Collaborating over the Web: Libraries and Laboratories


The Librarian and the Webmaster

Paula Garrett

Fisher Library

University of Sydney

Sydney, Australia

David J. Ritchie

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Batavia, Illinois


Table of Contents

An Audience Survey-how many...

* have read the paper?

* are Librarians?

* are Webmasters?

* are Library Administrators?

* are Managers of Organizations with >1 web server

About the Paper (AW02-03)...


About: Laboratory organization of web servers and Library organization of its web server

* Comparison/Contrast of approaches, styles, drivers of content for two servers very different in intent.

* Homework assignment: please read document

* Comments by e-mail or otherwise welcome

About the Laboratory and the Library...


a large laboratory - 7,000 network nodes, >20 independently operated web servers


Fermilab Library:

a small, special purpose library, 15,000 book volumes, 250 journals, high electronic literacy among its readers


An example of things to come?

Similarities with any island of web sites - E.g. Tasmania


"Yes Minister, It's on that Web thing," AW10-01


The implications for single server sites...

The Laboratory: many servers

The Library: just one (at present)

It's not the number of web servers that is important...

It's the number of independently operated web pages...

=> need for coordination

=> policy

=> procedure

=> responsibility for content

General Theme...

* Command and Control


* Education and Empowerment

Organization's Overall Web Structure

concerned with command and control issues

E.g. -

who is responsible for content?

who can change content?

who can read what on server?

Library server - particularly a reference service server

concerned with education and empowerment of

readers and staff

E.g. -

how can we provide the best info to readers?

how can we respond quickly to reader needs?

how can we make it easy for those directly

helping readers change and adapt info?

Command and Control versus Education and Empowerment

* Precise mix is dependent on personality of org.

Commercial Sites

stockholder interests, lots of money

=> command and control

Government supported, pure research Sites

taxpayers, researchers, knowledge mission

=> a middle road

University Sites

academic freedom, student role

=> education and empowerment

Important to bring this discussion to institutional consciousness

What have those in audience seen in this area?

Synonyms for C&C and E&E are:

Engineering Approach = C&C

Research & Development Approach = E&E

Engineering Approach


Measurable objectives



Research and Development Approach



Focused Play

Why important...

Visibility of Web sometimes results in demands for fully engineered web server before any idea how to use.

Must provide opportunity for E&E, R&D, or whatever in order to develop vision for solutions.

Opportunities to "just do it, try it, prototype it, pilot it..."

Involve Librarians as well as Computer Professionalsto insure "reader-relevant" vision for library applications.


R&D must become Engineering eventually. The educational plaything must become a controlled presentation of an organization's web presence.

But: Variability can be an element of the architecture.

E.g. The Library page in order to stay reader-relevant had variability as an element of its architecture.

Some specifics about the laboratory web architecture

* Control the top level pages

* Command "line management responsibility" for server operation and content for independently managed servers linked to the top level pages.

Establish "local webmasters" as point of contact

* Create a "Work in Progress" page in order to legitimize an area where content is held to a different "work in progress" standard.

Expect collaborations to manage their own collaboration private matters. Too hard to do this from a site webmaster perspective.

* Establish the "one hop" rule to require "local webmasters" to explore all pages that are "one hop" away from their pages and vouch for appropriate content.

(NEW since paper written)

Architecture and policy are still evolving...

* Note a "Publication Page" (actually a whole server is in the process of being developed (e.g., for completed work-not work in progress...))

Some specifics about Library Web architecture...

* Reader need driven

* On a platform (Mac) that the Library staff can entirely manage and update...(empower...)

* Variability of content a part of architecture...


* Both the Work in Progress pages and the Library's pages are not elaborate and have minimal graphics in order to provide quick information even for slow links...and to maximize information is for people at work!

* Note that Library Automation has entered a new era where the automation system is no longer central.

Instead, an information market place has taken hold and the "point of purchase" has changed from being Library Administrator selected to reader selected.

Interchangeable browsers, standards and interoperability are very important to the maintenance of this desirable state of affairs.

The economics has profoundly changed as a result. See the document for additional details.

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