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Cornell University Library
Report to the Digital Library Federation
July 15 2000


  • Collections, Services, and Systems
  • Projects and Programs
  • Specific Digital Library Challenges
  • Announcements

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    A. Collections

    1. Primarily Text

      Core Historical Literature in Agriculture (CHLA)
      A companion compilation to the Making of America database, CHLA is a representative electronic collection of agricultural texts published between the early nineteenth century and middle to late twentieth century. Full-text materials cover agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, animal science, crop protection, food science, forestry, human nutrition, rural sociology, and soil science.

      Cornell University Geospatial Information Repository (CUGIR)
      CUGIR is an active online repository providing geospatial data and metadata for New York State, with special emphasis on those natural features relevant to agriculture, ecology, natural resources, and human-environment interactions. All data files are cataloged in accordance with FGDC standards and made available in widely used geospatial data formats. Datasets that can be downloaded include: agricultural districts, census block groups, county boundaries, freshwater wetlands, hydrography, and landmarks.

      Ezra Cornell Papers
      The papers of Ezra Cornell include over 30,000 scanned pages from letters, diaries, photographs, documents, and publications, and represent the Cornell University Library's first effort to make a large manuscript collection digitally available.

      Historic Monographs in Mathematics
      The Cornell University Historic Math Collection consists of 571 books that were scanned from originals held by the Cornell University Library. The Math collection is a result of a collaboration between Cornell University and Xerox Corporation, with the support of the Commission on Preservation and Access, to test an advanced technology for scanning deteriorating books as digital images and producing on-demand, high quality paper copies.

      Making of America (MOA)
      The MOA project is a multi-institutional initiative to create and make accessible over the Internet a distributed digital library of important materials on the history of the United States. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts. The Cornell University Library and the University of Michigan libraries cooperated in the initial phase of MOA, which has been funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Charles E. Culpepper Foundation. This site provides access to 267 monographs and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

      Scholars and researchers worldwide will be able to access online full texts of Icelandic sagas and epic. The Icelandic National Digital Library has been created through the combined efforts of the National and University Library of Iceland, the Arni Magnusson Institute in Iceland, and Cornell University Library, which owns the Fiske Icelandic Collection. The online collection is expected to be publicly available by late Summer, 2000 (); a prototype is currently viewable at:

    2. Primarily Visual Image

      Louis Agassiz Fuertes
      Louis Agassiz Fuertes is a native of Ithaca, New York and the nation's most notable ornithological painter since Audubon. Cornell University holds a large collection of Fuertes' bird illustrations, as well as his personal papers. You will find here a database with 2500 of these illustrations, as well as an exhibit based on the journal he kept during the 1899 Harriman Alaska expedition.

      Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
      13,000 images of works of art contained within the Johnson Museum of Art are currently available for viewing using Luna Insight's Browser Insight(r) II software which allows for several search options in database access. Cornell's art repository includes paintings, prints, sculptures, and published graphical images (woodcuts, etc.). By putting the collection on-line, students, faculty, visitors, and users on the Internet will be able to electronically explore and research the collection from their home, office, or one of the workstations in the museum. Users can learn about artists and their works, and use Insight tools to view high quality images and groups of images.

      New York State School of Human Ecology
      Historical Photographs: This collection contains over fourteen hundred photographs of students and faculty, buildings and scenes that portray the College from its founding through 1969.

      The Fantastic
      Graphic material from the Cornell witchcraft collections provides an unusual and rarely seen counterpoint to a comparative literature course analyzing German, Anglo-American, French, and Latin-American works from the late 18th century to the present. The project promises to be a model for new and unusual ways of incorporating digitized resources into teaching.

      Utopia is a database of images of European Renaissance art, primarily from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is a joint project of Cornell's History of Art Department, College of Arts and Sciences, the Knight Visual Resources Facility, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, and the Rare and Manuscript Collections of the Cornell University Library. The collection can presently be accessed through
      http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/UTOPIA/ and is in the process of becoming accessible using Luna Insight software at http://insight.library.cornell.edu/insightbrowser2/launcher.asp.

