Colombia’s Digital Library Now in Beta…07.28.09

28 07 2009

bdcolThanks to the Bilingual Librarian for this about Colombia’s digital library:

The Biblioteca Digital Colombiana (Colombia’s Digital Library) is up and running (in beta). This service will allow you to search the OPACs of various educational institutions with one query. Work on this portal started back in 2002, with the collaboration of 13 local universities, with later help from Colciencias, the Ministry of Education, and RENATA.

When conducting a search you’ll find one search box…”

2009 ALA Presentations on Collecting for Digital Repositories…07.20.09

20 07 2009


ALA Annual 2009 Collecting for Digital Repositories session presentations from DigitalKoans:

  • Institutional Repositories, Paul Royster
  • Building a Life Sciences Journal Archive: Collection Development and Management of PubMedCentral, Dianne McCutcheon
  • Collecting for Digital Repositories: Data Perspective, Sayeed Choudhury

  • New DVD-Like Digital Storage Disc Will Last 1,000 Years…07.17.09

    17 07 2009


    The Utah Daily Herald reports:

    BYU information technology professor Barry Lunt came up with the idea to invent etchings on discs in order to store data permanently. He is the founder of Millenniata Inc., which produces the M-ARCª Discs”

    “…On Sept. 1, Millenniata, a start-up company based in Springville, will release a new archive disk technology to preserve data at room temperature for 1,000 years. It’s like writing onto gold plates or chiseling information into stone.

    Dubbed the Millennial Disk, it looks virtually identical to a regular DVD, but it’s special. Layers of hard, “persistent” materials (the exact composition is a trade secret) are laid down on a plastic carrier, and digital information is literally carved in with an enhanced laser using the company’s Millennial Writer, a sort of beefed-up DVD burner. Once cut, the disk can be read by an ordinary DVD reader on your computer.

    A number of companies hold intellectual property rights in DVD technology. One of those, Philips, manages the combined patents. Millenniata disks and disk writers will be manufactured under a license now in final negotiation…”

    “Greenstone” Digitial Library Open-Source Software Update…06.08.09

    8 06 2009


    Thanks to DigitalKoans for their update on the open source digital library software Greenstone, “suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM”:

    A beta release of the EmeraldView front-end to the Greenstone digital library software is near completion. The current code is available via a Subversion checkout. A demo is available.

    Here’s an excerpt from the project home page:

    We are aiming to solve several key weaknesses of the stock front-end:

    • Greenstone’s cryptic URLs of unusual size are a fail for user comprehensibility, search engine crawlers, bookmarking, etc. . .
    • Though extensive customization of the display is possible, there are some stopping points where modification of the C++ source is required.
    • The customization that is supported is via a system of micro-templates referred to as macros. This system is so heavily nested and cross-referenced that it is very difficult to conceptualize how any given page is generated.

    Canada’s McGill University Library to Participate in Digitize on Demand with…06.04.09

    4 06 2009


    Here is the announcemnt from McGill University:

    “McGill University Library is pleased to announce a partnership with Kirtas Technologies and its Canadian partner Ristech, which will allow students, faculty and the general public to request to have books scanned and made available through the new Digitize on Demand program

    The program will offer books that are difficult to find, because they are generally out of print. They are also in the public domain, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions.

    Using existing information from the Library’s catalogue records, Kirtas will make the books available through its retail site, Customers can search for a desired title and place a request to have it digitized. The book is then digitized at very high-quality using Kirtas’s innovative automatic page-turning scanner that was purchased by the Library in 2008. What also makes this approach unique is that the books can be offered before they are ever digitized, so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost…

    Kirtas currently has 12 partnerships with universities and public libraries to make special collections available for sale online, with McGill University the first to participate in Canada…”

    The Scary Truth About Digital Preservation Project Management…03.17.09

    17 03 2009


    Considering the great need here to begin digital preservation and a recurring, expressed (but quickly fading when pressed by the immediate urgency) desire of management to protect our organization’s intellectual resources–without an understanding of or real, long-term resource commitment to such a project, the excerpt below of the Maverick Digital Project Manager Jobs post on the DigitalKoans blog is of great interest despite the fact that providing an “institutional repository” or beginning a digital preservation program is currently not my primary or core value to the organization.

    The DigitalKoans posting refers to a self-professed “rant” by Dorothea Salo which includes the following scary though probably accurate warning:

    “…This is my advice for my librarian and proto-librarian colleagues: DO NOT TAKE MAVERICK IR MANAGER POSITIONS. They are black holes. They will destroy your idealism, professional enthusiasm, and self-efficacy. You will accomplish nothing whatever of substance in the position. Your co-workers will not help you. You will be scoffed at, abandoned, or both by your library’s administration. Your career may well be damaged. Don’t do it. I am as deadly serious as I know how to be. Don’t…”

    Anyway, here is the corroborative DigitalKoans excerpt:

    “Recently, Dorothea Salo posted a self-proclaimed rant, “Just Say No to Maverick-Manager Jobs.”

