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New & Noteworthy
Article Type: New & Noteworthy From: Library Hi Tech News Volume 25 Issue 4
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) recently broadened the offerings of EBSCONET®, the Company's premier e-service platform, to provide detailed information about publisher license agreements.
President of EBSCO Information Services, Allen Powell, remarked, "Our goal is to provide tools that integrate the vast amount of data we maintain for our library customers with systems and workflows that accomplish two key things streamlining e-journal management tasks and helping librarians provide their users with access to every purchased resource. The new EBSCONET license details tool is a key enhancement that moves us further towards this goal".
Eliminating the need to navigate numerous publisher sites to locate license data as well as the need to develop and manage desktop spreadsheets and databases, the new license details feature provides instant answers to commonly asked questions as well as dozens more not so common. For example, librarians can now obtain information regarding publishers' policies on perpetual access and learn whether they can access a journal via their library's proxy server.
While following the E-resource management initiative guidelines in collecting license data, EBSCO has identified, with significant input from customers, a manageable list of 50 key data elements to display on EBSCONET. As a result, librarians can view a standardized version of the terms and conditions of use in various publisher license agreements and link directly to the agreements themselves. With its value-added approach to e-resource management, this innovative license details feature removes much of the burden of researching license information, saving librarians time and frustration while helping them make informed purchasing decisions.
Acquia Unveils Roadmap to Commercially Supported Drupal
In March 2008 Acquia provided new details on plans to deliver a commercially supported distribution and value-added network services based on the popular Drupal open source social publishing system. The company also threw open the doors on Acquia projects, a collaborative environment for Drupal community members to participate in the direction of forthcoming Acquia products and services.
Acquia is an open source software company providing value-added products and services for the popular Drupal social publishing system. Company founders are Dries Buytaert, original Drupal creator and project lead, and Jay Batson, previously founding CEO of open source VOIP software company, Pingtel.
Acquia plans to ship a commercially supported distribution of Drupal, code-named "Carbon". The Carbon distribution will include the Drupal 6 core release and essential extension modules for rapidly assembling compelling social publishing sites and applications. With Carbon in hand, web developers will have fully integrated and tested building blocks for user management, web content management, single or multi-user blogs, wiki collaboration, discussion forums, user-generated content, social networking, and more. In keeping with the spirit of the open source development model, all Acquia-developed Drupal code will be freely licensed under the GPL v2 license and the company will work continuously to merge new features and patches into the main line Drupal project through the established community process.
Acquia plans to provide a range of maintenance and support subscriptions designed to meet the requirements of both individual developers and organizations utilizing the Carbon distribution. Acquia subscriptions will enable customers to harness the full open source power of Drupal without sacrificing the accountability and support of commercial software.
Finally, as part of the initial Acquia subscription offerings, the company plans to introduce an enhanced electronic update notification service, code-named "Spokes", that will automatically provide users of the Acquia distribution with specific and actionable information to maintain system performance, security, and stability. While the current Drupal update module provides unfiltered notifications for all Drupal updates, the Spokes update notification service will provide notifications for updates that have been reviewed for security and compatibility and are supported by Acquia.
The Acquia subscription offerings, Carbon distribution, and the Spokes update notification service are expected for public release in the second half of 2008. To learn more, and to participate in the direction of these and forthcoming Acquia development projects, visit: http://acquia.com/projects
The Drupal social publishing system has been downloaded over 2 million times since its inception, and project growth has doubled annually for several years. Drupal is used to deliver a wide variety of application types including single or multi-user blogs, wikis, community networks, digital media portals, and web content publishing and management. Assisted by a thriving ecosystem of consultants and developers, a diverse list of organizations are using Drupal including SonyBMG, Warner Brothers Records, New York Observer, Forbes, The Onion, Harvard University, and Amnesty International.
Acquia website: http://acquia.com/
Open Source Drupal website: http://drupal.org/
Drupal Association website: http://association.drupal.org/
IU Bloomington Libraries Publish Their First Electronic Journal
Through a partnership that marks a turning point in scholarly publishing at Indiana University, Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Patricia Steele announced in February 2008 the publication of Museum Anthropology Review, the first faculty-generated electronic journal supported by the IU Bloomington Libraries. Museum Anthropology Review showcases a new model for Bloomington faculty to disseminate their scholarly work.
