Current Cites 5(4) (April 1994)

Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 5, no. 4, April 1994

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356  -

Contributors: John Ober, Richard Rinehart, Teri Rinne, Roy Tennant

[ Electronic Publishing ] [ Multimedia and Hypermedia ] [ Networks and Networking ][ Optical Disc Technology ][ General ]

Electronic Publishing

Dodge, Daniel R. "Using SGML to Streamline Print and CD-ROM Production" CD-ROM Professional 7(2) (March 1994):77-82. -- Dodge chronicles one organization's quest for a cost effective system to produce a CD-ROM database from the same source as the printed documentation. The main objective was to produce both printed output and the CD-ROM database from a single authoring database. After significant research, SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) was selected as the only viable option since it provide enough flexibility and adaptability to accommodate changing requirements and it is based upon open system standards. This article outlines the advantages SGML has over other types of publishing systems, describes the system components, and provides an overview of the SGML process as well. -- TR

Gossage, Lew and Bill Bayer "Moving College Textbooks to CD-ROM" CD-ROM Professional 7(2) (March 1994):90-92. -- This article examines the impact electronic technology will have on the college textbook industry with a case study of the production of the first- ever CD-ROM accounting textbook. Major issues involved were the the time required to develop such an extensive hypertext application, the importance of timing the completion of all components of the CD-ROM, and the portability of the final versions of the print material. The most time-consuming and and expensive part of the process was the need to convert the text into SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) and the graphics into the appropriate bitmap format for use in a Windows hypertext format. -- TR

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Kocho, Keith "Adding Multimedia to Your Network: Can it be Done?" CD-ROM Professional 7(2) (March 1994):111-113. -- Adding network access to multimedia information on a LAN presents a host of problems. Current solutions are expensive, where they exist at all. Multimedia information is usually stored in very large files, and in formats requiring continuous access: both bad news for the average LAN server. Besides overworking the server, the continuous requests for information, such as video, over a LAN network also tax the limits of popular network types, such as Ethernet. Using a hearty PC multimedia-equipped server, information can be output at up to 20-30 MB/second, but that's 2 to 3 times faster than an Ethernet connection will allow. One solution to the bandwidth hurdle is to set up the multimedia server on a separate, high-speed (FDDI) network, but this is so costly that creating multiple access points becomes prohibitive. Another hardware solution is to use a dedicated server for multimedia files. The Starlight MediaServer, for example, serves up files in a way most likely to deliver acceptable results over a normal network. A dedicated multimedia server manages and stores files differently from a 'standard' file server, and utilizes appropriate transmission and switching protocols, like Starlight's MTP. New or imported technologies, like ATM, and bandwidth improvements on Ethernet should make future implementation of multimedia on LANs and even WANs a little less daunting. -- RR

Emigh, Jacqueline "Live Picture Introduced for Macintosh: Silicon Graphics Server Support Announced" Computer Currents 11(23) (April 19, 1994):27,33. -- Live Picture is a high-end 48-bit color imaging package being delivered to the American market by a coalition of companies. Using the new 'Paramount' interface, users create a new layer each time a new function is selected. Layers can be moved, edited, hidden or removed at any time. Layers are used for painting, image insertion, distortion, colorizing, etc., and can be visually represented individually in thumbnails. Live Picture uses FITS technology that processes data only once so that each layer is written as a mathematical expression that can be accessed and changed discretely from the others, making it network-friendly. It also displays only as much information about an image as screen size and zoom level demand, also cutting down on transmission times. Live Picture's IVUE file format will be supported on Silicon Graphics network servers. -- RR

Malloy, Judy "Interactive Installation Art: Blurring the lines between Artist and Audience" MicroTimes 121 (April 5 1994):306-314. -- The computer industry's 'multimedia' has a venerable parallel in the art world's 'mixed media.' But are you ready for M4 (multimedia mixed media)? Actually computer use by artists has been going on for some time, often being integrated into the art form of 'installations' (site-based, rather than object-based art pieces). Idealists in both the computer and art worlds share the goal of making everyone into participating creators, and 'interactivity' is the bridge between passive viewing and authorship. Installation art invites interaction by allowing the audience into its space or activity, while computers can often measure the audience's specific responses, and even give feedback to them: Art that talks back. The fact that many of the 'sites' mentioned in this article as being chosen for artworks were in cyberspace instead of a gallery doesn't change the unifying goal of the artists, just the audience. The article is an overview of some current and recent projects in this hybrid field, and also lists resources including email addresses for the artists mentioned. -- RR

Networks and Networking

Educom Review: Special Issue on National Networking 29(2) (March/April 1994) [URL:] -- The editors have selected a well-balanced set of eleven papers by authors with national reputations. Each paper is a digestible two to six pages, and is clearly written. Although the focus of the group is on the developing network's "impact on education" readers will find useful overviews and analyses of the National Information Infrastructure (NII), as well as thoughtful reports and analyses of current and future networking issues such as new high-speed network technology, network ethics, privacy, and scholarly work. The table of contents includes "The First Law of Change" by Robert C. Herrick, Jr., "Walking the Tightrope" by Fred W. Weingarten, "Legislation and the NII" by Robert G. Gillespie, "The NII and the New World Trade Agreement" by Olliver Smoot, "Building the NII: Challenges for Higher Education" by Michael M. Roberts, "Toward a National Learning Infrastructure" by William H. Graves, "Rethinking the Integrity of the Scholarly Record in the Networked Information Age" by Clifford A. Lynch, "Campus Nets for the Nineties" by Raymond K. Neff, "The Fourth Law of Robotics" by John Markoff, "Convergence and Community: An Ethical Challenge" by Richard O. Mason, "Privacy and the National Information Infrastructure" by Marc Rotenberg. -- JLO

