Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 8, no. 6, June 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

[ Digital Libraries ] [ Information Technology & Society ] [ Networks & Networking ]

Digital Libraries

Frauenfelder, Mark. "Content-Based Image Retrieval" Wired (June 1997):82. -- This article spotlights recent developments in developing programs that can search image files the same way search-engines now search text files (Web pages). Previously, work in this area has concentrated on locally-based image databases that would use content-based retrieval to search for images with a certain color pattern, texture, or composition. This new project works in much the same way, looking for commonalites in percentages of areas covered by certain colors, textures, etc. but is framed in terms of enabling Web-wide search engines that would be the image equivalents of Infoseek or AltaVista. - RR

Gladney, Henry M. "Safeguarding Digital Library Contents and Users: Document Access Control" D-Lib Magazine (June 1997) []. As digital library collections grow and expand, it becomes increasingly important to protect on-line documents from unapproved access or alteration, whether deliberate or accidental. Many of us rely on Unix's native permissions system, but it is awkward and often proves an annoying hinderance to authorized users. This article, based on work done at IBM's Almaden Research Center, describes an object level approach based on organizational practice that appears to be much more sophisticated. Although this system was developed, I'm sure, with military/industrial users in mind, the author's discussion of the issues involved and the solutions he has applied really helped to clarify my thinking on the topic. - KH

Lynch, Clifford A. The Z39.50 Information Retrieval Standard; Part I: A Strategic View of Its Past, Present and Future" D-Lib Magazine (April 19 97) []. In the first part of a two-part series, Lynch explains the Z39.50 standard, describes the history of the development of the standard and its implementation, and discusses the role of content semantics. Readers of this series will gain not only an understanding of the technology, but also gain the benefit of Lynch's perceptions about further development of the protocol and systems based upon it. Unfortunately, those who are eager for Part II must wait un til the October 1997 issue. - RT

Marcum, Deanna B. "Digital Libraries: For Whom? For What?" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(2) (March 1997): 81-84. As president of the Commission on Preservation and Access and Council on Library Resources, Deanna Marcum describes her organization's formation of a National Digital Library Federation whose mission is to address the complications and problems associated with digital libraries. Although research libraries are generally noted for their carefully-selected and comprehensive collections, rising costs have forced the library community to find new ways of providing access to the intellectual and cultural heritage traditionally housed in the library. The goal of the National Digital Library Federation is to explore ways that the characteristics and capabilities of digital technologies can be integrated with the strengths of research libraries to provide convenient and affordable access to materials. As such the group is urging the library community to provide leadership in three specific areas: 1) discovery and retrieval mechanisms; 2) intellectual property rights and economic models; 3) achiving of digital information. Marcum argues that it is librarians who must take a leadership role -- not commercial information providers and computer scientists who are already seeing opportunities for themselves in the digital library -- so that they can integrate values normally associated with the library profession to the new digital library. - MP

Maxwell, Christine, and Gutowitz, Howard. "Data Mining Solutions and the Establishment of a Data Warehouse: Corporate Nirvana for the 21st Century?" First Monday 2(5), May 5, 1997 []. Pick up any issue of Businessweek and you're likely to read all about "data mining" and "data warehousing". Based on industrial-strength computing hardware and software, these systems promise to offer new levels of instant analysis of markets, trends and inventory-to-sales ratios. Not so fast, say Maxwell and Gutowitz. Data is only as good as the brain power applied to analysis. They offer the best overview of data mining and warehousing reviewed in Current Cites to date, and propose a more human-oriented approach. Data mining and warehousing needs to be adaptive and to keep the business end-user in mind. Drawing (perhaps unconsciously) on the core principles of the library profession, they argue that effective corporate information management, is "a social system, a physical system, and an artificial biological system, all at the same time." - TH

Miller, Heather S. "The Little Locksmith: A Cautionary Tale for the Electronic Age" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(2) (March 1997): 100-107. Despite the many technological advantages offered by electronic resources, the catalog record is ultimately the key to providing access to materials in the library. In this day of OPACs, catalogers need no longer be ruled by the tyranny of the catalog card. Miller argues that it is through technology that a greater depth and breadth of access can be provided and she challenges catalogers to add more subject headings to records and to consider adding summaries to each record so that keyword searching in an OPAC can be truly useful. An excellent, comprehensive bibliography accompanies this thought-provoking article. - MP

