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15 October 2003














Cross Currents No 17 October 2003 

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.


ARTS & HUMANITIES Arts & Humanities Data Service | Arts education & libraries | Broadband & the humanities | Creative Industries e-learning | Music libraries in the UK | Rethinking the humanities in the global age


DIGITISATION Challenges | E-prints | Economics | National initiative | Visual resources

LIBRARIES Collaborative reference services | Competition from direct access | Economics | Future | Statistics



MEDIA & NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES Australian Broadcasting Corporation | BBC | Moving Image Collections | Newspaper archives  MUSEUMS Museum Treasures CD Series | National Forum on Performance in Cultural Institutions


RECORDKEEPING & ARCHIVES Australian National Audit Office report | Business records and archives | Describing Archives in Context | National Online Archival Network | NSW DIRKS manual

STANDARDS & SYSTEMS Fedora digital resource management | Metadata, Really Simple Syndication | XML


Australian Broadcasting Corporation to digitise archive

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be converting its archived collections of television and radio programs from analogue to digital format. The analogue video and audio collections are under threat from the gradual deterioration of the analogue tapes as well as from the increasing lack of playback equipment for formats that are becoming obsolete. The ABC¹s Archives and Library Services,  working in partnership with IBM Global Services Australia Ltd and using open standards, will drive a three year project which will see an initial 60,000 hours of television and radio content preserved in the digital format. [Source: ALIA NSW]

BBC Archive to made available online

The BBC has announced that selected BBC radio and television programs will be available  online. The initiative is driven by recommendations in a  report that urgers the broadcaster to move away from commercial considerations to providing public value in the digital revolution. Web: http://www.bbc.co.uk [Source: The Update]

Moving Image Collections Archive Directory

MIC: Moving Image Collections is soliciting entries for its international online directory of moving image repositories.  The MIC portal, a collaboration between the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and the Library of Congress, facilitates collaborative cataloguing, preservation, exhibition and digitisation activities and includes a union catalogue, international directory of moving image repositories, cataloguing utility, education/outreach space, and dynamic and static portals based on user-selected criteria. [Source: Aus-archivists] Web: http://gondolin.rutgers.edu/MIC/.           

Newspaper archives

Larry Krumenaker in Searcher July 2003 lauds recent efforts by newspapers to make their archives available online, but says in many cases researchers must still rely on first-tier electronic databases - like Dialog and LexisNexis- or paid archives like ProQuest and Factiva. Krumenaker cites NewsLibrary as a reasonably priced second-tier option. NewsLibrary offers  61 of the Top 100 newspapers listed by Editor & Publisher at US$2.95 per article.  He also recommends RealCities and the Financial Times' World Press Monitor. Individual newspaper Web sites offer a mix of paid, free, short-term or longer term access. Ft.com and NewsLibrary services are recommended for libraries on a tight budget looking for US newspapers to complement an annual subscription to their local big paper, and a long-term discount archive rate to the Washington Post. [Source: ShelfLife]. Web: http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/


Museum Treasures CD Series

The Museum Treasures is a series of 5 CDs with information on over 500 museums, historical societies, heritage buildings, art galleries and science centres in Australia. It includes contact details, maps, pictures and other material relating to their collections, as well as information on exhibitions and future developments. The Museum Treasures in New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory CD includes information on 137 museums, historical societies, heritage buildings, science centres and art galleries in NSW & ACT in 80 cities and towns.   Produced by Ciao on the Net Pty Ltd, 2/140 Pascoe Vale Road, Moonee Ponds Vic  3039, Ph/fax: (03) 9370 1268, Web: http://www.museumcd.com. Email: info@ciaonet.com.au

National Forum on Performance in Cultural Institutions

Spotlight on Performance: Second National Forum on Performance in Cultural Institutions is the name of of a seminar presented by the National Museum of Australia, Australian War Memorial, ScreenSound Australia, Questacon and Old Parliament House (Canberra on 23-25 October 2003). Sessions will be devoted to interactive storytelling, commissioning and collaboration, working with indigenous communities, developing performances, evaluating a performance program, performance and outreach. Web: http//www.nma.gov.au/ [Source: amf]


Ross Coleman, Collections Coordinator, University of Sydney Library, presented the paper The Australian e-Humanities Network - Building a Community of Scholars, Practitioners and Cctivists at Digital Resources in the Humanities 2003, University of Gloucestershire. Web: http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/ocs/index.php. Sten Christensen, Humanities Librarian, University of Sydney Library and Michael Roper, Programmer, SETIS, University of Sydney Library gave a poster session Dynamic XML on the Australian e-Humanities Gateway at AusWeb 2003 (http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw03/papers/christensen/). Australian e-Humanities Website: http://www.ehum.edu.au/.

