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New and noteworthy
NISTImaging system for the blind
A new device developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) allows the blind and visually impaired to "see" images. The device has 3,600 pins, about 10 per square inch, that are raised and lowered to mimic images, allowing users to feel what the image looks like.
NIST – http://www.nist.gov/
HEWLETT-PACKARDLibrary technology access
The Library Technology Access (LTA) initiative, led by Hewlett-Packard, aims to increase library computer accessibility for users with disabilities. The goal of the program is to design "template" solutions that libraries can implement easily to improve access for users with visual, hearing, mobility, or learning disabilities. The first part of the initiative launched recently with installations at several libraries around the nation. The workstations at the test sites will record how users interact with the technology, providing data that will be used to generate models of how assistive technology and accessibility tools can best serve library patrons.
Hewlett-Packard – http://www.hp.com
LINDOWSOperating system available
LindowsOS is an operating system that delivers the power, stability and cost-savings of Linux with the ease of a windows environment. Previously only available installed on low-cost PCs, such as those from Wal-Mart, the Lindows operating system 3.0 is now available separately. For about $129, customers can get the Lindows operating system, Sun Microsystems's StarOffice 6.0 word processor, and access to other applications, such as MP3 players, through a Click-N-Run service.
Lindows – http://www.lindows.com/
Cometa NetworksWi-Fi network
AT&T, Intel, and IBM announced the creation of Cometa Networks, which hopes to establish a vast Wi-Fi network covering the 50 largest US metropolitan areas over the next two years. The company, which will sell Wi-Fi service through ISPs and cable and wireless companies, aims to set up 20,000 Wi-Fi access points, putting an access point within a five-minute walk of every business in urban areas and within a five-minute drive in rural areas.
Cometa Networks – http://www.cometanetworks.com/
Digital Library of Information Science and Technology (DLIST) Launched
The School of Information Resources and Library Science and the Arizona Health Sciences Library at the University of Arizona have launched DLIST, the Digital Library of Information Science and Technology. The objective of DLIST is to serve as a repository of electronic resources in the domains of Library and Information Science (LIS) and Information Technology (IT). DLIST is running on Open Archives Initiative (OAI) compliant Eprints v.2 software developed at the University of Southampton. Eprints software, recently heralded as the future of scholarly communication, facilitates the development of institutional and subject archives and self-archiving practices.
DLIST – http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu.
NISONetworked reference services
NISO Standard Committee AZ, Networked Reference Services has released QATP Use Cases. The Protocol Subcommittee is developing a Question/Answer Transaction Protocol (QATP) to support exchange between digital reference systems collaborating in the processing of a question. A preliminary step in the development of a protocol is to describe use cases (also known informally as "functional scenarios") that the protocol is required to support.
NISOTo continue free Web-access to standards
NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, will continue to make its national standards available as free downloadable pdf files from the NISO Web site. This decision was reaffirmed unanimously by the NISO Board of Directors meeting on 19 September 2002. NISO has been offering all of its American National Standards as free downloads since 2000. Over 100,000 NISO standards were downloaded in the first eight months of 2002.
NISO – http://www.niso.org
On 6 December 6 2002, Kevin Guthrie, President of JSTOR sent out an e-mail message to JSTOR librarians and publishers alerting them to "a very disturbing development that signals a new level of threat to institutional stewardship of site-licensed electronic resources." This was about JSTOR's recent experience as a victim of a "sophisticated attack carefully designed to exploit weaknesses in the community's present IP-address-based authentication system to systematically and illegally download tens of thousands of articles from the JSTOR archive." Guthrie described how the attackers gained access to JSTOR via unprotected proxy servers located on the campus networks of JSTOR participating institutions and are illegally downloading large numbers of articles. Realizing that most libraries allow access to restricted information via proxy servers and how easy it is to become a target of an open proxy, which allows unauthorized users access, it has become a great concern how widespread and easy it is for this to be done. There must be ways to eliminate these problems and there are a number of initiatives under way to explore and handle new methods of authentication.
