New & Noteworthy

Library Hi Tech News

ISSN: 0741-9058

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



(2004), "New & Noteworthy", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 21 No. 8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New & Noteworthy

EndecaEndeca, TLC and Guided Navigation Technology

The Library Corporation (TLC) has partnered with Endeca Technologies, Inc., a creator of award-winning advanced search and result set(s) navigation technology solutions to assist organizations in managing and making effective use of large, complex data sets. Though most Endeca customers to date have been in the corporate arena, their technology can also be applied to provide a new way for library patrons and employees to search and navigate information in library OPACs.

Endeca provides a solution to one of the problems in current OPACs that of offering a search interface that requires pre-search limiting or that lacks in adequate post-search refinement capabilities, and which does not look or work like Google. Endeca fuses the power of traditional multi-word querying with "Guided navigation," which exposes an array of related terms, headings, and formats, which equips users to find what they are looking for. The Endeca Navigation EngineTM integrates search and navigation by building relationships between structured and unstructured data, allowing for the presentation of related, non-homogenous information sources that formerly needed to be siloed in separate databases with separate search engines. Guided navigation allows the user to start with a broad search term and then to "burrow" both down and across to find related topics. In demonstrations at the recent ALA Annual conference, search results and guide links to narrow, broader and/or related topics, on a database of 500,000 catalog records, were very quickly returned. Endeca products were designed to work on very large datasets and were designed with scalability in mind. P>By building on original work by library scientists like Ranganathan and Taube in faceted classification and faceted "filters", Endeca has developed its technology. According to Endeca's Matt Eichner, "At Endeca's core is a focus on post-coordinate indexing systems utilizing orthogonal information facets - attempting to create categories that map to readily identified user concepts - so users can quickly construct whatever path reflects their priorities, or how they approach the question, in order to find information. The result is a capacity to dynamically construct a virtually infinite number of taxonomies (in our library demo, for instance, there are far greater than 1 trillion paths through the data). The value to the user is that they never hit dead ends, and yet they are not forced to interpret a fixed set of paths created by pre-coordinate indexes."

TLC customers will be able to incorporate this next-generation OPAC as an add-on option to their library's existing OPAC. Endeca will be available to CARL.Solution and Library.Solution users in the fall of 2004.

Endeca is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was founded in 1999 to transform the online search and navigation experience so that people can easily access the full breadth and depth of large data sets. Viewed in the context of information integration and navigation, Endeca technology not only allows users to find what they are looking for, but also to discover the possibilities they never knew existed along the way. Endeca powers information discovery for knowledge-dependent organizations including the US Library of Congress, Barnes & Noble, Harvard Business School, IBM, and World Book, Inc.

Endeca Navigation EngineTM Technical Overview: Endeca Web site:

TLC Web site:

CLS Installs Media Dashboards on Library Workstations

The Caltech Library System (CLS) of the California Institute of Technology is installing media dashboards on all of its full service library workstations. The dashboards provide accessible jacks for a wide variety of devices, including headphones, thumb drives, and various media from digital cameras. Zip drives, which use the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port, are available for in-library use from the Circulation Desks. The visibility and accessibility of the peripheral connections on the front of the workstation case provides an improved environment for Caltech community members to use the library's many resources.

BASE - Bielefeld Academic Search Engine Demonstrator Now Available

Bielefeld University Library has been working over a year on a proof-of-concept for search engine technology and its potential use in digital libraries and scholarly information portals. The library is pleased to offer first public access to a first prototype of the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). BASE starts with the "Digital collections" demonstrator, which provides integrated access to distributed collections of various types and formats (digitized collections, institutional repositories, pre-print-servers, electronic journals etc.). A "BASE mathematics" demonstrator will be following shortly.

The demonstrators give only a first glance on the potential of search engine technology in the context of scholarly search and retrieval services. The underlying indexing technology of the FAST company has only partially been exploited and system components like the linguistic modules have not been implemented yet. Further activities, that are scheduled for evaluation, implementation or development include among others:

  • The extension of the current index structure which is mainly built on the 15 Dublin Core fields.

  • The optimizing of ranking algorithms’for scientifically relevant documents.

  • Implementation and customization of existing linguistic features to support intelligent querying.

  • The development of intelligent and flexible search-/navigation and retrieval interfaces.

The set-up of BASE is grounded on a strategic collaboration of Bielefeld University Library and Fast Search & Transfer ASA, one of the market leaders for intelligent search technology. FAST, an off-shoot of the Norwegian National University of Technology, is based in Oslo with branches in some European countries, the USA, and Japan. Research laboratories are located in Norway and at the universities of Munich (Germany), Cornell and Penn State. FAST technology has been the indexing technology for the AllTheWeb Internet search index.

