Library Juice 3:21 - May 31, 2000


1. "The Book's in Print, But Its Bibliography Lives in Cyberspace"
2. Bookdragon Review
3. Gale articles on Looksmart
4. Search Full-Text US Internet Government Periodicals
5. Howard Besser's T-Shirt Database
6. UCITA and anti-UCITA
7. Congratulations SJSU ALASC!
8. Private company cutting in on GPO Action
9. Preservation of Electronic Information
10. "Why Socialism?" by Albert Einstein

Quote for the week:

"Creating an un-McDonaldized culture in the library is much easier when
the library has un-McDonaldized librarians.  These individuals can be
actively recruited by going beyond the stadard requirement of an
ALA-accredited MLS, an affinity for technology, knowledge of a foreign
language, or other conventional criteria.  Asking a candidate for evidence
of creativity, whether in terms of unusual projects undertaken or a bold
vision of the future, could be one way to guage a person's potential."

Brian Quinn, "The McDonaldization of Academic Libraries?" _College and
Research Libraries_ May, 2000, vol. 61 no. 3

Home page of the week: Bikechic


1. "The Book's in Print, But Its Bibliography Lives in Cyberspace"

Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 09:38:17 -0700
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
From: druthgo[at] (Ruth I Gordon)
Subject: [ALACOUN:4709] Bibliographies

The "N.Y. Times" of 29 May contains the following depressing article about
bibliographies "banished" from paper and into the ether.

Someone MUST care.

--Big Grandma,

"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass
the guilty."  Jessica Mitford (1917-1996)

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From: "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: [ALACOUN:4710] Re: Bibliographies
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 12:55:25 -0400
Organization: Generally Good

I chewed over this as well.  One idea would be that we encourage publishers
to establish last-copy policies for bibliographies.  On the one hand, not
every reader needs or wants a bibliography printed in a book... and some
authors may be able to write more, if their footnotes can rest elsewhere.
On the other hand, with the volatility of digital formats, we should know
that at least one copy of the rest of the book is preserved somewhere in a
more permanent format.  (Why paper--why not microfilm?)

Karen G. Schneider kgs[at]
Assistant Director, Shenendehowa Public Library, NY
Schneider's Law: Information flows along the path of least resistance.
(Schneider's Corollary: Get over it.)

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Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 17:16:22 -0500
From: "S.Michael Malinconico" <mmalinco[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>

Yes, of course, I agree completely.  Who has time for
scholarship when we have electronic toys to amuse us?  Books
could be made so much more readable if only they eliminated
all of that ponderous, tedious argumentation.  It it can't
be display on a PDA, it's probably not worth knowing anyway.
Now that's a resolution I could support!

S.Michael Malinconico
School of Library and Information Studies
The University of Alabama
Box 870252
Tuscaloosa, AL  35487-0252

Tel:  +1(205)348-8824
Fax:  +1(205)348-3746

"But to live outside the law you must be honest."


2. Bookdragon Review

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 18:43:31 -0500
To: rory[at]
From: "Melanie C. Duncan" <duncanm[at]>
Subject: Suggested site to visit

Dear Rory,

I invite you to visit, The Bookdragon Review,, as a potential site for your web log.
Reviews, news and forthcoming title information for genre fiction are
included in the e-zine, with the webzine portion reprinting part.

Currently, I'm the Christian Fiction columnist for Library Journal, and
I've been a reviewer for the past 8 years professionally. This e-zine is my
way of sharing favorite titles that may or may not be reviewed elsewhere.
(Titles run the gamut from science fiction, fantasy, romance, mysteries,
horror, and westerns to teen titles.)

I hope you enjoy it!

Melanie C. Duncan, M.S.L.S.
Reference Librarian
Washington Memorial Library

The Bookdragon Review (ISSN 1527-0157)


3. Gale articles on Looksmart

Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 21:48:16 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bruce Brigell <brigb[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>,
Subject: LookSmart & Gale Group to work together

Posted to several lists, sorry for duplication:

See the link below to view a press release from Looksmart, a Web Directory
company, announcing a partnership with Gale Group in which magazine
articles will be provided FOR FREE in the subject directory search results.