JSTOR – www.jstor.org/
Fretwell-Downing Inc. (FD) and EBSCOSeamless open links to articles
Library and information specialist Fretwell-Downing Inc. (FD) and research database expert EBSCO Publishing, announce an alliance that will take their mutual worldwide customers a step closer to offering seamless access to electronic content. This alliance brings three key benefits to clients:
Users have more full-text options by using FD's Open Linking technology to link from EBSCOhost1 citations to full-text articles anywhere within the library resources.
Powered by FD's Open Linking technology, users can maximize usage of EBSCO resources by linking to EBSCO full-text content from citations found by using other search tools.
Patrons can search EBSCOhost databases using a ZPORTAL search, enabling the databases to be searched simultaneously with other resources.
Fretwell-Downing – www.fdgroup.co.uk/
Cultivate-RussiaPublishes Web magazine
Cultivate-Russia has published the first issue of the Web magazine, Cultivate Interactive. The English translation is yet to go up on the Web, but the Cultivate Russia site does include information in English on the project Cultivate Russia and on digital heritage in Russia. Mostly the magazine consists of Russian materials on projects concerning electronic culture.
Cultivate-Russia – http://www.cultivate.ru/mag/issue1
The PORTAL (Presenting natiOnal Resources To Audiences Locally) project Web site is now available. PORTAL is funded as part of the JISC's FAIR Programme and is a partnership between the University of Hull and UKOLN.
The project seeks to demonstrate the potential for the integration of external resources such as those provided by the JISC within an institutional portal framework. User requirements studies will define the needs of users with regard both to institutional portals and existing JISC resources. Using Open Source software the project will produce appropriate deployment guidelines and best practice documentation.
The project is funded for 18 months. A full outline of the project work packages can be accessed via the Web site and project deliverables will be disseminated through it and other appropriate channels.
FAIR-PORTAL – http://www.fair-portal.hull.ac.uk
Nationaal Archief and ECPALaunch new preservation gateway
The Nationaal Archief and the European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA) have officially launched GRIP, Gateway for Resources and Information on Preservation. GRIP is an Internet gateway, presenting a core of accessible and recent materials selected by experts which provides an introduction to a great many aspects of preservation. Resources selected for inclusion in GRIP aim to be of interest to a wide audience, including preservation professionals, collection managers, policy makers, librarians, archivists, museum curators, audiovisual specialists and information technologists.
Currently the GRIP database contains 2,248 references to literature, organizations, projects, training activities and discussion lists. It can be searched by category, keywords, keyword combinations and free search. All references are connected to a thesaurus system. In many cases the references in GRIP are annotated with short comments by the experts that selected them.
GRIP also hosts online versions of two publications, namely Preservation Science Survey. An Overview of Recent Developments in Research on the Conservation of Selected Analog Library and Archival Materials, by Henk J. Porck and René Teygeler and Preservation of Archives in Tropical Climates: An Annotated Bibliography, by René Teygeler with the cooperation of Gerrit de Bruin, Bihanne Wassink and Bert van Zanen.
A team, consisting of experts at the Nationaal Archief, European Commission on Preservation and Access and the ECPA Scientific Advisory Committee, will maintain and regularly update the GRIP database. GRIP also intends to expand the number of online publications, providing an open platform for preservation literature.
GRIP – http://www.knaw.nl/ecpa/grip
ISI and IEEEAnnounce linking agreement
ISI and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) have announced a linking agreement that will provide ISI Web of Knowledge and IEEE subscribers with links to the full text of articles from IEEE journals and conference proceedings.
Once the links are in place, subscribers to IEEE publications online and ISI Web of Knowledge will be able to link from ISI Web of Science and ISI Current Contents Connect to the IEEE engineering and computer science journal literature and to the proceedings information from IEEE-sponsored conferences. IEEE full-text documents are hosted and delivered by the IEEE Xplore platform, an online delivery system. Implementation of the links is expected to be available later this year.
ISI – http://www.isinet.com
JISC and SURFReach agreement on collaboration
Delivering state-of-the-art networks and electronic services to higher education is benefiting from a growing level of international collaboration. Both the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the SURF Foundation supply such services to higher education and the research community in the UK and The Netherlands, respectively. They also promote innovation and development of new uses for information and communications technology in education, research and the management of universities.
