Printing function problem solved, p.1
2– LLMC scanner in nation’s capital, p.1
3– Moving AALS Package Plan on-line, p.2
4– Negotiations with IRS and MLA, p.3
5– Donations of discard hardcopy, p.3
6– Buying non-American, p.4
7– Insuring receipt of E-mail newsletter, p.4
Fixing Problem with Printing Function
This notice already has been sent out on our listserv of the identified technical contacts at each subscribing library. (Footnote 1) Due to its importance, it is repeated here to ensure the widest possible dissemination.
As described in the September issue of the LLMC-Digital Newsletter, (Footnote 2) our on-line service now has functionality for printing a designated range of pages. Since its introduction this feature apparently has worked quite well for most patrons. However, recently we began receiving a smattering of queries from some subscribers for whom it, either did not work at all, or for whom it produced weird results. The computer gurus working at the University of Michigan, our technical partner in this venture, initially had trouble isolating the problem, because generally they couldn’t reproduce the phenomena being reported. However, they now feel that they have found an answer.
The gist of the problem is that there is a bug in the 6.0 edition of Adobe Acrobat (in the Professional version certainly—in the Reader version most likely) that prevents it from reading optimized PDF's. These latter can be described simply as segmented PDF's, which have been created to speed up delivery time.
The simple solution recommended by our digital mentors’ works as follows. Check your current edition of Adobe. If you happen to be using edition 6.0, delete that edition from your site and upgrade to 6.03 or above, whichever higher edition is available to your system. This appears to resolve the problem. Incidentally, if your investigation reveals that you still are using an Adobe edition below 6.0, you might as well take this opportunity to upgrade to 6.3 or above as well.
For your information, the FREE Adobe download site is at: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
To those who may have been affected, we apologize for this inconvenience.
LLMC to Locate a Digital Scanner in D.C.
Starting in July LLMC will begin operating a digital scanner in Washington, D.C. Our host and gracious partner in this venture will be the Jacob Burns Law Library of the George Washington University Law School (GWU). The equipment to be utilized in this operation will be the SMA 21 described in the last issue of this newsletter. (Footnote 3)
GWU has an extensive and notable collection of Civil and Canon Law materials; many of the items being exceedingly rare. Given that rarity, sending the books to LLMC’s Hawaii headquarters for scanning was not an option. Some of the GWU holdings duplicate titles which already comprise portions of LLMC’s Civil and Canon Law fiche collections. Many of these older books did not film well when
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we did the original filming at Berkeley years ago. So their film copies are only marginally suitable for digitization. This partnership with GWU will give us a “second swing of the bat” for these materials, in which we can employ the more subtle “enhancement” capabilities available in digital scanning technology. In other cases, the copies of some titles held by GWU just happen to be in better condition than the ones that were available at Berkeley. Here too the second chance provided will result in a cosmetically more pleasing on-line collection.
The initial goal of the D.C. operation will be to migrate the original LLMC Civil and Canon Law materials to LLMC-Digital, while obtaining the best possible images through scans from the original paper. A follow-up goal will be to expand the original scope and research value of the Civil and Canon Law collections by including additional relevant titles held by GWU. Another subsidiary benefit of having a data-capture operation in the nation’s capital is that it provides an option for access to the collections of other DC-area libraries. We already have received assurances from some of these libraries that they would consider loaning certain materials for scanning at GWU which they would not want to risk sending to Hawaii.
The LLMC/GWU partnership will be unique in several respects. First, while LLMC will be supplying the equipment, GWU will provide the labor. The tiff output (page images in digital format) from the operation will serve both LLMC’s need for images for LLMC-Digital, and also GWU’s need for images to mount on its in-house web site. The mode of presentation to the ultimate consumers of both services may, probably will, differ substantially. Eventually GWU will acquire full ownership of the digital scanner, having “purchased” it under a barter system tied to the number of tiff images produced and delivered to LLMC. LLMC will do all of the initial post-capture processing work on the tiff images for both parties. The GWU copies of the tiffs will be returned to them appropriately tagged for pagination. The LLMC copies of the same tiffs will go through our regular processes, both here and in Ann Arbor, preparatory to display on LLMC-Digital.
An additional new direction to be pioneered with the D.C. operation will be the introduction of color into some of the LLMC-Digital on-line images. Many of the books in the target materials, besides being of great antiquity, utilize color as an important part of their “message.” Capturing color was not an option in the fiche era. Now it is. LLMC is negotiating with our technical partners at the University of Michigan on the particulars of this new feature. More details will be provided in future issues of this newsletter.
