Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 11, no. 11, November 2000

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Contributors: Terry Huwe, Michael Levy, Leslie Myrick , Jim Ronningen, Lisa Rowlison, Roy Tennant

Cisler, Steve. "Letter from Cambridge: Digital Nations and eDevelopment Meetings." First Monday 5(11) (November 5, 2000) ( - The author reports on a new initiative known as "Digital Nations", which was launched by MIT's Media Lab on October 18, 2000. The project seeks to assess the impact of digital convergence on the traditional concept of the nation-state, particularly among nations with minimal information infrastructures. The participants clearly hope to influence the international dialogue about developing nations as well as industrialized nations, and they argue that technology planning should benefit both ends of the spectrum. - TH

Fichter, Darlene and Frank Cervone. "Documents, Data, Information Retrieval and XML." Online 24(6) (November 2000): 30-36. - For those to whom XML is still new territory, this article may serve as a useful introduction. For those who understand the meaning of "well-formed" this piece will be too basic. After an introduction to XML and XHTML, Fichter and Cervone highlight a couple of applications for XML - Rich Site Summary (RSS) for describing the contents of web sites, and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) for data codebooks. Appropriate web site addresses accompany the piece. - RT

Flecker, Dale. "Harvard's Library Digital Initiative" D-Lib Magazine 6(11) (November 2000) ( - Harvard University granted its library $12 million over five years to "build a first generation production infrastructure to support digital library collections." This article is to some degree an update on their progress, some halfway through the grant. Flecker outlines the Harvard Library's technical, collections, and access infrastructure and the common services which they share. He touches on the variety of projects they have funded to provide digital content, and ends up with a current assessment and outline of further developments. Anyone interested in how Harvard is addressing the opportunities and challenges of digital libraries will find this to be a good overview of the variety of infrastructure and content development projects in which they are engaged. - RT

Forbes, Judith L. "Perspectives on Lifelong Learning: The View from a Distance." First Monday 5(11), November 5, 2000 ( - Forbes uses engineering continuing education as an example to explore distance learning for professionals in knowledge related fields. The format is brief and to the point, with evaluations of college programs and accreditation. She also addresses the practical ways in which distance learning can mesh with the career-spanning necessity for knowledge workers to receive training and earn credentials that reflect knowledge gains. - TH

Lipinski, Tomas A. "Legal Issues in Accessing and Managing the Metadata of Digital Objects." Technicalities 20(3) (May/June 2000) :1. - In this article Lipinski discusses the implications of providing links to websites from library catalog records, including the issue of using frames to accomplish this goal. The author outlines potential areas of legal concern: trespass, trademarks, copyright, and defamation. Citing current cases in each of these areas Lipinski clearly delineates situations in which libraries may encounter problems. These include linking to a publishers web site but bypassing introductory material and advertisements; using trademarked symbols in a library catalog thereby interfering with itís distinctiveness; posting or framing that involves unauthorized reproduction and the infringing on the exclusive rights of copyright owners to display or distribute their work; and finally whether a library becomes liable for any defamatory material as a "publisher" of content. This is an excellent introduction to these major areas of concern for libraries. - ML

Marcum, Deanna. "Digital Archiving: Whose Responsibility Is It?" College & Research Libraries News 61(9) (October 2000): 794-797;807. - Few questions are as perplexing to librarians as how to preserve digital material, and few among our number are as qualified to consider this question as the president of the Council on Library and Information Resources. The bulk of the piece focuses on the the CLIR/Digital Library Federation-produced document "Minimum criteria for an archival repository of digital scholarly journals" (, which identifies seven specific criteria for setting up a trusted digital archive. On the "who's responsible?" question, Marcum advocates that both publishers and libraries (which occasionally are the same organization) both have responsibilities. Publishers must be explicit about their preservation policies, and librarians must respond appropriately given the relative strength or weakness of such policies, or the amount of trust that can be placed in the organization behind the policy. - RT