Looksmart, , provides the subject directories for
such well known services as Microsoft's MSN, Excite[at]Home, AltaVista,
Prodigy, and NetZero.

According to the release the contents and archives of "hundreds" of
magazines will be included.  Examples cited are Rolling Stone and
Scientific American.

Pitch seems to be that magazines will benefit from directed exposure and
advertising?? to searchers.

This should impact proprietary services and sites such as Northern Light
significantly.  Will also impact libraries.

See press release at:

Bruce Brigell
Coordinator of Information Services
Skokie Public Library
5215 Oakton St.
Skokie, IL 60077

4. Search Full-Text US Internet Government Periodicals

Developed by Paul A. Arrigo and Dee Barker, government documents
librarians at Washburn University Law Library, this continuously
updated and reindexed resource provides access to full-text
periodicals placed online by the federal government. Users can begin
by selecting subject, subdoc number, or title, the latter two of
which provide direct access (as well as publication information) to a
very impressive number of government periodicals. The subject section
allows users to narrow their search by selecting one of almost 40
topics and then conducting a targeted keyword search. The subdoc
number and title sections offer individual keyword searches for each
periodical, though please note that some of these were unavailable
due to broken links. After these are repaired and the more than 100
additional titles are added to the database, this site will serve as
a powerful resource for a wide range of users interested in US
government periodicals. [MD]

> From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2000.

5. Howard Besser's T-Shirt Database

While the Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE has been home to a wide
variety of searchable image collections, the recent addition of a
T-Shirt Database is both a demonstration in cataloging realia as well
an interesting glimpse at popular culture as depicted through t-shirt
graphics. This database was constructed by Howard Besser's library
school students and provides access to over 530 t-shirt images,
searchable by title, artist, subject, description, and background
color. Users may also search the database by selecting from a list of
over 80 subjects, ranging from Academic to Pop Culture and War.
Search results include thumbnail images of the t-shirts, catalog
record information, as well as a link to larger views of each image.
Howard Besser is Associate Professor at UCLA's School of Education
and Information Studies. [AG]

> From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2000.

6. UCITA and anti-UCITA

>>> "Karen G. Schneider" <kgs[at]> 05/30/00 10:55AM >>>

Fyi... does aLA offer a counter-page?

Karen G. Schneider kgs[at]
Assistant Director, Shenendehowa Public Library, NY 
Schneider's Law: Information flows along the path of least resistance.
(Schneider's Corollary: Get over it.)

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In response to Karen's question:

ALA is a founding member of the 4Cite Coalition which is actively fighting
passage of UCITA.  We have information about UCITA both on the ALA web
pages at:

or you can go directly to the coaltion web site:

These pages are updated regularly.  The coalition uses much material
developed by ALA's Legislative Counsel, Miriam Nisbet.

Please call Miriam or myself with any questions.  It's a very important
issue for us all to be involved with.

Lynne Bradley
ALA Washington Office
Director, Office of Government Relations

7. Congratulations SJSU ALASC!

     NMRT announces ALA Student Chapter of the Year Award

The ALA Student Chapter at the School of Library and Information
Science, San Jose State University, is the recipient of the
first-ever ALA Student Chapter of the Year Award presented by the
New Members Round Table, American Library Association. 

The runner-up is the Library and Information Science Student
Association of the School of Communication, Information, and
Library Studies, Rutgers University.  Both student chapters will
receive certificates of merit in recognition of this achievement.

In the spirit of ALA's New Members Round Table, the Student
Chapter of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a
chapter's outstanding contributions to the American Library
Association, their school, and the profession.  The purpose of
the award is to increase student involvement in ALA through
student chapters and to recognize future leaders in the
profession.  Official ALA Student Chapters are organizations
formed by ALA student members at schools offering ALA-accredited
programs of library and information studies.

