LC’s Adoption of Silverlight — Good Deal for Microsoft, Bad Deal for the Rest of Us

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was giving $3 million in “funding, software, technological expertise, training and support services” to the Library of Congress to build on-site and online exhibits of LC historical collections. Others have commented on this. From a Jester’s point of view, I’ve got problems with this on two fronts: Microsoft using LC in a cheap marketing ploy and LC’s use of a new technology that impedes access for no good technical reason.

Links to OPAC Enhancements, Wrappers, and Replacements

Below are the supplemental links for the presentation at the NISO workshop on discovery layers in Chapel Hill, NC, on March 28, 2008.

Update 20080404T1124 : Carolyn McCallum at Wake Forest University posted a great summary of day two of the NISO discovery layer forum, including an overview of my talk. Thanks, Carolyn!

Foundational Pieces


The presentation started as an extension of a DLTJ blog post. I also mentioned Marshal Breeding’s Library Technology Report published in July/August of 2007 and available from the ALA store.

SSL for WordPress Admin and the Problem with XMLHttpRequest

Note! The updates to SSL handling in WordPress version 2.6 handle the problem of SSL-encrypted admin sessions in a much less hackish sort of way. It doesn’t make any sense to use this plugin with WordPress version 2.6 when you can simply add define(’FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true); to your wp-config.php file.

The WordPress Codex has documentation for running the login, registration, and administration interfaces on an SSL server. There is even a plug-in that will do much of the heavy lifting for you. I have found both of these methods, by themselves, to be rather unsatisfactory, though, in that admin services that rely on AJAX calls back to WordPress break (such as the periodic saving of drafts). What happens is this:

A Glimpse into the Internet Archive’s Scanning and Print-on-Demand Operations

Wired magazine published a brief story and online photo gallery of the book scanning and print-on-demand projects at the Internet Archive. It is a fascinating glimpse into their vision and processes. Included below are cropped thumbnails and part of the text captions that accompanied the pictures in the Wired online gallery.

The book to be scanned sits in front of a technician underneath a V-shaped glass platter. Two opposing cameras angled at each page take photos of the book. On screen is the multipage view that the operator uses to verify the quality of the scans and the book’s pagination.

NISO Workshop Exploring the Discovery Layer; March 27-28, 2008; Chapel Hill, NC

NISO is conducting a workshop later this month called Next Generation Discovery: New Tools, Aging Standards. The workshop is described this way: “Discovering scholarly information and data is essential for research and use of the content that the information community is producing and making available. The development of knowledge bases, web systems, repositories, and other sources for this information brings the need for effective discovery — search-driven discovery and network (or browse) driven discovery — tools to the forefront. With new tools and systems emerging, however, are standards keeping pace with the next generation of tools? What’s coming up and where might standards fit to assist in this arena? The forum will include both a look at the current state of discovery tools and at new visions of what these tools might look like in the next several years.”

OhioLINK seeks applicants for two positions: User Services Development and Electronic Licensing

Applications are invited for two positions at OhioLINK: an Assistant Director of Library Systems — User Services Development and an Assistant Director of Electronic Licensing. OhioLINK is a consortium of Ohio’s college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio. It serves more than 600,000 students, faculty, staff, and other researchers at 87 institutions. OhioLINK provides a multitude of services including over 100 databases consisting of bibliographic, electronic journals, electronic books, images, videos, and audio files. For more information about OhioLINK, see http://www.ohiolink.edu/

Assistant Director of Library Systems — User Services Development

Vint Cerf on the Origins of 32-bit IP Addressing

Via a weekly wrap-up post by Dion Almaer on the Google Code Blog comes mention of a Google Tech Talk video from their IPv6 Conference 2008. It is a panel discussion called “What will the IPv6 Internet look like?” and it offers insight into the difficulties of transitioning to the next generation IP transport protocol. Although it has been years since I’ve seen the business end of managing an actual IP network, I found the discussion a fascinating look at the issues that are ahead of network engineers and device manufacturers around the world.

“Teaching with Digital Texts” presentation

At the Ohio Digital Commons for Education conference yesterday I had the privilege of chairing a panel for a session called “Teaching with Digital Texts: Comparative Experiences from the Field“. The panel was a mixture of the principle investigators and the publisher representatives from two pilot projects that ran last fall testing the economics and suitability of enhanced digital learning materials. The abstract of the session and the participants were: