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31 October 2006














Cross Currents No 26 October 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 American theatre photographs | Humanities cyberinfrastructure | UK Performing Arts Services

DIGITAL LIBRARIES & DIGITISATION Audio-visual archives | Australian collecting institutions digital framework | Black holes | Digital library management | Digital newspapers | Digital vision | Sound recordings

KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian business use of IT | Australian collections survey | Australian innovation | Conservation |  US orphan works | US science

cyberinfrastructure | World Summit on the Information Society

LIBRARIES & LIBRARIANSHIP Catalogues and tables of contents | Consortial cataloguing | Future of cataloguing | Future of libraries | Library 2.0  

RECORDS & ARCHIVES ArchiveGrid | Archives portal | Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative

STANDARDS & SYSTEMS AGLS | Federated searching and metasearching | Folksonomies and metatags | FRBR | Portals | MARC21 ] Thesaurus management tools | Visual resources | Xena


American theatre photographs
The Library of Congress has made available in its Prints and Photographs Online Catalogue a collection of vaudeville and motion picture theatre drawings by Anthony Dumas - more than 250 pen and ink drawings of theatre facades across the United States. Web:

Humanities cyberinfrastructure
The American Council of Learned Societies' draft report Cyberinfrastructure for Humanities and Social Sciences presents underlying principles, needs and recommendations for developing the sector in the digital age. The recipe: (1) extensive but coherent digital collections, facilities to support users, and tools to make use of them; (2) governmental and institutional policies to support digital scholarship and new forms of scholarly communication; and (3) funding and the leadership to make it all happen, in universities and national academies, scholarly societies, businesses, and visionary individuals in all walks of life. Web:

UK Performing Arts Service
The Arts and Humanities Data Service’s draft study Getting to Know Our Audience by Daisy Abbot and Emma Beer (July 2006), examines the needs and expectations of the UK higher education community in delivering the AHDS performing arts service. Among its findings and recommendations: (1) the performing arts community is varied and innovative in the kinds of digital outputs it is creating, but there are differential levels of digital maturity within and across disciplines; (2) AHDS Performing Arts should provide leadership in facilitating the dissemination of information about the possibilities of emerging technologies and their applications; (3) AHDS Performing Arts should act as a conduit to international innovations in relevant new media; (4) AHDS Performing Arts should provide an interactive and participatory community forum where networks and communities of practice can be established across and within disciplines to facilitate the flow of information relevant to digital resources, to publicise within the Performing Arts community more effectively the work of the AHDS, and to strengthen ties with the community; (5) a greater number of resources is needed to populate the AHDS Performing Arts collection; (6) the working relationship between teams running projects funded by the AHRC and AHDS Performing Arts could in a few cases benefit from being more frequent; (7) AHDS Performing Arts should take a proactive role in drawing the attention of the AHRC of existing gaps in digital resource creation such as moving images, radio, and theatre history; (8) the advisory function of AHDS Performing Arts has been successful, but numerous exciting opportunities for its extension became apparent during the study (currently, technological resources and services at the majority of institutions lag well behind the pace of change in technological sophistication and the cutting edge facilities available to some scholars in a small number of UK universities and research groups); (9) the capabilities and benefits of preservation services provided at the AHDS need to be more widely publicised within the performing arts community, so that that community can better understand why they are essential and how they should use them; (10) AHDS Performing Arts needs to become more research-led. Web:


Audio-visual archives
The Arts and Humanities Data Service has released Moving Images and Sound Archiving Study (June 2006), a report which looks at current research and practice, the characteristics of moving images and sound, and management issues. [The model] proposes a life-cycle model as a “useful tool that allows us to identify the key events that take place in the life of a digital object, to identify the actions that we need to take at these key events, and the supporting policies and documentation that are needed to underpin these events and actions. It allows us to plan for the long-term preservation of digital objects in a constructive and time-based fashion, reflecting the more active, interventionist methods of preservation that are required for digital objects, and it allows us to construct organisational models that can support these activities.” Web: http//www’

Duncan Burbidge, in Digitising an Archive: the Factory Approach (Ariadne no 47 April 2006), touches on the FP6 PrestoSpace Project, which aims to develop systems to permit quick, efficient and economically accessible preservation of analog media and describes a solution developed by Stream UK, a unit which enables barcode tracking of tapes, converting them into high-quality format and provision of a Web-ready preview format showing all existing metadata. Web: http://www:

Australian collecting institutions digital framework
The Collections Council of Australia organised a two-day summit of collecting sectors in August 2006 with the aim of developing a national policy and strategy for the development and maintenance of digital collections. Following a keynote address by David Dawson, Head of Digital Futures, Museums Libraries and Archives Council in the UK, and presentations from representatives of the local museum, gallery, library and archive sectors, policy contexts were outlined by Tom Kennedy on the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda, Colin Griffith on the work of the National Broadband Strategy Implementation Group’s Digital Content Working Group and by Margaret Birtley (Collections Council of Australia) on developing an Australian Framework for Digital Heritage Collections. The second day involved workshops built around the themes acquisition of born digital content, digitising other material, rights management, preservation, access and use. These led to discussion on the possible components of an Australian Framework for Digital Heritage Collections and articulation of a vision, strategy, outcomes and benefits of such a framework. A report with recommendations is due on 31 October 2006. Web:

Black holes
Jonas Palm, in The Digital Black Hole, presents an analysis of the costs for digitisation and long-term storage of paper and audiovisual information at the Riksarkivet (National Archives) in Stockholm, Sweden. “In the excitement about the solutions digitisation offers”: he says, “the right questions about costs are often not asked, especially about long-term costs for keeping the digital files alive. This enthusiastic attitude is risky, for the conversion process to create the digital files may well be quite expensive to start with, and these investments may turn out to be wasted if planning for the future is ignored and no structural funding for maintenance is secured”. Palm forecasts the cost of development over the next few years, looks at strategic options and concludes: “Whatever strategy one chooses to follow, the essential point to consider before undertaking large-scale digitisation is the level of long-term financial commitment that can realistically be secured and to develop a preservation strategy accordingly. Estimations of costs that cover all aspects should be part of the planning process to limit the risk that a project ends up as yet another digital black hole, as so many others have done.” Web:

Digital library management
Eric Lease Morgan has produced a free digital library manual called Designing, Implementing, and Maintaining Digital Library Services and Collections with MyLibrary. It includes sections on information architecture, content standards, user-centered design, fundamental computer technologies, techniques for initial implementation & ongoing maintenance, and the MyLibrary Perl application programmer's interface. Web:

Digital newspapers
Edmund King, in Digitisation of Newspapers at the British Library (The Serials Librarian, vol 49, no 1-2: 165-181), charts the work of the British Library’s use of technology to provide better access to the British Library's newspaper collections. After several small scale projects, the library is undertaking a large project to scan up to 2 million pages of nineteenth century newspapers. Web:

Digital preservation fallacies
Chris Rusbridge, in Excuse Me...Some Digital Preservation Fallacies? (Ariadne no 46, February 2006), challenges assumptions about digitisation and argues: (1) digital preservation is comparatively inexpensive compared with preservation in the print world; (2) file formats become obsolete more slowly than we thought; (3) interventions can occur rather infrequently, ensuring that continuing costs remain containable; (4) digital preservation repositories should have timescale aspirations adjusted to their funding and business case, but should be prepared for their succession; (5) "Internet-age" expectations cannot be met by most digital repositories; and (6) only desiccated versions of the preserved object need be easily and instantly accessible in the format de jour, although the original bit-stream and good preservation metadata or documentation should be available for those who wish to invest in extracting extra information or capability. His key message: “lack of money is perhaps the biggest obstacle to effective digital preservation. Assumptions that make digital preservation more expensive reduce the likelihood of it happening at all. Poor decisions on how investment is applied can have major implications on how much information can be preserved, and how effectively. Sometimes the right choice will be ‘fewer and better’, as in Special Collections, for national memory institutions and major research libraries. Sometimes the right choice will be ‘cheaper and more’. Repositories do have a choice and must consciously exercise it. Web:

Digital vision
The Digital Preservation Coalition report Mind the Gap: Assessing Digital Preservation Needs in the UK reveals that less than 20% of UK organisations surveyed have a strategy in place to deal with the risk of loss or degradation to their digital resources - despite a very high level of awareness of the risks and potential economic penalties. The loss of digital data is commonplace - it is seen as an inevitable hazard by some - with more than 70% of respondents saying data had been lost in their organisation. Awareness of the potential economic and cultural risks is high, with 87% recognising that corporate memory or key cultural material could be lost and some 60% saying that their organisation could lose out financially.