The Awards will be presented to winning and runner-up Student
Chapter officers or delegates by the NMRT President at the SALA
(Students to ALA) Reception at the ALA Annual Conference in
Chicago on Sunday, July 9, 2000 at 6:00 pm at Palmer House -
Empire Room.
Posted by:

Gene Kinnaly  Senior Cataloger
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC  20540-4371
email: gkin[at] 
voice: (202) 707-2722
fax: (202) 707-7161

ALA/NMRT Home page:
  NMRT Publicity Committee Co-Chair
  NMRT Liaison to ALCTS CC:DA


8. Private company cutting in on GPO Action

From: "Bernadine Abbott Hoduski" <ber[at]>
To: "Council ALA" <alacoun[at]>
Subject: Locked out of the Hearing Room-one possible reason for cuts to
public access program?
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 16:43:52 -0600

Hi Council,
The enclosed message may be one reason why the House Appropriations
Committee is cutting GPO's ability to publish Congressional information and
is cutting the funding for access to this information through the Depository
Library Program.  A private publisher now has better access to floor debate
and hearings records than the Government's printer/GPO.   And this Company
will end up owning the public's information.  This at the same time that
reporting credentials were denied to Vigdor Schreibman, an Internet
Reporter.  Of course he lives on retirement income and does not have the big
bucks needed to get permission to literally set up House in the public's
House.  There is a lot more at stake here than an issue of electronic access
versus permanent paper and silver fiche - our very access to govt info is at
Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, GODORT Councilor
-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Ruskin <gary[at]>
To: cong-reform[at] <cong-reform[at]>
Date: Tuesday, May 23, 2000 3:56 PM
Subject: Locked out of the Hearing Room(.com)

Congressional Reform Briefings May 22, 2000

Here is a great example of how the U.S. Congress won't put its own
documents on the Internet.

Phil Angell is starting a company, called HearingRoom.Com, which will
give you Internet access to every congressional hearing -- at a cost of
about $5,000-$15,000 per year.

You read that right.  What a slap in the face to the taxpayers.

Congressional hearings are public information.  We taxpayers paid for
these hearings.  We ought to be able to read them, on the Internet, for
free. brags that "Once we begin full production, we will cover
every hearing - full committees, subcommittees, mark-ups, Senate or
House....Complete transcripts of hearings will be available in the
archives after coverage has ended. Exact timing of transcript
availability depends on which product is selected. Transcripts of
real-time coverage are available in the archives twenty (20) minutes
after the hearing concludes; availability of near-time transcripts is
two (2) hours after the gavel."

Of course, the high cost of HearingRoom.Com locks out almost everyone
except corporate lobbyists, trade associations and law firms.  So they
get special access to the inner workings of Congress while the rest of
us remain in the dark.

You can do something about this.  Tell your Members of Congress to put
Congressional hearings on the Internet.  The Congressional switchboard
phone is (202) 225-3121.  To find the names, fax numbers and e-mail
addresses of your Members of Congress, see

Following is a May 22, 2000 article in the Washington Post about

A Hill Hearing Aid
By Dwight Thompson

Much has been said and written about the new economy overshadowing
Washington's old world of politics and government.

Phil Angell's is out to use the former to transform the
latter. He's the latest Washington area entrepreneur to use new
technology to change the way citizens communicate with the federal
government and find out about its workings. delivers the content of one of the most basic of
congressional functions: the hearing. Using voice-recognition
technologies and the Internet, the company claims to be able to deliver
in near-real time transcripts of any congressional hearing.

Angell, 55, was chief of staff to former Environmental Protection Agency
administrator William D. Ruckelshaus and later directed government
relations and corporate communications for Browning-Ferris Industries
Inc., the waste-removal company, and Monsanto Co., the chemicals giant.
Angell said those experiences made him keenly aware of the tightly
controlled market for information on congressional hearings and the
current system's limitations.

"What this is really about is the speed of getting the information out,"
Angell said. "Media gets the info out like a jack rabbit, business like
an antelope, yet Congress is a tortoise. We're creating a business that
is like puttting a jet pack on the turtle."

The surest way not to miss anything at a hearing on legislation that
could affect an industry or a client--actually planting someone in the
hearing room--has in recent years grown increasingly difficult. And the
two main providers of congressional transcripts, Angell said, cover only
a fraction of the total number of hearings, rarely provide transcripts
in under 24 hours and are not taking full advantage of new technologies,
mainly speech recognition and streaming text and audio on the Internet.

Angell believed he could develop and apply these new technologies to
overcome the competition's limitations and deliver a product he knew
from personal experience was in high demand. There is an ever-increasing
number of companies, individuals and interest groups affected by federal
lawmaking, he said. Last May, he decided to turn his idea into reality.

