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New & noteworthy
Libraries and Computer ScientistsJoin Forces to Create New Solution for Digital Information Management
The University of Virginia Library announces the release of an open-source digital object repository management system. The Fedora Project, a joint effort of the University of Virginia and Cornell University, has now made available the first version of a system based on the Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, originally developed at Cornell.
Fedora repositories can provide the foundation for a variety of information management schemes, not least among them digital library systems. At the University of Virginia, Fedora is being used to build a large-scale digital library that will soon have millions of digital resources of all media and content types. It is also currently being tested by a consortium of institutions that include the Library of Congress, Northwestern University, Tufts University, and others. They are building testbeds drawn from their own digital collections that they will use to evaluate the software and give feedback to the project.
This first version of the software is designed to support a repository containing one million objects using freely available software. It fully implements the Fedora architecture, provides the first version of a graphical user interface to manage the repository, and provides facilities to create and ingest batches of objects. Some of the software's key features:
Open Source – The Fedora repository system is open source software licensed under the Mozilla Public License.
Web Services – The interface to the Fedora repository system consists of three open APIs that are exposed as web services: Management API known as API-M, Access API known as API-A, and Access-Lite API known as API-A-Lite.
Datastreams – Objects in a repository may consist of content and metadata (datastreams) that physically reside inside the repository or outside the repository. The Fedora repository system supports content of any MIME type.
XML Submission and Storage – Digital objects are stored as XML-encoded files that conform to an extension of the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) schema. The schema for the extended version of METS used by Fedora can be found at http://www.fedora.info/definitions/1/0/mets-fedora-ext.xsd.
Access Control and Authentication – Release 1.1 includes a simple form of access control to provide access restrictions based on IP address. IP range restriction is supported in both the Management and Access APIs. In addition, the Management API is protected by HTTP Basic Authentication. Access Policy and Authentication will be a major focus in Phase II of the Fedora project.
OAI Metadata Harvesting Provider – The OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting is a standard for sharing metadata across repositories. Every Fedora digital object has a primary Dublin Core record that conforms to the schema at: http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/2.0/oai_dc.xsd. This metadata is accessible using the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, v2.0.
For more information and to download the software, visit: www.fedora.info/
Distributed Full Text Search of Math BooksNow Available
The university libraries of Cornell, Gottingen, and Michigan are please to announce the first public availability of a significant body of mathematical monographs with access provided through a distributed full text search protocol. The virtual collection, comprising more than 2,000 volumes of significant historical mathematical material (nearly 600,000 pages), resides at the three separate institutions and is provided through interfaces to the three entirely different software systems. Public interfaces to the collection may be found at http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/mathall/ and http://mathbooks.library.cornell.edu/ These two public interfaces reflect different development efforts at Michigan and Cornell, each with their own perspective on how best mediate the search through the full text search protocol, and each based on the protocol.
The protocol for this distributed search was developed by the three participating institutions over the last two and a half years, with general support provided by the National Science Foundation. Working from the roots of the DIENST and the then-emergent OAI protocols, the project team focused on creating a new protocol-dubbed CGM, for "Cornell, Gottingen, Michigan" – that was consistent with OAI, borrowed from DIENST, and added mechanisms for full text searching. The protocol and more project information are available at http://www.library.cornell.edu/mathbooks/
The hope of the project developers is that their progress to date should be encouraging for digital library developers interested in federating collections. They welcome feedback from others interested in adding CGM-capability to their systems. The software created through this NSF-funded grant will be made available in a number of ways. The API developed by Gottingen, allowing them to provide access through the Agora software, will soon be available to other Agora sites. The functionality developed by Michigan will be included in release 11 of the DLXS digital library software (September, 2003). And Cornell is exploring distribution and support models for its electronic publishing software, DpubS, the system also behind Project Euclid (http://ProjectEuclid.org)
UnescoFree Software Portal
The Unesco Free Software Portal gives access to documents and websites which are references for the Free Software/Open Source Technology movement. It is also a gateway to resources related to Free Software. With the Free Software Portal, Unesco provides a single interactive access point to pertinent information for users who wish to acquire an understanding of the Free Software movement, to learn why it is important and to apply the concept. Visitors to the Unesco Free Software Portal can browse through pre-established categories or search for specific words. They can add a new link or modify an already existing link. The Unesco Free Software Portal has been developed by several people from the Free Software movement in co-operation with Unesco Secretariat. It is maintained by Unesco's Information Society Division.
