December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays, y'all

Well, folks, I'm off for the next week, to enjoy a vacation in the cold, rainy Pacific Northwest. What makes it worth it is spending a week with my folks, while they spoil their grandson. I hope everyone has a joyful holiday season (or as an acquantance likes to say, Happy Solhankwanzmas) and may the new year start off peacefully for us all.


December 19, 2006

More on the Mac Journey

Well, I'm having a LOT of fun with my new Macbook. I have successfully installed X11 and Open Office with no problems, and today I installed Parallels Desktop, Windows XP and Office 2003, and was astonished at how quickly it all went together. When I've had to do this for a system recovery and rebuild here at work on a Windows-native machine, it takes the better part of a day to do the reinstallations and updates. It took two hours. Why can't a Windows-native machine run that fast, dangit?

I love that I can run any work-required Win-only application right inside my Mac. That's pretty cool.

On a recommendation, I also installed Desktop Manager. What a deal! I use this all the time on my Linux boxes - I love having multiple workspaces at once - and this'll be handy too. I figure one workspace can have Windows and the other ones can have Mac stuff.

This is fun!

My Brain is Gold

Hmm... interesting. Oddly enough, in the space of a few questions, the quizmaker got me almost right. I think the subject list is a bit off, and I could care less about my friends and their money (that's their business), but dang, the routines and organization parts are spot on!


At work: I like set routines and organized ways of doing things; rules and directions are a great help to me. I prefer to stay on one topic at a time. I need to know what is expected of me, and I always want to know if I am on the right track. I like subjects that are useful and traditional, such as business, accounting, history and government.
With friends: I prefer people who are careful with their money and who make plans ahead of time. I like my friends to be loyal, dependable and on time. I am serious about love and show it in many practical ways.
With family: I like stability and security and enjoy traditions and frequent celebrations. I like to spend holidays with family members, and I plan ahead for such gatherings.
Take this quiz!

December 18, 2006

BlogLines Playlists

So, I'm spending today reading blogs for the first time in over a month. Since last I visited, BlogLines has added this totally spiffy new tool, Playlists. I subscribe to 69 feeds (today, at least) and while I enjoy them all, some are more, well, crucial to me than others. So now I have set up a "Top Reads" playlist for my 14 most-important blogs. If I can get through those, great, and if I have time to work through the others that's even better, with the few I subscribe to just for fun at the bottom of the list (well, most of the time). But if I can get through my top-reads list, I at least feel a bit more connected and less clueless about current happenings in libraryland.

I love tools like this. I love organizing things! Whee!

Brr: Winter has arrived, at long last. I now know that 56° is my "yep, it's winter" cut-off temperature. (Call me a wimp if you want; come back when it's 115° and I'm happy as a clam, and we'll talk.)

December 15, 2006

The CMS Investigation Begins

So, today I started my big task of evaluating a variety of web content management systems to use on our web site. I came to the realization after a massive update of the site prior to our PDR that doing it all by hand, page by page, is really not the way to do it anymore. Just because it's the way I've always done it, blah blah blah... so I now have a developmental web server (it's such a cute little Linux box!) right here on my desk for me to install and play with all kinds of CMSs to evaluate not just for my own use, but (I hope) for my staff's use as well.

I have a dream where the engineers responsible for a subassembly update their own subassembly web pages. It might be a pipe dream, but it could be a lot closer to reality if there was an easy way for them to update their pages without having to log into the server, know HTML, et cetera. I've been monitoring the Web4Lib and SysLib listservs for quite some time and collecting comments about 9 different CMSs plus a wiki of some kind, and I just found CMS Matrix, which blew my mind. So I plugged in all the things I'd like to see, and it came back with two products that were already on my list, and one that wasn't. So I'm going to read up on them and next week, start installing and trying them out! Woot!

December 14, 2006

SLA07 Keynote Speakers

Not only do we get Al Gore, but Scott Adams too! Woot!

(No real posting, I just had to share. Hee hee!)

