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29 November 2007














Cross Currents No 29 November 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 Mander & Mitchenson Theatre Collection | MusicAustralia DIGITAL REPOSITORIES & DIGITISATION AlouetteCanada | Canadian Digital Information Strategy | Digital Futures International Forum | Newspapers in Australia | Newspapers in the USA | Oral history digitisation KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian support for science and research | Author


copyright tools | Data curation | Significance | Wikipedia as a promotional tool LIBRARIES & LIBRARIANSHIP Canadian Library Association moves to open access | Electronic resources for Australian libraries |

RECORDS & ARCHIVES Archival Finding Aids

SYSTEMS & STANDARDS Digital records conversion | Functional Requirements for Authority Data | Metadata | RDA Resource Description and Access | CRA Core 4.0 | Storage


Mander and Mitchenson Theatre Collection
The Raymond Mander & Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection, one of the largest collections of theatre and performance related materials in the UK, has a new website and online catalogue covering the entire research archive at collection level, as well as pre-1890 London theatre records at item level. It also has links to a digital media archive of more than 2,000 images from the archive collection and a searchable gallery of the Painting and Artworks collection. A charitable trust, the Collection is part of the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts, based in Trinity College of Music, Greenwich, London UK. Web:

Music Australia
The National Library of Australia and Australian digital music provider Destra Media have formed a partnership to enhance the MusicAustralia online service. The partnership has expanded MusicAustralia with more than 45,000 tracks of contemporary Australian music and added a new e-commerce function that allows people to obtain in-copyright recordings through legal downloads. Web:


Alouette is a Canadian open digitisation initiative which aims to bring about a unified approach to accessing the digital content created, disseminated, and preserved by its member contributors, including libraries, archives, museums and galleries. It also aims to play a significant role in political advocacy and fund raising on behalf of their constituencies. It will act as a service provider for agencies or individuals who choose to use the open source software tools provided by AlouetteCanada. It is funded by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. Web:

Canadian Digital Information Strategy
Library and Archives Canada Digital has released a draft Canadian Digital Information Strategy for comment. The strategy involves (1) strengthening digital content through mass digitisation on a national scale, a conducive digital production environment, improved digital production practices, diversity in digital content production; (2) ensuring digital preservation through a selection and capture of digital content for long-term retention, a distributed digital preservation repository network, preservation-related research, the development of new workplace skills and increased public awareness of digital preservation issues; and (3) maximizing digital access by developing mechanisms for democratic, ubiquitous and equitable access, provision of seamless access and global visibility, provision of more open access to public sector information and data, effective communication and management of copyright and increased user research. “The goals of the Strategy cannot be undertaken by any single organization” the strategy document says, “rather, an inclusive, coordinated and distributed approach involving stakeholders from all sectors of the information environment is required.” Web:

Digital Futures International Forum
The National Archives of Australia attracted 200 participants to its forum in September 2007 on collaborative challenges for creating, managing, preserving and providing access to digital information. Keynote speakers included Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive, National Archives of the United Kingdom and James Hastings, Director of Access Programs at the US National Archives and Records Administration. The forum concluded that: (1) partnerships and convergence across sectors and international borders were vitally important to make best use of technology; and (2) there was a need to increase investment in skills and infrastructure to maximise application and return on investment in digital content. “Although there has been substantial investment in this area in the United States and in Europe and some investment in Australasia, the uneven and often inadequate levels of investment are impairing not only access to this digital content, but its very survival…There is substantial investment in the creation of digital content, as indicated by levels of investment in ICT systems and research projects that generate substantial quantities of data. However, matching proportional investments in preserving and providing appropriate access to this digital content is often missing. Managers of digital collections need to be able to tap into ‘upstream’ investment, for example by ensuring that a proportion of the investment in creating new digital content is set aside for providing for its preservation and for access to that content which is of enduring national and international significance.” Web:

Newspapers in Australia
Fairfax Media has published a digital archive of the Sydney Morning Herald 1955-1990 using Olive's ActivePaperArchive to convert its text and microfilm archives into a single XML-based format. All articles, photos and advertisements are searchable by keyword and the results are returned in an exact digital reproduction of the pages. A variety of subscriptions are available for private individuals, as well as companies, institutions, government and libraries. Web:
The National Library of Australia has entered into a contract with Apex Publishing to support its major newspaper digitisation program. The Library will use Apex to build a database comprising one major newspaper from each state and territory for the period 1803 to 1954. It expects to offer, from early 2008, full text searching of these newspapers and viewing of content free of charge. The Library will include initially 19th century portions of newspapers such as The Sydney Gazette, The Argus, The Courier Mail and other newspapers from Hobart, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. It will then digitise the portions of these newspapers from the first half of the 20th century. The project involves the support of state libraries, which will ensure the availability of good quality microfilm versions of the relevant newspapers as source material. Apex will convert digital page images produced from microfilm into text searchable files through the use of OCR technology and other processes such as "zoning" of the newspaper articles. Web:

Newspapers in USA
The Library of Congress has more than 310,000 newspaper pages, from 1900 to 1910, accessible through its Chronicling America Website. The site is a project of the National Digital Newspaper Program, a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the next 20 years, NDNP will create a national digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 from all states and US territories. Web:

Oral history digitisation
Eric Weig, Kopana Terry and Kathryn Lybarger, in Large Scale Digitization of Oral History: A Case Study (D-Lib Magazine May/June 2007), describe an oral history analogue-to-digital reformatting pilot project conducted at the University of Kentucky Libraries. The project included master file creation and use of a custom interface for searching and retrieving Web mounted audio segments. Through a cost analysis of the process, the project unearthed useful information about what can be accomplished with a large collection and limited funding. Web:


Australian support for science and research
The Australian Productivity Commission’s report Public Support for Science and Innovation provides a snapshot of Australia's science and innovation system and looks at the rationales for public support, impacts, impediments, workforce issues, commercialisation and utilisation, performance evaluation and benchmarking, funding levels, funding mix and coordination issues, business programs, public sector research agencies, and funding of higher education research. Web:

Author copyright tools
The Canadian Association of Research Libraries and Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition have released the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum, a tool for authors in Canada to retain key rights to the journal articles they publish. The Addendum enables authors to secure a balanced agreement for retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes. See

Data curation
Liz Lyon’s JISC Report, Dealing with Data: Roles, Rights, Responsibilities, Relationships, reviews the variety of data and arrangements for their curation and use across disciplines. The work of funders, national data centres, institutional repositories, learned societies and the Digital Curation Centre are documented with a view to identifying roles, rights, responsibilities and relationships. Further work is planned, including the development of a Data Audit Framework to enable UK universities and colleges to carry out an audit of departmental data collections, awareness, policies and practice for data curation and preservation. Web:

The Collections Council of Australia is producing a second edition of the 2001 publication, Significance: A Guide to Assessing the Significance of Cultural Heritage Objects and Collections. The new edition will broaden the scope by including all four major collecting domains — archives and libraries in addition to museums and galleries, and will take into account of new developments and resources since 2001. Web:

Wikipedia as a promotional tool
Ann M Lally and Carolyn E Dunford, in Using Wikipedia to Extend Digital Collections (D-Lib Magazine vol 13, no 5/6, May/June 2007) document the University of Washington Libraries' effort to put their digital collections in Wikipedia. They conclude: “Web 2.0 technologies offer librarians a great opportunity to enhance the authority of resources that students use on a daily basis, and to push their knowledge and expertise beyond the traditional boundaries of the library. We now consider Wikipedia an essential tool for getting our digital collections out to our users at the point of their information need. We view this as a very low cost way to enhance access to our collections, as well as an effective way to participate in the creation of resources that are used by millions around the world. We will continue to explore how we can take advantage of the opportunities that Web 2.0 technologies offer us when marketing our digital and physical collections.” The article contains useful tips on creating articles and cross-references within Wikipedia, monitoring for changes and vandalism, and communicating with other Wikipedia users. Web:


Canadian Library Association moves to open access
The Canadian Library Association will provide most of its intellectual property free of charge, in digital form, online and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. The revised policy has four parts: (1) CLA will provide for full and immediate open access for all CLA publications, with the exception of Feliciter and monographs The embargo period for Feliciter is one issue, and the embargo policy itself will be reviewed after one year. Monographs will be considered for open access publishing on a case-by-case basis. (2) CLA actively encourages its members to self-archive in institutional and/or disciplinary repositories and will investigate a partnership with E-LIS, the Open Archive for Library and Information Studies. (3) CLA will generally provide for the author's retention of copyright by employing Creative Commons licensing or publisher-author agreements that promote open access. (4) CLA will continue its long-standing policy of accessibility to virtually all CLA information except for narrowly defined confidential matters (eg certain personnel or legal matters). Web:

Electronic resources
The National Library of Australia and other library groups have established Electronic Resources Australia (ERA), a national approach for purchasing electronic databases, managed by and for all Australian libraries for their users. Web: is a recommendation service for library-related websites, The site features a blog, wiki, RSS feeds and email alerts. Users can rate sites, post recommendations, and add their own tags. Web:


Archival Finding Aids
Elizabeth Yakel, Seth Shaw and Polly Reynolds, in Creating the Next Generation of Archival Finding Aids (D-Lib Magazine Vol 13 no 5/6, May/June 2007), describe the Polar Bear Expedition Digital at the University of Michigan, which has developed an archival access system that combines Electronic Archival Description (EAD) with Web 2.0 features, involving user input through social software and collaborative filtering. They conclude: “Our design decisions have attempted to balance the need for continued archival authority with a desire to incorporate some of the social aspects of Web 2.0 features. The relative merits of each of these solutions is open for debate. Social navigation, collaborative filtering, and shared authority among archival users and archivists will continue to be controversial topics…For the Next Generation Finding Aids research group, the Polar Bear Expedition Collections site is just the first in a series of experiments exploring how to make archival information more accessible in the virtual environment.” Web:


Digital records conversion
ARMA International has published The Digital Records Conversion Process: Program Planning, Requirements, Procedures (Member Price: US$40.00 Non-Member Price: US$60.00). The ANSI/ARMA standard provides requirements for converting electronic records from one digital recordkeeping system to another. The work includes tables, a template that draws together recordkeeping requirements, risks and drivers, controls and stages of the conversion process, as well as other tools. Details from the ARMA site:

Functional Requirements for Authority Data
The IFLA Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records has published the 2nd draft of Functional Requirements for Authority Data (previously titled Functional Requirements for Authority Records). FRAD is one of the key elements of RDA: Resource Description and Access (see below). Web:

Mary W Elings and Günter Waibel, in Metadata for All: Descriptive Standards and Metadata Sharing across Libraries, Archives, and Museums (First Monday, vol 12 no 3, March 2007) look at the challenge of integrating digital content from libraries, archives and museums. While there have been examples of cross-community experimentation, the tendency has been for libraries, archives and museums to develop parallel descriptive strategies for cataloguing the materials in their custody. The article defines and categorises types of standards, provides a brief historical overview of the rise of descriptive standards in museums, libraries and archives, and considers the current tensions and ambitions in making descriptive practice more economic. They conclude: “The successful integration of digital images of material culture from library, archive and museum collections hinges on the emergence of a more homogenous practice in describing like-materials in different institutions. While data structures can be mapped with relative ease, data content variance still effectively prohibits economic plug-and-play aggregation of collections. Data content standards such as CCO emerge as the linchpin in a cross–community strategy to make descriptions versatile, shareable and readily integrated into union resources.” Web:
The National Archives of Australia has released an exposure draft of its new Australian Government Recordkeeping Metadata Standard, which describes information about records the National Archives recommends be captured in the EDRM and business systems of Australian Government agencies. It differs from the previous edition in that it is based on a multiple-entity model, and allows for the description of up to five separate entities: record, agent, business, mandate and relationship. The final version and accompanying implementation guidelines will be ready for released in early 2008. Web:

RDA: Resource Description and Access
The National Library of Australia, Library of Congress, British Library and Library and Archives Canada have agreed on the coordinated implementation of RDA: Resource Description and Access, the successor to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, RDA will be available in two parts as a web-based tool, Part A – description and Part B - access point control. It will provide a flexible and extensible framework for both the technical and content description of resources while serving the needs of institutions organising traditional resources. It also aims to provide a better fit with emerging database technologies. A key element of RDA is its alignment with the conceptual models for bibliographic and authority data developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) — FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records) and FRAD (Functional Requirements for Authority Data). A second key element is that it establishes a clear line of separation between the recording of data and the presentation of data. Proposals for handling of general material designations, specific material designations and uniform titles will be of particular interest for those preparing to implement changes. The full draft of RDA will be available in July 2008. The four national libraries plan to implement RDA by the end of 2009. Web:

VRA Core 4.0
The Visual Resources Association has published the release version of VRA Core 4.0, along with an explanation of changes between VRA Core 4.0 beta version and VRA Core 4.0 release version. VRA Core 4.0 is a data standard for the cultural heritage community, developed by the Visual Resources Association's Data Standards Committee. It consists of a metadata element set (units of information such as title, location, date, etc), 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. Web:

Archives New Zealand has released a revised standard for storage of records and archives, setting minimum requirements for local and central government records in New Zealand from January 2010 The standard is structured around six principles to be taken into account when storing records and archives: identification and control, facilities, protection against disaster, security, shelving and packaging, and environmental control. Each principle is accompanied by a list of minimum requirements, together with explanations of why these requirements are considered essential, and examples of the risks they mitigate. 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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