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Edited by James Daly
9-10 June 1992
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.
Supported by a Grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation
*** *** *** ****** *** *** ***
Prosser Gifford and Carl Fleischhauer
Session I. Content in a New Form: Who Will Use It and What Will They Do?
James Daly (Moderator)
Avra Michelson, Overview
Susan H. Veccia, User Evaluation
Joanne Freeman, Beyond the Scholar
Session II. Show and Tell
Jacqueline Hess (Moderator)
Elli Mylonas, Perseus Project
Eric M. Calaluca, Patrologia Latina Database
Carl Fleischhauer and Ricky Erway, American Memory
Dorothy Twohig, The Papers of George Washington
Maria L. Lebron, The Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials
Lynne K. Personius, Cornell mathematics books
Session III. Distribution, Networks, and Networking:
Options for Dissemination
Robert G. Zich (Moderator)
Clifford A. Lynch
Howard Besser
Ronald L. Larsen
Edwin B. Brownrigg
Session IV. Image Capture, Text Capture, Overview of Text and
Image Storage Formats
William L. Hooton (Moderator)
A) Principal Methods for Image Capture of Text:
direct scanning, use of microform
Anne R. Kenney
Pamela Q.J. Andre
Judith A. Zidar
Donald J. Waters
B) Special Problems: bound volumes, conservation,
reproducing printed halftones
George Thoma
Carl Fleischhauer
C) Image Standards and Implications for Preservation
Jean Baronas
Patricia Battin
D) Text Conversion: OCR vs. rekeying, standards of accuracy
and use of imperfect texts, service bureaus
Michael Lesk
Ricky Erway
Judith A. Zidar
Session V. Approaches to Preparing Electronic Texts
Susan Hockey (Moderator)
Stuart Weibel
C.M. Sperberg-McQueen
Eric M. Calaluca
Session VI. Copyright Issues
Marybeth Peters
Session VII. Conclusion
Prosser Gifford (Moderator)
General discussion
Appendix I: Program
Appendix II: Abstracts
Appendix III: Directory of Participants
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I would like to thank Carl Fleischhauer and Prosser Gifford for the
opportunity to learn about areas of human activity unknown to me a scant
ten months ago, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation for
supporting that opportunity. The help given by others is acknowledged on
a separate page.
19 October 1992
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The Workshop on Electronic Texts (1) drew together representatives of
various projects and interest groups to compare ideas, beliefs,
experiences, and, in particular, methods of placing and presenting
historical textual materials in computerized form. Most attendees gained
much in insight and outlook from the event. But the assembly did not
form a new nation, or, to put it another way, the diversity of projects
and interests was too great to draw the representatives into a cohesive,
action-oriented body.(2)
Everyone attending the Workshop shared an interest in preserving and
providing access to historical texts. But within this broad field the
attendees represented a variety of formal, informal, figurative, and
literal groups, with many individuals belonging to more than one. These
groups may be defined roughly according to the following topics or
* Imaging
* Searchable coded texts
* National and international computer networks
* CD-ROM production and dissemination
* Methods and technology for converting older paper materials into
electronic form
* Study of the use of digital materials by scholars and others
This summary is arranged thematically and does not follow the actual
sequence of presentations.
(1) In this document, the phrase electronic text is used to mean
any computerized reproduction or version of a document, book,
article, or manuscript (including images), and not merely a machine-
readable or machine-searchable text.
(2) The Workshop was held at the Library of Congress on 9-10 June
1992, with funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The document that follows represents a summary of the presentations
made at the Workshop and was compiled by James DALY. This
introduction was written by DALY and Carl FLEISCHHAUER.
Preservation, as that term is used by archivists,(3) was most explicitly
discussed in the context of imaging. Anne KENNEY and Lynne PERSONIUS
explained how the concept of a faithful copy and the user-friendliness of
the traditional book have guided their project at Cornell University.(4)
Although interested in computerized dissemination, participants in the
Cornell project are creating digital image sets of older books in the
public domain as a source for a fresh paper facsimile or, in a future
phase, microfilm. The books returned to the library shelves are
high-quality and useful replacements on acid-free paper that should last
a long time. To date, the Cornell project has placed little or no
emphasis on creating searchable texts; one would not be surprised to find
that the project participants view such texts as new editions, and thus
not as faithful reproductions.
In her talk on preservation, Patricia BATTIN struck an ecumenical and
flexible note as she endorsed the creation and dissemination of a variety
of types of digital copies. Do not be too narrow in defining what counts
as a preservation element, BATTIN counseled; for the present, at least,
digital copies made with preservation in mind cannot be as narrowly
standardized as, say, microfilm copies with the same objective. Setting
standards precipitously can inhibit creativity, but delay can result in
chaos, she advised.
In part, BATTIN's position reflected the unsettled nature of image-format
standards, and attendees could hear echoes of this unsettledness in the
comments of various speakers. For example, Jean BARONAS reviewed the
status of several formal standards moving through committees of experts;
and Clifford LYNCH encouraged the use of a new guideline for transmitting
document images on Internet. Testimony from participants in the National
Agricultural Library's (NAL) Text Digitization Program and LC's American
Memory project highlighted some of the challenges to the actual creation
or interchange of images, including difficulties in converting
preservation microfilm to digital form. Donald WATERS reported on the
progress of a master plan for a project at Yale University to convert
books on microfilm to digital image sets, Project Open Book (POB).
The Workshop offered rather less of an imaging practicum than planned,
but "how-to" hints emerge at various points, for example, throughout
KENNEY's presentation and in the discussion of arcana such as
thresholding and dithering offered by George THOMA and FLEISCHHAUER.
(3) Although there is a sense in which any reproductions of
historical materials preserve the human record, specialists in the
field have developed particular guidelines for the creation of
acceptable preservation copies.
(4) Titles and affiliations of presenters are given at the
beginning of their respective talks and in the Directory of
Participants (Appendix III).
The sections of the Workshop that dealt with machine-readable text tended
to be more concerned with access and use than with preservation, at least
in the narrow technical sense. Michael SPERBERG-McQUEEN made a forceful
presentation on the Text Encoding Initiative's (TEI) implementation of
the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). His ideas were echoed
by Susan HOCKEY, Elli MYLONAS, and Stuart WEIBEL. While the
presentations made by the TEI advocates contained no practicum, their
discussion focused on the value of the finished product, what the
European Community calls reusability, but what may also be termed
durability. They argued that marking up--that is, coding--a text in a
well-conceived way will permit it to be moved from one computer
environment to another, as well as to be used by various users. Two
kinds of markup were distinguished: 1) procedural markup, which
describes the features of a text (e.g., dots on a page), and 2)
descriptive markup, which describes the structure or elements of a
document (e.g., chapters, paragraphs, and front matter).
The TEI proponents emphasized the importance of texts to scholarship.
They explained how heavily coded (and thus analyzed and annotated) texts
can underlie research, play a role in scholarly communication, and
facilitate classroom teaching. SPERBERG-McQUEEN reminded listeners that
a written or printed item (e.g., a particular edition of a book) is
merely a representation of the abstraction we call a text. To concern
ourselves with faithfully reproducing a printed instance of the text,
SPERBERG-McQUEEN argued, is to concern ourselves with the representation
of a representation ("images as simulacra for the text"). The TEI proponents'
interest in images tends to focus on corollary materials for use in teaching,
for example, photographs of the Acropolis to accompany a Greek text.
By the end of the Workshop, SPERBERG-McQUEEN confessed to having been
converted to a limited extent to the view that electronic images
constitute a promising alternative to microfilming; indeed, an
alternative probably superior to microfilming. But he was not convinced
that electronic images constitute a serious attempt to represent text in
electronic form. HOCKEY and MYLONAS also conceded that their experience
at the Pierce Symposium the previous week at Georgetown University and
the present conference at the Library of Congress had compelled them to
reevaluate their perspective on the usefulness of text as images.
Attendees could see that the text and image advocates were in
constructive tension, so to say.
Three nonTEI presentations described approaches to preparing
machine-readable text that are less rigorous and thus less expensive. In
the case of the Papers of George Washington, Dorothy TWOHIG explained
that the digital version will provide a not-quite-perfect rendering of
the transcribed text--some 135,000 documents, available for research
during the decades while the perfect or print version is completed.
Members of the American Memory team and the staff of NAL's Text
Digitization Program (see below) also outlined a middle ground concerning
searchable texts. In the case of American Memory, contractors produce
texts with about 99-percent accuracy that serve as "browse" or
"reference" versions of written or printed originals. End users who need
faithful copies or perfect renditions must refer to accompanying sets of
digital facsimile images or consult copies of the originals in a nearby
library or archive. American Memory staff argued that the high cost of
producing 100-percent accurate copies would prevent LC from offering
access to large parts of its collections.
Although the Workshop did not include a systematic examination of the
methods for converting texts from paper (or from facsimile images) into
machine-readable form, nevertheless, various speakers touched upon this
matter. For example, WEIBEL reported that OCLC has experimented with a
merging of multiple optical character recognition systems that will
reduce errors from an unacceptable rate of 5 characters out of every
l,000 to an unacceptable rate of 2 characters out of every l,000.
Pamela ANDRE presented an overview of NAL's Text Digitization Program and
Judith ZIDAR discussed the technical details. ZIDAR explained how NAL
purchased hardware and software capable of performing optical character
recognition (OCR) and text conversion and used its own staff to convert
texts. The process, ZIDAR said, required extensive editing and project
staff found themselves considering alternatives, including rekeying
and/or creating abstracts or summaries of texts. NAL reckoned costs at
$7 per page. By way of contrast, Ricky ERWAY explained that American
Memory had decided from the start to contract out conversion to external
service bureaus. The criteria used to select these contractors were cost
and quality of results, as opposed to methods of conversion. ERWAY noted
that historical documents or books often do not lend themselves to OCR.
Bound materials represent a special problem. In her experience, quality
control--inspecting incoming materials, counting errors in samples--posed
the most time-consuming aspect of contracting out conversion. ERWAY
reckoned American Memory's costs at $4 per page, but cautioned that fewer
cost-elements had been included than in NAL's figure.
The topic of dissemination proper emerged at various points during the
Workshop. At the session devoted to national and international computer
networks, LYNCH, Howard BESSER, Ronald LARSEN, and Edwin BROWNRIGG
highlighted the virtues of Internet today and of the network that will
evolve from Internet. Listeners could discern in these narratives a
vision of an information democracy in which millions of citizens freely
find and use what they need. LYNCH noted that a lack of standards
inhibits disseminating multimedia on the network, a topic also discussed
by BESSER. LARSEN addressed the issues of network scalability and
modularity and commented upon the difficulty of anticipating the effects
of growth in orders of magnitude. BROWNRIGG talked about the ability of
packet radio to provide certain links in a network without the need for
wiring. However, the presenters also called attention to the
shortcomings and incongruities of present-day computer networks. For
example: 1) Network use is growing dramatically, but much network
traffic consists of personal communication (E-mail). 2) Large bodies of
information are available, but a user's ability to search across their
entirety is limited. 3) There are significant resources for science and
technology, but few network sources provide content in the humanities.
4) Machine-readable texts are commonplace, but the capability of the
system to deal with images (let alone other media formats) lags behind.
A glimpse of a multimedia future for networks, however, was provided by
Maria LEBRON in her overview of the Online Journal of Current Clinical
Trials (OJCCT), and the process of scholarly publishing on-line.
The contrasting form of the CD-ROM disk was never systematically
analyzed, but attendees could glean an impression from several of the
show-and-tell presentations. The Perseus and American Memory examples
demonstrated recently published disks, while the descriptions of the
IBYCUS version of the Papers of George Washington and Chadwyck-Healey's
Patrologia Latina Database (PLD) told of disks to come. According to
Eric CALALUCA, PLD's principal focus has been on converting Jacques-Paul
Migne's definitive collection of Latin texts to machine-readable form.
Although everyone could share the network advocates' enthusiasm for an
on-line future, the possibility of rolling up one's sleeves for a session
with a CD-ROM containing both textual materials and a powerful retrieval
engine made the disk seem an appealing vessel indeed. The overall
discussion suggested that the transition from CD-ROM to on-line networked
access may prove far slower and more difficult than has been anticipated.
Although concerned with the technicalities of production, the Workshop
never lost sight of the purposes and uses of electronic versions of
textual materials. As noted above, those interested in imaging discussed
the problematical matter of digital preservation, while the TEI proponents
described how machine-readable texts can be used in research. This latter
topic received thorough treatment in the paper read by Avra MICHELSON.
She placed the phenomenon of electronic texts within the context of
broader trends in information technology and scholarly communication.
Among other things, MICHELSON described on-line conferences that
represent a vigorous and important intellectual forum for certain
disciplines. Internet now carries more than 700 conferences, with about
80 percent of these devoted to topics in the social sciences and the
humanities. Other scholars use on-line networks for "distance learning."
Meanwhile, there has been a tremendous growth in end-user computing;
professors today are less likely than their predecessors to ask the
campus computer center to process their data. Electronic texts are one
key to these sophisticated applications, MICHELSON reported, and more and
more scholars in the humanities now work in an on-line environment.
Toward the end of the Workshop, Michael LESK presented a corollary to
MICHELSON's talk, reporting the results of an experiment that compared
the work of one group of chemistry students using traditional printed
texts and two groups using electronic sources. The experiment
demonstrated that in the event one does not know what to read, one needs
the electronic systems; the electronic systems hold no advantage at the
moment if one knows what to read, but neither do they impose a penalty.
DALY provided an anecdotal account of the revolutionizing impact of the
new technology on his previous methods of research in the field of classics.
His account, by extrapolation, served to illustrate in part the arguments
made by MICHELSON concerning the positive effects of the sudden and radical
transformation being wrought in the ways scholars work.
Susan VECCIA and Joanne FREEMAN delineated the use of electronic
materials outside the university. The most interesting aspect of their
use, FREEMAN said, could be seen as a paradox: teachers in elementary
and secondary schools requested access to primary source materials but,
at the same time, found that "primariness" itself made these materials
difficult for their students to use.
Marybeth PETERS reviewed copyright law in the United States and offered
advice during a lively discussion of this subject. But uncertainty
remains concerning the price of copyright in a digital medium, because a
solution remains to be worked out concerning management and synthesis of
copyrighted and out-of-copyright pieces of a database.
As moderator of the final session of the Workshop, Prosser GIFFORD directed
discussion to future courses of action and the potential role of LC in
advancing them. Among the recommendations that emerged were the following:
* Workshop participants should 1) begin to think about working
with image material, but structure and digitize it in such a
way that at a later stage it can be interpreted into text, and
2) find a common way to build text and images together so that
they can be used jointly at some stage in the future, with
appropriate network support, because that is how users will want
to access these materials. The Library might encourage attempts
to bring together people who are working on texts and images.
* A network version of American Memory should be developed or
consideration should be given to making the data in it
available to people interested in doing network multimedia.
Given the current dearth of digital data that is appealing and
unencumbered by extremely complex rights problems, developing a
network version of American Memory could do much to help make
network multimedia a reality.
* Concerning the thorny issue of electronic deposit, LC should
initiate a catalytic process in terms of distributed
responsibility, that is, bring together the distributed
organizations and set up a study group to look at all the
issues related to electronic deposit and see where we as a
nation should move. For example, LC might attempt to persuade
one major library in each state to deal with its state
equivalent publisher, which might produce a cooperative project
that would be equitably distributed around the country, and one
in which LC would be dealing with a minimal number of publishers
and minimal copyright problems. LC must also deal with the
concept of on-line publishing, determining, among other things,
how serials such as OJCCT might be deposited for copyright.
* Since a number of projects are planning to carry out
preservation by creating digital images that will end up in
on-line or near-line storage at some institution, LC might play
a helpful role, at least in the near term, by accelerating how
to catalog that information into the Research Library Information
Network (RLIN) and then into OCLC, so that it would be accessible.
This would reduce the possibility of multiple institutions digitizing
the same work.
The Workshop was valuable because it brought together partisans from
various groups and provided an occasion to compare goals and methods.
The more committed partisans frequently communicate with others in their
groups, but less often across group boundaries. The Workshop was also
valuable to attendees--including those involved with American Memory--who
came less committed to particular approaches or concepts. These
attendees learned a great deal, and plan to select and employ elements of
imaging, text-coding, and networked distribution that suit their
respective projects and purposes.
Still, reality rears its ugly head: no breakthrough has been achieved.
On the imaging side, one confronts a proliferation of competing
data-interchange standards and a lack of consensus on the role of digital
facsimiles in preservation. In the realm of machine-readable texts, one
encounters a reasonably mature standard but methodological difficulties
and high costs. These latter problems, of course, represent a special
impediment to the desire, as it is sometimes expressed in the popular
press, "to put the [contents of the] Library of Congress on line." In
the words of one participant, there was "no solution to the economic
problems--the projects that are out there are surviving, but it is going
to be a lot of work to transform the information industry, and so far the
investment to do that is not forthcoming" (LESK, per litteras).
*** *** *** ****** *** *** ***
GIFFORD * Origin of Workshop in current Librarian's desire to make LC's
collections more widely available * Desiderata arising from the prospect
of greater interconnectedness *
After welcoming participants on behalf of the Library of Congress,
American Memory (AM), and the National Demonstration Lab, Prosser
GIFFORD, director for scholarly programs, Library of Congress, located
the origin of the Workshop on Electronic Texts in a conversation he had
had considerably more than a year ago with Carl FLEISCHHAUER concerning
some of the issues faced by AM. On the assumption that numerous other
people were asking the same questions, the decision was made to bring
together as many of these people as possible to ask the same questions
together. In a deeper sense, GIFFORD said, the origin of the Workshop
lay in the desire of the current Librarian of Congress, James H.
Billington, to make the collections of the Library, especially those
offering unique or unusual testimony on aspects of the American
experience, available to a much wider circle of users than those few
people who can come to Washington to use them. This meant that the
emphasis of AM, from the outset, has been on archival collections of the
basic material, and on making these collections themselves available,
rather than selected or heavily edited products.
From AM's emphasis followed the questions with which the Workshop began:
who will use these materials, and in what form will they wish to use
them. But an even larger issue deserving mention, in GIFFORD's view, was
the phenomenal growth in Internet connectivity. He expressed the hope
that the prospect of greater interconnectedness than ever before would
lead to: 1) much more cooperative and mutually supportive endeavors; 2)
development of systems of shared and distributed responsibilities to
avoid duplication and to ensure accuracy and preservation of unique
materials; and 3) agreement on the necessary standards and development of
the appropriate directories and indices to make navigation
straightforward among the varied resources that are, and increasingly
will be, available. In this connection, GIFFORD requested that
participants reflect from the outset upon the sorts of outcomes they
thought the Workshop might have. Did those present constitute a group
with sufficient common interests to propose a next step or next steps,
and if so, what might those be? They would return to these questions the
following afternoon.
FLEISCHHAUER * Core of Workshop concerns preparation and production of
materials * Special challenge in conversion of textual materials *
Quality versus quantity * Do the several groups represented share common
interests? *
Carl FLEISCHHAUER, coordinator, American Memory, Library of Congress,
emphasized that he would attempt to represent the people who perform some
of the work of converting or preparing materials and that the core of
the Workshop had to do with preparation and production. FLEISCHHAUER
then drew a distinction between the long term, when many things would be
available and connected in the ways that GIFFORD described, and the short
term, in which AM not only has wrestled with the issue of what is the
best course to pursue but also has faced a variety of technical
FLEISCHHAUER remarked AM's endeavors to deal with a wide range of library
formats, such as motion picture collections, sound-recording collections,
and pictorial collections of various sorts, especially collections of
photographs. In the course of these efforts, AM kept coming back to
textual materials--manuscripts or rare printed matter, bound materials,
etc. Text posed the greatest conversion challenge of all. Thus, the
genesis of the Workshop, which reflects the problems faced by AM. These
problems include physical problems. For example, those in the library
and archive business deal with collections made up of fragile and rare
manuscript items, bound materials, especially the notoriously brittle
bound materials of the late nineteenth century. These are precious
cultural artifacts, however, as well as interesting sources of
information, and LC desires to retain and conserve them. AM needs to
handle things without damaging them. Guillotining a book to run it
through a sheet feeder must be avoided at all costs.
