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In Brief


D-Lib Magazine
March 2001

Volume 7 Number 3

ISSN 1082-9873

In Brief

Penn State University Libraries Awarded $755,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant for Digital Library Image Research

Contributed by:
Amanda Spink
Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $755,000 to the Penn State University Libraries to support an extensive study of digital image delivery. Project partners include the School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), Center for Education Technology Services, and the Center for Quality and Planning, Library Computing Services. Co-Principal Investigator's on the project include Dr. Amanda Spink, Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology; Roger Brisson, Digital Access Librarian; Michael Dooris, Director of Planning Research and Assessment; Eric Ferrin, Senior Director of Library Computing Services; and Henry Pisciotta, Arts and Architecture Librarian and Assistant Head of the Arts and Humanities Library.

The Visual Image User Study (VIUS, pronounced "views") will examine the use of digital pictures at Penn State in the disciplines of the arts, environmental studies, and the humanities. The project includes the development and testing of a prototype digital library system for image delivery. Phase one of the project will employ a variety of needs assessment methods and information retrieval studies to analyze current and future needs of teachers, learners, and archival managers. The second phase, based on results of phase one, will create the design and content of the prototype system. Reviewers of the plan praise its client-centered approach, interdisciplinary scope, institutional teamwork, and potential to contribute useful data to important research aspects of digital library development. Slated to begin in May 2001, activities will continue for twenty-six months. A summary of the project is available at <>.

Digitization of Printed Material: The METAe Project

Contributed by:
Günter Mühlberger
Project Manager, METAe
University of Innsbruck
Innsbruck, Austria

The METAe project is a highly collaborative research and software development project in which university departments, libraries, archives and software companies from seven European countries and the US are cooperating in order to develop application software for the digitization of printed material. Initial prototypes of the software will be available in 2002. The METAe project is co-funded by the European Commission, "Digital Heritage and Cultural Content" area <>.

The main objectives of METAe are:

  • to ease the digitization of books, journals and magazines in terms of cost-effectiveness and degree of automation;
  • to enrich the output of the conversion process in terms of structural metadata capturing; and
  • to enhance the opportunity for successful digital preservation from the very beginning of life-cycle management by producing highly standardized information objects.

The METAe software is designed to be a comprehensive software package where all tasks within a digitization workflow can be carried out according to the standards currently emerging, such as the Open Archival Information System <> or the NISO working draft for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images.

The functionality of the software will include:

  • creating images
  • enhancing and pre-processing images
  • capturing descriptive metadata from electronic library catalogues
  • carrying out OCR-processing
  • creating technical and administrative metadata
  • extracting structural metadata
  • organizing permanent quality control

The core of the METAe engine is an integrated layout and document recognition system designed to find the hierarchical structures constituting a book or journal, e.g. the issues and articles of a periodical or the chapters and sub-chapters of a book as well as other elements forming part of the layout, such as footnotes, page numbers, illustrations, or caption lines.

The METAe software package will also consist of a specialized Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine adapted to recognize old typefaces and historical texts. This is an overdue task, especially for the German typeface "Fraktur", a derivate of the gothic letter that was used in a large majority of printed texts in Central Europe and the Nordic countries until the middle of the 20th century. The OCR engine will be supported by five historical dictionaries representing the orthography of the English, French, German, Italian and Spanish languages.

Keep informed about the progress of the project by monitoring the following:
METAe mailing list: <>
METAe newsletter: <>

We welcome contact with libraries and organizations whose digital holdings include page images of books and journals. Organizations willing to support us in building up our test bed are encouraged to contact the METAe team.

The Special Collections Virtual Reading Room

Contributed by:
Peggy Price
Special Collections Librarian
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA

The McCain Library and Archives is pleased to announce the launch of their new Website, The Special Collections Virtual Reading Room. By translating traditional reading room activities into an online environment, the site enhances access to physical and virtual resources. Its most innovative feature allows users to search, full-text, the finding aids that describe and inventory the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Libraries' unique primary source collections in Archives, the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, and its other special collections. The site also offers an overview of the collections held in the McCain Library as well as contact information, news and exhibits, and instructional information. It links to digital collections and relevant databases.

USM Libraries' Special Collections department encompasses the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, USM Archives, Mississippiana, and the Special Collections Digital Lab. Each collection maintains a Web presence. The new site operates as a comprehensive focal point for research in Special Collections, gathering information across collections and unifying searching functions. A functional splash page lists the four primary components of the site, and with the roll of a computer mouse, a content outline of each component page appears:

About: Provides contact information, hours, location, services and information for donors.
Collections: Offers descriptions of each collection, with links to their respective pages.
Research: Facilitates access to finding aids, pathfinders and the vertical file indexes. "Using the collections" defines these terms and helps newer users identify needs. Online resources are listed as well.
Showcase: Informs users about news items, events and activities associated with Special Collections materials and people. Exhibit announcements are included on the showcase page, along with links to online exhibits.

A search box located at the bottom of the page provides comprehensive access to online finding aids and indexes. The USM Libraries offers 540 online registers (processed collections) and another 300 accession records (unprocessed collections) for USM Archives and the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. The USM Libraries have had finding aids on the Web as early as 1995, but through the Virtual Reading Room, these descriptive tools are searchable in a more comprehensive fashion.

In addition to the finding aids, the Virtual Reading Room allows searching of the de Grummond and Mississippiana vertical file indexes and other guides to collections. Users will also find direct hyperlinks to the online catalog, databases and, soon, the digital media archive. Listed, too, are hyperlinks to finding aids in de Grummond and Archives, and the Mississippiana vertical file and pathfinders. Online resources are divided into subject categories, and provide access to relevant sites on campus, throughout the state and nationwide.

Other points of interest include a new Mississippiana/Other Special Collections page <> and the Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive with full-text oral history transcripts with selected audio clips <>. To access the Special Collections Virtual Reading Room, point your browser to <>.

EBONI: Electronic Books ON-screen Interface

Contributed by:
Ruth Wilson
EBONI Research Assistant
Centre for Digital Library Research
Department of Information Science University of Strathclyde
Livingstone Tower
26 Richmond Street
Glasgow G1 1XH, United Kingdom

EBONI logo

Major UK initiatives such as the People's Network <>, the National Grid for Learning (NGfL) <> and the University for Industry <> aim to provide seamless access to online material. It is timely, therefore, to pay attention to the internal design of the resources themselves so that, once accessed, the required data can be retrieved as quickly and easily as possible.

EBONI aims to tackle one aspect of this problem by developing a set of recommendations for publishing electronic textbooks on the Web, reflecting the needs of academics and a diverse population of students across the UK. The project will identify and compare the various methods which have emerged in the publication of learning and teaching resources on the Web in order to determine the most effective way of representing information electronically, in order to maximize usability and information intake by users. An evaluation of textbooks by students from a range of disciplines and backgrounds will form the basis of best practice guidelines for publishing educational material on the Internet. This will enable the needs of an emerging higher education community of readers and creators of digital content to be met more satisfactorily.

Specifically, EBONI aims to:

  • Evaluate the different approaches to the design of learning and teaching resources on the Web, and to identify which techniques are most successful in enabling users to retrieve the information they require.
  • Identify and report on the individual requirements of academics and students in learning and teaching on the Web.
  • Compile and promote a set of best practice guidelines for the publication of textbooks on the Internet for the UK higher education community.

Key outcomes will include:

  • A full, flexible methodology for evaluating electronic books, from which related experiments can be derived.
  • The final set of guidelines for designing electronic books.

EBONI is funded under the JISC DNER Programme for Learning and Teaching and is based at the Centre for Digital Library Research <>, University of Strathclyde. Further information can be found at the project Web site <>. EBONI welcomes feedback at all stages, and interested parties are invited to join the project mailing list <>.

NISO Needs your Input

Contributed by:
Oya Rieger
Coordinator, Digital Imaging and Preservation Research Unit
Co-Editor, RLG DigiNews
Department of Preservation and Conservation
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, New York, USA

FROM: National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images Standards Committee

Technical metadata, which describes various aspects of image characteristics and the capture process, is increasingly being perceived as an essential component of any digitization initiative. This category of metadata is not only required to support image quality assessment and image enhancement and processing, but is also seen as crucial for long-term collection management to ensure the longevity of digital collections. The goal of the NISO Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images Standards initiative is to develop a generalized technical metadata standard applicable to all images regardless of their method of creation. The charge of the Committee is to review and revise the "Data Dictionary for Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images" <>, which presents a comprehensive list of technical data elements required to manage digital image collections. We would like to invite comments from our colleagues involved in various aspects of imaging to ensure that the draft dictionary is comprehensive and inclusive, representing various perspectives. The ultimate goal of the standard is to facilitate the development of applications to validate, process, manage, and migrate images of enduring value.

We are particularly interested in getting your feedback on the following issues:

a) Does the draft dictionary include all the data fields that are necessary to achieve the goals of technical metadata?

  • Document image provenance and history
  • Ensure that image data will be rendered accurately on output (e.g., displayed on screen, printed to paper or film, etc.)
  • Support the ongoing management of image files (e.g., processing, refreshing, or migration)
  • Assess the aesthetic value of a given image

b) Is it successful in describing quality attributes such as detail, color, tone, and file size? What else would you recommend adding?

c) Of the elements present, do you have suggestions for changes within the definitions? Do any definitions need to be expanded? Do you agree with a structure where some elements are "required" and others are "optional" or "recommended"? Should certain elements be repeatable?

d) Put yourself in the position of a user of this data dictionary. What would you do to make it more usable for you (or your staff)?

e) Does this initiative relate well to other similar ones such as DIG or GDI+? Do you know of other related initiatives?

f) Do you have any other comments?

Please send your comments and questions to the Committee co-chairs by April 30, 2001:

Robin Dale (RLG) <>
Oya Y. Rieger (Cornell University Library) <>.

New Wireless Resources for Librarians

Contributed by:
Wilfred (Bill) Drew
Associate Librarian, Systems and Reference
SUNY Morrisville College Library
Morrisville, New York, USA

As a result of a college wide installation of a wireless network here at SUNY Morrisville College linked to our IBM ThinkPad University program, the library has been investigating ways to better serve users that are not connected by a wire to the network. These users could be anywhere on our campus. Three new resources have been created from my searching for wireless information.

Wireless Librarian

As a result of my investigations and frustration with a lack of easily accessible information, I started a website called the Wireless Librarian. As it says on this site, "The purpose of this page is to provide a space for documenting my experiences using wireless. I will also include links to sites of interest." The page includes links to many articles and other sites about libraries doing wireless as well as links to sites explaining the technology.

Libraries with Wireless:

I soon found I needed an organized list of libraries that use wireless to provide nomadic access to their resources. The following introductory paragraph on that page says it all:

"Tell me if your library has wireless network for its patrons. Send me a URL that links to either your library or a page describing your wireless efforts. Many libraries are running programs where they lend laptops. They are included here if they also have a wireless network for the laptops. This list includes libraries that already have a wireless network or have almost finished installing it."

LibWireless -- New Discussion Group Homepage:

The purpose of this group is to discuss libraries and all types of wireless technologies. This includes, but is not limited to, wireless LANs in libraries, accessing library resources via wireless devices, and related issues such as WLANs, wireless bookmobiles, etc. Please read the policies and procedures for using the list at <>.

Group Email Addresses:
For more information: <>
Post message:
List owner:

Input Sought for Survey of Users and Non-Users of Eprint Archives

Contributed by:
Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton, SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Eprint archives, their contents, and their user numbers are growing, and growing faster in some fields than in others. The NSF/JISC-supported OpCit Project <> is conducting a survey of current Eprint Archive usage across disciplines and around the world:


The purpose of the survey is to determine who is and is not using such archives at this time, how they use them if they do, why they do not use them if they do not, and what features they would like to have added to make them more useful. (The survey is anonymous. Revealing identity is optional and will be kept confidential.)

Both current users and non-users of Eprint Archives are invited to participate. The survey consists of about 72 web-based questions, takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and comes in four versions:

Physicists, astrophysicists, mathematicians, and related fields:

1. arXiv Users
2. arXiv Non-Users

Cognitive scientists (psychologists, neuroscientists, behavioral biologists, computer scientists [AI/robotics/vision/speech/learning], linguists, philosophers):

3. CogPrints Users
4. CogPrints Non-Users

Other disciplines (Humanities, Social Sciences, Biology, Engineering, Arts):

Please use either 2. or 4. above.


Opcit is associated with the Eprints <> and CogPrints <> Projects at Southampton University and in research collaboration with <> and the Cornell Digital Library Research Group <>.

XML4Lib Electronic Discussion List Launched

Contributed by:
Roy Tennant
Manager - eScholarship Web & Services Design
California Digital Library
Oakland, California, USA

An electronic discussion on XML and its use in libraries has been launched: <

The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is now being used by libraries for a variety of purposes. This electronic discussion is to help library staff learn about XML and how to apply it to solve library problems and take advantage of opportunities.

To subscribe:
Send the mesage "subscribe xml4lib YOUR NAME" to <>.

The discussion archive is browsable and searchable at the XML4Lib web site <>.

Classification Web: Pilot Test Surpasses 3,500 Users (Press Release)

Contributed by:
Peter Seligman
Senior Promotion Specialist
Cataloging Distribution Service
Library of Congress
Washington, DC, USA

On "Day One" of the pilot test of Library of Congress Classification on the World Wide Web, 300 people registered to use the service, which is named Classification Web. Six weeks later 3,500 people had registered, with new users registering daily. "The response to our Classification Web pilot test has been very positive," said Peter R. Young, chief of the Cataloging Distribution Service -- the Library of Congress division conducting the pilot program. "There is clearly great interest in such a web-based service throughout the library community," Young continued, "and we encourage catalogers and reference librarians everywhere to access Classification Web and give us feedback." The service provides instant access to up-to-date LC Classification data wherever a user has a Web connection. Currently, Library of Congress Subject Headings are also included in the pilot test, which ends March 30, 2001.

"We hope all users of Classification Web will fill out the brief online survey," Cheryl C. Cook, Classification Web pilot project coordinator stated. "A lot of good user feedback is very important to this project -- it will help us determine if CDS will offer Classification Web as a cost-recovery service," she emphasized. Typically, librarians are accessing Classification Web to query the LC Classification database by captions or to see links and relationships between LC subject headings and LC Classification schedules.

Classification Web is available by visiting the web site at <>. The latest information about the pilot test is posted on the CDS home page at <>. CDS publishes the complete range of LC's cataloging publications and services for the library community. For additional information, visit the CDS web site or contact: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, Customer Services Section, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, DC 20541-4912. Telephone: 1-800-255-3666 (toll-free in U.S.), outside U.S.: (202) 707-6100. Fax: (202) 707-1334. Email: <>.

In the News

Excerpts from Recent Press Releases


NISO Creates OpenURL Standard Committee

"Bethesda, Maryland, USA – March, 2001 The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced the formation of a committee to develop the OpenURL Standard. This standard will allow information seekers to be connected to the appropriate copy of any chosen resource by passing along bibliographic or descriptive information about the resource in the form of metadata and taking into account the user’s organizational context or starting point. A variety of appropriate related resources may also be made available using OpenURL syntax. This new standard will let information providers connect their customers to services and products more cleanly and directly."

"The committee is charged to build a syntax for web-transportable packages of metadata and/or identifiers about an information object. This information is at the core of context-sensitive or open link technology. By standardizing the syntax, this work will enable the development of innovative user-specific services in the scholarly communications industry and other information fields. For example, product descriptions could be linked to technical support services targeted to specific user categories. The OpenURL standard may impact the level of basic Internet infrastructure, where resolution of identifiers in a context-sensitive manner is required."

For the full press release, see <>.

Yale Library to Plan Digital Archives with Elsevier Science

"New Haven, Connecticut, February 23, 2001 -- The Yale University Library and Elsevier Science announce today a year-long planning process for the creation of a digital archive for the 1,100 journals published electronically by Elsevier Science."

"Assuring the preservation of digital information is one of the highest priorities for libraries and publishers, and this project marks a step forward for both. The project expects to realize a model archive within two years and looks to a future in which scientists and scholars will be assured that today's publications will be available decades from now."

For the full press release, see <>.

Sun Microsystems & Stanford University's LOCKSS Program to Expand through Mellon Foundation Funding

"PALO ALTO, California -- February 5, 2001 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), and The Stanford University Libraries today announced that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided continuation funding for an online archiving program designed to provide reliable, persistent access to academic materials published on the Internet. Initiated as a collaboration between Sun and Stanford, this project may provide a solution to the problem of collecting and maintaining permanent access to electronic scholarly publications and library collections, whose sustainability and permanency would otherwise remain largely subject to the whim of publishers...."

"...Initially funded by The National Science Foundation and Sun Microsystems, the project was initiated in May 2000 and includes as test sites the libraries at Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, University of California at Berkeley, University of Tennessee and the Los Alamos National Library. The newly announced funding from the Mellon Foundation will allow for the global expansion of the project, including a second test that will include dozens of major libraries starting in April 2001."

For the full press release, see <>.

Independent Institute to Publish Findings on 'Subscription Versus Document Delivery'

"Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 1, 2001 -- ingenta institute, with the active collaboration and support of the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), has announced its intention to publish a comprehensive research project covering 'The relationship between journal subscriptions and document delivery and the impact of online delivery on article distribution'."

"The findings are to be published in three phases with the first phase, to be completed in May 2001, concentrating on 'subscription versus document delivery'. The second phase will focus on the 'study of end user needs and behaviour in terms of electronic article delivery'. The final phase will pull all the research and findings together to form an 'integration and summary'."

For the full press release, see <>, click on the link for press releases, then click on the press release dated March 1, 2001.

The IDEAL® Charter for Low-Income Countries Helps Researchers Cross the Digital Divide

"San Diego, California, February 19, 2001 - Universities, research centers and teaching hospitals located in low-income countries can now gain reduced-rate access to IDEAL, the pioneering online resource library for researchers in science, technology and medicine."

"The IDEAL Charter for Low-Income Countries, a new licensing model, offers specially priced access to IDEAL for institutions located in countries with severely limited resources. As Internet connectivity becomes more widespread, the availability of IDEAL through this new licensing model will contribute to development of many institutions in eligible countries worldwide."

"The IDEAL Charter offers reduced-rate access to countries conforming to the World Bank's definition of low-income countries, i.e. those with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $760 (USD) or less. This group includes sub-Saharan African countries, as well as ones in Central America and Central and Southeast Asia."

For the full press release, see <>.

Copyright (c) 2001 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI: 10.1045/march2001-inbrief