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CLIR Issues Number 29

Number 29
September/October 2002


Outsell Study Data to be Released in October

The Copyright Conundrum
by Abby Smith

CLIR Accepting Applications for Mellon Dissertation Fellowships

Update from the DLF
by David Seaman

Colombia’s BibloRed Receives Access to Learning Award
by Alice Bishop

Frye Leadership Institute Slated for June

Scholarly Resources Affected by New NARA Proposal
by Jerry George

New in Print

Outsell Study Data to be Released in October

RESULTS OF A recent study that examined how college and university faculty and students view the scholarly information environment will become available the week of October 14. The study, entitled Dimensions and Use of the Scholarly Information Environment, was commissioned by the Digital Library Federation from the research firm Outsell, Inc., with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The study is based on interviews with 3,234 individuals, including faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students. Respondents were drawn from almost 400 leading public and private universities and private liberal arts colleges. Study findings will shed light on the information-seeking behavior of students, teachers, and researchers; use of and level of satisfaction with current infrastructure; and preferred information formats.

The document includes an introduction to the study methodology and findings as well as more than 100 selected tables summarizing responses to survey questions. The full collection of more than 650 tables will be available on CLIR’s Web site. The raw data will be available on the Web site of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) later this fall.

In order to release the data as soon as possible, CLIR has not undertaken extensive analysis. We encourage review and analysis of the data by the community and welcome suggestions for studies that will build on the findings of this report.

The Copyright Conundrum

by by Abby Smith

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY ENABLES a range of creators in all genres—textual, geospatial, numeric, audio, and visual—to originate and disseminate information without going through the filters for quality (and quantity) that are inherent in traditional publishing. There is much to praise in the networks of peer-to-peer communication spawned by the Internet. One of the more lamentable consequences of networked communication, however, is that most information that is born digital—whether music, film, or text—is created without much planning for longevity.

For libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other cultural heritage institutions, this is a cause for great concern. Given the current length of copyright protection for original expressions—life plus 70 years—it is likely that most data being created today in digital formats will not pass into the public domain for 100 years or more. Institutions with a preservation mandate thus face complicated choices about how best to fulfill the public trust. Because current copyright laws are ambiguous about what actions may be taken for purposes of preservation, libraries—traditionally risk-averse—tend to put off taking steps to preserve digital data that are not created in-house. However, inaction is a high-risk strategy for electronic information. The situation is complicated by the fact that distributors of digital content usually license, rather than sell, information to libraries. The burden of preserving information assets that are licensed or under copyright therefore falls not to libraries, but to the owners or distributors, who are seldom well positioned to assume that burden and who might even be unaware of the implications of preservation for cultural heritage.

To solve this problem, incentives must be developed that will encourage creators and owners in both the commercial and academic sectors to deposit their data into preservation repositories early in their life cycle. The fragility and instability of digital data have made preservation an urgent matter for publishers, distributors, aggregators, broadcasters, film studios, scientists, scholars, and creators of all stripes, not only for libraries. Preservation has become a business proposition for any industry or field that relies on digital information—that is, for virtually all of the so-called information or intellectual property (IP) economy. Two decades ago, the emergence of the video rental market taught film studios that back lists can still help the bottom line and that those lists must be well tended for possible future use. This lesson is not lost on current IP owners.

Commercial IP owners often have in-house digital asset management systems that do some things resembling the preservation interventions libraries and archives perform, e.g., normalizing data files or creating preservation metadata. But librarians and archivists rightly point out that managing digital assets for the possibility of reusing their content for other purposes—now common in the entertainment and broadcasting industries in particular—is not the same thing as preserving cultural heritage.

In the course of developing a national strategy for digital preservation, the Library of Congress recently consulted with major publishers and media companies. The firms not only agreed that digital asset management was distinct from preservation but also agreed in principle that it would be desirable to deposit their digital content for the purposes of preservation into a trustworthy third-party repository. These firms want to be good citizens. At the same time, they caution, any depositing of digital content must be done in a way that does not harm their revenue streams. Incentives for deposit can be as straightforward as the fact that such preservation offers back-up systems for valuable assets. None of the firms wants dark archives—those with restricted access—because they believe that an asset to which few have access is not worth preserving.

Developing and testing transparent, trustworthy, and cost-efficient preservation deposit regimes for commercially owned digital data will require clarification of copyright law, controlled pilot projects between commercial entities and libraries, and the commitment of all partners to finding a solution. It will also require honest brokers to guide the process and funding from public and private sources.

