Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
February 2004

Volume 10 Number 2

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


IT for Me: Access to Personalised Resources through Public Libraries

Contributed by:
Liz Pearce
Richard Proctor
Dave Miller
University of Sheffield
Sheffield, United Kingdom

The IT for Me project <> is a joint venture between the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield (; MEDIAC (, a community owned multi-media production and training company; and the four public library authorities in South Yorkshire, UK. The project's technical development will be undertaken by Knowledge Integration (, a company specialising in the development of open source software. The project has been funded for three years under the European Commission's Objective 1 programme which focuses on the economic regeneration of Europe's most deprived areas.

The UK government's People's Network project ( has provided over 4,000 public library service points with access to IT infrastructure. The IT for Me project will make a valuable contribution to the success of the People's Network locally by motivating people to take full advantage of the facilities available. The project will build a technical platform to create a personalised web interface for each registered user. By completing an online personal interest profile, users will gain direct access to local, regional, national and international electronic resources relevant to their needs. Such resources may relate to an individual's hobbies, employment interests, geographical location or personal circumstances. By making relevant electronic resources readily accessible to those with limited experience of using technology, the IT for Me system will encourage the regular use of ICT. Once users are motivated to use ICT and to explore their interests more fully, they will be encouraged to progress to more formal learning opportunities.

To ensure that users have access to high quality information, the resources included will be mediated by local public library staff. Library staff will be active in establishing content standards and in identifying high quality content. Online content may also be "harvested" from existing quality assured portals or identified from the range of subject sites regularly used by public library staff throughout the UK. The system interface will bring together resources from disparate sources, which may include links to web sites, full text reference resources, news items and search facilities. As well as providing access to the wealth of information resources available via the World Wide Web, the IT for Me project believes that access to local content will provide an effective means to engage users in the use of ICT. The project will provide integrated access to the databases of local information already available within the region and to the community web resources developed as part of a parallel project, South Yorkshire Community Information <>.

Whilst initially working with the four South Yorkshire public libraries, the project could provide a platform for the delivery of content over the People's Network more widely. By creating a means to deliver community focused digital library services, this innovative project has considerable significance for public library services both nationally and internationally.

ETANA: Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives

Contributed by:
Charles Ellwood Jones
Research Associate - Bibliographer
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
Chicago Illinois, USA

ETANA [] is a cooperative venture of a consortium of scholarly societies and universities to develop and maintain a comprehensive Internet site for the study of the ancient Near East (ANE). Academic, library and technical staff of the partner organizations will collaborate to share intellectual and technical resources in the development of the project.

Funded in the first instance by generous grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ETANA has subsequently received substantial additional funding from the Information Technology Research division of the National Science Foundation and from the American Theological Library Association's Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (CDRI).

At present ETANA has three main components:

1. Abzu []

Abzu is a guide to the rapidly increasing, and widely distributed data relevant to the study and public presentation of the Ancient Near East via the Internet.

2. ETANA Core Texts []

The civilizations of the ancient Near East produced the world's earliest written texts—in hieroglyphs, cuneiform, and alphabets—with which they described the first empires, recorded the first legal codifications, preserved the first love songs, and registered the first contracts among states or individuals. Since the rediscovery of these civilizations in the 19th century, there has been a steady stream of scholarly publication of the recovered material. It is remarkable how assessments arrived at decades ago continue to be of value, not only because they often carry editions of original documents, but because they contain insights minted freshly after first exposure to major documents

ETANA commits to selecting the most useful of such volumes, converting them to an electronic format, archiving them in a central repository, and posting them for broad access through the Internet. ETANA has already developed techniques, such as search engines, to allow easy access to the riches found in these pages. A committee has been formed to select volumes for electronic conversion, but the committee also welcomes suggestions from all interested parties. In Abzu, ETANA keeps a register for all digitized volumes, whether by ETANA or by others' media, making it a logical first choice for all those seek an Internet library of major works of enduring value.

3. DigBase (DB) and DigKit (DK) []

DigBase (DB) is a repository and an archive for archaeological data from the Near East and beyond, and DigKit (DK) is a compatible field tool for collecting and recording archaeological data during archaeological surveys and excavations. DB is a model-based, extensible, archaeological componentized DL that will manage complex archaeological information sources based on the client-server paradigm of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). DK is a compatible field tool for collecting, recording and exposing archaeological data in an OAI compliant manner during archaeological surveys and excavations.

In addition to the three components described above, a mailing list was launched in January 2004 that will provide occasional reports on developments at ETANA and Abzu. The list is ETANA-Abzu-News [].

PRONOM File Format Database Is Now Available

Contributed by:
Jeffrey Darlington
Project Manager, Digital Preservation
The National Archives
Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom

The National Archives (UK) is pleased to announce that the PRONOM system is now available on the Internet at <>.

PRONOM is a database of file formats, software products and technical dependencies that already holds details of about 550 file formats, 250 software products and 100 vendors. At present, office products for PC operating systems from PC-DOS onwards represent the majority of entries, though other applications and platforms are also included. New records are being added on a regular basis, and we encourage software developers and others to be proactive in providing information via our online submission form. Our plans for the future of PRONOM are also on the website, and include expansion of the database to provide more technical information about each format, and the development of tools to support preservation activities.

PRONOM is now available to the whole preservation community on the Web. We invite users to try it out. For example you can enter a file extension and PRONOM will find all products that can read or write files with that extension.

The National Archives is committed to preserving historic electronic records indefinitely, and has embarked on a programme to make this feasible on a practical level. PRONOM is one strand in this programme, which also includes the development of a Digital Archive into which we are already loading a wide variety of the electronic records produced by UK Government agencies. For details of Digital Preservation activities at The National Archives, see <>

For the place of PRONOM in a digital preservation programme, see the article PRONOM - A Practical Online Compendium of File Formats.

We welcome feedback on both the current version of PRONOM and our future plans. All feedback should be sent to: <>.

Digital Curation Centre (DDC) Established

Contributed by:
Peter Burnhill
Director (Phase One) Robin Rice
Phase One Project Co-ordinator
Digital Curation Centre
University of Edinburgh

The JISC and the eScience Core Programme have entrusted the task of establishing the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to the CANDO Consortium. Based on relationships established by the National eScience Centre (NeSC), the Consortium comprises four partner institutions: the University of Edinburgh (lead partner) and the University of Glasgow, which together host the NeSC; UKOLN, at the University of Bath; the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (which operate the Rutherford and Daresbury Laboratories).

Using the integrating ideas of collaboration, curation and continuing access for data held in institutional and national data repositories, we propose a 'Collaborative Associates Network of Data Organisations' in order that the DCC engages with and benefits from the progress being made by leaders within communities of practice across the wide range of scholarly and scientific disciplines, nationally and internationally.

We see our overriding purpose to be continuing improvement in the quality of data curation and digital preservation, recognising that data have importance as the evidential base for scholarly conclusions, and for the validation of those conclusions. In interests of securing consensus, we propose the term curation to cover the active management and appraisal of data over the corresponding lifecycle of scholarly and scientific interest: it is thus the key to reproducibility and reuse.

The DCC is not itself to be a digital repository, nor an attempt to impose policies and practices of one branch of scholarship upon another. Rather, based on insight from a vibrant research programme that addresses wider issues of data curation, it will develop and offer programmes of outreach and practical services to assist those who must curate data. The challenge is to build the DCC and its associate network in ways that promote the positive interplay between research, development, services and outreach.

Openly Informatics Test Suite for OpenURL

Contributed by:
Eric Hellman
Openly Informatics, Inc.
Bloomfield, New Jersey, USA

Openly Informatics has made available a suite of test links for the OpenURL 1.0 Standard, which was recently submitted for ballot to the NISO membership. Users can enter the baseURL of a link server and generate links that exercise a link server's support for the new Standard. The test suite is available at:


In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

Cataloger's Desktop Coming to the Web

Announced February 12, 2004, by Peter Seligman, Library of Congress, <>.

The Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) of the Library of Congress (LC) is pleased to announce that its flagship cataloging documentation tool, Cataloger's Desktop, is moving to the Web. Cataloger's Desktop provides access to the most widely used cataloging documentation resources in an integrated online system. Desktop is currently distributed only on CD-ROM.

Beta testing of a Web version of Cataloger's Desktop will begin on March 1, 2004. The Web version will employ NXT™ 4, an open source, XML-based content delivery system. CDS chose NXT™ 4 because it is one of the few standards-based software packages on the market that also supports Unicode. According to Bruce Johnson, Cataloger's Desktop Development Team Leader, "Librarians expect the Library of Congress to be in the forefront of content standards application, and the Web version of Desktop will give LC an important opportunity to demonstrate how an XML content delivery system makes it possible to provide documentation resources more specifically tailored to the needs of individual catalogers."

Catalogers are encouraged to use the beta product from March 1 to April 30, 2004. "CDS will provide the Web version of Cataloger's Desktop at no cost during the beta test," said Johnson. "We are looking forward to user feedback to help us fine-tune it before its scheduled launch as a fee-for-service product at ALA Annual in June."

"As Web-based cataloging capabilities mature," said Kathryn Mendenhall, Cataloging Distribution Service Chief, "CDS continues in the forefront of product development with the introduction of a Web version of Cataloger's Desktop. We expect to collect valuable feedback from users during the beta test," she continued, "and we encourage users to report back to us in detail about their experiences with the beta version."

Current users of Cataloger's Desktop should note that CDS will continue producing the CD-ROM version for as long as there is significant interest. However, when the fee-for-service Web version becomes available in June 2004, subscribers will be able to transfer their subscriptions, if they like, from the CD-ROM product to the Web. Annual subscription prices will be announced as the product nears completion in late spring.

For up-to-date announcements about the Web version of Cataloger's Desktop, visit <> and <>.

Award-Winning Migration Website Makes Confident IT Users

"Friday, 6 February 2004: 'Moving Here' - <> - led by the National Archives, announces the release of a new training manual to enable learners of all ages to become confident IT users. The manual uses the award-winning website to make learning sessions both interesting and fun. It will help trainers running IT skills workshops, as well as being an easy-to-use self-help tool to take new IT learners through basic skills required to get the most out of the Internet."

"'Moving Here' is an imaginative learning tool, full of fascinating images, stories, facts and opportunities to get involved. The website focuses on the histories and experiences of Caribbean, Irish, Jewish and South Asian immigrants to England over the past 200 years—and includes over 200 stories posted by users from the UK and as far a field as Iran and Australia. In using 'Moving Here' as a means to teach IT skills, the manual makes learning sessions of particular relevance to communities who feature on the site."

"The training manual is downloadable from the Moving Here homepage <> and through a link from the People's Network website <>."

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

President Bush Requests $32 Million Budget Increase for Institute of Museum and Library Services: Request underscores commitment to create and sustain a nation of learners

"Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) - February 5, 2004: 'President Bush and I are committed to strengthening America's libraries and museums. In his 2005 budget, the President has proposed a 14 percent increase for IMLS. With this additional funding, IMLS can continue to support museums and libraries and a nation of lifelong learners. And supporting lifelong learning is the ultimate goal of museums and libraries today.'—First Lady Laura Bush January 22, 2004."

"The President's Budget requests $262,240,000 for IMLS. This amount includes an increase of $32,595,000 for IMLS programs and administration. The budget request contains $220,490,000 for library programs and $41,750,000 for museum programs. The total requested is level to the FY 2004 appropriation for IMLS which included over $30 million in congressionally-directed grants."

"This is the first budget request since the agency was reauthorized by the Museum and Library Services Act of 2003. It affirms the benefit of bringing federal programs for libraries and museums into one agency. Museums and libraries individually and in collaboration provide broad and equitable access to high quality knowledge resources. They are essential institutions to our democracy. American libraries and museums help to address issues of national concern; they create civic engagement, support education, sustain cultural heritage, and encourage lifelong learning."

