Archive for August, 2010

Pick of the Week – ATF 20 August 2010

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 by Jim

Metadata, Not E-Books, Can Save Publishing (External site)

O’Reilly TOC—Tools of Change for Publishing   •  July 29, 2010

Needles in haystacks. “E-books will not revolutionize reading, nor will they change the content,” says metadata enthusiast Nick Ruffilo. Reading on a screen rather than paper will not create new markets, but better metadata on each book could allow readers to find more of what they like, regardless of format: “If every book had this data, you could essentially have an eHarmony for books. You fill out a small profile of your likes and dislikes and now are shown a much smaller set of books to choose from.”

Not surprising but interesting to hear coming from somebody who was an early innovator in recommendation systems. It also confirms what we’ve known for a long-time about library descriptive data—it’s a crude tool for the task of getting people more of what they want. Our “tags” are tough to mobilize for that purpose. For a really good effort in this regard check out WorldCat Genres from my colleague, Diane Vizine-Goetz and her team in OCLC Research.


Pick of the Week – ATF 12 August 2010

Saturday, August 28th, 2010 by Jim

Mao, King Kong, and the Future of the Book (External site)

Triple Canopy   •  Issue #9

A trip down memory lane. Bob Stein, founder of the Institute for the Future of the Book, reminisces about his days with LaserDiscs, HyperCard and CD-ROMs.

Read this. If you weren’t around when these were happening then you’ll be amused and amazed at what Stein and others were doing (did Alan Kay really draw those pictures of an “iPad” in 1967!?) and the extent to which we stand on their shoulders. The reminder about Laurie Anderson’s “Puppet Motel” was particularly laden. I remember having that and thinking it was brilliant. Of course, it’s now unobtainable and likely unplayable. The music without the immersive, weirdly unsettling environment can be purchased, and you can see the Voyager demo for the CD-ROM.


Economics of Scholarly Production: Supplemental Materials

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Constance

At the Spring CNI Taskforce meeting last April, Karen Wetzel (Standards Program Manager at NISO) announced a new piece of work related to “supplemental materials” in journal articles. In the scientific literature, it is not uncommon for articles to be accompanied by a secondary set of figures, data, documentation of experimental protocols that aren’t considered part of the core content. Karen reported that thought-leaders from a variety of sectors had expressed concerns about the expense that publishers incur in managing this material, as well as the additional work that it creates for editorial staff and authors. Libraries were included in a long list of potential stakeholders, as potential curators of this supplemental material.

A central concern is that scholarly citation and reuse of this kind of supporting material is limited by the absence of identifiers, bibliographic metadata etc. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Open the ILS Silos

Friday, August 20th, 2010 by Roy

In 2007-2008, the Digital Library Federation (DLF) convened a Task Group to recommend standard interfaces for integrating the data and services of the Integrated Library System (ILS) with new applications supporting user discovery. The group produced a report with recommendations in December 2008. After that not much happened.

In February 2010, at the Code4Lib Conference, Karen Coombs (the OCLC Developer Network manager) and I brought together some of the people who had been on that task group as well as other interested parties who were at the conference to take this work to the next stage. At this ad hoc meeting we agreed that we were ready to take this work to the next stage. The next stage, we felt, was to actually create a middleware layer that we could collaboratively maintain. Read the rest of this entry »

Collaboration Contexts: Conclusions

Friday, August 6th, 2010 by Günter

This is the last in a series of posts on the Leadership through Collaboration Forum and the thinking that went into structuring the agenda. Before I conclude, I’d like to acknowledge that creating the forum agenda was a collaborative activity in and of itself – we’re grateful in particular to our host (The Smithsonian Institution), and to all of the RLG Partners on the planning group who contributed (you’ll see them listed at the bottom of this page). Additional support for the event came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation – thank you!

Some final words on the collaboration contexts: It is important to remember that no one of the collaboration contexts (local, group, or global) is inherently better than the other. Each provides the appropriate framing for solving different types of issues. Within any of these three contexts, the collaboration can be very shallow or very deep.

Figure 1: The Collaboration Continuum (introduced in “Beyond the Silos of the LAMs: Collaboration Among Libraries, Archives and Museums” [pdf])

Moving along the collaboration continuum, collaborations which express themselves as contact, cooperation or coordination are additive; they foster a working relationship among partners, yet remain distinct projects easily separable from the core functions and workings of the institution. Such collaborations do not impact how an institution organizes itself and its workforce. Deeper collaborations trend toward convergence, a transformative process that eventually will change behaviors, processes and organizational structures, and leads to a fundamental interconnectedness and interdependence among the partners. In transformative collaborations, participants find efficiencies that free up time and resources to focus on the things they do best. At the extreme end of the continuum, convergence in a specific area may turn into infrastructure: a service that is so deeply embedded into our everyday life that it becomes visible only when it breaks down. You only think about who hosts your e-mail, or where your electricity comes from, when the service is interrupted.

