Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 8, no. 3, March 1997

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

Acting Editor Roy Tennant

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

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

Editor's Note: This month we are pleased to welcome two new contributors: Christof Galli and Kirk Hastings. Christof received M.L.I.S and M.A. degrees in 1996 from UC Berkeley, and has accumulated an impressive HTML portfolio here at the UC Berkeley Library. No slouch himself, Kirk has an impressive array of accomplishments that includes the Jack London Collection on the Digital Library SunSITE (home of Current Cites). Kirk will receive his M.L.I.S this year from San Jose State University. This month we are also adding a new section, "Digital Libraries" in recognition of the fact that increasingly articles that we cite do not go gracefully into other categories. Besides, our fearless editor is on maternity leave at the moment (Mom and baby doing fine, thank you) and I am free to run rampant. - Roy Tennant, Acting Editor

[ Digital Libraries ] [ Electronic Publishing ] [ Multimedia and Hypermedia ] [ Networks and Networking ]

Digital Libraries

Grossman, David A., Ophir Frieder, David O. Holmes, and David C. Roberts. "Integrating Structured Data and Text: A Relational Approach" Journal of the American Society for Information Science 48(2) (February 1997):122-132. -- Making large collections of text available over the Internet through a rich, interactive search environment is the goal of many of the most ambitious digital library projects. Unfortunately, this usually involves the use of complex and expensive special purpose IR systems. The authors of this article offer an approach using the relational database model integrating structured data and unstructured text that has a lot of promising features. Primary among these is that it can be implemented with a straightforward relational database, which many institutions already have in place. Using standard SQL their system makes it possible to do Boolean keyword searches, proximity searches and relevance ranking on a full-text database. Although the storage overhead of such an approach is about three times that of an advanced IR systems, run time results compare very favorably, and with the rapid descent in the price of storage it seems very viable. -- KH

Jones, Paul "Java and Libraries: Digital and Otherwise" D-Lib Magazine (March 1997) []. Jones intro duces Java, discusses some of its possible uses, and points to specific projects and resources. Since many of us have already heard plenty about the promises of Java, the real benefit of this article is in the specific examples of how Java can be an effec tive tool for advancing scholarship. - RT

Norris, Bob and Denise Duncan. "Sink or Swim? The U.S. Navy Virtual Library (NVL)" D-Lib Magazine (March 1997) []. In this inspirationa l article, Norris and Duncan describe how adversity brought on by Navy downsizing spurred them to build an innovative and effective interface to online databases. Although the technical details on how the system was implemented are lacking (for example, " software was written to..."), the screen shots and other diagrams help sketch out how the system works for its users. If it truly works as advertised, it may provide an interesting model for other projects. They also use this specific project as a launch pad for speculating on how librarians can simultaneous cope with less resources and yet improve service. - RT

"Resource Sharing in a Changing Environment" Library Trends 45(3) (Winter 1997). With the emergence of electronic catalogs and the Internet along with changes in the nature of access to commercially-produced resources, we must radically rethink our assumptions about library services and resource sharing. This entire issue of Library Trends focuses on resource sharing in a changing library environment. Among the 12 articles included is one by Edward Shreeves who questions the relevance of cooperative collection which are based on print model even though we have already entered the digital age. John Barnes writes that despite changes in technology, libraries need to maintain their role in collecting, accessing and archiving information. Czeslaw Jan Grycz explores the broader context of scholarly communication and surveys sometimes divergent attitudes of authors, publishers and librarians. There are also articles on interlibrary loan, commercial document delivery services, and union catalogs. -MP

Weldon, Jay-Louise. "RDBMSes Get a Make-Over" and Alur, Nagraj and Judith R. Davis. "How to Improve DBMSes" BYTE 22:4 (April 1997):109-120. -- This pair of articles offers a very understandable explanation of the directions database management systems have recently taken and are likely to take in the future. The need to incorporate complex data formats and to accommodate new ways of processing data has led to the development of object-relational databases and DataBlades. A DataBlade is a package that allows the user to plug in a set of data types and processes that deals with such previously difficult data forms as images, full-text documents and spatial data. While powerful, the author of the first article feels that object-relational databases are merely a cobbled-together solution that will serve as a stepping stone to a much more integrated approach. This is a theme which the authors of the second article pick up and illustrate by describing what they feel are the seven essential requirements of any future system that is developed specifically for complex data. -- KH

Electronic Publishing

Cox, Richard J. "Taking Sides on the Future of the Book" American Libraries 28(2) (February 1997): 52-55. - Using several recent books as point and counterpoint, Cox reviews the issues regarding print and electronic publishing and what it may mean for the future of the book. Being a library school professor, his interest lies largely in what he should be teaching to the next generation of information professionals. His musings are interesting and his conclusion compelling. From the librari an's perspective, he concludes, "whether the book is a physical object or electronic shadow is almost beside the point. The real matter is that we understand, regardless of what may replace the book, the nature of information and knowledge in our society. " So much of the debate on the future of the book seems to get bogged down in debating the format of the package and what impact that format will have on our jobs that hearing such an enlightened perspective is truly refreshing. - RT

"Pattern, Order & Structure: Encyclopaedia Britannica's Robert McHenry Helps Us Organize Our Thoughts" EDUCOM Review 32(1) (January/Februrary 1997):40-47 []. This interview of the Editor-in-Chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica brings into focus a number of issues that traditional publishers face in making the transition to a mixed prin t/electronic market. As the interview unfolds, it seems apparent why Britannica Online is gaining a good foothold on the electronic market. They understand the market and their product's place in it. - RT

Networks and Networking

Barrett, Daniel J. NetResearch: Finding Information Online. Sebastopol, CA: Songline Studios, 1997. In thi s slim volume Barrett packs a lot of advice about how to effectively search the net. For the target audience of the novice net user (a couple chapters are dedicated to answering typical "newbie" questions about the net), this book will likely be an essent ial guide to net searching. As in other O'Reilly books, boxes containing brief "real-life" comments from a selected group of experienced Internet users gives insight into how one can incorporate advice from the book into their day-to-day work. But I must also point out an omission. Although Barrett begins with some good overall advice and warnings, he misses an essential caveat -- that the Internet does not yet, nor will it ever have, all available information. His readers should be reminded to check with their local librarian (which increasingly they can do easier by email than in person) to get the full picture of what is available (including Internet resources). Even given that drawback, however, the book has advice that can help even experienced users, and it will be particularly helpful to those new to net searching. - RT

Battenfeld, Robert L. and B. Kenton Temple. "Environmental Resources on the Internet" College & Research Library News 58(3) (March 1997): 153-157. Many environmental organizations, as well as science and governmental environmental groups, have discovered that the Internet is a powerful tool for communicating and distributing information. This is a representative list of some of those Internet resources that the authors found to be most useful and interesting. In addition to general sources like Envirolink (, the articles lists electronic journals and organizational homepages as well as sites that focus on specific environmental issues like energy or waste disposal. - MP

"The Internet: Fulfilling the Promise" Scientific American Special Report. []. This special collection of eight articles on the Internet brings together an inte resting group of experts to summarize the past, describe the present and speculate about the future of the Internet. Included are articles by Clifford Lynch: "Searching the Internet", Michael Les k: "Going Digital", Paul Resnick: "Filtering Information on the Internet", Hearst, Marti A.: "Interfaces for Searching the Web", Raman, T.V.: "WebSurfing Without a Monitor", Oudet, Bruno: "Multilingualism on the Internet", Stefik, Mark: "Trusted Systems", and Kahle, Brewster: "Preserving the Internet". Although the brevity of the articles does not leave much room for anything but a suc cinct overview of the issues and a small set of examples, the collection can serve as a good tutorial on some of the issues facing present Internet users and researchers. - RT

Jaffe, Lee David. All About Internet Mail (Internet Workshop Series Number 7) Berkeley, California: Library Solutions Press, 1997. While it could be argued that a book about electronic mail falls outside of the scope of the librarian, it could also be argued that email -- as a means scholarly communication and information sharing -- is very much part of the librarianšs domain. Whatever your opinion on this issue, the fact is we all use it and in some cases we may be called upon to teach others how to use it. This book (number 7 in the Internet Workshop Series published by Library Solutions Press), can serve the needs of two different types of readers: the individual who knows nothing about email can go through the workbook lessons and by the end be a competent email user; a trainer may also use this book as a model on which to base similar workshops. In both cases, the workbook provides a broad overview while at the same time covering specific details and functions of email. Particularly useful in this book is the module on Internet culture and the social aspects of email and how to find email addresses. - MP

