SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue 19/04

October 21, 2004

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor

 

 

LYNCH ON BLOGS

In the course of an interview with RLG DigiNews, Clifford A. Lynch, executive director of Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), shared his views on the preservation of blogs: "Blogs are important in the same way that websites are. Blogs really do range from the sublime to the ridiculous. They can be wonderful sources of thinking, analysis, pointers of interest. There is a growing fuss over the extent to which the blog is an essential form of legitimate journalism or scholarly communication. Blogs succeed or fail on the quality of the content. They can be a significant form of communication." Lynch continues: "There are undoubtedly a goodly number of blogs that deserve preservation, just as there are a goodly number of Web sites. Every Web site does not need to be preserved in every one of its versions, nor does every blog... Most blogs that I have seen are in essence grow-only with older material rolled off to an archive perhaps. On Web sites, when you update a page you replace it. So it's much more likely that when you harvest or crawl a blog you are going to get its entire history up to the point you are visiting it. For most Web sites, you have to visit over and over again to get that history, which is represented as a series of versions. So I'm not sure that technically blogs are worse than Web sites broadly." (RLG DigiNews v8 n4 15 Aug 2004) ShelfLife, No. 177 (October 7 2004) http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=19481

 

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL PRICES: TRENDS AND COMPARISONS

A new report, undertaken for Oxford University Press (OUP), documents the results of a journal pricing analysis project. The project analyzed price data on about 6,000 journals from 12 named scholarly publishers, including OUP, taken over a 5-year period (2000 -2004, plus 1993 as a base year) together with a more detailed analysis of titles in the biomedical field. It is available free of charge on the web, or may be purchased in print (with color graphs). http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/dis/lisu/pages/publications/oup.html 

 

DUKE U. PRESS DIRECTOR ADDRESSES LIBRARIANS ON MUSE WITHDRAWAL

In a detailed "open letter" to librarians, posted on Yale University's Liblicense-L electronic discussion list, Duke University Press director Steve Cohn explained the press's recent decision to remove 18 of its journals from Project MUSE, the popular e-journal publisher run in collaboration by the libraries and press at Johns Hopkins University. The bottom line, Cohn wrote, was the eventual erosion of subscription revenues for Duke's most popular journals included in Project MUSE, revenue that largely subsidizes the press's publishing activities. Cohn told the LJ Academic Newswire that revenues from Project MUSE had previously been making up for losses in direct subscriptions, but that eventually "the erosion" of subscriptions would turn into a landslide. At a time when the discussion of journal publishing has increasingly focused on the theoretical—the viability of an open access future, for example—Cohn's letter serves as a stark reminder of the present situation facing libraries and non-profit scholarly publishers. Duke U. Press was an early booster of Project MUSE, putting the majority of its journals in when other presses, such as Oxford, the U. Chicago Press and MIT chose to enter selected journals. In 2004, Duke journals made up approximately 16 percent of the Project MUSE full package, as calculated by such measures as number of pages, usage statistics, and share of total price. Still, even with the removal of 18 of its journals from Project MUSE, Duke likely will remain one of the project's largest contributors. A new Duke contract with MUSE is currently in negotiation and Cohn said he expected as many as nine journals to remain. The rest are now available directly from the press. Despite the decision to withdraw some journals, Cohn said he remains a strong proponent of the venture. Project MUSE provides electronic access to primary current periodical content from not-for-profit publishers in the humanities and social sciences. It currently provides online access to over 250 titles from some 40 publishers, and serves nearly 1,000 subscribing libraries worldwide. Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 07, 2004 http://www.library.yale.edu/~llicense/ListArchives/0408/msg00104.html

 

PROJECT MUSE RESPONDS TO DUKE OPEN LETTER

Project MUSE is still going strong. So wrote Katherine Keane of the Johns Hopkins University Press, publisher of MUSE, in a response to the LJ Academic Newswire article, later posted on Yale’s liblicense electronic discussion list, regarding the Duke University Press’s decision to withdraw content from MUSE. Seeking to assuage librarians’ concerns, Keane noted that MUSE typically garners 95 percent or better renewals from publishers and added that several established publishers have committed additional titles to the MUSE collections for 2005, including Oxford University Press, Indiana University Press, and the Brookings Institution Press. Keane told the LJ Academic

Newswire that this year MUSE has offered 258 journals from 45 publishers. Among publishers, Hopkins leads the pack, offering 56 journals. In 2004, Duke was MUSE’s second largest contributor, offering 30 titles. For 2005-2007, the number will be scaled back to nine. That still puts Duke among the top contributors to MUSE; behind Indiana University Press (19 titles), MIT Press (15), and the University of Hawaii Press (14). Keane told the LJ Academic Newswire that, despite Hopkins’ disappointment at Duke’s decision, she recognized that “there is no one-strategy-fits-all” in publishing e-journals. Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 12, 2004

 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS NEW ANTIPIRACY AUTHORITY

A report released recently by the U.S. Justice Department calls for significant changes to the nation's antipiracy laws and expresses the department's support of pending copyright legislation. In the report, the Justice Department endorses the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act as well as the Induce Act, both of which are strongly supported by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. Opponents of the bills include P2P companies as well as many leading technology firms, such as EarthLink, Google, Sun Microsystems, and Red Hat. The report also calls on Congress to introduce legislation that would allow wiretaps for investigations into intellectual property crimes and would create a new crime of "importation" of pirated material. The report recommends posting FBI agents in places such as Hong Kong, Budapest, and Hungary to aid efforts to limit intellectual property crimes. Comparing the report's recommendations to Prohibition, Phil Corwin, a lobbyist for Sharman Networks, which distributes the Kazaa file-sharing software, cautioned that lawmakers should "think long and hard" before establishing laws that put individual file traders on the same footing as organized crime. CNET, 12 October 2004 Edupage, October 13, 2004 http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-5406654.html

 

BEYOND METASEARCHING: WILL WRAPPERS BE THE NEXT BIG THING?

We all enjoy a good metasearch, and are very appreciative of what link resolvers can do. But Michael Bieber, professor of information systems at the New Jersey Institute of

Technology (NJIT), is leading a group of information scientists and librarians in a project that will provide a whole new way to think about integrating objects in the digital library. With more than $2 million from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Science Foundation, NJIT will work with the Newark Public Library to integrate resources to be used in the project. In addition, the project coordinators have worked with NASA and the National Science Foundation’s Digital Library in the proof of concept stage, and they have received permission from EBSCO, Gale, ProQuest, and ACM to work with their data. We have a strong computing and information science faculty and a strong digital library collection,” said Richard Sweeney, university librarian at NJIT. The idea is that users will be able to conduct a search in a particular service or product, but in their results they’ll see a totally integrated environment. For example, if a student searching a ProQuest database finds a pertinent article, that article would contain within it a variety of “anchors” that would link out to other content, including the book catalog, other databases, a video in a digital repository, notes a local professor has added to the article, or the even the author’s web page. It can even link to services, like MapQuest or an “Ask the Expert” page. For the user, it’s simple after all, users don’t have to think about what they’re doing. And, unlike federated search software, this new software retains the native power of each interface. Bieber explained that developers are using a “wrapper” specific to each system that analyzes the display screens, such as where author and title are located. Most vendors today produce pages in XML which makes this easy—the information is embedded. And all results from the same vendor are returned in the same layout. The system also performs a lexical analysis of the screen, adding anchors to key phrases within registered glossaries. When a user clicks on an anchor, the link sends a request to an information provider and a link list is produced on the fly, as identified by a relationship rule or glossary entry. Link resolvers “do the linking to the bibliographic data at the end of articles,” says Bieber. What will be a challenge are sources that lack metadata or aren’t in XML, like some objects in a digital collection. However, the project will be open source, so once a wrapper is created for data from one vendor, or a specific data set, then other libraries will be able to use it with little modification. Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 12, 2004

 

