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)