Angell tapped into Washington's "great hidden information market," said
David Price, director of content for Nexis, the news division of online
information powerhouse Lexis-Nexis. "There's really a core of customers
for whom it is very important to get to the 'bare metal' of information,
the very words that the [lawmakers] speak."

A Foot in the Door

Angell's first step was forming a partnership with Chris Chapin, a
longtime friend and successful business consultant, and Bivings Woodell
Inc., a District-based Internet design and consulting firm.

Then Angell's new company had to gain membership to the House and Senate
Press Gallery and access to all of Congress's 192 committees and
subcommittees, which share 44 hearing rooms in the House and 25 in the
Senate. With a little bit of lobbying, Angell convinced a gallery
committee that's Web-based approach to delivering
information made it a valuable public resource, the necessary
prerequisite for gallery membership.

Angell next had to find the cash necessary to install a private, fully
digital network in every hearing room.

Over half of the initial start-up cost--a relatively small $750,000--was
provided by the owners. The rest came from Columbia Financial Advisors
in a private placement. To date, that is the only capital the company
has raised, but it is negotiating for a second round of venture capital

The next critical step was creating the software interface that makes
the whole thing work, and securing proprietary rights so others won't be
able to simply resell the information gathers.

"It's a marriage of existing technology, proprietary modifications of
that technology and new applications which have never been taken to the
market before," Angell said.

Consultants from Bivings Woodell worked with a range of partners
specializing in audio and text streaming, speech recognition and
voice-writing. The combination results in a system that delivers a
synchronized stream of text and audio with 95 percent accuracy and on
just a five- to 10-minute delay.

The system relies on the skills of a voice writer, someone trained in
dictating speech into a specialized microphone called a stenomask.
Highly specialized, voice writers are normally employed to transcribe
legal proceedings. With the aid of voice-recognition software,
HearingRoom's voice writers can accurately transcribe the multitude of
voices in a congressional hearing and deliver the result quickly. does not plan to fully launch until June 12, when the
wiring to the committee and subcommittee chambers is completed. Angell
said he believes HearingRoom can be profitable in its first year of
operation. Subscribers to the service can expect to pay
handsomely--between $5,000 and $15,000 per year, depending on the level
of service.'s clients already include such well-known
names as Patton Boggs, Arnold & Porter, Hill & Knowlton, Hogan and
Hartson, Monsanto and Gallaudet University.

Angell said he is unable to put a dollar figure on the market for
Hearing-Room's product, but believes that reaching beyond the core
lobbying community is where the company's future really lies. He
believes a whole host of groups without direct access to hearings will
want the information: law firms, trade groups, the news media, unions,
nonprofit organizations and embassies.

Jim McCarthy, marketing director for, sums up their
expectations of the market: "It's like dangling a steak over a river.
You can't tell how many crocodiles are going to show up or how much
they're going to eat, but you do know that crocodiles love red meat."

Joseph Villarosa, an independent Internet industry analyst who was hired
by to evaluate its service, said, "You have to realize
that text streaming of congressional proceedings is only one of many,
many forums where this company can thrive. They can just as easily be
the first to move into streaming text of conference calls, college
lectures, press conferences and so on."

But has competition, and it isn't sitting still. Its two
main rivals, Federal Document Clearing House and Federal News Service,
both offer a limited number of congressional transcripts over the Web,
and say that for certain hearings, they can deliver transcripts in real

Tool for Lobbyists

One of's clients is the Wexler Group, a District-based
boutique lobbying firm that has clients in the health care,
transportation and science industries. The firm views HearingRoom as a
tool that will help its lobbyists perform their jobs better and with
greater efficiency. Sena Fitzmaurice, a director at Wexler, appreciates
the time-saving factor that archived hearings and key word alerts
provide. Subscribers enter key words when they order information on a
hearing, and are alerted when those words are spoken during the

"For us, the key word feature really sells it," Fitzmaurice said. "It
allows you to be at your desk, doing other work."

Jay Byrne, director of governmental affairs for Monsanto, has seen's technology work. While describing it as a "very cool
idea," he said its most effective marketing tool will be its value as a
time saver.

