New & Noteworthy

Library Hi Tech News

ISSN: 0741-9058

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "New & Noteworthy", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 21 No. 9.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New & Noteworthy

NISOFuture of NISO Is Topic of Blue Ribbon Panel

With a charter to evaluate the progress, challenges, and opportunities of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), 11 experts from industry, academia, and the library community have accepted seats on NISO's Blue Ribbon Panel. Clifford Lynch has agreed to chair the Panel, which will play a central role in the yearlong strategic planning exercise launched by NISO's Board of Directors in May 2004. The Mellon Foundation has provided funding in support of the Panel. The Panel's formal report will be open for public review and comment later this year.

Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information, has earned recognition in the information community for his contributions to awareness and understanding of issues facing digital libraries, such as digital rights management and digital preservation. In accepting the role of Panel Chair, he stated, "The landscape for making and using standards has changed drastically in the last few years, raising new issues and choices for NISO. A key goal of this panel is to take a dispassionate, external, and multi-dimensional look at this landscape to offer guidance and frame possible futures for the NISO board, and I am sure I speak for everyone on the panel in saying that we are glad to be of help to NISO at this important juncture in its organizational evolution."

In addition to Lynch, NISO's Blue Ribbon Panel includes (in alphabetical order) Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President of Research, OCLC, Inc.; Karen Hunter, Senior Vice President, Elsevier Science, New York, NY; Ron Larsen, Dean, School of Information Services, University of Pittsburgh; Sarah Ann Long, Director of the North Suburban Library System, Wheeling, Illinois; Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services, Library of Congress; Eric Miller, Semantic Web Activity Lead, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); Kent Smith, Retired, former Deputy Director, National Library of Medicine; Diana Oblinger, Vice President for EDUCAUSE; Jenny Walker, Vice President Marketing and Business Development, Information Services Division, Ex Libris (USA), Newton, MA; and Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NISO, a non-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information in our changing and ever-more digital environment. NISO standards apply both traditional and new technologies to the full range of information-related needs, including retrieval, re-purposing, storage, metadata, and preservation.

KFTFUnderstanding How People Manage Their Information

Keeping Found Things FoundTM (KFTF) is a research project of the Information School at the University of Washington, funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Their current research project, Phase I of a three-year project, focuses on the KFTF problem in the context of World Wide Web use. It focuses on investigations of three types of users who make heavy use of the World Wide Web for work-related information gather information professions, researchers, and managers. Follow-on projects will look at variations of the KFTF problem as these occur for e-mail, electronic files and paper files.

For purposes of the project, KFTF is defined as a follow-on problem to the classic information retrieval problem – helping people find the relatively small number of things they are looking for (books, articles, web pages, CDs, etc.) from a very large set of possibilities. KFTF is looking at the question: once found, how are things organized for re-access and re-use later on? What can be done to avoid the need to repeat the process by which the information was found in the first place? The project staff are using online surveys to investigate specific questions and results of the surveys are available from the web site as well as a variety of papers and presentations on their findings.

Keeping Found Things Found web site:

Eyetrack IIIResearch Study Looks through the Eyes of Web Page Readers

In late 2003, the Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media, and Eyetools Inc. took 46 internet users and looked through their eyes – utilizing sophisticated and non-intrusive "eyetracking" equipment – as they each spent an hour reading news web sites and multimedia news content. The researchers used the Eyetools Analysis Solution Suite to capture and process the data and looked to the company's experts to help compile the initial findings, recently made available on the Eyetrack III web site. Among the key findings:

  • The user's eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right.

  • Photographs, contrary to what might be expected, typically get less attention than text on the PC screen – both in order viewed and in overall time spent looking.

  • Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning.

  • Navigation placed at the top of a homepage performed best – that is, it was seen by the highest percentage of test subjects and looked at for the longest duration.

  • Shorter paragraphs performed better’in Eyetrack III research than longer ones, i.e. stories with short paragraphs received twice as many overall eye fixations as those with longer paragraphs.

Details on the study, including more specific findings related to homepage design, article-page design, and multi-media content, are available at the Eyetrack III web

UCSD and NYU LibrariesTo Develop a Comprehensive Archival Management Tool

The University of California, San Diego Libraries and the New York University Libraries, working together with the Five Colleges Libraries, have been awarded an $847,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support development and implementation of the Archivists' Toolkit. The Toolkit will be a suite of open source software tools for processing and managing archival information. Its objective is to decrease the time and cost associated with archival processing and to promote the standardization of archival information. Early implementation of the Toolkit will focus on small to medium-sized repositories for which resources and staffing are comparatively limited.

