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New & noteworthy
Article Type: New & noteworthy From: Library Hi Tech News, Volume 25, Issue 6.
Blackboard Launches Blackboard Sync on Facebook Platform
Every day, students log on to the Facebook Web site to connect with old friends and meet new ones. Every day those same students also separately log on to their institution's Blackboard system to access their course materials, assignments, tests, and other important academic information. Now, Blackboard Inc. is offering a free application so that students will be able to access their social and learning networks together in one place.
Blackboard, a leader in educational enterprise technology, announced in May 2008 the launch of Blackboard Sync, a safe and secure application on the Facebook Platform to enable students to be better engaged in their academic lives by delivering course updates and other information through Facebook. Students who elect to use Blackboard Sync can receive information on new assignments, discussion board postings, course materials, and even new grades while logged on to their Facebook accounts.
In addition, students can easily find and connect with their classmates on Facebook, giving them the ability to turn routine social interactions into social learning opportunities. With millions of students using both their Blackboard system and the Facebook Web site every day, Blackboard Sync enables students to learn more about their classmates through their profiles and to leverage their Facebook accounts to create and join online and offline networks and groups to collaborate and study together.
“A huge amount of what I need to do to stay on top of my classes is to make sure that I am completing tasks and that everything is planned out. By making a significant percentage of that workload even easier, Blackboard Sync can help me be a more successful student”, said Zachary Girod, a graduate student at the University of Maryland. “A lot of the work we do involves group projects and collaboration. Having access to academic alerts while I'm on Facebook lets me work more efficiently and informally with classmates and learn from their experiences. With Blackboard Sync, it is easier to take part in the social sharing of knowledge, learning, and ideas in a friendly setting. Ultimately, that is what college should be all about”.
Part of Blackboard's ongoing effort to help institutions meet the needs of their students and to promote student engagement and achievement, Blackboard Sync is available to all Facebook users that attend any of the thousands of high schools, colleges and universities that use Blackboard worldwide. Each student receives information from only the courses they are registered in and that information cannot be shared. Institutions that prefer to limit access to Blackboard Sync can block the application entirely.
Facebook Adds New Features
In April 2008, Facebook rolled out Facebook Chat, a new way for users to communicate with their friends in real-time. Facebook will show users which of their friends are online when they are. No additional installation or set up is required. Facebook Chat works directly in the browser.
In March 2008, Facebook introduced privacy updates that gave users more control over the information they choose to share on Facebook. The two main updates taking place were a standardized privacy interface across the site and new privacy options.
Some of the new features being added included a “Friends of Friends” privacy option that allowed people to share information with people they are connected to through their friends. Users also now have the ability to share and restrict information based on specific friends or friend lists. The friend lists feature was added to Facebook in December as a way to help users communicate with groups of friends. Now, in addition to messaging and event and group invitations, friend lists can help users to communicate by choosing what information is shared with certain groups of people.
In May 2008, Facebook previewed their upcoming changes to the design of the user profile page with the intention of making the profile cleaner and simpler, and more relevant, while still giving the user control over their profile. The changes can be previewed at the Facebook Profiles Preview pages: www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=22594&id=21073243776
Facebook Press Room: www.facebook.com/press.php
Facebook blog: http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?blog_id=company
Microsoft Releases Word Add-in for Scholarly Authoring and Publishing
In support of the increased emphasis on electronic publishing and the archiving of scholarly articles, Microsoft has developed the Article Authoring Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007. This add-in supports the XML format from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which is commonly used in the scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishing market as part of the publishing workflow and as the format used for the archiving of articles. Pre-release versions of this add-in targeted the staff at STM journals and publishers, at information repositories, and in-house and commercial software developers who support the STM market.
The Article Authoring Add-in for Office Word 2007 enables or simplifies a number of activities that are part of the authoring and scholarly publishing process, such as:
(1) Gathering information about the authors and article content at the time the article is written.
(2) Enabling journals to provide authors with templates that contain the structure for articles and which help authors classify their articles.
