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13 January 2006














Cross Currents No 25 January 2006 

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 & HUMANITIES Australian arts libraries, archives & museums | Australian research | British performing arts collections 

DIGITAL LIBRARIES & DIGITISATION Certification of digital repositories | Coalition of Networked Information | Cyberinfrastructure for education & learning | European digitisation coordination | Institutional stewardship | New Zealand digital strategy | Sustainable digital collections

KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian creativity & the information economy | creative innovation in the arts sector | creativity in business | digital-based information management practice

LIBRARIES & LIBRARIANSHIP On the wrong platform, waiting for the wrong train? | perceptions about libraries | portals

MUSEUMS Australian Museum of Motion Picture Technology

RECORDS & ARCHIVES Australian Web archiving strategy | grant for innovation in archives

STANDARDS & SYSTEMS CDWA Lite / OAI-PMH Project |  controlled vocabularies | FRBR | Light weight protocols and open sources tools | Metadata | Metadata for digitised newspapers | photographic collections | Preservation metadata


Australian arts libraries, archives and museums
Three associations concerned with managing arts information resources are gearing up for their next conferences. The Performing Arts Special Interest Group of Museums Australia (PASIG) will hold its next conference at the State Library of Tasmania and Theatre Royal, Hobart from 29 April to 1 May 2006. Further details: Richard Stone, Chairman, PASIG The Arts Libraries Society / Australia and New Zealand (ARLIS/ANZ) will hold its next conference at Canberra in September 2006 ( And the Australian Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres (IAML) will host the association’s 2007 international conference in Sydney (

Australian research
Australian humanities researchers, according to Australian Research Council head Peter Hoj, need to communicate their ideas more effectively if they want public money. ARC Discovery grants in the creative arts and humanities, not counting inflation, rose from 14.5% in 2002 to 17.8% in 2006 and Linkage grants rose from 7.2% to 11.9% over the same period. The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences supports the call. In a recent newsletter, it urged its constituents to stop railing against unfair treatment and avoid “arcane, pretentious, indeed pajero-like language…which lays us open to not entirely unmerited ridicule." 

Efforts by CHASS to address the predicament are outlined in its policy framework, which aims to promote the disciplines as contributors to “a prosperous, innovative, creative and inclusive Australia” through efforts on education, training and scholarship, research and practice, connections within and between disciplines, and sector infrastructure. Its interests include preservation of and access to collections held in museums and libraries.  

In its latest report, Measures of Quality and Impact of Publicly Funded Research in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (November 2005), CHASS puts forward a proposal to evaluate research by focussing on the quality and impact of the diverse HASS research outputs, such as books, performances, reports to governments, films, libretti and professional advice. The model meets five widely acknowledged research evaluation criteria - simplicity, familiarity, reliability, flexibility and universality. It identifies three factors that may be adjusted to suit the disciplinary balance - research quality, research impact and research capability - all evaluated by peer, expert or beneficiary review panels. Indicators of research quality include knowledge generation, manifestation, acceptance and expertise. Indicators of research impact include knowledge diffusion, production, relationships and engagement. Indicators of research capability include knowledge infrastructure, culture, training and strategy. Web:

British performing arts collections
Backstage is a portal for performing arts collections in the UK. The project, funded by the Research Support Libraries Program, has partners from 18 institutions, led by the University of Kent at Canterbury and the University of Bristol. Its databases include both collection level descriptions of the performing arts collections covered (one record per collection based on the RSLP Collection Level Description Schema) and an item level catalogue for selected higher education collections, with descriptions of each of the items (posters, playbills, costumes etc.). The item level catalogue is based on the ISAD(G) archival standard. The project has involved: converting catalogues of existing specialist performing arts collections into a suitable electronic format, working with the Theatre Museum to create a national database of collection level descriptions for all performing arts collections in the UK; working with the Theatre Museum and the Society of Theatre Research to produce an online version of the Directory of Performing Arts Resources; developing a Web to Z39.50 gateway as a single point of entry for searching both item and collection databases; and developing a national structure using recognised standards to form the basis of future work. In December 2005, there were 418 records in its directory of institutions, 900 collection level descriptions, and over 60,000 item level records Web:


