Our November/December issue of D-Lib Magazine consists of four articles, in addition to our usual collection of shorter items of relevant digital library news and events. I was tempted to entitle this brief introduction to the issue 'Deluge' as all four articles deal, in one way or another, with the challenges of keeping up with the digital deluge that is both the great opportunity and the great challenge for libraries and related institutions in the digital age.
We lead with Assessing Stewardship Maturity of the Global Historical Climatology Network-Monthly (GHCN-M) Dataset: Use Case Study and Lessons Learned by Peng et al., a detailed case study applying a data stewardship maturity matrix (DSMM) to a large and valuable dataset collection, the GHCN-M dataset of the title. Stewardship maturity in this sense applies to the processes used by the relevant organization. Nine components, e.g., accessibility, data quality assurance, transparency, and so forth, are measured and rated on a five point scale. Such a detailed analysis of a widely-used dataset can only increase the trustworthiness, or not, of the dataset and in this has led to a "better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the dataset and the organizational capabilities."
This is followed by Intake of Digital Content: Survey Results From the Field by DeRidder and Helms. They surveyed cultural heritage institutions on their approaches to managing the deluge of incoming digital materials, running from selection through to access provision, including tools, workflows, and policies. The survey questions and detailed results are included in the article. The authors provide compelling evidence for their conclusion that these processes and policies are very much still in a developmental stage and that agreement on best practices remains in the future.
Our third article is Technical Debt as an Indicator of Library Metadata Quality by Kevin Clair. He explains the popular and useful metaphor of technical debt developed in the computer science community, in which short-cuts taken today will have to be paid for in extra work tomorrow, and applies it to the creation and maintenance of quality metadata. Direct parallels can be drawn between some detailed aspects of technical debt, e.g., insufficient documentation or an inadequate environment for productive work, and the production and maintenance of quality metadata, while other potentially comparable aspects, e.g., requirement specifications compared to system results, are more elusive. The author concludes with the limitations of the metaphor and future directions for additional research.
We conclude with A Doomsday Scenario: Exporting CONTENTdm Records to XTF by Andrew Bullen. He describes a fire drill in which he must assume that his budget-challenged library must abandon its subscription-based CONTENTdm management system and move to the self-managed open source XTF system. He provides a detailed record, including the scripts used, to successfully transferring all of the data in the managed system to one managed by his institution.
We hope you will find these articles both interesting and potentially useful. And all of us here at D-Lib wish you a joyful and peaceful holiday season.
About the Editor
Laurence Lannom is Director of Information Services and Vice President at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), where he works with organizations in both the public and private sectors to develop experimental and pilot applications of advanced networking and information management technologies.