Current Cites

Volume 15, no. 10, October 2004

Edited by Roy Tennant

ISSN: 1060-2356 -

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Terry Huwe, Shirl Kennedy, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

2004 Information Format Trends: Content, Not Containers   Dublin, OH: OCLC, October 2004. ( - OCLC demonstrates once again that it is capable of spotting trends and discussing their implications for libraries. As OCLC did in the 2003 Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition report, this longish paper pulls from sources as diverse as the Pew Internet Trust and Billboard in the quest to understand societal information trends. The top trends identified here are the: "legitimacy of open source publishing (e.g., blogs), rapidly expanding economics of microcontent, repurposing of "old" content for new media, and multimedia content as a service for an array of devices." You may not agree with everything you read, or even the issues that OCLC surfaces in this report, but if you're interested in the information environment of which libraries are a part, you should not miss this. - RT

"Wiki WarsRed Herring   (14 October 2004) ( - The Wikipedia is one of those venerable Internet resources that's always just sort of been there. A noble undertaking to create a free online encyclopedia, it is somewhat of a mixed bag, as any information professional will tell you. Some of the entries are eloquently written and contain high quality information. Other this article points out, the Wikipedia has become "the latest battleground in the presidential election as users...squabble over entries related to President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts." Since anyone is free to edit a Wiki article, you can see the potential for problems galore. And it's not just election-related material that is under a cloud. "Some users have even deliberately inserted errors into Wikipedia entries to test how quickly users can detect and remove them." Ugh! The article points out that "Wikipedia has become a popular online reference for students, academics, and even journalists." A friend passed along a legal document just this past week in which a real live sitting judge actually cited the Wikipedia. (See page 16.) Long story short, editors may be coming to the Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales, president of the Wikimedia Foundation, "said that next year he will begin using editors to review the web site's content for accuracy and allow users to rate contributions to the encyclopedia for their quality." - SK

Cole, Timothy W., and Sarah L.  Shreeves.  "The IMLS NLG Program: Fostering CollaborationLibrary Hi Tech   22(3) (2004):  246-248. ( - If you are interested in the important work of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), check out a new special issue of Library Hi Tech that provides descriptions of seven projects funded by IMLS' National Leadership Grant program. Issue guest editors Timothy W. Cole and Sarah Shreeves overview the contents of the special issue in this article. They have selected articles that represent three categories of grant activity: (1) "state-wide and regional collaborations between multiple types of organizations" (3 articles), (2) "communities of interest that have coalesced to spawn successful and wide-ranging collaborations between information specialists (librarians, curators, and information technologists) and subject specialist end-users (students, teachers, and scholars)" (2 articles), and (3) "ongoing research into and demonstrations of key infrastructure components that take advantage of the opportunities afforded by new technologies to facilitate and enable collaboration in digital library building at a high level between experts with diverse skills and backgrounds and widely dispersed geographically" (2 articles). The issue also includes an article by Joyce Ray, the IMLS Associate Deputy Director for Library Services, that overviews IMLS activities. Access to this issue is currently free. - CB

Kohno, Tadayoshi, et. al. "Analysis of an Electronic Voting System"  IEEE Computer Society: Proceedings of the 2004 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy   (May 2004) - Not one of our usual topics, but this critique of an information technology is of obvious importance. If you're the type of person who gets asked the tech questions, "Why don't people trust e-voting?" has a more than adequate response in this paper. The authors thoroughly pick apart the Diebold AccuVote-TS DRE (direct recording electronic) system, which has a substantial share of the e-voting market. From the hackability of the voter card which the voter inserts into the reader, to the ease of access to administrator functions, to tampering with system configuration, to the ability to tell the machine to stop accepting votes, it's clear that current security in this and other e-voting systems is probably more wide open than your library's circulation files. Most of the analysis centers on elements of the source code, but each cause and effect is described in plain English which non-coders find accessible. This is a stellar example of the public service performed by exposing security flaws and the subject is treated with the serious tone which it deserves, without a trace of the mayhem glee common to the work of the 2600 crowd. The scariest thing about this long list of attacks, whether you find them likely or unlikely to ever be used, is that it only takes one to call into question the reliability of a machine or even of an entire polling place. And after the breach is discovered, the chance of getting back to an accurate count of one person - one vote is slim to none. - JR

