Issue No. 26

September 17, 2002

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian



More than two-thirds of Americans surveyed said that the government should do everything it can to keep information out of terrorists' hands; even if that means the public will be deprived of information it needs or wants. This is just one of the sometimes contradictory responses from a survey conducted by the Pew Internet & and American Life Project. Between June 26 and July 26 of this year, 2501 American adults were questioned about what government disclosure policies should be, how Americans' online behavior has changed since 9/11, and how the web itself changed as producers responded to the crisis. One Year Later September 11 and the Internet, reports that despite saying that the government should keep terrorists uninformed, a plurality of Americans believe that taking government information off the Internet will not make a difference in battling terrorists. On the question of whether the government should be able to monitor people's Internet use, 47 percent of Americans believe the government should not have that right and 45 percent say it should. A majority of Internet users oppose government monitoring of their accounts and activities. The report also includes the first scholarly analysis of the 30,000 web sites that have been cached in the September 11 Web Archive. http// (Library Journal, 9/16/02)


College and university students are confident, savvy users of electronic information resources. Like librarians, students value access to accurate, up-to-date information with easily identifiable authors, and are aware of the shortcomings of information available from the Web. Furthermore, they depend on the campus library for both electronic and print information. In 2001, for example, 89% of students utilized campus libraries' print resources, and 73% used campus library Web sites. But a recent OCLC White Paper on the information habits of college students found a performance gap between the students' expectations for library service and their perceptions about the service they receive, particularly Web-based information services. The data uncovered opportunities for academic librarians to connect students with their libraries' high quality resources. A successful approach, the paper suggests, should emphasize the students' and librarians' common craving for accuracy, authority, timeliness, and privacy. To convince students of those benefits requires relentless promotion, instruction and customer service. In addition, the study advocates a tight integration of the library's electronic resources with faculty, administrative, and other campus Web sites, and open access for remote users. Clear navigational guides, both online and in the library, should also be readily available. (OCLC White Paper June 2002)


(Shelflife, 9/5/02)


In a study on learning and the usability of electronic books (compared to printed books), the Center for Information & Communication Studies at Ball State University found little difference in test results among students who used two styles of GemStar eBooks and those who used traditional text books. Still, 100% of students who used the black and white style eBooks and 50% of those who used color eBooks said they would not recommend their use to others. Students found such tasks as moving from page to page, finding a specific chapter in the text and searching for a certain word too tedious to pursue. Other mechanical difficulties were related to the small, irregularly shaped screens and incidences of glare on the screens. In addition, users perceived that they retained less information than they would have had they read from a conventional paper textbook. In spite of the general negative perception, the researchers concluded that eBooksespecially color versionshave some potential as a device for college students, once further studies and refinements have been made. http// (Shelflife, 9/5/02)


Visitors to the British Library now have access to the digitized images of a 700-year-old Koran, which is one of the masterpieces of the library's Arabic collection. The library used touch screen technology called "Turning the Pages" to give viewers the feel that they're flipping through the beautifully illustrated manuscript. Images will be posted on the library's Web site (http// and sold on CD-ROMs. "Sultan Baybars' Qu'ran joins examples of major texts from Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism on Turning the Pages," notes British Library chief executive Lynne Brindley.

http// (Shelflife, 9/5/02) TO OPEN ACCESS TO REFEREED RESEARCH LITERATURE is dedicated to opening access to the refereed research literature online through author/institution self-archiving. Its projects include

· Self-Archiving FAQ answers to many questions about self-archiving. There is also a Glossary of Terms.

· GNU EPrints self-archiving software has been developed at the Electronics and Computer Science Department of the University of Southampton.

· CiteBase is part of an effort to improve online services for the research community, from archive software (, reference parsing (OpCit), to Open Archives services (CiteBase). These resources will provide a rich information source and navigation system (based on impact and other metrics) to the self-archiving movement.

· OpCit, the Open Citation Project, is developing reference Linking and Citation Analysis for Open Archives. During its funded period the project initiated the Citebase search service, and enabled GNU EPrints to be developed as open source software.

For more information go to


Bertelsmann has confirmed that it’s phasing out its ownership of its online bookselling venture "BOL" as part of its strategy to focus on core businesses. These include book publishing and book and music clubs. One of its core businesses is Random House, which reported worldwide revenues of 1,01 billion euros ($990 million) and operating profits of 68 million euros ($66.6 million), a 6.7% operating margin. Results were better than the previous 6 months of 2001. Bertelesmann is also seeking to divest itself of BertelsmannSpringer, its professional publishing unit. http//


Publishers Weekly attempts to take the temperature of the industry. Here’s its report for the quarter ending June 30

· Warm Printing. Book business at the three major printers picked up a bit.

· Lukewarm Retail. There were increased sales at some chains, non-chain stores had a rough time in June. The Census Bureau reported June sales flat at all bookstores.

· Chilly Educational Publishers. College segments are performing strongly, but elhi business fell.

· Chilly Trade Publishers. Reports of 1.2% decline in June trade sales, with trade paperback and children’s paperback weak spots.

