D-Lib Magazine
December 1999

Volume 5 Number 12

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Networked Delivery of Moving Images: The Imagination/Universities Network Pilot Project

Contributed by:
Catherine Owen, Collections Manager
Performing Arts Data Service
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, Scotland.

The Performing Arts Data Service is pleased to announce that the final report of its activities as a pilot site serving part of this exciting project to serve film and television material to an academic audience over networks is now available from the PADS website at: <http://www.pads.ahds.ac.uk/ImaginationPilotProjectCollection>.

The Imagination/Universities Project was the first move by national agencies in the UK to test digital delivery of moving images and consider the implications of scaling-up to a widely available national service for UK Higher Education. The principal organisers and funders of the project are the British Film Institute <http://www.bfi.org.uk/> whose participation in the project complements their interest in opening up their collections in the National Film and Television Archive (NFTVA) to wider audiences and encouraging more extensive and more effective use of those valuable resources in educational contexts; the British Universities Film and Video Council <http://www.bufvc.ac.uk>, whose commitment to the dissemination of moving image culture for education makes it a natural partner with the BFI in this project and the Joint Information Systems Committee <http://www.jisc.ac.uk> who funded the project, through its Committee on Electronic Information (CEI), because of its interest in a future national service of moving image delivery (alongside an existing commitment to a similar service for still images and future plans for audio resources).

The Performing Arts Data Service <http://www.pads.ahds.ac.uk>, based at the University of Glasgow, is one of five distributed service providers of the Arts and Humanities Data Service. The PADS specialises in collecting, describing and preserving digital data in performing arts areas, with particular reference to time-based media such as moving image and audio resources. During the Imagination/Universities Project, the PADS activities included the accessioning of over 40 hours of MPEG moving image material held on two SGI Origin 200 servers, designing an intuitive user interface, checking metadata and content, testing of the system and its data contents to ensure robustness and ease of use and holding demonstrations and workshops for academic staff and students from a variety of institutions.

The material selected represents some of the most exciting holdings in the archives of the participating institutions, including classic British documentary and entertainment programming from the 1950s and 1960s and materials reflecting the early work of Alfred Hitchcock in his centenary year.

Alfred Hitchcock with umbrella

Picture above of Alfred Hitchcock by kind permission of Canal +.

As well as mounting MPEG moving images, the PADS also included textual material in a variety of formats, including scanned images of working scripts and other primary source materials to aid in teaching in learning. The collections were described using Dublin Core metadata for interoperable retrieval through the AHDS integrated gateway and this represented a key stage in the PADS' development of Dublin Core standards for the description of performing arts resources.

For further details, please contact Steve Malloch, PADS Systems Manager, S.Malloch@pads.ahds.ac.uk or read Tony Pearson's keynote address from the InfoG99 Conference, Melbourne Australia <http://www.cinemedia.net/AFI/randi/infog99/proc.htm>.


New Site Established for Major Scientific Electronic Archive

Contributed by:
Martin Blume, Editor-in-Chief
The American Physical Society
Ridge, New York, USA.

The American Physical Society (APS) is establishing, in cooperation with Brookhaven National Laboratory, the first electronic mirror in the United States for the Los Alamos e-Print Archive. The Archive allows authors of physics articles to post their papers on-line and, in its short life, has become an essential resource for physics research. The mirror, a duplicate web-site updated daily, will provide wider and faster access to the heavily used Archive. It can be accessed at <http://xxx.aps.org/>.

Scientists around the world access the Archive to immediately find out about new developments and directions in research, without having to wait for these to appear in a hard copy journal. Posting on the Archive serves authors as an adjunct or an alternative to publication in a traditional physics journal. Created in 1991 by Los Alamos physicist Paul Ginsparg and known informally as XXX after the original web site at <http://xxx.lanl.gov/>, the Archive presently contains over 100,000 papers in physics and related fields. It operates with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the U.S. Department of Energy. To speed and facilitate access, the Archive is already mirrored at 14 sites around the world.

