Clips & Pointers


D-Lib Magazine
November/December 2007

Volume 13 Number 11/12

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief


Dioscuri: emulator for digital preservation

Contributed by:
Jeffrey van der Hoeven, MSc
Koninklijke Bibliotheek
The Hague, The Netherlands

Dioscuri is a modular emulator designed for digital preservation. It is capable of emulating an Intel 8086-based computer platform with support for VGA-graphics, screen, keyboard, and storage devices like a virtual floppy drive and hard drive. With these components, Dioscuri successfully runs 16-bit operating systems like MS-DOS, and applications such as WordPerfect 5.1, DrawPerfect 1.1 and Norton Commander. Furthermore, it is capable of running many nostalgic DOS-games and a simple Linux kernel.

Designed for digital preservation

Based on a new concept [1] designed by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands) Dioscuri offers two key features: portability and flexibility.

Dioscuri is portable because it is built on top of a virtual layer, called a virtual machine (VM). By using a VM between the real computer and the emulated one, Dioscuri is less dependent on hardware and software, as it is easily ported to almost any computer platform without additional effort. Dioscuri has shown to run reliably on PC, Apple and Sun computers without the need to alter the application in any way.

Flexibility is gained by a component-based architecture. Each component, called a module, imitates the functionality of a particular hardware component (i.e., processor, memory, hard disk, etc.). In concept, by combining these modules, any computer emulation can be created. Configuring Dioscuri is done by a user-friendly graphical interface that stores the settings in an XML-file. Both its portability and flexibility make Dioscuri different from any other emulator that exists today and ensures that it is prepared for the future.

Information reuse

Information is often trapped within an emulated environment. That is, once a document can be reopened under emulation, it cannot be reused in the current computer environment. This problem is solved by Dioscuri, because it allows you to reuse information in your modern working environment. Text within the original environment can be copied to the actual environment using the familiar clipboard functionality available in most modern operating systems.

Developing Dioscuri

In 2005, a joint project was initiated by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands [2]. After a period of field exercise, development started in January 2006 led by Tessella Support Services plc together with emulation proponent Jeff Rothenberg. The PC-architecture was examined and translated into a software representation, resulting in a modular emulator. Although developing an emulator is not an easy task, the project made clear that, even with limited resources, it is possible to build one. Dioscuri was designed, developed and tested with a total effort roughly equivalent to two man-years.

Next steps are already in progress. Since July 2007 development of Dioscuri has continued under the umbrella of the European project Planets [3]. Future work will consist of extending Dioscuri with more components to emulate newer x86 computers, which will make Dioscuri capable of running operating systems like MS Windows 95/98/2000/XP and Linux. Furthermore, Dioscuri will become part of a network for digital preservation services and will be embedded in the current workflow of the e-Depot [4], the operational digital repository of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Available at no charge

Dioscuri is now available as open source software for any individual or institution that would like to work with their older digital documents again. For more information, please visit the following website: <>


If you would like to be kept up to date about new developments of Dioscuri, please register for the Dioscuri news mailinglist: <>.


[1] Hoeven, van der, J.R. and Wijngaarden, van H.N., "Modular emulation as a long-term preservation strategy for digital objects." Presented at the International Web Archiving Workshop (IWAW), Vienna, Austria, 2005. Available at <>.

[2] Emulation project, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, The Netherlands. Available at <>.

[3] Planets project. Available at <>.

[4] e-Depot, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, The Netherlands. Available at <>.

Digital Lives: Research Collections for the 21st Century

Contributed by:
Neil Beagrie
Principal Investigator
Digital Lives Research Project
British Library


Individuals are capturing and storing an ever-increasing amount of digital information about or for themselves, including emails, documents, articles, portfolios of work, digital images, and audio and video recordings. These personal collections created by leading researchers and authors, or by "ordinary" individuals, are often of immense future importance to research in a broad range of subjects including literary criticism, history, and history of science. Despite their importance to the future study of the cultural record, relatively little research has been undertaken by cultural institutions or library, archive and information researchers to determine how existing curatorial practice and approaches to these collections need to be adapted for a digital age.