(3) Enabling access to the author and article metadata contained in the Office Word file through the use of the NLM format and OpenXML document structure.
(4) Enabling the editorial staff to access the article and journal metadata directly within Office Word.
(5) Enabling two-way conversion between Microsoft Office OpenXML and the NLM format.
In addition to simplifying the authoring process and enabling different workflows and tools that make it easier to consume the metadata and information stored in the Open XML files, the add-in enables authors to append more information to their articles while they write. This is beneficial to the overall scientific community because it helps improve the search process after the articles have been published.
More information: www.microsoft.com/mscorp/tc/scholarly-publishing.mspx
OCLC and Google to Exchange Data, Link Digitized Books to WorldCat
OCLC and Google Inc. have signed an agreement to exchange data that will facilitate the discovery of library collections through Google search services. Under terms of the agreement, OCLC member libraries participating in the Google Book SearchTM program, which makes the full text of more than one million books searchable, may share their WorldCat-derived MARC records with Google to better facilitate discovery of library collections through Google.
Google will link from Google Book Search to WorldCat.org, which will drive traffic to library OPACs and other library services. Google will share data and links to digitized books with OCLC, which will make it possible for OCLC to represent the digitized collections of OCLC member libraries in WorldCat.
“This agreement will directly support the interests of OCLC's participating libraries by broadening access to library collections and services by making them more widely available on the Web”, said Jay Jordan, OCLC President and CEO. “We are pleased to partner with Google in pursuit of our mission to connect people to knowledge through international library cooperation”.
WorldCat metadata will be made available to Google directly from OCLC or through member libraries participating in the Google Book Search program.
Google recently released an API that provides links to books in Google Book Search using ISBNs, LCCNs and OCLC numbers. This API allows WorldCat.org users to link to some books that Google has scanned through a “Get It” link. The link works both ways. If a user finds a book in Google Book Search, a link can often be tracked back to local libraries through WorldCat.org.
The new agreement enables OCLC to create MARC records describing the Google digitized books from OCLC member libraries and to link to them. These linking arrangements should help drive more traffic to libraries, both online and in person.
The agreement between OCLC and Google is the latest in several partnerships between the two designed to increase the visibility of libraries on the Web and deliver information to users at the point of need. OCLC will be working with other organizations to include digitized content in WorldCat in the months to come.
Full press release: www.oclc.org/us/en/news/releases/200811.htm
AAP Open Letter In Support of ePub Initiative
The Association of American Publishers, Inc. (AAP) issued an open letter of support for the EPUB Initiative to the International Digital Publishing Forum (formerly the Open eBook Forum) (IDPF) on the occasion of their recent annual conference, Digital Book 2008.
Excerpting from the letter:
The EPUB subcommittee of AAP's Digital Issues Working Group1 has been working to provide support to the publishing community on the EPUB initiative. We are therefore writing to express our support for the use of EPUB as an e-book file type for reflowable texts from which any e-book delivery format can be rendered. Many publishers already want to begin a transition process toward this use of the EPUB file format and hope that such a transition can be completed by October 2008. Of course, each individual publisher will make decisions about adopting the EPUB file format on its own timeline.
For books with text that can be reflowed, many publishers would like to create and deliver to retailers and/or wholesalers EPUB files. If a proprietary e-book format is then needed, it is expected that the retailer and/or wholesaler will take on the effort to convert the EPUB file in a scalable, high-fidelity way that either preserves the layout and design of the original or otherwise delivers the content in a rendering acceptable to the publisher. (For books that do not have reflowable text, publishers may still send another proprietary file format, most likely a PDF, in order to preserve pagination and layout.)
Copies of the presentations from Digital Book 2008 are now available for download from the IDPF website.
