D-Lib (June 1998) -- Clips and Pointers

D-Lib Magazine
June 1998

ISSN 1082-9873

Clips & Pointers

DLI-2: Response "Gratifying"; Call for Volunteers to Review Proposals

Contributed by Stephen M. Griffin
National Science Foundation
Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Program Director: Special Projects, Digital Libraries Initiative

The response to the Interagency Digital Libraries Initiative (DLI) program announcement has been impressive, broad, and creative (the program announcement and list of supporting federal agencies for DLI-Phase 2 can be found at: www.nsf.gov/pubs/1998/nsf9863/nsf9863.htm ). More than 400 letters of intent, which were due April 30, 1998, were received for the first round competition (Full Proposal Deadline: July 15, 1998). Organizations submitting letters included universities, libraries, hospitals and medical centers, museums, non-profit research and service organizations, and professional societies of many kinds.

Research topics span systems issues, content and collections, and social and organizational dimensions of digital libraries use and usability. Testbed and applications address an alphabet of application domain needs: e.g., archeology, biodiversity, chemistry, digital video, economics and ethnic studies, health care, international trade and judicial systems, linguistics, materials science, medical informatics, music, natural history, oral traditions, philosophy, publishing, primate studies, regional studies, security, structural analysis, theology, undergraduate education, virtual objects and repositories, visualization of data, weather, web-based resources of all sorts, x-rays, yields, zooms and zones.

The response demonstrates the broad and rapidly growing appeal of digital libraries, and a belief in their potential value to serve an extraordinarily wide range of communities with diverse information needs. The sponsors view the richness of the response as gratifying. The collective expertise of the applicants and quality of prospective projects promises to result in new digital libraries technologies and services capable of offering many people of all ages, from all walks of life, new means to explore and experience knowledge of their and others' worlds.

To help evaluate proposals, the sponsoring agencies are seeking reviewers in both digital libraries research areas and application areas to serve as panelists and mail reviewers. Review activities will proceed immediately upon receipt of the proposals and continue into the fall. If you would like to volunteer to assist with proposal review, please send the following information to: dli2@nsf.gov:

Contact Information
Area(s) of Expertise
Brief Vita

NSF Integrative Graduate Education And Research Training Program, Program Announcement and Frequently Asked Questions, 1998 Competition

The challenges of educating scientists, mathematicians, and engineers for the 21st century mandate a new paradigm for training graduate students. To meet the need for a cadre of broadly prepared Ph.D.s with multidisciplinary backgrounds and the technical, professional, and personal skills essential to addressing the varied career demands of the future, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announces an agency-wide, multidisciplinary, graduate training program. The goal of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) Program is to enable the development of innovative, research-based, graduate education and training activities that will produce a diverse group of new scientists and engineers well-prepared for a broad spectrum of career opportunities in industry, government and academe. Supported projects must be based upon a multidisciplinary research theme and organized around a diverse group of investigators from U.S. Ph.D.-granting institutions with appropriate research and teaching interests and expertise.

NSF organizations participating in the IGERT program include the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), and the Office of Polar Programs (OPP).

Awards will be made in amounts up to $500,000 per year (including direct and indirect costs) for a duration not to exceed five years; up to an additional $200,000 will be available for appropriate state-of-the-art research instrumentation and special purpose research materials during the first year of the award. The number and size of awards will depend on the advice of reviewers and on the availability of funds; however, it is anticipated that about 20 awards will be made as a result of each annual competition.

For the full Program Description, including instructions for submission, see: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/1998/nsf9896/nsf9896.htm.

For the recently issued Frequently Asked Questions, see: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf98116.

The preproposal deadline is July 1, 1998; the deadline for full proposals is November 23, 1998.

D-Lib Metrics Working Group Holds Workshop in Pittsburgh

William M. Pottenger
Department of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Robert E. McGrath
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The last few years have seen an explosion of research and development of digital libraries and digital library technologies. These systems are complex, heterogeneous, distributed systems, with a diverse array of human users. Currently, there are few ways to evaluate the effectiveness of research systems, compare different approaches, or to measure progress towards long-term goals.

