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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
February 2003

Volume 9 Number 2

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Report on the First AHDS Copyright and Digitisation Workshop

Contributed by:
Iain Wallace
Collections Development Officer
Performing Arts Data Service
Glasgow, United Kingdom

The Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS), <>, held its first Copyright and Digitisation Workshop, in London, on 21 January 2003. A national service based at various universities around the UK, the AHDS aids the discovery, creation and preservation of digital collections in the arts and humanities. The Copyright and Digitisation Workshop was intended to give digitisation projects some much needed help in overcoming rights issues when creating digital resources. The workshop emphasis was on practical advice, and several related issues were explored including: how to find out if copyright subsists; how rights holders can be identified; and how licence agreements can be developed.

Workshop speakers were drawn from a number of expert sources. In his talk, John Kelly from the JISC Legal Information Service (JLIS <>) focused on legal definitions of copyright that encompassed information on its coverage, ownership, and duration. He also looked at the issue of "Fair Dealing". Alastair Dunning from the AHDS offered several pragmatic solutions for tackling copyright clearance in the course of digitisation projects. Specific advice was given on how to trace copyright holders, what to do if you can't identify the rights holders, how to identify potential costs, and how to negotiate rights for different purposes and media.

Simon Stokes from the law firm Tarlo Lyons, <>, shared with the audience his considerable experience with and knowledge of copyright law and the Museums and Education sectors. He discussed the law as it stands in the United Kingdom, as well as the likely impact of the new European Community Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC), with particular reference to the digital environment.

Speakers from two different projects also shared their copyright experiences: Polly Christie, Fine Arts Project Manager with the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), <>, spoke about developing copyright licences for digitisation of twentieth-century art. Following this, members of the Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English, <>, outlined relevant data protection legislation and explained how they had tackled problems related to the digitisation of oral history transcripts from the 1960s.

The workshop provided the opportunity for two extended question and answer sessions that highlighted the concerns of many digitisation projects. Particular topics centred on the grey areas of copyright. For instance, what rights issues are associated with older material and with anonymous resources, and what does 'reasonable enquiry' consist of when trying to trace copyright holders? Participants also discussed implications of copyright that subsists within digital objects.

Copyright is clearly one of the fundamental issues with which anyone embarking on a digitisation project must deal. Although currently there are often no clear cut answers to copyright questions, the Copyright and Digitisation Workshop offered participants the chance to query experts in this field, and also to learn from the experiences of others involved in similar digitisation work. Presentations and further resources are available from <>.

Getting a Handle on Federal Information: Persistent Identification Using Handles

Contributed by:
Laurence Lannom
Director, Information Management Systems
Corporation for National Research Initiatives
Reston, Virginia, USA

CENDI <>, an interagency working group of senior Scientific and Technical Information Managers from nine U.S. Federal Agencies, held a one-day workshop on using the CNRI Handle System®, <>, for persistent identification in Federal information systems. The workshop took place on January 29th at the National Library of Medicine and drew approximately 100 attendees. Dr. Robert Kahn, President of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), addressed the development of the Handle System as part of an overall digital object architecture. Kurt Molholm, Director of the Defense Technical Information Center, discussed the requirements for a Federal information infrastructure and the potential importance of the Handle System in that infrastructure. This was followed by a technical overview by Larry Lannom of CNRI and a series of presentations of Handle System implementations, both in and out of government. Presenters reporting on their organizations' implementations included:

Norman Paskin, IDF (International DOI Foundation)
Ed Pentz, CrossRef
Barbara Nekoba, Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)
Sherry Davids, National Agricultural Library
Lillian Gassie, Naval Postgraduate School
Martha Knott, Redstone Scientific Information Center
Wally Finch, National Technical Information Service
Jane Mandelbaum, Library of Congress
Jim Erwin, Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)
Glenn Handrahan, SAIC

Norman Paskin's talk was entitled "Digital Object Identifiers - A Handle Implementation". "CrossRef - A DOI Implementation for Publishers" was the subject of the talk by Ed Pentz. After lunch, a panel that included Barbara Nekoba, Sherry Davids, Lillian Gassie, Martha Knott, Wally Finch, and Jane Mandelbaum discussed the traditional uses of handles by federal government implementers. After the panel discussion, DTIC's Jim Erwin began discussions of non-traditional uses of the Handle System with his talk "Managing Interoperable Digital Objects". His talk was followed by "Managing Government Resources" by Glenn Handrahan from SAIC.

In addition to the formal presentations, there were numerous comments from members of the audience. Before adjourning, participants discussed the establishment of a working group on the use of Handles for persistent identification. Subsequent to the Workshop, CENDI established a Persistent Identifier Task Group to continue discussions and policy development.