APS Editor-in-Chief Martin Blume and Deputy Director Peter Paul of Brookhaven National Laboratory led the collaboration. APS initiated and organized the project, obtained the required equipment and will participate in further software development; Brookhaven is providing space and internet access. Eventually, the APS/BNL mirror could move beyond a passive duplication of the XXX Archive to become a second site for submission of articles and vetting for suitability and size.

The American Physical Society is the world's largest organization of physicists, with 42,000 members in academia, government, and industry, in the US and abroad. The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies. The APS Editorial Offices are located across the highway from Brookhaven National Laboratory in eastern Long Island.

Points of Contact: Arthur Smith, American Physical Society, apsmith@aps.org, phone: 631-591-4072; and Karen McNulty, Brookhaven National Laboratory, kmcnulty@bnl.gov, phone: 631-344-8350 or 631-344-2345.


The Resource Discovery Network

Contributed by:
Lorcan Dempsey, Co-Director
Resource Discovery Network
University of Bath
Bath, England, United Kingdom

Gillian Austin, Editorial Advisor
JISC Assist
Bristol, England, United Kingdom

A major new network of discipline-based gateways or "hubs", the Resource Discovery Network (RDN) has been set up to provide students, lecturers and researchers with better access to high quality resources on the Internet. The RDN is located at URL <http://www.rdn.ac.uk/>. The network will catalogue and link to web sites containing a wide range of educational materials. For the first time, users will be able to run interdisciplinary searches, using the RDN's sophisticated cross-searching software across the discipline-based hubs. All the resources linked to -- websites, electronic journals, teaching resources -- will be screened and reviewed by subject experts who are guiding the development of the hubs.

Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the RDN was launched on Friday, 19th November, at a well-attended event at the Congress Centre, London. Welcoming speeches were given by Lynne Brindley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Communications and IT) and University Librarian at the University of Leeds and Professor Howard Newby, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton and President of the CVCP (Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the UK).

Organised initially into five hubs, some of which already exist as individual entities, the RDN will cover Medicine and the Life Sciences; the Social Sciences, Business and Law; the Humanities; the Physical Sciences; and Engineering, Computing and Mathematics. Hubs for other disciplinary areas will be added at a later date.

Because of the variety of resources it catalogues, the RDN will be relevant to non-academics working in related professional fields, such as medicine or engineering. The RDN is expected to develop significant links beyond academia. Many of the hubs have been developed in partnership with learned societies and professional and related cultural institutions. The RDN will continue to establish partnerships in both the public and private sectors in order to expand, creating opportunities for content provision and funding.

The RDN hubs are located at various universities around Britain:

  • BIOME (Medicine and Life Sciences) is led by the University of Nottingham
  • SOSIG (Social Sciences, Business and Law) is led by the University of Bristol
  • HumBul (Humanities) is led by the University of Oxford
  • EMC (Engineering, Mathematics and Computing) is led by Heriot-Watt University
  • PSIgate (Physical Sciences) is led by the University of Manchester, on behalf of the Consortium of Academic Libraries in Manchester.

At present, the RDN is funded by the JISC, the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The RDN is managed by the RDN Centre, based at King's College, London and the University of Bath.

For more information about the RDN, please contact:

Lorcan Dempsey, Co-Director
Resource Discovery Network
University of Bath
Email: dempsey@ukoln.ac.uk
Tel: 01225 826254.


The Frye Leadership Institute

Contributed by:
Susan F. Rosenblatt, Coordinator
Frye Leadership Institute
Berkeley, California, USA.

The Frye Leadership Institute, a program of the Council on Library and Information Resources, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University is now accepting applications for the inaugural session to be held June 4-16, 2000 at Emory University. The Institute draws on work that these organizations have done to assess the implications of information technology for higher education. The challenges and potential benefits of information technology permeate higher education, blurring the formerly distinct boundaries among teaching, research, information management, and scholarly communication; creating the need to develop improved organizational structures for academic information support services; and requiring strategic technology investment decisions. The purpose of the Frye Leadership Institute is to bring to tomorrow's higher education leadership the insights and understanding of the issues that will enable institutions to make wise choices and develop effective programs.

