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Breaking down the walls. Moving libraries from collectors to portals. Carl Lagoze Cornell University

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breaking down the walls

Breaking down the walls

Moving libraries from collectors to portals

Carl LagozeCornell


The Library should selectively adopt the portal model for targeted program areas. By creating links from the Library’s Web site, this approach would make available the ever-increasing body of research materials distributed across the Internet. The Library would be responsible for carefully selecting and arranging for access to licensed commercial resources for its users, but it would not house local copies of materials or assume responsibility for long-term preservation.

LC21: Digital Strategy for the Library of Congresspage 5

towards a virtual control zone
Towards a Virtual Control Zone

Some of the most fundamental aspects of library operations entail the existence of a border, across which objects of information are transferred and maintained. Such a parameter, demarcating a single, distributed digital library (the "control zone"), needs to be created and managed by the academic library community at the earliest opportunity.

Ross AtkinsonLibrary Quarterly, 1996

why distributed collections
Why distributed collections?
  • Scale of the Web
  • Prevalence of new publishing models and agents
  • Increasing complexity of licensing and access management
  • Dynamic nature of content
towards hybrid portals
Towards Hybrid Portals
  • Traditional portal (e.g., Yahoo!)
    • linkage without responsibility
  • Hybrid Portal
    • assertion of (some semblance) of curatorial role over linked objects
new models have cultural organizational ramifications
New models have cultural/organizational ramifications…
  • Performance and ranking metrics – "bigger is better"
  • Levels of confidence
  • Trust
that can be assisted by new technical foundations
…that can be assisted by new technical foundations
  • Digital object architectures
    • that enable aggregating and customizing content for local access and management
  • Metadata frameworks
    • that model changes of objects and their management over time
  • OAI Harvesting Protocol
    • for exchange of structured information
  • Preservation models
    • that enable non-cooperative and cooperative offsite monitoring
digital object architectures aggregating localizing distributed content

Digital Object Architectures:aggregating & localizing distributed content


Naomi Dushay

Sandy Payette

Thorton Staples (U. Va.)

Ross Wayland (U. Va.)

from mediators to value added surrogates
From Mediators to Value-Added Surrogates
  • Wiederhold – mediators between raw data and end-user applications for integration and transformation
  • Paepcke – mediators as foundation for digital library interoperability
  • Payette and Lagoze – mediators (V-A surrogates) to aggregate and create a localized service layer for distributed resources
v a surrogate applications
V-A Surrogate Applications
  • Access management
    • Shared responsibility among trusted partners
  • Enhanced and customized functionality
    • Examples: reference linking, format translation, special needs
  • Preservation
    • Monitoring "significant" events and acting on them

DigitalObject A:

  • Get Transcript of Audio
  • Search for keyword
  • Get Slides translated to French










DigitalObject A

Powerpoint presentation

SMIL synchronization metadata

Realaudio video

  • DigitalObject A:
  • View Slides
  • View Video
  • View synchronized presentation using applet




where we are now
Where we are now…
  • Ongoing FEDORA reference prototype
    • Policy enforcement research
    • Content mediation
  • Proposed joint deployment with University of Virginia
    • Open source scalable implementation of FEDORA architecture
    • Testing and deployment with a number of research library partners.

Event-Aware Metadata Frameworks:describing changes over time

  • Acknowledgements:
    • Dan Brickley (ILRT, Bristol)
    • Martin Doer (FORTH, Crete)
    • Jane Hunter (DSTC, Brisbane)
distributed content the metadata challenge
Distributed ContentThe Metadata Challenge
  • From fixed, contained physical artifacts to fluid, distributed digital objects
  • Need for basis of trust and authenticity in network environment
  • Decentralization and specialization of resource description and need for mapping formalisms
multi entity nature of object description


Computer artist

Camera type


Multi-entity nature of object description
attribute value approaches to metadata


implied verb

metadata noun


metadata adjective







Attribute/Value approaches to metadata…

The playwright of Hamlet was Shakespeare

Hamlet has a creator Shakespeare

run into problems for richer descriptions






…run into problems for richer descriptions…

The playwright of Hamlet was Shakespeare,who was born in Stratford

Hamlet has a creator Stratford


because of their failure to model entity distinctions
…because of their failure to model entity distinctions










abc harmony event aware metadata model
ABC/Harmony Event-aware metadata model
  • Recognizing inherent lifecycle aspects of description (esp. of digital content)
  • Modeling incorporates time (events and situations) as first-class objects
    • Supplies clear attachment points for agents, roles, occurrent properties
  • Resource description as a “story-telling” activity

“Orest Vereisky”

“Leo Tolstoy”

“Margaret Wettlin”












“Tragic adultery andthe search for meaningfullove”

