Current Cites

Volume 14, no. 4, April 2003

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2003/cc03.14.4.html

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Terry Huwe, Shirl Kennedy, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Bennett, Rick, Brian F. Lavoie, and Edward T. O'Neill. " The Concept of a Work in WorldCat: An Application of FRBR" Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical Services 27(1) (Spring 2003) (http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/archive/2003/lavoie_frbr.pdf). - OCLC recently studied what FRBR-izing (say "ferberizing") the WorldCat database might do, and this paper describes a number of their fascinating findings. But first a word of explanation. FRBR is Functional Requirements of Bibliographics Records, an IFLA publication from 1998 that described a heirarchical model for bibliographic description. This hierarchy begins with a work, which is a distinct intellectual or artistic creation. A work may have one or more expressions -- the specific forms that a work takes each time it is realized. A manifestation is the physical embodiment of an expression, with an item being a single exemplar of a manifestation. Applying this model to a catalog can involve collapsing records for multiple manifestations of the same work into the same record. Although the number of works affected may be relatively small according to the authors' figures, applying these principles to even a small portion of a catalogs holdings may be useful. For example, think of a work such as the Bible. Rather than facing a multitude of records for the same work, the principles of FRBR could be used to allow the user to "drill down" from one collective record to the specific edition and item desired. But the benefits do not stop there. The authors describe how discovering relationships between records can provide a method to share characteristics (such as subject headings) between all manifestations of that work, thereby enriching the record without the participation of a cataloger. They were impressed enough with the potential benefits that OCLC recently completed a complete FRBR-ization of the entire 50 million record WorldCat database. Anyone interested in, or involved with managing, library catalogs should pay attention to this fascinating work. - RT
Davison, Elizabeth, and Shelia R. Cotten. "Connection Discrepancies: Unmasking Further Layers of the Digital Divide " First Monday 8(3) (3 March 2003) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_3/davison/). - Davison and Cotton move beyond the usual starting point for exploring the digital divide, which is to examine how disadvantaged groups are left out of the new paradigm. Instead, they explore the differences in Internet experiences among Internet users, focusing on the modes of connection that people use to gain access to the Internet. They find that most Internet data sources fail to ask questions about types of Internet connections utilized. They also find that broadband users experience the Internet differently, and that the type of connection used to gain access to the Internet is a better determinant of the quality of the experience than race, education or gender. Consequently they suggest that researchers engaged in the exploration of Internet use should 'control' how users connect to the network. - TH
Esposito, Joseph J. "The Processed Book" First Monday 8(3) (3 March 2003) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_3/esposito/). - "The electronic book or ebook has arrived, but it has not come very far," claims the author of this interesting article. At the heart of his analysis lies a refreshing viewpoint on ebooks, namely, that they much more influenced by "processes" (like interactive computer programs) than the "primal" book, which is written once, and stays static. The processed book is the result of a networked environment. It includes links to other resources, non-linear search capabilities, and commentary. He ascribes five pivotal aspects to processed books. They are self-referencing, they double as portals, they are platforms for linked activity, they are "machine components", and they are network nodes. He also argues that the interactive nature of processed books can have the indirect effect of undermining an author's perceived relationship to his or her own work. Since many readers share in the interactive experience, the ideas set forth in the text evolve as they are interacted with. - TH
McGovern, Gerry. "Usability Is Good Management" New Thinking Newsletter (7 April 2003) (http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2003/nt_2003_04_07_usability.htm). - Short column by Gerry McGovern emphasizing something that anyone running a website (or responsible for any online project really) ought to know, namely, that the testing never stops. McGovern sees usability not as some new phenomenon but something "as old as management". Monthly testing sessions are a way for managers to get their "hands dirty", a way to find out what the customer really thinks. It's "management 101". - LRK
Mellor, Phil. "CAMiLEON: Emulation and BBC Domesday" RLG DigiNews 7(2) (15 April 2003) (http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews7-2.html#feature3). - It cost several million pounds, contained digital contributions from all over the country, was completely electronic, and over twenty years old. What to do? This is the story of how a BBC computer project from the 1980's, done in commemoration of the original Domesday book, was brought back to life thanks to the magic of emulation. - LRK
O'Neill, Edward T., Brian F. Lavoie, and Rick Bennett. "Trends in the Evolution of the Public Web: 1998 - 2002" D-Lib Magazine 9(4) (April 2003) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/april03/lavoie/04lavoie.html). - The 10th anniversary of Mosaic seems like an auspicious moment to cite an article like this. Written by three researchers from OCLC, the article takes a look at the size, shape, language and country of origin for the "public web" based on sampling data. Growth of sites has slowed recently while the number of pages for individual sites is slightly on the increase. Not surprising, a majority of sites hail from the United States and are in English. Being from OCLC, natch, the authors also compare the language distribution of Web sites with records from the OCLC catalog; English again dominates. One of several articles I've seen in the past month assessing the current state of the web; all suggesting if not stagnation as least a momentary retrenchment. - LRK
OCLC Library & Information Center. Five-Year Information Format Trends Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 2003. (http://www5.oclc.org/downloads/community/informationtrends.pdf). - This eight-page report, which was distributed at the February 2003 OCLC Members Council meeting, discusses information format trends during the next five years in four areas: traditional materials (audiovisual media, books, electronic books, journals and newspapers, and print-on-demand works), scholarly materials (articles, books, electronic course management materials, e-print archives, journals, and theses and dissertations), digitization projects (commercial, national, and state and local projects), and Web resources. It organizes and briefly analyzes a wide range of facts and predictions, which are drawn from diverse sources that range from traditional library serials to Weblogs, in order to give the reader a concise overview of key trends in each area. One significant finding is that "the universe of materials that a library must assess, manage and disseminate is not simply shifting to a new set or type of materials, but rather building into a much more complex universe of new and old, commodity and unique, published and unpublished, physical and virtual." - CB
Peters, Thomas A. Journal of Academic Librarianship 29(2) (February 2003):111-114. - Chatty rant against library consortia by one who ought to know (the author is a director at CIC). By way of justification, the author reminds us that it's important to understand the arguments coming from the other side. He goes into many of these (consortia are "inefficient", "ineffective", and my favorite, "ineffable"). Towards the end, he reminds us also of the good things that consortia can do. Though certainly a mixed blessing, the alternatives he seems to suggest are far worse, Hobbesian even. "Leave us to ourselves and to that art," Shaftesbury said in related circumstances, "by which we are happily tamed and rendered sheepish. Tis not fit we should know that by Nature we are all wolves." - LRK
Spring, Tom. "Hard Drives Exposed" PC World (May 2003) (http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,110012,00.asp). - Have you ever donated or recycled a past-its-prime PC? Did you "clean up" the hard drive first, by reformatting or whatever? Well, whatever you did, the odds are good that it wasn't enough to prevent even a half-determined data scavenger from recovering information from the hard drive. Your Quicken files... Your contact list... And just imagine what might be sucked off the hard drives of the PCs recycled by your physician or your lawyer. According to Gartner/Dataquest research quoted in this article, businesses and regular folks deep-sixed some 150,000 hard drives in 2002, and "incidents of data security compromised by improper disposal of unwanted PCs have increased exponentially...." Most people simply do not realize that performing even a high-level format with the tool incorporated into Windows "obliterates practically none of the previous data." To be secure, you'll want to use a third party utility. Several suggestions are offered in a sidebar, including a few that are free. - SK

Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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