Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 11, no. 2, February 2000

Edited by Teri Andrews Rinne

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

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

Atkins, Helen, et. al. "Reference Linking with DOIs: A Case Study D-Lib Magazine 6(2) (February 2000) ( - Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs, see were developed in 1997 by the Association of American Publishers as a persistent identifier for digital objects. DOIs can be considered roughly analogous to ISBNs in that it is a unique ID for a specific work, but also more complicated than an ISBN since it can identify article-level objects. To make DOIs work in a web environment, there must be a way to take the unique identifier and resolve it into a pointer to that item wherever it may exist. Therefore, a key piece of the infrastructure to support DOIs is some sort of resolution service, which this article outlines. The present DOI resolution service is a prototype metadata database system dubbed DOI-X. It is based on XML and the CNRI Handle System (see for more information). For anyone interested in persistent linking to digital objects, this work is well worth watching. - RT

Bambrick, Jane. "Dreams of the Perfect Database" EContent 23(1) (February 2000): p. 21-24. How could I resist citing an article that begins: "Last night I dreamt of the 'perfect database' again"? This essay offers, in the form of a dream vision, a primer of good database and interface design. As someone who entertains plenty of dreams about right-on databases and nightmares about recalcitrant or ill-designed ones, I was happily drawn into Bambrick's vision of precisely what features might add up to the perfect database to accommodate the needs of students, faculty and librarians, and even those outside of academia. Needless to say, the Ur-database she envisions may be "the stuff of dreams," but any combination of her desiderata would make for a solid start. EContent is soliciting your dreams, too. - LM

"The Digital Divide" Intellectual Capital 5(6) ( February 10-17, 2000) ( This special issue of Intellectual Capital addresses The Digital Divide, recently designated by Al Gore as "the number one civil and economic issue." In the wake of the catastrophic picture painted by the Commerce Department's report "Falling Through the Net," Clinton's budgetary reaction has been to earmark some 2 billion for the development of community- and educational-based technology training in low-income rural and inner-city areas. This being Intellectual Capital, the concern is primarily centered on e-commerce and e-business (as well as e-labor), and most of the articles explore what the balance should be between depending on government subsidies to overcome the divide and letting the market offer its own solutions, with heavy emphasis on the latter. Keith Fulton, in "On the Road to Fat Pipes," examines how business strategists are beginning to make a connection between fat pipes for data and fat pipes for human capital development. Citing Ford Corporation's recent move to provide its labor force with home computers and training, he lauds the vision of some corporate leaders to find a solution to the labor divide from within. Maureen Sinhal, in "A New War on Poverty," examines the dangers inherent in trusting government subsidies alone to redress the problem. Wary of the statistical analyses of reports such as "Falling Through the Net," she, too, points to a market-based solution and calls for an assessment of what, precisely, the outcome of lack of computer and web access means—will those on the wrong side of the divide be merely inconvenienced? or left behind? Lee Hubbard, in "A Disingenuous Divide," offers plenty of statistical studies that show how middle class African Americans are availing themselves of the web in ever-increasing numbers. He cites the efforts of Jesse Jackson and websites such as OneNetNow to make relevant content available for a burgeoning African American market, suggesting that measuring the digital divide along strictly racial (vs. economic) lines is disingenuous. - LM

Durrance, Joan C. and Karen E. Pettigrew. "Community Information: the Technological Touch" Library Journal ( 125(2) (February 1, 2000): 44-46. - The public library role as a center for community information has grown with the advent of electronic access. The authors are currently conducting a study of the ways in which this function is being performed, and describe their findings to date. (The URL for their project site is In the first phase of their research, hundreds of libraries were surveyed, and the 227 which were identified as heavily involved in community information were sent follup surveys; 136 responded. The authors are currently conducting intensive case studies of three public library systems. Their narrative here highlights notable development histories and outreach efforts, with the emphasis on the use of information technology, and links are given wherever relevant. The article and associated links comprise a wonderful gateway to resources on the subject. - JR

