Friday, May 30, 2008

Northeast Chapter of Pennsylvania Library Association Spring Workshop

Yesterday I was the keynote speaker at the spring workshop (one-day conference) of the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association. [If you are keeping track of my schedule, yes, I was in Potsdam, NY on Wednesday afternoon and in Scranton, PA on Thursday morning. They are five hours apart. Yes, I like to travel.]

I did not build any slides into my presentation on digitization, but did get asked during the Q&A about trends in digitization. One of the things I mentioned is that we tend to build silos of content, but that needs to change. The content from our digitization programs needs to be searchable along with the content that we have in other databases within our institutions. These databases need to be integrated or have a federated search product placed over them. We can't expect our users to be patient enough to search each database separately.

As a person who was born and raised in Pennsylvania, it was wonderful to be able to speak to a group of Pennsylvania librarians and library workers. I enjoyed hearing about their libraries and their association. I even got to meet one of the librarians from the Dauphin County Library System. They built a new main branch away from downtown and in an area that has become a large population center. There are also branch libraries in the city of Harrisburg.

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Everything You Want To Know About Digitization

SUNY PotsdamOn May 28, I participated in a workshop entitled "Everything You Want To Know About Digitization" given at the New York Archives Conference (NYAC) at SUNY Potsdam. As I mentioned, five of us gave brief presentations then answered questions for the workshop attendees. Originally, the idea was that each attendee would send in three questions in advance, and that the entire workshop then would be comprised of us (the panel) answering the questions. Unfortunately, we received only six questions (and at the last minute) so we decided to do short presentations and then field questions. Three of us did PowerPoint presentations, while Geof Huth -- who was also the keynote speaker -- spoke from handwritten notes. Catherine did a quick web site tour. From each of us, I think attendees got what was on our minds this week or what we felt could be covered in 20 - 30 minutes. For example, I was ready to talk about copyright, but skipped those slides because I knew it would blossom into a much longer conversation.

I spoke first. I told the group that normally I focus on scope, selection, "scanning", and sustainability. [I wanted four "s" words and conversion does not start with an "s".] I told the group to keep those four areas in mind as they listened to the presentations. In my 20 minutes, I talked about material selection, key factors for success, and a broad overview of the digitization process. The broad overview are questions I developed as part of the WNYLRC digitization plan and are meant to get people thinking about the various aspects of a digitization program.

New York Archives ConferenceGeof Huth, from the New York State Archives, spoke next and added a nice measure of humor to his presentation:
  • Metadata - you were right to hate it.
    • What do we read need to know for these objects to make sense in the future?
  • Do you want to live forever with poor quality?
  • CDs are like adolescents. (Good today, bad tomorrow.)
  • Everything digital becomes obsolete.
Geof talked about the importance of planning and deciding what you need before hand. He emphasized quality control. He believes that preservation imaging will become a reality in our lifetime. He noted that grants only give you a boost. Two other presenters then noted how grants had been important to their projects and the boosts they had received.

One thing that Geof mentioned -- and was emphatic about -- was not using CDs as a storage media. He really feels that programs need to be using magnetic media instead since CDs are unstable. And he believes in having multiple backups. Every time someone mentioned storing things on CDs, Geof gave them "the look."

The imaging production guidelines that Geof mentioned are here. BTW Geof said that archivists image, librarians digitize, and humans scan.

New York Archives ConferenceNext was Larry Naukam from Rochester (NY) Public Library. Larry talked about their digitization efforts, which have occurred over a 10 year period and included a wide variety of material types. They are creating MARC records for their digital objects and placing them in their ILS. They have five terabytes of data and it is backed up three times.

Larry gave us rough cost information on the equipment they have purchased. He said the Indus scanner had cost $35,000, the scanback (BetterLight?) had cost $25,000 and the Kirtas book digitizer had cost $125,000.

Kathy Connor from the George Eastman House was suppose to present, but could not attend, so Catherine Gilbert from the Upstate History Alliance (and workshop host) gave a quick overview of the digitization efforts that the Eastman House has done. If you tour the web site, you'll see what they've done.

New York Archives ConferenceThe last presenter was Peter Verheyen from Syracuse University. (BTW Peter as a background in book arts.) Peter has been able to do several projects with grant funding and talked about some of the projects. They are now using CONTENTdm. Since I'm familiar with the projects -- and since Peter and I rode together to the workshop -- I didn't take any notes. Oops! I think there are a couple things that are important about what they have done. First, he has used students/interns successfully. Second, he has used MS Excel to manipulate and create metadata. He is always talking about the benefits of using Excel -- or any spreadsheet -- for tracking information in a digitization project.

Besides the information that we shared with the workshop attendees, we had a good time talking with each other. Perhaps we need to find an excuse to get together for an afternoon of just talking about digitization stuff, with no agenda?

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Ingram Digital announced agreement with Microsoft concerning Live Search Books

I received this in email. The hole left by Microsoft's exit is already being filled. Who will step in to help with the library content?

Ingram Digital Reaches Agreement with Microsoft
to Offer Publishers a Transition Option
from Live Search Books

to Ingram Search and Discover Platform

LOS ANGELES, CA – Ingram Digital, an Ingram Content company focused on solutions for digital content management, distribution and promotion, today announced that it is offering to transition all participating Microsoft Live Search Books publishers into its Ingram Search and Discover platform at no cost, enabling publishers to continue making their content searchable and available to readers.

For those publishers who choose, Ingram will archive their Live Search Book files following the closing of Live Search Books, giving them time and options to use those files for future discovery, print-on-demand and e-book distribution.

During the partnership of the last year, the Ingram and Microsoft Live Search teams have built a state of the art content ingestion and digitization center capable of processing hundreds of thousands of books each year into digital forms that can be utilized for a variety of search and discovery, print-on-demand and e-book formats.

Through this agreement, Ingram is offering Live Search Books publishers the opportunity to continue their digitization plans and make their content available in the Ingram Search and Discover platform.

Additionally, Ingram is offering publishers the opportunity to make the content available in Lightning Source print-on-demand programs and Ingram Digital e-book programs.

The Ingram Search and Discover platform enables booksellers to transform the online book browsing experience into a richer one, offering book buyers the ability to see a book before they purchase and to look inside the book as if they were browsing in their local bookstore. In addition, the Ingram Search and Discover platform allows potential customers to find books that meet their needs by making publisher content crawlable by Microsoft Live Search, Google and other leading search engines.

“Ingram understands the changing nature of business priorities and the decision by the Live Search Books management team to focus its resources on other opportunities,” said James Gray, President and CEO of Ingram Digital. “Microsoft has done an excellent job evangelizing to publishers about the benefits of digital discovery of book content, and Ingram is in strong agreement with the benefits to readers, publishers and booksellers. We look forward to working with publishers to help them manage this transition and continue to develop their digital strategy.”

About Ingram Digital

Ingram Digital is an Ingram Content company. Together with Ingram Book Group and Lightning Source Inc., the Ingram Content companies provide a broad range of physical and digital services to the book industry. Ingram Digital provides publishers and other content owners with a comprehensive offering of digital content accession, storage, management and distribution services. Ingram Digital currently has several solution platforms - including MyiLibrary and VitalSource Technologies - which serve the institutional and educational markets respectively. In addition, Ingram Digital also serves the retailer market with full e-book and audio downloads as well as various search-and-discovery and marketing tools such as widgets. For more information, visit

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New York Archives Conference

Today I was part of a panel that presented at a workshop given by the New York Archives Conference in Potsdam, NY ("Everything You Want To Know About Digitization"). Originally the workshop was just going to be Q&A, but we ended up doing short presentations, then having Q&A. Mine is here. In addition, I gave the 19 participants a version of my digitization resource list. The version from April 2008 is essentially the same.

All of the presentations were interesting and we all touched on different ideas. I'll blog more about it later in the week.

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Fixed or variable costs

I had an interesting conversation recently with an organization that is going to purchase equipment for digitizing books. The person had decided to invest in lower cost equipment so that the fixed costs would be low (compared to some of the higher priced equipment). While that means hiring more people to work on projects, it shifted the cost to variable costs which will change (vary) based on the project. The overall fixed costs would remain low.