Other recent articles on portals include

  • Pienaar Heila’s Design and Development of an Academic Portal in LIBRI: international journal of libraries and information services, vol 53 no 2, June 2003, defines portal services, describes the factors that must be considered during the design and development of an academic portal, and looks specifically at Infoportal. 

  • Vine, vol 33 no. 1, 2003, is devoted to theme of portals and includes Portals: enabling discovery for all in higher and further education by Chris Awre (p. 5-10); Our Student Stakeholders: Requirements For Institutional Portals by Liz Pearce (11-16) on the work of the PORTAL (Presenting natiOnal Resources To Audiences Locally) project, focusing on stakeholder requirements; The library Portal Marketplace by Anne Ramsden (17-24) on portal products and solutions; MetaLib and SFX at Loughborough University Library by Ruth Stubbings (25-32) on the implementation of MetaLib and SFX; Portals: a Strategic New Direction to Improve Access to Information Resources by Mary E. Jackson (33-36) on the Association of Research Libraries’ Scholars Portal; and Choosing a Library Portal System by Andrew Cox (37-41) on the main functional elements of portals as supplied by library management system (LMS) suppliers.

  • Andrew Cox and Robin Yates write on Library Portal Solutions in Aslib Proceedings Vol  55 no 3, 2003 (p 155-165). Web: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/ap.htm


Australian National Audit Office report

The Australian Auditor-General has released Audit Report No.7 2003–04 on Recordkeeping in Large Commonwealth Organisations, the second in a series of audits on recordkeeping, involving Centrelink, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Department of Family and Community Services; and Department of Health and Ageing. It concludes that although the audited organisations ‘met Government policies, legislation, accepted standards and principles to varying degrees… there was a significant risk of the non-capture and unauthorised disposal of records because: [a] organisations had not placed sufficient attention on the risks associated with recordkeeping, including those related to outsourced functions; [b] formal recordkeeping systems, which are intended to provide for the appropriate maintenance of records, were not being used to their full potential as not all records were being entered into the recordkeeping system; [c] limited controls were in place over electronic records, especially for those saved to shared network drives or personal workspaces; [d] formal, long-term sentencing programs for the disposal of records were not in place, and instances of non-compliances with existing Records Disposal Authorities were identified; [e] physical records were not being stored in compliance with National Archives’ standards; [f] contracts with outsourced providers did not include all of the recordkeeping elements recommended by National Archives, and minimal monitoring and review activities were being conducted to determine whether outsourced providers were meeting the recordkeeping requirements; and [g] Business Continuity Plans did not identify organisations’ vital records. The previous audit completed by the Australian National Audit Office in 2001-2002 concluded that, among other issues, organisations were not able to be assured that all significant records, particularly electronically-sourced records, were being captured and maintained in accordance with Commonwealth records disposal requirements under the Archives Act 1983. [Source: aus-archivist]

Business records and archives

The Noel Butlin Archives Centre’s symposium Where have all the archives gone? (Australian National University, 24 October) is devoted to the fate of business archives in the 21st century and aims to to formulate new strategies for the preservation of Australian business archives.

According to the blurb: “Business archives in Australia could be said to be in a state of decline, or at least of structural transition. A number of in-house business archives have been closed, or downsized or are about to close. Some have been transferred to collecting institutions. Mergers and takeovers have left the fate of valuable collections of business records in doubt. There is an urgent need for a cooperative effort from the creators, custodians and users of business records to seek ways to ensure the preservation of the heritage of Australian business. Commonwealth and State archives authorities have focussed on the preservation of government records. University based collecting archives and state libraries need to develop a coordinated response to the situation of business archives. Meanwhile recent corporate collapses have highlighted the need for greater accountability on the part of businesses and for a more ethical business culture. This is the time for businesses and peak business organisations to turn their attention to the creation, management and preservation of business records and to take an active role in preserving this country's documentary heritage.”

Presentations and sessions include Challenges to Society in Preserving the Business Heritage of Australia by Professor David Merrett, Department of Management, University of Melbourne; What Are We Losing? by Professor Simon Ville, Head of School of Economics & Information Systems, University of Wollongong; Locating the Records of the Retail Industry in Australia by Ellen McArthur, PhD candidate, University of Technology, Sydney; Where are the Records of Businesses Operating in the Pacific? by Ewan Maidment, Executive Officer, Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, ANU; Challenges Facing the Institutions Collecting Business Archives and the Strategies Adopted by Them by Elizabeth Ellis, Mitchell Librarian and Director, Collection Management, State Library of NSW and Trevor Hart, Business Archivist, University of Melbourne Archives; Issues, Hardships and Opportunities: Why a Company Should be Interested in Maintaining an Archives by Speaker: Chris Hurley, Manager, Archives, Commonwealth Bank; Infrastructure Models for Preserving Business Archives by Dr Sigrid McCausland, University Archivist, ANU; and Forging Alliances: panel discussion of the future strategies for the creation and preservation of business records, with Clive Smith, Australian Society of Archivists, Records Management Association of Australia, Mike Potter, CEO, Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia, Dr Anthea Hyslop, Australian Historical Association, Michael Organ, MP and archivist; Summation by Kathryn Dan, Assistant Director-General, Government Recordkeeping, National Archives of Australia. Web: http://www.archives.anu.edu.au/nbac/html. [Source: aus-archivists}

