University of Michigan/Digital Library Initiatives (DLI)
Report to the Digital Library Federation
January 15, 2001


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

    I. Collections, Services, and Systems

    A. Collections

    Making of America Collection Adds 7,000 Volumes
    Over 7,000 volumes have been added to the Making of America collection. This expansion brings the total volumes available online to 8,500 or approximately 2.89 million pages of text and 1.15 billion words. Making of America (MoA) - a publicly-accessible online resource focusing on 19th century American publications - now contains over 3% of all American imprint monographs published in the 19th century (based on preliminary statistics provided by the Library of Congress). The majority of these materials were published between 1850 and 1876, and the collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. MoA offers users the opportunity to view faithful replicas of the original source materials, perform full text searches over the entire collection, search within individual texts, and save searches and develop bibliographies using the MoA "book bag."

    E-Resource Policies Under Development
    Policies for managing digital collections continue to be drafted and reviewed. Topics under review include archiving of digital materials, disposition of reformatted materials, advertising in commercially-licensed resources, and privacy and security. These policies are developed and reviewed by the Library's Steering Team for Electronic Resources (E-Team) and by the Library's Collection Management and Development Council.

    Lincoln Papers Available Online
    The University Library's Humanities Text Initiative, in collaboration with the Abraham Lincoln Association, has made available the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Originally published in 1953 by the Abraham Lincoln Association as a multi-volume set, this collection of Lincoln's correspondence, speeches, and other writings was the first major scholarly effort to collect and publish the complete writings of Abraham Lincoln, and the edition has remained an invaluable resource to Lincoln scholars. The online edition of this important scholarly tool is available freely over the Internet.

    Audio/Video Experimentation Underway
    Digital Library Production Service staff are experimenting with developing and providing access to online audio and video collections. Equipment for an initial collaboration has been purchased, and campus units have been identified to participate in this experiment.

    Local Hosting of AMICO Images
    The AMICO Library of over 50,000 museum images has been licensed for local implementation at the University of Michigan. Digital Library Production Service (DLPS) staff are working to transform the AMICO data for use with the locally-developed Image Class middleware and XPAT search engine tools.

    B. Services

    Digitization Services Establishes Recharge Rates
    The University Library continues to make available its digitization services to the campus and the broader academic community. Recharge rates for digitization of continuous tone images have been established within the University's financial and administrative infrastructure to facilitate cost-recovery for these efforts.

    CITRIX Solution for Access to CD-ROM Products
    To facilitate web access to materials formerly maintained on the University Library's CD-ROM LAN, a CITRIX client solution has been implemented. This solution offers online access to materials that are unlikely in the near future to be available via the web, and offers campus-wide access to digital content that was formerly available only in a stand-alone or platform-specific format.

    LMS Enhancements
    Several enhancements to the Library's NOTIS-based operational management system - MIRLYN - have been added. Patron empowerment, which allows patrons to view their patron records and perform transactions such as book renewals, has been implemented. Intra-library loan has also been implemented, and Pin Yin conversion is in an implementation stage.

    Scholarly Publishing Office Develops New Publications
    The Scholarly Publishing Office is working with faculty and University units to develop electronic publications and online tools to manage those publications. New publications include Philosopher's Imprint, an electronic-only journal in philosophy, and the digital version of the Michigan Quarterly Review.

    GIS Support and Facilities
    The Library has received funding to develop services and collections to support GIS efforts on campus. A GIS center will be established within the Library with staff and equipment to support faculty and student efforts in this area. Recruitment is underway for a coordinator for numeric and spatial data.

    Wiring Upgrade for Hatcher Library
    A major upgrade of Ethernet and related wiring has begun in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library to upgrade existing network connections with higher capacity category 5E wiring and add new network connections to meet current and near-term needs. The initial phase of the project involved a survey of all areas within the structure to determine current levels of connectivity and assess future needs. The project is currently in its second phase, with a review of the survey results by engineers to determine costs and timetables.

    C. Systems

    Documentation Developed
    DLPS staff continue to refine documentation for processes and functions. Capacity projections for digitization and text encoding services have been drafted, and structures for access to documentation have been developed.

    Interface Evaluation Underway
    An evaluation process is underway to assess the effectiveness of interfaces to collections hosted and developed by the University Library. Students from the School of Information will use heuristic evaluation techniques and methods to evaluate access to various resources.

    Help Desk and Inventory Software Implemented
    In an effort to create a more cohesive computing infrastructure within the Library, Desktop Support Services staff are implementing help desk software. The software - Remedy - will assist staff in tracking requests and will also assist in managing the Library workstation and computing equipment inventory.

    MyLibrary Under Development
    Library Management Systems and Digital Library Production Service staff are collaborating with Public Services staff to develop user customization tools for web resources (MyLibrary). The strategy employed in building these tools involves identification of a subset of web resources, the application of descriptive metadata to those resources to facilitate user selection, and programming to integrate the tools within the Library web environment.

    XPAT Enhanced
    The XPAT search engine - developed by Digital Library Production Service staff and based on the commercial product PAT5.0 from Open Text - continues to be refined and enhanced. Recent modifications include the additional of basic XML indexing capabilities. XPAT is available through the Library's Digital Library eXtension Service (DLXS).

    Class-Based Middleware Released; Moves to Open Source
    The Digital Library Production Service continues to develop and refine class-based middleware for use with the XPAT search engine. The Text Class and Image Class middleware was released in January 2001. Finding Aids middleware is in a pre-class implementation and will be shared as a beta release. To enable the development of digital libraries throughout the scholarly community, these software tools are now available in an open source environment (see Announcements).