With this pilot test, the IU Bloomington libraries are poised to support the electronic publication of journals, offering faculty editors a low-cost solution to the administrative and publishing functions of managing them. This expands the scope of IUScholarWorks, a set of services to make the work of IU scholars freely available, maximizing exposure and visibility of publications by making articles accessible to search services such as Google Scholar.
Begun in February 2007 as a pilot project using weblog software, Museum Anthropology Review published 64 contributions from scholars worldwide. The works were consulted more than 20,000 times, and for many of the books that were reviewed in the journal, the assessments published in Museum Anthropology Review are the most highly ranked pages in standard Web searches.
IUScholarWorks is a set of services supported by the IU Libraries and the Digital Library Program, a collaborative effort of the IU Libraries and University Information Technology Services. With the IUScholarWorks Journals the goal is to provide server space and to support the use of Open Journal Systems (OJS) as a full-service publishing option for IU scholars who desire local control.
This online publishing system makes it possible to:
work within an open access or fee-based model (subscription or pay-per-view);
track the peer-review process and other administrative functions;
maximize exposure and visibility of publications by making full-text accessible to Google Scholar and other search services;
tailor the appearance and identity of publications; and
operate with IU's institutional repository.
OJS is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research.
More information: http://scholarworks.iu.edu
OJS system: http://pkp.sfu.ca/?q=ojs
University of Manchester Shares Portal Developments with Talis Keystone Customers
Following on from their successful integration of library services with their campus portal, The University of Manchester has released, under an open source licence, the code that enabled them to embed library functionality into their uPortal based campus portal. More than 35,000 students now have live access to their library account information within the campus portal, and with single sign-on, directly access their library management system.
As with all integration solutions some local development is required to use Web Services and tailor the use of those services to meet specific local requirements. Using the tools and support available within the Talis Developer Network (TDN), The University of Manchester developed the code required to successfully integrate library Web Services supplied by Talis Keystone into their uPortal campus portal. The toolkits available in the TDN enable developers to consume Talis Keystone Web Services without having to understand lower level details, and rapidly integrate their library system with other applications with minimum effort. A Talis Keystone sandbox provides a live and accessible instance of Talis Keystone on the Internet for developers to experiment with the Application Programming Interface (API) and try out innovative ideas and real integration solutions within a safe environment.
The University of Manchester is now sharing this work, as open source code, for other institutions to reuse in their Talis Keystone implementations. The modules that they have made available have been published on the TDN.
Ex Libris Integrates Google "Viewability" API
Ex Libris Group announced in March 2008 the successful integration of "About this book" pages from Google Book Search service into Ex Libris products. Using a new "viewability" API supported by Google Book Search, library patrons can now enhance their findings with Google Book Search features such as full text, book previews, cover thumbnails, and a mashup from Google Maps linking pages in a book describing a specific place to its location on the world map. Use of this "viewability" API has been added to the Ex Libris Primo discovery and delivery solution, SFX context-sensitive link resolver, and the Aleph and Voyager integrated library systems.
Libraries running Primo now display a link from an item's detailed view to Google Book Search "About this book" pages when such pages exist. SFX will feature a new Google Book Search target, which will alert users when results from Google Books are available for OpenURL book requests and will link to these results. Links to "About this book" pages will also appear in the full display of a record in Aleph and either the brief or full view in Voyager if there is a match between the results in one of these integrated library systems and Google Book Search.
Ex Libris and several of its customers collaborated closely to develop and implement this feature in their libraries. In less than one week, Ex Libris customer sites including Kansas State University, the University of Iowa, the University of Texas at Austin, and Universita degli Studi di Padova in Italy went live with this exciting new service.
See this Google Book Search service at work at these institutions:
University of Iowa;
Kansas State University;
University of Texas at Austin; and
Università degli Studi di Padova.
Ex Libris website: www.exlibrisgroup.com/
Google Book Search Viewability API information: http://code.google.com/apis/books/
NSF Partners With Google and IBM to Enhance Academic Research Opportunities
In February, the National Science Foundation's Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate announced the creation of a strategic relationship with Google Inc. and IBM. The Cluster Exploratory (CluE) relationship will enable the academic research community to conduct experiments and test new theories and ideas using a large-scale, massively distributed computing cluster.
In an open letter to the academic computing research community, Jeannette Wing, the assistant director at National Science Foundation (NSF) for CISE, said that the relationship will give the academic computer science research community access to resources that would be unavailable to it otherwise. "Access to the Google-IBM academic cluster via the CluE program will provide the academic community with the opportunity to do research in data-intensive computing and to explore powerful new applications", Wing said. "It can also serve as a tool for educating the next generation of scientists and engineers".