Goin' to the Mac side

Yep, it's true. I bought myself a Macbook this morning, to replace my aging and increasingly frustrating Vaio desktop at home. I've been looking for a few months now, ever since we decided it was time to get a new computer; now that the software situation for Macs has improved so much (not to mention Parallel Desktop, so I can work from home when I need to), it was time.

It's danged spiffy!

I'm looking forward to learning all the various iApplications that came with it, not to mention installing OpenOffice. I'm even looking forward to migrating all my junk, although since 90% of it is either photos or HTML files, it should go pretty easily. Whee!

Hello, Mac. Nice to have you here.

December 11, 2006

PoM Summarized

Well, from my point of view, this was an interesting but ultimately unusable way to spend two days. It was not clear from the preliminary material (printed or website) that the primary, nay only, focus of the conference would be on cultural resource management. So, while it was interesting to hear about what museums and university libraries are doing (especially the collaborative efforts going on), I didn't come away with anything to try out at MPOW.

My favorite speakers were Richard Pearce-Moses (very lively speaker), Elizabeth Yakel (she's actually using tools we're using, like wikis and Google Analytics and things!), and Simon Tanner (he's an engaging and entertaining speaker, even if I don't have to worry about cost models).

I don't think I'd attend another one of these. I got more out of the "School for Scanning" conference I attended in 2001, which apparently NEDCC runs annually; I might check it out for next year, but SolidWorks World, SLA and Internet Librarian come first on the things-to-go-to list!

PoM Closing Keynote: Stewardship in the 21st Century

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Closing Keynote Speaker: Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information

Step back and think about the whole notion of stewardship... (uses the environment as an example)

"law" vs "custom" for preservation of intellectual work

Ramifications of IT (Not starting with digital, but the massive treasure-houses of physical holdings we already have)
- Physical collections are more at risk now than ever
- Now have the ability to produce better & better surrogates for physical itemss
- Stewardship used to mean protection; now it means both protection and dissemination

Now, to digital collections
- Not just what we usually think of, but also "born electronic" items like film, sound recordings, etc
-- massive amount of poorly stewarded stuff

- The advent of increasingly database-driven information is negatively impacting historical research
-- example: Lists of flights to cities from NYC in 1965 (relatively easy to obtain) vs 2005 (very hard)

- Future digital material defies description even more
-- example: MySpace, Second Life

- Discussion of storage versus non-storage issues
-- all of a person's writings versus data output from the Large Hadron Collider or current astronomical institutions

- Privacy & liability issues change as data ages
- Need to be wise about how we use material

Characteristics of preserving & curating
- Endless writings about the technical issues are available
- Tendency to stress aout deep-time and obsess about formats
- If the bits don't make it to next month, there's not much worry about your descendents being able to read it!
-- need to focus on the near-time issues in order to get to the deep-time ones

*It's not IT that does it, it's organization!*

Fragility of data these days
- example: Used to be it was hard to unpublish something, but now it can be done with a keystroke

Futur of special collections will be the individual.

PoM: Making Digital Preservation Affordable: Values and Business Models

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: Simon Tanner, King's College London

(Guy's doing some interesting things around the world with digital collections - is manager for Desmond Tutu Digital Archive - very cool!)

Revenue generation models

Role of public repositories: place where community "connects with the past and invents its future"

It's about *time*! (time to take action is short, but the actions are continuous)

Attention Economy

What does all this mean for our future?
- Attention is vital to economic sustainability
- Access is valued more than preservation by the users
- Without access, there are very few long term preservation strategies that are sustainable
- How do we finance this? Talk to the designated community & compare costs with OAIS model

Cost & Business models (they are not the same thing!)

Balancing costs, benefits, and mission

eSPIDA approach

Risk Management
- Essential to quantify consequences & risk of loss of digital materials

Justifying & building a case
- Identify timeframe in which action can be taken
- Build awareness of increasing dependence on digital materials
- Produce evidence of cost elements
- Be persuasive!
- Emphasize the strategic fit with current goals
- Show a clear understanding between costs and benefits
- Benefit the designated community!

