New Leadership at New Zealand’s National Digital Library

John Truesdale has been named the Director of the National Digital Library, Paul Reynolds has been named the Adjunct Director, and Steve Knight has been named Associate Director.

For details, see the press releases: "National Library of New Zealand appoints Director, National Digital Library" and "Trio of Top Thinkers to Lead National Digital Library."

Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive Repository Launched

The University College Dublin has launched the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive Repository.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

VRLA is a digital archive containing a number of digitised collections from UCD’s holdings, of use and interest to Irish humanities researchers. The IVRLA has developed a sophisticated interface enabling users to browse, search, tag and cite digital objects and view or download them in a variety of file formats. This interface sits on top of an open source repository architecture that functions as the IVRLA’s base content store. An elaborate collection model has been developed ensuring all content is viewed within context and structure. This model is particularly suited for organic primary source collections and enables hierarchy and sub-division in how objects are arranged and held within collections.

Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership Grants Awarded

The Institute of Museum and Library Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities have announced the award of three grants under their Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership program.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

  • $347,520 to Historical Society of Pennsylvania for its project: PhilaPlace: A Neighborhood History and Culture Project. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Records and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design will develop PhilaPlace, an interactive Web resource chronicling the history, culture, and architecture of Philadelphia's neighborhoods. Complete with maps, historical records, photographs, and digital models of select neighborhoods, PhilaPlace will serve as a prototype website for communities wishing to digitize their cultural heritage.
  • $349,939 to Tufts University, Medford for its project: Scalable Named Entity Identification in Classical Studies. The Perseus Project and the Collections and Archives of Tufts University will construct a testing database of scholarly and cultural documents about the ancient world. In the second part of the project, Tufts will develop a digital reference tool allowing researchers and librarians to conduct context-based “smart searches” of un-indexed words from existing databases in the Tufts Digital Library. By developing this database, and allowing for much shorter and complete context-based searches, Tufts hopes to lead scholars and students to the next generation of digital tools.
  • $349,996 to University of California, Berkeley for its project: Context and Relationships: Ireland and Irish Studies. The University of California, Berkeley in collaboration with the Queen’s University, Belfast, will develop a digital database of Irish studies materials to test three open-source digital tools. The Context Finder, Context Builder, and Context Provider tools will be aimed at establishing scholarly context. Using a common word search feature in digital collections, these tools will allow users to access the ideas that are associated with the words, thereby creating context through maps, primary texts and secondary works.

Back from the Certificate in Digital Information Management Meeting

I'm back from the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science's Advisory Group meeting for its Certificate in Digital Information Management program.

This online post-bachelor's certificate program is shaping up nicely, building on its unusual synthesis of archival, digital technology, and library perspectives. As intended, its attracting a student body from diverse work and educational backgrounds. Peter Botticelli has been hired to lead the certificate program. Recruitment for the next cohort of students is gearing up, and some IMLS-funded scholarships will be available for U.S. citizens.

The certificate program is composed of six three-credit graduate courses.

  • IRLS 671 Introduction to Digital Collections
  • IRLS 672 Introduction to Applied Technology
  • IRLS 673 Managing the Digital Information Environment
  • IRLS 674 Preservation of Digital Collections
  • IRLS 675 Advanced Digital Collections
  • IRLS 676 Capstone

More detailed information can be found on the Course Information & Schedules: Digital Information Management Certificate page.

Two EDUCAUSE Live! Podcasts: Cyberinfrastructure and Digital Libraries

Two EDUCAUSE Live! Podcasts have been released:

TableSeer: Searching and Ranking PDF Table Data

Researchers at Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology's Cyber-Infrastructure Lab have developed open source software called TableSeer that can find, extract, search, and rank table data from PDF files. Source code will be available at the project's close.

Here's an extract from the press release:

Tables are an important data resource for researchers. In a search of 10,000 documents from journals and conferences, the researchers found that more than 70 percent of papers in chemistry, biology and computer science included tables. Furthermore, most of those documents had multiple tables.

