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New & Noteworthy
Sakai Open-Source ProjectReleases Draft Specifications
The Sakai Project has released preliminary specifications for higher education open-source software using JavaServer Faces. These specifications, called the Sakai Technology Portability Profile, will ensure software being developed will operate across the systems of participating university partners: the University of Michigan, Stanford University, Indiana University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Sakai Project is a joint collaboration and course management system software development project funded by the four universities and supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The specifications are based on the Java programming language. It uses JavaServer Faces for user interface, a technology defined by specifications released in February by Sun Microsystems Java Community Process. The software will also implement OKI Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) from MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.
The Sakai Education Partners Program is a community of colleges and universities who have committed to extending and deploying the Sakai software and integrating it with their own software developments. The program is funded by contributions from the partner schools, and a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The 21 founding colleges and universities are: University of Colorado at Boulder, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Tufts University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Davis, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Merced, University of Cambridge, University of Hawaii, University of Oklahoma, University of Virginia, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University.
Other colleges and universities will be able to adopt the technology that will be available in Sakai through forthcoming releases of JA-SIG's uPortal and the Open Source Portfolio Release 2.0 being led by Indiana University.
The Open Source Portfolio Initiative (OSPI) is a community of individuals and organizations collaborating on the development of the leading non-proprietary, open-source ePortfolio software available. Its work is also funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based on the Sakai TPP.
Sakai project: www.sakaiproject.org/index.html
USEMARCON PlusVersion 1.4 Released
The latest version of USEMARCON (Version 1.4) offers librarians the ability to carry out fast on-the-fly conversion of MARC formats.
USEMARCON is a software application that allows users to convert bibliographic records from one MAchine-Readable Cataloguing (MARC) format to another. Approximately 50 variant MARC formats are currently in use throughout the world. The differences between the MARC formats present a barrier to the easy exchange of records. This is a fundamental problem for libraries, and necessitates the costly re-cataloguing of material for which records are already available, but in a MARC format other than their own.
USEMARCON facilitates the conversion of catalog records from one MARC format to another, e.g. from UKMARC to UNIMARC. The software was designed as a toolbox-style application, allowing users with detailed knowledge of the source and target MARC formats to develop rules governing the behavior of the conversion. Rules files may be supplemented by additional tables for more accurate conversion of MARC-specific character sets or coded information. The tables and rules files are simple ASCII text files and can be created using any standard text editor such as MS Windows Notepad.
Testing of Version 1.3 at Helsinki University and the British Library was followed by the release of Version 1.4. The main improvements made to USEMARCON were to make it more suitable for integration in other software, mainly on-the-fly conversions in Z39.50 clients and multi-threaded Z39.50 servers. The British Library and ATP Library Systems Ltd are making the new v1.4 software and related documentation available free of charge to users and application developers in order to promote usage of USEMARCON.
For further information and to download the software, visit the USEMARCOM home page at: www.bl.uk/services/bibliographic/usemarcon.html
USEMARCON users and developers are also invited to join the USEMARCON discussion list at www.mailtalk.ac.uk/lists/usemarcon.html The list will enable users and developers of the USEMARCON MARC conversion software to share ideas and information.
ISOOrganizations Support ISO Rights Expression Language Standard
Leading entertainment, consumer electronics and technology companies and organizations welcome the approval by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) of the MPEG REL, its first digital rights management (DRM) standard.
ISO MPEG REL is an XML-based Rights Expression Language used to specify terms and conditions for the authorized distribution and use of any digital content. This rich language will be used not only in the entertainment industry, but also by enterprises and individuals to enable the authorized distribution and persistent protection of valuable data and content in accordance with privacy and confidentiality requirements. ISO MPEG REL is the first in a set of DRM industry standards to be established by ISO and is an important step forward in building worldwide, robust trust ecosystems for digital content. Other technologies being standardized include metadata, asset identification and aspects of security, protection and trust management.
Since 1988 MPEG has produced several key standards including MPEG-2, which helped advance interoperability in the delivery and consumption of multimedia entertainment over the Internet and through electronic devices. Today, an overwhelming majority of all video content, whether for entertainment or the corporate enterprise, uses MPEG standards.
Started in 2001, the ISO MPEG REL standard is a critical component of the MPEG-21 Multimedia Framework, the next key set of standards which will enable participants in the digital content value-chain to give consumers greater flexibility and access to digital content. Work on the ISO MPEG REL continues in various industry venues to define specific business terms, using this REL to support new usage models in areas such as: Web services, education, mobile, security, publishing, media and entertainment.
The ISO MPEG REL standard:
supports a wide variety of business models in the digital content distribution value-chain independent of content type or industry;
provides an extremely flexible authorization model to describe what the consumer or user is permitted to do with the content;
is independent of formats, products, security technology or other DRM system components;
enables automated multi-tier distribution of digital content while protecting the rights of the content owners and the interests of the users;
is a precise, unambiguous, machine-readable language that can be used in conjunction with other industry standards, including those addressing Web services; and
is ready for immediate implementation to support digital content sales or the distribution of enterprise information.
OCLC ResearchGoogling DSpace
An item in The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a test is underway to allow searchers to use Google to search the institutional repositories of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and 16 other institutions. OCLC Research is working with Google and MIT to periodically harvest interested DSpace users' metadata and transform it into a harvest-friendly format, resolve the handles so that institutions can be identified, and make the resulting URLs harvestable by search services such as Google.
Much of the scholarly material on the Web is missed by harvesters. This includes metadata in Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) repositories, which DSpace uses. Google has several problems harvesting OAI repositories, which are different from standard Web pages. In addition, the standard DSpace uses the Handle system (www.handle.net) for identifying items, which (purposely) mask the identity of the host, making harvesting difficult to schedule. The OAI protocol uses possibly non-persistent URLs to link pages of metadata. This also interferes with standard methods of harvesting.
OCLC Research will periodically harvest OAI-compliant metadata from the institutional repositories of interested DSpace users. OCLC Research will convert the harvested metadata into a format suitable for re-harvesting by non-OAI services.
DSpace Harvesting project: www.oclc.org/research/projects/dspace/default.htm
DSpace Federation: www.dspace.org/
How People Use Electronic Information ResourcesNew Two-Year Study Launched
Researchers at the Ohio State University and OCLC Online Computer Library Center are conducting a new study to find out how and why students and faculty members use electronic information sources to do research and solve problems. The project is a collaboration between OCLC and the Ohio State University, and is supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The two-year study will run through Dececember 31, 2005.
While researchers know a lot about who tends to use electronic resources and what resources they use, very few studies have addressed the process of how users recognize their need for information (the "whys" of information seeking) and the processes they go through to find the information (the "hows"). This study will focus on college and university library users' information-seeking behaviors and information, and seek answers to questions that in the long run will help users of all types of electronic research resources, such as the Internet and e-books. The researchers will investigate why and how people use electronic information, how system design features affect how well systems meet the needs of users, and how system design features affect the actual use of systems.
Project Web site at the Ohio State University: http://imlsosuoclcproject.jcomm.ohio-state.edu/
NSF Information Technology Innovation SurveyNow Available
In order to better understand the current state of information technology (IT) and IT-based innovation within the USA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) commissioned the Information Technology Innovation Survey (ITIS) in March 1999. The completed survey has been released by the NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics and is publicly available in html and pdf formats.
Objectives of the survey included:
developing nationally representative profiles of corporate information technology innovators and users;
providing the means for comparative analyses among similar national studies conducted by other countries; and
providing data for use by policymakers to assist in understanding the complex nature of development and use of information technology as related to formulating policy, regulatory reform, and other issues.
Innovation was defined for purposes of this study as the "development of technologically new or significantly improved products and processes." Innovation was considered as IT-based if information technology was a significant or critical component to the development of products or processes.
Knowledge Lost in InformationReport from NSF Workshop Released
Ronald L. Larsen and Howard D. Wactlar have released their NSF funded report entitled "Knowledge lost in information". The report is based on an NSF workshop held in June 2003. It lays out a framework for investing in digital library technology and expertise. The authors hypothesize that "humanity's ability to generate and collect data exceeds our ability to organize, manage and effectively use it." The authors call for more investment on the part of the NSF into research and infrastructure.
Final report: www.sis.pitt.edu/~dlwkshop/report.pdf
Metasearch EnginePresents Results as Interactive Maps
KartOO is a metasearch engine with visual display interfaces. KartOO launches the searcher's query to a set of search engines, gathers the results, compiles them and represents them in a series of interactive maps through a proprietary algorithm. Nodes on the maps are linked to each other by common terms, which the searcher can add and remove to further restrict the search graphically. The links between the nodes are color-coded, allowing the searcher to see how terms relate different sites, and nodes are displayed by size, according to relevance to the search term. KartOO v4, the most recent release, allows personalization of results according to the user's interests and previous searches. The user has permanent access to this history, which enables him or her to easily find the sites found by previous searches. Favorite maps and associated description files can be sent easily by e-mail.
ARTstorAnnounces Availability of Digital Image Resource
ARTstor, a non-profit initiative founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has announced the availability of its Digital Library to non-profit educational and cultural institutions in the USA starting this summer, for a participation fee. ARTstor was established with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching and learning in the arts and associated fields.
The ARTstor Digital Library comprises digital images and related data, the tools to make active use of those images, and an online environment intended to balance the interests of users with those of content providers. ARTstor's "Charter Collection" will contain approximately 300,000 digital images of visual material from different cultures and disciplines, and it seeks to offer sufficient breadth and depth to support a wide range of non-commercial educational and scholarly activities. The Charter Collection is anticipated to grow to half a million images by the summer of 2006.