Project Aims

The Digital Lives project led by the British Library and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is designed to provide a major pathfinding study of these personal digital collections and their relationship with research repositories such as the British Library.

The project brings together expert curators and practitioners in digital preservation, digital manuscripts, literary collections, web-archiving, history of science, and oral history from within the British Library with researchers in the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies at University College London, and Information Technology and Law at the University of Bristol. The project will consider not only how collections currently being deposited are changing but also the fate of the research collections of the future being created now and implications for collection development and practice.

Photo of the Digital Lives research team

Digital Lives research team (from left to right): Jeremy John, Katrina Dean (co-investigator), Jamie Andrews, Prof. David Nicholas (UCL), Neil Beagrie (principal investigator), John Tuck, Alison Hill, Rob Perks. (not shown: Rory Mcleod, Ian Rowlands (co-investigator UCL), Peter Williams (research assistant UCL), Andrew Charlesworth (Bristol), Paul Wheatley).

We expect the findings on personal digital collections from the Digital Lives project will be applicable and of considerable interest to a wide-range of research repositories. It will also be of potential interest to researchers exploring applications of digital memory in other areas such as health and aging populations and for individuals who wish to manage their own personal digital collections for family history or other purposes.

Further Information

The research for Digital Lives commenced in September 2007 and will run until March 2009. A project conference presenting research outcomes will be held on Tuesday, 10th February 2009, at the British Library Conference Centre in London.

For more information and updates on the project visit the our Web site and blog at <>

Understanding the Data Around Us: Gathering and Analyzing Usage Data

Contributed by:
Jamene Brooks-Kieffer
Resource Linking Librarian
K-State Libraries
Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kansas, USA

The most recent educational forum from the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), Understanding the Data Around Us: Gathering and Analyzing Usage Data, was held on November 1-2, 2007 in Dallas, Texas, and cosponsored by Amigos Library Services. Presenters discussed the problems and opportunities inherent to usage data, from gathering and analyzing the data to applying it to better understand and improve services. Attendees considered the topic on a range of scales, from wide-angle applications by managers and administrators to microscopic dissections of event patterns and sequences. Participants agreed on the current woes of usage data: varying formats and sources of data make comparisons difficult; untimely data hinders decisive action; and current standards such as COUNTER and the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) are helpful but insufficient in accounting for user behaviors and data-gathering methodologies.

The oft-implied but seldom-spoken theme uniting the talks was creating a culture of assessment based on usage data. Multiple speakers pointed out the need for usage data consumers to look beyond numbers, translate data into user behaviors, and base decisions on users' demonstrated needs. The methods proposed for arriving at a culture of assessment require intervention on both machine and human levels.

Speakers and attendees discussed modifying machine behaviors to improve tracking of item-level uses; permit massive aggregation of usage data from multiple stakeholders and synthesize multi-sourced data under a single search interface. Participants generally agreed that collaborating on new data standards and continuing to refine existing standards was the best means of accomplishing these goals. Some participants expressed a desire for cooperation on open-source tools designed to achieve the third goal of data synthesis.

Participants wishing to intervene in current human practices may depend on emerging tools from improved machine behaviors. Speakers interested in these practices, however, did not allow a lack of tools as an excuse for ignoring the goal of assessment. These speakers described using already-available local data from sources such as SFX, EZproxy logs, web server logs, and federated search tools to understand their users' actions in light of changes implemented at the library. Such changes can include adding obscure databases to a federated search tool or demonstrating a resource during a library instruction session.

Participants agreed that the universe of usage data is incredibly broad. If the community of data consumers acts on the suggestions made during this Forum, the universe of usage will become broader still. Data consumers who embed their practices in a culture of assessment will demand better and more reliable outputs, and the standards community seems poised to anticipate such demands.

Presentations from this event as well as a community wiki for further discussion are now available on the NISO website: <>.

