SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue 23/04

December 20, 2004

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian, Editor

 

 

This is the last issue for 2004. I wish all readers a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. See you next year. PTK

 

GOOGLE TO ADD MAJOR RESEARCH LIBRARIES TO DATABASE By now you’ve read many stories about this new development. This one appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Google announced an agreement with some of the world's leading research libraries, including Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, the New York Public Library, and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web. Google has agreed to underwrite the cost of the project. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 12/14/04 http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/14/technology/14google.html

 

INFORMATION IN THE BALANCE

Marjorie Heins, former ACLU lawyer and founder of The Free Expression Policy Project (FEPP) at the NYU School of Law, says: "Free expression in relation to democracy is not effective unless there is some level of equality and opportunity to disseminate and access information. Let competition decide who gets read. We have go vern ment policies that strongly influence and dictate the structure of our communications systems." Concerned about the "copyright mentality" of media giants obsessed with profits and disinclined to seek "a more reasonable balance between fair return for effort and tying up information," Heins says: "The balance has gone awry." (EContent Institute Dec 2004) ShelfLife, No. 186 ( December 9 2004 ) http://www.econtentinstitute.org/issues/ISarticle.asp?id=157663&story_id=42354113250&issue=11012004&PC

 

TOWARD A SHARED UNDERSTANDING OF DIGITAL MANAGEMENT

An ad hoc group of digital librarians, system developers and publishers meeting under the aegis of the Digital Library Federation has created a checklist of things that operators of digital content repositories can do to help s impl ify the interoperation of their collections and systems. American institutions of higher education today are awash with digital information resources, including thousands of electronic books and journals; hundreds of digital reference works; increasingly rich collections of digital pictures, videos and music; and large databases of survey, geographic and scientific data. Few areas of academic work are not dependent on at least some digital resources at this point, and the range and importance of what is available continues to grow dramatically. All of which points to a critical need for libraries to have systems that simplify management of and access to this enormous digital pool. The group focused its suggestions on three areas: gathering information, creating resources and sharing content. Key to the effort is the need for the various communities—librarians, course management developers and commercial information providers—to work together. "We found that the various communities did not have a shared understanding of the larger environment, and that we had a great deal to learn from each others world views," wrote the report's authors. "It is not easy to identify how to hold such larger discussions, but we believe an effort in this direction would provide significant pay-back." (Digital Library Federation Jul 2004) ShelfLife, No. 186 ( December 9 2004 ) http://www.diglib.org/pubs/cmsdl0407/

 

SO MANY ART SITES, SO LITTLE TIME

An unimaginable wealth of art is now digitally accessible and preserved by art history institutions outside the U.S. , with some of the greatest art museums offering continuous virtual exhibits and visual databases of their treasures. The Information Today URL below offers an extensive list of these free Web resources, which document the art history of Western civilization, primarily from medieval times to the end of the 19th century. Many of these databases offer access to thousands of images—at least three sites cover over a million digital pictures. As with Google searches, the trick to non-English databases is knowing how best to construct a query. Many art databases do not contain controlled vocabulary lists or the ability to retrieve just online images, so unless you know your artists, the titles of their works or some other facet of their art, trial and error may be your only hope. Meanwhile, enjoy the likes of: The Web Gallery of

Art (http://www.wga.hu/index.html), a Hungarian-based site featuring more than 12,000 online JPG images of European art; or the 65,000 works in London 's Tate Gallery (http://www.tate.org.uk/home/default.htm); or Russia 's State Hermitage Museum (http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/), one section of which lets you find artwork by color or shape. (Information Today Nov 2004) ShelfLife, No. 186 ( December 9 2004 ) http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/nov04/Mattison.shtml

 

THE SEARCH IS ON FOR DIGITAL VIDEO

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo all are quietly developing new search technology for ferreting out snippets of digital video from the vast archives of television programming. "Google's trying to bring TV to the Web the same way they're bringing books to the Web," says one media exec utive. And while Google's effort is perhaps the most ambitious, Microsoft has its sights set on the interactive TV market for cable providers and Yahoo is planning to debut a multimedia search engine and is working with Web entertainment and news aggregators to index video clips already online. The Internet's evolution into a viable entertainment platform will open up vast new video libraries that will require new search technology to organize and make content relevant to viewers, just as search engines have done for the billions of pages on the Web. The task is daunting—while users can generally discern very quickly if a Web search result is what they're looking for, each video clip could take from 15 seconds to several minutes to peruse. To tackle the problem, Google is recording live TV shows and indexing the related closed-caption text of the programming. It uses the text to identify themes, concepts and relevant keywords to use for later searching. Each result will appear in a thumbnail picture accompanied by some captioning text. "The business models are too soon to tell, but everyone is interested," says one person close to the deal. "First, the meetings are about, 'Don't sue us for nicking your closed captioning,' and then it's the commercial possibilities." (CNet News.com 29 Nov 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 186 ( December 9 2004 ) http://news.com.com/Striking+up+digital+video+search/2100-1032_3-5466491.html

 

2005 TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

Here are some of the top trends that will dominate the world of technology in 2005, according to Red Herring, a media company that covers innovation, technology, financing and entrepreneurial activity. How will these trends impact libraries?