Others might decide -- and have decided -- to have high fixed costs on their projects. Vendors may argue that there is a correct answer, but the answer is really what the institution itself prefers and the compromises that answer entails.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quote from Stanford's Biochemistry Professor Doug Brutlag

From the Stanford Daily News:
In the past we had stacks; in [the] future we will have servers. In the past we had Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress numbers; in the future we will have associative search. In the past we had to go the library; in the future the library will come to us, no matter where we are in the world. We will have more books, more readily available and easier to search and distribute.

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My other blog: eNetworking 101

enetworking101I was talking to someone at a barbecue over the weekend who is a friend and who follows this blog. However, he said that he didn't need to know a lot about digitization for his work, so I said "you need to read my other blog!"

In 2007, I found myself writing about social networking tools more frequently and so I started a separate blog on the topic in October. eNetworking 101: The Blog is focused on a broad range of social networking tools / social media / online social networks.

The online social networks have become important to be as a user, speaker, marketer, and librarian. They are how I stay connected to many of my colleagues. They have brought information on potential projects my way, news of digitization efforts underway, tidbits on upcoming events, and time with my colleagues at the virtual coffee pot.

If you are interested in social networking (or just curious about what else I do), add eNetworking 101: The Blog to your RSS reader.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Arlington National CemeteryIt is Memorial Day in the U.S. and a time to remember those soldiers who have died. Traditionally Memorial Day has been a day for decorating graves in military cemeteries, attending parades (where you will find veterans honored), and picnicking. Overtime, it has become our unofficial beginning of summer.

Many digitization programs are making information on service people more widely available, especially information from the Civil War. That information is being used by historians, genealogists and teachers. It helps us remember and honor those people who served their country in times of war and peace. Digitization does what Memorial Day also strives to do -- to not forget the wars, the sacrifices, the horrors and the honors.

At its core, Memorial Day is about our continued search for peace. May today be a peaceful one for you.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Event: Preserving Photographs in a Digital World

Found on a NYS Document Heritage Program discussion list.

“Preserving Photographs in a Digital World” Seminar
August 16-21, 2008 – George Eastman House, Rochester, New York
Sponsored by:
  • George Eastman House
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Image Permanence Institute
A week-long program of lectures and workshops on photograph collection preservation techniques will expand your expertise on what materials are typically found in collections, how they deteriorate, how to store and protect them, and how preservation fits in with other collection activities.

Throughout the week, you’ll also learn about the use of digital imaging and how various image-capture, storage, display, and output strategies compare. In addition, presentations will explain the design and application of image database systems—always keeping in context the balance that must be struck between traditional and digital preservation and access.

Program Fee: $1,495

For registration and further information visit or contact Stacey VanDenburgh at (585) 271-3361 ext. 323 or

Likely you've heard the news -- Microsoft ends its book digitization project

It is likely that you have heard this news already, especially if you have searches focused on digitization. Microsoft will no longer be digitizing books and creating a book search engine. (Full announcement below.) As one writer put it, it is conceding to Google.

In its blog post on the topic, Microsoft said (emphasis added):
We have learned a tremendous amount from our experience and believe this decision, while a hard one, can serve as a catalyst for more sustainable strategies. To that end, we intend to provide publishers with digital copies of their scanned books. We are also removing our contractual restrictions placed on the digitized library content and making the scanning equipment available to our digitization partners and libraries to continue digitization programs. We hope that our investments will help increase the discoverability of all the valuable content that resides in the world of books and scholarly publications.
I'm glad to see that the materials that have been digitized will live on. I am sorry, though, to see Microsoft leave this market. Having several companies (or initiatives) involved in book digitization on a large scale -- and thinking abut access, etc. -- is beneficial. While one initiative can succeed without competition, having more than one pushes them all to be innovative and market-focused. With one less large scale book digitization program, is there enough competition to focus Google to be innovative in how they meet end-user needs as well as the needs of its partners?

By the way, I find it curious that Microsoft made the announcement on a Friday before a long holiday weekend in the U.S. I'm sure that was on purpose (with the assumption that most people wouldn't see the news right away).

The Washington Post carried the full-text of Microsoft's email to its partners announcing its decision. Quoting the email:

Dear Live Search Books Publisher Program Partner,

We are writing today to inform you that we are ending the Live Search Books Publisher Program, including our digitization initiative, and closing the Live Search Books site. We recognize that this is disappointing news to you and to the users of the Live Search Books service. Ending the Live Search Books program is the result of a strategic decision on our part to focus our investments in new vertical search areas where we believe we can more effectively differentiate Live Search.

