Posted by: newbysnotion | November 27, 2008

Tracking the development of the Web

A collection Lesk mentions in Chapter 12 of his book is the Internet Archive, located at  The goal of the Archive is to capture the development of the Internet.  The information in the Archive comes from sweeping the Web approximately every other month.  The amount of memory devoted to this project is higher than I can even comprehend.  The significance of the project is to keep artifacts that are in digital form, preserve them and create a library for researchers, historians and scholars.

The Wayback Machine is a tool for people to search archived Web sites.  Currently, one must put in a URL and date, but futuristically there will be a full search engine.  I thought it humorous to read in the FAQ section that the Wayback Machine is named after Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon show.  Given that Web sites change frequently, this type of approach makes sense as a way to capture the transitions. 

The Internet Archive is a large operation and has a larger goal than just capturing the development of the Internet.  It partners with the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and has announced an agreement with NASA to archive and manage, free to all, Nasa’s photographs, film and video.  It also has an open education resource section with university lectures–some downloadable.  In a published profile of Brewster Kahle, GOOD Magazine on 11/7/07,; it states the organization has a goal of digitizing the world’s published information and is scanning 12,000 books per month.  The repository will be openly available to all.  The article contrasts the approach of The Internet Archive to the Google project that is for-profit and may limit public access.   I do fee relieved to read this.  The Google project has some good points, but I have had a concern about access to information.  The Internet Archive is a site to study further and review periodically for the strides it is making.


Posted by: newbysnotion | November 27, 2008

Content management approach for a small virtual academic library

I was surfing through the ALA site to see what resources were available in regard to digital collections and came across the online journal, Information Technology and Libraries.  An article that caught my attention was called “Content Management for the Virtual Library”.  The author’s perspective is that traditional, larger libraries, in addition to online resources, have a physical location with services to entice students to congregate.  A totally virtual library for an online university has only its online services to offer.  Therefore, it behooves small libraries to be very user-friendly and be set up in a way to make retrieval of information easy.  The university of focus in the article is the Northcentral University, a for-profit virtual university with an enrollment of approximately twenty-one hundred students. 

The library together with the IT department developed a home-grown content management system comprised of a database (SQL) and server pages, although a purchased package could be used as well.  I learned about content management systems while researching for my collection proposal.  Content management systems (CMS) may function as a way of handling the storage of business documents.  The advantages for the CMS for the library were: 1) developed templates to have a consistent image/design on the site; 2) the ability to revise information from a single location; 3) the ability to create and maintain interactive pages; and 4) with an editing interface(JSpell Iframe), librariance could do the editing once the system was in place.

One of the ideas I thought was beneficial was to consider how the site would be maintained.  The creation of templates and use of an easy-to-use interface takes into consideration that not all librarians have knowledge of computer programming; it also decreases the dependence on the IT staff who have demands from other areas of the university.  After initial implementation, usability testing was done.  The article mentioned the challenge of finding students to participate in testing and somehow found a local class; however, I think other university resources could be tapped to identify and contact students and faculty for evaluating the site.   I think it would be particularly important to locate students throughout the university system because this is a totally online learning center.


Salazar, Ed. “Content Management for the Virtual Library”. Information Technology and Libraries 25(September 2006): 170-175.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 27, 2008

The International Dunhuang Project

Our textbook by Lesk describes the International Dunhuang Project as spectacular.  I had to go look to have an appreciation of what is being developed. The address of the Web site is

This project is a digital collection of information (over 163,000 images) about the town of Dunhuang, China, and the region surrounding it: Dunhuang is part of the Silk Road, the trade route from China to southern Europe and northern Africa.  Due to the history of the region and past archeological expeditions, artifacts have been removed from the area and reside in several countries.  The purpose of the project is to collect all the material online and make it widely available. From reading about the development of the Web site, it appears there has been a lot of planning.  The selection of the software had to be a big decision to be able to accommodate the variety of objects, languages, and to accommodate the growth and development of the collection over the last 10+ years.   Countries who have portions of the artifacts are collaborating to build this collection.  I think it is phenomenal that these countries (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan) have united to achieve this goal.  With all the competition, issues, and sometimes arguing and blaming that goes on between governments, it is delightful to see cooperation.  You can go to different countries to see their portion of the collection.  You can see frescos, paintings, and buddhas in the cave in China.  I have been wanting to upgrade my monitor to one of better quality and bigger size.  I think this might be just the excuse to go ahead and do it.  As I look at the large fresco, I have to scroll in both directions to even see all of it.  It seems huge.  This may be as close as I get to China to actually see the ruins.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 27, 2008

American Memory Collection

I was introduced to the American Memory Collection, an initiative of the Library of Congress, through reading descriptions of significant Web sites in our textbook by Lesk.  I decided to visit the site located at  How amazing!  You can browse collections by topic or search for particular information; the scope of information is huge; the site boasts over 100 thematic collections.  Anything you can imagine having to do with American culture or history is available on this site.  In addition to text, there are many images, audio records, video, maps and music.  A section is devoted to education of children.  The learning page includes lesson plans, activities, links, and professional development for teachers.  I think this would be a neat way for history to come alive for school children.  Textbooks can be informative, but using multiple senses to learn enhances the learning process and reaches some children who are not readers or who have language barrier problems.

