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portal: Libraries and the Academy 3.2 (2003) 356-357

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The Digital Library: A Biography, Daniel Greenstein and Suzanne E. Thorin. (CLIR Reports, no. 109) Washington, DC: Digital Library Federation (DLF) and Council on Library and Information Resources, 2002. Full text (PDF and HTML) available online <> 75 p. $20 (ISBN 1-887334-94-7)

The authors used survey responses from 21 DLF-member libraries to document how they are focusing their digital library programs. A closer look at six institutions (California Digital Library, Harvard, Indiana, New York University, University of Michigan, and University of Virginia) is presented as case study "biographies." The report looks at key attributes (such as organization, leadership, collaboration with surrounding units, and funding) and the life stages of digital library evolution. In addition to analyzing the difficulties encountered by digital pioneers, the report speculates about some of the challenges ahead. (S.H.)

Standards and Assessment for Academic Libraries: A Workbook, William Neal Nelson and Robert W. Fernekes. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), 2002. 156 p. $20 (10% discount ACRL members) (ISBN 0-8389-8211-5)

Based on this workbook, Nelson (Augusta State University) and Fernekes (Georgia Southern University) have teamed to conduct workshops nationwide on applying the new (ACRL, 2000) Standards for College Libraries. The new Standards' emphasis on outcomes assessment is reflected in the workbook's format of analyzing each of the Standards' 12 sections with definitions, suggested measures, and charts. Evaluation questions are extracted from the Standards, and output measures that can be used as points of comparison are suggested. Librarians who are not experienced in conducting a self-study will find the workbook an easy-to-follow framework. (S.H.)

Diffuse Libraries: Emergent Roles for the Research Library in the Digital Age, Wendy Pradt Lougee. (CLIR Report, no. 108) Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources. Full text (PDF and HTML) available online <> 32 p. $15 (ISBN 1-887334-93-9)

"The thesis explored in this paper is that the changes under way reflect an evolutionary path in which, as distributed and collaborative models emerge, libraries are [End Page 356] taking on far more diffuse roles within the campus community and beyond. That is, libraries are becoming more deeply engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge and are becoming essential collaborators with the other stakeholders in these activities." (p. 1) Lougee, university librarian at the University of Minnesota, traces some of the new roles by exploring three phases: the growth of distributed technologies, the growth of open source models, and the emergence of the library as a diffuse agent—"more engaged in the creation and dissemination of knowledge in ways that intertwine the library with other stakeholders in these activities." (p. 4) The wide-ranging report illustrates the library's shift from facility-based to campus-wide enterprise, giving added value for outreach to a more virtual community. (S.H.)

Information Management: Challenges in Managing and Preserving Electronic Records (GAO Report 02-586) Washington, DC: United States General Accounting Office (GAO), 2002. Full text (PDF) available online <> 83p.

The GAO investigated federal agencies' overwhelming production of electronic records and the resulting failure of the National Archives (NARA) to identify and preserve them. Both the GAO audit of four agencies and a separate NARA review of 11 agencies found that fewer than 10% of data systems had been inventoried or scheduled for retention. Valuable records are at risk of loss through widespread system failure to identify and appraise records for disposition. The GAO urged NARA to develop strategies to improve records management programs and address IT management weaknesses. (S.H.)




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