Given the evolution of the web and our strategy, we believe the next generation of search is about the development of an underlying, sustainable business model for search engines, consumers, and content partners. For example, this past Wednesday, we announced our strategy to focus on verticals with high commercial intent, such as travel, and offer users cash back on their purchases from our advertisers.

With Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, we digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries. With our investments, the technology to create these repositories is now available at lower costs for those with the commercial interest or public mandate to digitize book content. We will continue to track the evolution of the industry and evaluate future opportunities.

As we wind down Live Search Books we will be reaching out to you in partnership with Ingram Digital Group with information on new marketing and sales opportunities designed to help you derive ongoing benefits from your participation in the Live Search Books Publisher Program. As part of this initiative, we will be making the scan files we created from your print book submissions available to you for free. We will follow-up next week with more information on these offers.

The Live Search Books Publisher Program site ( will be taken down immediately. The Live Search Books site ( will be taken down next week.

We sincerely appreciate your support and regret any inconvenience that this decision has caused. You can read more about this announcement on The Live Search blog (


The Live Search Books Team

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tiny hoops & the budget

I am in Kalamazoo, MI in order to do a presentation this afternoon. The weather is 15 degrees (F) colder than normal and nothing phenomenal is walking distance from the hotel, so I have been hanging out indoors in an arcade/gaming area. The one game that I've been playing is an arcade basketball game, where the ball is smaller than a normal basketball and the hoop's height, etc., is different, so that making a basket is more difficult. The game tracks how many baskets are made in 60 seconds. As the person shooting the ball, I have to learn how to make a basket and I can't assume that what I would do on a normal basketball court would work.

The same is true when talking to management about the budget. You cannot assume that the reasons you would use elsewhere will work with them. Their focus is different. It may not just be on the bottom line, but on something specific that is important to them. For example, if you are talking to government officials about the budget, it is likely that they are interested in:
  • Education -- Pre-kindergarten through college (P-16)
  • Business -- Trying to increase the number of businesses in the community
  • Workforce -- Creating and retaining a high-quality workforce
  • Status -- The way their area is perceived
However, the rules of the game may not be obvious. Just like the hoops game, you may have to ask around to find our what is important or experiment. Experimenting can be counterproductive and could lead others to think that you are clueless (and perhaps you are). Once you have discerned the rules from others, you may want to experiment on the wording of the message. I wouldn't experiment in front of the decision-makers, but in front of colleagues and those who have rules memorized. Can you word the message so that your decision-makers will understand and endorse your initiative? Can they see the connection between what is important to them and what you want to do?

Unfortunately, when we pitch a project and its budget, we may get only one shot at it. That means that we need to work hard ahead of time to craft the message, test it out, and ensure that it conveys the right information. Thankfully, with the hoops game, I can always try again.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

For New Yorkers: Quick report on meeting with New York State Board of Regents' Committee on Cultural Education

This morning, the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries met with the New York State Board of Regents' Committee on Cultural Education and presented our proposal on the New York Digital Collection Initiative. I am pleased to report the the Committee accepted our proposal. This is, however, a first step. Many others will need to be taken before this initiative becomes a reality.

My thanks to all who gave input into the draft documents and to the partners on the proposal. Each of you helped to make today a reality.

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The NEW School for Scanning: Digital Directions -- Deadline Extended

Emails and blog posts about this event have been circulating since January. Originally named the School for Scanning, the event was renamed this year to Digital Directions. Name changes can be difficult, because people may look for the old name and not recognize the new one. NEDCC has promoted this event heavily and I hope people are aware that this Digital Directions is indeed the School for Scanning that has trained many people over the years.

Speakers at this three-day event include familiar names such as:
  • Roy Tennant
  • Tom Clareson
  • Peter Hirtle
  • Liz Bishoff
  • Robin Dale
Beach near Jacksonville, FLParticipating vendors/exhibitors currently include:
The event is being held in Jacksonville, FL at a hotel on the intercoastal waterway. The site is also minutes from beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.