Loban, Bryn.  "Between Rhizomes and Trees: P2P Information SystemsFirst Monday   9(10) (4 October 2004) ( - Loban offers a comprehensive overview of information retrieval that relies on "Peer-to-Peer"(P2P)information systems -- more famously known for music file sharing. He evaluates five desktop P2P information systems: Napster with its clones (OpenNap and eDonkey), and Gnutella and FastTrack (more famously known as Kazaa). What's good about this article is that it gives the reader a very detailed explanation of what P2P is all about: its "self-organizing" characteristics, the emergence of hierarchies of users, etc. We cite it here because recent regulatory events in California draw new attention to P2P file sharing, which also forms the basis for many digital preservation strategies (such as LOCKSS, or Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe). While the author's goal is to compare these various systems and offer suggestions for further study, he simultaneously maps online life in the P2P environment, which comes at a good moment in time for digital librarians who are concerned with "persistent" resource building. He concludes with an evaluation of "ethics" in the P2P community, which, of course, draws upon the very public battles of music file sharing. This article is a good overview piece for anyone who wants to check in on - TH

OCLC/RLG PREMIS Working Group, . Implementing Preservation Repositories for Digital Materials: Current Practice and Emerging Trends in the Cultural Heritage Community   Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2004. ( - This report by the joint OCLC/RLG Working Group Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS) is based on a survey about existing practices in digital preservation of forty-eight organizations conducted in late 2003 and early 2004. There were a number of specific survey findings that informed the following trends and conclusions: "store metadata redundantly in an XML or relational database and with the content data objects. Use the METS format for structural metadata and as a container for descriptive and administrative metadata; use Z39.87/MIX for technical metadata for still images. Use the OAIS model as a framework and starting point for designing the preservation repository, but retain the flexibility to add functions and services that go beyond the model. Maintain multiple versions (originals and at least some normalized or migrated versions) in the repository, and store complete metadata for all versions. Choose multiple strategies for digital preservation." Highly recommended for anyone interested in digital preservation. - RT

Poynder, Richard.  "Ten Years AfterInformation Today   21(9) (2004) ( - No, this article is not about the famous rock band that shook Woodstock with "I'm Going Home." Rather, it's about how Stevan Harnad shook-up the scholarly publishing world in the ten years after his famous "subversive proposal." Poynder says that ". . . while Harnad cannot claim to have invented the OA movement, his phenomenal energy and determination, coupled with a highly focused view of what is needed, undoubtedly earns him the title of chief architect of open access." But this article is a not just a paean to Harnad's many notable accomplishments, it is also an interesting, very concise history of the open access movement that touches on its struggles as well as its triumphs. - CB

Pressman-Levy, Nancy.  "Searching RedLightGreen at Princeton University LibraryRLG Focus   (69) (August 2004) ( - If you haven't yet used the RedLightGreen system from the Research Libraries Group, then stop reading this screed and go try it out. RLG took their Eureka system, a rather huge library catalog, and actually made it usable by normal human beings. There is, in other words, hope for the rest of us that our library catalogs do not need to be as obtuse and painful to use as they are now. This piece by the coordinator of RedLightGreen testing at Princeton discusses how the system has been used by Princeton students to great success, and in so doing she covers all the innovations that RedLightGreen has introduced. As Pressman-Levy puts it, "The staff and the students exploring RedLightGreen at Princeton gave high marks to all of these special features." Whether or not we point our users to this system, there is much to learn here that we can nonetheless apply to our own (sadly inadequate) systems. - RT

Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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Document maintained at by Roy Tennant.
Last update October 29, 2004.