    Her topic was maverick institutional repository manager jobs, but I was struck by some similarities to what might be called for want of a better term ‘maverick digital project manager’ jobs. These jobs may be at different levels in the organization, but they may share certain characteristics:

    • They may have a very broad scope of responsibility (e.g., digitization, digital preservation, digital repositories, ETDs, and scholarly communication) yet have no real authority.
    • They have no direct reports, and consequently they rely on other units to provide critical support.
    • They may have no direct control over key technical resources, such as servers.
    • They may have no dedicated, regularly budgeted funding.
    • They may report to a superior who does not have an adequate background to understand or manage a digital project operation.
    • Regardless of stated qualifications, they really require not only an alphabet soup of specific technical skills, but also a broad technical background and a variety of non-technical skills, such as a significant understanding of copyright issues.
    • They may represent a wish by the library to make progress in this area, not a real commitment by the library to do so…

    Lack of a dedicated budget may result in digital projects being funded (or not) dependent on the ever changing fiscal circumstances of the library and the constantly shifting priorities of administrators. To some degree this is always true, but it is typically easier not to fund a non-budgeted operation than to eliminate or reduce a budgeted one. Digital projects can be seen as icing on the cake, not the cake itself…

    Unless the maverick digital project manager reports to the head of the library[or senior organizational management], his or her supervisor must be an effective advocate for digital projects to his or her superiors to facilitate adequate support.

    Those hiring maverick digital project managers may have a poor grasp of the necessary skills required or have a desire to hire on the cheap. Consequently, new hires may quickly find themselves in deep water. Advanced technical and other sorts of training, if available and funded, can help with some aspects of this problem, but, since maverick digital project managers are without mentors, not all of it. Realistic expectations by supervisors are critical in this case, but can’t be counted on.

    Few things are as deadly to maverick digital project managers as the vague, but poorly informed, wish of some administrators to make progress (often rapid progress) in the digital area when it is motivated by a desire to get on the bandwagon, rather than by a genuine concern for development in this area that is based on a well-considered decision to make realistic resource allocation commitments and to expect sensible project timelines…”

    Digital Preservation Video Training Course…03.03.09

    3 03 2009

    Digital preservation is a topic of particular interest to me and something which my organization needs to begin on several fronts.  To get up to speed on the topic, I plan on using the Digital Preservation Europe‘s Digital preservation video training course that I learned about today from DigitalKoans

    This is from the course description:

    “…Training goals

    The training introduces participants to a number of key digital preservation principles. Participants will leave with:

    • an awareness and understanding of key digital preservation issues and challenges,
    • an appreciation of the range of roles and responsibilities involved with digital preservation activity,
    • knowledge about the reference model for Open Archival Information System (OAIS),
    • a familiarity with file formats currently considered beneficial for preservation,
    • a developed understanding of the role and use of metadata and representation information,
    • knowledge of the preservation planning process and its benefits to overall digital preservation strategies,
    • an insight into the concepts of trust and trustworthiness in the context of digital preservation,
    • a working knowledge of the issues surrounding audit methodologies and self-certification of digital repositories.

    Target Audience:  This training event was aimed at practitioners and researchers from the archives, libraries and museums sector, as well as other institutions such as data archives, government departments, legal and commercial sectors with an interest in the topic of digital preservation…”


    (Image source:…/program/framework.html)

    New Digital Curation Manual Online…01.22.09

    22 01 2009

    I learned today from the DigitalKoans blog today about the UK’s Digital Curation Centre release of “Archiving Web Resources,” as part of its DCC Digital Curation Manual which I want to read carefully when time allows. Here is an abstract they published along with other links:


    “The World Wide Web is among the most important information resources, and is certainly the most voluminous. In a relatively short time, it has become a vital medium for a range of academic and commercial publishers. However, until recently, little effort has been directed towards ensuring the long term preservation of the digital assets that reside on-line. The web’s dynamic nature makes it prone to frequent changes, and without a means for capture and preservation it’s likely that vast quantities of content will be lost forever. Since the web is home to a vast range of materials with widely varying characteristics in terms of formats, scale and behaviour there are inevitable issues that must be overcome to facilitate their collection, management and preservation.”

    Read the December 2008 Digital Curation Manual

    PDF (210KB)

    They also listhed the following:

    Related Instalments:

      © Digital Curation Centre


    FREE “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery” Series Webinars…01.21.09

    21 01 2009
    Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL) has announced a series of FREE webinars on digital archives worthy of attention.  This is taken OPAL:

    Friday, February 6, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT:
      “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery: IDA: The Illinois Digital Archives” presented by Alyce Scott from the Illinois State Library 

      IDA: The Illinois Digital Archives is a meta-collection of digital collections. IDA provides access to primary source materials in Illinois libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other cultural institutions. IDA and the Illinois State Library also are leaders in making digital resources accessible to all through value-adding initiatives such as audio description.

      About This Series: The Secretary of State and State Librarian, Jesse White, and the Illinois State Library present the “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery” series of free online programs, highlighting digital initiatives that are making it easier for users to find, use, enjoy, and add value to digital archives. Other programs in the series are listed below. More are planned.

      Host: Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian, and the Illinois State Library

      Location: OPAL Auditorium

    Friday, February 13, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT

      “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery: Lincoln/Net: The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project” presented by Drew VandeCreek from Northern Illinois UniversityLincoln/Net presents historical materials from Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois years (1830-1861), including Lincoln’s writings and speeches, as well as other materials illuminating antebellum Illinois. Lincoln/Net includes digital texts, images, videos, songs, maps, instructional support for teachers, and other interactive resources. Join us to celebrate the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth by exploring this fascinating digital resource.
    Friday, February 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT

      “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery: The Great Experiment: The Pullman Manufacturing Town” presented by Andrew Bullen from the Illinois State LibraryIn the mid-1870s, George Mortimer Pullman decided to expand his very successful rail passenger car service. He chose Chicago as a location for his new factory complex. Pullman began acquiring land on the far south side of Chicago in 1880, commissioning a young architect named Solon Beman, 26, to design his factory complex and surrounding town. The Pullman area was much more than a rail car manufacturing facility. George Pullman wanted to create what he envisioned as a workers’ paradise, charging Beman to design and build what was eventually to become 32 blocks of row houses laid out in neat neighborhoods directly north and south of the factory complex. 

      As a response to cancelled orders and business downturns during the 1894 economic panic, Pullman laid off many workers and slashed the wages of his remaining employees. The effect of this disastrous decision was the greatest of the 19th century labor struggles, the Pullman strike of 1894. As a result of a 1907 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the company was forced to sell the town to private owners, and the Great Experiment ended. The city of Chicago annexed the town of Pullman, renumbering the properties and renaming the streets.

      Today, Pullman still has 98 percent of its original housing stock. Local residents and the professional staff of the Pullman State Historic Site have worked together to build an online museum, incorporating images, metadata, and demographic data that describe the residents of the town of Pullman. In addition, Andrew Bullen will describe how “nodal” images (images that easily lead to other historical events) can be used to give digital collections shape and depth.

    Friday, March 13, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT

      “Opening the Photo Vaults” presented by Helena Zinkham and Barbara Orbach Natanson from the Library of CongressOpening the Photo Vaults” is a collaborative pilot project, launched in January 2008, involving the Library of Congress and The Commons, which is, quoting from the Final Report on the project, “…a designated area of Flickr where cultural heritage institutions can share photographs that have no known copyright restrictions to increase awareness of their collections.” The goal of the project is to increase awareness and discovery of historical photo collections through engagement with a lively Web 2.0 community. Users of The Commons are encouraged to add tags and comments to the photos. Helena Zinkham is the Acting Chief of the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library Congress. Barbara Orbach Natanson is the Head of the Reference Section, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
    Friday, March 27, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT

      “Digital Archives — Search and Discovery: Early Illinois History to YouTube” presented by Lori Bell from the Alliance Library System, John Walber from Learning Times, and other members of the project team.The “Early Illinois History to YouTube” project is creating new audio-based programs, podcasts, videocasts, and a podmap related to a previously digitized set of historical photos about central Illinois. Users of this expanded and re-purposed content will be able to add resources, tag items, and communicate with others with similar interests. The project also features an interactive “podmap” of Illinois. When users click on a city, town, or area, a list of related podcasts and videos will be displayed. 


    20,000 FREE Images Now Available from the Floger Shakespeare Library…01.19.09

    19 01 2009

    This just in from Charles Bailey posted on the DigitalKoans blog:

    The Folger Shakespeare Library is now providing free access to over 20,000 images.

    Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

    The digital image collection includes books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, art, and 218 of the Folger’s pre-1640 quarto editions of the works of William Shakespeare. Users can now examine these collection items in detail while accessing the Folger’s rare materials from desktops anywhere in the world. . . .