    3. Text, Sound, and Moving Image

      Death of the Father
      This project took a multimedia approach to examining the closure of political authority following the death of such patriarchal figures as Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini. An international team of anthropologists worked with the Cornell University Library to develop a web site that integrated text, digital images, audio and film clips from totalitarian regimes in the Soviet Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

      Hana - Japanese Performing Arts Database
      The Cornell Institute for Digital Collections (CIDC), working with Karen Brazell, a professor of Asian Studies and Theater Arts, and Ann Ferguson, the curator of theater collections in the Cornell University Library, has built a prototype, distributed database of global, multilingual performing arts materials that includes images, text, audio, video, and interactive three-dimensional presentations. This will bring the live art of performance to artists, students, teachers, scholars, libraries, museums, and an ever-expanding audience of communities around the world.

    B. Services

    Cooperative Digital Reference Service Project
    The Cornell University Library (CUL) is participating in The Cooperative Digital Reference Service Project, an international effort led by the Library of Congress, which is intended to create a system of linked reference services. CUL participated in the initial test, which involved participants exchanging scripted questions and answers. The second test is about to begin, which will test the software that will be used to route questions among participating libraries. The public Web site for the project is

    Creation Station Project
    The Creation Station project is a collaborative effort between the Cornell University Library and the Cornell Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Group. In the first semester of the project, eleven high-end computers were available in four locations on campus, three libraries including Engineering Library, Mann Library and Uris Library, and the HCI Lab. In addition to the workstations themselves, each facility also had digital cameras, digital video cameras, scanners, quickcams and software for creating multimedia presentations. Students from three different classes used the facilities to create multimedia presentations for their classes. There were also a significant number of students from outside these classes who used the facilities. For more information about the Creation Station project please visit

    Electronic Document Delivery (EDD)
    EDD provides digital copies of journal articles or table of contents from materials in the Cornell University Library's off-site storage facility, the Library Annex. The digital copies are made available on a Library Web server for two weeks in the Adobe PDF format. The hardware component of this service consists of a 333 MHz Pentium II PC with an Minolta IMAX 500 imaging card and a standard ethernet card, a Minolta PS 3000 publication scanner, a Minolta MS 3000 microform scanner, a medium-volume laser printer, and a Canon 9000 fax machine. The PS 3000 is an inverted planetary (overhead) scanner that allows bound volumes to lay face up while scanning, thus providing greater convenience and speed for the operator and reducing physical stress on the volume. Software includes the Epic 3000 and the Microdax 3000 programs, (designed for use with the PS 3000 and MS 3000, respectively), as well as Adobe Acrobat for converting files from the TIFF format to PDF. Several custom scripts and shareware programs have been integrated to streamline the Annex staff's workflow. Eudora e-mail software is used to receive web form requests.

    Electronic Reserves
    The electronic reserve system, available in Cornell University Library's Uris Library, is a service that uses the latest in image scanning technology to provide electronic document delivery. The system allows students to find, view and print course materials that have been placed on reserve by instructors. Materials in the electronic reserve system include journal articles, exams, course syllabi, problem sets and other materials. Material may be retrieved by searching by instructor name, course title and number, author, or title of the material. For more information see
    With the implementation of the Voyager system at Cornell, plans are underway for a campus wide electronic reserve system, which will allow Cornell students to access course reserve materials via the Web. This expanded electronic reserve system is planned for a January 2001 release.

    Journal Table of Contents
    Members of the Cornell University community can sign up to receive by e-mail the tables of contents of one or more of the 285 journals housed in the periodical reading room in the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University. The TOC's are sent as the new issues arrive.

    Music Listening Stations
    The Music Library's reserve music listening will be available through networked, digital streaming technology beginning this August. Initially, access will be provided through state-of-the-art computers, on a fast network, in a new listening lab located in the recently reconstructed Music Library in Lincoln Hall. Reserve music listening required for course work will be made available to students through a familiar web interface, affording a level of control and features not possible using traditional analog media. Future developments in the enforcement of copyright concerns may enable the Library's music listening reserves to be made available to authorized listeners in their dorms, apartments and offices.

    In January, the Cornell University Library introduced MyLibrary, an initiative to provide personalized library services to Cornell University students, faculty, and staff. Currently it consists of MyLinks, a tool for collecting and organizing resources for private use by a patron. These resources may or may not be "official" Cornell University Library resources. Our patrons best understand this service as a "traveling set of bookmarks." The next module will be MyUpdates, a tool to help scholars stay informed of new resources provided by the library. MyUpdates will periodically query the Library catalog to determine which resources are new. If the new resources match the pre-identified needs of a patron, MyUpdates e-mails the results to the patron automatically.

    New Book Listings
    The New Book Shelf of the Albert R. Mann Library lists some of the titles recently added to the Mann Library collection. The list is updated approximately every two weeks. Users may browse the Title List to see the tables of contents of selected new books at Mann.

    Online Chat Reference
    LiveHelp is a new, experimental service that lets patrons ask questions and get answers, in real time, from the reference staff in Olin and Uris libraries, Cornell University. LiveHelp is available Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m.

    USDA Reports by Subscription
    This is an e-mail subscription service providing quick and timely access to the agricultural and economic estimates that are available in the USDA Reports system maintained by the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University. Through this service, subscribers receive the reports of their choice within three hours of their publication via email.

    Wireless Networks in the Library
    Wireless hubs have been set up in five library units. For a map of the current campus wireless infrastructure see
    The Engineering Library is going into its second year of providing a wireless infrastructure service and is now fully part of the campus-wide Nomad Service. For information about this original wireless Library service see
    The Cornell University Library expects to move aggressively to expand wireless access to additional library units in the upcoming academic year.

    C. Systems

    ENCompass Development
    The Cornell University Library is a co-development partner with Endeavor Information Systems Inc. on the development of ENCompass, a product designed to provide interoperability across digital collections as well to describe, index and search a variety of licensed electronic resources (i.e., provide ¨gateway¨ functionality.) For more information, see

    In January, the Cornell University Library installed Atlas Systems' ILLiad interlibrary loan system. Library personnel can now serve the Cornell Community better because all data about ILL requests and processing is stored in a searchable database. Patrons can get information about the status of requests through the Web at any time. Copyright clearance, which was previously processed by hand, is now automatically generated. An electronic document delivery service which allows copies of articles requested through interlibrary loan to be delivered directly to patrons' desktops is a planned summer 2000 enhancement. For more information on ILLiad see

    Voyager Implementation
    On June 26, the Cornell University Library completed the migration from Notis to Voyager, Endeavor Information Systems Inc.'s integrated library system. To access the library catalog visit the Library Gateway

    II. Projects and Programs

    AgNIC is an Internet portal to agricultural information that provides both subject content and expertise in agricultural topics. Staff at the Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University, worked with the National Agricultural Library to develop a new technical infrastructure for a consortium of land-grant institutions. The new infrastructure improves the functionality, interoperability, and public interface for the more than 25 institutions participating in the alliance.

    Cornell Institute for Digital Collections (CIDC)
    CIDC is a cross-disciplinary team established to explore the use of emerging technologies in providing greater access to cultural and scientific collections. Digital imaging has enabled CIDC to make many of Cornell University's rare and fragile collections available through the World Wide Web. Partnerships with academic institutions, museums, corporations, and libraries -- national and international -- have permitted CIDC to create digital collections from around the world. CIDC represents a unique collaboration among curatorial, instructional, research, technical, and managerial experts. It develops digital resources and supports their campus-wide use. CIDC also conducts applied research to test and evaluate the utility of such resources for the Cornell community as well as diverse global audiences.

    EAD/XML Finding Aids Project
    This project experiments with delivering archival finding aids encoded in Encoded Archival Description directly in XML, making use of XSL, the XML styling language. Finding aids currently available include: Louis Agassiz Fuertes Papers (1892-1954), Jay McInerney Papers (1971-1989), Valerie Taylor Papers (1913-1997), Stevens Family Papers (1775-1990), Howard S. Liddell Papers (1920-1967), De Forest Douglas Diver Railroad Photographs (ca. 1870-1948), and Ezra Cornell Papers (1746-1888). This project is currently exploring issues of display and methods for searching across the finding aid collection. For access to the finding aids and technical information on the current implementation, see

    Frick Project
    The Cornell University Library and the Frick Art Reference Library in New York City are engaged in a collaborative project to create compatible databases of digital images from the study collections of the two institutions. The planning phase of this project began last Spring and included choosing materials from the collections, identifying media types and formats, determining the scanning requirements of the materials, producing sample digitized images, choosing appropriate and compatible database fields, and creating a test database.

