Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Selection and Management of Library ICT Services
Chapter 3 - Core Library Services
Chapter 4 - Archives and Records Management
Chapter 5 - Social Media and Web
Chapter 6 - Impact measures and statistics
This handbook has been sponsored by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliamentary Libraries and the IFLA Parliamentary Libraries Section. The handbook has been prepared by Dr Edmund Balnaves in conjunction with an international editorial committee comprising Soledad Ferreiro (Chile), Moira Fraser (New Zealand), Adolfo Furtado (Brazil), Daniela Giacomelli (Global Centre for ICT), John Pullinger (United Kingdom), Roxanne Missingham (Australia), Sari Pajula (Finland), Albert Nuntja (South Africa), Andy Richardson (Switzerland), Innocent Rugambwa (Uganda), Donna Scheeder (United States of America), Raissa Teodori (Italy), William Young (Canada).
The purpose of this handbook is to provide a template for the implementation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Parliamentary Libraries. The library has a significant role for information provision in the Parliament. Information and Communications Technology can enhance this role by facilitating effective access to information resources – both to the physical assets held by the library and electronic resources held locally and through electronic gateways. ICT can also enhance the capability of the library to provide timely, accurate and impartial research advice to Parliamentary members and their staff. There are several classes of software that facilitate the management of libraries, and this handbook will explore these systems and practical experience in Parliamentary libraries deploying these systems. These systems can be best understood by reference to the wider role of the Parliamentary library that is covered by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) publication “Guidelines for Legislative Libraries”. This handbook presents current developments in ICT for parliamentary libraries, with specific reference to software, standards and case studies.
Classes of software that this handbook explores are:
Taken together, these systems can provide a powerful platform for effective service delivery in the Parliamentary library. The “Guidelines for Legislative Libraries” situate the Parliamentary Library in the context of their:
The roadmap in this section and the chapters that follow present ICT practice that can enhance the role of the library and reinforce these values.
This handbook provides an overview of Information Communications Technology in Parliamentary Libraries. Each section has a discussion of technology and ICT services and further information categorised into:
This handbook also includes a Glossary that explains the many acronyms and technical terms used with ICT systems for libraries.
The World Wide Web has transformed information discovery behaviour of clients and the technology available to libraries. These have the potential to transform the way in which Parliamentary Libraries work and their capability to delivery resources to members, clients and the general citizenry that the library serves.
Libraries have long used web-based database services to provide detailed research for their clients. The last decade has seen increasing availability of rich database and web information resources directly available to users on the Web, such as Wikipedia and various Google research services. A Delphi study by the library of the Parliament of Australia identified the elements of the research services provided by the library that were valued by clients:
- A gateway…
- Focused on the whole of parliament…
- Connected… (Missingham 2011 p. 58)
Encouragingly, these echo the sentiments of the IFLA “Guidelines for Legislative Libraries”. However the Delphi study also identified new attitudes to information discovery, such as Google, as a potential threat to the current role of Research Services in the Parliamentary library, unless harnessed as a vehicle of communication by the library. These new information pathways could have the potential to marginalise the library as an information source. The relevance of the library can be maintained through its ability to focus on the specific needs of their clients and provide accurate research and analysis in an impartial and confidential manner, and to provide an effective research synthesis using the information resources available to the library.
The World Wide Web (WWW) has provided a general platform for connecting people to information resources and services. A significant phenomenon of the last 10 years in the Internet has been the impact of Web 2.0 in the expectations of interactivity and two way communication with services and interactive communication between Internet users. The increasing depth of information and changing modes of communication have an inevitable impact on Parliamentary Libraries. Social media is changing the mode of communication between the citizenry and their representatives, and through members to a need to deploy new technologies and interactive communication (Missingham 2011) in the Parliamentary Library. The 2001 Delphi study by Parliament of Australia identified this trend as both an opportunity and a threat. The opportunity lies in the trust value placed in the library as an authoritative information source – parliamentary library and research source.
Social media has recently been profoundly influential in changing the governance landscape. The extent of penetration of social media will vary from country to country, but the impact of social media applications through mobile devices can be magnified even where Internet access is not widespread. The influence of Web 2.0 is demonstrated by the increasing transparency of government forced by ubiquitous and variable pathways of information flow through Social Media. This has the potential to create new ways of democratic engagement and participation. For example in Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, the E-Democracia site (http://edemocracia.camara.gov.br/) provides an example of how Web 2.0 is being used to foster democratic engagement and participation. It has discussion forums, wiki and other collaboration tools that allow citizens to interact with members who are reporting specific issues in their committees or on the Floor. This puts new and unusual pressure on Parliament to engage with these new technologies. The parliamentary library needs to be conversant in these issues and in some cases may lead the transformation of parliamentary web services to support Web 2.0.
The fifth chapter explores tools and approaches to social media and Web 2.0.
The “open source” movement emerged as a systematic method of distributing software in full source code in a manner that ensured it's ongoing availability in open source with no license fee. The success of this movement has hinged on the ease of collaborative programming in an Internet environment, and service-based and reputation-based business models for software development. Libraries themselves have an established history in systematic development of standards and the implementation of data interchange systems. For instance, the Library of Congress has released a range of tools in open source to support MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging). The Z39.50 standard has enabled open inter-networking of library catalogues, and open source code libraries have facilitated the inclusion of Z39.50 in open source solutions for libraries.
The first comprehensive suite of software released in open source for libraries was the Koha Library Management system. It has an active developer community internationally and has been translated for use in a multi-lingual environment. The first experiments in open source library management systems have also helped evolve the sophisticated database schema's supporting current open source library management systems such as Greenstone, Evergreen and Koha 3. Open source options are now available for the core systems needed for most aspects of library operation although they vary considerably in functionality, capability and levels of support. One of the challenges in implementation of open source is the selection of a sustainable support model for ongoing support. This involves the scrutiny of the levels of professional support available internally and externally to support an open source installation and ongoing operation. A popular model emerging for open source delivery is external hosting and support.
The technical knowledge to install and maintain an open source solution may be unavailable to a small library. Where open source is to be internally supported, it is important to focus on open source solutions that can be supported through the current ICT architecture used in the Parliament. A common confusion is that open source means “free”. While OSS has no license fees, no information technology system operation is free. The ongoing nurturing of a system, software upgrades over time, support for customisations and enhancements, server administration, network costs are just a few of the base-line elements of managing an information system. Nevertheless, the amortisation of the software support across a wide installed base makes for an effective cost model for smaller institutions. OSS can provide a level of certainty for an institution in their operation costs once established. The larger the community of adopters of open source the stronger the overall support. OSS can also provide a level of security in that there is no proprietary lock-in and the code is visible (and therefore can be corrected). The functional depth of this security will be improved by the work of those adopting the open source model.
The Parliamentary Library manages an increasing diverse collection of electronic resources, including material that was “born digital” and managed by the library (digital publications, media releases, parliamentary records), information digitised by the library for preservation, access to electronic collections, digital news feeds and Online catalogue access. The increasing complexity of these resources introduces challenges to maintain simplicity in the context of growing complexity in the underlying resources - leading to requirements for federated searching and single sign-on. In addition, integration of digital services with more traditional print based resources ia a challenge for both management and staff, particularly in parliamentary libraries with a long tradition of print resources and services. Parliamentary Libraries such as Library of Congress and Universities were among the first to have fostered the development and adoption of Digital Library systems. Universities, in particular, have supported the development of rich, stable, open source software for Digital Library management.
The Digital Library can act as a repository for digital documents management by the library - either items born in digital form or items that have been converted to electronic format by the library. Open source can also be an enabler for the adoption of open access in an institution. Digital Libraries are becoming prevalent in Parliamentary Libraries both to support the role of the library in preserving the collective memory of the Parliament and in providing ready access to news, current affairs and electronic resource relevant to the Parliamentary Members.
Open Access (OA) publishing models have gained increasing acceptance. Open Access publishing has two common models: where the author places a pre-publication copy of their work within their own Digital Library (or institutional repository) or where the publication is submitted to an publication that funds publication by charging the author rather than the subscriber for the cost of publication/distribution. Adoption of OSS and OA has been has progressed in parallel, and in similar time-frames. The Open Access model is in part a response to the increasing cost burden to institutions of traditional publishing models and in part a desire by authors to gain greater visibility for their work. Open Access publishing benefits libraries and their clients by making information more readily accessible.
There has been a movement in enterprise architectures toward Service Oriented Architectures. This trend has emerged in an increasingly complex ecosystem of ICT services. Systems designed around a SOA principle expose their processes and business rules at a number of layers, creating multiple points at which these systems can interconnect. For instance, Koha includes not only a web-based interface but also service interfaces for archive harvesting (OAI/PMH), self sign-on (CAS) and several service-level interfaces to the circulation work flow - as well as Web 2.0 interfaces such as RSS. The “loose coupling” of system design allows the substitution of different user interfaces, business rules and process interfaces. ICT software for libraries is gradually making a transition to SOA frameworks and design principles.
There has been substantial progress toward service inter-operability in the key ICT systems for libraries: the Digital Library and the Integrated Library Management System (ILMS). For example the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI/PMH) is a well established metadata interchange framework which has been widely implemented in library systems. It can provide a method for making the ILMS resources and the Digital Library resources visible to Federated Search engines and to regional resource catalogues. The Semantic Web, a method for resource description in the world wide web context, along with Resource Description Framework (RDF) is another framework for providing effective inter-operability of library resources through rich linked data sets. The movement to Semantic Web adoption and web service interoperability help to increase the visibility of library resources outside the traditional catalogue.
Many of the systems discussed in this handbook require a careful and planned implementation process to achieve success. The first step in this planning is to understand the particular requirements of your Parliament. The typical parliamentary library has a range of stakeholders, including members, staff, citizens, regional collaborating libraries, and the wider global community via the Internet. It is important to understand their needs in framing the technology priorities for the library.
This planning process also entails planning for effective service delivery using ICT to achieve benefits from the ICT systems deployed by the library. Unfortunately, a large number of information technology projects fail to achieve their goals or fail entirely. Over-ambitious targets or lack of internal capacity can mean that ICT fails to yield its promised benefits. Failure of an information technology project can be due to cost escalation, poor software fit, infrastructure issues or other similar causes.
The following Roadmap charts an approach for software evolution in a Parliamentary Library context. You should judge the order of implementation of systems based on the current needs in your Parliament, the availability of resources to implement and support systems and the existing ICT capability within the Parliament. For instance, where Internet availability is not strong, the focus may be more on building fundamental resources such as the catalogue and the Digital Library.
When implementing a new system in the Parliamentary library, it is important to understand the needs of the clients that the library serves. These clients include most importantly the members, their staff and the citizens they are elected to represent. The information systems deployed by the library will have a dual role of preserving collective memory over time and meeting the current information needs of the library clients. These information needs can be assessed through:
This survey of the current information needs can help to provide the focus and priorities in selecting the investment by the library on information systems to meet these needs. This focus might be on:
Chapter Two provides guidelines on the process of developing an Information Strategy, and for software selection and the typical project management steps in implementing software. Chapter Three outlines Core library service - that is, the set of software tools that will typically be used in Parliamentary libraries. The specific focus on which systems that are relevant to a specific library depends on this review of current requirements.
Evaluate your library against the core areas for Parliamentary libraries identified in Chapter Three.
Reflect on key factors that drive effective Parliamentary library service delivery:
Focus on parliamentary needs - what services would most facilitate the work of parliamentary members, their research staff and the parliamentary institution.
Impartiality - evaluate your technological infrastructure and review the degree to which it delivers access to information in an impartial / confidential manner.
Synthesis from different sources - the library has a trusted role as a reliable information source.
Public Policy coverage - the provision of effective research services, and the integration of current awareness and news feeds in information flow provided by the library
Collective memory - the management of digital and physical resources that reinforces the role of information in sustainable parliamentary democracy. In the ICT context, this can include the support for records management systems, digital libraries and digital news feeds.
Quantitative success factors for parliamentary systems. From an Information Technology perspective: develop service level agreements that cover you main service delivery areas. Ensure that your library systems collect information in a systematic manner that supports aggregate reporting on quantitative success factors. Statistics are an important factor in communicating the relevance of the library. They can also assist the library to direct its focus in the area of information delivery most needed by the members and staff of the Parliament.
Your information strategy should provide a framework for preparing a business case for ICT implementation in your library. Consider your ICT services in terms of their “product placement” and therefore the marketing and communication strategies required to ensure awareness of these services. Parliamentary members and their staff have a broad range of competing information sources and information demands, and they may not be aware of the benefits for focused service delivery that the library can provide. Member induction programmes, newsletters and information bulletins are one means of communicating awareness of the capabilities of the library. Building a presence in the Web 2.0 social media forums and having a physical presence in critical Parliamentary forums (such as committee meetings) can also play a part.
Chapter Three explores the core services that will be typical of all parliamentary libraries. It covers:
The library management system - this is your principle tool for collection management of the physical assets - from acquisition, to cataloging, search and discovery, and circulation.