In October of 2007, Google and IBM created a large-scale computer cluster of approximately 1,600 processors to give the academic community access to otherwise prohibitively expensive resources. Fundamental changes in computer architecture and increases in network capacity are encouraging software developers to take new approaches to computer-science problem solving. In order to bridge the gap between industry and academia, it is imperative that academic researchers are exposed to the emerging computing paradigm behind the growth of "internet-scale" applications.
This new relationship with NSF will expand access to this research infrastructure to academic institutions across the nation. In an effort to create greater awareness of research opportunities using data-intensive computing, the CISE directorate will solicit proposals from academic researchers. NSF will then select the researchers to have access to the cluster and provide support to the researchers to conduct their work. Google and IBM will cover the costs associated with operating the cluster and will provide other support to the researchers. NSF will not provide any funding to Google or IBM for these activities.
While the timeline for releasing the formal request for proposals to the academic community is still being developed, NSF anticipates being able to support 10-15 research projects in the first year of the program, and will likely expand the number of projects in the future.
Information about the GoogleIBM Academic Cluster Computing Initiative can be found at: www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20071008_ibm_univ.html
Full NSF press release available at: www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111186&govDel=USNSF_51
LC, Microsoft Announce Agreement to Support New Interactive Experience for Visitors
The Library of Congress and Microsoft Corp. have signed a cooperative agreement that will change the way Library visitors experience history. The joint technology initiative will electronically deliver the Library's immense collection of historical artifacts to patrons visiting its Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, DC, and will allow unparalleled and immersive interactive experiences that will bring the institution's vast historical collections and exhibits to life-on-site and onlinethrough the upcoming myloc.gov Web site.
Through Microsoft's investment of funding, software, technological expertise, training and support services, the Library will deliver a new experience to its visitors through interactive kiosks within the Jefferson Building as well as through rich Internet applications delivered through a robust Web infrastructure.
"Microsoft is helping to put a vast array of the Library's unparalleled educational resources literally at the fingertips of students and lifelong learners alike, both on-site at the Library of Congress and virtually, through the Web", said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The Library of Congress and the causes of inspiration and creativity will benefit immensely from this act of generosity and expertise".
"Technology can play such a meaningful role in facilitating the learning and discovery process for people of all ages", said Curt Kolcun of Microsoft Federal. "This partnership between the Library and Microsoft will help citizens explore the Library's and our nation's historical treasures in unprecedented ways".
New interactive galleries will bring to life the world's largest collection of knowledge, culture and creativity, with virtual hands-on interaction with such items as the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible, the 1507 Waldseemüller World Map that first used the word "America", and original volumes from Thomas Jefferson's personal library. Key to these experiences will be interactive presentation software for kiosks using Microsoft technologies that will offer incredible fidelity between the on-site and online experiences.
A new "Passport to Knowledge", with a unique barcode linked to an online account, will allow visitors to "bookmark" areas of interest that can later be accessed and explored in-depth at the upcoming myloc.gov Web site. "Knowledge Quest", a game-based learning activity, will send visitors on-site and online searching for clues in the art and artifacts of the Library. Teachers will also have access to new educational resources.
The new experience for visitors, both on-site and online, will be powered by Microsoft Web and content-management software.
The agreement is part of a larger effort to transform the public spaces of the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building into an experience that combines unique artifacts with cutting-edge technology and invites visitors to explore the collections in engaging new ways. The Library's exhibition "Exploring the Early Americas", which opened December 13, 2007, offers a sampling of the new experience. More exhibits and enhancements, including personalized Web sites at myloc.gov, are scheduled to debut later in 2008.
Library of Congress: www.loc.gov/
Library of Congress Installs Videophones Agency-Wide for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Staff
Sorenson CommunicationsTM, a leading provider of Video Relay Services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, announced in February 2008 that the US Library of Congress has implemented an agency-wide videophone communication system. Sorenson Communications has licensed 16 of its VP-200® videophones and is providing training and ongoing support free of charge to the Library of Congress, one of the first federal agencies to set up a videophone network agency-wide for the benefit of staff members who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
The VP-200 videophones and Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) will enable deaf and hard-of-hearing Library of Congress staff members to conduct calls with hearing individuals via a high-speed Internet connection, television screen, and a qualified ASL interpreter. Using SVRS, deaf callers connect to a nationwide network of ASL interpreters. Callers see an interpreter on their TV screen and sign a message to the interpreter, who then contacts the hearing recipient on a standard phone line and relays the conversation between the two parties. SVRS is revolutionizing communication for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals as it enables them to communicate in their native language, which relies heavily on body language, facial expressions, and quick hand movements.
