Browning, John. "Information Marketeers Focus on Content Rather than Access" Scientific American 274(2) (February 1996): 30-32. -- The author briefly explores the shift in ways of conveying information, from the old method of controlling the access points (one-to-many broadcast) to new methods made possible with the Internet (many-to-many multicast) which changes the focus from the quality of the service to the quality of content needed to capture audience. The shift is evidenced in Microsoft Network's decision to change from a proprietary access-controlled outernet, to a more open Internet publishing site. -- RR
Taubes, Gary. "Science Journals Go Wired" and "Electronic Preprints Point the Way to 'Author Empowerment" Science 271 (February 9, 1996): 764-768. [http://science-mag.aaas.org/ science/scripts/display/full/271/5250/764.html] -- This pair of complementary articles, although focused on scientific literature in the main, are excellent overviews of the current state of electronic periodical literature. In the first one, Taubes outlines some of the major advantages that electronic journals have over their paper-based relatives, such as video and audio, search functions, discussion forums, links to related articles, and automatic notification and alerting services. Some of the challenges facing publishers include technical problems that prevent a fast transition from submission to publication (a trait that should be a major advantage of electronic journals), the lack of tried and true cost recovery methods, and archival issues. A sidebar outlines the plans of the major scientific journal publishers for mounting their journals on the network. The accompanying article on electronic preprints (pre-publication articles of vital importance to the scientific community) serves as an interesting counterpoint, in that it describes a movement to bypass the traditional publishing system entirely. I highly recommend this pair of short articles to anyone wishing an overview of the current state of electronic periodicals. If you visit the online version (address above) you get the added benefit of gaining first-hand experience with some of the added benefits that electronic publication has over print. -- RT
Donovan, Kevin. "The Anatomy of an Imaging Project: A Primer for Museums, Libraries, Archives and other Visual Collections" Spectra: Journal of the Museum Computer Network 23(2) (Winter 1995/6): 19-22. -- A terrificly useful article for anyone directing an imaging project. This article outlines specific points for consideration in launching an imaging project, from the initial audit and proposal to tips for maintaining quality and consistency, storage and archiving, and eventual delivery via networks or CD-ROM. -- RR
Feder, Judy. "Image Recognition and Content-Based Retrieval for the World Wide Web" Advanced Imaging 11(1) (January 1996): 26-28. -- While this article is written by the director of marketing for the main product under discussion, it is still a useful introduction to the current progress toward making multimedia intelligent. Currently multimedia, whether networked or standalone, is made of "dumb" multimedia files, manageable and searchable only by textual meta-data. Content-based retrieval proposes to let you use an image, for instance, as a starting point to search for similar images and so forth. Experiments are ongoing in this field, with huge implications for research resources in art history, archaeology, not to mention law enforcement or any other visual field. This article discusses some real-world applications under development. -- RR
Karpinski, Richard. "Netscape to Get Real-Time Audio, Video" Communications Week no. 595 (February 5, 1996): 1, 64. -- A short introduction to Netscape's plans for enabling delivery of multimedia over the Internet in Real-Time. Of note is mention of an emerging new protocol, RTP or Realtime Transport Protocol, for streaming multimedia over networks (RealAudio is another example of streaming technology). -- RR
Karpinski, Richard. "The Web in 3-D" Communications Week no. 595 (February 5, 1996): IA1-IA3. -- You have probably heard about VRML or Virtual Reality Markup Language, which is a meta-language, like the HTML that it works with, but for creating and delivering 3-D graphics over the WWW. This article introduces a few new tools that make it easy to actually use this new language. Some applications of VRML might be virtual tours of architectural sites or re-constructed ruins, or new interfaces to other forms of information. -- RR
Ozer, Jan. "Software Video Codecs: The Search for Quality" New Media 6(2) (January 29, 1996): 46-52. -- A thorough comparison of current video codecs for compression and rendering of digital video, including Cinepak (used by QuickTime), Indeo (from Intel), IVI (fom Intel as well) and other more proprietary formats. Criteria for comparison include: required level of hardware, compression ratio, and visual quality. Anyone authoring digital video should know what codec they are using as it largely determines quality and file sizes. -- RR
Pohler, Ulrike. "Legal Aspects of Multimedia: A European Perspective" Spectra: Journal of the Museum Computer Network 23(2) (Winter 1995/6): 27-29. -- This article reports on the European Commission Green Paper, which explored the issues of copyright, including digital media, as they applied to the newly united European Union. The paper may form a model for copyright agreements that span national boundaries, currently a major restriction to multimedia content development. -- RR