For more information including the programs IMLS supports, please see the full press release at <>.

New Name for National Museums, Libraries and Archives Body

"London, 5 February 2004—The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries announced today that it is dropping the name "Resource" from its title. The organisation, which provides leadership across the sector and strategic advice to government, said it would be known in future as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, abbreviated to MLA."

"When it was established in 2000, the organisation was given the title 'Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries'."

"Mark Wood, MLA Chair, said: 'The name Resource has always been a source of some puzzlement and confusion. The Board felt unanimously that we needed a name which is concise and spells out clearly what the organisation does.'"

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

National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences Support U.S. Involvement in International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

"January 27, 2004, Washington, DC: With strong assistance from the National Science Foundation and other U.S. government agencies, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences are collaborating in support of a continued U.S. role in the work of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria. The two American academies will cooperate in revitalizing the U.S. presence at the institute through the U.S. Committee for IIASA, which represents American interests in IIASA and its research program. Professor Simon Levin of Princeton University, who is a member of NAS and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been selected by both institutions as chair of the committee. He will represent the United States on the IIASA Governing Council and has been selected by that council to serve as its new chair."

"IIASA is an international research institution located near Vienna, Austria, that focuses on environmental, technological, and economic aspects of global change. The United States provides one of 16 National Member Organizations (NMOs), which also represent Russia, Japan, China, and 12 other European, Eurasian, and Middle Eastern countries. The American NMO has two primary responsibilities. The first is to take part in the governance of IIASA through participation on its governing council and direct interaction with IIASA's management. The second is to serve as a liaison to the U.S. science, technology, and policy communities, with the goal of increasing participation in and awareness of IIASA by Americans in academia, government, business, and nongovernmental organizations."

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

British Library Joins Digital Library Federation

"January 26, 2004, WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Executive Committee of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) today announced that the British Library has joined the DLF as its first Strategic Partner from outside the United States."

"'I am delighted that the British Library has accepted our invitation to join,' said David Seaman, executive director of the DLF. 'We are a fast-moving consortium of very active academic digital libraries and we treat growth with caution, so as not to undermine our nimbleness of operation; however, the addition of one of the world's great libraries will significantly enrich our collaborative work and will provide a vital perspective to our endeavors.'"

"Under CEO Lynne Brindley, the British Library has embarked upon a significant expansion of its digital library program, one that will benefit not only citizens of the United Kingdom, but readers and researchers everywhere. The decision by the British Library to join the Digital Library Federation signals not only the determination of the BL to exploit the possibilities for research and study as well as for communication and collaboration of digital information resources, but also the synergetic benefits to be gained in that expansion by joining the Digital Library Federation, a group of similarly activated and determined institutions."

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

Proposed OpenURL Framework Standard goes to ballot

Announced January 23, 2004, by Eric Van de Velde, Chair NISO Committee AX.

"The NISO Committee AX has delivered the proposed OpenURL Framework Standard to NISO headquarters."

"The documents can be found on the web site of NISO Committee AX at <>."

"NISO will hold a ballot among its membership according to its established procedures. For more details, please consult the NISO web site at <>, where the official announcement [is posted]."

New Channel of Support for Open-access Publishing: Public Library of Science Announces Launch of Institutional Memberships

"January 14, 2004, San Francisco, CA: The movement for free online access to scientific and medical literature was bolstered earlier this month when the Public Library of Science [PLoS], a non-profit advocacy organization and open-access publisher, began offering Institutional Memberships. The announcement followed the October launch of PLoS Biology, the organization's flagship scientific journal, which is available on the Internet at no charge. "

"Open-access publishers such as PLoS rely on revenue streams other than subscription and site-license fees to recover their costs. In lieu of asking readers to pay for access to PLoS Biology, PLoS requests a $1500 charge for publication in the journal, which is often paid from an author's research grant—but which can now be largely offset by funds from other sources within the author's institution."

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

Copyright 2004 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/february2004-inbrief