Libraries should also be working aggressively with the non-commercial creators of data that will be important for the historical and intellectual record of our era. This means developing agreements with relevant individuals and organizations to secure their electronic correspondence, pre-print articles, video records, and working drafts. Some libraries are already seeking such partnerships. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is developing, through its DSpace, a repository for faculty output. It is cooperating with other libraries to test the software it is developing. Stanford plans to offer repository services not only to its faculty and students but also to publishers. It will be important to glean from these programs what the incentives are for institutions to go into the repository business. What models of sustainability will devolve from such experimental repositories?

Public/private partnerships are crucial to the survival of cultural heritage, scholarship, and information in the digital realm. Such partnerships already exist in the analog realm, with divisions of labor among creators, publishers, private collectors, and repositories that have proven remarkably resilient. Those arrangements evolved slowly and with some stress and mutual acrimony, but they now appear to be so sturdy and time-tested that we take them for granted. Because preservation is a public trust, libraries are ideally positioned to provide leadership in breaking the copyright conundrum for digital content.

CLIR Accepting Applications for Mellon Dissertation Fellowships

CLIR IS ACCEPTING applications for the Mellon Fellowship Program for Dissertation Research in the Humanities in Original Sources. This is the program’s second year.

CLIR will award approximately 10 fellowships carrying stipends of up to $20,000 each to support dissertation research for periods of up to 12 months. Applicants must be graduate students who

  • are enrolled in a doctoral program in a graduate school in the United States
  • will complete all doctoral requirements except the dissertation and be ready to start research for it as early as June 1, 2003, and no later than September 1, 2003, with approval of the dissertation proposal six months before the starting date
  • plan to do dissertation research primarily in original source material in the holdings of archives, libraries, historical societies, museums, related repositories, or a combination thereof
  • will write their dissertation and receive their Ph.D. degree in a field of the humanities or in a related element of the social sciences

The program is intended to help graduate students in the humanities and related social science fields pursue research wherever relevant sources are available; gain skill and creativity in using primary source material in libraries, archives, museums, and related repositories; and provide feedback to CLIR about how such source materials can be made more accessible and useful.

Applications must be postmarked by December 1, 2002, or November 15, 2002, if mailed from outside the United States. Awards will be announced by April 1, 2003.

Application information and forms are available under Fellowships at They may also be requested by e-mail at, by phone at (202) 939-4750, or by mail at CLIR, 1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 20036.

Update from the DLF

by David Seaman

IT IS MY pleasure to be writing as the incoming director of the Digital Library Federation (DLF). I look forward to building on the strong and vibrant organization that I have been left by my predecessor, Dan Greenstein. I come to DLF after 10 years’ work building the Electronic Text Center at the University of Virginia (UVA), the component of the UVA digital library that deals with humanities texts and images. Collaboration with scholars, librarians, students, and publishers has been a regular and welcomed feature of my work to date, and I look forward now to the opportunity to become engaged in the larger national and international spheres of activity afforded by the DLF.

The DLF provides a space for librarians and others to collaborate on issues of common interest, from policy questions to digitizing standards, from cataloging standards to software development. I am learning quickly how active and committed the DLF members are. I came to the job to find a meeting place already arranged for our Fall Forum, which will be held in Seattle, Washington, November 4­6. Cassie Savage, a CLIR staff member for four years who was recently appointed DLF administrative associate, took on responsibility for planning this event. Meanwhile, a steering committee was busy selecting papers and presentations for the Forum. DLF working groups continued during the several months between directors, thanks in great measure to the oversight of Deanna Marcum and CLIR staff and in particular to the excellent stewardship of Dale Flecker, who coordinated DLF activities in the interim.

