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25 August 2010














Cross Currents No 33 August 2010 

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 and innovation | Australian art history | Australian cultural policy | Australian performing arts collections | Australian Screen Online | Gramophone archive online | Humanities scholarship | International Association of Music Libraries | Music Index Online | New York Philharmonic Archives | Performing arts quality | V&A Theatre Museum  DIGITISATION, STANDARDS, & SYSTEMS Collaborative tools strategy | Digital preservation | Digital scholarship communication | Digitisation Guidelines Initiative | MarcXchange | Metadata for digital content | Persistent identifiers | User-generated metadata

KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian funding | Australian innovation | Australian law for libraries, archives and museums | Collections Council of Australia | Scholarly publishing | UK heritage science strategy LIBRARIES & LIBRARIANSHIP British Library digitisation strategy | Challenges for large public libraries | Future libraries | Library of Congress Flickr Project | Library systems | Open Library Environment Project MUSEUMS Art museum libraries and librarianship | Discovering physical objects | Government funding for museums in the US | MaNexus | Smithsonian Institutions | Spectrum RECORDS & ARCHIVES  Archival management software | The Archivists' Toolkit | Encoded Archival Context CPF standard | NZ digital continuity strategy | Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts 



Australian arts and innovation
Brad Haseman and Luke Jaaniste’s The Arts and Australia's National Innovation System 1994–2008: Arguments, Recommendations, Challenges (CHASS Occasional Paper number 7, Nov 2008) present six arguments promoting arts in Australia's national innovation system: (1) the cultural argument - the arts create and promote an atmosphere of innovation; (2) the skills argument - a rich and immersive arts education builds the skills required of a future innovative workforce; (3) the knowledge argument - the arts create new knowledge for innovation through creative production and processes, including collaborations with other disciplines, such as science, within and beyond universities; (4) the commercialisation argument - the arts can convert new knowledge and research into profits through entrepreneurial activity; (5) the economic argument - the arts, as part of the creative industries, occupy a substantial, growing, enabling and innovative part of the economy; (6) the systems argument - the cultural sector is an innovation system within which various institutions and organisations behave as innovation hubs. They recommend: (1) the inclusion of the arts in the proposed National Innovation Council; (2) strengthening the evidence base for 'arts and innovation' arguments; (3) developing an understanding of arts-based knowledge that connects it to innovation; (4) broadening commercialisation of the arts and creative outputs; (5) developing the argument for the arts as social innovation; (6) educating an innovative workforce. Meeting these challenges requires further research, sector-wide coordination and leadership. Web:

Australian art history
The press clippings collection 1905-1953 of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Research Library and Archive, with more than 20,000 clippings, is now available online as a text database. Articles with images can be requested as jpegs. Web:

Australian cultural policy
The Federal Minister for the Arts, Peter Garratt, initiated discussion on a National Cultural Policy in 2010. For details and submissions see:

Australian performing arts collections
The Performing Arts Special Interest Group of Museums Australia held its annual conference at Newcastle City Hall, 9-10 June 2009. A number of speakers (Gillian Arrighi, Julie Baird, Allan Davis, Gionni DiGravio, Victor Emeljanow, Vivien Jones, Ken Longworth, Sue Ryan and David Watt) gave presentations on performing arts and collections in Newcastle and regions. Other presentations included: Margaret Leask (on NIDA’s oral history project with special reference to Terence Clark and Newcastle); Magaret Marshall, Curator from the Performing Arts Collection in Melbourne. (on curating Peter Allen: The Exhibition); Christopher Smith, Curator, Queensland Performing arts Centre Museum, (on Bille Brown and The School of Arts - a collection, an exhibition, a play); Georgina Binns, Librarian, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, (on Percy Grainger and developments at the Grainger Museum); Richard Stone, Research Assistant, Ballets Russe Project, National Library of Australia, (on researching the Ballets Russes in Australasia); and Jenny Fewster (on AusStage project developments).