OCLC ABSTRACTS - December 13, 2004 (Vol. 7, No. 50) http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=11046&hed=Top%2BTen%2BTrends%2Bfor%2B2005%A7or=Briefings&subsector=Trends

U.S. BARS SOME BOOKS

In an apparent reversal of decades of U.S. practice, recent federal Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations bar American companies from publishing works by dissident writers in countries under sanction unless they first obtain U.S. go vern ment approval.
The restriction, condemned by critics as a violation of the First Amendment, means that books and other works banned by some totalitarian regimes cannot be published freely in the United States . You may have first heard of this when Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, filed suit. Officials from the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees OFAC, declined comment, but spokeswoman Molly Millerwise described the sanctions as "a very important part of our overall national security."

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/entertainment/10385562.htm?1c

 

OR NOT THE U.S. Treasury Department ruled on Wednesday ( 12/15/04 ) that trade embargoes do not restrict publishing, so American publishers, including scholarly journals and university presses, do not have to apply for a license if they wish to edit or publish works by authors in Cuba , Iran , or Sudan . http://chronicle.com/daily/2004/12/2004121602n.ht

 

WITH NIH POLICY CLOSING IN, PUBLISHERS UNVEIL ACCESS PLAN With the National Institutes of Health's plan to open up access to the research endorsed by Congress and with impl ementation discussions under way, a nascent collective of commercial STM publishers and medical groups are presenting a plan of their own for increased access. The coalition effort, under the moniker patientINFORM, includes the top commercial STM publishers Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley, plus the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Diabetes Association, among others. The group plans a spring web launch (www.patientinform.org) and will offer a portion of research on cancer, diabetes and heart disease for free, as well as commentary and other links to information sources. Library Journal Academic News Wire: December 14, 2004  

NEW APPROACHES AHEAD FROM RANDOM HOUSE?

Peter Olson, chairman and CEO of Random House has caused somewhat more than the usual stir with his annual year-end letter. Both the Wall Street Journal and the NY Daily News take note of a line near the end that reads: "In the year ahead I will report to you on our progress with these initiatives, which, in time, may include direct sales online of our books to readers as a complement to our existing sales channels and the expansion of our proprietary publishing, as well as many other publishing, marketing, and distribution ideas." The Journal erroneously leads with the conclusion that it's "the first such indication by a major book publisher" of "exploring the possibility of selling its books online directly to consumers"—something which Penguin does already from its web site. Olson does declare, "Notwithstanding the more sluggish demand for new trade titles industrywide these past few months, Random House is on course to equal or exceed 2003's record full-year operating results worldwide." As reported earlier in the year, "every one of our North American publishing divisions will be very profitable."

In an announcement that some will see as Friedmanesque, Olson notes, "We have begun seriously evaluating-and in some cases preparing business plans-for many potential initiatives: everything from new content formats and platforms (most of which would be adjuncts to our core publishing), to different pricing and distribution models, to further leveraging our superior services to outside companies.... We also plan to market our outstanding royalty, payroll, accounting, and IT systems to other Bertelsmann and non-Bertelsmann companies." Publishers Lunch 12/15/04 http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/Olson2004.pdf

FOSTERING A LEARNING SOCIETY

Libraries should not be warehouses—they should be centers of creativity and leadership. Robert S. Martin, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, writes: "I am convinced that museums and libraries are fundamentally social agencies that share the role of providing the resources and services that stimulate and support learning throughout a lifetime... The responsibility for learning is not and should not be the exclusive preserve of formal educational institutions. It is a community-wide responsibility. Lifelong learning should be a continuum with formal and nonformal (sic) learning opportunities complementing one another. Learning does not start at the schoolroom door, and it does not stop there either. It is and should be ubiquitous." He explains: "If we can posit that librarians, archivists, and museum professionals are not separate and distinct professions, but rather different facets of a single unified profession, we will find that our ability to serve the needs of our communities is strengthened... We must create learning environments that empower student learning, enabling them to turn information into knowledge. We must extend these lessons from the realm of the university to all levels of formal education, from kinderg arte n to the research university." (C&RL News Dec 2004) ShelfLife, No. 187 ( December 16 2004 )
http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/crlnews/backissues2004/december04/librariesin21.htm

 