Electronic collection building and digital libraries - the provision of access to electronic resources, including Digital Libraries as a repository for digital resources owned by the Parliament, and access to subscription databases, e-books and e-journals.
The reference/research services - this is the primary point of personal contact with your members and the means for provision of targeted research relevant to the current needs of the Parliamentary members and their staff.
The library and parliamentary websites - the intranet, extranet and public websites of the library are an important point of contact for resource discovery. With the transition to digital resources these points of access may be the principle point of contact with your clients.
The particular focus for your library in implementing these systems depends on the priorities defined in your evaluation of current needs and requirements.
The parliamentary library may have a records management role, and will increasingly have an intersection with the management of digital resources. Where the parliamentary records are to be maintained in hard copy, the ILMS can play an important role in the management of these records. Record Management in through the ILMS workflow can track the accessioning, location and availability of parliamentary records. The ILMS can facilitate periodic review/stocktaking of parliamentary records, and the identification and management of the archival Copy for Record and the copy for loan. Finally the ILMS can support the discovery of parliamentary records through it search interface and web services. This can be important in supporting the role of the Parliamentary Library in preserving the collective memory and acting as a resource to the nation and regionally.
Parliamentary records are increasingly in digital form. The implementation of a digital library can be large project. It is important to ensure the correct infrastructure of the digital library is in place (see Chapter Three). The lead time in implementing ICT services to support these activities can be several years. It is therefore important to survey the expected role of the library in this area. The fourth chapter in this handbook explores the management of digital resources. These come in a variety of shapes. The digital library can be an important resource to sustain the role of the library in maintaining the collective memory of the Parliament. The digital library may contain a variety of resources that are the result of digitisation, information feeds from other sources, the collection and metadata description of news releases, and potentially the management of the digital records of the parliamentary sittings. The Library must be prepared to manage the entire digital life cycle including preservation of these digital resources. A second recurrent factor in the evolution of a digital library repository in the Parliamentary Library is the requirement for effective work flow processes to mitigate the labour-intensive nature of digital library management. The work flow processes man encompass steps to make the ingestion process more efficient, and work flow processes to ensure the metadata description of the resources.
Web 2.0 provides opportunities for the library to make services more visible and more accessible. The challenge of Web 2.0 is to maintain the relevance of the library in the context where parliamentary members and their staff are drawing on divers information sources. Their awareness of the ongoing role of the parliamentary library and the ways it can support their function is critical. In the Web 2.0 engaged world, this can entail exploring social media to ensure that the library is present in the domains of discourse favoured by their clientèle. The fifth chapter in this workbook explores the role of social media and Web 2.0 The values expressed in the “Guidelines for Legislative libraries” are potentially challenged or enhanced by the pressures the social network and Web 2.0 place on the parliamentary library. Members and their staff may now have divers sources of information to draw on. In this context, it becomes all the more important to focus on parliamentary needs by situating the library in the information “places” that they frequent. Equally, it is all the more significant to robustly project the role of the library as an effective and impartial information source for members. Channeling information synthesis through distribution channels that include web 2.0 may be a growing part of the picture for libraries.
Social networking can be an asset for library staff, but time and investment in professional development in the new services and resources available in this context is also important.
The Information and Communications Technology options available to libraries are unparalleled. A carefully managed project can considerably enhance the services provided by the Parliamentary library to its Clients. However, unlike engineering projects, ICT projects are notoriously vulnerable to failure. The selection of suitable software for a parliamentary library should be undertaken carefully and systematically. The business case should be situated in the context of an overall Information Strategy for development of the resources management by the library. This could also include a content strategy for management and presentation of content on the corporate intranet. This chapter provides an overview of the general principles of software selection and implementation management. A careful approach to software selection and service management can reduce the risks of project failure. Above all, it is important to understand the requirements of library current information needs of the Parliamentary members and situate these needs in the broader strategic role of the library.
This chapter outlines typical approaches to reducing the risk of ICT project failure through:
An Information Strategy is one means of improving the analysis of the current information needs of the Members, their staff. Chapter Six outlines techniques to review these information needs. The priority for selection of new systems for use in the library should be defined by an Information Strategy. An Information Strategy should then be formulated to provide an overall framework for the capture, management and delivery of information that meets the client needs. As such the Information Strategy embraces the staff and the ICT resources needed in order to gather, manage and deliver information in a consistent manner. A typical Parliamentary Library Information Strategy will include broad gaols of:
The Information Strategy will help define priorities for the systems that are needed to meet the information needs. For example, in a high-circulation library where the priority of the members is access to the resources in the library, implementation of an improved Library Management System may the first step in implementing the Information Strategy. For a library with the most pressing need is provision of current news and guidance the improvement of the ICT support for reference services may be the first priority.
The development of a business case for introducing new systems and services is not only about achieving organisation commitment to funding, it is also about developing an understanding of the purpose and extent of the project. The intelligence gathered in identifying the information needs and an Information Strategy framed around these needs will support the development of an appropriate business case.
ICT projects tend to be most successful where they are accompanied by a methodical process for project management. Prince2, for instance, is a product-focused project management technique for the oversight of major projects that focuses on a product-based planning approach and the organisation of projects into manageable and controllable stages to minimise risk. Methodologies such as Prince2 require development of a Project Initiation Document (PID) that defines the outcomes, resources, constraints, and risks associated with the project . Understanding your current systems and measuring your capacity for new systems is a first step in this assessment. Even if new systems are highly functional, it may be important to assess whether all elements of a system are adopted at once or whether adoption is staggered over time.
Irrespective of whether software is commercial or open source, the implementation of systems to meet the needs of the libraries is attended by stages of data conversion, training and workflow adjustment that need to be carefully planned. Organisations such as the United Nations have played a key part in enhancing the ICT capabilities of libraries. Where selecting software a formal process of evaluation should be considered. This may be through formal tender processes, or informal internal evaluation. Either way, it is important to understand your requirements and situate these requirements firmly in a business case to ensure the the new systems deliver their benefits.
The risk of software projects can be reduced through a systematic approach to adoption that includes:
Where a formal tender process is required, a request for proposal might typically have:
Vendors should be required to identify costs (fixed and variable) as well as risks associated with their system.
A more constrained Request for Information might also be sent out to selected vendors after a survey of software options. Software solutions are never “free”. Whether open source, commercial or free for use, sustaining solutions over time have attendant system operational and professional development, as well as the associated development of workflow processes to situate software in the context of a particular Parliamentary Library.
The Parliamentary library may not be subject to formal tendering processes. Organisations such as UNESCO and the UN can kick-start the implementation of library services by providing guidance and assistance in software implementation. It is still important to evaluate the ways in which implementing such systems will fit your particular library. When a formal tender process is not required, an internal review of software that has been selected should be undertaken that reflects on the capabilities of the selected system against the current requirements.
Software may be available to the library at no charge, or with no license cost (such as Open Source). However good the software, the implementation of this system may fail if it fails to meet the current needs of the clients of the library. For this reason, it remains important to evaluate the software systematically and guide the project implementation in a manner that is focused on your own library requirements. The business case for the software should not be neglected and an internal evaluation process should also be undertaken to avoid the potential problems in project implementation. If the project implementation is not understood in the context of an internal business case that reflects on the long term relevance and sustainability of this service in the library the implementation of these systems may not yield the hoped-for benefits for Parliamentary clients.
In evaluating the implementation approach an internal evaluation should at least look at:
There are well defined approaches to ICT implementation that are designed to reduce the risk of project implementation. Most project management approaches divide a project into phases of:
For larger projects, a Project Steering Committee should be established. Not all projects require such a Project Steering Committee – it will depend on the cost, complexity and duration of the ICT project. A typical Steering Committee might comprise :
The Steering Committee should be kept to the smallest practical size that allows regular, brief, review of the project governance and progress.
An example of a formal methodology for project management developed for medium to large projects is the PRINCE2 project management methodology. Further information on this project management framework can be found at best-management-practice.com (http://www.best-management-practice.com/)- a portal site with information resources on Prince2.
Information Systems are dynamic and require ongoing monitoring and support. Whether managed externally or internally, a service-oriented view of this management is typically the most effective method for archiving the best practical outcome for ongoing system operation. One of the most comprehensive standards for ongoing service management is the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of principles and standard for service operation that break down ongoing service management into:
With the increasing number of external providers that a library relies on, the Service Level Agreement becomes an important means of defining the responsibilities of service providers. A Service Level Agreement can define:
Similar (less detailed) agreements can be useful with internal ICT departments to define quality and consistency in service delivery.
Service delivery of systems will be in the context of the broader architecture supported by the ICT. Selection of systems to support the library need to be conscious of this framework. The library can draw on a variety of service architectures including:
Libraries, where sufficiently resourced, can also take advantage of the many Web 2.0 productivity tools to develop mash-up solutions that leverage a mixture of internal systems and the above approaches to unify different systems in a single internal view for the benefit of clients.
In order to realise the tremendous benefits of services delivered over the Internet, end-users are required to entrust a growing number of service providers with more and more personal information. This information often deals with aspects of people's lives which are regarded as personal and private and may include information about their identity, physical location, contact details, among other things.
The loss of personal data by a service provider may result in an interruption to the service and a degree of inconvenience to the consumer, but unauthorised access to and misuse of personal information can have longer-lasting consequences. The possession of personal information can, in some circumstances, be exploited by unethical marketers, or by criminals for fraudulent purposes. As a result the theft, selling and buying of personal data has become a issue that must be treated seriously by service providers and consumers alike.
The privacy and security of personal data entrusted to any service provider must be safeguarded from loss and misuse by the service provider. Privacy requirements form an important part of the Service Level Agreement with any software and hosting providers.
Most people would be aware that networked applications, unless properly managed, are vulnerable to intrusion by computer hackers. However, experience also shows that abuse of authority and trust by staff with access to computer systems is as much a problem as external intrusion. While most staff are trustworthy and careful, the concentration of personal information within a single repository provides the potential for one incident to have a large effect.
The rich capabilities of Web 2.0 applications come with attendant privacy risks. When the library is building mash-up-style applications or architecting solutions that use a mix of internal client data as well as external services the library staff should be aware of some basic tenets of privacy around the design of information capture and usage policies for personal data:
The Parliamentary Library should take measures that include education of staff to their need to protect privacy, virtual and physical security measures, backup processes, robust server and network design and auditing of access to the systems which they manage. Nightly backups of data on systems should be encrypted and retained only long as necessary to ensure business continuity in the event of system failure.
Staff employment terms should include privacy and non-disclosure conditions and employees should be given access to systems for which they have responsibility to the level required to undertake their tasks.
The library has a responsibility to indicate the usage of any personal data managed, and should communicate these policies to any hosting agencies or departments managing their data. A basic requirement should be that service providers not sell, rent, share or otherwise communicate the parliamentary libraries client data, unless in a manner required by the library.
In this context it is important to establish structures, processes and procedures to mitigate risks that may arise from within their domain of concern. The following areas need to be considered:
The library should undertake a risk assessment associated with its systems, and resources and assess processes to mitigate that risk. A simple example follows:
|Misuse of data |
|Virus infection||System outage & data loss or breach of privacy||
Anti-virus installed on all systems
No file shares on servers where not functionally required;
Patch update policy on all systems
|Hard disk failure||Loss of data due to hardware failure|| Mirroring of all system and data disks
Nightly backups of all data
Weekly system mirroring of critical systems
|Hardware failure |
|Loss of data due to hardware failure, client & office outage|| Mirroring of all system and data disks
Nightly backups of all data; Weekly system mirroring of critical systems
|External Network failure||Loss of data due to hardware failure|| Mirroring of all system and data disks
Nightly backups of all data
Weekly system mirroring of critical systems
Fail-over arrangements with servers available in the office (e.g. Linux to Linux or Windows to Windows)
|Power loss - server||Server outage and loss of data||Redundant power supplies on all servers & fault alerting|
|Power loss - office||Client access outage||Hot standby servers in DRP Sites located on different network and power service|
|Hardware failure - internal hubs||Office & external service outage||Hot standby hubs|
|Network outage - primary data link||Office & external service outage||Maintain a separate high-bandwidth link to the office
Hot standby servers in DRP Sites located on different network and power service
|Fire||Office & systems outage||Technical contacts for hardware and asset recovery. Exit and assembly plans for staff|
|Flooding||Office & systems outage||Technical contacts for hardware and asset recovery (for instance freeze drying for books)|
|Earthquake||Office & systems outage||Exit and assembly plans for staff|
The level of protection undertaken against each risk depends on the expected impact of an outage on clients and the consequent degree of disaster production redundancy that is engineered into your architecture. Fully redundant live standby servers are possible but can be very expensive to maintain. They are typically warranted where the outage interval in case of a disaster event for clients must be kept to seconds or minutes. A minimum disaster recovery profile should see off-site backup of data and well documented (and tested) steps for recovery of this data.
For each risk event associated Disaster Recovery Plan steps should be in place which defines the contacts, processes and actions during and after the disaster event. It is also important to document the last successful test of this disaster plan.
