Current Cites

Volume 13, no. 8, August 2002

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2002/cc02.13.8.html

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

Baca, Murtha, editor. Introduction to Art Image Access: Issues, Tools, Standards, Strategies   Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2002, 97 p. - The Getty has long been involved with the development of common standards and practices regarding digital imaging. Their track record for helping others understand issues relating to digital imaging, image description, controlled vocabularies, and other topics is well established. Long-time readers of Current Cites may even remember the review we did of an early title from this series, Introduction to Imaging (in the June 1995 issue), now out-of-print and being revised. This volume is a useful and substantive addition to that heritage. The slim volume (just under 100 pages) is nonetheless chock-full of tough issues, good advice, and illustrative examples. And the illustrations (both literally and figuratively) are here in large number. Many diagrams and black-and-white images embellish the text, and several color plates grace the center. Bibliographic and web site references and web sites accompany each section, and in the back can be found an "Annotated List of Tools", a glossary, and a bibliography. All in all, a work that is well worth the $20 cover price. - RT

Carnevale, Dan.  "Radio Silence : Fees force college stations to stop WebcastingChronicle of Higher Education   (16 August 2002) (http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i49/49a03301.htm). - "The lights are going out all over Europe". While not as dire as this quip by Earl Grey, the lights are going out all over the Internet for independent webcasters as this article documents. And it's not just college stations that are affected. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of independent "microbroadcasters" are also biting the dust as the Recording Industry chooses for itself the circumstances under which music may be played over the Internet. Not surprisingly, the new rules are completely disadvantageous to the new medium. Hence the die off. Adding insult to injury, industry spokesmen, fresh from having changed the goal posts, switch effortlessly into harsh truth mode, offering up bits of fraudulent homespun like the following from RIAA CEO Hillary Rosen, "if you don't have a business model that sustains your costs, it sounds harsh, but that's real life. If a grocery store can't afford to pay for the vegetables, they can't keep their doors open." (in Graham, Jefferson. "Royalty fees killing most Web-based radio stations". USA Today: July 22, 2002). You don't know whether to cry at the prospect of such an industry defining what "real life" is, or to laugh at their arrogance for lecturing us about business models given their chronic inability to come up with one of their own in this digital age. - LRK

Crawford, Walt.  "Silver EditionCites & Insights: Crawford at Large   2(11) p. 1-14 (Mid-August 2002) (http://home.att.net/~wcc.techx/civ2i11.pdf). - This free self-published 'zine is worth monitoring on a regular basis (Walt puts it up on the web roughly once a month, with special issues here and there), but this month in particular is a keeper. See in particular the section "Credo: My Current Library Beliefs" wherein he lays out his most strongly held beliefs in the past, present, and future of libraries. Although they take up less than a page, each statement lies at the pinnacle of a pile of information, experience, thought, and personal belief that belie their brevity. Give each some serious thought and you will be a better librarian for it. Just a few pages way in the "Finding the Ways that Work" section can be found some good practical advice for dealing with a rapidly changing technological environment. In particular see the subsection "Factors for Probable Success". Hold any new technological innovation up to the light of these assertions and I guarantee that you will make better technology decisions. All in all, this issue exceeds Walt's typically strong offerings and deserves a much wider audience than this publication normally receives. Free does not mean without value. - RT

Farrell, Nick.  "FBI Gives Warchalking Warningvunet.com (Personal Computer World)   (19 August 2002) (http://www.pcw.co.uk/News/1134451). - First, there was wardialing. Then there was wardriving. Now, there's warchalking -- "hobo sign language for the 21st century wireless geek." So-called "warchalks" -- chalk marks scrawled on sidewalks and buildings that identify wireless network access points -- are increasingly showing up in urban areas. According to this brief article, the FBI is warning companies that if they see such marks in the immediate vicinity, they need to check the security of their wireless networks and make sure they are made impervious to outsiders. Says the agency, "If you notice these symbols at your place of business, it is likely that your network has been identified publicly." - SK