Beyond physical problems, issues pertaining to quality arose. For
example, the desire to provide users with a searchable text is affected
by the question of acceptable level of accuracy. One hundred percent
accuracy is tremendously expensive. On the other hand, the output of
optical character recognition (OCR) can be tremendously inaccurate.
Although AM has attempted to find a middle ground, uncertainty persists
as to whether or not it has discovered the right solution.
Questions of quality arose concerning images as well. FLEISCHHAUER
contrasted the extremely high level of quality of the digital images in
the Cornell Xerox Project with AM's efforts to provide a browse-quality
or access-quality image, as opposed to an archival or preservation image.
FLEISCHHAUER therefore welcomed the opportunity to compare notes.
FLEISCHHAUER observed in passing that conversations he had had about
networks have begun to signal that for various forms of media a
determination may be made that there is a browse-quality item, or a
distribution-and-access-quality item that may coexist in some systems
with a higher quality archival item that would be inconvenient to send
through the network because of its size. FLEISCHHAUER referred, of
course, to images more than to searchable text.
As AM considered those questions, several conceptual issues arose: ought
AM occasionally to reproduce materials entirely through an image set, at
other times, entirely through a text set, and in some cases, a mix?
There probably would be times when the historical authenticity of an
artifact would require that its image be used. An image might be
desirable as a recourse for users if one could not provide 100-percent
accurate text. Again, AM wondered, as a practical matter, if a
distinction could be drawn between rare printed matter that might exist
in multiple collections--that is, in ten or fifteen libraries. In such
cases, the need for perfect reproduction would be less than for unique
items. Implicit in his remarks, FLEISCHHAUER conceded, was the admission
that AM has been tilting strongly towards quantity and drawing back a
little from perfect quality. That is, it seemed to AM that society would
be better served if more things were distributed by LC--even if they were
not quite perfect--than if fewer things, perfectly represented, were
distributed. This was stated as a proposition to be tested, with
responses to be gathered from users.
In thinking about issues related to reproduction of materials and seeing
other people engaged in parallel activities, AM deemed it useful to
convene a conference. Hence, the Workshop. FLEISCHHAUER thereupon
surveyed the several groups represented: 1) the world of images (image
users and image makers); 2) the world of text and scholarship and, within
this group, those concerned with language--FLEISCHHAUER confessed to finding
delightful irony in the fact that some of the most advanced thinkers on
computerized texts are those dealing with ancient Greek and Roman materials;
3) the network world; and 4) the general world of library science, which
includes people interested in preservation and cataloging.
FLEISCHHAUER concluded his remarks with special thanks to the David and
Lucile Packard Foundation for its support of the meeting, the American
Memory group, the Office for Scholarly Programs, the National
Demonstration Lab, and the Office of Special Events. He expressed the
hope that David Woodley Packard might be able to attend, noting that
Packard's work and the work of the foundation had sponsored a number of
projects in the text area.
DALY * Acknowledgements * A new Latin authors disk * Effects of the new
technology on previous methods of research *
Serving as moderator, James DALY acknowledged the generosity of all the
presenters for giving of their time, counsel, and patience in planning
the Workshop, as well as of members of the American Memory project and
other Library of Congress staff, and the David and Lucile Packard
Foundation and its executive director, Colburn S. Wilbur.
DALY then recounted his visit in March to the Center for Electronic Texts
in the Humanities (CETH) and the Department of Classics at Rutgers
University, where an old friend, Lowell Edmunds, introduced him to the
department's IBYCUS scholarly personal computer, and, in particular, the
new Latin CD-ROM, containing, among other things, almost all classical
Latin literary texts through A.D. 200. Packard Humanities Institute
(PHI), Los Altos, California, released this disk late in 1991, with a
nominal triennial licensing fee.
Playing with the disk for an hour or so at Rutgers brought home to DALY
at once the revolutionizing impact of the new technology on his previous
methods of research. Had this disk been available two or three years
earlier, DALY contended, when he was engaged in preparing a commentary on
Book 10 of Virgil's Aeneid for Cambridge University Press, he would not
have required a forty-eight-square-foot table on which to spread the
numerous, most frequently consulted items, including some ten or twelve
concordances to key Latin authors, an almost equal number of lexica to
authors who lacked concordances, and where either lexica or concordances
were lacking, numerous editions of authors antedating and postdating Virgil.
Nor, when checking each of the average six to seven words contained in
the Virgilian hexameter for its usage elsewhere in Virgil's works or
other Latin authors, would DALY have had to maintain the laborious
mechanical process of flipping through these concordances, lexica, and
editions each time. Nor would he have had to frequent as often the
Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Johns Hopkins University to consult
the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Instead of devoting countless hours, or
the bulk of his research time, to gathering data concerning Virgil's use
of words, DALY--now freed by PHI's Latin authors disk from the
tyrannical, yet in some ways paradoxically happy scholarly drudgery--
would have been able to devote that same bulk of time to analyzing and
interpreting Virgilian verbal usage.
Citing Theodore Brunner, Gregory Crane, Elli MYLONAS, and Avra MICHELSON,
DALY argued that this reversal in his style of work, made possible by the
new technology, would perhaps have resulted in better, more productive
research. Indeed, even in the course of his browsing the Latin authors
disk at Rutgers, its powerful search, retrieval, and highlighting
capabilities suggested to him several new avenues of research into
Virgil's use of sound effects. This anecdotal account, DALY maintained,
may serve to illustrate in part the sudden and radical transformation
being wrought in the ways scholars work.
MICHELSON * Elements related to scholarship and technology * Electronic
texts within the context of broader trends within information technology
and scholarly communication * Evaluation of the prospects for the use of
electronic texts * Relationship of electronic texts to processes of
scholarly communication in humanities research * New exchange formats
created by scholars * Projects initiated to increase scholarly access to
converted text * Trend toward making electronic resources available
through research and education networks * Changes taking place in
scholarly communication among humanities scholars * Network-mediated
scholarship transforming traditional scholarly practices * Key
information technology trends affecting the conduct of scholarly
communication over the next decade * The trend toward end-user computing
* The trend toward greater connectivity * Effects of these trends * Key
transformations taking place * Summary of principal arguments *
Avra MICHELSON, Archival Research and Evaluation Staff, National Archives
and Records Administration (NARA), argued that establishing who will use
electronic texts and what they will use them for involves a consideration
of both information technology and scholarship trends. This
consideration includes several elements related to scholarship and
technology: 1) the key trends in information technology that are most
relevant to scholarship; 2) the key trends in the use of currently
available technology by scholars in the nonscientific community; and 3)
the relationship between these two very distinct but interrelated trends.
The investment in understanding this relationship being made by
information providers, technologists, and public policy developers, as
well as by scholars themselves, seems to be pervasive and growing,
MICHELSON contended. She drew on collaborative work with Jeff Rothenberg
on the scholarly use of technology.
MICHELSON sought to place the phenomenon of electronic texts within the
context of broader trends within information technology and scholarly
communication. She argued that electronic texts are of most use to
researchers to the extent that the researchers' working context (i.e.,
their relevant bibliographic sources, collegial feedback, analytic tools,
notes, drafts, etc.), along with their field's primary and secondary
sources, also is accessible in electronic form and can be integrated in
ways that are unique to the on-line environment.
Evaluation of the prospects for the use of electronic texts includes two
elements: 1) an examination of the ways in which researchers currently
are using electronic texts along with other electronic resources, and 2)
an analysis of key information technology trends that are affecting the
long-term conduct of scholarly communication. MICHELSON limited her
discussion of the use of electronic texts to the practices of humanists
and noted that the scientific community was outside the panel's overview.
MICHELSON examined the nature of the current relationship of electronic
texts in particular, and electronic resources in general, to what she
maintained were, essentially, five processes of scholarly communication
in humanities research. Researchers 1) identify sources, 2) communicate
with their colleagues, 3) interpret and analyze data, 4) disseminate
their research findings, and 5) prepare curricula to instruct the next
generation of scholars and students. This examination would produce a
clearer understanding of the synergy among these five processes that
fuels the tendency of the use of electronic resources for one process to
stimulate its use for other processes of scholarly communication.
For the first process of scholarly communication, the identification of
sources, MICHELSON remarked the opportunity scholars now enjoy to
supplement traditional word-of-mouth searches for sources among their
colleagues with new forms of electronic searching. So, for example,
instead of having to visit the library, researchers are able to explore
descriptions of holdings in their offices. Furthermore, if their own
institutions' holdings prove insufficient, scholars can access more than
200 major American library catalogues over Internet, including the
universities of California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Direct access to the bibliographic databases offers intellectual
empowerment to scholars by presenting a comprehensive means of browsing
through libraries from their homes and offices at their convenience.
The second process of communication involves communication among
scholars. Beyond the most common methods of communication, scholars are
using E-mail and a variety of new electronic communications formats
derived from it for further academic interchange. E-mail exchanges are
growing at an astonishing rate, reportedly 15 percent a month. They
currently constitute approximately half the traffic on research and
education networks. Moreover, the global spread of E-mail has been so
rapid that it is now possible for American scholars to use it to
communicate with colleagues in close to 140 other countries.
Other new exchange formats created by scholars and operating on Internet
include more than 700 conferences, with about 80 percent of these devoted
to topics in the social sciences and humanities. The rate of growth of
these scholarly electronic conferences also is astonishing. From l990 to
l991, 200 new conferences were identified on Internet. From October 1991
to June 1992, an additional 150 conferences in the social sciences and
humanities were added to this directory of listings. Scholars have
established conferences in virtually every field, within every different
discipline. For example, there are currently close to 600 active social
science and humanities conferences on topics such as art and
architecture, ethnomusicology, folklore, Japanese culture, medical
education, and gifted and talented education. The appeal to scholars of
communicating through these conferences is that, unlike any other medium,
electronic conferences today provide a forum for global communication
with peers at the front end of the research process.
Interpretation and analysis of sources constitutes the third process of
scholarly communication that MICHELSON discussed in terms of texts and
textual resources. The methods used to analyze sources fall somewhere on
a continuum from quantitative analysis to qualitative analysis.
Typically, evidence is culled and evaluated using methods drawn from both
ends of this continuum. At one end, quantitative analysis involves the
use of mathematical processes such as a count of frequencies and
distributions of occurrences or, on a higher level, regression analysis.
At the other end of the continuum, qualitative analysis typically
involves nonmathematical processes oriented toward language
interpretation or the building of theory. Aspects of this work involve
the processing--either manual or computational--of large and sometimes
massive amounts of textual sources, although the use of nontextual
sources as evidence, such as photographs, sound recordings, film footage,
and artifacts, is significant as well.
Scholars have discovered that many of the methods of interpretation and
analysis that are related to both quantitative and qualitative methods
are processes that can be performed by computers. For example, computers
can count. They can count brush strokes used in a Rembrandt painting or
perform regression analysis for understanding cause and effect. By means
of advanced technologies, computers can recognize patterns, analyze text,
and model concepts. Furthermore, computers can complete these processes
faster with more sources and with greater precision than scholars who
must rely on manual interpretation of data. But if scholars are to use
computers for these processes, source materials must be in a form
amenable to computer-assisted analysis. For this reason many scholars,
once they have identified the sources that are key to their research, are
converting them to machine-readable form. Thus, a representative example
of the numerous textual conversion projects organized by scholars around
the world in recent years to support computational text analysis is the
TLG, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae. This project is devoted to
converting the extant ancient texts of classical Greece. (Editor's note:
according to the TLG Newsletter of May l992, TLG was in use in thirty-two
different countries. This figure updates MICHELSON's previous count by one.)
The scholars performing these conversions have been asked to recognize
that the electronic sources they are converting for one use possess value
for other research purposes as well. As a result, during the past few
years, humanities scholars have initiated a number of projects to
increase scholarly access to converted text. So, for example, the Text
Encoding Initiative (TEI), about which more is said later in the program,
was established as an effort by scholars to determine standard elements
and methods for encoding machine-readable text for electronic exchange.
In a second effort to facilitate the sharing of converted text, scholars
have created a new institution, the Center for Electronic Texts in the
Humanities (CETH). The center estimates that there are 8,000 series of
source texts in the humanities that have been converted to
machine-readable form worldwide. CETH is undertaking an international
search for converted text in the humanities, compiling it into an
electronic library, and preparing bibliographic descriptions of the
sources for the Research Libraries Information Network's (RLIN)
machine-readable data file. The library profession has begun to initiate
large conversion projects as well, such as American Memory.
While scholars have been making converted text available to one another,
typically on disk or on CD-ROM, the clear trend is toward making these
resources available through research and education networks. Thus, the
American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language
(ARTFL) and the Dante Project are already available on Internet.
MICHELSON summarized this section on interpretation and analysis by
noting that: 1) increasing numbers of humanities scholars in the library
community are recognizing the importance to the advancement of
scholarship of retrospective conversion of source materials in the arts
and humanities; and 2) there is a growing realization that making the
sources available on research and education networks maximizes their
usefulness for the analysis performed by humanities scholars.
The fourth process of scholarly communication is dissemination of
research findings, that is, publication. Scholars are using existing
research and education networks to engineer a new type of publication:
scholarly-controlled journals that are electronically produced and
disseminated. Although such journals are still emerging as a
communication format, their number has grown, from approximately twelve
to thirty-six during the past year (July 1991 to June 1992). Most of
these electronic scholarly journals are devoted to topics in the
humanities. As with network conferences, scholarly enthusiasm for these
electronic journals stems from the medium's unique ability to advance
scholarship in a way that no other medium can do by supporting global
feedback and interchange, practically in real time, early in the research
process. Beyond scholarly journals, MICHELSON remarked the delivery of
commercial full-text products, such as articles in professional journals,
newsletters, magazines, wire services, and reference sources. These are
being delivered via on-line local library catalogues, especially through
CD-ROMs. Furthermore, according to MICHELSON, there is general optimism
that the copyright and fees issues impeding the delivery of full text on
existing research and education networks soon will be resolved.
The final process of scholarly communication is curriculum development
and instruction, and this involves the use of computer information
technologies in two areas. The first is the development of
computer-oriented instructional tools, which includes simulations,
multimedia applications, and computer tools that are used to assist in
the analysis of sources in the classroom, etc. The Perseus Project, a
database that provides a multimedia curriculum on classical Greek
civilization, is a good example of the way in which entire curricula are
being recast using information technologies. It is anticipated that the
current difficulty in exchanging electronically computer-based
instructional software, which in turn makes it difficult for one scholar
to build upon the work of others, will be resolved before too long.
Stand-alone curricular applications that involve electronic text will be
sharable through networks, reinforcing their significance as intellectual
products as well as instructional tools.
The second aspect of electronic learning involves the use of research and
education networks for distance education programs. Such programs
interactively link teachers with students in geographically scattered
locations and rely on the availability of electronic instructional
resources. Distance education programs are gaining wide appeal among
state departments of education because of their demonstrated capacity to
bring advanced specialized course work and an array of experts to many
classrooms. A recent report found that at least 32 states operated at
least one statewide network for education in 1991, with networks under
development in many of the remaining states.
MICHELSON summarized this section by noting two striking changes taking
place in scholarly communication among humanities scholars. First is the
extent to which electronic text in particular, and electronic resources
in general, are being infused into each of the five processes described
above. As mentioned earlier, there is a certain synergy at work here.
The use of electronic resources for one process tends to stimulate its
use for other processes, because the chief course of movement is toward a
comprehensive on-line working context for humanities scholars that
includes on-line availability of key bibliographies, scholarly feedback,
sources, analytical tools, and publications. MICHELSON noted further
that the movement toward a comprehensive on-line working context for
humanities scholars is not new. In fact, it has been underway for more
than forty years in the humanities, since Father Roberto Busa began
developing an electronic concordance of the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas
in 1949. What we are witnessing today, MICHELSON contended, is not the
beginning of this on-line transition but, for at least some humanities
scholars, the turning point in the transition from a print to an
electronic working context. Coinciding with the on-line transition, the
second striking change is the extent to which research and education
networks are becoming the new medium of scholarly communication. The
existing Internet and the pending National Education and Research Network
(NREN) represent the new meeting ground where scholars are going for
bibliographic information, scholarly dialogue and feedback, the most
current publications in their field, and high-level educational
offerings. Traditional scholarly practices are undergoing tremendous
transformations as a result of the emergence and growing prominence of
what is called network-mediated scholarship.
MICHELSON next turned to the second element of the framework she proposed
at the outset of her talk for evaluating the prospects for electronic
text, namely the key information technology trends affecting the conduct
of scholarly communication over the next decade: 1) end-user computing
and 2) connectivity.
End-user computing means that the person touching the keyboard, or
performing computations, is the same as the person who initiates or
consumes the computation. The emergence of personal computers, along
with a host of other forces, such as ubiquitous computing, advances in
interface design, and the on-line transition, is prompting the consumers
of computation to do their own computing, and is thus rendering obsolete
the traditional distinction between end users and ultimate users.
The trend toward end-user computing is significant to consideration of
the prospects for electronic texts because it means that researchers are
becoming more adept at doing their own computations and, thus, more
competent in the use of electronic media. By avoiding programmer
intermediaries, computation is becoming central to the researcher's
thought process. This direct involvement in computing is changing the
researcher's perspective on the nature of research itself, that is, the
kinds of questions that can be posed, the analytical methodologies that
can be used, the types and amount of sources that are appropriate for
analyses, and the form in which findings are presented. The trend toward
end-user computing means that, increasingly, electronic media and
computation are being infused into all processes of humanities
scholarship, inspiring remarkable transformations in scholarly
The trend toward greater connectivity suggests that researchers are using
computation increasingly in network environments. Connectivity is
important to scholarship because it erases the distance that separates
students from teachers and scholars from their colleagues, while allowing
users to access remote databases, share information in many different
media, connect to their working context wherever they are, and
collaborate in all phases of research.
The combination of the trend toward end-user computing and the trend
toward connectivity suggests that the scholarly use of electronic
resources, already evident among some researchers, will soon become an
established feature of scholarship. The effects of these trends, along
with ongoing changes in scholarly practices, point to a future in which
humanities researchers will use computation and electronic communication
to help them formulate ideas, access sources, perform research,
collaborate with colleagues, seek peer review, publish and disseminate
results, and engage in many other professional and educational activities.
In summary, MICHELSON emphasized four points: 1) A portion of humanities
scholars already consider electronic texts the preferred format for
analysis and dissemination. 2) Scholars are using these electronic
texts, in conjunction with other electronic resources, in all the
processes of scholarly communication. 3) The humanities scholars'
working context is in the process of changing from print technology to
electronic technology, in many ways mirroring transformations that have
occurred or are occurring within the scientific community. 4) These
changes are occurring in conjunction with the development of a new
communication medium: research and education networks that are
characterized by their capacity to advance scholarship in a wholly unique
MICHELSON also reiterated her three principal arguments: l) Electronic
texts are best understood in terms of the relationship to other
electronic resources and the growing prominence of network-mediated
scholarship. 2) The prospects for electronic texts lie in their capacity
to be integrated into the on-line network of electronic resources that
comprise the new working context for scholars. 3) Retrospective conversion
of portions of the scholarly record should be a key strategy as information
providers respond to changes in scholarly communication practices.
VECCIA * AM's evaluation project and public users of electronic resources
* AM and its design * Site selection and evaluating the Macintosh
implementation of AM * Characteristics of the six public libraries
selected * Characteristics of AM's users in these libraries * Principal
ways AM is being used *
Susan VECCIA, team leader, and Joanne FREEMAN, associate coordinator,
American Memory, Library of Congress, gave a joint presentation. First,
by way of introduction, VECCIA explained her and FREEMAN's roles in
American Memory (AM). Serving principally as an observer, VECCIA has
assisted with the evaluation project of AM, placing AM collections in a
variety of different sites around the country and helping to organize and
implement that project. FREEMAN has been an associate coordinator of AM
and has been involved principally with the interpretative materials,
preparing some of the electronic exhibits and printed historical
information that accompanies AM and that is requested by users. VECCIA
and FREEMAN shared anecdotal observations concerning AM with public users
of electronic resources. Notwithstanding a fairly structured evaluation
in progress, both VECCIA and FREEMAN chose not to report on specifics in
terms of numbers, etc., because they felt it was too early in the
evaluation project to do so.
