Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 9, no. 1, January 1998

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

Contributors: Christof Galli, Kirk Hastings, Terry Huwe, Margaret Phillips, Richard Rinehart, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant, Lisa Yesson

[ Digital Libraries ] [ Electronic Publishing ] [ Networks & Networking ] [ General ]

Digital Libraries

Crane, Gregory. "The Perseus Project and Beyond: How Building a Digital Library Challenges the Humanities and Technology" D-Lib Magazine (January 1998) ( - The Perseus Project was one of the earliest large-scale digital library efforts to be undertaken. Conceived and created before the explosion of the World Wide Web, this ambitious interdisciplinary collection of digital materials relating to Ancient Greece has become the project by which others measure themselves. In this article the projects founder, Dr. Gregory Crane, reflects on the last ten years and describes future directions and goals. The article focuses on how the developers of Perseus have tried to transcend the constraints of the printed document by offering a completely integrated set of tools for the navigation and analysis of interrelated texts, objects and scholarly writings. Judging by their Web site, I would say that the project has succeeded to a large extent. Dr. Crane then goes on to discuss how such an effort can be a positive force for the scholarly comminutes which they serve. A number of new and innovative careers have been built around the project, and it continues to be an active arena for the development of a "new generation of humanists". Looking forward to the future, Dr. Crane explores ideas for new formats, expansion of the project's subject coverage, and how Perseus might be a force for the institutionalization of electronic scholarship. - KH

Crawford, Walt. "Paper Persists: Why Physical Library Collections Still Matter" Online 22(1) (January 1998) ( - For many years the library community has benefited from Walt Crawford's reality checks. No technophobe, he analyzes information systems for the Research Libraries Group. With this Online essay, he addresses an audience which may see total digitization as imminent, but he gently deflates that notion by citing examples of digital media limitations and library usage patterns. He makes a convincing case that, for now and the forseeable future, the value of online resources will beto enhance and extend library collections. For those administrators and others who demand that an argument be put succinctly, he offers the simple phrase "and, not or" as a reminder that any good information center will combine appropriate technologies, including the printed page. - JR

Klemperer, Katharina and Stephen Chapman. "Digital Libraries: A Selected Resource Guide" Information Technology and Libraries 16(3) (September 1997): 126-131 ( - An excellent selected guide to digital library resources for anyone wanting an overview of digital library issues, draft standards, and technologies, as well as strategies for staying current in the field (full disclosure: Current Cites is mentioned). The sources cited here serve as good background Main sections include general resources, bibliographies, retrospective conversion and preservation, electronic publication of current materials, initiatives to follow, listservs, conferences, journals, and workshops. - RT

Lamont, Melissa and G. Ian Bowles. "Advancing the Digital Map Library"Information Technology and Libraries 16(3) (September 1997): 121-124. - This article describes an innovative service wherein Web users can select census data for the state of Pennsylvania and have a thematic map created to their specifications. The Pennsylvania County Mapper allows users to select a data set and a year, then a subdivision of the data set, the variable to map, the type of data classification, the number of data classes and the color. How this service is constructed is discussed in the article, but basically the three pieces are static HTML pages for setting up the map, a CGI program written in Perl to translate the settings, and a script written in Arc Macro Language to interact with ArcInfo, which draws the map. This project demonstrates how current technologies can be used to create innovative and useful library services. - RT

Lejeune, Lorrie. The Internet Public Library: Before Its Time" JEP: The Journal of Electronic Publishing 3(2) (December 1997) ( - This article describes an innovative project to offer public library services to the entire Internet. Growing out of a graduate school project, the IPL soon took on a life of its own, complete with grant funding, staff, and a burgeoning Web site and clientele. It is an interesting story, and one that raises questions about how to support projects that serve the common good when there is none of the tax structure in place that normally supports such efforts. Needless to say, until new funding models are created and realized, efforts such as this one may be doomed to failure. How we can prevent this from happening is the challenge set forth by this article. - RT

Electronic Publishing

Gilpin, Kenneth N. "Concerns About an Aggressive Publishing Giant" New York Times (December 29, 1997):C2. - Although buried in the business section, this article on the aggressive business practices of Reed Elsevier, one of the world's largest publishers of science journals, is really more about the nature of scholarly communication and about how consolidation among publishers is stifling competition and driving up journal prices -- in other words, it's about the "Microsoft-zation" of the science publishing industry. With Purdue University at the lead, libraries and academic communities may be starting to fight back; when Reed Elsevier's president offered to lock in the annual increase in the price of 350 online publication to 9.5 percent, Purdue University balked and ended up cancelling many of its Elsevier titles. (For more on the burgeoning grassroots efforts to fight back against the publishing industry, see a letter by Professor Rob Kirby of the UC Berkeley mathematics department: - MP

Rosenblatt, Bill. "Solving the Dilemma of Copyright Protection Online: The Digital Object Identifier" JEP: The Journal of Electronic Publishing 3(2) (December 1997) ( - Publishers have long desired a standard way that individual intellectual objects (journal articles, for example) can be uniquely identified without using a physical address (which is what a Uniform Resource Locator or URL is). Books have International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) that perform this role for printed books, but a similar system was needed that provides the same service but in a networked environment and for a much broader range of material. This article describes the process that the publishing community went through, and the outcome of their efforts in the form of the Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Rosenblatt gives us a good start, but I wish he had provided more links to the resources that are required to truly understand how these are constructed. For example, he repeatedly refers to the Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI, more information at as a part of the syntax of the DOI, and yet neglects to mention where one can go to figure out how one should be constructed. Nonetheless, this article is a useful introduction to both the reasons for, and the use of, this object identifier. - RT