Certification of digital repositories
The Research Libraries Group and National Archives and Records Administration have produced for public comment An Audit Checklist for the Certification of Trusted Digital Repositories (August 2005) to provide criteria for evaluating digital warehouses. Criteria are grouped under four main headings: (1) organisation; (2) repository functions, processes and procedures; (3) designated community and usability of information; and (4) technologies and technical infrastructure. Web:

Coalition for Networked Information
CNI’s admirable intentions are built around three broad themes: developing and managing networked institutional content; transforming organisations, professions and individuals; and building technology, standards and infrastructure. Activities in its Program Plan 2005-2006, include: building collaborations with the museum community; exploring issues at the juncture of records management, archival practice and digital preservation (such as supporting the Arizona State University Electronic College and University Records conferences and tracking developments on the US National Archives and Records Administration’s Electronic Records Archive project); helping institutions understand the needs of ‘Net Gen’ students and new modes of learning; rejuvenating dialogue between the “i-Schools” (information schools in various guises) and higher education institutions; and undertaking research on risk management of digital content. Web:,

Cyberinfrastructure for education and learning
The Computing Research Association’s Cyberinfrastructure for Education and Learning for the Future: A Vision and Research Agenda, looks at the relationships between cyberinfrastructure services and teaching and learning, as opposed to research. It considers opportunities and risks under four broad themes: (1) blending formal and informal learning, (2) lifelong learning, (3) teaching through the cyberinfrastructure, and (4) communities of learners. Each requires major technological innovation and cannot be realised without transforming wider societal and policy contexts. Web:

European digitisation coordination
To make Europe's cultural and scientific resources more accessible to a broader public, the UK Presidency of the European Union has released Dynamic Action Plan for the EU Co-ordination of Digitisation of Cultural and Scientific Content, with all the predictable objectives - promoting leadership, strengthening co-ordination, reducing fragmentation and duplication of digitisation activities, finding policy and funding models to sustain efforts, and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity. Web:

Institutional stewardship
Gary S. Lawrence and others, in Assessing the Dimensions of Institutional Stewardship of Scholarly Digital Assets, gave a presentation at the CNI December 2005 meeting on a research project to develop a planning framework for the University of California to clarify the roles and responsibilities of authors/compilers, users, and stewards of content at various life-cycle stages. Web:

New Zealand digital strategy
New Zealand’s Digital Strategy: Creating Our Digital Future, promoted as a core element of the country’s Growth and Innovation Framework and knowledge society agenda, will involved expenditure of up to NZ$400 million over the next five years. The six-pronged strategy includes the predictable planks: (1) content - unlocking New Zealand's stock of content and provide all New Zealanders with seamless, easy access to the information that is important to their lives, businesses, and cultural identity; (2) confidence - providing all New Zealanders with the digital skills and confidence to find and use the information they need; and to ensure that telecommunications and the Internet in New Zealand are reliable and secure; (3) connection – placing New Zealand in the top quarter of the OECD for broadband uptake by 2010; (4) unlocking the potential of communities - enabling communities to use technology to realise their social, cultural, and economic aspirations; (5) promoting innovation in business - enhancing the contribution ICT makes to New Zealand’s overall business productivity; and (6) transforming government - ensuring delivery of government information, services and processes are integrated, accessible and customised. Web: 

Sustainable digital Collections
Stephen Chapman’s Techniques for Creating Sustainable Digital Collections (Library Technology Reports (September-October 2004) covers the topic under 6 broad headings: (1) institutional readiness; (2) managing digitisation; (3) levels of service for image digitisation; (4) levels of service for text digitisation; (5) managing costs; and (6) commitment to change. Web:


Australian creativity and the innovation economy
The Australian Government’s interest in an innovation-based and knowledge-based economy is being developed through three key mechanisms: a Digital Content Strategy to accelerate the production, distribution and marketing of digital content and applications domestically and internationally; the National Broadband Strategy and Implementation Group; and the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (PMSEIC) Working Group.