AM is an electronic archive of primary source materials from the Library
of Congress, selected collections representing a variety of formats--
photographs, graphic arts, recorded sound, motion pictures, broadsides,
and soon, pamphlets and books. In terms of the design of this system,
the interpretative exhibits have been kept separate from the primary
resources, with good reason. Accompanying this collection are printed
documentation and user guides, as well as guides that FREEMAN prepared for
teachers so that they may begin using the content of the system at once.
VECCIA described the evaluation project before talking about the public
users of AM, limiting her remarks to public libraries, because FREEMAN
would talk more specifically about schools from kindergarten to twelfth
grade (K-12). Having started in spring 1991, the evaluation currently
involves testing of the Macintosh implementation of AM. Since the
primary goal of this evaluation is to determine the most appropriate
audience or audiences for AM, very different sites were selected. This
makes evaluation difficult because of the varying degrees of technology
literacy among the sites. AM is situated in forty-four locations, of
which six are public libraries and sixteen are schools. Represented
among the schools are elementary, junior high, and high schools.
District offices also are involved in the evaluation, which will
conclude in summer 1993.
VECCIA focused the remainder of her talk on the six public libraries, one
of which doubles as a state library. They represent a range of
geographic areas and a range of demographic characteristics. For
example, three are located in urban settings, two in rural settings, and
one in a suburban setting. A range of technical expertise is to be found
among these facilities as well. For example, one is an "Apple library of
the future," while two others are rural one-room libraries--in one, AM
sits at the front desk next to a tractor manual.
All public libraries have been extremely enthusiastic, supportive, and
appreciative of the work that AM has been doing. VECCIA characterized
various users: Most users in public libraries describe themselves as
general readers; of the students who use AM in the public libraries,
those in fourth grade and above seem most interested. Public libraries
in rural sites tend to attract retired people, who have been highly
receptive to AM. Users tend to fall into two additional categories:
people interested in the content and historical connotations of these
primary resources, and those fascinated by the technology. The format
receiving the most comments has been motion pictures. The adult users in
public libraries are more comfortable with IBM computers, whereas young
people seem comfortable with either IBM or Macintosh, although most of
them seem to come from a Macintosh background. This same tendency is
found in the schools.
What kinds of things do users do with AM? In a public library there are
two main goals or ways that AM is being used: as an individual learning
tool, and as a leisure activity. Adult learning was one area that VECCIA
would highlight as a possible application for a tool such as AM. She
described a patron of a rural public library who comes in every day on
his lunch hour and literally reads AM, methodically going through the
collection image by image. At the end of his hour he makes an electronic
bookmark, puts it in his pocket, and returns to work. The next day he
comes in and resumes where he left off. Interestingly, this man had
never been in the library before he used AM. In another small, rural
library, the coordinator reports that AM is a popular activity for some
of the older, retired people in the community, who ordinarily would not
use "those things,"--computers. Another example of adult learning in
public libraries is book groups, one of which, in particular, is using AM
as part of its reading on industrialization, integration, and urbanization
in the early 1900s.
One library reports that a family is using AM to help educate their
children. In another instance, individuals from a local museum came in
to use AM to prepare an exhibit on toys of the past. These two examples
emphasize the mission of the public library as a cultural institution,
reaching out to people who do not have the same resources available to
those who live in a metropolitan area or have access to a major library.
One rural library reports that junior high school students in large
numbers came in one afternoon to use AM for entertainment. A number of
public libraries reported great interest among postcard collectors in the
Detroit collection, which was essentially a collection of images used on
postcards around the turn of the century. Train buffs are similarly
interested because that was a time of great interest in railroading.
People, it was found, relate to things that they know of firsthand. For
example, in both rural public libraries where AM was made available,
observers reported that the older people with personal remembrances of
the turn of the century were gravitating to the Detroit collection.
These examples served to underscore MICHELSON's observation re the
integration of electronic tools and ideas--that people learn best when
the material relates to something they know.
VECCIA made the final point that in many cases AM serves as a
public-relations tool for the public libraries that are testing it. In
one case, AM is being used as a vehicle to secure additional funding for
the library. In another case, AM has served as an inspiration to the
staff of a major local public library in the South to think about ways to
make its own collection of photographs more accessible to the public.
FREEMAN * AM and archival electronic resources in a school environment *
Questions concerning context * Questions concerning the electronic format
itself * Computer anxiety * Access and availability of the system *
Hardware * Strengths gained through the use of archival resources in
schools *
Reiterating an observation made by VECCIA, that AM is an archival
resource made up of primary materials with very little interpretation,
FREEMAN stated that the project has attempted to bridge the gap between
these bare primary materials and a school environment, and in that cause
has created guided introductions to AM collections. Loud demand from the
educational community, chiefly from teachers working with the upper
grades of elementary school through high school, greeted the announcement
that AM would be tested around the country.
FREEMAN reported not only on what was learned about AM in a school
environment, but also on several universal questions that were raised
concerning archival electronic resources in schools. She discussed
several strengths of this type of material in a school environment as
opposed to a highly structured resource that offers a limited number of
paths to follow.
FREEMAN first raised several questions about using AM in a school
environment. There is often some difficulty in developing a sense of
what the system contains. Many students sit down at a computer resource
and assume that, because AM comes from the Library of Congress, all of
American history is now at their fingertips. As a result of that sort of
mistaken judgment, some students are known to conclude that AM contains
nothing of use to them when they look for one or two things and do not
find them. It is difficult to discover that middle ground where one has
a sense of what the system contains. Some students grope toward the idea
of an archive, a new idea to them, since they have not previously
experienced what it means to have access to a vast body of somewhat
random information.
Other questions raised by FREEMAN concerned the electronic format itself.
For instance, in a school environment it is often difficult both for
teachers and students to gain a sense of what it is they are viewing.
They understand that it is a visual image, but they do not necessarily
know that it is a postcard from the turn of the century, a panoramic
photograph, or even machine-readable text of an eighteenth-century
broadside, a twentieth-century printed book, or a nineteenth-century
diary. That distinction is often difficult for people in a school
environment to grasp. Because of that, it occasionally becomes difficult
to draw conclusions from what one is viewing.
FREEMAN also noted the obvious fear of the computer, which constitutes a
difficulty in using an electronic resource. Though students in general
did not suffer from this anxiety, several older students feared that they
were computer-illiterate, an assumption that became self-fulfilling when
they searched for something but failed to find it. FREEMAN said she
believed that some teachers also fear computer resources, because they
believe they lack complete control. FREEMAN related the example of
teachers shooing away students because it was not their time to use the
system. This was a case in which the situation had to be extremely
structured so that the teachers would not feel that they had lost their
grasp on what the system contained.
A final question raised by FREEMAN concerned access and availability of
the system. She noted the occasional existence of a gap in communication
between school librarians and teachers. Often AM sits in a school
library and the librarian is the person responsible for monitoring the
system. Teachers do not always take into their world new library
resources about which the librarian is excited. Indeed, at the sites
where AM had been used most effectively within a library, the librarian
was required to go to specific teachers and instruct them in its use. As
a result, several AM sites will have in-service sessions over a summer,
in the hope that perhaps, with a more individualized link, teachers will
be more likely to use the resource.
A related issue in the school context concerned the number of
workstations available at any one location. Centralization of equipment
at the district level, with teachers invited to download things and walk
away with them, proved unsuccessful because the hours these offices were
open were also school hours.
Another issue was hardware. As VECCIA observed, a range of sites exists,
some technologically advanced and others essentially acquiring their
first computer for the primary purpose of using it in conjunction with
AM's testing. Users at technologically sophisticated sites want even
more sophisticated hardware, so that they can perform even more
sophisticated tasks with the materials in AM. But once they acquire a
newer piece of hardware, they must learn how to use that also; at an
unsophisticated site it takes an extremely long time simply to become
accustomed to the computer, not to mention the program offered with the
computer. All of these small issues raise one large question, namely,
are systems like AM truly rewarding in a school environment, or do they
simply act as innovative toys that do little more than spark interest?
FREEMAN contended that the evaluation project has revealed several strengths
that were gained through the use of archival resources in schools, including:
* Psychic rewards from using AM as a vast, rich database, with
teachers assigning various projects to students--oral presentations,
written reports, a documentary, a turn-of-the-century newspaper--
projects that start with the materials in AM but are completed using
other resources; AM thus is used as a research tool in conjunction
with other electronic resources, as well as with books and items in
the library where the system is set up.
* Students are acquiring computer literacy in a humanities context.
* This sort of system is overcoming the isolation between disciplines
that often exists in schools. For example, many English teachers are
requiring their students to write papers on historical topics
represented in AM. Numerous teachers have reported that their
students are learning critical thinking skills using the system.
* On a broader level, AM is introducing primary materials, not only
to students but also to teachers, in an environment where often
simply none exist--an exciting thing for the students because it
helps them learn to conduct research, to interpret, and to draw
their own conclusions. In learning to conduct research and what it
means, students are motivated to seek knowledge. That relates to
another positive outcome--a high level of personal involvement of
students with the materials in this system and greater motivation to
conduct their own research and draw their own conclusions.
* Perhaps the most ironic strength of these kinds of archival
electronic resources is that many of the teachers AM interviewed
were desperate, it is no exaggeration to say, not only for primary
materials but for unstructured primary materials. These would, they
thought, foster personally motivated research, exploration, and
excitement in their students. Indeed, these materials have done
just that. Ironically, however, this lack of structure produces
some of the confusion to which the newness of these kinds of
resources may also contribute. The key to effective use of archival
products in a school environment is a clear, effective introduction
to the system and to what it contains.
DISCUSSION * Nothing known, quantitatively, about the number of
humanities scholars who must see the original versus those who would
settle for an edited transcript, or about the ways in which humanities
scholars are using information technology * Firm conclusions concerning
the manner and extent of the use of supporting materials in print
provided by AM to await completion of evaluative study * A listener's
reflections on additional applications of electronic texts * Role of
electronic resources in teaching elementary research skills to students *
During the discussion that followed the presentations by MICHELSON,
VECCIA, and FREEMAN, additional points emerged.
LESK asked if MICHELSON could give any quantitative estimate of the
number of humanities scholars who must see or want to see the original,
or the best possible version of the material, versus those who typically
would settle for an edited transcript. While unable to provide a figure,
she offered her impressions as an archivist who has done some reference
work and has discussed this issue with other archivists who perform
reference, that those who use archives and those who use primary sources
for what would be considered very high-level scholarly research, as
opposed to, say, undergraduate papers, were few in number, especially
given the public interest in using primary sources to conduct
genealogical or avocational research and the kind of professional
research done by people in private industry or the federal government.
More important in MICHELSON's view was that, quantitatively, nothing is
known about the ways in which, for example, humanities scholars are using
information technology. No studies exist to offer guidance in creating
strategies. The most recent study was conducted in 1985 by the American
Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and what it showed was that 50
percent of humanities scholars at that time were using computers. That
constitutes the extent of our knowledge.
Concerning AM's strategy for orienting people toward the scope of
electronic resources, FREEMAN could offer no hard conclusions at this
point, because she and her colleagues were still waiting to see,
particularly in the schools, what has been made of their efforts. Within
the system, however, AM has provided what are called electronic exhibits-
-such as introductions to time periods and materials--and these are
intended to offer a student user a sense of what a broadside is and what
it might tell her or him. But FREEMAN conceded that the project staff
would have to talk with students next year, after teachers have had a
summer to use the materials, and attempt to discover what the students
were learning from the materials. In addition, FREEMAN described
supporting materials in print provided by AM at the request of local
teachers during a meeting held at LC. These included time lines,
bibliographies, and other materials that could be reproduced on a
photocopier in a classroom. Teachers could walk away with and use these,
and in this way gain a better understanding of the contents. But again,
reaching firm conclusions concerning the manner and extent of their use
would have to wait until next year.
As to the changes she saw occurring at the National Archives and Records
Administration (NARA) as a result of the increasing emphasis on
technology in scholarly research, MICHELSON stated that NARA at this
point was absorbing the report by her and Jeff Rothenberg addressing
strategies for the archival profession in general, although not for the
National Archives specifically. NARA is just beginning to establish its
role and what it can do. In terms of changes and initiatives that NARA
can take, no clear response could be given at this time.
GREENFIELD remarked two trends mentioned in the session. Reflecting on
DALY's opening comments on how he could have used a Latin collection of
text in an electronic form, he said that at first he thought most scholars
would be unwilling to do that. But as he thought of that in terms of the
original meaning of research--that is, having already mastered these texts,
researching them for critical and comparative purposes--for the first time,
the electronic format made a lot of sense. GREENFIELD could envision
growing numbers of scholars learning the new technologies for that very
aspect of their scholarship and for convenience's sake.
Listening to VECCIA and FREEMAN, GREENFIELD thought of an additional
application of electronic texts. He realized that AM could be used as a
guide to lead someone to original sources. Students cannot be expected
to have mastered these sources, things they have never known about
before. Thus, AM is leading them, in theory, to a vast body of
information and giving them a superficial overview of it, enabling them
to select parts of it. GREENFIELD asked if any evidence exists that this
resource will indeed teach the new user, the K-12 students, how to do
research. Scholars already know how to do research and are applying
these new tools. But he wondered why students would go beyond picking
out things that were most exciting to them.
FREEMAN conceded the correctness of GREENFIELD's observation as applied
to a school environment. The risk is that a student would sit down at a
system, play with it, find some things of interest, and then walk away.
But in the relatively controlled situation of a school library, much will
depend on the instructions a teacher or a librarian gives a student. She
viewed the situation not as one of fine-tuning research skills but of
involving students at a personal level in understanding and researching
things. Given the guidance one can receive at school, it then becomes
possible to teach elementary research skills to students, which in fact
one particular librarian said she was teaching her fifth graders.
FREEMAN concluded that introducing the idea of following one's own path
of inquiry, which is essentially what research entails, involves more
than teaching specific skills. To these comments VECCIA added the
observation that the individual teacher and the use of a creative
resource, rather than AM itself, seemed to make the key difference.
Some schools and some teachers are making excellent use of the nature
of critical thinking and teaching skills, she said.
Concurring with these remarks, DALY closed the session with the thought that
the more that producers produced for teachers and for scholars to use with
their students, the more successful their electronic products would prove.
Jacqueline HESS, director, National Demonstration Laboratory, served as
moderator of the "show-and-tell" session. She noted that a
question-and-answer period would follow each presentation.
MYLONAS * Overview and content of Perseus * Perseus' primary materials
exist in a system-independent, archival form * A concession * Textual
aspects of Perseus * Tools to use with the Greek text * Prepared indices
and full-text searches in Perseus * English-Greek word search leads to
close study of words and concepts * Navigating Perseus by tracing down
indices * Using the iconography to perform research *
Elli MYLONAS, managing editor, Perseus Project, Harvard University, first
gave an overview of Perseus, a large, collaborative effort based at
Harvard University but with contributors and collaborators located at
numerous universities and colleges in the United States (e.g., Bowdoin,
Maryland, Pomona, Chicago, Virginia). Funded primarily by the
Annenberg/CPB Project, with additional funding from Apple, Harvard, and
the Packard Humanities Institute, among others, Perseus is a multimedia,
hypertextual database for teaching and research on classical Greek
civilization, which was released in February 1992 in version 1.0 and
distributed by Yale University Press.
Consisting entirely of primary materials, Perseus includes ancient Greek
texts and translations of those texts; catalog entries--that is, museum
catalog entries, not library catalog entries--on vases, sites, coins,
sculpture, and archaeological objects; maps; and a dictionary, among
other sources. The number of objects and the objects for which catalog
entries exist are accompanied by thousands of color images, which
constitute a major feature of the database. Perseus contains
approximately 30 megabytes of text, an amount that will double in
subsequent versions. In addition to these primary materials, the Perseus
Project has been building tools for using them, making access and
navigation easier, the goal being to build part of the electronic
environment discussed earlier in the morning in which students or
scholars can work with their sources.
The demonstration of Perseus will show only a fraction of the real work
that has gone into it, because the project had to face the dilemma of
what to enter when putting something into machine-readable form: should
one aim for very high quality or make concessions in order to get the
material in? Since Perseus decided to opt for very high quality, all of
its primary materials exist in a system-independent--insofar as it is
possible to be system-independent--archival form. Deciding what that
archival form would be and attaining it required much work and thought.
For example, all the texts are marked up in SGML, which will be made
compatible with the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) when
they are issued.
Drawings are postscript files, not meeting international standards, but
at least designed to go across platforms. Images, or rather the real
archival forms, consist of the best available slides, which are being
digitized. Much of the catalog material exists in database form--a form
that the average user could use, manipulate, and display on a personal
computer, but only at great cost. Thus, this is where the concession
comes in: All of this rich, well-marked-up information is stripped of
much of its content; the images are converted into bit-maps and the text
into small formatted chunks. All this information can then be imported
into HyperCard and run on a mid-range Macintosh, which is what Perseus
users have. This fact has made it possible for Perseus to attain wide
use fairly rapidly. Without those archival forms the HyperCard version
being demonstrated could not be made easily, and the project could not
have the potential to move to other forms and machines and software as
they appear, none of which information is in Perseus on the CD.
Of the numerous multimedia aspects of Perseus, MYLONAS focused on the
textual. Part of what makes Perseus such a pleasure to use, MYLONAS
said, is this effort at seamless integration and the ability to move
around both visual and textual material. Perseus also made the decision
not to attempt to interpret its material any more than one interprets by
selecting. But, MYLONAS emphasized, Perseus is not courseware: No
syllabus exists. There is no effort to define how one teaches a topic
using Perseus, although the project may eventually collect papers by
people who have used it to teach. Rather, Perseus aims to provide
primary material in a kind of electronic library, an electronic sandbox,
so to say, in which students and scholars who are working on this
material can explore by themselves. With that, MYLONAS demonstrated
Perseus, beginning with the Perseus gateway, the first thing one sees
upon opening Perseus--an effort in part to solve the contextualizing
problem--which tells the user what the system contains.
MYLONAS demonstrated only a very small portion, beginning with primary
texts and running off the CD-ROM. Having selected Aeschylus' Prometheus
Bound, which was viewable in Greek and English pretty much in the same
segments together, MYLONAS demonstrated tools to use with the Greek text,
something not possible with a book: looking up the dictionary entry form
of an unfamiliar word in Greek after subjecting it to Perseus'
morphological analysis for all the texts. After finding out about a
word, a user may then decide to see if it is used anywhere else in Greek.
Because vast amounts of indexing support all of the primary material, one
can find out where else all forms of a particular Greek word appear--
often not a trivial matter because Greek is highly inflected. Further,
since the story of Prometheus has to do with the origins of sacrifice, a
user may wish to study and explore sacrifice in Greek literature; by
typing sacrifice into a small window, a user goes to the English-Greek
word list--something one cannot do without the computer (Perseus has
indexed the definitions of its dictionary)--the string sacrifice appears
in the definitions of these sixty-five words. One may then find out
where any of those words is used in the work(s) of a particular author.
The English definitions are not lemmatized.
All of the indices driving this kind of usage were originally devised for
speed, MYLONAS observed; in other words, all that kind of information--
all forms of all words, where they exist, the dictionary form they belong
to--were collected into databases, which will expedite searching. Then
it was discovered that one can do things searching in these databases
that could not be done searching in the full texts. Thus, although there
are full-text searches in Perseus, much of the work is done behind the
scenes, using prepared indices. Re the indexing that is done behind the
scenes, MYLONAS pointed out that without the SGML forms of the text, it
could not be done effectively. Much of this indexing is based on the
structures that are made explicit by the SGML tagging.
