The library without walls

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Updated: Apparently Live writer truncated my links. I’ve fixed them.

Terry Reese, Oregon State University

Sorry, no picture and yes, I gave a talk at the Readex conference as well.  I thought it was fairly well received given the topic — though I think it surprised folks as well.  Lots of fun though.  Key quotes from my talk:

  • Metadata wants to be free…free the metadata
  • Libraries == middleware

I recorded my talk, so if anyone has ~50 minutes to kill, they can listen to it from here:

Or, if you want, you can read a quick summary from Vika Zafrin’s blog at:….  I took a quick look at it and it pretty much covers the basics.



Virtual humanities lab and the evolution of online academic communities

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Vika Safrin, Brown University


Vika discussed a project that was very unfamiliar with — apparently, the Virtual Humanities Lab was a two year project supported by the NEH between 04 and 06 to create a platform for collaborative humanities research.  I’d talked with Vika about this project a little bit after her talk.  The project is an interesting one.  The project resulted in the creation of a web portal that includes a number of early modern Italian texts with ability to annotate and edit elements of these texts within a collaborative environment.  As described, the project sounded like a wikipedia equivalent to collaborative research — very interesting but I’m a sucker for anything that uses TEI (we don’t get to use TEI at OSU). 

Project Homepage:….



Digital Maps and Digital Map Reference

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Ed Redmond, LC

Ed talked about the current digitization program being used in the LC map reading room.  He then looked at some of the research that can now be done because of the items currently digitized.

Something interesting — these are research quality scans — which the idea being that once digitized, these items will never be pulled for reference again.  Another interesting thing — Ed had mentioned that LC, since starting map digitization, had digitized some 10,000 maps in the past 10 or so years.  However, they acquire close to 70,000 maps a year.  I’m not a math wiz, but looking at those numbers simply shows how much content simply isn’t be digitized.

Also, Ed talked about maps that are actually created by the LC maps room.  This was something I was aware of.  When I visited the LC about two years ago, one of the things that I had an opportunity to see was the GIS lab in the Map room where LC creates custom maps for Congress on a number of topics.  At the time, I was told that LC couldn’t make those generated maps available because of the sensitivity of the requests.  However, Ed seemed to indicate that LC is looking at ways to overcome some of the privacy issues currently keeping these maps from circulation.  And they are at this point out of circulation.  He’d noted afterwards, that even though LC creates the maps and keeps a digital copy of the GIS project — the library itself, doesn’t archive a copy of the generated map.  In only exists within the archives of the laboratory.  Interesting…

Ed also showed off a number of interesting maps from the reading room.  He was kind enough to give me a copy of his presentation.  See below.



Finding your niche: leveraging limited resources to build a digital program

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Mary Molinaro, University of Kentucky


Mary Molinaro discussed how the University of Kentucky Libraries is leveraging existing resources and securing new ones to build a digital program and become a leader in film-to-digital conversion.  Mary makes some very important points, the first one being that institutions must change the vocabulary in how we discuss our digital projects, i.e., that your library must get away from talking about digitization as a project and as a program.  There must be a recognition by the institution that digitization is part of an institutions core library services and allocate resources and staff accordingly.

Project vs. Program

  • Stop thinking about things as projects — but rather as programs (meaning money, infrastructure, etc).

 Mary’s talk centered around how they were able to leverage their participation in the NDIIP newspaper project to secure additional resources for their own inhouse digitization work and lessons that they learned.



After AACR2: Content standards for resource description and access

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Matthew Beacom, Yale

RDA will be:

  • Multinational content standard providing bibliographic description and access for a variety of media and formats collected by libraries today.
  • Developed for use in English language environment; it can also be used in other language communities.
  • Independence of format (i.e., like MARC21)
  • Will support FRBR tags
  • Enable users of library catalogs, etc., to find and user resources appropriate to their information needs.

