Issue 12/05              

                                                                               August 19, 2005  

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor


You can now keep current with our new Issues in Scholarly Communication blog at  It’s also available through an RSS feed.  While you’re there, check out our new Scholarly Communication website, which has links to many issues core to understanding and shaping our systems of scholarly communications.  If you have suggestions for these new services, contact Katie Clark ( or me (  We hope to keep you informed and up-to-date.



According to a recent issue of AlertBox, a biweekly e-column by software engineer and consultant Jakob Nielson, who has been called the “guru of Web usability” by the New York Times, Amazon is still the world’s best e-commerce site, but many of its strengths are unique to its status and would not carry over to sites that emulate its design. What’s bad about

·         Cluttered pages

·         Internet-wide search feature

·         Advertising on product pages

·         Lousy user interface for specialized product categories

·         Lack of integration with its international sites

·         Co-branding

OCLC ABSTRACTS - August 1, 2005 (Vol. 8, Issue 31)



CNET's Declan McCullagh reports on how Hollywood and large U.S. software companies chalked up another crucial yet little-noticed victory last week with the final approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Once it takes effect, CAFTA will require Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to mirror the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's broad prohibition on bypassing copy-protection technology. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 8/2/2005



Digital editions of newspapers are doing surprisingly well. The latest numbers show that 327 of America's 1,422 newspapers now produce digital replica editions and their sales account for 1.75 percent of their circulation, according to the U.S. Audit Bureau of Circulation. And some specialist papers have found a new lease of life from their digital editions, reports The Press Gazette, a British weekly that covers the media industry. For example, the digital edition of America's Investor's Business Daily has 47,000 subscribers, a fifth of its total sales, two years after launching.  In the UK, meanwhile, The Press-Gazette says the greatest success is The Scotsman, which digitized its entire archive, which goes back to 1817, last year. The archive is a digital facsimile of the editions, allowing readers to view an edition page by page or call up stories and read them as they appeared. The entire archive can also be searched by keywords or names. So far, 30 per cent of the archive's users are private individuals looking up family history, and the other 70 percent are from academic institutions or businesses.



Google says its mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." But it does not appear to take kindly to those who use its search engine to organize and publish information about its own executives., a technology news Web site, said last week that Google had told it that the company would not answer any questions from CNET's reporters until July 2006. The move came after CNET published an article last month that discussed how the Google search engine can uncover personal information and that raised questions about what information Google collects about its users. The article, by Elinor Mills, a CNET staff writer, gave several examples of information about Google's chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, that could be gleaned from the search engine. These included that his shares in the company were worth $1.5 billion, that he lived in Atherton, Calif., that he was the host of a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Al Gore's presidential campaign and that he was a pilot. After the article appeared, David Krane, Google's director of public relations, called CNET editors to complain, said Jai Singh, the editor in chief of "They were unhappy about the fact we used Schmidt's private information in our story," Mr. Singh said. "Our view is what we published was all public information, and we actually used their own product to find it."  New York Times 8/8/05


The Kansas Supreme Court will soon decide whether the Kansas Board of Regents has to negotiate its intellectual property policy in the future, or whether it can simply hand down a decree - even one that asserts ownership of all faculty work. If the court upholds the decision of a lower court, public institutions in Kansas will have the right to claim ownership of any faculty work, including books. In the current policy, faculty members keep their book rights, and revenue sharing is built in for technology copyrights, but, “if [the board] can unilaterally enact a policy, then tomorrow they could turn around and say ‘we own it, we get all the royalties,’” said John Mazurek, a lawyer representing the Kansas National Education Association.  Academic Impressions Daily News 8/8/05 Inside Higher Education 8/8/05



Bookstores at 10 colleges across the country will begin selling access to digital textbooks this month in what promoters say is the first large-scale effort to make electronic textbooks available through campus bookstores. The 10 bookstores, which will continue to market traditional hard-copy books, are taking part in a pilot program coordinated with five academic publishers and a wholesale distributor of textbooks. If it is successful, the two- to three-week pilot program will be gradually expanded to all college bookstores, beginning in the middle of September. … A student will be able to read a book online after visiting the campus bookstore to buy an electronic card, which in turn is used to download a copy of the book from a Web site. The site is run by MBS Textbook Exchange Inc. of Columbia, Mo., the textbook distributor that is leading the project. …All 10 of the bookstores will sell electronic textbooks for 33 percent less than hard-copy versions, said Jeffrey S. Cohen, the advertising and promotions manager at MBS. A student can print a copy of the e-book, highlight passages, mark the book with notes, search for keywords, and listen to an audio version of the book. But the textbooks will have features that some students may dislike. Each book will be locked into the computer it is downloaded with, to prevent the student from copying and distributing it. The entire textbook cannot be printed at one time. After a student downloads a copy of a book, he or she will have access to it for only five months. And unlike a hard-copy textbook, the e-textbook cannot be returned or resold. Chronicle of Higher Education 8/9/05