It was found that one of the things many of Perseus' non-Greek-reading
users do is start from the dictionary and then move into the close study
of words and concepts via this kind of English-Greek word search, by which
means they might select a concept. This exercise has been assigned to
students in core courses at Harvard--to study a concept by looking for the
English word in the dictionary, finding the Greek words, and then finding
the words in the Greek but, of course, reading across in the English.
That tells them a great deal about what a translation means as well.
Should one also wish to see images that have to do with sacrifice, that
person would go to the object key word search, which allows one to
perform a similar kind of index retrieval on the database of
archaeological objects. Without words, pictures are useless; Perseus has
not reached the point where it can do much with images that are not
cataloged. Thus, although it is possible in Perseus with text and images
to navigate by knowing where one wants to end up--for example, a
red-figure vase from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts--one can perform this
kind of navigation very easily by tracing down indices. MYLONAS
illustrated several generic scenes of sacrifice on vases. The features
demonstrated derived from Perseus 1.0; version 2.0 will implement even
better means of retrieval.
MYLONAS closed by looking at one of the pictures and noting again that
one can do a great deal of research using the iconography as well as the
texts. For instance, students in a core course at Harvard this year were
highly interested in Greek concepts of foreigners and representations of
non-Greeks. So they performed a great deal of research, both with texts
(e.g., Herodotus) and with iconography on vases and coins, on how the
Greeks portrayed non-Greeks. At the same time, art historians who study
iconography were also interested, and were able to use this material.
DISCUSSION * Indexing and searchability of all English words in Perseus *
Several features of Perseus 1.0 * Several levels of customization
possible * Perseus used for general education * Perseus' effects on
education * Contextual information in Perseus * Main challenge and
emphasis of Perseus *
Several points emerged in the discussion that followed MYLONAS's presentation.
Although MYLONAS had not demonstrated Perseus' ability to cross-search
documents, she confirmed that all English words in Perseus are indexed
and can be searched. So, for example, sacrifice could have been searched
in all texts, the historical essay, and all the catalogue entries with
their descriptions--in short, in all of Perseus.
Boolean logic is not in Perseus 1.0 but will be added to the next
version, although an effort is being made not to restrict Perseus to a
database in which one just performs searching, Boolean or otherwise. It
is possible to move laterally through the documents by selecting a word
one is interested in and selecting an area of information one is
interested in and trying to look that word up in that area.
Since Perseus was developed in HyperCard, several levels of customization
are possible. Simple authoring tools exist that allow one to create
annotated paths through the information, which are useful for note-taking
and for guided tours for teaching purposes and for expository writing.
With a little more ingenuity it is possible to begin to add or substitute
material in Perseus.
Perseus has not been used so much for classics education as for general
education, where it seemed to have an impact on the students in the core
course at Harvard (a general required course that students must take in
certain areas). Students were able to use primary material much more.
The Perseus Project has an evaluation team at the University of Maryland
that has been documenting Perseus' effects on education. Perseus is very
popular, and anecdotal evidence indicates that it is having an effect at
places other than Harvard, for example, test sites at Ball State
University, Drury College, and numerous small places where opportunities
to use vast amounts of primary data may not exist. One documented effect
is that archaeological, anthropological, and philological research is
being done by the same person instead of by three different people.
The contextual information in Perseus includes an overview essay, a
fairly linear historical essay on the fifth century B.C. that provides
links into the primary material (e.g., Herodotus, Thucydides, and
Plutarch), via small gray underscoring (on the screen) of linked
passages. These are handmade links into other material.
To different extents, most of the production work was done at Harvard,
where the people and the equipment are located. Much of the
collaborative activity involved data collection and structuring, because
the main challenge and the emphasis of Perseus is the gathering of
primary material, that is, building a useful environment for studying
classical Greece, collecting data, and making it useful.
Systems-building is definitely not the main concern. Thus, much of the
work has involved writing essays, collecting information, rewriting it,
and tagging it. That can be done off site. The creative link for the
overview essay as well as for both systems and data was collaborative,
and was forged via E-mail and paper mail with professors at Pomona and
CALALUCA * PLD's principal focus and contribution to scholarship *
Various questions preparatory to beginning the project * Basis for
project * Basic rule in converting PLD * Concerning the images in PLD *
Running PLD under a variety of retrieval softwares * Encoding the
database a hard-fought issue * Various features demonstrated * Importance
of user documentation * Limitations of the CD-ROM version *
Eric CALALUCA, vice president, Chadwyck-Healey, Inc., demonstrated a
software interpretation of the Patrologia Latina Database (PLD). PLD's
principal focus from the beginning of the project about three-and-a-half
years ago was on converting Migne's Latin series, and in the end,
CALALUCA suggested, conversion of the text will be the major contribution
to scholarship. CALALUCA stressed that, as possibly the only private
publishing organization at the Workshop, Chadwyck-Healey had sought no
federal funds or national foundation support before embarking upon the
project, but instead had relied upon a great deal of homework and
marketing to accomplish the task of conversion.
Ever since the possibilities of computer-searching have emerged, scholars
in the field of late ancient and early medieval studies (philosophers,
theologians, classicists, and those studying the history of natural law
and the history of the legal development of Western civilization) have
been longing for a fully searchable version of Western literature, for
example, all the texts of Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux and
Boethius, not to mention all the secondary and tertiary authors.
Various questions arose, CALALUCA said. Should one convert Migne?
Should the database be encoded? Is it necessary to do that? How should
it be delivered? What about CD-ROM? Since this is a transitional
medium, why even bother to create software to run on a CD-ROM? Since
everybody knows people will be networking information, why go to the
trouble--which is far greater with CD-ROM than with the production of
magnetic data? Finally, how does one make the data available? Can many
of the hurdles to using electronic information that some publishers have
imposed upon databases be eliminated?
The PLD project was based on the principle that computer-searching of
texts is most effective when it is done with a large database. Because
PLD represented a collection that serves so many disciplines across so
many periods, it was irresistible.
The basic rule in converting PLD was to do no harm, to avoid the sins of
intrusion in such a database: no introduction of newer editions, no
on-the-spot changes, no eradicating of all possible falsehoods from an
edition. Thus, PLD is not the final act in electronic publishing for
this discipline, but simply the beginning. The conversion of PLD has
evoked numerous unanticipated questions: How will information be used?
What about networking? Can the rights of a database be protected?
Should one protect the rights of a database? How can it be made
Those converting PLD also tried to avoid the sins of omission, that is,
excluding portions of the collections or whole sections. What about the
images? PLD is full of images, some are extremely pious
nineteenth-century representations of the Fathers, while others contain
highly interesting elements. The goal was to cover all the text of Migne
(including notes, in Greek and in Hebrew, the latter of which, in
particular, causes problems in creating a search structure), all the
indices, and even the images, which are being scanned in separately
searchable files.
Several North American institutions that have placed acquisition requests
for the PLD database have requested it in magnetic form without software,
which means they are already running it without software, without
anything demonstrated at the Workshop.
What cannot practically be done is go back and reconvert and re-encode
data, a time-consuming and extremely costly enterprise. CALALUCA sees
PLD as a database that can, and should, be run under a variety of
retrieval softwares. This will permit the widest possible searches.
Consequently, the need to produce a CD-ROM of PLD, as well as to develop
software that could handle some 1.3 gigabyte of heavily encoded text,
developed out of conversations with collection development and reference
librarians who wanted software both compassionate enough for the
pedestrian but also capable of incorporating the most detailed
lexicographical studies that a user desires to conduct. In the end, the
encoding and conversion of the data will prove the most enduring
testament to the value of the project.
The encoding of the database was also a hard-fought issue: Did the
database need to be encoded? Were there normative structures for encoding
humanist texts? Should it be SGML? What about the TEI--will it last,
will it prove useful? CALALUCA expressed some minor doubts as to whether
a data bank can be fully TEI-conformant. Every effort can be made, but
in the end to be TEI-conformant means to accept the need to make some
firm encoding decisions that can, indeed, be disputed. The TEI points
the publisher in a proper direction but does not presume to make all the
decisions for him or her. Essentially, the goal of encoding was to
eliminate, as much as possible, the hindrances to information-networking,
so that if an institution acquires a database, everybody associated with
the institution can have access to it.
CALALUCA demonstrated a portion of Volume 160, because it had the most
anomalies in it. The software was created by Electronic Book
Technologies of Providence, RI, and is called Dynatext. The software
works only with SGML-coded data.
Viewing a table of contents on the screen, the audience saw how Dynatext
treats each element as a book and attempts to simplify movement through a
volume. Familiarity with the Patrologia in print (i.e., the text, its
source, and the editions) will make the machine-readable versions highly
useful. (Software with a Windows application was sought for PLD,
CALALUCA said, because this was the main trend for scholarly use.)
CALALUCA also demonstrated how a user can perform a variety of searches
and quickly move to any part of a volume; the look-up screen provides
some basic, simple word-searching.
CALALUCA argued that one of the major difficulties is not the software.
Rather, in creating a product that will be used by scholars representing
a broad spectrum of computer sophistication, user documentation proves
to be the most important service one can provide.
CALALUCA next illustrated a truncated search under mysterium within ten
words of virtus and how one would be able to find its contents throughout
the entire database. He said that the exciting thing about PLD is that
many of the applications in the retrieval software being written for it
will exceed the capabilities of the software employed now for the CD-ROM
version. The CD-ROM faces genuine limitations, in terms of speed and
comprehensiveness, in the creation of a retrieval software to run it.
CALALUCA said he hoped that individual scholars will download the data,
if they wish, to their personal computers, and have ready access to
important texts on a constant basis, which they will be able to use in
their research and from which they might even be able to publish.
(CALALUCA explained that the blue numbers represented Migne's column numbers,
which are the standard scholarly references. Pulling up a note, he stated
that these texts were heavily edited and the image files would appear simply
as a note as well, so that one could quickly access an image.)
FLEISCHHAUER/ERWAY * Several problems with which AM is still wrestling *
Various search and retrieval capabilities * Illustration of automatic
stemming and a truncated search * AM's attempt to find ways to connect
cataloging to the texts * AM's gravitation towards SGML * Striking a
balance between quantity and quality * How AM furnishes users recourse to
images * Conducting a search in a full-text environment * Macintosh and
IBM prototypes of AM * Multimedia aspects of AM *
A demonstration of American Memory by its coordinator, Carl FLEISCHHAUER,
and Ricky ERWAY, associate coordinator, Library of Congress, concluded
the morning session. Beginning with a collection of broadsides from the
Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, the only text
collection in a presentable form at the time of the Workshop, FLEISCHHAUER
highlighted several of the problems with which AM is still wrestling.
(In its final form, the disk will contain two collections, not only the
broadsides but also the full text with illustrations of a set of
approximately 300 African-American pamphlets from the period 1870 to 1910.)
As FREEMAN had explained earlier, AM has attempted to use a small amount
of interpretation to introduce collections. In the present case, the
contractor, a company named Quick Source, in Silver Spring, MD., used
software called Toolbook and put together a modestly interactive
introduction to the collection. Like the two preceding speakers,
FLEISCHHAUER argued that the real asset was the underlying collection.
FLEISCHHAUER proceeded to describe various search and retrieval
capabilities while ERWAY worked the computer. In this particular package
the "go to" pull-down allowed the user in effect to jump out of Toolbook,
where the interactive program was located, and enter the third-party
software used by AM for this text collection, which is called Personal
Librarian. This was the Windows version of Personal Librarian, a
software application put together by a company in Rockville, Md.
Since the broadsides came from the Revolutionary War period, a search was
conducted using the words British or war, with the default operator reset
as or. FLEISCHHAUER demonstrated both automatic stemming (which finds
other forms of the same root) and a truncated search. One of Personal
Librarian's strongest features, the relevance ranking, was represented by
a chart that indicated how often words being sought appeared in
documents, with the one receiving the most "hits" obtaining the highest
score. The "hit list" that is supplied takes the relevance ranking into
account, making the first hit, in effect, the one the software has
selected as the most relevant example.
While in the text of one of the broadside documents, FLEISCHHAUER
remarked AM's attempt to find ways to connect cataloging to the texts,
which it does in different ways in different manifestations. In the case
shown, the cataloging was pasted on: AM took MARC records that were
written as on-line records right into one of the Library's mainframe
retrieval programs, pulled them out, and handed them off to the contractor,
who massaged them somewhat to display them in the manner shown. One of
AM's questions is, Does the cataloguing normally performed in the mainframe
work in this context, or had AM ought to think through adjustments?
FLEISCHHAUER made the additional point that, as far as the text goes, AM
has gravitated towards SGML (he pointed to the boldface in the upper part
of the screen). Although extremely limited in its ability to translate
or interpret SGML, Personal Librarian will furnish both bold and italics
on screen; a fairly easy thing to do, but it is one of the ways in which
SGML is useful.
Striking a balance between quantity and quality has been a major concern
of AM, with accuracy being one of the places where project staff have
felt that less than 100-percent accuracy was not unacceptable.
FLEISCHHAUER cited the example of the standard of the rekeying industry,
namely 99.95 percent; as one service bureau informed him, to go from
99.95 to 100 percent would double the cost.
FLEISCHHAUER next demonstrated how AM furnishes users recourse to images,
and at the same time recalled LESK's pointed question concerning the
number of people who would look at those images and the number who would
work only with the text. If the implication of LESK's question was
sound, FLEISCHHAUER said, it raised the stakes for text accuracy and
reduced the value of the strategy for images.
Contending that preservation is always a bugaboo, FLEISCHHAUER
demonstrated several images derived from a scan of a preservation
microfilm that AM had made. He awarded a grade of C at best, perhaps a
C minus or a C plus, for how well it worked out. Indeed, the matter of
learning if other people had better ideas about scanning in general, and,
in particular, scanning from microfilm, was one of the factors that drove
AM to attempt to think through the agenda for the Workshop. Skew, for
example, was one of the issues that AM in its ignorance had not reckoned
would prove so difficult.
Further, the handling of images of the sort shown, in a desktop computer
environment, involved a considerable amount of zooming and scrolling.
Ultimately, AM staff feel that perhaps the paper copy that is printed out
might be the most useful one, but they remain uncertain as to how much
on-screen reading users will do.
Returning to the text, FLEISCHHAUER asked viewers to imagine a person who
might be conducting a search in a full-text environment. With this
scenario, he proceeded to illustrate other features of Personal Librarian
that he considered helpful; for example, it provides the ability to
notice words as one reads. Clicking the "include" button on the bottom
of the search window pops the words that have been highlighted into the
search. Thus, a user can refine the search as he or she reads,
re-executing the search and continuing to find things in the quest for
materials. This software not only contains relevance ranking, Boolean
operators, and truncation, it also permits one to perform word algebra,
so to say, where one puts two or three words in parentheses and links
them with one Boolean operator and then a couple of words in another set
of parentheses and asks for things within so many words of others.
Until they became acquainted recently with some of the work being done in
classics, the AM staff had not realized that a large number of the
projects that involve electronic texts were being done by people with a
profound interest in language and linguistics. Their search strategies
and thinking are oriented to those fields, as is shown in particular by
the Perseus example. As amateur historians, the AM staff were thinking
more of searching for concepts and ideas than for particular words.
Obviously, FLEISCHHAUER conceded, searching for concepts and ideas and
searching for words may be two rather closely related things.
While displaying several images, FLEISCHHAUER observed that the Macintosh
prototype built by AM contains a greater diversity of formats. Echoing a
previous speaker, he said that it was easier to stitch things together in
the Macintosh, though it tended to be a little more anemic in search and
retrieval. AM, therefore, increasingly has been investigating
sophisticated retrieval engines in the IBM format.
FLEISCHHAUER demonstrated several additional examples of the prototype
interfaces: One was AM's metaphor for the network future, in which a
kind of reading-room graphic suggests how one would be able to go around
to different materials. AM contains a large number of photographs in
analog video form worked up from a videodisc, which enable users to make
copies to print or incorporate in digital documents. A frame-grabber is
built into the system, making it possible to bring an image into a window
and digitize or print it out.
FLEISCHHAUER next demonstrated sound recording, which included texts.
Recycled from a previous project, the collection included sixty 78-rpm
phonograph records of political speeches that were made during and
immediately after World War I. These constituted approximately three
hours of audio, as AM has digitized it, which occupy 150 megabytes on a
CD. Thus, they are considerably compressed. From the catalogue card,
FLEISCHHAUER proceeded to a transcript of a speech with the audio
available and with highlighted text following it as it played.
A photograph has been added and a transcription made.
Considerable value has been added beyond what the Library of Congress
normally would do in cataloguing a sound recording, which raises several
questions for AM concerning where to draw lines about how much value it can
afford to add and at what point, perhaps, this becomes more than AM could
reasonably do or reasonably wish to do. FLEISCHHAUER also demonstrated
a motion picture. As FREEMAN had reported earlier, the motion picture
materials have proved the most popular, not surprisingly. This says more
about the medium, he thought, than about AM's presentation of it.
Because AM's goal was to bring together things that could be used by
historians or by people who were curious about history,
turn-of-the-century footage seemed to represent the most appropriate
collections from the Library of Congress in motion pictures. These were
the very first films made by Thomas Edison's company and some others at
that time. The particular example illustrated was a Biograph film,
brought in with a frame-grabber into a window. A single videodisc
contains about fifty titles and pieces of film from that period, all of
New York City. Taken together, AM believes, they provide an interesting
documentary resource.
DISCUSSION * Using the frame-grabber in AM * Volume of material processed
and to be processed * Purpose of AM within LC * Cataloguing and the
nature of AM's material * SGML coding and the question of quality versus
quantity *
During the question-and-answer period that followed FLEISCHHAUER's
presentation, several clarifications were made.
AM is bringing in motion pictures from a videodisc. The frame-grabber
devices create a window on a computer screen, which permits users to
digitize a single frame of the movie or one of the photographs. It
produces a crude, rough-and-ready image that high school students can
incorporate into papers, and that has worked very nicely in this way.
Commenting on FLEISCHHAUER's assertion that AM was looking more at
searching ideas than words, MYLONAS argued that without words an idea
does not exist. FLEISCHHAUER conceded that he ought to have articulated
his point more clearly. MYLONAS stated that they were in fact both
talking about the same thing. By searching for words and by forcing
people to focus on the word, the Perseus Project felt that they would get
them to the idea. The way one reviews results is tailored more to one
kind of user than another.
Concerning the total volume of material that has been processed in this
way, AM at this point has in retrievable form seven or eight collections,
all of them photographic. In the Macintosh environment, for example,
there probably are 35,000-40,000 photographs. The sound recordings
number sixty items. The broadsides number about 300 items. There are
500 political cartoons in the form of drawings. The motion pictures, as
individual items, number sixty to seventy.
AM also has a manuscript collection, the life history portion of one of
the federal project series, which will contain 2,900 individual
documents, all first-person narratives. AM has in process about 350
African-American pamphlets, or about 12,000 printed pages for the period
1870-1910. Also in the works are some 4,000 panoramic photographs. AM
has recycled a fair amount of the work done by LC's Prints and
Photographs Division during the Library's optical disk pilot project in
the 1980s. For example, a special division of LC has tooled up and
thought through all the ramifications of electronic presentation of
photographs. Indeed, they are wheeling them out in great barrel loads.
The purpose of AM within the Library, it is hoped, is to catalyze several
of the other special collection divisions which have no particular
experience with, in some cases, mixed feelings about, an activity such as
AM. Moreover, in many cases the divisions may be characterized as not
only lacking experience in "electronifying" things but also in automated
cataloguing. MARC cataloguing as practiced in the United States is
heavily weighted toward the description of monograph and serial
materials, but is much thinner when one enters the world of manuscripts
and things that are held in the Library's music collection and other
units. In response to a comment by LESK, that AM's material is very
heavily photographic, and is so primarily because individual records have
been made for each photograph, FLEISCHHAUER observed that an item-level
catalog record exists, for example, for each photograph in the Detroit
Publishing collection of 25,000 pictures. In the case of the Federal
Writers Project, for which nearly 3,000 documents exist, representing
information from twenty-six different states, AM with the assistance of
Karen STUART of the Manuscript Division will attempt to find some way not
only to have a collection-level record but perhaps a MARC record for each
state, which will then serve as an umbrella for the 100-200 documents
that come under it. But that drama remains to be enacted. The AM staff
is conservative and clings to cataloguing, though of course visitors tout
artificial intelligence and neural networks in a manner that suggests that
perhaps one need not have cataloguing or that much of it could be put aside.