One interesting note 2nd quarter sales at Reed Education rose 325% as a result of the newly acquired Harcourt companies. Thomson Learning sales rose 45% for the same reason. http//




The prestigious, 70 year old Ivey Business Journal from Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business is converting from priced and printed to open access. This is a perfect example of enlightened conversion. The print journal had a healthy number of subscribers and advertisers. But the school decided that it was more important to reach a larger international audience than to take money from a smaller one. While its mission is to spread knowledge, not to make a profit, the conversion will save the journal $300,000 every year in production costs. http//


In the September 20 Chronicle of Higher Education, Andrea Foster reports on the growing library opposition to ejournal bundling deals like Elsevier's ScienceDirect. Starting next Thursday (September 19), the Chronicle will host an online discussion of the issues moderated by Kenneth Frazier, library director at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (PS Andrea Foster's article is free for all, but the forum is limited to Chronicle subscribers.) http//


Librarians have been saying for more than a decade that the market for scholarly scientific journals is out of balance. Now, perhaps, the message is finally being heard. In the UK earlier this month, a government agency released a statement acknowledging that the market for scientific, technical and medical journals may not be working, following an "informal consultation" carried out by the British Office of Fair Trading (OFT). "Journals are the principal means by which scientific knowledge is disseminated," said OFT chief John Vickers in a statement. "The market, which operates worldwide, has a number of features that suggest that competition may not be working effectively." Vickers however, stopped short of saying that government intervention was needed, adding the "market forces harnessing new technology may change this without the need for intervention." The OFT cited "signs of price restraint" by commercial publishers, as well as increased buying power because of electronic journals as possible indications that the industry may avoid government regulation. The OFT statement, however, did cite a number of concerns with the STM market, including price increases above inflation, substantial price disparity between commercial journals and non-commercial journals, high levels of profitability for commercial STM publishing (reportedly as much as 10-15 percent above other forms of commercial journal publishing), and the commercial publishing practice of bundling journals, which could hinder competition. The report concluded that, if "competition fails to improve, the OFT may consider further action and consider, due to the global nature of the market, whether such action could be conducted internationally." The OFT statement said its examination of the industry stemmed from Reed Elsevier's 2001 acquisition of Harcourt General, which was cleared by the UK's Competition Commission (CC). However, that process apparently raised enough concern about the state of the STM market that the OFT thought an informal review of the market might be beneficial. The CC's report on the Reed Elsevier/Harcourt merger, published 5 July 2001, is available at (LJ Academic News Wire, 9/12/02)


There was mostly bad news, but some good news, for university presses, according to the most recent numbers released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

According to the AAP, domestic sales of STM, business and university press titles in June were down from 2001 levels. The good news, such as it is, is that returns also dipped for university press titles. Overall, university press hardcover sales fell a hefty 22% from June 2001 levels, with year-to-date sales down 12.2% through June. Returns of

hardcovers decreased 6.3% in June, but still were up 14.7% for the year. University press paperback sales were flat for June, after two straight monthly increases from 2001levels. Year-to-date paperback sales are still up 5% over last year, but down from 7.1% rise as of May 2002. STM and business titles showed slight increases in both sales and returns in June, with sales for the month up 2.7% from June 2001 and 4.8% for the year. AAP data reflected results from 11 professional publishers, including Marcel Dekker, McGraw-Hill, Harcourt and John Wiley & Sons, and from 29 university presses, including University of Chicago Press, Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, and Yale University Press. (LJ Academic News Wire 9/12/02)


In the September 4 ZDNet News, Doug Isenberg reviews the music industry's short-lived lawsuit against internet backbone providers, and argues that "[t]he real problemand there's no denying the music industry faces a real problemis not access. It's infringement." (PS The same conclusion applies in other domains. Don't criminalize circumvention, which can be pursued for many legitimate purposes, including fair use. Criminalize infringement. Don't punish lawful conduct to get at unlawful conduct.) (FOS Bloglet)


An international panel of copyright and science experts recommends that developing countries (1) favor open source software, (2) not enact anti-circumvention rules, (3) declare shrinkwrap licenses null and void, (4) adopt explicit fair-use rules for "creating and distributing printed electronic copies in reasonable numbers for educational and research purposes and making reasonable excerpts in commentary and criticism", and (5) adopt a rule that "[i]f suppliers of digital information or software attempt to restrict fair use rights, either through contract provisions or by technological methods of protection, the contract provisions may be treated as void." Read the report at http//



Duke University's law school has received an anonymous $1 million gift earmarked for a new Center for the Study of Public Domain, which will focus on finding "the correct balance" between intellectual property rights and material that ought to be part of the public domain. Center co-director James Boyle says one target of study will be the 20-year extension of copyright duration contained in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Boyle says he is not a copyright abolitionist, but adds, "The burden of proof should be on those who say we need to have property rights in this situation… Why is this necessary? We see the system getting out of control, out of balance… If you want to have a rich culture an innovative society, you have to leave a large amount of material freely available for all to use." (CNet 4 Sep 2002)