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24 July 2003














Cross Currents No 16 July 2003 

A digest of cross sectoral information management events, issues and ideas in organisations, libraries, archives and museums, with special emphasis on arts and the humanities.


ARTS, CULTURE & SCHOLARSHIP Australian Computing Arts Conference | Canadian research dissemination | Cultural Commons | Cultural Industries | Digital Research and Scholarship in the Humanities | Music Resources in the UK | Scholar-based Innovations in Publishing | Visual Arts Resources in the UK

CONVERGENCE & COLLABORATION AMICO & Artstor | Australian Arts & Science collaboration | Australian Film Commission & ScreenSound Australia | 

Consortia | Libraries, Archives, Museums, Galleries and Broadcasters DIGITISATION Digital Library Research | The Price of Digitisation





PORTALS AND GATEWAYS Australian Digital Access Prototype | Subject Portals Project

STANDARDS & SYSTEMS CYCLADES | Net Snippets | OpenURLStandard | Preservation Metadata | Web Mining | XML for Archives 


Australian Computing Arts Conference

The Australian e-Humanities Network and University of Newcastle will present the next Australian Computing Arts Conference at the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing, University of Newcastle, Australia, 7-9 July 2004, on the themes e-humanities and the disciplines, online knowledge gateways and new media. It will overlap and involve joint sessions with the Australian Historical Association annual meeting 5-9 July. Invited speakers include Dr Willard McCarty (Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London) and Dr Jock Phillips, (General Editor, Encyclopedia of New Zealand project). Enquiries: Hugh Craig (02) 49215175, hugh.craig@newcastle.edu.au Web: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/centre/cllc/  [Source Australian e-Humanities Network].

Canadian research dissemination

A group of researchers from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, l'Université de Montréal, and University of Western Ontario have launched a two-year study of knowledge dissemination in Canada. The investigators, William Birdsall, Jean-Claude Guédon and Robert Babe, along with a team of collaborators and partners, including the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Canadian National Site Licensing Project, Dalhousie University, and National Library of Canada, will examine the current system for disseminating research knowledge and identify whether Canada needs a national research strategy in this area. The study is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Web: www.kdstudy.ca [Source: FOS]

Cultural Commons

The Center for Arts and Culture in the United States has launched Cultural Commons, a website designed to serve those interested in art, culture and public policy. Membership is free and open to all.  Features include: daily headlines of major news stories, a weekly news digest, a calendar of  conferences, meetings, workshops and other events, opinion pieces on art, culture and policy, a discussion forum, announcements, a directory of experts on particular issues and a job announcements section. Web:  http://www.culturalcommons.org [Source Culpol]

Cultural Industries

A UNESCO meeting on the International Creative Sector, held in Austin, Texas, 5-7 June 2003, considered: how cultural industries are defined -- their scope, employment, and economic consequences; policies that have emerged from studying the cultural sector; audiences and patterns of participation and consumption; differences between non-profit and commercial enterprises; different approaches to policies and methods across the countries represented. A conference website created by co-sponsor University of Texas, Austin, provides further conference details as well as an extensive reading list on the creative sector.  http://www.utexas.edu/cofa/unesco/index.html, [Source: Culpol]

Digital Research and Scholarship in the Humanities

Envisaging the Future is the name of a symposium on digital research and scholarship in the humanities held at the Humanities Research Centre, Old Canberra House, Australian National University 22-23 July 2003. Speakers included: Mark Kornbluh (Director of the US National Gallery of the Spoken Word Project), Jane Hunter (Distributed Systems Technology Centre), Marie-Louise Ayres (National Library of Australia), Phil Graham (Centre for Social Research in Communication University of Queensland), Chris Blackall (Centre for Cross-Cultural Research). [Source: Australian e-Humanities Network]. Web: http://online.anu.edu.au/HRC/activities/conferences_2003/index.html

Music resources in the UK

The International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres UK & Ireland has launched the Cecilia online database, containing information on collections of music materials of all kinds held in libraries, archives, museums and other repositories in the UK and Ireland. The project, demonstrating the benefits of a cross-sectoral approach to information provision in music, is administered by the IAML UK and Ireland Branch with funding from the British Library Co-operation and Partnership Programme, The Research Support Libraries Programme, Resource (The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries), and The Music Libraries Trust. Web: http://www.cecilia-uk.org [Source IAML]