The matter of SGML coding, FLEISCHHAUER conceded, returned the discussion
to the earlier treated question of quality versus quantity in the Library
of Congress. Of course, text conversion can be done with 100-percent
accuracy, but it means that when one's holdings are as vast as LC's only
a tiny amount will be exposed, whereas permitting lower levels of
accuracy can lead to exposing or sharing larger amounts, but with the
quality correspondingly impaired.
TWOHIG * A contrary experience concerning electronic options * Volume of
material in the Washington papers and a suggestion of David Packard *
Implications of Packard's suggestion * Transcribing the documents for the
CD-ROM * Accuracy of transcriptions * The CD-ROM edition of the Founding
Fathers documents *
Finding encouragement in a comment of MICHELSON's from the morning
session--that numerous people in the humanities were choosing electronic
options to do their work--Dorothy TWOHIG, editor, The Papers of George
Washington, opened her illustrated talk by noting that her experience
with literary scholars and numerous people in editing was contrary to
MICHELSON's. TWOHIG emphasized literary scholars' complete ignorance of
the technological options available to them or their reluctance or, in
some cases, their downright hostility toward these options.
After providing an overview of the five Founding Fathers projects
(Jefferson at Princeton, Franklin at Yale, John Adams at the
Massachusetts Historical Society, and Madison down the hall from her at
the University of Virginia), TWOHIG observed that the Washington papers,
like all of the projects, include both sides of the Washington
correspondence and deal with some 135,000 documents to be published with
extensive annotation in eighty to eighty-five volumes, a project that
will not be completed until well into the next century. Thus, it was
with considerable enthusiasm several years ago that the Washington Papers
Project (WPP) greeted David Packard's suggestion that the papers of the
Founding Fathers could be published easily and inexpensively, and to the
great benefit of American scholarship, via CD-ROM.
In pragmatic terms, funding from the Packard Foundation would expedite
the transcription of thousands of documents waiting to be put on disk in
the WPP offices. Further, since the costs of collecting, editing, and
converting the Founding Fathers documents into letterpress editions were
running into the millions of dollars, and the considerable staffs
involved in all of these projects were devoting their careers to
producing the work, the Packard Foundation's suggestion had a
revolutionary aspect: Transcriptions of the entire corpus of the
Founding Fathers papers would be available on CD-ROM to public and
college libraries, even high schools, at a fraction of the cost--
$100-$150 for the annual license fee--to produce a limited university
press run of 1,000 of each volume of the published papers at $45-$150 per
printed volume. Given the current budget crunch in educational systems
and the corresponding constraints on librarians in smaller institutions
who wish to add these volumes to their collections, producing the
documents on CD-ROM would likely open a greatly expanded audience for the
papers. TWOHIG stressed, however, that development of the Founding
Fathers CD-ROM is still in its infancy. Serious software problems remain
to be resolved before the material can be put into readable form.
Funding from the Packard Foundation resulted in a major push to
transcribe the 75,000 or so documents of the Washington papers remaining
to be transcribed onto computer disks. Slides illustrated several of the
problems encountered, for example, the present inability of CD-ROM to
indicate the cross-outs (deleted material) in eighteenth century
documents. TWOHIG next described documents from various periods in the
eighteenth century that have been transcribed in chronological order and
delivered to the Packard offices in California, where they are converted
to the CD-ROM, a process that is expected to consume five years to
complete (that is, reckoning from David Packard's suggestion made several
years ago, until about July 1994). TWOHIG found an encouraging
indication of the project's benefits in the ongoing use made by scholars
of the search functions of the CD-ROM, particularly in reducing the time
spent in manually turning the pages of the Washington papers.
TWOHIG next furnished details concerning the accuracy of transcriptions.
For instance, the insertion of thousands of documents on the CD-ROM
currently does not permit each document to be verified against the
original manuscript several times as in the case of documents that appear
in the published edition. However, the transcriptions receive a cursory
check for obvious typos, the misspellings of proper names, and other
errors from the WPP CD-ROM editor. Eventually, all documents that appear
in the electronic version will be checked by project editors. Although
this process has met with opposition from some of the editors on the
grounds that imperfect work may leave their offices, the advantages in
making this material available as a research tool outweigh fears about the
misspelling of proper names and other relatively minor editorial matters.
Completion of all five Founding Fathers projects (i.e., retrievability
and searchability of all of the documents by proper names, alternate
spellings, or varieties of subjects) will provide one of the richest
sources of this size for the history of the United States in the latter
part of the eighteenth century. Further, publication on CD-ROM will
allow editors to include even minutiae, such as laundry lists, not
included in the printed volumes.
It seems possible that the extensive annotation provided in the printed
volumes eventually will be added to the CD-ROM edition, pending
negotiations with the publishers of the papers. At the moment, the
Founding Fathers CD-ROM is accessible only on the IBYCUS, a computer
developed out of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae project and designed for
the use of classical scholars. There are perhaps 400 IBYCUS computers in
the country, most of which are in university classics departments.
Ultimately, it is anticipated that the CD-ROM edition of the Founding
Fathers documents will run on any IBM-compatible or Macintosh computer
with a CD-ROM drive. Numerous changes in the software will also occur
before the project is completed. (Editor's note: an IBYCUS was
unavailable to demonstrate the CD-ROM.)
DISCUSSION * Several additional features of WPP clarified *
Discussion following TWOHIG's presentation served to clarify several
additional features, including (1) that the project's primary
intellectual product consists in the electronic transcription of the
material; (2) that the text transmitted to the CD-ROM people is not
marked up; (3) that cataloging and subject-indexing of the material
remain to be worked out (though at this point material can be retrieved
by name); and (4) that because all the searching is done in the hardware,
the IBYCUS is designed to read a CD-ROM which contains only sequential
text files. Technically, it then becomes very easy to read the material
off and put it on another device.
LEBRON * Overview of the history of the joint project between AAAS and
OCLC * Several practices the on-line environment shares with traditional
publishing on hard copy * Several technical and behavioral barriers to
electronic publishing * How AAAS and OCLC arrived at the subject of
clinical trials * Advantages of the electronic format and other features
of OJCCT * An illustrated tour of the journal *
Maria LEBRON, managing editor, The Online Journal of Current Clinical
Trials (OJCCT), presented an illustrated overview of the history of the
joint project between the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) and the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC). The
joint venture between AAAS and OCLC owes its beginning to a
reorganization launched by the new chief executive officer at OCLC about
three years ago and combines the strengths of these two disparate
organizations. In short, OJCCT represents the process of scholarly
publishing on line.
LEBRON next discussed several practices the on-line environment shares
with traditional publishing on hard copy--for example, peer review of
manuscripts--that are highly important in the academic world. LEBRON
noted in particular the implications of citation counts for tenure
committees and grants committees. In the traditional hard-copy
environment, citation counts are readily demonstrable, whereas the
on-line environment represents an ethereal medium to most academics.
LEBRON remarked several technical and behavioral barriers to electronic
publishing, for instance, the problems in transmission created by special
characters or by complex graphics and halftones. In addition, she noted
economic limitations such as the storage costs of maintaining back issues
and market or audience education.
Manuscripts cannot be uploaded to OJCCT, LEBRON explained, because it is
not a bulletin board or E-mail, forms of electronic transmission of
information that have created an ambience clouding people's understanding
of what the journal is attempting to do. OJCCT, which publishes
peer-reviewed medical articles dealing with the subject of clinical
trials, includes text, tabular material, and graphics, although at this
time it can transmit only line illustrations.
Next, LEBRON described how AAAS and OCLC arrived at the subject of
clinical trials: It is 1) a highly statistical discipline that 2) does
not require halftones but can satisfy the needs of its audience with line
illustrations and graphic material, and 3) there is a need for the speedy
dissemination of high-quality research results. Clinical trials are
research activities that involve the administration of a test treatment
to some experimental unit in order to test its usefulness before it is
made available to the general population. LEBRON proceeded to give
additional information on OJCCT concerning its editor-in-chief, editorial
board, editorial content, and the types of articles it publishes
(including peer-reviewed research reports and reviews), as well as
features shared by other traditional hard-copy journals.
Among the advantages of the electronic format are faster dissemination of
information, including raw data, and the absence of space constraints
because pages do not exist. (This latter fact creates an interesting
situation when it comes to citations.) Nor are there any issues. AAAS's
capacity to download materials directly from the journal to a
subscriber's printer, hard drive, or floppy disk helps ensure highly
accurate transcription. Other features of OJCCT include on-screen alerts
that allow linkage of subsequently published documents to the original
documents; on-line searching by subject, author, title, etc.; indexing of
every single word that appears in an article; viewing access to an
article by component (abstract, full text, or graphs); numbered
paragraphs to replace page counts; publication in Science every thirty
days of indexing of all articles published in the journal;
typeset-quality screens; and Hypertext links that enable subscribers to
bring up Medline abstracts directly without leaving the journal.
After detailing the two primary ways to gain access to the journal,
through the OCLC network and Compuserv if one desires graphics or through
the Internet if just an ASCII file is desired, LEBRON illustrated the
speedy editorial process and the coding of the document using SGML tags
after it has been accepted for publication. She also gave an illustrated
tour of the journal, its search-and-retrieval capabilities in particular,
but also including problems associated with scanning in illustrations,
and the importance of on-screen alerts to the medical profession re
retractions or corrections, or more frequently, editorials, letters to
the editors, or follow-up reports. She closed by inviting the audience
to join AAAS on 1 July, when OJCCT was scheduled to go on-line.
DISCUSSION * Additional features of OJCCT *
In the lengthy discussion that followed LEBRON's presentation, these
points emerged:
* The SGML text can be tailored as users wish.
* All these articles have a fairly simple document definition.
* Document-type definitions (DTDs) were developed and given to OJCCT
for coding.
* No articles will be removed from the journal. (Because there are
no back issues, there are no lost issues either. Once a subscriber
logs onto the journal he or she has access not only to the currently
published materials, but retrospectively to everything that has been
published in it. Thus the table of contents grows bigger. The date
of publication serves to distinguish between currently published
materials and older materials.)
* The pricing system for the journal resembles that for most medical
journals: for 1992, $95 for a year, plus telecommunications charges
(there are no connect time charges); for 1993, $110 for the
entire year for single users, though the journal can be put on a
local area network (LAN). However, only one person can access the
journal at a time. Site licenses may come in the future.
* AAAS is working closely with colleagues at OCLC to display
mathematical equations on screen.
* Without compromising any steps in the editorial process, the
technology has reduced the time lag between when a manuscript is
originally submitted and the time it is accepted; the review process
does not differ greatly from the standard six-to-eight weeks
employed by many of the hard-copy journals. The process still
depends on people.
* As far as a preservation copy is concerned, articles will be
maintained on the computer permanently and subscribers, as part of
their subscription, will receive a microfiche-quality archival copy
of everything published during that year; in addition, reprints can
be purchased in much the same way as in a hard-copy environment.
Hard copies are prepared but are not the primary medium for the
dissemination of the information.
* Because OJCCT is not yet on line, it is difficult to know how many
people would simply browse through the journal on the screen as
opposed to downloading the whole thing and printing it out; a mix of
both types of users likely will result.
PERSONIUS * Developments in technology over the past decade * The CLASS
Project * Advantages for technology and for the CLASS Project *
Developing a network application an underlying assumption of the project
* Details of the scanning process * Print-on-demand copies of books *
Future plans include development of a browsing tool *
Lynne PERSONIUS, assistant director, Cornell Information Technologies for
Scholarly Information Services, Cornell University, first commented on
the tremendous impact that developments in technology over the past ten
years--networking, in particular--have had on the way information is
handled, and how, in her own case, these developments have counterbalanced
Cornell's relative geographical isolation. Other significant technologies
include scanners, which are much more sophisticated than they were ten years
ago; mass storage and the dramatic savings that result from it in terms of
both space and money relative to twenty or thirty years ago; new and
improved printing technologies, which have greatly affected the distribution
of information; and, of course, digital technologies, whose applicability to
library preservation remains at issue.
Given that context, PERSONIUS described the College Library Access and
Storage System (CLASS) Project, a library preservation project,
primarily, and what has been accomplished. Directly funded by the
Commission on Preservation and Access and by the Xerox Corporation, which
has provided a significant amount of hardware, the CLASS Project has been
working with a development team at Xerox to develop a software
application tailored to library preservation requirements. Within
Cornell, participants in the project have been working jointly with both
library and information technologies. The focus of the project has been
on reformatting and saving books that are in brittle condition.
PERSONIUS showed Workshop participants a brittle book, and described how
such books were the result of developments in papermaking around the
beginning of the Industrial Revolution. The papermaking process was
changed so that a significant amount of acid was introduced into the
actual paper itself, which deteriorates as it sits on library shelves.
One of the advantages for technology and for the CLASS Project is that
the information in brittle books is mostly out of copyright and thus
offers an opportunity to work with material that requires library
preservation, and to create and work on an infrastructure to save the
material. Acknowledging the familiarity of those working in preservation
with this information, PERSONIUS noted that several things are being
done: the primary preservation technology used today is photocopying of
brittle material. Saving the intellectual content of the material is the
main goal. With microfilm copy, the intellectual content is preserved on
the assumption that in the future the image can be reformatted in any
other way that then exists.
An underlying assumption of the CLASS Project from the beginning was
that it would develop a network application. Project staff scan books
at a workstation located in the library, near the brittle material.
An image-server filing system is located at a distance from that
workstation, and a printer is located in another building. All of the
materials digitized and stored on the image-filing system are cataloged
in the on-line catalogue. In fact, a record for each of these electronic
books is stored in the RLIN database so that a record exists of what is
in the digital library throughout standard catalogue procedures. In the
future, researchers working from their own workstations in their offices,
or their networks, will have access--wherever they might be--through a
request server being built into the new digital library. A second
assumption is that the preferred means of finding the material will be by
looking through a catalogue. PERSONIUS described the scanning process,
which uses a prototype scanner being developed by Xerox and which scans a
very high resolution image at great speed. Another significant feature,
because this is a preservation application, is the placing of the pages
that fall apart one for one on the platen. Ordinarily, a scanner could
be used with some sort of a document feeder, but because of this
application that is not feasible. Further, because CLASS is a
preservation application, after the paper replacement is made there, a
very careful quality control check is performed. An original book is
compared to the printed copy and verification is made, before proceeding,
that all of the image, all of the information, has been captured. Then,
a new library book is produced: The printed images are rebound by a
commercial binder and a new book is returned to the shelf.
Significantly, the books returned to the library shelves are beautiful
and useful replacements on acid-free paper that should last a long time,
in effect, the equivalent of preservation photocopies. Thus, the project
has a library of digital books. In essence, CLASS is scanning and
storing books as 600 dot-per-inch bit-mapped images, compressed using
Group 4 CCITT (i.e., the French acronym for International Consultative
Committee for Telegraph and Telephone) compression. They are stored as
TIFF files on an optical filing system that is composed of a database
used for searching and locating the books and an optical jukebox that
stores 64 twelve-inch platters. A very-high-resolution printed copy of
these books at 600 dots per inch is created, using a Xerox DocuTech
printer to make the paper replacements on acid-free paper.
PERSONIUS maintained that the CLASS Project presents an opportunity to
introduce people to books as digital images by using a paper medium.
Books are returned to the shelves while people are also given the ability
to print on demand--to make their own copies of books. (PERSONIUS
distributed copies of an engineering journal published by engineering
students at Cornell around 1900 as an example of what a print-on-demand
copy of material might be like. This very cheap copy would be available
to people to use for their own research purposes and would bridge the gap
between an electronic work and the paper that readers like to have.)
PERSONIUS then attempted to illustrate a very early prototype of
networked access to this digital library. Xerox Corporation has
developed a prototype of a view station that can send images across the
network to be viewed.
The particular library brought down for demonstration contained two
mathematics books. CLASS is developing and will spend the next year
developing an application that allows people at workstations to browse
the books. Thus, CLASS is developing a browsing tool, on the assumption
that users do not want to read an entire book from a workstation, but
would prefer to be able to look through and decide if they would like to
have a printed copy of it.
DISCUSSION * Re retrieval software * "Digital file copyright" * Scanning
rate during production * Autosegmentation * Criteria employed in
selecting books for scanning * Compression and decompression of images *
OCR not precluded *
During the question-and-answer period that followed her presentation,
PERSONIUS made these additional points:
* Re retrieval software, Cornell is developing a Unix-based server
as well as clients for the server that support multiple platforms
(Macintosh, IBM and Sun workstations), in the hope that people from
any of those platforms will retrieve books; a further operating
assumption is that standard interfaces will be used as much as
possible, where standards can be put in place, because CLASS
considers this retrieval software a library application and would
like to be able to look at material not only at Cornell but at other
* The phrase "digital file copyright by Cornell University" was
added at the advice of Cornell's legal staff with the caveat that it
probably would not hold up in court. Cornell does not want people
to copy its books and sell them but would like to keep them
available for use in a library environment for library purposes.
* In production the scanner can scan about 300 pages per hour,
capturing 600 dots per inch.
* The Xerox software has filters to scan halftone material and avoid
the moire patterns that occur when halftone material is scanned.
Xerox has been working on hardware and software that would enable
the scanner itself to recognize this situation and deal with it
appropriately--a kind of autosegmentation that would enable the
scanner to handle halftone material as well as text on a single page.
* The books subjected to the elaborate process described above were
selected because CLASS is a preservation project, with the first 500
books selected coming from Cornell's mathematics collection, because
they were still being heavily used and because, although they were
in need of preservation, the mathematics library and the mathematics
faculty were uncomfortable having them microfilmed. (They wanted a
printed copy.) Thus, these books became a logical choice for this
project. Other books were chosen by the project's selection committees
for experiments with the technology, as well as to meet a demand or need.
* Images will be decompressed before they are sent over the line; at
this time they are compressed and sent to the image filing system
and then sent to the printer as compressed images; they are returned
to the workstation as compressed 600-dpi images and the workstation
decompresses and scales them for display--an inefficient way to
access the material though it works quite well for printing and
other purposes.
* CLASS is also decompressing on Macintosh and IBM, a slow process
right now. Eventually, compression and decompression will take
place on an image conversion server. Trade-offs will be made, based
on future performance testing, concerning where the file is
compressed and what resolution image is sent.
* OCR has not been precluded; images are being stored that have been
scanned at a high resolution, which presumably would suit them well
to an OCR process. Because the material being scanned is about 100
years old and was printed with less-than-ideal technologies, very
early and preliminary tests have not produced good results. But the
project is capturing an image that is of sufficient resolution to be
subjected to OCR in the future. Moreover, the system architecture
and the system plan have a logical place to store an OCR image if it
has been captured. But that is not being done now.
ZICH * Issues pertaining to CD-ROMs * Options for publishing in CD-ROM *
Robert ZICH, special assistant to the associate librarian for special
projects, Library of Congress, and moderator of this session, first noted
the blessed but somewhat awkward circumstance of having four very
distinguished people representing networks and networking or at least
leaning in that direction, while lacking anyone to speak from the
strongest possible background in CD-ROMs. ZICH expressed the hope that
members of the audience would join the discussion. He stressed the
subtitle of this particular session, "Options for Dissemination," and,
concerning CD-ROMs, the importance of determining when it would be wise
to consider dissemination in CD-ROM versus networks. A shopping list of
issues pertaining to CD-ROMs included: the grounds for selecting
commercial publishers, and in-house publication where possible versus
nonprofit or government publication. A similar list for networks
included: determining when one should consider dissemination through a
network, identifying the mechanisms or entities that exist to place items
on networks, identifying the pool of existing networks, determining how a
producer would choose between networks, and identifying the elements of
a business arrangement in a network.
