Clips & Pointers

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D-Lib Magazine
October 2005

Volume 11 Number 10

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


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Static and Dynamic Approaches to Make Legacy Databases OAI-compliant

Contributed by:
Francis Jayakanth
National Centre for Science Information, Indian Institute of Science
<franc@ncsi.iisc.ernet.in>
Kurt Maly and M. Zubair
Old Dominion University
<maly@cs.odu.edu> and <zubair@cs.odu.edu>
Lalitha Aswath
Bangalore University, India
<lalitha_aswath@hotmail.com>

There are number of legacy database systems in use today, but, to the best of our knowledge, for various reasons none of these systems are OAI-compliant. Micro CDS/ISIS (advanced non-numerical information storage and retrieval software developed by UNESCO in 1985) is one example of such systems (see http://www.unesco.org/isis). Micro CDS/ISIS is based on the CDS/ISIS system developed in the late 1960s for mainframe computers. A number of organizations and institutions worldwide are using Micro CDS/ISIS software to manage bibliographic information. The popularity of the software package is evident from the fact that, upon request, UNESCO distributed more than 5,600 copies of Micro CDS/ISIS in 2004.

A large number of live CDS/ISIS databases exist throughout the world today. Many of these databases contain very useful content, but at present, there is no automated way of sharing the metadata from these databases even when the maintainers of the databases would like to share it. With that in mind, we explored the possibility of making CDS/ISIS databases OAI-compliant so that they could become interoperable with other digital libraries.

We envisaged two approaches – static and dynamic – to make CDS/ISIS databases OAI-compliant, and we were successful in accomplishing that goal using both approaches.

The Static Approach

In the static approach, the database records are exported to a textual file. This file is then converted into the format that conforms to the static repository xml file (see http://www.openarchives.org/news/news2.html#StaticRepo). Once this has been done, the xml file can be ingested into the Kepler system (see http://dlib.cs.odu.edu/#kepler), a light-weight, self-contained, OAI-compliant tool developed for individuals to use to archive their documents. Alternatively, the xml file can be made OAI-compliant through the intermediation of a static repository gateway (http://srepod.sourceforge.net/). Details of work on the static approach are available from the following URLS:

<http://eprints.iisc.ernet.in/archive/00003643/>
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00330330510610609>
<http://www.unesco.org/isis>

However, the static (repository) approach has the following limitations:

  • The number of records in the static repository XML file cannot exceed 5000 records.
  • There is no real-time interaction with the actual database during harvesting of metadata.

The Dynamic Approach

To overcome the limitations of the static (repository) approach, we have devised a dynamic approach to make CDS/ISIS databases OAI-compliant. In the dynamic approach there is a direct interaction with the database rather than interaction with a static file. The main challenge in accomplishing the dynamic approach is that there are no ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) or JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) drivers for CDS/ISIS to facilitate database connectivity. We overcame this problem by using a freeware gateway tool called 'wxis' for database connectivity. For more details about the gateway tool, please visit:

<http://productos.bvsalud.org/product.php?id=wwwisis&lang=en>

Our work on the dynamic approach required developing an intermediary program that can accept OAI requests and translate them into a corresponding search expression meaningful for CDS/ISIS databases. The search expression is then used by the gateway tool for database interaction. The resulting records from the database interaction are encoded in XML as required for OAI-compliance

The advantage of the dynamic approach over the static is that in the dynamic approach there is a real-time interaction with the CDS/ISIS databases.

Interoperability of OAI-compliant Systems

There are several OAI-based service providers who harvest metadata from registered OAI-compliant systems and build a central index of that metadata. This central index serves as a discovery tool for end-users, who need not be aware of the existence of distributed repositories or information systems. Arc (http://dlib.cs.odu.edu/#arc) and OAIster (http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/o/oaister/) are two examples of such OAI-based service providers.

We have set up a demonstration harvesting service that harvests metadata from a few sample CDS/ISIS databases using the 'Arc' software. Our harvesting service can be accessed at:

<http://144.16.72.131:8080/cds/index.html>

The metadata from sample CDS/ISIS databases were harvested in real-time, using the software tool developed for that purpose.


Open Access in Library and Information Science: dLIST 2005 Survey, a Scholarly Communication Study

Contributed by:
Anita Coleman
Editor, dLIST
Asst. Professor, School of Information Resources & Library Science
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona, USA
<asc@u.arizona.edu>

dLIST, Digital Library of Information Science and Technology, an Eprints open access archive, founded in 2002, is now three years old. It was founded with the ambitious goal of connecting research, education and practice communities in the real-world by serving as an open access archive for documents in related but disparate Information Studies disciplines, including Archival Science, Library and Information Science, Museum Informatics, and Information Systems. This summer dLIST celebrated its third birthday with the establishment of DL-Harvest, an open access aggregator and federated search engine for Library and Information Science (LIS). Another activity for the third year and one in which I invite your participation in the dLIST 2005 survey which is gathering data about self-archiving and scholarly communication behaviors in LIS. The need for such a study is urgent for two reasons, the changing environment, and questions about access as a fundamental value in LIS.

The digital repositories landscape is quite a different one today from when we started; in 2002, there was no open access archive just for LIS although many scholars who work on digital libraries, for example, were depositing in other subject archives such as ArXiV. Today there is another subject-repository, namely E-LIS (based in Italy), and several institutional ones, which either focus on LIS or include it among other disciplines (based in India, Australia, California). However, the growth of digital repositories through self-archiving, whether they are subject-based or institutional, in terms of documents and users continues to be slow. The dLIST experience is somewhat similar; as of 30 September 2005 there are slightly less than 500 documents and a little more than 700 registered users. In the three short years of existence, dLIST has also experimented with many solutions to improve scholar participation in dLIST. The solutions range from promotional, outreach to research and development work. These include: issuing word-of-mouth, direct and email invitations, presenting at conferences and workshops, offering copyright research and deposit services, encouraging repository governance through a global Advisory Board, enabling practitioner-education synergies through digital internships, pursuing strategic partnerships with professional associations, scholarly societies, and academic LIS units in the United States, examining and documenting self-archiving policies as expressed in the copyright transfer agreements of LIS journals, investigating the integration of unstructured and non-OAI-PMH compliant websites with Eprints, and establishing LIS-focused open access aggregation through DL-Harvest. RSS feeds, to get easy updates about new additions, have been enabled. Research support and Wiki software to facilitate individual and social/group scholarly behaviors including the active engagement of scholars in building the open and public domain making the invisible college visible have been in our plans for development since inception.

Most librarians, information professionals, library and information school faculty, researchers and others working with digital information, including computer scientists, will agree that access to information is a much touted value for libraries (and the Internet) and that the open access (OA) movement is a relatively new but highly relevant and related phenomenon. While many in the field have become active in the OA movement, the practice of open access by a majority of the field however remains open to numerous questions. Of these, the most important and overarching question is this: how does the field practice open access?

To find answers to the broad question, dLIST is currently conducting a study. The study seeks to understand the scholarly communication behaviors of educators, researchers and practitioners, especially their knowledge and practice of self-archiving, the barriers faced, along with the current use, potential use, non-use, and value of dLIST. The results of this study will be helpful not just for the future development of dLIST, but for the future development of all open access archives and aggregator services (whether open, closed, or mixed). D-Lib Magazine readers are invited to contribute to the study by completing the dLIST 2005 survey, which is available online at <http://dlist.sir.arizona.edu/survey.html>. Thank you for your participation.


International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (iPRES)

Contributed by:
Dr. Heike Neuroth
Head Research & Development Department - DINI Secretary
Göttingen State and University Library (SUB)
Göttingen, Germany
<neuroth@sub.uni-goettingen.de>

More than 100 national and international participants joined the "International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects (iPRES)" which took place in Göttingen from September 15-16 2005. It was part of a series of international conferences in the field of digital preservation. This series started with the "Chinese-European Workshop on Digital Preservation" in Beijing in July 2004 (http://rdd.sub.uni-goettingen.de/conferences/cn_eu_workshop04/).

iPRES aimed at enhancing the exchange of experiences and international cooperation in the field of digital preservation. The keynote speeches were given by Elisabeth Niggemann (Die Deutsche Bibliothek) and Stephen Abrams (Harvard University Library).