Describing Archives in Context

The Australian Society of Archivists Committee on Descriptive Standards has released a draft guide on the Australian Series System, explaining the workings of the series system and recommending its implementation in order to enable full and accurate description of records in archival environments, increase standardisation of descriptive practice across Australia, and facilitate the sharing of archival data. Deadline for comments: 30 November 2003. The draft is available on the ASA website at http://www.archivists.org.au/cds/ [Source Aus-archivists]

National Online Archives Network

The Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, has announced that a national online network will be developed to make Australian archives available to all Australians. Phillip Dermody, Distant Communications Technologies, who completed the business analysis for the redevelopment of the Australian Museums and Galleries On Line (AMOL) website, has been assigned to prepare a strategic plan for the National Online Archival Network. [Source: Arts Hub Australia]


State Records NSW has released Strategies for Documenting Government Business: The DIRKS Manual. The manual aims to promote more efficient and accountable business practices through the design and encouragement of good recordkeeping. Originally developed with the National Archives of Australia, the New South Wales version of the DIRKS Manual has developed its own jurisdictionally specific format and content. The two manuals continue, however, to share a common theoretical basis for the improvement of recordkeeping. [Source: Aus-Archivists] Web: http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/


Fedora digital resource management

The University of Virginia and Cornell University, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has made available the first version of Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture), software designed to support a repository containing one million objects. Fedora has the following key features: Management API (API-M); Access API (API-A); Access-Lite API (API-A-Lite); Datastreams; XML Submission and Storage; Versioning; Access Control and Authentication; Disseminators; Default Disseminator; Searching; OIA Metadata Harvesting Provider; and Batch Utility. Fedora is being made available as an open-source product under a Mozilla Public License. The system is also being tested by the Library of Congress and other institutions. For information and to download the software visit http://www.fedora.info/.


The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has published Metadata Demystified: A Guide for Publishers by Amy Brand, Frank Daly and Barbara Meyers as overview of evolving metadata conventions in publishing and description of specific initiatives like ONIX, CrossRef and the Open Archives Initiative. The guide is available free of charge from NISO at http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/>

A comprehensive summary of the RLG/CIMI forum on metadata standards is available at http://www.rlg.org/events/metadata2003/summary.html. The forum focused on the utility and viability of 19 current standards and resources, including the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, authority files from the Getty Museum and Library of Congress authority files, and XML-based standards intended to increase interoperability and data sharing among institutions - Encoded Archival Description, Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), Research Support Libraries Programme's Collection Description schema - Dublin Core, VRA core, SPECTRUM and SPECTRUM XML schema. [Souce: ShelfLife]

Really Simple Sydnication

M.Moffat’s A Primer for Publishers & Content Providers (August 2003) is available at http://www.eevl.ac.uk/rss_primer/. RSS underlies blog, newsletter, journal, and web site publishing as a method for current awareness services using a simple XML-encoded metadata format.

Paul Festa, in Battle of the Blog: Dispute Exposes Bitter Power Struggle Behind Web Logs (CNET News.com  4 August 2003), writes about the the turf war being fought over control of the RSS format. Web: http://news.com.com/ [Source Current Cites]     

Work Process Analysis for Recordkeeping

A new Australian Standard, AS 5090:2003 - Work Process Analysis for Recordkeeping, has been published by Standards Australia to help businesses manage the ever-increasing costs of managing information. The Standard provides a definition of work process analysis and its application, guidelines for undertaking the analysis, and specific questions to assist companies implement the Standard. Web: www.standards.com.au. [Source: Aus-archivists]

XML: a long way to go.

Andrew Donoghue, in XML: Extremely Critical or Exhaustingly Complex, says that fragmentation in XML standards and specifications can be intimidating for the uninitiated and potentially damaging for anyone using XML for mission-critical operations. According to recent Gartner report, he says, of the US$3 billion likely to be spent worldwide on XML modelling activities between 2001 and 2004, US$2 billion of it will be wasted. It predicts that the current hodgepodge of standards will consolidate over time as companies gain experience in applying XML, but that it will require additional cooperation among users and customers to make the whole system workable in the long run. [Source: ZDNet UK 5 Aug 2003 http://insight.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020415,39115499,00.htm ]

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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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