Beyond the technology of FAST, a wide range of programming languages and open source software tools have been used, mainly for the following work steps areas of the data workflow: data loading (OAI-Harvester, database connectors etc.), pre-processing (Perl, XSLT) and processing (Python). The technology used to create search- and retrieval interfaces is PHP.

The strategic vision for the deployment of intelligent search engine technology for the discovery of the academic internet and use within digital libraries and scholarly information portals has been described in an article, published in the June 2004 issue of D-Lib Magazine.

Endeavor Announces New Systems to Support E-Resource Management, Inter-System Circulation

At the Annual Conference of the American Library Association in June 2004, Endeavor Information Systems unveiled two new systems currently in development.

Meridian: new system for management of electronic resources

Endeavor Meridian, a new library software system for the efficient, effective and economic management of all types of electronic resources, provides vital e-resource information to the library's users while alleviating the headaches of the back-office administration of these materials.

Endeavor conducted extensive research before developing the Meridian system, including interviews with representatives of nearly 70 libraries from North America, Europe and Australia. Endeavor also introduced three development partners for the Endeavor Meridian system development - Columbia University Libraries, New York, New York; the University of Pittsburgh University Library System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Princeton University Library, Princeton, New Jersey - noting the rewards of collaborating with libraries that are heavily involved with the management of e-resources.

Designed with the assistance of the Elsevier User Centered Design Group, specialists who analyze human to computer interaction, the Endeavor Meridian prototype features an entirely Web-based interface. The system's functionality is guided by the requirements outlined by the Digital Library Federation's Electronic Resource Management Initiative and interacts with integrated library systems, like Endeavor's Voyager, for MARC and acquisitions data. In addition, librarians will be able to take advantage of information available from aggregators, local databases or data management utilities with an easy-to-use data import feature.

Cooperative Development allows Voyager ILS interactions with disparate systems

Voyager InterCirc is a new system to provide circulation interaction between the Voyager integrated library management system and disparate consortia borrowing services from non-Endeavor providers. Voyager InterCirc is a technology for libraries to provide inter-system circulation services in the union catalog environment.

Voyager InterCirc provides opportunities for Voyager libraries that join state or province-wide union catalogs and consortium-wide borrowing and lending projects that use non-Endeavor consortium resource sharing systems. With Voyager InterCirc, Voyager libraries can choose the partnerships and solutions that best meet the needs of their end-users.

Voyager InterCirc utilizes, but is not limited to, standard protocols. When applicable, Voyager InterCirc incorporates Endeavor's work with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Circulation Interchange Protocol (CIP), commonly called the NCIP standard. In other cases where consortium borrowing systems are not NCIP-compliant, Endeavor is developing Voyager InterCirc to communicate with proprietary practices to deliver end-user benefits.

MI-DTB Project Explores Digital Talking Book Options

The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, OverDrive Inc., and TAP Information Services are teaming up to undertake the MI-DTB Project. The purpose of the MI-DTB Project is to build a sizable, current collection of digital books in various formats in order to improve and accelerate access to digital materials by the visually impaired. The project will allow the participants to gain real-world experience with the technological, human factors, economic, organizational, and political challenges of providing this new type of collection to print-impaired end-users.

Digital talking books in various file formats, including recorded audio and text-to-speech technologies, will be included in the creation and use of the collection. Techniques and strategies for accelerating the adoption and diffusion of Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY)-enabled content will be explored. The DAISY is a worldwide standard that is designed to make content accessible to all.

Both digitally recorded narrated books and text-to-speech technologies will be tested, using a variety of distribution media (e.g. CD and direct delivery of files over the Internet), as well as a variety of playback devices. A particular emphasis of the study will be on costs and challenges associated with converting more e-content to DAISY format. All technologies supporting accessible digital content will be examined and tested, including file types, content suppliers, distribution systems, memory media, software, and playback devices.

The MI-DTB ("My DTB") Project launched on July 1, 2004 and conclude on June 30, 2005. The project will serve as a replicable model for how talking book centers and libraries nationwide can mediate between content providers and end-users to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information.

MI-DTB Project:

The DAISY Consortium:

That All May Read NLS Prepares for Transition from Analog to Digital

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers the free program that loans recorded and braille books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print, and specially designed playback equipment to residents of the USA who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical impairment. The program was established in 1931 and is funded annually by Congress.

NLS continues to prepare for a transition from an analog to a digital format for its audio materials. While analog cassette technology has been the backbone of the program for many years, it is now outdated in several respects and is nearing the end of its useful life. Compared to the cassette-based system, digital audio technology offers significant improvements to patrons of the program, network libraries, and NLS. NLS has therefore determined to implement digital audio technology as the framework of the future system. NLS has investigated three types of digital media:

  1. 1.


  2. 2.

    magnetic hard drive; and

  3. 3.

    flash memory.

