Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 7, no. 8, August 1996

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

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

[ Electronic Publishing ] [ Multimedia and Hypermedia ] [ Networks and Networking ] [ Information Technology & Society ]

Electronic Publishing

Dietz, Steve & Margaretta Sander. "Unlocking Museum Information with SGML" Spectra: Journal of the Museum Computer Network ( 23(4)(Summer 1996): 16-17. -- A concise, informative introduction to the benefits of applying the SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) standard for electronic publishing and document management. The article will be a useful resource for any type of organization considering its document access needs; the writers cite examples of successful applications in the museum world for illustration of how SGML can work in the real world. -- RR

Harter, Stephen P. "The Impact of Electronic Journals on Scholarly Communication: A Citation Analysis." The Public-Access Computer Systems Review 7(5) (1996). ( -- Electronic journals have been available on the Internet for years, but there have been few studies on their impact on scholarly communication. This citation study attempts to answer that key question by comparing citation statistics of electronic journals begun prior to 1993 with citation statistics of print journals. The author concludes that "the great majority of scholarly, peer-reviewed e-journals have had essentially no impact on scholarly communication in their respective fields," but nonetheless acknowledges that this is the case partly due to publishing far fewer articles, in general, then their print counterparts. Therefore, even though the overall impact of e-journals appears to be slight, the impact of the typical e-journal article is high. Of all the e-journals examined in this study, PACS Review (in the field of library and information science) emerged as the most successful. -- RT

John, Nancy R. "Putting Content on the Internet: The Library's Role as Creator of Electronic Information" First Monday 1(2) ( -- The University of Illinois-Chicago launched a large scale project to offer digital libraries with four partners, including the Chicago Public Library, the U.S. Department of State, the Illinois State Archives, and Pemberton Press. The project is titled the "Great Cities Initiative," and the goal is to leverage academic library skill in the greater context of the urban community. Each project varied according to the "content" of the partner institution, with Illinois-Chicago coordinating the overall shape of the service. The author reviews the development, challenges and future prospects of the collaborative venture, which seem bright. Since launching the project the Illinois-Chicago library has also become the publisher of an online journal titled the AIDS Book Review Journal, further evidence of a strong commitment to digital collections. -- TH

MacEwan, Bonnie, and Mira Geffner. "The Committee on Institutional Cooperation Electronic Journals Collection (CIC-EJC): A New Model for Library Management of Scholarly Journals Published on the Internet" The Public-Access Computer Systems Review 7(4) (1996). ( -- An overview of a cooperative project to catalog, archive, and provide structured access to a collection of electronic journals. Access to all titles is provided by linking to the publisher's site, but they are also building an archive to serve as a permanent record should the original be destroyed or discontinued. The Web site provides for searching and browsing by topic or title. All journals in the collection are cataloged with standard MARC records that are distributed to OCLC and member institutions. The URL for each title is included in the 856 field of the MARC record to facilitate access from the catalog record. Future plans include a Persistent URL (PURL) server. -- RT

"The Property of the Mind" The Economist 340 (7976) (July 27 - August 2, 1996): 57-59. ( -- For a clear look at the challenges facing intellectual property regulation in a global context, step beyond the U.S. debate and read this issue's feature article and leader, titled "Copyrights and Copywrongs" (p. 16). The Economist traces the development of copyright (Jefferson: "...he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me") and analyzes the dramatic changes wrought by digital media. In effect, the Internet is one big copying machine, some argue, while others wish to hold to the Jeffersonian high ground. Meanwhile, most Americans (and many others too) feel that what they do (and digitally replicate) in the privacy of their own homes is no one else's business. UC Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson argues that the attitudes of the public ("Don't Tread On Me") and of publishers is moving farther apart. Although no strong solutions are in sight, Esther Dyson thinks original content could be enhanced, or perhaps publishers could discover new ways to make money from it. Unregulated recording at Grateful Dead concerts is one example of this, Netscape's long-lasting giveaway of its browser is another. -- TH

Stewart, Linda. "User Acceptance of Electronic Journals: Interviews with Chemists at Cornell University" College and Research Libraries 57(4) (July 1996): 339-349. -- Based on interviews with a group of students and faculty affiliated with the Cornell University Chemistry department who participated in a project that loaded the full text of twenty American Chemical Society (ACS) texts, this paper explores the potential of electronic journals to accomplish the scholarly role traditionally associated with printed journals. Important to participants in the study was ease-of-use and the ability to browse regardless of the format; most users felt that printed copies (or at least the ability to create a print copy) was important and some questioned whether electronic journals would allow them to discover articles serendipitously or read the articles in comfort (eyestrain and the awkwardness of reading in front of a terminal were cited as problems). On the other hand, participants thought that electronic journals would allow them to read more complete articles, spend their reading time more efficiently and read articles sooner. As libraries face the challenge of choosing between electronic and printed journals, this article offers an excellent snapshot of how academic users feel about electronic journals. Also helpful are the footnotes which cite some important research in this field. -- MP

