We are witnessing an explosion of digital information, some of it in unstructured repositories, some in still primitive digital libraries. This trend is certain to accelerate as the National Informat ion Infrastructure (NII) and Global Information Infrastructure (GII) become a reality. Put another way, the Internet of today may evolve into what researchers at the University of Illinois are callin g the Interspace, "where relatively seamless interlinked information spaces will encode the knowledge of a specific community or subject domain by integrating text, data, objects, images as well as s ound in one flexible, cohesive, scalable and economically feasible system."
Several digital library projects in the United States and abroad are in progress with the goal of developing the enabling technologies for creating a single, integrated and "universal" library, compo sed of the large numbers of individual heterogeneous repositories. These repositories and archives include materials in personal information collections, collections in conventional libraries, and la rge data collections shared by scientists, engineers and other researchers. Six U.S. institutions received funding for Digital Library Initiatives from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Depa rtment of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) beginning in the fall of 1994. These institutions are: Carnegie Mellon Univers ity (Pittsburgh), The University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara, Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA), the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).
In addition, the Library of Congress (LC) has a National Digital Library Project underway that is funded, in part, by private corporations and foundations to make some of its large text and image col lections accessible via computer networks. This paper will focus on projects at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois and the Library of Congress, including how these initiatives wil l affect the way image and text archives are organized as we enter the next century, and their implications for the international community. Among the issues addressed in the paper are:
Digital libraries: new initiatives with world wide implications "...'a digital library' is the generic name for federated structures that provide humans both intellectual and physical access to the h
uge and growing world wide networks of information encoded in multi media digital formats."
Source: The University of Michigan Digital Library Project
Introduction: three future scenarios
Scenario 1: Learning music with Brahms
A young person in a rural school in Germany is curious about music, and wants to learn more about great composers. Through an interactive, multi media system she accesses a choral work by Brahms whic h she can hear through the high quality headphones she is wearing. As the selection begins to play, her video monitor displays the image of the original hand written score, penned by Brahms himself. To her surprise and delight, she sees whole sections of the manuscript scratched through in red pen, with comments from Brahms's former teacher criticizing his efforts and suggesting ways to improve the piece. She realizes that everyone has teachers, that instruction and practice improve people. She now has a new outlook on education and music. Even more, she hears and sees how the work uses a s tandard musical form in surprisingly new ways. She can start and stop the piece, can hear and see the various orchestral parts played separately, and can read explanatory notes about the work and the composer.
Scenario 2: cultural heritage in the virtual museum
A young Nigerian living in a remote village in central Nigeria wants to explore his past. Having access to the elders of the community, he is fortunate to have heard the stories and to have developed some sense of belonging. But, over the years, tribal and religious artifacts that help to define him as a tribal member have been removed to be placed in museums and collections elsewhere. He is una ble to travel to see, understand and appreciate the relics of his past, but he is able to go to a tribal center where he may browse through a virtual museum a museum without walls, a museum that t ravels to him. Because the images are digitized representations of the artifacts, he is able to expand and rotate the images to view detail. He listens to a guide's explanation of the collection, as well as comments on each piece by Nigerian experts. He is traveling with the help of his virtual guide, and can explore the dusty corners of this virtual museum on his own. He comes away from this ex perience with a greater sense of his community and his own identity, a sense that his heritage has not been lost or stolen, an understanding that these precious relics may be viewed and appreciated b y anyone, not just those with sufficient money to visit the museum in person. This scenario could be played in Indonesia, the American southwest, or virtually anywhere else in the world.
Scenario 3: Talking With Arthur C. Clarke
A high school student is sitting at a multi media workstation in the school's library. Her class project is to create a multimedia composition on how world culture has been changed by communications satellites. Groping for a beginning she begins speaking to the monitor, ``I've got to put something together on culture and satellites. What are they?'' Transparent to the user, the system performs h ighly accurate, speaker independent, continuous speech recognition on her query. It then uses sophisticated natural language processing to understand the query and translate it into retrieval comman ds to locate relevant portions of digital video. The video is searched based on transcripts from audio tracks that were automatically generated through the same speech recognition technology. The app ropriate selection is further refined through "scene sizing" developed by image understanding technology. Almost as soon as she has finished her question, the screen shows several icons, some showing motion clips of the video contained, followed by text forming an extended title/abstracts of the information contained in the video.
