Top Technology Trends, 2004 ALA Annual Conference

Technology and library users, an ongoing discussion

Technology experts who are members of the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association, met for a managed discussion in Orlando, FL on June 27th, 2004 to discuss what they feel are the top technology issues and trends in today's libraries.

Experts in attendance included : Joan Frye Williams, Clifford Lynch, Walt Crawford, Milton Wolf, Tom Wilson, Roy Tennant, Eric Lease Morgan, and Marshall Breeding.

Top Technology Trends

Institutional Repositories

The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper

This position paper from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition states that institutional repositories “provide a critical component in reforming the system of scholarly communication” by reasserting control over scholarship by academics, as well as bring economic relief to the academy.”

Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age

Clifford Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information, writes about “about the nature and functions of institutional repositories and their role in transforming scholarship.” He provides a definition of institutional repositories and discussed their strategic importance and future. He posits that institutional repositories “will promote progress in the development and deployment of infrastructure standards” such as preservable formats, identifiers, and rights documentation and management.

Examples of institutional repositories ­


DSpace is a digital library system that captures, stores, indexes, preserves and provides access to “the intellectual output of a university’s research faculty in digital formats.”


OAIster is a project of the University of Michigan. Their purpose is to provide access to a collection of “freely available, difficult-to-access, academically-oriented digital resources.”

University of California’s eScholarship Repository

Sponsored by the California Digital Library, the eScholarship Repository’s goal is to “facilitate and support scholar-led innovations in scholarly communication.”

Tools for building institutional repositories ­

Open Archives Initiative

Provides access to tools such as OAI Repository Explorer, which is a tools for exploration and validation of OAI respositories. Also provides software and utilities for harvesting, searching, describing, packaging, aggregating, and caching information in digital repositories, using various protocols and standards such as OAI metadata, OAI Java implementation, OAI harvester, OAIcat, etc.

CARL Institutional Repository Pilot Project: Tools and Technology

From the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, this Tools and Technology page provides a convenient links to software for repositories such as Fedora, Zope, and PKP Open Archives Harvester.

Open Access

Association of Research Libraries. "Framing the Issue: Open Access"

A brief, clear primer on the value of having affordable access to scholarly publications, the market conditions which prompted the open access revolt, and related concerns such as copyright law, ownership and archiving. Extensive list of relevant links included.

Create Change

"Supporting faculty and librarian action in scholarly communication," this site serves a similar purpose to the ARL site above, but is organized for faculty/librarian collaboration and content is more extensive.

Directory of Open Access Journals

Searchable and browsable by journal title, the sponsors at Lund University Libraries have at this writing a list of 1148 "journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access." Of that number, 310 titles are searchable at the article level.

Van Orsdel, Lee and Kathleen Born. "Closing In On Open Access (44th Annual Report: Periodicals Price Survey 2004)" Library Journal, April 15, 2004, v129 n7 p. 45-50.

The narrative portion of this annual state of the subscriptions message is all about the cost crisis in academic publishing, particulary in science, technology and medicine (STM, an acronym seen frequently in these discussions, as is OAI, the Open Access/Open Archive Initiative). In previous years publishers tried to ignore open access alternatives, but this article makes it clear they're sitting up and taking notice. Statistical tables complete the picture.

Suber, Peter. Open Access News

This blog (WeB LOG) is a great way to keep up to date on open access developments. Suber is a leader in the movement, and in sidebar to his diary entries he includes links to explanatory material, calls to activism and links to the blog archive.

SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

The SPARC site is oriented toward furthering organized efforts by colleges & universities to create cost-effective access to peer-reviewed scholarship, through education, advocay and incubation of new business models.

PLoS (Public Library of Science)

Science, technical and medical journal subscriptions feature some of the most extreme examples of insupportable costs. Aiming high, "PLoS is working with scientists, their societies, funding agencies, and other publishers to pursue our broader goal of ensuring an open-access home for every published article and to develop tools to make the literature useful to scientists and the public. " PLoS publishes, so far, two journals - PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine.

University of California, California Digital Library e-Scholarship

The site of a project to comprehensively address issues of electronic academic publishing and create a sustainable model for submission, review, dissemination and archiving. Be sure to scroll down far enough to see the "reshaping scholarly communication" link at the bottom of the homepage.