A joint event in Oxford explored the opportunities for joint working between the two organizations, and led to an agreement for closer collaboration. Involving experts from the UK, The Netherlands, and also the USA, the event established a strong foundation for closer cooperation in developing an optical network between JISC, SURF and the US-based Internet2 to create a London/Amsterdam/Chicago optical testbed that will enable research into leading edge networks and applications.
JISC and SURF will continue to meet on a regular basis to share ideas about future strategies. These meetings will identify opportunities for shared development programmes and services, and will work towards common objectives, such as resolving intellectual property issues with publishers and the establishment of international technical standards, leading, it is hoped, to even greater international collaboration.
ResourcePublishes guidelines on managing IT projects
Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries has published ICT Projects – Management and Implementation, a free guideline on planning, implementing and managing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) projects based on the experiences of the successful Resource/DCMS ICT Challenge Fund.
The ICT Challenge Fund provided £500,000 to 11 collaborative projects in order to create digital services and Web sites that make innovative use of new technologies. A full summative evaluation of the Fund was conducted by four of the Project Managers, and this has been used as the basis for the comprehensive set of guidelines.
The publication focuses on five key strands of delivering a successful project. "ICT Project Management" looks at a range of issues including planning and timetabling, contractor management, steering groups and reporting structures. "Addressing the Skills Gap" includes information on conducting a skills audit and evaluating the particular requirements of Web-based projects. "Partnership and Collaborative Working" provides guidance on working within existing collaborative relationships as well as creating and managing new ones. "Content Creation for the Web" is a detailed examination of the implications of creating resources for use through the Internet, including digitization, interactivity and accessibility. "Working with the Community" considers the pros and cons of working with local community groups and suggests ways of integrating them into various processes including planning and evaluation.ICT Projects – Management and Implementation is an in-depth guide to the planning and deployment of ICT-based projects. Supported throughout by detailed case studies from the ICT Challenge Fund projects, this publication is an invaluable resource for anyone either already involved in, or planning, a project that makes use of ICT. It can be downloaded free of charge from the People's Network Web site.
People's Network – http://www.peoplesnetwork.gov.uk/content/itcfguidelines.asp
British Library and the National Library of ChinaCollaborate on "Silk Road" Web project
The British Library and the National Library of China have launched a unique integrated Chinese/English Web site that reunites, in digital form, over 50,000 manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from ancient caves and temples along the Silk Road. Produced as part of the International Dunhuang Project (IDP), the Web site will enable researchers, travellers and anyone interested in life along the Silk Road to search information on items now held in museums and libraries around the world. The Web site is accessible, via a single interface, in Chinese and English.
A hidden cave, located at a Buddhist temple near the garrison town of Dunhuang in Chinese Central Asia, yielded many of the finds when it was discovered in the early twentieth century. Inside were hundreds of paintings on silk and tens of thousands of manuscripts dating from the fifth to eleventh centuries, forming the world's earliest and largest paper archive. Among these were the world's earliest dated printed book – a Buddhist sacred text – paper scrolls and fragments, woodslips, wooden tablets and documents in over 15 languages and scripts, including Indo-European, Semitic and Altaic languages. More manuscripts, paintings and artefacts were discovered at other ancient, abandoned Silk Road towns, which were half-buried by desert sands.
Together, these materials offer a glimpse into the daily life of the thriving communities of merchants, officials, soldiers, monks, farmers, and workmen in these Silk Road towns as well as revealing the movement and history of Buddhism, Christianity and other religions.
Among the documents are early feng shui texts, military reports about the altitude sickness suffered by soldiers fighting in the Pamirs; and prescriptions for arthritis, period pains and other everyday ailments. Also included are letters apologizing for getting drunk at a dinner party; the rules for various social clubs – many of them for women; contracts for the loan of a donkey or a cooking pot; census reports; tax documents; prayers for a good life and much more.
The Web site also includes many delicate silk paintings from the Dunhuang cave, now housed in the British Museum, as well as manuscripts and paintings from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, the University of California at Los Angeles and the Freer Gallery, Washington, DC. Alongside these materials are hundreds of early twentieth century photographs from the British Library's collections showing the ancient sites, scenery and local peoples. Users can search the IDP database by the item type, title, subjects, language/script, or archaeological site where it was found; or by browsing the map interface.