Ready-To-RunVersion of MyLibrary Available
MyLibrary-On-A-Disk, an easily installed Windows-based CD containing a ready-to-run version of MyLibrary, is now available. MyLibrary is a database-driven Web site application for libraries with an optional, user-driven, customizable front-end – a portal. Available from the Web site is a CDROM image file containing all the necessary MyLibrary code and support programs, as well as a 100-page manual/workshop complete with hands-on exercises. No configuration is necessary.
To use MyLibrary-On-A-Disk:
Download the (very large, 200MB) file.
Use your operating system to burn a CD with the file.
Copy the folder named MyLibrary from the CD to the root of your C drive.
Run a batch file named "Start MyLibrary.bat".
Open your Web browser to http://127.0.0.1/
MyLibrary documentation: http://dewey.library.nd.edu/mylibrary/ http://dewey.library.nd.edu/mylibrary/src/mylibrary-on-a-disk-1.0-readme.txt CD download: http://dewey.library.nd.edu/mylibrary/src/mylibrary-on-a-disk-1.0.iso
Web Version of PRONOMTo Be Launched
PRONOM is an application developed by the Digital Preservation Department of the National Archives of the United Kingdom for managing information about the file formats used to store electronic records, and the software applications used to create and render those formats. Originally developed as a practical tool to support the preservation activities of the National Archives, PRONOM will potentially be of great value to anyone needing to preserve electronic records over the long term. As the next phase of the ongoing development of PRONOM, a Web-accessible version is scheduled for release in autumn 2003. This will allow users to search PRONOM and generate reports for viewing on screen, printing, or exporting in XML and CSV formats.
The initial release of the Web version of PRONOM will include information on selected software products This will quickly be expanded to cover over 300 applications. Further information about PRONOM and its future development is available at: http://www.pro.gov.uk/about/preservation/digital/
Preservation Metadata SchemaAvailable
The National Library of New Zealand released the first iteration of its preservation metadata schema in November 2002 after a substantial period of international peer review. A revised version was made available in June 2003 incorporating advances in NLNZ thinking based on further experience, and ensuring compliance with emerging standards, e.g. the new version is more closely aligned with NISO Z39.87 Technical Metadata for Still Images.
The second phase in developing a preservation metadata process has been creation of a data model for implementation. The data model was released in July 2003. It is based on the logical preservation metadata model (Revised version) and maintains the overall structure and data relationships contained there. It is intended to provide a step towards the implementation of a repository for preservation metadata. As part of this work XML schema definitions of the data model were also developed. The National Library of New Zealand welcomes any feedback on this work.
All of the above documents can be accessed from http://www.natlib.govt.nz/en/whatsnew/4initiatives.html #meta.
ALCTS Metadata Enrichment Task Force ReportAvailable
The ALCTS Metadata Enrichment Task Force (METF) has announced the availability of the final draft of the Marcia Bates' report, Improving User Access to Library Catalog and Portal Information, for public review. The document comprises a state-of-the art review and recommendations regarding section 2.3 of the Library of Congress Bicentennial Action Plan: Explore ways to enrich metadata records by focusing on providing additional subject access mechanisms (e.g. front-end user thesauri) and increasing granularity of access and display (e.g., by enabling progression through hierarchy and versions and by additional description information including summaries). The report provides an extensive review and bibliography that spotlights issues and research in the field of information seeking behavior.
The Metadata Enrichment Task Force welcomes comments from readers regarding the report and its recommendations. The Task Force is particularly interested in knowing whether the library community has confidence in this approach, whether it would be willing to participate in the construction of the recommended tools, and whether vendors would be interested in using the tools. In addition, any comments on parallel approaches to these issues and how they might interoperate with the report recommendations would be welcome. Please direct such correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NISOPublishes Metadata Guide for Publishers
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announces the joint publication with The Sheridan Press of Metadata Demystified: A Guide for Publishers. The guide presents an overview of evolving metadata conventions in publishing, as well as related initiatives designed to standardize how metadata is structured and disseminated online. Focusing on strategic rather than technical considerations, Metadata Demystified offers insight into how book and journal publishers can streamline metadata operations in their companies and leverage metadata for added exposure in digital media including the Web.
Authors Amy Brand, Frank Daly, and Barbara Meyers explain what metadata are and aren't, why metadata is important to both publishers and readers, and then discuss specific book and journal-oriented metadata practices such as ONIX, CrossRef, and the Open Archives Initiative. With metadata now an essential part of the publication process, Metadata Demystified can help both readers and publishers understand and harness the new opportunities metadata brings to information resources.