The NEW School for Scanning. . .
Fundamentals of Creating
and Managing Digital Collections

June 10 - 12, 2008
Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront
Jacksonville, Florida

A conference presented by the
Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)
Co-sponsored by SOLINET

IF YOU ARE EAGER TO LEARN ABOUT DIGITIZATION BASICS, selection of hardware and software, and planning and managing digital projects, the Digital Directions conference is for you!

DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: FUNDAMENTALS OF CREATING AND MANAGING DIGITAL COLLECTIONS is an updated version of NEDCC's School for Scanning, which was first presented in 1995. This popular conference has kept up with evolving standards and practices over the years, and the new name reflects its expanded content, which now encompasses the full life-cycle of digital objects, from planning to creation to sustainability.

CONFERENCE TOPICS WILL INCLUDE: Planning a digital project; selection for digitization; metadata; outsourcing and vendor relations; copyright and rights management; standards and best practices; and digital disaster planning.


*Please note* If you are paying by institution or personal check, your registration form and check must arrive at NEDCC no later than Friday, May 30, 2008.

Meet the leading providers of digitization hardware, software, and services to libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural institutions. A great opportunity to ask questions and gather information about a wide range of digital services, new releases, and products currently under development.

IF YOU ARE A VENDOR interested in exhibiting at Digital Directions, go to to download the Exhibitor Prospectus, or contact Julie Martin Carlson.


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New mailing list for web curators and other practitioners

Below is a copy of an announcement that was posted on the Digital-Preservation email lists.

The International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) has established a new mailing list for web curators and other practitioners interested in sharing information and experiences about web harvesting issues and associated quality review and archival issues.

The mailing list will focus on curator tools for harvesting web material, using web archives, working with archived material, and accessing harvested material. Topics of interest could include:
  • Harvesting tools and workflows, including NetarchiveSuite, PANDAS, the Web Curator Tool, the Web Archiving Service, Archive-It and others;
  • How to harvest and review blogs and Wikis, particularly the major platforms;
  • How to harvest and review YouTube and other video content;
  • Problems with specific web sites or web pages;
  • Problems with particular file formats; and
  • Guidance on whether to accept or reject a particular harvest.
The IIPC hopes that contributors will provide practical advice and solutions that apply to a wide range of tools and situations.

The list is sponsored by the International Internet Preservation Consortium, moderated by IIPC members, and is a private list open to anyone who has an interest in web harvesting issues. All interested parties are invited to subscribe and encouraged to participate.

To subscribe, visit or send an email to with your name and email address.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

New York Digital Collection

Tomorrow I will be in Albany, NY to present a proposal to the New York State Board of Regents' Committee on Cultural Education on the New York Digital Collection Initiative. The Initiative is a collaborative proposal between the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the State Historical Records Advisory Board, the Museum Association of New York, the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York, the New York 3Rs Association, and the New York State Education Department Office of Cultural Education. The goal of the initiative is:
To create a statewide digital collection of cultural heritage resources and a framework to promote the use of digital technologies to broaden and enhance access to New York’s approximately 10,000 local, regional, and state cultural heritage institutions, including those located in colleges, universities, and local governments.
As I look at the goal, several words and phrases stand out to me:
  • Statewide digital collection -- Although there are many digital collections in New York State, there has not been an effort to connect them together, so that students, teachers, historians, genealogists, and other residents can easily locate cultural materials from across NYS. A statewide digital collection would increase access to all collections, especially those at smaller institutions with limited funding.
  • Framework -- The initiative will create a framework for the future. Long term, that framework -- an infrastructure that includes technology, guidelines & standards, people, training and funding -- would aid in the development of new digitization programs.
  • Broaden and enhance -- The initiative would broaden and enhance access. Broaden means giving access to more people. Enhance means providing more resources, e.g., lesson plans, to help people use the digital assets.
  • 10,000 -- Linking together the assets from 10,000 institutions is not a trivial task. It will take planning and coordination...and time.
Having digital assets from that many New York State institutions online and connect through the New York Digital Collection leads me to imagine...
  • Any New York State resident easily using cultural heritage materials through the Internet that exist in the State’s ~10,000 local, regional, and state cultural heritage institutions, including those located in colleges, universities, and local governments.
  • P-16 educators using primary source materials – including audio and video – in their lessons that were previously unavailable.
  • Students studying original letters, photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera as they learn about New York State history, without harming the original items.
  • Materials gathered and digitized on underrepresented populations of New York State in order to make their history more visible.
  • Families able to research their genealogies more effectively because information is more accessible.
  • Increased information on community histories, local governments and area demographics that will help to attract businesses to New York State.
  • An infrastructure – including people, standards and technology – that supports a statewide digital collection. The infrastructure allows current digital collections to reach broader audiences and provides a path for additional collections to be digitized.
  • A collaborative, multi-phase project that provides the type of access to materials desired by both the digital natives and digital immigrants. These residents fill New York State schools and are pivotal to the State’s future.
Tomorrow will be a first step. Our hope is that the Regents will accept our proposal and include it in their proposal to the Governor for the 2009 state budget, which would then be voted on by the legislature in early 2009. Thankfully, there are many partners involved in this proposal and many others who are interested in it. Together, we will be able to answer the questions that are sure to arise over the coming months and keep the vision alive with the goal of turning what we now imagine into a reality.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Alexander Street Press

In April, I was introduced to Alexander Street Press, a company that is digitizing content in order to create databases in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. They are currently offering free access to the American Civil War Online series of databases until June 30, 2008. You can view images from the Civil War, unit rosters and more. [I search the rosters for "hurst" and received 920 hits. I wonder if any were connected with my family?]

On a conference call last week, the topic was raised of purchasing content to complement a digitization program. Purchasing content may help an institution round-out its offering and provide missing information. It might also be cost effective (depending on the license) as a way of expanding a digital collection. Just as libraries purchase databases from EBSCO and Gale to supplement there print collections, some might purchase databases to supplement their digital/digitized collection.

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Book Industry Study Group, Inc.

Recently I had a digitization service bureau mention the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. to me. Among the member companies are organizations that we know are involved in digitization, e.g., Amazon, Google and Microsoft. One of the BISG's committees is the Digital Standards Committee. This committee's purpose is to "develop – with input from all relevant constituencies – industry-wide standards for the online discovery, browsing, search and distribution of books and related content in digital form."

This is another player in the realm of digitization that we need to pay attention to.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Article: Online Digital Special Collections in English Universities: Promoting Awareness

In February, FUMSI published an article by Erica Wine entitled "Online Digital Special Collections in English Universities: Promoting Awareness." The article provide suggestions for curators "to enhance promotion and awareness of their online digital collections." It is quick read that contains useful information.

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Report: Keeping Research Data Safe: a cost model and guidance for UK Universities

In his email announcing this report titled “Keeping Research Data Safe: a cost model and guidance for UK Universities” , Neil Beagrie wrote the following:

The study has investigated the medium to long term costs to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of the preservation of research data and developed guidance to HEFCE and institutions on these issues.

The study uncovered a lot of valuable data and approaches and we hope this can be built on by future studies and implementation and testing. The study makes 10 recommendations on future work and implementation. For further information see the Executive Summary online.


Although focused on UK universities in particular, it should be of interest to anyone involved with research data or interested generally in the costs of digital preservation.

Comments and Feedback via the blog or via email to welcome!

The costs information in the executive summary will make you stop and think. The costs do not go away, but they do seem to decrease over time. As the summary says:
Our case studies illustrate a number of efficiency curve effects. The start-up phases of repositories reflect both the ramping-up of activities e.g. recruitment of staff and specific start-up activities such as developing new policies and procedures for the archive. The start-up costs particularly in terms of staff time can be substantial. The operational phases reflect increasing productivity and efficiency as procedures become established, tested and refined and the volume of users and deposits increases.
And there are indeed economies of scale.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blog post: Digital Information 250 Years From Now

Thanks to David Kemper for finding this post by Josh Catone that discusses the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration's take on digital archiving. Why should they be archiving government web sites when the agencies should be doing it themselves? (mmm...if they are doing it...) These words from Catone stood out to me:
About 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson sold his personal library of 6,000 books to the Library of Congress. About 150 years ago, more than half were destroyed in a fire. But today, all 6,000 of them have been recovered or recreated and will go on display at the LoC. Now we're living in the so-called information age, where almost a gigabyte of new data is being created each year for every man, woman, and child on earth. But what's going to happen it to it all 250 years from now? "Is digital content too ephemeral to last?" wondered Leland Rucker. Will digital information have the same lifespan as printed books?
In workshops, I ask people to think 5- 10 years into the future, because we generally can get out heads around that time span. I can imagine people becoming blurry eyed at the idea of being responsible for content lasting 100+ years. Isn't that someone else's job?

By the way, I've mentioned before an episode of Stargate SG-1 where the civilization found it was relying on flawed digital files. That could be our future.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kenny Crews is the guest blogger at ©ollectanea

I always tell people to take a copyright workshop from Kenny Crews, if at all possible. He makes copyright understandable and entertaining. And I appreciate that he always goes back to the law when answering people's questions.

Crews --formally Kenneth D. Crews, J.D., M.L.S., Ph.D. -- is the guest blogger this month at ©ollectanea and I particularly like this blog post about Orphaned Works. Who else could give us a copyright lesson from the Grand Canyon?!

You might want to follow his blog posts for the month. I'm sure they will prove to be enlightening.

Related posts:

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Survey: Digital Lives

This is from the Digital-Preservation discussion list.

Digital Lives: Helping People to Capture and Secure their Individual Memories, their Personal Creativity, their Shared Historic Moments

Increasingly, our family memories, our personal achievements, our experiences of historical events, are being facilitated and recorded digitally. Digital Lives is a pathfinding research project that is setting out to understand how individuals retain and manage their personal collections of computerised information - everything from digital photographs and videos to favourite podcasts and sentimental email messages - and how these digital collections can best be captured in the first place and preserved in the long term, perhaps for family history, biographical or other purposes.

The project is led by Dr Jeremy Leighton John and colleagues at the British Library who, together with experts from UCL and Bristol University, are researching the challenges that lie ahead as more and more of our memories and documentary witnesses exist in electronic form.

We would like to invite you to take part in our research by completing an online survey. This should take no more than ten minutes of your time and it will provide us with crucial information that will benefit the work of the British Library and other archives enormously as we plan for what is fast becoming a largely digital world.

If you would like to take part in the survey, please go to

If you would like to enter our Prize Draw and stand a chance of winning £200 in British Library gift vouchers (drawn at random and with no further obligation) you can register your interest at the end of the survey.

Please note that all responses are strictly confidential. No individuals will be named when we report our findings, and the information collected will only be presented in an aggregated form. You will not be contacted again as a result of completing this survey.

If you have any questions, or are concerned about the bona fides of this survey, please email Dr. Ian Rowlands (University College London School of Library, Archive & Information Studies) at

(Digital Lives is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council: Grant number BLRC 8669).

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Book: Metadata for Digital Resources: Implementation, Systems Design, and Interoperability

I'm catching up on my surfing and found this book mentioned by Available Online. Summary:
This book is intended to assist information professionals in improving the usability of digital objects by adequately documenting them and using tools for metadata management. It provides practical advice for libraries, archives, and museums dealing with digital collections in a wide variety of formats and from a wider variety of sources. This book is forward-thinking in its approach to using metadata to drive digital library systems, and will be a valuable resource for those creating and managing digital resources as technologies for using those resources grow and change.

Key Features
  • Provides practical guidance on the key choices that information professionals in libraries, archives, and museums must make when defining and implementing a metadata strategy
  • Provides insight on the new area of 'metadata librarianship' while positions are opening in many organizations and many professionals worldwide are charged with managing and sharing metadata
  • Focuses on metadata usability and the careful definition of what a digital library system must do in order to define a metadata strategy
  • Explains key concepts of interoperability of digital library systems to information professionals
This was a cross-Atlantic effort written by Muriel Foulonneau (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France) and Jenn Riley (Indiana University).

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Press Release: Civil Rights Digital Library

I received the press release below last week. Personally, what makes this collection valuable it that it contains a lot of film of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talking. While we celebrate Dr. King's life and accomplishments each year, most people have seen very little film of him talking. He was more than a few sound bites and selected images...and here you can see (and hear) that.

Civil Rights Digital Library

Delivering a news film archive and related historical materials from educational institutions across the U.S., the Civil Rights Digital Library premiered on the Web this week.

Athens, Ga., April 29, 2008 - The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is the most ambitious and comprehensive initiative to date to deliver educational content on the Civil Rights Movement via the Web.

