Friday, June 09, 2006

Weekly Readings - 9 June 2006

Networking for Digital Preservation - Current Practice in 15 National Libraries. Ingeborg Verheul. IFLA. 2006.

This is a 269 page book that describes the state of digital preservation in national libraries. Two national libraries have operational digital repositories and several others are developing them. It looks at planning digital preservation activities and issues. It starts with some standard definitions: Digital preservation is the general term for maintenance and care of digital or electronic objects. Long-term is 5 years or more. Digital archiving is the process of backing up and maintaining digital objects with the needed software and hardware. Permanent access indicates that preservation is only half the problem, and is one of the greatest challenges. Preservation strategies, like migration or emulations, are methods or techniques to keep the objects permanently accessible. Born digital means objects which are not intended to have an analogue equivalent.

Digital preservation will have to be a part of the library’s normal workflow activities in the future, and usually involves a number of people. Digital preservation always implies cooperative activity within the library, and IT always has a contribution, usually technical responsibility for the repository. The repository is built to retain digital objects in perpetuity, in a structure, scalable, environment. This may be done in a phased approach over time. There are both archiving and access services, and workflows must be as automated as possible. DSpace and Fedora are among the most standard systems, but there is a hesitancy about choosing one system over another. The general solution is not being sought in one single system; most expect to use a combination of systems. The most valuable aspect of the OAIS system is that it provides a shared vocabulary. The libraries currently accept all file formats, but the most common are: TIFF, PDF, XML, HTML, and WAV.

The complexity and volume of digital objects are growing, so there needs to be an emphasis on developing selection methods. Every stored object must have structured metadata, which must contain details on format, structure, and use of the content; history of actions performed; authenticity information and custody history; and rights information. Depositors should submit metadata with the object. Access is often provided through the library catalogue, which is usually separate but linked. Strategies include migration, emulation, and bit level preservation. Digital preservation activities usually start as a project, and as that is finished, all departments get involved. New working structures are being set up to make it as smooth as possible. The distinction between library material and archiving material is fading. Currently the only accepted standard is OAIS. There are also overviews of each national library and the organizational charts.

Microsoft rings last bell for Windows 98, ME. Jeremy Kirk. Computerworld. June 09, 2006.

Support and security updates for Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows Millennium Edition will end on July 11. Microsoft warned that customers face security risks if they use these after it ends support for them next month. Support for Windows XP Service Pack 1 will end on Oct. 10. More information on Microsoft Support Lifecycle is available at:

Taming the Digital Beast. Andy Patrizio. Campus Technology. June 6, 2006.

Schools are moving to digital media as a means of archiving and accessing their information and putting it in repositories. In order to get faculty and students to participate, you need to convince them that putting collections on line is part of scholarship and it is of value to others. Getting faculty to allow their publications in an institutional repository is not easy, because publishers have them convinced not to do it. So you must build trust. Repositories are to share knowledge that others may not be aware of. Most institutions are using only public domain or non-copyrighted information. Proper planning and the use of metadata will make the repository easily searchable as it grows. Librarians are information experts, but they’re not database administrators, so it is important to have technology experts as well. “A repository should have the capability to grow constantly, with only one maintenance concern: ‘We’re running out of storage.” “If you’re not giving it that organization and metadata capability, it’s just a pile of junk.”

DSpace is in use at 138 universities and institutions worldwide, including at Rice. It is becoming a more mature platform. It is also designed with digital media and structured for an academic environment. It does need programmers to support it, which can be costly. Access and submission can be controlled in a number of ways and levels. The choices of software are not as important as the data formats stored. Use open formats and lots of metadata. Acquisitions decisions can be a big task. Some institutions use lifecycle - off line storage, but their faculty want the data easily available.

Name That Tune. Campus Technology. June 9, 2006.

UC Berkeley has joined a growing group of schools who distribute video and audio recordings of course lectures and other content through Apple’s iTunes Music Store. “Berkeley on iTunes U” is open to the general public, at

DRM causing difficulties for libraries. Amber Maitland. Pocket-lint. 07 June 2006.

The British Library's Chief Executive, Lynne Brindley, warms that Digital Rights management DRM systems are creating unintended consequences that affect how digital material can be stored and disseminated by libraries, which have traditionally been protected by special exceptions under IP law. The digital material usually has a contract that is almost always more restrictive than existing copyright law. It frequently prevents copying, archiving, and access by the visually impaired. Of a small sample of 30 licenses offered to the library, only two allowed privileges available in fair use materials. Only two allowed archiving of the material. None of the licenses permitted copying of the whole work for the visually impaired. If this isn’t resolved, it could affect institutions who have traditionally held archival copies of material. As digital archiving methods becomes obsolete, DRM could prevent the library from transferring material to another preservation media. The library also recommends that IP law clarify that fair use applies to digital as well as print items.

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