Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 7, no. 3, March 1996

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

Contributors: Campbell Crabtree, John Ober, Margaret Phillips, David Rez, Richard Rinehart, Teri Rinne, Roy Tennant

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

Editor's Note: Check out the new and improved search and retrieval capabilities on the Current Cites Web page. This new method of searching the Current Cites archive retrieves individual citations, rather than entire issues. This enhancement was made possible thanks to Roy Tennant.

Electronic Publishing

Anderson, Greg, Rebecca Lasher, and Vicky Reich. "The Computer Science Technical Report (CS-TR) Project: A Pioneering Digital Library Project Viewed from a Library Perspective" Public Access Computer Systems Review 7(2) (1996). [] -- Don't let the apparent focus of this article on computer science technical reports prevent you from reading this very informative description of a cutting-edge digital library project. The down-to-earth advice and information regarding production scanning, copyright issues, and other topics make this much more than simply another case history. Another thing that makes this article a must read is that it describes a working model for simultaneous searching of a physically distributed archive -- a model that is an essential one for creating digital libraries that encompass many collections and yet appear as one to the user. If you wish to know more, the article references have a number of good pointers, to which I would add the article in D-Lib Magazine "Creating a Networked Computer Science Technical Report Library" by James Davis [], which provides more technical detail. -- RT

Flohr, Udo. "Put the Space in CyberSpace" BYTE 21(3) (March 1996): 61-64. VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) is an ascii language for describing space and objects to a computer. VRML documents are beginning to live on the Web alongside, and linked to HTML pages. This article briefly describes VRML, gives a code sample and lists addresses for VRML sites for obtaining the available viewers and tools needed to create VRML. Everything you need to start exploring the virtual worlds on the Internet except the bandwidth and high-end workstation. -- CJC

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Leary, Pippa. "Living in Sim" 21.C Scanning the Future: A Magazine of Culture, Technology, and Science (January 1996): 20-25. [issn 1035-6754] -- Set apart from the host of multimedia CD-ROM titles (mostly combat games) aimed at teenagers, there exists a realm of titles in the multimedia CD-ROM industry that is a combination of game, music CD, and electronic novel. Pippa explores this niche, pioneered by Inscape Inc. with their title, "The Residents Freak Show," as most faithfully fulfilling the potential of this postmodern media without resorting to shoveling Hollywood content or vapid video games into it. This exploration into interactivity and interface will be useful for designing an engaging multimedia project of any type. The magazine also explores a number of other intriguing topics, from the longevity of media to the cultural nostalgia for rust in the face of ever-clean electrons. -- RR

Salamone, Salvatore. "Make Multimedia Happen" BYTE 21(3) (March 1996): 65-90. -- A trio of articles describe concerns facing those planning multimedia projects. "What's the Story" by Salvatore Salamone looks at content development and traditional storyboarding techniques and evaluates multimedia storyboarding tools. "Multimedia over the Network" by Nathan J. Muller is a technical view of competing datalink and network technologies for delivering time-sensitive multimedia content over LANs, WANs and the Internet. "Learn the Lingo" by Robert A. Delrossi describes the capabilities of and learning curves associated with multimedia development tools. Not to be overlooked in assessing the costs of undertaking a multimedia project are content development and the use of copyrighted materials, as well as the software. -- CJC

Weinman, Linda. "Video Effects Software" New Media 6(4) (March 11, 1996): 59-68. [ISSN 1060-7188] -- Many of the best video effects seen in movies or television are not produced in high-end analog systems, nor in Lucas Studios, but on mid-range computer video editing workstations. While Hollywood still employs the former for many of the most spectacular special effects, the role is increasing for the small design house or in-house developer. This article is a thorough exploration of the possibilities, comparing current software packages for video effects, with implications for producers of digital content as well as those who re-print to film or video. -- RR

Networks and Networking

Halfhill, Tom R. "Inside the Web PC" BYTE 21(3) (March 1996) :44-56. [] -- The idea of a "Web PC" is a relatively new concept. Yet in less than a year it is one of the most talked about ideas in the computing industry. These PC's promise to be inexpensive ($500 or so), flexible and powerful enough to compete with today's established computing hardware. Four technologies-- fast and affordable network connections, fast and affordable microprocessors, platform-independent programming languages and lightweight operating systems--are key to the success of the Web PC. If these technologies coalesce the Web PC will likely become an attractive computing resource in markets where online computing is increasingly important but current hardware costs prohibit growth. -- DR

Kimmel, Stacey. "Robot-Generated Databases on the World Wide Web" DATABASE 19(1) (February/March 1996): 41-49. -- This article serves as a good introduction to robot-built Web databases as well as a source of more detailed information about specific search tools. But its usefulness is marred slightly by some currency problems (No mention of the current best search tool Alta Vista at, old addresses for some tools, etc.) that no doubt are the fault of a long publishing timeline for this print publication (publishers take note!). I also would have preferred leaving out some of the less useful tools entirely, which seem to be more of a waste of time these days than anything. But the in-depth information about tools such as Lycos and Open Text, as well as the excellent bibliography (including pointers to some of Martijn Koster's essential resources on Web robots) make this article a good read for Web searchers. -- RT

Kunze, John A. and Brian N. Warling. "Recent Developments in GALEN II: Evolution of a Digital Library for the Health Sciences" D-Lib Magazine (March 1996) [] -- A brief but interesting report on using the Web Common Gateway Interface (CGI) to provide Web client access to a Z39.50 database. Other programs create HTML response pages on-the-fly and convert MARC records retrieved from the database into HTML suitable for display or text for downloading. The article left me wanting much more, especially the source code for the programs to which they refer, but I imagine that personal contact would be a better way to request such things anyway. -- RT

Merrill, Deane W., et al. "1990 U.S. Census LOOKUP: Mining a Mountain of Data" D-Lib Magazine (March 1996) [] -- The subtitle is descriptive of what this article is about. There is a "mother lode" of information deeply buried within a mountain of U.S. Census data. What this article presents and discusses is an important project to make this resource easily available to World Wide Web users through an easy to use interface. -- RT

Notess, Greg R. "News Resources on the World Wide Web" DATABASE 19(1)(February/March 1996): 12-20. -- A good overview of Web news resources, with all the appropriate pointers and liberally sprinkled with screenshots. Notess also gives some good advice regarding the best sources to use for different types of news. The one unfortunate aspect to this article is that the publication delay of print articles has already dated this piece. The announcement of the PointCast Network [] has introduced a new paradigm for getting news from the Web, and Notess' article does not mention it (through no fault of his own). -- RT

Robinson, Kara L. "People Talking to People: Making the Most of Internet Discussion Groups" Online 20(1) (January/February 1996): 26-32. -- For anyone that has ever been confused about how to deal with e-conferences (known to many as listservs) this piece is a wonderful resource for information and reference. Robinson provides an overview of e-conferencing and then offers strategies for discovering and choosing e-conferences that fit your interests. She details protocols that drive the e-conference software and proposes tactics for coping with the escalation of e-mail that follows. -- DR

Strom, David. "Top Ten Interesting Trends on and Around the World-Wide Web" ConneXions 10(2) (February 1996): 9-13. [] -- An amusing piece that also has the added benefit of being insightful and informative. Throw in the pointers in the references (to both digital and wood pulp sources) and you have a winner. -- RT

Optical Disc Technology

Beiser, Karl. "A CD-ROM Spin on the World Wide Web" DATABASE 19(1) (February/March 1996): 97-100. -- Predicting that the Web may be more significant as a medium of information, promotion, and user support for CD-ROM technology than as a replacement, Beiser outlines a variety of Web sites likely to be useful to library and information professionals who work with the technology. Check out Beiser's "Guide to CD-ROM Resources on the Web" page [] to link to the most valuable CD-ROM sites on the web. Among the categories covered: hardware, user groups, conferences, publications, vendors, standards, compression technologies, CD-R and PhotoCD, and search engines and strategies. -- TR


Shapiro, Jeremy J. and Shelley K. Hughes. "Information Technology as a Liberal Art: Enlightenment Proposals for a New Curriculum" EDUCOM Review 31(2) (March/April 1996): 31-35. [ review.96/mar.apr/shapiro.html] -- Shapiro and Hughes argue for a broad definition of information literacy, to encompass not just the ability to use information technology (which they call tool literacy) but also another six types of information literacy: resource literacy, social-structural literacy, research literacy, publishing literacy, emerging technology literacy, and critical literacy. This broad view of information literacy forms the foundation from which they promote the development of an information literacy curriculum that is thoughtful and multi-dimensional. -- RT

Brook, James & Ian Boal, editors. Resisting the Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1995. [ISBN 0-87286-299-2] -- This collection of essays examines the effect of technology on culture and on the human mind. It is critical in the sense of inquiry, not of judgment (though informed judgment is often be the conclusion), and many of the writers you may recognize as harbingers of new technology in the areas of library science, the arts, and, of course literary theory. The book is divided into sections discussing technology as it relates to the community, the body, work, and daily life. -- RR

Current Cites 7(3) (March 1996) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1996 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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