Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
April 2006

Volume 12 Number 4

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


The DIDET Project - bringing digital libraries into the classroom for Design Engineering students

Contributed by:
Caroline Breslin
Project Manager, Learning Services
University of Strathclyde
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
caroline.breslin 'at'

Ade Mabogunje
Associate Director, Center for Design Research
Stanford University
ade 'at'

Project website: <>

Didet project logo

The DIDET project is focused on the use of Digital Libraries for Global Distributed Innovative Design, Education and Teamwork and was funded by JISC1 in the UK and the NSF2 in the USA as one of four projects in their Digital Libraries in the Classroom Programme. The DIDET Project represents a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (Scotland, UK), Stanford University (CA, USA) and Olin College (MA, USA).

The DIDET project was launched in 2003 to transform the education process for Design Engineering; to enhance learning opportunities for students by enabling them to participate in global team-based Design Engineering projects. The tools and technology developed give students experience of working within multi-cultural contexts and enable them to develop global design team working skills for successful distributed design project working.

Several collaborative experiments have taken place between the institutions, with globally distributed teams of students undertaking design projects and the project team has published widely on these. This year will see the project's classroom model and supporting technology further embedded in all institutions with the launch of a new assessed collaborative design project for students which will be part of degree classes at Strathclyde, Stanford and Olin. Globally distributed teams of students from across the three institutions will be challenged to design a product with global appeal and build a prototype model.

Students are supported by the 'LauLima'3 and 'INFORMEDIA'4 5 systems. LauLima is a wiki-based system which has been developed as part of the DIDET project at Strathclyde and comprises a shared learning environment for distributed team-working, and a digital library in which unique resources are stored for reuse by future students. INFORMEDIA is a video-based digital library system developed at Carnegie Mellon University which has been tailored by Stanford for archiving and reusing tacit process-related knowledge in Design Engineering classes.

The resources in these digital library systems are 'unique' in that most of them are created by students themselves. Furthermore, many of them have successfully captured informal, tacit knowledge relating to design processes, for example ideas contained in a video, sketch or drawing. As students use INFORMEDIA, or work collaboratively on the LauLima learning environment, and map their design process, staff identify good quality videos, drawings, sketches, images, articles, documents and so on that relate to models, mechanisms, team working, prototyping, design processes or any other aspect of Design Engineering. With student consent, these resources are indexed and approved by an information specialist for inclusion in the digital library.

Resources may be generally useful for Design Engineering or related to a particular class or assignment and metadata is applied accordingly. Staff and student users then benefit by browsing and searching the digital library to retrieve relevant quality resources for reuse in Design Engineering teaching and learning.

Further evaluation work is planned by the team to evaluate the digital library, its use in the classroom and how student learning has been enhanced. Please see our website for further information on the DIDET project and its outcomes, including the classroom model developed and the systems which support its use in Design Engineering teaching and learning. Please note that the LauLima system will be available for download from our website later this year as an open source product.

1. JISC - Joint Information Systems Committee <>.

2. NSF - National Science Foundation <>.

3. LauLima was originally developed from 'Tikiwiki', which was extensively customised and enhanced to meet the needs of the DIDET Project. <>.

4. Wactlar, H.D., Kanade, T., Smith, M.A., Stevens, S.M. "Intelligent Access to Digital Video: Informedia Project," IEEE Computer, 29(5): p. 46-52, 1996.

5. Eris, O., Mabogunje, A., Jung, M., Leifer, L., Khandelwal, S., Hutterer, P., Hessling, T., Neeley, L., An Exploration of Design Information Capture and Reuse in Text And Video Media, proceedings International Conference on Engineering Design, Melbourne, August 15-18, 2005.

Modular Emulation

Contributed by:
Remco Verdegem
Project manager
Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands


Digital objects are fragile. The debate as to the best means of preserving digital objects over the long term has been underway for many years and will no doubt continue for years to come. Various theoretical solutions have been proposed, and research is carried out worldwide to identify ways in which digital objects can be authentically maintained whilst remaining accessible and usable over the long term.


The theory behind emulation is that the only way to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the digital object over the long term is to continue to provide access to it in its original environment. Emulation does not focus on the digital object itself, but on the original environment in which the object is created and rendered. It aims at recreating an environment in which the digital object can be rendered in its authentic form.

Project modular emulation

The Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands and the National Library of the Netherlands have started a project to develop a preservation strategy that is based on emulation. The objective of this project is to develop an open source emulator that is modular and portable. The following figure shows the conceptual model of modular emulation in the context of digital preservation.

Chart showing the conceptual model of modular emulation in the context of digital preservation

Figure 1

For a larger view of this image, click here.

