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Posts Tagged ‘Digital Collections’

Digital Magic Preservation for a New Era

Posted by Editor on March 13, 2012

By Matthew Kirschenbaum

You don’t get to play with a whole lot of cool tools or toys when you’re an English professor. Fountain pens and Moleskine notebooks maybe, or a book light or fancy e-reader. Bibliographers—those savants who analyze the unique physical characteristics of manuscripts and printed books—get the best stuff: illuminated magnifying glasses and book weights, white gloves and padded forceps, and more exotic assemblages, such as the original Hinman collator, a contraption the size of a refrigerator whose flashing lights were reportedly capable of inducing epileptic seizure. (Newer collators fold and collapse into a briefcase for transport to distant libraries, and while they may induce headaches, are seizure-free.)

But now that literary materials are often stored and accessible only in electronic formats—manuscript drafts written with word processors, e-mail correspondence buried in hard drives—we may be able to get our hands on some nifty techno-biblio accessories that make data retrieval easier.

One such device is the inelegantly named FC5025 floppy controller card, 1 1/4-by- 3 3/4 inches and silicon-wafer thin. If you grew up in the 1980s when I did, and if your first computer was an Apple, Commodore, Atari, or TRS “Trash” 80, the FC5025 (or one of several gizmos like it) is the link to whatever frail trellises of data may still remain magnetically etched on the surface of the antique “floppies” that went with those machines. One end of the device anchors an old-school gray ribbon cable that connects to an actual 5 1/4-inch drive, scrounged from eBay or a friend (I got mine from a supply closet). The other end holds the familiar, comforting shape of a USB terminus. Sandwiched in between, embedded in the FC5025 controller board, is the software necessary to bridge the gap between a wheezing, groaning disk drive and any modern operating system.

The FC5025 allows me to move data off my old floppy disks in the form of a so-called image file, a virtual simulacrum of the original diskette. With the disk image, I can extract individual files or run it through an “emulator” (more on this later), where I can examine individual bytes and verify that not a single one has been altered in the transition. Read the rest of this entry »


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LJ Virtual Tech Summit Explores How Libraries Use Tech To Connect with Patrons

Posted by Editor on December 16, 2011

By David Rapp

LJ’s Virtual Tech Summit on December 8, “Power to the Patron: From Systems to Services,” brought together sharp minds from across the country, addressing a range of cutting-edge technologies in the library world—from mobile apps to print-on-demand to patron-driven ebook acquisition to the future of data access. But with all the wide-ranging discussion, the focus remained on patrons, and how libraries can best use tech to provide them with the best services. [The summit archives are now available online for registrants.] Platinum sponsors for the event were SirsiDynix and Comprise Technologies.

The future of digital storytelling
Keynoting the day-long event was by Bryan Alexander, senior fellow at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education, who took a wide view on technology trends and how technology affects interactions with patrons.

Alexander is a member of the advisory board for the New Media Consortium’s and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s Horizon Report, the annual report on technology trends in higher education. He touched on trends highlighted in the most recent report. Among these are augmented-reality software applications (by tying “digital data to the surface of the earth” using location services like Google Maps, he said, such apps can create “a new way of reinterpreting and re-experiencing the world”) and game-based learning (as motion-control game interfaces, for example, are “already beginning to shake up everything we do”), both of which he said will likely become more mainstream within the next few years. He also noted the rise of ebooks, and particularly mobile apps and social networking, which he said have made many people “storytellers.”

But where do libraries fit into such future technological trends? In the post-keynote Q&A moderated by Lisa Carlucci Thomas, director of library consultancy design think do and Virtual Tech Summit project lead, Alexander noted that librarians are the professionals “best equipped to help us with a lot of the challenges around [digital] storytelling,” such as questions regarding copyright issues. He also said that technologies that most people don’t already have, such as large display screens, might make inroads in library spaces. Read the rest of this entry »

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2011 Medical eBook Publishing Trends Webcast – from Krafty Librarian

Posted by Editor on June 29, 2011

by Michelle Kraft

Yesterday I viewed the 2011 Medical eBook Publishing Trends Webcast hosted by Ovid and it was very interesting.  If you missed it the webcast will be available to watch in the archives in a few days (I will post the link when it is up).

Here are just some of the things I could piece together from my furious scribbling notes and memory:

While the media and Amazon have really raised awareness about ebooks, ereaders aren’t as much of an influence in the medical and medical library world.  However, that doesn’t mean our users don’t want ebooks. On the contrary, people are showing use their preferences are moving more and more to the electronic environment.

