Stimulate the Development of Core Digital Library Infrastructures

Workshop on Technical Metadata Elements for Image Files

In April 1999, NISO, CLIR, and RLG sponsored an invitational workshop to examine the technical information needed to manage and use digital still images that reproduce a variety of pictures, documents, and artifacts. Sixty individuals with diverse interests and perspectives on the problem of metadata information attended the meeting. DLF member institutions were well represented among the attendees, which included libraries, universities, museums and archives, as well as representatives from government, other digital library organizations, and the digital imaging vendor community. By the end of the meeting, the participants reached agreement on a variety of issues, including the following:

The draft report can be found at

International Meeting on Archival Authority Control

In December 1998, the DLF sponsored a meeting of an international group of archivists to develop a standard encoding format for the recording and exchange of archival authority information. Their intention is that such a format would become part of the emerging archival information architecture that currently consists of formats for collective description (e.g., MARC-AMC) and for detailed finding aid descriptions, especially those using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) format. The establishment of a standard for archival authority records is expected to have a major effect on the future direction of archival description and to resolve many long-standing questions about how best to record and present archival data. The meeting resulted in the development of a plan outlining the steps necessary to formulate an archive authority standard. Identified as being of particular importance in accomplishing adoption of such a standard was the need to incorporate recommendations into the International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families [ISAAR (CPF)]. The ISAAR (CPF) standard will be reviewed in 2001, providing an opportunity for incorporation of efforts by this group and its participants. Additional tasks identified in the project plan were the drafting of an ISAAR-compliant document-type definition (DTD), definition of a Z39.50 attribute set for ISAAR, and ensuring links to specialized authority files such as those for geographic information.

Metadata Working Group

The DLF convened an initial meeting of metadata experts in February 1999. The group considered how to best integrate, at descriptive and subject levels, the important Americana being created in digital form. The idea to develop an "academic Lycos" emerged in this meeting and was defined in a preliminary way as a project for subsequent work. The group also called for an overview of issues associated with the recording and use of structural metadata. And it began planning a series of meetings that would help familiarize practitioners at DLF institutions with metadata developments in the computer science labs associated with the NSF Digital Library Initiative and other projects.

Technical Architecture Committee

Following a tradition of meeting with individuals or institutions that have developed interesting approaches to digital library architecture, the Technical Architecture Committee met with staff of OCLC in November 1998. The committee explored in detail OCLC's planned development of a Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) and recommended that DLF convene a metadata committee in part to explore possible DLF contributions to the CORC project. A member of JSTOR's technical development staff also attended the meeting and joined in a discussion of requirements that need to be met for publishers and libraries to begin using X.509 standard certificates as a means of authorizing users to gain access to licensed resources. In the course of the discussions, the committee formulated an authorization protocol to be developed under the auspices of DLF. Minutes of the November meeting are posted on the DLF Web site.

Internet2—Distributed Storage Infrastructure (I2-DSI)

The Innovative Computing Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Tennessee is designing an architecture and a set of services to dramatically improve the delivery of large sets of data in a highly distributed environment. In theory, the Internet2 infrastructure is especially well suited to digital library applications. With partial support from the DLF, Micah Beck and Terry Moore, of the Innovative Computing Laboratory, and Bert Dempsey, of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, organized a workshop in March to explore how well the emerging infrastructure meets the needs of various applications, including those of digital libraries. Workshop participants considered several projects that could test the new infrastructure. Among the applications reviewed were a project for publications in the earth sciences being developed at Columbia University and a project to deliver online access to sound recordings being developed at Indiana University. A participant in the Academic Image Exchange project also made a presentation, and the project will be among the applications receiving support from the I2-DSI development team. More information is available at

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