Friday, March 10, 2006

Weekly readings - 10 March 2006

University researchers develop new digital rights technology.  Jaikumar Vijayan.  Computerworld.  March 10, 2006.,10801,109449,00.html?source=NLT_AM&nid=109449

Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a new digital rights management technology to better protect multimedia content from unauthorized copying and distribution.  The technology embeds a unique ID or fingerprint on individual copies of multimedia content. It is designed to allow owners to trace the content, even if it is pieced together from multiple copies.  This can be applied to images, video, audio and other types of documents. 




Editors' Interview with Victoria Reich, Director, LOCKSS Program.  RLG DigiNews.  February 15, 2006.

The LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) Program offers libraries a cost effective and easy way to build digital collections of Web-based content. Digital information is extremely fragile and preservation must start from the moment it is put into circulation.  Components of LOCKSS include:

·   Replicate the content in independent repositories.

·   Audit the digital content is fragile. If files are continuously compared and damage automatically repaired, off-line back up can be eliminated.

·   A hands-off approach. Minimal processing is needed 

·   Open source software is critical.

·   Allow no single points of failure. Strive for diversity in administration, funding, and technology.

·   Have extremely cost-effective processes.

The LOCKSS system can preserve content in any format available over the Web as long as it has a stable URL structure, and changes at a moderate pace. The single greatest threat to materials being preserved over the long term is money.  Preservation must be accomplished at marginal expense to avoid the threat of scarce economic times.   The CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) Initiative is designed to test the feasibility of a large, community-managed dark archive.   Members are working towards a production system. 


“The fundamental goal of a digital preservation system is that the content stored in the system remains accessible to future readers for a time much longer than the lifetime of any individual component of the system.”  Digital preservation is concerned with long timeframes.  All information system components are unreliable in the long run. A fundamental design principle of a digital preservation system is that it must tolerate component failures.  LOCKSS has planned for format migration, obsolescence, scalability, and it’s own possible demise.  While future access can never be proven, it can work to increase the odds that the content will be available in the future.




Hitting the ground running: building New Zealand’s first publicly available institutional repository.  Nigel Stanger, Graham McGregor.  University of Otago.  09 March 2006.  

Institutional repositories are becoming more important.  This low cost and fully functional repository was started and went live in 10 days.  It has received a very large number of hits.  The repository was built with ePrints in three phases: technical implementation, content collection and administration.  They decided to restrict the pilot to voluntary contributions in PDF format their business school.  This effort was publicized to the department heads to get early acceptance, and they quickly received materials, mostly departmental working or discussion papers which already had permission to publish online.  Items with uncertain copyright status were restricted until the status was confirmed. They found the SHERPA website valuable for copyright information.  They decided to follow Dublin Core Metadata to make it compatible with other projects.  They were able to establish the repository quickly because it was a proof of concept and not a large scale project that involved many disciplines or other people. Policy and procedural issues which needed institutional decisions were noted rather than addressed.  They used a minimalist approach to the effort, especially with gathering content. The site which is on the internet has had over 18,000 downloads.  The repository, which contains about 220 items, shows what can be done by a dedicated team.




OpenDoc Prescription a Bitter Pill for Microsoft in Massachusetts. Richard Entlich.  RLG DigiNews.  February 15, 2006.

An in depth discussion on Massachusetts requiring the OpenDocument format for new office applications.  The document specified that  “executive branch agencies would be required to migrate office document software to applications able ‘to save office documents by default in the OpenDocument format’ by January 1, 2007 and that ‘any acquisition of new office applications must support the OpenDocument format natively.’ The only other acceptable format mentioned in the document was PDF.”  This informative article also provides a chronology of the events.  It is unknown where this effort will lead, but it has already had an impact as it shows others the need for open formats.  Digital preservation is a process of risk management.  To date, much of the preservation efforts have been reactive, but they need to become more proactive.  These actions may have unforeseen consequences, but without taking a chance we may never know what degree of change is possible.




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