Clips & Pointers

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D-Lib Magazine
March 2004

Volume 10 Number 3

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


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TASI to Prepare a Series of Digitisation Case Studies

Contributed by:
Grant Young
Technical Research Officer
Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI)
Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT)
University of Bristol, UK
<grant.young@bristol.ac.uk>

Established in 1997, the Technical Advisory Service for Images (TASI) offers the UK's Further and Higher Education sector expert advice and training on all aspects of digital imaging. TASI offers four main services: a helpdesk; a programme of workshops and seminars; a Web site with hundreds of pages of technical documentation <http://www.tasi.ac.uk/>; and an email discussion list. The helpdesk service is intended for UK FE/HE, but in practice is used more widely. TASI's other services are available to anyone.

In mid-2003, the JISC reviewed TASI and extended its funding for a further three years (until July 2006). With this came the enlargement of its remit to include animated and vector-based images—previously TASI had been limited to raster (bit-mapped) images. There also came an acknowledgement that, in addition to its work within education, TASI's services and consultancy activities were helping to fill some training gaps within the UK cultural heritage sector. Places at TASI's workshops are often booked by members of this sector, and its Web resources are used and valued far beyond education—and the UK.

Among its 2004 activities, TASI plans to conduct a number of in-depth investigations of digitisation projects and programmes. With the lottery-funded NOF-digi projects coming to an end, it seemed timely to undertake an exercise that would provide a series of snapshots of UK digitisation practice.

TASI's case studies are intended to capture the breadth of digitisation activity taking place within the UK. The intention is to reflect "current practice" rather than just singling out "best practice": digitisation projects rarely go exactly to plan, and TASI hopes to produce well-rounded studies that convey something of the challenges the projects faced in their development as well as the solutions they employed.

TASI's call for projects produced a very good response with more than sixty expressions of interest. From these, a dozen projects and programmes were selected for initial study with a few more to follow-up over the coming year. The chosen projects range from small VLE-based learning/teaching resources to large projects involving multiple partners and national institutions.

Information gathering will take place over several months and will include a series of questionnaires, conversations and interviews. TASI hopes to make the first batch of studies available on its Web site by mid-year and will widely publicise this. For more information about the case study project or TASI's other activities, please contact: <info@tasi.ac.uk> quoting D-Lib.


U.S. Federal Requirements for Search Interoperability

Contributed by:
Eliott Christian
U.S. Geological Survey
Reston, Virginia, USA
<echristi@usgs.gov>

The E-Government Act of 2002 calls for the U.S. Federal Government to enhance interoperability by adopting a common search standard. Toward that end, a draft "Statement of Requirements for Search Interoperability" is posted for public comment at http://www.search.gov/interop/requirements.html (Actual experiences with standards-based search interoperability will be of particular interest.)

Such a standard search service interface might be expected to address access to digital object metadata, data directories, semantic registries, and services registries, as well as traditional library catalogs. The draft requirements statement is based on a recent recommendation of the OASIS E-Government Technical Committee, and on findings of a white paper by the Industry Advisory Council [IAC], Enterprise Architecture Shared Interest Group, titled "Interoperability Strategy: Concepts, Challenges, and Recommendations".

The online document includes e-mail links for submitting comments to the editor, Eliot Christian <echristi@usgs.gov>. Comments submitted by April are most likely to affect the eventual recommendation, which will also be offered as a draft for public comment. Please distribute this notice to other persons and discussion lists having an interest in search interoperability.


Recall

Contributed by:
Anna Patterson
Research Associate, Formal Reasoning Group
Computer Science Department
Stanford University
Stanford, California, USA
<annap@cs.stanford.edu>

Recall, a recently developed index for the Internet Archive, is the largest index in the world, indexing just over 11 billion Web pages. Recall indexes pages from 1996 to the present.

The Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org) is a non-profit organization and is classified as a library. Previously, the Internet Archive had the ability to pull-up archived web pages by URL via the WayBack Machine. Now, with Recall, the Internet Archive has a full text index of many of the Web pages it holds.

Recall offers new features that exploit the time span covered by the Archive. The feature about which there is most comment is the trend analysis feature that analyzes a query and how that query has changed in meaning or had various meanings over time. Another novel feature of Recall is that it gives the user the ability to navigate query results by clicking rather than typing in additional words. It helps narrow the results of queries and groups results by various criteria.

Anna Patterson is the developer/creator of Recall, and if you find any bugs or have any suggestions for the upcoming 30B page version, please send e-mail to her at <annap@cs.stanford.edu>.


The Spoken Word: New Resources to Transform Teaching and Learning

Contributed by:
Anne Longmuir
Research Librarian
Spoken Word Project
Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow, United Kingdom
<a.longmuir@gcal.ac.uk>

The Spoken Word project is a partnership between Glasgow Caledonian University and BBC Information & Archives in the UK, and Northwestern University and Michigan State University in the USA. One of four projects in the joint JISC/NSF initiative "Digital Libraries in the Classroom", its most general objective is to "transform undergraduate learning and teaching through integrating the rich media resources of digital audio repositories into undergraduate courses in history, political science and cognate disciplines in the U.S. and Britain". It aims to improve accessibility to remote digitised resources, to make these more manageable and—crucially—to enhance the usability of such resources for educational purposes.

Using digital audio from rich and authoritative sources (particularly but not exclusively from the archives of the BBC and from MSU, NW and GCU collections) the project is integrating a set of tools and resources to create C & IT intensive learning environments in which students and their teachers can 'write' on and for the internet. Selected digitised archives will be streamed and assembled with complementary resources for inclusion in 'electronic documents', presentations, projects and galleries. Metadata and authentication concerns addressed by the project include the complex issues of rights management. The lead British institution, Glasgow Caledonian University, is building a substantial repository of digitised audio from the BBC's radio archive for use in higher education. The project team at GCU, led by Les Watson and David Donald, has already enabled student use of BBC audio related to some of the twentieth century's most influential people, events and circumstances. Richard Wright, Technology Manager, Information and Archives, is the lead contact at the BBC. The UK team is particularly involved in the enhancing the cataloguing and indexing of items for acquisition, search and retrieval.

At Northwestern University political scientist Professor Jerry Goldman has been bringing Supreme Court materials to the web since 1996: with over 2000 hours of digitised Supreme Court oral arguments, his Oyez website (http://www.oyez.org) is established as a recognised authoritative source. He leads the Spoken Word group at Northwestern where Academic technologies are contributing programming and library skills in the development of tools and techniques. Michigan State University's Spoken Word group are based in the established MATRIX centre and are led by Professor Mark Kornbluh. They are augmenting Historical Voices (http://www.historicalvoices.org)—which includes sound recordings from late nineteenth century through to the present day—and are collaborating with NU in the collection of digitised material for the National Gallery of the Spoken Word. Like Northwestern, this team is also developing a powerful set of appropriate tools and resources, and supporting the British partners in the deployment of the requisite tools and technical resources.

The central focus of the project is pedagogical. It aims to capitalise on the potential inherent in federated remote repositories to build processes for learning that will expand the ways students and teachers understand knowledge, knowledge resources, and their own complementary roles in higher education. By collecting and recording information on how audio is used in learning and teaching, as well as developing audio annotation tools, the Spoken Word project is creating audio digital repositories that become more useful and authoritative with each iteration.


In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

University of Michigan (U-M) expands access to hidden electronic resources with OAIster

March 10, 2004, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - "A repository of information that provides links to previously difficult-to-locate electronic scholarly resources is widely available under a new agreement between the University of Michigan and Yahoo! Inc."

"The repository—developed through Michigan's University Library OAIster Project—is now available through Yahoo!'s Content Acquisition Program (CAP) and accessible through Yahoo! Search."

"OAIster offers information that links to hidden digital resources such as the complete contents of books and articles, technical reports, preprints (unpublished works that have not yet been peer reviewed), white papers, images of paintings, movies and audio files of speeches."

"OAIster retrieves these elusive resources by tapping directly into the collections of a variety of institutions using harvesting technology based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. The U-M's OAIster service provides access to over 3 million harvested records describing and pointing to these resources. Currently, the resources are created and hosted by 267 research libraries and institutions from around the world."

"Many of the scholarly collections included in OAIster were not previously indexed in popular Web search services and remained hidden from those who need the resources for their research. By enabling access through Yahoo!'s CAP program, these materials will be widely available to an international audience of scholars, students, researchers and enthusiasts."

For more information, please see <http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2004/Mar04/r031004>.


UC's eScholarship Repository Adds Peer-reviewed Publications

March 9, 2004, Oakland - "To address the economic unsustainability of high pricing for scholarly journals, the University of California is providing alternatives to the traditional scholarly communication model through the eScholarship program at the California Digital Library. Now, UC faculty in all departments, research units and centers can use the eScholarship Repository to provide free, open access to peer-reviewed journals online at <http://repositories.cdlib.org/escholarship/>."

"Since 2002, the eScholarship Repository has offered UC faculty a central, online location for depositing working papers, technical reports, research results and conference proceedings from a wide range of disciplines. Scholars around the world have benefited from the free access to this faculty research. With the eScholarship Repository's new peer-review capability, UC faculty have an alternative to publishing their research in for-profit journals, whose rising costs have become a burden to universities and libraries with shrinking budgets."

"...The California Digital Library (CDL) expects the number of peer-reviewed papers and journals to grow substantially in coming months, with the addition of scientific monographs and other content from the University of California Press, as well as new journals sponsored by departments at several UC campuses, including InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies. Additionally, Comitatus, a 34-year-old journal sponsored by the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, will be migrating to the eScholarship Repository this spring."

For more information, please see <http://repositories.cdlib.org/escholarship/eScholarship_peer_review_journals_3-9-04.pdf>.


Museums - Investing for the 21st Century

March 9, 2004, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council - "Today museums across the country have joined together to publish A Manifesto for Museums, calling for a five-year programme of investment to sustain their current success and build for the future. "

"The Manifesto is being launched alongside a set of new reports by the NMDC (National Museums Directors' Conference), the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and GLLAM (The Group for Large Local Authority Museums) which demonstrate the contribution museums make to society and underline the case for increased government funding."

"A total of 115 million per annum is needed for museums: 35 million to fully fund the "Renaissance in the Regions" programme for regional museums, 50 million to enable national museums to carry out their core activities and programme of modernisation, an additional investment of 15 million to fund a series of innovative joint initiatives and 15 million for acquisitions."

For more information, please see <http://www.resource.gov.uk/news/press_article.asp?articleid=679>.


Social Work Education to be Transformed by e-Learning Project

March 3, 2004, "An e-learning project which could revolutionise how UK social workers are trained is being driven by technology developed by Edinburgh-based software company Intrallect."

"Strathclyde University's Department of Social Work is the lead partner in the two-year project which aims to build a national digital library of learning objects for the new Scottish honours degree in social work. It is being funded with a £800,000 grant from the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work, a collaboration of nine Scottish universities teaching social work."

"At the core of the system are 'Learning Objects' which are small digital resources for learning. Their content can be as diverse as an illustrated definition of an important concept to a video dramatisation of a real-life case study. These learning objects are highly flexible and reusable. They can be embedded into courses in a variety of ways."

"Said Neil Ballantyne, head of the Department of Social Work at Strathclyde University: 'The project grew out of the realisation that, based on evidence, whole e-learning courses tend not to be transferable for use elsewhere. In traditional course design educators like to be able to pick and mix a number of different texts and resources to meet the needs of their students and achieve particular learning objectives. What this project will do is to build new and assemble existing 'digital entities' that are educationally useful and can be used in a number of areas and a number of ways.'"

For more information contact Neil Ballantyne at Strathclyde University <neil.ballantyne@strath.ac.uk>, or visit the Intrallect site at <http://www.intrallect.com>.


Inspiring Learning for All

March 2, 2004, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council - "The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) has launched a major new project—Inspiring Learning for All—a pioneering programme to make museums, libraries and archives central to the development of modern education."

"'The Inspiring Learning for All Programme adds a whole new dimension to educational methods and enables schools to make use of these vast resources in a way that has not been possible before,' said Mark Wood, Chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council."

"Inspiring Learning for All was launched on 2 March at a conference in London. The conference was addressed by the Secretary of State for Education, Charles Clarke, and included a presentation by Professor Lord Robert Winston on the way the brain absorbs information in stimulating environments."

"Inspiring Learning for All, a web-based resource—<http://www.inspiringlearningforall.gov.uk>—enables museums, libraries and archives to review and develop learning activities based on a framework of best practice and measure their impact on learners."

For more information, please see <http://www.mla.gov.uk/news/feature_article.asp?articleid=678>.


Copyright Clearance Center Adds Elsevier to its Digital Licensing Offerings

February 23, 2004, Danvers, Mass. - "Copyright Clearance Center, the premier copyright licensing and compliance company for the information content industry, today announced that Elsevier, the world's largest science, technology and medical publisher, has included its works for licensing within Copyright Clearance Center's extensive digital repertory. This new agreement gives Copyright Clearance Center's corporate digital repertory customers permission to distribute internally in digital formats valuable content from over 37,000 titles."

"...Knowledge workers, researchers and other content users increasingly use copyrighted material in digital formats. Copyright Clearance Center's digital licensing services help copyright holders capitalize on this growing preference for reusing and sharing information in digital formats while protecting their intellectual property assets."

For more information, please <http://www.copyright.com>.


SRW/U and CQL Version 1.1 Specifications Released

February 18, 2004, announcement from Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress

The SRW Maintenance Agency at the Library of Congress, in conjunction with the SRW Development Group, announces the release of version 1.1 of SRW, the Search/Retrieve Web Service; SRU, Search and Retrieve by URL; and CQL, the Common Query Language.

Version 1.1 supercedes Version 1.0, the initial, experimental version, which was released November 2002. Version 1.1 has been in development for more than a year and is the first official version.

SRW is an XML-based protocol designed to be a low-barrier-to-entry solution for searching and other information retrieval operations across the internet. It uses existing, well tested, and easily available technologies, such as URI, XML, SOAP, HTTP, and XPath. The design reflects the many years of experience gained developing and using Z39.50; SRW is both robust and easy to understand while retaining many of the important aspects of Z39.50. Web technologies reduce the barriers to new information providers allowing them to make their resources available via a standard search and retrieve service. Building on Z39.50 semantics enables the creation of gateways to existing Z39.50 systems.

The protocol may be carried via SOAP or as parameters in a URL. When carried via SOAP, it is referred to as SRW; via URL, as SRU.

CQL is a formal language for representing queries to information retrieval systems, including web indexes, bibliographic catalogues, and museum-collections information. Traditionally, query languages are either (on one hand) powerful and expressive but complex and unfriendly—SQL, Xquery—or (on the other hand) simple and intuitive but neither powerful nor expressive, for example, Google. CQL's goal is to combine the simplicity and friendliness of Google searching with the expressive power of Z39.50, supporting queries ranging from very simple to arbitrarily complex expressions.

Home pages for SRW/U and CQL are <http://www.loc.gov/srw> and <http://www.loc.gov/cql>. Specifications are linked from these pages and a list of implementers is available.

SRW/U and CQL version 1.1 specifications will be submitted to NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, as NISO Registrations.

The following are among those who have participated in the development of the SRW/U and CQL version 1.1 specification or have otherwise contributed to the intellectual development of SRW/U and CQL (listed alphabetically): Eliot Christian, Ray Denenberg, Adam Dickmeiss, Larry Dixson, Matthew Dovey, Sebastian Hammer, Janifer Gatenby, Poul Henrik Jorgensen , Alan Kent, Ralph LeVan, Bill Moen, Rob Sanderson, Pat Stevens, Mike Taylor, Theo Van Veen.

For information, contact Ray Denenberg, Library of Congress, <rden@loc.gov>.


Department to Study Technology's Role in Raising Student Achievement

February 13, 2004, U.S. Department of Education - In an effort to help determine the effectiveness of educational technology for learning reading and math, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that it will fund a study of 16 computer-based reading and math products. The products, from 12 different companies, were developed to enhance the learning of reading in grade one, reading comprehension in grade four, pre-algebra in grade six, and algebra in grade nine. They were chosen in a peer-review process from a pool of 163 applications.

The study will provide information for policymakers and educators on how educational technology can improve student achievement in reading and math, as well as on the conditions and practices under which the technologies are most effective.

Further, the study complements the president's main education initiative—the No Child Left Behind Act. The historic education reform law calls for the department to carry out a national study of the conditions and practices necessary for technology to be used effectively to improve teaching and learning. The act calls for the study to use rigorous scientifically based research methods to provide evidence of effectiveness.

For more information, please see <http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2004/02/02132004.html>.


World Wide Web Consortium Issues RDF and OWL Recommendations:
Semantic Web emerges as commercial-grade infrastructure for sharing data on the Web

February 10, 2004—"Today, the World Wide Web Consortium announced final approval of two key Semantic Web technologies, the revised Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). RDF and OWL are Semantic Web standards that provide a framework for asset management, enterprise integration and the sharing and reuse of data on the Web. These standard formats for data sharing span application, enterprise, and community boundaries—all of these different types of "user" can share the same information, even if they don't share the same software."

"Today's announcement marks the emergence of the Semantic Web as a broad-based, commercial-grade platform for data on the Web. The deployment of these standards in commercial products and services signals the transition of Semantic Web technology from what was largely a research and advanced development project over the last five years, to more practical technology deployed in mass market tools that enables more flexible access to structured data on the Web. Testimonials from enterprise-scale implementors and independent developers illustrate current uses of these standards on the Web today."

For more information, please see <http://www.w3.org/2004/01/sws-pressrelease>.

Copyright 2004 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/march2004-inbrief