Weber, Steven. _The Success of Open Source_ Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Yes, this is about open source software and not open access publishing, but Weber uses a political scientist's analysis of the organization and processes which have occurred in computer-facilitated cooperation to draw convincing conclusions about just how influential this new way of working will continue to be. Of particular interest for our subject are his treatment of intellectual property and licensing issues. This clearly-written book is a backstory to the many varieties of information access initiatives circulating today.

Web Services

Morgan, Eric Lease. "An Introduction to the Search/Retrieve URL Service (SRU)." Ariadne, Issue 40, July 2004.

"Eric Lease Morgan describes sibling Web Service protocols designed to define a standard form for Internet search queries as well as the structure of the responses. (SRW/U are Web Services-based protocols for querying Internet indexes or databases and returning search results.)"

Miller, R. SOAP Opera. Econtent v. 25 no. 8 (August 2002) p.7-8.

Article discusses the release of Google's web service software API a programmable SOAP web service application. An example of the application can be accessed at the link above. Documentation and example code are provided.

Diana Lau. Build Web Sites With BPEL Business Processes. IBM DeveloperWorks. (July 2004).

Online tutorial on building a web site that performs daily business operations. The site allows you to build a site that takes pizza orders, checks the customers credit history, and then if credit is good it places the pizza and calculates the delivery or pickup time. Order is not place if customer has bad credit.

Web Services: SOAP Client and Debugger

Allows users to inspect WSDL files. The client server permits step by step Inspection of transactions. It allows the inspection of all request and XML document responses. Site also includes links to sites to experiment with SOAP.

Dale, T. Sign Me Up For Web Services. AIIM E-Doc Magazine v. 18 no. 2 (March/April 2004) p. 72

Article discusses the evolution of XML and Web Services. The focus of the article is on XML Web Services and the impact of Web Services and how to best utilize it.

Personal Search Software

As the popularity of internet search engines grows, search engine companies have turned their focus to the personal computer hard drive. As a recently announced phenomenon, more news stories and opinionated editorials exist than actual software for evaluation, particularly from the bigger software companies.

Google Moves Toward Clash With Microsoft (subscription)
Alternate story at

Brief news story discussing Google's development of a file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.

Not just the Web: Microsoft technology to allow PC, e-mail search, too

Brief news story discussing Microsoft's plan for desktop search tools.

Yahoo to take on Microsoft in desktop search

Brief news story discussing Yahoo's desktop search tool, including a report on its features during a demonstration.

AltaVista Moves To The Desktop

News story discussing AltaVista's Desktop Search, developed for businesses rather than personal use.

HotBot's New Desktop Search Toolbar

Brief promotional story discussing features of HotBot's Desktop Search (currently available).

Webmaster World maintains list of alternative search engines (including Desktop Search engines)

A few desktop search engines already exists (such as Copernic); Webmaster World includes these in their useful index of search engines.

Digging into Microsoft's search efforts; Desktop could be at security risk under universal search plans, experts warn.

Briefly outlines security concerns involved in desktop search engines that might be accessible via the internet. More on this issue available in the Privacy section of Top Tech Trends.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

XML.Com : What is RSS?

This 2 page article provides an overview of what RSS is and also gives examples of RSS syntax. In addition there is a chart that details pros, status, and recommendations for several versions of RSS.

From WebMonkey: "Sharing Your Site With RSS"

This article serves as an introduction to RSS. It attempts to answer questions like: Do you need to publish RSS on your site? Who's really using and reading RSS? And should you download an RSS aggregator?

From "Read RSS Feeds"

This short article describes the process of getting and installing an RSS reader, so users can receive and read RSS feeds on their desktops. It also contains reviews of and links to several different RSS readers.

From Gerry McKiernan: RSS: General Bibliography

This bibliography has numerous links to articles and features all related to RSS


Biometrics: A Threat to Libraries and Privacy

Awarded second place in the annual writing competition of the Canadian Library Association's Student Chapter at the University of Alberta, the paper provides a basic overview of biometrics and cites several recent examples of the use of this technology in libraries. It discusses privacy concerns.

Biometrics FAQ

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) was established in fall of 2003 at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section. According to CIPPIC web site, the organization "seeks to ensure balance in policy and law-making processes on issues that arise as a result of new technologies. Upper year law students work under the supervision of the Clinic director on projects and cases involving the intersection of law, technology and the public interest."

