Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 7, no. 6, June 1996

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356  - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/1996/cc96.7.6.html

Contributors: Campbell Crabtree, Terry Huwe, John Ober, Margaret Phillips, David Rez, Richard Rinehart, Teri Rinne, Roy Tennant and Special Guest Contributor Karen Coyle

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

Electronic Publishing

Arms, Caroline R. "Historical Collections for the National Digital Library: Lessons and Challenges at the Library of Congress, Part 2" D-Lib Magazine [http://www.dlib.org/] (May 1996). [http://www.dlib.org/dlib/may96/loc/05c-arms.html] -- This is part two of a piece that we cited in the April issue of Current Cites. It is an excellent overview of the challenges faced by the Library of Congress in digitizing major collections and making them available on the Internet. The insights shared in this article are invaluable to anyone involved in similar activities. If you read but one article on digital library issues this year, make this (both parts, of course) the one. -- RT

Brown, John Seely and Paul Duguid. "The Social Life of Documents" [http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue1/documents/] First Monday 1(1) [http://www.firstmonday.dk/] (May 1996) -- Brown and Duguid offer a redefinition of the meaning of "documents", both in history and in cyberspace, primarily by expanding the definition of the word to include all of the social interaction and "negotiated meaning" a document must entail. Audacious, but it works. As an extended metaphor, the document enables the authors to connect "virtual communities" to the traditions of discourse that have long been part of the world of paper technologies (though they move at a much slower speed). For example, sociologist Anselm Strauss (much depended on here) sees documents as community builders, hence the "social world" of the title. They conclude by saying that contemporary society focuses on the "commercial life" of documents, but we should remember to understand the social uses of documents (and the endless margin notes and copies they engender). Clever, iconoclastic, and written to challenge our assumptions about information exchange in the bitstream, this article invites us to reassess our assumptions about ideas, paper, and electrons. -- TH

French, Rob. "Where is Publishing Headed?" Adobe Magazine 7(5) (May/June 1996): 34-39. -- You'd have to be living on the moon to miss the fact that the Internet offers both a challenge and an opportunity to the publishing world. In this thought-provoking article from a magazine on "publishing, design and digital media", some interesting facts and figures are cited in between quotes from major and minor players in Internet-based publishing. -- RT

Gagos, Traianos, with sidebars by Peggy Daub, Ariel Loftus and Shannon Zachary. "Scanning the Past: A Modern Approach to Ancient Culture" Library Hi Tech 14(1) (1996): 11-22. -- A detailed look at University of Michigan's Papyri Digitization Project (http://www.lib.umich.edu/pap/) including project proposal plan, hardware/software used, image capture specifications, and intellectual controls. Initiated as a preservation project, the digitization of the materials and their wider availability has changed collection use policies and facilitated research and instruction. Since the beginning of the project in 1991, technology has, inevitably, improved and become more accessible. Other institutions are now doing similar digitization projects, see Duke University's papyrus collection (http://odyssey.lib.duke.edu/papyrus/). The Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) is a planned "virtual collection", which will make possible the electronic reunification of papyrus fragments not physically located in the same repository. The participating institutions are University of Michigan, Duke, Columbia, Princeton, Yale and U.C. Berkeley. -- CJC

Laplante, Mary. "Information Interoperability" Inform (Magazine of AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management) 10(5) (May 1996): 16-18. -- One of the best concise introductions to SGML that I have seen. This article outlines the use of SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) for document management and dissemination by the academic and commercial sectors. The benefits of SGML include the ability to encode information in such a way that it can be repurposed for many uses, thus speeding and economizing many operations, all while using an open standard. The role of HTML (certainly the most popular implementation of SGML) for document delivery (but not storage) is outlined as well. The article is a great starting point (make a copy for your Dept. Chair/CIO/Director) and a gentle nudge to move to the next step beyond HTML. -- RR

McClung, Patricia A. Digital Collections Inventory Report. Washington, DC: Council on Library Resources and the Commission on Preservation and Access, 1996. -- Any print publication that provides an inventory of digital projects is out-of-date upon release. But as is mentioned in the foreword, this is a "snapshot" of projects existing at the time (February 1996), and will provide a historical benchmark at the very least. But it is also useful for more than that. Discovering the information included in this slim volume online would be difficult if not impossible. For each project there is a brief description, contact information, and, when available, a Web address. -- RT

