Thursday, October 21, 2004

Web Standards

I'm all for standards and this may help a bit.
The Web Standards Awards aims to promote web site design using W3C standards by seeking out and highlighting the finest standards-compliant sites on the Internet. By showing you standards-compliant sites that make your jaw drop, we hope to show you that web standards aren't a constraint, they are a liberation. About sixty winners of the Web Standards Awards are listed with links to their web sites.
Seen at Infomine.


The Library of Congress' Cataloging Policy and Support Office announces the availability of the basic presentation of the FRBR model (Functional requirements for bibliographic records) in both English and Spanish language versions. CPSO acknowledges that the excellent translation into Spanish by Ana Maria Martinez (Universidad de la Plata, Argentina), and the collaborative review efforts of Elena Escolano (Biblioteca Nacional de Espania) and Ageo Garcia (Tulane University) have combined to make this document the oficial authorized translation.

Dublin Core

This is the announcement of the publication of the first version (1,0 beta) of DescribeThis, a service designed for the automatic extraction of metadata from online resources. The site offers an easy to use interface where you can indicate the resource to analyze and how to download the results as XML, XHTML or RDF files.

In the current version (1.0 BETA), the site's engine is able to find the resources to process using keywords, full URLs or more complex queries with operators, like "ISBN", used to collect the bibliographic data for published documents. In the first case it works as a metasearch engine using other search engines to locate the best sites where the resource can be found. The results returned back contains all the recognized and generated Dublin Core elements for the requested resource and can be downloaded as RDF, XML or XHTML collections.

DescribeThis's main fields of applications:

  • To support and extend the application and development of the Dublin Core format as one of most appropriate metadata standards to describe or catalog resources, digitals or not.
  • To use the site as a tool to support the cataloguing of online resources, oriented to information specialists and Internet users in general.
  • To deliver services of automatic metadata management, designed for managers of bibliographic and content databases.
  • To create an efficient way for administrators and website authors to dynamically provide metadata information about their sites to page crawlers, bots, spiders, agents, worms and other automatic indexing and site classification systems, with the aim of contributing to the improvement of the whole Internet content organization.
In the front page you can find several samples to illustrate the normal operation of the service.

About Dublin Core Services

DescribeThis is a gateway to the functions of analysis, automatic conversion and filtration of digital resources and formats, included as part of a group of web services and tools called Sand Dublin Core Services (DCS). DCS provides support and software infrastructure to develop metadata management applications and services.

In this version, DCS can automatically analyze and to generate metadata registers for the following formats:

  • HTML and XHTML Documents
  • Dublin Core/RDF
  • Dublin Core/XML
  • Dublin Core/HTML (META tags)
  • GIF, JPG (EXIF) and other image formats
  • RSS
  • bibTex
  • proprietary Formats XML (ex.: Amazon XML Web Services)
Support for other well-known formats like PDF, MARC , stream formats (MP3, MPEG, etc), OAI directories, FOAF networks and others will be added in the near future. A more complete information about available features of DescribeThis and DCS will be added on the Sand corporate website as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Out of Town

This Friday through Monday I'll be in Roanoke VA. My wife, Cora, is giving a workshop to the Virginia Highlands Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. I'll be there to demonstrate that anyone can do these dances and run errands. We are also taking some time to visit family in the area and do some sightseeing. If anyone has some suggestions for the Roanoke/Blacksburg area I'd love to hear them. Needless to say, there will be no postings those days.

Monday, October 18, 2004


I have to mention that my co-workers will be conducting a workshop in Illinois.

EXPLORE! Fun with Science Program

Wednesday & Thursday, December 1 & 2

8:30 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

Target Audience: Public Librarians and School Librarians working with middle school youth:

  • Are you interested in strengthening your library’s role in providing space science information for patrons?
  • Are you interested in doing more than just surviving science fair time?
  • Are you interested in the potential to develop partnerships and collaborate with science teachers and space scientists?
Then this workshop is for you! Thirty participants will be selected to attend.

Mission: The Explore Fun with Science Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is designed to bring space science resources and activities to the library environment. Libraries have long provided essential learning resources that strengthen and perpetuate formal and informal education. They have the potential to play an important role in helping bring space science information to everyone through printed matter and online activities. The Lunar and Planetary Institute will endeavor to cultivate and facilitate the development of strong and lasting partnerships between the space science community and libraries.

Overview: The program includes eight topics:

  1. Rockets - Getting Into Space
  2. Space Stations - Living and Working in Space
  3. Space Colonies - Living and Working in Space and on Other Planets
  4. Egg-stronauts - Returning from Space
  5. Solar System - How Did It Form and What is Included?
  6. Shaping the Planets - Impacts, Volcanoes, and Other Planetary Activity
  7. Comets - Dirty Snow Balls in Space
  8. Our Place in Space - How is Earth Unusual? What Influences Earth?
These eight topics are investigated through videos, facilitator PowerPoint presentations, hands-on activities, demonstrations, supporting resources and a Web site. The Lunar and Planetary Institute Education and Public Outreach staff will help workshop participants become familiar with the content and materials so that librarians can share space science with their children, family, and community programs.