The Library of Congress developed a secure internal network to link the Sorenson Communications videophones. The network serves all 20 deaf staff members who work in a variety of positions throughout the library. The Library of Congress, the research arm of the US Congress, is the world's largest library and offers 30 million books and 134 million catalogued items representing more than 450 languages.
Sorenson website: www.sorenson.com/
Readius® Brings E-Reading Comfort to Mobile Phones Using Rollable Displays
Polymer Vision, the inventor of rollable displays and a spin out from Philips, has introduced the Readius® product for commercial launch by mid 2008. The exclusive device exploits the versatility of rollable displays to merge the "reading friendly" strengths of e-readers with the "high mobility" features of mobile phones. Together with the Readius® internet portal, designed for personalization and content selection, the company offers a whole new mobile phone category.
At just over four ounces, the Readius® is only one third the average weight of e-readers, the size of an average mobile phone when closed, and when unrolled, offers twice the surface area of current largest phone display (5 diagonal, 16 greyscales). "People are demanding greater choice and flexibility in having overall instant access to personal content and information", said Karl McGoldrick, CEO of Polymer Vision. "They do not want to be concerned with small screens, not being able to read in sunlight, a dead battery or a device being too bulky to carry in their pocket. Readius® solves these worries and is generations ahead of anything else out there today".
Designed around ease of use and mobility, Readius® can last for 30 h of continuous reading on a single battery charge. The 3G HSDPA tri-band phone allows worldwide calls and high speed instant updates from personally selected news sources, email and other services. Standard POP3 and IMAP is supported for ISP e-mail and others such as Yahoo! Mail, Google Gmail and Microsoft Exchange. The Micro SD High Capacity storage ensures quick and easy access to e-books and valuable information. Readius® also features audio capabilities, including MP3, for podcasts, audio books and music.
The Readius® internet portal allows users to quickly and simply configure their Readius® User Interface as well as select content and services to individual style and needs. With zero clicks, personal data and information is then "pushed" whenever and wherever it is needed.
The portal presents content providers with a commercially attractive channel to offer their content and services to the high growth mobile consumer market. Polymer Vision is in discussion with numerous such providers to populate the portal and make a broad choice of content and services available to Readius® owners.
More information on Readius® at the Polymer Vision website: www.polymervision.com
Mobile Access to Data and Information: New Data from Pew Internet Project
Some 62 per cent of adult Americans have taken advantage of mobile access to digital data and tools. The Pew Internet Project's new report, entitled Mobile Access to Data and Information, examines mobile access in two ways and finds that:
Fifty-eight per cent of adult Americans have used a cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to do at least one of ten mobile non-voice data activities, such as texting, emailing, taking a picture, looking for maps or directions, or recording video.
Forty-one per cent of adult Americans have logged onto the internet on the go, that is, away from home or work either with a wireless laptop connection or a handheld device.
Overall, 62 per cent of adult Americans have either accessed the internet with a wireless connection away from home or work or used a non-voice data application using their cell phone or PDA, according to the Pew Internet Project's December 2007 survey. non-voice data activities people access from their cell phones or PDA include: sending or receiving text messages, taking pictures, playing a game, sending or receiving email, accessing the internet for news or other information, recording a video, playing music, sending or receiving instant messages, getting maps or directions, watching a video.
Young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 29) are most likely, on a typical day, to use their cell phone or PDA to access a non-voice data application; 73 per cent with wireless handheld devices do so. This compares to the average of 42 per cent of those with cell phones or PDAs who use a non-voice data application on their devices on the typical day.
More striking is use among African Americans and Latinos. Some 56 per cent of English-speaking Hispanics with a wireless handheld device use a non-voice data or information application on the average day, and 50 per cent of African Americans with wireless handhelds do so. These groups lagged in "desktop" online access in the late 1990s and early part of the decade, but the report shows a very different pattern for wireless access on the go. African Americans and English-speaking Hispanics are more likely than white Americans to use cell phones or PDAs for non-voice data applications.
