Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 9, no. 2, February 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

Arms, William Yeo. "Implementing Policies for Access Management" D-Lib Magazine (February 1998) ( - Virtually any digital library will require methods by which it can control access to content. Whether the content is commercial data for which a licensing agreement stipulates only certain users may view it, or internal collections such as electronic reserve material, libraries will have a need to enforce access policies for digital objects. This article outlines a sophisticated yet fairly simple architecture for libraries to stipulate policies that can interact dynamically with information about a particular user (and that user's role) and a particular digital object (and that object's attributes) to derive an appropriate operation (for example, delivery or denial). This piece reflects work that the Corporation for National Research Initiatives ( has been undertaking along with the Library of Congress ( - RT

Lamont, Melissa. "Managing Geospatial Data and Services" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(6) (November 1997):469-473. -- This article addresses three often neglected aspects of geospatial data management: collection, description, and access of spatial data. The author identifies federal, state, and local government agencies as possible data resorces. She stresses the importance of standardized metadata and points out that, besides appropriate computing facilities, skilled staff and user-friendly interfaces, it is the the essence in the successful delivery of GIS services in libraries. The article emphasizes the ever increasing importance of web-based geospatial data services. Not only does the web, as a convenient remote access mechanism, mitigate increased demand on local resources, it is also evolving into a prime source for information on GIS as well as for geospatial data sets. Sites such as the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESN) ( or Starting the Hunt: Guide to Online and Mostly Free U.S. Geospatial and Attribute Data ( are impressive repositories for spatial data. Other sites such as GIS WWW Resources List ( or Guide to GIS Resources on the Internet ( provide links to GIS related web sites. -- CG

Starr, Susan S. "Building the Collections of the California Digital Library" Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (Winter 1998) ( - One of the most interesting developments in libraries is happening at the moment in California, but there is presently very little in print about it. Thus this article is a welcome insight into some early developments in the University of California's efforts to create a California Digital Library. There is as of yet no publicly-accessible Web site to point to, but the Executive Working Group Report (http://sunsite.Berkeley.EDU/UCDL/title.html) that led to its formation is available at http://sunsite.Berkeley.EDU/UCDL/title.html. Also, a brief insight into the thinking of the man who runs the operation can be found in "Visions and Intersections: A Conversation with Richard E. Lucier of the University of California" (, which just came out in D-Lib Magazine. - RT

Stephens, Denise. "Managing the Web-Enhanced Geographic Information Service" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(6) (November 1997): 498-504. -- This article discusses the development of an Internet-accessible collection of digital spatial data sets, the creation of "canned" map images, the implementation of interactive mapping tools, and the development of a collection of Internet-based GIS reference materials at the Geographic Information Center (GIC) ( of the University of Virginia Library (UVA). The Center has assumed the role of "data intermediary", creating access mechanisms to a variety of geospatial data in many different formats incompatible with widely used commercial GIS systems. Aimed at, but not restricted to, a clearly defined primary clientele consisting of students, faculty, and staff at UVA, GIC developed not only interactive tools allowing for both the creation of user-defined maps-on-the-fly (U.S.G.S. Digital Line Graph Data Browser and for querying and retrieving data files mounted on FTP servers (Digital Resources Catalog but also a "Reference Desk" ( web page that assembles links to documents, sites, and databases that answers to reference queries. The author points out that the successful implementation of Web-based GIS services is based on UVA's commitment to innovative service based on advanced technology and that the Library's "ownership of the development process" was achieved by building in-house technical expertise to develop web-to-application or web-to-database interfaces. -- CG

Weibel, Stuart and Juha Hakala. "DC-5: The Helsinki Metadata Workshop" D-Lib Magazine (February 1998) ( - Faithful readers of Current Cites will recognize the Dublin Core, which is probably our best chance at creating a metadata (can you say "cataloging" boys and girls?) standard that can serve a diversity of users and purposes. This article is a report on the Fifth Dublin Core meeting, held in Helsinki in the fall of 1997. The article also serves to bring us up-to-date on the current status of the draft standard, in which we discover that the frozen north served to freeze the 15 elements in what is being called in typical DC style, the "Finnish finish". There will be no more elements added or deleted to the core. Don't let that fool you, though, as much work remains to specify what can be put into those fields (content) and how (syntax). Those of you who would like to participate can find everything you need to know at the Dublin Core Web site ( - RT

Young, Jeffrey R. "A Community College Uses Windfall to Create a Library without Books" Chronicle of Higher Education 64(20) (January 23, 1998) -- The title should be warning enough to seasoned readers: it's a new library at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City, but it does have books. However it will also has computers, lots of them. The new library, which will be a "virtual library" in concept, is the result an unusually generous gift by college landlord Miles Fiterman. Fiterman gave the college a building, which will be designed to maximize the digital benefits-- along with the print. The article goes on to describe how the campus is planning to update its library services in the context of the digital revolution, and it's interesting not only as a guide to the library's planning process, but also as an analysis of library trends in general. -- TH