Digitizing the AALS Library Package Plan
For twenty-one years LLMC has provided subscribing libraries with a microfiche version of all of the materials distributed through the AALS Library Package Plan. This popular service (last count was 33 subscribers) enabled libraries to retain record copies of these hard-to-catalog and hard-to-bind titles at low cost in an easily manageable format.
The American Association of Law Schools recently gave LLMC permission to continue this service and to migrate both the backfile (Footnote 4) and future issuances to LLMC-Digital. We intend to make the move effective with the latest batch of materials made available to us, the 2003/2004 package. Handling the materials in a digital environment will require modifying the format somewhat, and those details are being worked out with our cataloging partner, St. Louis University Law Library. Once the appropriate instructions have been received from St. Louis, the actual digitization of the 2003/2004 packet, and then the entire 21-year backfile, will occur fairly quickly. We expect to have it all up on LLMC-Digital by mid-summer.
In the meantime we invite any library currently subscribing to this service to review its in-house requirement for a fiche version of the annual packets, given the fact that they will be
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receiving all of the material as part of their LLMC-Digital subscription. Libraries should know that LLMC still has the capacity and the willingness to provide fiche copies. If wanted, fiche copies can be created at the end of our production process, after we “write” the digitally-scanned data back onto preservation microfiche. So we can do it. The question under consideration is whether you want to continue paying extra for fiche backup.
Plans for IRS-Forms and MLA Services
LLMC has two other microfiche update services, which are somewhat similar in concept to the AALS Library Package Plan; one being the annual IRS-Forms packets, and the other being regular fiche reprints of the documents of the Maritime Law Assn. of the U.S. (MLA) as issued. Negotiations are underway with the authorities providing the hardcopy for both of these projects to explore their being migrated to LLMC-Digital.
The IRS Forms service was launched in 1986. At that time we filmed the entire retrospective collection of tax forms held by the IRS Office of Chief Counsel Library. Thereafter the collection was kept up to date by annual filming of the forms issued in the previous year. The last packet delivered to subscribers was 2003. We have just received the box of forms for 2004, and their fate is on hold. On April 19 we will be meeting with the Director of the Chief Counsel’s Library. Under negotiation will be four questions. Is this service still useful? If so, will the Library continue to cooperate with us by providing annual hardcopy if we move it to LLMC-Digital? What changes will have to be made in the format to make this service usable in an on-line environment? Finally, since the preponderance of small print would make it very difficult to extract acceptable tiff images from the fiche backfile, would the Library agree to our scanning the backfile from the originals? If we do end up successfully migrating this service on-line, current subscribers to the fiche will be asked to decide whether they want to continue paying to receive it in the fiche format.
The MLA project also was launched in 1986. In that year LLMC filmed the MLA backfile of documents: No. 1–664. Since then LLMC has provided subscribers with fiche copies of additional documents as issued, up to Doc. 774. Several additional new documents have now accumulated and have been put on hold until negotiations with the MLA Board are concluded. The initial response appears to be favorable. If all goes well we hope to have this service also transferred to digital sometime during this year.
Donations of Books Being Discarded
As mentioned in the last Newsletter, (Footnote 5) LLMC has adopted the policy that it will try to limit its use of digitization from its microfiche backfile to those cases where it has little of no hope of obtaining hardcopy for scanning purposes. It has made this policy decision because it finds that scanning from the original paper almost always yields a better image than obtaining that image second hand, so to speak, via the fiche. In addition, because the costs of scanning from the original have now been brought down to equal those of digitization from fiche in the case of bound books, and below that level with disbound books, LLMC has the financial freedom to favor original scanning. We therefore have been putting out the call for first dibs on discard copies when libraries elect to withdraw hardcopy in deference to relying on the LLMC-Digital versions. The initial response to our pleas have been heartening. Among the early returns are:
— As mentioned in our last issue, Wayne State University Law Library has donated its entire state court reports collection going up to copyright. About 5,000 books already have arrived, with many more in the mail. The volumes for four states already have cleared the Hawaii end of the production line. All fifty states will be up on LLMC-Digital in the next twelve months.
— The University of New Brunswick has sent us a selection of about thirty runs of early British, Irish, and Canadian court reports. Many of those titles will start showing up on LLMC-Digital next month.
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— The law firm Kitch Dutchas Wagner DeNardis & Valitutti of Detroit has sent us an almost complete run of the IRS Cumulative Bulletins.