Using either a mouse or a spoken command, the student requests the second icon. The screen fills with a video of scientist/author Arthur C. Clarke describing how he did not try to patent communicatio ns satellites, even though he was the first to describe them. Next the student requests the third choice, and sees villages in India that are using satellite dishes to view educational programming. A sking to go back, Arthur Clarke reappears. Now, speaking directly to Clarke, she wonders if he has any thoughts on how his invention has shaped the world. Clarke, speaking from his office, starts tal king about his childhood in England and how different the world was then. Using a skimming control she finds particularly relevant sections to be included in her multimedia composition. Beyond the re quisite search and retrieval, to give our student such functionality requires image understanding to intelligently create scenes and the ability to skim them. The next day she gives her teacher acces s to her project. More than a simple presentation of a few video clips, our student has created a video laboratory that can be explored and whose structure is itself indicative of the student's under standing. Helping this student be successful are tools for building multimedia objects that include assistance in the language of cinema, appropriate use of video, and structuring composition. Behind the scenes the system has created a profile of how the video was used, distributing that information to the library's accounts. Assets for which the school has unlimited rights are tracked to unders tand curricular needs. And accounts for assets that the school has restricted, pay per use rights are debited.
The emerging world of networked digital information
The world is rapidly being transformed by the proliferation of information resources available through new distribution networks. Just as the dissemination of films on videotape dramatically altered the way people consume one form of culture by closing some movie theaters, significantly altering the economics of the entertainment industry, and leading individuals to new habits of viewing in priv ate spaces and at a time of their own choosing, the dissemination of networked digital information is likely to promote fundamental changes in both institutions and personal habits for other forms of culture and scholarly work.
This is already happening in the fields of information science and librarianship. Libraries are becoming less important for the materials they collect and house, and more important for what kind of m aterial they are able to obtain in response to user requests. This movement from collecting material "just in case" someone might need it, to one of developing partnerships allowing libraries to deli ver material from elsewhere "just in time" to answer a user's needs is a significant paradigm shift for libraries as institutions. This shift to on demand delivery of material from elsewhere is a dir ect result of the recent proliferation of digital networking in an environment where standards for description were established and refined over the past twenty five years.
Along with the changes to libraries as institutions have come changes in the roles of librarians. The proliferation of networked digital information is causing a shift of librarians from caretakers o f physical collections to people who identify resources that exist in collections housed elsewhere. This role as "navigator" is not a new one, but it has intensified in magnitude. This is currently e vident in many large research libraries where librarians spend much of their time creating electronic pointers to resources on the Internet. Efforts like this are increasing very rapidly.
As digital representations of scientific, artistic and journalistic text and images proliferate, we can expect to see similar sweeping changes in public response to digital images and the institution s that house them, and in the role of caretakers and interpreters of image and text collections.
Increased intellectual access and participation
A primary result of widespread digitization and global networking will be increased access. Increased access is likely to have a significant democratizing effect, particularly if/when the institution s allow access to these from outside their walls via networks or CDs. Current constraints of libraries, schools and museums (limited hours, user fees, and the availability of only a finite number of works) will disappear. The new capability of viewing surrogate exhibits, library books and museum images on nights and weekends is not unlike the kind of "instant gratification" that we have seen in the entertainment oriented art forms such as films on videotape.
It was the great German scholar Walter Benjamin who said that being able to appreciate a work of art or science in a setting other than a library or museum is a significant step in opening up culture to the masses. Of course, living at the end of the 20th century, we are used to determining the setting for our own appreciation of culture and the arts. We don't have to go to a concert hall to lis ten to music we can listen in the comfort of our homes, or even while running. But one level of democratization that Benjamin did not anticipate was the ability to interact with a work, or rather it s image, made possible by the computer age.
