Chapman, Stephen and Anne R. Kenney. "Digital Conversion of Library Research Materials" D-Lib Magazine (October 1996) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october96/cornell/10chapman.html) -- Chapman and Kenney make a case for a "full informational capture" approach to digital conversion of library materials. They assert that only retaining all significant information from the original will suffice as delivery technologies improve. This does not always mean scanning at the highest possible resolutions, but at a resolution that is adequate to capture all significant information present in the original. Practical considerations such as the amount of staff time it would take to adequately evaluate each item to be scanned and the storage space required for high-quality images are barely mentioned. But nonetheless the article is useful to anyone trying to decide what comprises an adequate digital surrogate. -- RT
Harter, Stephen P. and Hak Joon Kim. "Accessing Electronic Journals and Other E-publications: An Empirical Study" College & Research Libraries 57(5) (September 1996): 440-456. -- While much has been written about the potential of the electronic journal to revolutionize traditional scholarly communication, this article reports on an empirical study of existing e-journals and describes some of the practical problems associated with electronic publishing. Reliable access is critical if electronic journals are to succeed as a means of scholarly communication. Some of the factors that have contributed to lowered rates of access to e-journals are: directory information that is inaccurate and out-of-date; the need for special software or hardware in order to view various formats (such as DVI, MPEG and QuickTime); and electronic publishers who do not produce complete archives of back issues. These problems, along with the others cited in this study, suggest that there is a role that libraries can play in helping to solve them. For instance, just as libraries subscribe to print journals because individuals may not be able to afford to or because it would be impractical to subscribe to so many, libraries can provide the appropriate equipment and software for accessing and printing e-journals and manipulating related files. This is a thoughtful and thorough article that brings up many important issues about the access of e-journals while at the same time acknowledging that e-journals are still very much in the early stages of development. -- MP
Banta, Glen. "Internet Pipe Schemes" Internet World 8(10) (October 1996):62-70. [http://www.internetworld.com/1996/10/schemes.html] -- Have you ever felt a vague unease that you should have at least a clue what ISDN, ATM, ADSL, SONET, and Frame Relay are? If not, blast on. This article isn't for you. But if you have a hankerin' to know what this alphabet soup means to your bandwidth and what you can accomplish with it, then stay tuned. Banta gives a straight-ahead explanation of various networking technologies and a peek into our bandwidth future. Now if it were only as simple as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)... -- RT
Bollag, Burton. "In Western Europe, Twelve Institutions See the Internet and Videoconferences as Keys to Virtual University" Chronicle of Higher Education XLIII (5) (September 27, 1996): 35-36. -- Danish and Swedish academics are experimenting with Internet-based education that would cross international borders. In addition to standard, Web-based applications, they are exploring interactive "technologies of collaboration" to improve faculty- student relationships over long distances and avoid duplication in programs. Library and information science is already being offered over this network. Similarities between Danish and Swedish make collaboration much easier to manage. -- TH
Brandt, D. Scott. "Relevancy and Searching the Internet" Computers in Libraries 16(8) (September 1996): 35-39. -- This article discusses precision vs. recall and results ranking in various types of Internet resources. When searching the Internet, it is important to understand what various starting points are likely to return. The large comprehensive databases such as AltaVista (http://altavista.digital.com/) put more burden on the user, returning many hits with less precision - boolean operators can help refine results. Starting with subject-based indices (Yahoo - http://www.yahoo.com/ or The Argus Clearinghouse - http://www.clearinghouse.net/) will narrow the field and return fewer hits, but with greater precision. Brandt stresses the importance of a critical eye and an item by item review of search results. -- CJC
DeLoughry, Thomas J. "Thirty-four Universities Seek to Create a Network for Higher Education" The Chronicle of Higher Education XLIII (7) (October 11, 1996): A29. -- It's been foretold: higher education, the principal architect of the Internet, wants a new one for its real work. The goals of the new system would be to restore (and increase) speed and reliability for scholarly purposes. The new network, Internet II, would eventually become available to others who use the Internet. Internet II would not replace the Internet but would exist side by side with Internet "I". Significantly, Internet II participants would be responsible for funding their participation with less dependence on government sources. The list of 34 participants is a "Who's Who" of land grant and private institutions, which suggests a serious commitment. -- TH