Patrick, Chuck. "Internet vs. Intranet". UNIX Review 15(3) (March 1997): 37-44. Intranets have become increasingly popular in the corporate environment because they offer inexpensive, easy-to-use data access environments which are platform independent. They are defined as company-internal networks using Internet communications hardware and software and restricting communication with the Internet. The present article examines the differences between intranet and Internet network computing developments. It posits that centrally controlled corporate intranets will lead the way in developing new applications and infrastructures because of their owners' vested interest in effectively creating, distributing, and controlling information. Developments on the Internet, on the other hand, are lagging behind and will depend on advances made in intranet infrastructure development. Contrasting the characteristics of Internet and intranet content, Patrick notes that, whereas Internet content is largely static, designed to please, and is not sensitive, intranet content can be sensitive or even confidential, is more dynamic, and focuses on productivity and information exchange. Comparing information delivery, he states that network performance (bandwidth), GUI components, platform inadequacies, and interactivity further set intranets apart from the Internet. The author concludes that a centrally formulated corporate information policy constitutes an advantage over the Internet's unregulated structure and allows for more rapid development of networking tools. The article provides a good overview of what an intranet is and the issues involved in creating and maintaining one. - CG

Rudenstine, Neil L. "The Internet and education: A close fit." Chronicle of Higher Education 63 (24) (February 21, 1997):A48. The president of Harvard University places the potential of the Internet in the same historical context as the explosion of print media--he quotes Diderot, who said, "The world of learning will drown in books." However, the meat of this opinion piece (which is thoroughly engrossing) lies President Rudenstine's recognition of the transformative potential of networked information on education. He sees a strong--even vital--linkage between the research library and electronic media; the emergence of "conversational learning" via the network; and the dramatic enrichment of course materials that enrich classroom teaching. - TH

Wilson, David O. "Students popular internet sites slow campus networks to a crawl". Chronicle of Higher Education 63(25) (Feburary 28, 1997):A26. Campus servers have long been prey to the sudden popularity of student web pages. Because most servers are used for a wide variety of uses, including real work, trying to tame this tiger can pose a problem for IT managers. Still, most campus computing departments have neither the funds nor the inclination to monitor student activity, some of which may even be germane to their studies. In essence, campus computer use policies may seem restrictive, but they are rarely enforced. One possible preemptive strategy: make friends with your sysadmin. - TH

Multimedia and Hypermedia

Guernsey, Lisa. "Video technology transforms the teaching of art history." Chronicle of Higher Education 63(23) (February 14, 1997):A20-23. This article describes recent developments at Columbia University's Media Center for Art History. Faculty member Stephen Murray is using multimedia technology to teach history of architecture, with stunning results. This article includes a two-page spread of photographs of Amiens Cathedral, which students can navigate through in three dimensions. Although this approach is similar in appearance to advanced Computer Automated Design (CAD/CAM), it combines animation with design to enhance the quality of the learning experience. - TH

Parker, Dana J. "DVD-ROM: Who Needs It, Who Will Use It, and How?" Emedia Professional, 10(1) (January 1997): 26-37. [] Is competition for slots on your library's CD-ROM tower turning into a management issue? Well, relief might be on the horizon in the form of DVD (Digital Video Disk) technology. This new technology is capable of delivering the contents of seven 650 MB CD-ROM disks on one 4.7 GB, 12 cm, single layer DVD-ROM disk. On a four-layer disk, up to 17GB of data can be stored. From the point of view of prospective DVD publishers, the present article provides an overview of the ISO 9660 and Micro UDF (Universal Disk Format) software which is able to handle the increased mass of data presented in a single volume, examines emerging DVD-ROM production services, and discusses strategies for publishers to entice users to migrate from widely used CD-ROM to the new DVD-ROM. The article concludes that despite the current lack of mature products and final technical specifications and the existence of an installed base of 100 million CD-ROM drives, reduced hardware requirements for accessing larger amounts of data will allow publisher[s to] transfer loyalty from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM[...] . - CG

Current Cites 8(3) (March 1997) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright (C) 1997 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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