DLF projects are ongoing in a number of other areas, including the following:

  • The DLF and the Getty Grant Program are sponsoring the Visual Resources Association to review and evaluate existing data content standards and current practice to compile a manual that may be used to describe, document, and catalog cultural objects and their visual surrogates. The guidelines will be available in 2003.
  • In collaboration with OCLC, DLF is planning to create a registry of digital reproductions and archival masters—a shared information system where libraries, publishers, and others can record what materials they have digitized, what items they plan to digitize, the standards they have followed, and the rules for accessing their materials. OCLC has expressed strong interest in hosting the registry within its union catalog.
  • Exploratory work is under way that will lead to the creation of an archivists’ toolkit for those creating and managing digital finding aids to archival collections using the Encoded Archival Description encoding.
  • The DLF and the Coalition for Networked Information are providing financial support for the Open Archives Initiative (OAI). The OAI allows a data provider such as a library to make available metadata for Web resources that can be harvested and queried alongside potentially huge amounts of material across multiple institutions. The DLF is also encouraging members to develop Internet gateways that integrate access to distributed digital library collections. Complementary examples already exist at the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois, both of which are DLF members.
  • Dimensions and Use of the Scholarly Information Environment, the massive Mellon-funded DLF/Outsell survey of how faculty and students perceive and use the academic library, will be released in October. The DLF will promote the use of this study to help libraries plan for future information services.

As we move into the new school year, it is clear that digital collections and the tools that manipulate, reuse, and safeguard them are becoming central to larger parts of our teaching and research communities as well as to the high school students and public users who flock online to our libraries, museums, and archives. The DLF has a solid track record, and its members are unafraid to tackle jointly the tough, vital issues that face us as budgets shrink and digital needs grow. I look forward to aiding the further growth of an organization whose collaborative power is more relevant now than ever before.

Colombia’s BibloRed Receives Access to Learning Award

by Alice Bishop

Presentation of the Access to Learning Award on August 20. From left to right: Richard Akeroyd, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Piedad Ortiz Herrera, BibloRed; Margarita Pena, Secretary of Education, Bogotá; Catalina Ramirez, BibloRed; Deanna Marcum, CLIR; and Carol Erickson, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

COLOMBIA’S BIBLORED (Capital Network of Public Libraries) was honored with the 2002 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award, which is administered by CLIR. BibloRed was recognized for its success in providing free and innovative access to information for the citizens of Bogotá, particularly those in low-income areas. It will use the grant of one million U.S. dollars to expand its services.

“This award is an exceptionally refreshing encouragement for our embattled country,” said Margarita Pena, Secretary of Education, District of Bogotá. “Through our library system, we have improved the lives of millions of children and adults by offering new educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities that fight against boredom, frustration, and violence, and set a visible means of building peace in a more equal society.”

BibloRed’s impact is illustrated by the experience of 12-year-old Luis Cardenas. When a large white building suddenly appeared in Cardenas’s neighborhood, it piqued the young boy’s curiosity. Instead of roaming the streets, he began spending his days at the library, engrossed in workshops on technological tools and reading incentives. “I’d rather be here and not on the street, learning what I shouldn’t,” said Cardenas; “you see, I don’t go to school.” Library staff soon helped Cardenas enroll in school.

Over the past four years, BibloRed has built three major public libraries and upgraded 16 local branches that attract an average of 10,000 visitors a day. The libraries are strategically located throughout Bogotá to serve at least 70 percent of the school-age population and 40 percent of adults.

The Access to Learning Award is given annually to a library or comparable organization outside the United States to recognize accomplishments in making information technology accessible to the public, particularly to those living in underserved communities.

CLIR began administering the award in November 2001. For this year’s competition, it assembled an international advisory committee of librarians and information technology experts to review the applications and select the recipient. More than 130 applications from 65 countries were received.

Previous recipients of the Access to Learning Award include Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala (Probigua) and the Biblioteca del Congreso de la Nación Argentina in 2001, and the Helsinki City Library of Finland in 2000. The award is presented at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions meeting.

CLIR will publish a case study of BibloRed in English and Spanish that will be available online and in print at the end of this year.

CLIR is now soliciting applications for 2003. Additional information and the application form are available at

Frye Leadership Institute Slated for June

THE FRYE LEADERSHIP Institute is accepting applications for its 2003 session, which will be held June 1­13 at Emory University. The Institute is an intensive, two-week residential program in which participants study and analyze the leadership challenges stemming from the changing context of higher education. Participants will be selected competitively from among nominees and applicants who have a commitment to, and talent for, leadership within higher education. The group as a whole will be chosen to reflect the variety of backgrounds and experience that constitute higher education.

The Institute is supported by a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation and is sponsored by CLIR, EDUCAUSE, and Emory University. Applications must be submitted by December 15, 2002. Information and application instructions are available at The Institute can also be contacted by e-mail at

Scholarly Resources Affected by New NARA Proposal

by Jerry George

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES and Records Administration (NARA) is proposing major changes in how it helps federal agencies manage their records—changes that will affect the preservation of scholarly resources and that will be watched by archives of governments at all levels.