The Archivists' Toolkit will address and integrate a broad range of archival functions; it will provide a single, consistent, and reliable tool for managing collection processing, accessioning, description, resource location, and provenance registration. In addition, the Toolkit will provide the archivist with a variety of outputs, including Encoded Archival Description (EAD) encoded finding aids and Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) records. Automating such outputs will considerably lessen the cost now expended on producing them.

To ensure the development of a truly comprehensive software tool, the Archivists' Toolkit will be developed with the input of 17 archival repositories that represent a broad range of workflows, sizes, materials, staffing, and resources. The $847,000 awarded by the Mellon Foundation will support the first two-year phase of the project. Project management will be based in the UCSD Libraries. Software development will take place at NYU, in collaboration with a design team comprising staff from the UCSD, NYU, and Five Colleges Libraries. In addition, a project oversight committee and an advisory board have been established to ensure standards compliance and superior design, and to foster widespread adoption of the Toolkit. Members of the advisory board include: Robin Chandler (California Digital Library), Michael Fox (Minnesota Historical Society), Lee Mandell (Harvard University), Merrilee Proffitt (Research Libraries Group), Guenter Waibel (Research Libraries Group), and Beth Yakel (University of Michigan).

Full press release:

Heritage Health IndexA Survey of Preservation Needs

More than 15,000 collecting institutions nationwide have been given the opportunity to contribute to the Heritage Health Index, a survey that will result in the first comprehensive picture of the condition and preservation needs of US collections. The survey arrived at institutions in mid August 2004. Heritage Preservation is conducting the Heritage Health Index in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In addition to support from IMLS, the Heritage Health Index has received major funding from the Getty and additional support from the Henry Luce Foundation, Bay Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Peck Stacpoole Foundation, and Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The Heritage Health Index will assess collections in all media, in all formats held by archives, historical societies, libraries, museums, and scientific organizations in every state and US territory. A high level of participation from institutions of all types and sizes is needed to ensure that the results are an accurate representation of the full range of the nation's collections. The results and recommendations of the Heritage Health Index will be publicized widely and distributed to national and state policy makers. The Heritage Health Index was planned with advice from 35 national associations and federal agencies whose constituents are collecting institutions, and written in consultation with more than 60 leading conservation, preservation, and collections management professionals. The questionnaire includes all major issues related to the care of collections. Institutions that tested the questionnaire reported that it was a comprehensive self-assessment that helped them gather information useful in long-range preservation plans and funding requests. The Heritage Health Index data will give collecting institutions and their leadership a context in which to view their collections' condition and preservation needs.

More information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Heritage Health Index are available on the Heritage Preservation Web site at

Cornell University LibraryTo Distribute its Open Source Electronic Publishing System

Cornell University Library is developing an open source publication management system that will provide authors and publishers with a more affordable way to publish scholarly research on the web. In making its Digital Publishing System (DPubS) software available to libraries, university presses, and other independent publishers, Cornell will expand opportunities for creative communication among scholars around the world. Cornell has received a $670,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance and extend its innovative electronic publishing software called DPubS. Cornell originally created the DPubS software for Project Euclid, another Mellon Foundation-supported initiative which has aided independent publishers of mathematics and statistics journals in making the transition from print to electronic publishing. Librarians and information technology specialists at Cornell will now re-engineer DPubS as a general-purpose platform to support electronic publishing of scholarly literature in diverse fields. DPubS will support peer review, have extensive administrative functionality, and will provide interoperability with other open source repository systems such as Fedora™ and DSpace.

Cornell Library is collaborating with the University Libraries and the University Press at Pennsylvania State University to test and refine DPubS. The DPubS beta version will be available in 2005, with final release scheduled for 2006. An initial meeting to elicit development recommendations from interested libraries and publishers is scheduled for late October at Cornell.

Institutions and organizations interested in using DPubS should contact David Ruddy,, the project's manager at Cornell.

Full press release:

MDIDNew Version of MDID Software Available

James Madison University has announced the initial release to the general public of the new version of the Madison Digital Image Database (MDID 2) software. Developed at James Madison University, the MDID system brings the digital image library into the teaching and learning process. The software is freely available for download from the MDID web site, which also provides an online demo and more information about MDID 2. Continuing the tradition of a shared educational software resource, MDID 2 is distributed free of charge under an open source license.

New features in MDID 2:

  • Multiple collections and custom catalogs.

  • Cross-collection searching.

  • Personal collections and favorites.

  • Enhanced light table.

  • Flexible slideshow management.

  • Enhanced slideshow viewer.