The Metadata Demystified guide is available for free download from NISO at: http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/Metadata_Demystified.pdf
FRBRDisplay Tool Available for Experimentation
The Network Development and MARC Standards Office at the Library of Congress has recently made a "FRBR Display Tool" available for experimentation. The Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) Display Tool sorts the bibliographic data found in a set of MARC records into hierarchical displays by grouping the data using the "Works", "Expressions", and "Manifestations" FRBR concepts. Possible uses for the FRBR Display Tool include experimentation with the collocating and sorting of search result sets into the FRBR categories to test concepts, and applying FRBR to local data to evaluate its consistency for FRBR-type development.
The FRBR Display Tool is downloadable, flexible, and easy to augment according to individual institution's needs. A Web interface to the FRBR Display Tool is also coming soon in which the user may input valid sets of MARC records and receive XML and HTML FRBR display in a Web browser. The Web interface will allow experimentation with FRBR displays without having to download and install the FRBR Display Tool program.
An electronic discussion list has been set up for discussion of experiments and implementations with the FRBR Display Tool. See www.loc.gov/marc/frbr/marcfrbr.html to join.
OCLCReleases Algorithm for Database Conversions to FRBR Model
OCLC is making an algorithm available free of charge to organizations interested in converting their bibliographic databases to the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) model. The FRBR model was created to help information providers deliver the most appropriate records for people seeking specific items of interest. The algorithm was developed by the OCLC Office of Research following a 1998 recommendation by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) to restructure catalog databases based on particular works rather than on the various forms in which these works are expressed. The FRBR algorithm will make it possible for users to write computer programs to generate sets of records that can be grouped for display as single works, making it easier for information seekers to find what they are looking for. The algorithm is available from the OCLC Research site http://www.oclc.org/research/software/frbr/.
OCLC's FRBR algorithm describes an automated process that extracts information from MARC21 records, compares it with a standard name authority file, and then brings the records together, based primarily on their author and title. The algorithm is efficient enough to be run on large databases, such as WorldCat, the OCLC database that contains more than 52 million records. It is also meant to be understandable, so that a librarian creating a record will be able to predict what other records it will be associated with, and understandable for patrons so they are not surprised by the groupings.
In large databases, such as WorldCat, bringing versions of works together is helpful for successful discovery and navigation. OCLC plans to use the FRBR model as it implements WorldCat's new database technology to enhance the user's experience. The FRBR model specifies that intellectual or artistic products include the following types of entities:
the work, a distinct intellectual or artistic creation;
the expression, the intellectual or artistic realization of a work;
the manifestation, the physical embodiment of an expression of a work;
the item, a single exemplar of a manifestation.
A work is realized through one or more expressions, each of which is embodied in one or more manifestations, each of which is exemplified by one or more items. In traditional cataloging, bibliographic units are described out of context. With the FRBR model, each item must be described in context and related to the other items comprising the work. Having resources brought together under "works" will help users sift through the myriad information resources available electronically.
RITResearch to Examine Success and Failure Rate of Women in IT Programs
The National Science Foundation has awarded the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) a grant valued at nearly $325,000 for "Understanding Gender Attrition in Departments of Information Technology." The two-year study is under the direction of Elizabeth Lane Lawley, Assistant Professor of IT in RIT's B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.
The research will focus on undergraduate women in IT departments. Previous research into women's experiences in computing programs usually centered on computer science departments, which traditionally feature a narrower curriculum than IT. Several factors will be highlighted during the RIT study, including those that influence female students to enter IT programs, those that influence some of them to leave after their first year of study, and how those factors compare to women in CS programs. "The goal of the study would be not only to answer these questions," explains Lawley, "but to develop recommendations for IT program recruiting, curricula and student support, based on those answers."
Research Project home page: http://women.it.rit.edu/
VRDClinical Teaching Initiative Seeks Input
At the VRD 2002 Digital Reference Conference in Chicago, a clinical teaching initiative was proposed to address the need for comprehensive digital reference training for LIS students and professionals alike. The Clinical Teaching Initiative (CTI) is envisioned as a consortial effort among LIS schools, digital reference software vendors, libraries, and others to create a virtual space where librarians, paraprofessionals, LIS students and faculty, and other information providers can come to view curricular materials, share ideas, test-drive software, browse dig ref job opportunities and internships, and much more.
Based loosely on the agora model (ancient Grecian marketplaces where people gathered to exchange ideas and learn news), the CTI will act as a clearinghouse for digital reference-related curricular materials and tools. It is hoped that the collective expertise of this community can come to some consensus on core competencies for and educational approaches to digital reference, and possibly even a certification process down the road.