The stages of contact, cooperation and coordination on the collaboration continuum are likely the prerequisites for reaping the benefits of deep collaboration and convergence. Within each of the local, group, and global collaboration contexts, additive or transformative relationships can emerge. For both the collaboration contexts and the stages of the collaboration continuum, each setting provides unique benefits and drawbacks. Finding the appropriate collaboration context for a given challenge, and building relationships along the continuum so all parties derive the maximum benefit, are hallmarks of successful long-term collaborations.

Collaboration Context: Global

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 by Günter

Our last panel of speakers during “Yours, Mine, Ours: Leadership through Collaboration“ focuses on global collaborations:

  • A Critical Take: How Do We Present Cultural Content to Our Users?
    Nick Poole, Chief Executive, Collections Trust
  • A Critical Take: How Do We Create and Maintain Standards?
    Eric Miller, President, Zepheira
  • A Critical Take: How Do We Source Our Tools?
    Chris Prom, Assistant University Archivist, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • In this segment of the forum, we acknowledge all of the activity which has already gone into collaborations benefiting the entire community. However, we also feel it is time to take a step back and re-assess whether our current behaviors in creating shared aggregations, standards and tools are serving us well in meeting user expectations at the network level.

    Here’s the background:

    Global Solutions – Common Values
    “Things work at scale because the community subscribes to the same values.”

    In local and group collaborations, institutions and their interests are at the forefront, and the collaborative activity is predicated on the direct local benefit reaped. A collaboration guided by common values introduces a notable paradigm shift. It does not put the institutions first, but rather focuses on the intended audience and what that audience expects us to deliver.

    While any type of collaboration can be fueled by common values, including those circumscribed by institutional boundaries or specific group interests, value-based collaboration emerges as a survival strategy in the global networked environment. Ultimately, we all serve those who want access to our information, increasingly in digital form. Collaboration around values is driven by a shared vision which allows an entire community to respond to challenges in a consistent manner, and invisibly aligns all of us in an effort to realize a shared vision. In this context, the emphasis shifts from managing the collaboration to addressing the shared values. The sphere of common values collaboration includes standards, policies for copyright and data aggregation, the commons and open data movements, and the vision of Linked Data.

    While common value collaborations may have the lowest direct overhead (parties do not have to remain in constant and carefully orchestrated communication to remain in sync), they may also be the most difficult to sell to parent institutions, which generally pay their employees to work on local issues. The institutional benefit of such collaborations is less tangible since they raise all ships. As a matter of fact, in some instances common value behaviors may be perceived as threatening local goals, such as policies and technical protocols for making institutional content freely and openly available in many different venues.

    At its best, applying global values that make things work in a larger context in group and local settings ultimately prepares those institutions for the opportunities of the networked environment. There’s benefit in thinking globally and acting locally.

    In the next (and final) post in this series on the collaboration contexts and how they’ve shaped the overall structure of the forum, we’ll revisit the popular collaboration continuum, first introduced in the Beyond the Silos of the LAMs [pdf] report.

    Terminologies in action

    Monday, August 2nd, 2010 by Merrilee

    A few weeks ago I listened in on Karen Coombs TAI-CHI webinar “OCLC Web Services in action” (you can find the slides here, and watch the webinar here). Even though I work at OCLC, I’m not always as up to speed on what’s going on as I should be, so I was quite amazed at just how many web services are available, and the variety of use cases.

    I was particularly gratified to see the Terminology Services being put to use in several different prototypes, since Günter, Diane, Andy and I pulled together our Strawman document and held a meeting on uses of termonolgies way back when. All of the prototype work has been done around our top vote getter, which was “leveraging terminologies for search optimization.”

    I particularly like this example, from Demian Katz (via Karen Coombs) which shows how VuFind could be used with WorldCat Identities and OCLC Terminology Services to provide users with suggested terms.

    Terminology Services is quite experimental at this point — Karen and others who work with our Developers’ Network are looking for feedback in order to gauge the community’s level of interest in the Terminology Services before committing the resources to make it a production service. So if you have ideas about how to put the power of terminologies to work, I hope you will give it a whirl!

    Other examples of use of the Terminologies Service are featured in the Application Gallery. You can also view other offerings in our TAI CHI webinar series.