Archive for January, 2008

Harmonization of Metadata Standards

Posted in Metadata on January 31st, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

PROLEARN has released Harmonization of Metadata Standards.

Here's an excerpt from the "Introduction":

Today there is a plethora of metadata specifications (such as IEEE LOM, Dublin Core, METS, MODS, MPEG-7, etc.), many of which are useful in whole or part for activities related to teaching and learning. While each specification in itself is designed to increase system interoperability, we are increasingly seeing systems that need to work with more than one of these specifications. Adding support for an additional specification generally presents a significant amount of added complexity in implementation. The reason for this is a lack of harmonization between specifications. . . .

Existing solutions to the metadata harmonization issue are few—systems are either limited to a single specification, or implement ad-hoc solutions that only work in that particular environment. There are many examples of "mappings" between specifications that provide partial solutions to the problem, but generally fail due to low-fidelity translations and lack of generality (i.e. the mapping only works for limited parts of specifications). Another solution is to create a top-level data model that encompasses the common aspects of all the specifications. This has proven to be feasible in relatively well-constrained domains such as resource aggregation. . . In the field of general metadata, where there is no such common ground, such an approach is substantially less likely to be successful. . . .

The deliverable begins with a short introduction to metadata in Section 3. Section 4 discusses a set of metadata specifications that are highly relevant to learning and teaching. Section 5 forms the core of the deliverable and analyses the harmonization issues among a chosen set of specifications. Section 6 generalizes the analysis in Section 5 and makes a deeper analysis of the relationship between IEEE LOM and Dublin Core. Section 7, finally, points to possible ways to address the identified harmonization issues.

Broadband in the U.S.: Mission Accomplished?

Posted in Cyberinfrastructure/E-Science on January 31st, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration will shortly release a report, Networked Nation: Broadband in America, that critics say presents too optimistic a picture of broadband access in the U.S. Read more about it at "Study: U.S. Broadband Goal Nearly Reached."

Meanwhile, EDUCAUSE has released A Blueprint for Big Broadband: An EDUCAUSE White Paper, which says that: "The United States is facing a crisis in broadband connectivity."

Here's an excerpt from the EDUCAUSE report's "Executive Summary":

While other nations are preparing for the future, the United States is not. Most developed nations are deploying "big broadband" networks (100 Mbps) that provide faster connections at cheaper prices than those available in the United States. Japan has already announced a national commitment to build fiber networks to every home and business, and countries that have smaller economies and more rural territory than the United States (e.g., Finland, Sweden, and Canada) have better broadband services available.

Why is the United States so far behind? The failure of the United States to keep pace is the direct result of our failure to adopt a national broadband policy. The United States has taken a deregulatory approach under the assumption that the market will build enough capacity to meet the demand. While these steps may have had some positive influence, they are not sufficient. . . .

For these reasons, this paper proposes the creation of a new federal Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) that, together with matching funds from the states and the private and/or public sector, should be used to build open, big broadband networks of at least 100 Mbps (scalable upwards to 1 Gbps) to every home and business by 2012. U.S. state governors and foreign heads of state have found the resources to subsidize broadband deployment; the U.S. federal government should as well.

E-Print Preservation: SHERPA DP: Final Report of the SHERPA DP Project

Posted in Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories, DSpace, E-Prints, EPrints, Fedora, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on January 31st, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

JISC has released SHERPA DP: Final Report of the SHERPA DP Project.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

The SHERPA DP project (2005–2007) investigated the preservation of digital resources stored by institutional repositories participating in the SHERPA project. An emphasis was placed on the preservation of e-prints—research papers stored in an electronic format, with some support for other types of content, such as electronic theses and dissertations.

The project began with an investigation of the method that institutional repositories, as Content Providers, may interact with Service Providers. The resulting model, framed around the OAIS, established a Co-operating archive relationship, in which data and metadata is transferred into a preservation repository subsequent to it being made available. . . .