Bustos, Rod and Roxann Bustos. "Internet Resources for Liberalism" College & Research Libraries News 57(2) (February 1996): 86-87. -- As a companion piece to an earlier C&RL News feature on Internet resources for conservatism (July/August 1995), this article focuses on resources for liberalism. Of the hundreds of liberal sites that must exist on the Internet, this article provides only a selective list of electronic journals, World Wide Web resources, electronic discussion groups, usenet groups and gophers. While a listing for MojoWire, the online edition of Mother Jones, and Turn Left (the Home of Liberalism on the Web) with its links to a variety of other liberal sites, seem like obvious choices for inclusion in this list, references to the Democratic National Committee Home Page and the Anti-Defamation League Home Page, leave this Current Citer wondering about the authors' exact definition of liberal. -- MP
DeJesus, Edmund X. "Toss Your TV: How the Internet Will Replace Broadcasting" BYTE 21(2) (February 1996): 50-64. [http://www.byte.com/art/9602/sec8/sec8.htm]. -- One of the best articles I've seen on the challenges of delivering multimedia over the Internet and the mix of technologies that may make it possible. From server infrastructure to network bandwidth to client software, DeJesus takes us on a magical mystery tour of Internet multimedia developments. Promising? Yes. Time to toss your TV? Not yet. But as DeJesus says, "keep your browsers tuned." -- RT
Herbst, Kris. "Webfest IV: A Report of the Happenings at the Fourth World-Wide Web Conference" Internet World 7(3) (March 1996): 22-26. -- For Web-heads who missed the show in Boston, this article hits the high points of this conference (as well as briefly recapping the show-stealers of the previous shows). With all the Web and Internet conferences that have sprouted up in the last two years, it is hard to keep them straight. But this one is the real McCoy, sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Highlights include Java, VRML, Video Mosaic (Vosaic), payment systems, and the future of HTML. -- RT
Nash, Stanley D., Miles Yoshimura, William Vicenti. "American History Resources on the Internet" College & Research Libraries News 57(2) (February 1996): 82-84, 90. -- The increasing availability of full-text documents such as treaties, acts, diaries and maps as well as the availability of images and sound on the Web could potentially revolutionize the nature of scholarly historical research as we know it. This article provides a selective list of some of the important full-text sources available on the Internet listing resources such as the Anti-Imperialism in the U.S.A. Web page, the American Prohibition Project, and the American Civil War Home Page which provides links to diaries, letters and military rosters from that era. There is a listing of indexes and guides to historical texts available on the Internet and the article also lists important listservs and the homepages or gophers for historical organizations. -- MP
Maxwell, Bruce. How to Access the Government's Electronic Bulletin Boards Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, Inc. 1996. -- A second edition to last year's book of the same title, this book provides detailed descriptions of more than 200 free, public-access electronic bulletin board systems (BBSs) operated by federal agencies and departments. Electronic bulletin boards operated by the federal government provide access to a wide range of information sources such as lists of federal job opportunities, staff directories for particular agencies, and documents like the full text of Supreme Court opinions, grant information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH Grant Line), or statistical information issued by the Bureau of the Census. A layperson's guide, this book describes how to reach these BBSs, what they offer, and how to navigate through them. Particularly helpful is the introduction which provides background information in simple, practical terms about what one needs to connect to electronic bulletin boards in terms of hardware and software, in addition to a basic introduction to menu commands and solutions to common problems. The 1996 edition includes helpful information about how certain government information sites have changed or been improved (NASA Spacelink, for instance, which used to be almost unnavigable, has been completely transformed by a new easy-to-use interface); also included in the 1996 edition is an appendix which lists which BBSs have been added since last year, which ones have been deleted and which ones have undergone name changes.-- MP
Adkins, Susan L. "CD-ROM: A Review of the 1994-1995 Literature" Computers in Libraries 16(1) (January 1996): 66-74. -- In what has now become an annual tradition in the pages of Computers in Libraries, Adkins attempts to summarize the major trends in the CD-ROM industry as a whole and how these play out in libraries. This literature review, with accompanying bibliographic cites, is broken down into the follow categories: hardware, networking, multimedia, CD-Recordable, other optical disc formats, CD-ROM v. online, developing countries, selection/ evaluation, reference issues and bibliographic instruction. A rather startling statistic presented in the conclusion is that on average, professionals spend only 5 to 15 percent of their time reading--but up to 50 percent of their time looking for information. In light of this startling statistic, Adkins argues, electronic publishing via CD-ROM is not merely an alternative, but a solution, since it offers search and navigation capabilities that paper can never have. However, 95 percent of corporate information is still stored in paper documents. -- TR
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