Musciano, Chuck & Bill Kennedy. HTML: The Definitive Guide. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Press [http://www.ora.com] April 1996. ISBN: 1-56592-175-5; Order number: 1755. -- "Definitive" might be an exaggeration, but this book has excellent coverage of HTML commands and extensions (3.0, Netscape, Microsoft). It gives "how to" examples and recommends style and structure elements that will make your HTML readable by the greatest variety of browsers. Covers tables, forms, dynamic documents and other advanced topics (though not CGI scripting, which is handled by another O'Reilly book, [http://www.ora.com/www/item/cgi_prog.html] CGI Programming on the World Wide Web) and other advanced topics. Has appendices with quick command reference, the HTML DTD, a list of character entities and a color chart. It also includes a handy foldout pocket guide to HTML commands. Assumes a working knowledge of the Web. -- KC

Preserving Digital Information: Report of the Task Force on Archiving of Digital Information. Commission on Preservation and Access and the Research Libraries Group, May 1, 1996. [http://www.rlg.org/ArchTF/] -- Digital preservation is clearly one of the most difficult issues that face those who are building digital libraries. This report from a Task Force created by the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Research Libraries Group clearly outlines the issues and enumerates a number of actions that must be taken should we care to preserve our digital cultural heritage. If you count yourself among that number, the first thing to do is to read this report. -- RT

Tennant, Roy. Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial. Internet Workshop Series, Number 6. Berkeley: Library Solutions Press , [http://www.library-solutions.com/] 1996. ISBN:1-882208-19-6. -- Library Solutions Press has issued another in its Internet Workshop Series, this one a self-paced tutorial by Current Cites own Roy Tennant. (In order to avoid any appearance of nepotism, I will try to contain my enthusiasm -- but it may be difficult). A practical guide, this workbook is divided into two main sections: the first module covers basic HTML such as tags for basic structure (head, title, body), general formatting (headers, paragraphs, line breaks, etc.) and linking; the second introduces some advanced HTML features (image mapping, tables and forms). Each module introduces a set of concepts and tags followed by an exercise that requires readers to use what they have just learned. The value of this workbook is its simplicity and its practicality. Roy has been remarkably selective in the tags he chooses to teach. Yet, with just a few tags, the reader who completes all of the exercises can create an elegant, professional quality Web document that incorporates images, links, lists, forms and tables. All that is required of the reader is a simple text editor and a Web browser; the image files necessary to complete the exercises are included in a diskette (both Windows and Mac versions) that come with the workbook. Also useful in this volume is the quick reference guide at the end which includes a glossary and lists of HTML tags ordered both in alphabetical order and by function. The Guidelines for Web Document Style and Design should be required reading for anyone designing a Web page. -- MP

Weibel, Stuart, with sidebar by Judith Pearce. "The Changing Landscape of Networked Resource Description" Library Hi Tech 14(1) (1996): 7-10. -- Wiebel gives an update on the status of many projects and standards for resource description including the Dublin Core, a set of descriptive elements intended to promote self-describing Web documents and provide semantic interoperability of documents. A sidebar details the experience with the Dublin Core of the National Document and Information Service (NDIS) Project (http://www.nla.gov.au/2/NDIS/), a joint project of the National Library of Australia and the National Library of New Zealand. Also, a report from the 34th Internet Engineering Task Force with news of advances in the areas of HTTP, HTML, URNs and PICS. Of note are OCLC's Persistent Uniform Resource Locator (PURL) scheme (http://purl.OCLC.ORG), and the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) effort. (http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/PICS) -- CJC

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Fenske, David E. and Jon W. Dunn. "The VARIATIONS Project at Indiana University's Music Library" [http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june96/variations/06fenske.html] D-Lib Magazine [http://www.dlib.org/] (June 1996) -- While much of this article is focused on description of the technical challenges and solutions for delivering high quality digitized sound to music listening stations - a feat not to be taken lightly and whose success at Indiana is receiving wide recognition - it is perhaps the tangential comments that are most intriguing. Those interested in multimedia technologies will relish the thorough description of challenges in bandwidth and the explicit naming of hardware and software solutions. Others will turn to the comments suggesting a close link between building design and technology deployment or explaining that delivering sound is only a relatively small component of larger pedagogical and library preservation issues. -- JLO

Frappaolo, Carl. "Moving to Multimedia" Inform (Magazine of AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management) 10(5) (May 1996): 10-15. -- This article outlines the shift in information management from purely text based systems to increasingly complex multimedia systems. It proposes that multimedia should not be considered for its own sake, or as separate from other information, but rather considered an extension of the document. The author suggests that multimedia should also not be considered secondary, mere dressing for the substantive textual information, but as a value-adding data type in the document, one which improvements in data management systems and compression is making more feasible for common use by all who manage and provide access to information. -- RR

Networks and Networking

Clark, Kathleen A. "Internet Resources for Agriculture" College & Research Libraries News 57(6) (June 1996): 359-363. -- Another handy list of Internet resources, this article includes government sites, sources for agricultural statistics, weather and even a list of sites for clip art and agricultural images (see close-up images of plant pests, for instance, at a site called Agricultural Images from the National Agriculture Library). -- MP

Garfinkel, Simson and Gene Spafford. Practical UNIX & Internet Security 2nd Edition. Sebastopol: O'Reilly Press [http://www.ora.com], 1996. (1004 p.) ISBN: 1-56592-148-8; Order number: 1488. -- This is the book that tells you how hackers might enter your UNIX system and how you can close those entry points. It covers system basics like backups, account auditing, detection, and the UNIX file system design, but also deals with the management of security incidents and the related personnel issues (not all hacking comes from the outside!). More advanced topics include firewalls, secure SUID, and NFS and TCP/IP related questions. It has both plain language explanations and full technical details with code samples. -- KC

"Proceedings of the Fifth International World Wide Web Conference, 6-10 May 1996, Paris, France" Computer Networks and ISDN Systems (May 1996). [http://www5conf.inria.fr/fich_html/paper-sessions.html] -- Out of all the many Web conferences that have sprung up in no time at all, this is the one that attracts those who are on the cutting edge of Web technologies. That's both good and bad. It's good because it attracts researchers involved in some very innovative projects. It's bad because a number of the resulting papers are narrowly focused on complex topics of limited appeal. Many of them will result in no detectable influence on the Web. But others may influence the Web's future course in dramatic ways. And in the end there is something here for virtually anyone. -- RT

"Vinton Cerf: Poet-Philosopher of the Net" EDUCOM Review [http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/edreview.html] 31(32) (May 1996): 26-41. [http://www.educom.edu/web/pubs/review/reviewArticles/31336.html] -- In the kind of short summary style that characterizes many of EDUCOM Review's pieces, this interview with Vinton Cerf (co-developer of TCP/IP, ex-Stanford faculty member, current president of data architecture for MCI) covers a lot of ground in few pages. Readers are treated to a concise personal history of the Internet as well as to Cerf's departure from some Net conventional wisdom as, for example, he downplays the threat of over-commercialization and reveals his skepticism about the complete convergence of communication, computer, and network technologies. -- JLO

Weiss, Jiri. "The Wiring of Our Children" [http://www.hyperstand.com] New Media 6(8) (June 3, 1996): 36-39. -- By the end of this year, 13,000 California schools will be connected to the Internet, in part due to the massive "Net Day" volunteer activities. The home of the Silicon Valley is not alone however: 40 states and 20 other countries have similar plans. Educational use of the Internet has long been held as one of the promises of networked information, and this article shows that, slowly, it may be happening. Through several case studies, the author maps the mostly school-initiated educational content available online. -- RR

Optical Disc Technology

Johnson, Doug. "The Evolution of Information Storage" Inform (Magazine of AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management) 10(5) (May 1996): 40-42. -- A short tour of the history of information storage (text, not oral/multimedia) from pictographs to microfilm, ends by spelling out the imminent demise of the latest high-capacity storage solution: CD-ROMs. The author introduces us to DVD (Digital Video Disc) which is really another form of optical CD, but one using a different standard for encoding and retrieval (UDF for Universal Disk Format, instead of the current ISO 9660) and a different hardware technology for the disks themselves. The author does not give in to bemoaning the vagaries of digital storage, since the benefits for retrieval and repurpose are too great, but rather sensibly advises information managers now to adhere to standards since that will enable the porting of information to new standards as they emerge. -- RR