The report also suggests that email is alive and well, even though sending text-messages is very popular, especially among young adults. On the average day, 60 per cent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 with cell phones or PDAs send or receive text messages, while about the same share (62 per cent) of internet users in this age group send or receive email on the typical day.
The report also documents how many Americans have connected to the internet with a laptop or other wireless-enabled device away from home or work. Some 52 per cent of internet users have done this at some point. Usage patterns for this type of wireless access (e.g. logging on to WiFi networks) are similar to those for non-voice data access using cell phones or PDAs, with young Americans, blacks, and English-speaking Hispanics being the most likely users of wireless while away from home or work.
The data for this report was gathered through telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between October 24, 2007 and December 5, 2007, among a sample of 2,058 adults, aged 18 and older, with 500 respondents contacted on their cell phones. The sample has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.
Pew Internet and American Life Project is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative of the Pew Research Center that produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life. Support for the Pew Internet Project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Mobile access to data and Information: www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Mobile.Data.Access.pdf
Impact of Internet on Museums and Libraries: IMLS Releases Results of Study
Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Anne-Imelda Radice released results of InterConnections: A National Study of Users and Potential Users of Online Information March 6 at the 9th annual WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World in Miami. This new report offers insight into the ways people search for information in the online age, and how this impacts the ways they interact with public libraries and museums, both online and in person.
"Museums and libraries are alive and well in the digital world!" Radice said. "The InterConnections report shows how people currently search for information and makes the case that the libraries and museums must provide service both online and in person".
IMLS sponsored this national study through a cooperative agreement with a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research team led by José-Marie Griffiths and Donald W. King, recognized leaders in information research. Their findings are based on five surveys of 1,000-1,600 adults each that were conducted during 2006. The study found that:
Libraries and museums are the most trusted sources of online information among adults of all ages, education levels, races, and ethnicities. Libraries and museums rank higher in trustworthiness than all other information sources including government, commercial, and private Web sites. The study shows that the public trust of museums and libraries migrates to the online environment.
The explosive growth of information available in the "Information Age" actually whets Americans' appetite for more information. People search for information in many places and since the use of one source leads to others, museums, public libraries, and the internet complement each other in this information-rich environment.
The internet is not replacing in-person visits to libraries and museums and may actually increase onsite use of libraries and museums. There is a positive relationship between internet use and in-person visits to museums and public libraries.
The InterConnections report provides evidence that public libraries and museums are thriving in the internet age as trusted providers of information to people of all ages.
To view the report, please go to: http://interconnectionsreport.org
First Grant for Library Game Lab of Syracuse
University of Syracuse iSchool Professor Scott Nicholson, director of the MS in library and information science program, recently received a Gaylord grant worth $5,000 to support his gaming lab, which focuses on the intersection of gaming and libraries. "We're so excited and thrilled with Gaylord", Nicholson says. "By giving us this first grant, the company recognizes that this is interesting and it deserves some attention".
The Gaylord grant will go towards setting up an infrastructure for the Library Game Lab of Syracuse and purchasing such crucial equipment as televisions, projectors, and gaming consoles. The lab will initially operate as a portable gaming lab that Nicholson will take to library conferences to shed light on different gaming types and how to go about setting up gaming programs. This is one phase of what Nicholson hopes will grow into a place where he and a team of students show librarians how to play a variety of games and monitor the issues that arise with the games as well as do research about what types of games are most appropriate for different groups of users. "The students will be my ears and eyes, helping me notice when there are problems", says Nicholson, who recently started an American Library Association Members Initiative Group to explore gaming in libraries of all types. "It will help any of these students who want to go to a public, academic, or school library and run gaming events, to have experience on knowing how to pull this off".
Through its gift, Gaylord, a Syracuse-based library supply company, marks a growing trend in libraries, educational institutions, and companies investing in gaming as a popular and increasingly effective new learning method. While the Gaylord grant represents a significant start, Nicholson hopes to attract much more funding to further develop his studies. His immediate plan is to draw at least two other sponsors at the $5,000 level.