The institute is an intensive, two-week residential program complemented by a year-long practicum project which explores one or more information technology issues of importance to the home institution. Participants will be selected competitively from among applicants who have a commitment to, and talent for, leadership within higher education. The group as a whole will be chosen to reflect the variety of backgrounds and diverse expertise that constitute higher education.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has provided grant funds for scholarships to encourage attendance of participants who are members of underrepresented groups, and whose institutions cannot pay the full costs of attendance. Recent studies show that less than 5% of individuals in leadership positions in libraries and information technology units come from underrepresented minority groups; thus, increasing diversity in the leadership of information services is of critical importance to higher education. There are also a limited number of need-based scholarships available.

The deadline for applications is December 31, 1999. Additional information about the program can be found on the Institute's web site <http://www.fryeinstitute.org> or by contacting the coordinator, Susan Rosenblatt at srosenblatt@att.net.


New Discussion List for Electronic Collection Managers: e-collections

Contributed by:
Alicia Wise, JISC Collections Manager
Old Library
King's College London Strand, London WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom

In November 1999, a new mailbase discussion list, e-collections, was established for those involved in developing electronic collections of information in the UK (and beyond). Over 1500 people facing the challenges of electronic collection development have joined e-collections since the list was established.

In explaining the impetus for the e-collections list, Stuart Lee, Head of the Centre for Humanities Computing at Oxford University wrote in one of the first messages to be posted:

In essence the idea for the list came out of a session organised by Alicia and I at this year's Digital Resources in the Humanities conference. The session included a paper by myself, one by Alicia, and one by Macmillan publishers. It looked at the problems with negotiating for electronic materials (I tend to use the term 'dataset') and those faced by the librarian attempting to satisfy their readers by making as much electronic material available as possible, but at the same time balancing the books!

Anticipated topics for the e-collections discussion list include: collection development strategies; identifying, assessing, and acquiring content; collaborative collecting at local, regional, and national levels; and other topical aspects of electronic collection management. (The archive of messages for the e-collections list may be seen at <http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/e-collections/>.)

Whether you are an archivist, a librarian, a museum professional, or some other type of educational service provider, please join and share experiences and information about ongoing e-collection development activities.

To join the e-collections discussion, please send a message to: mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk that says:

join e-collections Your Name
[Note: please replace 'Your' with your first name and 'Name' with your last name].

You will then receive a confirmation message from mailbase. Just cut the code it sends you out of this message, and email it back to mailbase to confirm that your address has been recorded correctly.

For additional information about the e-collections discussion list, please contact: Stuart Lee at stuart.lee@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk or Alicia Wise at alicia.wise@kcl.ac.uk.


Preserving Access to Digital Information

Contributed by:
Hilary Berthon, Manager
National & International Preservation Activities
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600, Australia

Are you concerned about the dangers of losing our fragile digital heritage? The National Library of Australia invites all those with an interest in ensuring continuing access to digital information to visit the Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI) website: <http://www.nla.gov.au/padi/>.

In 1997, in response to a growing recognition of the need to safeguard digital heritage, the National Library of Australia established its PADI website. The Library has recently redeveloped this site into a comprehensive "subject gateway" with more powerful search capabilities and efficient maintenance processes that will help the Library keep it up-to-date.

Cooperation has played a crucial role in the PADI initiative which has been carried out in partnership with Australian and international experts. Users are now invited to suggest resources for the PADI database using a new online form.

A discussion list, padiforum-l, has been set up recently for the exchange of news and ideas about digital preservation issues. Subscribers are encouraged to post digital preservation news, including announcements of forthcoming events, to padiforum-l. Discussion on all aspects of preserving access to digital information is also welcome.

To subscribe to padiforum-l:

  1. Send an email to listproc@nla.gov.au;
  2. Leave the subject line blank;
  3. Type in the first line of the message: "subscribe padiforum-l [your name]".

For further information about the PADI initiative, including padiforum-l, please contact the PADI Coordinator, email: padi@nla.gov.au.

Copyright (c) 1999 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/december99-inbrief