Who develops and supports RDA:


“New” Part A (formally part I) for RDA:

  1. Introduction
  2. General Guidelines for resource description
  3. Identification of the resource
  4. Technical description — FRBR “Select”
  5. Content description — FRBR “Select”
  6. Terms of availability — FRBR “Obtain”
  7. Item specific information (Now sprinkled through the proposal)

Chapters 6-7 — FRBR Find

  • Relationships between FRBR and Group 1
    • works
    • expressions
    • manifestations
    • items
  • Relationships between FRBR Group 1 and Group 2 entities
    • persons
    • corporate bodies
    • families

“New” Part B

  • General guidelines for Access point control
  • Authorized forms
  • Variant forms

Some “big issues”

  • Its a compromise between AACR2 and what’s new.
    • Means compatibility is important
    • needed to maintain international agreements
  • Content vs. display
    • RDA will be a content, not display standard
  • Transcription
    • How important is data transcription to record identification?


How many countries are involved in the RDA development?
US, Canada, UK and Australia.



National Digital Newspaper program: enhancing access to America’s newspapers

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Helen Aguera, National Endowment for the Humanities

Mark Sweeney, Library of Congress
National Digitial Newspaper program:  enhancing access to America’s newspapers


Future directions:

  1. NEH will only be making one award per state, looking for collaborative partnerships
  2. Projects should
    1. Have an advisory board
    2. Represent the diversity of the state
    3. Will consider “orphan titles”
    4. Will cover costs for digitization, selection and delivery of information to LC



Guiding Principles:

  • Aggregate, serve, and preserve
  • Consistent with missions and philosophies of NEH and LC
    • Open and perpetual access to the general public and scholarly community
    • Take care to preserve the assets the NDNP builds
    • Must demonstrate good use of taxpayer $
  • System is open
    • freely available
    • available to use/re-use
    • delinking/persistent identification
    • etc.
  • Practical Concerns
    • Out-of-the-box solutions have preservation challenges
    • Analyze technical options
      • Think carefully about formats
      • details specifications
      • etc.
    • Build on LC Expertise
    • Expect to learn from awardees

Mark Sweeney also provided some slides showing what the new UI for the newspapers would look like.  For those interested, see below:

  • Mark Sweeney: (ppt)

Opening remarks

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

August Imholtz, Readex
Kolakowski’s “What the past is for”: a reflection on the irreality of the past and its consequences in the digital world

August provided a philosophical discussion of Kolakowski’s lecture, “What the past is for” (  The talk was a discussion of history and the idea that there is no historical truth, only interpreted events.  It was a fun talk to listen to — but one that  I’ll admit I’d have a difficult time putting into words.  Had I been on the ball, I would have simply recorded it because it was I think an appropriate way to start the institute.  I’ve attended this institute over the last two years (this being my third) and one thing that I have found is that our work in libraries seems to be a product of interpretation.  How do we interpret our place within this new digital reality — what do we see as our user communities, how do we deal with the varied forms of metadata and digital media.  We live in a changing world filled with different perspectives and goals.  So onward.



Welcome to Chestire, VT — Day one of the Readex Digital Institute

By reeset / On / In Readex 2006

Ok — so its been a few days since I have last posted on my weblog.  Well, I’ve been traveling.  I actually spent the last week in Vermont at the Readex digital institute.  Using Microsoft’s live writer, I’d been blogging the conference but have waited to upload everything till I returned.  So, the posts will be a few days old but are as written a few days ago.

Oh, and before I start, what is the Readex digital institute.  Here’s the welcome message from the conference notes:

NewsBank/Readex is pleased to sponsor the Fourth Annual Readex Digital Institute in Chester, Vermont, held from Wed. Oct. 4th through Saturday, Oct. 7, 2006.  The institute is an educational platform for exploring the many challenges and opportunities facing those responsible for preserving the nation’s heritage and making it available through an evolving world of digital collections.  Topics will range from strategic issues and long-term visions to operational constraints and lessons learned…

So I’ve attached the attendees list for those interested and a quick webcam video of the group.  I’ll post periodically as We go through the day.

  • Everyone at the table (wmv)
  • Attendees list (xls)

I’m going to check with the folks from Readex, but so long as they don’t care, I’ll try to post scans of the individual presentations (no one seemed to mind — so I’ll post a few of them) sometime after the conference (unless they plan to do this themselves, then I’ll post links).