Why Comes Before How
Across the range of articles published by D-Lib can be found two sub-genres. One, the practical, gives detailed explanations of how one existing or proposed technology or another can or should be applied to the many issues that need to be addressed to deal with current and anticipated problems of knowledge retention and availability. A second genre looks more closely at first principles what are the problems to be addressed and why do we need this or that technology to be developed? The activity represented by the first genre is essential to progress in digital libraries but the activity represented by the second genre is prerequisite to that progress. Both are necessary and neither is sufficient. The current issue contains excellent examples of both.
We lead with Burns, Lana and Budd presenting a survey-based study of the real costs of institutional repositories. They find that results vary considerably across several dimensions, including size, software used, approach to mediation of deposit, and associated services. They also consider the issue of institutional versus subject repositories. In brief, the subject is nuanced and decisions need to be matched against user needs so that, in the words of the authors, institutional repositories do not become a solution in search of a problem. The second article, by Webb, Pearson and Koerbin, is on 'preservation intent statements'. Here too a topic that could be treated strictly as a technology problem (how do we best preserve digital material) requires more than a technical analysis. What is the object of the preservation and what, exactly, needs to be preserved. The authors describe their positive experience with formal statements of preservation intent, including those for archived web collections.
The next two articles are more deeply technical. Klein et al. continue an exposition of the ResourceSync project that began in the September/October 2012 issue of D-Lib. That earlier article gave background for the project, showing that simple synchronization did not cover many of today's use cases, and described an approach to organizing the components of resource synchronization to meet those needs. The current paper describes the emerging ResourceSync framework in considerable depth. The fourth article, by Rumianek, looks at an approach to archiving database-driven websites. This is a difficult problem, given the dynamic and diverse nature of databases, and we think you will find the author's approach to solving the problem of interest.
Finally, Houghton and Swan discuss their economic modeling designed to explore the costs and benefits of Open Access (OA), contrasting the approaches that have become known as Gold and Green OA. They fear that their work has been misinterpreted by some and attempt here to make their conclusions clear. To understand their conclusions requires understanding their assumptions and I recommend the article to all readers who have even a passing interest in this topic.
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