Levers to get your way
- Legal accountability
- Risk consequences
- Ownership of the problem
- Accountability
- Critical to mission

PoM: Trusted Digital Repositories

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: Robin Dale, RLG - Programs, OCLC Office of Programs & Research

What's in your repository?

"Repositories" and "Archives" - semantically confusing scene

Digital preservation is:
- Collaborative
- Reliant
- Complex
- Of immense scale
- Potentially expensive

Communicating trust is imperative!

Trusted digital repository
- Mandate to preserve information over time
- Capability to do so
- Risks & vulterabilities are understandable
- Committed rol in collaborative network

"Responsible Custody"

How do we move forward?
- Building a checklist
- Envisioned uses of a checklis
-- planning
-- self-assessment
-- audit
-- basis for certification

Discussion of RLG-NARA checklist development, "Audit checklist for the certification of trusted digital libraries".

CRL project to put the above recommendations in place

Building trust & obtaining certification

PoM: Creating Digital Images Worth Preserving

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: David Joyall, NEDCC

(Very short presentation, as he was replacing the original speaker, who was unable to attend.)

NARA Guidelines
Current scanner & digital camera technology
Role of the digital capture technician

PoM: Metadata for Preservation

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: Priscilla Caplan, Florida Center for Library Automation

Preservation Pyramid: (top down)
* Fixity - quality of not being altered or deleted
* Viability - quality of being readable from media
* Renderability - quality of being displayable or otherwise usable
* Authenticity - quality of being what it purports to be

Standards for metadata
- PREMIS, IMER (general)
- Z39.87 (format-specific)
- METS, MPEG-21 (packaging)

What does all this mean? Questions to ask if you are developing a digital repository or building digital content.

PoM: Virtual Use and Real Users: Understanding Use Requirements and User Needs

Sorry, posts delayed due to a sick child...

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: Elizabeth Yakel, University of Michigan

Links from talk on her site

* Access & Accesibility
- virtual presence, finding aids, digital imaging, MARC records
- ability to make sense of collections

* Differences between physical & virtual worlds
- create rich context! repurpose, interlink, multiple points of access

* Mediation to Collaboration
- commenting, tagging, collaborative filtering, bookmarking/bookbags
- social navigation

* Evaluation
- "Developing Archival Metrics", UMich SI department report
- Google Analytics

Persistence results from accessibility, not access!

December 5, 2006

PoM: Collaborative Adventures: Promoting and Preserving External Partnerships

NEDCC Persistence of Memory Conference
Speaker: Katherine Skinner, Emory University

Networking! (people, not computers)

Milward & Provan, "A Manager's Guide to Choosing and Using Collaborative Networks", 2006

Collaborative management of:
* Accountability
* Legitimacy
* Conflict
* Committment
* Design
-- Distributed, self-governing
-- Centralized, lead organization
-- Centralized, formed management entity

Emerging digital library models: Open Source, OAI, DSpace, Google Print, etc
- all extremely collaborative on a large scale!

Digital preservation models: LOCKSS, MetaArchive, etc

MetaArchive details (6-way collaboration on the history and culture of the American South, done with a contract with the Library of Congress. Nifty-sounding project!)

PoM: Working Together Revisited: Diverse Skills for Sustainability

NEDCC Preservation of Memory Conference
Speaker: Robert Spindler, Arizona State University Libraries

Separate disciplines, common interests
- usually separate administrative units, so they compete for resources instead of collaborating

Disciplinary skill sets (librarians, museum professionals, IT, archivists)

Collaborative models

Depocas, Ippolito, & Jones, "The Variable Media Approach: Permanence Through Change", 2003

Collaborations with creators

What is the need for collaboration?
- NSF "Report of the Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure", 2004

- Survival of digital assets depends on effective collaboration
- Creators are still reluctant
- Obstacles still exist

PoM: Assessing Risks for Digital Collections

NEDCC Preservation of Memory Conference
Speaker: Tom Clareson, PALINET

Risk Management for Digital Collections
- Security
- Digital disaster mitigation
- Programmatic policy risks

Do we have a written digital disaster recovery plan? If not, why not?

