Friday, January 24, 2003

Chinese American Librarians Association

CALA is another association of librarians that is new to me.
The objectives of the Association shall be:
  1. To enhance communication among Chinese American librarians as well as between Chinese American librarians and other librarians;
  2. To serve as a forum for discussion of mutual problems and professional concerns among Chinese American librarians;
  3. To promote Sino-American librarianship and library services;
  4. and To provide a vehicle whereby Chinese American librarians may cooperate with other Associations and organizations having similar or allied interests.

RDF

BrownSauce is an attempt to write a generic RDF browser. There is RDF data all over the place, in XML documents and sources like databases. Getting all that data is impractical, and would be unreadable (to say the least). So BrownSauce is an attempt to make something which can browse that information.

Chapters from the upcoming O'Reilly book Practical RDF are now available.

Portals

The Library of Congress Portals Applications Issues Group (LCPAIG) have put together a fine resource page as part of their work. It includes:
  • Selected List of Portal Products & Vendors
  • Selected List of OpenURL Products
  • Selected List of Educational Portal Products & Projects
  • Examples of Portal Systems Used by Libraries
  • Selected Resources on Portals & OpenURL

TrackBack

Popdex now offers the ability to host TrackBack threads for any arbitrary URL.

The Problem: Conversations (threads, memes, etc.) tend to revolve at any given moment around a particular link (i.e to an online article or blog post). If you want to see what others are saying about that particular newsworthy item, there's no succinct way of doing so. The only option tends to be clicking through all the citation links, and trying to see what people are saying about that particular item.

Part of the Solution: TrackBack pings can now be sent to Popdex for any arbitrary URL, thus creating a hosted, third-party TrackBack solution for any URL on the web. A reverse chronological (most recent first) list of TrackBacks are now listed on all Popdex citation pages.

But I need your help, thus I am invoking the LazyWeb!

I'd like to see this work on Blogger. It is something like citation linking, and that has proven to be useful. Seen on the Shifted Librarian

LazyWeb is a unique idea. People submit ideas they think useful and hope someone else creates the tool.

Privacy

Several people have recently subscribed to receive this 'blog on e-mail. Those who have subscribed to receive items from this 'blog by e-mail should be aware:
Blog owners will be able to view the list of their subscribers. On the flip side, if subscribers want their email address hidden from view, they can set their account to "private" in their Profile section. In fact, this option is in place now, if you want to use it.
You can rest assured I'll not pass your addresses on to any third party or send you spam. I'm sometimes curious as to who is a subscriber, so I will take a peek some time. This applies to any 'blog you have subscribed to using Bloglet.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Texas

TexShare, a statewide consortium of academic libraries, public libraries, and libraries of clinical medicine administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, employs traditional and innovative strategies to resource sharing. Among the programs are
  • The TexShare Card allows patrons to borrow materials from over 400 library collections all across Texas. The card is accepted in a wide variety of public and academic libraries, allowing borrowers in good standing access to hundreds of books and other materials that would previously have been unobtainable.
  • TexShare databases, a collection of more than 60 electronic databases.
This system is facing funding cuts, or elimination. To find ways to help preserve these resources visit the Communication Plan Web site.

Preservation

The National Post has the article "Celestial archive fades"
The boxes were piled up ready for garbage pickup when astronomer Elizabeth Griffin got wind of the renovations underway at a U.S. university last year. A collection of astronomy photographic plates dating back more than 50 years was to be chucked out to make way for a new laboratory.
The Spectroscopic Virtual Observatory is working to preserve and make accessible these resources.

New Edition of the NAL Agricultural Thesaurus

The 2003 edition is the second edition of the NAL Agricultural Thesaurus. The first edition, published on January 1, 2002, contained 56,179 terms (38,448 descriptors, 17,645 lead-in terms and 86 node labels). The 2003 edition contains a total of 58,305 terms (39,172 descriptors, 19,039 lead-in terms and 94 node labels). In this edition, there are 1,619 terms with definitions or scope notes which clarify the meaning and usage of terms. Terms in the subject areas of youth development, family studies and consumer science were expanded through a cooperative effort with USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. The Thesaurus Staff continues to improve the thesaurus by adding new terminology of particular interest to USDA, incorporating taxonomic changes, adding definitions and scope notes to terms for clarity and other changes which generally improve the usefulness of the thesaurus.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

OCLC Research

The latest OCLC Newsletter has an article "OCLC Research Projects" There is an interesting set of projects, the Metadata Switch
an umbrella activity for a set of projects which are constructing experimental modular services that add value to metadata. A partial listing of such services includes:
  • harvesting metadata
  • 'fusion' of metadata from different sources
  • schema transformation
  • enrichment or augmentation of records with various types of data
  • terminology and name authority services
We will also be testing how to expose this functionality as 'web services', modular web-based machine-to-machine applications which can be combined in various ways.
The OCLC Research Projects page also offers open source tools, four projects concerned with FRBR, and many others.

Theatre Library Association

The Theatre Library Association is a library organization I just came across.
The Theatre Library Association is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1937 to promote the collection, preservation, and use of theatrical and performing arts materials. Membership includes librarians, scholars, curators, archivists, performers, writers, designers, historians, collectors, and students.
They have an annual meeting, publications and present awards. The annual membership is reasonable.