Electronic Publishing

Grothkopf, U. "Bits and Bytes and Still a Lot of Paper: Astronomy Libraries and Librarians in the Age of Electronic Publishing" Astrophysics and Space Science 247 (1997):155-174 ( - This wide ranging article serves as an interesting overview of technologies and standards that are providing challenges and opportunities for librarians trying to bring libraries into the new millennium. Grothkopf touches on networking technology, digital libraries, electronic publications, copyright and access control, metadata, addressing, archiving, and the changing role of librarians. Unfortunately, the addition of the word "Astronomy" may greatly limit the audience unnecessarily, since there is almost nothing in the piece that is of interest to only astronomy librarians. - RT

Mace, Scott, "Weaving a Better Web" BYTE 23(3) (March 1998):58-68 ( - HTML 4.0 has barely been released, but to some of us it is dead on delivery. We're already looking past it to XML, the eXtensible Markup Language, which promises to add much more power, flexibility, and reliability to the Web. This article serves as a great introduction to XML and, to a lesser degree, Dynamic HTML (DHTML). The online version of the article links you through to some of the essential documents on XML. If you are interested in the future of the Web, listen up. As the authors of this article put it: "Although it will require developers and user to retool, the migration to XML must begin. The future of the Web depends on it." - RT

Okerson, Ann. "Copyright or Contract?" Library Journal 122(14) (September 1, 1997):136-138. -- Uncertainty about making intellectual property available without infringing copyright has vexed many information managers. This piece contrasts copyright law, which is general in nature and open to debate on many points, with licensing agreements, which are specific in their wording and presumably acceptable to all parties concerned. The author deftly summarizes the protections and exceptions in copyright law, and shows how chinks in this armor became gaping holes in the hail of arrows from digital storage & transmission. Information owners and customers are turning to contracts to regain some control. After an initial period of paranoia, with proposed licenses so strict as to be virtually unworkable, licensing for information resources has become a viable way to avoid misunderstandings and courtroom appearances. However, the wrinkles are not all ironed out yet - see Okerson's list of unresolved issues. An unabashed advocate for licensing in libraries, she includes a selection of online licensing resources headed by her LIBLICENSE ( site. -- JR

Time and Bits: Managing Digital Continuity (February 1998) ( -- This "document" is actually the website for a conference that took place at the Getty Information Institute this month. However, the website includes an exhaustive set of links to related resources and will include the conference proceedings soon. The conference grappled with the issue of information preservation in the digital era. Many topics were covered, from the need, desire, and feasibility of preserving digital information for decades, centuries and even millenia, to some proposed technological approaches for implementing such preservation. To be sure, no one had "the answer", but the discussions and links themselves will be very informative to anyone involved in information preservation and access. -- RR

Z39.50 Draft Attribute Architecture (February 18, 1998) ( -- This draft document, hosted on the Library of Congress' website, and announced by NISO (National Information Standards Organization ) is fairly technical in nature. Nevertheless anyone interested in the development of network standards for resource discovery, Z39.50 is one act to follow. This document is the latest draft of proposed improvments to this standard - including means to integrate the recent proliferation of different Z39.50 profiles by different user communities (GILS by the US Governemnt, CIMI by the Consortium for the Interchange of Museum Information, etc.) -- RR

Networks and Networking

Cobb, David A. and Arlene Olivero. "Online GIS Service" The Journal of Academic Librarianship 23(6) (November 1997):484-497. -- The present article reviews a wide range of GIS related web resources in the following five categories: geographic snapshots, spatial database catalogs and libraries, map generators, map browsers, and real-time maps and images. Each category is succinctly defined and reviews of individual sites include title, URL, and a brief summary of the services provided. Overall, the reviewed sites constitute a representative sample of geographic information available on the web. -- CG

Gould, Cheryl. Searching Smart on the World Wide Web: Tools and Techniques for Getting Quality Results. Berkeley, California: Library Solutions Press, 1998. -- Number 8 in Library Solutions Press Internet Workshop series, this guide like the others in this series, is designed as both a practical workbook for individuals as well as a training model to be used by teachers. In this case, Cheryl Gould takes on web searching. But it's more than about how to find stuff on the web, it's about how to be a conscious evaluator of the web sites and how to be "information literate." Taking a wholistic approach, Gould's philosophy is that searching the web intelligently is not necessarily a sequential process but requires knowledge of many concepts that do not necessarily build upon each other. Each of the eight chapters takes on a different concept -- from a first chapter that gives an overview of what the Web is to later chapters on the different types of search tools, how search tools work and how to assess the quality of your results; depending on your level of web savviness, you can start from the very beginning or skip around as necessary. Each chapter includes exercises liked a guided online excursion through Yahoo! or a mini-quiz that tests your understanding of Boolean Logic or a worksheet to help you better evaluate web pages. Included in the workbook is a disk that contains Netscape bookmarks and Internet Explorer favorites for sites referred to in the volume. Particularly useful in this guide is the appendix which includes a grid on that list the search features of the major subject directories and search engines. -- MP