Objectives: During the workshop participants will:

  • Meet space science researchers
  • Become acquainted with the Explore themes
  • Undertake Explore demos, activities, and resources designed for the library setting
  • Work with Explore developers and presenters to learn about their methods of presenting Explore to different audiences
Registration: The workshop is free, but registration is limited to 30 librarians. Therefore, you must apply to attend. Applications to Attend are due November 1, 2004. All factors being even, date and time of arrival will determine selection. Applications will be selected with consideration for 1) geographic distribution across Illinois, 2) with priority given to those who regularly work with middle school youth, and 3) applicants expressing interest in exploring or strengthening the library’s role in providing space science information. Attendance is limited to 30. Participants will be notified of acceptance starting November 8.

Each participant will receive the Explore video / DVD set that introduces the eight Fun with Science topics, the Explore CD with presentations, activities, demos, and resources, additional resources, and a $300 stipend for completion of the workshop. These materials are ready to be incorporated into existing library programs. Participants are expected to share the Explore Program through their library’s programs, and with other librarians following the workshop. The two-day workshop will be held Wednesday and Thursday, December 1 & 2, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Light morning and afternoon snacks will be provided.

The workshop will be held at:
Illinois State Library, Room 403 300 South Second Street Springfield, IL 62701-1796

For more information, contact Karen Egan 217-782-7749 or

Local hotel options and other logistical information will be supplied shortly after participants register; participants are responsible for travel, housing, and dinner costs and arrangements. A $300 stipend to cover expenses will be awarded to every attendee at the end of the workshop.

Make my co-workers happy and make this a full workshop.


Infrae has released extensions for Python, Zope and the Silva CMS for harvesting web-based repositories exposed using the OAI-PMH standard (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). In addition they are announcing an extension for the Railroad content repository software for exposing existing Railroad systems as OAI-PMH harvestable repositories. The individual components enable organizations to harvest, index and present data from any OAI-PMH repository, and also allow the setting up of a new repository with Railroad.

Visualizing Bibliographic Metadata

Visualizing Bibliographic Metadata - A Virtual (Book) Spine Viewer by Naomi Dushay appears in D-Lib Magazine (October 2004) vol. 10, no. 10.
User interfaces for digital information discovery often require users to click around and read a lot of text in order to find the text they want to read--a process that is often frustrating and tedious. This is exacerbated because of the limited amount of text that can be displayed on a computer screen. To improve the user experience of computer mediated information discovery, information visualization techniques are applied to the digital library context, while retaining traditional information organization concepts. In this article, the "virtual (book) spine" and the virtual spine viewer are introduced. The virtual spine viewer is an application which allows users to visually explore large information spaces or collections while also allowing users to hone in on individual resources of interest. The virtual spine viewer introduced here is an alpha prototype, presented to promote discussion and further work.


The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a National Leadership Grant of $233,115 to the Texas Center for Digital Knowledge (TxCDK) at the University of North Texas for a project investigating the coding of information and metadata utilization in one million MARC records from the OCLC WorldCat database. TxCDK Fellows Dr. William E. Moen and Dr. Shawne D. Miksa, both from the UNT School of Library and Information Sciences (SLIS), are the Principal Investigators of the project entitled "Examining Present Practices to Inform Future Metadata Use: An Empirical Analysis of MARC Content Designation Utilization".

During the 2-year project the extent of catalogers' use of MARC 21, the mark-up language used by catalogers worldwide to create electronic catalog records, will be investigated. OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) will provide a sample of 1 million MARC bibliographic records. The records will be pulled from OCLC's WorldCat database.

Current MARC 21 specifications define nearly 2000 fields and subfields available to library catalogers. In a previous project, Z-Interoperability Testbed Project, strong indications were discovered that only 36 of the available MARC subfields accounted for 80% of all subfield utilization.

More information about the project is available on-line.

Interesting research at my alma mater. If only 36 subfields account for 80% of usage, how much of MARC is really necessary? Should Dublin Core be expanded to these 36 fields? When was the last time fields were tossed out of MARC because they were not being used? Should some fields be valid only for a community of users, not everybody? How are the fields chosen for the Core record? Should they be changed? Of the fields not being used are any critical for user access? How could we populate those missing fields? So many interesting questions. I'm proud my school is investigating these questions.


This one from Terry Reese, of MarcEdit fame:
I thought someone might be interested in this. At OSU, we had a need to create an OAI harvester for ASP.NET so I created an OAI harvester in C# that works much like Ed Summer's OAI::Harvester perl module. The component will work with .NET 1.1 or MONO 1.0 (in fact, it was developed and tested on Slackware 10) and is being released under the GPL. I've posted the source and example program on Sourceforge.
Thanks for sharing your work Terry.