Library Game Lab of Syracuse: http://gamelab.syr.edu
Gaylord website: www.gaylord.com
NSF Sponsored Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge
Some of science's most powerful statements are not made in words. From the diagrams of DaVinci to Hooke's microscopic bestiary, the beaks of Darwin's finches, Rosalind Franklin's x-rays or the latest photographic marvels retrieved from the remotest galactic outback, visualization of research has a long and literally illustrious history. To illustrate is, etymologically and actually, to enlighten. You can do science without graphics. But it is very difficult to communicate it in the absence of pictures. Indeed, some insights can only be made widely comprehensible as images.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Science created the Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge to celebrate that grand tradition and to encourage its continued growth. In a world where science literacy is dismayingly rare, illustrations provide the most immediate and influential connection between scientists and other citizens, and the best hope for nurturing popular interest. Indeed, they are now a necessity for public understanding of research developments: In an increasingly graphics-oriented culture, where people acquire the majority of their news from TV and the World Wide Web, a story without a vivid and intriguing image is often no story at all.
Judges appointed by the NSF and the journal Science will select winners in each of five categories: photographs, illustrations, informational graphics, interactive media and non-interactive media. The winners will be published in a special section of the September 26, 2008 issue of the journal Science and Science Online and on the NSF Web site. One of the winning entries will be on the front cover of Science. In addition, each finalist will receive a free, one-year print and on-line subscription to the journal Science and a certificate of appreciation.
Entries for 2008 are being solicited now. The NSF and Science urge all researchers and science communicators to participate in this unique and inspiring competition.
NSF Visualization Challenge website: www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/scivis/
NSF Cyberinfrastructure Director Daniel Atkins to Receive Paul Evan Peters Award
The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE are pleased to announce that Daniel E. Atkins, inaugural director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a distinguished professor in the School of Information and in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award. The award recognizes notable, lasting achievements in the creation and innovative use of information resources and services that advance scholarship and intellectual productivity through communication networks.
Named for CNI's founding director, the award will be presented during the CNI Membership Meeting in Minneapolis to be held April 7-8, 2008, where Dr Atkins will deliver the Paul Evan Peters Memorial Lecture. Previous award recipients include Paul Ginsparg (2006), Brewster Kahle (2004), Vinton Cerf (2002), and Tim Berners-Lee (2000).
In 2003, the NSF Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure, chaired by Atkins, issued the highly influential report Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure. The document, now referred to as "The Atkins Report", catalyzed new priorities and led to the establishment of the OCI at NSF.
The OCI coordinates and supports the acquisition, development, and provision of state-of-the-art cyberinfrastructure resources, tools, and services essential to the conduct of twenty-first-century science and engineering research and education. Cyberinfrastructure includes supercomputers, information management systems, high-capacity networks, digitally enabled observatories and scientific instruments, and an interoperable suite of software and middleware services and tools for computation, visualization, and collaboration. In June 2006, Atkins joined NSF, on leave from the University of Michigan, to lead the cyberinfrastructure effort.
From 1992 to 1998, Dr Atkins served as the founding dean of Michigan's School of Information, the first school of its kind in the nation. This professional graduate school, which "embraces a vision that harmonizes people, information systems, and organizations to improve the quality of life", was instrumental in shaping the concept of i-schools nationally. More recently, Atkins has focused on research and teaching in the area of distributed knowledge communities and open learning resources. He has directed several large experimental digital library projects as well as projects to explore the socio-technical design and application of "collaboratories" for scientific research.
Three non-profit organizations the CNI, the ARL, and EDUCAUSE sponsor the Paul Evan Peters Award, which was established with additional funding from Microsoft and Xerox Corporations. The award honors the memory and accomplishments of Paul Evan Peters (1947-1996), a visionary and a coalition builder in higher education and the world of scholarly communication.
EDUCAUSE Paul Evans Peters Award: www.educause.edu/PaulEvanPetersAward/852
JPEG 2000 A Great Step Forward For the Archival Community
The Digital Preservation Coalition has examined JPEG 2000 in a report published in February 2008. The report concludes that JPEG 2000 represents a great stride forward for the archival community. The format now allows for greater compression rates and a recompression rate that is visually lossless.
The findings come as the Digital Preservation Coalition launches its latest "Technology Watch Report" written by Dr Robert Buckley, a Research Fellow with Xerox, "JPEG 2000 a practical digital preservation standard?". The report looks in-depth at the new format and the challenges it has to cope with. JPEG 2000 is widely used to collect and distribute a variety of images from geospatial, medical imaging, digital cinema, and image repositories to networked images. Interest in JPEG 2000 is now growing in the archival and library sectors, as institutions look for more efficient formats to store the results of major digitization programs.
The report is aimed at organizations involved in the management and storage of digital information. The in-depth report will help archives, libraries and other institutions make informed decisions about JPEG 2000 format and their future storage needs.
