Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 9, no. 7, July 1998

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

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

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

Editor's Note:

This summer we are celebrating the 8th anniversary of Current Cites by introducing a new service and a new look. With the addition of the "Article Search" service to the newly-redesigned Current Cites Web site, you can now search the full-text of more than 225 of the best information technology articles published since January 1995. Avery special thanks to Eric Lease Morgan (SunSITE Digital Librarian from North Carolina State University) and Current Cites Web master Roy Tennant for developing this latest enhancement.

The new Web site redesign highlights the three ways in which Current Cites citations can be used:

  1. Monthly Publication: sign up to receive each issue of 10-20 citations as it is published, or browse past issues in either text or HTML;
  2. Bibliography On-Demand: search the Current Cites database of more than 760 citations and have the results displayed on your screen as a bibliography on your topic, sorted with the most recent citations first. You can even provide your own title for the results; and,
  3. Article Search: search the full-text of more than 225 freely-accessible articles on the Web that have been cited in Current Cites since January 1995.

These services are available at:

Digital Libraries

Heckart, Ronald J. "Machine Help and Human Help in the Emerging Digital Library" College & Research Libraries 59(3) (May 1998): 250-259. -- In this thought-provoking and well-researched article, Heckart explores the de facto transition from human help to machine help (for additional reinforcement on this point, see Anne Lipow's piece "Thinking Out Loud: Who Will Give Reference Service in the Digital Environment?" cited in this issue of Current Cites). He begins by citing trends that appear to lead us toward such a future, then imagines a scenario in which a fictional student in the 2010-2015 timeframe performs various tasks within a university environment reliant upon machine help. He ends with a discussion of implications for the profession and three policy alternatives. Heckart wisely steers well clear of engaging in a philosophical debate over whether the rise of machine help is good thing or an evil one, which allows him (and us) to focus on the reality that faces us. -- RT

Kenney, Anne R. and Oya Y. Rieger. Using Kodak Photo CD Technology for Preservation and Access: A Guide for Librarians, Archivists, and Curators. Department of Preservation and Conservation, Cornell University Library: New York, 1998 ( -- One of the biggest problems facing many digital library projects is the lack of authoritative information on various technologies -- primarily information that can support decisionmaking in regard to their effectiveness for different tasks. With this report, Kenney and Rieger provide the kind of nitty-gritty technical information for the Kodak Photo CD technology that digital librarians need to make good decisions. This is not the first time that the Cornell University Library has provided essential technical information for digital library developers (see "Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives,", and I hope that it isn't the last. This paper is characteristically thorough, well-researched and documented, and flawlessly presented in Adobe Acrobat format. It is chock-full of good advice, tables, diagrams, examples, and Web addresses for further information. This is an essential reference document for anyone working with Kodak Photo CDs. -- RT

Kuny, Terry and Gary Cleveland. "The Digital Library: Myths and Challenges" IFLA Journal 24(2) (1998):107-114. -- This article begins with the straightforward statement that the piece "is a provocation." Kuny and Cleveland's purpose is to provide a "corrective" to the digital library hype most often seen in the popular press. And if one considers the antidote to hype as being anti-hype, then they have met their goal. Although the bulk of the article is reasonable, they are prone to overstatement ("copyright could become an insurmountable barrier to the development of digital collections") and setting up straw men (who within earshot of the IFLA Journal really believes such myths as "the Internet is the digital library" and "digital libraries will be cheaper than print libraries"?). But among such excesses can be found some down-to-earth assertions that are well worth heeding. And after the dust from the hype and the anti-hype has settled, we will hopefully be left in the middle, where we belong. If you find yourself without the time or inclination to finish the article, don't miss the conclusion, in which they focus on the human part of the equation. -- RT

Electronic Publishing

Barker, Phillip. "The Future of Books in an Electronic Era" The Electronic Library 16(3) (June 1998): 191-198. -- At the risk of spoiling the ending -- yes, books will still be around. While the question may be getting somewhat tiresome, Barker's analysis is thoughtful and somewhat "novel." He looks at the emergence and evolution of books in terms of systems theory. He describes the book as an example of a "designed physical system" that supports human communication and cognition. Barker systematically assesses how the two basic physical processes involved in using books (writing and reading) are affected by the different publication media. Acknowledging the benefits of electronic media (e.g., accessibility, minimal storage requirements, superior search and retrieval capabilities, ability to accomodate richer media forms and flexibility), he recommends a "comprehensive media strategy" that utilizes each storage and publication mechanism to best advantage. His analysis is more compelling than his case study, but the best part may be that there's still hope for books. -- LY