In addition to that, national and international experts gave presentations in the three main topics: "Preservation Policies", "Technical Workflow" and "Web Archiving". The two-day conference was concluded by special presentations on current developments within the field of long-term preservation, e.g., PREMIS (Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) and METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard).

Each presentation was videotaped. The video streams as well as the PDF files of the presentations can be found at: <http://rdd.sub.uni-goettingen.de/conferences/ipres/programme>.


In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

New report looks at suitability of Creative Commons for UK public sector

October 14, 2005 - "The Common Information Environment (CIE) today published the results of a study into the applicability of the international Creative Commons licenses to a range of UK public sector resources."

"The study, undertaken for the CIE by Intrallect and the AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property & Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh, was commissioned to investigate the potential for Creative Commons licenses to clarify and simplify the process of making digital resources available for re-use."

"The report is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution licence to encourage dissemination and reuse of the findings, and is available for download, along with a comprehensive set of appendices. "

For more information, please see the full JISC press release at <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=newsandevents>.


JISC unveils plans to invest extra 80m in UK education and research

October 13, 2005 - "Following awards amounting to an extra £80m of capital funding over two years, JISC today announced plans to invest further in a range of activities to support UK education and research from 2006 to 2008. The funds, awarded by HEFCE, will significantly enhance the UK's digital infrastructure and bring a wide range of benefits to the higher education and research sectors."

"Among the plans announced today were:

  • Repositories - support to provide institutions with policy advice and technical guidance on setting up digital repositories; funding to support institutions in developing a critical mass of content, and the provision of national structures to support searching across federated repositories.
  • Network - extra funding to support the transition to the next-generation SuperJANET5 network; further development of the UK's optical network for research communities - UKLight - and its integration into SuperJANET5.
  • Digitisation - further investment in the digitisation of important scholarly resources; in collaboration with partners, the development of national digitisation and e-content strategies.
  • e-Learning - working with the HE Academy to support the implementation of HEFCE's e-learning strategy and the DfES's e-strategy, including the establishing of a national e-learning advisory centre for the HE community.
  • e-Research - development of a national e-infrastructure in support of the research community and in support of the DTi's 'Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004 - 2014'.
  • User Environments - build on the success of the Virtual Research Environment (VRE) programme to support researchers in using VREs in all disciplines: investigate the further extension of such environments to incorporate wider functions and to support other users, including those engaged in e-learning and e-administration.

For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=funding_1005>.


ALA launches public library funding survey

October 10, 2005 - "The American Library Association (ALA) is beginning a program to conduct a "fast response" survey each year on library funding, an issue critical to libraries. The survey is being sent to a representative random sample of libraries...."

"This first survey focuses on public library funding changes throughout fiscal years 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. The results of this survey will provide new, more detailed information on library funding that will help us in our efforts to increase library funding at the local, state, and national level."

"Although a random sample of public libraries has been selected to participate, any public library may respond. The survey is available on the ALA website at http://www.ala.org/plfunding. The deadline to respond is November 11, 2005."

For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=news&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=106245>.


Nearly Half a Million Dollars for University of Illinois and Pew Research Center Internet Investigation

October 5, 2005 - "The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services announced a cooperative agreement today with the University of Illinois Library Research Center (LRC) to investigate, in partnership with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, how effectively public libraries and community technology centers provide government information to people with limited access to the Internet. The agency awarded $495,053 for the national study; findings and recommendations for improving services to the public are expected in October 2007."

"...The LRC, established in 1961, conducts research about libraries and librarians' issues. Based at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the LRC specializes in social science approaches to data collection and analysis. Among its recent clients are the Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the American Library Association."

For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.imls.gov/whatsnew/current/100505.htm>.