The core of this model is defined by the modular emulator that is able to run the original system and application software. The emulator consists of distinct modules, each of them emulating specific hardware functionalities, like a CPU, memory or storage device. Each module can be reused and rearranged to create different emulators. All modules are preserved in a module library. Based on an emulator specification document that defines which modules should be used, the controller loads the required modules and creates a new emulator on the fly. On top of future hardware and software, a Universal Virtual Machine (UVM) will create the desired platform independency. In turn, the UVM will execute the modular emulator. The modularity will help to minimize the effort required in emulating a new target machine, as it allows existing modules to be re-used or new modules to be added. The portability of the developed emulator will be realized by using an intermediate layer, for which the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) has been chosen.

Development of the modular emulator has now started, and the work is scheduled to be completed in April 2007.

For more information

Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands
Remco Verdegem, project manager

Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands)
Jeffrey van der Hoeven, co-ordinator Test Team and member of the Development Team

CLOCKSS: Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe - Large Dark Archive Initiative

Contributed by:
Victoria Reich, Director LOCKSS Program
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford University
Stanford, California, USA


The scholarly community is collaborating to build a trusted large dark archive. The core value underlying this archive is that it will have distributed governance and administration and no single legal entity will be responsible for the archive's management. This guarantees that no organizational ties (of either not-for-profit or for-profit nature) can compromise the long-term viability of this initiative.

Access to archive content will be granted in response to a trigger event (for example, when content is orphaned or abandoned or a long-term business interruption), reviewed by a group of people all of whom will be working on behalf of the broader community. Content that is made accessible will be freely available to all.

The technology is based on the established and successful LOCKSS archiving system ( The LOCKSS system is a robust federated distributed network of format-agnostic preservation systems providing for continuous audit and repair of fragile digital content, and on-demand format migration.

All participating organizations have a long history of survival and members understand issues of long-term sustainability. There are 6 libraries (and date founded): Edinburgh University (1582); Indiana University (1820); New York Public Library (1895); Rice University (1912); Stanford University (1891); University of Virginia (1825).

...And 11 publishers (and date founded): American Chemical Society (1876); American Medical Association (1847); American Physiological Society (1887); Blackwell (1897); Nature Publishing Group (1869); Oxford University Press (1478); SAGE Publications (1965); Springer (1842); Taylor and Francis (1798); John Wiley & Sons (1807); Elsevier (1880, who is participating in all discussions and sharing in financial support).

CLOCKSS members are exploring social and technical models over an initial two years as we work to build a full-scale production system. Our work is transparent. All findings will be reported to the wider community; we are actively soliciting advice and feedback

This work must broadly meet the community's needs. Please indicate YOUR institution's support and concerns via the online form at <>. Talk to us!

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

Library Leaders Issue Guidelines to Reshape Libraries for Baby Boomers

April 12, 2006 - "As the first of the baby boomers turn 60, public libraries are preparing to offer creative alternatives to retirement to a generation well-known for their idealism and activism. A new report from Americans for Libraries Council (ALC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) describes this demographic revolution and offers guidance and examples of model programs to public libraries interested in connecting these active older adults to new opportunities for learning, work, and community service."

"Designs for Change: Libraries and Productive Aging gathers insights from a day-and-a-half-long Library Leaders Forum, held September 26- 27, 2005, in Washington, DC. The forum assembled 40 of the nation's top library leaders to consider the impact that the growing number of active older Americans will have on libraries and future librarians. Forum participants concluded that traditional adult services for "seniors" fall short in appealing to the interests of these older adults, and don't take full advantage of their willingness to work, volunteer, and impart expert knowledge within the community."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

Digital Libraries à la Carte: New Choices for the Future

Modular, International Digital Library Course
Tilburg University, The Netherlands, 22 - 25 August 2006

April 10, 2006 - "The International Ticer School (known for its former International Summer School on the Digital Library) offers a new, modular course for librarians and publishers: "Digital Libraries à la Carte: New Choices for the Future". The course will be held at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, 22-25 August 2006. "

"From its 'menu' of four one-day modules, you can pick your choice:

  • technological developments, relevant to libraries (lectures)
  • Library 2.0 technologies to reach out to the customer (hands-on in a computer room)
  • libraries supporting research and Open Access
  • libraries and teaching and learning"

"To guarantee a highly interactive programme, the number of participants is limited to 45 per module, lectures contain an interactive component, and one module consists of hands-on sessions in a computer room. The course is recommended by JISC, DEFF - Denmark's Electronic Research Library, the Swiss National Library, Helsinki University Library, and FinELib (Finnish National Electronic Library), part of the National Library of Finland."

"The course website can be found at <>. On the website you can find the full programme, the complete list of 16 lecturers with short bios, abstracts of most presentations and practical information about course fee and registration. "

For more information, please see the course website or contact <>.