Report on the 4th Annual Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) Conference

Contributed by:
Joanne Silverstein
Director of Research and Development
Information Institute of Syracuse
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York, USA

The Virtual Reference Desk 2002 conference was held in Chicago on November 11-12 with 540 attendees from 9 countries. Over 50 concurrent sessions were held, ranging from research studies to software comparisons to telecommuting.

The conference theme was, "Charting the Course of Reference", and the conference highlighted Internet-based reference and information technology, products, and services in all contexts including: libraries and information centers, education, intranets, the commercial sector, government and more. The conference explored issues involved in delivering effective digital reference service and setting standards to ensure quality.

The VRD conference, now in its fourth year, has grown steadily in size and prominence since its inception, and it is now considered the premier conference for decision-makers, practitioners, researchers, and technologists who share an interest in next-generation reference-service solutions. Among the attendees were reference librarians, deans of library and information schools, professors, MLS and Ph.D. students, and library directors. This year's conference marks the first in a successful collaboration with OCLC Institute. The OCLC Institute is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting the evolution of libraries and information services by providing managers with opportunities for advanced education and knowledge exchange.

Specific tracks were related to software, research, policy, evaluation, staffing, education, management, and collaboration. Dr. David Lankes, director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and assistant professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies was the opening keynote speaker. Keynote speakers on the second day were Dr. Connie Van Fleet and Dr. Danny Wallace, Editors of Reference & User Services Quarterly,>, and Karen Schneider, Coordinator of, <>, (the Librarians' Index to the Internet).

Workshops before and after the conference included Dr. Charles McClure's "Preparing for, Administering and Using Statistics and Measures for Digital Reference Evaluation: Practical Approaches" and Erik Jul's "Creating a VRD Action Plan".

Presentations from the conference can be found at <>.

Check the VRD site, <>, for details about the 2003 conference to be held in November in San Antonio, Texas.

Multilingual Applications of the DOI: the mEDRA Project

Contributed by:
Sergio Bernardi
System Management Department
Casalecchio di Reno, Bologna, Italy

Gabriella Scipione
Information Management and Analysis Department
Casalecchio di Reno, Bologna, Italy

Within the framework of the Content programme, the European Commission has approved mEDRA, a project that aims at creating a multilingual European Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Registration Agency (RA). mEDRA is co-ordinated by AIE the Italian Publishers Association in partnership with:

  • MVB a company owned by the German publishers association,

Technical support is provided by Cineca, a technological consortium of 18 Italian universities. EDItEUR is the sub-contractor for the development of metadata schemes. Other organisations, including the International Publishers Association, the International DOI Foundation, and the Publication Office of the European Union, are members of the mEDRA steering committee.

mEDRA is designed to be multi-lingual, multi-application and European.

  • Multi-lingual: The existing DOI RAs (except Enpia, a Korean RA) focus on English-based content; mEDRA addresses multi-lingual e-content. This multi-linguality will extend to metadata schemes, user interfaces, plug-ins, etc.
  • Multi-application: Many of the existing IDF RAs began with a focus on specific applications, e.g., learning objects, citation linking, and so on, for which the DOI was an essential tool. mEDRA, in contrast, will initially be focused on a wide range of applications with an emphasis on the multi-lingual use of the DOI identification system.
  • European: Although the project begins with the involvement of the four major continental European countries (Italy, Spain, France and Germany), by nature mEDRA is a pan-European initiative. Its multi-lingual and multi-application approaches are designed to fit European requirements in the broader sense.

The first application mEDRA plans to implement has been called "DOI as a citation system", referring to the use of the DOI strings rather than URLs to cite published material. Using DOIs for citations exploits one of the key functionalities of the DOI: persistence. To provide effective "persistence", it is necessary to implement procedures and tools that ensure a realistic approach to that concept. Although the DOI system allows publishers to update URLs and, hence, enables users to find digital objects at new locations, what happens if publishers do not update the information? What happens if documents are simply removed from the Internet?

The mEDRA definition of "persistence" is as follows: "persistence means that users will reach the best information currently available about the location of a document". This implies the importance of continuously checking the primary URLs registered in the DOI metadata and defining consequent actions to be taken if such a check finds that the URL is broken. Additional applications for mEDRA are being designed along the same lines. The "Deposit" application will allow rights holders to deposit content in addition to registering metadata. The implementation of these applications will include the use of time stamping and digital signature technologies.

Another important area for development is tracking the relationships between intellectual property (IP) entities, beginning with the definition of which relationships can occur between two IP entities (e.g., "A is part of B"; "A is a new edition of B"; etc.). These IP relationships will be registered within the DOI metadata and thus will enable users to navigate amongst related entities.