DigCCurr2007, an International Symposium on Digital Curation

Contributed by:
Helen R. Tibbo
Professor, School of Information and Library Science University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

The world today is rich with digital data. A recent study estimates that "161 exabytes of digital data – or about 161 billion GB – were generated in 2006. And the amount is expected to rise fast." Much of this data may be lost without immediate attention to the best ways to preserve digital materials. Digital curation is an emerging area of practice that will help provide the professional expertise needed to lead projects designed to safeguard digital assets. Preservation of access to these materials requires information and library science professionals with a blend of technology, organizational, and cultural skills and knowledge.

The School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was pleased to host DigCCurr2007, an international symposium on Digital Curation, April 18-20, 2007 at UNC's Friday Center. The event was part of a grant-funded program at UNC School of Information and Library Science entitled "Preserving Access to Our Digital Future: Building an International Digital Curation Curriculum." DigCCurr2007 focused on what digital curators do, and what they need to know in order to carry out substantial projects focusing on preservation of digital materials. The event featured presentations from international scholars and digital preservation specialists.

Presenters at the conference discussed the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that individuals working in digital curation environments find valuable. Session titles included Identifying Digital Curation Services and Functional Requirements; Digital Curation Issues and Challenges from the Workplace Perspective; Mechanisms for Influencing Data Curation Practices; Views from National Libraries and Archives; and Digital Curation in Practice.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funds the DigCCurr project, and The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a partner in the effort. More information about the conference can be found at the project's website, <>. The grant also supports the Carolina Digital Curation Fellowships, a program that assists graduate students interested in research and work in data and digital curation. The program's goal is to produce high-quality information and library professionals prepared to work in the 21st century environment of trustworthy digital and data repositories. It offers successful applicants the unique opportunity to interact and collaborate with key international leaders in digital preservation from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Fellows combine coursework with an internship/research assignment in a UNC-Chapel Hill academic library, archive, or data center, leading to a master's degree in Information Science or Library Science, or to a Ph.D.

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases and Announcements

NISO SUSHI Standard Gets Approval of American National Standards Institute

November 8, 2007 - "The National Information Standards Organization's (NISO) Z39.93 standard, The Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI) Protocol, has received final approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This standard defines an automated request and response model for the harvesting of electronic resource usage data, utilizing a Web services framework. Designed as a generalized protocol extensible to a variety of usage reports, it also contains an extension designed specifically to work with COUNTER usage reports."

"Launched in 2002, COUNTER is designed to help librarians and publishers in the recording and exchange of usage statistics for electronic resources. By following COUNTER's Code of Practice, vendors can provide libraries with data using standardized formats and data elements. The SUSHI protocol is a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) request/response Web services "wrapper" for the XML version of COUNTER reports...."

"...Technical Details
In the protocol, a transaction begins when a client service running as part of an application developed by a library – or running as part of a usage data consolidation service or ILS/ERM system – identifies itself, identifies the customer whose statistics are being requested, and specifies the desired report to the SUSHI server service running at a data provider. In response, the server provides the report in XML format, along with the requestor and customer information – or an appropriate error message. The SUSHI developers envision a system in which the client system is programmed to retrieve reports automatically for all the COUNTER-compliant vendors with which the library does business. "

For more information, please see the NISO web site at <>.

SPARC and ACRL release materials on the progress of open-access journal publishing

November 6, 2007 - "The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), have released interviews and analysis exploring in depth the views of three major open-access publishers on the challenges of sustainability. The materials were produced in conjunction with the 15th SPARC-ACRL Forum on Emerging Issues in Scholarly Communication, which took place on June 23."

"The Forum, which is held at every meeting of the American Library Association, offered participants the opportunity to engage in conversation with top executives from the three organizations. Speakers included Mark Patterson, director of publishing for the Public Library of Science; Bryan Vickery, deputy publisher for BioMed Central and Editorial Director for Chemistry Central; and Paul Peters, director of business development for Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Alma Swan, of Key Perspectives Ltd., moderated the session. Podcasts and slides from the event are now available at <>."