OpenURL bookmarklet

Here is a tool to create a bookmarklet to your favorite OpenURL resolver. If you library uses them why not create a bookmarklet for your users to drag to their toolbars? Post it on your Web page with instructions for your users. Seen on Library Techlog.

MyLibrary

A new version of the MyLibrary Perl module and scripts are now available.New features in this release include:
  • PostgreSQL support
  • Better emailing
  • Better stylesheet support
  • Searchability
Seen on Extranet.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Ontologies

The latest issue of Information Research has the article "A literature-based approach to annotation and browsing of Web resources" by Miguel A. Sicilia, Elena Garcia, Ignacio Aedo, and Paloma Diaz.
The emerging Semantic Web technologies critically depend on the availability of shared knowledge representations called ontologies, which are intended to encode consensual knowledge about specific domains. Currently, the proposed processes for building and maintaining those ontologies entail the joint effort of groups of representative domain experts, which can be expensive in terms of co-ordination and in terms of time to reach consensus. In this paper, literature-based ontologies, which can be initially developed by a single expert and maintained continuously, are proposed as preliminary alternatives to group-generated domain ontologies, or as early versions of them. These ontologies encode domain knowledge in the form of terms and relations along with the (formal or informal) bibliographical resources that define or deal with them, which makes them specially useful for domains in which a common terminology or jargon is not soundly established. A general-purpose metamodelling framework for literature-based ontologies - which has been used in two concrete domains - is described, along with a proposed methodology and a specific resource annotation approach. In addition, the implementation of a RDF-based Web resource browser - that uses the ontologies to guide the user in the exploration of a corpus of digital resources- is presented as a proof of concept.

E-Prints

E-LIS is an electronic open access archive for scientific or technical documents, published or unpublished, in Librarianship, Information Science and Technology, and related application activities. E-LIS is an archive to deposit preprints, postprints and other LIS publications, it is a service for finding and downloading documents in electronic format, offered as a free service to the international LIS community. The goal of the E-LIS Archive is to promote communication in the field by the rapid dissemination of papers. Seen on FOS News.

Open Source ILS

Avanti MicroLCS version 1.0 beta 1 is released.

Although I was aiming for a fully completed version 1.0 release today, I have decided that this release be a beta version. As often happens in software, things sometimes take a little longer than expected. The documentation, though ample, is still a work in progress. I have not had enough time to do the thorough testing that a version 1.0 demands. A few planned features are also absent in this release. The fully tested and polished version 1.0 will be made available in a few weeks.

However, despite some roughness here and there, this beta release comes close, in form and substance, to what Avanti MicroLCS 1.0 is expected to be. This release is a serviceable product, providing a basic networked OPAC. It embodies the design philosophy of simplicity, implementation neutrality, flexibility, and innovation that has been the cornerstone of this project from the beginning. With its unique vertically monolithic, abstract design, Avanti MicroLCS is a departure from the norm. This release should be a tangible representative of what has been in the works over the past year, and what is to come. Seen on oss4lib.

OCLC

If you are a cataloger and use the OCLC Name Address Directory (NAD), we want to hear from you. OCLC is planning for the migration of the NAD to the new OCLC Library Policies and Technology Directory. We want to be sure that we understand how catalogers are using the NAD as we consider implementing the new directory in Connexion. Please click on the link to see a description of the NAD and to answer a brief, six question survey. The survey will be available for one month starting today. Thank you for your help.

Disaster

MOUNT STROMLO OBSERVATORY DESTROYED BY FIRE

The Australian National University expresses concern and sympathy to those who have lost so much in the Canberra fires.

In particular, our thoughts are with the families of those that died in the fires.

The Mount Stromlo Observatory has been largely destroyed by the bushfires which have ravaged Canberra.

"We are thankful that no staff or students were injured in the Mount Stromlo fire." ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb said today.

The Observatory, operated by the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, is one of Australia's leading centres of Astronomical research. The fires destroyed four telescopes, the equipment workshop, eight houses which had been occupied by staff and an administration building. Preliminary estimates have valued the losses at more than $20 million.

Two office buildings and the visitors centre were spared -- importantly, preserving most of the computer data generated on site in recent years.

Professor Chubb emphasised that the work of the Research School would continue.

"The loss of Mount Stromlo is a devastating blow to Australian research and in particular to the 60 staff and 20 students who made it their workplace.

"To those staff who also lost homes on Mount Stromlo, these fires have delivered a double blow.

"It is vital to emphasise that the work of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics will continue, however. The University has adequate workshop and laboratory facilities to accommodate the valuable equipment contracts which are being fulfilled by the school -- including the $6.3 million contract to build a sharp-eyed imager for the Gemini South Telescope in Chile.

"Other research projects have been undeniably set back by this loss, although we are still evaluating the full extent of the damage.

"Plans are already being put in place to rebuild at Mount Stromlo and restore the Research School to its full capacity.

"The fires have been a devastating blow to Canberra and the ANU is committed to helping rebuild the lives of those affected."

The Director of the Research School, Professor Penny Sackett, said, "Our losses are presently overwhelming and the scene of Mount Stromlo is one of devastation, but we have retained our most valuable asset, our staff, 100 per cent intact and we are extremely grateful for their safety."

"We have also saved our computer database and many of us will be back at work tomorrow."

More information on the destroyed telescopes is available.