The PMSEIC report, Imagine Australia, on creativity in the innovation economy (December 2005), begins with the following premise. “The creative imagination knows no divide between science and art. It seeks the unknown and invents the future. Australia has deep wells of imagination, and they’re distributed right across the population. This imagination is a human resource whose creative potential has yet to be fully tapped and transformed into economic and social value for Australia. The timing has never been better for a major government initiative to help make us a creative and innovative nation”.  

The report recommends that the Australian government: (1) realise the competitive potential of the Australian nation by adopting new innovation policies that recognise the central role of creativity and the creative industries; (2) realise Australia's full creative and innovation potential by undertaking measures to promote broader cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral teaching and research; and (3) introduce a Creative Innovation Fund to provide new competitive programs and support initiatives for commercial innovation and collaboration between HASS and SET sectors. Web:

Creative innovation by the arts sector
The Australia Council is seeking to play a role in Australia’s innovation economy through its Creative Innovation Strategy. This highlights its activities for enhancing Australian creativity and building “pathways to successful innovation, spanning creative skills, enterprise and leadership across government portfolios, industry and research sectors”. The strategy sets out to: (1) nourish a climate of creativity through direct and indirect support for artists, creative practitioners and organisations; (2) establish and grow new partnerships and pathways between artists and creative practitioners and organisations, government, cultural agencies and industry, both nationally and internationally; and (3) add value to the Australian Government’s investment in skills and education, digital content and technology innovation, regional sustainability, trade and industry development. It comprises four key components built on an ‘innovation value chain’: (1) creative schools - promoting arts education in schools; (2) synapse research - a cross-disciplinary research framework; (3) creative leadership - developing creative leaders and international exchange; and (4) create + accelerate – supporting creative enterprise and innovation. Web:

Creativity in business
Focusing on the role of small to medium enterprises, the Cox Review of Creativity in Business, commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2005, looks at ways to enhance UK business productivity.  It says that government initiatives have looked at areas like technology and enterprise in the past, but the connecting thread of creativity has not received the attention it warrants. Technology that is not carried through into improved systems or successful products is opportunity wasted; enterprise that fails to be sufficiently creative is simply pouring more energy into prolonging yesterday’s ideas. 

A parallel study by the UK Department of Trade and Industry, Creativity, Design and Business Performance (Economics Paper No.15), provided compelling evidence of the impact that creativity can have on business performance. The findings are particularly relevant to SMEs, which account for 50 per cent of UK GDP and provide much of its entrepreneurial base. It is common for those in business to see creativity and the related area of design as largely concerned with aesthetic considerations such as style and appearance. But creative businesses are creative at a deeper level. The main obstacles to creating a new mindset are: (1) lack of awareness and experience; (2) lack of belief in the value of, or confidence in, the outcome; (3) not knowing where to turn for specialised help; (4) limited ambition or appetite for risk; and (5) too many other pressures on the business.

The report recommends: (1) tackling the issue of awareness and understanding by making government funds widely available to SMEs; (2) improving the effectiveness of government support and incentive schemes, including the R&D Tax Credits system; (3) broadening the understanding and skills of tomorrow’s business leaders, creative specialists, engineers and technologists; (4) taking steps to use the massive power of public procurement, both centrally and locally, to encourage more imaginative solutions from suppliers; (3) raising the profile of the UK’s creative capabilities by way of a network of centres of creativity and innovation across the UK, with a national hub in London. These recommendations, it says, cannot be implemented in isolation through centrally-driven programs of a ‘creativity czar’, but most involve a broad range of stakeholders. Web: 

Digital-based information management practice
Avra S. Michelson and Michael Olson, in Toward a Digital-Based Information Management Practice, presented at the CNI December 2005 meeting, outlined work by the MITRE Corporation's Information Technology Center to explore aspects of the information management challenge in the digital world. A coherent digital information management practice has yet to emerge, they say, as enterprise information management dimensions expanding across boundaries and personal spaces become increasingly important. Their working hypotheses are based on the following notions. Resources will be distributed, but access centralised: the goal will be unification of views, not centralisation of repositories. The game will be managing heterogeneity rather than striving for common standards: there will be reliance on technology to perform integration and transformations rather than common vocabularies. There will be automated methods for finding digital objects: topical metadata will be diminishing value. The user will be placed at the centre of the system rather than the data repository. There will need to be emphasis on managing mission-critical information than retention of records that meet compliance requirements. Web:



On the wrong platform, waiting for the wrong train?
Paul B Gandel, in Libraries: Standing at the Wrong Platform, Waiting for the Wrong Train? (EDUCAUSE, November/December 2005), examines the impact of the Web on managing collections, preservation and reference. “As the Web continues to develop and expand…the question to be asked is: Will libraries be key nodes on this information network? If history is a guide, the answer is ‘maybe.’ Yes, libraries have adapted and have incorporated new technologies and media in the past while also managing to remain, to a large extent, loyal to centuries-old practices and approaches. This may no longer be possible in an information world dominated by the Web. Libraries could someday find themselves in the same situation as daily train commuters. Just because the train schedule remains the same for thirty years doesn’t mean that hapless commuters might not one day find themselves standing on the wrong platform, waiting for the wrong train, unaware that there was a schedule shift in their world order.” Web:  (

Perceptions about libraries
OCLC has published another major report, Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. This concludes that information consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, rather than electronic resources, but they continue to trust libraries as reliable sources of information. Search engines are the favourite place to begin a search. In the minds of users, search engines deliver better quality and quantity of information than librarian-assisted searching and at greater speed. Both the quantity and quality of information available via search engines is likely to increase, fueling increased confidence and self-reliance. Information consumers feel that information should be free and say that they will pay for information less frequently in the future. The majority are not aware that free electronic information is available via their library They do not believe that higher priced information equals higher quality information. OCLC concludes that the library has not been successful in leveraging its brand to incorporate growing investments in electronic resources and library Web-based services. But there is potential for stretching the library brand beyond books. The universal notion of the library provides a solid base from which to leverage value, and create change on a large scale.

Libraries must take this advantage and work collectively to rejuvenate the brand. It is not simply about educating the information consumer about the current library. Trying to educate consumers whose habits and lifestyles are changing and have changed seldom works. It doesn’t work for companies and it probably won’t work for libraries. 
Rejuvenating the library brand depends on the abilities of the members of the broad library community to redesign library services so that their rich resources—print and digital—are available, accessible and used. While the need for localised points of distribution for content that is no longer available in just physical form is likely to become less relevant, the need for libraries to be gathering places within the community or university has not decreased. Libraries will continue to share an expanding infosphere with an increasing number of content producers, providers and consumers. Information consumers will continue to serve themselves from a growing information smorgasbord. The challenge for libraries is to clearly define and market their relevant place in that infosphere. Web:

The Journal of Library Administration, volume 43, no 1-2, 2005, on the theme, portals and libraries, includes: Sandy Hurd’s The Portal World and the ILS: A Commentary (p57-70); Ann Marie Breznay and Leslie M. Haas’s If You Build It Will They Come? Services Will Make the Difference in a Portal (p71-86); Krisellen Maloney’s Library Portal Technologies (p87-112); John D. Byrum’s Online Catalogs and Library Portals in Today's Information Environment (p135-154); and Mary E. Jackson’s Looking Ahead: The Future of Portals (p205-220). Web: [Source: New Technologies in Libraries].


Australian Museum of Motion Picture Technology
AMMPT has organised a series of inaugural regional meetings to bring together people interested in preserving the heritage of the Australian moving image industries with the aim of establishing a national network.. Contact details: Daryl Binning, National Coordinator, 20 Norton Ridge, Winthrop, WA 6150 Ph: 08 9310 3377 Fax: 08 9310 5833 Email: [Source Aus-archivists]


Australian Web archiving strategy
The National Library has adjusted its Web archiving strategy after completing the first whole Australian domain harvest in June and July 2005. Undertaken by the Internet Archive <> on behalf of the Library, the harvest crawled about 185 million unique documents from 811,000 hosts, and provided ideas for development of the library’s  role in preserving Australia’s documentary heritage. Web:

Grant for innovation in archives
Interested in money for research on innovation in archives? The National Archives of Australia is seeking Australian and overseas applications for its 2006 Ian Maclean Award before 10 March 2006. A $15,000 stipend will be offered to individuals interested in conducting research that will benefit the archival profession and promote the contribution archives make to society. The award is open to people qualified in the areas of archives, history, technology, anthropology and museum studies. Partnerships assisting cross-discipline research on important archival issues are also eligible. Prospective applicants should contact Derina McLaughlin before lodging their application to discuss the scope of their research project (phone + 61 2 6212 3986, email Further details:, then take the grant link from the home page.


CDWA Lite / OAI–PMH Project
Murtha Baca and others, in Creating a Standards-Based Model for Sharing Cultural Heritage Collections Online: the CDWA Lite / OAI PMH Project (CNI December 2005 meeting), outlined progress on a collaborative project by the J. Paul Getty Trust and ARTstor to develop a new descriptive metadata XML schema, CDWA Lite, for works of art and material culture based on the Categories for the Description of Works of Art and Cataloging Cultural Objects: A Guide to Describing Cultural Works and Their Images. A list of draft CDWA Lite elements, tags, description and examples can be downloaded from

Controlled vocabularies
NISO has published the final version of ANSI/NISO Z39.19-2005 Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Controlled Vocabularies (equivalent to the international standard: ISO 2788). The standard presents guidelines and conventions for the contents, display, construction, testing, maintenance, and management of monolingual controlled vocabularies, focusing on controlled vocabularies such as lists, synonym rings, taxonomies and thesauri. Web:

Jennifer Bowen, in FRBR - Coming soon to your library? (Library Resources & Technical Services, volume 49 no 3, 2005, p175-188),.looks at the work of the Joint Steering Committee Format Variation Working Group and system vendors to explore ways for adding FRBR-based rules and functionality into the next edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules and library systems. “The FRBR model holds create potential for improving user access to library resources, but may not affect all libraries in the same way.” Web: [Source New Technologies in Libraries]

Light weight protocols and open sources tools
Xiaorong Xiang and Eric Lease Morgan, in Exploiting 'Light-weight' Protocols and Open Source Tools to Implement Digital Library Collections and Services (D-Lib Magazine, volume 11, no 10, October 2005) look at new ways of using existing protocols and technologies such as OAI-PMH and SRU, as well as tools like Perl and Swish-e. Web: [Source: Current Cites]

Cataloging & Classification Quarterly volume 40 no 3-4 2005, on the theme, metadata, includes: Metadata Standards for Archival Control: An Introduction to EAD and EAC by Alexander C. Thurman (p183-212), Introduction to XML by Patrick Yott (p213-235); METS: The Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard by Linda Cantara (p237-253); and Planning and Implementing a Metadata-Driven Digital Repository by Michael A. Chopey (p255-287). Web via. [Source: New Technologies in Libraries]

Metadata for digitised newspapers
Ray L. Murray, in Toward a Metadata Standard for Digitized Historical Newspapers (Microform & Imaging Review, volume 34, no 3 2005, p148-150), reports on metadata development for the National Digital Newspaper Program. Web via: [Source: New Technologies in Libraries]

Photographic collections
Michelle Dalmau and others, in Integrating Thesaurus Relationships into Search and Browse in an Online Photograph Collection (Library Hi Tech volume 23 no 3, 2005, p425-452), explore the development process of an online image collection that integrates the syndetic structure of a controlled vocabulary to improve search and browse functionality. They affirm that structured forms of browsing and searching can be successfully integrated into digital collections to significantly improve the user's discovery experience. And they set out ways in which the technologies used in implementing enhanced search and browse functionality work in other digital collection environments. Web: [Source: New Technologies in Libraries]

Preservation metadata
The PREMIS Working Group, sponsored by OCLC and RLG, has published its Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata. The data model consists of objects, intellectual entities, events, agents, rights and relationships. Special topics include format information, environment, object characteristics, fixity, integrity and authenticity, digital signatures, non-core metadata and implementation considerations. Web:

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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