    The Folger’s digital image collection provides resources for users to view multiple images side by side, save their search results, create permanent links to images, and perform other tasks through a free software program, Luna Insight.

    The Folger is also collaborating with the University of Oxford to digitize 75 quarto editions of Shakespeare’s plays and create the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, which will provide free online access to interactive, high-resolution images of the plays. The Shakespeare Quartos Archive is funded by a new Transatlantic Digitization Collaboration Grant awarded jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Joint Information Systems Committee. In addition, Picturing Shakespeare will make 100,000 images from the Folger collection – including prints, unique drawings, and photography relating to Shakespeare—available to teachers, scholars, and the general public in 2010 through an initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both projects join a fast-growing body of podcasts, videos, and other online content produced by the library.”

    Ex Libris Rosetta Released–Digital Preservation System (DPS)…01.09.09

    9 01 2009

    From an Ex Libris press release yesterday [{916AFF5B-CA4A-48FD-AD54-9AD2ADADEB88}&itemid={9B1F2C8A-3B03-459F-A2B4-4425A4D79689}]:

    “…Ex Libris™ Group is pleased to announce the release of Ex Libris Rosetta for digital libraries, which will providenational and academic libraries and archives around the world with a solution to support their task of collecting and preserving cumulative knowledge in digital format for the enjoyment and use of generations to comeJust as the Rosetta Stone held the key to enabling early 19th century scholars to understand Egyptian hieroglyphic script, which died out in the fourth century AD, Ex Libris Rosetta provides today’s libraries with the infrastructure and technology needed to preserve and facilitate access to and understanding of the digital collections under their guardianship–in perpetuity.


    Ex Libris Rosetta supports the acquisition, validation, ingest, storage, management, preservation and dissemination of different types of digital objects while enforcing the relevant policies that can vary from one institution to another. Numerous people within and outside of the institution can contribute to the system. Objects are first loaded to a depository, in which the validity and origin of the assets are verified, enabling the institution to record when, how, and by whom the item was created. These assets are then enriched, to ensure that the institution has all of the descriptive and technical metadata needed to preserve the assets for the long-term. Finally, digital resources are saved in a sustainable format, and continually evaluated to guarantee their ongoing usability.

    Based on the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model and conforming toTrustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC) criteria, this end-to-end solution offers full security, auditing, and integrity checks that maintain the safety of collections over time. A set of tools including Application Programming Interfaces (API) and deep linking through persistent identifiers, enable institutions to make their collections even more easily accessible to users…”

    Year One Report on “Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access” Released…12.17.08

    17 12 2008

    From Lorcan Dempsey‘s post today “Sustaining the digital investment“:

    “The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was launched last year by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress, JISC, CLIR, and NARA…

    After considerable consultation, the Task Force has produced its interim year one report [pdf]. From the summary …

    There is no general agreement, however, about who is responsible and who should pay for the access to, and preservation of, valuable present and future digital information. Creating sustainable economic models for digital access and preservation is a major challenge for all sectors, and the focus of investigation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. …

    … During 2008, as the Task Force heard testimony from a broad spectrum of institutions and enterprises with deep experience in digital access and preservation, two things became clear: First, the problem is urgent. Access to data tomorrow requires decisions concerning preservation today. Imagine future biological research without a long-term strategy to preserve the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a digital collection that drives new insights into human systems and drug therapies for disease, and represents an investment of 100 billion dollars in research funding over the last 37 years. Decisions about the future of the PDB and other digital reference collections — how they will be migrated to future information technologies without interruption, what kind of infrastructure will protect their digital content against damage and loss of data, and how such efforts will be supported — must be made now to drive future innovation.

    Second, the difficulty in identifying appropriate economic models is not just a matter of finding funding or setting a price. In many institutions and enterprises, systemic challenges create barriers for sustainable digital access and preservation. [Sustaining the digital investment: issues and challenges of economically sustainable digital preservation pdf]“

    Open-Source Greenstone 2.81 Released…11.13.08

    13 11 2008

    Greenstone digital library software, originating from New Zealand at the University of Waikato, says it has released its latest version:

    “We are pleased to announce that the Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac OS/X and Source distributions of Greenstone v2.81 are now available for download from:

    The main focus has been on multilingual support. Improvements include handling filenames that include non-ASCII characters, accent folding switched on by default for Lucene, and character based segmentation for CJK languages.

    This release also features our new installer, which is 100% open source. Previously we had relied on a commercial program for this, which incurred a significant cost in keeping up to date; consequently we decided to develop our own installer, based on the excellent open source installer toolkits already available.

    There are many other significant additions in this release, such as the Fedora Librarian Interface (analogous to GLI, but working with a Fedora repository). See the release notes for the complete details…”


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 696 other followers