The Charter Collection is meant to serve as a campus-wide resource that is focused on, but not limited to, the arts. It documents artistic and historical traditions across many time-periods and cultures and has been derived from several source collections that are themselves the product of collaborations with libraries, museums, photographic archives, publishers, slide libraries, and individual scholars. Source collections include:
The Image Gallery. A collection of 200,000 images of world art and culture corresponding to the contents of a university slide library, constructed in response to college teaching needs. Since the images have been cataloged with subject headings, they will be useful both to those in the arts and in many other fields.
The Carnegie Arts of the United States. A widely used collection of images documenting aspects of the history of US art, architecture, visual and material culture.
The Huntington Archive of Asian Art. A broad photographic overview of the art of Asia from 3000BC through the present.
The Illustrated Bartsch. A collection derived from the art reference publication of the same name, containing images and data related to more than 50,000 old master European prints from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries.
The Mellon International Dunhuang Archive. High resolution images of wall paintings and sculpture from the Buddhist cave shrines in Dunhuang, China, along with related objects and art from the caves that are now in museums and libraries in Europe and the USA.
The MoMA Architecture and DesignCollection. A comprehensive collection of high resolution images representing the holdings of the Department of Architecture and Design of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
ARTstor has developed software tools that will allow users at participating institutions to use its Charter Collection without the need for any other software. Users will be able to view and analyze images through features such as zooming and panning. They will be able to save groups of images for personal or group use, as well as for use in lectures and other presentation, either online or off-line.
ARTstor Web site: www.artstor.org
Gutenberg Bible Web siteOpens up the West's Earliest Printed Book
A Web site allowing scholars, historians and anyone interested in the history and significance of printing to explore in detail the British Library's rare copies of the Gutenberg Bible – the oldest surviving printed book produced in the Western World – was launched in March 2004. On the site are digital images of the entire text of the library's two copies of Johann Gutenberg's Bible, the first book to be printed using the technique of printing that Gutenberg invented in the 1450s.
The library first made its Gutenberg Bibles available on the Web in November 2000. The pages received one million visits or "hits" in the first six months, showing the popularity and huge interest in this icon of early printing. This and the success of the launch of the entire text of the first two editions of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales on the Web in autumn 2003 encouraged the library to make the Gutenberg site accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The library's Gutenberg Web site is the result of a unique collaboration with Japan's Keio University and NTT Inc. A team of ten researchers and technical experts from Japan digitized the library's copies of the Gutenberg Bible using new digital technology designed specifically for use with rare books.
The site has been designed by leading interactive consultancy Oyster Partners to offer detailed information for scholars and general visitors alike. In it Web users can view the digital versions of the two copies and compare them, highlighting the differences between them. Using the Web site readers can magnify images of the Bibles' pages, allowing them to examine details not visible on the original printed copies. The site gives the opportunity to compare differences in the print quality and illumination and in the color and texture of the library's paper and vellum copies.
New background material allows the viewer to find out about Gutenberg, the world in which he lived, how he produced the Bible and the various texts he printed. There is also a section about the digitization of the Gutenberg Bibles. Other Web resources on Gutenberg appear in the links and further reading in references. A timeline sets out Gutenberg's life, main achievements and milestones in the subsequent history of the library's two copies of the Bible.
Online Exhibit and Image DatabaseShow-cases Historic Educational Visual Aids
Education by Design is an online exhibit and image database of educational visual aids produced by the Museum Extension Project (MEP), a division of the New Deal jobs creation program, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and owned by the Bienes Center for the Literary Arts at Broward County Library in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The digitization of these historic artifacts was made possible through a National Leadership grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning.
The database contains over 700 historic educational visual aids and was created for use by tax-supported schools, libraries and museums during the late 1930s to early 1940s by the WPA's Museum Extension Project. The digitization of these historic artifacts was made possible through a National Leadership grant from the IMLS.
Education by Design Web site: http://digital.browardlibrary.org/wpa/
National Image LibraryOffers Searchable Archives of Public Domain Images
The National Image Library, a database of public domain images containing still photo images of wildlife, plants, National Wildlife Refuges and other scenic images, as well as wildlife management work, is being offered through the US Fish and Wildlife Service's online digital media library. The USFWS plans to expand their digital library with additional media collections in the future.
National Image Library Web site: http://images.fws.gov/
Museums and the Web 2004Papers Online
Papers of the Museums and the Web 2004 Conference (MW2004), held March 31-April 3, 2004, are now available online. Speakers from around the world presented peer-reviewed papers exploring all aspects of the creation, development, maintenance and evaluation of Web sites in museums, cultural and heritage organizations.
DigiStatesListserv for Collaborative Cultural Heritage Digitization Projects
DigiStates is a discussion list for individuals who are working on collaborative (i.e. multi-institutional) projects for the digitization of cultural heritage resources. They have subscribers from most active statewide projects in the USA. Subscribers from statewide and regional projects that are still in the planning stages are also welcome. They also welcome individuals from other countries who are involved in multi-institutional projects. Subscription is limited to individuals from non-commercial organizations.
Subscription information: http://lists.mdch.org/bin/listinfo/digistates