A number of cases had helped raise awareness of the risks of digital data loss. In a recent judgement in the US, Morgan Stanley had more than US$1 billion awarded against them as a result of their failure to preserve and hand over some documents required by the courts. The Securities and Exchange Commission in the US is also looking at fining the same bank US$10 million for failing to preserve email documents. The data tapes from the 1975 Viking Lander mission to Mars were recently discovered to have deteriorated despite careful storage, and scientists also found that they could not decode the formats used and had to rely on the original paper printouts. In the BBC's 1986 Domesday Project, designed to capture a picture of Britain in 1986, data held on obsolete laserdiscs and players had to be rescued more than a year's effort by specialist teams.  

According to report, the principal risks to digital material are: the deterioration of the storage medium; obsolescence of hardware, software or storage format; and failure to save crucial document format information (a common example is preserving tables of numbers without preserving an explanation of their meaning). Among the key needs: awareness of digital preservation issues needs to be more commonplace - particularly amongst data creators; organisations need to take stock of their digital materials; and projects need to be funded from the outset with the long-term value of the information produced and the cost of retention taken into account. There needs to be funding for more digital archives, education, scientific research organisations, pharmaceutical, environmental, nuclear, engineering, publishing and financial institutions. Web:

Sound recordings
Capturing Analog Sound for Digital Preservation is a report produced byu the Library of Congress and Council of Library and Information Resources Recordings.  Based on a meeting of audio experts hosted by the Library of Congress in 2004, the report assesses current standards and best practices in capturing sound from analog discs and tapes. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington notes in his introduction to the report. "Institutional archives are now making a transition from preserving audio collections on tape reels to creating digital files," but "authoritative manuals on how to create preservation copies of analog (non-digital) audio recordings do not yet exist." According to experts, nearly all recorded sound is at risk of disappearing or becoming inaccessible within a few generations because the playback equipment will become obsolete. A solution to this problem depends on technologies that capture the audio signals on soon-to-be-obsolete formats and migrate or reformat those signals to current technologies while the older formats are still playable. Among the recommendations to improve the practice of analog audio transfer for preservation, the three highest priorities are: (1) to develop core competencies in audio preservation engineering; (2) to develop arrangements among smaller institutions that allow for cooperative buying of esoteric materials and supplies; and (3) to pursue a research agenda for mitigating a variety of problems relating to magnetic tape. The report also includes an extensive set of procedures to handling the process. Web:


Australian business use of information technology
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has published its survey Business Use of Information Technology 2004-05. The survey found that 89% of Australian businesses used computers (up from 85% in the previous period) and 77% of businesses used the Internet (up from 74%). A further 33% of businesses placed orders via the Internet or Web, while only 12% received orders via the Internet. Web:

Australian collections survey
The Collections Council of Australia is undertaking a national survey of the status of collection storage, treatment and display locations in organisations across the country. Web:

Australian innovation
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released its Innovation and Technology Statistics Update Bulletin no 14 August 2006, consolidating a range of statistics and activities relating to (1) information and communications technology (such as household use of IT, business use of IT, small business use of IT and the ICT industry survey), (2) R&D and innovation (including the Innovation Analysis Forum, Innovation Technical Reference Group and Collaborations in Innovation Statistical Analysis) and (3) the Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy. Web:

The Conservation Information Network’s Bibliographic Database (BCIN), is a web-enabled database of nearly 200,000 bibliographic citations on the conservation, preservation and restoration of cultural property. BCIN includes citations from the Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (prior to 1998), technical reports, conference proceedings, journal articles, books and audiovisual and unpublished materials. Initiated by the Getty Conservation Institute and ICCROM, it was launched in 1987 as a subscription database, available through the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). In May 2002, it was made available free of charge on the CIN website, hosted by CHIN. Web:

US orphan works
The US Copyright Office’s Report on Orphan Works (January 2006) considers issues surrounding works with copyright owners who are hard to track down. It concludes: (1) the orphan works problem is real, (2) it is elusive to quantify and describe comprehensively, (3) some orphan works situations may be addressed by existing copyright law, but many are not, and (4) legislation is necessary to provide a meaningful solution. The report proposes specific amendments to the US Copyright Act’s remedies section. Web:

US science cyberinfrastructure
The National Science Foundation’s Cyberinfrastructure Vision and Strategic Plan promotes its role in developing and supporting cyberinfrastructure for science and engineering research and education. The report presents a vision, drivers, principles and strategies. Detailed action plans for the following components are in train: (1) high performance computing; (2) data, data analysis and visualisation; (3) collaboratories, observatories and virtual organisations; and (4) education and workforce development. Web:

World Summit on the Information Society
The second World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis (November 2005) produced two principal documents; (1) Tunis Commitment, 40 principles reaffirming the commitment towards “a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society” and (2) the Tunis Agenda for an Information Society, a document with 122 clauses proposing action by UNESCO bodies and affiliates under the following headings: Financial Mechanisms for Meeting the Challenges of ICT Development, Internet Governance, Implementation and Follow-up. The summit proposes that the UN Secretary-General report to the United Nations General Assembly by June 2006 on the modalities of the inter-agency coordination of the implementation of WSIS outcomes. Web:


Catalogues and tables of contents
John D. Byrum Jr and David W. Williamson, in Enriching Traditional Cataloging for Improved Access to Information: Library of Congress Tables of Contents Projects (Information Technology and Libraries vol 25, no 1, 2006): 4-11), looks at the work of the Bibliographic Enrichment Advisory Team (BEAT) at the Library of Congress in creating and implemented a variety of initiatives to link researchers, catalogues and Web resources, focussing on BEAT’s quick, easy and affordable tables of contents project. Web:

Consortial cataloguing
Chaw Chiat Naun and Susan M. Braxton, in Developing Recommendations for Consortial Cataloging of Electronic Resources: Lessons Learned (Library Collections, Acquisitions, & Technical Resources, vol 29, no 3, 2005: 307-325), summarises aspects of a task force of the Illinois Library Computer Systems Organization (ILCSO) consortium, convened to recommend a set of consortial standards for cataloguing electronic resources in Voyager integrated library management system. The task force considers a range of factors including user expectations, MARC standards, system functionality, conflicting cataloguing philosophies, and the impact of new technologies. Web:

Future of cataloguing
Jackie Byrd, Gary Charbonneau, Mechael Charbonneau and others, in A White Paper on the Future of Cataloging at Indiana University Bloomington (Indiana University Libraries, 15 Jan 2006), conclude that "The need for cataloging expertise within the IU Libraries will not be diminished in the coming years. Rather, catalogers of the future will work in the evolving environment of publishing, scholarly communication, and information technology in new expanded roles. Catalogers will need to be key players in addressing the many challenges facing the libraries and the overall management and organisation of information at Indiana University.” Web:

Karen Calhoun, in The Changing Nature of the Catalog and Its Integration with Other Discovery Tools (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 17 March 2006), reviews the library catalogue and its changing role amidst the new mix of finding tools and technologies. She identifies 32 options organised under three broad strategies: (1) leading (participating in the substitute industry; digitising mass collections and catalogues; make them available to all; offering e-commerce functions; organising, digitising and exposing unique special collections; helping researchers & learners organise & sustain their digital assets; helping to build and manage discipline-based repositories), (3) expanding (marketing scholarly information systems; investing in shared not local catalogues; retaining the scope of the catalogue; linking pools of scholarly data instead; creating lots of registries; shunning redundant effort; making library and learning systems interact; segmenting the market for scholarly info; repurposing name authority control; updating copyright law; seeking outside funding & partners; supporting Google Scholar and Book Search), and (3) extending (rethinking, redeploying, retraining, recruiting; instituting a culture of assessment; studying users not systems and becoming usability experts; investing in better delivery systems & services; facilitating data ingest, extraction, & transfer; participating and insisting on standards compliance; deploy existing catalogue data in new ways and enhancing browsing; decoupling discovery from delivery and ILS inventory control functions; exploring how to carry legacy MARC data forward and promoting interoperability; supporting RDA, with qualifications, and supporting experimentation with FRBR; simplifying cataloguing practice to a set of basic elements and eliminating LCSH; obtaining, reusing or automatically generating acquisitions and cataloguing metadata; moving to e-only journals and reconceptualising and simplifying serial records; standardising and streamlining workflows for internal operations; and eliminate local practices and customised workflows in favour of best practices). She concludes: ”Notwithstanding widespread expansion of digitisation projects, ubiquitous e-journals, and a market that seems poised to move to e-books, the role of catalog records in discovery and retrieval of the world’s library collections seems likely to continue for at least a couple of decades and probably longer.” Web:

Future of libraries
Lorcan Dempsey, in Libraries and the Long Tail: Some Thoughts about Libraries in a Network Age (D-Lib Magazine vol 12 no 4, April 2006) looks closely at libraries and the implications of ‘the long tail’ or the impact of the Internet on the marketplace. He asserts: "We need new services that operate at the network level, above the level of individual libraries." Harking back to Ranganthan – “books are for use; each book its reader; each reader his or her book; save the time of the user” - he says that libraries need to go far beyond sharing of cataloguing records and ILL infrastructure and get at the heart of aggregating supply and demand. After exploring pertinent issues - the aggregation of supply and demand in libraries, transaction costs, data about choice and behaviours, library inventories, navigation and the aggregation of demand – he says libraries can improve matters by: (1) unifying the discovery experiences; (2) projecting the library discovery experience into other environments; (3) better integration of D2D within an operation and between operations; (4) in the medium term, exploring how 'inventory' and 'distribution' are managed across a system; (5) utilising better 'intelligence' within the network; (6) providing transaction support; and (7) aggregating demand through significant web presences: Web:

Library 2.0
Walt Crawford’s Library 2.0 and 'Library 2.0’, (Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large vol 6 no 2, 2006: 1-32) is an illuminating 32-page essay exploring divergent views about the future of libraries as encapsulated in the concept Library 2.0. He takes a close look at the views of recent commentators and bloggers on the subject, dividing them into two camps – the constructive Library 2.0 camp and the confrontational ‘Library 2.0’ camp (which derides today’s libraries as irrelevant and today’s librarians as rigid and unchanging). In siding strongly with the Library 2.0 camp, Crawford questions the belief that public libraries have ever been most people’s primary source of current information and expresses bemusement at the apparent need to make libraries the heart of the public’s everyday information usage. “I don’t think it can happen and I’m not convinced that it should happen…I don’t believe most American public libraries either require or would benefit from a revolution” He concludes that Library 2.0 “encompasses a range of new and not-so-new software methodologies (social software, interactivity, APIs, modular software) that can and will be useful for many libraries in providing new services and making existing services available in new and interesting ways…With luck, skill and patience, these new services and ongoing changes will continue to make libraries more interesting, more relevant and better supported.” On the other hand, ‘Library 2.0’, he says, is “hype, a bandwagon, a confrontation, a negative assertion about existing libraries, their visibility, their relevance and the lack of changes,” He urges librarians “to relax and take a deep breath.” Web:
Paul Miller, in Coming Together around Library 2.0 : A Focus for Discussion and a Call to Arms (D-Lib Magazine vol 12, no 4, April 2006), says Library 2.0 is “an attitude, not a technology". The attitude encourages the sharing of information and better integration not simply with other systems but with the "workflows" of users. Miller identifies a trend that "moves beyond the reengineering of applications deployed within a single institution, or offered by a single vendor, and allows us to move towards a network-based Platform of subsystems encapsulating the functionality required by anyone wishing to construct the next generation of applications." Getting there, Miller concludes, will require "dramatic change". Web:


ArchiveGrid is a service of the Research Libraries Group a not-for-profit membership organisation of over 150 universities, national libraries, archives, historical societies and other institutions with research collections. The ArchiveGrid website and database includes archive and manuscript holdings of thousands of contributing organisations, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Harvard University, Minnesota Historical Society, National Library of Australia, New York Public Library, Orthodox Church in America, Putnam County Historical Society, Radio City Music Hall, Smithsonian Institution - Archives of American Art, American Museum of Fire Fighting, American Museum of Natural History, American Museum of North America and American Museum of the Moving Image. Web:

Archives Portal
UNESCO's Archives Portal acts as gateway to more than 8,000 websites and other resources related to records and archives management and to international co-operation in this area. An electronic Newsletter provides information on new entries. Web:

Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative
The Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA) has embarked on the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative (ADRI). The primary objective of ADRI is to find better ways to ensure that digital records are preserved and made accessible for the future. The project has released a draft Digital Record Export Standard for public comment. The standard prescribes the physical representation of electronic records that are to be transferred to an archive. It specifies: (1) metadata that must be transferred with each record or file; (2) optional metadata that may be transferred with each record or file; (3) the way the record (including both metadata and content) is physically represented as an XML document. ADRI also plans to develop strategic tools (including generic business cases for digital recordkeeping), common standards and specifications (including transfer formats, generic specifications for records management software functionality and specifications for digital archive hardware and software functionality) and best practice manuals (including managing recordkeeping metadata in archival systems). Web:


The National Archives of Australia has updated the Australian Government Implementation Manual, which sets out Australian Government requirements for the implementation of AGLS metadata within government agencies and provides advice for coordinating policy and practice on web-based information and services. The major change between the latest version of the manual and the previous version is the removal of the requirement for Australian Government agencies to create and maintain harvest control lists. This is consistent with a decision made by the Australian Government Information Management Office as a result of changes to search engine technology. Web:

Federated searching and metasearching
Stephen C. Boss and Michael L. Nelson, in Federated Search Tools: The Next Step in the Quest for One-Stop-Shopping (The Reference Librarian, no 91/92, 2005: 139-160) describe federated search tools from four vendors and proposes criteria that may be useful for libraries attempting to evaluate them. Web: 
Library Hi Tech volume 23 no. 4, 2005, is devoted to the theme Open Source Software and includes the following articles: A Statewide Metasearch Service Using OAI-PMH and Z39.50 by Joanne Kaczmarek and Chew Chiat Naun (576-586). This describes Yellow Brick Roads, a project investigated the feasibility of unified searching across library holdings, digitisation projects and online state government information through use of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) in tandem with the Z39.50 protocol through the application of the Z39.50/OAI Gateway Profile. Web

Tamar Sadeh, in Google Scholar Versus Metasearch Systems (HEP Libraries Webzine vol 12, February 2006) attempts to clarify the terminology by drawing clear distinctions between "metasearching" (just-in-time unification such as most library metasearch tools) and "federated searching" (just-in-case unification like Google Scholar). ExLibris’s MetaLib metasearching tool and Elsevier's Scirus system, among other systems, are reviewed. Web: 12/papers/1/

Folksonomies and metatags
Marieke Guy and Emma Tonkin in Folksonomies: Tidying Up Tags? (D- Lib Magazine vol 12 no 1, 2006) champions the benefits of open systems such as and flikr - despite their irregularities - and discuss possible improvements. “The real problem with folksonomies” she says, “is not their chaotic tags but that they are trying to serve two masters at once - the personal collection and the collective collection.” Developments in the field tend to focus on methods for improving the quality of the user-contributed tags. But achieving more may be a question of developing an appropriate set of algorithms to manage bad tags and sloppy tags. We need to remain open minded. Web: 01guy.html. 

Dariush Alimohammadi, in Meta-tags: Still a Matter of Opinion, (The Electronic Library vol 23 no 6, 2005: 625-631) reviews the literature, calls for more research and encourages people to keep an open mind on the topic. Web:

Olivia M. A. Madison, in Utilizing the FRBR Framework in Designing User-focused Digital Content and Access Systems (Library Resources & Technical Services, vol 50, no 1, 2006: 10-15) discusses the methodology and framework of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records as a useful tool in building expanded access and content systems. Web:

Program vol 40 no 1 2006, on the theme Celebrating 40 years of ICT in Libraries, Museums and Archives, includes Library Subject Portals: an Investigation of Possibilities for the University of the Witwatersrand Library by Felix N. Ubogu, Arthur Kekana and Charl Roberts (p 27-47), examining the features of library portals and areas for development. Web:

Joan M. Aliprand, in The Structure and Content of MARC 21 Records in the Unicode Environment (Information Technology and Libraries, vol 24, no 4 2005: 170-179) considers the effect of the use of Unicode without any constraints on the structure and data content of MARC 21 records. Web:

Thesaurus management tools
The American Society for Indexers has a list of thesaurus management software packages on its website. Web:

Visual resources
The Visual Resources Association’s Data Standards Committee has released VRA Core 4.0 Beta Draft documents and XML schema for review. The VRA Core is a data standard for the cultural heritage community, consisting of a metadata element set, as well as an initial blueprint for how those elements can be hierarchically structured. The element set provides a categorical organisation for the description of works of visual culture as well as the images that document them. In the latest edition of the Core, changes have been made to make it XML-compliant. These changes primarily concern the redefinition of element qualifiers which have been converted to sub-elements and attributes following XML encoding syntax. Web:

The National Archives of Australia has released a new version of its digital preservation software, Xena 3.0 Lite. The Xena software facilitates the migration of documents in proprietary formats - such as Microsoft Word - to open formats by using software such as OpenOffice ( ) or custom converter plug-ins written by NAA. Currently the following formats can be converted: MS-Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Project, Writer, Calc, and Impress, RTF, PST email format, TRIM email format, MBOX email format, Comma Separated Files (CSV), JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, PCX, HTML, Plaintext (various encodings), PDF documents and XML. Xena also encapsulates digital objects with metadata layers according to the ‘information package’ in the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)The Xena 3.0 Lite product is a streamlined GUI offering easy access to a selection of the Xena framework features, packaged as a desktop application. More information: Instructions and free downloads:

This issue of Cross Currents compiled by Paul Bentley


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