Based on an evaluation of the relevant technological and economic characteristics of these three media types taken in tandem with the operational environment of the program, NLS has concluded that at this time a flash memory-based delivery system is the best alternative. Following a decade and more of research and the establishment of solid technical foundations, the actual transition to patron use of digital materials is expected to begin in four years and require approximately five years to complete.

The Current Strategic Business Plan for the Implementation of Digital Systems (December 2003) provides a detailed description of the proposed plan for delivering digital audio materials to patrons and the steps required to implement it. It discusses the alternative technologies under consideration and the criteria for selecting one, the costs of different approaches to producing and distributing physical media, and the transition process from the old system to the new. The plan is available online at:

New Public Policy Report On the Challenges to Freedom in the Information Age

Nancy Kranich, senior research Fellow for the Free Expression Policy Project has authored a new report entitled: The Information Commons: A Public Policy Report. This report looks at the importance of the information commons movement as a response to the new forms of forms of information enclosure that have developed with the expansion of digital technology. It outlines the theories and best practices of the growing number of collaborative, interactive, online communities, or "commons," for producing and sharing information, works and discussions. Examples of these "commons" include: software commons, licensing commons, open access scholarly journals, digital repositories, institutional commons, and a wide range of subject matter commons.

The Free Expression Policy Project is part of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. FEPP is supported by grants from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. It provides research and analysis on difficult censorship issues, and seeks free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns.


Free Expression Policy Project Web site:

Online Use and Cost Evaluation New Report Available from EPIC

The Electronic Publishing Initiative from Columbia (EPIC) has released a report on their Online Use and Cost Evaluation Program. Utilizing a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, EPIC conducted an evaluation of online resources. Their goal was to answer questions such as: how are digital projects affecting the overall scholarly communications process as a whole in terms of cost throughout the life cycle of the publication process; how is the use of these resources affecting qualitatively and quantitatively the research and teaching patterns of scholars and students; and what are the financial models that will allow for sustainability of digital products over the long term?

The focus groups and surveys looked at the effects on librarians as well as faculty and students of the shift to electronic resources. The conclusions point out the changing patterns of information seeking by searchers with convenience of access taking precedence over quality of the resources, especially in the undergraduate population. This can have significant impact on the services that libraries could be offering in terms of research assistance and instruction. The results highlight the changing role of physical libraries and resulting additional or shifted responsibilities for librarians to meet the demand for more and better access to electronic resources.


EPIC Web site:

TLC Whitepaper on Standards Available

The Library Corporation (TLC) has made available a new whitepaper entitled: Standards in Libraries: What's Ahead: A Guide for Library Professionals about the Library Standards of Today and the Future," authored by Ted Koppel, TLC's manager of Standards Implementation. This paper provides an overview of the structure and application of six standards which are integral to effective interoperability and resource sharing in the library systems environment: the Z39,50 family; Z39.89 (the National Profile); OpenURL; SIP, NCIP and Machine-to-Machine Information Exchange (Remote Control Circulation); Z39.83-2002 (NCIP National Circulation Interchange Protocol); and ISO 10160 (ILL Resource Sharing).

White paper:

CENL Results of Survey of Gabriel Users Available

The Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) has announced the availability of the results of a survey among the users of the Gabriel Web service. Gabriel is the joint Web service of the 43 European national libraries. The user survey was available on the Gabriel Web site between April 16 to July 16, 2003. It was held for the TEL project (, which laid the foundations for a new pan-European online service to search and retrieve the (printed and digital) collections of the national libraries in Europe.

De Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of The Netherlands, is currently developing the TEL project results into an operational service called "The European Library". It will be launched in the beginning of 2005. Gabriel will be incorporated into The European Library.

This survey was set up to get a better profile of the users of Gabriel and their future needs. The users of Gabriel are considered an important target group for The European Library.

In total, 560 people from across Europe responded to the questionnaire. This report gives insight into the background of the respondents (e.g. age, education), their use of the Internet, their use of the Gabriel Web site and their opinions about this site. The respondents were also asked if they would use a shared catalogue of all the national libraries in Europe if that were to be created.

Gabriel Web site:

Results of the user survey:

BlogdexWeblog Research Project

Blogdex is a research project of the MIT Media Laboratory, tracking the diffusion of information through the weblog community. The goal of Blogdex is to explore what it is about information, people, and their relationships that allows for this contagious media. Blogdex uses the links made by Webloggers as a proxy to the things they are talking about. Webloggers typically contextualize their writing with hypertext links which act as markers for the subjects they are discussing, allowing Blogdex to track a piece of conversation as it moves from Weblog to Weblog.