Penguin’s new “Hot Shots” sampling program—aimed at stimulating backlist sales—will distinguish itself from similar competitive efforts by pricing, packaging and length, the company has announced. And the inspiration for the new offering? Apple’s ubiquitous iPod. Hot Shots will debut in stores September 27, featuring six titles from Nora Roberts (as well as mystery pseudonym J.D. Robb); Jane Castle; Christine Feehan; Sherrilyn Kenyon; and Maggie Shayne. Each title will be a very manageable 92 to 128 pages of material (all of which will have been previously available, but only in anthologies) and will carry an easy-to-swallow $2.99 list price. “We haven’t seen one with [Penguin’s] price point in about four years.” Ken Kaye, VP and director of distribution sales at New York–based Penguin Group, acknowledges competitive sampling efforts, but says “this is a little bit different,” because of the size of the novels and price: It’s less of a commitment because the shopper pays less, and then reads what is essentially a short story, versus a full-length novel. On the other hand, Kaye reports that Penguin is hoping customers will make multiple purchases, i.e., try more than one Hot Shots author. And, of course, the company hopes such purchases will lead to shoppers buying the rest of the sampled authors’ mass-market catalogue, at $6.99 to $7.99 a pop. …Although the Hot Shots titles have a lower price, Kaye says Penguin is not “skimping on the packaging.” The titles have “a good cover, with some foil on it.” He adds that Penguin hopes to offset the costs incurred by such production values by having a stronger sell-through than normal: That means taking a reserve for lower returns, which helps overall profit margin. The promotion came about when the Penguin’s field marketing staff “were talking about [Apple’s] iPod and iTunes and how successful it is in selling singles instead of the CD and then having people go back and buy the albums,” Kaye reports. So, Kaye says, the Hot Shots effort is aimed at stimulating stagnant mass-market paperback sales. The anthologies in which the newly repackaged stories were originally included might have sold only 150,000 copies. Hot Shots hopes to well-exceed those figures—and then reap further rewards through incremental catalogue sales. The Book Standard 8/8/05



Adrian K. Ho and Charles W. Bailey Jr., Open access webliography, Reference Services Review, 33, 3 (2005). The journal only provides free online access to an abstract, but the authors have created their own OA edition of the full text. Abstract: Purpose - The paper aims to present a wide range of useful freely available internet resources (e.g. directories, e-journals, FAQs, mailing lists, and weblogs) that allow the reader to investigate the major aspects of the important open access (OA) movement. Design/methodology/approach - The internet resources included in this webliography were identified during the course of one of the authors writing the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-prints and Open Access Journals. The authors evaluated, selected, categorized, and annotated these resources to construct this webliography, which complements the bibliography. Findings - The most useful resources have been annotated and organized into webliography sections. For example, the "Starting Points", "Debates", and "General Information" sections list resources that orient the reader to OA and the issues involved. The different "Directories (and Guides)" sections alert the reader to useful finding aids on relevant subjects. Originality/value - This webliography provides easy access to the most relevant internet resources for understanding and practicing OA. It affirms the significance of OA in scholarly communication, and it identifies the key parties involved in and/or contributing to the OA movement.  Open Access News 8/10/05



Responding to concerns from several academic and commercial publishers, Google has made minor adjustments to its vast project to scan library books, and Google officials say they will not scan any copyrighted books until November, while publishers consider the new policies. Google officials say they will make sure they do not scan any book held by a library if the book's publisher asks that the book not be scanned. In the past, Google has said that it would scan entire library collections and remove book scans after the fact only if a publisher sought the removal of a book from Google's online index. Chronicle of Higher Education 8/12/05



Stung by a publishing industry backlash, Google Inc. has halted its efforts to scan copyrighted books from some of the nation's largest university libraries so the material can be indexed in its leading Internet search engine. The company announced the suspension, effective until November, in a notice posted on its Web site just before midnight Thursday by Adam Smith, the manager of its ambitious program to convert millions of books into a digital format.  AP News Release.  Yahoo News 8/12/05


The U.S. publishing industry, through the Association of American Publishers (AAP), continues to express to Google grave misgivings about the Google Print Library Project and specifically the Project's unauthorized copying and distribution of copyright-protected works. "Google's announcement does nothing to relieve the publishing industry's concerns," said Patricia Schroeder, AAP's President and CEO.  While publishers are eager to explore initiatives that promise to bring books to a vastly expanded audience through the innovative use of technology, the Google Print Library Project is digitally reproducing copyrighted works to support Google's sale of advertising in connection with its online search business operations without corresponding participation or approval by the copyright holders. Although the Project will get underway with the digitization of works in the public domain over the next three months, Google's plan calls for digitally copying every work in the collections of three major libraries unless specifically denied permission for a particular work by the copyright owner. "Google's procedure shifts the responsibility for preventing infringement to the copyright owner rather than the user, turning every principle of copyright law on its ear," said Mrs. Schroeder.  "Many AAP members have partnered with Google in its Print for Publishers Program, allowing selected titles to be digitized and searchable on a limited basis pursuant to licenses or permission from publishers. We were confident that by working together, Google and publishers could have produced a system that would work for everyone, and regret that Google has decided not to work with us on our alternative proposal," Mrs. Schroeder said. Association of American Publishers 8/12/05



Consumer groups and textbook publishers have been tussling for some time now over whether textbook prices are rising too high and too fast. If either side thought that a federal study being released Tuesday would prove its case unequivocally, it was wrong. The study by the Government Accountability Office, which was requested last year by U.S. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), offers some evidence, as student groups have asserted, that textbook prices have risen sharply—at twice the rate of inflation over the past two decades. But the study by the GAO, which is Congress’s investigative arm, also supports arguments by publishers that the increases have been driven in large part by “the increased investment publishers have made in new products to enhance instruction and learning.” And in many other cases, the study reports arguments made by one side or the other, but does not come down squarely in agreement with either. Wu requested the GAO study, “College Textbooks: Enhanced Offerings Appear to Drive Recent Price Increases,” in response to concerns that rising book prices were making it more difficult for some students, especially those from low-income families, to afford college. In the last year or two, groups like the State Public Interest Research Groups’ Higher Education Project have issued a steady barrage of reports as part of a campaign to pressure publishers to lower their prices, contending among other things that textbook prices in the United States are significantly higher than comparable texts in other countries. Publishers, meanwhile, have responded by questioning the consumer groups’ use of data and conclusions.  The GAO study, which the agency will release later today, is unlikely to resolve this war of words and numbers. It takes as its starting point that the issue of textbook prices matters because the “cost of postsecondary attendance, including components such as tuition and textbooks, is of national importance because escalating costs can have negative effects on access and affordability,” noting that American families spent more than $6 billion on new and used textbooks in the 2003-4 academic year. Over all, the GAO report finds that college textbook prices nearly tripled between 1986 and 2004, rising 186 percent, or an average of 6 percent a year, during that time. Tuition and fees, meanwhile, rose 7 percent a year and prices for all goods have risen an average of 3 percent a year in that span.  Inside Higher Ed 8/16/05


One of the leading lights of the open access movement - dedicated to making academic research freely available to everyone over the internet - has joined the ranks of the traditional publishing world. Jan Velterop, publishing director of pioneering open access publisher BioMed Central is joining Germany's Springer, the world's second largest producer of scientific journals, as director of open access, heading up its fledgling open access publishing arm. The move of such a high profile figure from the open access movement marks an endorsement of Springer's foray into open access and could present a challenge to the market leader in scientific journals, Reed Elsevier. Open access publishing relies upon the author of a research article paying for it to be published and preserved on the internet so anyone can view it for free. Several traditional publishers, which make their money from journal subscriptions, have experimented with the concept. A year ago Springer decided to augment all its 1,250 journals with "Springer Open Choice." Under this project, any author whose paper is accepted by one of its journals can also publish via open access for a fee of $3,000 (£1,659). Under the Springer model the finished article remains subject to full copyright protection but the author may also post their own version of the article on their personal homepage or institutional website, a process known as author self-archiving. While Reed Elsevier has so far shied from dabbling in open access publishing, it has accepted this alternative version of open access and allows researchers to place articles previously published in its journals on their own websites. Author self-archiving is becoming increasingly prevalent among academics keen to share their findings with as wide an audience as possible.  The Guardian 8/17/05


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