"This tool has kept me out of several airplanes," he said.

© 2000 The Washington Post Company
<----------- article ends here------------>

The Congressional Accountability Project works to reform the U.S.
Congress.  For more information about how Congress has failed to place
its most important information on the Internet, see the Congressional
Accountability Project's website at

Congressional Reform Briefings are distributed electronically via the
cong-reform mailing list <cong-reform[at]>. To subscribe
to the cong-reform mailing list, go to
<> or send the
word "subscribe" to <cap[at]>.


Gary Ruskin | Congressional Accountability Project
1611 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite #3A | Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 296-2787 | Fax (202) 833-2406 |
mailto:gary[at] |

Cong-reform mailing list

9. Preservation of Electronic Information

Links and discussion:

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"Electronic Preservation"

Paper by Alexander Zimmerman

and his accompanying bibliography

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Howard Besser's latest paper on Digital Longevity

Howard's excellent links page on Information Longevity

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Time and Bits - Managing Digital Continuity
Includes an online discussion which has been archived, at
The background paper, written by Peter Lymon and Howard Besser, is at
A very big collection of links is at

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Digital Preservation Needs and Requirements in RLG Member Institutions
By Margaret Hedstrom and Sheon Montgomery, December 1998

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CoOL - Conservation Online
This Stanford University-based project is a great collection of resources
on all preservation topics, including digital media and electronic records.

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PADI - Preserving Access to Digital Information
A gateway to resources on digital preservation from the Australian Government

Subject: What's New on PADI
From: Deborah Woodyard (Dwoodyar[at]
Date: Thu 18 May 2000 - 19:29:32 EST

[Posted to Padiforum-l]

A brief list to let you know about some of the links to resources recently
added to the PADI web site <>
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"The preservation of digitised collections: an overview of recent progress
and persistent challenges worldwide" by Marie-Theres Varlamoff and Sara
- - - - -

now includes "Metadata for Digital Preservation: The CEDARS Project Outline
- - - - -

New on ARCHIVING <>: "Enduring
Paradigm, New Opportunities: The Value of the Archival Perspective in the
Digital Environment" by Anne J. Gilliland-Swetland.
- - - - -

DIGITISATION <> includes: "Best
Practices for Digital Archiving: An Information Lifecycle Approach" by Gail
Hodge, in D-Lib Magazine.
- - - - -

Another article from D-Lib Magazine, "On DigiPaper and the Dissemination of
Electronic Documents" by Dan Huttenlocher and Angela Moll, is linked from
the STORAGE page <>.
- - - - -

links to "Digital Archaeology: Rescuing Neglected and Damaged Data
Resources" by Seamus Ross and Ann Gow
- - - - -

The Public Records Office, Victoria, Australia has released "Standard for
the Management of Electronic Records in the Victorian Government (PROS
99/00)" which appears on the STANDARDS
<> page.
- - - - -

"CIDL News" has been added as a journal to DIGITAL LIBRARIES
- - - - -

Some of the EVENTS recently added

Introduction to Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives
2 Jun 2000

XML Europe 2000
12-16 Jun 2000

Planning and Implementing a Digitisation Project
29 Jun 2000

Digital Futures 2000: The Royal Photographic Society Imaging Science Group
Annual Conference
11-13 Sep 2000

DDEP00: Eighth International Conference on Digital Documents and Electronic
13-15 Sep 2000

WCRE 2000: 7th Working Conference on Reverse Engineering
23-25 Nov 2000

Information Online 2001
16-18 Jan 2001

And many more...

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June 5, 1999
Library Conference Examines Preservation of Digital Works

Around the world, research librarians are devoting much of their attention
these days to thinking through the complexities of how to preserve
humanity's cultural patrimony in an electronic age. At a two-day conference
on virtual libraries that ended Friday in New York City, representatives
of major research libraries from the United States, Canada and 10 European
countries gathered to discuss how to continue to fulfill their historical
role despite changing technology.

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D-Lib Magazine, April 1999, Volume 5 Number 4
Reality and Chimeras in the Preservation of Electronic Records
David Bearman

Argues that emulation (of obsolete systems for the purpose of recovering
information stored on those systems) is not a viable option.

