The Wolanski Foundation Project

What's new

30 May 2007














Cross Currents No 28 May 2007 

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 Dictionary of Australian Artists Online

DIGITISATION Arts & Humanities Data Service ICT Guides | Digital Newspapers |European digital strategy | UK scholarly resources 

KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian innovation and technology statistics | Australian innovation recommendations ] Designing


cyberinfrastructre for collaboration and innovation | Social networking websites | UK e-infrastructure

LIBRARIES & LIBRARIANSHIP Library of Congress RSS feeds | Cataloguing | Library digitisation

MUSEUMS Websites | Web-based museum exhibitions

SYSTEMS & STANDARDS Social software | MODS | Metasearching


Dictionary of Australian Artists Online
Information on the Dictionary of Australian Artists Online is available from the prototype website. The project, led by UNSW with partners the University of Sydney, National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and State Library of New South Wales, with financial support from the Australian Research Council, aims to digitise, update and enhance the printed edition of Joan Kerr’s The Dictionary of Australian Artists, Vivien Johnson’s Aboriginal Artists of the Western Desert: A Biographical Dictionary and other sources. Website:


Arts & Humanities Data Service ICT Guides
The Arts and Humanities Data Service in the UK has published ICT Guides to promote cataloguing best-practice in digital arts and humanities projects. The guides provide methods, case studies and sources on data capture, data structure and enhancement, data analysis, data publishing and dissemination, practice-led research, communication and collaboration, and strategy and project management. The site also has information on 97 software applications and programming languages. Web:

Digital newspapers
The University of Richmond, in partnership with the Perseus Project and the Virginia Center for Digital History, has launched the American Civil War-era newspaper, the Richmond Daily Dispatch, as an online resource. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the collection features full-text searching of all issues of the newspaper from November 1860 through December 1865. The product is managed by UM DLXS from the University of Michigan's Digital Library Production Service. After the purchase of microfilm reels from ProQuest, the reels were sent to the imaging and re-keying vendor, Digital Divide Data, to be scanned, hand-keyed, and encoded as XML documents to the TEI lite and P4 specifications. The resulting digital files were ingested and indexed by XPAT, the indexing engine of the University of Michigan's Digital Library Production Service's DLXS software suite. JPEG 2000 images were created from the TIFF format images received from the vendor. These images reside on the project server and are converted on the fly into the JPEG format when viewed by users. Web:

European digital strategy
The European Digital Library Initiative Copyright Subgroup’ s interim report on the European Commission’s digital strategy offers detailed proposals on orphan works, out of print works and digital preservation. Web:

UK scholarly resources
JISC has announced successful bids in the latest £12m investment in the digitisation of major scholarly resources of national importance in the UK. The 16 winning bids represent nearly 60 organisations from education and other sectors, including the British Film Institute, National Archive, BBC, ITN, British Library, National Library of Wales and Bodleian Library. The projects will capture a wide variety of aspects of UK life, from Cabinet papers to First World War poetry, from radio news to East End music hall archives, and in a wide range of media, including sound, film, images, journals, newspapers, maps, theses, pamphlets and cartoons. Projects include: Archival Sound Recordings 2 (British Library); British Newspapers 1620-1900 (British Library); and the East London Theatre Archive (University of East London). Further information:


Australian innovation and technology statistics
The Australian Bureau of Statics released its Innovation and Technology Update No. 15 in December 2006, summarising developments and statistics on information and technology, research and development, and innovation. It also describes a new approach, called the Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy (IBCS) “to provide innovation and information and communications technology (ICT) related statistics for businesses. Web:

Australian innovation recommendations
The Business Council of Australia’s report New Pathways to Prosperity: A National Innovation Framework for Australia, prepared in conjunction with the Society for Knowledge Economics (SKE), outlines priorities for achieving greater innovation outcomes. While Australia has always compared well with other countries on scientific output, the report says, it has a lower proportion of investment in education and research as a proportion of GDP when compared with developed nations. It recommends: (1) making innovation a priority of the Council of Australian Governments; (2) establishing a new coordinating body ‘Innovation Australia’; (3) setting a long-term plan for the future by conducting a ‘Knowledge Foresight 2025’ exercise; (4) investigating funding innovation where there are barriers to private market investment; (5) support ‘innovation partnerships’ between business and education sectors; (6) supporting university commercialisation structures; (7) establishing ‘Innovation Resource Centres’ for businesses to extend programs supported by government; (8) ensuring education and training systems are capable of supporting and encouraging innovation, such as through the development of content for a new year 11 and 12 subject on business innovation; and (9) introducing a national post-school ‘Entrepreneurs and Innovators Internship’ program. The Society for Knowledge Economics was founded in 2005 by Microsoft, Westpac, CPA Australia, Institute of Actuaries of Australia and the Australian Government Consultative Committee on Knowledge Capital (AGCCKC). The report is available from