IDPF website: www.idpf.org/
Presentations from Digital Book 2008: www.idpf.org/events/presentations.htm
HighWire Press Launches Its New ePublishing platform, H2O
HighWire Press, online technology provider for over 140 publishers, has announced the release of its new electronic publishing platform, H2O. HighWire has rebuilt its platform from the bottom up, creating a standards-based hosting solution that embraces the new vision of Publishing 2.0. H2O will put HighWire's publisher partners at the forefront of online publishing.
The first site to launch on the new platform is the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), with their beta site now publicly available at http://beta.pnas.org. While the new user interface seen on the PNAS beta site is the visible piece of H2O, the full rebuild will ensure that new industry standards will be infused throughout all the layers of any new H2O-based site, giving publishers maximum flexibility on how their content looks and operates.
HighWire is confident that the new H2O architecture is the most effective way to offer both publishers and their end users the ability to be innovative with the tools and information that the participatory web offers. As a fully XML-based environment, in addition to just handling XML input and output, HighWire's H2O incorporates standards like Atom Publishing Protocol (backed by Google and Microsoft), and powerful tools such as the MarkLogic Server. “HighWire is taking full advantage of our XML content platform to deliver a truly agile publishing environment for their customers”, said Andy Feit, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Mark Logic. “Through its unique modeling of the Atom Publishing Protocol interface, and the sophisticated features for user interaction with content – and for collaboration around it – the new H2O platform allows publishers to get the most from their content”.
The H2O platform infrastructure is flexible and modular, designed to interact with many other systems, and to be extended with emerging web services and technologies. The data store is architected to seamlessly accommodate content structured in many different ways. Along with leading services for journal article-based content, H2O will also enhance the many non-journal sites, books and reference works that HighWire produces, such as the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press” Protocols database. H2O will provide the ideal platform for publishers to showcase e-books and other non-journal materials online, since it supports the broadest range of content types.
As HighWire develops H2O, it will also offer a suite of tools and services that will enable publishers to create collections of information, and re-use these collections in feeds, widgets, blogs and networking sites. Publishers will be able to attach advertising and branding to content or collections, personalize offers and ads, and contextualize web pages based on the content being displayed and the user demographics. Such standards-based content can easily appear on a variety of devices – the iPhone, the iPod, Amazon's Kindle and other yet-to-be-seen new technologies.
For background information, and to listen to a conversation with John Sack about the new platform, visit: http://highwire.stanford.edu/publishers/H2O.dtl
More information: http://highwire.stanford.edu/inthepress/stories/PNASbeta.pdf
California Digital Library (CDL) Announces New Release of the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF)
The CDL announced in May 2008 a new release of its search and display technology, the XTF version 2.1 XTF is an open source, highly flexible software application that supports the search, browse and display of heterogeneous digital content. XTF offers efficient and practical methods for creating customized end-user interfaces for distinct digital content collections.
Highlights from the 2.1 release include:
(1) Extensive interface improvements, including new search forms, built-in faceted browsing, and a new look and feel.
(2) Increased support for document and information exchange formats.
(3) XHTML and OAI-PMH output.
(4) NLM article format indexing and output.
(5) Microsoft Word indexing.
(6) Streamlined XSLT stylesheets for simpler deployment and adaptation.
(7) Updated documentation that has been moved to the XTF project wiki, allowing XTF implementers to share solutions with entire user community.
(8) “Freeform” Boolean query language, offered as an experimental feature.
(9) Backward compatibility with existing XTF implementations.
A complete list of changes is available on the XTF Project page on SourceForge, where the distribution (including documentation) can also be downloaded.
Since the first deployment of XTF in 2005, the development strategy has been to build and maintain an indexing and display technology that is not only customizable, but also draws upon tested components already in use by the digital library and search communities – in particular the Lucene text search engine, Java, XML and XSLT. By coordinating these pieces in a single platform that can be used to create multiple unique applications, CDL has succeeded in dramatically reducing the investment in infrastructure, staff training and development for new digital content projects.
XTF offers a suite of customizable features that support diverse intellectual access to content. Interfaces can be designed to support the distinct tools and presentations that are useful and meaningful to specific audiences. In addition, XTF offers the following core features:
(1) Easy to deploy: drops directly in to a Java application server such as Tomcat or Resin; has been tested on Solaris, Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems.
