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20 January 2007














Cross Currents No 27 January 2007 

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 Humanities & digitisation | Humanities on the Internet | Metrics in the arts and humanities

DIGITAL REPOSITORIES & DIGITISATION CLOCKSS | Digital collaboration | Distributed libraries | Mass digitisation and information policy ! Microsoft Book-Scan Project | World Digital Library

KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT Australian collections | Australian innovation and science | Collaboration across sectors |


Cooperative model for society publishers | Email | Institutional repositories | Internet | NDIIPP | Scientific knowledge diffusion


RECORDS & ARCHIVES NSW records management changes | NZ draft digitisation standard | Queensland records management guidelines | Recordkeeping specifications for business systems

SYSTEMS & STANDARDS Marketing with metadata | Metadata management


Humanities and digitisation
David Mattison, in The Digital Humanities Revolution (Searcher; May 2006, vol 14 issue 5, p 25-34), writes on the digitisation of teaching in the humanities, driven by new media, computer-based educational technology, digital library collections, open access, digital collaborative scholarship through the Internet and Web, digital institutional repositories, online learning, digital preservation, online computer games, and new alliances between IT specialists, humanities scholars and librarians.

Humanities on the internet
Dennis Dillon, in Internet Reference Sources in the Humanities (The Reference Librarian, 91/92 2005:161-174), discusses collection development for humanities’ Internet resources and highlights a few of the major Internet vendors and resources. Web:

Metrics in the arts and humanities
Malcolm Gillies, promoting the Council of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences’ report Measures of Quality and Impact in a CHASS media release, asserted that metrics are best used only as part of a case for excellence in various fields. He says the renewed emphasis upon metrics in British research assessment is causing great anxiety for many vice-chancellors in Britain and fears of an erosion of funding in arts, humanities and social science fields. Web:


The Library of Congress, through the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, has entered into a three-year agreement with Stanford University to provide approximately US$700,000 in support of Stanford’s CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) digital archive pilot and related projects. Stanford will match the grant. CLOCKS takes advantage of open source software developed by Stanford under the LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) program, based on the perceived need for libraries to capture multiple copies of digital information in online repositories to safeguard against their unexpected disappearance. CLOCKSS is a development to build “a trusted, large-scale, dark archive”. No single organisation in the collaborative project controls the archive or has the power to compromise the content's long-term safety or integrity. Access to archived content will be granted in response to a trigger event (for example, when content is orphaned or abandoned by its owner or subject to long-term business interruption), and reviewed by a group of people working on behalf of the broader community. Any content that is made accessible after a trigger event will be made available to all. Web:

Digital collaboration
Robin Yeates and Damon Guy, in Collaborative Working for Large Digitisation Projects (Program, vol 40 no 2, 2006: 137-156), explore the effectiveness of large-scale consortia for disseminating local heritage in the UK via the Internet. They say that staff in local government libraries, archives and museums have, until recently, lacked experience in major web site publishing and basic digitisation of locally held heritage materials. Local governments in England have traditionally co-operated within the library or museum sectors, but not across the whole domain. They report on a consortium formed to develop a major website and facilitate cross searching of partner materials. The process has highlighted the importance of shared values, common objectives, a practical approach to service delivery and the documentation of operational experiences in situations where operational staff have multiple responsibilities. Web:

Distributed libraries
The Digital Library Federation has published a substantial report, Contexts and Contributions: Building the Distributed Library by Martha L. Brogan, comments on major developments in scholarly communication and digital libraries and evaluates the shifting landscape. The report closes with a summary of ten imperatives for successful services, an extensive bibkliography and a comparison of top 20 OAIster and ROAR Archives, including Picture Australia, the State Library of Victoria OAI Repository and National Library of Australia Digital Object Repository. Web:

Mass digitisation and information policy
The US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science has published Mass Digitization: Implications for Information Policy, a report based on the symposium Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects, held at the University of Michigan in March 2006. The report concludes that several areas need development: (1) copyright law needs to be updated; (2) quality and authentication need to be improved and preserved; (3) libraries need to cooperate more to focus their projects on unique and rare materials; (4) libraries have the responsibility to keep collections and preserve them for the long term, but governments have the responsibility to preserve public documents in perpetuity; (5) standards for interoperability and cross-searching of digital repositories are needed to avoid silos that cannot communicate with each other; (6) value added by publishers and booksellers needs to be preserved, especially where they are addressing the needs of targeted audiences; (7) alternatives to the advertiser model, such as the open access model, need to be explored, especially in regard to sustainability; (8) students’ and scholars’ information literacy skills need to be improved; and (9) coordinated ongoing assessment and market research is needed in order to understand changing user needs and preferences. Web:

Microsoft book-scan project
Candace Lombardi, in UC System Signs on to Microsoft Book-Scan Project (CNET, 9 June 2006) reports on the decision by the University of California System and University of Toronto Libraries to allow Microsoft to digitise out-of-copyright books and other material from their collections. In contrast to Google Book Search, Windows Live Book Search takes an "opt-in" approach to digitising works still under copyright through its Windows Live Books Publisher Program. Google’s scanning of excerpts from in-copyright books without permission — on the grounds that the program is justified under fair use provisions — has attracted law suites from authors and publishers.

Word Digital Library
In December 2006, UNESCO and the Library of Congress launched the World Digital Library, which is to be developed as “an internet-based repository of knowledge from all cultures and in all languages”. The December meeting discussed the first phase of the project — establishing a network of experts and partners to work on the project, developing a prototype website, and digitising unique and rare material with the aim of promoting international and inter-cultural understanding, expanding non-English and non-Western content on the Internet, and contributing to scholarship. Web://


Australian collections
The Collections Council of Australia has embarked on a number of projects to develop collaborative management of libraries, archives, museums and galleries in Australia. Its Conservation Survey 2006, a report into human and financial resources in Australian conservation and preservation, concluded that there is a shortage of funds for collecting organisations to achieve a range of reasonable conservation and preservation goals, a shortage in the availability and suitability of conservation and preservation workers, and the probability that shortages of skilled conservation staff will intensify. Faced with competing demands of deteriorating collections, increased public access, and rapid technological change, it has recommended the development of integrated education, training and workforce planning by the four domains, promoting needs to appropriate stakeholders, and further research. Reports on a proposed Australian digital collections framework, Australian collection facilities and collections, and regional hubs are expected in 2007. Web:

Australian innovation and science
The Australian Productivity Commission has invited comment on its draft report Public Support for Innovation and Science. Among key findings: (1) Australia is well served by its public funding support for science and innovation.— $6 billion in 2002-03; (2) it is not possible, given a host of measurement and methodological issues, to provide accurate estimates of the contributions of such R&D to the economy, but indications are that they are significant and there are also important social and environmental dividends for Australians; (3) there are no grounds for a radical overhaul in total public funding or in the allocation of that funding, but incremental improvement is needed in some areas; (4) the adequacy of existing evaluation arrangements is mixed, with some notable shortcomings in business programs’ (5) the net payoff from the R&D Tax Concession could be improved by orienting the program towards its 175 per cent incremental component; (6) strong public support of Rural R&D Corporations with a public good orientation is justified, but the level of government subsidies for some more narrow industry-focused arrangements may crowd out private activity and produce only weak external benefits outside the supported rural industry; (7) although, collaboration can generate significant benefits, the CRC program is only suited to longer-term arrangements; (8) there is a wide range of perceived obstacles to commercialisation by universities, but only some of these warrant policy action; (9) there may be a case for providing universities with some additional funding to demonstrate promising technologies so they can be more easily transferred to businesses, but there are several options for supporting such transfer that do not involve a new dedicated funding stream; (10) the structure of funding for higher education research has increasingly eroded the share of block grants and further erosion would risk undermining their important role in enabling meaningful strategic choices at the institutional level; and (11) while the proposed Research Quality Framework has some benefits, it also has considerable costs, and the Commission suggests that a final decision about its implementation should be delayed pending the exploration of some other options. Web:

Collaboration across sectors
The Council of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences has published its report, Collaborating Across the Sectors: the Relationships Between the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) Sectors by Jenni Metcalfe, Michelle Riedlinger, Anne Pisarski and John Gardner (November 2006). According to the Executive summary: "Some of the most exciting research and education today has little regard for traditional disciplinary boundaries. For example, research to help Australia's ageing population profile brings together medical science, basic biology, engineering, social science and arts and humanities. The world is turning to multi-disciplinary collaborations to deal with the big issues we face, critical problems such as water shortages, global climate change and threats to national security, human health and economic sustainability. No single discipline has all the answers: we need to provide the flexibility to ensure that the research and education community can pursue investigations across the whole landscape, regardless of discipline or approach." Web:

Cooperative model for society publishers
In Publishing Cooperatives: An Alternative for Non-profit Publishers (First Monday, September 2006), SPARC consultant, Raym Crow, concludes: “Most society publishers face structural constraints — including insufficient market leverage, low tolerance for risk, undercapitalization, and lack of specialized business expertise — that prevent them from sustaining themselves effectively in an increasingly competitive market for academic journals. Publishing cooperatives have the potential — with scalable shared services and supporting multiple discipline–specific affiliates — to provide a powerful financial and organizational model that would allow society publishers to serve their dual imperatives of honoring their missions while remaining financially sustainable.” However, “publishing cooperatives with relatively homogenous memberships [are] more likely to succeed than cooperatives with heterogeneous memberships.” Web:

Dan Carnevale, in E-Mail Is for Old People (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 October 2006, A27), asserts that only only old people use e-mail. Drawing on a 2005 report of the Pew Internet and American Life Project called Teens and Technology, which found that teenagers preferred new technology like instant messaging or text messaging for talking to friends and only use e-mail to communicate with 'old people'. Students interviewed for the article confirmed that they still depend on e-mail to communicate with their professors, but prefer to send text messages to friends. Chat, Facebook, MySpace, podcasts, RSS feeds and vodcasts are also popular ways to reach the younger crowd. Web:

Institutional repositories
ARL has published its survey Institutional Repositories as volume number 292 in its SPEC Kit series. The survey reports that 43% of ARL members have an operational IR, 35% are planning for one by 2007 and 22% have no immediate plans to develop one. Libraries have been the most active institutional advocate of the IR and were also found to be the primary unit leading and supporting the IR effort, sometimes in partnership with the institutional information technology unit. The most frequently used local IR software was DSpace, with DigitalCommons (or the software it is based on) being the system of choice for vendor-hosted systems. Local systems usually either ran under variants of Linux or Windows on an Intel-based server or under Solaris on a Sun server. A typical IR holds about 3,800 digital objects, with electronic theses and dissertations, article preprints and postprints, conference presentations, technical reports, working papers, conference proceedings, and multimedia materials being the most common types of documents. IRs normally support OAI-PMH and, a little over half the time, OpenURL. 

The average IR start-up cost has been around US$182,500 and the average ongoing operation budget is about US$113,500. Reallocated funds from the library's budget are a key source of IR support, as are new funds from grants and the parent institution. Many IRs were funded without dedicated budgets, using existing personnel and technical resources. The typical IR is supported by about 28 full-time equivalent staff from a variety of units within the library and elsewhere, a digital library/initiatives unit managed it, and that unit reported to a high-level library administrator, such as an assistant or associate dean/director. The SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of IR home pages, IR usage statistics, deposit policies, metadata policies, preservation policies, and IR proposals. The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online at

Abby Smith, in Distributed Preservation in a National Context: NDIIPP at Mid-point (D-Lib June 2006), summarises progress of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program after five and a half years, focusing on its strategic approach, first-round investments, achievements, lessons learned, plans for second-round investments, and remaining challenges. The experience has demonstrated that “simple operations can be hard” and “complex negotiations among partners even harder”. To compensate for the elusive nature of long-terms goals, “there must be identifiable, short-term, immediate, and locally felt benefits to keep organizations in the game.” And "we have very much more to learn about the dynamics of recruiting organizations into the network and keeping them there over time. Some rewards may be financial; others will be prestige and reputation; still others will be survival-driven”. Web:

Scientific knowledge diffusion
David E. Wojick and others, in The Digital Road to Scientific Knowledge Diffusion: A Faster, Better Way to Scientific Progress (D-Lib June 2006), explores ways of increasing the return on the US$130 billion annual investment by the US government on research and development, focusing on research being conducted by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information of the US Department of Energy under its strategic initiative, Innovations in Scientific Knowledge and Advancement. They propose three strategies: “(1) developing the conceptual framework to understand scientific knowledge diffusion and clarification of concepts so that the diffusion of scientific knowledge corollary can be proven; (2) investigating the body of knowledge that exists, identifying gaps, and defining areas of research; and (3) promoting the development of tools for global discovery that should be tested for the impact on the advancement of search and enabling of global discovery”. Web:

Sydney eScholarship
The University of Sydney recently launched Sydney eScholarship, an initiative of the University Library to provide an integrated digital library, digital repository, publication and associated advisory and business services, incorporating Sydney Digital Library, Sydney Digital Theses, SETIS (Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service), Digital project advisory and consultation services, Sydney University Publishing and Sydney University Press. Web:


The Institute for Museum and Library Science is conducting a two-year study on the future of librarians in the workforce. The study will attempt to identify the nature of anticipated labour shortages, assess the number and types of jobs that will become available in the field of library and information science determine the skills required and recommend approaches for recruiting and retaining workers. More information about the study and its progress, including white papers, panel findings and presentations, is available on the study Web site at


NSW records management changes
In June 2006, State Records NSW completed a review of the cost and quality of government recordkeeping in the NSW public sector. Although the findings were generally positive, some areas for improvement were identified. Of greatest concern was performance in relation to retention and disposal of records, and digital recordkeeping and archiving. The review found that (1) only 36% of NSW Government departments and agencies have comprehensive coverage of their functional records by a retention and disposal authority; (2) 15% of agencies have some coverage of their functional records; and 49% of agencies have little or no coverage of their functional records. Local councils, universities, and the public health system were not counted in these figures because of the presence of general retention and disposal authorities covering their functional records. In relation to digital recordkeeping and archiving, the review cocluded that more practical guidance to operationalise a digital framework was needed. The increasing convergence between digital records management and information management was also seen as an issue requiring a more integrated approach. The findings led to a number of decisions regarding strategic priorities for records management across the NSW public sector and for State Records: (1) all government departments and agencies will be expected to have comprehensive retention and disposal authorities that cover all records relating to their unique functions. (2) State Records and the the Government Chief Information Office will jointly develop a sector-wide digital records and information management strategy, aligned with the new State ICT plan, People First. This will include developing more practical guidance and concrete specifications for digital records and recordkeeping systems. To enable State Records to better meet its new strategic priorities, the Government has decided to transfer State Records from the Arts, where other collecting institutions reside, to the Commerce portfolio, which includes the Government Chief Information Office. Web:

New Zealand draft digitisation standard
Archives New Zealand has released a draft digitisation standard for public consultation. The 56-page document includes a summary of requirements, a compliance checklist, questions to assist in assessing viability for digitisation, digitisation approaches, recommended technical standards, scanner selection choices, and staff training guidelines. Web:

Queensland records management guidelines
Queensland State Archives has a number of guidelines available from its website including a brief Compliance Guideline and a Self-Assessment Checklist, Strategic Recordkeepng Implementation Plan Workbook and Template, Strategic Recordkeeping Implementation Plan Evaluation Criteria, Operational Recordkeeping Implemenation Plan Workbook and Template, and Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Manual. Web:

Recordkeeping competencies
Innovation and Business Skills Australia has released draft Business Service Training Packages on a range of topics, including small business management, governance, project management and recordkeeping, with the aim of making last-minute changes before their completion in February 2007. Web:

Recordkeeping specifications for business systems
The National Archives of Australia has released a set of generic specifications for Australian Government agencies to check that business information systems software functionality to create, capture and manage digital records. The specifications can be used to build or purchase new systems or to review and upgrade existing systems. Web: http:/


Marketing with metadata
Malcolm Moffatt, in his paper Marketing with Metadata: How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content (8 March 2006) explains metadata, the various ways in which its can be exposed to increase traffic to website, and makes the case for exposing metadata via harvesting, distributed searching and syndication. Web: (

Metadata management
Lois Mai Chan and Marcia Lei Zeng, in Metadata Interoperability and Standardization - A Study of Methodology (D-Lib June 2006), look at a broad range of metadata schemas based on user communities, intended users, types of materials, subject domains, project needs, and other requirements. They touch on the problems that arise when building large digital libraries or repositories with metadata records that were prepared according to diverse schemas, and the methods that have been used to achieve or improve interoperability among metadata schemas and applications in order to facilitate conversion and exchange of metadata and to enable cross-domain metadata harvesting and federated searches. Part I explains possible situations in which metadata schemas may be created or implemented, whether in individual projects or in integrated repositories. Part II discusses metadata interoperability efforts at the record and repository levels. Web

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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