Mark Funk mentioned that digitization has happened in waves within the library.  The first wave was abstracts and indexes going online. The second wave was reference tools. The third wave is/was ejournals.  The fourth wave is ebooks.  He describes that this fourth wave is harder to implement than the electronic journals wave.  This primarily due to the differences in the delivered product.  A book is much larger, costlier, and complicated to put online than the regular STM journal article.  Unlike ejournal articles ebooks have authors that must be paid, require more editing, have more illustrating, and have individual sales, all of which make the cost of publishing an ebook more expensive than a journal article.

Mark stated (and please if I my notes are wrong and misquoting Mark please let me know), “Unlike ejournals most STM book publishers don’t want their items downloaded, printed, or put on multiple devices.”   This is different from ejournal articles and that those differences help make surfing the fourth wave a little more difficult than the third wave. Read the rest of this entry »

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Digital Literacy: The Student Perspective

Posted by Editor on April 27, 2011

from Stephen’s Lighthouse –  could refer to library users of all types!
Bobbi Newman pointed to this interesting post:

What is a Digital Literacy?

In What Are Digital Literacies? Let’s Ask the Students Cathy Davidson talks about asking her students in “This Is Your Brain on the Internet” and “Twenty-First Century Literacies” about digital literacies. Here is the list they came up with:

  • Using online sources to network, knowledge-outreach, publicize content, collaborate and innovate
  • Collecting, managing, and interpreting multimedia and online data and/or content
  • Appreciating the complex ethics surrounding online practices
  • Engaging successfully in an “Innovation Challenge,” an exercise in simultaneous multi-user, real-time distance collaboration, on deadline
  • Developing a diversity of writing styles and modes of communication to best reach, address, and accommodate multiple audiences across multiple online platforms
  • Demonstrating technical and media skills: Web video, WordPress, blogging, Google Docs, Livechat, Twitter, Facebook Groups, Wikipedia editing
  • Participating successfully in peer leadership (without an authority figure as the leader to police, guide, or protect the collaborators), peer assessment, peer self-evaluation; making contributions to a group on a coherent and innovative project
  • Cultivating strategies for managing the line between personal and professional life in visible, online communities
  • Understanding how to transform complicated ideas and gut reactions about technology into flexible technology policy
  • Learning how to champion the importance of the open Web and ‘Net Neutrality
  • Collaborating across disciplines, working with people from different backgrounds and fields, including across liberal arts and engineering……read all here. and here.

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The Future Of Libraries In The E-Book Age

Posted by Editor on April 5, 2011

by Lynn Neary on NPR

April 4, 2011

View Of New York Public Library Building

A lot of attention has been focused on the way bookstores and publishing companies are managing the e-book revolution. The role of libraries has often been overlooked. But when HarperCollins Publishing Co. recently announced a new policy that would limit the number of times its e-books can be borrowed, it sparked a larger conversation about the future of libraries in the digital age.

These days, you don’t have to go anywhere near a library to check out an e-book. You can download one to your digital device in a matter of seconds. And there’s no more pesky overdue notices — the e-book simply disappears from your device when your time is up.

“The fact is that with a digital item, if you give it to somebody you still have it. It doesn’t have to come back,” says Eli Neiburger, the director for IT and production at the Ann Arbor District library in Michigan.

E-books, says Neiburger, are really digital files, but libraries and publishers are still trying to deal with them as if they are just like print books. In other words, they’re trying to do business the way they have always done business

“Part of the models we’ve seen so far are still trying to force 20th century business models onto digital content,” Neiburger says. “And any digital native says, ‘You mean I have to wait to download an e-book? What sense does that make?’ And they’re off to the Kindle store to spend $3.99 or $4.99 or $9.99 to get that same book.” Read the rest of this entry »

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New Roles for New Times: Digital Curation for Preservation, Published by ARL

Posted by Editor on March 17, 2011

Washington DC—The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published “Digital Curation for Preservation,” the first report in its new series, New Roles for New Times.

Authored by Tyler Walters and Katherine Skinner, the report looks at how libraries are developing new roles and services in the arena of digital curation for preservation. The authors consider a “promising set of new roles that libraries are currently carving out in the digital arena,” describing emerging strategies for libraries and librarians and highlighting collaborative approaches through a series of case studies of key programs and projects. They also provide helpful definitions and offer recommendations for libraries considering how best to make or expand their investments in digital curation. Issues and developments within and across the sciences and humanities are considered.

To download the free report, please visit:

Some of this intriguing document is below:

In the 21st century, ARL libraries are increasingly exploring and adopting a range of new roles in serving research institutions, researchers, scholars, and students, making the time ripe for ARL to organize a new report cluster focusing on key new roles. The New Roles for New Times series will identify and delineate emerging roles and present research on early experiences among member libraries in developing the roles and delivering services. Each report will describe an emerging role, articulating the audience affected by the new role and the benefits various constituencies experience as a result of the new role. The reports will highlight existing work, report authors’ findings, and offer analysis of trends, best practices, and key issues.

The New Roles for New Times report, “Digital Curation for Preservation,” explores how research libraries are attempting to add value in the chain of events that produce new research knowledge and information. Digital curation refers to the actions people take to maintain and add value to digital information over its lifecycle, including the processes used when creating digital content. Digital preservation focuses on the “series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary.” In this report, we highlight the intersection of these actions, specifically focusing on how digital curation must facilitate the preservation of our shared digital memory…

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Puzzled by Patron-Driven Acquisitions

Posted by Editor on November 13, 2010

By Barbara Fister November 11, 2010 9:45 pm EST on Inside Higher Education

The buzz at the recent Charleston Conference (and practically every other recent conference at which academic librarians have gathered) is a combination of new formats and a new collection development philosophy, shifting from print collections with titles chosen by librarians and faculty to making thousands of e-books available and letting the purchasing choices be made by “patrons”–an old-fashioned term for library users of all stripes, a large contingent of which are undergraduates writing “research papers” that are mostly papers synthesizing other people’s research.

(Though one might think the “research paper” that has little to do with genuine research should have disappeared sometime after 1982, when Richard Larson famously skewered it as a “non-form of writing” that gives authentic research a bad name, but in fact this kind of expository writing from sources is more prevalent than ever. But I digress.)

This new way of building collections emphasizes speed and choice, things that are popular these days. No need to wait for interlibrary loan; just click on the title in a large shopping mall of e-books and you can have what you want right away. One model that’s popular is to enter the e-book options into the library’s catalog. Browsing for a short period of time is free; browsing for a longer period is treated as a rental and the library pays a fee; and if a book is “rented” four times, the library automatically purchases the book.

As some have pointed out, librarians don’t have a terribly good record of acquiring books that are actually used. Why not let patrons take a whack at it? At our small undergraduate library, a disturbingly high percentage of books have never left the shelf, and decades later are still there, dated and in most cases useless except as historical artifacts. (Yes, we’re working on weeding; it’s painfully obvious how many mistakes were made.) And faculty selection isn’t necessarily better. Most libraries have shelves full of books on a topic that was Professor Poindexter’s passion, but which hasn’t been taught since …read entire post here.

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The Dawn of the Bookless Library – in the New Yorker

Posted by Editor on July 15, 2010

Posted by Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

Amid all the fuss over Stanford University’s announcement that they are unveiling a bookless library (is it the wave of the future? A sign of the literary apocalypse?), everyone seemed to be missing one rather obvious point: when it opens in August it will, in spite of the misleading nomenclature, contain books. True, the new physics and engineering library will house eighty-five percent fewer books, but it isn’t some sort of thought experiment (if a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear, will it still make a noise? If a library contains no books, is it still a library?) or Borgesian symbol. In fact, it isn’t even a sign of the end of books; it’s a result of schools being so overcrowded with them. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford buys the equivalent of two hundred and seventy-three books a day. As you can imagine, that adds up to an awful lot of shelf space and, as a result, Stanford has been forced to move many of their titles to storage facilities miles away. The University isn’t alone in this. As the Mercury News reports,

Four miles off its Durham campus, Duke University has a high-density storage facility, with shelves 30 feet high, to hold 15 million books. Harvard’s repository is 35 miles away in the rural town of Southborough.

“You just get to the point where you’re busting at the seams,” said Lori Goetsch, president of the Association of College and Research Libraries and dean of libraries at Kansas State in Manhattan — which stores its books more than 80 miles away, in Lawrence.

Books aren’t obsolete; they’re so ubiquitous that they can’t even fit into a traditional campus and, like mushrooms, branch underground to cover entire states. In that light, reactions to the “bookless” Stanford library seem to be missing the point. They’re more a sign of how Manichean gut-feelings about literature are these days—either the digital world is an insidious devil, reluctantly acquiesced to or assiduously avoided, or the Internet is about to usher in a renaissance of reading, and digitization is a kind of messiah shedding light and learning on the world. Everyone knows there’s a middle ground but, when the whiff of a word like “bookless” floats about, no one ever seems to be standing on it.