The CRDL promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement trough its three principal components: 1) a digital video archive delivering 30 hours of historical news film allowing learners to be nearly eyewitnesses to key events of the Civil Rights Movement, 2) a civil rights portal providing a seamless virtual library on the Movement by aggregating metadata from more than 75 libraries and allied organizations from across the nation, and 3) instructional materials to facilitate the use of the video content in the learning process.

The centerpiece of the site is a collection of more than 30 hours of historical news film held by the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. These moving images—about 450 clips--cover a broad range of key civil rights events, including the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas (1957); the Atlanta Temple bombing (1958); Atlanta sit-ins (1960); Freedom Rides (1961); desegregation of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech (1961); the Albany Movement (1961-1962); desegregation of Ole Miss (1962) and University of Alabama (1963); and Americus Movement (1963, 1965); Birmingham demonstrations (1963); among many other topics.

The video archive covers both national figures and local leaders. There is more than two hours of film related to Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s role in the Albany Movement is documented extensively, including clips of speeches at mass meetings, his arrest by local police, press conferences, and his visit to a pool hall to urge local African Americans to adopt non-violence in achieving change in Albany. Among the clips is coverage of King’s reaction to President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and his funeral in 1968.

In addition to the news film, the digital library includes related collections from 75 libraries, archives, and museums across the nation. Most are original documentation of the period, such as oral histories, letters, diaries, FBI files, and photographs.

A partnership with the online New Georgia Encyclopedia is a key component, providing concise, authoritative articles on events and individuals associated with the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, supplemented by images and multi-media files.

The CRDL initiative includes a special site for teachers, called "Freedom on Film" (currently in development) that relates civil rights stories from nine Georgia towns and cities, along with related news film, discussion questions, lesson plans, and related readings. Freedom on Film is being developed by University of Georgia faculty and students, along with scholars from other institutions.

The Civil Rights Digital Library receives financial support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The CRDL will continue to grow through its partnerships with allied organizations across the U.S.

Visit the Civil Rights Digital Library:

Contacts: Dr. P. Toby Graham, Director, Digital Library of Georgia, University of Georgia,, 706.583.0213

Ruta Abolins, Director, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, University of Georgia,, 706.542.4757

Dr. Barbara McCaskill, Professor, English Dept., University of Georgia,, 706.542.2250

Bound document & book digitization case studies

Kirtas has published several case studies about the use of its scanning systems for bound documents and books. Look at the right hand side of this page for links to case studies regarding libraries, governments, corporations, etc. Although the case studies don't tell you if the organizations considered different solutions, you do get a sense of how they thought about their decision and the benefits that they are seeing.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Documenting the Pomeroy family

I spent a good portion of this afternoon hearing about an archive of information concerning the Pomeroy family in the United States. The archive is not in an old building or a library or the corner of someone's living room. The archive housed in a Syracuse-based corporation.

Bill Pomeroy has turned his interest in his family history, and the need to document it, into a department of his business. CXtec is a very unique environment and having a department that is involved in genealogical research makes it even more unique. What is referred to as Project Roots lives on the Internet at the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association (APHGA).

It was interesting listening to Bill Pomeroy and Nancy Maliwesky, director of APHGA, talk about the research they have done and the documentation they are creating. While it is not always possible for them to digitize materials using high-quality methods, they find that some images just allow them to capture the information they need while going through an archive. Sometimes digitization is a means to an end (noting useful information). Images on the web site currently include photos of people they are trying to identify. Again a means to an end.

I left them feeling quite energized! Here is a group that is digging deep into many archives into order to piece together the history of a large family with roots that go back to the 1500s. They are using whatever means possible (yes, legal and ethical) to find that history with a goal of bringing the history to light. Speaking of bringing history to light, one of the projects they have started is the Pomeroy Anvil Trail. Six have already been placed and more are in the works.

By the way, if you have a piece of Pomeroy family history, Nancy Maliweski would like to hear from you.

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Access vs. Perservation (quote)

Arrows by Leo ReynoldsHere is one more thought from “Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization(page 2):
Who will ensure that digital content created through such initiatives remains accessible over time — a responsibility that is different from merely preserving it?
Let us hope that everyone 's not pointing blindly at someone else for that service.

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