The emerging global interactive environment offers the opportunity for what I will call "intellectual participation" in several ways. With the ability to connect to files anywhere, to "zoom in" and " zoom out," the viewer can begin to make his/her own intellectual involvement at various levels. In a museum or library exhibit environment, for instance, this includes placing close ups side by side, juxtaposing whole objects to one another, and discovering new relationships between things. Being able to create these new juxtapositions, the viewer is able to participate in activities that previo usly were almost exclusively within the domain of scholars or other professionals. These interactive processes engage the viewer, and make him/her more a participant than a spectator. Additional proc esses such as image processing techniques which allow the viewer to alter and combine images, offer even further engagement, but also raise critical issues of authorship of an altered text work or im age.
Intellectual property: questions of authorship in the digital age
The ability to actually change the things on a computer screen removes the authority of the original creator, essentially allowing a new creation out of a synthesis between the work as originally con ceived, and user invoked changes.
In an era of widespread access to text and images, the general public may make small changes to downloaded digital images and incorporate these into new pieces that they can call their own. Rather th an creating something from a concept, one could say that he or she is merely reacting to a previously packaged piece a bit like filling in the colors in a coloring book. But in the future, the gener al public may refer to this as "creativity" while others are likely to call it theft a violation of ownership.
Altered images, in particular, raise interesting questions, some of which affect most postmodern art and science. Primary among these are authorship and authenticity. Who is the author the original c reator or the person who digitally altered an image? When we retrieve images from digital image banks, how do we know that the image we are retrieving hasn't already been altered or hasn't been alter ed beyond the particular altered version we were seeking?
Suffice it to say, these are questions that will occupy the global information community for some years to come.
The U.S. national digital library initiative The initiative's focus is to dramatically advance the means to collect, store, and organize information in digital forms, and make it available for search ing, retrieval, and processing via communication networks--all in user friendly ways. Funded through a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Defense Advanced Resear ch Projects Agency (ARPA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The 4 year projects are centered at the following research institutions:
4.8 million: The Informedia interactive on line digital video library system to be created by Carnegie Mellon University and WQED/Pittsburgh will enable users to access, explore and retrieve science and mathematics materials from video archives. The Informedia system works by integrating speech, image and natural language understanding technologies. The library will initially contain 1,000 hours of video from the archives of public television station WQED/Pittsburgh, Electronic Field Trips on video from the Fairfax Co., Va., public school system and video course material produced by the BBC for the Open University, a British college without walls, with an enrollment of more than 200,000. Issues involving human computer interaction, pricing and charging for digital video use, and privac y and security will be addressed as part of the research program. Industrial partners and collaborators include Microsoft Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, Bell Atlantic Network Services, Q ED Communications, Open University, Winchester Thurston School and Fairfax Va. County Public Schools.
$4 million: This project will produce a prototype digital library with a focus on environmental information. The library will collect diverse information about the environment to be used for the prep aration and evaluation of environmental data, impact reports and related materials. The research prototype is intended for eventual full scale deployment in the State of California's CERES production systems. To create the prototype, researchers will need to produce technologies which allow untrained users to contribute to and find relevant information in other world wide digital library systems . Research areas include automated indexing, intelligent retrieval and search processes; data base technology to support digital library applications;new approaches to document analysis; and, data co mpression and communication tools for remote browsing. Partners and collaborators in the project include Xerox Corporation, Resources Agency of California, California State Library, Sonoma County Lib rary, San Diego Association of Governments, The Plumas Corporation, Shasta County Office of Education, and Hewlett Packard.
$4 million: This project will conduct coordinated research and development to create, operate, use and evaluate a testbed of a large scale, continually evolving multimedia digital library. The conten t focus of the library will be earth and space sciences. Potentially connecting thousands of users and information repositories, the library system will be designed to meet the need for systematizing the vast amount of information on an array of topics available on the Internet. A critical component of the project is the testing and evaluation of the prototype system by a wide variety of users, including those from on campus, local high schools and public libraries. Commercial sponsors including IBM, Elsevier Science, Apple Computer, Bellcore, UMI International, McGraw Hill, Encyclopaedia B ritannica Educational Corporation, and Kodak.
$4 million: Project Alexandria will develop a digital library providing easy access to large and diverse collections of maps, images and pictorial materials as well as a full range of new electronic library services. The project is centered at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with its major collections of maps and images and its strong research focus in the area of spatially indexed information. It also involves the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo), the University of Maine and several industrial partners. The project will begin with collections of digitized maps, images and air photos relating to Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties using software developed for geographical information systems. Over four years, the project will grow to inclu de other components at UCSB, SUNY Buffalo, Library of Congress, the United States Geological Survey and the St. Louis Public Library, as well as other interested libraries. Each site will include, a s necessary, facilities for geographical information interfaces, electronic catalogues, and information storage and acquisition.