UK and New Zealand sign ICT agreement

April 7, 2005 - "JISC and New Zealand's Ministry of Education (on behalf of New Zealand's Education Sector ICT Standing Committee and Ministry of Research, Science and Technology) have signed a formal partnership agreement which will see close cooperation between the two organisations in the e-Framework initiative and the exploration of other potential areas for collaboration."

"With international cooperation becoming central to the development and deployment of IT standards and systems, the agreement will provide a significant boost to the e-Framework initiative which has already attracted considerable international interest."

"The initiative, an ambitious and far-reaching programme, undertaken up to now by JISC and Australia's Department for Education Science and Training (DEST) with growing international support, is exploring more flexible approaches to the technical infrastructures for e-learning, e-research and e-administration. The development of such a service-oriented technical framework, based on open standards, will, it is argued, maximise the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of IT systems."

"While the principal focus of the agreement between JISC and New Zealand's Ministry of Education is the e-Framework initiative, other areas in which the two organisations might explore joint activities or share experiences include e-learning, repositories, network, e-Science, e-administration and middleware development. The agreement follows the exchange of visitors between the two countries with two more delegations from New Zealand arriving in the UK in the coming month."

For more information, please see <>.

Winners announced of the Jodi Awards 2006

April 6, 2006 - "The winners of the 2006 Jodi Awards for excellence in museum, gallery, library, archive and heritage website accessibility were announced last night at a ceremony at the British Museum."

"The winners are:"

"Jodi Award for Excellence:
i-Map: The Everyday Transformed, Tate Modern ( This site does what seems impossible to many people, by making modern art (and its key concepts) accessible to blind and partially sighted people. It is one of the few to describe collections for visually impaired people. The images are highly contrasted and made visible to partially-sighted people. The judges were unanimous in selecting the winning site, which they agreed had yet more ground-breaking qualities and was destined to set the standard in global best practice. The site is already the world leader in making online collections accessible to blind and partially sighted people."

"Jodi Award for Excellence with Low Budgets:
Speaking Volumes, supported by the Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archive Council and the Arts Council, and run through all 15 library authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber Region ( Speaking Volumes aims to bring the enjoyment of reading and involvement in reading activities to people with vision impairment. This website was designed to allow readers to write content. Blind and partially sighted site users chat about books and audio book readers. The judges said the site was enjoyable, stimulating and easy-to-use. A partnership with public libraries throughout Yorkshire and Humberside Region, Speaking Volumes is an exemplary regional resource for reader development."

"The judges awarded a 'Commendation for Excellence in user involvement' to:
The History of Wolverhampton; Wolverhampton Arts and Museums Service, Wolverhampton Archives and Wolverhampton Local Studies ( This site is notable for its simplicity in design and use. It was fine-tuned using feedback received from disabled site users and is a good example of the benefits of user involvement in website development. "

For more information, please see the full press release at <

Online Video Achieving Mass Appeal with News Leading the Way, according to Online Publishers Association Study

March 29, 2006 - "According to a study released today by the Online Publishers Association (OPA), video viewing online has reached the point where it is a routine practice for many Internet users. "From Early Adoption to Common Practice: A Primer on Online Video Viewing" is the first OPA study to look at how the U.S. online population perceives video and video advertising."

"The wide acceptance of online video is one of a number of compelling findings from the OPA study, which was conducted in partnership with Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc...."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

NISO Launches RFID Committee

March 28, 2006 announcement - "The National Information Standards Organization has formed a Technical Committee to create guidelines that lay out best practices for the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) in library applications. Chaired by Dr. Vinod Chachra, CEO of VTLS Inc., the diverse group is composed of RFID hardware manufacturers, solution providers (software and integration), library RFID users, book jobbers and processors, and related organizations. The NISO Committee's work is limited to RFID tags used in libraries, that is, tags operating at 13.56 MHz. "

"This best practices document will form a part of a larger input document on U.S requirements for the ISO TC 46 working group developing a standard data model for encoding information on the tag. The group will also coordinate with American Library Association/Book Industry Study Group working group around the interaction of technology and privacy issues."

"'The new RFID standards must help us achieve interoperability within the library industry and application isolation across industries,' explained Dr. Chachra. 'First, the interoperability must be at the tag level, so that tags from various suppliers or from different libraries can be used by the RFID hardware in the library. Interoperability must also be achieved at the hardware level, where hardware from different suppliers can work with the tags already in the library books. Second, we must have vertical application isolation among different industries. In other words, we do not want CDs purchased at a store to trigger library security gates and library books to set off alarms at grocery stores. Most importantly, we much achieve these goals while protecting personal privacy.'"

"The committee evolved from an exploratory group formed at the October 2005 RFID Technologies Institute, which was jointly sponsored by NISO and the Center for Digital Knowledge at the University of North Texas-Denton."

For additional information, contact NISO at <>.

