Current Cites

Volume 14, no. 2, February 2003

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

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

"Preserving Our Digital Heritage: Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" (October 2002) ( - At the end of 2000, Congress passed PL 106-554, which established the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). It charges the Library of Congress with addressing a need which librarians have become acutely aware of: planning for the long-term preservation of digital content. This plan details the problems to be addressed, the identification and involvement of stakeholders, social and technological solutions and budgetary requirements. The scope is very broad, with all current digital media and types of repositories considered. Past practices of familiar acronyms (NARA, OCLC, JSTOR) are surveyed, but the focus is on the future, foreseeable and un-, to create strategies that learn from the past, bring together possible collaborators and take action in a systematic way before more valuable digital history is lost forever. - JR

"Publishers: Get Ready for the New ISBN!" (2003) ( - The International Standard Book Number (ISO 2108) has been in place for over thirty years, and is used in over 160 countries. This article, prepared by NISO (National Information Standards Organization) presents an informative review of ISBN, what it is ISBN FAQ, as well as reasons for revising ISBN. As of 2005, the present number will be replaced by a 13 digit barcode. The standard is being revised by a working group of ISO, ISO TC 46 SC 9 WG4 Participating in this group is the United States, Canada, 8 other countries and three international agencies. The big issues are ISBN Capacity, Linking, Metadata, and Administration of the ISBN system. There is a link to NISO's Details About How Standards are Developed For anyone interested in the subject, this short but comprehensive overview, includes a timeline and list of contacts. - MG

"Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastrucure: Report" (January 2003) ( - This report is an exciting, big vision for organized networks in science and engineering, with a request for the very big bucks needed to make it possible. Funding of $1 billion per year is recommended to achieve an internationally-coordinated Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Program which could improve data archiving and accessibility, application development and computer resource sharing. Chair Daniel Atkins of the University of Michigan School of Information and his panel state in the Executive Summary that "Testimony from research communities indicates that many contemporary projects require effective federation of both distributed resources (data and facilities) and distributed, multidisciplinary expertise, and that cyberinfrastructure is a key to making this possible." For many, the phrase "knowledge economy" has been tainted by its association with the hyperhype of the dot-com boom, but here it accurately characterizes the activity which can flourish if underpinned by a cyberinfrastructure, just as industrial economy grows after physical infrastructure is built. The report gives many convincing, concrete examples of recent developments in scientific and technological research which could benefit from such planning. Of course it's not a proposal to eliminate the chaos of the Internet (enjoyable or aggravating as it may be), but it would go a long way toward bringing together the efforts of people in those fields where digital resource sharing is highly important. - JR

Strategic Plan (February 2003) ( - People interested in the history of the Internet know that its first functions were created through work sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Defense's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and we may even associate DARPA with warm, fuzzy feelings about the pre-commercial, pre-Spam, pre-AOL net. DARPA is always fun to keep tabs on, of course, but particularly now as planning continues for Total Information Awareness. Yes, there was public outcry, some politicians got on soapboxes and John Poindexter's home phone number was published, but don't be fooled - it hasn't gone away. The Strategic Plan puts the TIA project in the context of DARPA's other public activities, so it is an interesting view of how the agency presents itself. Their TIA web page is a separate public information effort including a flow chart (ending in "Foreign Terrorist Threat" with a circle & slash superimposed, naturally) and FAQ. I was a tad disappointed that it didn't include future plans for the inevitable commercial exploitation of the datamines, so I don't know how soon I'll have the chance to pay somebody for some good, clean, recreational privacy invasion. - JR

Arnold, Stephen E. "Content Management's New Realities" Online27(1) p. 36-43 (Jan/Feb 2003) ( - Now that Knowledge Management's gone sour, it's time to move on to Content Management Systems. At least that's how it seems judging by the number of articles appearing on the subject and the talk about it on various listServs. This article actually does a good job of presenting the issues involved in evaluating CM Systems. The author cautions us that "organizations are indeed 'organic' and highly unique creatures..." He goes on, "CM systems need to reflect this, which can take more money and attention than first seems apparent". Good point to keep in mind in the march to adapt CM Systems to specific library needs. - LRK

Crow, Raym. SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist and Resource GuideWashington, DC: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, 2002. ( - If you are thinking about establishing an institutional repository, this SPARC publication is an excellent place to start. After a short introduction, the author immediately tackles the critical issue of how to persuade university administrators and faculty to support and participate in an institutional repository, and he briefly examines the role of librarians in the repository. He next examines management and policy issues related to different types of content (such as published material, preprints, and electronic theses and dissertations), user communities, and distribution licenses. Last, he examines technical and system issues, such as costs, migration, document formats, preservation, scalability, handles, interoperability, OAI and searching, and rights management. In many sections of the document, there are short lists of relevant publications and resources. A bibliography and an institutional repository list completes the document. Highly recommended. - CB

Dowling, Thomas. "Web Manager's Handbook" Library Technology Reports (January-February 2003) - The 3,200 subscribers to the Web4Lib electronic discussion know Thomas Dowling well. He is the conscience of the list, in that he is the one who most diligently and effectively advocates the very best in web management practices -- most particularly the adherence to standards. Therefore, as you might expect, this short (Iess than 70 pages of content) but incredibly pithy issue of Library Technology Reports gives us some of the best he has to offer, and it is very good indeed. This should become every web manager's bible. I use the term "bible" advisedly, since should a web manager adhere to the teachings herein, they're sure to achieve web heaven. And lest those of you who have managed web servers for years think Dowling has nothing new to tell you, think again. Sandwiched between admonitions presumably aimed at "newbies" (when was the last time you had the urge to use the "blink" tag?) are choice technical tidbits that even experienced web managers will find new and interesting. In a nutshell, if you manage a web server, or delude yourself that you do, you must have this. - RT

Gunn, Holly. "Web-based surveys: Changing the Survey Process" First Monday7(12) (December 2002) ( - The author explores the challenges and pitfalls of Web surveying, revealing what we've suspected all along: it's different online. Survey research is a very well studied science, but the Web adds several new factors that govern how people respond. Gunn describes the three types of surveys that can be conducted on the Web and assesses their advantages (hint: it's cheaper than print). However, there are some disadvantages. Security is very troubling, but the real zinger is achieving true rand om sampling. How random can a population of computer users, as opposed to the open population, be? Certainly less so than entire communities that include non-computer users, it would seem. Moreover, pages display differently on different browsers, skewing user perceptions in unexpected ways. "What is visible in print surveys can be made invisible in Web surveys, and vice versa," Gunn says. That's a powerful new capability, but it triggers a need for more awareness of how the changes influence respondents. She offers six tests to apply to Web surveys, which will help survey researchers take greater advantage of the graphic flexibility while preserving uniformity. - TH

Morgan, Eric Lease. Getting Started with XML: A Manual and Workshop (22 February 2003) ( - Eric Morgan is one of those few talented individuals who can make a technical topic understandable to the rest of us. This 73-page Adobe Acrobat file is no different, in that he simply and effectively explains the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and related standards. Along the way you learn Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and even a bit of XSLT. At the end, Morgan highlights some XML tag sets of particular importance to libraries (XHTML, TEI, EAD, DocBook, RDF, and OAI-PMH). Anyone has been convinced of the importance of XML to libraries, but has yet to make the jump into learning the nitty-gritty details, should give this a try. This document was created in support of a workshop sponsored by the Infopeople Project of California. - RT

Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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