Current Cites

Current Cites, June 2005

Edited by Roy Tennant

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


LITA Blog  (http://litablog.org/). - LITA's new weblog has blasted off in a big way with extensive coverage of the American Library Association's recent annual conference. Even the French blog BiblioAcid took notice. Here are some sample postings from the 80+ postings that currently available: "Eric Lease Morgan's Top Technology Trends, 2005"; "Giving Them 'Google-Like' Searching"; "Greenstone Digital Libraries: Installation to Production"; "Karen's Uber-Trend"; "Leo Klein's Top Technology Trends"; "LITA President's Program (Take Dos)"; "Marshall Breeding's Top Technology Trends"; "Radio Frequency Identification Technology in Libraries: Meeting with the RFID Experts"; "Tennant's Top Tech Trend Tidbit"; "Thomas Dowling's Non-Trends from the Trailing Edge"; and "Using Usage Data." - CB

Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata: Final Report of the PREMIS Working Group  Dublin, OH: OCLC and RLG, May 2005.(http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/pmwg/premis-final.pdf). - This data dictionary is the culminating deliverable by a large, distinguished, and international group of individuals participating in the Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies (PREMIS) working group, sponsored by OCLC and RLG. As stated in the introduction, "The Data Dictionary defines and describes an implementable set of core preservation metadata with broad applicability to digital preservation respositories." - RT

FRBR in 21st Century Catalogues: An Invitational Workshop  Dublin, OH: OCLC, May 2005.(http://www.oclc.org/research/events/frbr-workshop/program.htm). - In May 2005 OCLC hosted an invitational workshop on the Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and the various methods and techniques of implementing the concepts described in that report within library catalog systems. This web site offers PowerPoint slides from nearly all of the presenters at that workshop. - RT

Acharya, Anurag, Matt  Cutts, and Jeffrey  Dean, et. al.Information Retrieval Based on Historical Data  Washington, DC: US Patent and Trademark Office, 31 March 2005.(http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220050071741%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20050071741&RS=DN/20050071741). - We cite a lot of strange things in Current Cites, but this is the first time I recall citing a patent application. But perhaps we could be forgiven for doing so, since this is the application for the ranking algorithm that has created the most successful Internet search engine so far, and an economic powerhouse that now rivals much older companies such as Time Warner. I'm not exactly sure what you can do with this -- legally, at least -- but it can make for some fascinating reading for anyone who has been wondering what, exactly, is under the hood of their favorite search engine. - RT

Agosto, Denise E, and Sandra  Hughes-Hassell. "People, Places, and Auestions: An Investigation of the Everyday Life Information-Seeking Behaviors of Urban Young AdultsLibrary & Information Science Research  27(2)(Spring 2005): 141-163. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6W5R-4FPYWX3-2/2/c066b56a11c57e213175729bc0360d00). - Interesting look at the general information seeking behavior of 'urban', predominantly African-American, teens including their attitudes to libraries. Their information needs ranged from what to wear to how late the local Red Lobster was open. The authors report that teen attitudes to libraries wasn't all that favorable. Teens preferred friends, family and even TV as sources of information. Their communication device of choice was the cell-phone followed by the TV. The authors discuss interviews they conducted in some detail and suggest ways for libraries to do a better job at reaching out. - LRK

Beagrie, Neil. "Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections D-Lib Magazine  11(6)(June 2005)(http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june05/beagrie/06beagrie.html). - Here's something we don't think enough about: where will all those digital photos and videos end up? What about the blog entries that generations to come will spend a lifetime producing? The totality of our individual digital output is what the author calls our "personal digital collection". This collection, our digital legacy in fact, will become as important as traditional personal papers have been in the past. Serious consideration is required then to preserve and give access to these collections. The author goes through a number of interesting ideas and implications. - LRK

Beck, Ernest. "Customize This"  I.D.   52(4)(June 2005): 57-59. - The ramifications of personally customizable information systems got some of the biggest buzz at the Library & Information Technology Association sessions within the American Library Association annual conference, which just took place in Chicago. If you're keeping tabs on the manifestations of digital DIY, read this article about product customization and individualized fabrication - and I don't mean lying, I mean making. The technology exists for desktop prototyping and manufacturing on a small scale, inexpensively done, with tools which don't require extensive training for the end user. If for no other reason, information professionals should spend a few minutes just to absorb the zeitgeist and understand the younger clientele, who scoff at the old paradigm of products handed down from on high to a passive consumer. The article may serve as an appetizer for Neil Gershenfeld's recent book, FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, in which young kids in a Fab Lab design and manufacture toys, and a transmitter network is built to track a herd of reindeer in northern Norway. This is revolutionary in the same way that the localization of processes like publishing and sound mixing has been. A technologically precocious childhood friend of mine, the first person I knew in the 70's to utter the words "fiber optic cable," later explained her career in manufacturing by saying "Well, somebody's gotta make things." Looks like somebody can be just about anybody. - JR