$3.6 million: The Stanford Integrated Digital Library Project will develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated "virtual" library that will provide uniform access to the large number of emerging networked information sources and collections both on line versions of pre existing works and new works that will become available in the future. The Integrated Digital Library will crea te a shared environment that links everything from personal information collections, to collections found today in conventional libraries, to large data collections shared by scientists. The research thrusts of the project include: information sharing and communication models; client information interfaces; and information finding services. Participating organizations include: Dialog Information Services (DIS), HP Labs (HP), NASA/Ames Research Center (NASA/ARC), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Interconnect Technologies Corp (ITC), Enterprise Integration Technologies (EIT), Bellco re, Interval, O Reilly, WAIS Inc. and Xerox Corporation.
$4 million: This project is based on the new Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign and will be centered around journals and magazines in th e engineering and science literature. The testbed will include a customized version of NCSA Mosaic (TM), software developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications under NSF and ARPA s ponsorship to help users navigate the World Wide Web. This testbed will become a production facility of the University Library with thousands of documents and tens of thousands of users across the Un iversity of Illinois and other Big Ten universities. Research, based in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, will encompass sociological evaluation of the testbed, technological de velopment of semantic retrieval, and prototype design of future scalable information systems (the Interspace). Partners in the project include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCS A), University of Arizona, Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Am erican Physical Society, Institute of Physics, John Wiley & Sons, and U.S. News and World Report. Industrial partners include: United Technologies, Softquad, BRS/Dataware and Spyglass.
The University of Illinois Digital Library Initiative Summary (from the UIUC proposal):
It is envisioned that an international "Interspace" network will evolve from distributed computer nodes supporting file transfer to distributed information sources supporting object interaction. User s will browse the Net by searching digital libraries and navigating relationship links, as well as share new information within the Net by composing and publishing new objects and links. The Net will thus appear as interconnected spaces of information objects, the Interspace.
The University of Illinois project proposes two concurrent and complementary activities that will accelerate progress towards building the Interspace. These together construct a model large scale dig ital library and investigate how it can scale up to the National Information Infrastructure.
This project proposes two concurrent and complementary activities that will accelerate progress towards building the Interspace. These together construct a model large scale digital library and inves tigate how it can scale up to the National Information Infrastructure.
The testbed centers around the new Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign (UIUC). This $26M Center is intended as a showcase for state of th e art digital libraries. Construction of this national digital library testbed is possible through the active participation of two major institutions at the University of Illinois, the University Lib rary and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
The digital collection will center around journals and magazines in the engineering literature, in structured SGML format with pictorial materials, obtained via collaboration with professional (e.g. IEEE) and commercial (e.g. Wiley) publishers. The user base will center around the Engineering College at UIUC, one of the nation's largest, then expand to a regional (e.g. CIC Midwestern universitie s) and national (e.g. NCSA metacomputer users) population.
The information system will center around NCSA Mosaic for front end document display and network connection, with the Grainger on line system for back end search and storage. This will also link the testbed to the extensive collections within the Engineering Library and the Internet. Version 1 will thus leverage off a substantial base of existing users, collections, and software.
The research centers around analysis of the existing testbed and design of a scalable digital library infrastructure. Analysis of the usage patterns will be done by the sociology research and analysi s of the system performance by the computer science research. Design of techniques for semantic and customized retrieval will be developed by the information science research and design of architectu res for heterogeneous and distributed federation will be developed by the information systems research. Usage effects of information costs will be investigated by the economics research. A new design and implementation will be developed, based partially on experience with the Worm Community System (WCS), a national model for science information systems, and on the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards, evolving from Mosaic/WWW. Version 2 of the information system will thus provide a deeper level of integration and of interaction.
The combined experience from the testbed and the research will enable the design and analysis of a new model for digital library infrastructure, which can scale up to the National Information Infrast ructure.