As for Stanford engineering students stuck using electronic texts, the debate over a bookless library is made moot by recent reports that college students are studying only half as much as they did in the nineteen-sixties. Are they hitting the books, or scrolling through them? Apparently, they aren’t even cracking them.

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Stanford Ushers In The Age Of Bookless Libraries

Posted by Editor on July 8, 2010

by Laura Sydell on NPR –7/8/2010–

The periodical shelves at Stanford University’s Engineering Library are nearly bare. Library chief Helen Josephine says that in the past five years, most engineering periodicals have been moved online, making their print versions pretty obsolete — and books aren’t doing much better.

According to Josephine, students can now browse those periodicals from their laptops or mobile devices.

For years, students have had to search through volume after volume of books before finding the right formula — but no more. Josephine says that “with books being digitized and available through full text search capabilities, they can find that formula quite easily.”

In 2005, when the university realized it was running out space for its growing collection of 80,000 engineering books, administrators decided to build a new library. But instead of creating more space for books, they chose to create less.

The new library is set to open in August with 10,000 engineering books on the shelves — a decrease of more than 85 percent from the old library. Stanford library director Michael Keller says the librarians determined which books to keep on the shelf by looking at how frequently a book was checked out. They found that the vast majority of the collection hadn’t been taken off the shelf in five years.

Keller expects that, eventually, there won’t be any books on the shelves at all.

“As the world turns more and more, the items that appeared in physical form in previous decades and centuries are appearing in digital form,” he says.

Given the nature of engineering, that actually comes in handy. Engineering uses some basic formulas but is generally a rapidly changing field — particularly in specialties such as software and bioengineering. Traditional textbooks have rarely been able to keep up.

Jim Plummer, dean of Stanford’s School of Engineering, says that’s why his faculty is increasingly using e-books. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toward a New Alexandria–in the New Republic

Posted by Editor on April 1, 2010

by Lisbet Rausing, March 12, 2010

Imagine a new Library of Alexandria. Imagine an archive that contains all the natural and social sciences of the West—our source-critical, referenced, peer-reviewed data—as well as the cultural and literary heritage of the world’s civilizations, and many of the world’s most significant archives and specialist collections. Imagine that this library is electronic and in the public domain: sustainable, stable, linked, and searchable through universal semantic catalogue standards. Imagine that it has open source-ware, allowing legacy digital resources and new digital knowledge to be integrated in real time. Imagine that its Second Web capabilities allowed universal researches of the bibliome.

Well, why not imagine this library? Realizing such a dream is no longer a question of technology. Remarkable electronic libraries are already being assembled. Google Books aims to catalogue about 16 million books. The nonprofit Internet Archive already has some 1 million volumes. Public expectations run ahead even of these efforts. To do research, only one in a hundred American college students turn first to their university catalogue. Over 80 percent turn first to Google.

It is clear that if a new Alexandria is to be built, it needs to be built for the long term, with an unwavering commitment to archival preservation and the public good. A true public good itself, it probably needs to be largely governmentally funded. And, while a global and cooperative venture, it needs to be hosted by one organisation that is reputable, long-standing, nonprofit, and exists in a stable jurisdiction. The Library of Congress, the flagship institution of the world’s only surviving Enlightenment republic, comes to mind. There might be other possibilities, such as the New York Public Library, or the British Library, or a consortium of the world’s leading university libraries—UCLA, Harvard, Cambridge University, and so on.

In other words, the question for scholars and gatekeepers is not whether change is coming. It is whether they will be among the change-makers. And if not them, then who? Who else will ensure long-term conservation and search abilities that are compatible across the bibliome and over time? Who else will ensure equality of access? Ultimately, this is not a challenge of technology, finances, or ultimately even laws, difficult though they are. It is a challenge of will and imagination.

Answering that challenge will require some soul-searching: Do we have the generosity to collaborate? Can we build legal, organizational, and financial structures that will preserve and order—but also share and disseminate the learning of the world? Scholars have traditionally gated and protected knowledge, yet also shared and distributed it in libraries, schools, and universities. We have stood for a republic of learning that is wider than the ivory tower, and now is the time to do so again. We must stand up, as the Swedes say, for folkbildningsidealet, that profoundly democratic vision of universal learning and education….Read entire article here.

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