Current Cites

Volume 15, no. 12, December 2004

Edited by Roy Tennant

ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2004/cc04.15.12.html

Contributors: Terry Huwe, Shirl Kennedy, Leo Robert Klein, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Ball, Mary Alice.  "Libraries and University Presses Can Collaborate to Improve Scholarly Communication or "Why Can't We All Just Get Along?"First Monday   9(12) (6 December 2004) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_12/ball/). - Ball has written a succinct but thorough overview of the historical underpinnings of "scholarly communication," where we are now, and where we are going. She approaches this high profile topic with an eye to the competing cultures of book publishing and the library profession. Both have much to learn from each other, she argues, and both have much to gain. Publishers maintain dramatically high standards for final products, and they are powerhouses for design, marketing and selection strategies. Librarians currently hold a clear edge in grasping the importance of information standards, "fair use" as a social good, and the power of the library's imprimatur. Ball is looking for the common ground between the two, but she also points out that the fault line between publishers and librarians is copyright compliance. She argues that the two camps should develop common goals in educating and influencing university administrations and faculties -- and that at the present moment, both groups have an opportunity to be heard and understood. This is an excellent article not only for its historical analysis, but also because it does a superb job of defining the motivations that drive publishers and librarians. This leaves the reader with an overview that is a fertile ground for brainstorming. - TH

Chudnov, Daniel, and Jeremy  Frumkin. Service Autodiscovery for Rapid Information Movement   (10 December 2004) (http://curtis.med.yale.edu/dchud/writings/sa4rim.html). - This paper explores issues relating to capturing resource citations and links, routing them to various locations, and using them with link resolvers and other services such as "gather, create, share" tools. And that's just for starters. They quickly move into discovery autodiscovery -- first link autodiscovery, then metadata autodiscovery, and finally service autodiscovery. There is a lot to absorb in this paper, but it's well worth spending the time to absorb it. They are doing no less than rethinking how we both offer our services as well as consume the services of others, based on a brave new world chock-full of new and powerful web-based applications and services. I can think of no better example of the kind of imaginative thinking we nee d to make effective use of our opportunities and challenges. - RT

Entlich, Richard.  "One Last Spin: Floppy Disks Head Toward RetirementRLG DigiNews   8(6) (15 December 2004) (http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=20492&Printable=1&Article_ID=1692). - This informative piece summarizes the history of the floppy disk in its various incarnations, as well as highlighting why the format has endured as long as it has. The reasons why data that exists only on floppy disks is endangered are outlined, as are strategies for rescuing the data. It's clear that floppy disks are on their way out, we just don't know exactly how fast. But as this piece makes clear, we would be wise to start getting the data off those disks as soon as we can, since it will only get more costly and/or more difficult the longer we wait. - RT

Gnatek, Tim.  "Libraries Reach Out, OnlineThe New York Times   (9 December 2004) (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/09/technology/circuits/09libr.html?ex=1260248400&en=bc31f3ce53fcf024&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland). - Yeah, yeah...we know. E-books are dead. Aren't they? Apparently not, as public libraries add extensive collections of electronic books, "laying claim to a massive online public as their newest service audience." This article discusses the New York Public Library's new collection of 3,000 electronic titles and how check-in and check-out by websurfing cardholders is handled. And the NYPL is not the only system offering e-books to its customers. The article mentions similar collections at the Cleveland Public Library and the King County Public Library. Libraries are also beginning to offer audio books in downloadable MP3 format, and some systems are even putting movie trailers online. The article also mentioned online book clubs, virtual reference, IM-based tutoring, library-sponsored LAN parties for online video gaming and free wireless Internet hotspots. - SK

Godby, Carol Jean, Jeffrey A.  Young, and Eric  Childress.  "A Repository of Metadata CrosswalksD-Lib Magazine   10(12) (December 2004) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december04/godby/12godby.html). - Librarians must increasingly deal with metadata in a wide variety of formats. "Dealing" with such formats will, in many cases, mean transforming the data from one format to another. The main mechanism for doing this is a metadata "crosswalk" or a specification as to how one format can be translated into another. Since such a procedure will hopefully be done with software rather than humans, it is necessary to specify a machine-parseable mechanism to handle crosswalking. This article specifies one such piece, and a pivotal one, if we are to enable computers to seamlessly move metadata around. Not surprisingly this work is being done by OCLC Research, an office that clearly both "gets it" and has the technical wherewithal to do something about it. We would be wise to pay attention. - RT