The D-Lib program has formed a working group on metrics for digital library systems. The goal of this activity is to establish appropriate metrics and standard tests to measure digital library systems. The initial emphasis is on information discovery by humans and retrieval in a heterogeneous world, with the objectives of measuring and documenting the impact of particular system concepts or features, in specific settings, for specific user communities with specific purposes. Because of the importance of the human in the loop, we expect to draw metrics from a broad set of relevant fields, including but not limited to those as diverse as psychology, engineering, and human communications.

In response to the need to establish appropriate metrics, a workshop on Metrics for Digital Libraries will be held at DL'98 in Pittsburgh on Saturday, June 27, 1998 (please see www.canis.uiuc.edu/workshop for details). This workshop will be a practical session for those who are developing measurements for digital libraries or component technologies.

Position papers will be presented on the topics of:

  • Development activities for metrics and test suites for digital libraries and component technologies;
  • Studies of metrics for digital libraries and component technologies; and
  • Approaches that support the shared development, maintenance, and use of metrics and standard test suites.

The focus will be on current and planned developments to create standard measurements for digital libraries, and papers will emphasize the problems and solutions that will benefit from workshop discussion.

The workshop will be a full day. Roughly half the time will be available for presentations by the full participants, and the other half will be discussion.

Full participation will be limited to between 20 and 30; observers to the workshop will be welcome to the limit of the room and can participate in the discussions at the discretion of the full participants.

Prior to the workshop, position papers from full participants will be made available at www.canis.uiuc.edu/workshop.

JSTOR Update

JSTOR continues to see expanded usage. February's usage topped January's by 30 percent, and March saw another 18 percent increase. Total usage has increased by more than 5 times during the 1997-98 academic year. Additionally, a mirror database was launched on March 25, 1998, in the UK at the University of Manchester. This achieved the first objective of the JSTOR/JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) collaboration: to make access to JSTOR available to UK higher education institutions. Finally, JSTOR announced plans to work with the Princeton University Library to establish a production facility for converting paper journals to electronic form. This facility will supplement a similar operation at the University of Michigan and, when operational, is intended to double JSTOR's capacity to gather journal runs, to organize them for scanning, and to load them onto JSTOR's growing database of the complete runs of core scholarly journals. JSTOR currently is adding material at the rate of approximately 100,000 pages per month. As of the end of May, over 280 institutions, 82 journals, and 49 publishers participated in JSTOR.

The project has also begun to address the thorny issue of measurement, an issue that raised its profile in recent months in the digital libraries research community. Chaired by David Farrell of the University of California, Berkeley, the all-volunteer Web statistics Task Force established guidelines for defining a core set of data elements and standards for measuring and evaluating web-based resources. The JSTOR Usage Statistics Request Form, which had been in development for several months prior to this initiative, served as a model for the application of the guidelines. This form allows librarians to generate customized reports on their own institutional usage of JSTOR and compare that usage against averages of similar JSTOR participating sites. The task force guidelines are available at: http://www.co.calstate.edu/irt/seir/usge.stat.req.html.

In Print

  • NSF Workshop on Interfaces to Scientific Data Archives (ISDA), March 25 - 27, 1998, Pasadena, California. Workshop report.

    Roy Williams
    Center for Advanced Computing Research
    California Institute of Technology
    Pasadena, California

    Many scientific endeavors produce large quantities of heterogeneous data that is to be analyzed by loose, distributed collaborations. There is a call for federally-funded data to make itself useful through its availability to those who are not experts in the meaning of the data. Scientific data, in contrast to text or image data, is often useless without sophisticated, customized data-mining and knowledge extraction tools. Given these three conditions, there is an urgent need for software infrastructures to create, maintain, evolve, and federate these active digital libraries of scientific data; infrastructures that consider the newcomer learning to use the system as well as the seasoned professional.

    The objective of this workshop was to examine approaches to such active digital libraries through case-studies and tools. The interaction of these illustrates needs for standards and abstraction, identifies similarities, focuses on real-life problems, and thus curbs the excesses of theory. Using small-group discussion, we identified solutions, consensus, and challenges in creating and maintaining active digital libraries of scientific data, for ensuring that the archive is flexible and extensible, that it is as easy as possible to learn how to use, and so that different groups can use each other's development work instead of repeating it. The full report from the workshop is available from the web site below, with findings, recommendations, descriptions of case-studies and tools, and a survey of scientific data archives.

    Metadata is an important topic: how to describe data objects, to make catalogs, to form relationships between data objects. An effective way to do this is by using structured documents to describe large binary objects; machines such as search engines and summarizers can then parse the document. Such structure can be provided with the XML language, a rationalized and extensible version of HTML. The Dublin Core metadata standard is an effective and viable way to provide the semantics and structure of these metadata records.

    The Web is universally seen as the lingua franca for the client who is new, or who does not have special software installed, or who wishes to access the archive from an arbitrary machine. In addition to this important role, the HTTP protocol increasingly provides communications between machines as well as between machines and people. Web servers are also being used as brokers, providing unified access to databases, legacy systems, supercomputers, and data archives.

    There were discussions on distributed computing, the major contenders being CORBA and Java RMI; we also contrasted the simplicity of the relational database with the flexibility of the object database. We contrasted text-based interfaces with graphical interfaces: while mature users prefer the speed and flexibility of text, novices prefer a GUI, therefore we should concentrate attention on how a user can reuse what has been learned as a novice when it is time to advance to the text-based world of the mature user. Authentication, security and signatures were important issues, particularly ways to bridge the gap between traditional Unix mechanisms and newer, commercial solutions such as digital certificates. Other topics are: longevity of the archive, who are the librarians, fostering collaboration through interoperation of archives, deep citation, and data-driven computing.

    Further information:
    The full report and supporting material may be found at the ISDA Workshop Web site http://www.cacr.caltech.edu/isda.

    This workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, under the grant IIS-9803760 (PI: Roy Williams) awarded by the Information and Data Management Program and the Special Projects Program of the Information and Intelligent Systems Division. All opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations in any material resulting from this workshop are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  • The New York Public Library Launches its Digital Library Collections

    Pamela Ellis
    Digital Library Systems Coordinator
    New York Public Library
    Fifth Ave and 42nd St.
    New York, NY 10018 USA

    The New York Public Library has introduced its Digital Library Collections web site <http://digital.nypl.org>, featuring a wide range of primary source materials from The Library's four research libraries.

    The first collection, the Digital Schomburg, comprises 56 texts and more than 500 images representing African American history and culture. The Digital Schomburg includes two components: "Images of African Americans from the 19th Century" and "African American Women Writers of the 19th Century." The images in Digital Schomburg document the social, political, and cultural worlds of African American people from slavery to various stages of freedom. The texts in the collection include essays, works of fiction and poetry, and autobiography and biography -- among them, Anna Julia Cooper's A Voice from the South; Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral; and Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The materials are drawn primarily from The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the world's leading research facilities devoted to the preservation of materials on the global African and African diasporan experiences.

    Other online collections currently in development include Small Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1910; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Millennium Project; Urban Landscape Photography in the Romana Javitz Collection; and Berenice Abbott's Changing New York. The Library participates in several cooperative projects, including Marriage, Women and the Law, 1815 - 1914; the Global Migration Project; Travels along the Hudson; and The Making of America II. Project web pages for these can be found at:

    Marriage, Women and the Law, 1815 - 1914


    The Making of America


    Travels along the Hudson


    For more information about NYPL's Digital Library Collections, contact Pamela Ellis at pellis@nypl.org or join the Digital Library Collections (DLC) mailing list at <http://digital.nypl.org/email.cfm>.

  • Publications from the UK Electronic Libraries Programme

    Elizabeth Graham
    Development Co-ordinator: eLib Programme Office
    University of Warwick
    Coventry, UK
    email: e.c.graham@warwick.ac.uk

    Since 1995, the UK Higher Education Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has funded more than 60 projects through the Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib). These projects aim to shape the development of the electronic library through a programme of action-based research and include a variety of approaches, culminating in the hybrid library and "clumps" projects which began in January 1998. The home page for eLib can be found at http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib/

    More than twenty supporting studies were also funded as an integral part of eLib. These were commissioned in three thematic strands: studies in digital preservation, evaluation and impact studies, and general studies, which include some project final reports. They have worked towards defining notions of best practice within the electronic library and provide considerable insight into digital library developments in the future. A full list of these is available at http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib/papers/supporting/

    The first three reports from the supporting study projects have been published recently by the Library Information Technology Centre at South Bank University. Two copies of each have been distributed free of charge to UK HEIs, c/o the Librarian of that institution. These are:

    1. 'Early Impact of eLib Activities on Cultural Change in Higher Education'
      Clare Davies, Matthew Hall, Charles Oppenheim and Alison Scammell
      ISBN: 1900508354
    2. 'Management information systems and performance measurement for the electronic library'
      Peter Brophy and Peter M. Wynne
      ISBN: 1900508362
    3. 'Responsibility for Digital Archiving and Long Term Access to Digital Data'
      Monica Blake, David Haynes, Tanya Jowett, David Streatfield
      ISBN: 1900508370

    Further copies of study reports are available at a cost of 20 pounds per study (plus postage and packing). These can be obtained by contacting:

    Lynda Agili
    South Bank University
    103 Borough Road
    London SE1 0AA UK
    Email: agilila@sbu.ac.uk

    In addition, all of the supporting study reports will be made freely available on the eLib web pages at http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib/papers/supporting/ Many have already been uploaded and include some reports which will only be available in electronic form.

  • Unicode Technical Report # 8, The Unicode Standard(r), Version 2.1, February 8, 1998

    Version 2.1 of the Unicode Standard adds two new characters and includes errata collected since the publication of Version 2.0 as well as a number of updates to the character properties database. The two newly added characters are the U+FFFC OBJECT REPLACEMENT CHARACTER and the U+20AC EURO SIGN. The object replacement character is already employed in multiple implementations, and the euro sign is expected to be widely used as the European Monetary Union (EMU) proceeds to phase in its use as the EMU unit of currency. With the additions of Version 2.1, the Unicode Standard contains 38, 887 characters from the world's scripts.

  • HTML Math Overview

    MathML was released as a W3C Recommendation on April 7, 1998. It is a low-level format for describing mathematics as a basis for machine-to-machine communication and is meant to facilitate the use and re-use of mathematical and scientific content in digital environments, including the web. MathML is cast as an application of XML. While it should eventually be possible for browsers to natively render mathematical expressions with adequate style sheet support, in the near term, several vendors offer applets and plug-ins. More detailed information is available via the W3C's site.


  • Cultural Heritage and EC Funding

    This resources features information on a number of different funding programs run by the European Commission (EC). Not all the programs focus on cultural heritage, many address generic issues, such as training. Many are associated with new information technologies, but all have some connection with or relevance for cultural heritage. The information is organized by topics: "general information," "funding programs," and "EC-funded activity." The latter provides examples of existing projects. Links are provided to other, relevant sites.

  • Stanford Technology Law Review

    Stanford Technology Law Review is a law review covering issues related to science, technology, and the law, broadly construed. In addition to full-length law review articles, the site includes working papers and virtual symposia, discussion fora on the various issues raised by pieces in the journal, and guides to various science and technology issues in the news ("Recent Events"). Although the target audience is professional -- professors, students, and practitioners -- the site contains summary information of interest to other communities.

  • Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL) Online Public Access Catalog (COPAC) and related resources

    CURL is a group of 20 research libraries in the British Isles (as of April 1997) whose collective mission is "to promote, maintain and improve library resources for research in universities." The Consortium's objectives are two-fold: (1) to develop co-operative solutions to the tasks faced in the acquisition, processing, storage, preservation, exploitation, dissemination and delivery of information and library materials for research; and (2) to assist member libraries to pursue and achieve their own institutional objectives. Recently, the Consortium announced the organization of the CEDARS project, which addresses the first objective, archiving. The project will begin at Oxford, Cambridge, and Leeds but will involve representation on its Advisory Board from non-CURL institutions. Additionally, CURL has made COPAC, the Online Public Access Catalog, publicly available free-of-charge on the web. Links to other OPACs are available from this site as are documentation and search assistance. A user study and mid-term evaluation report on COPAC was released in March 1998.

Goings On

  • IEEE Workshop on Content-Based Access of Image and Video Libraries in conjunction with CVPR '98, June 21, 1998, Santa Barbara, California USA

    Four sessions at this one-day workshop have been organized:

    1. Content-Based Image Retrieval Applying Learning Techniques
    2. Feature-level Similarity Based Image Retrieval
    3. Feature-level Similarity Based Image Retrieval II
    4. Content-Based Video Access

    Following the sessions, there will be a panel discussion, "Future Research Directions in Content-based Access of Image/Video Databases". The panelists have been invited to address the following issues:

    1. Evaluations and benchmark
    2. Genuine applications
    3. Human vision and perception based approach
    4. Machine learning and other AI approaches
    5. Federation and Interoperability

    Advance registration is closed, but registration will be available on site.

