Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
March/April 2009

Volume 15 Number 3/4

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


Reflective Learning for the Net Generation

Contributed by:
Dr. John Sandars
Senior Lecturer in Community Based Education
Academic Lead for e-learning
Medical Education Unit
Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME)
University of Leeds
Leeds, United Kingdom

Why don't students spend time to reflect on the things they are learning? Our initial research suggests that Net Generation students dislike using written text, but their engagement increases when they use digital storytelling. Digital storytelling is an innovative approach to reflective learning in which pictures and sound are collected and assembled to form a multimedia story. You can read more about our approach in a recent article in Medical Teacher [1] and the evaluation of our pilot work in medicine is available at <>.

We are currently researching the use of digital storytelling for reflective learning in four case studies across a range of disciplines, including medicine, dietetics, education and performance studies. These case studies will allow us to gain experience of using a range of different approaches to digital storytelling and also a variety of new technologies for digital storytelling. This work has been funded through the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Users and Innovation Programme. We expect to have a final report and study guide available in April 2009 from the JISC website at <>.

We have also set up a web site to develop a community of educators who are interested in the use of new technologies for reflective learning. <>. We invite readers to join and contribute to the resources.

[1] Sandars, John, Murray, Christopher and Pellow, Andy(2008) 'Twelve tips for using digital storytelling to promote reflective learning by medical students', Medical Teacher, 30:8, 774-777.

The SKUA Project: Prototyping a Distributed Network of Semantically Aware Shared Annotation Services

Contributed by:
Norman Gray and Tony Linde
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Leicester, United Kingdom
Kona Andrews
Institute for Astronomy
University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Point of contact: Norman Gray at <>

The SKUA project ( is prototyping a distributed network of semantically aware shared annotation services (in the form of RDF stores). This 'semantic layer' will support a cluster of applications that will either directly support users in finding and recovering useful resources, or indirectly support them by enhancing user-facing applications.

As the above paragraph possibly demonstrates, descriptions of semantic technologies are often very abstract and frequently barely intelligible. This means that, while application developers may be persuaded that there is potentially useful technology here, it can be hard to get a handle on immediately practical applications, or where, in a dense network of new terminology and libraries, to start reading. To address this, the SKUA project aims to address a practical problem, and by exploiting lightweight but non-trivial semantics, providing an interface that developers can immediately integrate into their software. The SKUA project's principal product is a 'SAC' (semantic annotation collection), which is a local or remote service that provides a simple RESTful interface for storing annotations of various kinds, including bookmarks, ratings ('paper X is good') or classifications ('object X is a quasar').

These annotations are stored in the SAC as RDF, and can subsequently be retrieved using SPARQL queries ( in a way that allows the query to take advantage of lightweight semantic knowledge ('a quasar is-a compact-object'), and range over annotations shared by colleagues and community resources, so that a user's search for objects tagged as compact objects will find objects their colleagues have tagged as quasars. This simple query federation immediately adds a social aspect to the architecture.

To illustrate the possibilities, and validate the interface, we are also developing 'Spacebook', as an extension of the project, which will directly support users tagging and sharing workflows and other resources deposited in any myExperiment installation. As well, we have plans to extend two existing and deployed user-facing applications, so that their existing rudimentary tagging support is provided instead by SKUA.

Although the system we build will be specialised to astronomy – and proved by its interaction with, and anticipated embedding within, the Virtual Observatory – the bulk of the semantic knowledge is localised in the RDF store, with the design goal that it could be replaced if desired by the analogous semantic knowledge of a different domain.

The SKUA project is based at the University of Leicester in the UK. It is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) as part of its e-Infratructure programme, and will run until mid-2009.

The Erewhon Project: More Comprehensive Location-based Services

Contributed by:
Tim Fernando
Erewhon Project
University of Oxford Computing Services

The Erewhon project is based at the University of Oxford and is a JISC-funded project to investigate methods to effectively represent the geo-locations of campus properties and relationships between them – thus facilitating the predicted need for more comprehensive location-based services. The project is also looking at how to provide effective methods of delivering institutional content and services (including the Sakai VLE) to mobile devices.

Although geo-locating buildings, points of interest, etc. is well understood, there has been little work done to create a system that can cope with complex relationships between entities, and even more lacking is a linked temporal data solution. For example, one might want to know which department is housed inside a particular building; however, it may turn out that it in fact contains two departments and one research group that isn't classed as a department or as part of a department. One might also want to know in which buildings a particular department has been housed over the last thirty years, or which buildings are currently owned by a certain faculty. Erewhon has been redeveloping Oxford University's production geo-location service 'OxPoints' to be able to represent these relationships using an RDF-based system.

As the growth in mobile computing accelerates, more and more institutions are finding that they need to deliver their services and information to mobile devices. In the past, many have tried to supply 'stripped down' versions of their web pages or simply have attempted to make their pages smaller to suit a small screen. Today, users demand higher quality content as well as new services, much of which are location-based. Erewhon is analysing trends in growth of the sector to best advise how institutions can deliver these services whilst producing demonstration services and applications for the community.

For more information you can go to: <> for a project overview, or if you would like to read about some of Erewhon's work, you can go to its blog at: <>.

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

Digital Libraries à la Carte

Modular, international digital library course
Tilburg University, the Netherlands, 28 July - 5 August 2009

March 13, 2009 announcement from Jola Prinsen, Tilburg University - "Ticer's annual, modular summer course for librarians and publishers "Digital Libraries à la Carte" will be held at Tilburg University, The Netherlands, 28 July - 5 August 2009. "

"Ticer offers a completely new programme. From its 'menu' of seven one-day modules, you can pick your choice:

  • Module 1: Strategic Developments and Library Management
  • Module 2: Change - Making it Happen in Your Library
  • Module 3: Tomorrow's Library Leaders
  • Module 4: Integrated Search Solutions Toward Catalogue 2.0
  • Module 5: Institutional Repositories - Preservation and Advocacy
  • Module 6: Libraries and Research Data - Embracing New Content
  • Module 7: Libraries and Collaborative Research Communities"

"The course is aimed at library managers/directors, deputy librarians, library middle management, digital library project managers, IT/systems librarians, IT specialists, information specialists, and repository managers from academic, research and special libraries, and at publishers and researchers."

For more information, please see the website for the course at <>.

ALCTS to host "How to Present a Webinar"

March 10, 2009 - "As travel costs rise and staff time gets tight, webinars offer value for delivering continuing education to your audience. The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is committed to creating webinars on emerging issues in technical services areas and practical information. "How to Present a Webinar," the first in a series of "how to's," will train potential presenters on developing and presenting a webinar."

"The webinar is presented by Keri Cascio, an experienced trainer and member of the ALCTS Education Committee. Topics include understanding the GoToWebinar software, choosing your subject focus, planning your webinar and keeping your attendees interested."

""How to Present a Webinar" will be presented LIVE three times in March:

  • Session 1: Monday, March 16th at 2 p.m. CDT - ALCTS Members Only
  • Session 2: Monday, March 23rd at 2 p.m. CDT
  • Session 3: Monday, March 30th at 2 p.m. CDT"

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

U.S. Department of Labor's Wirtz Labor Library selected to receive American Library Association's 2009 John Sessions Memorial Award

Award committee lauds accessibility and visibility through digitization, lecture series efforts

March 6, 2009 - "The U.S. Department of Labor's Wirtz Labor Library has been selected by the American Library Association as the winner of the 2009 John Sessions Memorial Award, which honors a library or library system's significant work with the labor community that has brought recognition to the history and contributions of the labor movement toward the development of the United States."

"A letter of congratulations states that the committee was particularly impressed with the Wirtz Labor Library's recent efforts to make its collection more accessible to a broader audience through digitization and to increase the library's visibility through a lecture series."

"Founded in 1917, the Wirtz Labor Library is one of the nation's oldest Cabinet-level libraries and is physically located in the department's headquarters, the Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C. Current general and legal collections have combined holdings of approximately 140,000 volumes representing a wealth of information on labor law, the history of the labor movement, labor unions, economic policy, industrial relations and workers. Among these collections are rare and archival books, union newspapers and serials dating back to the early 1800s in multiple languages."

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

California Digital Library Announces Self-Guided Tutorial for the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF)

March 3, 2009 announcement from Lisa Schiff, California Digital Library - "The California Digital Library (CDL) is pleased to announce the availability of an extensive self-guided tutorial for its eXtensible Text Framework (XTF) application. XTF is an open source, highly customizable piece of software supporting the search, browse, and display of heterogeneous digital content and offering efficient and practical methods for creating customized end-user interfaces for distinct digital collections. The tutorial provides guidance for implementing and customizing XTF, from core functionality to overall look and feel. Downloads for the Mac and Windows operating systems are available from the XTF Project page on SourceForge, along with the complete distribution and documentation."

"The tutorial comes with a complete XTF package that is ready to run when uncompressed; no other installation is required. It contains nine modules spanning the most powerful and popular features..."

For more information, visit <>.

Campus libraries continue to thrive in age of Google, FaceBook, Twitter

March 3, 2009 - "How are college students using their academic libraries differently than they did a decade ago? From coast-to-coast academic libraries are using Web-based resources to support information literacy efforts. From instruction on how to use Google, to providing resources via Facebook and Twitter, librarians are helping students overcome the mistaken idea that if a resource doesn't appear online it doesn't exist."

"According to the most recent information available, more than nearly one billion students annually visit campus libraries. Campus libraries are providing vibrant spaces where students can access digital information 24/7 or pull classics from shelves. Students are taking advantage of modern meeting places, curriculum-based gaming tournaments and in-house coffee bars."

"Academic librarians answer more than 72.8 million student reference questions each year (almost twice the attendance at college football games), and remain the best place for students to discover quality information for learning and research. Librarians also partner with faculty to educate students, developing their research expertise and helping them learn how to assess the value and reliability of electronic and print materials."

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

SURF: 2009 is Open Access year

February 26, 2009 - "The Dutch higher education sector has declared 2009 to be 'Open Access Year'. The aim is to boost Open Access to the results of scientific/scholarly and practice-based research. Efforts will be made throughout the year to formulate and implement an Open Access policy, develop and improve the knowledge infrastructure, establish a clear legal framework, and create awareness with all stakeholders. The parties involved are the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Dutch higher education sector, and research institutions. SURF will act as the coordinator."

"The Netherlands is one of the world leaders in achieving Open Access. The research universities and a large number of universities of applied sciences have created a knowledge infrastructure making possible permanent Open Access to publications. NARCIS <> , the national "gateway to Dutch scientific information", provides access to the full text of almost 170,000 scientific and scholarly publications. The Knowledge Bank for Universities of Applied Sciences [ HBO Kennisbank <>] gives access to the results of research by 'lectors' (directors of research groups and knowledge networks in Universities of Applied Science). Extensive information is also available about copyright in higher education, as well as a 'copyright toolbox' for authors and publishers. But there is still a lot to be done."

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

ALA defines core competences of librarianship

February 24, 2009 - "At the American Library Association (ALA) 2009 Midwinter Meeting in Denver, the ALA Council passed a resolution defining the core competences of librarianship."

"The core competences document represents the work of a special Presidential Task Force on Library Education and builds on the efforts of several previous groups."

"The document defines the basic knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from an ALA-accredited master's program in library and information studies. Librarians working in school, academic, public, special and governmental libraries will need to acquire special knowledge beyond that specified in the resolution."

"It states that everyone graduating from an ALA-accredited master's program in library and information studies should know and, where appropriate, be able to employ:"

  • Foundations of the Profession.
  • Information resources.
  • Organization of recorded knowledge and information.
  • Technological knowledge and skills.
  • Reference and user services.
  • Research.
  • Continuing education and lifelong learning.
  • Administration and management.

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

Americans turn to libraries for personal finance help in tough economic times

February 24, 2009 - "Libraries report that they are providing accurate financial information to consumers all over the country. For example, "Smart Investing @ your library" ( has given away more than $1.7 million to help fund libraries' efforts to provide library patrons with effective, unbiased financial education resources and empower library patrons to make smart financial decisions for both long-term investing and day-to-day money matters. FINRA Investor Education Foundation sponsors the initiative, which is administered by The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association."

"New York Public Library is an example of a library holding such programs as "Mutual Funds for Beginners" and "Understanding the Foreclosure" and offering resume writing and real estate classes, career counseling sessions and lectures from guest speakers on how to create and implement business plans."

"The ALA Public Information Office also has developed tools to help librarians publicize the surge in visits in their communities. Press releases, talking points and an FAQ can be found in the "Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit" at"

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

SPARC releases videos on digital repository development, Announces 2010 meeting

February 23, 2009 - "Experts and advocates examine the state of the art in digital repositories in a new series of videos now freely available online from SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition). Also, by popular demand, SPARC has announced it will host the third SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting on November 8 & 9, 2010, in Baltimore, Maryland."

"The video series was taped at the November 2008 SPARC repositories meeting, and underscores the central role of repositories across library services. Particular emphasis is placed on the added value they contribute to the institution and on the importance of funding repository development even in lean economic times. The clips feature three full-length plenary addresses plus seven short interviews with leading-edge repository implementers..."

"The videos are available through the SPARC video channel (, where they may be shared, commented upon, or downloaded for campus use. Advocates are invited to make wide use of these tools in making the case for repository success at their institutions."

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

Indiana University Offers Open Source Digital Music Library Software

February 18, 2009 announcement from Eric Bartheld, Indiana University Bloomington Libraries - "Indiana University today announces the release of open source software to create a digital music library system. The software, called Variations, provides online access to streaming audio and scanned score images in support of teaching, learning, and research."

"Variations enables institutions such as college and university libraries and music schools to digitize audio and score materials from their own collections, provide those materials to their students and faculty in an interactive online environment, and respect intellectual property rights."

"A key feature of the system for faculty and students is the ability to create bookmarks and playlists for use in studying or in preparing classroom presentations, allowing easy access later on to specific audio time points or segments. A key feature for libraries is a flexible access control and authentication system, which allows libraries to set up access rules based on their own local institutional policies."

For more information, please see <>.

More Translations, Unique Historical Content and Rich Media - The European Library Launches Renewed Website

February 17, 2009 - "The European Library today announced a new site release of <> , a free resource to discover the extensive learning and research materials, covering all subjects, from 38 national libraries across Europe. Originally developed as a central point of access to Europe's library material, the website now combines multilingual search functionalities with several online exhibitions and web2.0 tools."

"The new portal incorporates many of the recommended enhancements from user feedback studies. Top of the list was more multilingual facilities. As a result, users can now navigate and scan over 330 collections in their native language. Support materials, including FAQs and a first-time user guide, are available in 22 European languages."

"Users also enjoy the portal's rich media offerings. The portal specialises in online exhibitions that showcase the collections of Europe's national libraries."

The home page for Ehe European Library is at <>.

Naturejobs celebrates strong growth with new website

February 17, 2009 - "Naturejobs today unveils a fresh design and improved functionality and navigation for its website, The new website is the latest development for Naturejobs, which has grown to be the world's largest dedicated scientific jobs database through pioneering free online advertisements."

"Launched in 2000, Naturejobs grew out of the classified recruitment section of Nature and launched in 2001. Naturejobs now offers over 4500 scientific vacancies online, more than any other dedicated science jobs website. is free to use for jobseekers, attracting more than 2.5 million page views per month."

"As well as a new look and feel, content on has been reorganized and new sections added to make the site easier to navigate. The new Career Toolkit page has sections on mentoring, networking, salaries, presentation and interview skills and an 'ask the expert' forum."

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

Memory of the World Programme - Awareness Survey 2009

February 16, 2009 announcement from Anup Kumar Das Das, UNESCO - "This survey is intended for library, archives and museum specialists, as well as anyone interested in preserving documentary heritage."

"The purpose of this survey is to increase and assess awareness of the Programme and to encourage nominations to the Memory of the World Registers. UNESCO hopes to use feedback from this survey to further develop the Memory of the World Programme."

"The deadline for the survey is 30 April 2009."

The online survey form is at <>.

New guidance and insight from the UKSG

February 16, 2009 - "UKSG (UK Serials Group) has recently published new chapters of The E-Resources Management Handbook, its open access guide to the issues and challenges facing those in the information community."

"Two of the new chapters follow the book's original formula by providing analyses of specific areas of e-resource management. Louise Cole, Senior Information Advisor (Collections) at Kingston University gives up-to-date guidance for UK librarians relating to copyright in the digital age. Her chapter covers licences, digital rights management, sharing and adapting content, multimedia and open access. Jo Cross, Market Research Manager at Taylor & Francis, provides an introduction to impact factors that explains how they are calculated and what variables need to be considered when evaluating them...."

"...The E-Resources Management Handbook now incorporates 21 chapters covering licensing, statistics, archiving, resource discovery, marketing and ERM systems among many other topics. As a "living" e-book, chapters are reviewed periodically and updated when necessary – but they are never removed, even when superceded, so that the book is an evolving record of the state of the field."

For more information, please see <>.

WebJunction connects library staff competencies to new social learning platform

February 16, 2009 - "WebJunction, the online learning community for librarians and library staff, has released Library Management Competencies, a guide to courses and resources to help current and aspiring library managers to be more successful in their work."

"Library Management Competencies, available on, includes links to related courses and dynamic resources that will help users build knowledge and skills and increase on-the-job effectiveness. By identifying the key aspects of managing a library and defining the associated knowledge, skills and behaviors, library managers will be better able to tailor their personal learning plans to address any gaps in their skills sets."

"All WebJunction courses and programs take place within its unique social learning platform, where people come together around course work and content to gain the most interactive learning experience available to library staff anywhere on the Web."

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

ARL Executive Director Charles B. Lowry Proposes Digitization of Cultural Collections to Spur Economy

February 10, 2009 - "Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Executive Director Charles B. Lowry recently published an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education urging President Obama and Congress to finance a large-scale project to digitize the nation's library and other cultural collections and put them on the Web."

"Lowry states that 'Investing in an open, universal digital commons will help ease the current economic crisis by creating jobs, equipping workers with 21st-century skills, and laying a foundation for innovation and national competitiveness in business and research.'"

"He observes the growing bipartisan support for 'shovel ready' public-works projects to heal the economy but argues, 'that phrase belies the reality of our infrastructure.... Roads and bridges are essential, of course, but we should also build our digital infrastructure and equip workers with skills they can use in the years ahead – skills for the information age.'"

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

Two Online Program Options for MLIS Students

February 5, 2009 announcement from the San Jose School of Library and Information Science - "As a library leader, you oversee many individuals who love working in libraries, but may not hold the MLIS degree that will allow them to expand their professional horizons. We invite you to share with them this opportunity to earn their MLIS degree online, making it possible for them to keep their current job and stay in the area."

"The San Jose School of Library and Information Science is a recognized leader in distance learning. Our students earn an ALA-accredited MLIS degree through online courses that use sophisticated technology to enhance their learning experience and prepare them to effectively apply technology in their professional lives."

"We offer two online program options for MLIS students. One option is designed specifically for experienced library managers and supervisors, and the other option is geared for individuals who hold an undergraduate degree and are interested in becoming a librarian."

The deadline to apply is April 1. For more information about our convenient and affordable online MLIS programs, check out our web site at <>"

HathiTrust and OCLC to work together to enhance discovery of digital collections

January 26, 2009 - "HathiTrust, a group of some of the largest research libraries in the United States collaborating to create a repository of their vast digital collections, and OCLC will work together to increase visibility of and access to items in the HathiTrust's shared digital repository."

"Launched jointly by the 12-university consortium known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the 11 university libraries of the University of California system, HathiTrust leverages the time-honored commitment to preservation and access to information that university libraries have valued for centuries. The group's digital collections, including millions of books, will be archived and preserved in a single repository hosted by HathiTrust. Materials in the public domain and those where rightsholders have given permission will be available for reading online."

"OCLC and HathiTrust will work together to increase online visibility and accessibility of the digital collections by creating WorldCat records describing the content and linking to the collections via and WorldCat Local. The organizations will launch a project in the coming months to develop specifications and determine next steps."

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

Expanded green and gold routes to open access at Nature Publishing Group

January 22, 2009 - "Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is expanding open access choices for authors in 2009, through both 'green' self-archiving and 'gold' (authors-pays) open access publication routes. Eleven more journals published by NPG are offering an open access option from January 2009. NPG has also expanded its Manuscript Deposition Service to include 32 further titles."

"An open-access option is now available to authors submitting original research to Molecular Therapy, published by NPG on behalf of the American Society of Gene Therapy, and to ten journals owned by NPG...."

"...For a publication fee of £2,000 / $3000 / €2400, articles will be open access on the journal website and identified in the online and print editions of the journal with an open-access icon. The final full text version of the article will be deposited immediately on publication in PubMed Central (PMC), and authors will be entitled to self-archive the published version immediately on publication. Open access articles will be published under a Creative Commons license. Authors may choose between the Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported and the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence. The Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike Licence permits derivative works, ensuring that authors can comply with funders such as the Wellcome Trust. Other articles will continue to be published under NPG's exclusive License to Publish, and its usual self-archiving policy will apply."

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

University of Michigan and OCLC form partnership to ensure long-term access to OAIster database

January 21, 2009 - "The University of Michigan and OCLC today announced that they have formed a partnership that will ensure continued public access to open-archive collections through the OAIster database, and will expand the visibility of these collections to millions of information seekers through OCLC services."

"Launched in 2002 with grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, OAIster was developed to test the feasibility of building a portal to open archive collections using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). OAIster has since grown to become one of the largest aggregations of records pointing to open archive collections in the world with over 19 million records contributed by over 1,000 organizations worldwide."

"Under the partnership, will continue to function as the public interface to OAIster collections, through funding provided by OCLC to the University of Michigan. Later in 2009, metadata harvesting operations will transfer from the University of Michigan to OCLC."

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

Loyola Marymount University announces Digital Library Program

January 20, 2009 - Announcement from Carmen Mitchell, Loyola Marymount University: "Loyola Marymount University is pleased to announce the launch of its Digital Library Program. Digital collections are rapidly becoming an integral facet of librarianship around the globe. In establishing the Digital Library Program, Loyola Marymount University is showing its continued support for active scholarship by creating new venues and access points for learning. Digitization is a value-added way of making library collections and materials available not just to the LMU community but to researchers around the world, around the clock."

"The Digital Library Program will take a comprehensive and holistic approach to digitization: balancing the educational and research needs of the community, the instructional, institutional and preservation goals of the library, and embodying the spirit and mindfulness of Jesuit tradition. The Digital Library Program creates virtual copies of library materials through technological means using scanners, cameras and computers. These virtual copies are accessible at anytime, they are searchable, and they are organized in a structured manner."

"In 2007, the LMU Library's Department of Archives & Special Collections was awarded a grant as part of the Local History Digital Resources Project (LHDRP), supported by the infrastructure of the California Digital Library (CDL) and Califa through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funding administered by the California State Library (CSL). This grant funded the digitization of 200 postcards from the Werner Von Boltenstern postcard collection, and laid the groundwork for the Digital Library program."

To visit the LMU Digital Library, go to <>.

Copyright 2009 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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