Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 13, no. 6, June 2002

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2002/cc02.13.6.html

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Margaret Gross, Shirl Kennedy, Leo Robert Klein, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Cross, Rob and Laurence Prusak. "The People Who Make Organizations Go — or Stop". Harvard Business Review 80(6) (June 2002): 104-112. - As librarians and information specialists, we are all information facilitators and knowledge integrators. Much of what we accomplish in our respective organizations develops through our personal contacts and social networks. We foster and hone these, and in so doing exhibit certain attributes and characteristics. Cross and Prusak state that managers can benefit enormously by understanding the dynamics of informal networks, and by focusing on a few key players.  In the article, the authors identify and structure the roles played in amorphous networks. Four categories are described: (Can we situate ourselves?) 1. Central Connectors are those that link people with one another, and know whom to turn to for the right expertise at the right time; 2. Boundary Spanners connect their information networks with other parts of the organization, or with similar networks in other enterprises. These players may advise such disparate departments as Marketing, Human Resources, Research & Development; 3. Information Brokers connect subgroups in an informal cluster. They provide cohesion to a group that would otherwise splinter into multiple ineffective segments, or would not exist at all; 4. The last connector type identified is the Peripheral Specialist. These individuals are really not part of any informal cluster, but are periodically called upon for their special expertise. As a conclusion to the article, the authors suggest that by mapping and analyzing such informal networks, fragile interpersonal networks can be modified and strengthened. - MG

"Editors' Interview: The Internet Archive, an Interview with Brewster Kahle" RLG Diginews 6(3) (June 15, 2002) (http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews6-3.html). - There've been several interviews with Brewster Kahle, founder and director of the Internet Archive and its popular front-end the Way Back Machine. What's special about this article is the library perspective that the questions have. Indeed, at times it seems as if there's not complete agreement on the notion of archives between interviewer and interviewee. This is particularly true in the area of preservation and standards. To the question of possible plans for format migration in a collection now running over 100 terabytes for example, Kahle impatiently replies: "Once archived, we never change a page. The Web wasn't constructed to be archived. It's so interconnected. A book exists outside of time. Archiving Web sites is like putting together a bomb after it has exploded." - LRK

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Unintended Consequences: Three Years Under the DMCA" (2002) (http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/20020503_dmca_consequences.html). - The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) (see the helpful summary by the Library of Congress) is an egregious assault on the rights of a free society to access and use intellectual property. This rather damning review of the past three years of life under this federal statute focuses on three threats: "chills free expression and scientific research", "jeopardizes fair use", and "impedes competition and innovation". A litany of arrests, legal actions, corporate practices and policies, acts of censorship, and threats of litigation suppport these allegations. Citations to relevant news and magazine articles are included. This piece does an excellent job of presenting a summary of current evidence that the DMCA has had a major deleterious effect on a wide array of legitimate intellectual and cultural activities. - RT

Institute of Museum and Library Services. Status of Technology and Digitization in the Nation's Museums and Libraries: 2002 Report. Washington, DC: Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2002. (http://www.imls.gov/Reports/TechReports/intro02.htm). - This report examines the information technology use patterns and digitization activities of 701 academic libraries, museums, public libraries, and State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs). A key finding of the report is that only 25% of public libraries, 32% of museums, and 34% of academic libraries are engaged in digitization activities. By contrast, 78% of SLAAs are engaged in such activities. What's the problem? Of institutions that have current or future digitization plans, all four types say that the most common hindrances are: "lack of funds to support digitization," "other projects have higher priorities," "lack of available expertise," and "concern about costs of preservation and management." There are many more interesting findings in the report, such a different view of common hindrances by institutions without digitization plans. - CB

Janes, Joseph. "Digital Reference: Reference Librarians' Experiences and Attitudes" Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) 53(7): 549-566 (2002). - As Janes notes in his obligatory literature review at the beginning of this research article, a number of articles have been written regarding digital reference and it's impact on libraries and user services, but nothing has covered the perceptions and attitudes of librarians toward it. After reviewing the literature, Janes describes his research methodology and summarizes the number of responses by size and type of library. From there, the rest of the piece is devoted to the results. The survey instrument is appended. One of the strongest findings was that reference librarians who had experience with digital reference tended to have a much more positive outlook on it than those who had not. Another was that there is a large gulf between what types of reference encounters librarians believe digital reference technologies to be best at — quick "ready reference" questions, or more involved research questions. Such a disparity of opinion should not come as a surprise when discussing a service that is still so new, but as Janes points out, it is an issue that merits "further examination." - RT