Kushigian, Nancy. "Researching Women's Lives and Issues: Contemporary Women's Issues and Women 'R'" Database 20(6) (December 1997):19-26. -- As women's studies programs continue to develop and grow, the activist and interdisciplinary nature of women's issues has posed difficult challenges for scholarly research in this area. However, the recent availability of two CD-ROM (and soon to be online) full-text databases is good news for those interested in women's studies. In this feature article, Nancy Kushigan provides a thorough review of Responsive Database Systems' (RDS) Contemporary Women's Issues (CWI)and Soft Line Information's Women 'R'. While Women 'R' receives high marks for its more popular focus and coverage of ethnic and minority media, CWI is the clear favorite. CWI is recommended for scholarly research as it offers a greater range, variety and depth of source materials as well as "beautiful" subject cataloging and a thesaurus - all at an affordable price. This article also features a nice summary of Internet-based resources on women's studies. -- LY

Lewis, Janice S. and June Chressanthis. "Internet Resources: Investments and Personal Finance" College & Research Libraries News 59(2) (February 1998): 90-94 ( -- This month's C&RL News guide to Internet resources is a selective list of web sites that offer unique, objective data that the authors consider to be most useful to investors, students, researchers and individuals interested in personal financial issues. The annotations are informative and evaluative. Items are listed under broad subject categories like comprehensive sites (e.g. Invest-o-rama, Security and Exchange Commission filings (e.g. U.S, Securities and Exchange Commission, financial news (e.g Business Wire, bonds, retirement, tax information, credit, financial calculators and associations. -- MP

Lin, Zi-Yu. "How to Use CJK Software to Read Chinese, Japanese and Korean on the Web" Computers in Libraries 17(10) (Nov/Dec 1997):50-54. -- We all know about language barriers, but some web masters are encountering character barriers too. This short article is a primer on the linguistics, character encoding and application software involved in reading CJK on the web. There are conflicting and competing encoding standards, as one might imagine; the explanations here provide a useful reference when confronted with ISO-2022-GB, Big5, et al. Knowing about them will be important when choosing application packages! Four are described: AsiaSurf, Asian Viewer, AsianSuite 97, and NJWIN CJK Multilingual Support System Version 1.5 for Windows 3.1/95/NT. Downloading and use instructions for each one are given in sidebars. The author is looking at evaluation versions of shareware, but plenty of direction is given for anyone who needs to go further with fonts and functions. Some interesting web sites are suggested, for the day when your new CJK add-ons are installed and ready to pounce on some juicy content. -- JR


Blumenstyk, Goldie. "Western Governors U. Takes Shape as a New Model for Higher Education" Chronicle of Higher Education 64(22) (February 6, 1998). -- "WGU" has 21 participating colleges and firms in 16 states (and the U.S. territory of Guam), but California is conspicuously absent. This article describes the bare-bones structure that has already taken shape, which has a solid funding base, a board of directors, and a dream. It sounds like a great idea, but there are some hurdles to cross. The biggest is how to obtain financial aid under strict federal guidelines. Following fast on funding questions is how to keep good fences with member colleges who are themselves embroiled a swiftly changing educational marketplace. A surprise issue: college administrators worry that W.G.U. will increase pressure to invest in technology at a cost to other critical needs, and may result in more large, impersonal courses. -- TH

Brand, Stewart. "Freeman Dyson's Brain" Wired 6.02 (February 1998): 130-177. -- "How would you build a 10,000 year library?" This question caught my eye as I scanned Stewart Brand's interview with futurist Freeman Dyson. As I began reading with great expectations, this interview quickly evolved into an intellectual sparring match between Brand (cofounder of Global Business Network and author of The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT) and Dyson (renowned for his work in quantum electrodynamics). While their discussion focused more on historic scientific breakthroughs, biotechnology and cosmic ecology than libraries, Dyson does offer thought-provoking ideas such as the abolition of the PhD system and the inevitability of returning to a village culture. By the end, the most I could extract of Dyson's views on the 10,000 year library was an appreciation for long term thinking and the need for patience - this article serves as a good exercise in both. -- LY

Current Cites 9(2) (February 1998) ISSN: 1060-2356 Copyright © 1998 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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