Hourihan, Meg.  "Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional BloggerO'Reilly Network   (12 August 2002) (http://www.oreillynet.com/lpt/a/2629). - Trendmeisters, take note. Hourihan strongly advocates something that may turn out to be the beginning of a new phenomenon in weblogs -- the professional blogger, who is paid to produce "compelling content" for a corporate/commercial website. A very few notable bloggers generate some income through donations, but very few are directly paid to do their thing -- a notable exception being Jim Romenesko, who is paid to generate his Media News blog for the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. And yet, as Hourihan points out, "There's a vast group of people out there now who are experts in finding the news and links, capturing its essence in short snippets, and churning it out hour after hour, day after day." She suggests a couple scenarios whereby this talent could be harnessed -- an online wine store "hiring a wine-aficionado blogger" to drive traffic to its site, an insurance company paying a blogger to generate content about hurricane warnings and emergency preparedness for its policyholders. Hourihan, a Web consultant and freelance writer, is one of the authors of We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs. - SK

Ling, Ted.  "Why the Archives Introduced Digitisation on DemandRLG DigiNews   6(4) (15 August 2002) (http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews6-4.html#feature1). - The National Archives of Australia has for over a year provided a digitization on demand service to its users. Specifically, users may request that a particular archival item be digitized and made available on the web for their use remotely. In one year of service they have created over a million images of archival records. The demand for the service was such, in fact, that the original stated turn-around time of 30 days was lengthened by necessity to 90 days. Nonetheless, users appear to be predictably pleased with the ability to have items made accessible to them on the web even under that time constraint. Given the alternative (of having to travel to the archive) that is understandable. Some of the more remarkable aspects of this project are: 1) the institution decided to do it in the first place, and 2) their view of copyright is refreshingly focused on the public interest rather than the rights holder. Those who are technically savvy may wish to quibble with the low resolution capture, but it is more difficult to argue with their success. They are, after all, giving their users exactly what they want. I can think of few institutions that couldn't learn from this experience. - RT

Llewellyn, Richard D., Lorraine J.  Pellack, and Diana D.  Shonrock.  "The Use of Electronic-Only Journals in Scientific ResearchIssues in Science and Technology Librarianship   (35) (Summer 2002) (http://www.istl.org/02-summer/refereed.html). - In this interesting study, the authors determine the number of peer-reviewed, electronic-only scientific e-journals that are being published and investigate whether they are being indexed, cataloged, and cited. The results are encouraging: there are 144 e-journals that meet the selection criteria (85% are free). Of these 144 e-journals, 67% have been indexed, 97% have been cataloged in OCLC, and 75% have been cited. See the article for more detailed results, including specific information about each e-journal and a subject breakdown. - CB

Lougee, Wendy Pradt. Diffuse Libraries: Emergent Roles for the Research Library in the Digital Age   Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, August 2002, 32 p. - The Council on Library and Information Resources Report series is an eclectic mix of thoughtful issue pieces, conference proceedings, and documents that lay out practical strategies. This particular report falls into the "thoughtful issue pieces" category, and is worth a read by anyone interested in the role of research libraries within their institutions and society at large. A variety of issues are touched on, from the role of library as publisher to virtual reference services, from what might be described as a 30,000 foot overview. But that is the appropriate perspective from which to consider the issues raised, and Lougee does a credible job of laying out not only some of the ramifications of the changes research libraries are undergoing, but also suggesting a perspective -- one of "diffusion" of the library across the academic enterprise. - RT

McKinstry, Jill Morrison, Peter  McCracken.  "Combining Computing and Reference Desks in an Undergraduate Library : A Brilliant Innovation or a Serious Mistake?portal: Libraries and the Academy   2(3) p. 391-400 (July 2002) (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/portal_libraries_and_the_academy/v002/2.3mckinstry.html). - Basically what the undergrad library at the University of Washington has done is move the librarians into the computing center. There are both pro's and con's to this move and both sides are discussed in this piece by "opposing" members of the library's own professional staff. For anyone contemplating folding traditional library functions into IT services, this is a helpful read. Available through Project Muse. - LRK