  • Packaged slideshows for offline viewing.

  • Data exchange through XML.

MDID 2 development was funded in part by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

MDID web site:

New Web-Based UtilityFor Generating USMARC Bibliographic Records

Mark Jordan, Acting Coordinator of Library Systems at Simon Fraser University has announced the availability of cufts2marc (, a web-based utility for generating title-level USMARC bibliographic records for the ejournal collections described in the CUFTS link resolver knowledgebase ( CUFTS, which contains current title lists for approximately 240 ejournal collections, is part of the researcher suite of open source tools ( for locating and managing electronic information resources, developed at Simon Fraser University on behalf of the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (

Records produced by cufts2marc include the following: vendor-provided title, print ISSN, E ISSN, title-level URLs, extent information, and embargo periods. Users can also add a number of optional control and note fields. The records do not include alternative titles, publisher, call numbers, or subject headings.

cufts2marc is based on jake2marc, which was released in mid-2000 but which has not been updated since late-2001. At that time, a number of people made useful suggestions on how to improve jake2marc, and these suggestions have been incorporated into cufts2marc.

More information is available at

Information Visualization SoftwareFor Creating "Visual Spreadsheets"

Tableau Software is a maker of visual interfaces for databases. The software is designed to provide a simple query and analysis interface for creating interactive summaries and reports of data stored in databases. Their products enable users who have varying levels of skill to interact with databases of any size using drag and drop visualizations of what they want to see. The software works on MS Access or Excel databases as well as large data warehouses. The products are based on six years of research at Stanford University's Department of Computer Science.

Tableau Software web site:

kozoruNew Search Engine Intends to Provide Answers, not Just Results

kozoru is building a natural language search system that will allow people to ask real questions and get real answers. This approach is fundamentally different from the results-focused, keyword systems of Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others, which give users pages on pages of results to sift through. kozoru's system will rank information by giving dictionaries, encyclopedias and news stories more credibility than subjective sources, thereby establishing confidence and authority.

The company is led by John’S.’Flowers, founder of nCircle Network Security, one of the top private network security companies in the world.

"With kozoru, we're creating a way for information to reach its full potential," said Flowers. "Our system will streamline the search process in a very common sense way so people can find relevant, accurate information in record time. The keyword approach of our competitors represents a system that is unsustainable. We believe questions and answers are the future."

Currently in the initial stages of research and development, kozoru intends to create a entirely new platform for language-based search, because there is currently no intuitive way for people to find the right answer to real questions using modern search technology. kozoru's solution will be applicable across the vast spectrum of information. kozoru is located in Overland Park, Kansas and is privately held.

Beta VersionOf Creative Commons Search Now Online

Creative Commons is a non-profit corporation founded on the notion that some people may not want to exercise all of the intellectual property rights the law affords them. The first project undertaken by Creative Commons is to offer the public, free of charge, a set of copyright licenses sturdy enough to withstand a court's scrutiny, simple enough for non-lawyers to use, and yet sophisticated enough to be identified by various web applications.

A new project offers a way for users to find licensed works and easily understand their license terms. A prototype version of a focused search tool that only finds material with a Creative Commons license is now online. This search engine will help find photos, music, text, books, educational material, and more that is free to share or build on. The search engine is powered by Nutch open source search technology, and is free to use.

opensourceCMSTest Drive Open Source Content Management Systems

opensourceCMS provides a place where prospective users can completely test content management systems in one place, before taking the time to install one. The site facilitates complete testing of features and functions on a long list of php/mysql based free and open source CMS. The web site contains lots of links to related information and sources and provides a forum for discussion of the software and issues.

Web site:

ERICNew ERIC Web Site Débuts

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) is a digital library of education-related resources, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the US Department of Education. ERIC's mission is to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-use, searchable, internet-based bibliographic and full-text database of education research and information that also meets the requirements of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002.

September 1, 2004, marked the introduction of the new ERIC web site. The new site provides users with increased search capabilities utilizing simple, streamlined retrieval methods to access the existing ERIC bibliographic database (1966-2004). For example, users are now able to quickly refine search results through the use of keywords, publication date, publication type, or the ERIC thesaurus. In addition, the web site provides users with the capability to save and rerun searches using the My ERIC personalization feature.

On October 1, 2004, ERIC will introduce, for the first time, free full-text non-journal ERIC resources. These materials include more than 105,000 full-text documents authorized for electronic ERIC distribution during 1993-July 2004, previously sold through E*Subscribe from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). EDRS, which also sells the ERIC microfiche, is scheduled to close operations on September 30, 2004.

