Current Cites

Current Cites, February 2007

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Leo Robert Klein, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Coyle, Karen. "Future of Library Systems, Seen from the Past"  Journal of Academic Librarianship  33(1)(January 2007): 138-140. - It's always a healthy exercise when evaluating predictions of the future to see what past performance in the prediction business has been like. This is what Karen Coyle does in a relatively short article on predictions of library systems from 1949 to 1984. She goes from what most commentators got right to what most commentators either got wrong or missed. Oftentimes what they missed was due to developments outside of librarianship (e.g. the computer industry) that they didn't pay enough attention to. It's important to take the larger context into consideration, Coyle concludes, when attempting to do long-range planning. - LRK

Follett, Jonathan. "Envisioning the Whole Digital PersonUXmatters  (20 February 2007)( - This article looks at the growing mass of digital artifacts that we accumulate from cradle to grave and wonders how to deal with it from the user experience or designer's point of view. The material in question includes everything from email to photos and is likely to be around far longer than we. The suggestions on what to do as "user experience practitioners" will sound familiar to librarians: "...we can advocate for data portability, accessibility, and standardization and prepare ourselves and our customers to manage our new digital lives." - LRK

Johnson, Richard K. "In Google's Broad Wake: Taking Responsibility for Shaping the Global Digital LibraryARL: A Bimonthly Report  (250)(February 2007)( - Johnson begins by reviewing projects to massively digitize research library collections by Google, the Open Content Alliance, and others. The bulk of this special issue, however, is comprised of a recounting of various mass digitization policy recommendations from ALA, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Francophone National Libraries, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, OCLC's Programs and Research Division, and others. Johnson then summarizes the common themes and provides a "negotiation checklist" for libraries to review when negotiating a contract for digitization. While this may be too late for a number of institutions, contracts announced very recently seem to indicate that there are still libraries that can benefit from this review of principles and policies. - RT

Markey, Karen, Soo Young  Rieh, and Beth  St. Jean, et. al.Census of Institutional Repositories in the United States: MIRACLE Project Research Findings  Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, February 2007.( - This report summarizes the findings of the first phase of the IMLS-funded MIRACLE Project to investigate institutional repositories in higher education. At a survey response rate of about 21% of the 2,147 academic library directors and senior library administrators contacted, only 10.8% had implemented a repository. An additional 36.3% were planning to implement or were pilot testing an institutional repository. There is much to consider in this report, but the diversity of organizational situations, repository software options, and implementation models makes it difficult and even erroneous to make sweeping generalizations. Rather, those who are interested in this issue would do well to spend some time digesting the findings for what can inform their particular situation. - RT

Mugridge, Rebecca L. Managing Digitization Activities. SPEC Kit 294  Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2006.( - With a response rate of 55% (68 libraries out of 123), this survey provides a snapshot of ARL libraries digitization efforts as of early 2006. Here is a quick summary of the survey's scope from the introduction: "This SPEC survey was designed to identify the purposes of ARL member libraries' digitization efforts, the organizational structures these libraries use to manage digital initiatives, whether and how staff have been reassigned to support digitization activities, where funding to sustain digital activities originated and how that funding is allocated, how priorities are determined, whether libraries are outsourcing any digitization work, and how the success of libraries' digital activities has been assessed. The focus of the survey was on the digitization of existing library materials, rather than the creation of born-digital objects." Overall, the survey suggests that digitization is still a fledgeling activity at many ARL libraries: only 19 respondents (30%) had a dedicated budget for both start-up and ongoing operations and only 6 (9.5%) had a dedicated start-up budget, but no dedicated ongoing budget. Only 28 of a total of 188 librarians from 48 reporting libraries who did digitization work did so full-time, with the rest dedicating "only a small portion of their time on this activity." The few reported budgets had wide ranges, resulting in means of $97,027 for start-up budgets and $303,916 for ongoing budgets. - CB

Rochkind, Jonathan. "(Meta)search Like GoogleLibrary Journal  (17 February 2007)( - The author contrasts the current flawed state of metasearch (searching more than one database through a single interface) with what could be achieved were libraries to adopt local indexing methods such as those used by Google. Instead of the user waiting for the interface to cross-search each source database at the time of request and merge the results, often resulting in a less than satisfactory 'dumbed down' set which may not be adequately relevancy-ranked, deduplicated, or custom-sorted, the user could receive a more efficient, value-added set thanks to the prior harvesting of metadata (and sometimes content elements) arranged in a local index which is what was actually searched when the query was made. Rochkind explains the technology clearly with minimal jargon and lists the challenges that libraries face, such as asking for licensing agreements with vendors which allow for metadata and content harvesting for the purpose of index-building. Disclaimer: Current Cites editor Roy Tennant was consulted and is quoted in the article. - JR