Turner, James M., Michele  Hudon, and Yves  Devin.  "Organizing Moving Image Collections for the Digital Era: The Goldspiel ReportInformation Outlook   6(8) p. 14-25 (August 2002) (http://www.sla.org/content/memberonly/infoonline/2002/aug02/turner.cfm). - The Steven I. Goldspiel Memorial Research Fund was established in 1991 to support research projects in the field of Library Science. This article reports the findings of the 1999 award winners. The authors of this report, James M. Turner, Michelle Hudon, and Yves Devin of the Université de Montréal, were interested in studying the techniques and tools, particularly indexing languages, used to represent the content of moving images. They also wished to evaluate the feasibility of creating a universal indexing vocabulary for moving images representing everyday objects. Although 33 organizations were initially identified as potential participants, the study finally focussed on eleven organizations, managing 14 collections. Sites housing the collections were called by a variety of names, with "Stockshot Library", being the most prevalent. The collections comprised a variety of film, video and optical disk formats. Information on a collection's total viewing hours, or its linear length was minimal or not available at all. Levels at which moving pictures were indexed, was the study's the most important finding. Almost all material was indexed at the top level, by title or by whole document, while 36% and 57% respectively, also indexed at the sequence and shot level. Surprisingly, five of the 14 collections were also indexed at a symbolic level. Citing Panofsky [Panofsky, Erwin. Meaning in the Visual Arts: Papers in and on Art History. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Press, 1955], the authors present a brief example of symbolic attributes. These are the differences between "of" and "about", or between denotation and connotation. For example, a picture 'of' a cat and 'of' a chair may be 'about' or 'symbolic of' serenity. To represent the images in the cataloguing systems, 50% of respondents relied on keywords take from natural language. The other fifty percent used either classification schemes, commercial thesauri, inhouse thesaurus, or combinations of the preceding. In conclusion, the authors state "the participating organizations managed to retrieve useful information within reasonable delays. Often this seems to be more a function of fast computer technology than of good information management." Some thesauri mentioned in the article are available online: Art & Architecture Thesaurus (http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/) and LC Thesaurus for Graphic Materials (http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/print/tgm1/). - MG

Vaidhyanathan, Siva.  "Copyright as CudgelThe Chronicle of Higher Education   48(47) (2 August 2002) (http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i47/47b00701.htm). - This forcefully argued opinion piece on the state of copyright pulls no punches. And for good reason. It isn't pretty what has happened since legislation such as the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act have become law. Vaidhyanathan cites a number of examples to explain why he thinks of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as "reckless, poorly thought out, and with gravely censorious consequences." Most librarians would have to agree. But this piece is aimed squarely at academics -- faculty and researchers who have largely been on the sidelines of the war being fought by librarians, civil libertarians and others trying to wrest copyright back to its constitutional origins. Those origins can be found in Section 8, "Powers Granted to Congress", to wit, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." The phrase "limited times" Congress now interprets to mean roughly a century -- 100 years until a work enters the public domain. Add to that the serious damage that these laws do to principles such as first sale and fair use, and it's no wonder we're at war. - RT

Van Bakel, Roier.  "Support Has Its PriceThe New York Times   (22 August 2002) (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/22/technology/circuits/22SUPP.html?8cir). - In case you haven't already noticed, free tech support is disappearing faster than Hershey's Kisses at a PMS support group meeting. The irony here is that software programs are becoming more complex, with more bells and whistles, but that shrink-wrapped box you tote home is less likely than ever to contain an actual printed manual. Intuit (Quicken) and Symantec (Norton products) now levy a per-minute or per-incident charge for telephone technical support, although Symantec says it still provides free e-mail support if a user can afford to wait a few days for a response. Microsoft, oddly enough "seems to be bucking the trend by promising unlimited free support for most of its PC games and two free 'support incidents' for many of its biggest software packages," such as Windows or Office XP. Software companies are trying harder than ever to drive customers to "self-service" support on their websites, as are the major hardware vendors. "Paying for assistance hardly guarantees a rewarding experience," however, since it's entirely possible to get an inexperienced tech at the other end of the line. - SK


Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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