    IMAG/CU Software Project
    IMAG/CU is a shared university image catalog that incorporates collections from the Johnson Art Museum, the Rare and Manuscripts Collection of the Cornell University Library, the History of Art Slide Collection, and the Architecture, Art and Planning Slide Collection. CIDC will develop and administer the Website using the museum collection management system Multi Mimsy 2000. CIDC has committed to this project for the next 4 years. It is hoped that searching this database will be compatible with other databases in the Cornell University Library system and the online catalog.

    Museum Educational Site Licensing Project
    MESL allows members of the Cornell community to view a collection of nearly 9,000 images selected from seven museums and institutions across the United States.

    Museum On-Line Project
    The Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell's College of Arts and Sciences, and Cornell University Library are in the process of creating digital representations of the 27,000+ works housed in the museum. The project has begun with the works on paper, the heart of the museum's holdings. This project builds on the work already undertaken by the University's Digital Access Coalition to integrate digital visual materials into Cornell's curriculum; the project hopes to promote the active integration and use of digital museum images in the University's teaching. Descriptions of the project can be found at
    http://cidc.library.cornell.edu/gateway.htm and

    NetPaper Project
    The Cornell University Library and NetPaper.com are working out the details of a partnership that will enable the Library to access, via a web browser, the Historic Math Book Collection catalog and print on demand any of the documents in the digital collection to agreed upon NetPaper Print Partner locations. This partnership will allow the development of a working environment in which processes and practices can best be tested with the goal of evaluating the NetPaper.com service for library patrons.

    Plantations Project
    CIDC staff and the Cornell Human Computer Interaction Group will assist the Cornell Plantations in the systematic employment of digital technology to integrate taxonomic and historical data with real-time field study. This project will expand public and academic access to this important botanical collection, enhancing its usability, linking it to related collections, and testing hand-held and wireless devices for field study and public touring. Preliminary planning has begun on a pilot project to improve access to scientific specimens and historical data held by the L. H. Bailey Hortorium, linking this data to the developing Plantations database.

    Preserving Cornell's Digital Image Collection
    The Cornell University Library is completing an IMLS funded project, "Preserving Cornell's Digital Image Collections: Implementing an Archiving Strategy," to plan and implement an archiving solution for its digital image collections. These collections, consisting of over 2.5 million images, have been created through a series of projects over the last decade. For more information, see

    Project Euclid
    Project Euclid is Cornell's principle electronic publishing initiative whose mission is to advance scholarly communication in the field of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics. The end result should be the creation of a vibrant online information community that is based on a healthy balance of commercial enterprises, scholarly societies, and small, independent publishers. Project Euclid has two foci. The first focus is to lead a collaborative effort of scholarly societies to foster the creation and adoption of multi-function metadata standards for the discipline and to produce guidelines for the creation of authoring tools to make it easier for authors and editors to use the metadata standards. This initiative will lay the groundwork for an infrastructure that will best serve users by allowing federated searching of disparate sites and reference linking between articles and journals, and by advancing the cause of electronic archiving. The second focus of Project Euclid is to help independent publishers in making the transition to the online environment in a way that will help them stay competitive with the large commercial journals. Euclid will comply with the Dienst-based Open Archive Initiative standard for electronic publishing. This cooperative venture between the Cornell University Library and Duke University Press was recently funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the international scope of this activity will be expanded through a cooperative effort with the University of Michigan and the University of Goettingen (Germany), with joint support from the National Science Foundation and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (pending).

    Project PRISM
    Funded by a DLI2 grant, Project Prism is a four-year collaborative effort between the Cornell University Library and Cornell's Computer Science Department to investigate and develop policies and mechanisms needed for information integrity in the context of a distributed, component-based library architecture. The key research areas include long term survivability of digital information, reliability of information resources and services, interoperability, security (the privacy rights of users of information and the intellectual property rights of content creators), and metadata that makes it possible to ensure information integrity in digital libraries.