The Web site’s history dates the beggining of the initiative to a pilot program from 1990 through 1994; the pilot program experimented with digitizing a part of the LOC collection.  At the end of the pilot, donations allowed the establishment of the National Digital Library Program.  The U.S. Congress as well as other private donations have supported the collection .  The goal was to digitize 5 million objects by the year 2000; the goal has been exceeded and the online collection will continue to be developed for the use of all citizens.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 24, 2008

The Preservation of Web-published Materials

Our reading for digital collections class has made me acutely aware of the need to have a method of handling Web-based information.  Hard copy material is fairly static; but Web availability is constantly changing.  The site may become obsolete over time.  The information on the site may be updated regularly making one uncertain that the information previously found is exactly the same as the version originally located.  

I found an article by Kathleen Muray and Inga Hsieh that describes the Web-at-Risk project–a preservation project funded by the Library of Congress.  The LOC’s mission is to preserve cultural artifacts and provide access to them.  Focus groups were held as part of the project; the article outlines issues identified.  Some ideas presented that caught my attention include:

.  There are different approaches to web archiving–the harvesting-based approach, the selective approach, and the deposit approach or a combination of more than one of these approaches.   There are pros and cons to each archiving approach; the combination approach seems the most logical;

.  The Government Print Office is having to adjust their procedures by developing a content management system to keep all the Web-based information; 

.  Libraries have taken the responsibility of archiving, but should it be their job to archive all the Web-based informaiton?  Resources are limited as we have discussed.  Perhaps others who initially publish the information should have some responsibility as well; 

.  Cataloging and the application of metadata to be able to locate and retrieve archived information will be a big challenge;

.  The format in which the information is saved; should it be the original?

.  Is there/should there be a shared directory or registry service to go to to know if Web collections are already being archived?

.  Perhaps funding agencies should require recipients to address the preservation of any digital or Web-published information resulting from the project.


 Murray, Kathleen R and Inga K. Hsieh.  “Archiving Web-published materials: A needs assessment of librarians, researchers, and content providers. Government Information Quarterly 25 (January 2008): 66-89.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 23, 2008

The NGC: A Digital Resource for Evidence-Based Practice

A collection of evidence-based practice guidelines can be found at the National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) Web site,  The development of this site provides a valuable service to the health care community.

The NGC is sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  The purpose of the site is to disseminate information on clinical guidelines and to promote their use.  Individuals or groups are invited to submit clinical guidelines for inclusion in the site.  Specific criteria are outlined.

The NGC site is used by all types of healthcare providers—generally those who are searching online for evidence-based practice guidelines.  According to the site statistics, the Web site is visited approximately 1 million time per month.  Weekly notices to go 26,500 subscribers

The site contains more than 2,000 structured summaries about the guideline, its developer and how it was developed.  Clinicians can browse or search by key words.  The site provides a number of features to make the information accessible and useful to clinicians: 1) the summary guidelines can be downloaded to PDAs for ease of use, 2) a utility allows users to compare guidelines, and a synthesis is developed by NGC staff, 3) there is an electronic forum for exchange of ideas, 4) annotated bibliography database containing citation information, and 5) expert commentary, and 6) an archive of guidelines.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 20, 2008

The Joanna Briggs Institute: A collection of EBM information

The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) is a site that focuses on providing evidence-based medical (EBM) resources for healthcare professions.  It is a non-profit organization based in Australia, but interested in world-wide adoption and use.  There are numerous countries already involved.  The Web site is recognized by the Cochrane Quality Research Methods Group.  After researching the Cochrane Collection (see my post dated 11/12/2008), this recognition is meaningful.

The JBI maintains a collection of best practice summary sheets.  Each summary will include the following sections:  Question, Clinical Bottom Line, Characterics of the Evidence, Best Practice Recommendations and References. The summary information is distributed electronically via the Web site.

You can join the Joanna Briggs Institute as a student, individual, or corporate member.  In addition, the JBI COnNECT All-of-Country Membership markets to countries.  The Institute believes that everyone has the right to the best information and for 1 cent (AUD) per person per year the government can make information available to everyone.  There are reduced prices for developing countries.  Petitions are being circulated to gain support for country memberships.

Here is a link to the Website if you want to check it out further.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 20, 2008

More on the role of Informationist

I posted on 11/08/2008 about a new role of Informationist I found described in the literature.  I have recently stumbled upon an article that is a follow-up to the original article.  Rankin et al did a systematic review of the literature from 2000 to present studying publications that discuss the concept of this role.  The number of articles published is generally on the rise.  Almost two-thirds of the articles were found in library journals, approximately 7% in informatics literature and the remainder in healthcare literature. 


The significance of the growing number of articles is related to the recognized need to access and use evidence-based literature for making practice decisions.  It also may be related to the recognition of knowledge and time deficits of practitioners.  The Informationist role may add value to the practice of patient care as someone educated in library and information management would have skills and knowledge of collections and be able to provide needed resources to clinicians.



Rankin, Jocelyn A., Suzanne F. Grefshelm, & Candace Canto.  “The emerging informationist specialty: a systematic review of the literature.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 96 (July 2008): 194-206.

Posted by: newbysnotion | November 16, 2008

Integrating the digital library for improving patient care

It is exciting to read about projects that are impacting and changing the way we address information needs.  An article by Schwartz and Jobst (2008) describes the efforts of the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (LVHHN) to integrate the digital library, clinical decision support and evidence-based practice at the point of care.  I was excited to read about the focus, because too often I believe we function in silos and do not reap the possible benefits of collaboration.   I have worked in several hospitals.  In most cases, there is an on-site medical library located somewhere far away from the clinical areas that has limited physical access.  More recently libraries have created web-based access, but there are still barriers to accessing the information needed.  Information needs continue to increase due to the growth of information as well as an increased emphasis on using the most solid research available upon which to base medical decisions for care.

The LVHHN received a grant from the National Library of Medicine called the Integrated Advanced Information Management Systems (IAIMS) grant.  The goals for the health network were to “…produce a strategic information technology (IT) development process to coordinate clinical, education, research, and administrative information objectives to meet the needs of the hospital network” (Schwartz & Jobst, 2008, 147).   The network identified five areas for integration, one being the digital library. 

There was a team identified to assess and make recommendations for improving the digital library.  The team included representatives from library services, information services, education as well as stakeholders including physicians, residents, nursing, pharmacy, and others.  A needs assessment showed difficulty locating resources, lack of knowledge about available resources, inability to use resources, lack of full text, speed of obtaining results, and resources for specialty areas.  Activities to remediate these issues included adding full-text journals, implementing a marketing plan, developing a Web site, and providing education to enable professionals to locate information.  Additional services have been identified to add value.  Online tutorials are being planned as well as the migration to a learning content management system.

I think one of the most important points described was the change in the process by which planning and implementing of change was made.  The authors describe the initial process as fragmented.  The focus on coordination and integration of information as well as inclusion of important departments and stakeholders in the planning process promoted sharing of information and a decrease in the silo mentality.  I think the collaborative approach also allows participants to learn about the contributions that can be made by different professionals.

Schwartz, Linda, M. and Barbara Jobst.  “Planning for the Integration of the Digital Library, Clinical Decision Support, and Evidence at the Point of Care.” Medical Reference Services Quarterly 27 (Summer 2008): 146-57.

What do we know about how users seek information within digital image collections?  What do we know about how users seek information within any type of digital collection?  In LIS/KM 5053 we spent a lot of time focusing on the basic question of assessing user needs and reading about different theoretical approaches to seeking information.  As I read the article on seeking behavior in digital collections, I realized the development of those theories were likely based on seeking printed material.  Information seeking in the digital world may be different. 

The article that triggered my thinking is entitled “Information Seeking Behavior in Digital Image Collections: A Cognitive Approach” by K. Matusiak.  The author conducted a qualitative study to focus on search patterns of college students and community users who were interested in digital images.  the focus of the study was on the initial interaction and user preferences.  Research questions included how users look for images in digital collections–modes of access and which were effective in retrieving desired information.

The study used direct observation, self-reported logs and semi-structured interviews.  Participants initially tended to use either keyword searching or browsing; students favored keyword searching; community users favored browsing.   The community users spent more time searching, but explored more and were more successful in locating images.  Hyperlinks were also useful in helping participants find images.  When questioned, the participants were fairly split as to their searching preference.  One participant browsed due to difficulty with English spelling; one simply enjoyed looking at the images.  Time was a potential factor in the choice of search method.  In addition, the student group was younger and perhaps had more confidence and experience with computer and Web searching.  As participants had more contact time with the collection, they tended to experiment with the other search behavior. 

This is the first study I have read truly focused on searching for digital images.  I think it is an important idea to pursue, and it has implications for organizing digital collections and helping users with access. 


Matusiak, Krystyna K.  “Information Seeking Behavior in Digital Image Collections: A Cognitive Approach.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 32 (2006): 479-488.

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