The Library of Congress digital library project
The Library of Congress National Digital Library Project will create a "virtual library" of high resolution digitized images of books, drawings, manuscripts and photographs that will look just like t he originals and can be transmitted over computer networks to computer screens and high definition television sets, and be accessible to millions of students, researchers and the general public. The goal is to eventually offer movies and music to the public throughout the country as well.
In an October 1994 report, the Library of Congress (LC) indicated it intends to digitize five million images by the year 2000 the Library's 200th anniversary. About a million images would be digitiz ed each year by LC and other research libraries. LC will begin by digitizing specialized American historical materials in the public domain; following that, future materials will depend on demand fro m Congress, libraries, schools, and researchers and the resolution of complex copyright issues.
The report states that total costs of the project are unknown: digitizing a single page of text now costs $2 to $6, although technological advances are expected to reduce costs greatly. The expected sources of support are congressional appropriations, private sector philantrophy, and collaborations with publishers and other research institutions. Some of these collaborations will likely include agreements with outside producers to repackage and resell the material (in CD ROM form for example) in return for financial assistance, though such agreements would not be exclusive.
The report also raises such issues as preservation, privacy, copyright implications, access to and organization of digital collections, and services to Congress and the general public.
The National Digital Library is not LC's first experience in digitizing its collections: the Library is already developing an archive based on the composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein collections; a commercial firm is scanning public-domain images from LC's Prints and Photographs Division in a pilot project; its Law Library is developing a Global Information Network linking national legislative bodies; and its American Memory project has already made 210,000 digitized photographs, sound recordings, and manuscripts available for testing at 42 schools and libraries across the country, with a portion of the project available on the World Wide Web.
Initial funding sources for the project include grants from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Lucille and David Packard (Hewlett-Packard) Foundation and Metromedia Communications President John Kluge .
Building a global information infrastructure
Because the term National Information Infrastructure (NII) contains the word "national," it is easy to assume that problems of developing, implementing, and using information networks are largely U.S .-based. But this is misleading, because both the markets served by U.S-owned companies and the endeavors of the research and education communities are increasingly international. Thus, NII services will operate in a context of international connectivity; U.S. entities do and will use U.S. infrastructure to communicate with parties overseas, and foreign entities will use their local infrastructu re to communicate with the United States.
Research networks have been international since the mid-1970s, when sites in the United Kingdom and Norway connected to SATNET, and thereby to the ARPANET. In the early 1980s, CSNET, BITNET, and UUCP all developed gateways to networks in other countries. For example, by 1984, CSNET was operating electronic mail gateways between the United States and Korea, Israel, Japan, France, Germany, Austral ia, and Scandinavia. In the same time frame, BITNET became international as it spread to Europe, via the European Academic Research Network (EARN). Similarly, the UUCP network developed a gateway to the European UNIX networks via Amsterdam, and the U.S. agency networks, SPAN and HEPnet, were linked to communities of interest in other parts of the world. By the mid-1980s, when the first NSFNET (N ational Science Foundation) backbone was being discussed, electronic mail gateways already connected the various U.S. networks to a robust and evolving global networking infrastructure.
In parallel with the development of national networks, a number of "volunteer" networks have developed, the most prominent of which is Fidonet. Fidonet reaches 84 countries, including many developing countries for which this is the only affordable network alternative. In this regard, Fidonet technology is used extensively by non- governmental organizations working on economic development in Afri ca and Asia. Electronic mail gateways allow people in such countries as Kenya, Namibia, and Ethiopia to correspond with colleagues in other parts of the world.
The global network environment now reaches over 140 countries. A variety of technologies are used, but the common denominator shared by all is the ability to exchange electronic mail (e-mail). As new countries, such as those in Eastern and Central Europe and Latin America, have connected, the first international service has been e-mail. A universal goal has been to move to the next level, intera ctive services and connection to the Internet. The principal barrier to such enriched communications is the high cost of international communications.
There are several reasons for these high costs. Historically, an important factor has been the cost of installing and maintaining the physical infrastructure coupled with the limited capacity of such facilities. The advent of optical transmission and the introduction of new technical innovations such as optical amplification and wave division multiplexing, capacity is increasing dramatically, an d hence costs can be amortized over larger user and application base.