General

Fox, Edward A. and Gary Marchionini, ed. "Proceedings of the 1st ACM International Conference on Digital Libraries, March 20-23, 1996, Bethesda, Maryland" New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 1996. -- As with any scientific conference, the proceedings are a mixed bag. Some papers will have a very limited audience, whereas others will have a much wider appeal. In any case, if you are working in the "digital library" area (with all its many definitions), then you should check out these proceedings. -- RT

Intelligent Agent: Newsletter on the Use of Interactive Media and Technology in Arts and Education. [http://www.intelligent-agent.com] 1(2) (May 1996): 8 pgs. -- This newsletter, in its second issue, consists of reviews of education-oriented WWW sites, CD-ROMs and books. It also contains a few longer articles on digital art, wildlife conservation activities online, and "virtual economies". At this point it's interesting reading, with a slightly underground feel (allusions to Gibson novels), but a bit slim. That could change if momentum builds and more writers come on board; the focus on arts and education technology certainly makes this title worth watching. -- RR

McNulty, Tom, ed. "Libraries and the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities" Library Hi Tech 14(1) (1996): 23-73. -- This issue of Library Hi Tech includes a useful collection of eight articles on emerging library technologies and the access implications for people with disabilities. These articles are co-published with the journal Information Technology and Disabilities, and are available by ftp (ftp://ftpvms.rit.edu/pub/easi/itd_journal/). Articles discuss such topics as architectural barriers, adaptive technology, enhanced GUI environments employing sound and video, staff sensitivity, potential access problems and possible solutions. --CJC

Nardi, Bonnie A., Vicki O'Day, Edward J. Valauskas. "Put a Good Librarian, Not Software, in the Driver's Seat" The Christian Science Monitor [http://www.csmonitor.com/] (132) (June 4, 1996): 18. -- Yes, the electronic world is revolutionizing information but it still requires human beings (namely librarians) to analyze information requests, anticipate information needs and weed out false drops, not to mention evaluate and judge the reliability of sources. A summary of a study conducted of corporate librarians in Silicon Valley, this article is a delightful ode to special librarians and their demonstrated ability to adjust to the ever-changing landscape of electronic resources while at the same time understanding their clients' information needs in ways that "intelligent software agents" cannot. It seems as if I'm starting to read more and more articles like this. Is the rest of the world finally starting to get it? Or has the American Library Association retained the services of a very effective PR firm? -- MP

Research Agenda for Networked Cultural Heritage. [http://www.ahip.getty.edu/ahip/home.html] Santa Monica, Calif.: Getty Art History Information Program, 1996. ISBN 0-89236-414-9. -- This latest publication from the Getty AHIP is comprehensive and in-depth. It proposes a broad agenda of topics, which range from Knowledge Representation and Image and Multimedia Retrieval to New Social and Economic Mechanisms to Encourage Access. The sections' authors hail from Rutgers to Eastman Kodak and give each section thorough consideration. Includes a glossary and topical index to the articles. -- RR

"The Information Appliance" BusinessWeek no. 3481 (June 24, 1996) -- Readers of BusinessWeek are used to sifting through the editors' unremitting excitement about new technology in order to get the skinny on what's new and good. Here's another entry worth the read, mainly because Robert D. Hof (primary contributor) and his colleagues dissect the dueling proto-platforms that are currently battling to bring down Microsoft and Intel and put in their place new, cheaper gadgets that more people will buy. It is estimated that by the year 2000, twenty-two percent of all Internet-access devices will be machines that are not PCs--so, what will they be? Early (loss?) leaders include Oracle, Acorn Computer and IBM's iterations of the network PC; settop TV box technology; "diskless" PCs that are reminiscent of NeXt's first foray into the market, and personal digital assistants. There are several attending articles in the Special Report that are well worth a look; the best are about corporate strategies and "intelligent agents". -- TH


Current Cites 7(6) (June 1996) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1996 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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