Networked Cultural Heritage Newsletter

No. 5
January 3, 1997

A news and information digest for those working to preserve and provide
access to cultural heritage resources through networked digital technology.



Library and other nonprofit cultural heritage representatives returned with mixed feelings from the recent WIPO Meeting that concluded in Geneva on December 20.

Most were immediately relieved that a proposed treaty for a new system of database protection (beyond copyright) was defeated. This had an extremely loose and broad definition of what a database was and was seen by many as a potential major obstacle to future free access to public domain material. The proposed protection was over and beyond copyright protection for "compilations of data or other material, in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations," included in the new Copyright Treaty under Article 5..

Although the two other treaties passed (for "the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works" and for the "Protection of The Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms") there was sufficient emendation of the treaty language to make library representatives feel there was an acceptable movement towards a fair balance of interests. A press release issued December 24 by the American Library Association cited legal counsel Adam Eisgrau's sense that the treaties recognized the necessity of the extension of limits on copyright, including fair use, into the digital environment.

Although Article 10 of the Copyright Treaty allows nations signing the treaty to include limitations to copyright (e.g. the US "Fair Use" understanding), this does not change the essential objection of many groups to the strategy of considering international copyright protection of digital material before there has been any widespread discussion and successful domestic legislation of such protection.

The treaties now face ratification by the United States Senate before they could be applied in the U.S. Meanwhile the domestic NII Copyright Protection Act will also be under consideration.

Full text of the treaties is available on the NINCH Web site.



Plans are underway for a Washington D.C. memorial service for Paul Evan Peters. The service will be held on February 18, 1997, during the period when many in the field will be in Washington for the ALA Midwinter meeting. The time and location have not yet been finalized, but this newsletter will bring you details when available.



Oxford University's Bodleian Library has released its first digital imaging project, a collection of 8,000 images of transport and motoring material from its John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. The Collection as a whole is one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera anywhere in the world, containing over a million items in 700 subject headings, from 1508 to the present.

The Bodleian Library/Toyota Imaging Project focuses on 15 boxes of Motor Car material, but much other transportation imagery is included.

Bibliographic material has been encoded using SGML and is conformant to the Text Encoding Initiative's scheme; the SGML records are converted to HTML for display on the Web. Visitors can browse the material by topics as well as search by key words.



Issues and problems surrounding the question of how to encode medieval manuscripts (through the Text Encoding Initiative, the Encoding Archival Description or a combination of both?) led Peter Robinson and Hope Mayo to organize a conference this fall to consider what next to do.

Lou Burnard, of Oxford University's Computing Services, has posted an interim, personal account of the weekend conference held at Studley Priory, in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Briefly, the meeting moved from reports of current practices through demonstrations of related digital projects and presentations on MARC, TEI, EAD and the Dublin Core to a collaborative identification of a key set of descriptive categories that could be used in an SGML markup of medieval manuscripts. Next steps will involve considering whether to map these categories against MARC, TEI and EAD, for example, or to produce a new set of guidelines. Details about an official report on the meeting will be forthcoming.



As part of its National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (NLII), Educom recently announced a new project, the Instructional Management System (IMS). It will provide a set of higher-order standards and tools to enable software developers, teachers and learners, to create, manage and access the use of Web-based instructional software. The project will ensure that instructional software developers will have a technical standard that allows modules to be shared among institutions and across a wide range of technical environments.



The National Information Infrastructure Awards for 1996 are sponsored by government, industry and community organizations and leaders and recognize "superior accomplishment in applications of the Internet and information highway."

The winning sites are: * Arts & Entertainment: CitySpace: Network Social Space of the Future

* Business: The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition

* Children: Faces of Adoption: America's Waiting Children

* Community: Charlotte's Web

* Education: The Jason VII Project Undersea Internet Site

* Government: NSF Fastlane Project

* Health: Applied Informatics--Using the NII to Coordinate Healthcare

* Next Generation: Starbright World

* ATT NII Telecollaboration: Electronic Cafe International

* USPS NII Public Access: EPA.NET--East Palo Alto Gets Plugged In

In 1997 this awards program will go global to recognize achievements worldwide.



In its January/February issue, Museum News, the magazine of the American Association of Museums, gathers seven experts in the field to describe the qualities that make for an outstanding museum Web site. Maxwell Anderson, Ann Mintz, Diane Zorich, Stephen Borysewicz, Scott Sayre, Katherine Jones-Garmil and Steve Dietz describe their top five choices that exemplify those qualities.

The best first call for those interested in seeing Museums on the Web is the Art Museum Network produced by the Association of Art Museum Directors


Please note that NINCH now has a Calendar of relevant conferences available on its web site. Please consult the Calendar and email David Green with any additions.

These two conferences are of particular note:

1. DRH'97 (Oxford, England; Sept. 14-17, 1997)

Following the successful DRH'96, Digital Resources in the Humanities '97 will be held at St. Anne's College, Oxford, Sept.14-17, under the rubric of "bringing together the creators, users, distributors and custodians of digital resources in the humanities."

This year it widens its catchment area by inviting not only scholars and teachers but also publishers, archivists, librarians, curators, art historians and others "wishing to improve both access to and conservation of the digital information that characterizes contemporary culture and scholarship."

Proposals are invited for papers, panels and reports on work in progress. Abstracts (1500-2,000 words) are due April 7; final versions (2-4,000 words) will be required by July 7. Themes will include: the creation and integration of digital resources; policies and strategies for commercial and non-commercial electronic delivery; cataloging and metadata aspects of resource discovery; pedagogic implications of digital resources and electronic delivery; encoding standards; intellectual property rights; funding, cost-recovery and charging mechanisms; digitization techniques and problems.

The conference costs 225 pounds, which includes lunches and dinners. On-campus accommodation will be available at 45 pounds for ensuite rooms and 30 pounds for study/bedrooms with shared bathrooms. See the website for further details and updates.

2. ICHIM97 @ LOUVRE.FR. Sept. 1-5, 1997

The Fourth International Conference on Hypermedia and Interactivity in Museums (ICHIM97) will be held at the Louvre in Paris, September 1-5, 1997. The focus will be on ways in which hypermedia and interactive experiences can enhance museum visits and museum publications as well as serve as the foundation for enhanced curatorship and scientific research.

Proposals for papers, sessions (1.5 or 3 hours) are due January 30, 1997. Final versions are due May 15, in either French or English. Papers will be published in an edited trade paperback edition. Themes will include: Museum Content; Hypermedia Design; Interactive Publications; Installations; Museum Applications; Evaluation; Collaboration; Legal and Societal Impacts, including copyright, visual literacy & mediacy, the concept of museums, economic models, training, etc.

A web site with conference details will be available in January 1997. Contact David Bearman, Conference Organizer,



For comments or suggestions on this newsletter and its content,
e-mail David Green or call 202/296-5346.

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