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

OAI-ORE Specification Roll-Out

October 31, 2007 - "On March 3, 2008 the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) will hold a public meeting at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD to introduce the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) specifications. The ORE specifications are developed in response to a significant challenge that has emerged in eScholarship. In contrast to the paper publications of traditional scholarship, or even their digital counterparts, the artifacts of eScholarship are complex aggregations. These aggregations consist of multiple resources with varying media types, semantics types, network locations, and intra- and inter-relationships. The future scholarly communication, research, and higher education infrastructure requires standardized approaches to identify, describe, and exchange these new outputs of scholarship."

"...The March 3 meeting at Hopkins is intended for information managers and strategists, and implementers of networked information systems. It will be led by the two coordinators of OAI-ORE, Carl Lagoze of Cornell University and Herbert Van de Sompel of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Attendees will learn about the ORE data model. They will also learn about the translation of this data model to the XML-based ATOM syndication format. In addition, they will hear the results of initial experiments with the specifications by OAI-ORE community members. There will be ample time for discussion and questions and to meet other members of the OAI-ORE community. (NOTE: attendees must register in advance and attendance is limited). A subsequent meeting with similar content will be held in the UK in the 2nd quarter of 2008. An announcement will be made as soon as the date and venue of the meeting are fixed."

"Registration is required and space is limited."

For more information, please see <>.

Manuscripts sought for LITA/Ex Libris student writing award

October 30, 2007 - "The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is pleased to offer an award for the best unpublished manuscript submitted by a student or students enrolled in an ALA-accredited graduate program. Sponsored by LITA and Ex Libris, the award consists of $1,000, publication in LITA's refereed journal, Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) and a certificate. The deadline for submission of the manuscript is Feb. 28."

"The purpose of the award is to recognize superior student writing and enhance the professional development of students. The manuscript can be written on any aspect of libraries and information technology. Examples include digital libraries, metadata, authorization and authentication, electronic journals and electronic publishing, telecommunications, distributed systems and networks, computer security, intellectual property rights, technical standards, desktop applications, online catalogs and bibliographic systems, universal access to technology, library consortia and others."

"At the time the unpublished manuscript is submitted, the applicant(s) must be enrolled in an ALA-accredited program in library and information studies at the masters or Ph.D. level."

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

AASL offers its first Digital Institute

October 30, 2007 - "The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has just launched its first ever Digital Institute."

"Available as part of the AASL e-Academy online offerings, the 'Minding Your Students' Future' institute offers a rich continuing education experience through multiple media, including podcasts, vodcasts, and video."

"Focusing on the future of learning in school library media programs, the institute pulls together a variety of digital sessions captured during the AASL 13th National Conference & Exhibition in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 25-28. Highlights include clips from the Opening General Session with Dan Pink in a montage with the One Book, One Conference discussion session of his best-selling book 'A Whole New Mind.' Another main attraction is a session on the 'Standards for the 21st-Century Learner,' presented by Cassandra Barnett and Barbara Stripling. Other topics explored in the digital sessions include teaching information literacy, research, podcasting, book challenges and more. A complete list of digital institute offerings can be found at <>."

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

Digital Futures: from digitization to delivery

October 29, 2007 announcement from Simon Tanner, Kings College London - "King's College London is pleased to announce the Digital Futures 5-day training event for 2008, Digital Futures: from digitization to delivery, 7th - 11th April 2008, London, UK <>."

"Led by experts of international renown, Digital Futures focuses on the development, delivery and preservation of digital resources from cultural and memory institutions. Lasting five days, Digital Futures is aimed at managers and other practitioners from the library, museum, heritage and cultural sectors looking to understand the strategic and management issues of developing digital resources from digitisation to delivery."

"Digital Futures will cover the following core areas:

  • Planning and management
  • Fund raising and sustainability
  • Copyright and IPR
  • Visual and image based resource development and delivery
  • Metadata - introduction and implementation
  • Implementing digital resources
  • Digital preservation"

"Digital Futures aims for no more than 25-30 delegates and every delegate will have the opportunity to also spend one-to-one time with a Digital Futures leader to discuss issues specific to them."