Participation is vital for the CTI to realize its full potential as a resource for the digital reference community. Digital reference providers, LIS faculty members, LIS students, etc. are invited and encouraged to contribute ideas on what will make the CTI a valuable resource. Suggestions can be sent to Joann M. Wasik, Research Consultant and Communications Officer, The Virtual Reference Desk (email@example.com).
CTI home page: http://quartz.syr.edu/education/
Post-Digital LibrariesFutures Papers Posted
On June 15-17, 2003 the National Science Foundation hosted an invitational workshop on the topic of Post-Digital Libraries Futures. The intent of the workshop was to bring together a group of leading researchers in networked information to develop directions and recommendations for long term NSF research. Each of national and international researchers and scholars participating in the workshop was asked to prepare a background paper. The background papers and other materials (some presentations from the conference, breakout reports, etc) are up on the conference Web site, and provide a fascinating spectrum of perspectives on the potential future research agendas for digital libraries and a host of related technologies.
Conference Web site: www.sis.pitt.edu/~dlwkshop/index.html
Contributed papers: www.sis.pitt.edu/~dlwkshop/papers.html
The Price of DigitizationNINCH Report
A report is now available on the April 8, 2003 NINCH/Innodata Symposium, "The Price of Digitization: New Cost Models for Cultural and Educational Institutions," hosted by the New York Public Library and co-sponsored by the NYPL and New York University. A full report by Lorna Hughes and a summary report by Michael Lesk are available at the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage (NINCH) Web site.
The meeting underscored the importance of the subject and (in the face of quoted prices for digitizing a book ranging from $4 to $1,000) the urgent need for useable cost models for established good practice in calculating costs and determining prices for digitizing cultural resources. It also underscored the importance of cross-sectoral guides to good practice, as exemplified by the NINCH Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials.
NINCH Guide to Good Practice: www.ninch.org/programs/practice/index.html
Microfilming and Digitisation for Preservation WorkshopPapers Available
Papers and photos from the LIBER Workshop on Microfilming and Digitisation for Preservation, held April 14-15, 2003, The Hague, The Netherlands, are now freely available at the workshop's Web site.
Web ArchivingPapers Available
Proceedings from the 3rd ECDL Workshop on Web Archives, held August 2, 2003 in Trondheim, Norway, are now freely available at the workshop's Web site. The workshop provided a cross domain overview on active research and practice in the emergent domain of Web archiving and studies on effective usage of this type of archives. It was intended to provide a forum for interaction among librarians, archivists, academic researchers and industrial researchers interested in establishing effective methods and developing improved solution for Web archiving.
eAudioPilot Project Final Report Available
The final report for eAudio, the pilot digital talking book project undertaken by the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, is now on the web. The goal of the project was to begin to introduce talking book readers to digital talking books, which is the eventual goal of the talking book program at the national level. Under the leadership of the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, the digital talking book project, the Lobe Library, has now expanded to four states including Illinois, Hawaii, Mississippi, and New Jersey. During 2004, the four states will participate in a collaborative, digital audio book project with players and books from Audible.com.
The project was funded with $2,000 from donation funds in honor of former MITBC director, Eileen Sheppard Meyer, and the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service. The center was able to purchase eight Otis players and approximately 50 digital audio books from Audible.com for the project. Over 100 readers expressed interest in trying the service and 70 participated in the six-month project.
Project Web site: http://www.lobelibrary.org
CTHEORYMultimedia Journal and Library Electronic Publishing Program
The Curators of CTHEORY Multimedia, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker and Timothy Murray, have announced the release of Issue4, NET NOISE, 11 net art pieces, published in conjunction with the Cornell University Library's Electronic Publishing Program. Tracking and coding the currents of sound in digital culture, NET NOISE presents works by Akuvido, Simon Biggs, Young-Hae Change Heavy Industries, Su Lea Cheang, Takuji Kogo (Candy Factory), Christina McPhee, MEZ, Plasma Studii, Michael Sellam, Zvonka Simcic, Tanja Vujinovic, and Jody Zellen.
Published by the Cornell University Library, CTHEORY Multimedia is an international journal of web-based interactive art grouped around a common conceptual theme. The site complements CTHEORY, an existing electronic review of theory, techno-culture and society. The Cornell Library is providing staff and systems necessary to publish and maintain networked availability of the CTHEORY Multimedia site. The first issue of CTHEORY Multimedia published at Cornell appeared in spring, 2001.