RECONCILING THE ORDER OF THE LIBRARY WITH THE CHAOS OF THE WEB

Noting that the library has long been "a metaphor for order and rationality," where the search for information is aided by knowledgeable librarians, Judith Pearce, director of business analysis at the National Library of Australia, contrasts such structure with the "anarchy" of the Web: "The Web is free-associating, unrestricted and disorderly. Searching is secondary to finding and the process by which things are found is unimportant. Collections are temporary and subjective where a blog entry may be as valuable to the individual as an unpublished paper as are six pages of a book made available by Amazon. The individual searches alone without expert help and, not knowing what is undiscovered, is satisfied." Services like Google and Amazon have raised the expectations of library users. For others, they have introduced a "world of information in which libraries and their collections have new audiences and new roles to play." Pearce describes recent changes at the National Library, aimed at reducing the separation between the Web site and the library catalog in order to draw users into the collection. Visitors to the new color-coded site do not even need to know what a catalog is in order to find information, she says. (National Library of Australia Sep 2004)  ShelfLife, No. 178 (October 14 2004) http://www.nla.gov.au/nla/staffpaper/2004/pearce2.html

 

IMPLEMENTING DIGITAL PRESERVATION MODELS

How are digital materials currently being preserved in the cultural heritage community? How should they be preserved in the future? PREMIS, a working group jointly sponsored by OCLC and RLG, recently issued a report on that subject. Based on survey responses from nearly 50 institutions in 13 countries, PREMIS (Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies) discovered certain trends that may ultimately emerge as best practices. One is to store metadata redundantly in both an XML or relational database, as well as with the content data objects themselves. Database storage allows fast access, while storing them with the object makes the object self-defining outside the context of the preservation repository. Maintain multiple versions (originals and at least some normalized or migrated versions) in the repository, and store complete metadata for all versions. Retaining the original reduces risk in case better preservation treatments become available in the future. Another recurring trend noted in the report was using the OAIS model as a framework and starting point for designing the preservation repository, but retaining the flexibility to add functions and services that go beyond that model. The METS format was recommended for structural metadata and as a container for descriptive and administrative metadata, but Z39.87/MIX was preferred for technical metadata for still images. (OCLC-RLG PREMIS Report Sept 2004) ShelfLife, No. 178 (October 14 2004) http://www.oclc.org/research/announcements/2004-10-01.htm

 

WHEN DOES A LUNCH INVITATION BECOME A RECORD?

To explain the basic definition of an e-record (as contrasted with something that's disposable), National Archives and Records Administration deputy archivist Lewis Bellardo says the ultimate question is: How long do I need to keep it? Asked whether there's a difference between an e-mail saying, "Jane, lets meet for lunch today" and one saying, "Jane, lets meet for lunch today to discuss the IT procurement," Bellardo says that there are two basic questions to answer: Was it created (or received) in the course of doing agency business? And does it need to be kept to document agency business? If the answer to both questions is yes, then it is a record. "While e-mail can be used to conduct substantive business, a lot of e-mails, like the first example, are either personal messages or very transitory in nature. The second example depends on the context. If the message were from a manager to a subordinate and the purpose of the

discussion were just to give the manager a brief and informal status report, the agency probably would not need a record that such a discussion had occurred. However, if the manager was an assistant secretary and Jane was an assistant secretary in another cabinet department, and the purpose of the discussion was to start negotiations for a major, interagency procurement aimed at an objective defined in statute or by the president, then both agencies would probably want to have a record of when the negotiations began." (Government Computer News 27 Sep 2004) ShelfLife, No. 178 (October 14 2004) http://www.gcn.com/23_29/mgmt_edition/27378-1.html

 

WHEN AVANT GARDE ART GOES BLACK

Remember when artists began experimenting with using lights, TV sets, tape recorders and other technologies to create their masterpieces? As old technology burns out, museums all over the world are faced with collections that they can no longer maintain. "We can't find replacement parts anymore," says John Hirx, conservator of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "We're a museum. We're not a TV manufacturing plant." The problem has sparked a lively debate on what to do about the countless works that "are decaying badly, on life support or turning to dust in a warehouse," says Jon Ippolito, the Guggenheim's associate curator of media arts. For example, as cathode ray tube production gives way to flat screens, works of art like "Video Flag Z" by Nam June Paik, which features a 6-foot-high grid of 84 Quasar monitors, become increasingly anachronistic. "For [Paik], the medium was fundamental to the experience of the work," says Guggenheim senior film and media arts curator John Hanhardt. "At the same time, he's open to the reality that media has changed, and that his work has to change with it." In fact, Paik has distributed certificates that allow an artwork's owner to change the technology of his piece without changing the authenticity of the work. Meanwhile, the Guggenheim experimented this year with technology emulation in an exhibit called "Seeing Double," which placed original artworks next to their electronic doppelgängers. While some artists were thrilled to have their bulky displays slimmed down to a single flat screen, others fumed. Most conservators, however, agree that some compromise is necessary: "Which is better? To have an imperfect copy 500 years from now or no copy at all?" asks Richard Rinehart, director of digital media at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. (Los Angeles Times 4 Oct 2004) ShelfLife, No. 178 (October 14 2004) http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fi-art4oct04,1,4403571.story?coll=la-headlines-technology

