Friday, September 29, 2006

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.

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