JPEG 2000 can reduce storage requirements by an order of magnitude compared to an uncompressed TIFF file. The format will also enable users to open as much of the file as they need at that time. This means a viewer, for example, could open a gigapixel image almost instantly. This is achieved by retrieving a decompressed low-resolution display sized image from the JPEG 2000 codestream. Coupled with this, the users' ability to zoom, pan and rotate an image have been enhanced.
Adrian Brown, head of digital preservation, The National Archives said: "This is a very timely addition to the DPC's Technology Watch Report series as many organizations are themselves reviewing the JPEG2000 format. This concise, comprehensive and clear guide will be of interest to practitioners across the digital preservation community".
The report concludes that JPEG 2000 offers much more flexibility and features than JPEG, but at the cost of greater complexity. It is, however, a great stride forward, and of major significance for the information management community.
Report (pdf): www.dpconline.org/graphics/reports/index.html#twr0801
Digital Preservation Coalition: www.dpconline.org
ArchonTM, the Simple Archival Information System Version 2.1 to be Released
Developed by archivists at the University of Illinois Library, Archon is a web-based tool for archivists and manuscript curators. Archon automatically publishes archival descriptive information and digital archival objects to a user-friendly website. With Archon, there is no need to encode a finding aid, input a catalog record, or program a style sheet. Archon's powerful scripts will automatically make everything in the system searchable and browseable on a repository's website. The state-of-the-art tool also is free, adaptable to any institutional setting and is easy to download and use.
Archon is a unified platform for archival description and access. It provides both a way to record descriptive information about collections and digital objects and a means to view, search, and browse that information in a fully-functional public web site. Archon's public interface always shows the most current information because it is updated automatically when archival staff add or edit records using an "administrative interface". (MARC and EAD records are similarly updated when a staff member makes any changes.) Once information has been entered, staff members need do nothing more to make the information instantly accessible, searchable, and browseable.
TRLN Member Libraries Join Open Content Alliance
Members of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) have announced in February 2008 that they will join the Open Content Alliance (***OCA) and other major research libraries in contributing to the freely accessible digital library hosted by the OCA. TRLN is a collaborative organization of the research libraries at Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. By partnering with the OCA, the TRLN libraries are ensuring that their online collections will remain open to scholars and all other members of the global community. Administered by the non-profit Internet Archive, the OCA represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that are helping to build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content.
In the first year, UNC and NCSU will each convert public domain books into high-resolution, downloadable, reusable digital files that will be available on the Internet Archive website (www.archive.org), can be linked to from local online catalogs, and can be indexed locally and by any web search engine. UNC and NCSU will start by each hosting one state-of-the-art Scribe machine provided by the Internet Archive to scan the books. Each university library will focus on historic collection strengths, such as plant and animal sciences, engineering and physical science at NCSU and rare books, North Caroliniana, and other special collections at UNC. Duke University will also contribute select content for digitization during the first year of the collaborative project.
Through their memberships in the OCA, UNC and NCSU envision opportunities to build on long-standing TRLN cooperative arrangements. Because 70 per cent of the titles held within TRLN libraries are unique to a single member institution, coordinated digitization efforts will offer an opportunity to expand access and use of the extensive research collections held within TRLN. TRLN and its members also intend to work toward the development of shared principles for digitization and the long-term preservation of digitized content.
The OCA comprises more than 80 other major institutions and research libraries, including the British Library, University of Toronto, Smithsonian Institution, Getty Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia, and University of California system.
TRLN website: http://www.trln.org
OCA website: www.opencontentalliance.org/
Europeana: Portal to Europe's Archives, Museums, Libraries, Audiovisual Collections
Van Gogh's down at the heel boots were the first thing to appear on the test website of the European digital library today. The website, branded Europeana, will break new ground by bringing together millions of digitized resources from Europe's archives, museums, libraries and audio visual collections through a single portal.
The site model was previewed at a conference in Frankfurt in February to holders of digital content, including curators, archivists, publishers and librarians. They were shown how a user would be able to use sophisticated browsing and searching to find paintings, photographs, objects, books, newspapers, archival records, films and sound that have been digitized by Europe's heritage organizations.
The European digital library project began to develop the Europeana web portal in autumn 2007 with funding from the European Commission. This is the first public showing of the look and feel of the site and its potential functions and content. Users' responses to the demonstration site are being surveyed online and in focus groups around Europe. Thorough testing will continue throughout the building of Europeana. This is being done to ensure that when the prototype is launched in November 2008, it will give users all the functionality that they expect. November's prototype will give direct access to at least 2 million digitized objects, including books, photos, maps, sounds, films and archival records from Europe's libraries, archives, museums and audio-visual collections.