Failing, Patricia. "Scholars Face Hefty Fees and Elaborate Contracts When They Use Digital Images" The Chronicle of Higher Education XLIV (38): B4-5. -- This article takes a look at the area of image licensing in the digital era. Focusing on museums and other "owners" of digital images, image re-licensors (such as Corbis), and image users such as scholars and teachers, this article makes the case for fair use in education while attempting to provide an overview of the current state of affairs. The article oversimplifies some aspects, such as casting museums as "owners" and scholars & universities as "users" - in actuality each can play either role. Still, the article's basic messages are all points well-taken: this is an important area to address; the education community as a whole (including museums, universities, and scholars) need to seriously evaluate our educational vs. profit goals when we digitize images; and scholars need to heed government activity as much as commercial activity. -- RR

Hapgood, Fred. "Advanced Publications" Wired 6.08 (August 1998): 60. -- Frustrated because you can't find that out of print book? Pushed the limits of Web publishing, ready for hardback? Take heart - this month's Wired highlights a powerful new publishing service, Xlibris ( -- on-demand, one-to-one book publishing. Authors pay a one-time fee of $450 and retain all rights. Xlibris sells, prints and ships professional-quality hardcovers (for $25 with about $4 to the author in royalties) in runs as small as one. Their electronic inventory and on-demand publication is designed to assure authors that their book stays in print. -- LY

Hightower, Christy, Jennifer Reiswig, and Susan S. Berteaux. "Introducing Database Advisor: A New Service That Will Make Your Research Easier" C&RL News 59(6) (June 1998): 409-412. -- This article describes an innovative service that advises users on which bibliographic databases may be most useful to their query. Database Advisor queries a selection of databases using the user's search terms, and returns the number of items that would be found in each database for that query. This provides easy and rapid feedback on the most useful database for a topic. The best part is that they are making the source code available under the GNU Public License, which makes it freely available for educational institutions and others to install and use it. This project is just the kind of imaginative marriage of technology and public service that we need. -- RT

Lipow, Anne Grodzins. "Thinking Out Loud: Who Will Give Reference Service in the Digital Environment?" Reference & User Services Quarterly 37(2) (Winter 1997): 125-129. -- A basic concept that seems to escape the notice of most researchers involved with digital library projects is service. Specifically, reference service as it is practiced in virtually every "real" library. In a library that only exists as bits, how do we reintroduce the kind of thoughtful brokering provided by library staff? Lipow's "thinking out loud" on this subject preceded a Library of Congress Institute "Reference Service in a Digital Age" (, which will spawn more articles on this topic in the Fall issue of this same journal. For another perspective on this topic, see Ron Heckart's article "Machine Help and Human Help in the Emerging Digital Library" cited in this issue of Current Cites. -- RT

Tenopir, Carol and Lisa Ennis. "The Digital Reference World of Academic Libraries" Online 22(4) (July 1998) ( -- To track the increasing use of digital reference resources in large academic libraries, Carol Tenopir and colleagues have surveyed the 110 members of the Association of Research Libraries three times, in 1991, 1994 and 1997. This article summarizes the results of the latest survey. Some of the trends they have spotted are: less reliance upon intermediary search services and more upon end-user systems; the rejection of transaction-based pricing for subscription options; an increase in training courses for library users; and the perception among library users that digital full-text is always readily available (no surprise for those of us who work at reference desks). After examining the use of locally-mounted digital resources vs. remote ones, the authors conclude that digital reference may become dependent upon connecting to information housed elsewhere. Hopefully this three-year review will continue -- a Y2K survey could be quite interesting. -- JR

Wilkinson, Sophie L. "Electronic Publishing Takes Journals Into a New Realm" Chemical & Engineering News (May 18, 1998) ( -- For as many years as they have been around (this newsletter itself will soon celebrate its eighth year), electronic journals are still a medium in motion. Different publication models abound, with an equal variety of funding models. Although this article is slightly focused on the chemical engineering community, it nonetheless touches on a lot of issues relating to e-journals of all types. All in all, it is an excellent overview of the challenges and opportunities of electronic serial publication. -- RT

