The cultural and scholarly record

  • Preserving musical heritage ...August 14, 2011 – One of the casualties of the London riots last week was a Sony distribution warehouse. The building, owned by Sony DADC, was also the main HQ for the UK's biggest distributor of independent music, Pias. [More than 1.5m CDs destroyed in Sony warehouse fire] Interestingly, Sony looked after the stock...read full entry...
  • The university's curatorial roleFebruary 18, 2011 – I made a note in these pages a couple of years ago about the University of Edinburgh's mission statement. The University's mission is the creation, dissemination and curation of knowledge. The occasion was Chris Rusbridge's justified pleasure at seeing the mission changed to include 'curation'. At the time, Chris was...read full entry...
  • Using Wikipedia February 13, 2011 – We still don't appear to know what to make of Wikipedia. Consider these two cases. First, Edward Glaeser includes a reference to Wikipedia in the acknowledgements to his new book, Triumph of the city. Following common practices, Wikipedia is not listed in the bibliography or citations, because any Wikipedia fact...read full entry...
  • The library network and the scholarly recordFebruary 13, 2011 – The library community is a highly interconnected one. Networks are motivated both by library mission and effective management of resources. This trend will accelerate as the Internet favors shared services, and libraries will see more benefit in building such shared services. The Hathi Trust is an important example. The growth...read full entry...
  • Managing down collections ...January 21, 2011 – I was interested to read this from Karen Schneider a while ago: "Centralized mass storage for legacy print materials (paper-based books and journals) is by far the most under-observed trend in libraries today". I agree, with the friendly qualification that the trend is about managing the relationship between local, mass...read full entry...
  • Emerging network level management of the collective print collectionSeptember 12, 2010 – One of the recurrent themes in these pages is that systemwide coordination of print materials is necessary as libraries begin to retire collections - to offsite storage or removing them altogether. There are various drivers here: the demands on space, the emergence of a digital corpus, the cost of managing...read full entry...
  • Outside-in and inside-out reduxJune 06, 2010 – I have been using this phrase, outside-in and inside-out, to discuss a contrast in information management practices that is becoming more important. Here is how I spoke about it a little while ago in these pages: Think, for example, of a distinction between outside-in resources, where the library is buying...read full entry...
  • QOTD: a new AlexandriaMarch 14, 2010 – An interesting article - Toward a new Alexandria: imagining the future of libraries - by Lisbet Rausing has just appeared in The New Republic. It discusses the continuity of the scholarly record in a richly allusive text. I sensed three strands. First, the scholarly record is evermore diffused through media...read full entry...
  • Name, rank and serial numberFebruary 26, 2010 – As authors are recognised as resources to be discovered, managed, ranked, and tracked, an interest in names and identifiers will continue to grow. A focus on research evaluation, reputation management, publication management drive this, as well as general information management issues in a web environment. Historically, national libraries have managed...read full entry...
  • EuropeanaJanuary 03, 2010 – My colleague Ricky Erway bravely accepted the challenge to talk as an outsider on the challenges faced by Europeana to a European conference on digitization last year. Her remarks are recorded in an article in the LIBER Quarterly. The organisers of the second LIBER/EBLIDA workshop on digitisation (The Hague, October...read full entry...
  • How to repost?December 29, 2009 – I 're-posted' my entry on the 'two ways of Web 2.0' the other day. On the site, I now have a page for the original entry and for the 're-post'. I have just 're-posted' another entry, but this time I chose to do it a different way. I changed the...read full entry...
  • Being friends with the librarian in the Bibliothèque NationalDecember 29, 2009 – [I bring back this entry prompted by the selection of The Arcades Project in the series of canonical works in the Times Higher Education Supplement. It was originally published on July 13 2007.] There is a passage in a letter from Walter Benjamin to Theodor Adorno where he suggests removing...read full entry...
  • Stuff as a service ...December 13, 2009 – First, a note on a couple of recent media experiences ... We went to The boat that rocked (aka Pirate Radio) recently and were determined to enjoy it. For those that don't know, it is a movie set in 1966 on a 'pirate radio' ship broadcasting music into the UK....read full entry...
  • Libraries and e-scienceNovember 13, 2009 – Emerging data-intensive e-science presents many support challenges for institutions, disciplines and national bodies to work through. The role of the academic library in this multiscale world is also an open question. Two recent reports discuss e-science (or 'cyberinfrastructure' or 'e-research') in general terms and repay reading. Liz Lyon, the Director...read full entry...
  • QOTD: protocol-based time travel for the webNovember 07, 2009 – We are pleased that Herbert Van de Sompel will be talking about Memento, a joint project of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Old Dominion University, at OCLC later this month. We will make a webcast available; see the details here. If you are in Central Ohio, come by .... Here...read full entry...
  • On the discriminations of availability ... November 02, 2009 – Seamus Heaney famously - and in poetry - complained about being included in an anthology of 'British' poetry. In the course of his poem he invokes Miroslav Holub's 'On the necessity of truth' where a man creates a disturbance in a cinema when he sees a beaver mistakenly called a...read full entry...
  • Ebooks and/or digital booksAugust 20, 2009 – I was in a meeting with a group of folks from research libraries the other week. I was interested in a particular terminological issue: 'ebooks' and 'digital books' were each being used in conversation. I asked was there a pattern of consistent use here. 'Not complete consistency' was the answer,...read full entry...
  • QOTD: books: the last frontier for adsApril 25, 2009 – Fintan O'Toole writes about the Google books settlement in the Irish Times. He wonders which ads will be shown to accompany which texts. My favorite is the third, the opening of Ulysses .... PICTURE THIS. You read "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of...read full entry...
  • Book covers and the scholarly recordMarch 31, 2009 – There have been various discussions among research libraries recently about the management of the collective print collection as pressures on library space coincide with shifting research and learning behaviors in a network environment. This will create interesting questions about preserving the print scholarly record over the next few years: what...read full entry...
  • The archived website as historical documentMarch 30, 2009 – Presentations from the JISC conference last week are now available on the website. I attended the session on web archiving and was struck by the presentation by Niels Brügger (PDF of session here; he begins at page 64). Kevin Ashley's overview of institutional issues and Paul Cunnea's discussion of national...read full entry...
  • Configuration of data curation infrastructureFebruary 09, 2009 – Further to my remarks about Canadian research data curation of the other day, I was interested to read the following from Chris Rusbridge of the Data Curation Centre. It is clear that a national research data infrastructure is needed, but there are problems with all of the approaches taken so...read full entry...
  • Collective collection policiesJanuary 23, 2009 – One of the more interesting library developments in recent years has been the growing interest in cooperative approaches to the storage and management of collections. This has been made more real by pressures on space, and the opportunity cost of using that space to house print collections. Such collaborative sourcing...read full entry...
  • Libraries and research information practiceJanuary 21, 2009 – I am pleased to note the appearance of a new report which synthesizes research findings about scholarly information practices and draws out lessons for libraries .. Palmer, Carole L., Lauren C. Teffeau and Carrie M. Pirmann. 2009. Scholarly Information Practices in the Online Environment: Themes from the Literature and Implications...read full entry...
  • On the record: two views from the GuardianOctober 29, 2008 – There is an interesting and reflective commentary about the historical record and 'unpublishing' in the Guardian. I particularly like the comment about tattoos. The consequences of putting information about yourself into the public domain are more far-reaching in a world where things you say are linked to, easily passed around...read full entry...
  • Blogging and Montaigne: musing and raving, humours and conceitsOctober 19, 2008 – I returned from my travels last night to find a new edition of the Atlantic waiting for me. It grabbed attention as it has been redesigned, and I liked the redesign. But also, my eye was caught by the title of Andrew Sullivan's essay 'Why I blog'. Sullivan's whole essay...read full entry...
  • Article history and Enid BlytonAugust 31, 2008 – It is nice seeing the Guardian record article history on the web version of articles - when was it originally published, what are the details of print publication, revisions. This shows that they are serious about what they publish as part of an ongoing part of the historical record. Incidentally,...read full entry...
  • The institutional record and web archivingJuly 25, 2008 – As an institution's web presence becomes more central to its identity and business life, it will be interesting to see how long it is before we have more routine approaches to selectively capturing and archiving institutional web resources. One of the interesting things about this topic, as with many we...read full entry...
  • Quotes of the day: scholars on Google Book SearchJuly 23, 2008 – Here is John Sutherland on Google Book Search .... What we are witnessing this year is the beginning of the greatest act of recovered memory in the history of our species. The next decade will be the age of the unimaginably vast archive. More particularly, the dynamic and usable archive....read full entry...
  • Yeats againJuly 19, 2008 – I mentioned visiting the very nicely done Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland in these pages a couple of years ago. There is a very positive story about it in the NYT today. They highlight some of the digital elements of the exhibition ..... The notebook is one...read full entry...
  • QOTD: perpetually engulfed by books ...July 15, 2008 – Writing about the history of Cambridge University Library, David McKitterick [Worldcat identity; Worldcat search] says: There is one simple lesson to be learned from studying library history. Those administering, and those using, libraries have almost invariably faced a growth of knowledge, reflected in increasing numbers of books, that threatens to...read full entry...
  • We enjoy visiting with our users while there is no place like homeJuly 10, 2008 – How libraries reach into the flow of their users has been one of the recurrent themes of this blog. Recently, I have been interested to see libraries begin to systematise this and to understand the issues around particular approaches. I mentioned the National Library of Scotland's presence on YouTube the...read full entry...
  • Research Repository SystemsJuly 02, 2008 – Chris Rusbridge writes about Research Repository Systems: I promised to be more specific about what I would like to see in repositories that presented more value for less work overall, by offering facilities that allow it to become part of the researcher’s workflow. I’m going to refer to this as...read full entry...
  • A 'shop window' to the National Library of Scotland July 01, 2008 – I enjoyed a visit to The National Library of Scotland (NLS) a while ago. The NLS has an area on YouTube, showing videos from the Scottish Screen Archive. Here is a link to an interesting video (embedding is disabled) which is rather more engaging than its description suggests ;-) This...read full entry...
  • The institutional web presence againJune 25, 2008 – I pointed to Brian Kelly's note about the evolution of the University of Bath's web presence the other day. Brian works at UKOLN, which is at the University of Bath. He uses the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to chart how the University's web presence changed over the years, and makes...read full entry...
  • Long Room HubJune 04, 2008 – The picture selected to accompany Robert Darnton's article about research libraries in the New York Review of Books was of the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin. Robin Adams mentioned this at the RLG Programs Digitization and the Humanities: Impact on Libraries and Special Collections Symposium earlier today. He also...read full entry...
  • The musical record again: literally this timeApril 27, 2008 – From an interview with Billy Bragg, the Bard of Barking, in the current issue of Mojo: Vinyl, CD, or MP3? Vinyl. In a hundred years time, vinyl will be the only medium that has survived. CDs will fade, like old pictures that have gone a bit orange, and MP3s, well...read full entry...
  • GenealogyApril 13, 2008 – I am in Dublin (Ireland) for a couple of days and was interested to see Fintan O'Toole writing about archives and genealogy in the Irish Times yesterday (behind a paywall). He contrasts two views of genealogy, one that it is about tourism, one that it is about culture and the...read full entry...
  • The musical recordApril 10, 2008 – I was reading an interview with Elvis Costello yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to come across this question from the interviewer, David Hepworth: Right. I was interested, you did those reissues, and they're doing them again, and you've got huge numbers of B sides and live recordings and all this...read full entry...
  • Scots WikipediaApril 05, 2008 – [Note: the links in the Wikipedia quotes do not work as I have not changed the relative URLs to absolute ones] I was looking up James Connolly just now as I prepare some slides for a presentation at the 2008 LIR Annual Seminar. The event is being held in Liberty...read full entry...
  • Full disclosure?March 23, 2008 – An interesting announcement from CLIR about a $4.27M competitive program to describe hidden collections has just appeared. The existence of such collections must be more fully disclosed if they are to release more of their value in research and learning: With generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the...read full entry...
  • Moving to the network levelDecember 16, 2007 – It was an interesting week for announcements about network level services. Amazon announced SimpleDB: Amazon SimpleDB is a web service for running queries on structured data in real time. This service works in close conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), collectively...read full entry...
  • Collection HaikuNovember 24, 2007 – Dennis Massie has a nice post over on HangingTogether. A set of Haiku about collections - they relate to issues discussed at a recent planning event about managing collections in changing times. With difficulty, I limit myself to one here: On the library as destination: (End-user POV) Gather my gadgets...read full entry...