ALA issues RFP for feasibility study

March 28, 2006 - "The American Library Association (ALA) has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a consultant to conduct a feasibility study on a proposal to establish a 'Library Corps.' The 'Library Corps' is a proposal to recruit retired librarians to provide assistance to libraries that need help. "

"The consultant will determine the need for this service; the interest of retirees to volunteer; the needs and interest of client libraries; the interest of state library and state education agencies to participate; and recommend ways to effectively structure and administer the 'Library Corps' project."

"The ALA is funding the feasibility study, along with the ALA divisions and Leslie Burger, the ALA president-elect."

"The RFP is available at <>. The deadline to submit the RFP is May 1, 2006."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

High Level Expert Group to advise European Commission on how to build the European Digital Library

March 27, 2006 - "After having spelled out the [European] Commission's plans for a European Digital Library at the beginning of this month, Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding today chaired the first meeting of the High Level Expert Group on Digital Libraries. The group will advise the Commission on how to tackle key challenges in making Europe's cultural heritage available online."

"'Our goal is to make Europe's cultural and scientific heritage available to all European citizens and researchers for their studies, work or leisure,' Commissioner Reding commented. 'With its immense expertise and knowledge, this group can make an essential contribution to the European Digital Library'."

"In today's meeting, the group discussed the Commission's vision for the European Digital Library...and set up a framework for future discussions. The group also had a first exchange of views on copyright issues. In a recent online consultation, right-holders supported the adequacy of the present copyright rules and the need to fully respect and enforce them, while cultural institutions highlighted a number of problems in the present copyright framework that could potentially undermine efficient digitisation and digital preservation. The High Level Expert Group has 20 members, together possessing a wide range of expertise and knowledge. They are experts from libraries, archives, museums, content providers, industry (e.g. search engines, technology providers), research organisations and academia. Members are appointed in a personal capacity and have a two-year renewable mandate."

For more information, please see the full press release at <

Smallest, largest libraries in U.S. see largest funding cuts

March 22, 2006 - "Libraries serving more than 500,000 or fewer than 25,000 people saw the greatest midyear funding cuts, according to a new national study from the American Library Association (ALA). The study also found that libraries in the West and Midwest sustained larger cuts than their counterparts in the South and East."

"The study, begun in response to threatened midyear library closures in Salinas, Calif., and Buffalo, N.Y., is the first national look at midyear changes in public library budgets. Responses came from a nationally representative sample of U.S. public libraries. The questionnaire had a 24 percent response rate and encouraged respondents to provide comments, as well as data. The study was released at the Public Library Association National Conference (March 21-25) in Boston."

"...While libraries report revenue and expenditures to state libraries annually and to a federal library system for public library data, there was previously no midyear data available about public libraries. Comprehensive national data lags about two fiscal years behind the current fiscal year due to reporting procedures. To see the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, please visit"

For more information, including key findings from the study, please see the full press release at <>.

President Bush Recommends Consolidation of NCLIS into IMLS

March 20, 2006 - "In response to the Administration's proposal for the consolidation of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) into the Institute for Museums and Libraries (IMLS) by FY 2008, the Commission had discussions at its recent meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan."

"The Administration also proposes the merger of the current National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) programs for public and state library surveys into IMLS. The rationale for proposing the merger of the survey programs into IMLS is that consolidating grant making with data collection, along with the NCLIS role in policy advice, will strengthen federal library and information policy efforts and enhance our nation's research capacity on domestic and international library trends. Further, the consolidation of NCLIS and the NCES programs for public and state library surveys into IMLS will create greater efficiency of operations...."

"...Over the next few months NCLIS will work with IMLS and NCES to evaluate models of consolidation to ensure that the level of public service provided under the current system continues and that all potential benefits of enhanced coordination are maximized in service to the American people."

For more information, please see the full press release at <>.

Columbia University Libraries Launches "Notable New Yorkers" Oral History Web Site

March 17, 2006 - "The Columbia University Libraries Oral History Research Office and the Libraries' Digital Program Division have launched "Notable New Yorkers," an innovative web site with new and unpublished source material on ten key figures in publishing, politics, philanthropy, and the cultural life of New York City. "

"'Notable New Yorkers' (available at offers digital audio recordings and transcripts of interviews drawn from the rich collections of the Libraries' Oral History Research Office. These interviews, conducted by the Office between 1955 and 2001, open an imaginative window onto twentieth-century New York City and the ways in which it has deeply affected the culture and history of the United States and the world beyond. With three background essays and a briefer methodological introduction for each oral history, this site also provides a revealing look at the art of the biographical interview – a methodology developed by the Office over its four and a half decades of existence – in which individuals who have shaped history reflect upon their lives and accomplishments. "

(On April 19, 2006, this file was corrected to include a press release inadvertantly omitted from the In Brief column.)

Copyright 2006 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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