But while some software can identify and extract tables from text, existing software cannot search for tables across documents. That means scientists and scholars must manually browse documents in order to find tables-a time-consuming and cumbersome process.

TableSeer automates that process and captures data not only within the table but also in tables' titles and footnotes. In addition, it enables column-name-based search so that a user can search for a particular column in a table.

In tests with documents from the Royal Society of Chemistry, TableSeer correctly identified and retrieved 93.5 percent of tables created in text-based formats. . . .

Information on TableSeer can be found in a paper, "TableSeer: Automatic Table Metadata Extraction and Searching in Digital Libraries," by Ying Liu, Kun Bai, Mitra and Giles of the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology.

Michael Keller Appointed CLIR Senior Presidential Fellow

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has announced the appointment of Michael Keller, Stanford’s University Librarian, as CLIR Senior Presidential Fellow. Keller is also Director of Academic Information Resources, founder and publisher of HighWire Press, and publisher of the Stanford University Press.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

During the two-year appointment, which begins August 1, Mr. Keller will undertake a series of studies and reports for CLIR publication. His research will include examining the recommendations of recent cyberinfrastructure reports and exploring how our communities can respond to the complex environment these reports envision, including the role and function of institutional repositories, digital archives, and digital libraries. He will also compose white papers that elucidate new and emerging research methodologies, new models of scholarly publishing, the role of supercomputer
centers in the evolving concept of cyberinfrastructure, and topics specific to rethinking aspects of libraries and academic life. During his tenure as fellow, he will continue to work from Stanford.

Position Papers from the NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop

Position papers from the NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop are now available.

Here’s an excerpt from the Workshop’s Welcome and Themes page:

Here is some background information. A series of recent studies and reports have highlighted the ever-growing importance for all academic fields of data and information in digital formats. Studies have looked at digital information in science and in the humanities; at the role of data in Cyberinfrastructure; at repositories for large-scale digital libraries; and at the challenges of archiving and preservation of digital information. The goal of this workshop is to unite these separate studies. The NSF and JISC share two principal objectives: to develop a road map for research over the next ten years and what to support in the near term.

Here are the position papers:

European Digital Library Prototype Launches

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France has launched a prototype of the European Digital Library (Europeana).

Here’s an excerpt from "France Launches Francophone Digital Library":

Europeana—as the cyber library is named—currently offers access to some 12,000 public domain full-text documents but is set to have by 2010 over 6 million books, movies, photographs and other documents from across the European Union countries. . . .

"We want to make it so that Europe is not entirely abandoned to an American search engine," said Jean-Noël Jeanneney, the head of BNF, according to French press reports.

The "The European Digital Library in 16 Questions" provides further information about the project.

A press release about the launch is also available (in French).

Mellon Grants to CLIR/DLF

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given grants to both the Council on Library and Information Resources and the Digital Library Federation.

Here’s an excerpt from the CLIR grant press release:

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has received a three-year, $2.19 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support general operations. The award will allow CLIR to launch a range of new initiatives in six program areas: cyberinfrastructure, preservation, the next scholar, the emerging library, leadership, and new models. . . .

The breadth of CLIR’s new agenda is represented in six interrelated program areas:

Cyberinfrastructure defines the base technologies of computation and communication, the software programs, and the data-curation and data-preservation programs needed to manage large-scale multimedia data sets, particularly those pertaining to the digital record of our cultural heritage;

Preservation explores sustainable strategies for preserving all media in a complex technological, policy, and economic environment;

The Next Scholar explores and assesses new methodologies, fields of inquiry, strategies for data gathering and collaboration, and modes of communication that are likely to define the next generation of scholars;

The Emerging Library explores and articulates the changing concept of the library with particular focus on its core functions and the consequences for staffing, research and teaching, and economic modeling;

Leadership investigates and defines the skills and expertise needed to administer, inspire, and inform the next generation; and

New Models extrapolates from an array of CLIR’s findings and other related research how academic organizations, institutions, behaviors, and culture may evolve over the coming decade.

Here’s an excerpt from the DLF grant press release:

The Digital Library Federation (DLF) has received an $816,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a project designed to make distributed digital collections easier for scholars to use. The project, DLF Aquifer Development for Interoperability Across Scholarly Repositories: American Social History Online, will implement schemas, data models, and technologies to enable scholars to use digital collections as one in a variety of local environments. . . .

The project will address the difficulty that humanities and social science scholars face in finding and using digital materials located in a variety of environments with a bewildering array of interfaces, access protocols, and usage requirements. DLF Aquifer seeks to provide scholars with consistent access to digital library collections pertaining to nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. social history across institutional boundaries. The collections are in a variety of formats and include maps and photographs from the Library of Congress historical collections; sheet music from the Sam DeVincent Collection of American Sheet Music at Indiana University; and an array of regional collections, such as Michigan County Histories from the University of Michigan and Tennessee Documentary History from the University of Tennessee, that will facilitate cross-regional studies when combined.

By integrating American Social History Online into a variety of local environments, the project will bring the library to the scholar and make distributed collections available through locally supported tools. The project will take two years to develop and implement, from April 2007 to March 2009.

Digital Object Prototypes Framework Released

Kostas Saidis has released the Digital Object Prototypes Framework. It is available from the DOPs download page.

Here is an excerpt from the fedora-commons-users announcement:

At a glance, DOPs is a framework for the effective management and manipulation of diverse and heterogeneous digital material, providing repository-independent, type-consistent abstractions of stored digital objects. In DOPs, individual objects are treated as instances of their prototype and, hence, conform to its specifications automatically, regardless of the underlying storage format used to store and encode the objects.

The framework also provides inherent support for collections /sub-collections hierarchies and compound objects, while it allows DL-pertinent services to compose type-specific object behavior effectively. A DO Storage module is also available, which allows one to use the framework atop Fedora (thoroughly tested with Fedora version 2.0).

Digital Information Management Certificate

Here’s a description of the University of Arizona’s new Certificate in Digital Information Management program from their press release. The deadline for scholarship applications and admission to the program starting this summer has just been extended to April 1, 2007.

The University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science and The University of Arizona Office of Continuing Education and Academic Outreach are now accepting applications from students interested in a new post-baccalaureate certificate program in Digital Information Management (DigIn). DigIn will provide hands-on experience and focused instruction for people seeking new careers in or improving their skills and knowledge of digital archives, digital libraries, digital document repositories and other kinds of digital collections.

The explosion of digital information and the growth of on-line digital resources has led to a shortage of individuals with an understanding of the disciplines of libraries, document management and archives who also have the technical knowledge and skills needed to create, manage and support digital information collections. The six-course, 18-credit hour graduate program will provide both new students and working professionals with a balanced mix of content that includes practical applied technology skills along with a foundation in the theory and practice of building and maintaining today’s digital collections. Certificate holders will be well positioned for careers in libraries, archives, local, state and federal government and the private sector.

All coursework is online, so students will not need to take time off work or travel for courses. The program may be completed in 18-30 months and starts each summer with two required courses, Introduction to Applied Technology and Introduction to Digital Collections. The certificate program has been developed in cooperation with The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. Major funding for program development comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which has also provided funding for a limited number of scholarships.

For more information and to apply, visit the University of Arizona Office of Continuing Education and Academic Outreach website at:
http://ceao.arizona.edu/dist/sirls_welcome.html.

Managing Digitization Activities, SPEC Kit 294

The Association of Research Libraries has published Managing Digitization Activities, SPEC Kit 294. The table of contents and executive summary are freely available.

Here are some highlights from the announcement:

This survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in February 2006. Sixty-eight libraries (55%) responded to the survey, of which all but two (97%) reported having engaged in digitization activities. Only one respondent reported having begun digitization activities prior to 1992; five other pioneers followed in 1992. From 1994 through 1998 there was a steady increase in the number of libraries beginning digital initiatives; 30 joined the pioneers at the rate of three to six a year. There was a spike of activity at the turn of the millennium that reached a high in 2000, when nine libraries began digital projects. Subsequently, new start-ups have slowed, with only an additional one to five libraries beginning digitization activities each year.

The primary factor that influenced the start up of digitization activities was the availability of grant funding (39 responses or 59%). Other factors that influenced the commencement of these activities were the addition of new staff with related skills (50%), staff receiving training (44%), the decision to use digitization as a preservation option (42%), and the availability of gift monies (29%). . . . .

Only four libraries reported that their digitization activities are solely ongoing functions; the great majority (60 or 91%) reported that their digitization efforts are a combination of ongoing library functions and discrete, finite projects.

Hear Luminaries Interviewed at Recent CNI Task Force Meetings

Matt Pasiewicz and CNI have made available digital audio interviews with a number of prominent attendees at the CNI Fall (2005) and Spring (2006) Task Force meetings.

Streaming Video E-Reserves at Emory University Libraries

Emory’s Woodruff Library has a streaming video e-reserves service. Here are a few quotes:

Material to be digitized must be owned either by the library or by the person requesting the digitization. We will not digitize any third-party copies, recordings, or transfers, including personal recordings of television broadcasts or rentals. If you would like to digitize material that is not owned either by you or by the library, please contact us and we will attempt to purchase it for the library’s collection. . . .

We will digitize video and compress it into a streaming video format that is accessible via a link posted in ReservesDirect for the duration of the semester. Our current streaming formats of choice are Real and QuickTime. Real and quicktime video players may be downloaded freely from the web. . . . We will optimize the stream for a reasonably wide cross-section of those who are likely to view it. . . .

As with other materials that are digitized and placed on ReservesDirect, we will place a copyright notice at the beginning of all video we digitize. All digitized materials will be retained and archived solely by us. . . .

We will digitize up to 20% total of a commercially produced video or film. . . .

Since all video submitted is for use in an instructional context, we anticipate that all materials submitted will follow guidelines for what is appropriate for display in a classroom setting. Therefore we will not judge or censor materials submitted to us for digitization. However, if a challenge concerning the appropriateness of materials is submitted to us, we reserve the right to restrict access to digitized materials at any time while we review the challenge and make a decision on whether to continue access to the material.

FCLA Digital Archive

Since 2003, the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA) has been creating an IMLS-grant-funded Digital Archive (DA) to serve Florida’s public universities. The DA project’s goals are to: "1) establish a working and trusted digital archive, 2) identify costs involved in all aspects of archiving, and 3) disseminate tools, procedures and results for the widest national impact."

The DA will "accept submission packages from participating partners, ingest digital documents along with the appropriate metadata, and safely store on-site and off-site copies of the files."

The DA is a "dark" archive:

Our original idea, and the one thing that did not change over time, was the idea of
building a dark archive. By “dark” I mean an archive with no real-time, online access to
the content by anyone except repository staff. Dark archives are out of favor right now
but we had some good reasons for it. We serve ten state universities and each of them
has its own presentation systems and some have their own institutional repository
systems. Some of the libraries use FCLA delivery applications but some use their own
applications. Central Florida uses CONTENTdm, South Florida uses SiteSearch and
Florida State uses DigiTool. At FCLA we donÂ’t have the software to replicate these
access functions and we donÂ’t have any desire to; it would cost a great deal to acquire the
software licenses, and it would take a huge amount of staff to support all these
applications. So the idea of our offering presentation services on top of our stored
repository content wasnÂ’t feasible.

Real-life digital preservation efforts are always worth keeping an eye on, and this one is quite ambitious. You can track their progress through their grant page and their publications and presentations page.

The project’s most recent presentation by Priscilla Caplan ("Preservation Rumination: Digital Preservation and the Unfamiliar Future ") is available from OCLC in both PowerPoint and MP3 formats.