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11 December 2003














Cross Currents No 18 December 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 Arlis.Net | Art Images Union Catalogue | Artifact | Asia Pacific Journal of Arts & Cultural Management | Backstage | Creative Industries Precinct | Cultural Statistics Seminar | Dance Collection Guide | Education and the Arts | JSTOR Arts and Sciences Collection | Media and Communications Literature | National Art Library Changes | Regional Cultural Alliance | Visual Arts Network | Visual Resource Library and Museum Digital Reference Services

DIGITISATION Digital Licences } Digital Opportunity Investment Trust | Email | Industry sector case studies | Learning Objects | What's New in Digital Preservation

GATEWAYS & PORTALS Gabriel | Library Portal Architecture | Portal Definitions | Vascoda 


LIBRARIES Special Collections | Strategies to Compete with the Internet | US Corporate Library Employment | US Spends to Offset Librarian Retirements

UNIVERSITY INFORMATION Australian University Information | Changing Research Practices | Guide to Institutional Repository Software | Services to Graduates | US Research Libraries and University Presses

USERS & USAGE Cultural Content | Electronic Resources | Universities and Colleges     




The aims to help users locate art, architecture and design publications and reference materials on behalf of partners, the National Art Library at the Victorian and Albert Museum, Art Libraries Society (ARLIS/UK & Ireland) and the University of Ulster, supported by grants from the British Library. The  service currently consists of a database of around 18,000 magazines compiled from information supplied by more than 90 libraries and a directory of art library resources. The directory provides a range of information on art, architecture and design resources available in some 250 libraries, archives and other collections throughout the UK and Ireland. Web:

Art Images Union Catalogue

The Andrew W Mellon Foundation has awarded the Libraries at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) US$612,000 to support the second phase of the Union Catalog for Art Images (UCAI) project based in the UCSD Libraries. The project aims to develop a union catalog of metadata for art images to support copy cataloguing and other metadata services in the visual resource community. The first phase of the project, concluding at the end of 2003, involved the development of a prototype database, data mapping to VRA Core 3.0 in XML from three datasets contributed by the initial partners (Cleveland Museum of Art, Harvard University and the Art and Architecture Library at UCSD),  converting approximately 750,000 records and loaded them into the prototype system, identifying preliminary clustering techniques, and identifying data standardisation needs. The second phase, an 18-month period commencing in January 2004, will aim to transform the prototype into a production-quality database. Three new partners will join the project in phase two - the Visual Resources Center at the University of Minnesota, the Fisher Fine Arts Library at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Visual Resource Department at Princeton University. Web:  [Source: DigLib]


Artifact, the UK Resource Discovery Network’s hub for the arts and creative industries, was officially launched to the public in November 2003. The hub builds on the work of the Art, Design, Architecture and Media Information Gateway (ADAM), funded by the UK’s e-Lib program in the mid-1990s. Plans for Artifact are based on a consultancy undertaken by Georgina Porter on behalf of the Consortium of Academic Libraries in Manchester and subsequent financial support from the Joint Information Systems Committee. The hub has seven main subject divisions: art, architecture, design, culture, communications and media, fashion and beauty, and performing arts, and a general category for cross-disciplinary areas such as education and training, awards, and funding. It includes records harvested from ADAM and involves collaborative projects relating to art, design and communications (ADC) and the performing arts (PALATINE). Portal features include industry and arts newsfeeds and job listings. There are plans to add an events database, artists’ profiles, news features, chronology and chat facilities. Web: [Source: ARLIS/UK & Ireland news-sheet]

Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management

An e-journal called Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management has been launched as a critical source on arts practice in the Asia Pacific region. The journal was developed with financial assistance from the University of South Australia, Arts South Australia, Deakin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Technology, Sydney, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and University of Newcastle. The first issue of the journal is free. Future  editions will be only available through subscription. Web: [Source: Arts Hub Australia]