In locations where power supply is irregular, risk mitigation might include arrangements for mirroring services with other agencies (for example ensuring catalogue holdings are available through WorldCat).
Training of library staff is an essential component of ICT capability building. Training needs to be timely - too much in and advance of systems delivery or too much in arrears can leave staff struggling when they are called on to provide support for systems with which they are not familiar or comfortable. This training needs to be framed around the road map for library service delivery. For this reason a training needs analysis framed around the library services road map should be periodically reviewed. This needs analysis can also be used to identify areas of staff development, especially for those library staff tasked with forward-facing service delivery.
With the transition to an increasing web-based focus on information delivery, there are a number of approaches to web-based self education on the Web 2.0 mix of tools and services. One of the most popular is the “23 things” programme that takes the learner through a Web 2.0 journey relevant to librarians (http://plcmcl2-things.blogspot.com/).
A responsibility for many libraries is that of training. The sheer diversity of resources available through the library itself and on the web can be daunting. The Parliamentary library often provides induction training for newly elected parliamentary members and their staff in using library resources. This can be extended to include training in ICT-related areas such as the use of Web 2.0 resources, use of e-book readers and use of the information resources in the library itself.
Such training can also be the opportunity to brief researchers on the constraints of copyright and the risks associated with plagiarism. It can also be an opportunity to undertake before and after surveys on the library to assess level of understanding and usage of library resources and assess over time what information resources the members are looking for.
This chapter presents the core services that underpin most Parliamentary Libraries. Core services are those that can be considered central to the typical fulfillment of the mission of the Parliamentary Library. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) forms the foundation of most modern libraries. Starting with automation functions for cataloging and circulation, the range of tools that the library can draw in has grown progressively over the last four decades. Since the 1990's libraries have had available mature and robust integrated solutions that manage all aspects of traditional library functions: acquisitions, cataloguing, circulation, serials management and reporting. Electronic journals and books, rich database services and expansion of multi-lingual capabilities of software platforms have opened up the range of options that a library has. By 2000 the first examples of open source software for libraries were emerging in parallel with the rapid expansion of the Internet as the main vehicle for information communication. In parallel with the emergence of open source has been the gradual expansion of Digital Libraries and Open Access services.
The Parliamentary Library may therefore have oversight of considerably more than the management of a physical collection of resources. Core services provided by the library have an significant ICT element, including the library management system, the ICT services supporting the reference desk (including Document Delivery) and website content management. Typical benefits of ICT for the Parliamentary Library include:
The Parliamentary Library should develop a roadmap for ICT development of the library that harnesses the new technologies available while maintaining a stable and robust services to the members of Parliament and their staff. This section of the handbook summarises the ICT solutions, standards and workflow processes that are core to the services provided by most libraries. Undertaking major ICT projects can have considerable project risk. The development of a roadmap needs to be situated in the capabilities, resources and constraints of each institution and should be focused on those areas of priority that most meet the needs of the Parliament. The roadmap for development core ICT services supporting the library should be undertaken in a systematic manner that minimises the ICT project risk. There are well established principles for ICT project management that are relevant to the planning for implementation of the systems discussed in this chapter. This chapter illustrates the workflows that typify library management, reference services, document delivery and web content management. These principles apply whether selecting open source or commercial software to meet the needs of the library.
Parliamentary libraries that are upgrading their current systems or exploring new services can take advantage of a generational advance in the core systems used by libraries. Library Management systems, Digital Library systems, Document Delivery systems and research services have all been transformed by web-based delivery of services. Understanding the information needs and information seeking behavior of members and their assistants, parliamentary committees and other stakeholders is important in this context. This section outlines core services that are enablers of information delivery in the Parliamentary Library. The selection of these systems should be framed in an understanding of the role of the Parliamentary Library that is centred on the parliamentary needs as discussed in the previous chapter.
One of the core roles of the library is to provide efficient access to the assets and resources of the library for elected members, their staff and clients. The traditional card catalogue is typically being replaced by ICT-based electronic catalogs, often made available on the Internet as an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). The cataloguing of the resources that appear on the electronic catalogue can be achieved through a standalone system or through an integrated approach which ties together the whole life cycle of management library assets, from acquisition to disposal: the Integrated Library Management System (ILMS). Most Integrated Library Management Systems will at least support a budget-based acquisitions module, cataloguing and authority support, online catalogue access, serials and subscription management, and of course circulation. This traditional set of functions can be significantly extended where the system also supports Web 2.0 capabilities (such as tagging and book reviews) and client self management (self-renewal). Finally, these features may be further extended with RFID for asset tracking and self-checkout.
The ILMS can facilitate the management of resources at all stages of:
The ILMS is therefore central to the management of library resources. Typically the focus of ILMS is on the management of physical assets (books, journals and other print publications). However, many ILMS come with a good, integrated search engine and this can play a role in discovering digital resources owned by the library (see for instance the NSW Parliamentary Library case study below) Effective ILMS software can yield great efficiencies in service delivery and day-to-day operation of the library. With the advent of Web 2.0 library systems could be categorised as “generation one” and “generation two” - those services which are web-enabled, online and web-2.0 capable versus the in-house desktop-based cataloguing system. WinIsys, which is supported by the US and has played an important role in extending library capabilities, is an example of a “generation one” system. A generational “leap” in functions is possible by adopting library management systems that have made this generation migration to fully web-enabled operation.
Integrated Library Management Systems also tend to have an embedded workflow for common tasks such as circulation. For example, a the Koha system allows the library to define the workflow rules for holds/reservations and circulation management.
The common workflow tasks supported by the ILMS are:
Holds and reservation workflows. The workflow stages for holds/reservation management can include rules about who can make reservations on items and on what types of items. A hold might generate an alert to the library regarding the library. The library may then fetch the item and the completion of this task may entail an inter-branch transfer (or even inter-library loan). The next stage of this workflow may trigger an alert (e.g. SMS or email) to the client advising of the item availability. The complexity behind these tasks is managed by the software itself.
Circulation workflows. Typical circulation workflows are checkout, and check-in, but with an Integrated Library Management System may also entail processes for online renewal, automatic pre-due and over-due notices, fines management and inter-library loans tracking.
Cataloguing workflows. An integrated approach to the library management system can allow the acquisitions process to flow through to cataloguing. Cataloguing and classification may potentially be outsourced. Once cataloged, the process of preparation of resources for use by library patrons may entail stages of cataloguing-in-process workflow steps. Finalisation of cataloguing may automatically flow through to RSS feeds of new items alerts, and online web-based promotion of new items.
Metadata enhancement workflows. Where the ILMS is indexing a variety of digital resources, workflows can support the metadata of enhancement of these items. For instance, digital documents that are added to a Parliamentary Digital Library might be subject indexed in the ILMS. Workflow processes can facilitate the capture of the digital documents in the Digital Library and indexing of the document in the ILMS.
Web 2.0, including social networking, provides a vehicle for the integration of multiple services to provide a framework for highly personalised and functional access to resources (see the Web 2.0 section of this handbook). The ILMS can be further extended to include Web 2.0 functions in a manner that recognises the interactive nature of Web 2.0 participation in information systems. Web 2.0 functions in the ILMS are commonly called “Library 2.0” functions, and can include:
These aspects are discussed further in the chapter on Web 2.0 and social networking.
Mobile devices such as smart phones (for example the Apple iPhone) and tablet devices (such as the Samsung Galaxy and the iPad) provide an increasingly popular platform for access to web-enabled applications. For Parliamentarians and their staff, they are increasingly a point of access to library research and electronic resources. Mobile devices have outpaced computers in sheer numbers, in both the developing and the developed world. As a point of information access, they can present a means for information delivery that bypasses other infrastructural issues of fixed networks. Library clients are voting with their electronic “fingers” in demanding information access on their mobile devices, and it is important for Parliamentary libraries to assess and monitor the ways in which they many need to adapt their information delivery to these new platforms. This assessment can include:
Web pages and full text resources can be adapted to present better in a mobile context, sometimes with quite simple adjustments to the style sheets used for web pages. Content management strategies for the library should also take into account mobile devices.
Enabling access through mobile devices can extend the reach of the library and accessibility of the collection and research services, and may be as important as a presence in web 2.0 environments.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a smart tag which replaces barcodes in books, client membership cards and other devices. When an RFID tag is included in an item, it can be checked out simply by placing the item near an a reading mat. The chip in the RFID tag can be programmed with information and can also act as a security device. It is commonly used by libraries for self-checkout and has had considerably take-up in Public libraries where circulations rates are relatively high but collection sizes are small. It has relevance to both records management and library asset management. The annual RFID survey by Mick Fortune (http://www.mickfotune.com/Wordpress) indicates that self-service is a key justification for RFID, followed by cost reduction, with less focus on security and resource sharing (Inter-Library Loans). This is possibly because the High Frequency (HF) tags currently used for RFID implementations in libraries have a limited scanner range and therefore have limited suitability for bulk stocktaking and stock management functions.
RFID is most useful for libraries with high levels of circulation or where self checkout is important. The relevance of RFID to the Parliamentary Library will therefore depend on the level and type of circulation of the library resources. Self-checkout using RFID can provide benefits by enabling access to library resources at times when the library is unattended. Self-checkout also has benefits for libraries that have high lending rates.
Tools for the Systems Librarian
There are also a range of tools that facilitate the day-to-day role of the system librarian for data conversion, querying databases.
When the Parliamentary Library of New South Wales began using Koha as its Library Management system and DSpace as its digital repository, the staff didn't do so to make a political statement about the viability of open source software. “This was just the software that fulfilled our requirements,” said Deborah Brown, Parliament’s chief librarian.
While having a physical collection, NSW Parliament library's lifeblood is digitized news media. Parliamentary libraries in Australia are granted a parliamentary copyright exemption for provision of news and media resources for the Parliament. On this basis they reproduce and store dozens of articles each day for the use of the Members of Parliament (and their staff) who make up their user base. When their MPs are sitting for parliamentary sessions many of them are far from their constituencies, so it’s essential to have a reliable source of news clippings from the regional papers covering their ridings. The library has a service that scans for mentions of all the Members' names in the regional papers, and digital fulltext versions of those articles are stored in DSpace to ensure their accessibility so the Members can keep up to date with policy development research.
The news articles are received in digital form from a news provider and are imported through an automated process into the Digital Library. However, the metadata is extended by a library staff-member who reviews the seven metropolitan newspapers with subject headings specifically relevant to members. These articles are digitally clipped and catalogued and put into the repository, as are the various Media Releases put out by parliamentarians (the NSW Parliamentary library is the state’s only centralized collection of those electronic Media Releases).
To handle these requirements (as well as their physical collection) the library has been using a digital repository combined with library management software since 1997, but 2010 saw their shift to Koha and DSpace. The division of tasks, which is maintained in their current open source implementation, has Koha storing the detailed metadata in bibliographic records, while DSpace stores digital entities themselves with “just enough metadata to get by.” When an item is loaded into DSpace it also gets loaded into Koha for detailed cataloguing, and electronic documents can be loaded into DSpace through Koha. DSpace is used as a repository while Koha is used as the principle search engine.
Integrating the two approaches took approximately 6 months for the conversion. News clippings can be imported, get indexed, and have authorized subject headings applied in 2-3 hours each day. Most articles are loaded using an automated process customised for the library which creates the DSpace and Koha initial entries. Some subject headings are automatically generated from the externally provided electronic clippings files. DSpace and Koha workflows are used t add the additional subject heading work as part of the standard workflow. Subject cataloguing is enhanced through the use of auto fill-as-you-type subject cataloguing forms.
Case study prepared by Justin Unrau (Prosentient Systems) with feedback from Deborah Brown and Chris Burns from the Parliamentary Library of NSW, Australia.
For further information or queries, contact Deborah Brown at Deborah.Brown@parliament.nsw.gov.au.
This section explores the role of electronic resources in collection building, and the use of tools such as federated search and single sign-on to hide the complexity of access to disparate underlying resources. It examines the growing importance of digital resources within the Parliamentary library collection. The increasing presence of digital resources entails growing complexity in the resources management by the library, including subscriptions, digital libraries/collections, digital news feeds, and digitisation of resources owned by the Parliament. This additional complexity can lead to requirements for a Federated search capability (integrating into a single portal the major information resources) and workflow management systems (to management the complex processes in electronic collection development) and single sign-on (to hide the complexity of access to multiple underlying database resources).