(2) Easy to configure: can create indexes on any XML element or attribute; entire presentation layer is customizable via XSLT.
(3) Robust: optimized to perform well on large documents (e.g. a single text that exceeds 10MB of encoded text); scales to perform well on collections of millions of documents; provides full Unicode support.
Works well with a variety of authentication systems (e.g. IP address lists, LDAP, Shibboleth).
Provides an interface for external data lookups to support thesaurus-based term expansion, recommender systems, etc.
Can power other digital library services (e.g. XTF contains an OAI-PMH data provider that allows others to harvest metadata, and an SRU interface that exposes searches to federated search engines).
Can be deployed as separate, modular pieces of a third-party system (e.g. the module that displays snippets of matching text).
(5) Powerful for the end user:
spell checking of queries;
faceted displays for browsing;
dynamically updated browse lists; and
These basic features can be tuned and modified. For instance, the same bookbag feature that allows users to store links to entire books, can also store links to citable elements of an object, such as a note or other reference.
A sampling of XTF-based applications both within and outside of the CDL include:
(1) Mark Twain Project Online (www.marktwainproject.org), developed by the Mark Twain Papers Project, the CDL and the University of California Press.
(2) Calisphere (www.calisphere.org/), a curated collection of primary sources keyed to the curriculum standards of California's K-12 community, developed by the CDL.
(3) The Encyclopedia of Chicago (www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/), developed by the Chicago History Museum, The Newberry Library, and Northwestern University.
(4) The Chymistry of Isaac Newton (http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/newton/) and The Swinburne Project (http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/swinburne/www/swinburne/), Indiana University.
(5) Finding Aides at the New York Public Library (http://labs.nypl.org/2007/10/30/extensible-text-framework-xtf/).
(6) EECS Technical Reports (http://sunsite2.berkeley.edu:8088/xtf/servlet/org.cdlib.xtf.crossQuery.CrossQuery?rmode=btr), UC Berkeley.
More information on XTF, documentation and software downloads: www.cdlib.org/inside/projects/xtf/
XTF Project wiki: http://xtf.wiki.sourceforge.net/
SourceForge software support: http://sourceforge.net/projects/xtf/
LuraTech Adds New Features to PDF Compressor Server
LuraTech has added two new features to its LuraDocument PDF Compressor Server, which is designed to provide users with a robust document processing solution that integrates with existing workflow systems. The first – multi-core processor support – enables users to process documents faster while avoiding per page usage charges with LuraTech's unlimited usage licensing structure. The second feature – form recognition and data extraction – eliminates the need for users to manually sort paper documents for processing and automatically extracts data for import into the appropriate back office systems.
PDF Compressor Server takes advantage of the processing power of new computer systems. By supporting systems with multiple physical processors or multi-core processors, PDF Compressor Server can increase performance of compression and OCR by nearly 100 per cent with each additional processor used.
LuraTech is further improving on its scanned document compression and OCR solution by enabling form recognition and automated data extraction. These new functionalities in the PDF Compressor Server enable users to minimize manual processes, such as sorting paper documents and examining extracted data. PDF Compressor automatically outputs XML data ready for import into existing systems, such as accounting and enterprise resource planning. Within the PDF Compressor, administrators can use the Form Designer to set up form recognition and data extraction rules. With its Form Validator module, LuraTech guarantees 100 per cent accurate data extraction prior to import into back office systems.
LuraTech web site: www.luratech.com
MIT Press Partners with Tizra to Build an Online Computer Science Library
MIT Press has signed an agreement with Tizra, Inc., to use the company's recently launched Agile PDF software platform to create a website that will enable users to find, buy and view online versions of books published by the press. The site, which will carry MIT Press branding, is scheduled to go live in May 2008 with books from the press's world-renowned Computer Science and related collections.
MIT Press's print works have long been noteworthy for reaching a broad audience beyond scholarly and professional readers, but prior to the initiative with Tizra, its online audience has been more specialized. Because the new service will be available to individual as well as university and institutional customers, it represents a significant step toward broader online access to MIT Press content. The service also represents the first time the press has sold online versions of its computer and information science books – which naturally appeal to online researchers.
Part of the reason MIT chose Tizra's new platform for the initiative was the flexibility and direct control Agile PDF provides over site branding and product definition, without the investment and risks associated with custom software development. “Tizra offered us a very attractive way to build on our own brand, and to create new online products that play to the particular strengths of our publishing program”, said Gita Manaktala, Marketing Director at the press. “Like other publishers, we are still learning the best ways to distribute our books online, so it's imperative that we work with technology that will let us respond and adapt quickly”.
For many MIT Press authors, editors and readers, however, the advantages of online access are already beyond doubt. “Authors have been asking about online packaging – sometimes even before they sign with us”, says Ada Brunstein, the press's Computer Science editor. “They know it's important to readers, and many also believe seeing the content online will actually increase interest in purchasing the printed book”.
More information at: http://tizra.com/
MuseGlobal and Adhere Solutions Deliver Federated Search for Google Search Appliance
MuseGlobal, provider of content integration platforms, announced in May 2008 a partnership with Adhere Solutions, a consulting company focused on designing, implementing and optimizing applications built on the Google Platform, to deliver a federated search solution for the Google Search Appliance. Called the All Access Connector, the joint solution will extend the Google Search Appliance, enabling organizations to search millions of pages of content from over 5,400 sources – including internal and external databases, repositories, subscription content sources, data feeds and web mining applications – all delivered through the Google interface.
Enterprise search solutions are expensive and can be challenging to implement in a way that delivers comprehensive and actionable information to the users who need better access to the deep web. Though a cost-effective alternative, the Google Search Appliance relies on partners to federate third-party content sources and integrate the results into a standard interface. Once integrated into the Google Search Appliance, the All Access Connector enables enterprises to leverage MuseGlobal's constantly expanding Source Factory of content sources to increase the depth and breadth of search results and facilitate real-time results analysis.
Adhere Solutions was founded by a team of search industry veterans with the vision of extending the capabilities of the Google Search Appliance and meeting the demand for associated professional services.
Adhere Solutions web site: www.adheresolutions.com
MuseGlobal web site: www.museglobal.com/
SwetsWise Introduces License Bank
Swets announced the successful release of SwetsWise 5.0, the latest technical update to Swets' subscriptions management tool. SwetsWise 5.0 adds a host of additional functionalities to SwetsWise Subscriptions, the central focus of the SwetsWise platform. The most significant addition is the introduction of License Bank, a functionality that makes a large collection of publisher license conditions in the industry available to all SwetsWise customers at no extra cost.
License Bank contains a range of publisher license information, providing a range of additional features and benefits for SwetsWise customers:
(1) License Bank contains 45 separate license data fields, tracked following the guidelines of the Digital Library Federation's Electronic Resource Management Initiative.
(2) View which publishers require a license agreement for their journals.
(3) View the different types of licenses that a publisher offers (e.g. site license and multi-site license).
(4) While browsing the SwetsWise catalog, the customer can instantly see if they will need to sign a new license or if an existing license will cover the new purchase.
(5) Detailed information on what a publisher's license agreement allows customers to do or prohibits them from doing with the related content.
(6) Links to the actual license agreement of the publisher so customers can download it.
(7) See which subscriptions fall under a specific license agreement.
(8) A customer can see a complete overview of all the licenses they have already signed or are in the process of signing, complete with the current status of each license.
License Bank was developed with extensive input from customers and the cooperation of all the Publishers whose licenses are included, with regular discussions on the original requirements, usability testing and beta testing included in the process.