The first commercial release of mEDRA is planned for November 2003.

Report on the Digital Reference Research Symposium

Contributed by:
Joanne Silverstein
Director of Research and Development
Information Institute of Syracuse
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York, USA

The Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) at Syracuse University, in conjunction with the National Library of Canada, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Harvard University, and QuestionPoint, convened the Digital Reference Research Symposium on August 1 - 3, 2002, at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, with participation by the Institute of Museum & Library Services and the Library of Congress.

The symposium was designed to create a research agenda in digital reference that bridges the areas of digital reference, library practice and digital libraries.

Academic, public and special libraries are rushing to offer human intermediation services over the Internet. Conference sessions on the topic are filled, workshops well attended, and major library organizations (RUSA, ACRL, OCLC) have begun developing digital reference training. However, unlike digital libraries, there has been relatively little in the way of research interest, and digital reference has become primarily the province of the practitioner. This practitioner orientation can be seen in the Virtual Reference Desk Conference, <>. This separation between research and practice has very real consequences. Large amounts of money are being invested in digital reference services by universities, public libraries, governmental agencies and foundations. These monies are being invested in services, software and planning without benefit of clear empirical research designating best practices and a clear understanding of these services´┐Ż benefits and shortcomings.

A further problem has been the lack of interaction between the digital reference and digital library communities. While digital reference can be seen as a sub-field of digital libraries, few cases exist where research or development in these areas have been coordinated (with the exception of Lankes, 2001). Yet, each of these populations now understands the importance of the other.

The digital reference symposium engaged the information science and digital library research communities in digital reference, and contributed to the development of a digital reference research cohort that has often worked apart, and sometimes in competition. By bringing together a panel of high-level information scientists, digital library researchers and the handful of digital reference researchers, a clearer picture of the field emerged. This clearer picture, its research priorities and shared knowledge can provide benefit to funding agencies as they seek to support development in the reference practitioner community.

Leading researchers were commissioned to conduct various activities, including writing White Papers on key topics coming out of the digital reference community, including:

  • Question Negotiation in an Electronic Environment
  • Education for Digital Reference Services
  • Standards, Systems and Software for Digital Reference
  • Policies and Standards for Digital Reference in Consortia
  • Fit of Digital Reference into the Digital Library Arena

Each author defined the topic under consideration, interviewed key informants in each area, clarified the issues and challenges that need to be addressed, offered recommendations for how best to resolve the issues and make some progress in this particular area, and wrote a white paper.

After each paper was presented, attendees provided feedback to the author regarding the paper. This discussion was used to form a final research agenda document. Authors were also in charge of organizing a session at the October, 2002 Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) conference on their particular topic. In this way, the research outcomes of the symposium were conveyed to practitioners, whose feedback was gathered.

Authors then revised their papers in light of the subsequent discussions at the Symposium and the Conference, and the final documents will be published in an ACRL monograph available in 2003. The research agenda was presented at the 4th Annual Virtual Reference Desk Conference in Chicago, Illinois on November 11-12, 2002.

You may view the initial versions of the papers, along with details about the Symposium at <>.

Additional information can also be found in the following references:

Lankes, R. (2001). Integrating Expertise into the NSDL: Putting a Human Face on the Digital Library [online] <>.

McClure, C. and Lankes, R. (2001). Assessing Quality in Digital Reference [online] <>.

Janes, J. (2000.) Digital reference: services, attitudes, and evaluation. Internet Research, 10(3) p. 256-8.

White, M. (2001). Diffusion of an innovation: digital reference service in Carnegie Foundation master's (comprehensive) academic institution libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 27(3) (May) p. 173-87.

Top Issues Facing Distance Education and eLearning Professionals in 2003

Contributed by:
William Winfield
19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin, USA

The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning has conducted a survey that lists the top issues facing distance education and eLearning professionals in 2003. The conference is recognized internationally for the quality and integrity of its program. Held in Madison, Wisconsin, every summer, the conference provides a forum for over 1,000 professional educators from more than 500 organizations to exchange information on best practices in distance education and training. Over the years, the conference has featured many internationally known experts in the field as keynote speakers and panelists. With many changes and challenges facing on-line learning this year, we surveyed a dozen of our past speakers and panelists to find out what they thought were top distance education issues for 2003.

The open-ended survey reveals a variety of problems being faced by academic and corporate institutions as they work to overcome the effects of tight budgets and failed DOT.COM ventures. Standards of academic quality, digital fair use rights, accessibility, course management software as well as costs of course development remain high on the experts' lists. Their replies can be found as a new addition to the conference resource area at <>. In addition, archived resources of proceeding papers from past conferences and audio files of keynote speakers are available at <>.