The Parliamentary Library will need to manage an increasingly divers range of electronic resources, including:
The increasing access to digital resources entails growing complexity in the resources management by the library, including digital libraries/collections, digital news feeds, digitisation of Parliamentary resources. This additional complexity can lead to requirements for a Federated search capability (integrating into a single portal the major information resources) and workflow management systems (to management the complex processes in electronic collection development) and single sign-on(to hide the complexity of access to multiple underlying database resources). The rapidity of technological development brings long-term difficulties in the management of intellectual and creative output in digital form. Libraries and museums have a key role in the preservation of analytical and creative endeavors over the long term. However, most libraries are ill equipped to undertake research into the preservation of new media artefact's and creations. Where the preservation of printed works is well understood, issues of obsolescence of new media technologies affect all aspects of the new media artefact's. As each new technological innovation introduces new methods of creative content delivery, our long-term horizons of archive planning appear to reduce. The widespread adoption of Information Technology as an integral part of the research process, and the speciation of software vehicles for content creation, mean that on the basis both of cost and volume of content creation the meager budgets of most libraries simple are not sufficient to sustain the role of comprehensive collection builders. Digital Library collection building has associated with it inherent risks of technological obsolescence. In addition to the systematic risks associated to critical information technology architecture, are the problems of software and hardware obsolescence. Issues of obsolescence are not inherent obstacles to the move to management of electronic resources – but they are issues that need to be addressed by the institution in the management of the disparate resources that constitute an electronic collection. Information systems inevitably go through a continuous series of transformations over time, as do digital objects stored in an information system.
Where the Parliamentary Library is responsible for the management of assets created by the Parliament, the systematic management of these assets through the workflow and Digital Library systems is an important role for the library.
The resources involved in electronic collections are complex. They can include image libraries, subscriptions to digital news feeds, subscriptions to database services, e-books (electronic books), and internally created digital documents. Because of this complexity, a systematic digital collection development policy is recommended. This will help to effectively integrate the disparate digital resources into a unified view. Typically your intranet or web site will be the portal by which clients can discover these resources. The searching of resources may be further unified through a federated search approach.
The collection development process should entail a review of electronic collection requirements based on the information needs of members and staff. For Parliamentary Libraries, the typical focus of end user requirement is for access to Parliamentary archives, news and current affairs feeds and current awareness bulletins, dissemination of press releases and other member information, and access to born digital resources such as electronic books and e-journal resources. A survey of current and future requirements for electronic resource access will assist in categorising electronic collection requirements in two broad areas: Digital Library services (including digital archives) managed by the library, digital resources provided through subscription and document delivery. Library patrons can be informed about new material in both these areas through news and alerting services.
The library should undertake an asset audit to determine the needs/requirements for digitization for purposes of both access and preservation. On-demand digitization requirements to support reference services, document delivery and alerting services (e.g. full text disseminating of news items in relation to Parliament and its members) should also be reviewed. Both of these digitisation processes will feed through to the Digital Library which can preserve these entries as a permanent record.
If the Parliamentary Library has responsibility for archives, then the need to build a effective document management or Digital Library system will be imperative. The library can use a Digital Library framework to improve access to current and historical information. Some parliaments, for instance, use digital libraries to store media releases by Members over time, and to store news stories related to members (refer to the NSW Parliament case study below). Finally, the Parliamentary library can play an important role in preserving the collective memory of the parliament, and the Digital Library can be used to support the digitisation of historical resources held by the library for purposes of historical preservation and ease of access. These archives can form an important information resources on the parliamentary website.
The selection of appropriate software for Digital Library management is a significant project for the library and will entail a software selection and implementation process similar to the implementation of other major core library services (refer to Evaluating Software in the second chapter). The selection process should begin with a requirements gathering process to determine the types of media and assets that the Parliamentary library will be responsible for. There are many solutions that can provide very effective management of full text and image documents. Management of video materials is more demanding - both in software and the data storage requirements. Broadly the classes of software that can address the requirements of storage and preservation of digital resources are:
Useful documents of historical value may already be in digital form and can be managed by the library. Many Digital Library systems grow from a simple file-system approach to collecting digital documents relevant to the members - with the library being the logical repository for these documents. While the collection of documents remains relatively small, this approach can be quite effective. The ILMS catalogue can potentially be used to collect metadata relating to these documents and provide searching for the documents held on the file store.
As the collection of digital document grows, such an approach will become unmanageable. The file system folders must be maintained and preserved and there is the risk that documents are removed from the file system without reference to the associated metadata. The library catalogue, being mainly focused on descriptive and subject cataloguing, does not always have sufficient metadata for ongoing records management of archival electronic resources.
The Document Management System (such as Microsoft's Sharepoint) can provide an intermediary approach to Digital Library management for a Parliamentary archive, where the focus is on managing largely internal-facing digital documents and where the focus is not on long term interoperability and data exchange. For the Parliamentary Library starting in this area, Digital Library software is the better choice where possible - but utilising an existing installed Document Management application such as Sharepoint may be the beginning of a Digital Library strategy.
If the library is responsible for capturing, preparing and distributing large collections of images, audio or video, it may be necessary to consider the use of digital asset management solutions. This class of software is deployed by broadcasting and media organisations to manage the workflow around ingestion, preparation, metadata annotation and retrieval of non-text digital assets. This not typically the choice for Parliamentary Libraries.
The Digital Library system is in many ways similar to the Document Management system, but extended to provide a public-facing web interface and an underlying archiving system. The Digital Library is therefore the typical choice for long term ongoing management of a digital archive for text-based digital resources (and often also for image libraries). Digital Library software typically has integrated capabilities for metadata exchange with current standards. Even where in the early stages of electronic collection development interoperability may appear to be of limited relevance, such metadata can be used in many different ways. Web 2.0-based services can use metadata to feed through to alerting systems.
Software for Digital Library systems is available commercially and in open source, and is robust and stable. Typical software choices are WinISYS CDS, DSpace, Greenstone and for larger libraries Fedora Commons.
Metadata is the information describing objects in the Digital Library. For instance, the item title, author, dimensions and format are all examples of metadata. Metadata serves three purposes in the Digital Library:
Descriptive metadata - as with traditional cataloguing, digital objects need to be described and identified so that they can be discovered within the Digital Library. Digital Library metadata standards for describing objects serve the same role as AACR2 and MARC standards do for traditional catalogues. Examples of Descriptive metadata standards commonly used in Digital Libraries are Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), and Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard (METS). While DCMI is probably more widely used by Digital Libraries, MODS and METS provide a fuller descriptive framework as a successor to MARC. DSpace and Greenstone use DCMI as their descriptive metadata framework.
Semantic metadata - the semantic metadata provides the subject classification and relationship information for objects in the Digital Library. While this may be based on a traditional name/value pair of identifiers (subject = 'Parliamentary History'), the current trend is to move to Resource Description Framework (RDF). RDF underpins many projects that are realising the possibilities of the Semantic Web for purposes of stronger metadata description of documents on the web (and in archives). A semantic metadata description goes beyond the name/value descriptive pair to describe metadata in a series of “statements” in a subject, object and predicate statement (the title of the book is 'The history of Parliaments'). Central to the concept of RDF is the ability to unify concepts across many resources in a meaningful way. Fedora Commons implements RDF as its underlying schema.
Harvesting metadata - There are many Digital Library systems - commercial, open source and bespoke (home grown). Irrespective of the internal metadata approach for description and subject classification of the objects in the library, support for a harvesting metadata standard provides a means for inter-operability between Digital Library systems. The most widely implemented harvesting system is Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI/PMH). This scheme supports metadata “harvesting” between digital libraries to allow discovery of digital resources between systems. Kete uses OAI/PMH for its internal schema. DSpace, Greenstone, Fedora Commons and Kete support an OAI/PMH harvesting interface.
The long term inter-operability of your digital resources with other digital resources being developed in-country and regionally will be enhanced or impeded by the level and quality of the metadata you collect associated with your digital resources. The selection of a metadata framework should be undertaken with reference to existing projects nationally and regionally. It is worth approaching your National Library to discuss their metadata standards. It is also worth examining metadata standards being implemented regionally in other Parliamentary libraries.
Parliamentary Libraries should ensure that the Digital Library system chosen uses one of DCMI, MODS, METS or RDF, and supports OAI/PMH for purposes of inter-operability.
Workflow management is also crucial to Digital Library operation. One of the challenges to institutional acceptance is the efficiency of the ingestion process. The more complex the workflow, the less likely the institutional buy-in on the system. The open design of of the Digital Library system in this area is important - focus on systems that have adaptable means for ingestion is important - for example to allow the addition of “plug-ins” adapted by institutions to suite their local preference for file uploads. DSpace for instance supports several paths for file uploads, including:
Some Digital Library systems focus on the archival role: the long term preservation and management of the digital resource. Some systems focus on the presentational role: the facilitating the discovery of the digital resource. Large volume digitisation projects (such as Parliamentary Archives) may require a focus on strong workflow systems to simplify the ingestion process.
Your Digital Library system will change over time. These changes may entail institutional name changes, website redesigns or changes to the website platform. The print form of a book or a journal has the virtue of a static nature: the content is the same for all readers for a given publication. Distributed access is simple. Personalisation, on the other hand, dispenses with any degree of finality of information delivery: the content delivery may be different for each individual. Without a fixed point of reference in which content can be thought to have reached a “final” form – that is, which is essentially dynamic, the issues of attempting to preserve content in its final generated form become problematic. One way of supporting the portability of electronic resources through website and organisational changes is the use of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI). These generally entail the registration of objects through a central referencing agency that provides a proxy-based reference to the current web page/resource location. DSpace, for instance, includes full integration with the public DOI handle.net service (Corporation for National Research Initiatives 2010). It also incorporates functionality to host and manage your own DOI handle service.
The award-winning common digital Parliamentary Library embracing the two parliaments of the Czeck and Slovak republics represents a valuable case study in the integration of digital resources.
This experience illustrates the rich benefits of building a Digital Library system focused that achieves key goals of:
The availability of off-the shelf Digital Library software makes interoperability between Digital Libraries a practical option for small-to-medium sized parliaments.
Eva Malackova and Karel Sosna published a paper at the annual IFLA congress in Korea, 2006 on the joint Czeck and Slovak Digital Parliamentary Library, available at http://archive.ifla.org/IV/ifla72/papers/087-Malackova_Sosna-en.pdf.
Metadata schema's for digital libraries are typically XML based.
Digital libraries & archives
The diversity of electronic journals, books and resources presents a frustrating challenge for the library: that of discovery. Full text resources may be spread across internal digital archives, electronic databases, e-book subscription services and free online websites. The Parliamentary Library website can play an important role if facilitating the discovery of relevant resources in subject areas relevant to the parliament, and through training and awareness sessions - especially briefing sessions that the library may host for newly elected members and their staff. Where e-readers are used, this may encompass training in use of the readers.
The transition to electronic delivery of traditional print publications is well underway in many libraries. Library clients show a strong preference for electronic over print for research and information discovery. This has driven a rapid transition in collection development in many libraries to the management of electronic subscriptions to resources.
It is in the area of journal subscriptions where the transition to an electronic delivery is the most evident. Access to electronic resources to support reference and research services can be achieved by direct subscription with the relevant publisher. There are also a number of aggregate providers of electronic journal subscriptions. Finally, some publisher offer consortia arrangements that can be negotiated by groups of libraries or at the national level.
Major information vendors such as Proquest, Ovid, EBSCO, Lexis/Nexis provide aggregate and consortia based subscriptions that provide a single fee to access a database (usually Whit full text documents) across hundreds of journals. Collaborating with other libraries (for example other government libraries) in negotiating consortia access arrangements can reduce the individual cost for membership to such resources. Universities and government departments will often already have consortia arrangements in place. While consortia arrangements may reduce the cost of some e-resources, they need to be scrutinized to ensure the Parliamentary library gets a good selection of relevant publications. The information needs of Universities are often quite different from those of Parliamentarians.
In less-developed countries, there may be specific arrangements to provide access a considerably reduced prices to subscription databases. Parliamentary libraries in Asia, Africa and Europe may also be able to draw on assistance from eifl.net (http://www.eifl.net/) in order to gain access to e-journals, e-books and open access resources at lower cost for developing countries.
As part of the licensing subscription the library should consider requirements for local archiving of the electronic journals subscription. Where publishers allow, it may be possible to store electronic journal articles in a local Digital Library (with appropriate restrictions for access). Such a local archive provides for long-term archival management of important digital subscriptions and may also provide a useful knowledge resource when integrated with other assets in the local Digital Library.
Supporting e-resource reading software or hardware may also be required: for instance e-book readers. The library may need to maintain and lend a collection of e-book/e-resource readers for the members or ensure that the standard operating environment available to Parliamentary members includes relevant software.
Key questions in the selection process for these services include:
The traditional model for publishing journals and books has been challenged by a new model for distribution: Open Access. Resources published through Open Access are free for the client accessing the resource (through the Internet). Publishing is usually funded by requiring the author to pay a fee when submitting an item for publication. Some institutions also maintain Open Access repositories for pre-publication copies of research work created by the institution. Finally, some journals that are released on a subscription basis make their publications free for access after an embargo period.
Many electronic journals are now available by Open Access. It can be beneficial to integrate the metadata related to these Open Access journals in the catalogue to facilitate awareness of and access to these online resources. There are now good online indexes of electronic Apen Access publications (refer to Resources below).
E-journals and e-books have a quite distinctive workflow, quite distinct from the management of traditional print serials. This workflow entails processes for review and selection of electronic resources (that is, conscious collection building of the items in the electronic resource collection as a whole). The selection process can entail negotiating with several suppliers, as there may be considerably overlap of coverage between different subscription suppliers.
