to read her notes.

BTW if you are reading this post well after the conference, you'll find Ruth's posts in her December 2006 blog archive.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blog post: Does my Digital Archives need a Digital Repository System?

Peter Van Garderen (Achivematica) has written a long post entitled "Does my Digital Archives need a Digital Repository System?" He starts out by saying:
I have had this discussions with colleagues several times over the past couple of years. Somebody is getting ready to prototype a digital archives at their archival institution and the first question they ask is, “which open-source repository system should I use? Dspace? Fedora? Greenstone? Eprints? ”
However, as a system analyst, I believe “what are my requirements?” is the more appropriate question to ask before selecting technology and tools.
There are some interesting nuggets in his post. It's worth skimming.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

The index to history is in our heads (follow-up)

Since my post last week, I have received an e-mail from the author of the book Winning the Vote. In his message, Robert Cooney wrote:
...I actually did see the photo you mentioned but could not find the right place for it in my book (it's hard not to let New York dominate things, and the image needs a lot of explaining). I would love to include it in another...It sounded very innovative and creative, as many suffrage actions were - and probably colorful, too.
Good to know! And further proves that behind every book and article, there is additional information in the author's head. (This is why reporters and authors can make excellent sources of information.)

By the way, the web site for his book is It includes articles and a few images.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Iraq National Library and Archive

History News Network reported on Nov. 28 that the Iraq National Library and Archive has closed, due to the institution being bombed three times over a three week period as well as being subjected to snipper gun fire. We think of materials not surviving because of decay, but here the materials may be bombed out of existence.

Digitization can help to ensure access to history, IF the materials are available to digitize. Here is an institution where the materials may not survive to be used, let alone digitized. Words cannot describe how devastating it would be if the holdings of the Iraq National Library and Archive do not survive.

Report: European Digital Library Initiative -- Copyright Subgroup

The European Digital Library Initiative High Level Expert Group (HLG) – Copyright Subgroup
Interim Report is online. The 20-page report includes detailed proposals on orphan works and out-of-print works.

If anyone sees commentary on this report, please let me know. I would be interested in knowing what others think of it.

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