Monday, October 20, 2008

food for thought

At the most recent meta | morphosis a participant asked what I thought about Google's then recent announcement that they were getting into the newspaper digitization business. I said, "That's interesting you ask because it's been a hot topic of late." I said I'd bring it up during my newspaper talk but, as time was running short, I wasn't able to get the conversation going. 

Today, on our KY-NDNP blog, I was finally able to bring up Google's announcement, and I'm hoping that each of you reading this have something to say about it...and will post a comment! 

Whatever your stance may be, the digitization of any shared history - which is pretty much everything as far as I can tell - is important to debate so we can make the most informed decisions as we move forward. Time waits for no one and neither does Google.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

more meta | morphosis photos

Here are more photos taken at this year's meta| morphosis.

Feel free to download any of them by visiting the on-line album by clicking here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

embed your google book

Google books are now able to be embedded like YouTube clips. They say you replace a small section of the script with the book of your choice (derived from the URL).

Read more about it on the googlesystem blog

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Digitizing the world's knowledge

This is an interesting talk by digital librarian Brewster Kahle that he gave at the EG 07 conference (available through He talks about reformatting of many kinds of items - books, audio recordings, film and video. His observations about what it will take to digitize and make available the world's information are interesting. He correctly observes that the digitization is best done by those close to the source if one expects any sort of quality and consistency. I believe you can take that a step further and outsource the work if you have adequate quality control processes in place. Some of what is available in the Internet Archive looks like it was "brute force" digitized, but it is least for now. I really don't know about what the preservation plan is for the content that is there. Items are backed up, but as platforms change I wonder what will happen. This is always a concern I have given the massive amount of effort that has been put into creating these items. Think 8-track tapes....WordStar documents, zip drives, floppy disks.

One major category that Brewster doesn't address is newspapers. We certainly can't reformat newspapers and make them searchable for 10 cents a page. (At least not yet.) But the added value for access and preservation of newspaper content makes it worth doing even if it costs more than 10 cents per page. To have digital access to newspaper content - that is huge for so many constituencies. So, that is what we are working on - how do you create content of high quality at an affordable price point with a replicable model?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Google and newspapers

The world seems abuzz today since Google announced it has worked deals with Heritage Micrographics and ProQuest to digitize historic newspapers. The New York Times ran a story about it and Google blogged about it.

The question becomes: what does this do for those of us who already digitize historic newspapers? Will it stifle our work? Will it fill in the gaps we haven't digitized yet? Will Google guarantee the preservation of the digitized newspaper images? The list of questions is nearly endless.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

new tools

Google has released their highly anticipated browser - Google Chrome - beta for Windows. Our Evaluation Form (the new version on display during meta | mophosis 2008) works well in the new browser as well as Firefox.

Speaking of Firefox, Mozilla also has some new things cooking... 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hotel reservations - make them now!

If you are coming to meta|morphosis 08 and have not yet made your hotel reservation the time is NOW to do so. The conference hotel is the Lexington Downtown Hotel and Conference Center (formerly the Radisson Plaza). The hotel is great and is very reasonably priced at $105.00 per night (add $25.00 for club level - free drinks in the evening!).

The phone number to call is 859-231-9000 and mention the UK meta morphosis institute.

We will have a welcome reception and registration event on Tuesday September 23rd at 6:00. More details on that later. For now - make your reservation!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great program this year at meta|morphosis

We have some great speakers lined up this year for meta|morphosis 08. The keynote will be presented by Al Cross, the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism. He will speak about the importance of preserving small town newspapers.

Errol Somay from the Library of Virginia will be speaking about issues related to outsourcing: writing rfp's, pitfalls to avoid, vendor relations, etc. Errol is a great speaker and I think everyone will find his presentation informative.

This year we are also fortunate to have Derek Jenkins from IImage Retrieval, Inc. Derek has a background in IT and is an expert in scanner technology. Derek will be offering a session on what to look for in a scanner and how to objectively evaluate scanner performance.

New this year are the hands-on sessions we are offering on day 2. Participants will be breaking into smallish groups and will cycle through sessions on film scanning, image evaluation, and digging into metadata.

This all will add up to an even better experience for participants.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm looking forward to this year's meta | morphosis, not just because of the wonderful people and new friends we always make (that's always nice) but because the program has been expanded to include some much needed (and much requested) hands-on exercises. I'm especially looking forward to the metadata exercise - Analyzing your metadata problems. We all have 'em - in vaying degrees - and I always learn something new when Kathryn Lybarger is steering the boat, which she will be doing for this particular hands-on section.

For those unfamiliar with Kathryn, she's an extremely good teacher - patient and able to explain even the most complex of gobbeldy-gook into something that's understandable. A quiet, somewhat unassuming woman, her technological prowess will astound and amaze. If this was a circus, she'd be the headlining act!

meta|morphosis 08

Space is filling up for meta|morphosis: the kentucky film-to-digital institute. Major vendors for equipment and outsourcing services have been confirmed to participate. If you are interested in digitizing content you have on microfilm, this is an excellent opportunity to get a real head start. Small group sessions on analyzing metadata at the batch level, evaluating microfilm for scanning, and image analysis will offer participants real world practical knowledge that can be applied to in-house or outsourced projects.
Converting microfilm assets to digital content?
Are you interested in converting newspaper holdings?
Are you interested in seeking funding to participate in conversion projects?
Do you anticipate outsourcing a film to digital project?

Register now for “meta|morphosis: the university of kentucky film-to-digital institute” which is scheduled for September 24th-25th, 2008 in Lexington Kentucky.
The program will help you learn to:
  • determine when digitizing from microfilm is the best solution for you
  • evaluate microfilm and determine if it is appropriate for digitization
  • strategically select content
  • decide whether to do the project in-house or to outsource it
  • make good images
  • write an RFP
  • select a vendor
  • explore partnerships to your advantage
  • seek appropriate funding
  • get started in film-to-digital conversion
  • move your program forward
  • improve your grant applications
Registration is now open at Space is limited in order to provide an excellent learning opportunity for participants. Both prior institutes sold out early so do not delay in registering.
Registration is $260.00 ($325.00 after September 10 if there are any spaces still available) and includes the opening reception, and breakfast and lunch on both days of the institute. Reduced rates are available at the conference hotel until August 26th.
Feedback on the previous institutes has been excellent. It may be noted that five of the six new National Digital Newspaper Program awardees are prior meta|morphosis participants.