Options for publishing in CD-ROM: an outside publisher versus
self-publication. If an outside publisher is used, it can be nonprofit,
such as the Government Printing Office (GPO) or the National Technical
Information Service (NTIS), in the case of government. The pros and cons
associated with employing an outside publisher are obvious. Among the
pros, there is no trouble getting accepted. One pays the bill and, in
effect, goes one's way. Among the cons, when one pays an outside
publisher to perform the work, that publisher will perform the work it is
obliged to do, but perhaps without the production expertise and skill in
marketing and dissemination that some would seek. There is the body of
commercial publishers that do possess that kind of expertise in
distribution and marketing but that obviously are selective. In
self-publication, one exercises full control, but then one must handle
matters such as distribution and marketing. Such are some of the options
for publishing in the case of CD-ROM.
In the case of technical and design issues, which are also important,
there are many matters which many at the Workshop already knew a good
deal about: retrieval system requirements and costs, what to do about
images, the various capabilities and platforms, the trade-offs between
cost and performance, concerns about local-area networkability,
interoperability, etc.
LYNCH * Creating networked information is different from using networks
as an access or dissemination vehicle * Networked multimedia on a large
scale does not yet work * Typical CD-ROM publication model a two-edged
sword * Publishing information on a CD-ROM in the present world of
immature standards * Contrast between CD-ROM and network pricing *
Examples demonstrated earlier in the day as a set of insular information
gems * Paramount need to link databases * Layering to become increasingly
necessary * Project NEEDS and the issues of information reuse and active
versus passive use * X-Windows as a way of differentiating between
network access and networked information * Barriers to the distribution
of networked multimedia information * Need for good, real-time delivery
protocols * The question of presentation integrity in client-server
computing in the academic world * Recommendations for producing multimedia
Clifford LYNCH, director, Library Automation, University of California,
opened his talk with the general observation that networked information
constituted a difficult and elusive topic because it is something just
starting to develop and not yet fully understood. LYNCH contended that
creating genuinely networked information was different from using
networks as an access or dissemination vehicle and was more sophisticated
and more subtle. He invited the members of the audience to extrapolate,
from what they heard about the preceding demonstration projects, to what
sort of a world of electronics information--scholarly, archival,
cultural, etc.--they wished to end up with ten or fifteen years from now.
LYNCH suggested that to extrapolate directly from these projects would
produce unpleasant results.
Putting the issue of CD-ROM in perspective before getting into
generalities on networked information, LYNCH observed that those engaged
in multimedia today who wish to ship a product, so to say, probably do
not have much choice except to use CD-ROM: networked multimedia on a
large scale basically does not yet work because the technology does not
exist. For example, anybody who has tried moving images around over the
Internet knows that this is an exciting touch-and-go process, a
fascinating and fertile area for experimentation, research, and
development, but not something that one can become deeply enthusiastic
about committing to production systems at this time.
This situation will change, LYNCH said. He differentiated CD-ROM from
the practices that have been followed up to now in distributing data on
CD-ROM. For LYNCH the problem with CD-ROM is not its portability or its
slowness but the two-edged sword of having the retrieval application and
the user interface inextricably bound up with the data, which is the
typical CD-ROM publication model. It is not a case of publishing data
but of distributing a typically stand-alone, typically closed system,
all--software, user interface, and data--on a little disk. Hence, all
the between-disk navigational issues as well as the impossibility in most
cases of integrating data on one disk with that on another. Most CD-ROM
retrieval software does not network very gracefully at present. However,
in the present world of immature standards and lack of understanding of
what network information is or what the ground rules are for creating or
using it, publishing information on a CD-ROM does add value in a very
real sense.
LYNCH drew a contrast between CD-ROM and network pricing and in doing so
highlighted something bizarre in information pricing. A large
institution such as the University of California has vendors who will
offer to sell information on CD-ROM for a price per year in four digits,
but for the same data (e.g., an abstracting and indexing database) on
magnetic tape, regardless of how many people may use it concurrently,
will quote a price in six digits.
What is packaged with the CD-ROM in one sense adds value--a complete
access system, not just raw, unrefined information--although it is not
generally perceived that way. This is because the access software,
although it adds value, is viewed by some people, particularly in the
university environment where there is a very heavy commitment to
networking, as being developed in the wrong direction.
Given that context, LYNCH described the examples demonstrated as a set of
insular information gems--Perseus, for example, offers nicely linked
information, but would be very difficult to integrate with other
databases, that is, to link together seamlessly with other source files
from other sources. It resembles an island, and in this respect is
similar to numerous stand-alone projects that are based on videodiscs,
that is, on the single-workstation concept.
As scholarship evolves in a network environment, the paramount need will
be to link databases. We must link personal databases to public
databases, to group databases, in fairly seamless ways--which is
extremely difficult in the environments under discussion with copies of
databases proliferating all over the place.
The notion of layering also struck LYNCH as lurking in several of the
projects demonstrated. Several databases in a sense constitute
information archives without a significant amount of navigation built in.
Educators, critics, and others will want a layered structure--one that
defines or links paths through the layers to allow users to reach
specific points. In LYNCH's view, layering will become increasingly
necessary, and not just within a single resource but across resources
(e.g., tracing mythology and cultural themes across several classics
databases as well as a database of Renaissance culture). This ability to
organize resources, to build things out of multiple other things on the
network or select pieces of it, represented for LYNCH one of the key
aspects of network information.
Contending that information reuse constituted another significant issue,
LYNCH commended to the audience's attention Project NEEDS (i.e., National
Engineering Education Delivery System). This project's objective is to
produce a database of engineering courseware as well as the components
that can be used to develop new courseware. In a number of the existing
applications, LYNCH said, the issue of reuse (how much one can take apart
and reuse in other applications) was not being well considered. He also
raised the issue of active versus passive use, one aspect of which is
how much information will be manipulated locally by users. Most people,
he argued, may do a little browsing and then will wish to print. LYNCH
was uncertain how these resources would be used by the vast majority of
users in the network environment.
LYNCH next said a few words about X-Windows as a way of differentiating
between network access and networked information. A number of the
applications demonstrated at the Workshop could be rewritten to use X
across the network, so that one could run them from any X-capable device-
-a workstation, an X terminal--and transact with a database across the
network. Although this opens up access a little, assuming one has enough
network to handle it, it does not provide an interface to develop a
program that conveniently integrates information from multiple databases.
X is a viewing technology that has limits. In a real sense, it is just a
graphical version of remote log-in across the network. X-type applications
represent only one step in the progression towards real access.
LYNCH next discussed barriers to the distribution of networked multimedia
information. The heart of the problem is a lack of standards to provide
the ability for computers to talk to each other, retrieve information,
and shuffle it around fairly casually. At the moment, little progress is
being made on standards for networked information; for example, present
standards do not cover images, digital voice, and digital video. A
useful tool kit of exchange formats for basic texts is only now being
assembled. The synchronization of content streams (i.e., synchronizing a
voice track to a video track, establishing temporal relations between
different components in a multimedia object) constitutes another issue
for networked multimedia that is just beginning to receive attention.
Underlying network protocols also need some work; good, real-time
delivery protocols on the Internet do not yet exist. In LYNCH's view,
highly important in this context is the notion of networked digital
object IDs, the ability of one object on the network to point to another
object (or component thereof) on the network. Serious bandwidth issues
also exist. LYNCH was uncertain if billion-bit-per-second networks would
prove sufficient if numerous people ran video in parallel.
LYNCH concluded by offering an issue for database creators to consider,
as well as several comments about what might constitute good trial
multimedia experiments. In a networked information world the database
builder or service builder (publisher) does not exercise the same
extensive control over the integrity of the presentation; strange
programs "munge" with one's data before the user sees it. Serious
thought must be given to what guarantees integrity of presentation. Part
of that is related to where one draws the boundaries around a networked
information service. This question of presentation integrity in
client-server computing has not been stressed enough in the academic
world, LYNCH argued, though commercial service providers deal with it
Concerning multimedia, LYNCH observed that good multimedia at the moment
is hideously expensive to produce. He recommended producing multimedia
with either very high sale value, or multimedia with a very long life
span, or multimedia that will have a very broad usage base and whose
costs therefore can be amortized among large numbers of users. In this
connection, historical and humanistically oriented material may be a good
place to start, because it tends to have a longer life span than much of
the scientific material, as well as a wider user base. LYNCH noted, for
example, that American Memory fits many of the criteria outlined. He
remarked the extensive discussion about bringing the Internet or the
National Research and Education Network (NREN) into the K-12 environment
as a way of helping the American educational system.
LYNCH closed by noting that the kinds of applications demonstrated struck
him as excellent justifications of broad-scale networking for K-12, but
that at this time no "killer" application exists to mobilize the K-12
community to obtain connectivity.
DISCUSSION * Dearth of genuinely interesting applications on the network
a slow-changing situation * The issue of the integrity of presentation in
a networked environment * Several reasons why CD-ROM software does not
network *
During the discussion period that followed LYNCH's presentation, several
additional points were made.
LYNCH reiterated even more strongly his contention that, historically,
once one goes outside high-end science and the group of those who need
access to supercomputers, there is a great dearth of genuinely
interesting applications on the network. He saw this situation changing
slowly, with some of the scientific databases and scholarly discussion
groups and electronic journals coming on as well as with the availability
of Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS) and some of the databases that
are being mounted there. However, many of those things do not seem to
have piqued great popular interest. For instance, most high school
students of LYNCH's acquaintance would not qualify as devotees of serious
molecular biology.
Concerning the issue of the integrity of presentation, LYNCH believed
that a couple of information providers have laid down the law at least on
certain things. For example, his recollection was that the National
Library of Medicine feels strongly that one needs to employ the
identifier field if he or she is to mount a database commercially. The
problem with a real networked environment is that one does not know who
is reformatting and reprocessing one's data when one enters a client
server mode. It becomes anybody's guess, for example, if the network
uses a Z39.50 server, or what clients are doing with one's data. A data
provider can say that his contract will only permit clients to have
access to his data after he vets them and their presentation and makes
certain it suits him. But LYNCH held out little expectation that the
network marketplace would evolve in that way, because it required too
much prior negotiation.
CD-ROM software does not network for a variety of reasons, LYNCH said.
He speculated that CD-ROM publishers are not eager to have their products
really hook into wide area networks, because they fear it will make their
data suppliers nervous. Moreover, until relatively recently, one had to
be rather adroit to run a full TCP/IP stack plus applications on a
PC-size machine, whereas nowadays it is becoming easier as PCs grow
bigger and faster. LYNCH also speculated that software providers had not
heard from their customers until the last year or so, or had not heard
from enough of their customers.
BESSER * Implications of disseminating images on the network; planning
the distribution of multimedia documents poses two critical
implementation problems * Layered approach represents the way to deal
with users' capabilities * Problems in platform design; file size and its
implications for networking * Transmission of megabyte size images
impractical * Compression and decompression at the user's end * Promising
trends for compression * A disadvantage of using X-Windows * A project at
the Smithsonian that mounts images on several networks *
Howard BESSER, School of Library and Information Science, University of
Pittsburgh, spoke primarily about multimedia, focusing on images and the
broad implications of disseminating them on the network. He argued that
planning the distribution of multimedia documents posed two critical
implementation problems, which he framed in the form of two questions:
1) What platform will one use and what hardware and software will users
have for viewing of the material? and 2) How can one deliver a
sufficiently robust set of information in an accessible format in a
reasonable amount of time? Depending on whether network or CD-ROM is the
medium used, this question raises different issues of storage,
compression, and transmission.
Concerning the design of platforms (e.g., sound, gray scale, simple
color, etc.) and the various capabilities users may have, BESSER
maintained that a layered approach was the way to deal with users'
capabilities. A result would be that users with less powerful
workstations would simply have less functionality. He urged members of
the audience to advocate standards and accompanying software that handle
layered functionality across a wide variety of platforms.
BESSER also addressed problems in platform design, namely, deciding how
large a machine to design for situations when the largest number of users
have the lowest level of the machine, and one desires higher
functionality. BESSER then proceeded to the question of file size and
its implications for networking. He discussed still images in the main.
For example, a digital color image that fills the screen of a standard
mega-pel workstation (Sun or Next) will require one megabyte of storage
for an eight-bit image or three megabytes of storage for a true color or
twenty-four-bit image. Lossless compression algorithms (that is,
computational procedures in which no data is lost in the process of
compressing [and decompressing] an image--the exact bit-representation is
maintained) might bring storage down to a third of a megabyte per image,
but not much further than that. The question of size makes it difficult
to fit an appropriately sized set of these images on a single disk or to
transmit them quickly enough on a network.
With these full screen mega-pel images that constitute a third of a
megabyte, one gets 1,000-3,000 full-screen images on a one-gigabyte disk;
a standard CD-ROM represents approximately 60 percent of that. Storing
images the size of a PC screen (just 8 bit color) increases storage
capacity to 4,000-12,000 images per gigabyte; 60 percent of that gives
one the size of a CD-ROM, which in turn creates a major problem. One
cannot have full-screen, full-color images with lossless compression; one
must compress them or use a lower resolution. For megabyte-size images,
anything slower than a T-1 speed is impractical. For example, on a
fifty-six-kilobaud line, it takes three minutes to transfer a
one-megabyte file, if it is not compressed; and this speed assumes ideal
circumstances (no other user contending for network bandwidth). Thus,
questions of disk access, remote display, and current telephone
connection speed make transmission of megabyte-size images impractical.
BESSER then discussed ways to deal with these large images, for example,
compression and decompression at the user's end. In this connection, the
issues of how much one is willing to lose in the compression process and
what image quality one needs in the first place are unknown. But what is
known is that compression entails some loss of data. BESSER urged that
more studies be conducted on image quality in different situations, for
example, what kind of images are needed for what kind of disciplines, and
what kind of image quality is needed for a browsing tool, an intermediate
viewing tool, and archiving.
BESSER remarked two promising trends for compression: from a technical
perspective, algorithms that use what is called subjective redundancy
employ principles from visual psycho-physics to identify and remove
information from the image that the human eye cannot perceive; from an
interchange and interoperability perspective, the JPEG (i.e., Joint
Photographic Experts Group, an ISO standard) compression algorithms also
offer promise. These issues of compression and decompression, BESSER
argued, resembled those raised earlier concerning the design of different
platforms. Gauging the capabilities of potential users constitutes a
primary goal. BESSER advocated layering or separating the images from
the applications that retrieve and display them, to avoid tying them to
particular software.
BESSER detailed several lessons learned from his work at Berkeley with
Imagequery, especially the advantages and disadvantages of using
X-Windows. In the latter category, for example, retrieval is tied
directly to one's data, an intolerable situation in the long run on a
networked system. Finally, BESSER described a project of Jim Wallace at
the Smithsonian Institution, who is mounting images in a extremely
rudimentary way on the Compuserv and Genie networks and is preparing to
mount them on America On Line. Although the average user takes over
thirty minutes to download these images (assuming a fairly fast modem),
nevertheless, images have been downloaded 25,000 times.
BESSER concluded his talk with several comments on the business
arrangement between the Smithsonian and Compuserv. He contended that not
enough is known concerning the value of images.
DISCUSSION * Creating digitized photographic collections nearly
impossible except with large organizations like museums * Need for study
to determine quality of images users will tolerate *
During the brief exchange between LESK and BESSER that followed, several
clarifications emerged.
LESK argued that the photographers were far ahead of BESSER: It is
almost impossible to create such digitized photographic collections
except with large organizations like museums, because all the
photographic agencies have been going crazy about this and will not sign
licensing agreements on any sort of reasonable terms. LESK had heard
that National Geographic, for example, had tried to buy the right to use
some image in some kind of educational production for $100 per image, but
the photographers will not touch it. They want accounting and payment
for each use, which cannot be accomplished within the system. BESSER
responded that a consortium of photographers, headed by a former National
Geographic photographer, had started assembling its own collection of
electronic reproductions of images, with the money going back to the
LESK contended that BESSER was unnecessarily pessimistic about multimedia
images, because people are accustomed to low-quality images, particularly
from video. BESSER urged the launching of a study to determine what
users would tolerate, what they would feel comfortable with, and what
absolutely is the highest quality they would ever need. Conceding that
he had adopted a dire tone in order to arouse people about the issue,
BESSER closed on a sanguine note by saying that he would not be in this
business if he did not think that things could be accomplished.
LARSEN * Issues of scalability and modularity * Geometric growth of the
Internet and the role played by layering * Basic functions sustaining
this growth * A library's roles and functions in a network environment *
Effects of implementation of the Z39.50 protocol for information
retrieval on the library system * The trade-off between volumes of data
and its potential usage * A snapshot of current trends *
Ronald LARSEN, associate director for information technology, University
of Maryland at College Park, first addressed the issues of scalability
and modularity. He noted the difficulty of anticipating the effects of
orders-of-magnitude growth, reflecting on the twenty years of experience
with the Arpanet and Internet. Recalling the day's demonstrations of
CD-ROM and optical disk material, he went on to ask if the field has yet
learned how to scale new systems to enable delivery and dissemination
across large-scale networks.
LARSEN focused on the geometric growth of the Internet from its inception
circa 1969 to the present, and the adjustments required to respond to
that rapid growth. To illustrate the issue of scalability, LARSEN
considered computer networks as including three generic components:
computers, network communication nodes, and communication media. Each
component scales (e.g., computers range from PCs to supercomputers;
network nodes scale from interface cards in a PC through sophisticated
routers and gateways; and communication media range from 2,400-baud
dial-up facilities through 4.5-Mbps backbone links, and eventually to
multigigabit-per-second communication lines), and architecturally, the
components are organized to scale hierarchically from local area networks
to international-scale networks. Such growth is made possible by
building layers of communication protocols, as BESSER pointed out.
By layering both physically and logically, a sense of scalability is
maintained from local area networks in offices, across campuses, through
bridges, routers, campus backbones, fiber-optic links, etc., up into
regional networks and ultimately into national and international
LARSEN then illustrated the geometric growth over a two-year period--
through September 1991--of the number of networks that comprise the
Internet. This growth has been sustained largely by the availability of
three basic functions: electronic mail, file transfer (ftp), and remote
log-on (telnet). LARSEN also reviewed the growth in the kind of traffic
that occurs on the network. Network traffic reflects the joint contributions
of a larger population of users and increasing use per user. Today one sees
serious applications involving moving images across the network--a rarity
ten years ago. LARSEN recalled and concurred with BESSER's main point
that the interesting problems occur at the application level.
LARSEN then illustrated a model of a library's roles and functions in a
network environment. He noted, in particular, the placement of on-line
catalogues onto the network and patrons obtaining access to the library
increasingly through local networks, campus networks, and the Internet.
LARSEN supported LYNCH's earlier suggestion that we need to address
fundamental questions of networked information in order to build
environments that scale in the information sense as well as in the
physical sense.
LARSEN supported the role of the library system as the access point into
the nation's electronic collections. Implementation of the Z39.50
protocol for information retrieval would make such access practical and
feasible. For example, this would enable patrons in Maryland to search
California libraries, or other libraries around the world that are
conformant with Z39.50 in a manner that is familiar to University of
Maryland patrons. This client-server model also supports moving beyond
secondary content into primary content. (The notion of how one links
from secondary content to primary content, LARSEN said, represents a
fundamental problem that requires rigorous thought.) After noting
numerous network experiments in accessing full-text materials, including
projects supporting the ordering of materials across the network, LARSEN
revisited the issue of transmitting high-density, high-resolution color
images across the network and the large amounts of bandwidth they
require. He went on to address the bandwidth and synchronization
problems inherent in sending full-motion video across the network.
LARSEN illustrated the trade-off between volumes of data in bytes or
orders of magnitude and the potential usage of that data. He discussed
transmission rates (particularly, the time it takes to move various forms
of information), and what one could do with a network supporting
multigigabit-per-second transmission. At the moment, the network
environment includes a composite of data-transmission requirements,
volumes and forms, going from steady to bursty (high-volume) and from
very slow to very fast. This aggregate must be considered in the design,
construction, and operation of multigigabyte networks.
LARSEN's objective is to use the networks and library systems now being
constructed to increase access to resources wherever they exist, and
thus, to evolve toward an on-line electronic virtual library.
LARSEN concluded by offering a snapshot of current trends: continuing
geometric growth in network capacity and number of users; slower
development of applications; and glacial development and adoption of
standards. The challenge is to design and develop each new application
system with network access and scalability in mind.
BROWNRIGG * Access to the Internet cannot be taken for granted * Packet
radio and the development of MELVYL in 1980-81 in the Division of Library
Automation at the University of California * Design criteria for packet
radio * A demonstration project in San Diego and future plans * Spread
spectrum * Frequencies at which the radios will run and plans to
reimplement the WAIS server software in the public domain * Need for an
infrastructure of radios that do not move around *
Edwin BROWNRIGG, executive director, Memex Research Institute, first
polled the audience in order to seek out regular users of the Internet as
well as those planning to use it some time in the future. With nearly
everybody in the room falling into one category or the other, BROWNRIGG
made a point re access, namely that numerous individuals, especially those
who use the Internet every day, take for granted their access to it, the
speeds with which they are connected, and how well it all works.
However, as BROWNRIGG discovered between 1987 and 1989 in Australia,
if one wants access to the Internet but cannot afford it or has some
physical boundary that prevents her or him from gaining access, it can
be extremely frustrating. He suggested that because of economics and
physical barriers we were beginning to create a world of haves and have-nots
in the process of scholarly communication, even in the United States.
BROWNRIGG detailed the development of MELVYL in academic year 1980-81 in
the Division of Library Automation at the University of California, in
order to underscore the issue of access to the system, which at the
outset was extremely limited. In short, the project needed to build a
network, which at that time entailed use of satellite technology, that is,
putting earth stations on campus and also acquiring some terrestrial links
from the State of California's microwave system. The installation of
satellite links, however, did not solve the problem (which actually
formed part of a larger problem involving politics and financial resources).
For while the project team could get a signal onto a campus, it had no means
of distributing the signal throughout the campus. The solution involved
adopting a recent development in wireless communication called packet radio,
which combined the basic notion of packet-switching with radio. The project
used this technology to get the signal from a point on campus where it
came down, an earth station for example, into the libraries, because it
found that wiring the libraries, especially the older marble buildings,
would cost $2,000-$5,000 per terminal.
BROWNRIGG noted that, ten years ago, the project had neither the public
policy nor the technology that would have allowed it to use packet radio
in any meaningful way. Since then much had changed. He proceeded to
detail research and development of the technology, how it is being
deployed in California, and what direction he thought it would take.
The design criteria are to produce a high-speed, one-time, low-cost,
high-quality, secure, license-free device (packet radio) that one can
plug in and play today, forget about it, and have access to the Internet.
By high speed, BROWNRIGG meant 1 megabyte and 1.5 megabytes. Those units
have been built, he continued, and are in the process of being
type-certified by an independent underwriting laboratory so that they can
be type-licensed by the Federal Communications Commission. As is the
case with citizens band, one will be able to purchase a unit and not have
to worry about applying for a license.
The basic idea, BROWNRIGG elaborated, is to take high-speed radio data
transmission and create a backbone network that at certain strategic
points in the network will "gateway" into a medium-speed packet radio
(i.e., one that runs at 38.4 kilobytes), so that perhaps by 1994-1995
people, like those in the audience for the price of a VCR could purchase
a medium-speed radio for the office or home, have full network connectivity
to the Internet, and partake of all its services, with no need for an FCC
license and no regular bill from the local common carrier. BROWNRIGG
presented several details of a demonstration project currently taking
place in San Diego and described plans, pending funding, to install a
full-bore network in the San Francisco area. This network will have 600
nodes running at backbone speeds, and 100 of these nodes will be libraries,
which in turn will be the gateway ports to the 38.4 kilobyte radios that
will give coverage for the neighborhoods surrounding the libraries.
BROWNRIGG next explained Part 15.247, a new rule within Title 47 of the
Code of Federal Regulations enacted by the FCC in 1985. This rule
challenged the industry, which has only now risen to the occasion, to
build a radio that would run at no more than one watt of output power and
use a fairly exotic method of modulating the radio wave called spread
spectrum. Spread spectrum in fact permits the building of networks so
that numerous data communications can occur simultaneously, without
interfering with each other, within the same wide radio channel.
BROWNRIGG explained that the frequencies at which the radios would run
are very short wave signals. They are well above standard microwave and
radar. With a radio wave that small, one watt becomes a tremendous punch
per bit and thus makes transmission at reasonable speed possible. In
order to minimize the potential for congestion, the project is
undertaking to reimplement software which has been available in the
networking business and is taken for granted now, for example, TCP/IP,
routing algorithms, bridges, and gateways. In addition, the project
plans to take the WAIS server software in the public domain and
reimplement it so that one can have a WAIS server on a Mac instead of a
Unix machine. The Memex Research Institute believes that libraries, in
particular, will want to use the WAIS servers with packet radio. This
project, which has a team of about twelve people, will run through 1993
and will include the 100 libraries already mentioned as well as other
professionals such as those in the medical profession, engineering, and
law. Thus, the need is to create an infrastructure of radios that do not
move around, which, BROWNRIGG hopes, will solve a problem not only for
libraries but for individuals who, by and large today, do not have access
to the Internet from their homes and offices.
DISCUSSION * Project operating frequencies *
During a brief discussion period, which also concluded the day's
proceedings, BROWNRIGG stated that the project was operating in four
frequencies. The slow speed is operating at 435 megahertz, and it would
later go up to 920 megahertz. With the high-speed frequency, the
one-megabyte radios will run at 2.4 gigabits, and 1.5 will run at 5.7.
At 5.7, rain can be a factor, but it would have to be tropical rain,
unlike what falls in most parts of the United States.
William HOOTON, vice president of operations, I-NET, moderated this session.
KENNEY * Factors influencing development of CXP * Advantages of using
digital technology versus photocopy and microfilm * A primary goal of
CXP; publishing challenges * Characteristics of copies printed * Quality
of samples achieved in image capture * Several factors to be considered
in choosing scanning * Emphasis of CXP on timely and cost-effective
production of black-and-white printed facsimiles * Results of producing
microfilm from digital files * Advantages of creating microfilm * Details
concerning production * Costs * Role of digital technology in library
preservation *
Anne KENNEY, associate director, Department of Preservation and
Conservation, Cornell University, opened her talk by observing that the
Cornell Xerox Project (CXP) has been guided by the assumption that the
ability to produce printed facsimiles or to replace paper with paper
would be important, at least for the present generation of users and
equipment. She described three factors that influenced development of
the project: 1) Because the project has emphasized the preservation of
deteriorating brittle books, the quality of what was produced had to be
sufficiently high to return a paper replacement to the shelf. CXP was
only interested in using: 2) a system that was cost-effective, which
meant that it had to be cost-competitive with the processes currently
available, principally photocopy and microfilm, and 3) new or currently
available product hardware and software.
KENNEY described the advantages that using digital technology offers over
both photocopy and microfilm: 1) The potential exists to create a higher
quality reproduction of a deteriorating original than conventional
light-lens technology. 2) Because a digital image is an encoded
representation, it can be reproduced again and again with no resulting
loss of quality, as opposed to the situation with light-lens processes,
in which there is discernible difference between a second and a
subsequent generation of an image. 3) A digital image can be manipulated
in a number of ways to improve image capture; for example, Xerox has
developed a windowing application that enables one to capture a page
containing both text and illustrations in a manner that optimizes the
reproduction of both. (With light-lens technology, one must choose which
to optimize, text or the illustration; in preservation microfilming, the
current practice is to shoot an illustrated page twice, once to highlight
the text and the second time to provide the best capture for the
illustration.) 4) A digital image can also be edited, density levels
adjusted to remove underlining and stains, and to increase legibility for
faint documents. 5) On-screen inspection can take place at the time of
initial setup and adjustments made prior to scanning, factors that
substantially reduce the number of retakes required in quality control.
A primary goal of CXP has been to evaluate the paper output printed on
the Xerox DocuTech, a high-speed printer that produces 600-dpi pages from
scanned images at a rate of 135 pages a minute. KENNEY recounted several
publishing challenges to represent faithful and legible reproductions of
the originals that the 600-dpi copy for the most part successfully
captured. For example, many of the deteriorating volumes in the project
were heavily illustrated with fine line drawings or halftones or came in
languages such as Japanese, in which the buildup of characters comprised
of varying strokes is difficult to reproduce at lower resolutions; a
surprising number of them came with annotations and mathematical
formulas, which it was critical to be able to duplicate exactly.
KENNEY noted that 1) the copies are being printed on paper that meets the
ANSI standards for performance, 2) the DocuTech printer meets the machine
and toner requirements for proper adhesion of print to page, as described
by the National Archives, and thus 3) paper product is considered to be
the archival equivalent of preservation photocopy.
KENNEY then discussed several samples of the quality achieved in the
project that had been distributed in a handout, for example, a copy of a
print-on-demand version of the 1911 Reed lecture on the steam turbine,
which contains halftones, line drawings, and illustrations embedded in
text; the first four loose pages in the volume compared the capture
capabilities of scanning to photocopy for a standard test target, the
IEEE standard 167A 1987 test chart. In all instances scanning proved
superior to photocopy, though only slightly more so in one.
Conceding the simplistic nature of her review of the quality of scanning
to photocopy, KENNEY described it as one representation of the kinds of
settings that could be used with scanning capabilities on the equipment
CXP uses. KENNEY also pointed out that CXP investigated the quality
achieved with binary scanning only, and noted the great promise in gray
scale and color scanning, whose advantages and disadvantages need to be
examined. She argued further that scanning resolutions and file formats
can represent a complex trade-off between the time it takes to capture
material, file size, fidelity to the original, and on-screen display; and
printing and equipment availability. All these factors must be taken
into consideration.
CXP placed primary emphasis on the production in a timely and
cost-effective manner of printed facsimiles that consisted largely of
black-and-white text. With binary scanning, large files may be
compressed efficiently and in a lossless manner (i.e., no data is lost in
the process of compressing [and decompressing] an image--the exact
bit-representation is maintained) using Group 4 CCITT (i.e., the French
acronym for International Consultative Committee for Telegraph and
Telephone) compression. CXP was getting compression ratios of about
forty to one. Gray-scale compression, which primarily uses JPEG, is much
less economical and can represent a lossy compression (i.e., not
lossless), so that as one compresses and decompresses, the illustration
is subtly changed. While binary files produce a high-quality printed
version, it appears 1) that other combinations of spatial resolution with
gray and/or color hold great promise as well, and 2) that gray scale can
represent a tremendous advantage for on-screen viewing. The quality
associated with binary and gray scale also depends on the equipment used.
For instance, binary scanning produces a much better copy on a binary
Among CXP's findings concerning the production of microfilm from digital
files, KENNEY reported that the digital files for the same Reed lecture
were used to produce sample film using an electron beam recorder. The
resulting film was faithful to the image capture of the digital files,
and while CXP felt that the text and image pages represented in the Reed
lecture were superior to that of the light-lens film, the resolution
readings for the 600 dpi were not as high as standard microfilming.
KENNEY argued that the standards defined for light-lens technology are
not totally transferable to a digital environment. Moreover, they are
based on definition of quality for a preservation copy. Although making
this case will prove to be a long, uphill struggle, CXP plans to continue
to investigate the issue over the course of the next year.
KENNEY concluded this portion of her talk with a discussion of the
advantages of creating film: it can serve as a primary backup and as a
preservation master to the digital file; it could then become the print
or production master and service copies could be paper, film, optical
disks, magnetic media, or on-screen display.
Finally, KENNEY presented details re production:
* Development and testing of a moderately-high resolution production
scanning workstation represented a third goal of CXP; to date, 1,000
volumes have been scanned, or about 300,000 images.
* The resulting digital files are stored and used to produce
hard-copy replacements for the originals and additional prints on
demand; although the initial costs are high, scanning technology
offers an affordable means for reformatting brittle material.
* A technician in production mode can scan 300 pages per hour when
performing single-sheet scanning, which is a necessity when working
with truly brittle paper; this figure is expected to increase
significantly with subsequent iterations of the software from Xerox;
a three-month time-and-cost study of scanning found that the average
300-page book would take about an hour and forty minutes to scan
(this figure included the time for setup, which involves keying in
primary bibliographic data, going into quality control mode to
define page size, establishing front-to-back registration, and
scanning sample pages to identify a default range of settings for
the entire book--functions not dissimilar to those performed by
filmers or those preparing a book for photocopy).
* The final step in the scanning process involved rescans, which
happily were few and far between, representing well under 1 percent
of the total pages scanned.
In addition to technician time, CXP costed out equipment, amortized over
four years, the cost of storing and refreshing the digital files every
four years, and the cost of printing and binding, book-cloth binding, a
paper reproduction. The total amounted to a little under $65 per single
300-page volume, with 30 percent overhead included--a figure competitive
with the prices currently charged by photocopy vendors.
Of course, with scanning, in addition to the paper facsimile, one is left
with a digital file from which subsequent copies of the book can be
produced for a fraction of the cost of photocopy, with readers afforded
choices in the form of these copies.
KENNEY concluded that digital technology offers an electronic means for a
library preservation effort to pay for itself. If a brittle-book program
included the means of disseminating reprints of books that are in demand
by libraries and researchers alike, the initial investment in capture
could be recovered and used to preserve additional but less popular
books. She disclosed that an economic model for a self-sustaining
program could be developed for CXP's report to the Commission on
Preservation and Access (CPA).
KENNEY stressed that the focus of CXP has been on obtaining high quality
in a production environment. The use of digital technology is viewed as
an affordable alternative to other reformatting options.
ANDRE * Overview and history of NATDP * Various agricultural CD-ROM
products created inhouse and by service bureaus * Pilot project on
Internet transmission * Additional products in progress *
Pamela ANDRE, associate director for automation, National Agricultural
Text Digitizing Program (NATDP), National Agricultural Library (NAL),
presented an overview of NATDP, which has been underway at NAL the last
four years, before Judith ZIDAR discussed the technical details. ANDRE
defined agricultural information as a broad range of material going from
basic and applied research in the hard sciences to the one-page pamphlets
that are distributed by the cooperative state extension services on such
things as how to grow blueberries.
NATDP began in late 1986 with a meeting of representatives from the
land-grant library community to deal with the issue of electronic
information. NAL and forty-five of these libraries banded together to
establish this project--to evaluate the technology for converting what
were then source documents in paper form into electronic form, to provide
access to that digital information, and then to distribute it.
Distributing that material to the community--the university community as
well as the extension service community, potentially down to the county
level--constituted the group's chief concern.
Since January 1988 (when the microcomputer-based scanning system was
installed at NAL), NATDP has done a variety of things, concerning which
ZIDAR would provide further details. For example, the first technology
considered in the project's discussion phase was digital videodisc, which
indicates how long ago it was conceived.
Over the four years of this project, four separate CD-ROM products on
four different agricultural topics were created, two at a
scanning-and-OCR station installed at NAL, and two by service bureaus.
Thus, NATDP has gained comparative information in terms of those relative
costs. Each of these products contained the full ASCII text as well as
page images of the material, or between 4,000 and 6,000 pages of material
on these disks. Topics included aquaculture, food, agriculture and
science (i.e., international agriculture and research), acid rain, and
Agent Orange, which was the final product distributed (approximately
eighteen months before the Workshop).
The third phase of NATDP focused on delivery mechanisms other than
CD-ROM. At the suggestion of Clifford LYNCH, who was a technical
consultant to the project at this point, NATDP became involved with the
Internet and initiated a project with the help of North Carolina State
University, in which fourteen of the land-grant university libraries are
transmitting digital images over the Internet in response to interlibrary
loan requests--a topic for another meeting. At this point, the pilot
project had been completed for about a year and the final report would be
available shortly after the Workshop. In the meantime, the project's
success had led to its extension. (ANDRE noted that one of the first
things done under the program title was to select a retrieval package to
use with subsequent products; Windows Personal Librarian was the package
of choice after a lengthy evaluation.)
Three additional products had been planned and were in progress:
1) An arrangement with the American Society of Agronomy--a
professional society that has published the Agronomy Journal since
about 1908--to scan and create bit-mapped images of its journal.
ASA granted permission first to put and then to distribute this
material in electronic form, to hold it at NAL, and to use these
electronic images as a mechanism to deliver documents or print out
material for patrons, among other uses. Effectively, NAL has the
right to use this material in support of its program.
(Significantly, this arrangement offers a potential cooperative
model for working with other professional societies in agriculture
to try to do the same thing--put the journals of particular interest
to agriculture research into electronic form.)
2) An extension of the earlier product on aquaculture.
3) The George Washington Carver Papers--a joint project with
Tuskegee University to scan and convert from microfilm some 3,500
images of Carver's papers, letters, and drawings.
It was anticipated that all of these products would appear no more than
six months after the Workshop.
ZIDAR * (A separate arena for scanning) * Steps in creating a database *
Image capture, with and without performing OCR * Keying in tracking data
* Scanning, with electronic and manual tracking * Adjustments during
scanning process * Scanning resolutions * Compression * De-skewing and
filtering * Image capture from microform: the papers and letters of
George Washington Carver * Equipment used for a scanning system *
Judith ZIDAR, coordinator, National Agricultural Text Digitizing Program
(NATDP), National Agricultural Library (NAL), illustrated the technical
details of NATDP, including her primary responsibility, scanning and
creating databases on a topic and putting them on CD-ROM.
(ZIDAR remarked a separate arena from the CD-ROM projects, although the
processing of the material is nearly identical, in which NATDP is also
scanning material and loading it on a Next microcomputer, which in turn
is linked to NAL's integrated library system. Thus, searches in NAL's
bibliographic database will enable people to pull up actual page images
and text for any documents that have been entered.)
In accordance with the session's topic, ZIDAR focused her illustrated
talk on image capture, offering a primer on the three main steps in the
process: 1) assemble the printed publications; 2) design the database
(database design occurs in the process of preparing the material for
scanning; this step entails reviewing and organizing the material,
defining the contents--what will constitute a record, what kinds of
fields will be captured in terms of author, title, etc.); 3) perform a
certain amount of markup on the paper publications. NAL performs this
task record by record, preparing work sheets or some other sort of
tracking material and designing descriptors and other enhancements to be
added to the data that will not be captured from the printed publication.
Part of this process also involves determining NATDP's file and directory
structure: NATDP attempts to avoid putting more than approximately 100
images in a directory, because placing more than that on a CD-ROM would
reduce the access speed.
This up-front process takes approximately two weeks for a
6,000-7,000-page database. The next step is to capture the page images.
How long this process takes is determined by the decision whether or not
to perform OCR. Not performing OCR speeds the process, whereas text
capture requires greater care because of the quality of the image: it
has to be straighter and allowance must be made for text on a page, not
just for the capture of photographs.
NATDP keys in tracking data, that is, a standard bibliographic record
including the title of the book and the title of the chapter, which will
later either become the access information or will be attached to the
front of a full-text record so that it is searchable.
Images are scanned from a bound or unbound publication, chiefly from
bound publications in the case of NATDP, however, because often they are
the only copies and the publications are returned to the shelves. NATDP
usually scans one record at a time, because its database tracking system
tracks the document in that way and does not require further logical
separating of the images. After performing optical character
recognition, NATDP moves the images off the hard disk and maintains a
volume sheet. Though the system tracks electronically, all the
processing steps are also tracked manually with a log sheet.
ZIDAR next illustrated the kinds of adjustments that one can make when
scanning from paper and microfilm, for example, redoing images that need
special handling, setting for dithering or gray scale, and adjusting for
brightness or for the whole book at one time.
NATDP is scanning at 300 dots per inch, a standard scanning resolution.
Though adequate for capturing text that is all of a standard size, 300
dpi is unsuitable for any kind of photographic material or for very small
text. Many scanners allow for different image formats, TIFF, of course,
being a de facto standard. But if one intends to exchange images with
other people, the ability to scan other image formats, even if they are
less common, becomes highly desirable.
