Digital Library Digest: March 28, 2013

Posted by Vicky Zeamer on March 28, 2013 in Digital Library Digest.

As scientific publishing moves to embrace open data, libraries and researchers are trying to keep up through innovative ways of browsing digital content

“A few passing students do a double take as Sayeed Choudhury waves his outstretched right arm. In his crisply pressed dress shirt and trousers, the engineer looks as if he is practising dance moves in slow motion. But he is really playing with astronomical data.”

“Standing in a US$32-million library building opened last year at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Choudhury faces a 2-metre-by-4-metre ‘visualization wall’ of television screens. Pointing with his arm, he selects a picture of the Ring Nebula out of 40 images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Choudhury spreads his hands in a welcoming gesture and the nebula’s rim of glowing orange gas fills the frame.”

“This wall is the brainchild of computer scientist Greg Hager and Choudhury, who directs digital research and curation at the library. For $30,000, they and their team patched together monitors, processors and the Microsoft Kinect system that recognizes arm and body gestures. They placed the wall in the library last October as an experiment, allowing students and researchers to explore a few of the university’s data sets, from star systems to illustrated medieval manuscripts.”

” “As we create more and more digital content, there’s a question of how do you get people to even realize we have it and then interact with it in new ways,” says Choudhury, who thinks that the wall is starting to catch on. One chemical engineer wants to use it to visualize and manipulate molecules, and astronomers hope that it could help to train students in categorizing galaxies. By providing alternative ways to explore and share data, says Choudhury, the wall “is a new form of publishing”.”

“Around the world, university libraries are racing to reinvent themselves to keep up with rapid transformations in twenty-first-century scholarship. They still do a brisk business in purchasing books, licensing access to academic journals and providing study spaces and research training for students. And libraries are increasingly helping teachers to develop courses and adopt new technologies. But for working scientists, who can now browse scientific literature online without leaving their desks, much of this activity goes unseen. For many, libraries seem to be relics that no longer serve their needs.”

From Richard Monastersky’s article for Nature, Publishing frontiers: The library reboot

13 partners from across Europe join together in 4C (the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation) to improve digital curation

“Seven European countries are launching 4C (the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation) to help public and private European organisations invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation, sustaining the long-term value of all types of digital information.”

“Curation ensures digital objects remain understandable, accessible, useable and safe over time. 4C will provide practical guidance to help organisations estimate the cost of digital curation work and demonstrate the long and short term benefits.”

“Alex Thirifays, National Archives of Denmark, explains: “As well as bringing together a fragmented research landscape, the project will create an online ‘curation costs exchange’ which will help users to model their costs and in this way predict more accurately the sorts of costs and benefits that are likely to result from the positive decision to preserve. This will be useful for managers in major archives and data centres and we hope it will support preservation planning functions. These tools will be particularly useful for policy-makers concerned about long-term access to data. In addition we will publish a roadmap for future work in modelling costs which will help to clarify the areas which need more support.” “

“Neil Grindley, project co-ordinator from Jisc in the UK, explains: “It can be difficult to make a convincing case for investment in digital curation for two reasons. Firstly the costs of curation are currently hard to predict and secondly the short term benefits are hard to define because curation implicitly addresses long-term challenges.” 4C will address both concerns and provide practical guidance that will help practitioners persuade executives to invest in new services.”

“4C is described as ‘open and social’ and rather than waiting for perfect and polished results, they will be blogging and sharing findings as they go. 4C hope that this will encourage debate and increase the likelihood that their findings and guidance are useful.”

“Sabine Schrimpf of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Germany, says: “We are looking to engage with many different kinds of organisations and to set up partnerships and have discussions with everyone who would like to get involved in the development of these tools. We’ll be inviting people to workshops and focus groups during the next two years, and we’ll be organising a conference to share our results at the end of the process.” “

“The partners involved are: Danish National Archives (Denmark), DANS – Data Archiving and Network Service (Netherlands), Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (Germany), Digital Curation Centre (UK), Digital Preservation Coalition (UK), Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (UK), Institute for Information Systems and Computing Research (Portugal), Jisc (UK), Keep Solutions (Portugal), National Library of (Estonia), Royal Library of Denmark (Denmark), Secure Business (Austria), UK Data Archive (UK).”

From JISC‘s press release, 13 partners from across Europe join together to improve digital curation

Massachusetts library looking to create a digital learning lab to encourage HOMAGO (or hanging out, messing around and geeking out)

“Salem State University and the Lynn Library are collaborating on a project that aims to empower teens.”

“The 18-month project will focus on designing a digital learning lab in the middle of the Lynn Library to encourage a set of principles: hanging out, messing around and geeking out (HOMAGO).”

“The program is being funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and will be an innovative learning experience for those involved.”

“Working with the library, Salem State’s Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) devised a project plan that puts the entire design of the lab in the hands of the teens.”

“As they design the lab and raise money for its ultimate creation, the teens will learn skills in group dynamics, project management, social media, fund raising, marketing and evaluating software and hardware.”

“More than just a learning exercise, the grant-funded project will result in actual change at the Lynn Public Library for all area teens.”

“According to Marc Boots-Ebenfield, director of the Center for Teaching Innovation, the “transformational” project will cost upwards of $250,000 once completed.”

““These teens have little money, reduced access to the latest technologies and have not been engaged in the participatory, collaborative culture of American democracy,” Boots-Ebenfield said. “These same teens will now be placed on project teams with mentors, workshops, online communities, resources, and guidance to compete on the design of a new, high-tech teen center.””

“In April 2014, after 16 months of guided inquiry, the teens involved will present their designs at a forum to which the entire town is invited.”

“They will meet the mayor, members of the Lynn City Council and Salem State University professors and administrators as each team pitches its proposed design for the learning lab.”

“Boots-Ebenfield said although the grant is purely for design, the students will concurrently determine funding for the actual building of the lab.”

From Terri Ogan’s article for the Boston Globe, Salem State University and Lynn Library collaborate to empower teens

New open source app from the National Library of Australia enables users to view 13,000 digitized sheets of music

“Update: Paul Hagon, Senior Web Developer at the National Library of Australia provides a lot of interesting background about the app in this blog post.

“Say hello to the new Forte app (iPad only) from the National Library of Australia. It was formally released yesterday.”

“Forte provides access to more than 13,000 digitized items (including covers) from NLA’s sheet music collection. These items were published from the 1800s to the 1950s.”

“The app is a free download and we were able to access from the U.S. and Canadian iTunes App Stores.”

“The software used to develop Forte is open source.

“From the Official Announcement:

The concept for Forte emerged from an open data set of our sheet music collection made available on for the LibraryHack competition in 2011 and was developed in association with Canberra based developer Stripy Sock. To our knowledge it is the first app of its kind to provide mobile access specifically to a historical sheet music collection.”

“Key Features of Forte App

  • 13,000 pages of music
  • Browse scores by decade or composer
  • Beautiful cover artwork
  • Create your own list of favourites
  • Easy to play music straight from your iPad with simple swipe function
  • Share your favourites through Facebook, Twitter and email
  • Learn the history of each score through the Library Catalogue”

From Gary Price’s post on INFOdocket, Cool! National Library of Australia Launches New App to View Digitized Sheet Music From Their Collection

Documentary, “The Library in Crisis,” 2002

The Library in Crisis (46 minutes, 2002) is a documentary by Julian Samuel on libraries; historic and contemporary bibliocides; literacy and the French Revolution; libraries morphing into centers of E-commerce; the impact of copyright and the digitization of texts; the Khmer Rouge’s catalogues of people killed; and the World Trade Organization

See the video here on Julian Samuel’s vimeo

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