Thomas Mark Shepard
UPF Project Coordinator
The success of any initiative dealing with digital preservation hinges on the quality of communication between professionals who manage media collections and leaders within the digital storage industry. By concentrating on elemental concepts of how data and information about that data might be stored through time, the Universal Preservation Format (UPF) initiative is attempting to construct a bridge between those who make and market technical specifications and those who use them. Sponsored by the WGBH Educational Foundation and funded in part by a grant (97-029) from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives, the Universal Preservation Format initiative advocates a platform-independent format that will help make accessible a wide range of data types. Our project's central goal is to work with representatives from standards organizations, hardware and software companies, museums, academic institutions, archives and library science communities to produce and publish a Recommended Practices document.
The UPF Web site <http://info.wgbh.org/upf> is our primary vehicle for disseminating information about the UPF. David MacCarn's paper, "Toward a Universal Data Format for the Preservation of Media," first published in the July 1997 issue of the SMPTE Journal, may be downloaded in various formats (pdf, html) from our web site. Our conference presentations are also available for download, as well as instructions for joining our listserv. Word is also getting out about the UPF initiative through listservs, such as "Archives & Archivists" and the "Association of Moving Image Archivists," and through presentations at various library and archives organizations, such as the Society of American Archivists, the New England Chapter of the Music Library Association. Other presentations are being booked through the coming year.
In terms of immediate goals, the site's most important link is our User Survey, the results of which will be presented to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). We designed this survey not just to get "radio box" feedback, but to generate thought about the future of media collections. Underscoring all this, we want to know if we are asking the right kinds of questions. With some trepidation, we composed a highly-detailed questionnaire, and the response in just these few first days has been gratifying, both in quantity and quality.
Unquestionably, SMPTE's decision to assign an official Study Group (ST13.14) for the UPF initiative is our biggest breakthrough. Titled "Requirements for a Universal Preservation Format" and chaired by Dave MacCarn, the group met on September 22, 1997 to establish an agenda and to hash out statements of objectives and tasks, which reads as follows:
The next meeting of the SMPTE Study Group will be held on December 9, 1997 at the Sony Corporation in San Jose. Our goal for that meeting will be to convey the requirements of users, both by presenting the results of a user survey and by enlisting local archivists to attend. For more information, contact Thom Shepard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) has recently won a National Digital Library award in the competition sponsored jointly by the Library of Congress and Ameritech, Co., Inc. A grant of nearly $75,000 for the project "First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920" will enable the UNC-CH Library to feature and publish on the Web one hundred narratives left by ordinary Southerners of diverse backgrounds during those turmoil years of enormous changes in the whole American history. The voices of women, African-Americans, enlisted men, laborers and Native Americans are an unequaled resource for studying the 19th-Century American history and culture.
The university has a long and distinguished record as a center for research and archiving of Southern regional history and culture; this award recognized the university's commitment to digitization, evidenced in two major projects: "Documenting the American South: The Southern Experience in 19th-Century America" and "A Digitized Library of Southern Literature: Beginnings to 1920".
The Library's digitization initiative, "Documenting the American South: The Southern Experience in 19th-Century America", covers primary source materials documenting the cultural history of the American South. It features diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, travel accounts, titles on slavery and regional literature drawn from the rich Southern holdings of the UNC--CH Academic Affairs Library. Over 70 titles (or 16,000 pages of primary source materials) have already been digitized and published on the WWW. Among electronically published works one may now discover a famous "Diary from Dixie" by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut (NY, D. Appleton, 1905), as well as Eliza F. Andrews "The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865" (NY, D. Appleton, 1908) and Sarah Morgan Dawson "A Confederate Girl's Diary" (Boston, Houghton, 1913). Slave narratives by famed William Wells Brown, Booker T. Washington, Solomon Northup, and by less known Betahny Veney "The Narrative of Bethany Veney, a Slave Woman" and Rev. W. Robinson "From Log Cabin to the Pulpit" will find their way to the readers with computer terminals worldwide.
"A Digitized Library of Southern Literature: Beginnings to 1920" is a newer project, which grew out of the efforts of the late Dr. Robert Bain, a well-known scholar of Southern literature who joined the UNC-CH in 1964. Shortly before his untimely death in 1995, he compiled a list of the 100 most important Southern literary texts, based on his correspondence with some 50 scholars in the field nationwide whom he asked to nominate what they considered the ten most important works of Southern literature published before 1920. The first twenty-five digitized literary texts come from the premier Southern collections of the libraries at UNC-CH: the North Carolina Collection, the Rare Book Collection, and Davis Library. Recent internal funding from the Chancellor's Academic Enhancement Grant will enable us to extend the collection of Southern literary texts on the WWW.
All the selected materials are encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI P3) SGML-based Guidelines, using TEILite.DTD (version 1.6). We also provide an HTML version, as an alternate format, for all the electronic editions encoded in SGML/TEI. The translation from SGML to HTML has been generated using a perl script. The project is available at http://sunsite.unc.edu/docsouth and is supported by the Academic Affairs Library, the Ameritech Co., Inc., the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the SunSite at UNC-CH. An editorial board of UNC-CH faculty, librarians, staff from computing services and the UNC Press oversees the future project development.
Initial interest in the database has been enthusiastic; users range from elementary school teachers and students through post-doctoral researchers. Readership is already world-wide -- individuals from Canada, England, Russia, Brazil and Australia have read texts and provided inspiring comments. We truly appreciate our readers' remarks and suggestions and consider this interaction essential for the future project development.
Project Director of the Internet Scout Project
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Internet Scout Project has been producing the Scout Report <http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/repor> every week for the past three and a half years. It is a popular current awareness readers' advisory tool that attempts to bring its subscribers the best of what is new and newly discovered each week on the Internet in a variety of subjects.
Under new National Science Foundation funding (reported in the July/August issue of this magazine), a major part of Internet Scout's charge is to expand this Internet current awareness service, the Scout Report, into a Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) service. SDI has been proven to increase productivity in both the academic and corporate worlds.
As a start towards the SDI goal, biweekly production has begun for three subject-specific Scout Reports -- in Science and Engineering, Social Sciences, and Business and Economics. These three publications are now delivering relevant, targeted information to a specific audience without readers making any effort to get the information other than subscribing to a mailing list.
Readers will notice a difference between the Scout Report and the Subject-Specific Scout Reports. In addition to site annotations related to research, learning resources, and general interest, the Subject-Specific Reports contain sections dedicated to current awareness and new data. These sections provide selective notification of new books, journals, preprints, tables of contents, conference announcements, employment announcements, and datasets, and web sites that readers can bookmark to keep current in these areas.
In addition, the Internet Scout research staff for each subject area, composed of librarians and subject specialists, are building their own meta-pages dedicated to current awareness in a given field. These new summary pages will be available to users from the front page of each report's web site, and will help readers to at all times stay current in the research areas of interest to them.
There is much printed information which is announced on the Internet; information that might be hard to come by via other channels. These new sections as well as the meta-pages have been designed to provide current and ongoing awareness of both print and electronic information.
The subject-specific Scout Reports are the beginning of what is planned to be a full-fledged SDI service for researchers and educators in higher education. Development work is under way to address the major elements currently missing: specific targeting and specific tagging.
Targeting is the process by which users indicate specifically the subjects in which they are interested, for instance, Biology or Botany. Tagging is the process of annotating the specific content. This would allow a reader to narrowly define their interest, through a profile, and automatically receive all annotations which specifically relate to that interest. For example, a reader with a target of Biology would only receive annotations which have been tagged as relating to Biology.
At present, Internet Scout expects to use their work cataloguing Scout Report annotations in a Library of Congress subject scheme for the Scout Report Signpost <http://www.signpost.org>. In the future, the Signpost team's research will help determine how to tag subject-specific Scout Report annotations so that they can be delivered to users whose interests match those specific tags.
Bavaria Research Center For Knowledge-Based Systems (FORWISS)
Orleanstr. 34 D-81667 Munich, Germany
The second International Summer School on the Digital Library was held in cooperation with Tilburg University and organized by Ticer (Tilburg Innovation Centre for Electronic Resources) in Tilburg, The Netherlands, from August 10-22, 1997. This Summer School provided an important opportunity for the librarians to come together and learn about the new developments in the Digital Library area and about activities in this field worldwide. The Summer School was attended by 45 participants from many countries -- from South Africa to Finland and from Jamaica to Singapore. 37 papers were presented by distinguished lecturers from different areas: information technology experts, lawyers, publishers, librarians, researchers in cognitive science as well as a broad range of investigators. A wide variety of topics related to Digital Libraries were covered including the following:
Besides formal presentations, small workshops were held enabling participants to learn more about HTML and Internet services and to discuss their own concerns and explore possible solutions, suggested by experts with many years of experience. Those interactive sessions helped participants examine what they'd learnt and to assimilate the information. The Digital Library was also discussed as a library for the future.
Interesting demonstrations showed the on-going activities of some digital library projects, which motivated the librarians to start and/or to enhance similar projects in their own countries and libraries.
At the end of the first week and at the end of the second week, everyone received a questionnaire. Participants spent a considerable amount of time on the evaluation; many suggestions and comments concerning the contents and the presentation of lectures were given, which were all considered very valuable for next year's Summer School. A Summary of the evaluation is available at: http://cwis.kub.nl/~ticer/summer97/eval97.htm
The organization was perfect as were the presentations. The participants had opportunities during coffee breaks, lunches, and dinners to have further discussions with lecturers and with each other. The participation fee is very high but generally is worth it. The Summer School 1997 site is still up at http://cwis.kub.nl/~ticer/summer97/. You can find all the details about the programme, lecturers, participants, as well as abstracts of all the papers.
The next Summer School will be held in Tilburg from 2 - 14 August 2-14, 1998. It can easily be combined with the IFLA General Conference, which will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from August 16-21, 1998. For more information about the Summer School in Tilburg, see: http://cwis.kub.nl/~ticer/
Third ACM Conference on Digital Libraries
June 23-26, 1998
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
|"A Digitized Library of Southern Literature: Beginnings to 1920"||http://sunsite.unc.edu/docsouth/southlit.html|
|Discovering Online Resources Across the Humanities: A Practical Implementation of the Dublin Core||http://ahds.ac.uk/public/metadata/discovery.html|
"Documenting the American South: The Southern Experience in 19th-Century
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|Early Canadiana Online||http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/cihm/ecol/english/default.htm|
Early Canadiana Online
GIW '97: The Eighth Workshop on Genome Informatics
December 12-13, 1997
Harvard Information Infrastructure Project
The Impact of the Internet on Communications Policy
December 3-5, 1997
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Hypertext '98: The Ninth ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia
June 20-24, 1998
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
IEEE ADL '98,BR>
April 22-24, 1998
Santa Barbara, California
International Council on Archives
International Council on Archives
Guide for Managing Electronic Records from an Archival Perspective
International Summer School on the Digital Library
August 10-22, 1997
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
International Summer School on the Digital Library
August 10-22, 1997
Tilburg University, The Netherlands
|NAIL: National Archives and Records Administration Archival Information Locator||http://www.nara.gov/nara/nail.html|
|New Library: The People's Network||http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/lic/newlibrary/|
|RAVE: Research of articles and decisions in Public International Law and European Law||http://www.uni-duesseldorf.de/WWW/Jura/kokott/rave/e/englhome.htm|
|The Scout Report for Business and Economics||http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/bus-econ/|
|The Scout Report for Science & Engineering||http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/sci-engr/|
|The Scout Report for the Social Sciences||http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/socsci/|
|The Scout Report Signpost||http://www.signpost.org|
SIGIR'98: 21st International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval
August 24-28, 1998
Ticer: International Summer School on the Digital Library
August 2-14, 1998
Towards a European Framework for Digital Signatures and Encryption
Directorate-General XIII: Telecommunications, Information Market and Exploitation of Research
Universal Preservation Format
|University of Michigan Documents Center||http://www.lib.umich.edu/libhome/Documents.center/|