Scholar-Based Innovations in Publishing

Gerry McKiernan’s three part article on scholar-based Innovations, originally published in Library Hi Tech News (Vol 20 nos 2-3 and 5, March-April, June 2003) as Part I (Individual and Institutional Initiatives), Part II (Library and Professional Initiatives) and Part III (Organizational and National Initiatives) is also available at  [Source: FOS]: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~gerrymck/ScholarBased-I.pdf;  http://www.public.iastate.edu/~gerrymck/ScholarBased-II.pdf;  http://www.public.iastate.edu/~gerrymck/ScholarBased-III.pdf.

Visual arts resources in the UK

The Visual Arts Data Service has launched Fineart, a new online resource of art works selected from the Council for National Academic Awards Collection and from the collections of some of the UK’s finest art colleges and universities. The new web-based collection is dedicated to work by staff, students and other alumnus of UK higher education institutions that have made a significant contribution to higher education fine art practice. Web: http://fineart.ac.uk [Source: AHDS]


AMICO and Artstor

The Art Museum Image Consortium (Amico) Library, an Internet archive with digital copies of more than 100,000 paintings, sculptures, and photographs, created through a collaboration of 39 museums, will merge Artstor .Web: http://www.amico.org and http://www.artstor.org. [Source: New York Times 22 May 2003].

Australian Arts and Science Collaboration

The Australia Council and the Australian Research Council have launched a joint effort to showcase cross-government collaboration between the arts and science and highlight the potential for scientists and artists to enhance each others’ research. The projects are Auto Nomad: A location-based handheld audio device for sound-art applications and Fish-Bird: Autonomous interaction in a contemporary arts setting. The projects were selected through a  national competition by the Australia Council’s New Media Arts program, Synapse, and the ARC’s Linkage-Projects program. According to the press release: ‘The media and creative industries are among the fastest growing sectors of the new economy. In Australia, the creative industries have been valued at $25 billion a year – as much as the residential construction industry – or 3.3% of GDP. Creative industries employ 350,000 people and, at 2.7% per annum, growth in employment in creative industries outstrips the national average of 2.0%. By adopting a ‘whole of government’ approach, the Australia Council and the Australian Research Council (ARC) will bring together innovators from diverse fields, make new connections and progress the national innovation agenda”. Web: http://www.ozco.gov.au

Australian Film Commission and ScreenSound Australia

The merger of the Australian Film Commission and ScreenSound Australia is underway following the passing of the Australian Film Commission Amendment Bill 2003 in June 2003. The debate in the Australian Parliament covered the following issues: the joining of two different cultures and sets of employment conditions; the continuing professional independence and accountability of the Archive; the future name of the Archive and its continuing separate identity; the secrecy, logic and motivation behind the bill; the creation of a statutory base for the national collection. Web: www.aph.gov.au [Hansard section]. [Source aus-archivists].


Resource Sharing & Information Networks, volume 16 no 1 2002, devoted to the theme Cooperative Efforts of Libraries, has the following articles: Dottie Hiebing and Timothy Johnson on METRO and OCLC: Implementing Virtual Reference in a Multi-Type Consortium (p 7-19) and Jackie Shieh, Ed Summers and Elaine Day on A Consortial Approach to Cooperative Cataloging and Authority Control: The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) Experience (p 33-52). Web: Resources Sharing & Information Networks via http://www.haworthpressinc.com/. [Source: Erik Arfeuille via FOS]

Libraries, archives, museums, galleries and broadcasters

The Australian Society of Archivists is holding a national conference in Adelaide, South Australia, in September 2003 on the theme, GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), to highlight the similarity of issues between the cultural endeavours at a time of increasing pressure on collection amalgamations. Presentations include: GLAM As Seen by Government (Margaret Sears); State of the Nation for GLAM (Michael McKernan); GLAM professional – Are We One Profession Under the Skin (Kerrie Round and David Roberts); Implementing GLAM Programs Within Organisations Which Are themselves Not Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (Gail Greenwood, Phil Reed and Jenny Timms). Web: http://www.archivists.org.au/. [Source aus-archivists].

Robert T. Coonrod, President and Chief Executive of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in First Monday 23 April 2003, speaks about the common problems and common interests of museums, libraries, and broadcasters in the digital age. ‘As we become more like museums and libraries, we also face similar challenges maintaining and managing our collections.’  Broadcasters with limited budgets will have to ‘make judgments about the scholarly, historical cultural, strategic or financial significance of our content. - just like libraries and museums do’. Web: http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_5/coonrod/index.html [Source: First Monday]

Collecting, Connecting and Creating Knowledge: Libraries, Archives and Research in the 21st Century is the name of a conference organised by the Friends of the Turnbull Library and the Humanities Society of New Zealand, 20-23 June 2003 in Wellington, New Zealand. The conference explores libraries, archives and research in the multiple contexts of national, university, specialist and public libraries and archives, new and old media, and the changing environment for research and new knowledge creation, especially in the humanities and arts. Exploring the topic will require assessing the principal changes occurring in the conception and functions of information repositories and the different ways in which research can be understood as a characteristic of the knowledge society. Speakers include Dr Charles Henry (President of NINCH, the National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage in the USA). Program: http://www/humanz.org.nz [Source NINCH-Announce]


Digital Library Research

The National Science Foundation and DELOS Network of Excellence on Digital Libraries have sponsored a new series of working groups to produce reports on a range of projects including reference models for digital libraries, digital imagery for cultural and historical material, spoken-word audio collections and personalisation and recommender systems in digital libraries. Web: http://www.dli2.nsf.gov/intl.hmtl. [Source: CNI]

The Price of Digitisation

A report by Lorna Hughes on the NINCH/Innodata Symposium, The Price of Digitization: New Cost Models for Cultural and Educational Institutions, hosted by the New York Public Library and co-sponsored by the NYPL and New York University is now available from NINCH. Areas covered: the difference between cost, price and value; cost barriers (workflow and technology; intellectual property and institutional costs and variables); comparative costs of analogue and digital preservation; the emergence of digitisation as a core budget item rather than a project cost in institutional budgets; budgeting for digitisation (typically including 1/3 on  digitisation; 1/3 on cataloguing, description and indexing; and 1/3 on administrative costs, quality control and overhead); revenue generation and funding models; sustaining projects. Innodata President, Jack Abuhoff, summarised the key points emerging from the conference as: critical document analysis and workflow design, clearly defined project goals, thinking through future needs - emphasised that digitisation is a highly complex activity and should not be approached lightly. Web: http://www.ninch.org/forum/price.report [Source: NINCH-Announce]


Hanneri Botha and JA Boon’s The Information Audit: Principles and Guidelines, in LIBRI: International Journal of Libraries and Information, vol 53, no 1 2003 (pp23-38) reviews the types of audits in the commercial world, including audits of information resources. According to the authors, there is no single, accepted methodology for performing an information audit. After looking at a number of audit types including financial audits, communication audits and various information audit methodologies, they conclude that, even though the principles of the financial audit cannot be used to develop a standardised methodology for information auditing, information professionals can look towards the accounting profession for support in developing a standardised, universally accepted method for accurately determining the value of information entities. Guidelines for a standardised information audit methodology are given. Web: http://www.saur.de [Source: FOS]


The existence or absence of information black holes created by the networked world was queried by the Wolanski Foundation in its submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Role of Libraries in the Online Environment and at the Inquiry’s Sydney hearings in May 2003 (see submissions on Senate committee pages, Australian Parliament House website http://www.aph.gov.au).

Fred Kaplan, in his short article, The End of History: How E-mail is Wrecking Our National Archive (Slate 4 June 2003), lends support to this notion in drawing on the experience of Cold War historian Eduard Mark. “When tomorrow's historians go to write the chronicles of decision-making that led to Gulf War II, they may be startled to find there's not much history to be written. The same is true of Clinton's war over Kosovo, Bush Sr.'s Desert Storm, and a host of other major episodes of US national security policy. Many of the kinds of documents that historians of prior wars, and of the Cold War, have taken for granted—memoranda, minutes, and the routine back-and-forth among assistant secretaries of state and defence or among colonels and generals in the Joint Chiefs of Staff—simply no longer exist”. The use of PowerPoint for military presentations, according to Mark, is also giving future generations documents that are often incomprehensible, without explanatory text. Web: http://slate.msn.com/id/2083920/

The editors Meredith Quinn and Andrew L. Urban, in Edge of the Unknown World: the Australian Television and Radio School: Impressions of the first 25 Years, suggest that assumptions about black holes are not so straightforward: “In compiling this book, the editors were dependent on the School’s formal and informal archiving practice. The incomparable Ruth Saunders was a superb source of material. Having a library background she follows the ‘fifty year rule’ and has been keeping her own files of interesting titbits since she began at the AFTRS in 1978. The school’s library was also invaluable. It was from these two sources that we retrieved the newspaper clippings and many of the memos and newsletter items reproduced on the following pages…We had less luck with the official files. Compiling a complete list of all graduates of the School was a form of hard and tortuous labour. After 1993, comprehensive data was kept, but for 1988-1993, there was only a semblance of order in record-keeping. The reliability and thoroughness of data maintained prior to computerisation was a sad and sorry thing. This was true of many of the records, not just student records. The appendixes of this book are a tribute to the fortitude and tenacity of those responsible for compiling them.”   Computerisation, in this case, may have rectified a problem. And it points to the value of tacit information in a world still struggling to be convinced about the theory of knowledge management. 

All the reason to look forward to the work of Ross Harvey and Anne Lloyd in compiling a list of Australia's Lost Documentary Heritage for the Australian Memory of the World project. (See Cross Currents no 11).  Web: http://www.amw.org.au


The Information Commons, managed by the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, has launched a weblog featuring news, commentary, and discussion on the information commons in theory and practice. Topics to be addressed include intellectual property, public interest, open source, free speech, networks, commons institutions, and other issues related to access to ideas. According to the organisers: ‘the weblog format will allow the info-commons site to become more dynamic. In addition to enabling the Commons to update information more quickly and easily, the new format also gives new ways to interact with users, including RSS feeds, email notification, search facilities and simple user comment forms. Commons-blog will not replace the info-commons site, but users will find the weblog a handy way to stay informed about updates to info-commons.org’. Web: info-commons.org and commons-blog (http://info-commons.org/blog/) [Source FOS]


The Sydney Morning Herald 20 May 2003 reflected the views of content management expert Gerry McGovern and psychologist Les Posen on information overload. According to McGovern: information overload is a reflection of that almost genetic historic desire to do more; 70% of the 700 billion pages on the Internet is unread; wading through today’s information can often result in poor organization, planning and decision-making. Les Posen underscored the point: we are not easily able to differentiate between quality material versus non-quality material. McGovern advocates the following steps to help counter the information glut: learn to think better; learn to plan better; learn to research better; learn to collaborate and network with people better; and learn to create better content. Source: SMH. Web: http://www.smh.com.au/


Australian digital access prototype

The National Library of Australia’s Debbie Campbell presented a paper Culturing a Pearl at Educause in Australasia, 2003 on efforts to find better ways to provide users with access to that library's digital resources. A resource discovery service prototype has been developed, with the goal of delivering services through collaborative efforts between cultural and academic agencies. The prototype identifies several key areas for successful delivery, including interoperability, trust, and the harmonisation of technology, descriptive standards and practice. One challenging issue, according to Campbell, is resolving ways for non-academic researchers to find their way into the National Library's resources via consumer-market search engines such as Google. She suggests that this can be accomplished if specialised services form a relationship with search engines so that ‘searchers find the best examples of Australiana, not just something that will suffice on the day or in the hour spent searching’. Web: http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/staffpaper/2003/dcampbell1.html [Source: ShelfLife]

Subject Portals Project

The Resource Discovery Network (RDN) in the United Kingdom will take over responsibility for portal functions within their existing services when the Subject Portals Project (SSP) concludes as a project in August 2003. The RDN is a collaboration of more than 70 educational and research organizations in the United Kingdom, which coordinates access to specialist information resources in partner institutions, including the Natural History Museum and the British Library. The Subject Portals Project (SPP) has developed modular plug-in ‘portlet’ functions for existing RDN subject hubs - such as Biome (biomedical), Humbul (humanities) and Sosig (social sciences) – to integrate into their own services. Functions include: a cross-search of information resources from multiple publishers; an alerting service; an aggregated newsfeed; and various additional services, such as an e-journal search engine and jobs listings. See Turning Gateways into Portals by Ruth Martin, June 2003 issue of the  CILIP Library Update. Web: http://www.cilip.org.uk/