The conference addresses the needs of educators, trainers, managers, student support, librarians and course designers from throughout the world who are involved in the planning, administration, and management of distance education programs using a variety of technologies. This year's program will offer more than 150 concurrent sessions, workshops, advanced seminars, panels, keynotes, and online course showcases. The conference program brochure will be available mid-May, 2003. Complete information can be found at <>.

ParaTools Reference Parsing Toolkit - Version 1.0 Released

Contributed by:
Mike Jewell
Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton, United Kingdom

We are pleased to announce the first release of the ParaCite Toolkit (ParaTools). Created at Southampton University as an offshoot of the OpCit [1] [2] and EPrints [3] projects, ParaTools provides functionality for reference extraction from document bibliographies, reference parsing into component metadata (such as authors, year, and title), and for the creation of compliant OpenURLs [4] from reference metadata. The toolkit can be downloaded from <>, and has been made available under the GNU Public License to ensure that ParaTools remains entirely free and open source.

The ParaTools structure consists of two key types of module, with CiteParser modules providing citation parsing functionality and DocParser modules extracting references from documents. All CiteParser and DocParser modules follow the same interface, so it is easy to swap parsers if necessary. Two CiteParsers are provided with ParaTools, one using a template-matching technique and the other using a regular-expression based process. The former is used by the ParaCite reference search engine to parse requests, so the citation template list is frequently updated. The latter is based on the Parser::Citation module created by Zhuoan Jiao. An experimental DocParser is also included, with another to be added in the next release of the toolkit.

ParaTools can be easily integrated into the archiving software (a guide is available in the ParaTools documentation), and can be used to create OpenURL links from article bibliographies. This has been implemented on CogPrints [5], with links provided to search for cited articles using ParaCite—an example article is present at <>, which shows how the archive first searches for internal matches (by locating the year and author within the reference) and then provides a link to the ParaCite service if these are not correct/sufficient.

Other uses for ParaTools include:

  • Converting existing metadata into valid OpenURLs
  • Collecting metadata from references to carry out internal searches
  • Extracting reference lists from documents

To provide access to ParaTools for applications not written in Perl, a web service is available that exposes the reference parsing functions as well as ParaCite's search capabilities. The service has currently only been tested with the Perl SOAP::Lite module (examples are in the package), but SOAP implementations are available for many other languages, including Java and C#.

Contributions to the toolkit are very welcome, and the documentation includes information on how to create parsers that are compatible with the ParaTools API.

Further information and downloads are available at: <>.

The ParaTools mailing list is available at: <>.


[1] The Open Citation Project: <>.

[2] Open Citation Linking: The Way Forward, D-Lib Magazine, October 2002 <>.

[3] EPrints (philosophy and resources): <>.

[4] The OpenURL Standard, <>.

[5] CogPrints, <>.

In the News

Recent Press Releases and Announcements

"Washington, DC - Library of Congress, 14 February 2003: Today the Librarian of Congress announced that the Library of Congress has received approval from the U.S. Congress for its "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)," which will enable the Library to launch the initial phase of building a national infrastructure for the collection and long-term preservation of digital content."

"'The Library of Congress is grateful for the continuing support that Congress has given us by asking us to lead this critical program to collect and preserve America's cultural and intellectual heritage in digital formats for generations to come,' said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. 'Together with other federal agencies and the library, archival, university and private sector communities, we will work to develop a network of collaborative partners as well as a technical architecture that will provide the framework for digital preservation.'"

"Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura Campbell is overseeing this effort for the Library. 'I echo Dr. Billington's remarks and add that the Library of Congress has gained an enormous amount of knowledge from its partners in this initiative. We look forward to a continued successful collaboration as we work together to preserve digital materials before they are forever lost.'"

"Congressional approval of the "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program" means the Library can move forward with developing the details of the plan and Congress will release funds for the next phase of NDIIPP. The NDIIPP legislation asks the Library to raise up to $75 million in private funds and in-kind contributions, which Congress will match dollar- for-dollar."

For further information, read the full press release at <>.

First Ever Online Festival for Readers Everywhere

"RESOURCE News, 13 February 2003 - On World Book Day, Thursday 6th March, there's a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to see films of their favourite authors talking about what they love to read, and to chat online with writers and fellow readers."

"The first ever World Book Day Online Festival is a unique and exciting day for readers who'd like to take a first step at using the internet, or for those already familiar with it. The highlight of the day is a live web cast by Terry Pratchett from one of the pods at Peckham Library where Terry is interviewed live on World Book Day and broadcasts to the nation—and beyond!"