All of the users of LLMC-Digital have reason to be grateful to the above libraries for their generosity in making these materials available for all of our use. But, as one of the donor librarians pointed out, “Giving away the books is not that hard. In this case my own books are being made available to my own students and my own faculty right on their desktops at no expense to my library.”
LLMC looks forward to hearing from many other of its subscriber librarians who share those sentiments. In that regard, let us mention that in the near term we would like to hear from any libraries willing to donate copies in reasonably good condition of both the Congressional Record and the National Reporter System up through 1923.
Reflections on “Buying American”
Several subscribers have noted that all of LLMC’s digital equipment purchases have been of equipment manufactured in Europe. They ask: quite apart from neglecting to help the U.S. balance of payments, isn’t buying European at least questionable given the stratospheric rise of the Euro versus the dollar? Of course they’re right on the latter point. The combined price of the two scanners (one hi-speed and the other step-and-repeat) we recently acquired from German firms went up almost US$5K between the time when we discovered them and the time when we could afford to lock in the price.
However, the sadder underlying reality is that American manufacturers have virtually abandoned the manufacture of the type and quality of equipment we need. No American company makes step-and-repeat scanners capable of producing library-level work. As for high-speed digital scanners, all of the American production is aimed at the lucrative, but lower-image-quality, invoice, bank-check, and insurance-form market. As for micrographic equipment, forget it! For example, we soon will need to replace our fiche duplicator, which is still needed to serve our remaining film customers. Only one manufacturer in the world still produces this equipment; a firm located, you guessed it, in Germany.
The result of this trend is that all of the equipment now in our production line, except for our ancient and creaking fiche duplicators, originated in Europe. Furthermore, with respect to two essential components of our production process, we are at present the only users in all of the Western Hemisphere. One important reason for this, no doubt, is that only one of the pieces of digital machinery we have purchased was even displayed at AIIM, the principal traditional tradeshow venue in this country for equipment in our field. (Footnote 6) In consequence, we no longer attend AIIM. Our serious attention has now moved to CeBIT, a gargantuan annual European tradeshow devoted to our field and related digital enterprises. Just to ensure that we stay abreast of current developments, at least on an every-other-year basis one of your servants in Kaneohe will be forced to attend CeBIT in Hanover, Germany. LLMC’s Executive Director made that trek in middle March. As a result of that trip, we are happy to report that, at least for the moment, LLMC is on the cutting edge in its field. (Footnote 7)
Getting this Newsletter by E-mail
If you signed up to get this newsletter delivered by e-mail, but see that you did not get this very issue that way, the problem could be that we don’t have your correct e-mail. Each time we send the newsletter out we get ten or so rejects; changed addresses, etc. So, if you want electronic delivery and aren’t getting it, please e-mail your current e-mail address to Debbie Bagwell, our Business Manager, at email@example.com.
At least one person at each subscribing library should have received this alert.
If your library did not receive that e-mail, it’s possible, either that you
didn’t provide us with a contact, or that your contact’s e-mail address has
changed. Either way, let’s get in touch, since these technical advisories are
our primary method for alerting you to any problems on the site which may affect
2.) Issue 10, p.1
3.) Issue 12, p. 1. The technically inclined may remember that this is a “step-and-repeat” style scanner meant solely for the scanning of bound books. It’s thruput in our in-house experience with normal-sized law books is roughly 400 images per hour. Given the nature of some of the material targeted at GWU, in particular the large size of many of the books, thruput will be somewhat less. This is because during scanning speed is directly related to the number of pixels needed to capture a given image; i.e., larger pages need more pixels. A major reason for choosing the SMA 21 for this application, apart from the excellent images it generates, is the gentleness with which it handles the books.
4.) We plan to digitize the backfile from our micro-fiche holdings, since the AALS itself no longer has a paper version. Like many libraries it availed it-self of the fiche to discard the hardcopy. However, we would be willing to revisit this decision if a library holding a complete, or nearly-complete, run, and willing to loan it for scanning purposes, can be found.
5.) Issue 12 , p. 2, Col. a
6.) As a result LLMC has achieved a certain notoriety, with four different firms asking if they can come out and view our operations. To be fair, these requests all came in the dead of winter. We’ll have to wait to see if the curiosity continues into the warmer summer months.
7.) We also discovered that there is a competitor to the Kirtas robotic film scanner described in our Issue 11, p. 1, ftnt 1. It is a ca. $300,000 machine dubbed Digitizing Line, which is manufactured in Switzerland. Details are available on request.