Issue 8/05

                                                May 12, 2005     

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor


Watch this space for information about our new blog!




A recent colloquium at Cornell University pitted representatives of the entertainment industry against critics who say the copyright system is too restrictive and stifles innovation. Cary Sherman, president of the Recording Industry Association of America, and Fritz Attaway, executive vice president and general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America, debated with Fred von Lohmann, lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of communications at New York University, in front of a lively audience of about 200 students. Tracy Mitrano, policy adviser to Cornell's Office of Information Technologies, commented that the presence and participation of so many students indicated their earnest concern over legal and ethical issues surrounding file sharing. Though not the direct subject of the debate, Cornell is currently running a pilot program of the legal music-download service Napster, and participants on both sides offered their perspectives. A representative of Napster called the program a success, pointing to the large percentage of students who use the service regularly. On the other hand, von Lohmann said that the service is not a good deal for universities. "It feels free," he said, "but one way or another, you're paying for it." Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 April 2005 Edupage 4/20/05


The Word of Mouth writers organization has delivered an open letter to Oprah Winfrey, signed by over 150 authors (including multiple prize winners and bestsellers), asking her to resume recommending contemporary fiction to her audience. They assert that: "Fiction sales really began to plummet when the The Oprah Winfrey Book Club went off the air. When you stopped featuring contemporary authors on your program, Book Club members stopped buying new fiction, and this changed the face of American publishing. This phenomenon was a testament to the quality of your programs, the scope of your influence, and the amazing credibility you possess among loyal Book Club readers." They add: "Readers have trouble finding contemporary books they'll like. They, the readers, need you. And we, the writers, need you. America needs a strong voice that addresses everyone who can read, a voice that will say, 'Let's explore the books that are coming out today. Let's see what moves us, what delights us, what speaks to us in a way that only fiction does.'"  Publishers Lunch 4/21/05


Susan Morrisey, Database Debate, Chemical and Engineering News, April 25, 2005. Excerpt: 'When NIH rolled out its publicly available chemical structure database last fall, officials at the American Chemical Society saw a product that they say looks a lot like a database of its own—the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry. ACS officials are worried about the consequences of a free government service competing with an established private-sector business. The NIH database, known as PubChem, is a key piece of the Molecular Libraries & Imaging component of the agency's Roadmap for Medical Research. PubChem is designed to integrate chemical information on compounds produced by NIH's molecular libraries screening centers with other databases supported by the National Library of Medicine. Like the CAS Registry, PubChem provides chemical structures and links to literature references. PubChem is supposed to focus on connecting chemical information on small organic molecules that have potential use in drug development with biomedical research. "We think this an unwise use of taxpayer money that should be used for research, and it is direct and unfair competition with the CAS Registry, a valuable database that ACS built up over the years with its own funding and decades of intellectual curation of data." Robert J. Massie, president of CAS, agrees that PubChem has overstepped its function. "NIH is going beyond its stated purposes and is creating a replica service to the CAS Registry," he comments. "If NIH would limit itself to publishing NIH-funded information, this controversy would disappear immediately."...NIH, on the other hand, views PubChem as complementary to the CAS Registry. National Institute of General Medical Sciences Director Jeremy Berg explains that PubChem is duplicative only in the sense that both databases are indexes of compounds...."The links from PubChem are to data that are already publicly available—for example, the National Cancer Institute screening data, data that will come from the roadmap," and other links to the biomedical literature, Berg says. "What CAS covers is links to things like chemical literature, patent literature, and reactions."'  Open Access News 4/25/05



Earlier this month, the World Intellectual Property Organization hosted groundbreaking discussions in Geneva. The U.N. agency, which for years has been associated with ever-increasing intellectual property protections for the developed world, held talks about initiating a new agenda that holds the potential to shift some of its focus to that area. Although the precise issues to be addressed are yet to be determined, a key element is the creation of an Access to Knowledge Treaty. It could include provisions on access to medicines and globally funded research, open access to scholarly research, as well as exceptions to patent and copyright laws that serve the interests of the developing world. The agenda, which was initially proposed last summer by Brazil and Argentina, has quickly gained momentum. The most tangible result so far is the emergence of the Friends of Development coalition, comprised of 14 countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Venezuela. The coalition's support for the development agenda at the Geneva meeting remained steadfast against U.S. opposition, as these countries made it clear that global intellectual property rules must do a better job of meeting the interests of both the developed and developing world. 4/28/05

Book sales are up 20 percent at Paradies Shops since the airport-based stores started giving customers a 50 percent refund on returned books, a company spokeswoman said.  Under Paradies' Read & Return program, customers can buy a new book and get 50 percent of the cover price back by returning the book to any Paradies store within six months. The stores also sell the used books - which they call "pre-read" - at half-price. The program is perfect for travelers who need something to read on a flight or vacation. The 50 percent refund makes it possible for avid readers to buy new hardcover books for the price of a paperback. Paradies has more than 400 stores in airports, and 218 of those sell books in addition to other items. Twelve of the stores sell nothing but books. The program began in the fall of 2003 in the 12 bookstores. Initially only hardcover books could be returned. The program was expanded last fall to all Paradies stores that carry books and now includes paperbacks. The program was never advertised with anything more than a sign in the stores, but "it took on a life of its own," said Paradies spokeswoman Bobbi Passavanti. "It proved to be way more successful than we could have ever dreamed. Our book sales are up 20 percent." To make returns convenient, a sales clerk tapes the receipt to the inside of the book so you don't lose it, and hands you a bookmark with a list of Paradies locations where the book can be returned. The stores accept returned books regardless of condition. 4/25/05



In the "better late than never" category, Celera Genomics Group - the for-profit arm of the race to sequence the human genome - has agreed to stop selling genetic information and put its data into the public domain. Without much fanfare (in fact the announcement was made in a regular quarterly earnings concall with investors and analysts) Celera announced that after July 1 it would contribute much of its DNA sequence data to public domain through the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The uses and abuses of genetic information are clearly shaping up to be one of the biggest legal and ethical battles of this century. It would be nice to mark this down as a moral victory for forces of free information, but the simple fact is that Celera couldn't make a profitable business of this. That may be due to the nature of the information or the immaturity of the marketplace.  Copyfight 4/27/05,1,4537039.story?ctrack=1&cset=true


The New York Times reports on the growing presence of books in supermarkets. The Kroger chain, called "among the most aggressive in expanding its book sections," is carrying up to 2,800 titles per store. Lance Parsons, who manages Kroger's book line, comments: "When you look at our business versus a bookstore, we have the opportunity to capture the same customers three times a week... Now publishers are beating down our doors."  Harper president of sales Josh Marwell concurs: "Supermarkets are definitely taking a bigger share of our business." And chains like Wegmans are hosting author signings: a recent event for Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark ran for five hours, with 500 books sold. (Between them, the two Clarks have done 12 Wegmans signings over the years.) As always, we'll caution you to skip over the part of the story that carefully analyzes market share percentages from Ipsos, derived from their consumer survey, as if they were fact. And you'll need to move quickly through the paper's now-standard unsubstantiated slurs ("In part, this shift reflects publishers' desperate search for new outlets as book sales tumble") and gaffes ("changes in bookselling culture" mean that "now, television advertising...can spur huge sales for a very narrow slice of the market").  New York Times PublishersLunch 4/28/05



Apparently Apple’s old tag line, “think different,” only goes so far. After viewing an upcoming unauthorized biography of Steve Jobs written by Jeffrey S. Young, Apple pulled all the books from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, from shelves in all of its Apple stores. When the publisher offered to make changes to mollify Apple, it was told that the only “fix” is “not to publish the book.” Coming on the heels of a string of lawsuits against individuals for leaking information about upcoming products, this action raises the question of where Apple’s culture is headed. The company that once prided itself on being “insanely great” now seems to be becoming insanely paranoid. While Outsell respects companies’ right to protect intellectual property and reputation, this most recent action seems heavy-handed. Moreover, the people most affected are the very authors that Apple depends on to write books about its products. Adding to the irony is that while Apple has become "hard and crunchy" like its namesake, its nemesis, Microsoft, has shown some soft edges in its sanctioning of a Web site by employee Robert Scoble that routinely criticizes Microsoft products. Outsell believes that if Apple is to retain its “kinder, gentler” brand, it should find more constructive ways to deal with challenges such as these.  Outsell Now 4/27/05