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D-Lib Magazine, September 1999, Volume 5 Number 9
Long-term Preservation of Electronic Publications
The NEDLIB project
Titia van der Werf-Davelaar
Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands

"NEDLIB, which stands for Networked European Deposit Library, aims to develop
a common architectural framework and basic tools for building deposit
systems for electronic publications (DSEP). The project addresses major
technical issues confronting national deposit libraries that are in
the process of extending their deposit, whether by legal or voluntary
means, to digital works."

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Preservation of electronic information: a bibliography by Michael Day
UKOLN: The UK Office for Library and Information Networking,
University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom
"I have been interested in the preservation of information in digital form
since the late 1980s when I wrote a dissertation on the subject as
part of a Master of Arts degree in Library and Information Studies
(1989) at Loughborough University of Technology. The aim of the bibliography
is to indicate some relevant resources, with annotations and where
possible some links to documents. The bibliography will be updated
from time-to-time."

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Long Term Preservation of Electronic Materials
A JISC/BRITISH LIBRARY Workshop as part of the Electronic Libraries Programme
Organised by UKOLN, 27th and 28th November 1995 at the University of Warwick
Proceedings of a little conference

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[These are messages from the padiforum-l list]

From: Alexander Zimmerman[SMTP:azitiz[at]] > Sent:
Saturday, 27 November 1999 17:49
To: cwebb[at]
Subject: an informality

This is being sent to both Padiforum and TimeandBits.  I wanted to
introduce myself to both lists and didn't want to > type the  same
thing over again - so here it is:

Greetings to all of you on the list - My name is Alexander
Zimmerman. > I am a graduate  student at the University of Pittsburgh
in the U.S. I will warn you that  I have very  little technical
knowledge of digital preservation. I have read a bunch  (of the
little  there is) of the literature out there and have become
1)extremely alarmed  and 2)extremely  interested. The seed was
planted from taking two classes with Richard  Cox, and a class  with
Beth Yakel last year - and a general preservation class with the
preservation Queen  herself Sally Buchanan.  What amazes me is the
fact that people are not thinking about this  problem. And I'm  not
talking about the mass of folks - hell, they don't even think about
paper based  preservation - but those in the information fields.
Example 1: A month  or so ago a large  IT convention blazed through
downtown pittsburgh. Although it was  marketed towards  large/medium
businesses, I went just to see what there was to see. One of  the
first booths  there was a company marketing tape for back up. I
asked, jokingly: "I  didn't think anyone  used tape anymore." He
responded: "Oh yes." and then blaah blahhh blaah,  till I said:
Have  you thought about Preservation?" His eyes glazed and he said:
"well these  tapes will last  20-30 years, i guess you can put them
on CD's later - those will last  forever." I didn't  scream, I didn't
yell, I didn't knock him over the head with my plastic  bag full of
free  software and stickers, I didn't give him this URL,  but I did walk  away in amazement and then
proceed to ask everyone in the convention  center similar  questions.
And you know what? Yeah you all know...Nobody had even though  about
long term  preservation.  Example 2: Just last week, talking to a
visiting State Librarian. I  ask: "Have you  thought about Digital
Preservation?" He says: "Sure, we are putting lots  of stuff on the
computer." Uh-oh. There is a wide, gaping, hole here.

And what to do? Migration, Emulation. Prayer? My question to you  all
is: Is there  room for someone with very little technical knowledge in
this problem  solving? I love  history, I am a librarian at heart, I
love the promise of the future, and  I have become  extremely
interested in the problems of preserving digital information -
especially on the  web - networked info. SO hello! to you all, and
even if I do not have  alot to contribute  because of my age and
experience, I hope to learn alot and add what I can.  Thanks for your
time and for the creation of this list!

alexander zimmerman  azitiz[at]  MLIS - University of Pittsburgh

Subject: RE: an informality
Author: Colin Webb <cwebb[at]> at Internet
Date: 11/29/99 8:45 AM

Dear Alexander
So far as the padiforum list goes, your interest and your participation
will be most warmly welcomed.

