Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 8, no. 2, February 1997

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356  - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/1997/cc97.8.2.html

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

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

Electronic Publishing

Arms, William Y., Christophe Blanchi, and Edward A. Overly. "An Architecture for Information in Digital Libraries" D-Lib Magazine (February 1997) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/february97/cnri/02arms1.html) -- Although it may not seem like it at first, it is well worth trying to understand such terms as "key metadata," "structural metadata," "digital object," and "meta-object" that pepper this article. Arms and company describes a digital library architecture that is based on previous projects (at least one of which still exists as a production service) and work with the U.S. Library of Congress National Digital Library Program, which is digitizing content at a rapid pace. The architecture outlined here is an intriguing one, and it will be interesting to see the prototype system promised for early 1997. But while the article is long on detail in some areas (such as the use of "handles" to handle persistent naming), it is quite short on other details, like what metadata scheme they propose to use and in what container they will store it. But nonetheless, anyone building or thinking of building digital collections must be familiar with the work described in this paper. -- RT

Ester, Michael. Digital Image Collections: Issues and Practice The Commission on Preservation & Access, December 1996. -- In this brief (36 pages) report, Ester distills a great deal of information and discussion of issues relating to creating, organizing, and managing digital image collections. Anyone faced with such a project would do well to spend $15 and learn a lot about what is involved, as well as being forewarned about a general lack of standards and rules of thumb related to digital imaging. Major sections include discussions of the original object and its reproduction, assessing image quality, color matching, integrating image and text information, building collections, reproduction rights, and user access. One disappointment is the lack of any substantive discussion of the metadata issue -- what information is kept about each image and how. Despite this minor point Ester has put together a quite useful document for those of us still laboring under the misconception that one needs only slap a photo on a scanner to start building a digital image collection. -- RT

Kirriemuir, John. "The Professional Web-zine and Parallel Publishing" D-Lib Magazine (February 1997) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/february97/ariadne/02kirriemuir.html) -- This article, and a related one by John McColl, describes the experiences of the editors of a magazine that is published in both print and Web versions. The freely available Web version has all the content of the print version, along with additional content not available in print. This article provides some history regarding the creation of this dual publishing model. Of particular note in this piece is the interesting and frank discussion about how to make it pay, from someone faced with making the transition from a grant-funded project to the cold fiscal realities of the real world. -- RT

MacColl, John. "The Professional Magazine and Parallel Publishing" D-Lib Magazine (February 1997) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/february97/02maccoll.html) -- In this companion piece to John Kirriemuir's article in the same issue of D-Lib Magazine, MacColl waxes more philosophic than his compatriot in looking at the issues behind the parallel publication of a journal in both print and Web versions. He contends that parallel publishing, at least for the type of professional literature of which Ariadne is a part, is likely to be a useful publication model for some time into the future. -- RT

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Sauer, Jeff. "New Tools Give QuickTime Muscle" New Media 7(1) (January 6, 1997):71-74. -- This is a bit of a hands-on article, and not very theoretical, but it should prove very useful to all those who made an investment in putting their digital video content into the QuickTime format, and now want to make that content available on the web without the expense of a server-side option for web-video. -- RR

Networks and Networking

Cortese, Amy. "A Way Out of the Web Maze" Businessweek (3515) (February 24, 1997):95-108 (http://www.businessweek.com/1997/08/b35151.htm). Special Report. -- Suddenly everyone is reporting on rapidly emerging "push" technologies, and Businessweek is no exception. The "push" technologies are, simply put, new services that learn what you want to receive via the Web and bring it to your desktop. Instead of struggling with links, URLs, and "no DNS entry" messages, push technologies do the searching for you. Corporate firms use push technologies (also known as "webcasting") to bring news and information to employee desktops. Both Microsoft and Netscape are working on products that would provide "channels" on a personal computer that would allow custom configurations and "productivity" services (such as spreadsheets or word processors) on demand. Push technology is estimated to grab up to one third of Internet advertising revenue by the year 2000. This article provides a handy overview of the key players (ranging from Berkeley Systems to Microsoft), as well as likely development trends. -- TH

Guernsey, Lisa. "A Humanities Network Considers What Lies Beyond E-mail: Debate at H-NET Reflects Ideas of Two Men Who Run the Popular Project" Chronicle of Higher Education 43(20) (January 24, 1997): A23-A24. -- H-NET, which won the American Historical Association's award for contributions to the teaching of history, is a lively community of over 51,000 humanities scholars. This article charts its growth and future goals, which will increasingly involve Web applications. Until now, the network has largely been a series of email discussion lists. This is a relatively low-tech use of networked communications, but clearly of interest and value to the participants as a scholarly aid. The founders will retain a commitment to material that can be accessible with slower machines and access times, in recognition of the full range of technology available. -- TH

Hof, Robert D. "Netspeed at Netscape" Businessweek (3513) (February 10, 1997):78-86 [http://www.businessweek.com/1997/06/b35131.htm]. -- This profile of working life at Netscape will be of interest to librarians who are watching the development of Internet culture for two reasons. First, it showcases the mindset and values (such as speed, speed, speed in development cycles) that have helped Netscape keep an edge on Microsoft. Second, it reveals how Netscape developers and marketers have combined an understanding of desktop ease-of-use with new ways handling "content." Fans of Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine will enjoy a peek at this one. -- TH

Johnston, Leslie and Katherine Jones-Garmil. "So You Want to Build a Web Site" Museum News (Jan/Feb 1997):41-44 -- After you thought you'd seen all you needed of introductory articles on how to make web sites... this one is worth looking at. The authors cite URLs to back up each section, but more importantly they give a good overview of issues to consider when planning a website, including server options, access issues, etc. This is an up-to-date, concise, and well-considered introduction to being an information provider on the web. -- RR

Wilson, David L. "Internet Managers are Poised to Change the System of On-line Address" Chronicle of Higher Education 43(22) (February 7, 1997):A25-A26. -- Corporate vanity is not the only reason that the Internet International Ad Hoc Committee is recommending the addition of new "top level domain names" for Internet addresses, but you can bet it has played a big role. "Internet domain names" (that's the part on the right side of the final period, such as ".edu" and ".com") are being assigned quickly and more capacity is needed; also, new top-level names will give firms another chance to grab a vanity address that's similar to their overall corporate identity. The final recommendations aren't done yet, but look for new domain names like "paramount.ent" that offer better top-level classification. The committee will recommend at least seven new choices, but the final recommendation may grow to 20. -- TH

Wilson, David. L. "With 98 Colleges Taking Part, Internet II May Start within Six Months" Chronicle of Higher Education 43(22) (February 7, 1997):A25-A26. -- This article gives an interesting overview of the new, high-speed alternative to the current Internet, "Internet II." The new network will focus on the needs of research universities. This initiative, which originally sought a mere dozen participants, now has nearly 100 campus partners. A key element of the infrastructure of the new network will be known as "gigabit points of presence," or "gigapops." There may be as many as 50 gigapop locations (one per state) that will enable local traffic to move at speeds many times faster than is currently possible. Computer scientists forecast that the new system may be on-line in six months. -- TH

Information Technology and Society

Anderson, Kurt. "The Age of Unreason" The New Yorker 72(45) (February 3, 1997):40-43. -- Anderson explores the impact of the "culture" business, and dueling statistics in particular. He finds a growing reluctance on the part of intellectuals to accept the existence of indisputable facts; instead, facts are constantly disputed by parallel survey research, number crunching and counter-claims that are made against all viewpoints. He cites the Internet as a case study, because quasi-factual web sites that look reliable may in fact be riddled with half-baked reasoning. How do those in pursuit of critical thinking navigate through all the half truths? A growing dilemma. Anderson also analyzes the well-publicized claims about TWA Flight 800 that journalist Pierre Salinger obtained from the Internet. Although Anderson doesn't focus solely on Net culture, this article is interesting for those who watch the digital Zeitgeist. -- TH

Druckery, Timothy, ed. Electronic Culture: Technology and Visual Representation New York: Aperture Publishers, 1996. -- Comprehensive and in-depth, this book contains essays by over 30 artists, information scientists, designers and academics on the cultural impact of extended visualization via computer imaging and networks in the fields of art, the sciences and history. The first articles start with an historical look at representation, then move through photographic and para-photographic imaging technology. The authors then consider theory and end by addressing media, identity and culture. It's a lot of slippery material to cover, but it's done well, and helpful to step back from the daily work and consider what we're doing. -- RR

General

Chepesiuk, Ron. "The Future is Here: America's Libraries Go Digital" American Libraries 27(1) (January 1997):47-49. -- In this brief overview article Chepesiuk identifies many of the higher-profile digital library projects that are trying to reinvent the future of libraries. He also describes some of the toughest issues such projects are trying to resolve, including preservation, copyright, and interoperability. Chepesiuk also acknowledges, as does probably everyone involved with such projects, that print materials and library collections of them will not be replaced by digital libraries. Included are addresses (URLs) for some important digital library projects and resources. -- RT

Verity, John M. "Coaxing Meaning Out of Raw Data: How Software Can Now Find Patterns Never Seen Before" Businessweek (3512) (February 3, 1997):134-38 (http://www.businessweek.com/1997/05/b3512127.htm). -- This is a really interesting article that describes exactly what "data mining" and "data warehousing" are all about. Data mining refers to a class of software analysis tools that can parse very, very large datasets and find "meaningful" patterns. For example, we're talking combinations like US Census data, 10 years of product sales history in 50 states, every telephone call from millions of numbers, plus any number of other factors. Data warehousing systems analyze datasets in the trillions of bytes on ultra-fast servers, and can help managers pinpoint trends and inventory levels almost instantly. This approach is especially helpful at catching fraud like cell-phone theft, or strategic planning like customer-retention. But it also has big implications for qualitative information management of the sort that happens in libraries. Keep an eye on this trend in programming! -- TH


Current Cites 8(2) (February 1997) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1997 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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