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Content: or, a Tale of Mass and Malleability


Content: or, a Tale of Mass and Malleability David Seaman Executive Director, Digital Library Federation Managing Digital Assets: A Primer for Library and Information ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Content: or, a Tale of Mass and Malleability

Content or, a Tale of Mass and Malleability
  • David Seaman
  • Executive Director, Digital Library Federation
  • Managing Digital Assets A Primer for Library and
    Information Technology Administrators
  • Charleston, February 4-6, 2005

Digital Library Federation http//
  • Thirty-three members major academic and
    national libraries, including The British
    Library five allies (CNI RLG OCLC LANL JISC)
  • Created in 1995 by directors of US research
    libraries fills a need not simply met by larger
    library organizations focus exclusively on DL
    needs for large academic libraries
  • Nimble, agile, collaborative
  • Practical and strategic areas of activity

Finding Order in Chaos (embrace the churn)
  • New library disciplines still solidifying new
    skills sets and work habits
  • Tipping points -- when does a new item move from
    irrelevant to surprisingly non-terrible to
    indispensable? And how do you know?
  • Non-library arbiters of access to scholarship
  • Ambition, Ignorance, and Lack of Money
  • Seismic events are routine and continuing
    Mosaic eBay Amazon Google wireless blogs

New content streams, environments, and
opportunities abound
  • Buy, Rent, Build, Link, Stumble across (and never
    find again)
  • Online and offline
  • Courseware systems and objects
  • Digital Library Content and Course Management
    Systems Issues of Interoperation
  • Institutional repositories
  • Faculty projects, presentations, databases
  • Richer consortial and grants opportunities

New content acquisition issues
  • Rental of our core collections journal
  • No teeth to permanent access clauses
  • Ongoing maintenance costs what happens in lean
  • Growing license management challenge
  • DLF response -- Electronic Resource Management
    Initiative (ERMI) http//

Mass (http//
  • Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO-IT) 20
    billion digital gift to the nation.
  • Digital Library Federation, the American Library
    Association, the Association of American
    Universities, the Association of Public
    Television Stations, the Association of Research
    Libraries, the George Lucas Educational
    Foundation, and EDUCAUSE endorse it, and senior
    personnel from eBay, Google, IBM, the Internet
    Archive, RealNetworks, and 3Com all in planning.
  • Whatever happens with it, its arrival on the
    scene in 2001 spurred us on to think about what
    we would do in the face of a massive public
    investment in digital content, tools, evaluation,
    and learning systems.

Mass (not if but when and by whom)
  • US Government Printing Office print documents
    conversion 2.2 million items
  • Carnegie Mellons Million Books Project
  • Library of Congress and a group of international
    libraries from the US, Canada, Egypt, China and
    the Netherlands to make one million books
    digitally available on the Internet (Dec 2004)
  • Google Scholar Google Print. Massive digitizing
    of library material, in and out of print
    (Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Michigan, NYPL).
    Seven million books agreed to from Michigan

Digital Production
  • Regularized production within the institution
    from ad hoc projects to continuous process
  • Regional production centers
  • DLF/OCLC Registry of Digital Masters
  • Standing orders pipelines and centralized
    production units
  • Special Collections materials a focus of this
  • A very long tail surprising usage for materials
    that have no use in print when locked in academic
    libraries Rufus Dawes, Nixs Mate 6,000 MS
    Reader and Palm ebook versions shipped of this
    novel, August 2000-August 2002 (excluding HTML
  • Strong library/faculty partnership opportunities

Faculty project examples (a few of many)
  • Mark Twain in His Times http//etext.lib.virginia.
  • Uncle Toms Cabin and American Culture
  • The Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive
  • The Valley of the Shadow Two Communities in the
    American Civil War (http//valley.vcdh.virginia.ed
  • The Roman de la Rose http//

Content standards
  • XML (and its predecessor SGML) great potential
    for re-use example
  • XML is a core standardized document format -- XML
    is nimble it makes re-shaping content easier,
    even to formats you do not anticipate UVA xml
    to MS Reader and Palm ebook formats 7 million
    free ebooks shipped in the first two years
    (August 2000-August 2002) to over 100 countries
  • TIFF and GIF/JPEG for images
  • Audio and video firming up
  • Good guidance available on preservation and
    production practices (DLF PADI NARA New
    Zealand National Library)
  • Need to know for collection building, grants, and
    projects accidental ephemera a bad thing

From Isolation to Integration
  • Every publisher (and library production unit?) is
    an island we produce silos of data that plays
    badly with others. A good silo is a lovely thing
    but not sufficient always.
  • Libraries dont shelve by publisher and users
    dont work this way runs counter to our normal
    patterns of behavior.
  • Little ability to work with content (and often
    with metadata) cross-publisher and
  • We build product that can only appear on our
    terms, in our interfaces, in our tools, on our

Bend it, shape it rip mix burn
  • Malleability We need digital library content to
    be much easier for us to re-shape for local
    customized delivery and analysis.
  • Mixability we invite our users to visit sites
    and watch content channels (TV) they want to
    sample, re-use and re-package as a personal
    library, a classroom presentation (the music mix)

  • DLF Strategic Goal a Distributed Open Digital
    Library http//
  • New level of interdependence
  • Two-phase Finding System, initially OAI
  • Digital Object Sharing for richer library
    services and better scholarship
  • New infrastructure and data creation needs what
    are the characteristics of sharable content?

  • Need to think strategically and focus on our core
    mission to advance pedagogy and scholarship
  • Any library that can be replaced by Google,
    should be.
  • The transformation from isolation to integration
    is our central challenge and opportunity with
    some enormous payoffs when we get it right.
  • Innovative users need malleable content with
    which to innovate need to learn to re-shape
    content in a mutable library.

  • Standards abound, and we are getting better at
    applying them in ways that work across
  • The days of competing on access are over
    context, services, convenience, cataloging,
    research skills, long-term thinking are our edge.
  • Collaboration is not just a nice thing it is a
    survival mechanism
  • Managing digital content over time is a tough
    business and we are equipped to do it.