General security issues (visitor access, password control, equipment security, training, etc)
- internal threats

Computer security threats (viruses, worms, trojans, etc)
- external threats

Need to learn to distinguish risks from threats

Digital Preservation Survey Project
- project overview, 2005 survey results, key findings

Digital preservation is more than just backups!

Next steps: New survey in 2007 of established digital preservation programs; NEDCC proposing national digital preservation workshop series

PoM: What is a Digital Asset?

NEDCC Preservation of Memory Conference
Speaker: Richard Pearce-Moses, Arizona State Library & Archives

His first comment really made me laugh: Everyone needs to get over their fear of the boxes! (meaning computers)

Created a "dictionary" of terms for use in Arizona's state digital preservation process, specifically how we use language, jargon & acronyms

"Precision" vs "Consensus" in defining terms

No nice, neat, clean taxonomy; a definition of a thing can be anything - a digital asset is basically anything you want it to be!

Functions of a digital asset
- curation, discovery, preservation

Characteristics: of the asset itself, and as a surrogate
- context, content, structure

Prescriptive definition of a digital asset:
- Digital information that:
* is valuable (time/money)
* has variety of purpose
* has content
* has context
* has a structure

Think about the emphasis of digital assets as "items".

PoM Keynote: Preservation in the Age of Google

NEDCC Preservation of Memory Conference
Speaker: Paul Conroy, University of Michigan

Lyman & Varian, "How Much Information", 2003


Responsible Custody
Preservation & Usability
[...] different things to different people

= the company & what it does
= the cultural metaphor
* Instant gratification
* Simple
* Anonymous, unmediated
* "Essentialness of Digital Content"
* Rip, Mix & Burn: Repurposing digital content & sharing it
* Provides source material for new forms of scholarship

Waters & Garrett, "Preserving Digital Information", 1996

Levy, "Scrolling Forward", 2001 (response to above)

ACLS, "Our Cultural Commonwealth", 2006; Cyberinfrastructure vs Deep Infrastructure

Integrity to OAIS as a common international language (and ISO standard)

Trusted archive to certification - must be multifaceted

In this age of Google, how do we communicate trust?

Conway, "Preservation in the Digital World", 1996
- basic preservation principles endure

Environmental storage, reformatting, R&D, leadership & advocacy
- ARL has endorsed digitization as a preservation technique

Dilemmas for Preservation
- Is it really that complicated? (Yes!)
* Expense
* Frequent interventions
* Format obsolescence
* Long time frames
* Instant access
* Faithful reproduction

- Success with enfironmental control: Is it actually working to our detriment?

- What difference are we really making? (are we seeing the uses & impacts we expected?)

- Back side of Moore's Law (as technology gets cheaper, people get more expensive)

- History ends in 1923 (copyright issues)

- Market Share

What is the way forward?

- Embrace the all-digital world
- Demand national action
- Partnerships!
- Support the online community
- Choose cost effectiveness
- Evaluate & report in a timely manner!

Prediction: We are heading for a total, digital heritage (backed by environmentally managed paper collections).

Persistence of Memory Conference

I am spending today and tomorrow in NEDCC's "Persistence of Memory: Stewardship of Digital Assets" conference (here in sunny Tucson!). I was going to blog at the conference but there are no accessible power outlets in the room, and my current dinky laptop has pretty pathetic battery life, so I'll be posting summaries at the end of each day. (Day 1 about to be written!)

December 4, 2006

The Librarian Saves the World Again!

What a hoot! There's even less in "The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines" about librarians than there was in the first one, but what will be my new .sig line made an appearance: "You'd be surprised what you can learn at the library." However, this was a fun, firmly tongue-in-cheek adventure romp that blatantly acknowledged its debts to everything from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to "Casablanca". I recommend it for an evening of mindless enjoyment. (Just don't go looking for anything serious about librarians here!)