Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Editorial Introduction to Issue 57:Achieving the Balance

Richard Waller introduces Ariadne issue 57.

In her second Get Tooled Up article on the subject of remote working Staying Connected: Technologies Supporting Remote Workers, Marieke Guy takes a look at the many technologies that support remote working, from broadband to Web 2.0 social networking tools. Readers may also be interested to read her blog on remote working which I am definitely finding interesting [1]. I am greatly indebted to Marieke, who as many IWMW delegates will attest, is indisputably one of Life's finishers and who, in her delivery of both this article and its predecessor 'A Desk Too Far?: The Case for Remote Working' [2] has very much practised what she recommends in her articles on remote working. She has made expert use of the technologies placed at her disposition by UKOLN while at the same time recognising that there are moments when technology will not achieve the objective as effectively as a face-to-face meeting can. Thus, for example, we have made free use of applications such as an electronic calendar as a planning and reminder tool, and equally of shared network locations for the placement and retrieval of revised versions. However, Marieke has devoted at least three face-to-face meetings to scoping the two articles and discussing some of the finer points for improvement. I would strongly suggest that newcomers do not allow themselves to be drawn into reading the contribution on technologies until they have considered the rationale offered by 'A Desk Too Far', and from which this current article flows. I suspect neither author nor editor will complain if this description of the supporting technologies attracts as much interest as its predecessor. 'IT departments' (as they are often termed) in some organisations may groan at the prospect of such an article, and sometimes justifiably so, but Marieke's writing has been informed by technical feedback, and very often technical support groups are not credited with the 'can-do' philosophy they will adopt when the case for their assistance is clear.

Supporters of Ariadne's Get Tooled Up articles will feel spoilt this issue as we have been able to arrange for Jakob Voß to describe SeeAlso: A Simple Linkserver Protocol which combines OpenSearch and unAPI to enrich catalogues. As Service-oriented Architecture (SOA) has grown increasingly important in digital library systems, more and more core functionalities are appearing as Web-based, standardised services which can be combined dynamically to operate across a broader environment. The SeeAlso linkserver protocol arose from a need to enrich title views in library catalogues of the German Common Library Network (GBV) with links to additional information which led to the creation of a general linkserver Web service. Jakob not only describes the work related to this area but details the specification for SeeAlso Full and Simple. He also covers usage and provides examples. He concludes by mentioning the advantages of a loose coupling of link server and Web applications as a general strategy.

Ariadne is delighted to welcome a further article from award-winning [3] contributor Leo Waaijers. In his article Copyright Angst, Lust for Prestige and Cost Control, Leo addresses the different tensions confronting academic institutions as various staff with differing roles attempt to achieve their (sometimes conflicting) objectives. Not for the first, or last, time, the issue of how to approach copyright demands arises. Leo points to the false hope that digitisation would cause subscription prices to fall among scholarly journals as well as the fact that the landscape is nonetheless changing. As he addresses the differing pressures of 'copyright angst', academic prestige and the whole issue of publishing costs, Leo offers concluding recommendations together with two comparisons of institutional costs in respect of open access and subscription models.

With the increase in interest and activity in respect of digital cultural heritage I am very pleased to include Europeana: An Infrastructure for Adding Local Content by Rob Davies in which he describes a Best Practice Network under the eContentplus Programme to make available locally sourced digital content to the Europeana Service. He highlights the pressing need to make available the enormous amount of digital content provided by Europe's cultural institutions at local and regional level alongside that held at national level. Rob describes the contribution EuropanaLocal intends to make in integrating digital content and increasing its navigability and usefulness. Rob details for us the key challenges confronting the project and provides a review of the approaches, standards, tools and infrastructure developed by Europeana. He describes the project objectives as well as the steps necessary to achieve a successful outcome.

It has been very welcome to receive an article in the form of a progress report from Ronald Milne and John Tuck in respect of ground made by the British Library towards compliance with the Legal Deposit Libraries Act. As if it were not already a major task to collect the published output of the nation in print, Implementing e-Legal Deposit: A British Library Perspective reminds us that the remit will widen to that of non-print media. Ronald and John describe the work of the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel set up to advise H.M.Government on this issue, as well as the involvement of the legal deposit libraries, with particular reference to the British Library. They also look at collaborative work with publishers and the approaches being made towards handling the output of electronic publications as well as off-line material.

I am by no means being ironic if I say that no issue is complete without a contribution of some description on digital repositories. Ariadne will always, I hope, reflect to a reasonable degree what is engaging the attention of its community. In A Bug's Life?: How Metaphors from Ecology Can Articulate the Messy Details of Repository Interactions R. John Robertson, Mahendra Mahey and Phil Barker offer up an alternative perspective on the development of repositories based on an ecologically related metaphor. The authors invite us to reconsider traditional approaches to tackling complexity and problem solving which they consider inadequate. By providing an example of their suggested approach, the authors hope to improve the understanding of key success factors and offer repository managers a way to model the context of the repository that does not rely on knowledge of a particular modelling tool and which can engage a variety of stakeholders.

Practitioners interested in the users' perspective in Web design will be keen to read 'What Happens If I Click on This?': Experiences of the Archives Hub in which Jane Stevenson describes the results of usability testing for the Archives Hub Web site. While few would disagree that the opinion of users in any development is of paramount importance, the examples of where that view is acted upon are not legion. Jane not only describes for us the process undertaken in order for views on usability to be brought to bear, but details many of the views expressed which should give all developers pause for reflection.

I am grateful to Sally Rumsey and Ben O'Steen for their description of OAI-ORE and how it can contribute to digital preservation activities. In OAI-ORE, PRESERV2 and Digital Preservation they describe the basic outline of the framework and how it can support the PRESERV2 project digital preservation model of provision of preservation services and interoperability for digital repositories. They describe the role OAI-ORE has to play in the copying and movement of data between different repositories as well as interoperability.

In his latest column for Ariadne Phil Bradley considers how social media output is being indexed, sorted and made available for searching by looking at some representative samples. In A Selection of Social Media Search Engines Phil reassures us that the commonly held view that little of social media and user-generated content is actually being indexed is not entirely correct. Phil offers a balanced view on what value should be placed upon the content of tweets, blogs, etc, and concentrates on providing a helpful array of ways to search such content more effectively than by using conventional search engines.

As usual, we offer our At the Event section, as well as reviews on Website Optimisation, records management in the 21st century, the inadequacy of current patent arrangements, remixing data and Web services and the negative effects of popular Internet culture.

It is in respect of the last two areas of Ariadne's output that I would like to add a note of thanks to two long-standing supporters of the Magazine as they retire from this field. Ann Apps of Mimas has written on encoding OpenURLs in Dublin Core metadata and has also reported on DC2007 and the OpenURL and OpenURL Framework. Many readers will have seen her present on a variety of topics at conferences worldwide and benefitted from her expertise. I would also like to thank her for the support she has given Ariadne, not only through her contributions but also advice and information in respect of the unseen and relentless activity of commissioning material.

Stuart Hannabuss of Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen has been a stalwart reviewer for this publication, principally in the field of digital rights, for over five years. He has brought a wealth of knowledge and a deep store of wisdom to bear in his reviews of works covering the minefield of digital copyright and allied subjects. He brings them into play one last time in his current review [4]. I would commend his work for Ariadne to all would-be reviewers, not only for its balance and attention to detail, but above all for its compassion, for he clearly understands the burden and the vulnerability of those people who go public, risk disaster and are called authors. As he moves to another field of academic endeavour, its gain is most decidedly Ariadne's loss.

I hope you will enjoy Issue 57.


  1. Ramblings of a Remote Worker, Marieke Guy, http://remoteworker.wordpress.com/
  2. Marieke Guy, A Desk Too Far?: The Case for Remote Working, July 2008, Ariadne Issue 57
  3. SPARC Europe Award 2008 for Leo Waaijers, April 2008, Ariadne Issue 55
  4. Stuart Hannabuss reviewed Patent Failure: How Judges, Bureaucrats, and Lawyers Put Innovators at Risk, October 2008, Ariadne Issue 57 http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue57/hannabuss-rvw/

Author Details

Richard Waller
Ariadne Editor

Email: ariadne@ukoln.ac.uk
Web site: http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/

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