"To register, go here: <>."

For more information, please contact Simon Tanner, King's Digital Consultancy Services at <>.

Noted Communications Guru Addresses Large Gathering of Library And Museum Leaders At The Institute of Museum and Library Services

Million-plus Workers Serving Nation's Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Centers Urged to "Be Smart" About New Technologies or Atrophy.

October 24, 2007 - "An urgent call to the million-plus workers in museums, libraries, nature sanctuaries, historic homes, and aquariums to protect, preserve, and enhance the nation's threatened culture and heritage was sounded here today."

"Presenting the inaugural Leadership Lecture at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Robert L. Dilenschneider, the nationally-known communications strategist and author, told the assembled library and museum leaders that they must be 'especially smart and creative' in employing available new technologies because 'the paradigm is rapidly shifting in your world and you must prepare for a great leap forward using technology as a teaching tool.'"

"Warning that libraries and museums dealing with the new technology and multi-media applications 'must accept, adapt, and accelerate their use, or simply atrophy,' Dilenschneider stressed that those technologies can also be an invaluable tool in attracting new patrons and volunteers as well as additional financial support."

"Librarians, curators and leaders of cultural institutions should find and implement teaching applications for technologies as varied as You Tube, podcasting, and virtual existence sites such as, the speaker noted."

For more of Robert Dilenschnieder's remarks, please see the full press release at <>.

OCLC and OCLC PICA form one global organization

October 22, 2007 - "OCLC, the world's largest library service and research organization, is uniting all offices under one name and visual brand identity to reflect a global enterprise with a unified strategy to serve libraries worldwide."

"As a result, OCLC PICA, with offices in the Netherlands, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, will be known as OCLC. By bringing together all offices under one name and identity, libraries worldwide can benefit from OCLC membership, research and an expanded portfolio around a comprehensive set of products and services."

"OCLC has created global engineering and global product management divisions, with eight engineering centers across Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States that will expand OCLC's ability to innovate and create products and services libraries need at local, regional and global levels."

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

BioMed Central Launches Biology Image Library

October 18, 2007 - "BioMed Central today announced the launch of Biology Image Library, an online resource that provides access to over 11,000 carefully selected biology-related images. This is the latest service from BioMed Central, part of the Science Navigation Group of companies which was also responsible for the creation of images.MD <>, a popular medical image resource."

"The Library is a new subscription-based service offering access to an annotated selection of high-quality biological images, movies, illustrations and animations. Subscribers may make royalty-free use of images in the collection for research and educational purposes, while commercial usage rights will be available for an additional fee."

"To view Biology Image Library and register for a free trial, visit <>."

The IET announces launch of Inspec Direct

October 16, 2007 - "The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world's largest professional engineering and technical societies and a leading international scientific and technical publisher, today announced the forthcoming launch of Inspec Direct, a new web-based version of the Inspec Database that will be available directly from the IET. "

"The new Inspec Direct platform will feature a user focused design that will support all levels of scientific and technical research in the corporate, industrial, government and academic sectors. Inspec Direct will provide online access to abstracts and citations to millions of high quality, relevant peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings and technical reports, via a secure and intuitive interface featuring state-of-the-art indexing, search features and analytical functionality."

"The Inspec Direct platform will be commercially available on January 1, 2008, and starting today researchers and information professionals are invited to trial the new platform for free. The trial will allow users to familiarize themselves with the new system and get an insight into the features and functionalities available on the new platform."

For a free trial or further information about Inspec Direct, please see <>.

NCLIS Urges Congress to Make Moratorium on Internet Access Taxes Permanent

October 15, 2007 - "With the moratorium on Internet access taxes set to expire on November 1, 2007, the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) is concerned that new taxes will seriously impact citizen access to government information and submission of required information to the government. "

"Congress is currently considering legislation that addresses this issue. "The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act," introduced by Senators John Sununu (R-NH), John McCain (R-AZ), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 20 co-sponsors, will prohibit taxes on Internet access on a permanent basis. NCLIS urges Congress to consider this legislation carefully."