Bridis, Ted. "Web Site Makes Gov't. Reports AvailableABC News (from the Associated Press)  (27 June 2005)(http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=884419&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312). - Our taxes pay for them. They are not copyrighted or otherwise protected by law. But it's never been really easy to get our hands on Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports. CRS, which is part of the Library of Congress, maintains that it works specifically for Congress, which is why it doesn't automatically release its reports to the public as they are completed. But various entities have made a practice of collecting and aggregating these reports over the years, and the Internet has facilitated our access to them. The Center for Democracy and Technology, "a Washington-based civil liberties group," has just launched a website, Open CRS, that "links more than a half-dozen existing collections of nearly 8,000 reports from the Congressional Research Service and centrally indexes them so visitors can find reports containing specific terms or phrases." The site encourages visitors to ask for reports from their congressional representatives and to upload any reports they have available. It also maintains links to the larger online repositories of CRS reports...but not the new one recently launched by the University of North Texas Libraries. - SK

Electronic Frontier Foundation. Legal Guide for Bloggers  San Francisco: Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2005.(http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/). - Your're a blogger, not a journalist or publisher, right? Guess what? You have the same legal obligations as the big guys, but without the specialized training and the troop of lawyers to back you up. Bonne chance! If you live in the US, you need the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers. Of course it "isn't a substitute for, nor does it constitute, legal advice," but are you really going to hire a lawyer to vet your blog? Bloglines recently announced that it indexes over 500 million blog entries. That's a lot of billable hours. So, here's what the EFF guide offers instead: "The Bloggers' FAQ on Election Law," "The Bloggers' FAQ on Intellectual Property," "The Bloggers' FAQ on Labor Law," "The Bloggers' FAQ on Online Defamation Law," "Overview of Legal Liability Issues," "The Bloggers' FAQ on Media Access," "The Bloggers' FAQ on Privacy," "The Bloggers' FAQ on the Reporter's Privilege," and "The Bloggers' FAQ on Section 230 Protections." Since it's free, it's way cheaper than getting a J.D., and it's in plain English. Sure, it looks a bit overwhelming; however, as the EFF says: "But here's the important part: None of this should stop you from blogging. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn't use the law to stifle legitimate free expression." - CB

Fox, Robert. "Psychology of Virtual Architecture. "  OCLC Systems & Services  21(2)(2005): 100-104. - The author finds similarities between the architecture of a library's physical plant and its online presence. Indeed he goes so far as to say, "the web is the abstract counterpart to the physical architecture of a library." Questions such as graphic design and layout are fundamental to both manifestations; So is being user-friendly and satisfying task-oriented user needs. As the author sees it, 'we are attempting via the web site to guide our patrons to their desired information goal using the shortest path possible while attempting to create an experience that is at least marginally satisfying while reducing frustration.' - LRK

Houghton, Sarah. "I've Been Framed! Designing a Library Web Site Within a Government Frame. "  Computers in Libraries  25(6)(June 2005): 6-8, 48. - With all the talk about ERP's (or Enterprise-wide systems), this article about what libraries can do to fit in comes at just the right time. The author stresses that this kind of arrangement can be far from ideal. Indeed, many of her recommendations involve finding ways to contrast the library's material from the surrounding non-library navigation/context. She recommends working with the host institution wherever possible though her "best solution" is simply to break out of the institutional shackles and set up an independent site. This last of course may not always be possible. - LRK

King, Julia. "The Paperless Hospital -- Really!Computerworld  (13 June 2005)(http://www.computerworld.com/managementtopics/management/project/story/0,10801,102387,00.html). - This article describes the "all electronic environment" at Baptist Medical Center South (BMCS), a "small, 92-bed community hospital" in Jacksonville, FL. Much larger, more prestigious hospitals have failed spectacularly in their efforts to go all-electronic, but BMCS adopted that culture right from the very beginning -- first by getting buy-in from area physicians. "Today, physicians at the brand-new hospital make their rounds toting wireless devices to check lab results, view X-rays, update charts, order prescriptions and send and receive e-mail." A key element here is the hospital's 10-person informatics group of "technology-savvy clinicians," headed by a registered nurse. The groups communications the needs of doctors and nurses to the 65-member IT staff. "Having wireless access to previous test results in a fully electronic medical record is especially valuable to doctors in the emergency room, says physician Ted Glasser." All in all, very cool. Worth reading. - SK

Sale, Arthur. "De-unifying a Digital LibraryFirst Monday  10(5)(2 May 2005)(http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_5/sale/). - Sale describes the University of Tasmania's decision to create a single, unified digital library for all its research output, including articles, conference papers, higher degree theses, and faculty research data. He describes the repository approach, which mirrors several others underway around the world, but goes further, creating a single online environment for all users. This sounds a lot like many past efforts to create "integrated library systems," portals and other single-platform Web environments. It differs insofar as it doubles an as open access venture, offering, if it passes the test of time, an enterprise-level solution to other universities who have programming FTE but might be short on cash. - TH