Schad, Jasper C. "Scientific Societies and Their Journals: Issues of Cost and Relevance" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(5) (September 1997):406-407. - It seems that for-profit publishers are not the only ones to blame for the rising cost of journals (see cite for Gilpin in this issue). In this perspective piece, Schad questions the publishing motives of scholarly societies. For instance, the American Chemical Society states that one of its top priorities in publishing a journal is to preserve the archival record of research in their disciplines. Another spin on this motive might be that journals published by scholarly societies are simply a service for scientists' quest for tenure, promotion and grants and as such, some of what is published in these journals may be of archival use but may not necessarily be of use to currently active scholars. Yes, scholarly societies should continue to publish journals since journal literature is an important part of scholarly communication; journal prices could be reduced, however, if they were downsized and were to publish only the best of the professions' scholarship. Schad goes on to suggest that if scientific societies want to continue to preserve an archival record of research in their discipline, they can do so cheaply by providing access to this material in electronic form. - MP

Turner, Judith Axler. "Pioneering an Online Newspaper: Lessons from the Chronicle" JEP: The Journal of Electronic Publishing 3(2) (December 1997) ( - In this piece the editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education describes the process and the lessons learned from moving a print publication to the Internet. As a pioneer (Academe Today was one of the earlier online publications), they learned a lot, and this article shares a good deal of that experience in an informative and engaging way. What they learned about online user behavior is well worth the time it takes to read the article. But then you get to the "missed opportunities" section, in which Turner shares her regrets. Now this is candid and informative stuff, and not to be missed. Her ending section is titled "Pioneers Are the Ones with Arrows in their Backs", but because of the lessons learned from pioneers like Turner's outfit, those who follow in their footsteps will have a much better opportunity to dodge them. - RT

Networks & Networking

Devlin, Brendan. "Conceptual Models for Network Literacy" The Electronic Library 15(5) (October 1997):363-368. - Devlin uses cognitive science concepts to present a conceptual model for general information retrieval and guidelines for when to use the Internet in research. The eight step conceptual model can be summarized in four phases: (1) identify information in the form of a question, (2) classify the type of question (ready reference, known item, subject specific, or research), (3) develop asearch strategy and (4) assess results. When considering the Internet, Devlin concludes that the Internet should only be chosen if the question is unlikely to be answered elsewhere, if other sources have proved unsuccesful or if a comprehensive source is required. While there is little assessment of specific search tools or strategies, this article does provide a preliminary framework for the information retrieval process and for assessing the Internet as a research resource. - LY

Knight, Lorrie A. "Locating Public Domain Images" College & Research Libraries News 59(1) (January 1998):11-13 ( - A concise list of public domain image collections available on the web, this may be the only resource that web developers need consult to find images for incorporating into their sites. Listed here are references to thematic image collections like the Library ClipArt Collection [], government sites like the NASA Photo Gallery [] and image archives like The Clip Art Connection []. When using images from these sites, as the author advises, just remember to abide by the appropriate rules of copyright. - MP

Press, Larry. "Tracking the Global Diffusion of the Internet" Communications of the ACM 40(11) (November 1997):11-17. - So many unsubstantiated claims are made about Internet growth and usage, it's tempting to simply dismiss all estimates. However, when you need to know more than that it's just really really big and really really busy, this article names the organizations that are making responsible efforts to track and quantify, and gives a URL for each. From veteran net-watchers like John Quarterman's Matrix Information and Directory Services to the newly formed Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis, each organization's function and methods are described. The article appears in an issue themed "Computational Infrastructure: Toward the 21st Century," and there are several related pieces which depict the evolving infogrid. - JR

"Special Issue: The Best Library-Related Web Sites" Library HiTech 15(3-4) (1997) ( - The articles in this special issue are from the site managers of the winners of the "Best Library-Related Web Sites Contest." If one overlooks the flawed contest itself, the articles represent an interesting mix of experiences in setting up and managing a diverse range of library-related Web sites. Some of these sites are clearly well-deserved of their reward, and are setting the standards by which others should aspire (for example, the OhioLink site at Some well-deserved sites are unique in what they do and will likely not have many competitors (such as the Internet Scout Report at They all have stories to tell, and you can pick and choose among them to find the ones that best meet your needs or pique our interest. - RT


Bronson, Po. "Is the Revolution Over? Report from Ground Zero: Silicon Valley" Wired 6.01 (January 1998):99-112. - If you aren't completely tired of hearing the Wired digerati proselytize about the ongoing digital revolution, you may want to pick up Wired's 5th Anniversary issue "The State of the Planet-1998." In particular, Po Bronson's journey into Silicon Valley - the epicenter of the new economy - is revealing and entertaining. Bronson's stories of knowledge workers in the Valley depict the new "total dedication model": no longer to the company but to the dream of transforming the world through technology. While Bronson is clearly an insider, he doesn't seem to take it all too seriously and the result is a generally optimistic, good read. - LY

Current Cites 9(1) (January 1998) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright © 1998 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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