Nineteen European national libraries have joined forces as a counter to Google's plan to create a global virtual library. The 19 libraries are backing instead a multi-million euro project to put European literature online. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 4/28/05



The Public Papers of the Presidents contain most of the President's public messages, statements, speeches, and news conference remarks. Documents such as Proclamations, Executive Orders, and similar documents that are published in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, as required by law, are usually not included for the presidencies of Herbert Hoover through Gerald Ford (1929-1977), but are included beginning with the administration of Jimmy Carter (1977). The documents within the Public Papers are arranged in chronological order. The President delivered the remarks or addresses from Washington, D. C., unless otherwise indicated. The White House in Washington issued statements, messages, and letters unless noted otherwise. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, various dates.  beSpacific 4/28/05



We've all picked up a Penguin in the 70 years since Allen Lane launched cheap books for the masses. John Walsh recalls their seismic impact on our cultural life.  The Independent Online 4.29.05



You probably thought this story was over and done with last year. Not so. Yesterday, three groups representing publishers and writers issued a joint press release on their lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Excerpt: 'The Association of American University Press (AAUP), the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (PSP/AAP), and PEN American Center, the original plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit challenging the scope of OFAC's authority to regulate publishing transactions with sanctioned countries, expressed both appreciation for Nobel Winner Shirin Ebadie's participation in the suit as a co-plaintiff, and understanding of her recently-announced agreement to settle her complaint with OFAC in light of recent revisions to the OFAC regulations that will allow her book to be published in the U.S. However, in light of our concerns regarding OFAC's continued assertion of authority to license such publishing transactions, the original plaintiffs are continuing to discuss these matters with the government and the lawsuit remains pending. In September 2004, the AAUP, PSP/AAP and PEN filed suit against the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), an agency of the U.S. Treasury Department, to strike down regulations requiring publishers to seek a license from the government to engage in the routine activities necessary to publish works originating in embargoed nations—regulations which violate the Berman Amendment exempting "information and informational materials" from such embargoes. As a result of the lawsuit, the government has since issued revised regulations and granted a general license to publishers to engage in all activities ordinary and incident to written publications originating in Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. These revisions have allowed many suspended publishing projects to go forward....OFAC still claims the authority to license and control First Amendment-protected activities, a claim which we believe to be untenable. Moreover, the general license that the revised regulations provide to publishers itself contains some troubling provisions. The license excludes the work of senior government officials in embargoed countries.'  Open Access News 4/28/05



Comparison between past methods of research using books and current methods using the Internet; Changes to library collection management in light of information technology innovations; Benefits of information technology to research and scholarship, including the inclusion of more detailed information and the potential for easy correction of mistakes; Historical background of early printing methods; Assessment of the potential success of electronic books, or e-books, including the LIBRIé by Sony; Potential long-term impact of technology on scholarship and publishing. New Republic 5/2/05  OCLC Abstracts 5/2/05



Pew continues to ask about blogging in its tracking surveys and have some numbers to update from its last report in early January, "The State of Blogging." They show some level of growth in blog creators, and not much change in the number of blog readers. In two surveys of American adults conducted between January 13 and March 21 that involved 2,871 internet users, Pew found that 9% of internet users now say they have created blogs and 25% of internet users say they read blogs. Another way to render these numbers is to note that 6% of the entire U.S. adult population (internet users and non-users alike) have created blogs. That’s one out of every 20 people. And 16% of all U.S. adults (or one in six people) are blog readers. Pew Internet & American Life Project 5/2/05



Harold Varmus, Science, Government, and the Public Interest, the William D. Carey lecture delivered at the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy (Washington, D.C., April 21-22). Excerpt: 'This dream of freely accessible public knowledge has been around for a long time, long before the digital age. In 1836, the head of the British Library said: "I want a poor student to have the same means of indulging his learned curiosity, of following his rational pursuits, of consulting the same authorities, of fathoming the most intricate inquiry as the richest man in the kingdom...." We now have the technical tools to make this vision a reality. The advantages to scientists, to students, and to the growing number of interested citizens everywhere in the world are obvious. What stands in the way? First, concerns about how we will pay the costs of open access publishing. But these costs will inevitably be less overall than the escalating and increasingly unaffordable costs of the traditional, subscription-based, restrictive model of publishing that we currently use. And government is already covering most of those costs in the US, through grants that pay for laboratory subscriptions, for page and color charges, and, through indirect payments, for libraries. Second, concerns about the fate of scientific societies that support other worthwhile activities with revenues from their journals. There is no doubt that some societies, those dependent on such revenues, will have to adjust their business plans and obtain more revenue from membership fees, meetings, and other services. The first objective of any scientific society, just like any union or guild, should be to optimize the working conditions for its scientists; surely making the scientific record freely accessible and more usable should be the paramount consideration. Third, concerns about the survival of revered and expensive-to-produce journals like Science and Nature. But the open access movement is addressed to primary research reports, not to the costly, entertaining, and important "front matter" of these journals—the news, editorials, obituaries, gossip, book reviews, and mini-reviews.....The government also has a role to play here. Publication should be viewed as part of the cost of doing research (in most fields it is also a very small part of the cost, less than 1%); the government should expect to pay publication costs, even when they are shifted from reader to author, just as they do now; and rapid open dissemination will augment the value of the research by promoting its use as a public good. A firm statement of those principles, including an expectation that science supported by public money will be publicly available, will help cement the resolve of scientists, who know that open access publication should and will happen, to make it happen soon.'  Open Access News 5/4/05



Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press (OUP), has announced its latest Open Access (OA) project, Oxford Open. Commencing July 2005, it will offer an optional author-pays model to authors of accepted papers in a range of Oxford Journals titles. Oxford Journals has also amended its post-prints policy to be compliant with the latest National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy. Both of these announcements further support Oxford Journals’ central remit, as a leading not-for-profit publisher, to bring the highest quality research to the widest possible audience. Oxford Open will give published authors in participating Oxford Journals titles the option to pay for research articles to be freely available online immediately on publication. The open access charge for each article will be £1,500 or $2,800, with authors being given the option to pay this amount once their manuscript has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication. Discounted author charges of £800 or $1,500 will be available to authors from institutions that maintain a current online subscription. Authors from developing countries will also be eligible for discounted rates. The online subscription prices of participating journals will be adjusted for 2007 and subsequent years, according to how much content was paid for by authors and thus freely available online during the previous year.  5/4/05  More at



Name that famous book from just these phrases: "pagan harpooneers," "stricken whale," "ivory leg." Or how about this one: "old sport."   Yes, it's Herman Melville's Moby Dick and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, respectively, but the words aren't just a game. They are Statistically Improbable Phrases, the result of a new feature that compares the text of hundreds of thousands of books to reveal an author's signature constructions.   The haiku-like SIPs are not the only word toys on the site. Customers can also see the 100 most common words in a book. Penny pinchers—or those with back problems—can check stats on how many words a volume delivers per dollar or per ounce. (Bargain hunters will love the Penguin Classics edition of War and Peace that delivers 51,707 words per dollar.)  Customers can also see how complicated the writing is (yes, post-structuralist Michel Foucault's prose is foggier than Immanuel Kant's), and how much education you need to understand a book. (To understand French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu, you'll need a second Ph.D.)  While such services seem to have little value and have generated scant publicity, except from bibliophilic thrill seekers, web watchers say the madcap stats aren't just for kicks. "(Amazon CEO) Jeff Bezos was born on numbers," said Nathan Torkington, an editor and conference coordinator for O'Reilly Media. "Before starting, he was a Wall Street analyst. They will be looking at this thinking, 'What can we do to drive the bottom line?' There's no way they will be regarding this as, 'We are math geeks and you will enjoy the numbers, too.'"  5/5/05,1272,67430,00.html