Typically the steps should at least include:
Where the library has subscriptions to content that needs to be retained for the long term, the library should negotiate with the publisher placing the articles in a local Digital Library, or should maintain a separate print subscription.
The emergent e-Book market has a range of formats for popular devices. The four most commonly used formats are text, Kindle (an Amazon publishing format), ePub (an Adobe format) and HTML. Kindle and ePub support a Digital Rights Management functions which can restrict the usage of the item. For instance, DRM can be used to simulate traditional book lending by limiting the number of times and duration and item can be checked out. Common readers include:
The Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is a dedicated e-book reader with a few additional functions (a simple web browser and RSS feed reader). The Kindle concept of “Whispersync” goes some way to express the limitations of DRM by enabling transition of e-books across many different platforms and devices while maintaining the readers position in the text. The Kindle provides free Internet access (in some countries) as an enticement to browsing and downloading fee-for-use e-books.
The Sony Reader. This reader can play audio books and view PDF and word documents.
The Apple iPad. Larger than the Sony and Kindle readers, the IPad is a multi-function tablet computer that supports PDF, EPub and other formats.
Android-based devices. Googles Android operating system has become a further popular platform for delivery of e-books across a range of tablet-style devices.
The laptop and desktiop. The traditional laptop and desktop remain ubiquitous and important devices for discovering and downloading or reading e-books.
Mobile phones and mobile computers. Mobile access to news, tweets and electronic resources as well as social networking sites has made the mobile platform an important entry point for many to electronic resources.
The Parliamentary Library may need to support a number of platforms to meet the needs of parliamentary researchers and staff.
http://www.wikibooks.org. - Wiki Books - contains a large collection of books free for download.
http://www.gutenberg.org. - Project Gutenburg has 36,000+ e-books for free download. A number of e-book formats are supported.
http://books.google.com. - Google Books has full and partial contents of e-books, some for purchase, some free for access.
http://gallica.bnf.fr|French e-books. - Gallica is a major project by Bibliotheque nationale de France, with French, English, Portuguese and Spanish interface with a broad collection of French books, manuscripts, maps, images periodicals and sound recordings.
http://www.digitalbookindex.org. - Digital book index is an index of English language e-book titles.
http://www.librostauro.com.ar/librostauro.php. - Librostauro Spanish e-book index
http://manybooks.net. Many books has > 25,000 e-Books, across 36 languages
http://www.doaj.org. DOAJ is a directory of Open Access Journals- a directory of more than 2000 scientific and open access journals across 111 countries and many languages.
http://roar.eprints.org/. Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) a directory of open access repositories. The directory has more than 1,500 repositories. Highlights the importance of inter-operability of online electronic resources. It is International in scope.
http://www.scirus.com/. Scirus is a specialized search engine form Elsevier focused on scientific research and researchers. It has has faceted searching that can filter on Digital Libraries.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Systems. Portable Data Format (PDF) is a widely used format for digital e-book distribution. It includes some capabilities for rights management. The specification is managed by Adobe but made available free of charge
http://www.tei-c.org/index.xml. Text encoding initiative (TEI) - a markup standard for texts in the Humanities.
Parliamentary members and their staff rely on access to current information on news and developments. Typically news feeds will be sourced by commercial news gathering agencies that provide selective dissemination of information relevant to organisations. For Parliaments this may include:
NewsML (www.newsml.org) is the most commonly used XML interchange standard for disseminating the metadata associated with news items (http://www.iptc.org/site/Home/). Selective dissemination agencies will typically provide the full text news content and associated NewsML metadata to subscribing agencies, sometimes with associated full text or PDF images of the articles.
The role of the Parliamentary Library can be to disseminate this information, and possibly also to aggregate this information in a Digital Library. Typically this process will entail:
Some content (such as news feeds) may be subject to licensing restrictions that limit the extent to which content is disseminated. In this context it may be necessary to limit access to the electronic repository or Digital Library in which this content resides. Many Digital Library systems provide the workflow processes for ingestion and selective access to digital content.
Alerting services, including push methods (routing lists, email) and pull methods (such as RSS) can provide targeted information delivery to Parliamentary Library clients. Routing lists are a standard process available in most ILMS to distribute print serials on a selective basis.
Google news (http://news.google.com) is a free source for international news that allows regional and topical based news feeds.
The library should develop a communication strategy around the needs of Parliamentarians and their staff. Where the library undertakes significant research, this information can be communicated through e-news letters or Web 2.0 dissemination of information (see Chapter Five).
The Parliamentary Library in Australia provides independent research to members and the general public with detailed briefings on current issues before Parliament and affecting the nation. These briefings are published on the website and through news bulletins. The following is a sample of their e-news briefings.
Further information: Roxanne.Missingham@aph.gov.au
Parliamentary libraries are actively engaged in activities that enhance democracy through engagement with digital services. The Legislative Yuan, Taiwan, China published an profile of their engagement with electronic services in their country report “The Role of Parliamentary Libraries in Enhancing Democracy in the Digital Age” for the 7th Biennial Conference of APLAP, 9-14 September, 2002 available at http://www.agora-parl.org/node/1326.
（1）A Chinese E-paper for Library Clients
Our current information delivery service is a daily (in weekdays) electronic newspaper published by the Parliamentary Library and distributed to the public as well as library clients. Beginning on July 1, 2000, it had published five hundred twenty issues by August 8, 2002. Items in our e-paper include: (a) daily legislative news; (b) the latest laws; © legislative summaries; (d) a record of general policy questions (interpolations) to the government in the Legislative Yuan; (e) a parliamentary forum; (f) committee reports; and (g) a report from our international legislative awareness service.
（2）Multilingual Legislative Awareness
Our multilingual, international legislative awareness service, or Dispatch of Current Legislative Information, is a daily report service providing major international news and updates on the status of legislation around the world. Translated from reliable sources in eleven countries, this report provides a Chinese edition of news and other materials which originally appeared in the Chinese, English, Japanese, German, Spanish and Russian languages. It is one of our most rewarding and popular services.
（3）Library E-mail Distribution Service for Press Clippings
News and commentary about the parliament & legislators from sixteen local Chinese or English newspapers will be selected and filed electronically each day through an extension of the Legislative Yuan News System. These electronic press clippings on parliamentarians are automatically send out to each legislator’s individual e-mail box within the day.
（4）Information and Knowledge on Demand
The new system of our library automation project (or LA II) at the Parliamentary Library of the Legislative Yuan features an on-demand Internet information dissemination service on topics chosen by our clients. Users may easily select topics of interest and construct a research profile from our subject thesaurus. Then the LA II system will compile all the current website resources related to the chosen subjects and e-mail site references to users promptly. This subject access to websites is an individual subscription feature of our web library
（5）Subject-oriented Information Packages
The subject-oriented information package service of our web library draws on a well-organized and comprehensive online collection of web resources arranged by subject headings. 1 The service collates and stores links to previously prepared research materials under an online menu, and thus makes them available for use by everyone, whether as a direct reference or as background for further research.
As the number of electronic resources managed by the library grows, so does the complexity of accessing these resources. Many subscription providers of electronic resources will have different sign-on methodologies to access their resources. In this context the library faces the challenge of providing simple access to underlying resources that are delivered in quite complex and different ways.
IP address authentication is offered by most providers. This entails providing access to the underlying electronic resource based on the Internet address(es) of your library. This allows your library clients to access these resources without sign-on, but only when used locally at the library. This approach requires no further authentication by the user. The solution has one principle weakness: remote users cannot access the service unless they gain access through a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This weakness is sometimes address by adding a further layer of software: the proxy server. The role of the proxy server is to locally authenticate users and then pass their web page requests through a local “proxy” service which fetches the web pages from the remote service on their behalf.
Another approach widely used by libraries is Single Sign-on. Users of your service authenticate only once (for instance through your library management system or through your intranet sign-on). This authentication automatically provides the necessary authentication to remote electronic databases. Two systems have gained acceptance in libraries:
The choice of service depends a great deal on your current infrastructure and capabilities. While Shibboleth is gaining acceptance it requires local development and integration work to enable. Athens authentication is often already integrated in existing library applications.
In addition to the ILMS catalogue, the library may have access to several Online databases of electronic full text content (such as journal subscriptions). The library may also have specific journal subscriptions separate from these consortia database subscriptions. This is often managed by a “databases” reference page on the local intranet or website. This requires the reference services and library clients to discriminate the most appropriate electronic resource for a given query. The library may also have a subscriptions to a variety of online database resources. It is not always easy to know which of these resources is relevant for a particular information requirement. The federated search solves this dilemma by bringing many of the library resources together in a single search. As the complexity of these resources grows, federated searching becomes an important factor in your library architecture.
Commercial providers such as Serials Solutions provide software such as “Summon” which provides a single search platform across both the local catalogue and electronic subscription content.
Some open source library management systems can also provide a platform for federated searching. For instance, Koha provides search capabilities through the Zebra search engine. This engine can itself index different types of resources (such as your Digital Library content). This opens the possibility of making your catalogue not only a portal to the physical assets managed by your library but also a metadata hub to the wider electronic assets managed by the library.
There are alternatives to managing your own federated search software. Google has focused on providing a “single” search framework which is in fact a heterogeneous set of search engines, including:
Google scholar allows direct linking to your own library collection (see http://scholar.google.com/intl/en/scholar/libraries.html) making it a viable low-cost framework for federated searching.
Another impressive resource that also searches to the article level and can link through to your library is OCLC's WorldCat. Membership of OCLC allows you to make your collection visible in WorldCat, and the WorldCat search includes some article-level searching.
Regional groups have also established their own unified searches. An example of this is the Federated Parliamentary Library System (FPL) established by the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network (see the case study below).
The Federated Parliamentary Library System (FPL) is an initiative of the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network. It provides a unified search across 18 African Parliamentary libraries using the Koha library management system as the search framework. This resource is available as a public catalogue at http://fpl.apkn.org/. A Google-style search can be used to discover resources across all member libraries with four language interfaces implemented.
Digital Library and Digital asset management
An important role of the Parliamentary library is the provision of information and research assistance to Parliamentary members and their staff. This service may be integrated with the library or operate as a parallel service. The advice given through the Reference service is the keen edge of the library interface with the Parliament, and as such is the most affected by changing trends in information seeking behaviour.
The advent of Web 2.0 and Social Networking brings tools of extraordinary depth and sophistication at no charge to the fingertips of the library clients. The proof of the relevance of the library therefore relies on the ability of the Parliamentary library to fulfill its role in provision of an impartial, authoritative, and timely information service.
A number of ICT systems can facilitate the work of information research and provision. The traditional ICT tools supporting reference services have been request tracking, database research and document delivery systems. Request tracking systems provide a workflow for submission, tracking and fulfillment of client requests, as well as statistical reporting for purposes of periodic reporting. Database tools have traditional been the means by which reference services have extended the reach of research beyond the core library collection. Document delivery systems formed the means by the results of research could be fulfilled for the client by use of other libraries resources.
Parliamentary Libraries share some characteristics with Law libraries in their need to build a knowledge base off known information requirements of the Parliament. As reference queries are resolved they can form the basis of a knowledge base. They may also be used in a web-based FAQ to assist others following the same information path. Reference tracking systems naturally form an element of the library knowledge base. However, this knowledge base can include the provision of alerting services to target the information needs of members (such as news feeds). A further element of effective Knowledge Management by the library is the evolution of a profile of the specific information needs of clients - potentially through an appropriate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. While Web 2.0 could be seen as presenting a challenge to the traditional approach to information service delivery, it also provides an opportunity for very personal service provision. This can include the substitution of web-based forms for information service requests with email or instant messaging.
The reference services should also inform the collection building activity of the library. As one of the principle interfaces with the library clients, the types of requests placed and the relationships established with clients can give guidance and direction in the priorities for print and electronic collection priorities.
As with Integrated Library Management Systems, reference tracking systems (such as the well-known RefTracker software), have an implicit workflow. This includes:
The reference services of the library are one among many information sources that members and their staff will draw on. The library is in a unique position to provide a well researched and informed advise on issues raised. Awareness of this service can be enhanced through marketing techniques and a high level of accessibility of the service. Marketing is an important element of the reference services. Marketing can include:
The delivery of these services therefore needs to balance timeliness with relevance
The starting point for effective management of client information needs is an analysis of the system requirements to track client requests. The growing set of tools that the library can draw upon, and the increasingly complex information requirements of clients, can make the process of tracking requests quite complex. Apart from the benefits to the client of efficient fulfillment of their requests, the effective tracking of requests can enhance the library's ability to analyse the areas of most need and demand. There are a variety of tools that can be used to effectively track requests. A starting point, for instance, is to use the productivity tools at hand to build to-do lists and integrate with calendar functions to provide event alerting. Open source (Open Office), commercial (e.g. Microsoft Office) or Web 2.0 (Google Docs) all provide extensible tools for tracking requests that can provide the initial core of a reference tracking system.
The systematic management of the workflow around reference requests may, however, go beyond the capabilities of standard productivity tools. The use of software designed for reference tracking will typically provide a structured workflow around the reference tracking process. A simple reference tracking system will include:
The use of Instant Messaging or SMS for interactive response to service requests has an immediacy that can be attractive to clients. Staff resourcing (and training) for such a service needs to be sufficient that client scan trust that it's use will elicit a timely response. There are many commercial and open source Instant Messaging solutions available, some design for library requirements. Some of the aspects that may be important in selection of an Instant Messaging solutions can be:
The extension of the instant messaging approach to SMS offers the ability for Parliamentary clients to submit requests “on the fly”.
In the introduction to this handbook we discussed the need for the library to focus on the information requirements of members and their staff, and to provide impartial information from disparate sources that service their needs. Some libraries are moving away from the concept of the “Reference Desk” as a point of information delivery. They are moving to a more personalised service management that may be framed around concepts of client relationship management. An effective CRM can encompass elements of event management and information needs analysis. It may also feed into and draw on a knowledge management resource to facilitate effective response to client information needs. The information for a Client Relationship Management (CRM) may emerge from the implicit knowledge of staff as well as the information captured in the reference tracking system. The CRM model should include the elements of knowledge management that will allow effective fulfillment of known information needs and a history of questions asked and resources commonly used. This information can also inform the direction of collection building.
The CRM should capture:
Software for SMS Reference
Online sharing or video based support
Office productivity tools and simple Client Relationship Management
Guidelines for Behavioural Performance of Reference and Information Service Providers (Reference and user Services Association board of Directors) http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/resources/guidelines/guidelinesbehavioral.cfm.
No matter how well resourced your library, the number of books, journals and electronic resources published is much greater than the capability of any individual library to build a complete collection representing all these resources. Libraries have a strong history of collaborative sharing of resources. Document Delivery systems allow libraries to draw in the wider network of libraries to prepare a more complete response to information requests. Document delivery systems rely on aggregation of the holdings of regional, national or sectional groups of libraries into Union Catalogues. These Union Catalogues are an essential element for discovery and supply of holdings and can extend the research reach of your library through access to a national, regional and global resources. The fulfillment of requests for resources in another library is called an inter-library loan (ILL). Standards for fulfillment exist, and there are also standards for electronic workflow management of the inter-library loan process – the International Standards Organisation (ISO) Inter-Library Loan standard ISO 10160 and ISO 10161 are relevant (Interlibrary Loan Application Standards Maintenance Agency 1997) and the electronic placement and fulfillment of ILL requests is common in some regions.
Electronic delivery is rapidly becoming the favoured means of inter-library loan fulfillment, especially when the source material is already in digital form. However such fulfillment may be constrained by licensing and copyright restrictions. For instance, some consortia limit electronic delivery to non-profit research organisations only.
A number of commercial and government delivery services (such Infotrieve) can provide documents on a per-item fee basis in a more timely manner than traditional inter-library loan systems, where speed of delivery is critical.
Document delivery systems facilitate the workflow management of inter-library loans. Libraries have a long history of collaboration through inter-library loans, and the national and international processes for fulfillment are well understood by libraries. While document delivery systems can vary in capabilities, the key functions they can support are:
Similarly, your library will receive ILL requests from other libraries and will a workflow system to track this loan through to return. Key functions for this element of the document delivery workflow are:
The Parliamentary Library may be responsible for part or all of the management of the intranet, extranet and website of the Parliament. The starting point for evaluating the role of the Parliamentary library in this context is the development of a content strategy. The content strategy can help determine the focus of content presentation in each of the three modes of information delivery. Above all the content strategy should be directed to the needs of Parliamentary members and their support staff.
The Intranet (for service delivery of resources provides the means for focused delivery of resources to the Parliamentary members and their staff. Elements of the content strategy relating to the intranet might include:
The extranet extends the visibility of the intranet to remote users.
The public website provides the means for more widely reaching interested communities: such as schools, universities and the general public. In additional to information about the role and function of parliament and parliamentary democracy, the library can provide valuable information on its collection and resources.
Please refer to the following detailed guidelines on content management for Parliamentary websites:
Guidelines for Parliamentary Websites: a document prepared by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Department of Economic and social Affairs, through the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, March 2009. http://www.ictparliament.org/node/691
There are several approaches to building an intranet that require minimal existing infrastructure. Wikis provide a simple, quick and low-investment approach to presenting content online. Once familiar with the Wiki syntax they can be an effective method for information presentation. An example of an internal wiki tool for documentation is DocuWiki (http://www.docuwiki.com). Google provides a free hosted facility for document management that allows forms-based scripting and collaborative document preparation (http://docs.google.com).
There are a multitude of web and wiki-style content management systems available in Open Source. Two that have a large international installation base are Joomla and Drupal. Joomla has some nice existing modules that suite libraries getting started in document management, such as DocMan (http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/directory-a-documentation/downloads/10958) and has a good language support (http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/languages/translations-for-joomla).
Most public and corporate entities are under an obligation to ensure that their websites fulfill at least the minimum requirements for web accessibility, especially for public-facing websites. The most commonly accepted standard for accessibility are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/. The thrust of this guidelines is sensible and practical. They are divided into four categories of perception, operation, understandability and robustness. First and foremost, websites should provide text alternatives to all non-text content and time-based media. Content should be amenable to presentation in different ways (for example a simplified layout for website readers). WCAG guidelines have quite practical implications in site design that can readily be implemented with new websites, although retro-fitting existing web applications may be difficult. They include:
Your websites can be tested for practical compliance using one of the screen reading applications available (see software below).
This chapter will discuss the role of libraries in archives and records management. Not all libraries fulfill this role for the Parliament. Where they do, this chapter outlines the role of ICT in facilitating the archiving and records management process, including Records Management systems. Records are an essential tool for organisations in preserving their history and culture, and form a base of information for planning and decision making. They can also be evidence of accountability for government organisations. For Parliaments, the records of parliamentary debates, media releases and publications by Parliament and Members may be an important role of the library. Where no such record keeping is currently maintained by the Parliament, it may be an area of initiative by the library.
Several well-known disasters have impacted Parliaments and their archives. Most notably:
Fire, earthquake, and simple deterioration can all pose threats to library collections. A plan to ensure that the most important historical are adequately managed. From a systems point of view this can include the proper technical housing of the materials in conditions that ensure their long term preservation, and periodic inspection and review. A policy of digitization can enhance the preservation prospects by ensuring that all valuable physical assets have an equivalent digital copy which can be kept locally and in networked copies. Typical issues for archival maintenance include environmental control, building maintenance (fire and flooding controls), storage, handling and access controls, security and acquisition policies (and in particular retention rules to ensure that required items are marked and retained for archival purposes).
The first step in assessing the library capabilities to support archives and records management is an assessment of current practice and capabilities to highlight areas of high risk were records and information management procedures are required. It is important to prepare a business case for establishing a robust records management framework. This business case should include an assessment of current capabilities and the steps needed to achieve a robust records management and archival preservation system. This can form the basis for a business case to present to management and to assist in developing the institutional capabilities in this area. This audit should also be focused on highlighting the preservation of the unique physical assets held by the library.
The assets that may be unique to a parliamentary library include:
However the scope of the record-keeping by the parliamentary library may be broader than this. The International Standards Organisation definition of a “record” includes “recorded information in any form, including data in computer systems, created or received and maintained by an organization or person in the transaction of business and kept as evidence of such activity” (ISO 15489).
The role of the library in managing assets may encompass both physical and digital assets. Records management of IT assets can include documents produced and distributed through desktop productivity systems, emails, financial reports, and of course the correspondence and output of parliamentary committees and of course of the Parliament itself.
The proper archival management of these resources needs to achieve several goals. From a documentary point of view they need to be able to demonstrate:
The management of archival copies of physical assets requires asset management policies that are different from normal library lending policies. For instance, the library should identify the “authoritative” copy of the item, which normally will not be lent. To this end, any system developed to support records management needs to follow consistent processes for asset management. These processes include record capture, registration, classification, security management, appraisal and review, storage, tracking and disposal steps, all as a part of a life cycle of records management, as follows:
Across the breadth of these steps metadata is vital to ensure the management and accessibility of records. Both document management systems and digital library systems will typically have elements of these processes integrated in their workflows. See the previous chapter for more details on the characteristics of these systems and their associated workflows.
The business plan for archives management should plan can be formulated which includes the workflow processes, training requirements for staff and environmental changes necessary for good archives management. Associated with this plan should be a disaster recovery assessment which evaluates the risks and associated actions for ongoing records management and preservation. The disaster plan should include the physical and technological elements for recovery from disaster, and should be stored in locations accessible other than on the parliamentary network and include the following information:
Where the parliamentary library has a specific responsibility in this area, the designation of an archives office may be necessary whose responsibility will be to ensure that processes for record keeping and preservation are sustained in the Parliament and to sustain ongoing staff development in record keeping policies.
There may be specific national metadata standards for record keeping that meed to be maintain. For instance the AGLS Metadata standard is used by Australian Government agencies as a standard for description of records and archives (http://www.naa.gov.au/records-management/publications/AGLS-Element.aspx). Dublin Core is an important metadata framework that can be expressed as Open Archives Metadata (http://www.openarchives.org/sfc/sfc_oams.htm). Many of the digital library systems discussed in the previous chapter include capabilities for metadata enhancement of records and objects stored in the system. METS is as well-known schema used for many records and archives and designed for digital libraries (http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/).
It is important to document the policy decisions around record keeping, including retention rules, transportation, storage and destruction.
Refer to the previous chapter for discussion of records and digital library systems that can support archives management. Core technologies that support good records management are barcoding and RFID. Barcoding of physical assets is cheap and durable and simplifies the process of undertaking periodic stocktakes/reviews of assets. RFID can be useful both for tracking and asset review where tracking of items is more critical.
Records Management software
This chapter presents an overview of social media and web 2.0 developments and the common technologies. It explores the ways in which social media is relevant to the Parliamentary library both as a tool for research and as a means of outward projection of the library services.
One of the phenomenal developments of the last decade has been the acceptance and transformation of the web from a purely informational resource to a two-way, highly engaged medium of communication. This has occurred across cultural, national and economic boundaries. Web 2.0 and Social Networking have been the buzz-words underlying this transformation. Web 2.0 refers to a “second generation” of web-based services typified by two-way engagement, collaboration and information sharing.
Web 2.0 is not a single concept. Rather it is a metaphor for the convergence of technologies that enables rich participation in and remixing (mash-ups) of applications. The element of participation is most richly expressed in the emergence of blogs and other vehicles for personal expression on the web. The ease with which personal narrative can be interwoven with other websites and other information sources was a key transition point from the web as a one-way information source to the web as an interactive discussion place. Social networking (Facebook, Twitter and others) has extended this further by providing immediacy to personal expression in a context of networked relationships.
The library no longer stands as the principal reference point for accumulated knowledge of an organisation. It remains, however, one of the trusted sources of knowledge. This presents both opportunities and challenges for the library. Amidst the diversity of rich information sources now available to anyone with an Internet connection, the Parliamentary Library itself must assert its role as:
This presents a professional development challenge for libraries: to be conversant and even situated in the middle of these new tools while maintaining a firm grip on the responsibilities for trustworthy management of information resources on behalf of Parliamentary Libraries.
The physical collection of the library is only one of the reference points for research to meet the needs of parliamentary libraries. In addition to being a unique new phenomenon of communication between groups, it also presents additional opportunities for research by the library on behalf of its members and clients. For the parliamentary library the research may begin within the bounds of the library but it will certainly extend beyond that. Many of the resources now available for research are free, and are being used by library clients themselves. The role of the information professional here is important, as key concepts in searching remain important:
The research may have to mediate information already obtained by the client that is of mixed quality and reliability. Just as doctors face the phenomenon of patients coming with their own Google search results on their ailments, so also information professionals must help to analyse and integrate information from quite disparate sources. Michael Sayers neatly encapsulated the new generation of research tools available to the library in the term “Searching 2.0”. Beyond the borders of the library and its traditional research databases and catalogue, lie a rich set of resources available in the Web 2.0 domain.
The research process itself is changing with the “quantum affect” of web 2.0 participation - the research may itself leave a trail of participation behind through tagging, reviews and blogging that enrich in the overall information resource.
The following are some of the key Web 2.0 resources available to the researching in the Parliamentary Library:
Google search - still the pre-eminent search engine. The ranking algorithm, based on frequency of links to a given page has proven effective over time, even when distorted by Google's sale of keywords and strenuous efforts by others to distort rankings to their own ends. However, the Google search is not the only rich resource provided by the imaginative crowd at Google. Probably more important for research purposes are the new members in the Google fold.
Google scholar (http://scholar.google.com.au/) - indexes research articles, legal patents legal opinions and journals, providing a free vehicle for citation-based searching. While a big draw card for academics, this can also be a useful method for background research on key topic areas of interest to parliamentary members.