CYCLADES is a European Commission IST Programme R&D software project to support searching and managing electronic documents from a large number of digital libraries using the following features: (1) harvest-based information gathering, plus indexing and storage of gathered information in a local database; (2) mechanisms for dynamically structuring the overall information space into meaningful collections; (3) search and browse functionality to support the users in formulating queries and develops plans for their evaluation; (4) capacity to support information filtering on the basis of implicitly acquired individual user profiles, and profiles of the working communities the user belongs to; (5) ability to provide recommendations about new published articles within a working community, recommendation of users, collections and communities; (6) ability to support collaboration between members of communities and project groups by providing functionality for creating shared working spaces referencing users' own documents, collections, recommendations, related links, textual annotations, ratings, etc. Web: http://www.ercim.org/cyclades/ [Source: FOS].

Net Snippets

A US company, 4Developers, has produced a personal organiser called Net Snippets. This integrates with Internet Explorer in a Windows environment and can be used to organise Web resources and desktop applications by dropping and dragging them into user-organised files.  Brandeis University and Bentley College, after obtaining site licenses, will develop a link between Ex Libris software and Net Snippets to enable a user of SFX and MetaLib to instantly add any retrieved resource into the Net Snippets organising environment. Web: www.netsnippets.com. [Source: American Libraries Online May 2003 via Shelf life via FOS]

OpenURL Standard

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has released for trial use the OpenURL Framework for Context-Sensitive Services standard (version 1.0). The standard allows a user who has retrieved an information resource citation to obtain immediate access to the most appropriate copy of the full resource through the implementation of extended linking services. The selection of the best source for the full resource is based on the user's and the organization's preferences on location, cost, and contractual or license agreements with information suppliers, among other issues.  This is accomplished by storing context sensitive metadata with the OpenURL link from the source citation and linking it to a resolver server where the preference information and links to the source material are stored. The initial development of OpenURL targeted electronic delivery of scholarly journal articles. In version 1.0 of the standard the framework is generalised to enable communities beyond the original audience of scholarly information users to adopt extended linking services and to lower the entry barrier for new implementers. The California Digital Library is coordinating the trial by an international group comprising data providers constructing OpenURL metadata, providers of OpenURL resolvers, and libraries providing end user services using OpenURL resolution. Webs: t http://library.caltech.edu/openurl/Public_Comments.htm. NISO Web: http://www.niso.org. [Source NISO via FOS]

Preservation Metadata

OCLC & RLG have formed PREMIS, a working group to explore preservation metadata implementation strategies. Over the next year the 20-member working group will develop a  set of core preservation metadata elements and a data dictionary to support them. It will also (a) evaluate strategies for managing preservation metadata within a digital preservation system, and for the exchange of preservation metadata between systems; (b) establish pilot programs for testing the group's recommendations and best practices in a variety of systems settings; and (c) explore opportunities for the cooperative creation and sharing of preservation metadata. The results of the group's activities will be made available for public review and comment. Web: http://www.oclc.org/research/pmwg/ [Source: FOS].

Web Mining

Connotate Technologies has released Web Mining Server 4.0, which uses information agents to monitor, harvest, mine, aggregate and integrate Web information. Web Mining Server automatically navigates content, extracts what's important and converts it from HTML to various formats including XML, alerts, database records, Excel spreadsheets and documents. Web: http://www.connotate.com [Source: KMWorld]

XML for archives

The National Archives of Australia is developing an approach to the preservation of digital records using XML. This involves converting records in proprietary data formats to equivalent data formats in XML, using a software application devised by the Archives. The Archives has developed a number of XML data formats for converting the digital records it receives from Australian federal government agencies. Theses are available through: http://www.naa.gov.au/recordkeeping/preservation/digital/xml_data_formats html.

This issue of Cross Currents compiled by Paul Bentley


The Wolanski Foundation would be grateful for feedback on the scope, format and content of this bulletin..


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