The Arts & Humanities Data Service produced a demonstrator of a Preservation Service, to investigate the operation of the preservation service and accepted responsibility for the preservation of the digital objects for a three-year period (two years of project funding, plus one year).

The most notable development of the Preservation Service demonstrator was the creation of a reusable service framework that allows the integration of a disparate collection of software tools and standards. The project adopted Fedora as the basis for the preservation repository and built a technical infrastructure necessary to harvest metadata, transfer data, and perform relevant preservation activities. Appropriate software tools and standards were selected, including JHOVE and DROID as software tools to validate data objects; METS as a packaging standard; and PREMIS as a basis on which to create preservation metadata. . . .

A number of requirements were identified that were essential for establishing a disaggregated service for preservation, most notably some method of interoperating with partner institutions and he establishment of appropriate preservation policies. . . . In its role as a Preservation Service, the AHDS developed a repository-independent framework to support the EPrints and DSpace-based repositories, using OAI-PMH as common method of connecting to partner institutions and extracting digital objects.

EU Court Says EU Countries Do Not Have to Reveal the Identity of Internet Users in Civil Copyright Cases

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on January 30th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that EU countries do not have to force ISPs to reveal the names of users associated with IP addresses in civil copyright cases. The court said: "Community law does not require the member states, in order to ensure the effective protection of copyright, to lay down an obligation to disclose personal data in the context of civil proceedings."

Read more about it at "EU Court Says File Sharers Don't Have to be Named" and "Mixed Reaction to EU Court Ruling on Copyright."

JISC Programme Synthesis Study: Supporting Digital Preservation and Asset Management in Institutions

Posted in Digital Asset Management Systems, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories, Institutional Repositories on January 30th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

JISC has published JISC Programme Synthesis Study: Supporting Digital Preservation and Asset Management in Institutions: A Review of the 4-04 Programme on Digital Preservation and Asset Management in Institutions for the JISC Information Environment: Part II: Programme Synthesis.. The report covers a number of projects, including LIFE, MANDATE, PARADIGM, PRESERV, and SHERPA DP.

Here's an excerpt from UKOLN News:

Written by Maureen Pennock, DCC researcher at UKOLN, the study provides a comprehensive and categorised overview of the outputs from the entire programme. Categories include training, costs and business models, life cycles, repositories, case studies, and assessment and surveys. Each category includes detailed information on project outputs and references a number of re-usable project-generated tools that range from software services to checklists and guidance.

Columbia University and Microsoft Book Digitization Project

Posted in E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Open Access, Public Domain on January 29th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Columbia University Libraries have announced that they will work with Microsoft to digitize a "large number of books" that are in the public domain.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books. . . .

Columbia University Libraries is playing a key role in book selection and in setting quality standards for the digitized materials. Microsoft will digitize selected portions of the Libraries’ great collections of American history, literature, and humanities works, with the specific areas to be decided mutually by Microsoft and Columbia during the early phase of the project.

Microsoft will give the Library high-quality digital images of all the materials, allowing the Library to provide worldwide access through its own digital library and to share the content with non-commercial academic initiatives and non-profit organizations.

Read more about it at "Columbia University Joins Microsoft Scan Plan."

How Big Should Statutory Damages Be for Copyright Violations?: Report on a Roundtable about Section 104 of the PRO IP Act

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars on January 29th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

In "Roundtable on Copyright Damages: 'What Are We Doing Here?'," Sherwin Siy reports on an important roundtable discussion about Section 104 of the PRO IP Act.

Here's an excerpt:

My problem with the provision then was that no one present at the hearing was particularly keen on it—neither the Department of Justice nor the Chamber of Commerce were pushing it particularly hard. Nor was it really clear that this provision did much good to improve the state of copyright law. It has been fairly clear that this is something that the RIAA wants—it would allow them to recover a much larger sum in statutory damages. For instance, if a 10-song album were infringed, the statutory damages would not range from $750 to $150,000, as they do today, but could be as high as $7500 to $1.5 million.

Three Strikes and You're Out: A Kinder, Gentler Internet Disconnection Policy Emerges in France

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, P2P File Sharing on January 29th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Last November, it was reported that France intended to cut off Internet access to illegal downloaders after one warning from their ISP and a second offense. Now, it appears that violators will receive two warnings from the government, with a service cut-off after the third offense. Action on the bill is expected this summer.

Read more about it at "France as Big Music Copyright Cop," "France's Plan to Turn ISPs into Copyright Cops on Track," and "French Plan E-Mail Warnings for Illegal Downloads."

Stewardship of Digital Research Data: A Framework of Principles and Guidelines

Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories on January 29th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Research Information Network (RIN) has published Stewardship of Digital Research Data: A Framework of Principles and Guidelines: Responsibilities of Research Institutions and Funders, Data Managers, Learned Societies and Publishers.

Here's an excerpt from the Web page describing the document:

Research data are an increasingly important and expensive output of the scholarly research process, across all disciplines. . . . But we shall realise the value of data only if we move beyond research policies, practices and support systems developed in a different era. We need new approaches to managing and providing access to research data.

In order to address these issues, the RIN established a group to produce a framework of key principles and guidelines, and we consulted on a draft document in 2007. The framework is founded on the fundamental policy objective that ideas and knowledge, including data, derived from publicly-funded research should be made available for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable. . . .

The framework is structured around five broad principles which provide a guide to the development of policy and practice for a range of key players: universities, research institutions, libraries and other information providers, publishers, and research funders as well as researchers themselves. Each of these principles serves as a basis for a series of questions which serve a practical purpose by pointing to how the various players might address the challenges of effective data stewardship.

Detailed Notes and PowerPoints from the ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group Midwinter Meeting

Posted in Electronic Resources on January 28th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Jennifer W. Lang has posted very detailed notes about the 2008 Midwinter meeting of the ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group.

Meeting speakers included Nicole Pelsinsky of Serials Solutions ("Making E-Resources Management More Manageable"), Timothy Savage of OCLC ("Automated E-Resource Cataloging"), and Peter Fletcher of the UCLA Library Cataloging and Metadata Center ("Provider Neutral Record for Remote Access Electronic Integrating Resources").

How to Harvest OAI-PMH Records with the Freeware MarcEdit Program

Posted in Metadata, OAI-PMH, Z39.50 on January 28th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Terry Reese has posted step-by-step instructions about how to harvest OAI-PMH records from the University of Michigan Libraries' MBooks digital books collection using her MarcEdit freeware program. The data can either be converted to the MARC format or stored as is. MarcEdit also has a Z39.50 client as well as crosswalks, such as MARC to Dublin Core and MARC to EAD.

Copyright Troubles for SeeqPod and The Pirate Bay Search Engines

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, P2P File Sharing on January 28th, 2008 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

It is anticipated that the Swedish government will soon charge The Pirate Bay, a torrent search engine, with copyright violations. The Pirate Bay has received over 4,000 pages of evidence related to possible violations from the government. It has been reported that The Pirate Bay serves as many as 10 million peer computers, providing access to about one million torrents.

This news comes hard on the heels of Warner Music Group's suit against SeeqPod, a digital music search engine. The SeeqPod case will likely be determined by the court's interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's "safe harbor" provision, with SeeqPod claiming immunity and Warner claiming that it does not apply.

Read more about it at "Do Search Engines Promote Piracy?," "Latest Test for DMCA Safe Harbors: Warner Sues SeeqPod," "The Pirate Bay Now Tracks 1 Million Torrents, 10 Million Peers," "Swedish Prosecutors Close in on The Pirate Bay," "Swedish Prosecutors Dump 4,000 Legal Docs on The Pirate Bay," "Sweden to Charge Pirate Bay in Copyright Case," "Warner Sues Music Search Engine SeeqPod," and "Warner Sues 'Playable Search Engine,' Tests DMCA Safe Harbor."

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