Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
November 2004

Volume 10 Number 11

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


The OCKHAM Initiative - Building Component-based Digital Library Services and Collections

Contributed by:
Eric Lease Morgan
University Libraries, Univesity of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Jeremy Frumkin
Library, Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Edward A. Fox
Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

The Ockham Initiative is building a framework for creating component-based digital library services and collections. The framework is essentially organized into two parts: a registry and a set of internet-available services. The registry is an application residing on a peer-to-peer network. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the discovery of digital library services and collections on the Internet. The set of internet-available services implements common digital library functions such as annotating, collecting, creating, deleting, editing, finding, organizing, reviewing, etc. They provide these functions through lightweight protocols such as the OAI-PMH or SRU/SRW— as well as through web services.

In accord with Ockham's Razor, the goal of the initiative is to create systems that are useful, while at the same time lack unnecessary complexity. The example services are intended to be well defined, straightforward, and easily usable components, that fit clearly into a larger environment. They are designed to use existing protocols and intended to build on current best practices. As new protocols and better practices are developed, the framework should accommodate change easily. For example, the registry service will use OAI to harvest metadata from service providers and to afford a Z30.50 and/or an SRW interface to the harvested data. The proposed alerting service also harvests OAI data from selected repositories plus the recent acquisitions from traditional library catalogs to form sets of "new" information. Access to these sets will be provided via an SRU Interface, and each resulting SRU URL will be used to embody a user's information profile. Other example services include: a cataloging service, a pathfinding service, and a "find more like this one" service.

The initial focus of the Ockham Initiative is the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded National Science Digital Library (NSDL). It is desired to make NSDL content more accessible, especially to the millions served by the libraries of the nation's colleges and universities, which are expected to expand their collaborations by setting up peer-to-peer networks according to diverse principles in accord with a wide range of economic, educational, political, scholarly, and social needs / opportunities. Further, the Ockham framework and the example services also are designed to accommodate the needs of just about any digital library.

The main current project development is sponsored by the NSF. It is led by four co-PI's: Martin Halbert (Emory University), Ed Fox (Virginia Tech), Jeremy Frumkin (Oregon State), and Eric Lease Morgan (University of Notre Dame). For more information about Ockham, see <>

ACRL's Effective Practices Clearinghouse

Contributed by:
Priscilla Finley
Humanities Librarian
University Libraries, University of Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

The Association of College & Research Libraries' (ACRL) Effective Practices Committee is accepting submissions for its web-based clearinghouse for effective practices in academic libraries. The Effective Practices web site can be found at

The clearinghouse will document practices from all areas of academic libraries; we're looking for examples of procedures or tools that have been developed to (for example) streamline workflow, solve problems or improve services.

An effective practice is:

  • aligned with the library's and parent organization's mission
  • sustainable, cost-effective and has the potential for long-term impact on the library and its constituents

An effective practice has:

  • outcomes that are measurable
  • some degree of transferability

Effective practices can be submitted at <>. Practices are then reviewed to see if they meet the criteria listed above. Once accepted, ACRL will post the practice on the web site and send the submitting library a letter acknowledging its contribution to the Effective Practices clearinghouse.

As more effective practices are submitted and the clearinghouse grows, academic librarians looking for ideas to improve specific practices in their own libraries or just shopping for good ideas will be able to browse by category and search by keyword.

Please take a look at the effective practices already on the page and consider submitting your own effective practice. If you have questions, feel free to contact Priscilla Finley, Chair of the Effective Practices Committee at or 702-895-2132.

SEPIADES: Open Source Software Tool for Cataloguing Photographic Collections

Contributed by:
Edwin Klijn
European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA)
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Within the framework of the SEPIA (Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access) project, the Working Group on Descriptive Models developed a model and set of recommendations for cataloguing photographic collections. This model, called SEPIADES, consists of a wide range of suggested elements to describe digitally born as well as analogue photographic materials. It allows cataloguing on item as well as grouping or collection level.

On the basis of these recommendations, in close cooperation with the Working Group, an open-source software tool has been built to implement the SEPIADES model. The main features of the SEPIADES software tool are:

  • multi-level description, allowing users to create their own hierarchy
  • flexible and easy customizing to specific demands of users, providing extensive control over interface and contents
  • cross-platform, running on Microsoft Windows 98 (1st or 2nd edition), NT 4.0 (with Service Pack 5 or later), ME, XP, and 2000 (with Service Pack 2 or later), OS X and Linux kernel v 2.2.12 and glibc v2.1.2-11 or later
  • storage of records in human-readable XML format
  • export function to Dublin Core according to recommended Dublin Core mapping by SEPIA Working Group on Descriptive Models
  • search-and-retrieval function, based on Jakarta Lucene
  • implementation of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), enabling users to share their data with others with minimal effort
  • programmed in Java, allowing flexible integration with existing descriptive software packages
  • GNU LGPL license, open source release
  • UTF-8 compliant

Version 1.1. of the software tool can now be freely downloaded (as zip file) from <>. On this webpage you will find more background information, a user manual and technical documentation on the software tool.

Members of the Working Group on Descriptive Models who greatly encourage everyone to have a look at the tool and hope it will contribute to improve accessibility to our shared visual memory include: Kristin Aasbø, Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority/National Library of Norway; Isabel Ortega García, National Library of Spain; Anne Isomursu, Finnish Museum of Photography; Torsten Johansson, Stockholm City Museum/The Royal Library-National Library of Sweden; and Edwin Klijn, European Commission on Preservation and Access (ECPA).

For any comments, questions, remarks, etc., please contact Edwin Klijn <>. For more information about SEPIA, see <>.

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

CLIR Board Elects New Officers

November 1, 2004 - "Washington, D.C. - The Board of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) elected three new officers at its semiannual meeting October 29. Charles Phelps, provost at the University of Rochester, was named chair, succeeding Stanley Chodorow, professor at the University of California, San Diego. Mr. Phelps has served on CLIR's Board since 1998."

"Herman Pabbruwe, chief executive officer of the Netherlands-based Brill Publishing, was elected treasurer, succeeding Dan Tonkery, vice president of information services at EBSCO. Mr. Pabbruwe joined the CLIR Board in 2002."

"James Williams, II, dean of libraries at the University of Colorado at Boulder, succeeds Jerry Campbell, chief information officer and dean of the university libraries at the University of Southern California, as secretary. Mr. Williams joined the CLIR Board in 2002."

"Paula Kaufman, university librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will continue to serve as vice chair. She joined the CLIR Board in 2001."

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

Elsevier's ScienceDirect spearheads authentication initiative

October 27, 2004, announcement from Allison Szeliga, Ketchum for Elsevier - "Elsevier's ScienceDirect (, the world's largest online library for scientific, technological, medical and social science research with 1,900 titles and over 6 million full-text articles available, announces support for Shibboleth authentication. Elsevier shows its commitment to making access easier by support new authentication schemes in addition to the more 'traditional' ones, such as IP access."

"At ScienceDirect, we are aware of the limitations that can be caused by IP access and/or access by username and password. Shibboleth overcomes these limitations by permitting users to authenticate themselves to a campus single sign-on system, and through the release of user-controlled information about him or herself, access remote resources anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, Shibboleth helps reduce the administrative burdens for both libraries and vendors."

For more information, please contact Ms. Szeliga at <>.

JISC Announces £1million Digital Preservation Programme

October 27, 2004 - "The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) announced today that it is making grants totalling more than £1million to nine UK educational institutions and their partners to support digital preservation and asset management in UK Higher and Further Education institutions."

"All UK universities and colleges face issues related to long-term management and preservation of information in digital format. Institutions increasingly invest heavily in digital materials but policies and procedures for long-term management of digital assets remain underdeveloped. JISC is funding projects in this programme to raise awareness of digital preservation issues and encourage and set in motion a process of integrating digital preservation and asset management into institutional strategies and operations."

"With the issue of scientific publishing and the role of institutional repositories currently under scrutiny through the report of the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, one strand of the programme will develop preservation services for these repositories. Other projects that will receive funding include work on assessment tools, training initiatives, and a range of exemplars such as the preservation of private papers in digital form. The grants are the next step in a process initiated as part of the JISC strategy to help resolve the complex challenges involved in collecting, preserving and making available digital content over many decades."

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

JISC Joins the Digital Library Federation

October 19, 2004 - "The Executive Committee of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) today announced that the United Kingdom's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has joined the DLF as its first Ally from outside the United States. JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education funding councils and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of information and communication technology to support learning, teaching, and research."

"DLF currently has 33 member libraries (Partners) and four other Allies: the Coalition for Networked Information, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library the OCLC Online Computer Library Center, and RLG."

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

Three Museums and Three Libraries Awarded for Top Public Service in Nation

October 19, 2004 - "Washington, DC - Dr. Robert S. Martin, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, today announced the six recipients of the 2004 National Awards for Museum and Library Service. This is the nation's highest honor for the extraordinary public service provided by these institutions. Each recipient will receive a $10,000 award."

"The winners of the National Award for Museum Service are:

  • Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois
  • Western Folklife Center, Elko, Nevada
  • Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego"

"The winners of the National Award for Library Service are:

  • Flint Public Library, Flint, Michigan
  • Mayagüez Children's Library, Inc., Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
  • The Regional Academic Health Center Medical Library of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas"

"The awards were created to underscore the vital role of museums and libraries as leaders in our democratic society. The winners are as diverse as the cultural landscape of our country: small and large, urban and rural. They have one thing in common: they each have found innovative ways to make serving the community central to their mission. They use their collections and programs to address real community needs. "

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

Get Ready for the New ISBN

October 14, 2004 - "National Information Standards Organization (NISO): The new 13-digit ISBN has been approved and plans are underway to transition to the new number industry-wide, world-wide by January 1, 2007. Find out how the expansion of the ISBN from 10-digits to 13-digits will impact your business and operations:"

For more information, please see <>.

Copyright 2004 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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