Note: Required Flash Player can be downloaded from the CTHEORY Multimedia "Tech Support" page.
ACLS History E-Book ProjectMarks One Year Anniversary
The ACLS History E-Book Project marked its first year online with a substantially revised support website. The revised site documents knowledge gained in the first year of the Project's online existence and reflects a greater awareness of the e-book's role in the changing world of historical scholarship.
The Project officially launched in September 2002 with over 500 titles in history chosen by historians for their continued relevance to the field; in September 2003 a second round of 275 books was to be added to the collection. Over 160 institutions ranging from Ivy League universities to high schools have already subscribed, putting the Project well on its way to its stated goal of 200 subscribers. Lists of current and forthcoming titles as well as a list of subscribers are available on the revised site.
Also of note, a new Copyright and Fair Use page summarizes the results of several years' experience acquiring electronic rights and developing consistent practice in this emerging publishing environment. The page provides links of interest to authors, learned societies, and others invested in both general copyright issues and in those pertaining specifically to e-books. (http://www.historyebook.org/copyrts.html)
Even as the Project has been collecting books and selling subscriptions, the scholarly world has noted a marked change in the importance of the monograph due to recent developments in scholarly communication, the economics of university press publishing, and the re-emerging role of scholarly societies as publishers. The revised site reflects a new understanding of the e-book's importance in the dissemination of scholarship in light of this change. Many historians, seeing a more effective means of sharing their work, are eager to take advantage of the new technology offered by the ACLS History E-Book Project. This year the first of the frontlist titles appeared, paving the way for the increasingly sophisticated "born digital" books already in the works for 2004. A new frontlist features page outlines the range of technology now at the disposal of historians, including zoomable image viewers, video and audio clips, and interactive maps and timelines.
NISOAnnounces New Registration Process
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is expanding its standards development program by offering a new Registration Process. The Registration Process is designed to make specifications and guidelines developed outside the formal consensus process available to a larger community of potential implementers. The NISO Registration Process provides a light-weight review and accreditation that will help those developing specifications in evolving information services secure acceptance and recognition among a larger community of potential implementers.
The Registration process complements NISO's traditional consensus based standards development process that is consistent with ANSI requirements for development and maintenance of American National Standards. Details on the Registration Process and the Registration Application form are on the NISO Web site at: www.niso.org/registration/registration.html
TalisJoins Blackboard Developer Network
Talis Information, the UK's market leader in technology solutions for academic and public libraries, has joined forces with Blackboard Inc., a leading enterprise software company for e-Education, to break down boundaries between library information and course management systems. Through TalisList, a resource list management product, students and course designers working on a course in Blackboard can link directly to the prescribed resources supporting their course. Now as part of the Blackboard Developer Network, work will accelerate around enhanced links between the Blackboard Learning System and TalisList, and extensions to add other library services to the learning environment.
Talis Information is a long-established supplier of innovative products for academic (and public) libraries. It actively participates in projects such as the JISC-funded DELIVER (www.angel.ac.uk/DELIVER/) and 4i (http://www.ulst.ac.uk/library/4i/), which investigated ways of integrating digital library functionality within virtual learning environments.
ReadingListDirect and RDNPartnership
Sentient and the Resource Discovery Network (RDN) have formed a partnership to provide the academic community with the ability to integrate high quality Web resources within a searchable digital resource management system to enhance learning and teaching.
Sentient launched ReadingList Direct (soon to be Sentient DISCOVER), to facilitate resource discovery and resource management, and to enhance access to learning resources. ReadingListDirect is now the UK's leading Digital Resource Management System, serving 31 academic universities and colleges. The Resource Discovery Network is the UK's free national gateway to Internet resources for the learning, teaching and research community. Unlike search engines, web sites are carefully selected and verified by specialist information professionals and academics. Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) with support from the ESRC and AHRB, the network is a collaboration of over seventy educational and research organizations, including the Natural History Museum and the British Library.
As the Resource Discovery Network allows academics and students to search and retrieve high-quality Web resources, a working integration between the two systems provides the academic community with tools to enhance learning and teaching in the Higher Education and Further Education sectors. The RDN, which consists of a database of over 70,000 high quality Web resource descriptions, can now be searched within the ReadingListDirect interface. With one click, RDN resources can be embedded into and accessed from ReadingListDirect. Instantly, all Web resource descriptions and Web links are added to resource lists. This enables the student to easily locate and access a greater variety of essential learning materials.