"The World Book Day Online Festival will bring readers and writers together in a day-long programme of events. In addition to Terry Pratchett's live web cast, there are also live web chats and films for readers, both adults and children. The films show writers sharing their own reading passions, as well as reading from their work in a variety of settings, including their own homes. Through the web chats, readers will be able to share their own reading experiences, thoughts and opinions with their favourite writers and fellow book lovers."

For further information, read the full press release at <>.

Preserving Our Past: A Joint Digital Repository Project for Cambridge University and MIT

"10 February 2003 - University of Cambridge: Cambridge University Library and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries have embarked on a joint project to establish a digital repository for Cambridge University."

"The two libraries, working with Cambridge University Computing Service, will jointly receive £1.7 million over two years from the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) in order to install an open source computer system called DSpace™"

"The Cambridge system, to be known as 'DSpace@Cambridge', will have two principal roles. It has the ability to capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve digital material created by the academic community, including scholarly articles and pre-prints, theses, technical reports, archives and other textual material, together with different formats such as multimedia clips, interactive teaching programmes, datasets and databases."

"Secondly, it will provide a home for the increasing amount of material that is being digitised from the University Library's collections."

For further information, read the full press release at <>.

Museums Spend over a Billion, Commit over 18 Million Hours to K-12 Education Programs Study Finds: 72 Percent Use Web Sites to Teach

"Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), 29 January 2003 - In its second study of K-12 educational programs offered by the nation's museums, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) found that the percentage of museums' median annual operating budgets spent on such programming increased four-fold since 1996. The study also calculates that America's museums commit more than 18 million instructional hours every year on programs for K-12 schoolchildren. IMLS, an independent federal agency, is a primary source of federal grants for the nation's museums and libraries. "

"...MLS Director Dr. Robert Martin said, 'This second IMLS study of museum-school relationships confirms that museums and schools are effective partners for educating children. Museums are no longer depositories of the past, but are centers of learning. The resources that they bring to school partnerships provide unique object-based and visual learning opportunities that help schools meet their learning objectives. IMLS wants every child to have access to museums, and libraries, to encourage a love of discovery and learning that they can return to again and again in their lives.'" "

"Based on a representative sample of more than 15,000 museums of all sizes, types, and locations, IMLS found the following: "

  • In 2000-01, nearly 70 percent of responding museums said the number of schools, students, and teachers they serve had grown in the past five years. IMLS estimates that nearly 11,000 museums were offering such programs in 2000-01.
  • Museums offer a wide range of activities that include staff-guided field trips for school groups (77 percent), museum staff visits to schools (54 percent), teacher training (32 percent), and resource kits at school sites (34 percent), and traveling exhibits (17 percent).
  • Seventy-one percent of museums work with curriculum specialists to tailor educational programming to support school curriculum standards.
  • Increasingly, museums use new technologies to bring their resources into the lives of American school children. Seventy-two percent of museums use Web sites for educational programming; fifty-eight percent communicate with teachers via e-mail, and 24 percent e-mail students.

For further information, read the full press release at <>.

Breaking the Silence: The Revolution in Public Libraries

"London, 21 January 2003 - A 'revolution' is taking place in local libraries throughout the UK, according to a report published today on the People's Network, a major success story in the Government's drive to get people online."

"The People's Network is an ambitious project to connect all public libraries to the internet, provide new ICT learning centres, and train library staff to offer support, training and advice. By the end of 2002 over 30,000 terminals had been installed in 4,000 public libraries, offering over 60 million hours of free internet access a year, giving people of all ages, interests and backgrounds the opportunity to participate in the 'wired' society."

For further information, read the full press release at <>.

Usage Statistics for Oxford Journals Online Collection

"Oxford University Press - 17 January 2003: Oxford University Press (OUP) announces the availability of Usage Statistics across their Online Journals collection in 2003."

"Available both to consortia and individual organisations using one or more titles from the Oxford Journals Online Collection, the reports can be accessed online in HTML format or downloaded as .csv files providing easier manipulation by library administrators."

"'We have been pleased to work with some key librarians in order to develop a set of reports that are applicable to both consortia and individual organisations,' says Richard Gedye, Sales and Marketing Director, 'And we are committed to becoming compliant with the COUNTER Code of Practice* at the earliest opportunity'."

"The usage reports include data on downloads over time, title and page type. Administrators can choose to look at accumulated accesses over time, or view detailed information on articles and abstracts viewed during a particular month. "

Further information, along with a demonstration of the usage statistics package is available at <>.


Copyright 2003 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/february2003-inbrief