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Nov'Art [ISSN: 1165-37x] -- This quarterly publication from France covers a range of issues in new media, usually from a conceptual or social angle rather than purely technical. The February 1996 issue (118pg), for instance, focused on writing and multimedia; articles ranged from the role of the artist in new media to the network blurring the line between spectator and actor. A website is not listed, however you may contact them via email at: -- RR

Networks and Networking

Theme issue of Computer on the U.S. Digital Library Initiative (May 1996) ( -- This special issue covers the six digital library projects funded by the National Science Foundation. An overview article entitled "Building Large-Scale Digital Libraries" (by Bruce Schatz and Hsinchun Chen) leads into articles on each of the six projects based at U.S. Universities:

The cutting-edge digital library research reported in these articles is interesting, but don't hold your breath waiting for much of it to appear in an application on your desktop. It is, after all, research, which need not concern itself with practicalities or products. -- RT

Fleischhauer, Carl. "Access Aids and Interoperability" (, "Digital Historical Collections: Types, Elements, and Construction" (,"Digital Formats for Content Reproductions" ( Library of Congress, 1996. -- This trio of Web documents provides the best source for practical, up-to-date advice on various aspects of building digital collections that will interoperate well with other such collections. They were drafted by the Library of Congress to provide guidelines for organizations competing in the LC/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition, but their utility goes far beyond that. For anyone who is involved with creating or managing digital collections, these documents provide important advice and assistance on some of the key decisions to be made as well areas of continuing ambiguity. You won't by any means find all the answers here, but you'll find a few as well as many of the pertinent questions that must be answered before a true National Digital Library can be a reality. -- RT

Gardner, Elizabeth. "Keeping Users Hot on Your Site's Trail" WebWeek 2(6) ( (May 20, 1996):48. ( -- This article introduces the idea of PURLs or "Persistent URLs" as a better way of identifying and locating webpages. URLs of course are dependent on the location of a specific filename at a specific machine, domain, and directory location. If any element in that structure changes, the document is as good as lost to most users, at least until all relevant links are laboriously updated. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) proposes to keep the URL's for web documents centrally on a local PURL server. Then when someone requests the page, the central PURL server sends them along to the document. This way, a user merely needs to know which online system a document resides at, and all updating of URL's happens at the location, by the people who know best. While this is not quite the nirvana of each document having a unique identifier which travels with it, regardless of system, it would be quite an improvement to current document location systems, especially if PURL Servers could be networked and updated like newsgroup servers, so one need only ever find the local World-Wide PURL server to locate any document on the web. -- RR

Varian, Hal. "Differential Pricing and Efficiency" First Monday 1(2) ( -- Varian, an economist and Dean at UC Berkeley's School of Information Management and Systems, lays out the reasons why several core economic suppositions are turned upside down by digital media. Specifically, he argues that a key market concept -- marginal pricing -- is not relevant where digital media allows for increasing returns to scale, large fixed costs (such as telecommunications infrastructures) or economies of scope are at play. "Willingness to pay" is an equally important principle. The solution he argues, lies in differential pricing that can allow both forces to work in an inter-related fashion. Economists will enjoy the thorough treatment (with beautifully rendered graphics of economic formulae), while laymen will be able to follow Varian's plain English. This is a useful guide to the economic issues underlying impending commercial uses of the Internet. -- TH

Wilson, David. L. "Campus 'intranets' Make Information Available to Some but Not All, Internet Users" Chronicle of Higher Education 62(47) (August 2, 1996): A15-A17. -- Higher education was the primary launching pad for Internet information systems (along with the defense industry), but higher education is just beginning to catch up the corporate sector in the development of "intranets." Where corporations have moved quickly to implement web-based internal services that are safe behind firewalls, higher education has moved more slowly, mainly due its open computing environment. The author explores several of the issues that arise when colleges seek to define who should and who should not have access to college intranets, and some of the technological challenges of distance learning and remote registration (to name just a couple issues). There's an interesting discussion of the downstream impact of choosing proprietary software (like Lotus Notes) over Internet software; and, according to many quoted, there's plenty of room for improvement in all the options. -- TH

Information Technology & Society

Reagle, Joseph M., Jr. "Trust in Electronic Markets: The Convergence of Cryptopgraphers and Economists" First Monday 1(2) ( -- This is one of those studies that skillfully summarizes a tried-and-true "real world" function: the social and technical infrastructure of commerce, and then explores the impact of cyberspace on the status quo. Reagle poses the question of what is to be done in cyberspace, where none of the stanchions of secure financial transactions have been fully worked out; clearly, it's not an area that can be safely left in the hands of either cryptographer or economists, when we all have a stake in the outcome. It's a fascinating article, for two reasons. First, Reagle lays out the things we take for granted, such as check-writing, security and deposits, and so on, reducing this universally accepted system to its most basic definition: it's just information. Second, Reagle writes speculatively about how to transfer (or perhaps better said, invent) a similar system in cyberspace. You may not agree with some of the ideas (how about buying this nice "Digital Bearer Bond?"), but the analysis is cross-disciplinary, and grounded in an understanding of both society and human nature, and technology. -- TH

Current Cites 7(8) (August 1996) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1996 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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