Weibel, Stuart, Renato Iannella, and Warwick Cathro. The 4th Dublin Core Metadata Workshop Report" D-Lib Magazine (June 1997) [http://w]. As we have reported in previous issues of Current Cites, the Dublin Core is one of the most promising draft standards in existence for creating metadata records for digital objects. This report describes the work of the 4th Dublin Core Workshop, held in March 1997 at the National Library of Australia. The goals of the meeting were to fu rther revise the Dublin Core in the areas of element structure, extensibility, and element refinement. In explaining a tension between two positions taken by conferees, the article describes a continuum of resource description from full-text indexing (lik e Web search engines) to richly-structured surrogates (like a MARC record). The two camps are described as minimalists (those who prefer a simple structure) and structuralists (those who prefer additional element attributes to support refinement and quali fication). Out of the meeting came a set of "Canberra Qualifiers" (scheme, language and type) which will join the "Warwick Framework" as Dublin Core add-ons. One can hardly wait for the upcoming DC-5 to see if we get a "Helsinki Hegemony" to bring this al l together into a workable whole. Nonetheless, if you're in the metadata game (and if you're building digital collections you'd better be) then this is the draft standard to watch. - RT

Information Technology & Society

DeLong, Stephen E. "The Shroud of Lecturing" First Monday 2(5), May 5, 1997 []. DeLong explores the ways in which Web-based information competes with classic-style lecturing for the attention of students. The explosion of information has created multiple pathways for learning, he argues, and the best teachers will be the ones who can teach students to discern the differences between substantive knowledge and the dross of cyberspace. University education will probably change dramatically as a result, because learning is "democratized" by the network. Faculty and administrators need to face the challenge directly, or risk losing the status and prestige of the 800-year old idea of the university to more nimble players. - TH

Ghosh, Rishab Aiyer. "Economics is Dead. Long Live Economics! A Commentary on Michael Goldhaber's "The Attention Economy" First Monday 2(5), May 5, 1997 []. Point, counterpoint. Current Cites reviewed Goldhaber's First Monday article about the "attention economy" of the Internet in May. Netizens in the online community "Electric Minds" were so intrigued that they posted the cite and launched a discussion of the content of the article. Perhaps this article, written as a response by First Monday's Managing Editor, will heap coals on the virtual fire. It's a very interesting synopsis of traditional economic thinking and its continued relevance in the digital arena. Ghosh writes in a straightforward style that will make America's unofficial religion, Economics, eminently understandable to an entire rogues' gallery of supply-side apostates, post-humanists, and anti-Keynesian monkey-wrenchers. But the author avoids patronizing tones. "Scarcity is much misunderstood", he rightly claims. He also argues that virtual citizens value a variety of online pursuits, and they continue to defy easy description. Flame on, Electric Minds! - TH

Jacobs, Paul F., and Holland, Chris. "Archaeology Online: New Life for Old Dead Things" First Monday 2(6), June 2, 1997 [http://www.f]. The authors argue that digital media is creating a whole new sphere of value for classical archaeology. Their arguments fall into two main areas: first, high resolution, three-dimensional imaging can bring archaeological digs to life in previously impossible ways, thereby expanding the professional audience and readership. Second, online, refereed articles that include this high caliber of digitized evidence from archaeological digs may be published years in advance of similarly documented print publications. The upshot is that it's a very exciting time to be an archaeologist who can master digital technology. Since specificity of detail is a crucial element in archaeological analysis, high resolution digital media can increase the amount of detail that can be shared with colleagues, and enable them to participate in collaborative analysis much earlier in the excavation process of an archaeological dig. - TH

Sewell, David R. "The Internet Oracle: Virtual Authors and Network Community" First Monday 2(6), June 2, 1997 [http://www.firstmon]. This essay was originally published in 1992, and explored the emerging culture and consciousness of the Usenet group known as "Usenet Oracle". Now called Internet Oracle, the multi-user domain continues to evolve. The meaning of authorship is explored by Sewell in detail, and he poses some interesting questions. For example, participants in an online dialogue experience the submersion of individual identity into an "anonymous, collective personality", as a stream of text plays out in a chat room. Hmmm--is this what the Vulcan "mind-meld" feels like? Questions about individual and collective identity are terra-firma for educated netizens these days, but this article's original premises remain insightful and definitive, after four years of explosive Internet growth. It's well worth the time to revisit this article in its updated form. - TH