Kirkpatrick, David D. "Battle Over Access to Online Books" The New York Times (June 17, 2002) (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/17/technology/17LIBR.html). - While e-books have generated spotty interest among the general population, many libraries have embraced them, making their contents easily accessible to patrons online. Since libraries are virtually their only paying customers, the e-book vendors are increasingly catering to them, cutting liberal licensing deals. Publishers, meanwhile, fear that this "remote access" is costing them book sales. At June's American Library Association conference, e-book vendor Rossetta Books was offering libraries a deal whereby, for $200-$1000 annually, patrons would be provided with unlimited simultaneous access to a collection of 20th century classics by such authors as Kurt Vonnegut and William Styron. Random House is suing Rossetta Books. NetLibrary, which originally sought to placate publishers by restricting library e-book access to a single patron at a time, was acquired in January by a consortium of libraries which is experimenting with more liberal licensing arrangements. - SK

Kloppenberg, Timothy J. and Warren A. Opfer. "The Current State of Project Management Research: Trends, Interpretations, and Predictions". Project Management Journal 33(2) (June 2002): 5-18. - The authors present the findings of a project to evaluate the state of project management research, published in English, from 1960 to 1999. These findings were first presented to the PMI Research Conference in 2002. Literature was examined from numerous sources, including academic periodicals, conference proceedings, research reports, dissertations, and unclassified documents emanating from such government agencies as DoD and NASA. Subjects covered included cost/schedule, systems management, value engineering, standardization, and certification. The literature revealed interesting trends. Project management is a relatively new discipline that has enjoyed increasing acceptance, as reflected by the exponential growth of published research. The 1960s yielded but one percent of the literature. The 1970s saw an increase to 7%, followed by 29% in the 1980s. The most recent decade, the 1990s saw the number explode to 60% of program management publications. These are now contained in the database created as a result of the investigation. Included are several interesting tables, the most important of which is a bibliography of "best article candidates" The citations are organized along the "knowledge areas", as outlined in the project management bible, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). - MG

LaBarge, Ralph. "DVD Compatibility Test." DV Magazine 10(7) (July 2002): 20-29. - DVD looks to be the next big thing in removable storage but with 5 different DVD formats to choose from and another on the way, we're still in the nightmare stage of its development. The author here describes a test for compatibility between different media formats and DVD-Video players. For library media shops intending to distribute video-based material on DVD, this is an important read. - LRK

Liu, Xiaoming, et.al.. "Federated Searching Interface Techniques for Heterogenous OAI Repositories" Journal of Digital Information 2(4) (May 21, 2002). (http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/Articles/v02/i04/Liu/). - The Open Archives initiative is our latest, best hope for a technology that can knit together access to a variety of dispersed repositories of information. Although the underlying protocol for "crawling" (fetching information from) such repositories is now in place, there remain some thorny issues — not the least of which is how to handle disparate sets of metadata. In building the ARC Cross Archive Search Service, the authors had to make decisions on how to handle this issue, which they share in this piece. They determined that to federate metadata from disparate sources, no single approach would work well in all cases. One relatively easy method is to use keyword searching, but then any additional functionality offered by well-described metadata is lost. Another approach is to map each set of elements into a common set. Their decisions on how to handle this dilemma (not surprisingly, a hybrid approach), as well as a thorough accounting of the over 1 million records from dozens of archives with which they were working, round out this very informative article. As libraries try to build cross-archive search services, we will need to become very good at dealing with the challenges outlined here, as well as others. This early work should prove helpful. - RT

Manfreda, Katja Lozar, Zenel Batagelj and Vasja Vehovar. "Design of Web Survey Questionnaires: Three Basic Experiments." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 7(3) (April 2002) (http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/vol7/issue3/vehovar.html). - Does the design of an online survey affect accuracy and completion rates? That's what the authors in this report set out to test. Using three surveys on internet use in Slovenia as their raw material, they examine the impact of such design features as whether the survey is one page or many, whether there are graphics, and whether the topic is relevant to the user. - LRK

Manjoo, Farhad. "Public Protests NPR Link Policy" Wired (June 20, 2002) (http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,53355,00.html) - Yes, the P in NPR does stand for "Public." That's why there's no small amount of outrage about NPR's policy of requiring anyone wanting to link to anything on its site to fill out an online form that asked for detailed information about the linking entity, its website, how long the link will remain, whether it's a commercial site, etc. Apparently, this policy isn't new. However, the form remained relatively hidden until Cory Doctorow posted a link to it in his popular BoingBoing weblog, at which point it became fodder for a plethora of other weblogs. An NPR spokesman said the station "does not refuse links but it just wants to make sure that the links are appropriate to a noncommercial and journalistic organization." Aside from the issue of whether such a linking policy is desirable, there's the practicality of enforcement. NPR is not a commercial broadcasting outfit with unlimited resources to monitor all the websites linking to it worldwide. And when Wired filled out the form requesting to link, it received an autoreply and never got explicit permission to link before running this story. The indication was that NPR's system was backlogged. - SK

Mann, Charles C. "Why Software Is So Bad" Technology Review 105(6) (July/Aug 2002): 33-38 (http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/mann0702.asp?p=1). - If a tech problem is described in an MIT publication, you'd expect their proposed solution to be equally tech — but the author says that in this case your best weapon is to sue the bastards. In all fairness, after describing the bad programming and business practices which gave us such bonehead classics as backup disks created by Windows XP Home which won't work with Windows XP Home, Mann lists a variety of remedies, some of which he sees coming over the horizon because they are currently being adopted by software companies. Yet, the natural urge to protect against litigation is the strongest motivation he sees for them to clean up their act. Part "Risks"-style list of malfunctions and part call to arms, this article is entertaining and encouraging. You don't have to lay down and take it! - JR

Notess, Greg R. "On the Net: Dead Search Engines" Online 26(3) (May/June 2002) (http://www.onlinemag.net/may02/OnTheNet.htm). - Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of ... search engines. That's the gist of this postmortem on the search engines of yore, many quite popular at the time, their names still familiar to our ear. The author, ending on a positive note, points to a list of survivors but still you wonder what will happen if Google ever tanks or goes the "pay-for-positioning" route. Stranger things have happened. - LRK

Schwartz, John. "The Librarian's Web Dilemma" The New York Times (June 20, 2002) (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/20/technology/circuits/20FILT.html). - This article explains how three public library systems in different geographic locations handle the Internet "porn problem." In Greenville, SC, the library board spends $2,500 a month "on a filtering service that blocks access to millions of Web pages with adult content." In DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta, the library system uses the shame factor as a deterrent to porn surfers. Public access computers are located out in the open, where librarians can monitor use and enforce acceptable policy when necessary. In Virginia Beach, VA, the emphasis is on privacy, where monitors are set beneath the surface of glass-topped desks, invisible to everyone but the individual using the computer. Meanwhile, an emerging national standard in libraries is to link the choice of filtered or unfiltered Internet access to a patron's library card, with parents specifying preferences for their children. - SK

Seipp, Catherine. "Online Uprising" American Journalism Review 24(5) (June 2002): 42-47 (http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=2555). - Those of us involved in acquiring, cataloging and archiving information have watched in awe as one medium after another, previously packaged and manageable, has become fragmented by Web technology. It's instructive to get a peek at what content providers are going through as their previously secure turf breaks apart. In this case, journalists weigh in about what Web logs (blogs) are doing to their profession. Certainly the news gathering and disseminating organizations have had a lot of adapting to do over the past ten years, but most of us will still turn to their trusted, authoritative voice for our current events. Bloggers are increasingly questioning that authority. This article focuses most on the opinion side — columnists and editorial writers, some of whom fess up that 'our dirty little secret's out: it's really not that hard.' Those of us who care just how much of this traffic will be findable in ten years won't find any answers here, though — nobody knows. - JR


Current Cites 13(6) (June 2002) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 2002 by the Regents of the University of California All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2002 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Document maintained at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2002/cc02.13.6.html by Roy Tennant.
Last update June 26, 2002. SunSITE Manager: manager@sunsite.berkeley.edu