Blogdex crawls all of the Weblogs in its database every time they are updated and collects the links that have been made since the last time it was updated. The system then looks across all Weblogs and generates a list of fastest spreading ideas. For each of these links, further detail is provided as to where the link was found, and at what time.

Blogdex Web site:

PestPatrol New Resource in the War on Spyware/Pestware

PestPatrol, Inc., a provider of anti-spyware software, recently launched the PestPatrol Center for Pest Research (CPR), providing users worldwide with accurate and useful pest information. PestPatrol has been accumulating an extensive knowledge base on malicious code since it emerged as a pioneer in the anti-spyware and anti-adware software category four years ago. CPR's collection process results in an exponentially growing, online library of updated reports on the latest pests as they emerge, including names and descriptions of more than 21,000 types of pests. As a public service, CPR publishes original research and news articles on the most prevalent pests "in the wild." CPR provides computer users with free advice on how to delete malicious code and how to prevent infection.

Center for Pest Research Web site:

Pest Patrol Web site:

Texas Library AssociationLibrary Technology Information Sharing Web Site in Development

The North Texas Regional Library System, Inc., and the Automation and Technology Round Table of the Texas Library Association have announced the development of Library Technology Now, a one-stop resource for library technology news and product reviews written by library people for library people. The Web site, will include product reviews that will outline features and functionality of library technology products. The reviews will also summarize the reviewers' own personal experiences with the products. In addition to the reviews, library technology news will be gathered from around the world and disseminated on a daily basis. The site's target launch date is April 2005. The Web producers of the site are seeking volunteers to write product reviews for the site. They also need people to join both the Web development team and the marketing team. Please e-mail for more information.

Library Technology Now Web site:

OpenRFP New Web Site for Library Software Assessment Tools

OpenRFP is an open marketplace, designed to increase the efficiency of the market for library software. Their goal is to assist librarians in learning about software and to expedite its purchase. This is done by developing and maintaining a database of functional descriptors for library operations and technical processing, linking them to vendor product capabilities using a structured vocabulary. Libraries can examine vendor software capabilities against their specific needs.

OpenRFP is vendor-neutral. They do not evaluate vendor software and recognize that libraries have differing software requirements. They are also creating an online toolkit for assisting librarians in creating RFPs. Assistance is available to libraries, free of charge, both in their needs assessment and in development of their RFPs.

Their current focus is on adding functional descriptors in new areas of development in library technology, such as ERM and Web Portals. Vendors can use OpenRFP as a marketing channel to present information about their products. OpenRFP feels that libraries and vendors will benefit by this improved communication, resulting in lower procurement costs.

OpenRFP Web site:

National ArchivesRedesigned UK National Archives Web site Unveiled

The redesigned Web site for the National Archives Web site incorporates the content of the former Public Record Office and Historical Manuscripts Commission Web sites, following the joining of these two organizations in April 2003.

The redesign incorporates a menu bar across the top of the homepage, which appears throughout the Web site. This is split into the key areas of the Web site. Under each heading another menu appears below with more detailed options.

The Web site provides access to online exhibitions and services provided by the National Archives as well as providing information about their collections and assistance with archival research.

National Archives Web site:

Digital Preservation Program Launches Research Grants Initiative

The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program of the Library of Congress (NDIIPP) is partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the first research grants program specifically to address digital preservation. NSF will administer the program, which will fund cutting-edge research to support the long-term management of digital information. This effort is part of the library's collaborative program to implement a national digital preservation strategy.

The research program announcement coincides with the signing of a memorandum of understanding, to be signed June 16, between the Library of Congress and NSF to collaborate over the next decade in a broad set of research activities related to digital libraries and digital archives. The formalized collaboration arose from a joint Library of Congress and NSF workshop in April 2002 that developed a research agenda in these areas. Through their leadership, NSF and the library will encourage other government agencies to continue research support for improving the state of knowledge and practice of digital libraries and digital archiving. The new Digital Archiving and Long-term Preservation research program, which expects to make approximately $2 million in initial awards using NDIIPP funds, has three main focus areas for which proposals are sought:

  1. 1.

    digital repository models;

  2. 2.

    tools, technologies and processes; and

  3. 3.

    organizational, economic and policy’issues.

The NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems, will issue a call for proposals shortly. Check the NSF Web site at for current information.

WEB4LIBCelebrates its 10th Year

On May 12, WEB4LIB, one of the premier electronic discussion lists for librarians, celebrated its 10th anniversary. As of January 2003, the list had 3,250 subscribers representing 54 countries. Its stated purpose is to serve as a forum for the "discussion of issues relating to the creation, management, and support of library-based World-Wide Web servers, services, and applications." Over the years, its clearly stated policies governing posting policy and behavior guidelines have enabled the forum to maintain a lively yet civil discourse on controversial topics and have served as a model for other lists.

WEB4LIB Web site:

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