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…”

    “Make It Digital” One Stop Shop for Digitization…07.07.09

    7 07 2009


    This is from the post DigitalNZ launches Make It Digital regarding a new source for digitization (of course, “digitisation” for our British & commonwealth friends–Eh?):

    “…we’ve recently launched the Make it Digital website, a one stop shop to help people create NZ digital content.

    The site is focused on creating and sharing New Zealand digital content, which we’re tackling in two ways:
    1. The Guides and Ask a Question sections are designed to help people who are trying to create new digital content, or digitise their stuff. We hope that some of you will be able to share your expertise by answering others’ questions, and helping us to write and update the guides.
    2. The Voting section – It’s a public forum for people to share their ideas for new NZ digital content, with voting and commenting functions. There’s some great ideas in there already that you can vote on, for example, School Journal, New Zealand music artwork and Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives…”

    Digital Curation Resources List…07.02.09

    2 07 2009

    Jill Hurst-Wahl, digitization consultant/owner of Hurst Associates, Ltd. and Professor of Practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, on the Digitization 101 blog has posted a helpful “Resources on Digital Curation“:

    Digital Curation Blog

    International Journal of DigitalCuration

    4th International Digital Curation Conference “Radical Sharing: Transforming Science?” Accepted Papers

    Proceedings of DigCCurr2009: Digital Curation: Practice, Promise, and Prospects (download for free)

    Digital Curation: A Life-Cycle Approach to Managing and Preserving Usable Digital Information

    Managing the Digital World: the Role of Digital Curation

    Apparent Gaps in Library Tools Noted in NASA Search for Help with von Braun Digitization Project…07.01.09

    1 07 2009


    Here is part of a very interesting post today from Libology titled NASA Needs A Library Solution (But So Do Libraries) which we should all find thought provoking:

    “In a merging of two of my great interests, NASA has issued a Request For Information (ROI) on how best to “analyze and catalog notes from spaceflight pioneer Wernher von Braun into an electronic, searchable database or other system.

    At first glance, this is something that would be solved by using library tools and software.  However, the list of potential ways to set this up seems to illustrate the gaps in library technology (all points are mine):

    • Users should be able to see the notes as they exist.
    • The text in the notes, as well as all labels and notations, should be fully keyword searchable.
    • All elements of the notes, including text, formulas, diagrams, etc. should be able to be targeted and described in a way that allows for keyword searching.  This includes “tagging”, but also commentary, description and critique.
    • Users should be able to define relationships (create links) between ideas within the notes, as well as documents and other resources from other collections.  For instance, someone seeking information on the Saturn V Engine Bell should find all drawings, notes, diagrams, and formulas within the notes, as well as outside resources relating to all of these.

    This project begs for a combination of a traditional database (for storing and searching text) with the added functionality provided by social software products.  Nothing in the list is beyond the current means of technology… think  of a wiki combined with flickr-type functionality that can utilize PDF documents and you have a good starting point.

    Why hasn’t this been done?  How many libraries and archives have document sets like this that could become a researcher’s favorite collection, with the right application of technology?  Have any been digitized with a social annotation feature?

    Why do I suspect that the development of this will come from outside the library community?…”

    New from the Library of Congress – “Bagit: Transferring Content for Digital Preservation”…0.30.09

    30 06 2009


    The Library of Congress has posted the video “Bagit: Transferring Content for Digital Preservation” which is worth a look.

    View transcript

    POSTED DATE: 06/24/2009

    RUNNING TIME: 3:14

    The Library of Congress’s steadily growing digital collections arrive primarily over the network rather than on hardware media. But that data transfer can be difficult because different organizations have different policies and technologies.

    The Library – with the California Digital Library and Stanford University – has developed guidelines for creating and moving standardized digital containers, called ‘bags.’ A bag functions like a physical envelope that is used to send content through the mail but with bags, a user sends content from one computer to another.

    Bags have a sparse, uncomplicated structure that transcends differences in institutional data, data architecture, formats and practices. A bag’s minimal but essential metadata is machine readable, which makes it easy to automate ingest of the data. Bags can be sent over computer networks or physically moved using portable storage devices.

    Bags have built-in inventory checking, to help ensure that content transferred intact. Bags are flexible and can work in many different settings, including situations where the content is located in more than one place. This video describes the preparation and transfer of data over the network in bags.”

    “Planning and Managing the Digitization of Library and Archive Materials: A Multi-Model Approach Presentation”…06.26.09

    26 06 2009

    The following presentation from Kim Abrams, Pat Graham, and John Weaver at Pitts Theology Library at Emory University‘s Chandler School of Theology is a good resource for “planning and managing” a digitization project.

    Digital Preservation By Immediate Conversion to XML…06.17.09

    17 06 2009

    digitalpreservation21(Image source:…/program/framework.html)

    The DataShare blog highlighted MIXED for “migration to intermediate XML for electronic data” and explains:

    MIXED is a project of DANS, Data Archiving and Networked Services. MIXED is to contribute to digital preservation, by dealing with the problem of file formats. Over time, file formats become obsolete. When that happens, the information in such file types is no longer accessible. MIXED follows the strategy of converting files to XML as soon as possible, preferably when data is ingested into the archive. MIXED also converts these XML files to formats of choice by the archive user.”

    “Digital Preservation and Nuclear Disaster: An Animation”…05.06.09

    6 05 2009

    Digital Preservation and Nuclear Disaster: An Animation on YouTube from DigitalPreservationEurope:

    World Digital Library Launch Slated for April 21…04.02.09

    2 04 2009
    The following is an important UNESCO press release titledUNESCO, Library of Congress and partners launch World Digital Library:
    UNESCO and 32 partner institutions will launch the World Digital Library, a web site that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, at UNESCO Headquarters on 21 April. The site will include manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, and prints and photographs. It will provide unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.
    The launch will take place at a reception co-hosted by UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, and U.S. Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. Directors of the partner institutions will also be on hand to present the project to ambassadors, ministers, delegates, and special guests attending the semi-annual meeting of UNESCO’s Executive Board.”

    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 and Data Rot…03.12.09

    12 03 2009

    Digiatal preservation, digitization, and data rot are important issues with our extensive video archive comprising a wide range of formats over the past 25 years and other collections that have yet to be adequately addresseed in my library/departments.

    Jill Hurst-Wahl’s Digitization 101 blog has a post today of a good video explanation of the general problem from CBS News: CBS News: Keeping Up With Data Rot (8 min. 12 sec.)

    I just wish I could get the powers that be to take enough interest in watching something like it.  Of course, with current economic constraints everywhere, getting attention AND funding is a major hurdle.

    You can read Bye, Tech: Dealing With Data Rot, the transcript of the program.  The conclusion:

    “…In the digital age, migration is the only chance we have of preserving our recordings and our files. And again, preserving recordings is a lifelong job. But you can do it. Just follow these three easy steps. 

    1. You convert whatever you can afford to digital. 

    2. Store your tapes and films in a cool, dry place. 

    3. And above all, remain vigilant. As you now know, every ten years or so, you’re going to have to transfer all your important memories to whatever format is current at the time, because there never has been, and there never will be, a recording format that lasts forever. 

    Just ask Sam Verga. 

    ‘Is there any permanent, forever storage media today” 

    ‘Only the brain, the human brain,’ Verga said. ‘And that lasts for about 75 years.'”

    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)

    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]“


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