In addition to the License Bank, SwetsWise 5.0 includes new e-journals management, activation and tracking capabilities, as well as an overview of financial information, such as payments, credits and invoices. Furthermore, this new release incorporates a “multiple subscriptions” section into SwetsWise that enables users to select and renew many subscriptions at once, saving time and effort.
More information on SwetsWise: www.swets.com/web/show/id44458/langid42
BiblioteQ Open Source Library Management Software Available
BiblioteQ strives to be a complete and thorough library management suite. BiblioteQ provides a mechanism for querying the Library of Congress, or any other Z39.50-capable system, via the standard Z39.50 protocol, thus simplifying the data entry process. As for database support, BiblioteQ users can connect to PostgreSQL or SQLite database engines. The application provides common functionality across FreeBSD, Linux, OS X, Solaris, and Windows.
Some of BiblioteQ's features include:
cataloging of books, DVDs, journals, magazines, music CDs, and video games;
complex search capabilities, including custom SQL queries;
cover images with drag and drop support;
customizable displays; and
uniform functionality across various platforms.
Version 6.02 was released on May 28, 2008. BiblioteQ is available for download from SourceForge.net.
BiblioteQ web site: http://biblioteq.sourceforge.net/
GreyNet's Conference Based Research Now Accessible via OpenSIGLE Repository
GreyNet recently signed on to the OpenSIGLE (System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe) repository and in so doing seeks to better preserve and make openly available research results originating in the International Conference Series on Grey Literature. In April 2008, the first test batch containing records from the Eighth International Conference on Grey Literature (GL8, 2006) was uploaded. A few minor problems were encountered and were successfully resolved. The metadata records and corresponding attachments are now available for search and retrieval in OpenSIGLE.
For direct access to the GL8 conference records: http://opensigle.inist.fr/handle/opensigle/697758
OpenSIGLE repository: http://opensigle.inist.fr/
About OpenSIGLE: http://opensigle.inist.fr/pages/about.jsp
National Diet Library of Japan Report on Preservation of Digital Information
The National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) has announced the publication on its web site of its research report, “Ensuring long-term preservation and usability of digital information (NDL Research Report No. 6)”. The report describes the need to ensure long-term preservation and accessibility of digital information, including Internet resources and packaged digital publications such as CDs, DVDs and software. This is a compiled report of NDL's FY2003 and FY2004 studies about usability of packaged digital publications.
The report includes:
(1) Summaries of studies conducted by the NDL for ensuring long-term access to digital information.
(2) Introduction of the NDL Digital Archiving System.
(3) Links to the sources of information on the international standards, guidelines, projects, papers and reports, relating to long-term use and preservation of digital information.
The report is available (in English) at: www.ndl.go.jp/en/aboutus/pdf/report_no6.pdf
Keeping Research Data Safe: Preservation Report from JISC
The online executive summary and full report (pdf file) of the JISC-funded research data preservation costs study titled “Keeping Research Data Safe: a cost model and guidance for UK Universities” has been published and can be downloaded from the JISC website at www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/publications/keepingresearchdatasafe.aspx. The study has investigated the medium to long term costs to Higher Education Institutions of the preservation of research data and developed guidance to HEFCE and institutions on these issues.
The study uncovered a lot of valuable data and approaches and it is hoped this can be built on by future studies and implementation and testing. The study makes ten recommendations on future work and implementation. The report itself has chapters covering the introduction, methodology, benefits of research data preservation, describing the cost framework and its use, key cost variables and units, the activity model and resources template, overviews of the case studies, issues universities need to consider, different service models and structures, conclusions and recommendations. There are also four detailed case studies covering the Universities of Cambridge, King's College London, Southampton, and the Archaeology Data Service (University of York).
Although focused on UK universities in particular, it should be of interest to anyone involved with research data or interested generally in the costs of digital preservation.
Comments and Feedback via the blog at: http://blog.beagrie.com/archives/2008/05/14/just-published-research-data-preservation-costs-report/or via email to email@example.com welcome!
Keeping Research Data Safe Report (pdf 1Mb): www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/keepingresearchdatasafe0408.pdf