In December, ERIC will add new bibliographic records and full-text journal and non-journal resources published in 2004. Newly indexed materials that are not available free-of-charge will be made accessible through database links to commercial sources. ERIC will continue to add features and enhancements to the system in the coming months.

MatapihiOpens a Window on to New Zealand Digital Collections

Matapihi provides access to around 50,000 images, sounds and objects covering subjects from art to architecture, birds to battalions related to New Zealand. Matapihi gives people one-stop access to the digital collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland City Libraries, Christchurch City Libraries and Otago Museum. Although Matapihi seamlessly displays multiple collections, its underlying architecture is distributed. At its heart is a metadata repository that is hosted by the National Library. Only metadata is stored centrally: all digitized items (including thumbnails) remain with the partner organizations. The metadata records that are contributed contain URLs for the digital objects available on the partner web sites.

Matapihi is a collaborative project of the National Digital Forum, consisting of museums, archives, art galleries, educational institutions, libraries and government departments working together to enhance access to New Zealand's digital culture and heritage. It has been built to grow as new partners come on board. It is one step towards achieving the New Zealand government's vision for New Zealand to be "a world leader at using information and technology", as set out in the Draft Digital Strategy.

Matapihi database:

Project information:

Digital LibraryOn North Carolina History and Fiction

Joyner Library of Eastern Carolina University announced the public release of the North Carolina History and Fiction Digital Library (NCH&FDL) funded by a 2003-2004 NC ECHO Digitization Grant. The site includes approximately 200 digitized texts and maps pertaining to the history of 29 counties in eastern North Carolina and works of fiction that relate to some of those areas. This project was partially supported with federal LSTA funds made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. The NCH&FDL project was also awarded additional support through the Content Star Search Award from ApexCoVantage (formerly Apex ePublishing) to develop an enhanced Dare County page through a partnership with the Outer Banks History Center.

NCH&FDL web site:

Technical specification information:

NISOUnderstanding Metadata

Understanding Metadata, an introduction to metadata that includes an overview of leading metadata contenders and examples of practical applications, is now available as a free download from the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). The publication covers a range of fundamentals, from a definition of metadata and descriptions of the types of metadata, to creating metadata and future directions.

In brief, the 20-page publication defines metadata as "structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource." Essentially, it is data about data, or information about information.

"Metadata can describe resources at any level of aggregation," noted Pat’Harris, Executive Director of NISO. "It can describe a collection, a single resource, or a component part of a larger resource, such as a photo in an article. It's key to ensuring that resources will survive and continue to be accessible into the future."

CDLGlossary of Digital Library Jargon now Available

The California Digital Library (CDL) is now providing an extensive glossary of terms and jargon related to digital libraries as part of its Digital Library Building Blocks, an extensive collection of resources related to the best practices, standards and other tools related to digital library operations.

The glossary is subdivided into the following categories:

  • CDL and UC terms.

  • Digital objects.

  • Interface customization tools.

  • Library and technology.

  • Linking services.

  • Metasearching.

  • Preservation.

  • XML.

Inside CLD Glossary:

New Digital Reference Documents AvailableRUSA Virtual Reference Services Guidelines

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Libraries Association (ALA) has approved the release of a new document "Guidelines for implementing and maintaining virtual reference services". These guidelines were prepared by the RUSA MARS Digital Reference Guidelines Ad Hoc Committee, composed of:

  • John Glace, Ocean County (NJ) Library System.

  • Kathleen Kern, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (co-chair).

  • Lori Morse, Free Library of Philadelphia.

  • Janice Rice, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Jana Ronan, University of Florida.

  • Bernie Sloan, University of Illinois (co-chair).

  • Kristine Stacey-Bates, Iowa State University.

From the introduction to the document: "The purpose of these guidelines is to assist libraries and consortia with implementing and maintaining virtual reference services. The guidelines are meant to provide direction, without being over-prescriptive. Variance among institutions will result in differences in the adherence to these guidelines, but the committee hopes to have cast the model broadly enough to provide a framework for virtual reference which can be widely adopted and which will endure through many changes in the ways in which libraries provide virtual reference services."


Draft Set of Core CompetenciesFor Digital Reference Education and Practice

The Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) Advisory Board has drafted a set of core competencies for digital reference education and practice that is now posted on the DREI site. "Rubrics for digital reference service providers" is a working document and the board welcomes comments and suggestions from the virtual reference community. The rubrics have been developed to aid in the teaching of virtual reference to LIS students, as well as to act as a guide for the hiring, training, and assessment of practicing librarians and reference staff with digital reference responsibilities.


DREI web site: //

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