"An independent agency of the Federal government, NCLIS has as part of its legislated mission a responsibility to study and survey the 'library and information needs of the Nation, including the special and information needs of rural areas, or economically, socially, or culturally deprived persons, and of elderly persons....' In many rural areas, the public library is the only place in the community with high-speed Internet and free computers for local citizen use, and taxes on Internet use will seriously impede citizen access to the Internet in libraries."

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

2007 Aluka Award for Innovative Teaching Recipients

October 15, 2007 - "Aluka - an international collaborative initiative building a digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa - is pleased to announce the winners of the 2007 Aluka Award for Innovative Teaching. The award was developed to foster inventive uses of Aluka's recently launched digital library of more than 300,000 digital objects of high-quality scholarly materials focused on Africa including, in part, botanical specimens, visual and contextual representations of cultural heritage sites, as well as periodicals and pamphlets documenting liberation struggles in southern Africa."

"The six recipients were chosen for their innovative use and deep engagement with the material in Aluka to enrich teaching about or related to Africa. Submissions were open to teaching faculty, graduate students and post doctoral fellows and each recipient will be granted a US$2,000 award."

"Award recipients include:

  • Sara Dorman - University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Kim Miller - Wheaton College, Massachusetts, USA
  • Laura Murphy - Boston College and Harvard University, USA
  • Alex Perullo - Bryant University, USA
  • Christopher Saunders - University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Benjamin Smith - University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa"

"(Aluka is also offering a 2008 Aluka Award for Innovative Teaching. The deadline for proposals is January 25, 2008. Please contact <> with questions or read the full announcement at: <>.)"

BSI British Standards Joins CrossRef

October 9, 2007 - "CrossRef is pleased to announce that BSI British Standards ( has joined as a new CrossRef member. As a member, subject to the creation of an appropriate protocol, BSI will be able to register standards with CrossRef and implement interlinking with other scholarly and scientific publications. This will be achieved through use of the DOI´┐Ż (Digital Object Identifier) System for which CrossRef provides content registration services. CrossRef includes hundreds of publishers and societies, with 28.9 million content items registered to date. BSI British Standards has 27,000 current standards."

"CrossRef and BSI British Standards will join forces to establish a working group of interested parties, made up of both CrossRef members and outside organizations, to discuss best practice for assigning DOI names to standards. Ed Pentz, Executive Director of CrossRef, said, 'The CrossRef system currently supports the registration of standards and the partnership between CrossRef and BSI seeks to improve this by strengthening versioning and dissemination of standards around the world. CrossRef and BSI British Standards aim to make standards more visible, provide a common way to cite standards, and enable linking between standards and the rest of the scholarly literature.' Vincent Cassidy, Commercial Director of BSI Business Standards, said, 'Standards are often link-rich documents, and BSI British Standards is keen to work with CrossRef to unlock this value for customers'."

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

Laying the foundations for the European Digital Library

October 1, 2007 - "A project has begun to bring the European heritage online through a single portal."

"Seventy senior managers and technical experts from museums, archives, audio-visual collections and libraries across Europe came together to plan the European Digital Library. The meeting took place at the National Library of the Netherlands."

"The initiative stems from the call by Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media to 'make the wealth of material in Europe's libraries, museums and archives accessible to all'."

"...The project – the European Digital Library network (EDLnet) – runs for two years, and will develop a prototype that demonstrates proof of concept, bringing together content from some of Europe's major cultural organisations. The project will be run by The European Library together with the National Library of the Netherlands."

For more information, please contact Jon Purday on +31 [0] 70314 0684, <>.