    Projecting America
    A project being conducted jointly by the Cornell University Library and several other Cornell University departments and offices that aims to develop a thematic collection (initially based on 10,000 slides) to support wide-ranging instruction in the area of American Studies. The project is being designed to allow integration with the results of a coordinated effort at Yale University and several other institutions (Imaging America).

    Risk Assessment Project
    The Council on Library and Information Resources sponsored a risk assessment study conducted by Cornell University Library in 1999 that focused on the file format risks inherent in migration as a preservation strategy for digital materials. The full report of this study will be available from CLIR in late June 2000. For further information see "Risk Management of Digital Information: A File Format Investigation" in the RLG DigiNews, v.4, no.3, June 15, 2000.

    The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL)
    The result of an historic cooperation between the Rockefeller Foundation, Cornell University's Albert R. Mann Library, and leading scientific publishers. This electronic library contains the full text -- complete with all graphics and illustrations -- of 130 agricultural journals, stored on compact disk. Designed to support agricultural research in regions where there is an urgent need for increased food production, TEEAL is being made available to 108 of the lowest income food deficit countries (as listed in the World Bank's 1996 World Development Report)

    III. Specific Digital Library Challenges

    Address the challenge of managing and distributing access to digital sound and moving images in a comparable manner to our current support for text-based materials.
    Sound and moving image processing and network dissemination is the next major challenge for Cornell´s digital library. A pilot implementation for music distribution and support for classroom instruction has just been installed. The size of sound and video collections presents storage, processing, and distribution challenges. The next step in the challenge will be to accompany digital audio with digital scores and performances, further enhancing the ability to create music digitally by Cornell faculty and students.

    Develop functional interoperability for integrated access to our various digital collections.
    Currently the Cornell University Library is applying an SGML encoded solution using Open Text software and middleware developed at the University of Michigan. The Library is, however, a co-development partner with Endeavor Information Systems, Inc. in the creation of a digital library architecture (ENCompass) to provide interoperability across collections as well as to integrate ¨gateway¨ functionality for licensed resources.

    Develop our new partnership with Sun Microsystems.
    Cornell University Library was recently named Sun Center of Excellence for Digital Libraries (see under Grants above). This partnership will allow the Library to explore the use of Sun Ray technologies, as well as newer technologies as they emerge. In turn, CUL will provide Sun with information relevant to the development of these new technologies. This synergistic relationship will provide new challenges, but will also enable great growth in the development of digital libraries.

    Developing an infrastructure for the electronic publishing of journals.
    This challenge is the central focus of the Project Euclid initiative.

    Establishing common preservation metadata standards.
    This challenge is being addressed by the Preserving Cornell's Digital Image Collections project.

    Expand electronic publishing at Cornell.
    A plan for a joint project between the Cornell University Library and Cornell University Press is being developed to broaden the use of electronic publishing for press publications and to potentially apply this same approach to other scholarly communication generated at Cornell.

    Long term preservation and access of digital information.
    This challenge is being embraced in Project PRISM.

    IV. Announcements

    Sun Center of Excellence for Digital Libraries
    The Cornell University Library and Sun Microsystems have established a new partnership. Through this collaboration, The Sun Center of Excellence for Digital Libraries, Cornell and Sun will work together to establish a transformative vision for research libraries in the digital age. The combination of Sun's broad leadership in Internet technologies and the experience and leadership of the Cornell University Library in the innovative application of these technologies makes this an ideal partnership. For the June 27, 2000 press release describing this partnership, visit:

    Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives
    With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Cornell University Library's Department of Preservation and Conservation developed a new digital imaging workshop. "Moving Theory into Practice: Digital Imaging for Libraries and Archives" is intended for librarians, archivists, curators, administrators, technologists, and others who are contemplating or implementing digital imaging programs. The goal is to provide participants with the means to move beyond theoretical constructs to implementation strategies grounded in solutions that represent current/emerging standards, best practices, and sound decision-making. For more information, see

    Please send comments or suggestions.
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    © 2000 Council on Library and Information Resources

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