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to Cybernomics" The Economist 340 (7985) (September 28-October 4, 1996) Survey of the World Economy Supplement, 46 pages. -- Although this article is about the economics of information and the changing global marketplace, it focuses in depth on the impact of networked information on work and life. Along the way the editors present a series of essays about how digital media are reshaping government policies about information use, ranging from the global economy to the emergence of new careers in cyberspace. As background reading, librarians will find this supplement interesting and informative. -- TH
Perry, L. Stephen. "American and International Studies: Internet Resources" College & Research Libraries News 57(9) (October 1996): 570. [http://www.ala.org/acrl/resoct.html] -- Area studies, whether American or international, share an interdisciplinary approach to their areas of inquiry that incorporates history, literature, folklore, politics, popular culture, economics, and more. Because of the wide range of intellectual inquiry inherent in area studies (not to mention the countless areas of the world to be studied), this month's C&RL's list of Internet resources is obviously a very selective one. The annotations, however, are informative not only describing the site but also, in some cases, providing a context for the resource as well as a brief evaluation of it. -- MP
Schuyler, Michael. "Hooking Up to the Big-I Internet" Computers in Libraries 16(8) (September 1996): 26-30. -- With more and more libraries wanting to be represented on the WWW, Schuyler provides a basic outline of the necessary investments (hardware, software and education) to get a library connected to the Internet. Included is information on equipment, phone lines, Internet service providers and a summary of costs for startup and first year of operation. -- CJC
Stearns, Susan. "The Internet-Enabled Virtual Public Library" Computers in Libraries 16(8) (Sept. 1996): 54-57. [http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/sep/library.htm] -- The concept of the virtual library as a user-friendly, computer-based, networked set of information resources is becoming reality in many public libraries. Early implementations were often OPAC-centered, with telnet and gopher access. This article features several public library web pages and projects which expand the notion of the 'library without walls' beyond the online catalog, providing e-mail for patrons, voter and community information and user training. Implications of the web-based virtual library include the necessity of upgrading hardware and software, as well as developing standards for collection development and cataloging of online resources and the continuing education of librarians and patrons. -- CJC
"The Weirdest Computer of All" The Economist 340 (7985) (September 28-October 4, 1996): 97-99. [http://www.economist.com/issue/28-09-96/st4046.html] -- This article describes "quantum computing" an experimental type of machine logic that might enable computers to move beyond binary processing. Instead of running on bits made up of an "on" and "off" switch, quantum computers would use "quantum bits," or qubits. Qubits would enable a computer to run as many calculations as there are numerical combinations, and do it simultaneously: that's 1,024 possible combinations, each representing a separate processing cycle. Naturally, it's a big speed increase over digital computers, which perform one calculation at a time! Possible commercial applications may begin to appear as early as 1998. The sticking point is error correction, as the "qubit" is based on quantum physics, and can represent points on a continuum of values that are between "on" and "off". -- TH
"Being Digital is Not Enough" The Economist 340 (7985) (September 28-October 4, 1996): 100. [http://www.economist.com/issue/28-09-96/st4047.html] -- Why do new digital formats fail? The digital compact cassette was a total bust, even though it offers better quality than conventional cassettes. The editors suggest that there are two main reasons. First, a new product must be ten times better than the one it replaces. This is based on the "10X" rule that venture capitalists follow in making investment decisions. Second, it must succeed in "alluring" consumers with the promise of "modernity"--that is, it must be "cool" enough to make you want to trade up from your CD collection. -- TH
Cisler, Steve. "Weatherproofing a Great, Good Place" American Libraries 27(9) (October 1996): 42-46. -- In this wide-ranging and entertaining article, Cisler covers a lot of philosophical and technical ground relating to public libraries and the challenges they face. Chock-full of examples and citations, the article identifies storm fronts and suggests how to ride them out. The punchline will come as no surprise to those who know Steve and his commitment to the values of librarians as well as the technologies (whether they be printing presses or computers) that help make them a reality. -- RT
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