CCITT Group 4 is the standard compression for normal black-and-white
images, JPEG for gray scale or color. ZIDAR recommended 1) using the
standard compressions, particularly if one attempts to make material
available and to allow users to download images and reuse them from
CD-ROMs; and 2) maintaining the ability to output an uncompressed image,
because in image exchange uncompressed images are more likely to be able
to cross platforms.
ZIDAR emphasized the importance of de-skewing and filtering as
requirements on NATDP's upgraded system. For instance, scanning bound
books, particularly books published by the federal government whose pages
are skewed, and trying to scan them straight if OCR is to be performed,
is extremely time-consuming. The same holds for filtering of
poor-quality or older materials.
ZIDAR described image capture from microform, using as an example three
reels from a sixty-seven-reel set of the papers and letters of George
Washington Carver that had been produced by Tuskegee University. These
resulted in approximately 3,500 images, which NATDP had had scanned by
its service contractor, Science Applications International Corporation
(SAIC). NATDP also created bibliographic records for access. (NATDP did
not have such specialized equipment as a microfilm scanner.
Unfortunately, the process of scanning from microfilm was not an
unqualified success, ZIDAR reported: because microfilm frame sizes vary,
occasionally some frames were missed, which without spending much time
and money could not be recaptured.
OCR could not be performed from the scanned images of the frames. The
bleeding in the text simply output text, when OCR was run, that could not
even be edited. NATDP tested for negative versus positive images,
landscape versus portrait orientation, and single- versus dual-page
microfilm, none of which seemed to affect the quality of the image; but
also on none of them could OCR be performed.
In selecting the microfilm they would use, therefore, NATDP had other
factors in mind. ZIDAR noted two factors that influenced the quality of
the images: 1) the inherent quality of the original and 2) the amount of
size reduction on the pages.
The Carver papers were selected because they are informative and visually
interesting, treat a single subject, and are valuable in their own right.
The images were scanned and divided into logical records by SAIC, then
delivered, and loaded onto NATDP's system, where bibliographic
information taken directly from the images was added. Scanning was
completed in summer 1991 and by the end of summer 1992 the disk was
scheduled to be published.
Problems encountered during processing included the following: Because
the microfilm scanning had to be done in a batch, adjustment for
individual page variations was not possible. The frame size varied on
account of the nature of the material, and therefore some of the frames
were missed while others were just partial frames. The only way to go
back and capture this material was to print out the page with the
microfilm reader from the missing frame and then scan it in from the
page, which was extremely time-consuming. The quality of the images
scanned from the printout of the microfilm compared unfavorably with that
of the original images captured directly from the microfilm. The
inability to perform OCR also was a major disappointment. At the time,
computer output microfilm was unavailable to test.
The equipment used for a scanning system was the last topic addressed by
ZIDAR. The type of equipment that one would purchase for a scanning
system included: a microcomputer, at least a 386, but preferably a 486;
a large hard disk, 380 megabyte at minimum; a multi-tasking operating
system that allows one to run some things in batch in the background
while scanning or doing text editing, for example, Unix or OS/2 and,
theoretically, Windows; a high-speed scanner and scanning software that
allows one to make the various adjustments mentioned earlier; a
high-resolution monitor (150 dpi ); OCR software and hardware to perform
text recognition; an optical disk subsystem on which to archive all the
images as the processing is done; file management and tracking software.
ZIDAR opined that the software one purchases was more important than the
hardware and might also cost more than the hardware, but it was likely to
prove critical to the success or failure of one's system. In addition to
a stand-alone scanning workstation for image capture, then, text capture
requires one or two editing stations networked to this scanning station
to perform editing. Editing the text takes two or three times as long as
capturing the images.
Finally, ZIDAR stressed the importance of buying an open system that allows
for more than one vendor, complies with standards, and can be upgraded.
WATERS *Yale University Library's master plan to convert microfilm to
digital imagery (POB) * The place of electronic tools in the library of
the future * The uses of images and an image library * Primary input from
preservation microfilm * Features distinguishing POB from CXP and key
hypotheses guiding POB * Use of vendor selection process to facilitate
organizational work * Criteria for selecting vendor * Finalists and
results of process for Yale * Key factor distinguishing vendors *
Components, design principles, and some estimated costs of POB * Role of
preservation materials in developing imaging market * Factors affecting
quality and cost * Factors affecting the usability of complex documents
in image form *
Donald WATERS, head of the Systems Office, Yale University Library,
reported on the progress of a master plan for a project at Yale to
convert microfilm to digital imagery, Project Open Book (POB). Stating
that POB was in an advanced stage of planning, WATERS detailed, in
particular, the process of selecting a vendor partner and several key
issues under discussion as Yale prepares to move into the project itself.
He commented first on the vision that serves as the context of POB and
then described its purpose and scope.
WATERS sees the library of the future not necessarily as an electronic
library but as a place that generates, preserves, and improves for its
clients ready access to both intellectual and physical recorded
knowledge. Electronic tools must find a place in the library in the
context of this vision. Several roles for electronic tools include
serving as: indirect sources of electronic knowledge or as "finding"
aids (the on-line catalogues, the article-level indices, registers for
documents and archives); direct sources of recorded knowledge; full-text
images; and various kinds of compound sources of recorded knowledge (the
so-called compound documents of Hypertext, mixed text and image,
mixed-text image format, and multimedia).
POB is looking particularly at images and an image library, the uses to
which images will be put (e.g., storage, printing, browsing, and then use
as input for other processes), OCR as a subsequent process to image
capture, or creating an image library, and also possibly generating
While input will come from a variety of sources, POB is considering
especially input from preservation microfilm. A possible outcome is that
the film and paper which provide the input for the image library
eventually may go off into remote storage, and that the image library may
be the primary access tool.
The purpose and scope of POB focus on imaging. Though related to CXP,
POB has two features which distinguish it: 1) scale--conversion of
10,000 volumes into digital image form; and 2) source--conversion from
microfilm. Given these features, several key working hypotheses guide
POB, including: 1) Since POB is using microfilm, it is not concerned with
the image library as a preservation medium. 2) Digital imagery can improve
access to recorded knowledge through printing and network distribution at
a modest incremental cost of microfilm. 3) Capturing and storing documents
in a digital image form is necessary to further improvements in access.
(POB distinguishes between the imaging, digitizing process and OCR,
which at this stage it does not plan to perform.)
Currently in its first or organizational phase, POB found that it could
use a vendor selection process to facilitate a good deal of the
organizational work (e.g., creating a project team and advisory board,
confirming the validity of the plan, establishing the cost of the project
and a budget, selecting the materials to convert, and then raising the
necessary funds).
POB developed numerous selection criteria, including: a firm committed
to image-document management, the ability to serve as systems integrator
in a large-scale project over several years, interest in developing the
requisite software as a standard rather than a custom product, and a
willingness to invest substantial resources in the project itself.
Two vendors, DEC and Xerox, were selected as finalists in October 1991,
and with the support of the Commission on Preservation and Access, each
was commissioned to generate a detailed requirements analysis for the
project and then to submit a formal proposal for the completion of the
project, which included a budget and costs. The terms were that POB would
pay the loser. The results for Yale of involving a vendor included:
broad involvement of Yale staff across the board at a relatively low
cost, which may have long-term significance in carrying out the project
(twenty-five to thirty university people are engaged in POB); better
understanding of the factors that affect corporate response to markets
for imaging products; a competitive proposal; and a more sophisticated
view of the imaging markets.
The most important factor that distinguished the vendors under
consideration was their identification with the customer. The size and
internal complexity of the company also was an important factor. POB was
looking at large companies that had substantial resources. In the end,
the process generated for Yale two competitive proposals, with Xerox's
the clear winner. WATERS then described the components of the proposal,
the design principles, and some of the costs estimated for the process.
Components are essentially four: a conversion subsystem, a
network-accessible storage subsystem for 10,000 books (and POB expects
200 to 600 dpi storage), browsing stations distributed on the campus
network, and network access to the image printers.
Among the design principles, POB wanted conversion at the highest
possible resolution. Assuming TIFF files, TIFF files with Group 4
compression, TCP/IP, and ethernet network on campus, POB wanted a
client-server approach with image documents distributed to the
workstations and made accessible through native workstation interfaces
such as Windows. POB also insisted on a phased approach to
implementation: 1) a stand-alone, single-user, low-cost entry into the
business with a workstation focused on conversion and allowing POB to
explore user access; 2) movement into a higher-volume conversion with
network-accessible storage and multiple access stations; and 3) a
high-volume conversion, full-capacity storage, and multiple browsing
stations distributed throughout the campus.
The costs proposed for start-up assumed the existence of the Yale network
and its two DocuTech image printers. Other start-up costs are estimated
at $1 million over the three phases. At the end of the project, the annual
operating costs estimated primarily for the software and hardware proposed
come to about $60,000, but these exclude costs for labor needed in the
conversion process, network and printer usage, and facilities management.
Finally, the selection process produced for Yale a more sophisticated
view of the imaging markets: the management of complex documents in
image form is not a preservation problem, not a library problem, but a
general problem in a broad, general industry. Preservation materials are
useful for developing that market because of the qualities of the
material. For example, much of it is out of copyright. The resolution
of key issues such as the quality of scanning and image browsing also
will affect development of that market.
The technology is readily available but changing rapidly. In this
context of rapid change, several factors affect quality and cost, to
which POB intends to pay particular attention, for example, the various
levels of resolution that can be achieved. POB believes it can bring
resolution up to 600 dpi, but an interpolation process from 400 to 600 is
more likely. The variation quality in microfilm will prove to be a
highly important factor. POB may reexamine the standards used to film in
the first place by looking at this process as a follow-on to microfilming.
Other important factors include: the techniques available to the
operator for handling material, the ways of integrating quality control
into the digitizing work flow, and a work flow that includes indexing and
storage. POB's requirement was to be able to deal with quality control
at the point of scanning. Thus, thanks to Xerox, POB anticipates having
a mechanism which will allow it not only to scan in batch form, but to
review the material as it goes through the scanner and control quality
from the outset.
The standards for measuring quality and costs depend greatly on the uses
of the material, including subsequent OCR, storage, printing, and
browsing. But especially at issue for POB is the facility for browsing.
This facility, WATERS said, is perhaps the weakest aspect of imaging
technology and the most in need of development.
A variety of factors affect the usability of complex documents in image
form, among them: 1) the ability of the system to handle the full range
of document types, not just monographs but serials, multi-part
monographs, and manuscripts; 2) the location of the database of record
for bibliographic information about the image document, which POB wants
to enter once and in the most useful place, the on-line catalog; 3) a
document identifier for referencing the bibliographic information in one
place and the images in another; 4) the technique for making the basic
internal structure of the document accessible to the reader; and finally,
5) the physical presentation on the CRT of those documents. POB is ready
to complete this phase now. One last decision involves deciding which
material to scan.
DISCUSSION * TIFF files constitute de facto standard * NARA's experience
with image conversion software and text conversion * RFC 1314 *
Considerable flux concerning available hardware and software solutions *
NAL through-put rate during scanning * Window management questions *
In the question-and-answer period that followed WATERS's presentation,
the following points emerged:
* ZIDAR's statement about using TIFF files as a standard meant de
facto standard. This is what most people use and typically exchange
with other groups, across platforms, or even occasionally across
display software.
* HOLMES commented on the unsuccessful experience of NARA in
attempting to run image-conversion software or to exchange between
applications: What are supposedly TIFF files go into other software
that is supposed to be able to accept TIFF but cannot recognize the
format and cannot deal with it, and thus renders the exchange
useless. Re text conversion, he noted the different recognition
rates obtained by substituting the make and model of scanners in
NARA's recent test of an "intelligent" character-recognition product
for a new company. In the selection of hardware and software,
HOLMES argued, software no longer constitutes the overriding factor
it did until about a year ago; rather it is perhaps important to
look at both now.
* Danny Cohen and Alan Katz of the University of Southern California
Information Sciences Institute began circulating as an Internet RFC
(RFC 1314) about a month ago a standard for a TIFF interchange
format for Internet distribution of monochrome bit-mapped images,
which LYNCH said he believed would be used as a de facto standard.
* FLEISCHHAUER's impression from hearing these reports and thinking
about AM's experience was that there is considerable flux concerning
available hardware and software solutions. HOOTON agreed and
commented at the same time on ZIDAR's statement that the equipment
employed affects the results produced. One cannot draw a complete
conclusion by saying it is difficult or impossible to perform OCR
from scanning microfilm, for example, with that device, that set of
parameters, and system requirements, because numerous other people
are accomplishing just that, using other components, perhaps.
HOOTON opined that both the hardware and the software were highly
important. Most of the problems discussed today have been solved in
numerous different ways by other people. Though it is good to be
cognizant of various experiences, this is not to say that it will
always be thus.
* At NAL, the through-put rate of the scanning process for paper,
page by page, performing OCR, ranges from 300 to 600 pages per day;
not performing OCR is considerably faster, although how much faster
is not known. This is for scanning from bound books, which is much
* WATERS commented on window management questions: DEC proposed an
X-Windows solution which was problematical for two reasons. One was
POB's requirement to be able to manipulate images on the workstation
and bring them down to the workstation itself and the other was
network usage.
THOMA * Illustration of deficiencies in scanning and storage process *
Image quality in this process * Different costs entailed by better image
quality * Techniques for overcoming various de-ficiencies: fixed
thresholding, dynamic thresholding, dithering, image merge * Page edge
effects *
George THOMA, chief, Communications Engineering Branch, National Library
of Medicine (NLM), illustrated several of the deficiencies discussed by
the previous speakers. He introduced the topic of special problems by
noting the advantages of electronic imaging. For example, it is regenerable
because it is a coded file, and real-time quality control is possible with
electronic capture, whereas in photographic capture it is not.
One of the difficulties discussed in the scanning and storage process was
image quality which, without belaboring the obvious, means different
things for maps, medical X-rays, or broadcast television. In the case of
documents, THOMA said, image quality boils down to legibility of the
textual parts, and fidelity in the case of gray or color photo print-type
material. Legibility boils down to scan density, the standard in most
cases being 300 dpi. Increasing the resolution with scanners that
perform 600 or 1200 dpi, however, comes at a cost.
Better image quality entails at least four different kinds of costs: 1)
equipment costs, because the CCD (i.e., charge-couple device) with
greater number of elements costs more; 2) time costs that translate to
the actual capture costs, because manual labor is involved (the time is
also dependent on the fact that more data has to be moved around in the
machine in the scanning or network devices that perform the scanning as
well as the storage); 3) media costs, because at high resolutions larger
files have to be stored; and 4) transmission costs, because there is just
more data to be transmitted.
But while resolution takes care of the issue of legibility in image
quality, other deficiencies have to do with contrast and elements on the
page scanned or the image that needed to be removed or clarified. Thus,
THOMA proceeded to illustrate various deficiencies, how they are
manifested, and several techniques to overcome them.
Fixed thresholding was the first technique described, suitable for
black-and-white text, when the contrast does not vary over the page. One
can have many different threshold levels in scanning devices. Thus,
THOMA offered an example of extremely poor contrast, which resulted from
the fact that the stock was a heavy red. This is the sort of image that
when microfilmed fails to provide any legibility whatsoever. Fixed
thresholding is the way to change the black-to-red contrast to the
desired black-to-white contrast.
Other examples included material that had been browned or yellowed by
age. This was also a case of contrast deficiency, and correction was
done by fixed thresholding. A final example boils down to the same
thing, slight variability, but it is not significant. Fixed thresholding
solves this problem as well. The microfilm equivalent is certainly legible,
but it comes with dark areas. Though THOMA did not have a slide of the
microfilm in this case, he did show the reproduced electronic image.
When one has variable contrast over a page or the lighting over the page
area varies, especially in the case where a bound volume has light
shining on it, the image must be processed by a dynamic thresholding
scheme. One scheme, dynamic averaging, allows the threshold level not to
be fixed but to be recomputed for every pixel from the neighboring
characteristics. The neighbors of a pixel determine where the threshold
should be set for that pixel.
THOMA showed an example of a page that had been made deficient by a
variety of techniques, including a burn mark, coffee stains, and a yellow
marker. Application of a fixed-thresholding scheme, THOMA argued, might
take care of several deficiencies on the page but not all of them.
Performing the calculation for a dynamic threshold setting, however,
removes most of the deficiencies so that at least the text is legible.
Another problem is representing a gray level with black-and-white pixels
by a process known as dithering or electronic screening. But dithering
does not provide good image quality for pure black-and-white textual
material. THOMA illustrated this point with examples. Although its
suitability for photoprint is the reason for electronic screening or
dithering, it cannot be used for every compound image. In the document
that was distributed by CXP, THOMA noticed that the dithered image of the
IEEE test chart evinced some deterioration in the text. He presented an
extreme example of deterioration in the text in which compounded
documents had to be set right by other techniques. The technique
illustrated by the present example was an image merge in which the page
is scanned twice and the settings go from fixed threshold to the
dithering matrix; the resulting images are merged to give the best
results with each technique.
THOMA illustrated how dithering is also used in nonphotographic or
nonprint materials with an example of a grayish page from a medical text,
which was reproduced to show all of the gray that appeared in the
original. Dithering provided a reproduction of all the gray in the
original of another example from the same text.
THOMA finally illustrated the problem of bordering, or page-edge,
effects. Books and bound volumes that are placed on a photocopy machine
or a scanner produce page-edge effects that are undesirable for two
reasons: 1) the aesthetics of the image; after all, if the image is to
be preserved, one does not necessarily want to keep all of its
deficiencies; 2) compression (with the bordering problem THOMA
illustrated, the compression ratio deteriorated tremendously). One way
to eliminate this more serious problem is to have the operator at the
point of scanning window the part of the image that is desirable and
automatically turn all of the pixels out of that picture to white.
FLEISCHHAUER * AM's experience with scanning bound materials * Dithering
Carl FLEISCHHAUER, coordinator, American Memory, Library of Congress,
reported AM's experience with scanning bound materials, which he likened
to the problems involved in using photocopying machines. Very few
devices in the industry offer book-edge scanning, let alone book cradles.
The problem may be unsolvable, FLEISCHHAUER said, because a large enough
market does not exist for a preservation-quality scanner. AM is using a
Kurzweil scanner, which is a book-edge scanner now sold by Xerox.
Devoting the remainder of his brief presentation to dithering,
FLEISCHHAUER related AM's experience with a contractor who was using
unsophisticated equipment and software to reduce moire patterns from
printed halftones. AM took the same image and used the dithering
algorithm that forms part of the same Kurzweil Xerox scanner; it
disguised moire patterns much more effectively.
FLEISCHHAUER also observed that dithering produces a binary file which is
useful for numerous purposes, for example, printing it on a laser printer
without having to "re-halftone" it. But it tends to defeat efficient
compression, because the very thing that dithers to reduce moire patterns
also tends to work against compression schemes. AM thought the
difference in image quality was worth it.
DISCUSSION * Relative use as a criterion for POB's selection of books to
be converted into digital form *
During the discussion period, WATERS noted that one of the criteria for
selecting books among the 10,000 to be converted into digital image form
would be how much relative use they would receive--a subject still
requiring evaluation. The challenge will be to understand whether
coherent bodies of material will increase usage or whether POB should
seek material that is being used, scan that, and make it more accessible.
POB might decide to digitize materials that are already heavily used, in
order to make them more accessible and decrease wear on them. Another
approach would be to provide a large body of intellectually coherent
material that may be used more in digital form than it is currently used
in microfilm. POB would seek material that was out of copyright.
BARONAS * Origin and scope of AIIM * Types of documents produced in
AIIM's standards program * Domain of AIIM's standardization work * AIIM's
structure * TC 171 and MS23 * Electronic image management standards *
Categories of EIM standardization where AIIM standards are being
developed *
Jean BARONAS, senior manager, Department of Standards and Technology,
Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), described the
not-for-profit association and the national and international programs