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24 May 2002














Cross Currents No 9 May 2002 

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.



Australia | Europe


Australian government strategy | Conferences | Statistics


SIBMAS Directory


19th Century sheet music


National Initiative for a Networked Cultural Heritage

DIGITAL LIBRARIES & DIGITISATION Articles | European digital libraries conference | Trusted Digital Repositories



Australian Key Needs Study |

Canadian Heritage Information Network | Chicago action

RECORDKEEPING & ARCHIVES Australian recordkeeping audit | US electronic records guide | US Companies Benchmark study


Collaborative facilities | eScholarship Repository | National Science Foundation Infrastructure Initiative | Scholarly Communication Institute | ARL Scholars Portal Project


Archival descriptive standards | OAI Protocol Metadata Harvesting Project | Serials


Australian Key Needs study

The study of the key needs of Australia's heritage collections, undertaken by  Deakin University on behalf of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, was considered by the Australian Cultural Ministers Council in May. While definite areas of difference between the four parts of the heritage collections sector (Archive /Library /Galleries /Museum) are acknowledged in the report, it was agreed that enough commonality exists to warrant the development of joint solutions to address what were seen to be common needs, particularly in relation to conservation. :

In response to the study’s recommendation to achieve greater national and state coordination and integration of heritage collection policy, programs and services, encourage cross-sectoral collaboration and communication rather than competition and minimise duplication. the Council agreed to establish a National Collections Advisory Forum to provide strategic advice on collections and to identify priorities for government in addressing the ongoing needs of the sector. A key focus for the  Forum will be to advise Ministers within 12 months on the feasibility of establishing an industry body to represent the collections sector. Membership will be announced in the near future.  The council allocated $160,000 in 2002--03 to enable the Forum to  address its Terms of Reference, which are to:

  • prioritise the current and future needs of Australia's collections, including benchmarks and standards, and recommend strategies and programs to  address these needs;

  • develop strategies to identify the community value of collections and support their potential as instruments of social, cultural and economic development;

  • advise on means of enhancing the coordination of programs of support offered by the three tiers of Government and industry; and

  • provide a report to CMC, within 12 months, upon the feasibility or otherwise of establishing a national industry body to represent the library, archives, museum and gallery sectors.

Canadian Heritage Information Network

The Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), has launched its new website, with free access and a new search engine. CHIN has more than 700 members and archives over 2 million collection records and 200,000 images from Canadian cultural and natural history museums. New offerings also include the publication Creating and Managing Digital Content  with membership of ( [Source NINCH-Announce]

Chicago museums' concerted lobbying

The Chicago Tribune on 9 April 2002 reported that 13 Illinois public museums have formed a consortium to request funding of $400 million over 10 years from the state even "though the state faces one of its worst revenue shortfalls." The request involves a $1 million match from each of the 13 institutions for every $2 million from the state.


Australian recordkeeping audit

The Australian National Audit Office has released its Assurance and Control Assessment Audit of Recordkeeping on the ANAO Website at  The audit was undertaken across four Commonwealth organisations to assess whether their Recordkeeping policies, systems and processes accord with requirements under the Archives Act 1983, with relevant government policies, and with accepted standards and recordkeeping principles; and to identify better practices and recommend improvements. The audit addressed both electronic and traditional records. [Source: Aus-Archivists']

US electronic records guide

CENSA, the Collaborative Electronic Notebook Systems Association, has released an updated version of The Legal Acceptability Guide for Electronic Records (LAGER), developed by members from major R&D-driven business enterprises, with strong participation from the leading government agencies and archives on three continents and “detailing requirements for legal, patent and regulatory compliance, quality assurance, information technology, and records and archives management groups to follow in setting up programs and systems”.  Website:  

US Companies Benchmark Study

William Saffady’s Records and Information Management: A Benchmarking Study of Large US Industrial Companies has been published by the American Records Management Association (Catalog #A4710; available for download only at US$149 for ARMA members, US$275 for non-members;).  It reports on RIM programs, policies and practices in large US industrial companies, including preparation of retention schedules, offsite storage, vital records protection, use of records and information management technologies, and involvement in records and information management issues related to corporate acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures. According to the blurb, it is the only publication available that examines the current status of records and information management initiatives in American businesses and “is specifically intended for records managers, strategic planners, management analysts, consultants, and others who want information about RIM policies and practices for benchmarking and program evaluation”. [Source RECMGMT-L]


Collaborative Facilities 

CNI and Dartmouth College have launched a new website, Collaborative Facilities, designed to collect, organize, and disseminate information about model collaborative facilities on college and university campuses. The site helps information professionals, administrators, faculty and other interested visitors to view documents related to their planning, design, administration, staffing, services, and funding and provides contact information for each participating institution in order to encourage the development of an interactive community devoted to collaborative facilities.

