Monday, December 18, 2006

current issue of D-Lib

The December issue of D-Lib has two articles in particular that I found very worth my time.

The first is David Bearman's review of Jean-Noël Jeanneney's Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe. I've known David almost twenty years and I always find his issue pieces thoughtful.

The second is a very interesting article on the proposed draft audit checklist for repositories and OAIS. The Audit Checklist is still a draft after maybe 2 years. The outcome presented in this article that even after annotating the checklist for use in an NDIIPP project, there were still issues in scoring the results and interpreting them.

We began this process by annotating the Audit Checklist and enlisting our team members to gauge their software installation experiences against it. Currently we are concluding a series of meetings to reach a consensus on the interpretation of checklist items. Using a test example scenario, we also experimented with applying an existing scoring instrument to the annotated Audit Checklist. This was an exercise that clarified the need for a more meticulous refinement of our annotated Audit Checklist, one that should be undertaken with the developers of the common repository software applications. Our experience thus far suggests that the application of 'weights' to the Audit Checklist items, specifically according to an institution's own needs and priorities, may also provide a framework for guiding a reiterative self-assessment process of an institution's repository services. Aside from this, as more institutions explore the possibility of providing trustworthy digital repository services, the evaluation of repository software applications increasingly will necessitate a more extensive, community-based expression of technical functional specifications needed to support the requirements of Trusted Digital Repositories. With an ever increasing array of potential software tools, services, and infrastructure configurations, the time is ripe for an evaluative approach to repository software that considers the array of items found in the Audit Checklist.
Array is right. The checklist has 86 items and four possible scores for each. This instrument is challenging to use and exceptionally experienced and well-qualified people still have issues in agreeing how to score it. Such a tool is definitely needed -- why is it so hard to design one?

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