O'Leary, Mick. "Grading the Library Portals" Online 24(6) (November/December 2000):38-44 ( - I spotted this article just after attending a meeting about improving our campus library's portal to collections and services. It's not what I'd hoped; the portals which O'Leary rates are really librarianship portals. After the initial disappointment wore off, I began to see that the best among these Web sites for librarians would lead to lots of great ideas for grappling with my particular problem, as well as issues in every other aspect of librarianship: administration, collection development, interlibrary loan, etc. After a brief description of what he means by a "library portal" (in which he broadly compliments all visitors to these sites as already being electronic information experts, thanks very much), O'Leary divides his group of sites into vendor, commercial and library developed portals. The distinction between the first two is a little blurred. The grading and comments are useful in weeding out portals which are incomplete, innacurate, incomprehensible or oriented toward selling a particular product. In the interest of complete disclosure, we point out that one of the two "A" grades was given to our Sunsite-hosted LibraryLand []/. - JR

Raitt, David. "Digital Initiatives Across Europe" Computers in Libraries 20(10) (November/December 2000): 26-34 ( - This overview of European digital library projects briefly outlines initiatives in France, Germany, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Given the broad geographic range of this overview, it is by no means comprehensive, but it can nonetheless serve as a good introduction to the breadth and depth of digital library developments in Europe -- any one of which is worthy of an article on it alone. A sidebar lists all the project URLs in a handy list that signifies hours of happy browsing by anyone interested in such projects. - RT

Sherman, Chris. "Napster: Copyright Killer or Distribution Hero?" Online 24(6) (November 2000): 18-28. - Faithful Current Cites readers already know that we think peer-to-peer networking is well worth our attention (see the October 2000 issue if you don't recall). For those of you who missed that issue, or found yourselves on another planet for the past year and missed all the press about Napster, your ignorance will not go unrewarded. Rather than reading a pile of articles on Napster, Gnutella, and their peer-to-peer cousins that are cropping up like rabbits, this one article will go a long way toward bringing you up-to-speed. Sherman craftily introduces the topic by referring to a music copyright controversy from a century ago that has chilling parallels (as well as significant differences) to today's. Explanations of Napster and Gnutella follow, as well as vignettes on FreeNet, MojoNation, and Dan Chudnov's Docster concept. Altogether an excellent read about a topic that librarians (and those in many other professions) can ignore at their peril. - RT

Varian, Hal R and Lyman, Peter. How Much Information? Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2000 ( - In this 200 page report produced by faculty and students at the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley the authors attempt to measure how much information is produced in the world each year. They look at several media and estimate yearly production, accumulated stock, rates of growth, and other variables of interest. Taking advantage of the web environment the document indicates where they make "questionable" assumptions and they intend to update the document based on contributions by readers. The authors identify production of content in four physical media — paper, film, optical (CDs and DVDs), and magnetic — then translate the volume of original content into a common standard (terabytes), determine how much storage each type takes and calculate total estimates. They outline 3 major findings: printed material only makes up .003% of the total storage of information; a vast majority of information is created and stored by individuals rather than institutions; and finally digital information is the largest in total and the fastest growing. The not suprising conclusion is that "we are all drowning in a sea of information" with information production at about 250 megabytes for each man, woman, and child in the world. - ML

Withers, Rob, et. al. "Information Architecture: Tools for Cutting-Edge Web Developers" College & Research Libraries News 61(9) (October 2000): ( - For the budding information architect, or the experienced web manager, this piece covers some essential web sites, electronic discussions, and other information resources on IA and methods for creating dynamic web content. Under the misleading heading "dynamic scripting languages", they list resources on that topic as well as databases, web application servers, and an open source integrated library system project (it appears as if the main criteria for inclusion was that the project be free, open source, or both, since only one commercial web application server is mentioned — Cold Fusion — when most people are more likely to have Microsoft's Active Server Pages at their disposal). Despite the lack of comprehensitivity, the resources cited here are clearly central to any full-bore web manager or information architect. Those who aren't quite ready to tackle Perl or PHP can stick to the first part of the piece, which focuses on resources of more general interest. - RT

Current Cites 11(11 (November 2000) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 2000 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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Last update November 29, 2000. SunSITE Manager: