Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 10, no. 3, March 1999

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

Contributors: Terry Huwe, Margaret Phillips, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant, Lisa Yesson

Ellis, Steven, ed. "A Special Theme: Digital Libraries" Library HiTech 16(3-4) (1998):12-62. - Since all but two of the seven articles are specifically on electronic text centers, the theme title is more than a little misleading. E-text centers, as important as they may be, do not comprise anywhere near the totality of digital libraries. However, if one takes this error into account, the collection of articles can serve as a useful overview of a number of electronic text center projects. - RT

Floyd, Bianca. "Digital Storytelling Updates an Ancient Art by Adding Technology" The Chornicle of Higher Education March 18, 1999. - This article describes the new art of digital storytelling as pioneered at UC Berkeley's Center for Digital Storytelling. Participants claim that digital storytelling--merging together text, images, sound and animation--will emerge as a new art form that will be pursued by large numbers of people who have access to technology. Amateur practitioners may be the pioneers of this art form, because basic manipulation of digital formats can be learned with relative dispatch. Moreover, it may resemble independent filmmaking and other forms of expression that do not rely on corporate sponsors. - TH

Fourie, Ian. "Should we Take Disintermediation Seriously?" The Electronic Library 17(1)(February, 1999): 9-16. - Does the growing volume of electronic information available to end-users spell the end of intermediaries as we know them? Well, perhaps as we know some of them today. While end-users may be increasingly less dependent on information specialists, Fourie argues that end-user empowerment does not necessarily imply disintermediation or "the finding of information by an end-user without the need for a third party." Fourie discusses the implications of disintermediation on the future of information specialists in nearly excruciating detail. While his conclusion that information specialists will continue to have a role in improving society's access to quality information is not surprising, he does offer some valuable points for information specialists to consider in keeping their skills effective and relevant. - LY

Hegener, Michiel. "The Internet, Satellites, and Human Rights" OnTheInternet 5(2) (March/April 1999):20-29; 40. - In a previous article on Internet satellite technology in OnTheInternet, Hegener focused on issues of capability and implementation. This piece focuses on its possible impact on global human rights. Not surprisingly, what may happen is far from clear and will be the result of a complex interplay of technical, political, economic, and human realities. Hegener understands these issues and does not fall into the trap of overlooking their complexity in order to deliver a strong conclusion. It is not yet clear what, if any, impact satellite communication may have on the ability of people to "get the word out" to the rest of the world about the violation of their human rights. One might imagine, however, that every new method of communication would threaten the power of oppressors to create and sustain their oppression. - RT

Huwe, Terence K. "New Search Tools for Multidisciplinary Digital Libraries" Online 23(2) (March/April 1999):67-74 . - This article is not just for librarians who "have" a digital library, because any information service is becoming more about remote access and less about collection ownership. Online searchers and librarians of all stripes should take a look. Current Cites contributor Terry Huwe sees the migration of many online services to the Web environment as a stimulus for the creation of better search utilities which can ease the task of multidisciplinary searches. He argues that "the current challenge is to develop new search tools that deliver multidisciplinary results, but that also preserve the metadata and finding aids of the discrete databases." The tools highlighted include the KnowledgeCite Library by Silverplatter Information, UC San Diego's Database Advisor, the Ameritech's Pharos system for the Calfornia State University System, and Northern Light. These critiques are written from the point of view that a huge information utility's sheer size can become a curse, if it turns the utility into a sea of bytes devoid of context and meaning. - JR

Kelley, Tina. "Whales in the Minnesota River?" The New York Times (March 4, 1999): D1-D8. - The Web is largely unregulated and unchecked so it is wise to be skeptical when using web-based resources. Talk about stating the obvious. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see the Times "Circuits" section illustrating some dramatic cases of bogus data found on the Web: the Amnesty International site on human rights in Tunisia ( versus a site sponsored by the Tunisian government on human rights in that country ( The article describes the efforts of some librarians to teach students how to evaluate the Web. Included are references to some Web sites that tell you what to look for when seeking reliable information online including: Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources and Practical Steps in Evaluating Internet Resources. A sidebar on "How to Separate Good Data From Bad" provides a checklist of what to look for including things that are second nature to information professionals like: "beware of sites with lots of spelling and grammatical errors" and notice when the site was last updated. - MP

Ober, John. "The California Digital Library" D-Lib Magazine (March 1999). - The California Digital Library is a recent invention of the University of California, and so far very little has been publicly available on what it's all about. This piece fills in a lot of holes, and provides some key URLs for finding out more. Ober does a good job of both recounting the recent history that led to its creation as well as describing its present and charting its future. - RT

Puglia, Steven. "Creating Permanent and Durable Information: Physical Media and Storage Standards" CRM: Cultural Resource Management 22(2) (1999): 25-27 ( - This "laundry list" of preservation standards, media, and guidelines is a useful reference to the key materials regarding the current preservation state-of-the-art. Life expectancy as applied to preservation media is defined, environmental requirements for long-term storage are noted, and digitization guidelines are described. This is not an article, but a reference piece dense with data. - RT

Vogt-O'Connor, Diane. "Is the Record of the 20th Century at Risk?" CRM: Cultural Resource Management 22(2) (1999): 21-24. - I don't recall ever reading a better articulated description of the digital preservation problem. Vogt-O'Connor has penned a thorough, interesting and compelling description of the challenges that face anyone with digital material they wish to preserve. The works she cites are useful and very up-to-date, with most barely six months to a year old. If we are to avert a "digital dark age of information loss," we should heed what Vogt-O'Connor has to say. - RT

Current Cites 10(3) (March 1999) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 1999 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved. ites/1999/cc99.10.3.html

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