    II. Projects and Programs

    Digital Library Initiatives Reorganizes
    After a year-long review process, the Digital Library Initiatives Division (DLI) has reorganized its units to provide more focused services to internal and external clients. The Digital Library Production Service will remain as the central digital library production group on campus. The Library Systems Office and the Digital Library Program Development units have been disbanded, and three new units - Library Management Services, Desktop Support Service, and the Scholarly Publishing Office - have been formed. Library Management Systems will focus on supporting the Library's operational management systems (such as MIRLYN); Desktop Support Services will focus on building the tools and services necessary to support the Library's large and growing computing infrastructure; and, the Scholarly Publishing Office will focus on facilitating electronic publishing and in building systems to support online publication.

    Fellows in Scholarly Communication Appointed
    In collaboration with the University's Graduate School, the Library has appointed the first two fellows in the Fellows in Scholarly Communication program. The program was designed to offer recent University of Michigan Ph.D.'s experience in creating and shaping effective scholarly communication processes, products, and tools for the 21st century. During their two-year appointments, the Fellows - one a Ph.D. in Biology, the other a Ph.D. in Sociology - will focus on topics that relate to current issues in scholarly communication as well as issues in their fields of study. The biologist will focus on GIS systems in relation to natural history specimen collections; the sociologist will undertake an analysis of social scientist behavior and perceptions of print vs. electronic journals.

    Michigan Ethnic Directory Available Online
    The Michigan Ethnic Directory has been digitized and made available online. The directory serves three purposes: to showcase the ethnic diversity of the state; to build a user's guide for Michigan's formal and informal educational and cultural institutions; and, to create a statewide network linking experts in multiculturalism and ethnicity. The directory is available freely over the Internet.

    NSF Funds Distributed Math Collections Project
    The University Library's DLI division - in collaboration with Cornell University and State and University Library Göttingen -- has received funding from the National Science Foundation to create a distributed repository of significant historical monographs in mathematics. The funding requested will be used primarily to develop an interoperability layer with the three strong digital library systems at these institutions. In doing so, the participants will focus on many of the issues central to the advancement of digital libraries, including distributed repositories and integration of digital resources, advanced access and retrieval, high levels of interoperability, and models for dissemination and use.

    Conversion of Museum Collections Funded
    Funds have been received from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to build a multimedia digital collection of natural history museum materials. The project - entitled Flora and Fauna of the Great Lakes Region - will focus on the development of increase access to the Great Lakes region Flora and Fauna portions of the Museums collections, and the development of an extensible infrastructure for putting Natural History collections online. The project will explore, prototype and test tools for using the online resources for multiple audiences, from primary school users to advanced scholars in the field, to the general public.

    EEBO Text Creation Partnership Under Development
    The University Library - in collaboration with the Council on Library Resources, Oxford University, and Bell & Howell - is developing a partnership to create encoded text to accompany Bell & Howell's commercial image-based product Early English Books Online. The Text Creation Partnership will manage the keyboarding of text and build distributed systems to support access. Institutions will be invited to join the partnership and will receive rights to the text product created.

    DLI Joins ACLS E-Book Project
    Digital Library Initiatives will assist the American Council of Learned Societies in its five-year electronic publishing initiative to produce high-quality monographs in the field of history. Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the ACLS will collaborate with five Learned Societies and seven University Presses to publish these monographs, exploring the intellectual possibilities of new technologies and helping to assure the continued viability of the history monograph in today's publishing environment. DLI will participate in this effort by developing a highly-functional online system and by managing backfile conversion, graphic design, and other background efforts required to develop and populate the online system.

    Inventory of Image Management and Access Systems Completed
    On behalf of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Digital Library Production Service conducted an inventory of existing digital image management and access systems. The goal of the inventory was to provide information on the products and tools available in the marketplace, as well as in the higher education environment, that might be utilized in the building of a repository and delivery system for digitized art temporarily called "ArtStor."

    Electronic Dissertations
    In conjunction with a graduate course in the School of Information, a report has been prepared for the Graduate School that analyzes functions of dissertations and extrapolates those functions in a digital environment. The report, along with course faculty input, will form the basis for future project activity with electronic dissertations.

    III. Specific Digital Library Challenges

    LMS Review Process
    The Library's effort to explore a replacement for the NOTIS-based library management systems is underway. A steering team has been appointed. In addition, scope documents outlining various functions have been developed, and functional teams have been appointed and trained to focus on these specific tasks. Responses to an RFI were received from vendors in January

    Security and Authentication
    Campus discussions are underway concerning unauthenticated use of computing facilities. The Library continues to make available computers for walk-in, unauthenticated use, and Library staff are working with central University administrators to find a balance between offering free, anonymous access to information and maintaining a secure computing environment.

    Application Support and Technology Training
    With its recent reorganization, DLI managers have been discussing the best ways to provide application support and training within the Library. The newly-created DLI unit - Desktop Support Services - will oversee both of these areas, and will be challenged to build expertise to manage these efforts in a distributed environment. A new senior manager for this unit will develop both a program that knits together distributed support staff and a comprehensive organization-wide curriculum for technology literacy.

    IV. Announcements

    Class-Based Middleware Moves to Open Source
    The University Library is pleased to announce that its class-based middleware - designed to assist information providers in developing digital libraries - has moved from a cost-recovery to an open source method of availability. The middleware is designed to work with the Library's XPAT search engine, and offers specific tools for developing text, image, and other types of digital collections. By moving these tools to the open source environment, it is hoped that information providers will be able to take greater advantage of these resources and also share enhancements and modifications with the broader academic community.