Google books (http://books.google.com/) - is the latest Herculean effort by Google to become the hub for discovering all publications. While faltering on the copyright front, it still represents an extraordinary research resource. A result page in Google books is an example of the mash-ups possible in web 2.0 - with reviews, cover art, related works, tag clouds of terms in the work, bibliographic information (including subject relationships) sample pages of scans, links to commercial providers of the work and “find in a library” - linking to WorldCat.
Google maps (http://maps.Google.com) - by providing Google maps as an online resource that was simultaneously accessible as a web page and as a tool for others to mash-up with geographical information, Google has provided an immeasurably effective resource. Google maps is itself replete with metadata and therefore represents a search tool for not only location discovery but also for searching about places, people and things.
Google blog (http://blogsearch.google.com/) - provides a search engine indexing blogs specifically.
Google news (http://news.google.com.au/) - a news feed - that can be regionalised and taken as an RSS feed (for example all news items mentioning a given person).
Google+ (https://plus.google.com) - Googles' latest response to Facebook, following their failed Wave product, with video chat (hangout).
There are potential privacy with Google services as there are with most major search engines. The IP address, search keywords and sites visited may all be tracked. Alternatives such as Scroogle (http://www.scroogle.org & https://ssl.scroogle.org) leverage Google to yield search results that preserve privacy and without advertisements. They do not pass through to external sites search times used and insulate the searcher from logging and local recording of search terms used. Other search engines such as ixquick (http://www.ixquick.com/) attempt to protect the privacy of the search process.
WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org) , managed by the library Goliath OCLC, complements rather than competes with Google. Representing an aggregate collection of OCLC members around the world it sports > 1.4 billion items. Among the interlinking functions are “Ask a Librarian” which links through to a librarian in affiliated libraries.
Wikipedia represents a phenomenal resource. Established in 2001, it has carved out a unique place in the web. Its content may often be of questionable authenticity, and can be fraught with misuse and inaccuracy. Nevertheless, its sheer scope makes it unequaled in breadth of content. Irrespective of whether the information professional disdains or lives by Wikipedia, it is important to be aware of its presence in the information sphere. This awareness for the parliamentary library can include:
Wikipedia has a free-text search similar to Google, including the ability to qualify search terms. For instance parliament -Westminster will search on articles with the term parliament and without the term Westminster. The wiki includes a useful pseudo-authority for commonly used terms - searching on “Parliament (disambiguation)” will illustrate this concept - giving alternative semantics around a wider term.
Parliamentary members may be interested in references to themselves or to topics they are interested in. Registering on the wiki is the entry point for contributing and editing articles. It also allows the registered client to mark pages to “Watch”. This will result in email alerts when there is activity on a topic that is of interest.
Social networking allows individuals to describe their interests and activities and develop a community of common interests. The core group of social networking tools represented by Facebook, YouTube and Flickr represent a vast, raw, resource of content and information. Each of these resources has a separate search engine, and most have a form of advanced search which at least allow searching by types of media and recency of publication (for instance the “search options” in YouTube). As with Wikipedia, YouTube has a subscribe option to monitor particular pages or “channels”. Yahoo's Flickr also has an advanced search allowing filtering by media type or date, and a range of functions to annotate through tagging or “favourites”. Unlike Flickr and YouTube, Facebook requires sign-in for searching. The search options are limited. The importance of Facebook is networking and “presence”, and the integration of Facebook with other Web 2.0 functions such as Twitter.
While Blogs are a common method of outward communication by the library (see below), they are also an important resource to be tracked and monitored by the library. Parliamentary members may maintain blogs, and the indexing and referencing of these by the library can provide a valuable resource on the intranet or extranet. Similarly, when researching issues for members, reference to blogs as well as media releases may be important. Google blog search may also be a useful service in this context.
Opportunities for the utilisation of social media as an information channel about the library and for alerting services/dissemination of information.
The library is for and about its current and future clients and their information needs. The information professionals that are part of the library and and research services are situated in the midst of a complex network of information and communication. It is important for the library to be aware and situated in the midst of the information and communication channels of its clients. For this reason, if no other, the Social Network toolkit is an important part of the resources used by the library.
Wikipedia is just one in a class of web based documentation tools that enable quick, often participatory, development of web content in a simple, rapid manner. Wikis are characterised by a simple writing syntax that (after a short learning curve) allows simple collaborative development of web-based information. It can complement an intranet for purposes of documentation and information delivery. The software supporting Wikis is light-weight - DokuWiki (http://www.dokuwiki.org/dokuwiki) for instance requires no database and has a very simple install, but is complemented by a wide range of “plugins” than extend its functionality. The wiki can be used for a broad range of task support in the library, from documentation to knowledge management.
The blog is probably the first, easiest and most personal Web 2.0 presents the Parliamentary Library can establish. The library is the conduit of news on information, events and resources that are very suitable to blogging and can attract a considerable following. Types of news suitable for a blog include:
Libraries are great content creators as well as content managers. The Parliamentary Library may be the custodian of a range of information resources that members are vitally interested in. This may include current news feeds, new publications, media releases from other members. In addition that the library may be responsible for managing the intranet, extranet and web presents not only of the library bat other sections of the parliament. RSS (definition here) represents a simple means of distributing this information to others on a selective or wholesale basis. The technology for RSS syndication is already integrated into may library and information applications. Clients can consume RSS syndicated feeds easily through standard web browsers and email clients. Moreover they can, as with all Web 2.0 resources, reshape these feeds themselves in different ways. Blog updates can be syndicated through RSS.
Twitter is a vehicle for very short, and very immediate communication to a wider audience. A “tweet” is a short communication (of no more than 140 characters) that can be “followed” by others that may be interested. Tweets can be an effective tool for communication between information professionals. It can be a means of researching and tracking developments and announcements by members and others of interest to the Parliamentary library and the Parliament as a whole. The draw card of the “tweet”, as against RSS, is the personal nature, the immediacy and the brevity of the communication. Along the theme of rich inter-networking of social media tools, tweets can themselves feed from (and to) other social media tools, such as Facebook and Blogs. They can be a rich means for keeping abreast of developments at conferences that you are interested but cannot attend - through the use of hashtags and other “back channels”.
Why does the library need to have a presence in Facebook - where they already have a web page presence? The significance of a Facebook page for the libraries lies in positioning the library in the midst of the discourse and information networks of the clients themselves. A presence in Facebook is a portal not only to communication with clients, but also with other libraries. A presence there should be judged on a mature assessment of:
As with tweets, the attraction of Facebook lies in the sense of personal engagement that it represents, and therefore the outward expression of the library in the community.
Tagging is the means by which your clients can interact with your information systems. Tagging allows the client to create topic phrases that express their particular interest, and share these “tags” with others. It is one of the ways in which the catalogue and other resources can be opened up to the dynamic nature social networking interaction.
Tagging transforms an otherwise static resource into a dynamically evolving and inter-connected resource. The ILMS software for the library catalogue may already support tagging. Similarly, many of the news and information resources that the library engages with in research and support activities will already support tagging. By engaging actively with tagging - and by tagging the results of existing research, the process of information engagement with members can be extended by contributing to the readily accessible pool of information that is directly relevant, by experience, to members and their support staff. There are risks associated with tagging and inappropriate usage of tags. This risks balanced by the additional utility offered by the ability for your clients to select particular resources from your collection and share these selections with others.
As well as engagement through in the Web 2.0 social networking sphere, the library can engage in a more fundamental way by open up its own unique services to the web through web services. The library can be a rich aggregate resource of useful information by and about the members it serves. Enabling web services that others can consume is a way of going beyond the vicarious engagement using others tools and contributing to the information admixture of the web.
To be useful, such services need to be built in a metadata framework that facilitates interoperability. Services can be delivered through a set of functions or “Application Programming Interfaces” (API's). These may be implemented through:
Social media has been revolutionary in the full sense of the word. It has changed the ways in which the citizens engage with their government, and also opened up new channels for two-way communication between individuals and also between organisations and individuals.
There is considerable room for risk, mistakes and failure in an area for which there are poorly defined rules for etiquette and behaviour. The Parliamentary library has the potential to play a role in facilitating the effective introduction and use of these tools in the Parliamentary environment and to make resources available to Parliamentary members and their staff to use and understand these services.
Library statistics are an important means for library self assessment and performance management. Methodologies for gathering and harnessing library statistics have a long track record in major western countries. The EU project LibEcon2000 (http://www.libecon.org/) set a regional direction for consistent data collection for library statistics, which itself facilitates measurement of performance at the national level through the use of consistent statistics. The Global Centre for ICT in conjunction with the Parliamentary Libraries Section of IFLA has similarly undertaken regular surveys of Parliamentary libraries whose information provides valuable feedback for libraries in setting their direction. The recently promulgated Manifesto for Statistics published by IFLA clearly sets out the importance of statistics in supporting the library within the Parliament. Statistics serve several purposes: to provide evidentiary support of the ways in which the library fulfills its role, to guide the library in decision making about investment in service delivery (and budgetary planning), and to guide progressive improvement of service delivery.
Performance measurement of libraries is not simply about collecting usage statistics, collection sizes and budgetary information on staffing, acquisitions and electronic resources. It also entails a continuous process of assessment that involves eliciting the end users opinion of the library performance. Roxanne Missingham's paper discussed in the introduction on the changing role of reference services in libraries highlights the importance of understanding and adjusting service delivery based on the current needs of the Parliamentary members and their staff.
The ISO 1160 standards also affirm the measurement of the quality and effectiveness of the services delivered as well as the goals and objectives of the library.
Current standards for the collection of statistics in libraries are proposed by ISO TC46/SC8, section of the International Standards Organization (ISO 2789 and ISO 11620) in Europe, and the National Information Standards Organization (ANSI/NISO Z39.7) in the United States. Major projects such as LibEcon2000 have illustrated the strategic benefit of having global statistics consistent across libraries regionally and nationally, and have informed subsequent efforts toward consistent standards for statistical gathering. Organisations such the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC -http://www.library.yale.edu/consortia/webstats.html), JSTOR Web Statistics Task Force (http://www.library.yale.edu/~kparker/WebStats.html), and the D-Lib Working Group’s Digital Library Metrics (http://www.dlib.org/metrics/public/) demonstrate the considerably interest in improving standards for library measurement.
An important resource for the library is the IFLA Library Statistics Manifesto (see Resources below).
Most integrated library management systems come with a suite of tools for reporting on collection usage by categories of patrons and items. The types of statistics that should be collated and tracked monthly and annually are:
The breadth and diversity of electronic systems presents specific challenges to gathering common statistics across divers platforms and services. Different suppliers, where they supply usage statistics, may do so in a variety of different ways. Nevertheless, assessing electronic usage as part of statistics gathering is most critical for libraries at a critical juncture of transition in the use of library services. An important task of the library is to assemble best equivalence measures of usage taking different source figures. For instance, while one vendor might provide statistics on searches undertaken and downloads made, another might break this down to collection or title categories.
There is no question that electronic systems can extend library services beyond the normal opening hours. Where these services are delivered through an internal library “proxy” some tracking is possible of these resources. Some vendors may provide information on when the services are being used. For instance JSTOR is provides reports detailing the breakdown by hour of access and services used. The library will probably have to use a combination of information elicited from web server logs, its own internal systems and vendor provided reports to glean a clear picture of electronic systems usage.
Usage statistics can give you a good indication over time of the important parts of your websites (intranet, extranet and Internet). There are many tools that allow you to analyse these usage statistics (see the resources section below). The following are some guidelines on reviewing these statistics:
It is particularly worth reviewing changes in statistics usage patters before and after major website changes.
The measurement of customer satisfaction is newer territory for libraries, but provides important feedback that can be particularly valuable in judging strategic directions. Statistical and Qualitative research methods are part of the basic research toolkit. Quantitative methods are applied to the analysis of population data, controlled trials, surveys census taking, econometrics, ratings analysis and many other areas. Quantitative research involves population sampling techniques which give the capacity to analyse and the ability to generalise theories. There are many texts on the most effective approaches to Quantitative research.
The mission of Qualitative Research is the discovery of new phenomena through careful in-depth examination of the results of non-quantitative investigation. The scope can be anything from the detailed study of a single case to the textual analysis of large amounts of free-form survey data. Approaches to Qualitative Research include:
The in-depth analysis of a particular organisation, situation or environment can highlight possible cause/effect relationships that are not otherwise apparent. They represent Max Weber's “typification” - the realisation of generalised models through the detailed understanding of specific cases. They are, of their very nature, open to interpretation, and subjective. A case study may involve re-interpretation of existing data in a new way.
Quantitative analysis can be an effective tool for the analysis of specific opinions and issues. However, Focus Groups can be an efficient way of rapidly gathering many different opinions in a relatively short space of time. A selected panel of users discussing issues in an environment controlled by an interviewer, potentially involving a series of iterations on questions, can provide immediate feedback on questions being tested. With an experienced interviewer, follow-up questions can arise immediately to reveal aspects of a question that have not yet been considered, and in this way key issues can be identified quite early.