ILLINET Online Renamed "I-SHARE"

September 29 2005 - "The Board of Directors of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) announces the renaming of the ILLINET Online catalog and resource sharing system to I-Share. Additionally the group of libraries who use the system in support of local library operations and resource sharing will be referred to as the 'I-Share libraries'. "

"This past July the Illinois Digital Academic Library (IDAL), the Illinois Cooperative Collection Management Program (ICCMP), and the Illinois Library Computer Systems Organization (ILCSO) were consolidated into a single organization, CARLI, to serve the higher education community in Illinois. The adoption of the name 'I-Share' is one part of the consolidation process taking place in this first, transitional year."

"Sixty five academic and research libraries in Illinois use I-Share to support their local operations, as well as to share resources among themselves and with the Illinois library community at large. The system traces its roots back more than 25 years. I-Share holds records representing 8.9 million unique titles and 31.5 million items. I-Share has supported more than 9.3 million resource sharing transactions since 1979. The I-Share libraries initiated 302,000 resource sharing transactions among themselves during FY 2005, and loaned 42,000 items to Illinois libraries outside of the I-Share group."

For more details on the name change see: <http://www.carli.illinois.edu/I-Share/docs/050908illinetonline.html>.


Libraries, Museums, and Public Broadcasters to Address Community Needs

September 27, 2005 - "The Partnership for a Nation of Learners – a collaboration between the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) – today announced its first-ever community collaboration grants. The grants, totaling $1,447,022, will fund museums, libraries, and public broadcasters in seven communities as they work together to address specific, jointly identified community needs ranging for asthma education to historic material conservation."

For more information, please see the full press release at <http://www.imls.gov/whatsnew/current/092705.htm>.


New JISC service draws on UK visualisation expertise

September 22, 2005 - "Researchers who would benefit from visualising their data have a new support network to turn to for advice and guidance. JISC has announced the funding of a Visualisation Support Network (VizNet) which pools the expertise of key visualisation centres in UK universities."

"...JISC has allocated funding for the Visualisation Support Network over the next three years to centres based at Loughborough University and King's College London. The Loughborough centre, representing a consortium of Loughborough University, the University of Cardiff, the University of Leeds, the University of Manchester, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, will provide a focal point for sharing knowledge and best practice between application domains and provide training in advanced visualisation techniques. The centre at King's College London will provide a 3D Visualisation in the Arts Network, with the same broad aims as the Loughborough centre, but focusing on the needs of researchers in the arts and humanities. The centres will work closely together to ensure maximum synergy and to avoid duplication of effort."

For more information, please see <http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=viznet_announcement>.


OSTI Sends over 110,000 Citations to OCLC

September 20, 2005 - "OSTI is pleased to announce that its Open Archives Initiative (OAI) server has opened more than 110,000 DOE scientific and technical reports for harvesting by the Online Computer Center Library (OCLC)."

"OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 53,548 libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials."

"OSTI's Information Bridge consists of more than 110,000 full-text documents produced and made available by the DOE National Laboratories and grantees from 1994 forward. Additional legacy documents are included as they become available in electronic format. Information Bridge provides the open source to full-text and bibliographic records of DOE R&D reports in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics."

For more information, please see the full announcement at <http://www.osti.gov/news/2005/sep/oai110k>.


Connotea wins award for publishing innovation

September 20, 2005 - "Connotea, a free online reference management service for scientists, developed by Nature Publishing Group, has won the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) Award for Publishing Innovation. This international award is presented annually to products that display 'a significantly innovative approach to any aspect of publication', as judged by a panel of independent experts. The award coincides with the release of the full version of Connotea."

For more information, please see <http://npg.nature.com/pdf/connotea.doc>.


$17.3 Million Awarded to Advance Innovation and Public Service at Nation's Museums and Libraries

September 20, 2005 - "The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal funds for the nation's museums and libraries, today announced the recipients of its prestigious National Leadership Grants for 2005. More than $17 million ($17,349.361) is being awarded to 41 museum and libraries throughout the country in this highly competitive grant program. The recipients will match the awards with an additional $15,522,757. For contact lists of the National Leadership Grant recipients and project descriptions organized by State, please see: <http://www.imls.gov/whatsnew/current/092005_listnlg.htm>."

For the full press release, please see <http://www.imls.gov/whatsnew/current/092005_nlg.htm>.


Copyright 2005 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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doi:10.1045/october2005-inbrief