  • Ariadne and national differencesNovember 02, 2007 – A new issue of Ariadne has appeared. It continues the recent repository theme with articles on the EU-wide Driver initiative and the centrally supported open access initiatives rolled out under the Dare program in the Netherlands. I am often asked about differences between the library environments in the US and...read full entry...
  • QOTD: digital information October 31, 2007 – Library and Archives Canada has released a digital information strategy for consultation. Those involved with the development of this Strategy believe that if we apply a combination of will, clarity of vision, collaborative effort across sectors and jurisdictions, and investment from both private and public sectors, we can make Canada...read full entry...
  • Quotes of the day (and other days?): persistent academic discourseOctober 28, 2007 – Here is Grainne Conole, professor of e-learning at the Open University writing about academic papers, conference papers, and blogging: Coming back to the question of which represents academic discourse – to my mind it’s all three – in different ways writing a paper, giving a presentation and blogging all help...read full entry...
  • Processes and repositoriesOctober 16, 2007 – I find it convenient to think about current library systems activities in terms of support for three materials workflows: bought/print materials, licensed/electronic materials, and digital/digitized materials. This is being pragmatic rather than pure, and is open to challenge on many grounds. I have discussed these at more length here, and...read full entry...
  • Memory: curatedOctober 11, 2007 – Major 'memory organizations' face significant challenges as the volume and variety of what is within their potential remit to collect grows. The digital turn has presented major challenges in developing routine ways of capturing and curating digital materials in many contexts. An Australian colleague pointed me to a joint statement...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Digital libraries and archivesOctober 10, 2007 – From Seamus Ross's keynote [PDF] at ECDL: I might humbly suggest that digital libraries must adopt a theoretical stance. As I noted above, library science is devoid of theoretical foundations and of a knowledge-base that is relevant to the budding digital world. Archival science with its principles of uniqueness, provenance,...read full entry...
  • Collections grid and digital conservancyOctober 09, 2007 – We use the following collections grid from time to time to help focus attention on particular collecting patterns in libraries. The bottom right hand corner represents materials that have not been highly stewarded and which are usually unique to a particular institution. The types of material which go in here...read full entry...
  • WesternsSeptember 13, 2007 – I am writing this in the very fine new public library building in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was speaking to the Wyoming Library Association conference this morning. I have been travelling this week, hence no posts. In the few minutes before the library closes .... When I told the children I...read full entry...
  • Publish or perishAugust 28, 2007 – Publish or perish is interesting looking: Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses Google Scholar to obtain the raw citations, then analyzes these and presents the following statistics: .... [Publish or perish] Among the statistics it generates are: Total number of papers;...read full entry...
  • CommunicationAugust 20, 2007 – Update: my comments about the published literature below are about the library literature, a very specific set of journals and organizations. I am not trying to make any statement about the general value of the 'published literature' relative to blogs or other media. We have lots of places to 'publish'...read full entry...
  • Bright is the old grayJuly 23, 2007 – Reading Walt's latest Cites and Insights this jumped out at me: I believe that gray literature—blogs, this ejournal, a few similar publications and some lists—represents the most compelling and worthwhile literature in the library field today. [Cites & Insights 7:9 - On the Literatyre] Gray? Gray! Blogs, reports published on...read full entry...
  • ReferencesJuly 07, 2007 – Alma Swan has an interesting post discussing the value added by the publisher in copy editing and concludes that it is ... variable. She notes a publisher study: Wates and Campbell looked at copy editing changes carried out on a set of science, humanities and social science articles at Blackwell...read full entry...
  • Early stuffJuly 03, 2007 – Thom has a nice post pointing to the materials with the earliest dates in Worldcat. Jars. Early records. Tablets. And ..... a fragment of mummy cloth. Thom has also done a Worldcat List of the ten oldest items he found....read full entry...
  • The texting recordJune 25, 2007 – I found David Crystal's remarks about the 'language' of texting in Words, Words, Words refreshing, having been in a couple of conversations recently where folks were complaining about it. "Texting language is totally appropriate for its setting" he says. And goes on to note "New genres add to the expressive...read full entry...