I think you're right - there is a huge gap in awareness that needs to be
filled. We shouldn't be too pessimistic: the increase in awareness has been
pretty impressive over the past 10 years or so! And there has been an even
more impressive effort in looking for answers - a lot of people are
actually working on this. So don't be too dismayed.

It is really useful for us to be reminded of the environment in which we
work. We do need to think about the assumptions that people might be
making. Your experiences help us see some of the issues that have to be
dealt with, and many of those issues are more people-related than
technical. Quite a lot of work is happening on this front as well, but it's
good to remind ourselves that we can't all just come up with models and
assume that they will work in the face of indifference or ignorance.

How to bridge the gap? Initiatives like PADI, padiforum, TimeandBits, and a
dozen others all have an important role to play, and it's important to make
people aware of them. But it's also important to take opportunities to do
just what you have done, and to ask that hard question: what about
long-term preservation? (recognising that long term accessibility may be a
genuine non-issue for a lot of digital information, and that it isn't
necessarily everyone's business).

The one thing we have going for us is that reality is going to bite quickly
on this preservation front. With books and such it's generally been
centuries - the business decisions of a generation of publishers etc have
been paid for many generations later. With this stuff, it's in our faces

There is certainly a role for thinking, questioning non-techheads on this
list, and in finding and testing the range of solutions we need people like
you. Stick around!

Best wishes,
Colin Webb

Colin Webb
Preservation Services Branch
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600
Tel: +61 26262 1662
Fax: + 61 26273 4535
Email: cwebb[at]

Subject: Re[2]: an informality
From: rdecandido (rdecandido[at] )
Date: Tue 30 Nov 1999 - 06:34:44 EST

     Your message left me feeling downright nostalgic. Those of us who have
     been fighting the paper preservation wars (Sally Buchanan prominent
     among them) are quite familiar with the "glazed" look that descends on
     most people when you ask about preservation. My first impulse was to
     say that we should learn from the not-yet-won but largely successful
     struggle to heighten awareness of paper preservation problems. The
     more I think about it, though, the more significant the differences
     between these two strategic campaigns seem.
     The advocacy for paper preservation was largely adopted by the
     non-profit sector. Business, incorrectly, did not and does not see its
     interests greatly effected by the issue. Digital preservation will be
     of much greater concern to businesses and to governments as well for
     two primary reasons.
     Firstly because the content of much digital data is directly related
     to commercial, governmental and military concerns. The community
     worried about the preservation of paper argued that we had to act to
     preserve our cultural and artistic patrimony. The argument for digital
     preservation is more likely to center more on preserving bank records,
     satellite images and military intelligence.
     Secondly because the timescale of deterioration is so short for
     digital media that even shortsighted views of future needs will compel
     the development of preservation options. The half-life of even acidic
     book paper is on the order of 60 years--more than enough time for most
     short-term commercial use. Most digital media and all magnetic media
     (digital or analog) have a much shorter life expectancy. Preservation
     (as I've argued for many years) is keeping what you want and need for
     as long as you want or need it. Digital information is being stored on
     media that will not survive for as long as business, the government
     and the military will need it.
     I therefore believe that the strategy used in the past will not work
     as well now, if at all. The argument we made for preserving paper
     documents was basically moral. It was our duty, we claimed, to
     preserve our cultural heritage. We hardly ever, to my recollection,
     made the economic argument that preservation was cost-effective.
     Certainly that argument was not made rigorously. That was largely
     because it is at least difficult, perhaps impossible, to equate
     cultural heritage with a monetary value. The advent of e-commerce may
     give us a chance of changing the terms of that equation. Information
     has become a commodity in an unprecedented manner. It always had value
     but it is now being bartered and sold as information and not just as a
     product containing information (i.e., a book).
     I would be interested in hearing if anyone has done a study or
     extracted information on the value of digital information in this new
     context (or any context for that matter). Given a reasonable
     approximation of the value of information we can start to argue for
     the value of its preservation.
     Robert DeCandido
     Automation Specialist, Preservation Division
     The New York Public Library


10. "Why Socialism?" by Albert Einstein

And for that extra bit of ideology that Library Juice is loved for,
a link to an article by Albert Einstein titled "Why Socialism?" originally
published in the first issue of Monthly Review (May 1949):


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