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…”

    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.”

    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.”

    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…”