Australian Cultural Tourism

A conference on Australian cultural tourism, involving presentations and workshops, will be hosted by the Tourism Council of Western Australia, 11-13 February 2004 at the Burswood Convention Centre in Perth. Speakers from Australia and overseas include Michael Lynch (Chief Executive, South Bank Centre, London), author Kathy Lette, Jeff Kennett, Jonathan B. Tourtellot (Director of Sustainable Tourism, National Geographic Society, and Geotourism Editor, National Geographic Traveler magazine), Professor Brian Osborne (Queen's University Kingston, Ontario), Alan Dodge (Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia), Lindy Hume (Artistic Director, Perth International Arts Festival), Lyndon Terracini (Director, Queensland Biennial Festival Of Music), Major General Steve Gower (Director Australian War Memorial), Professor David Dolan (Director, Research Institute for Cultural Heritage Curtin University), Dr Sharron Dickman (President, Cultural Tourism Industry Group Victoria) and Professor Margaret Seares (Pro Vice Chancellor, Community and Development, University of Western Australia). Web: [Source: Australian Museums Forum]


The UK Government’s arts and education initiative, Culture Online, has a allocated £13 million to sponsor between 20 and 30 projects over the next year. These include Backstage, a partnership between the National Theatre, leading regional theatres and the technology-focused production company Illumina Digital. Backstage will ‘offer a unique insight into the creative experience of theatre and provide exciting materials for an under-resourced area of the national curriculum’ and enable users to follow each step in the production process that turns page into stage, using  Henry V and other works. Web: [Source: Arts Hub]

Creative Industries Precinct

Brisbane’s Creative Industries Precinct aims to develop knowledge, research and applications in the so-called and dubiously named creative industries through networked facilities, flexible working environments, public spaces and ‘a vibrant community of like minded individuals. Its facilities include an interactive exhibition space, computing studios, an advanced media lab or music and sound, film and television, newsrooms for radio, television, online and print production, specialist design studios, studios for the visual arts, dance, drama, music, sound, film and television, production workshops and an enterprise centre for start-up and creative industries companies. The precinct is linked to a new creative industries faculty at Queensland University of Technology representing 11 disciplines – acting and technical production, communication design, creative writing and cultural studies, dance, fashion, film and television production, journalism, media and communication, music, theatre studies and the visual arts. Web: 

Cultural Statistics Seminar

Arts Tasmania, in association with the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group and the Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics, presented a seminar called The Art of Numbers - Culture Statistics on 11 December 2003 in Hobart. The seminar  provided information about available statistics, what they mean, and where to get them. Web: (click opportunities, then artstrain) [Source: Australian Museums Forum].

Dance Collection Guide

The State Library of NSW has published its web resource Collection Guide to Dance as starting point for those researching the topic. Developed as part of the Jean Garling Performing Arts Project, the guide has descriptions of collections in a variety of formats, including manuscripts, pictures, books, posters, digital material, using a modified version of the Encoded Archival Description standard. The guide includes details of selected collections transferred from the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts, Sydney Opera House, including Tivoli Theatre shows and artists collection 1928-1965, Royce Rees collection 1946-1967, Beth Dean and Victor Carell papers 1937-1992, and Irene Vera Young papers 1901-1964. The prototype provides a template that will be used for other collection descriptions, commencing with a Guide to Architecture. [Source Diglib] Web:

Education and the Arts

The Australia Council’s interest in education and the arts is reflected by the publication of a dedicated digital newsletter ExpAnd, new research activity, and relationships with stakeholder groups like the National Education and the Arts Network. Web: [Source ExpAnd no 2] 

JSTOR Arts and Sciences Collection

JSTOR recently launched a new journal collection with a focus on arts and culture. Arts and Sciences 111 Collection, to be completed in 2005, will include more than 120 titles relating to art and architecture, cultural studies, film, folklore, performing arts and religion. For further information and a list of journals visit [Source: ARLIS/UK & Ireland News-sheet]  

Media and Communications Literature

Professor Henry Mayer’s massive collection of communications literature is available to academics, students and researchers through the Australian Film Institute Research Collection. A searchable online catalogue is available at [Source: Australian e-Humanities Network].

National Art Library Changes

England's National Art Library, based in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is undergoing philosophical and physical renovations. The stand-alone department, consisting of a vast library and archive of 2 million items on art and design, is being re-created as an information gateway with a redefined range of services for a broader audience. In 2001, the library merged with the Prints, Drawings and Paintings Department and a new Word and Image Department was established to open the library to the same audiences served by the rest of the museum, from families and schoolchildren to scholars and curators. Still in transition, with completion slated for 2006, the new NAL will provide a single access point for inquiries relating to the museum's collections and subject areas. A database of information collected from each inquiry will be set up to offer further consistent responses to online, telephone and personal enquiries. Web: [Source CILIP Update via ShelfLife]

Regional Cultural Alliance

The Regional Cultural Alliance, comprising the Federation of Australian Historical Societies,  Australian Council of National Trusts, Australian Library and Information Association, Regional Arts Australia and Museums Australia was launched at Parliament House on 3 December 2003. RCA seeks to work collaboratively towards increasing the strength and sustainability of regional, rural and remote communities through ongoing engagement in arts, cultural development, libraries and museums and heritage organisations and activities. Further details are available on Regional Arts site at [Source: Museums Australia].

Victorian Craft Alliance

The Victorian Craft Alliance met for the first time on 10 November 2003. The alliance, comprising art galleries, educational institutions and craft associations, aims to redress ‘the waning support for the craft sector and raise its profile’. Web: {Source: Arts Hub Australia]

Visual Arts Network

The National Association for the Visual Arts has re-launched its Visual Arts Net website. Changes include a new-look home page, a new business services directory with more than 220 listings, a new publications and research page and a new media page. Further changes in store include an exclusive  members¹ lounge. Web:

Visual Resource Library and Museum Digital Reference Services

The Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University is engaged in a project designed to build collaborative digital museum and library references services. The project team is currently developing and evaluating processes that enable museums and libraries to work together in providing reference assistance over the Web to support patrons' image information needs. They are also conducting a  survey to collect data about visual resource librarians and museum's digital reference practices. The survey is available at


Digital Licences

The Australian Copyright Council has published Libraries: Managing Licences for Digital Resources as a practical guide for people working in any type of library working with electronic material including computer software, CD-ROMs and online services such as e-journals, databases and other material. The book is priced at $38 for Australian customers. A table of contents and order form are available via [Source: Museums Australia Bulletin]

Digital Opportunity Investment Trust

The report Creating the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust: A proposal to Transform Learning and Training for the 21st Century, commissioned by the US Congress in February 2003, is now available... One of the main objectives of the Digital Opportunity Trust will be to assist in the digitisation of collections in universities, museums, libraries and cultural institutions. At this stage, the Digital Opportunity Trust is a proposal. No activity has taken place and no definitive allocations have been made. The executive summary, structure and governance document, rationale for the creation of the trust and research and development road map are available from [Source: Australian Museums Forum]


Daily e-mail traffic is anticipated to grow from 9.7 billion pieces in 2000 to more than 35 billion in 2005. Jonathan Crowhurst, in Digital Preservation - Barbarians at the Gate (FreePint 1 Oct 2003), reviews the literature on the dangers of data loss due to the ever-increasing use of electronic mail and the loss of data due to changes in software and data storage platforms. Web:

Industry Sector Case Studies

ERPANET now has case studies on how companies are dealing with digital preservation in the publishing, pharmaceutical, broadcasting and telecommunications sectors and in the National Archives of Scotland and Universal Postal Union. Web: [Source: DigLib]

Learning Objects

DigiCULT Thematic Issue 4 is devoted to learning objects from cultural and scientific heritage resources. According to the blurb, heritage institutions need to improve their relevance for the education sector and lifelong learners in attractive, efficient and sustainable ways. Simply displaying collection objects, considered useful for informal learning in some way or another online, is not enough. What is called for are learning objects - highly interoperable and reusable modular building blocks for e-learning content based on widely shared specifications or standards. Provision of such objects demands closer collaboration between the heritage and e-learning sectors, both in terms of technical standards and in terms of appropriate forms of learning. Web:

What’s New in Digital Preservation

What's New in Digital Preservation no.6, June - September 2003 has featured items are the UNESCO Draft Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage, the BBC Domesday Project, the DAVID Project (which has produced several reports and case studies on achiving email, websites, office documents and population data, including Archiving Electronic Office Documents and Archiving MS Word Documents as PDF-documents) and The European Libraries (TEL) survey on current publisher practices relating to the deposit of digital publication. There is also information on institutional repositories, e-prints and e-journals, electronic theses and dissertations, preservation metadata, file format registries, persistent identifiers, web archiving, using XML as a digital preservation strategy, and costs. Web: [Source: DIGLIB]

Next section

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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