Greenfield, Adam.  "All watched over by machines of loving grace: Some ethical guidelines for user experience in ubiquitous-computing settings Boxes and Arrows   (23 November 2004) (http://tinyurl.com/6s87p). - What if we had computers embedded in every little gizmo in our waking lives and their design was no better than the average voice mail system and their privacy guidelines looked like they were put together by a telemarketer? It'd be hell. These two concerns, design and privacy, are the focus of this article on Ubiquitous Computing or "ubicomp" by Adam Greenfield. In it, Greenfield paints a nightmare world of ubiquitous interruptions and widgets so unusable that they spin out-of-control at the slightest slip of the finger. Greenfield goes on to propose a number of "baseline standards" for how systems ought to work from the standpoint of systems and interface designers. Several of the comments following the article are also worth reading, particularly the heartfelt one by Chris Fahey on Opt-in v. Opt-out. - LRK

Haas, Stephanie C..  "X Marks the Spot: The Role of Geographic Location in Metadata Schemas and Digital CollectionsRLG DigiNews   8(6) (15 December 2004) (http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=20492#article1). - This is a good introductory/overview article on geographic location information for digital objects. Starting with how MARC and LCSH deal with this information, Haas moves on to more recent and sophisticated examples of geospatial data in modern computer systems. Examples of such systems include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration library catalog, the Alexandria Digital Library, and the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative. The sources cited can serve as a start for further investigation. - RT

Hammond, Tony, Timo  Hanay, and Ben  Lund.  "The Role of RSS in Science Publishing: Syndication and Annotation on the WebD-Lib Magazine   10(12) (December 2004) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december04/hammond/12hammond.html). - "RSS is the very antithesis of the website," the authors -- from the Nature Publishing Group -- point out here, indicating that it functions more as a syndication/annotation tool. They offer an explanation of RSS technology and development, and indicate that it is catching on fast in the world of scientific publishing because it "presents a very simple XML structure for packaging news titles and links, and delivering them down to user desktops and handhelds." RSS, according to the authors, "allows us to bundle rich descriptive metadata" along with the standard newsfeed items. This alone would make RSS attractive to science publishers. It also serves as an excellent delivery vehicle for tables of content alerting services. From a purely scientific standpoint, RSS can be used "transmit complete scientific data sets." The authors discuss Urchin, an open source RSS Aggregator developed by the Nature Publishing Group. "NPG uses Urchin to provide keyword-filtered RSS feeds for its staff, and to populate a science, technology and publishing news portal." The article contains extensive notes and a bibliography. - SK

Kenney, Brian.  "Googlizers vs. ResistorsLibrary Journal   (15 December 2004) (http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA485756). - This article is a summary transcript of a debate-like discussion held at the Pennsylvania Library Association Annual Conference in October. Although it predated the announcement by Google that they were preparing to digitize the full collections of selected major research libraries, there was nonetheless enough fodder for a spirited discussion of issues. I doubt anyone will be "converted" from a given perspective to another from reading this piece, but that is not its purpose. If the piece causes us to think about our services in relation to the services of web sites like Google, and consider carefully our appropriate role, then it will have been well worth the reading. - RT

Seffah, Ahmed, and Eduard  Metzker.  "The Obstacles and Myths of Usability and Software Engineering. "  Communications of the ACM   47(12) (December 2004):  71-. - Usability and User-Centered Design (UCD) permeate so much of what we do on the web. It sometimes comes as a shock to find out that the world of programming may be marching to an entirely different beat. In fact, as this article seems to suggest, there is a considerable disconnect between the worlds of interface designers and programmers. The article speaks to both groups, assigning blame in a most even-handed and perceptive way. It also suggests sensible ways of bridging the gap. These include rationalizing UCD methods as well as making these methods a standard part of programming/computer science curricula. - LRK

Van de Sompel, Herbert, Michael L.  Nelson, and Carl  Lagoze, et. al. "Resource Harvesting within the OAI-PMH FrameworkD-Lib Magazine   10(12) (December 2004) (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december04/vandesompel/12vandesompel.html). - The Open Archives Initiative - Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) is a well-established protocol for retrieving piles of metadata from compliant content repositories. One of the most well-known harvesters is OAIster, which has gathered records for nearly 5 million digital objects from OAI-compliant repositories. This article, by those directly involved with the development of the protocol, looks at how service providers (those who gather metadata from data providers) can use the protocol to fetch the actual objects described by those metadata records. After reviewing possibilities relating to protocol extensions, they discard those options in favor of specifying a metadata format that can better accommodate resource harvesting than the protocol-required simple Dublin Core format. Since the protocol already specifies that any metadata format can be surfaced in addition to simple Dublin Core, no protocol extension is necessary to enable content harvesting. The authors advocate the use of the MPEG-DIDL format, although they acknowledge that the METS format could be used for this purpose as well. - RT


Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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Document maintained at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2004/cc04.15.12.html by Roy Tennant.
Last update October 29, 2004.