It's rare for a head of house in publishing to take his or her eye off either the mirror or the bottom line but last week Mr. Newton, neither vain nor greedy, easily managed to ignore both and provide a bit of cultural commentary. So what, you ask, was the issue that distracted Newton from rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince or eyeing up the money Bloomsbury has made from its Encarta dictionary alliance with Microsoft? The short, unglamorous answer is: digitization, the process whereby texts are scanned into digital files for on-line public consumption. Both Amazon and Google are negotiating with American publishers to develop 'search within the book' programs. Google already has a deal with several top libraries from around the world, including the Bodleian, to digitize out of copyright texts. Inevitably, some publishers and the Society of Authors are getting quite excited about this innovation. According to Newton, professionally cautious, mass digitization is not a 'marketing opportunity'. Rather, he suggests that within a generation 'it may result in no sales', the publishing equivalent of Armageddon. Collaborate with this 'Napsterisation' process, he told the Publishers Association, and the book industry risked 'undermining the cultural and intellectual tradition of the past 600 years'.  Well, yes and no. Publishing is certainly in the throes of the biggest print revolution since Gutenberg. But that's not to say that the book as we know it is doomed to extinction. Indeed, there is a line of argument, from historical principles, that says copyright is inalienable.  The Guardian 5/8/05  Read more at,6109,1478800,00.html



GPO and the Library of Congress are turning to web harvesting to capture fugitive publications.  In addition, GPO plans to convert paper-based government information to digital formats and deposit electronic documents in libraries that are part of GPO’s Federal Depository Library Program.  As part of the Library of Congress’ National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, LOC officials awarded grants last fall to several academic and other institutions for creating technologies that preserve Web content.  (Note: UIUC was awarded one of these grants.)  Read more at Federal Computer Week 5/9/05



Tony Delamothe, Initiative could give free access to UK medical research, BMJ, May 7, 2005. Excerpt: 'Most of the United Kingdom's new biomedical research could be freely available this time next year if a consortium led by the Wellcome Trust gets its way. Next week the consortium will advertise for a technical partner to set up a UK "mirror" of PubMed Central, the free online archive of life science literature administered by the US National Library of Medicine. As well as making available the data held in PubMed Central, the UK archive would allow the ingestion of local peer reviewed articles arising from research funded by the consortium partners. Potential partners include the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Department of Health, Cancer Research UK, and the British Heart Foundation, who together fund most biomedical research in the United Kingdom. The Wellcome Trust has already announced that it is making deposition of the author's final accepted (peer reviewed) manuscript in an open access archive a condition of funding, and the Research Councils UK looks set to follow their lead ( BMJ 2005;330: 923[Free Full Text], 23 Apr). A study commissioned by a committee of the UK's further and higher education funding bodies found that only 3% of authors would not comply with such a request from their funders. By making deposition of the final manuscript a condition of funding, UK funders are going beyond the situation in the United States. In a climbdown from its initial proposals, the US National Institutes of Health is requesting, rather than mandating, its grantees to make the final version of their papers available for public display in PubMed Central within a year of publication....In a list of frequently asked questions, the Wellcome Trust confronts head on the possibility of publishers refusing to accept the condition of authors depositing an electronic copy of their paper in PubMed Central or its UK equivalent. Its answer is that its researchers "will have to reconsider where they first submit their work for publication."   Open Access News 5/9/05


American Library Association (ALA) President Carol Brey-Casiano met last week with United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss ALA’s concerns about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Gonzalez invited Brey-Casiano to Justice Department offices. According to ALA’s press release, it was a cordial discussion that led to no substantive change. Brey-Casiano “assured the Attorney General that librarians' opposition to the PATRIOT Act is not an attempt to strip law enforcement of the power to investigate crimes or terrorism; it is an effort to assure that the government does not have the power to monitor reading habits of the public,” ALA said. Gonzales said he supported libraries and wants to continue the dialogue. Library Journal 5/10/05


The scholarly communications are also on line at This issue will be available soon.