This webpage addresses issues surrounding biometric technologies and their implications for individual privacy.

Privacy & Technology: Surveillance & Wiretapping

In the statement on RFID tags by Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program, before the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 14, 2004, Congress is cautioned to be vigilant in monitoring development in the use of RFID and biometrics and creating legal controls to protect American privacy both domestically and internationally.

U.K. Privacy Groups Give Thumbs-Down to Storing Library Users' Fingerprints

In July, 2002, a new school-library circulation system that involves fingerprint recognition draws outrage from privacy groups in Britain.

Learning to Live With Biometrics,1848,60342,00.htm

In September, 2003, Wired News reporter, Claudia Graziano, describes how the use of biometric finger scanning systems have become commonplace in 45 school districts where over 250,000 children use the technology daily to purchase lunches in the cafeteria and to check out books in the school library.

E-Resource Management

Electronic Resource Management : The Report of the DLF Initiative. August 2004

The DLF's E-Resource Management Initiative report aims to facilitate ERM system development by providing a problem space definition as well as functional requirement, workflow diagram, entity relationship diagram, data dictionary, and data structure documents.

A Web Hub for Developing Administrative Metadata for Electronic Resource Management.

This site, maintained by Adam Chandler of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative Steering Group, contains a wealth of background information, e-resource management meeting presentation slides, discussion meeting notes, document drafts, and information about vendor and local system developments.

Norm Medeiros, "A Pioneering Spirit: Using Administrative Metadata to Manage Electronic Resources" [an interview with Tim Jewell and Adam Chandler, April 2003].

A nice introductory article describing the work of the DLF initiative.

Jewell, Timothy D. "Selection and Presentation of Commercially Available Electronic Resources: Issues and Practices" CLIR, July 2001

An early survey conducted by Tim Jewell, chair of the DLF ERM Initiative Steering Group, leading to the formation of the DLF Initiative.

E-mail Discussion List

Send a message to:
In the body of the message type:
subscribe Firstname Lastname

A low-traffic list devoted to the discussion of e-resource management issues and announcements.

ALA Product Announcements - Electronic resource management modules launched at ALA

During the Top Technology Trends session, Marshall Breeding identified 2004 as the "Year of the ERM." This news item highlights the Integrated Library System vendors who announced new e-resource management products at ALA Annual in Orlando. These vendors join Innovative Interfaces, who has offered an ERM module for over a year.

JPEG 2000

JPEG 2000

The homepage for the JPEG format. This section details the plans and progress for the JPEG 2000 standard. - JPEG 2000

A compendium of links to resources like Photoshop Plug-Ins for JPEG 2000, Tutorials on the standard, source code, and papers written on it.

JPEG2000 Info

An industry sponsored advocacy website with background information, links to white papers, and news reports on JPEG 2000.

The JPEG 2000 Resource Web Page

This page from the Purdue Video and Image Processing Laboratory presents background information, a short bibliography on the format, and some related links.

Print Resources

Buckley, Robert. 2001. Color imaging with JPEG 2000. In IS&T SID Color Imaging Conference; 2001; 9th:113-119. Scottsdale, AZ: IS&T.
Written by a member of the JPEG2000 committee, this article provides a brief overview of the file formats, wavelet compression scheme, and features such as "Region-of-Interest" encoding.

Janosky, James S. and Rutherford W. Witthus. 2004. Using JPEG2000 for enhanced preservation and web access of digital archives - a case study. In IS&T's 2004 Archiving Conference:145-149. San Antonio, TX.
Using the Aware, Inc. JPEG2000 Image Server as the backdrop, this article provides a review of JPEG2000 standard's file formats, encoding options, and use of metadata boxes to store technical metadata, TEI Lite and PDF forms of the transcription, and a short EAD finding aid. Available online at

Murray, Ronald J. 2004. Jpeg 2000 in practice: The effect of image content and imaging system characteristics. In IS&T's 2004 Archiving Conference:266-274. San Antonio, TX.
This paper describes experiments in the compression of images in JPEG2000 (including a discussion of the effect of 'noise' on lossless compression), reviews the origin of current best practices in digital library imaging, and suggests ways to build create a processing workflow for archival imaging using JPEG2000.