  • Machine-Assisted Reference Service (MARS) 1998 Annual Conference Meeting Schedule, June 26 - 30, 1998, Washington, DC USA

    MARS programs offered during the annual meeting of the American Library Association have been organized and posted. They include:

    1. What Are They Doing? Understanding Patron Behavior in a Digital Environment
    2. Critical Skills for Evaluating the Web and Virtual Library Sites
    3. Train in Vain: Is Your Public Internet Training Working?
    4. Web Page Design and the Visually Challenged
    5. Values in a Digital Age

    Additional information, including times, locations and more complete descriptions of the sessions are available at the web site.

  • ISSN in the Electronic Age, June 27, 1998, Library of Congress, Washington, DC USA

    The National Serials Data Program, Library of Congress, will hold this one-day seminar in conjunction with the Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA) on Saturday, June 27, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. in Dining Rm. A (Rm. 620) in the Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building. The program is geared to publishers, subscription agents, document delivery services, A&I services, other vendors and ISSN users.

    Highlights include:

    • ISSN basics for all serials; publisher do's and don'ts
    • ISSN particulars for electronic serials
    • Cutting-edge ISSN issues: expansion of coverage, DOI, URN, etc.
    • Opportunities to provide feedback about issues affecting ISSN
    • One-on-one consultations with ISSN staff: bring your problems!


    E-mail Regina Reynolds at issn@loc.gov; fax (202) 707-6333; or leave a message at (202) 707-6452. Although reservations are preferred, walk-ins are likely to be accommodated. Registration at the ALA conference is not required.

  • Convergence in the Digital Age: Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives, August 13 - 14, 1998, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    This two-day seminar will address the needs of libraries, museums or archives as they begin to cope with digitisation, archiving, preservation, new user services and new economic models in a complex legal framework. It also aims at providing new ideas for defining strategies for co-operation in a digital environment. Six main sessions have been organized, which will be illustrated by presentation of ongoing projects, most of which have been sponsored by the European Commission (EC):

    1. The Organisation of Knowledge in a Digital Environment
    2. The Citizen's Access to Digital Heritage
    3. New Services in their Legal Context
    4. The Future of the Digital Present
    5. Converging Technologies and Standards for Digital Collections
    6. Strategic Issues in Research and Technological Development

    This seminar, a satellite event of this year's IFLA General conference (Amsterdam, August 16 - 21, 1998) will be held with support from the EU's Telematics for Libraries.

    The full program is to be published within a few weeks.

Pointers in This Column

Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL)
COPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)
User Study and Midterm Evaluation




Convergence in the Digital Age
Challenges for Libraries, Museums and Archives
August 13 - 14, 1998
Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Cultural Heritage and EC Funding


Digital Libraries Initiative - Phase 2, Program Description


eLib: Electronic Libraries Programme
Supporting Studies



HTML Math Overview


IEEE Workshop on Content-Based Access of Image and Video Libraries in conjunction with CVPR '98
June 21, 1998
Santa Barbara, California USA


Machine-Assisted Reference Service (MARS)
1998 Annual Conference Meeting Schedule
June 26 - 30, 1998
Washington, DC USA


Marriage, Women and the Law, 1815 - 1914


New York Public Library
Digital Library Collections (DLC) Mailing List


NSF Integrative Graduate Education And Research Training Program, Program Announcement and Frequently Asked Questions, 1998 Competition


NSF Workshop on Interfaces to Scientific Data Archives (ISDA)
March 25 - 27, 1998
Pasadena, California
Workshop report.


Stanford Technology Law Review


The Making of America


Travels along the Hudson


Unicode Technical Report # 8
The Unicode Standard(r), Version 2.1
February 8, 1998


Workshop on Metrics for Digital Libraries
June 27, 1998
DL'98, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA


Copyright (c) 1998 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Top | Magazine
Search | Author Index | Title Index | Monthly Issues
Previous Story
Comments | E-mail the Editor