The risk of focus groups is the potential domination within a selected group of strong individuals, whose opinion tends to occupy the discussion space. Similarly, interviewer bias can subtly be communicated to the participants. Typically, the Focus Group is useful for measuring consumer reaction, evaluating consumer-purchasing decisions, and measuring the use of products and services. They can be an effective approach to measuring the potential target audience reaction to a proposed idea.
The question design for focus groups yields best results when the target group are taken through several phases in the development of their ideas leading to the central question of questions. Characteristically the focus group will go through four phases:
Results are gathered from four or more focus groups and these are compiled using a Qualitative Data analysis tool such N5.
The Delphi method is an approach to forecasting using expert panels. Like a focus group, discussion and panel sessions are used to elicit opinion and ideas regarding developments that may be on the horizon. This is an iterative process, that may see several groups exchange their ideas as they work to a consensus on key future trends, issues or research directions. In the nature of these panels, very strong facilitation is necessary to avoid an early convergence to consensus or the domination of one individual or theme. In the final round of a Delphi session, questions are often ranked in priority or probability. Such techniques are often a useful approach to formulating options in cases of high uncertainty. The work by Lindstone and Turnoff (1975) presents a comprehensive appraisal of the Delphi approach.
In many cases researchers already have a rich resource of content available for textual mining. Content analysis looks at trends and occurrences and meanings in such texts. Word frequency, contextual analysis, semantic analysis of texts, clustering and other analysis methods now rely heavily on Information Systems. Software tools such as ATLAS*TI and NUD*IST are particularly strong in methods for content analysis using Grounded Theory. Other packages focus on thesaurus based and probabilistic analysis of texts: Semio Taxonomy and Intelligent Miner for texts being two examples. Hamlet is a software tool that focuses on various techniques for word frequency analysis. Linguistic analysts also have at command a range of software applications focused specifically on lexical analysis: such as Interlinear Text Processor and Shoebox.
Finally, Action Research is an immensely popular method for situationally based research. Rather than attempting to compartmentalise the researcher and the subjects of the research, Action Research assumes the active engagement of the researcher in the problem and its resolution. It is focused on applied research, and continual refinement.
Consistency over time is important in the use of both qualitative and quantitative statistics, particularly where they are used to measure key performance indicators and strategic decisions for the library.
Libraries in most organisations are now subject to a level of scrutiny as to their role and relevance unlike any time before. Parliamentary libraries are not exempt from this scrutiny. It is important therefore that the library begins to prepare the statistics that demonstrate its utility in the daily life of the parliament. For management reporting these statistics are often presented in terms of KPI's or Key Performance Indicators. Groundwork with management is needed to ensure these indicators reinforce the relevance of the library service. Ground work is needed in the library to ensure these KPI results are truly reflective of the breadth of service delivery.
The purpose for gathering these statistics is to keep the Parliament informed of the ongoing contribution and value of the library and to facilitate the direction of resources where they are most needed. The library should prepare an annual report on the activities of the library which brings together the achievements and activities of the year. KPI's should be developed in conjunction with the Parliamentary management to reflect priorities for the library in supporting the work of the Parliament. An example of the annual report from the House of Commons Parliamentary Library in the United Kingdom can be found in the case study below.
The annual report can present:
An example of an annual report is presented in the Case Study below.
<blockquote>Missingham, Roxanne. “Parliamentary library and research services in the 21st century: A Delphi study”. doi: 10.1177/0340035210396783. IFLA Journal March 2011 vol. 37 no. 1 52-61. http://ifl.sagepub.com/content/37/1/52.full.pdf+html
Message from the Librarian and Director General Research and Information Services for Members
Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) Public Information Directorate
Information Management Directorate
Departmental Services Directorate
Examples of statistics gathering approaches
The IFLA Statistics and Evaluation section has published the:
IFLA Statistics Manifesto. http://www.ifla.org/publications/ifla-library-statistics-manifesto
The manifesto includes a model questionnaire.
ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange: Along with EBCDIC an early English-language character encoding system for digital text encoding. Most text editors can save content in ASCII form.
ASP (server) - Application Service Provider: A particular business model for licensing of applications using a centralised server delivered over an Internet framework.
Bandwidth: The rate at which information can be passed between computers. A wider bandwidth means more content can traverse the network in a shorter amount of time.
Book: An analog device for random access to printed multimedia content. An information storage device which is portable, requires no power supply, and has minimal issues of obsolescence.
Browser: software for navigating the Web, retrieving documents and other files, commonly in HTML mark-up format.
CMS - Content Management System : - software for managing intranets, extranets and public websites (sometimes also Customer Management Systems).
CRM - Customer Relationship Management - software for tracking customer preferences, interests and requirements.
Codec: The compression and decompression algorithm for audio and video content.
CSS - Cascading Style Sheet: The CSS defines rule-based presentational instructions for HTML content mark-up. The Style Sheet has the merit of gaining a greater freedom from the specific encoding of procedural mark-up within the text itself (with the <font> tag and others).
DAM- Digital Asset Management: A class of software for managing multi-media resources, from capture through to retrieval and presentation.
DCMI - Dublin Core Metadata Initiative: A standard for consistent meta-identification of website publications.
Digital (content): Information that is encoded in binary (discontinuous) form particularly and mediated by computers.
Digital Watermarks: A unique digital signature is embedded in the document, image or multimedia item – in a manner very similar to the traditional watermark on paper. Digital watermarks however, can contain meta-data about the content or the content creator. This meta-data might identify:
Document Delivery: The workflow process for managing Inter-Library Loans (ILL’s).
DOM - Document Object Model: The strictly hierarchical specification for the ontological structure or organisation of a document. HTML is an example of a DOM.
DTD - Document Type Definition: The specific set of rules defining what elements and attributes may be used in SGML and XML.
EDI - Electronic Data Interchange: The exchange of business documents (and financial transactions) in the course of business operation.
EDIFACT: A business document exchange ontology. Favoured by European businesses.
Facebook: An example of a Web 2.0 social networking platform that allows members to load their profile of interests, hobbies and to communicate and inter-network with other members.
Flash: An animation component from Macromedia for use in web Browsers. Open source documentation for the Flash document format has been released.
FTP - File Transfer Protocol: One of the earliest file interchange protocols on the Internet. Still a very popular protocol. Generally passes passwords in free text and so has major security limitations.
Host: Any computer that is the central point of connection to run an application or obtain information (eg a Web server). In the Internet a Client Web Browser connects to a Host Web Server to exchange HTML and other information.
HTML - HyperText Mark-up Language: A set of mark-up instructions for creating documents for use on the World Wide Web. The HTML standard is defined and controlled by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). An SGML-compliant DTD for HTML (XHTML) has been published by W3C.
HTTP - Hypertext Transfer Protocol: This defines the communications protocol by which Web Browsers and Web servers communicate.
Hypermedia: The general conceptual approach to interlinking multimedia documents through all forms of object links (including text hyperlinks).
Hypertext: the specific implementation of hypermedia in text form. A particular word or phrase is made active (through mouse click or keyboard action) to launch another related document. The term was coined by Ted Nelson in 1965. The HTML “a” anchor tag is used for hypertext formatting in the World Wide Web.
IEEE/LOM - The IEEE Learning Object Model: An ontology for describing learning objects. Popular in the IT community for describing IT technical/theoretical literature.
IFLA - International Federation of Library Associations The international body representing libraries and the library profession. ILL - Inter-Library Loan: Provision of an article or book by another library for use by your library on a loan basis.
Internet: An internet is a group of networks of computers that are connected by a common protocol. The Internet refers to the global connection of computers using the TCP/IP protocol.
IP - Internet Protocol: A protocol defining the numerical addressing and routing rules on the Internet.
IP - Intellectual Property: The tangible output of creative intellectual activity in a particular expression – eg, a book, a programme, a piece of music, a poem, an invention.
ISO ILL: An international standard for Inter-Library Loans workflow management. Used by Document Delivery Systems.
ISO 639-2: An international standard for country codes. Used by XML and HTML for country definition.
Java: a high-level, object oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. A “p-code” language, it is designed to be portable across most operating platforms through the use of a small “virtual engine” specific to each operating system. That portability and its object-oriented design has been a factor in its popularity.
KM - Knowledge Management: The class of software and domain of research concerned with the encoding and discovery of knowledge as a resource.
KWIC - Key Word In Context: A search result display which shows the keyword searched in the sentence context in which it occurs.
LAN - Local Area Network: A group of computer connected together for high-bandwidth file and application sharing.
Library 2.0: A term describing library systems that are enabled for collaboration and interation in a Web 2.0 style and the use of Web 2.0 functions by the library.
LDAP - Lightweight Directory Access Protocol: A commonly used protocol for single-signon to systems.
MARC - Machine Readable Cataloging: A metadata ontology for exchange of bibliographic information – note also MARC XML.
Mark-up: The placement of identifiers in text from which can be inferred information regarding the presentation, formatting and structure of the text or which adds additional commentary regarding the text (but not part of the text). Procedural Mark-up
Multimedia: Any combination of text, audio animation and video content in a digital form.
NewsML - News Mark-up Language: A content exchange framework specifically designed for XML interchange and syndication of news items.
Obsolescence: Specifically in the context of technology: the way in which computer hardware or software becomes out of date in a way that renders its use progressively more difficult or costly.
Ontology: A formal definition of the relationships between content “objects” and framework for describing these content “objects.”
Open Source: The Open Source & Free Software Foundation is a trust-based means of developing high quality software. Distribution of the source code is free, and redistribution on this same basis is mandated through a licensing agreement. The economic argument for such an approach depends on the “reputation value” of the product leading to income through services and as a means of ensuring that a particular software product remains and develops in the open community of developers.
Parser: An application that semantically deciphers content according to specific rules or structures. An XML parser facilitates the hierarchical exploration of an XML document. A language parser may attempt to discover the grammatical constructs in a sentence or computer algorithm.
PHP - PHP Hypertext Processor: (yes, the definition is self-referential, or recursive).
Perl - Practical Extraction and Report Language: A scripting language with strengths in text parsing and processing. Perl is an interpretive language.
Protocol: The formal set of rules for communication between network devices or applications. Protocols are generally managed and published by international standards organisations.
RAD - Rapid Application Development: The use of a heterogonous mix of software development tools and development methodologies to accelerate the design process.
RDF - Resource Description Framework: The RDF specification (Lassila & Swick, 1999) aims to provide a formal model using directed graphs to describe the semantics of metadata and of cataloguing web-based resources.
SLA: Service Level Agreement
SCORM: Similar to the IEE/LOM, but providing a richer framework describing the metadata ontology describing educational objects and resources.
Script: a loosely timed, often interpretive, computer programme. Often embedded within an application framework to add user control or dynamic functionality to an application.
Search Engine: a means of cataloguing, classifying and searching based on ranking rules for content on the Web.
SGF - Structured Graph Format: Defines an XML metadata format for exploration of overlapping hierarchies of content - especially websites.
SGML - Standard Generalised Mark-up Language: A universal syntax for defining mark-up language. A “meta-language”.
SOAP - Simple Object Access Protocol: A protocol, now integral to Web Services, for process interaction with a Web site over standard HTTP communication channels.
TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol: The protocol-level for communication on an Internet. Defines the addresses to be used, the routing rules for traversal of the network and the protocols for file and data interchange.
TEI - Text Encoding Initiative: A key text mark-up standard for SGML mark-up of texts in the Humanities.
Twitter: A Web 2.0 social networking function allowing very short messages to be sent out from multiple devices and subscribed to by an interested audience.
Unicode: An international standard for binary character set encoding of text in different languages.
UNIMARC A variation of MARC sponsored by IFLA - the IFLA Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC Core Programme (http://archive.ifla.org/VI/3/p1996-1/sectn1.htm)
Unix: An operating system developed in the 1960's and a popular platform for Internet applications. Linux is closely modelled on Unix.
URI - Uniform Resource Identifier: A generalised format for resource identification. A URL is a specific implementation of a URI.
URL - Uniform Resource Locator: The address of a document or other Internet resource. A particular instance of a URN for purposes of web-based addressing.
W3C - The World Wide Web consortium: Responsible for publishing the WWW standards.
Web 2.0: The class of web-based services that deliver social networking and collaborative services on the web. This embrases a broad range of platforms such as FaceBook, Twitter, mash-ups using Web services.
Web Services: That set of protocols called “Web Services” which enable the discovery and integration of business functions (for use by applications) and accessible through the internet.
WSDL - Web Services Description Language: An ontological specification language for Web Services.
WYSIWYG - What You See is What You Get: Multimedia content is edited on-screen with the mark-up hidden and presented as it would be finally published.
XSL: A set of standards for transforming XML into some final form. XSL defines a scripting language for style sheets (XSLT) that can transform an XML mark-up format to another format based on transformational rules, with the source XML and XSLT style sheets defined by XPATH (the workflow language of XSL).
XML – Extensible Mark-up Language: A popular implementation of SGML used for information exchange.
Z39.50: A network-aware OSI-based search engine used to share Digital Library collections. It defines query language properties and methods for persistence of searches.