Third Digital Preservation Award 2007

September 27, 2007 - "An innovative tool to analyse and identify computer file formats has won the 2007 Digital Preservation Award. DROID, developed by The National Archives in London, can examine any mystery file and identify its format. The tool works by gathering clues from the internal 'signatures' hidden inside every computer file, as well as more familiar elements such as the filename extension (.jpg, for example), to generate a highly accurate 'guess' about the software that will be needed to read the file."

"Identifying file formats is a thorny issue for archivists. Organisations such as the National Archives have an ever-increasing volume of electronic records in their custody, many of which will be crucial for future historians to understand 21st-century Britain. But with rapidly changing technology and an unpredictable hardware base, preserving files is only half of the challenge. There is no guarantee that today's files will be readable or even recognisable using the software of the future."

"Now, by using DROID and its big brother, the unique file format database known as PRONOM, experts at the National Archives are well on their way to cracking the problem. Once DROID has labelled a mystery file, PRONOM's extensive catalogue of software tools can advise curators on how best to preserve the file in a readable format. The database includes crucial information on software and hardware lifecycles, helping to avoid the obsolescence problem. And it will alert users if the program needed to read a file is no longer supported by manufacturers."

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

Spanish and French Language Interfaces Now in Cataloger's Desktop

Announced September 27, 2007, by Peter Seligman, Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress - "Spanish and French Language Interfaces Now in Cataloger's Desktop"

"Cataloger's Desktop now features, in addition to the original English-language interface, Spanish language and French language interfaces for Spanish and French speaking users. By selecting one of the three languages while logging in, subscribers can navigate in their preferred language – all searching, navigation buttons and tabs, and all help information appears in either Spanish, French, or English. The publications and web resources themselves, however, remain in their original published language. Desktop currently provides access to 40 Spanish and 40 French language resources. This product enhancement makes Cataloger's Desktop even more user friendly. The Library of Congress gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Jo-Anne Bélair (Bibliothèque de l'Université Laval) and Sylvie Bissonnette (Institut canadien de l'information scientifique et technique / Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information) for the translation of the French interface, and Ana Cristán (Library of Congress) for the translation of the Spanish interface."

"To order a 30-day free trial, see <>."

For more information, please see <>.

$18 Million Awarded to Advance Innovation and Public Service at Nation's Museums and Libraries

September 25, 2007 - "The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal funds for the nation's museums and libraries, announced today the 43 recipients of its prestigious National Leadership Grants for 2007. The projects chosen for funding will receive a total of $18,661,716. Because institutions receiving grants are generally required to provide matching funds, National Leadership Grants are leveraging an additional $24 million in non-federal spending this year. For more information on the 2007 National Leadership Grants recipients, please see the list of awarded institutions. "

"...National Leadership Grants help libraries and museums collaborate, build digital resources, and conduct research and demonstration projects. The selected projects are national models that will help foster individual achievement, community responsibility, and life-long learning. This year, IMLS received 213 applications for National Leadership Grants seeking more than $78 million."

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

CrossRef Grants the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System Free Access to CrossRef Metadata

September 25, 2007 - "CrossRef, the organization behind scholarly publishing's shared linking infrastructure, announced that the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (or NASA ADS) had submitted the winning proposal in response to an RFP for Innovative Uses of CrossRef Metadata issued in June of this year."

"The metadata in CrossRef's database consists of basic bibliographic information for each content item, including author(s), title, journal name, ISSN, volume, issue, page, and DOI-URL pair. It is generally only accessible on a paid subscription basis through CrossRef Web Services, a suite of tools for authorized partners to collect the cross-publisher records via an OAI-PMH interface. CrossRef issued the Request for Proposals as part of a broader initiative to partner with the academic and library communities on the development of new research tools that process and display article-level data."

"The NASA/ADS project, submitted by Drs. Alberto Accomazzi and Michael Kurtz, proposes to use the CrossRef metadata to add DOI® links-to-fulltext to millions of records in the ADS database and to facilitate the exchange of information between the ADS and the various publishers whose content it indexes. In addition, the ADS will share its own data with CrossRef as a basis for alerting CrossRef of missing items and possible data errors."