NEW SEARCH TOOL TARGETS HANDWRITTEN DOCUMENTS
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a "first-of-its-kind" document retrieval system that is able to "memorize" keywords in handwritten manuscripts. Computer scientist R. Manmatha says, "Right now, searching a scanned handwritten document is very hard to do. Scanned historical documents are basically images, or pictures, and currently can only be searched if someone manually transcribes the documents or creates an index of their contents. This is time consuming and expensive to do. Given the cost, most handwritten documents are never transcribed or indexed. But there is an enormous amount of handwritten, historical material." Manmatha and his associates have created a demonstration of their search tool using 1,000 pages of George Washington's papers, which can be searched by typing in a common keyword such as " Virginia ." According to research assistant Toni Rath, "The basic idea is analogous to searching text documents in one language, say French, using queries in another language, say English. This is usually done by learning models from documents written in both languages. By analogy, our system learns from a parallel body of transcribed scanned images. That is, the word images form a 'visual language' and the transcriptions are in English." ( University of Massachusetts Amherst News 29 Nov 2004 ) ShelfLife, No. 187 ( December 16 2004 )
<http://www.umass.edu/umhome/news/articles/7683.php>

 

WHAT PROSPECT FOR CHANGE IN COPYRIGHT POLICY? On the issue of protecting music and movies from Internet piracy, Senator Orrin Hatch (R, UT), a songwriter himself, has been the entertainment industry's most powerful ally in Congress, but in 2005 Sen. Arlen Specter (R, PA) will replace Hatch as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Will there be much change? One aide says that Specter "has been a follower rather than a leader on these issues" and therefore might let Hatch keep holding the reins. However, David Green of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) predicts that Specter will rise to the occasion: "Copyright issues are important and they're going to percolate up, and it's really impossible for him to ignore them. He might be right now more interested in something else, but because these issues are important to America they are going to be important to Arlen Specter." ( Washington Post 16 Dec 2004 ) NewsScan Daily, 16 December 2004 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4003-2004Dec16.html

 

URSULA LEGUIN: “HOW THE SciFi CHANNEL WRECKED MY BOOKS”
Novelist Ursula K. Le Guin saw the SciFi Channels' adaptation of her bestselling Earthsea series and she was not pleased. In a stinging article for Slate, Le Guin says that the mini-series was "A far cry from the Earthsea I envisioned. When I looked over the script, I realized the producers had no understanding of what the books are about and no interest in finding out. All they intended was to use the name Earthsea, and some of the scenes from the books, in a generic McMagic movie with a meaningless plot based on sex and violence." Ms. Le Guin was most distressed that the producers removed the concept of race from the story, which was a crucial element of the books. The author writes, "I have heard, not often, but very memorably, from readers of color who told me that the Earthsea books were the only books in the genre that they felt included in—and how much this meant to them, particularly as adolescents, when they'd found nothing to read in fantasy and science fiction except the adventures of white people in white worlds. Those letters have been a tremendous reward and true joy to me." So, there you have it. Now stop writing her snarky emails demanding to know why she changed everything for the film. Writers Blog 12/16/04 http://www.writerswrite.com/writersblog/

 

BEETHOVEN GOES DIGITAL

The world's largest collection of Beethoven manuscripts and letters has gone digital. The Beethoven House in Bonn , his birthplace, has scanned more than 5,000 handwritten letters and manuscripts and posted many of them for access on its Web site. The project, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication in Munich, cost more than $6 million and includes many documents newly available to the public, said a spokeswoman at the Beethoven House. The Web site, in English and German, also includes audio examples of some of Beethoven's works. Peter Scott’s Library Blog 12/16/04 http://www.beethoven-haus-bonn.de/sixcms/detail.php//portal_en

 

CIA REMOVES RECORDS FROM NATIONAL ARCHIVES The Central Intelligence Agency has been unilaterally removing records from public collections in the National Archives, according to the minutes of a September 2004 meeting of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee that were approved for release this week. The Advisory Committee oversees the production of the official State Department publication Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). A State Department official noted that "the practice of submitting an entire FRUS manuscript to the CIA [for review] had resulted in the reclassification of documents located at the National Archives...." "CIA reviewers... claimed the right to remove documents from the open files that, in their view, had never been 'properly declassified'." The meeting minutes include a number of other notable historical nuggets, such as: "The CIA History staff will soon publish [sic] a classified study on DCI John McCone." Secrecy News (Federation of American Scientists) 12/16/04 A copy of the minutes of the September 2004 meeting of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee is here: http://www.fas.org/sgp/advisory/state/hac0904.html

 

NEWS MEDIA CONVERGENCE

Editor & Publisher calls The News Journal in Wilmington , Del. , the "the front-running newspaper in terms of video on the Web." The paper's site runs a new, three-minute newscast, produced by the newspaper and featuring an anchorwoman on the paper's staff, twice each day. "We've been doing video on the site for almost three years now," says Michael Maness, vice president of new media at the paper. At first they'd run what Maness calls "featurey stuff"—they'd send a photographer to record a few minutes of footage at a breaking-news event or they'd buy footage from a news service, and they'd include the video clips alongside a news story on the site. Delaware has no local broadcast stations of its own, so area residents soon learned to come to the News Journal site for breaking news, with traffic growing about tenfold from February 2003 to February 2004. The new webcast launched in October of this year. "I wanted to do something that combined the immediacy of TV with the depth of the newspaper and the interactivity of the Internet," Maness says. "That's what we tried to come up with: News from the future, what would it look like? Let's do it now.” Cyberjournalist.net 12/19/04

 

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