Archive for May, 2007

MIDESS (Management of Images in a Distributed Environment with Shared Services) Project

Posted in Copyright, Digital Asset Management Systems, Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Metadata, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on May 31st, 2007

The JISC-funded MIDESS Project is examining issues related to the management of digital audio, images, video, and other digital content in distributed digital repositories as well as at the national level. It is being conducted by the London School of Economics, University College London, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Leeds.

Here is an excerpt from the "Aims and Objectives of the MIDESS Project" page:

  • The MIDESS project will be building digital content databases at three of the partner institutions . . .
  • These databases will be populated with digital content which has already been created, or is currently under creation, by the partner institutions. . . .
  • Opportunities for the sharing and re-use of digital collections across institutions will be explored . . .
  • Metadata standards will be established, and metadata developed, for each collection added to the repositories. . . .
  • MIDESS will explore the role of digital content databases with a particular focus on interoperability with enterprise content management architectures.
  • MIDESS will also aim to establish how distributed digital repositories could encourage the wider exposure and sharing of content across institutions through an evaluation of requirements for centralised metadata harvesting services.
  • MIDESS will seek to pilot an infrastructure which could serve as a model for future distributed national digitisation activities.

The project has produced a number of interesting documents, especially the detailed workpackages, which deal with issues such as digital preservation, enterprise storage, intellectual property, and user requirements.

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    Report on Embedding and Reusing PerX in a VLE

    Posted in Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories, Metadata, Open Access on May 30th, 2007

    The PerX (Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch) project has released its Report on Embedding and Reusing PerX in a VLE. (A "VLE" is a virtual learning environment.)

    Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

    This report presents the reusable middleware we have used to embed PerX functionality into the University VLE, VISION, a commercial VLE Blackboard system. We have done our best to use service oriented architectures (SOA) as possible. We argue that by using open source and open standards approaches rather than software and practices developed specifically for a particular VLE product, it is possible to obtain open reusable middleware that can simplify the DLVLE integration and bridge the functionality of both environments. We hope that our methodology can provide a common foundation on which a variety of institutions may build their own customized middleware to integrate scholarly objects in VLEs.

    Here’s a brief description of the PerX project from its home page:

    The PerX project has developed a pilot service which provides subject resource discovery across a series of repositories of interest to the engineering learning and research communities. This pilot was used as a test-bed to explore the practical issues that would be encountered when considering the possibility of full scale subject resource discovery services.

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      New Electronic Resources Management Mailing List

      Posted in Electronic Resources, ERM/Discovery Systems, Licenses on May 29th, 2007

      The LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group has established a mailing list (

      Here is a description of the IG from its home page:

      Established in 2005. The purpose of the LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group is to promote and enable the exchange of information and discussion among librarians, publishers, electronic resource management system vendors and related service organizations concerning issues related to the management of electronic resources. The group will assist in developing appropriate and responsive systems and standards by fostering open and collaborative discussions and implementation issues.

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        The World’s First Cyberwar?

        Posted in Digital Culture on May 29th, 2007

        The New York Times reports today ("War Fears Turn Digital After Data Siege in Estonia") that Estonia has suffered massive distributed denial-of-service attacks on its Internet infrastructure as a result of removing a statue of a Soviet solder from a park in Tallinn. Botnets were used to intensify the ferocity of the attacks. As many as one million zombie computers worldwide may have been involved.

        The article notes:

        The 10 largest assaults blasted streams of 90 megabits of data a second at Estonia’s networks, lasting up to 10 hours each. That is a data load equivalent to downloading the entire Windows XP operating system every six seconds for 10 hours.

        Linton Wells II, the Pentagon’s principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration, said: "This may well turn out to be a watershed in terms of widespread awareness of the vulnerability of modern society."

        Source: Landler, Mark, and John Markoff. "War Fears Turn Digital After Data Siege in Estonia." The New York Times, A1, C7.

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          Happy Birthday Open Access News!

          Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication on May 26th, 2007

          Open Access News is five today. OAN‘s indefatigable primary author Peter Suber has written over 10,800 OAN postings during this period. Going further back to 2001, he has written 109 issues of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (formerly called the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter) as well as important papers on open access.

          Thanks, Peter. The open access movement owes you a huge debt of gratitude for this fine work.

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            Finnish Court Says DRM Has to be Truly Effective to Warrant Legal Protection

            Posted in Copyright, Digital Culture, Digital Rights Management on May 26th, 2007

            Although it is a lower-level court, a recent ruling by the Helsinki District Court has raised questions about whether DRM systems that can be cracked by easily available software warrant protection under Finnish and European Union copyright laws.

            Here’s a excerpt from Mikko Välimäki’s analysis, "Keep on Hacking: A Finnish Court Says Technological Measures Are No Longer ‘Effective’ When Circumventing Applications Are Widely Available on the Internet":

            In an unanimous decision given May 25, 2007, Helsinki District Court ruled that Content Scrambling System (CSS) used in DVD movies is "ineffective." The decision is probably the first in Europe to interpret new copyright law amendments that ban the circumvention of "effective technological measures." The legislation is based on EU Copyright Directive from 2001. According to both the Finnish copyright law and the underlying directive, only such protection measure is effective, "which achieves the protection objective." . . .

            The background of the Finnish CSS case was that after the national copyright law amendment was accepted in late 2005, a group of Finnish computer hobbyists and activists opened a website where they posted information on how to circumvent CSS. They appeared in a police station and claimed to have potentially infringed copyright law. Most of the activists thought that either the police does not investigate the case in the first place or the prosecutor drops it if it goes any further.

            To the surprise of many, the case ended in the Helsinki District Court. Defendants were Mikko Rauhala who opened the website, and a poster who published an own implementation of source code circumventing CSS. They were prosecuted for illegally manufacturing and distributing a circumventing product and providing a service to circumvent an effective technological measure. . . .

            The decisive part of the process was the hearing of two technical expert witnesses. One was invited by the prosecutor and another was invited by the defense. Asked about the effectivity of CSS, they both held it ineffective from the perspectives of technical experts as well as average consumers. The court relied on the testimonies of the witnesses and concluded: ". . . since a Norwegian hacker succeeded in circumventing CSS protection used in DVDs in 1999, end-users have been able to get with easy tens of similar circumventing software from the Internet even free of charge. Some operating systems come with this kind of software pre-installed. . . . CSS protection can no longer be held ‘effective’ as defined in law. . . ."

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              DLF and OCLC Release Registry of Digital Masters Record Creation Guidelines

              Posted in Digital Libraries, Digitization, Metadata on May 24th, 2007

              The Digital Library Federation and OCLC have released their Registry of Digital Masters Working Group’s Registry of Digital Masters Record Creation Guidelines.

              Here is an excerpt from the Purpose section of the document:

              By recording materials in the Registry, institutions are signaling the intent to preserve and maintain the accessibility of the described materials over an extended timeframe. This implies that materials were born digital or have been converted to digital form, that the digital objects are stored in professionally managed systems, and that the institution is committed to retain and preserve them. . . .

              These guidelines detail which MARC 21 elements should be used to carry Registry-required information. Registry records describe materials that an institution intends to digitize, either from existing paper- and/or microfilm-based materials (“intent to digitize”), as well as born digital materials, and to indicate the standards by which the registered objects have been digitized.

              A Registry record also provides information about whether a specific item has already been digitized, and if so, whether the digitization has been done at an adequate level such that another digital copy is not required, what institution is responsible for the digitization, what institution is responsible for the preservation of the digital content, and what specific materials are available.

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                Google Book Search Adds Its First Belgium Library

                Posted in Digitization, E-Books, Mass Digitizaton, Research Libraries, Scholarly Communication on May 24th, 2007

                The Universiteitsbibliotheek Gent has joined the Google Books Library Project.

                Earlier in the month, the La Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire de Lausanne in Switzerland joined the project.

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                  E-Book Trial on ScienceDirect

                  Posted in E-Books, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on May 24th, 2007

                  Elsevier has announced that it is conducting an e-book trial on ScienceDirect with over 900 research libraries and corporations.

                  Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

                  The trial will provide participating institutes with preliminary access to 500 of the 4,000 scientific and technical books that will be launched on ScienceDirect in the third quarter of 2007. . . .

                  The eBooks program represents a major expansion to the reference works, handbooks and book series already available on ScienceDirect. At launch, the program will comprise high-quality selected titles published from 1995 to the present day. The books will cover a wide range of scientific disciplines, including those published under the renowned Pergamon and Academic Press imprints. Following the launch, approximately 50 newly published titles will be added to the eBooks list on ScienceDirect each month, offering researchers unparalleled integration and linking between the latest online book and journal information.

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                    Interview with the Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation

                    Posted in Digital Libraries on May 23rd, 2007

                    In this podcast, Gerry Bayne of EDUCAUSE conducts a wide-ranging interview with Peter Brantley, the Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation, at CNI’s 2007 Spring Task Force Meeting.

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                      Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (5/23/07)

                      Posted in Announcements on May 23rd, 2007

                      The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides information about new scholarly literature and resources related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, journal articles, magazine articles, technical reports, and white papers.

                      Especially interesting are: "Advocating for Digital Scholarship: Highlights of the Report of the ACLS"; "ARROW, DART and ARCHER: A Quiver Full of Research Repository and Related Projects"; "Building an Institutional Repository at Loughborough University: Some Experiences"; "A Challenge for the Library Acquisition Budget"; "Digital Preservation Service Provider Models for Institutional Repositories: Towards Distributed Services"; "Pleas’d By a Newe Inuention?: Assessing the Impact of Early English Books Online on Teaching and Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder,"; "RoMEO Studies 8: Self-Archiving: The Logic Behind the Colour-Coding Used in the Copyright Knowledge Bank"; and "Ten Major Issues in Providing a Repository Service in Australian Universities"; and "Trends Favoring Open Access."

                      For weekly updates about news articles, Weblog postings, and other resources related to digital culture (e.g., copyright, digital privacy, digital rights management, and Net neutrality), digital libraries, and scholarly electronic publishing, see the latest DigitalKoans Flashback posting.

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                        Proposed Legislation Would Make Attempted Copyright Infringement a Crime

                        Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on May 22nd, 2007

                        The Justice Department has proposed the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which, among other things, would make it a criminal offense to attempt to infringe copyright .

                        Here’s the key section that deals with this issue:

                        SECTION 4. CRIMINAL INFRINGEMENT
                        (a) IN GENERAL—Section 506(a)(l) of title 17, United States Code, is amended
                        (1) by inserting "or attempts to infnnge" before "a copyright" and
                        (2) by striking the comma and "if the infringement was committed" after "18";
                        (3) by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting "(A) if the infringement was committed or attempted for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain";
                        (4) in subparagraph (B), by striking "by the reproduction or distribution" and inserting "if the infringement was committed or attempted by the reproduction or distribution"; and
                        (6) by inserting at the beginning of subparagraph (C) "if the infringement was committed".

                        In "Proposed Crime of the Century: Attempted Copyright Infringement," Mathew Honan of Wired sums up the proposal this way:

                        Essentially, the bill would turn copyright law into something more akin to existing drug laws: The government could seize personal property, wiretaps would become legal for the first time, violators could face life in prison and, in an ambiguous and far-reaching provision, the mere attempt to violate a copyright would become a crime.

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                          Digital Scholarship

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