NARA not only preserves government records of value for research but also has statutory responsibilities for helping government agencies manage current records. “Records management” includes creating needed records, organizing them for an agency’s use, and identifying how long each series of records should be kept and which records should go to NARA’s archives for permanent preservation. Bad records management may result in losses before records ever reach archival custody for use by researchers.

Recent studies by NARA indicate that the management of federal records—electronic as well as paper-based—greatly needs improvement. Accordingly, NARA has issued for public comment a Proposal for a Redesign of Federal Records Management. NARA recently explained the proposed redesign in briefings for interested groups, including representatives of other archives and of libraries.

Recognizing that resources for records management assistance are unlikely to grow, NARA proposes to reassess its priorities and improve its procedures. In the past, NARA has tried to help each of the hundreds of federal agencies document itself individually. Now NARA proposes to focus on documenting government functions, such as law enforcement and research-and-development, that may be carried out in multiple agencies. NARA proposes to give priority to problems in managing bodies of records that document three things—(1) the rights and entitlements of citizens; (2) the actions for which federal officials are accountable; and (3) the national experience. Also NARA will give priority to records at risk.

Procedurally, NARA proposes to give agencies more latitude in how they manage records. NARA will concern itself less with an agency’s methods than with its effectiveness in meeting needs for records. NARA proposes to increase the number of “general records schedules,” specifying how long certain common kinds of records must be retained (including records to be kept permanently) rather than requiring agencies to create a separate retention schedule for every series of records. NARA also proposes to identify records-management tools that may be useful to agencies in general and to certify contractors who can provide hands-on records-management assistance. NARA hopes to work as a partner in helping agencies meet business information needs and to exercise oversight and enforcement powers primarily in problem areas.

Until the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) that NARA is developing can be implemented, NARA has had to limit the formats in which it accepts electronic records into the National Archives. This leaves many such records in limbo and potentially in jeopardy at federal agencies. NARA plans to expand formats acceptable for accession, and to help agencies describe, store, and preserve their electronic records before transfer to the National Archives. Also NARA hopes to provide government workers with clearer guidance on managing electronic records and to become a more effective advocate for government records management.

The proposal is accessible on NARA’s Web site under “Initiative 2” at, along with instructions for sending comments.

New in Print

The Digital Library: A Biography. Daniel Greenstein and Suzanne E. Thorin. Drawing on the results of a survey and case studies of DLF members, the authors explore how leadership, environment, and other influences have molded a range of organizational forms that we call the digital library.

Diffuse Libraries: Emergent Roles for the Research Library in the Digital Age. Wendy Pradt Lougee. As research libraries become more deeply engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, they are taking on a range of new roles. The author looks at how some libraries and library organizations are forging new services in collection development, information access, and user services.

The State of Digital Preservation: An International Perspective. Leading experts from the United States, the Netherlands, and Australia describe current practices and challenges in digital preservation in this collection of papers that were presented at a symposium in April 2002.

Building a National Strategy for Digital Preservation: Issues in Digital Media Archiving. Keeping digital media accessible over time will require cooperation from creators, publishers, and traditional custodians of cultural heritage. The Library of Congress, in an effort to develop a national strategy for preserving digital information, brought these diverse groups together in 2002 to discuss the organizational, legal, and technical challenges inherent in building a national preservation infrastructure. This report summarizes the results of those initial meetings, and includes essays by six authors outlining the basic issues regarding the preservation of digital periodicals, e-books, Web, digital sound, digital television, and digital video.

These publications are available on CLIR’s Web site at and in print, and may be ordered through the Web site.

Council on Library and Information Resources
1755 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 939-4750
Fax: (202) 939-4765 · E-mail:
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grew out of the 1997 merger of the Commission on Preservation and Access and the Council on Library Resources. CLIR identifies the critical issues that affect the welfare and prospects of libraries and archives and the constituencies they serve, convenes individuals and organizations in the best position to engage these issues and respond to them, and encourages institutions to work collaboratively to achieve and manage change.

Alice Bishop
Special Projects Associate

Gerald George
Special Projects Associate

Deanna B. Marcum

Susan Perry
Director of Programs

Abby Smith
Director of Programs

Kathlin Smith
Editor and Director of Communications

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