The European Commission, a strong advocate of a European digital library, expressed its support for Europeana. Horst Forster, Director of Digital Content and Cognitive Systems in the Information Society Directorate, attended the conference, and commented, "Europeana is ambitious in its scale and scope. It's making the connections between the whole network of cultural heritage digitisation programmes in Europe, and promises to be a very powerful service. It will enable citizens to explore how ideas were transmitted between countries, how political or social trends developed, how artistic movements influenced the whole continent".
Europeana is developing practical, user-defined tools for exploring and sharing content in a multilingual interface. The tools will make it easy for users to combine or compare related material across different countries for example the artifacts, imagery, records and writings relating to the Roman Empire, the Vikings or the Renaissance.
Van Gogh's Pair of Shoes is also the starting point for Europeana's promotional web video. Introduced by Nancy Sinatra's 1966 hit, "These Boots Are Made For Walkin", the video takes the audience on a series of journeys through Europe on pilgrimage, seeking work and marching to war.
The purpose of the video is to encourage European institutions to make their digital content available to Europeana. As Martine de Boisdeffre, Présidente of the European Regional Branch of International Council on Archives said, "Users expect to be able to connect the different types of cultural heritage material. To make this possible, organizations need to provide their metadata to Europeana. So many excellent digital resources lie below the surface of the web at present, and aren't easily located by search engines. Europeana will make this material accessible as never before".
The demo of Europeana and the video can be seen at: www.europeana.eu/
University of Pittsburgh Library System Launches Audubon's Birds of America Web Site
The University of Pittsburgh Library System has digitized and mounted online its collection of John James Audubon's Birds of America and his Ornithological Biography. Visitors to the website will have access for the first time to both rich and complimentary resources.
John James Audubon (1785-1851) set out to paint every known North American bird in the early-nineteenth century. He eventually stopped at 435 paintings after he exhausted his personal resources. Based upon the paintings, Audubon developed a series of hand-colored plates that are considered unique. He sold the engraved plates in a subscription series in England, Europe, and North America over a period between 1827 and 1838, at a cost totaling about $1,000. It is thought that no more than 120 complete sets exist today. Each set consists of 435 individual plates that are based upon the original paintings. Each plate was engraved, printed, and hand colored, in large part thanks to Robert Havell of London, although William Lizars, of Edinburgh, was involved with the first ten plates.
To replicate the actual size of some of the larger birds, Audubon insisted that Havell engrave the prints on Whatman double elephant folio size mold-made paper (2638 in), the largest paper sheets available at the time (known even then as "double elephant folio" size). Complete sets of the engraved, hand painted plates were frequently bound together by their individual owners, normally into four large volumes. Each of the volumes weighed sixty pounds or more. Today, ornithologists, art historians, rare book librarians, and collectors consider Audubon's masterpiece the greatest work on North American ornithology ever published.
While Audubon was developing Birds of America, he was also working on a companion publication, namely, his Ornithological Biography. Originally published in Edinburgh in 1831, this five-volume set contains lively narratives that describe each bird and includes additional information, such as their habitat. Together these sets comprise an unprecedented online combination.
The Digital Research Library, a unit within the University Library System, digitized the Birds of America plates and Ornithological Biography as part of a larger effort to convert the vast holdings of the Darlington Memorial Library into digital format for greater accessibility. The plates were scanned on its A0 DigiBook SupraScan scanner at 400 ppi in 24-bit color. The interface enables viewing of portions of the plates at full resolution, revealing the stunning quality of the original hand colored plates.
Birds of America web site: http://digital.library.pitt.edu/a/audubon/
New Tools for Enhancing MARC Records
The Software Division of DK Agencies has announced the availability of a new product for librarians. INDenhanceR is a software that enables a user to enhance MARC records with Indic/South Asian Scripts utilizing the tag 880 (Alternate Graphic Representation) in the original script of the book using Unicode. The customer just has to open a file containing various MARC records of one particular language, run the batch conversion process and save the file. INDenhanceR can also be used as a MARC records editor. Moreover, it can be used to convert MARC-8 records into UTF-8 records.
DK Agencies INDenhanceR: www.dkagencies.com/indenhancer.aspx