Secondly, costs of international communications have been high due to a lack of competition. Until recently, most governments exercised either direct or indirect control over national telecommunicati ons as well as international links. While this is still the case in some parts of the world, there has been a significant increase in competition resulting from deregulation and the opening of domest ic and international markets to foreign companies.
Despite the growing availability of bandwidth capacity, the cost differential between U.S. and overseas service is not something that is going to be resolved in the immediate future, although there a re now visible signs that change is on the way. In almost every nation of the world, telecommunications services operate in a "contrived" economic system, that is, a system of cross-subsidization in which monies are collected to support a wide-range of government goals. In the United States one of the goals is " universal service" or the provision of affordable telephone service for the greatest number of people.
The Swiss, and many other countries throughout Western Europe, use monies collected from telecommunications services to subsidize postal and transportation services. Introducing competition into thes e countries, such as we are now attempting to do in the United States, does not appear at this time to be in the best interests of many of these countries and, in fact, the telephone companies are di scouraging anyone from building their own networks employing leased lines. Telephone companies are promoting integrated services digital network and expensive narrowband 8.25-kbps services on the bas is that raising the price for leased lines high enough will encourage everyone to move toward these services. Considerable evidence exists to question that this strategy is working.
The promise of satellites
In the case of satellite communications, the lack of competition is also discouraging, resulting in fewer choices and increased costs for major users. Satellite communication was initially introduced into Europe so that the Postal Telephony and Telegraphy organizations (PTTs) could communicate among themselves and serve as gatekeepers to the flow of information in and out of their countries. Rev enues from these services have been substantial. Two factors, possible loss of control and income, have made the PTTs reluctant to enter into a market economy for telecommunications in which competit ion is encouraged.
It is important to keep in mind that while networks have developed at different paces in different countries, the phenomenon has been global in nature. While the technologies most commonly used today , the Internet, BITNET, Fidonet and UUCP protocols, were developed largely in the United States, each national network activity reflects the unique characteristics (economic, legal, regulatory) of it s local environment. These national efforts should be considered as peers to the U.S. networks, and it should be understood that the "GII" will likely not be a direct reflection of the U.S.' NII.
Implementation of international connectivity
Achieving international connections has three components: 1) transmission between countries (in particular, transoceanic connections), 2) distribution (local infrastructure and access points) within countries, and 3) bilateral or multilateral agreements on technical (e.g., addressing, routing) and policy issues (e.g., acceptable use, financing).
Several important considerations can affect the international connectivity of the NII. Some are technical in nature, and the others involve cost-of-service factors that will result from competitive f orces and cooperative efforts among nations. The availability of adequate bandwidth-that is, whether or not the United States has in place, or in the planning stages, sufficient digital connections t o Europe and the Pacific Rim to meet the high-speed bandwidth requirements of the NII, is an important technical consideration.
A quick review of this issue suggests that bandwidth capacity will not be a serious obstacle.
The two major technologies underpinning high-speed transmission media are satellites and fiber-optic cables. In the case of satellite technology, Intelsat remains the primary service provider for mos t of the nations of the world.2 In addition, a large number of regional satellites provide a range of broadcast and point-to-point services.3
A recent development in the satellite arena is the expected growth in deployment of "very small aperture terminal dishes" (VSATs), which can facilitate the supply of connectivity to remote areas and significantly enhance local infrastructure. PanAmSat is being used for this purpose in Latin America, and both carriers and satellite systems vendors are offering VSAT services at very low cost.
VSATs should dramatically expand Internet access worldwide. In fact, this technology may ultimately be the key to the "taking the net the last mile." This will be accomplished as national government regulations, policies, and attitudes regarding satellite and other communications technologies, devised and implemented in the 1950s and 1960s, change to reflect the vast capabilities of the technolo gies of the 1990s. These government changes will not end at the shores of the U.S., nor will they be limited to technology considerations alone. The NII & GII planners are committed to working with t he international community to promote a seamless, open structure that will be most effective when it evolves into integrated into a true Global Information Infrastructure. This means addressing trans border data flow policy problems including privacy, monitoring requirements of other governments, censorship issues, and the exchange of certain types of data between countries.