 

NEJM SUPPORTS FOR NIH PROPOSAL, BUT QUESTIONS LACK OF COPYRIGHT POLICY

A recent editorial in the prestigious NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE offered more support for the National Institute of Health's (NIH) proposal to make the research it funds free to the public within six months after publication. It also raised concerns, however, over the proposal's lack of a copyright policy. Indeed, as the NIH and supporters of its policy have pointed out, many publishers, including the NEJM, already follow the broad strokes of the NIH policy. Since May 2001, the NEJM has offered free access to its articles six months after publication. However, the editorial also noted, "The NIH proposal is silent on the issue of copyright. This is potentially dangerous, because it might allow third parties to selectively use the material in scholarly articles for commercial gain." The authors posit that journals need to retain copyright in order to guard against a potentially harmful, unauthorized use and in order to allow the journal to seek redress in the courts. The editorial urged the NIH to "adopt a model in which journals retain copyright to what they publish and allow free access through their Internet sites." Such an approach, they argue, would "maintain the veracity of the published work." While appreciative of the NEJM's support for the aim of the NIH proposal, supporters of the NIH plan challenged NEJM editorialists on the copyright issue. "NEJM misunderstands either the NIH proposal, copyright law, or both," Rick

Johnson, director of SPARC, told the LJ Academic Newswire. Johnson said SPARC consulted with legal experts after the NEJM editorial appeared. "NIH does not propose to claim copyright," he explained. "NEJM's normal copyright protocol will be intact, and they will have all the usual options for enforcing their rights. Moreover, the manuscript version in PubMed Central and the version in NEJM would be considered a single work under the law."  Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 14, 2004

 

TAMPA BOOKSELLERS DISPUTE CHARGE OF OVERBLOWN PRIVACY CONCERNS

On October 5, Florida's Tampa Tribune published an editorial entitled "The Patriot Act's License to Snoop Causes Unjustified Anxiety" that began by stating, "Fears that the Patriot Act allows government agents to spy on everyone's library records are wildly overblown. All the three-year-old law does is open a variety of semiprivate files to scrutiny by agents conducting espionage investigations. These records have long been available to police working a normal criminal investigation." (To read the full editorial, go to tampatrib.com/News/MGBY5BACXZD.html.)  Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner, co-owners of Inkwood Books in Tampa, took exception to the newspaper's assessment of the effects of the USA Patriot Act on reader privacy and sent the following letter to the editor, which appeared in the newspaper on Sunday, October 10.

To the Editor, Tampa Tribune:

We were disappointed at your claim that the Patriot Act's License to Snoop Causes Unjustified Anxiety (Oct. 5, 2004). The timing couldn't be more ironic. October 4 was the last day of the annual celebration of our right to read by observation of Banned Books Week, considered nostalgic by some, but once again proven still relevant. On September 29, representatives of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (http://www.readerprivacy.com/), speaking for booksellers, librarians, publishers, and writers, presented petitions to Congress with over 200,000 signatures calling for amendment of Section 215 provisions. We are proud that several hundred of our customers signed petitions at Inkwood Books and many others signed online, agreeing that threats to our precious privacy and liberty cannot be ignored whatever the source.

While Attorney General Ashcroft refers to concerns about bookstore and library privacy as "hysteria," your readers should know that there is strong disagreement. Over 45 organizations representing virtually every bookstore, library, and writer in the country, as well as over 140 individual companies, joined the Campaign for Reader Privacy. Well over 250 anti-Patriot Act resolutions have been passed by local governments, including Tampa's City Council. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in Congress have worked together for over a year to amend provisions that may violate civil liberties, and at least one federal court recently found some provisions unconstitutional.