Collaborative facilities integrate the services of information technologists, librarians, instructional technologists, multi-media producers, and many others to serve a wide range of faculty and student needs. The organization and functions of these facilities vary widely, but all include a distinct physical space, participation by at least two separate campus units, and staff members dedicated to collaborative work. Collaborative facilities range from "information commons" that provide equipment and reference services to students and faculty to distance-education offices that address institutional concerns to centers that assist faculty in integrating teaching and new technologies.

All higher education institutions are invited to submit materials on collaborative facilities for inclusion in this website. The materials will be reviewed to determine that they meet the primary criteria of the Collaborative Facilities project (1) facilities must be physical spaces; (2) facilities must involve more than one unit of the institution, e.g. computing center, library, teaching faculty, instructional technology group, etc.; (3) facilities must involve the use of information technology. Website: Source CNI

eScholarship Repository

The California Digital Library has launched eScholarship Repository, a website and associated digital services to store and distribute academic research results and working papers. The service includes a set of author and reader services for the rapid dissemination of scholarship authored or sponsored by faculty from the University of California. Its initial focus will be on working papers from the humanities and social sciences.  Built under a co-development partnership with the Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress), the tools behind the eScholarship Repository improve the speed and efficiency of sharing the results of scholarly efforts. The submission, processing, and dissemination of papers is managed through a simple web interface, the bepress EdiKit system.  Readers can, at no charge, discover and view relevant research by topic, author, or sponsoring research department. The system also allows users to sign up for a service alerting them to new content in their specific areas of interest. Website: (  [Source: NINCH]

National Science Foundation Infrastructure Initiative

Clifford Lynch of the Coalition of Networked Information reports that a National Science Foundation (NSF) committee has released a draft report for public comment on the future of scientific research and the role of the NSF in establishing infrastructure to meet future research needs. The report, under the chairmanship of Dan Atkins of the University of Michigan, proposes a US$650 million a year concerted initiative involving [a] a new coherent central organisation to ‘drive major new discipline-specific work as well as provide massive new resources and maintain consistency; [b] discipline-changing cyber infrastructure-based projects [c] shared middleware and applications [c] shared physical resources [d] computing research [f] workforce and education incentives.  “The individual disciplines must take te lead on defining certain specializing software and hardware configurations, but in a context that encourages them to give back results for the general good of the research enterprise, and that facilitates innovative cross-disciplinary activities”  The [Source: CNI]. URL for the draft report is

Scholarly Communication Institute

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), supported by a Mellon Foundation grant, has joined with Dartmouth College Library to develop a Scholarly Communication Institute. According to the press release: “The Institute will bring together pioneers and innovators in scholarly communication for a one-week residential experience that will allow them to discuss, plan and organize institutional and discipline-based strategies for advancing innovation in scholarly communication. The institute will foster this cadre of leaders as mentors to the next generation of individuals who will work at the forefront of the transformation of scholarly communication in a digital environment. At least three annual institutes will be held, all on the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, New Hampshire. The first is scheduled for the summer of 2003”.

The quality of the deliberations will be controlled by limiting the institutes “to 20 individuals annually from the scholarly, library, publishing, and technology communities. Individuals must be nominated by their institutions or by peers from other institutions who recognize their work. The nominator must submit evidence of the pioneering qualities of the work accomplished by the nominees”

CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to expand access to information, however recorded and preserved, as a public good. In partnership with other organizations, it helps create services that expand the concept of "library" and supports the providers and preservers of information. Web: [Source: NINCH-Announce]

ARL Scholars Portal Project

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has announced the launch of the Scholars Portal Project, a collaboration between several ARL member libraries and Fretwell-Downing Inc. The goal is to provide software tools for an academic community to have a single point of access on the Web to find high-quality information resources and, to the greatest extent possible, to deliver the information and related services directly to the user's desktop.

The initial focus will be on deploying Fretwell-Downing’s ZPORTAL to deliver cross-domain searching of licensed and openly available content in a range of subject fields and from multiple institutions. The portal will aggregate and integrate the results of the search, and support delivery of the content to the user.

Future phases will add other services to the portal that improve user access to and use of information resources.  For example, enhancements include integration of the searching tool within the local online learning environment for a course and linkage to a 24/7 digital reference service to consult with a reference librarian.

The initial participants in the Project and FD will collaborate to develop additional functionality they identify as critical and will evaluate those new capabilities in teaching and library production environments. It is anticipated that in most academic environments, the tools developed through the Scholars Portal Project will function as a library channel within a university-wide portal. Further information: More information about the FD's portal solutions:


Archival descriptive standards

The Australian Society of Archivists Committee on Descriptive Standards has a website at The site has terms of reference, members, minutes, submissions, articles and links and a work plan.

OAI Protocol Metadata Harvesting Project

The Open Archives Protocol for Metadata Harvesting v2.0 is scheduled for release in June 2002. The full press release with additional details is available at


With support funding from the Digital Library Federation, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is evaluating the need for the development of a national standard to facilitate the exchange of serials subscription information. The final report will be made available to all NISO members in June 2002. Web  Source: FOS newsletter]

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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