International connectivity is also available via cable (coaxial or fiber), and as in the national context, experience suggests that the importance of fiber-optic cable for international transmission is likely to grow. One reason for this is that cable provides for better-quality service for interactive applications.
The current large-scale capacity of fiber-optic connections between the United States and Europe (TATs-8, 9, 10, and 11) will be further enhanced by August 1996 with the availability of TATs-12 and 1 3. The two latter fiber-optic cables will operate at gigabit rates. In the Pacific Rim, there are now several large-capacity fiber-optic cables (TransPac 3 and 4). These have the same capacity as the TAT-8 series of cables. TransPac 5, scheduled to be in operation by 1996, will also offer gigabit rates. Submarine cables provide an attractive economic advantage for selected routes where there is a high rate of growth in the demand for communications capacity.
Although intercontinental transmission technology is rapidly advancing, there is an absence of a generic infrastructure capable of taking advantage of this capacity in most developing nations and in some developed countries.
The disparity between U.S. and foreign data communications environments (including networks, hardware and software) is a source of frustration to businesses and, in particular, members of the researc h community when they seek to effect or use international connections.
Within a country, distribution--local infrastructure--is largely a matter of local policy and investment; it is the area of greatest unevenness across countries. For example, in countries such as Chi na and Russia, the infrastructure for very high speed links is almost nonexistent. A major finding of the 1990 Report of the Task Force on Telecommunications and Broadcasting in Eastern Europe, commi ssioned by the U.S. State Department, stated: "The years of political bias against private access and dissemination of information have left all Eastern European countries, regardless of GNP, with te lecommunications and broadcast infrastructures which are among the very poorest and most antiquated in the world. Massive investment will be required to bring the telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructures up to developed country levels."4 And, of course, conditions are far worse in most of Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.
Since that report was written a number of major changes have been initiated by the governments of most of these countries to improve their telecommunications infrastructures, such as the move from an alog to digital circuits, the introduction of cellular radio, the passage of legislation to encourage investments by Western companies marketing products and services in telecommunications, and so on . But despite the gains being made, the finding of the State Department report remains valid; significant investments are required to bring these nations to "telcoequality" with developed nations. Th ese investments depend to a large degree on the ability of these countries to promote market economies and to demonstrate a business environment that will provide investors a reasonable risk and retu rn on their investments. Further, the financially poor condition of the universities, a widespread situation, makes difficult the purchase of expensive services in the near future.
As suggested above, VSATs hold the promise of upgrading local infrastructure, sometimes providing a capability that overlays an existing wire-based infrastructure, at relatively low cost. Such overla y connectivity is the goal of some new university-local business consortia being formed in Eastern Europe, encouraged in some cases, by the World Bank. In more advanced countries, such as Japan and s ome in Western Europe, the problems are largely political, not based on a lack of underlying telecommunications infrastructure. In such countries, state-owned or chartered PTTs control both domestic and international communications.
Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," in Illuminations, New York: Schocken, 1978.
Howard Besser, "Adding an Image Database to an Existing Library and Computer Environment: Design and Technical Considerations," in Susan Stone and Michael Buckland (eds.), Studies in Multimedia (Proc eedings of the 1991 Mid-Year Meeting of the American Society for Information Science), Medford, NJ: Learned Information, 1992, pages 31-45.
Howard Besser, "Visual Access to Visual Images: The UC/Berkeley Image Database Project," Library Trends 4 (Spring 1990): 787-798.
Michael Ester, "Image Quality and Viewer Perception," Leonardo (Digital Image-Digital Cinema, Supplemental Issue, 1990): 51-53.
Realizing the Information Future: The Internet and Beyond, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1994.
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
John W. Berry is Associate Professor and Director of Advancement and Special Programs, The University Library, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He holds the MLS (Library and Information Scien ce), MAT (Social Studies) and AB (Political Science) from Indiana University. Prior to UIC, he was Executive Director, Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a division of the Amer ican Library Association. He has also held faculty and management positions at Northern Illinois University, Elmira College (NY) and Indiana University. In September 1994, Mr. Berry testified before the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights of the White House Information Infrastructure Task Force on behalf of UIC and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). His areas of research inte rest and expertise include photography and photographic history, library building design, and information design and display.