Guernsey, Lisa. "Suddenly, Everybody's an Expert" New York Times (February 3, 2000): Section G, p.1. - Guernsey describes the phenomenon of online experts and web sites, often called expert sites or knowledge networks. In a twist on traditional library reference service, Internet users are using real people to answer information requests - but for a fee. Such expert advice can either be seen as the "democratization of expertise" or "psuedoresearch." Some sites generate income by charging fees for their experts, while others make commissions off goods purchased as a result of expert recommendations. This opens up a number of issues crucial to information professionals, including the authenticity and accuracy of information, the credentials and background of the expert and their objectivity given potential relationships with commercial enterprises. In particular these issues assume critical proportions when the advice being sought is medical. One expert on nutrition described her credentials in the following way: "It's not my experience that you care about. It's your problem." Some sites have disclaimers about their responsibility for harmful advice, others have rating systems similar to online auction sites in order to build credibility. - ML

Junion-Metz, Gail. Coaching Kids for the Internet: A Guide for Librarians, Teachers, and Parents. Internet Workshop Series Number 9. Berkeley, California: Library Solutions Press, 2000. ISBN 1-882208-29-3 ( - As a newly-christened children's librarian (and parent), who works with teachers on a daily basis, I can wholeheartedly endorse this book on behalf of each of its intended audiences. Designed as a sequel to K-12 Resources on the Internet, Junion-Metz focuses on the adult as Internet coach guiding the child. Not only are basic instructional information and practice exercises included, but also administrative guidance in planning and acquiring Internet access in schools and libraries. An accompanying disk includes links to Internet resources for kids (grouped by subject matter and age ranges), and reference and instructional resources for teachers, librarians, and parents. An added bonus is that these links are kept up to date on the author's web site, which the user has access to via a link on the disk. - TR

Kenney, Anne R. and Oya Y. Rieger. Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Mountain View, CA: Research Libraries Group, 2000 ( - One of the difficulties of digital library work has been the dearth of solid, practical information on what to do and how to do it. Lately some very useful papers, articles, and guidelines have appeared, but so far few books of any practical use. One of the few that has been useful to digital library developers was Kenney's earlier work with Stephen Chapman, Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives. Now Kenney has teamed up with Oya Rieger to produce this latest workiithat moves what was largely theory into production, with all of the lessons such a move entails. In doing so, Kenney and Rieger highlight the knowledge and experience of dozens of the most experienced and authoritative digital imaging practitioners. Here you will find down-to-earth practical advice and proven strategies. The people who have contributed chapters or sidebars to this book have been through it, and are telling you what they learned so that you can share their success or avoid their failure. Don't let the rather steep price put you off -- this book is worth every penny and should be in the hands of any librarian or archivist tackling a digital imaging project. - RT

Pace, Andrew K. "Digital Preservation: Everything New is Old Again" Computers in Libraries (February 2000):p. 55-58. ( - The February issue of CIL focuses on "Archiving Considerations for a Digital Age," from which I will single out Andrew Pace's maiden article in the Coming Full Circle column as more or less paradigmatic of the discussion that may be found there. As a sidenote, this issue also contains an interesting and well-illustrated article by the principle investigators of the Digital Atheneum project, for which I cited a different article last month. To paraphrase the callouts for Pace's Coming Full Circle article, at issue is the preservation of digital materials as material artifacts. The rhetorical question of the day has to be: "Are digital materials to be seen as artifacts or simply intellectual content?" Pace postulates that the vision of the digital library has so favored a self-concept as a "accessible repository" that the longevity of the digital object (not to mention any interface to it) often seems to have taken a back seat to issues of accessibility. In the end, paradoxically, our capacity to store digital data is increasing in inverse proportion to the longevity of the media at hand. He outlines a handful of digital preservation strategies: 1) Refreshing the physical medium (e.g. from floppy to CD to DVD); 2) Migration to new software formats; 3) Preservation of Outdated Technology (e.g. keeping an old Commodore 64 handy, perhaps down in Special Collections). 4) Digital Archaeology; 5) Emulation — retaining information about the process of digital creation and access, so that future generations can recreate it using their archaic Pentium III PCs; and 6) Preservation through Redundancy — letting surrogates stand for the originals. - LM

