Manuscript Collections on the Web, SPEC Kit 307

The Association of Research Libraries has published Manuscript Collections on the Web, SPEC Kit 307.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

This SPEC survey investigated how many manuscript collections are held in ARL member libraries; what percentage of these collections are represented on the Web; what types of information about the collections are available in finding aids and on the Web; what formats are used for finding aids on the Web; how many library staff are working on manuscript collections; the challenges and benefits of migrating collection information to the Web; and whether and how usage of manuscript collection information is tracked.

Of the 123 ARL member libraries, 72 completed the survey by the March 2008 deadline for a response rate of 59%. All of the survey respondents indicated that they are managing to post at least some information about their manuscript collections on the Web. Most of the comments indicated that the respondents want to post more information online, but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons, primarily staff and time constraints. Almost all respondents are creating MARC records for their collections; fewer are creating EAD finding aids. A select few represent all of their manuscript collections on the Web in some way, either as MARC records, brief blurbs in HTML, or EAD finding aids.

The survey results also show that librarians and archivists squeeze arrangement and description duties in between a multitude of other responsibilities. They are not the only staff in these institutions who perform these tasks, but they do spend larger percentages of their time than anyone else on actually adding information to the Web.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of manuscript collection Web sites, finding aid Web sites, Web sites of collaborative online resources, arrangement and description guidelines, and Web processing procedures.

The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online at

Digital New Zealand's Coming Home Memory Maker: Users Remix Media to Create Digital Videos

Digital New Zealand has released its Coming Home Memory Maker, which allows users to remix historic digital media.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The Memory Maker is an interactive online video remix tool, that lets people mix historical film footage, digitised photographs and objects, and music/audio clips into a 60 second video that can then be saved, shared, and embedded on other sites.

A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries & the Google Library Project Settlement

ARL and ALA have released A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries & the Google Library Project Settlement.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The guide is designed to help the library community better understand the terms and conditions of the recent settlement agreement between Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers concerning Google’s scanning of copyrighted works. Band notes that the settlement is extremely complex and presents significant challenges and opportunities to libraries. The guide outlines and simplifies the settlement’s provisions, with special emphasis on the provisions that apply directly to libraries.

Archivists' Toolkit Version 1.5 Released

The Archivists' Toolkit version 1.5 has been released.

See "New Features for AT Release 1.5" for details.

Here's an excerpt from the home page that describes the software:

The Archivists' Toolkit™, or the AT, is the first open source archival data management system to provide broad, integrated support for the management of archives. It is intended for a wide range of archival repositories. The main goals of the AT are to support archival processing and production of access instruments, promote data standardization, promote efficiency, and lower training costs.

Currently, the application supports accessioning and describing archival materials; establishing names and subjects associated with archival materials, including the names of donors; managing locations for the materials; and exporting EAD finding aids, MARCXML records, and METS, MODS and Dublin Core records. Future functionality will be built to support repository user/resource use information, appraisal for archival materials, expressing and managing rights information, and interoperability with user authentication systems.

David Millman Named Director of Digital Library Technology Services at New York University

David Millman, Senior Director, Systems Integration, Information Technology at Columbia University, has been named Director of Digital Library Technology Services at New York University. He will report jointly to Carol A. Mandel, Dean of the Libraries, and David Ackerman, Executive Director of .edu Services, Information Technology Services.

Digital Library Software: Greenstone Version 2.81 Released

Version 2.81 of the Greenstone digital library software has been released.

Here's an excerpt from the home page that describes Greenstone:

Greenstone is a 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. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

See the Greenstone Fact Sheet for a more detailed description of the system.

Concord Free Press: It Really Means Free

The Concord Free Press gives away its printed books for free, shipping included, but asks for a donation to a charity of the reader's choice. Initially, it will publish two books a year, with a print run of about 1,000 copies each. Selected independent bookstores carry its books.

Writers are unpaid, and the press relies on "on donations from our Advisory Board and supporters—and sales of our stylish t-shirts."

