Technology

US govt sells music burned on CD-Rs; life is good.

"The major music companies may fret over falling revenue, but one label saw its business jump 33 percent last year — thanks in part to the recordable compact discs that the industry says are hurting its sales," writes Chris Nelson.

That label is part of the Smithsonian Institution, established by an act of Congress. They use ordinary CD-Rs to produce copies of obscure music recordings.

Google Groups has a banner-free, cookie-free link to the complete New York Times story on how Uncle Sam is burning discs to preserve and promulgate good music.

SOURCE: robot wisdom

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Library Announces Approval of Plan to Preserve America's Digital Heritage

"Today the Librarian of Congress announced that the Library of Congress has received approval from the U.S. Congress for its "Plan for the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)," which will enable the Library to launch the initial phase of building a national infrastructure for the collection and long-term preservation of digital content."

"The Library of Congress is grateful for the continuing support that Congress has given us by asking us to lead this critical program to collect and preserve America's cultural and intellectual heritage in digital formats for generations to come," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "Together with other federal agencies and the library, archival, university and private sector communities, we will work to develop a network of collaborative partners as well as a technical architecture that will provide the framework for digital preservation."

"Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives Laura Campbell is overseeing this effort for the Library. "I echo Dr. Billington's remarks and add that the Library of Congress has gained an enormous amount of knowledge from its partners in this initiative. We look forward to a continued successful collaboration as we work together to preserve digital materials before they are forever lost." (from LOC Press Releases)

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Open source library system a welcome gift

Gary D. Price, of The ResourceShelf sent over This Computer World Australia Story on koha, the first open source integrated library system.
Given its late entry into a crowded marketplace, and its continuing development, Koha has only handful of installations -- 20 at last count. But the developers hope to expand its appeal when Version 2.0 is released, most likely at the end of March. Two recent installations were at the Nelsonville Public Library in the US and Philanthropy Australia.

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Why Virtual Reference?

Marcia Keyser compiled this discussion from the Dig-Ref listserv in December, 2002. It\'s a thread based on the Charleston Advisor article, Virtual Reference: Overrated, Inflated, and Not Even Real.
The article describes virtual reference as a bad bargain, slow, difficult to administor and says \"the service allows librarians to pander to readers’ addiction to the new world of 24/7\".

You don’t have to read the article to understand the responses. The respondents quote from it enough to keep you reading. Click below to read more....

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Virtual Reference: Overrated, Inflated, and Not Even Real

Here\'s that goes along with the current poll, By Steve McKinzie, Social Sciences Librarian, at Dickinson College, over at The Charleston Advisor.
Steve says the new tool of digital reference really isn’t revolutionary, and it certainly isn’t the implement of the future that will replace traditional reference. Virtual reference may in fact turn out to be a bad bargain, providing libraries with a very limited return, while exacting considerable energy and expense.
He says librarians should be exploring the potential of digital reference, nevertheless, as members of the library community we should keep our heads and shun the high-flown rhetoric.

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Is Linux in your Library\'s future?

pv_sapl writes \"Interesting document about Linux from Tomshardware.com

I know that development and support are two different things. But if the big players like HP/Compaq and IBM phase out the development of their proprietary OSes, what would that mean to vendors like Epixtech/Dynix? Will you trust your next Library Automation system if it ran on Linux? \"

Also, be sure to check out Extranet, \"where technology and libraries meet\"

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Beyond the Blackboard

The NYTimes looks Beyond the Blackboard at digital technology that is broadening the concept of the blackboard to that of a large educational window -- with some, incidentally, operating on Windows software.

\'\'The tradition in education is interactive,\'\' says Steve Saxe, a technical program manager for 3M. \'\'With its ability to interact, to and from students with electronic images, you recover the live aspect of presentation and teaching.\'\'

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The Self Checkout Revolution

Gary Deane sent over A Toronto Star Story on the self-checkout machine finally coming of age in Canada.
Not a library story, but it\'s interesting to see how self-checkout machines are creeping into stores now. Retailers are quick to dispel the notion that machines will eventually replace cashiers altogether, another sensitive point for some consumers.
They also mention RFID, which requires each item to be tagged with a tiny radio frequency chip which not only lets the consumer check out without unloading the cart, but automatically notifies the retailer how many items have been sold, and what needs to be re-ordered. Something that could be put in books, and is being put in Tires Now, but this should raise some privacy concerns.

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Digital memory threatened as file formats evolve

Here\'s An Associated Press Story that says todays computer files may survive but the equipment to make sense of them might not. This era could become a \"digital dark age\" -- a part of its collective memories forever lost.
The task would be much easier if software companies committed to open standards that remain fairly constant, Thibodeau said. But the market drives innovation and differentiation from competitors.

\"If your aim is to have something lasting 1,000 years from now, you can\'t plan on electronics doing the job.\"

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Eye scanners for school children

The BBC Says plans have been unveiled to introduce retinal eye scan technology to identify schoolchildren that will will be used on pupils buying meals in the school canteen and in the library when children want to take out books.

Howard Brown, Sunderland secretary for the NUT, said: \"I think there is a fine line between practical technology and James Bond technology and I think this might have crossed it.

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