Section 215, which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, gave the FBI vastly expanded authority to secretly search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. Under Section 215, it is not required to prove that there is probable cause to believe the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime. And the bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records—including an attorney or other advisor. As noted by the American Booksellers Association's Oren Teicher, "To be clear—we do not claim any absolute right to privacy ... we recognize that there may be unusual circumstances when appropriate law enforcement authorities may be able to convince a court of law to issue a search warrant to a bookstore or library. But Section 215 eliminates all of the procedural safeguards that currently protect bookstore and library privacy."

At Inkwood Books, and at bookstores and libraries across our country, we will continue to honor the principles and constitutional protections that keep us free.

Sincerely,
Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner
Inkwood Books
Tampa, Florida

http://news.bookweb.org/2943.html

HAVE BRITISH PUBLIC LIBRARIES BEEN RESCUED?

A statistical blow was dealt to the U.K. government's claim that it has rescued the public library movement from years of decline and under-funding. Instead, the service has lost a third of its readers in the last eight years and is still hemorrhaging at the same rate. The first full study of the latest figures shows book borrowing in Britain last year fell at the same rate as in previous years. This was despite official confidence that "the tide has turned". The Guardian 10/15/04 http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1328082,00.html http://forums.booktrade.info/booktrade.php? 10/17/04

 

PUBLISHING WARS

Helen Frankish, Publishing Wars, The Lancet, October 16, 2004. Excerpt: "Open-access movements are winning increasing support, aided in no small part by souring relations between librarians and traditional publishers. But can open-access advocates win over the academic societies that depend on publishing revenue to survive?...[W]inning over scientists and funders is just part of the battle. Some of the most vocal criticism of open access has come from the non-profit society publishers who depend on revenues from their journals to fund activities such as conferences, educational outreach programmes, and provision of scholarships and grants. Varmus says that some academic societies are being inattentive to their members' needs by sticking with the established business model. He suggests societies can raise funds in other ways 'such as increases in membership fees and increased rates for meetings and other activities'. But William Rosner, professor of medicine at Columbia University, New York, and member of the Endocrine Society Council, counters that it would be 'an enormous mistake' to prevent societies from supporting their other non-profit activities through publishing....There are easier and quicker ways, however, to bridge the information divide, argues Subbiah Arunachalam, an information scientist at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India. 'Rather than frittering away our energies setting up new open-access journals or trying to persuade existing journals to go the open-access way, one can make the playing field very nearly level if all researchers in the world self-archive their papers in institutional archives. Then everyone with internet access can access everyone else's papers.' "   Open Access News 10/16/04 http://www.thelancet.com/journal/vol364/iss9443/full/llan.364.9443.analysis_and_interpretation.31009.1

 

UNC TO PILOT MULTICAMPUS P2P SYSTEM

Higher education officials in North Carolina are beginning a pilot of a multicampus peer-to-peer system for music, movies, and academic file sharing. The system initially will cover four institutions: North Carolina A&T State, Western Carolina, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and the North Carolina School of the Arts. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University will be added this spring. If the program goes well, all 16 of the system's campuses could be included. Providing content for the program are iTunes, Ruckus, Cdigix, and Rhapsody; an unnamed music label is providing funding for the pilot. During the pilot, access to content will be provided free, and each institution will be able to select from among the four content providers based on input from students. Although a number of other colleges and universities have instituted campus-wide services for free delivery of online entertainment, the UNC program is the first to be offered across a system of campuses. USA Today, 18 October 2004 Edupage 10/18/04 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-10-16-unc-file-sharing-pilot_x.htm

DIGITAL FORECAST:BITTORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR
Napster is gone. Kazaa is under attack. But usage of the "swarming" peer-to-peer program BitTorrent is way up. The system's rapidly growing popularity may bode ill for efforts by the movie and software industries to crack down on illicit file trading. Emerging Technologies Tuesday Update (10.19.2004)
http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/10/wo_hellweg101904.asp?trk=nl

"PIVOTAL MOMENT" AT HAND FOR ELSEVIER?