Digital Collections/Exhibitions Software: Omeka 0.10b Released

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has released Omeka 0.10b.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Omeka 0.10b incorporates many of the changes you asked for: an unqualified Dublin Core metadata schema and fully extensible element sets to accommodate interoperability with digital repository software and collections management systems; elegant reworkings of our theme API and plugin API to make add-on development more intuitive and more powerful; a new, even more user friendly look for the administrative interface; and a new and improved Exhibit Builder. While the changes are extensive and represent a next-to-last step forward toward a 1.0 release in early 2009, existing users of Omeka should have little trouble switching to 0.10b. New users should have even less trouble getting started. Meanwhile, visitors to will find a new look, a more intuitive information architecture, easily browsable themes and plugins directories, improved documentation and user support, and new ways to get involved in the Omeka community.

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

The Center for Social Media at American University has released The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.

Here's an excerpt:

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

Study of Open Access Publishing Fellowship at CERN

CERN is seeking applicants for its Study of Open Access Publishing Fellowship. Applicants must be a citizen of one of the CERN member states, hold a MSc or higher diploma, and have less than 10 years post-MSc professional experience.

Here's an excerpt from the job posting:

SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) is a project being negotiated for financing by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program. Partners of the SOAP consortium are CERN, the coordinator, the Max Plank Society, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council and the publishing companies BioMed Central, Sage, and Springer. The project is expected to have a duration of two years, starting in March 2009. Its objective is the study of Open Access business models and a comprehensive survey of the attitudes towards Open Access of researchers across all disciplines. SOAP will deliver evidence on the potential of sustainable forms of Open Access Publishing.

Conditional to the final availability of funding, CERN is looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated person to play a leading role in the SOAP project.

Feasibility Study into Approaches to Improve the Consistency with Which Repositories Share Material

JISC has released Feasibility Study into Approaches to Improve the Consistency with Which Repositories Share Material: Final Report for JISC.

Here's an excerpt:

In view of resource constraints which were often mentioned by our respondents, priority should be given to:

  • populating the repository with sufficient high quality material that your target audience will consider it a 'critical mass';
  • creating and exposing robust policies;
  • creating and maintaining machine interfaces to metadata, indexes and the full text of items held in repositories, particularly scholarly works;
  • creating minimal metadata for all items, with richer metadata for those items which cannot be efficiently crawled and indexed; automation should be used wherever possible to aid and supplement human intervention.

Sufficient consistency for worthwhile collaborative work using standards-based technologies and rich human-created metadata may be achieved only where sufficient staff/human resources exist to create, share and maintain appropriate metadata and policies. In addition, such consistency may only be found where a federation is able to mandate standards, practices and policies or where participants feel they have a strong common interest in the success of shared objectives.

Taking account of the feedback we received, in order to promote more productive sharing between repositories we also make recommendations to:

  • increase the use of automated tools to help, and in some cases replace, human metadata creation;
  • create and maintain stronger relationships between repository owners/sponsors and also between them and other metadata holders such as publishers;
  • move towards embracing Web standards—as opposed to 'digital library' standards—in the production and maintenance of repositories and the sharing of their content.

Read more about it at "Repository Interoperability."

A Web-Based Resource Model for eScience: Object Reuse & Exchange

Carl Lagoze, Herbert Van de Sompel, Michael Nelson, Simeon Warner, Robert Sanderson, and Pete Johnston have deposited "A Web-Based Resource Model for eScience: Object Reuse & Exchange" in

Here's the abstract:

Work in the Open Archives Initiative-Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) focuses on an important aspect of infrastructure for eScience: the specification of the data model and a suite of implementation standards to identify and describe compound objects. These are objects that aggregate multiple sources of content including text, images, data, visualization tools, and the like. These aggregations are an essential product of eScience, and will become increasingly common in the age of data-driven scholarship. The OAI-ORE specifications conform to the core concepts of the Web architecture and the semantic Web, ensuring that applications that use them will integrate well into the general Web environment.

Database Preservation: The International Challenge and the Swiss Solution

DigitalPreservationEurope has released Database Preservation: The International Challenge and the Swiss Solution.

Here's the abstract:

Most administrative records are stored in databases. Today’s challenge is preserving the information and making it accessible for years to come, ensuring knowledge-transfer as well as administrative sustainability. Lack of standardization has hitherto rendered the task of archiving database content highly complex. The Swiss Federal Archives have developed a new XML based format which permits long-term preservation of the relational databases content. The Software-Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (short: SIARD) offers a unique solution for preserving data content, metadata as well as the relations in an ISO conform format.

Grant Awarded: DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons for DuraSpace Planning

The DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons have received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support planning for DuraSpace.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Over the next six months funding from the planning grant will allow the organizations to jointly specify and design "DuraSpace," a new web-based service that will allow institutions to easily distribute content to multiple storage providers, both "cloud-based" and institution-based. The idea behind DuraSpace is to provide a trusted, value-added service layer to augment the capabilities of generic storage providers by making stored digital content more durable, manageable, accessible and sharable.

Michele Kimpton, Executive Director of the DSpace Foundation, said, "Together we can leverage our expertise and open source value proposition to continue to provide integrated open solutions that support the scholarly mission of universities."

Sandy Payette, Executive Director of Fedora Commons, observes, "There is an important role for high-tech non-profit organizations in adding value to emerging cloud solutions. DuraSpace is designed with an eye towards enabling universities, libraries, and other types of organizations to take advantage of cloud storage while also addressing special requirements unique to areas such as digital archiving and scholarly communication."

The grant from the Mellon Foundation will support a needs analysis, focus groups, technical design sessions, and meetings with potential commercial partners. A working web-based demonstration will be completed during the six-month grant period to help validate the technical and business assumptions behind DuraSpace.

Digital Preservation: Two-Year JHOVE2 Project Funded

The National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program has funded the two-year JHOVE2 project, which will " develop a next-generation JHOVE2 architecture for format-aware characterization." Project particpants are the California Digital Library, Portico, and Stanford University.

Here's an excerpt from the Digipres announcement:

Among the enhancements planned for JHOVE2 are:

  • Support for four specific aspects of characterization: signature-based identification, feature extraction, validation, and rules-based assessment
  • A more sophisticated data model supporting complex multi-file objects and arbitrarily-nested container objects
  • Streamlined APIs to facilitate the integration of JHOVE2 technology in systems, services, and workflows
  • Increased performance
  • Standardized error handling
  • A generic plug-in mechanism supporting stateful multi-module processing
  • Availability under the BSD open source license

To help focus project activities we have recruited a distinguished advisory board to represent the interests of the larger stakeholder community. The board includes participants from the following international memory institutions, projects, and vendors:

  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB)
  • Ex Libris
  • Fedora Commons
  • Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA)
  • Harvard University / GDFR
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB)
  • MIT/DSpace
  • National Archives (TNA)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • National Library of Australia (NLA)
  • National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ)
  • Planets project

The project partners are currently engaged in a public needs assessment and requirements gathering phase. A provisional set of use cases and functional requirements has already been reviewed by the JHOVE2 advisory board. . . .

The functional requirements, along with other project information, is available on the JHOVE2 project wiki. Feedback on project goals and deliverables can be submitted through the JHOVE2 public mailing lists.

ARL Report: Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication

The Association of Research Libraries has released Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication by Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith, plus a database of associated examples.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

In the spring of 2008, ARL engaged Ithaka’s Strategic Services Group to conduct an investigation into the range of online resources valued by scholars, paying special attention to those projects that are pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional formats and are considered innovative by the faculty who use them. The networked digital environment has enabled the creation of many new kinds of works, and many of these resources have become essential tools for scholars conducting research, building scholarly networks, and disseminating their ideas and work, but the decentralized distribution of these new-model works has made it difficult to fully appreciate their scope and number.

Ithaka’s findings are based on a collection of resources identified by a volunteer field team of over 300 librarians at 46 academic institutions in the US and Canada. Field librarians talked with faculty members on their campuses about the digital scholarly resources they find most useful and reported the works they identified. The authors evaluated each resource gathered by the field team and conducted interviews of project leaders of 11 representative resources. Ultimately, 206 unique digital resources spanning eight formats were identified that met the study’s criteria.

The study’s innovative qualitative approach yielded a rich cross-section of today’s state of the art in digital scholarly resources. The report profiles each of the eight genres of resources, including discussion of how and why the faculty members reported using the resources for their work, how content is selected for the site, and what financial sustainability strategies the resources are employing. Each section draws from the in-depth interviews to provide illustrative anecdotes and representative examples.

Highlights from the study’s findings include:

  • While some disciplines seem to lend themselves to certain formats of digital resource more than others, examples of innovative resources can be found across the humanities, social sciences, and scientific/technical/medical subject areas.

  • Of all the resources suggested by faculty, almost every one that contained an original scholarly work operates under some form of peer review or editorial oversight.

  • Some of the resources with greatest impact are those that have been around a long while.

  • While some resources serve very large audiences, many digital publications—capable of running on relatively small budgets—are tailored to small, niche audiences.

  • Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types.

  • Projects of all sizes—especially open-access sites and publications—employ a range of support strategies in the search for financial sustainability.

Reference Extract: The Librarian-Recommendation-Weighted Search Engine

OCLC, the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and the University of Washington Information School have received a $100,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to plan a librarian-recommendation-weighted search engine called Reference Extract.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the most powerful," said Dr. Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington and a lead on the project. "The best search engines are great for basic search, but sometimes the Web site results lack credibility in terms of trust, accuracy and reliability. So, who can help? Librarians. If a librarian recommends a Web site, you can be pretty sure that it's credible. RefEx will take hundreds of thousands of librarian recommendations and use them in a full-scale search engine."

Reference Extract is envisioned as a Web search experience similar to those provided by the world's most popular search engines. However, unlike other search engines, Reference Extract will be built for maximum credibility of search results by relying on the expertise of librarians. Users will enter a search term and receive results weighted toward sites most often used by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State Library of Maryland, and over 2,000 other libraries worldwide.

As part of the planning process, participants are reaching out to partners in libraries, technology organizations and research institutions. "The only way this will work is by making a project of an entire community," said Dr. R. David Lankes, Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and Associate Professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. "Web searchers get to tap into the incredible skill and knowledge of the library community, while librarians will be able to serve users on a whole new scale. This work follows on previous credibility work supported by the MacArthur Foundation, most notably the Credibility Commons (" . . .

The Reference Extract project will hold a series of meetings and consultations over the coming months. The team is eager to build a business plan and technology architecture to benefit users and the library community alike. Those interested in providing input on the project and learning more can visit the project Web site at

New GNU Free Document License Will Allow Wikipedia to Use Creative Commons License

At the request of the Wikimedia Foundation, the Free Software Foundation has modified the GNU Free Document License so that, in the newly released version 1.3 of that license, the Wikipedia, which uses the GNU FDL License, can use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

In "Enormously Important News from the Free Software Foundation," Lawrence Lessig discusses the significance of this change.

Here's an excerpt:

It would be hard to overstate the importance of this change to the Free Culture community. A fundamental flaw in the Free Culture Movement to date is that its most important element—Wikipedia—is licensed in a way that makes it incompatible with an enormous range of other content in the Free Culture Movement. One solution to this, of course, would be for everything to move to the FDL. But that license was crafted initially for manuals, and there were a number of technical reasons why it would not work well (and in some cases, at all) for certain important kinds of culture.

This change would now permit interoperability among Free Culture projects, just as the dominance of the GNU GPL enables interoperability among Free Software projects. It thus eliminates an unnecessary and unproductive hinderance to the spread and growth of Free Culture.

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