Schwerdtfeger Library News -- December 2003

Schwerdtfeger Library News - December 2003

By Jean Phillips, Librarian



Get the Drift? On Wisconsin Features Bentley

On Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni magazine, very appropriately features The Bentley Collection in its Winter 2003 edition where it is described accurately and cleverly.

When you view the front page of the Bentley site, you'll also notice that it is being evaluated for inclusion in the Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) Reviewed Collection. If you use the site, please consider submitting a review. The information you provide via the Community Review System may be used by us to improve the quality of the resource; by other learners and educators to figure out whether they would like to use the resource and by the Community Review System editors to decide which resources to include in the DLESE Reviewed Collection.

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Proxy and Access Problems for Valid Users

More and more, valid campus users, particularly if they are off-campus, find various means of going directly to a commercial database without going from the library pages. Vendors authenticate users by IP addresses and/or special scripts or URLs just for licensed users (different from the Internet accessible URL found through Google). The special scripts are applied from the library web pages and from the library EZproxy service.

Users may find links in other web sites, locate them through a Google search, etc. – and since the vendor has no way of knowing they are part of the UW community by their IP address or by using scripted or different URLs for licensed users, they are not given access. They may be prompted to pay for access.

At this point in time, there is no mechanism that the libraries can provide that would automatically resolve this. Off-campus users must access resources from the library web site, which is linked to the proxy that allows them to login and identify themselves as members of UW. The proxy then provides a valid IP address and/or library-tailored URL to the remote database, and it grants the user access.

Solving this problem is the kind of scenario Shibboleth is designed to handle. Using Shibboleth, the publisher would have (or refer users to) a "where are you from" server, which would kick the user back to their local authentication at UW. Then, the user could go back to a Shibbolized resource from anywhere and have the chance to authenticate at the point of service. That will be in the future if Shibboleth happens at all; significant complications have yet to be resolved. (Electronic Library Council Minutes, November 12, 2003)

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Wisconsin Legislative Notification Service

The Wisconsin Legislature has just announced a new bill tracking service that is available to the public. The Wisconsin Legislative Notification System allows anyone the opportunity to follow legislation by receiving daily or weekly emails for specific legislative activities. You can choose items by Proposal, Committee, Author or Subject and can select the activities for which you would like to receive notifications. For example, you may choose to be notified about every action affecting a specific proposal, bills introduced by a particular legislator, activities of a specific committee or introductions relating to a particular topic. This service is designed to make it much easier for citizens to follow the activity of the Legislature.

Library Information Still Open to Federal Browsing Under Act

Ken Frazier, director of the UW-Madison Libraries, was cited in the October 20 issue of The Daily Cardinal concerning the Patriot Act and its relation to the General Library System. The article titled "Library information still open to federal browsing under act" discussed the USA Patriot Act, which allows the FBI to subpoena records if the information could help fight terrorism or espionage. Frazier said he is concerned with protecting library users' privacy, but given the limitations on access to the inner workings of the campus online catalog, it is difficult to discard patron information.

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Campus Libraries Consider DSpace

DSpace is a groundbreaking digital library system to capture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectual output of a university’s research faculty in digital formats for the long-term. Developed jointly by MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard (HP), DSpace is now freely available to research institutions world-wide as an open source system that can be customized and extended.

The UW campus libraries are beginning a DSpace pilot project to determine approaches to encourage and target submissions from faculty and staff. If you have digital content that should be preserved and made available for the long-term, please let me know. A 5-year budget is under preparation with options for a campus commitment under exploration.

For more information, see:

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New E-Books and Reports

World Resources 2002-2004: Decisions for the Earth: Balance, Voice, and Power, WRI, 2003.

Energy Task Force: Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy, GAO-03-894, August 25 2003.

Third European Report on Science & Technology Indicators 2003, European Commission, March 2003.

Ocean and Coastal Activities: Information on Federal Funding. GAO-03-1070R, August 12, 2003.

The Future of Supercomputing: An Interim Report, NAP, 2003.

Estimating Climate Sensitivity: Report of a Workshop, NAP, 2003.

The Carbon Dioxide Dilemma: Promising Technologies and Policies, NAP, 2003.


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