Designing cyberinfrastructure for collaboration & innovation
In January 2007, the Committee for Economic Development, Council on Competitiveness, National Science Foundation, Science Commons, and University of Michigan in the United States held the conference Designing Cyberinfrastructure for Collaboration and Innovation to review issues examined two years earlier in Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy. For presentations and other resources see and

Social networking websites
Amanda Lenhart and Mary Madden, in Social Networking Websites and Teens: An Overview (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 7 January 2007) report on the wide use of social networks such as MySpace and Facebook by teenagers. Over half the respondents in an associated survey said they had a profile on the sites and slightly less than half (48%) said they frequented the sites every day. The vast majority use the sites to communicate with friends. Web:

UK e-infrastructure
The UK Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) e-Infrastructure Working Group has published Developing the UK’s e-Infrastructure for Science and Innovation, which sets out the requirements to help the UK maintain and enhance its global standing in science and innovation. It calls for greater coordination between the key agencies in the field, greater investment in e-infrastructure and a 'step-change' in e-infrastructure development.' The Working Group six sub-groups have each produced detailed reports in the following areas: data and information creation; preservation and curation; search and navigation; virtual research communities; networks, compute and data storage; authentication, authorisation, accounting, middleware and digital rights management. The overarching report presents the six areas as distinct but interconnected stages of a lifecycle. Web:


Library of Congress RSS feeds
For details of RSS newsfeeds available at the Library of Congress, including News, Upcoming Events, New on the Web, New Webcasts, News from the John W. Kluge Center and What's New in Science Reference, see its central RSS Web page at

Karen Coyle and Diane Hillmann, in Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20th Century (D-Lib Magazine vol 13 no 1/2, January/February 2007) describe the tensions existing between those advocating an incremental change to cataloguing process and others who desire a bolder library entry into the digital era. They call for concerted effort with interested non-library communities and the adoption of the principles of systems analysis. The library community needs to “set a new goal to achieve consensus on the top layer model, basic principles and general rules, and leave the details to the specialised communities…Within the library ranks, particularly at the management level, there is a growing discomfort with the leadership provided by the JSC. If new cataloging rules are developed without the parallel development of new models for library catalogs, then it will be necessary for some in the library world to set off in their own direction, rejecting what they see as insufficient change with a large price tag for implementation. Members of [the] profession who have embraced the present information technologies and are looking forward to what the future will bring are particularly dismayed at the creation of another set of cataloging rules based on technologies that are now decades past. Despite [the] long history of service to users, it will be a continuing struggle for libraries to interact as equals with the key players in the fast-paced information age; it will be impossible for [them] to do so if [there isn’t] a unified vision allowing [them] to harness [their] collective strength” Web:

Karen Markey, in The Online Library Catalog: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained? (D-Lib Magazine, vol 13 no 1/2, January/February 2007) proposes a new direction to regain the online catalogue's status and users. This will require a paradigm shift. Libraries need to (1) embrace post-Boolean probabilistic searching (2) embrace subject cataloguing (3) expand with qualification metadata and (5) ameliorate the full-text retrieval problem. Web:

LibraryThing is a web application for storing and sharing personal library catalogues and book lists, developed by Tim Spalding and launched in August 2005. By its first anniversary, it had attracted more than 73,000 registered users who had catalogued 5.1 million individual books, representing nearly 1.2 million unique works. Personal library catalogues can be kept private, but most people choose to make them public. On of its attractions is an 'add books' feature which will take a title, author, or ISBN and search the holdings at the Library of Congress or more than seventy other public and research libraries, as well as Once the right book and edition has been located, a simple click adds it to the user's catalogue, at which time personal tags may be added. The availability of MARC data through major libraries makes it possible for an individual to attain a high level of accuracy in record keeping. Web:

Library digitisation
Richard K Johnson, in In Google's Broad Wake: Taking Responsibility for Shaping the Global Digital Library (ARL: A Bimonthly Report, no 250, February 2007 considers mass digitisation policy recommendations from ALA, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Francophone National Libraries, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, OCLC's Programs and Research Division, and others, then summarises the common themes and provides a checklist for libraries to review when negotiating a contract for digitisation. “While Google’s aim is not at odds with the needs or goals of the academy—indeed it promises to advance information sharing dramatically—Google Book Search isn’t a perfect substitute for library digitization.” Web:

Rebecca L Mugridge, in Managing Digitization Activities (SPEC Kit 294, Association of Research Libraries, 2006) provides a snapshot of digitisation efforts by ARL libraries. It identifies the purposes of ARL member libraries' efforts, the organisational structures the libraries use to manage digital initiatives, where funding to sustain digital activities originated and how that funding is allocated, how priorities are determined, whether libraries are outsourcing any digitisation work, and how the success of libraries' digital activities has been assessed. The focus of the survey was on the digitisation of existing library materials, rather than the creation of born-digital objects. The survey suggests that digitisation is still a fledgling activity, with a wide range of budget allocations. She concludes: “Comments throughout the survey indicate that many libraries are in a period of transition as they attempt to determine the best organization, staffing, and budgeting models for their particular digitisation operations. Small-scale operations are ramping up for more substantial activity. Collaborative projects are common. Digitization activities increase the availability and access to information for everyone, not just an institution’s local users. As libraries continue to pursue digitization activities, it’s important to share what is learned in order to benefit from each other’s experiences and develop a collective knowledge of best practices”. Web:


Winners of the Best of the Web awards at the annual Museums and the Web conference in San Francisco (April 2007) were: National Theatre, UK, (Best Overall Museum Web Site and Best Education Use); Discover Nikkei Japanese American National Museum, (Best Research Site); Collections Link, managed by MDA in partnership with Institute of Conservation and The National Preservation Office, (Best Museum Professional's Site); SFMOMA ArtCasts, (Best Innovative or Experimental Application) and Caught & Coloured, Museum Victoria, Australia, (Best On-line Exhibition Honourable Mention).  Papers presented at the conference covered a range of topics and included: How Shall We Label Our Exhibit Today? Applying The Principles of On-Line Publishing to an On-Site Exhibition (Mayra Ortiz-Williams, Ross Parry, Andrew Sawyer, United Kingdom); Reflecting Organizational Change in On-line Presence (Emily Bottis, Christine Klaehn, USA); Transcending the Boundaries of the Museum! Managing Organisational Change in the Museum and on the Web (Jenny Berthling, Anna Engquist, Sweden); Addressing the Limitations of Open Standards (Alastair Dunning, Marieke Guy, Brian Kelly, United Kingdom); OpenCollection Web-Based Collection Cataloging and Access Software (Megan Forbes, Carl Goodman, Seth Kaufman, USA); and Facilitating Access: Empowering Small Museums (Joy Suliman, Australia). Web:

Web-based museum exhibitions
Richard Entlich, in The Missing Dimension in Web-based Museum Exhibitions: Obstacles to Adding Depth to Digital Data (RLG DigiNews, vol 10, no 6, 15 December 2006) observes that in the late 1990s, virtual museum exhibitions based on three dimensional imagery were a growing trend, and he poses the question why aren’t there more of them available today? After discussing the development of 3D technology on the World Wide Web, its adoption by museums, and the obstacles preventing it from a fully mainstreamed activity, he provides a summary of 3D technologies such as VRML, QuickTime-VR, Shockwave3D, and others. And he concludes that although the future for 3D on the Web is looking better, “it’s hard to predict when events will propel 3D on the Web to a critical mass of interest that will break the current chicken and egg logjam”. But it “is promising enough to merit keeping an eye out for new developments.” Web:


Social software for libraries
Michael Stephens’ Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software, published by the American Library Association in the series Library Technology Reports vol 42, no4) comments on the use of blogs, RSS, instant messaging, wikis and Flickr by libraries. Web:

The Digital Library Federation/Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records (Washington, DC: Digital Library Federation, November 2006) provides recommendations for applying the Metadata Object Description Schema1 (MODS) for use in describing digital cultural heritage and humanities-based scholarly resources that are to be shared within the Aquifer Initiative and beyond. The guidelines are specifically meant for metadata that will be shared with others (whether through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting —OAI-PMH — or some other means), and, as such, is focused on how to derive metadata that will make sense and be useful outside of its local context. Web:

Jonathan Rochkind, in (Meta)search Like Google (Library Journal, 17 February 2007), says “The time has come for libraries, too, to negotiate for rights to index full text.” Drawing on the example of the Scholars Portal Project of the Ontario Council of University Libraries, he predicts “as we do get more and more full text, we will be able to get meaningful relevancy ranking, useful clustering, more advanced presentation of result sets, and other advanced features that will serve more needs without requiring the user switch to a ‘native’ interface.”. 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..


 About us |  What's new |  Site map | Searching  | Managing  | Learning  |  LibraryResearch 

  Contact us | Home  

© 2007 The Wolanski Foundation Project 

 Email web manager.  URL:

Page last updated: 30 May 2007