Networks and Networking

Bridges, Anne E. and Russell T. Clement. "Crossing the Threshold of Rocket Mail: E-mail Use by U.S. Humanities Faculty" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(2) (March 1997): 109-117. A survey of humanities faculty at Brigham Young University and the University of Tennesee, Knoxville revealed their use of e-mail is significantly higher than previously reported in the literature. The authors suggest that librarians can take advantage of this fact and encourage faculty to use e-mail for research assistance, reference queries, interlibrary loan requests and collection development information. Moreover, e-mail can be used as a launch pad for humanities faculty to explore other online library systems and electronic resources. - MP

"California Universities To Develop New Electronic Superhighway", UC NewsWire [UC Office of the President]. This article reports on the newly formed Consortium for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC, and it's plans to build CalREN-2 (California Research & Education Network). CENIC is comprised of several large universities and private telcom companies, and CalREN-2 will provide a model for building the rest of the new "next generation Internet" or Internet2 ( The main improvments proposed on CalREN-2 are stability and speed (the CalREN-2 announcement points out that at the proposed 600 mbps, the entire 30-volume edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica could be transmitted in less than 1 second). Real world developments in this area are crucial for anyone involved in the Internet. Of special concern are the vying notions that these developments will either spur the entire Internet community to more dependable and faster technologies or balkanize the Internet into strictly commercial and research communities with only loose connections between them. - RR

Garfinkel, Simson and Spafford, Gene. Web Security and Commerce Sebastopol, CA : O'Reilly & Associates, 1997. Security and commerce are becoming increasingly important components of the jobs of many Web programmers. As would be expected, this most recent addition to the Nutshell Handbook series is a very in-depth guide to the risks of the Web and what both the user and administrator can do to decrease them. Covered are browser vulnerabilities, privacy concerns, issues with Java, JavaScript, ActiveX, and plug-ins, digital certificates, cryptography, Web server security (e.g., SSL, TLS, server access methods, and secure CGI/API programming), blocking software, censorship technology, and relevant civil and criminal issues. I especially appreciated the section on writing secure CGI scripts, which caused me to take a very hard look at the scripts I have running now. The discussion of the evolving field of digital commerce was also especially clear and helpful. - KH

Musser, Linda and Lisa Recupero. "Internet Resources on Disasters" College & Research Libraries News 58(6) (June 1997): 403-407 []. Whether you're looking for information about a flood or a famine or a plague of locusts, chances are you need to know something soon. That's why the Internet is an ideal medium for disseminating information about disasters. From large "metasites" that cover multiple types of disasters to more focused sites on meteorological, geophysical, biological (diseases, famines) or technological (plane crashes, bombs, etc.) disasters, this article provides a comprehensive, evaluative list of general Internet resources in this area. - MP

Sheehey, Helen M. "A Community Closer to Its Citizens: The European Union's Use of the Internet" Government Information Quarterly 14(2) (1997): 117-142. This article discusses the European Union's "awareness campaign" to promote integration initiatives, and particularly its use of the Internet to grant the public, researchers, and business people greater access to information. Two main resources are at the center of the EU's communication strategies: databases and full-text documents available through the WWW. Database services, accessible via telnet include ECHO, which is mostly free to the general public, and EUROBASES, a fee-based service. WWW resources include EUROPA (, the EU's principal Web site which provides access to important documents and background papers, I'M Europe (, which treats new information technologies, and CORDIS (, the Community Research and Development Information Service, which provides information on EU research and development initiatives. Sheehy notes the absence of statistical databases from these services and points out that detailed statistical materials are available by purchase only. The author also briefly touches on the problems of language equity in these resources, the absence of a long-term access policy, and librarians' role in critically evaluating EU electronic resources. The article is complemented by two tables listing available databases and URL's of EU WWW servers. - CG

Sternberg, Hilary. "Internet Resources for Grants and Foundations" College & Research Libraries News 58(5) (May 1997): 314-317 []. Next time a curmudgeonly faculty member grumbles to you about how overrated the Internet is, give him a copy of this article. Next thing you know, he'll be running around the reference desk yelling "Show me the money!" The article lists the major sources on the Internet for finding out information about grants, foundations, fellowships, and other funding sources. Included in the list are references to organizations, directories, government funding webpages and electronic journals. Particularly useful are the references to sites that offer tips and advice on successful grant writing. - MP

Current Cites 8(6) (June 1997) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright © 1997 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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