Australian Screen Online
The National Film and Sound Archive has re-launched its website australianscreen online. New features include: news, games, Green Room (a social media space), filmmaker comments and portraits, and reviews and comment. Web:

Gramophone archive online
The Gramophone has set up a free Web archive with all the contents of the magazine including advertisements from the first issue in 1923 to the present. Web:

Humanities scholarship
The Council of Library and Information Resources, in cooperation with the National Endownment for the Humanities, has published Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship (CLIR pub 145). Based on a symposium held in 2008, the report contains the final versions of papers presented at the workshop, as well as an account of discussions and a summary of a report by Diane Zorich. It highlights four themes that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries: (1) scale - making sense of huge amounts of heterogeneous digital information will require authenticating sources through new, automated methods and combining them in new ways to answer new questions; (2) language and communication - researchers want to make sense of data, find patterns at many levels, detect anomalies, and derive meaning; (3) space and time - extracting the relevant information from text, manuscripts, and drawings, and presenting it in new ways are challenging technical problems; and (4) social networking - the Web of information can be read to expose relationships that might not otherwise be evident and to illustrate how the specific technologies affect the allocation of human attention. Web:

International Association of Music Libraries
The Australian Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres held its AGM at the University of Sydney on 1 October 2009. Robyn Holmes, Curator of Music at the National Library of Australia, was elected President. Further information:

Music Index Online
The National Library of Australia has made available Music Index Online, an index to journal articles appearing in over 875 music periodicals from over 40 countries from 1973 to the present, available to registered library users via its eResources portal. Web:

New York Philharmonic Archive
The New York Philharmonic Archives has launched a project to preserve and make available its collection. The service traces its origins to 1842, when the Philharmonic Society presented three concerts. By 1984 the scores, letters, batons, ledgers, recordings, and countless other treasures that constituted the Orchestra’s history filled up 1,000 boxes were stored in a drab, windowless basement of Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Archivist Barbara Haws supervised the design of the archives in the Rose Building, which opened in 1991. With a US$2.4 million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, the Archives has embarked on a program to digitise its entire collection and making it available online. The project will begin with a focus on 1943–1970, the Orchestra’s so-called International Era incorporating Leonard Bernstein’s leadership, the creation of Lincoln Center, and the rise of the Philharmonic as an international touring orchestra. This phase will involve the creation of 1.3 million images, using a team of music and history students. Source: A Milestone for the Philharmonic Archives By Erik Ryding 17 Feb 2010

Performing arts quality
Jennifer Radbourne, Katya Johanson, Hilary Glow and Tabitha White, in The Audience Experience: Measuring Quality in the Performing Arts (International Journal of Arts Management; Spring 2009) explore audience risk, audience experience and other factors in redefining the quality of the performing arts. They say traditional measures of quality include critical reviews, awards, attendance data, the reputation of the director, company or lead performers, and attributions of success such as festival participation or sponsorship and grants. However, in recent literature on audience values, the quest for authenticity and personal experiences suggest the need for empirical research into the capacity of the audience experience as an appropriate and important measure of quality in the performing arts. Web:

V&A Theatre Museum
Sarah Frater, in Capturing the Art of Performance (The Wall Street Journal 24 April 2009), reports on the Victoria and Albert Museum's new Performance and Theatre Galleries, which replace the old Theatre Museum, which closed in 2007. Frater says “the display cabinets are impressive, as are their contents from props and costumes to programs, photographs, scripts and playbills. Big names abound, with Laurence Olivier rubbing shoulders with Elton John, and Jimmy Page with Sheridan and Shakespeare. But the intensity of live theatre is missing, in all its unpredictable magic and communal excitement…Perhaps its modest setting is truer to the low material value of theatrical effects than the plushness of the V&A. Perhaps a tutu is inherently more intriguing than a jumpsuit. Either way, it exactly catches theatre's paradoxical magic of big effects from ephemeral means.” Websites: and



Collaborative tools strategy
The University of California Berkley Campus Collaborative Tools Strategy, developed in 2008, lays the groundwork for the creation of an IT environment to support collaborative research, teaching, learning, and administration activities at the university.Web:

Digital preservation
Francine Berman, in Got Data?: a Guide to Data Preservation in the Information Age (Communications of the ACM v51 n12, Dec 2008: 50-56), explores trends and issues associated with preserving digital data and what’s needed to keep it manageable, accessible, available and secure. Key trends: (1) more digital data is being created than there is storage to host it; (2) more and more policies and regulations require the access, stewardship and/or preservation of digital data; (3) storage costs for digital data are decreasing (but that’s not the whole story); (4) there is increasing commercialisation of digital data storage and services. “In aggregate, these four trends point to the need to take a comprehensive and coordinated approach to data cyberinfrastructure and treat the problem of sustainability holistically, creating strategies that make sense froma technical, policy regulatory, economic, security and community perspective.” The approach must be "useful, usable, cost-effective, and unremarkable". The author suggests an adaption of the Branscomb Pyramid model where data is tiered off according to its value, whether personal (eg photos, tax records) or more widespread (eg government data or irreplaceable cultural artifacts). Each level requires a different solution and different body in charge. Top 10 Guidelines for Data Stewardship are provided to promote effective stewardship and preserivation. Web:

The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Digital Preservation and Access, funded by US National Science Foundation and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and supported by a number of other key organisations, has published two major reports, An interim report, published December 2008 deals with issues and challenges of economically sustainable digital preservation. Its final report, Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information, published in February 2010, looks at four domains with diverse preservation profiles: scholarly discourse, research data, commercially owned cultural content, and collectively produced web content. It identifies three imperatives for sustainable digital preservation: articulating a compelling value proposition; providing clear incentives to preserve in the public interest; and defining roles and responsibilities among stakeholders to ensure an ongoing and efficient flow of resources to preservation throughout the digital lifecycle. Priorities for immediate action include: (1) organisational action, including developing public-private partnerships, ensuring that organisations have access to skilled personnel, creating and sustaining secure chains of stewardship between organisations over time, achieving economies of scale and scope, addressing the free-rider problem; (2) technical action, including building capacity to support stewardship in all areas, lowering the cost of preservation overall, determining the optimal level of technical curation needed to operationalise an option strategy for all types of digital material; (3) public policy action, including modifying copyright laws to enable digital preservation, creating incentives and requirements for private entities to preserve on behalf of the public, sponsoring public-private partnerships, clarifying rights issues associated with web-based materials, empowering stewardship organisations to protect digital orphans from unacceptable loss; and (4) education and public outreach action, including promoting education and training for 21st century digital preservation. Sustainable preservation strategies, the report says, are not built all at once, nor are they static. Sustainable preservation is a series of timely actions taken to anticipate the dynamic nature of digital information. Decision makers will always face uncertainties. Changes in technologies, policy environments, investment priorities, and societal concerns will unfold over the course of the digital lifecycle. But we can develop practices that resolve or anticipate uncertainties, that leverage resources among stakeholders, and above all, that leave options open for decision makers in the future. Web:

Digital scholarly communication
Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith, in The Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication: Results of an Investigation Conducted by Ithaka for the Association of Research Libraries (Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2008), discuss 8 types of digital resources (e-only journals, reviews, preprints, reference sources, data resources, blogs, discussion forums, and academic hubs) and provide a list of over 200 digital scholarly resources. Among the findings: while some disciplines seem to lend themselves to certain digital formats more than others, examples of innovative resources can be found across the humanities, social sciences, and scientific / technical / medical subject areas. Many digital publications are directed at small, niche audiences. Some of the resources with greatest impact are those that have been around a long while. Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types. Among other recommendations, the report suggests several ways that university librarians can play a central role in sharing information about these digital resources with the campus community, and in guiding new projects toward success. Web:

Digitisation Guidelines Initiative
The US Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative is a collaborative effort with two working groups to establish a common set of guidelines for digitising historical materials. The Still Image Working Group is focusing on books, manuscripts, maps, and photographic prints and negatives. Its members include the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Gallery of Art, the National Library of Medicine, the National Technical Information Service, the National Transportation Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the US Geological Survey, and the US Government Printing Office. The Audio-Visual Working Group is addressing standards and practices for sound, video, and motion picture film. Its members include the Defense Visual Information Directorate of the Department of Defense, the Library of Congress, the National Agricultural Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Library of Medicine, the Smithsonian Institution, the Government Printing Office and the Voice of America. A gap analysis will identify and prioritise areas of digitisation that fall within the scope of the Initiative, and are not currently defined within existing agency guidelines or not adequately addressed by the guidelines. Web:

The standard ISO 25577: 2008: Information and documentation – MarcXchange specifies the requirements for a generalised XML-based exchange format for bibliographic records as well as other types of metadata. It describes a framework designed primarily for communication between data processing systems, but may also be relevant for use as a processing format within systems. MarcXchange could potentially be used: for representing a complete MARC record or a set of MARC records in XML; for original resource description in XML syntax; as an extension schema to METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard); for exchange of MARC records in XML; for transfer of MARC records in web services like SRU (search/retrieval via URL); for publisher transmission of data; as a temporary format in all kinds of data transformation or manipulation, eg conversion, publication, editing, validation; and for metadata in XML that may be packaged with an electronic resource. Web:

Metadata for digital content
The Library of Congress web pages, Metadata for Digital Content, provide guidelines based on its experience in developing institution-wide policies and standards at the Library of Congress. They include: (1) a master metadata element list with recommendations on best practices for populating the elements to provide more consistency of new metadata creation throughout the institution, support the Library of Congress metadata use cases, and areas where metadata remediation of current metadata might be beneficial; (2) profiles that draw from the master list for specific applications or projects. Among the profile currently available are:  American Memory, Performing Arts Encyclopedia, and LC Web Archives. Web:

Persistent identifiers
Nicholas Nick, Nigel Ward and Kerry Blinco, in A Policy Checklist for Enabling Persistence of Identifiers (D-Lib Magazine v15, no 1/2, Jan/Feb 2009), report on a policy checklist arising from their work on global persistent identifier infrastructure. A major finding from the project was that policy is far more important in guaranteeing persistence of identifiers than technology. Key policy questions for guaranteeing identifier persistence include the following. What entities should be assigned persistent identifiers? How should those identifiers be exposed to services? What guarantees does the provider make on how long various facets of the identifiers will persist? To make an informed decision about what to identify, information modelling of the domain is critical. Identifier managers need to know what can be identified discretely (including not only concrete artefacts like files, but also abstractions such as works, versions, presentations, and aggregations); and for which of those objects it is a priority for users and managers to keep track. Without working out what actually needs to be identified, the commitment to keep identifiers persistent becomes meaningless.

User-generated metadata
Besiki Stvilia and Corinne Jorgensen, in User-generated Collection Level Metadata in an Online Photo-sharing System (Library & Information Science Research, 13 Jan 2009), examine metadata provided by users of Flickr. They found that Flickr users focused primarily on identifying people, places and activities in their photos. They also found many users who did not use tags at all on their photos, and instead relied on photoset descriptions to provide metadata. For those who did use tags, they were used both individually (to identify a particular friend) and collectively (to identify a public event or place, for example). They analyse their findings against a previous photo sorting and identification study, and they briefly compare Flickr's group categories and the guidelines for posting within those groups to a handful of current metadata frameworks. Web:


Australian funding
The ABS study Australian National Accounts: Non-Profit Institutions Satellite Account, 2006/07(cat no. 5256.0) reports that non-profit institutions contributed close to $43 billion (or 4.1%) to Australia's economy in 2006/07. They received income of $76.6 billion and employed close to 890,000 people. The types of non-profit institution activities that contributed to gross value added were education and research (27%), health and hospitals (17%), culture and recreation (16%) and social services (16%). Volunteers made an important contribution to non-profit institutions. In 2006/07, volunteers contributed 623 million hours to non-profit institutions, equating to 317,200 full-time equivalent jobs. The economic value of these hours was estimated to be $14.6 billion. Web:
The ABS study Public Funding for Arts and Cultural Activities, Facilities and Services Across the Three Tiers of Government reports that total government funding for cultural activities was $6.3 billion in 2007-08 ($6,311.4m). The Australian Government contributed $2,358.9m (37.4%) to total cultural funding while the state and territory governments contributed $2,952.2m (46.8%) and local governments provided $1,000.3m (15.8%). Environmental heritage was the largest recipient of funds, with funding of over $1.4 billion ($1,466.4m) or 27.6% of total cultural funding from the Australian Government and state and territory governments combined. The Australian Government allocates the majority of its cultural funding (75.8%) to Arts activities. In 2007-08 the Australian Government allocated $1,788.2m to arts activities and $570.7m to heritage activities. Museums and cultural heritage, not including galleries, received the majority of heritage funding at $232.3m (40.7%). State and territory governments allocated $2,952.2m to funding heritage and arts in 2007-08. The state and territory governments expended the majority of their funds on Heritage with $2,266.3m (76.8%) of their total cultural funding in this area. Arts activities received $685.8m or 23.2% of the total cultural funding by the state and territory governments. Local government funding for cultural activities was $1000.3m (15.8% of total cultural funding provided by all levels of government). A majority of local government cultural funding (65.3%) was allocated to libraries in 2007-08 ($653.4m). Most public libraries are funded at the local government level, except in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where libraries are mainly or solely funded by the state and territory governments. Per-person cultural funding provided by all levels of government was $297.17 in 2007-08. The Australian Government per-person contribution to cultural funding was $111.07 while the state and territory governments' contribution was $139.01 per person. Local government cultural funding was $47.10 per person in 2007-08. Web:

Australian innovation
The Australian government’s report on the review of the national innovation system - Venturous Australia, prepared by Cutler and Company in 2008 – considers its long list of recommendations under the following headings: (1) entrepreneurial firms and workplaces; (2) human capital and social networks; (3) information flows, market design and freedom to innovate;  (4) research capability and platforms; (5) transforming and rationalising tax incentives; (6) market facing programs; and (7) innovation within government. Public serctor priorities are identified as: agricultural and food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, population health, solutions in tropical environments and applications to utilise broadband instructure (especially in health, education and public data access). Priorities for stimulating private sector innovation include resource industries, space and astronomy, finance and risk management and marine industries. Web:

Australian law for libraries, archives and museums
Collections Law: Legal Issues for Australian Archives, Galleries, Libraries and Museums by Shane Simpson, developed by the Collections Council of Australia, includes chapters on structures, governance and finances, risk management and compliance, collection management, exhibitions, reproduction and copyright, merchandising and sponsorship, people, insurance and indemnification, and legislative protection of cultural property. Web:

Collections Council of Australia
The Cultural Ministers Council closed the Collections Council of Australia in April 2010. The  report commissioned about the Collections Council in 2009 has not yet been released and the Government’s reasons for closing CCA have not yet been publicised. The CCA’s website continues to be available at and has been archived in PANDORA.

Scholarly publishing

John Houghton, Bruce Rasmussen, Peter Sheehan, and others, in Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits (London: JISC, 2009), examine the costs and benefits of traditional subscription publishing, open access publishing, and self-archiving for UK higher education.  They conclude that research and research communication involve substantial costs. More open access to research findings could bring substantial benefits. To support a move towards more open access they recommend: (1) overcoming the barriers (eg funding author or producer side fees, development of institutional and/or subject repositories; and supporting advocacy initiatives); (2) realising the benefits (focusing on areas where there are cost impacts, encouraging greater focus on the operational effectiveness of repositories, supporting or conducting more research into the academic book publishing value chain); (3) sharing the gains (eg encouraging and supporting greater attention to the potential benefits of more open access to research findings in international fora and encouraging international cooperation between agencies and supporting the activities of such cooperative efforts; and (4) further research (eg collection of better data, more research into areas where there might be potentional benefits). Web:


British Library digitisation strategy
The British Library’s Digitisation strategy 2008-2011 (British Library, Aug 2008), encapsulates its ten-year vision in terms of becoming a leading player in digitisation, producing a critical mass of digitised content, and providing “a compelling user experience that facilitates innovative methods of research and meets 21st century requirements for interacting with content.” Priorities including the digitisation of 20 million pages of 19th century literature (about 80,000 books), 1 million pages of historic newspapers in addition to the 3 million already digitised, 4,000 hours of Archival Sound Recordings in addition to the 4,000 hours already digitised, and 100,000 pages of Greek manuscripts. Guiding principles involve satisfying users needs, developing a range of business models (including open access, provided free of charge, limited open access (where funding allows for free as well as fee-based models), and mediated access (provided through a fee-paid service), protection of intellectual property rights, storing and preserving digitised materials in its Digital Library System, ensuring that all digitised items are readily discoverable, and applying applying generally accepted standards for creating, managing and providing access to digitised material. Web:

Challenges for large public libraries
Vivienne Waller and Ian McShane, in Analysing the Challenges for Large Public Libraries in the Twenty-first Century: a Case Study of the State Library of Victoria in Australia (First Monday v13 no12, 1 December 2008), argue that library planning should be informed by a sound understanding of how the ecology and economy of information is changing. They describe some of these changes and indicated the need for more research into them. They note that while there are numerous fine–grained studies on how people interact with search engines, there is a lack of research on the social practices and values around information search. They urge libraries to articulate their distinctive public good role, especially at a time when they appear to be competing with online commercial enterprises. “Rather than perceiving the digital era solely in terms of paradigmatic change, a focus on the enduring values of libraries may, ultimately, assist libraries in making the most beneficial use of digital technologies.” Web:

Future libraries
Lorcan Dempsey, in Always On: Libraries in a World of Permanent Connectivity (First Monday v4 no1, Jan 2009), discusses the impact of mobile communication on research, learning and social activities. “A natural accompaniment of this mesh of connection points is a move of many services to the cloud, available on the network across these multiple devices and environments. This means that an exclusive focus on the institutional Web site as the primary delivery mechanism and the browser as the primary consumption environment is increasingly partial.” He explores some of the challenges, opportunities and possible responses by libraries in: (1) dealing with an increasingly complex systems environment (eg reaching out into the workflows its users are creating on the network, developing different fulfillment options and different metadata models for integrated library system, resolver, knowledge base, and repositories, establishing how much work the library should do locally to address needs such as adding tagging systems, mobilising sites, atomizing and remixing content, personalisation), (2) managing continuous change rather than transformational change, focusing effort where it will have most impact, not needlessly duplicating work on solutions which may be overtaken by other work, and how best to leverage the efforts of others; (3) developing the library as a brand “which is meaningful and engaging, which communicates its value, and which transcends the caricatural impression many have based around the building and print collections” and (4) working out how libraries will fit into the personalised environments of users. Web:

Library of Congress Flickr project
Michelle Springer, Beth Dulabahn, and Phil Michel, and others, in For the Common Good: The Library of Congress Flickr Pilot Project (October 30, 2008) report on the Library of Congress’s experiment in publishing out-of-copyright images for viewing and tagging on Flickr.  During the experiment, 4,000 images attracted 500,000 views a month. A wider Flickr Commons site grew out of the pilot. Publication of images on Flickr project involved a minimal amount of staff time. Additional value was created as a result of tagging and comments by the general public. The collections increased their Google rankings and website hits.  They conclude that the benefits of using Flickr far outweigh the costs and risks. Web:

Library systems
Marshall Breeding, in Open Source Integrated Library Systems (Library Technology Reports v44 no 8, Dec 2008) provides a snapshot of the open source ILS products and companies, Koha, Evergreen, OPALS, and NewGenLib and their functions. Details:

Veronica Adamson, Paul Bacsich, Ken Chad and others, in JISC & SCONUL Library Management Systems Study: An Evaluation and Horizon Scan of the Current Library Management Systems and Related Systems Landscape for UK Higher Education  (March 2008), evaluate the supply and demand sides of the library management system and electronic resource management systems market, quantify systems market share, procurement patterns, costs, product differentiation and value, conduct a horizon scan focused on the role of library systems amidst the shift from ‘content to context’ and assess the emerging use of SOA, open standards and Open Source. They found that that the UK LMS market is mature, dominated by four vendors with relatively little product differentiation. Movement in product replacement is slow and customer loyalty to their LMS vendor is high. Many Libraries remain unconvinced about electronic resource management systems and the take-up of new developments such as vertical search is relatively low. Libraries are not yet exploiting intelligence about user habits to enhance their position in the information value chain. Libraries are however increasingly aware of the need to 'liberate' their data for users to create new services and applications. Consequently, services like the institutional OPAC will become challenged and the traditional LMS could be reduced to back-of-house functions. Key technological responses include development of open interfaces within a Service Oriented Architecture and developing Web 2.0 models. However, the implementation of an open source LMS is not yet regarded as beneficial. Whilst there is widespread use of Information Environment services from JISC Data Centre’s such as EDINA and MIMAS, further development of open interfaces is required. Web:

Open Library Environment Project
In January 2010, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided US$2.38 million to Indiana University to develop open source software for the management of print and electronic collections in academic and research libraries around the world. The university will lead the Kuali OLE (Open Library Environment) project, in partnership with other US universities, to develop the system as an alternative to commercial integrated library systems and to influence the design of future vendor products. Web:


Art museum libraries and librarianship

Scarecrow Press has published a second, corrected printing of Occasional Paper no. 6, Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship (originally co-published by ARLIS/NA and Scarecrow Press in April 2007). Web: More information

Discovering physical objects

The Research Information Network report Discovering Physical Objects: Meeting Researchers’ Needs investigates issues facing museums in providing the facilities researchers need in four subject disciplines - archaeology, art history, earth sciences, and social and economic history. The report found that many museums face increasing difficulties in providing continued support for research and scholarship, especially in the context of wider public engagement in their collections. It gives a overview of the current situation in the UK and provides a range of recommendations for museums and their supporting organisations, such as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Collections Trust and the Museums Association. The traditional role of museum, it says, centres on the acquisition, conservation, curation and exhibition of objects and artefacts. Many museums have grown from private collections built up by scholars, and therefore research and scholarship has been fundamental to their mission. Academic researchers have been among the primary users of museums and curators have often been scholars in their chosen fields. For museums, in recent years, new elements have been added to this role and, for many, their priorities have changed. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport makes no reference to research or scholarship in its four priority areas for museums. Widening participation and visitor development have become increasingly important in recent years. There is a renewed interest in object-based research within the academic community and access to museum objects is extremely important. For many museums however, academic researchers - who do not contribute significantly to visitor numbers - are not now viewed as a key target audience. The report investigates these issues in more detail and focuses on: the availability, scope and quality of finding aids to enable researchers across a range of disciplines to discover information about collections of physical objects and artefacts of relevance to their research; barriers to the search process; and the use and perceptions of existing finding aids and discovery services by researchers, including any key gaps in coverage or scope. Web:

Government funding for museums in the US

The Institute of Museums and Library Services’ report Exhibiting Public Value (December 2008) explores public support from federal, state, and local government in the United States. It concludes there is a patchwork of financial support, in part driven by the the diversity of budgets, staffing, visitorship and geographic reach. At a federal level, there is a concentration of funding by disciplines, aided by bodies such NEA, NEH, and NSF. In contrast, IMLS supports museums as a sector, regardless of discipline and a geographic concentration of direct support at the state level. Much more information is needed to provide a full account of federal support to the museum sector.  The lack of a definitive list of museums in the United States makes it difficult to assess how deeply federal-source dollars penetrate into the sector.  There is no federal-state partnership with the goal of increasing the capacity for public service to the museum sector as a whole. At state level, government support for museums flows through a variety of different agencies and funding mechanisms, partly because there are different financial conditions in each state.  And, at the local level, there are a variety of local government cultural funding mechanisms, partly driven by targeted tax initiatives.  More information is needed to determine whether and how a new funding model, such as a population-based state grant, could make a significant impact in addressing any identified gaps in museum services. Web:


Museums Australia has launched MaNexus, a ning site to facilitate communication and information distribution. Web:

Smithsonian Institute

Smithsonian Libraries, Archives and Museums have created the Collections Search Center for searching Smithsonian Institute collections. The search engine provides access to the collections of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American Indians, National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, National Postal Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Archives at the National Museum of the American Indian, Archives Center at National Museum of American History, Archives of American Art, Archives of American Gardens, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, Human Studies Film Archives, National Air and Space Museum Archives Division, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum Photo Archives, Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory - Chandra X-ray Observatory and other collections. Web:,


The Collections Trust has published the latest version of Spectrum, the UK museum documentation standard. The new version includes procedures for opening up and providing greater access to collections using the Revisiting Collections methodology. The methodology seeks to break down barriers between ‘people-focussed’ and ‘collections-focussed’ workers in museums and archive services, ensure that cataloguing and documentation resources that are accurate, insightful, relevant and accessible, assist in prioritising documentation planning. Further info and.



Archival management software
With support from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to address the challenge of cataloguing “hidden collections”, the Council of Library and Information Resources has published Archival Management Software (January 2009). Lisa Spiro describes and analyses some of the major technologies available and the implications of deploying these systems for existing workflows.She considers the problem of hidden collections, the role of software in addressing hidden collections, how to select archival management software, criteria for choosing archival software, types of software and possible approaches to federating archival description from multiple repositories. Appendices include an archival workflow and archival management systems features matrices. Web:

The Archivists’ Toolkit
The Archivists’ Toolkit is an open source archival data management system designed for a wide range of archival repositories. Its main goals are to support archival processing, promote data standardisation, promote efficiency, and lower training costs. Currently the application supports accessioning and describing archival materials; establishing names and subjects associated with archival materials, managing locations for materials; and exporting EAD finding aids, MARCXML records, and METS, MODS and Dublin Core records. Version 2.0 was released in September 2009. Future functionality will support repository user/resource use information, appraisal for archival materials, managing rights information, and interoperability with user authentication systems. The project is a collaboration of the US university libraries and is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Web:

Encoded Archival Context - CPF standard
The EAC-CPF (Encoded Archival Context – Corporate bodies, Persons, and Families) schema and tags library is a standard for encoding contextual information about persons, corporate bodies and families related to archival materials using Extensible Markup Language (XML). It is maintained by the Society of American Archivists in partnership with the Berlin State Library. Web:

NZ Digital Continuity Strategy
Archives New Zealand has published Digital Continuity Action Plan: Managing Public Sector Information Efficiently. Its goals are to prompte: (1) a good understanding of the problems through effective communication; (2) good management of all public sector digital information from the point of creation using standards, audits and systems; (3) development of infrastructure that supports interoperability; (4) future initiatives; (5) preservation of high-value information; (6) puplic access to trusted information; (7) good governance of information management across the public sector. The plan includes implementation of the National Digital Heritage Archive, developed by the National Library. The NDHA is a system of software applications supporting a digital storehouse of websites, sound and vision files, images and other born-digital and digitised items comprising New Zealand’s growing digital heritage collections. Web:

Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts
The National Library of Australia has decommissioned the Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts and made the records accessible via The NLA says Trove will offer better options for adding and editing archival metadata. Institutions that already contribute bibliographic records for their archival collections to the Libraries Australia database need do nothing further to ensure their archives are discoverable in Trove. Institutions can also create records in a local system and upload these records via the Record Import Service. These could be MARC records in a Library Management System or formatted files from other types of databases (eg DBTextworks). An 'archives friendly' simple web input form has been devised to assist uploading of records. For further details, use the 'Contact us' link in Trove.

This issue of Cross Currents compiled by Paul Bentley


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