Pritcher, Lynn. "Ad*Access: Seeking Copyright Permissions for a Digital Age" D-Lib Magazine 6(2) (February 2000) ( - Fear of copyright infringement and the possibility of lawsuit must be one of the most common companions of library digitization projects. Unless a project is focused solely on public domain material, permission to digitize must often be obtained from the rights holder before work begins. In this interesting piece, Pritcher describes how the Digital Scriptorium at Duke University went about receiving permission to digitize more than 7,000 advertisements from newspapers and magazines published mainly in the U.S. between 1911 and 1955. Their decisions, and the reasons for them, are quite interesting and may be useful to others wishing to do similar projects. The result of their effort can be seen at the Ad*Access site ( - RT

Silberman, Steve. "The Quest for Meaning" Wired (February 2000): p.173-179. ( - A British startup company called Autonomy is using the mathematical theories of 18th century Presbyterian minister Thomas Bayes as a basis for creating sophisticated information retrieval tools. Bayes helped shape modern probability theory with his method of statistitical inference - using mathematics to predict the outcome of events. Basically Bayes theorem takes into account previously held knowledge as well as new observations to infer the probable occurrence of an event. In the modern era this Bayesian model allows a computer to incorporate prior knowledge of millions of events and then build a base of prior probabilities which can be factored into current decision-making. In the article Silberman gives the example of the word penguin that might refer to the bird or the hockey team. If the word is clustered near words such as ice and South Pole then the system will infer that it is talking about the bird. In fact, even if the word penguin is not explicitly mentioned the software can still recognize that the text is about a penguin given the clustering of words. For retrieval tools prior knowledge of what most users are trying to locate can be incorporated into retrieval strategies, with the Bayesian system "teaching" the computer about relationships between words. Various software programs are being developed that would create custom-tailored pages based on past preferences and searching, predicting how a user would react to a new information source. The hope is that such sophisticated software will allow us to navigate through the morass of information sources. - ML

Van de Sompel, Herbert and Carl Lagoze. "The Santa Fe Convention of the Open Archives Initiative" D-Lib Magazine 6(2) (February 2000) ( - The Open Archives initiative is a collaboration among several successful electronic preprint (e-print) archives to develop an interoperable technical infrastructure to allow a user at any one e-print archive to transparently query another e-print archive. The Santa Fe Convention ( defines a set of agreements that form the essential organizational and technical infrastructure to achieve interoperability. Pieces of this infrastructure include the Open Archives Metadata Set (OAMS, see, a set of nine metadata elements to assist in resource discovery, the O pen Archives Dienst Subset (a subset of the full Dienst protocol developed by the NCSTRL project,, see, and an organizational framework. The Open Archives initiative is an important development, and one that bears watching. - RT

Van de Sompel, Herbert, et. al. "The UPS Prototype: An Experimental End-User Service across E-Print Archives" D-Lib Magazine 6(2) (February 2000) ( - The Universal Preprint Service Prototype (UPS, see was developed to demonstrate interoperability between disparate archives of electronic preprints (e-prints), specifically for a meeting of e-print archive developers in Santa Fe in October 1999 (see the citation for the Santa Fe Convention in this issue of Current Cites). The prototype gathered nearly 200,000 records for e-prints from several different archives and made them available for searching through the same interface. The experience gained from this project was fed directly into the deliberations of the attendees to the Santa Fe meeting, which no doubt contributed to a more useful and realistic result from that meeting. - RT

Current Cites 11(2) (February 2000) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 2000 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.

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