Information Technology & Society

Woody, Todd. "Higher Earning: The Fight to Control the Academy's Intellectual Capital" The Industry Standard (June 29, 1998): 21-22. -- Billing itself as a newsmagazine of the Internet economy, The Industry Standard debuted in April. But you don't have to be a Silicon Valley wheeler dealer to find something of interest in this hip, highly-readable weekly published by Wired co-founder Jonathan Batelle. Recent articles have covered everything from the runaway stocks of Internet companies to World Cup soccer culture on the Net to the obligatory analysis of the lastest telecommunications merger. Regular features in the Standard include Web site reviews, book reviews, a weekly Internet economy index, and even a gossip column. In the June 29 issue of the Standard, reporter Todd Woody examines yet another instance of how technology is muddying the waters in the ongoing intellectual property debate. In this case, who owns the copyright of the course content developed for an online class? Can a university fire a professor yet continue to use the syllabus and the online course materials that she developed to teach this course? While this may not be an issue in the private sector where it is generally understood that employers own the products created by their employees, for academics to give up ownership of their own creative output represents a blow to the guiding principle of academic freedom. -- MP

Networks & Networking

Chang, Ching, Sheau-yueh J. Chao, Belinda Chiang. "East Asian Studies: Sites to Help Meet the Growing Demand for Information" College & Research Libraries News ( 59 (7) (July/August 1998): 514-520. -- This month's list of Internet resources focuses on eight major countries that make up East Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and Tibet. The authors selected cites that are interdisciplinary in nature and that are comprehensive. No non-English sites are listed. A complete, expanded list is available at -- MP

Graham, Peter S. "New Roles for Special Collections on the Network" College & Research Libraries 59(3) (May 1998): 232-239. -- In an increasingly digitized world, where do special collections fit in? After all, a special collection is, by definition a collection of artifacts whereas everything on the Net is electronic. Peter Graham argues that on the one hand special collection librarians can create surrogates of their holdings by digitizing collections. On the other hand, the added value of books and other printed documents as physical objects means that special collections will continue to play a role in academic research. -- MP

Kambil, Ajit and Mark Ginsburg. "Public Access Web Information Systems: Lessons from the Internet EDGAR Project" Communications of the ACM 41(7) (July 1998) ( -- The July issue of CACM has a section titled "Web Information Systems," all of which may be of interest to Web data owners, managers and designers. The concept of Web technology as a platform for handling information interactions is explored through articles on e-commerce, enriched links, database and document management, and government information. The EDGAR article examines several instructive problems in the presentation of financial data from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system via various Web sites. The authors were part of a team which focused on developing methods for user access to SEC filings, and they describe the lessons they learned in areas like error correction, nomenclature differences, and extracting relevant data from a database originally designed with too few identifiable data objects. They also discuss other projects in which EDGAR data is aggregated with proprietary data by third parties, creating value-added Web products. -- JR

Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching Undergrads Web Evaluation: a Guide for Library Instruction" College & Research Libraries News 59(7) (July/August 1998): 522-523 ( -- If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Undergraduates are, more and more, relying on Web resources for serious research. While librarians can debate forever the appropriateness of citing the Web (over print resources) for serious research, Jim Kapoun at Southwest State University decided that if the Web is going to be students' resource of choice, he might as well give them tools that will help them make intelligent choices about the sources to cite. His list of criteria is short enough for the average undergraduate to digest and, he hopes, is transparent enough that using his list of criteria will become second nature. The five critera? Accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency and coverage. -- MP

Lynch, Clifford, editor. A White Paper on Authentication and Access Management Issues in Cross-organizational Use of Networked Information Resources Coalition for Networked Information, Revised Discussion Draft of April 14, 1998 ( -- Few things put me to sleep as quickly as discussions of user authentication. But having made that confession, I must accede that it is nonetheless an important topic, and one that will only increase in importance as more Internet-based commercial services become available. If you or anyone you know is interested in such issues as cross-organizational authentication and access management mechanisms, privacy, accountability, IP address filtering, proxies, and credentials (such as digital certificates), then this is the discussion for you. It covers all that ground and more, and comes from an authoritative source. Just bear in mind that this is still a discussion draft. -- RT

Current Cites 9(7) (July 1998) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 1998 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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