For more information, please see <>.

Medieval manuscripts in the Netherlands on the web

Announced by Tina Macht, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, on September 21, 2007. "Today all medieval manuscripts in the Netherlands are available on the website Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections (MMDC), <>. The website provides a portal to a database with short, uniform descriptions and photographs of all medieval manuscripts in the Netherlands, about 6000 items in all. Jos Biemans, Special Professor of Medieval Manuscript Studies launched the website today in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, by making the first click on the homepage."

"Medieval manuscripts provide a fascinating snapshot of the cultural and intellectual life of this period. Until now, information about these manuscripts and the related knowledge and expertise was dispersed, but MMDC brings all of this material together. MMDC has been set up by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the university libraries of Leiden, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Groningen, and the Atheneumbibliotheek Deventer and it is partly financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)."

"MMDC is focussed on creating possibilities for progressive research based on medieval manuscripts, by building a database with uniform descriptions, digital images and links to facsimile editions and subject-specific websites. This way, all the disseminated information about medieval manuscripts in the Netherlands has been brought together and made available through one database. To benefit international use, all information is published in English."

For more information, please contact Saskia van Bergen, Project Coordinator, Parchment to Portal, tel.: 070-3140430, e-mail: <>.

3D Scanner May Save Vanishing Languages from Extinction

September 20, 2007 - "Fragile field recordings of American Indian speech and song gathered in the early 1900s may be saved for future generations through breakthrough technology supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Institute is funding the research and development of a 3D optical scanner through a $507,233 interagency agreement with the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) announced Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice, Ph.D. Sept. 20."

"...The new 3D system builds on a 2D system also developed by the Berkeley Lab called IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), which gathers digital sound from grooved discs (flat recordings such as traditional 78 rpm shellac disc records) by illuminating the record surface with a narrow beam of light. The flat bottoms of the groove – and the spaces between tracks – appear white, while the sloped sides of the groove, scratches, and dirt appear black. The computer turns this information into a digital sound file and corrects areas where scratches, breaks or wear have made the groove wider or narrower than normal. IRENE then "plays" the file with a virtual needle without damaging or destroying the original media. The technology was adapted from methods used to build radiation detectors for high-energy physics experiments."

"IMLS is funding the next stage of the project: development of the 3D imaging sound player that can read foil, wax, plastic cylinders (which preceded the development of flat records), plastic dictation belts, and discs. The 3D technology is required to read cylinders since the sound is held in vertical movements of the groove. The 3D device is based upon a type of confocal microscope. White light directed at the surface of a cylinder or disc passes through a special lens, creating a spectrum. Each color of the spectrum comes into focus at a different depth so the color of the reflected light reveals the height of the scanned point. A computer assembles these points into profiles for each groove and translates the data into a sound file. The 3D scan would extract information based on 20-30 points – compared to IRENE's 2-4 points – also offering the possibility of higher quality sound files. Tinfoil and wax cylinders were developed in the late 1870s and 1880s, and cylinders remained in use until 1929, when commercial production for these music recordings ceased. However, cylinder technology continued to be used for dictation recordings for office use into the early 1950s."

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

Panel to address economic sustainability of digital preservation

September 19, 2007 - "The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation are funding a blue-ribbon task force to address the issue of economic sustainability for digital preservation and persistent access."

"The Task Force will be co-chaired by Fran Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center at University of California, San Diego and a pioneer in data cyberinfrastructure; and Brian Lavoie, an economist with strong interests in data preservation, and research scientist with OCLC Programs and Research, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc."

"The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access will also include support by the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and the Joint Information Systems Committee of the United Kingdom...."

"...In its final report, the Task Force is charged with developing a comprehensive analysis of current issues, and actionable recommendations for the future to catalyze the development of sustainable resource strategies for the reliable preservation of digital information. During its tenure, the Task Force also will produce a series of articles about the challenges and opportunities of digital information preservation, for both the scholarly community and the public."

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

Copyright 2007 © Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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