Kessler, Jack "Baby Bell Minitel? Internet Competition from the French Connection" Connexions: The Interoperability Report 8(4) (April 1994):2. -- In a breezy, informal style, Kessler documents the hugely popular French service Minitel and compares it to the Internet and U.S. Internet use. Noting that Minitel's technological limits may be offset, for the French public, by features such as entertainment value, ease of use, low cost, and ubiquity, Kessler argues that it may serve as a model of future commercial network services to the U.S. general public. The article is a departure from Connexions usual technological/engineering bent, but serves as a good companion piece to Mackie-Mason's analysis of the economics of the Internet. -- JLO

MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K. and Hal Varian "Economic FAQs About the Internet" [] -- The authors' responses to frequently asked questions contain many Internet facts of interest, for example that 80% of the money MERIT spent in 1993 to manage the NSFnet went to lease payments on lines and routers. Halfway through the article the authors admit that in answering questions like "What economic problems does the Internet face?" they move to "FEOs" - firmly expressed opinions. These opinions focus on the present and future congestion problems of the Internet and review pricing as the logical allocation scheme. A good overview of the economics of the Internet, especially when read in conjunction with the authors' other papers - "Economics of Internet" and "Pricing the Internet" - available electronically at the same source. -- JLO

McClure, Charles R., et. al., Connecting Rural Public Libraries to the Internet; The Project GAIN Report Liverpool, NY: NYSERNet, 1994. -- A regional networking organization in New York (NYSERNet) administered a grant-supported project to connect five rural public libraries and one Indian Nation school to the Internet via SLIP connections. The report of this project both serves as interesting case history and also an excellent summary of issues and recommendations relating to providing Internet access to rural public libraries. Many of the lessons learned in this project, however, are also more broadly applicable, and therefore this brief document (43p. plus appendices) deserves a diverse readership. -- RT

"Mosaic: The Killer Internet Application" Internet Business Journal 1(9) (March 1994). -- This issue is entirely devoted to Mosaic, as a "special report". Various brief articles and sidebars are stuffed into a small space below large screen shots of Mosaic accessing various World Wide Web servers. While the text itself is only of moderate interest (and makes such annoying errors as assuming that one would only wish to retrieve the MS Windows version of the Mosaic software), the screen shots identify some interesting examples of using the World Wide Web to offer commercial services on the Internet. -- RT

Optical Disc Technologies

Brueggeman, Peter "Earth Science CD-ROMs: A Collection Buyer's Guide" CD-ROM Professional 7(2) (March 1994):45-53. -- Brueggeman provides a comprehensive overview of non-bibliographic earth science CD-ROMs, chronicling the earth science community's long and active history with CD-ROM technology. Scientific interest in global change is spurring production of CD-ROMs with relevant datasets. Datasets on CD-ROM can be numeric and/or images and usage of the datasets range from basic to sophisticated. This article outlines the diverse data available to scientists, discusses microcomputer requirements, and adventures associated with printing images. It is interesting to note that serendipity plays a major role in locating new earth science CD-ROMs; it is best accomplished by monitoring the journals, newsletters, and bulletin boards used by the scientific community rather than the library community. Useful sidebars include a listing of essential resources for earth science CD-ROMs and an earth science CD-ROM sampler. -- TR

Desmarais, Norman "Watch Your Wallets!" Computers in Libraries 14(3) (March 1994):38-39. -- Desmarais appropriately begins this article citing a popular poster making the rounds at Providence College: "Because of financial constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice." Indeed, as the costs of information resources continue to increase while the acquisitions budget remain stagnant or decrease, libraries are faced with a rather grim scenario. Desmarais examines the various pricing structures being pursued by publishers and information providers to protect themselves from the threat of decreasing revenues resulting from the shift away from ownership of materials to access to information. There appears to be a shift in pricing structures away from a lease arrangement to a pay-per-use basis, similar to pay-per-view TV. Among the pay-per-use structures discussed are use of a dongle device to meter computer access to data on a CD-ROM (every time somebody prints or saves a record to disk, the dongle decreases by a predetermined amount), metering usage through software, selective access, and the "self-destructing" discs which prevent access beyond a predetermined date. -- TR

Lediaev, Lucy and Lex van Sonderen "Using and Developing with CD-Interactive: Frequently Asked Questions are Answered" CD-ROM Professional 7(2) (March 1994):83-88. -- This article addresses the unique concerns faced by CD-I users and developers in a question and answer format. CD-I is the first multimedia technology aimed at a mass audience, lending itself well to informational titles, games, encyclopedias, educational materials, and many business applications. Among the issues addressed by the authors are authoring systems, standards, Photo CDs, Karaoke CDs, multisession capabilities, and emulators. -- TR


Palmini, Cathleen C. "The Impact of Computerization on Library Support Staff: A Study of Support Staff in Academic Libraries in Wisconsin" College & Research Libraries 55(2) (March 1994):119- 127. -- A voluntary survey of academic library support staff in Wisconsin solicited their opinions of automation. Not unsurprisingly, some of their major concerns include adequate training, workstations designed to help prevent repetitive stress injuries, and responsibilities that mix contact with the public with technical services functions. As this article reveals, although support staff often feel that there is inadequate time to keep up with the work load or with changes in technology, they also realize that the changes have often led to better service to patrons. -- RT

Current Cites 5(4) (April 1994) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1995 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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