Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 10, no. 8, August 1999

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/1999/cc99.10.8.html

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

Chau, May Y. "Web Mining Technology and Academic Librarianship: Human-Machine Connections for the Twenty-First Century" First Monday 4 (6) (June 7, 1999) (http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue4_6/chau/) - Chau ably explores the fuzzy nature of analyzing and fulfilling information needs in a research environment, using web mining as a means of exploring the challenges and opportunities that librarians face. She also presents contrasting scenarios, one of the utopian "if only" variety, and one that showcases a more realistic wrestling match between person and machine. She concludes that the best ways for professionals like librarians to stay abreast of rapidly shifting technologies is to regard themselves as members of "invisible colleges" — sharing brainpower and teaching skills to meet the challenge. - TH

Cox, Richard J. "Declarations, Independence, and Text in the Information Age" First Monday 4 (6) (June 7, 1999) (http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue4_6/rjcox/) - Cox reminds us that even though the Web is a new medium and presents new opportunities for expression, we can still learn about its impact by studying the impact of past technologies on freedom of expression. As the title suggests, he explore the impact of the Declaration of Independence on public life, which drew considerable power from mass production in print. From there, he poses the question of whether there can ever be a similar moment in history. If the Declaration of Independence was a "digital conversation," it might still be unsettled; yet as a "container" of ideas, it remains a durable guide to the republic. The purpose of archives and preservation is also explored in the same light. He asks, "Can we, from this time on, conceive of textual preservation in the same manner? Can we even have the same sense of primary or sacred documents as we have in the past?" - TH

Doering, William. "Y2K for Librarians: Exactly What You Need to Do" Computers in Libraries 19(7) (July/Aug, 1999) (http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jul/doering.htm). - So there's some hubris in the title, and a responsible librarian shouldn't make this the only source of Y2K advice consulted, but this article is a very reassuring, step-by-step approach to a subject that has thrown some of us into a rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights panic. There is advice on how to approach the problem, lists of the types of things that may be affected (and it's not just computers), and what issues to bring up with your vendors. Definitely read the Web version, to take advantage of the links to the author's "Year-2000 Compliancy Inventory" and the many useful references. - JR

Fichter, Darlene. "Saskatchewan Digital Library Collections — Enhancing Access to the Province's Information" Library Hi Tech 17(2) (1999): 172-180. - Those who are unfamiliar with Saskatchewan may fall prey to the notion that not much that is innovative happens there. They would be wrong. The fertile plain of that province was, after all, where Hytelnet (http://www.lights.com/hytelnet/) flowered. Hytelnet (created by Peter Scott) was a useful digital library service well before the term "digital library" was coined. Now Fichter's piece makes it clear that there is a lot more of note regarding digital libraries going on in Saskatchewan, and has been for years. My guess is that almost anyone will find a project of interest listed here. - RT

Hodges, Doug and Carrol D. Lunau. "The National Library of Canada's Digital Library Initiatives" Library Hi Tech 17(2) (1999): 152-164. - This article serves as a useful overview of the many digital library projects the NLC has begun in recent years. The high value the NLC places on collaboration and partnering is evident from the large number of cooperative projects they have undertaken. Of particular note is their "virtual union catalog" project, using Z39.50. Their trials and tribulations are particularly interesting and enlightening, and should be required reading for any organization considering a similar project. - RT

Kenney, Anne R. and Louis H. Sharpe II. Illustrated Book Study: Digital Conversion Requirements of Printed Illustrations. Report to the Library of Congress, Washington: DC, 22p (http://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/illbk/ibs.htm). - This report to the Library of Congress by the Cornell University Library Dept. of Preservation and Conservation and Picture Elements, Inc. reports on the "best means of digitizing the vast array of illustrations used in 19th and early 20th century commercial publications." The entire (not overly lengthy) report is well worth reading, but in a nutshell their findings were that "400dpi 8-bit capture could serve to preserve the essence and detail information present in all the illustration types studied." In addition, they developed and tested a utility for detecting and properly processing halftone illustrations during the digital conversion process. Anyone digitizing materials from this publication period should study this authoritative report carefully. - RT

Kovacs, Diane, ed. "Special Theme: Electronic Publishing in Libraries" Library Hi Tech 17(1) (1999). - This theme issue of Library Hi Tech is encouraging in that it demonstrates that librarians have indeed used the capabilities offered them (chief among them the Web) and used them in useful and imaginative ways to solve the information needs of their clientele. Clearly we have much further to go in this regard, but there may be some lessons from this collection of papers that we can apply as we proceed along this road. One of the more interesting pieces (to me) was the summary of interviews of six academic chief information officers ("Librarians and Information Technologists: More Alike Than Different? Interviews with CIOs" by Merri Beth Lavagnino). Some of the interviewees oversee libraries, some do not, but all are in positions to influence if not guide decision-making in their libraries. - RT

"The Net Imperative" The Economist 351(8125) (June 26-July 2, 1999) Survey of Business and the Internet Supplement. - When The Economist editors, so resistant to hype and hysteria, put in boldface "Within a few years, the Internet will turn business upside down," CEOs worldwide must be grumbling that they just can't ignore this Internet thing any longer. It's made clear that consumers in prosperous countries have become accustomed to looking for added value and convenience by going online. Articles in the supplement describe what's necessary to begin e-business and keep up with demand if it catches fire, with analysis of current successes and future business models. There is much more depth here than in your standard 'Will Amazon.com kill your local bookstore?' piece. - JR

Ott, Christopher. "For Your Information" Salon (August 3, 1999) (http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/1999/08/03/info_markets) - Frustrated by another set of marginal results from a search engine? Maybe you even tried ask.com. Well, never fear, the next trend in Internet search aids is on the way and this time they may actually lead you to — hold on — a person! This Salon article previews information markets, a new category of web service. Ott describes information markets as online bazaars where people can buy or sell expertise in real time and profiles three new services in this niche - Adeste.com, Advoco.com and Guru.com. Each site varies in its approach - Adeste.com is concentrating first on tutoring or research help for students, Advoco.com a range of professional services, parenting and pets, and Guru.com focuses on the needs of the self-employed. A key part of their concept is that customers will be able to rank the expert in an attempt to automate "word of mouth" and set market rates. While it is premature to give these services a real trial (Adeste.com and Guru.com are still preparing for launch), it will be interesting to see if this eBay approach will make consumers more willing to pay for information on the Web. - LY

Winter, Ken. "'MyLibrary' Can Help Your Library" American Libraries 30(7) (August 1999): 65-67. - A number of libraries are beginning to experiment with systems that allow their clientele to set up their own interface to library collections and services. Often called "MyLibrary" systems, either as a concept or in actuality, these interfaces usually present a combination of pre-set features and customizable options. Winter profiles five library projects and one university-wide project, with interviews of system developers and the key functions of each. Web addresses of all the projects are provided, and they are well worth checking out. - RT


Current Cites 10(8) (August 1999) ISSN: 1060-2356
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