Integrate Digital Materials into the Fabric of Academic Life

Academic Image Cooperative

In January 1999, DLF convened a meeting to explore ways of using digital libraries to enhance the quality of art history teaching and research in the nation's colleges and universities. Art history faculty, visual resources librarians, and representatives of the College Art Association attended. As a result of the meeting, participants are proceeding with the development of a prototype mechanism, called an image exchange. The facility would enable scholars to share images, to which they own the rights, of works referenced in the major art history textbooks. Since March, project participants have opened discussions of the development of the image exchange through formal presentations at the CNI Spring Meeting and a regional meeting of the Visual Resources Association, and through informal presentations to other interested organizations and art history publishers. In addition, DLF contracted with Robert Baron, an independent art historian and consultant with expertise in information technology and intellectual property matters, to serve as project manager. In May, the image exchange organizing group met at Carnegie Mellon University to design and begin constructing the prototype system. With the help of CMU computer scientists, the group settled on a comprehensive set of features for the exchange. The group is now developing these features, including a concordance of images in key art and architectural history textbooks, for the prototype. For additional details see

Authorization Systems

Digital certificates offer a secure means of authorizing access to a range of campus systems and resources and are becoming part of campus technology infrastructure. Under DLF auspices, the University of California, Columbia University, JSTOR, and OCLC are developing a protocol that will enable an information resource provider to verify that a user bearing a digital certificate has authority from a home institution to use a requested resource. The prototype system being developed combines the use of X.509 digital certificates for authentication with a directory service providing authorization to licensed resources based on user attributes. The first phase of work on the project was presented at the CNI Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 1999. Following the meeting, project participants met and outlined a work plan for a second phase of development.

The group focused on the need to recruit additional participants for further testing and development of the protocol. They devised a strategy to engage additional participants by aiming at campus technology organizations as well as at libraries. The DLF has worked with the Corporation for Research and Educational Networking (CREN) to develop a paper of frequently asked questions and answers about the use of digital certificates that is aimed at senior campus administrators. In addition, project participants presented the project to the IT directors attending the spring meeting of the Common Solutions Group. In early June, project members attended a meeting of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation's Research Projects Group, which is charged with making recommendations to the chief information officers of that consortium. As a result of these efforts, several additional institutions have been identified as potential participants in the project.

To engage more vendors in the project, Columbia and the California Digital Library are identifying those with whom they currently have agreements for access to licensed resources. Administrators of the Joint Information Systems Committee in the U.K., who are watching this project closely, have suggested several vendors who are working with them on authorization systems.

Also in the project's second phase, the project group is drafting a digital library authentication and authorization architecture statement that will be presented to the Internet Engineering Task Force later this year for consideration as a Request for Comment.

Reference Linking

In February 1999, the DLF joined the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), the Society of Scholarly Publishers (SSP), and the National Federation of Indexing and Abstracting Services (NFAIS) in sponsoring a workshop on linkage from citations to the electronic journal literature. The workshop brought together publishers, librarians, representatives from abstracting and indexing services, information aggregators, vendors of information services, and end users to build a common awareness of a broad range of needs and to improve understanding of the strengths and limitations of current approaches. In addition, the workshop sought to identify and stimulate actions needed to improve the facilities for linking citations and digital objects in the digital environment.

As a result of the workshop, the sponsors created a small working group to explore the issues more fully. The working group sought to define the nature and scope of research and user consultation, and to identify other work necessary to foster the development of general systems of reference linking for marketplace testing. The report of the group was issued in May 1999 and is available at The report served as the basis for a second invitational workshop held in June 1999. Among the results of the second workshop was a plan for additional research by computer scientists. The DLF led a call for development of solutions to the problem of selective resolution when there are multiple copies of a cited work. For more details about the second workshop on reference linking, see

Distributed Finding Aids

This project, under the direction of John-Price Wilkin at the University of Michigan, is exploring the means and costs of searching encoded finding aids that are distributed at different institutions. The final report is available at

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