Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekly readings - 29 September 2006

Imaging technology restores 700-year-old sacred Hindu text. September 19, 2006.

Imaging techniques are being used to preserve an ancient Hindu text that is deteriorating due to age and improper storage and handling. The images are then being processed and stitched together. This will make opening the fragile book unnecessary in the future. The images are being stored electronically, in printed form, and etched on silicon wafers.

Brother, Can You Spare a Terabyte? Jennifer Schiff. Computerworld. September 28, 2006.

The San Diego Supercomputer Center is making available more than 400 TB of disk space and even more archival tape space for academic and scientific data. The center has a large production-level infrastructure and 24/7 staff that monitors the system. They can scale to be host large collections over a long period of time in a reliable environment. The center can also easily handle data migration. The resources that a person would need to acquire, such as equipment, staff, and a location, can be handled by the center. The current cost estimate is about $1,500 per terabyte per year . The cost for archival tape is much less, about $500 per terabyte per year, with retrieval time in minutes. "Our focus is on large-scale collections and nonprofit university scientific researchers as well as the digital preservation community."

Digital archiving gains new tool. BBC News. 26 September 2006.

The National Library of New Zealand and the British Library have created a tool that makes it easier to gather and store digital web sites. The web curator tool automates the process of collecting and storing information. It will be available to other organizations as open source by the end of the year. Web harvesting will become more important as more people try to preserve web pages, which is often difficult to do. One obstacle to digital archives is current copyright legislation.

Fujitsu announces petabyte-size disk array with encryption. Sharon Fisher. Computerworld. September 25, 2006.

Fujitsu Computer Systems Corp. has announced a petabyte-size storage array with native encryption. They use 128-bit AES keys, which are also encrypted and stored on the disk drive. The arrays are available now starting at $24,500. Some users with high security needs are uneasy about the possibility of losing access to their data once it is encrypted.

British Library shouts out against unfair DRM. Alun Williams. 26 September 2006.

The British Library is continuing its campaign against the threat of digital rights management technology to the management of UK cultural data. The technology is unforgiving for libraries and public bodies, and threatens innovation, research and our digital heritage. The law does not permit copying of sound or film items for preservation. Without the right for libraries and archives to make copies, she maintained, the UK risks losing a large part of its recorded culture. The recommendations include: existing limitations and exceptions to copyright law should be extended to the digital environment; licenses to digital material should not undermine fair use and preservation purposes. Also, the copyright term for sound recordings should not be extended 'without empirical evidence of the benefits and due consideration of the needs of society as a whole', and that the copyright term for reproducing unpublished works should be the same as for published works. Contracts for digital material generally are more restrictive than existing copyright law and can prevent copying, archiving and access by the visually impaired.

British Library calls for digital copyright action. Tom Espiner. CNET News. September 25, 2006.

The British Library has called for a "serious updating of copyright law to recognize the changing technological environment”. Digital rights management technologies and licensing agreements can impose restrictions that go beyond copyright law. The technology is overriding exceptions to copyright law and can't be circumvented for disabled access or preservation; the technology doesn't expire as does traditional copyright. These restrictions can be particularly damaging for academic research.

Weekly readings - 22 September 2006

Preserving Information, Not Formats. Bonita Wilson. D-Lib Magazine. September 2006.

In one library there is a concern about staff and patrons about what to do with materials for which there is no more space. Just because an item has not circulated for a time does not mean it is not valuable. If the item is digitized can that be as reliably retained as the print copy? Deciding what to digitize and what to discard must be looked at carefully. “In many ways, dealing with materials that have existed solely in digital format is easier than contemplating what to do with print materials for which there is no longer space or budget available for maintenance. In the end, however, the critical consideration is how to preserve the information, not the format in which it exists.”

Repository Librarian and the Next Crusade: The Search for a Common Standard for Digital Repository Metadata. Beth Goldsmith, Frances Knudson. D-Lib Magazine. September 2006.

There are a lot of metadata standards within the digital and repository communities. The metadata from different sources can be difficult to use and combine. This example is of a team trying to decide what metadata standard to use. They decided it should be XML-based. Three requirements for a uniform standard for digital repository metadata include:

1. Granularity: the ability to differentiate data elements and maintain context between them

2. Transparency: interoperability

3. Extensibility: ability to grow and meet unseen needs

Other desired features were: support for hierarchical data structures, cooperative management of the standard, support for simple and complex use, and simplicity training or existing experience with the standard. MARCXML was selected as a uniform metadata standard for the digital repository because of its relative maturity in the XML standards world, its familiarity in the library community, and its ability to blend well with modern mark-up technologies.

USB flash drives are failing. Bruce Hoard. Computerworld. September 15, 2006.

Failures of USB flash memory drives are increasing because of quality-control problems. The drives may have additional fragmentation problems. These drives are expected to last for an average of 100,000 read-write cycles. However the fragmentation problems may become more of a threat with the increased size of the flash memory.

Cornell University and Publishers announce new copyright guidelines governing use of digital course materials. Press release. September 19, 2006.

The Association of American Publishers and Cornell announced a new set of copyright guidelines to govern the use of electronic course materials on the campus system. The joint guidelines make it clear that faculty must obtain permission to distribute electronic works in the same way as they do with hard-copy formats. Instructors should use technical means to limit access to copyrighted electronic course content. These works should include appropriate copyright statements.

Inventors try single disc for both new DVD formats. Jeffrey Goldfarb. Computerworld. September 20, 2006.

Three Warner Bros. employees have filed a patent application for a disc that would play the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. Information on the DVD would be stored at different depths, depending on the technology. Blu-ray discs store information only 0.1mm from the surface while HD-DVDs store it at 0.6mm. By using reflective films, the lasers could read the top layer and "see through" to the lower one if needed. Additional information could also be stored on the other side of the disc.