“Anna Karenina”

queries over descriptive graphs
Queries over descriptive graphs

Rudolf Squish –

List details of events where Lagoze is a participating agent

SELECT ?title, ?type, ?time, ?place, ?name



(web::type ?event abc::Event)

(abc::context ?event ?context)


AND ?name ~ lagoze


where we are now1
Where we are now
  • Stabilization of model
  • Collaboration with museum/CIDOC community for joint modeling principles
  • Plans
    • RDF api for model elements
    • UI for metadata creation
    • Query engine testing

Open Archives Initiative:facilitating exchange of structured information

  • Acknowledgements:
    • Herbert Van de Sompel
    • OAI Steering and Technical Committees
open archives initiative
Open Archives Initiative
  • Testing the hypotheses
    • exposing metadata in various forms will facilitate creation of value-added services
    • key to deployable DL infrastructure is low-entry cost
    • Individual communities can/will customize common infrastructure
where we ve come from
Where we’ve come from
  • Late 1999 Santa Fe UPS meeting – increase impact of eprint initiatives through federation
  • Santa Fe Convention – metadata harvesting among eprint archives
  • Increasing interest outside the eprint community
    • Research libraries
    • Museums
    • Publishers
progress over the past year
Progress over the past year
  • OAI workshops at US and EC DL conferences
  • Organizational stability
    • Executive committee and steering committee
  • September 2000 technical meeting
    • Reframe and rethink technical solutions for broader domain
  • Extensive testing and refinement of technical infrastructure
technical infrastructure key technical features
Technical Infrastructure – key technical features
  • Deploy now technology – 80/20 rule
  • Two-party model – providers and consumers
  • Simple HTTP encoding
  • XML schema for some degree of protocol conformance
  • Extensibility
    • Multiple item-level metadata
    • Collection level metadata

repos i tory

harves ter

OAI protocol requests

service provider

data provider

  • Supporting protocol requests:
  • Identify
  • ListMetadataFormats
  • ListSets
  • Harvesting protocol requests:
  • ListRecords
  • ListIdentifiers
  • GetRecord
where we are now2
Where we are now
  • “Stable” 1.0 protocol specification
  • Hopefully, self-documenting infrastructure
  • 27 registered data providers
  • Increasing number of tools available
  • Research initiatives
    • NSF-funded NSDL
    • EC-funded Cyclades
    • Andrew W. Mellon service proposals
    • EC-funded community building
where do we go from here
Where do we go from here
  • Controlling the stampede
  • Maintaining the organizational model – lean and mean while encouraging community-specific exploitation
  • Encouraging testing especially through deployment and especially service development
  • Encouraging metadata diversification – this isn’t just above Dublin Core!!!
    • Preservation
    • Document access
    • Authentication
oai metadata research
OAI & Metadata Research
  • Dictionary of metadata terms (Tom Baker)
  • Mandating usage rules has only limited effectiveness
  • Compiling usage of those terms is vital to machine understanding and interoperability
    • Provide context heuristics for search engine and indexer processing
  • Large-scale deployment of OAI and web crawling enables (partial) automation of usage compilation (e.g., data mining of term usage)

Preservation Models:monitoring threats to distributed content

  • Acknowledgements:
    • Bill Arms
    • Peter Botticelli (CUL)
    • Anne Kenney (CUL)
preservation remote control
Preservation & Remote Control
  • Organization Issues
    • “assured preservation” may not be possible without direct custodial control.
    • what are the levels of acceptability and for which types of resources?
  • Technical Issues
    • what are the technologies for remote control at the various levels of assurance deemed acceptable by the library?
    • what is the probability of a reasonable level of preservation in the context of such technologies?
leveraging current work
Leveraging Current Work
  • Event-based metadata
  • Metadata harvesting
  • Longevity and threats to digital resources
how big might the nsdl be
How Big might the NSDL be?

The NSDL aims to be comprehensive -- all branches of science, all levels of education, very broadly defined.

Five year targets:

1,000,000 different users

10,000,000 digital objects

100,000 independent sites

Requires: low-cost, scalable, technology

automated collection building and maintenance

levels of interoperability metadata harvesting
Levels of Interoperability:Metadata Harvesting

Agreements on simple protocol and metadata standard(s)


Metadata harvesting protocol of

the Open Archives Initiative (MHP)

• Moderate-quality services

• Low cost of entry to participating sites

Moderately large numbers of loosely collaborating sites

Promising but still an emerging approach

levels of interoperability gathering
Levels of Interoperability:Gathering

Robots gather collections automatically with no participation from individual sites


Web search services (e.g., Google)

CiteSeer (a.k.a. ResearchIndex)

• Restricted but useful services

• Zero cost of entry to gathered sites

Very large numbers of independent sites

Only suitable for open access collections