Commercial STM publishers, with a multi-billion-dollar business, have downplayed the potential effect of the open access movement and the so-called serials crisis among academic libraries. Investors, however, are clearly taking notice. In a circular titled SCIENCE FRICTION, recently distributed by Citigroup, analysts noted that industry-leading Elsevier is at a "pivotal moment" in its history. According to a report in the U.K.'s TIMES ONLINE, Citigroup analysts cited "the diminishing impact of the move to electronic delivery," explaining that, with the migration of scientific journals to the online realm largely complete, that could "mean a potential drop in revenue growth." Analysts also predict the gradual decline of "bundled deals with academic institutions," and cited the emergence of open access. The most recent analysis comes with STM publishing under the microscope as never before, including the recent STM inquiry in the U.K. Parliament and the current proposal in the United States by the NIH to require free public access to research funded with NIH money.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: October 19, 2004

 

LOSING THE PAST

"Losing the Past"—A two-part BBC radio program: in the first part, we learn that the Grateful Dead are ardent preservationists; in the second part, we learn that Clinton only wrote one email while he was president.  (Thanks to John Unsworth) 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/losing_the_past.shtml

 

THE FUTURE OF TEXTBOOK PUBLISHING

William M.K. Trochim, who teaches research methodology and policy analysis at Cornell, says that textbooks of the future should be smaller, more customized and globalized. "Professors should be able go to the Web, look at a list of contents, click off the sections they want, indicate what order they want them in and create their own tailored, personalized textbook in any major language they need. Students should then be able to interact with this text on the Web, access it in a uniquely customized printed form, or both." He says that traditional publishers are too limited by the old-fashioned stereotypical textbook model, and that more agile publishers such as Atomic Dog <http://www.atomicdogpublishing.com> are where these textbook innovations are likely to start, because they are "willing to try new things and use technology in new and different ways, helping make the latest vision of textbook publishing a reality." (Campus

Technology 19 Oct 2004)  ShelfLife, No. 179 (October 21 2004)  http://www.campus-technology.com/article.asp?id=9893

 

WORLDCAT PILOT LINKS TO GOOGLE, YAHOO BECOME PERMANENT

Librarians may need to prepare themselves for a major increase in interlibrary loan traffic in the coming months. The Online Computer Library Center announced the transition of the Open WorldCat project from pilot stage to a permanent ongoing program that will place more than 53 million items connected to 928.6 million library holdings available for harvesting on the Google and Yahoo search sites. The Open WorldCat subset database currently contains about 2 million records held by 100 or more academic, public or school libraries—some 12,000 libraries in all—while the upgraded program will automatically include all 15,000-plus OCLC libraries that contribute holdings to WorldCat. The transition officially takes place from January to June 2005, but records may be available as early as late November 2004. During the transition, all libraries with holdings in WorldCat will participate in the Web search engine referrals, but by July 2005, participating libraries must have subscriptions in place to OCLC's FirstSearch WorldCat, or OCLC will remove their holdings. Expansion of the program stems from the burst of usage statistics during the pilot, which saw 3 million clicks to WorldCat records from Google and Yahoo in September 2004. (Information Today 11 Oct 2004) ShelfLife, No. 179 (October 21 2004) http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb041011-2.shtml

 

CREATING ORDER OUT OF CHAOS

Attensity Corp., a company funded in part by the CIA's In-Q-Tel subsidiary, has developed an application suite designed to extract useful information from unstructured data, such as a company's typical amalgam of e-mails, field reports, service records, news feeds and other disparate documents. "Our technology allows users to go through unstructured text and get the who, why, what and where of the information that's included," says Attensity CEO Craig Norris. "Attensity's sentence diagramming and parsing techniques allow them to get into the key relationships enclosed in the text." That information can then be combined with more structured data, such as that contained in a database, to provide a much deeper understanding of the company's information assets. The suite also includes the ability for users to automatically share data and insights from a central data repository. Attensity offers a line of business-specific applications aimed at government intelligence, law enforcement and logistics, among others. "Attensity is good at understanding the context of what's a noun, pronoun, etc., so it can reliably dissect a document and then put the relevant elements into a table for you," says Greg Pepus, director of In-Q-Tel's federal and intelligence community strategy. (Federal Computer Week 12 Oct 2004) <http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2004/1011/web-attens-10-12-04.asp>

 

The scholarly communications are also on line at http://door.library.uiuc.edu/administration/scholarly_communication/