SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue No. 27

September 30, 2002

 

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian

Editor

 

 

LIFE-STAGES OF THE DIGITAL LIBRARY

Daniel Greenstein of the California Digital Library and Suzanne Thorin of Indiana University have concluded that digital libraries have developed their own special "personalities" and have described those personalities in the new report, "The Digital Library: A Biography," which suggests that there are three distinct growth phases: the young digital library, the maturing digital library, and the adult digital library. Young libraries are experimental, "opportunistic" organizations set apart from traditional libraries, whereas maturing libraries (with their new core competencies firmly established) become reunited with traditional libraries, by focusing on integration of digital materials into the library's broader collections and on development of needed policies, technical capabilities, and professionals skills. And the story of digital libraries as they grow to adulthood? Yet to be written and yet to be lived, but Greenstein and Thorin think that digital libraries in the future will no longer be functionally, organizationally, or budgetarily removed from their sponsoring organizations. Their report includes case studies of digital libraries at six institutions: California Digital Library, and the universities of Harvard, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, and NYU.

http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub109/pub109.pdf 

 

BATTLING DATA EXTINCTION

"Computer scientists are in a profession where there is virtually no need for historical information," says Abby Smith, director of programs at the Council on Library and Information Resources. "They don't need information from the 1650s or the 1940s. They are used to things superseding what came before. For those in humanities, there is no such notion. They work by accumulation, not replacement." Smith's explanation illustrates the historic reasons behind the dilemma facing librarians today as they evaluate the less-than-perfect options currently available for preservation of digital documents, music, photos and other electronic records. First of all, migration, in which data files are periodically converted to next-generation formats, has the advantage of being instantly accessible using current software. But the migration method also suffers the risks of data degradation, as files are recopied from generation to generation. Emulation, which entails writing software that mimics older hardware or software, tricks programs into thinking they're running on their original platforms, but scientists say that emulation is seldom perfect, and that chains of emulators eventually break down. Encapsulation, in which digital data is encased in physical and software "wrappers" that give clues for future users on how to reconstruct them, enjoys the advantage of having the details of interpreting data stored right with the data itself. But experts say that while encapsulation works pretty well for text, it isn't nearly as effective for complex data. In addition, new wrappers must be built for every new format and software release. Finally, the universal virtual computer, which proposes that technical specifications for a simple, software-defined decoding machine be saved in paper format, has its proponents, who note that the "machine" is not tied to specific hardware or software and that the paper copies would last for centuries. However, it remains to be seen whether the technical specifications can be distilled into a brief paper document. Meanwhile, Ray Lorie, the IBM researcher who's pushing the universal virtual computer concept, says a dearth of funding is the major obstacle impeding the ability of scientists to solve the problems they've created. And by the time they do, he worries that many digital files may be past the point of resuscitation. (Technology Review Oct 2002)

http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/tristram1002.asp 

 

A PEEK AT THE LIBRARY OF THE FUTURE

Librarians and their patrons in the city of Los Cerritos, California, had a dream and Hewlett-Packard made it come true. The dream was a vision of the library of the future, which they called the Millennium Library, and what the consultants in HP's Network Services Practice, with help from the city's IT staff and building contractors, gave them was a Shangri-La portal to a network of futuristic information services in an intelligent building that itself belonged to the future. Fred Ying, MIS manager for city of Cerritos describes the library "as an enjoyable gathering place where everyone in the community can assemble for shared learning experiences." And these e-learning experiences go far beyond just providing Internet access to patrons through library kiosks. "HP created an infrastructure that allowed us to provide computer access to information and incorporate other technologies," Ying said. "We put materials on how the building's environmental control system works on the Web, and people can learn things like how we conserve energy. We have a video camera in the fish tank, so kids can get a sense of being in the water. HP's intelligent-building concept uses Internet-based technology with application architecture that allows Internet access, wireless network technology, voice over IP and other technologies to be integrated over a common infrastructure. Along with the Internet ports for patrons' laptops, the second floor of the library has a section with 200 PCs available for public use. The PCs provide Internet access, Microsoft applications and access to print services. The third floor has a high-tech conference center where each seat has a workstation with a flat-panel screen. The center has a projection TV for videoconferencing with other locations, which patrons can rent. The BBSM software tracks patrons' Internet access and library services use and supports smart library cards that allow patrons to check out books themselves, enable data and video downloads, and support inventory control. (eweek.com 2 Sep 2002)

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,3959,508960,00.asp

 

FIGARO - EUROPEAN ACADEMIC DIGITAL PUBLISHING INITIATIVE UNDERWAY

A collective of European universities and publishers has established FIGARO, an academic publishing project that will create a European network of institutions providing e-publishing support to the European academic community. FIGARO will investigate new business models for scholarly publishing and will stimulate open access to the publications produced and distributed with its infrastructure, making scholarly publishing faster, cheaper and simpler.  FIGARO plans to further develop its network to offer the critical mass needed to continue expansion into a digital e-publishing platform. The project will support and promote the development of such a platform by offering its European participants a technical infrastructure and a network organization strategy that facilitates the entire digital publishing process. In this way, participants will benefit from each other's technological, organizational and scientific knowledge.  FIGARO's business model is a federated approach consisting of a back office that supports the network of individual publishing instances (front offices). The name FIGARO represents the brand of the facilitating organization, allowing the brand and identity of the various content providers to take center stage. Publishers can profit from the European network, which facilitates such things as peer reviews, communication with authors and the exchange of publications. This will help them limit the costs without compromising quality and will prevent them from having to surrender their identity.

 

Technical solutions enhancing the FIGARO co-operation model include support for standard document models expressed in XML and related authoring tools, the shared use of a WWW-based workflow steering engine, support for generic authentication and authorization methods and for heterogeneous, distributed content management functions including persistent pointing technologies and printing on demand services. While some of these components will be developed as part of the FIGARO project work, most of them will be based on standard and mostly open source WWW-technology; the bulk of the work in this area will be concerned with integration rather than development.

For more information about FIGARO visit the website at

http://www.figaro-europe.net/index.html

 

U.K. OFFICE OF FAIR TRADING STATEMENT ON STM JOURNAL MARKET

The market for scientific, technical and medical journals may not be working well, says a statement published on 9 September by the UK Government's Office of Fair Trading. The statement, entitled "The market for scientific, technical and medical journals", follows up on a recommendation in the 2001 UK Competition Commission report on the Elsevier/Harcourt merger that there might be a case for a wider review of the market for STM journals. Among the problems OFT cites are:

·         Price increases above inflation.

·         Substantial price disparity between commercial and non-commercial STM journals.

·         The high profitability of commercial STM publishing.

·         *The "bundling" of a large selection of their journals by commercial publishers, possibly hindering others from entering the market.

The OFT statement goes on to ask, "Might competition work better from now on?" It cites SPARC, the Public Library of Science, and the potential of technology to allow academics to bypass publishers as factors that could represent "a powerful restraint on exploiting positional advantage in the STM journals market." Ironically, Reed Elsevier cites to the OFT the example of two editorial boards resigning from its journals as an indication of the ability of academics to exert power over the publishers.  While acknowledging that the market is not working well, the OFT concludes that this is not "a matter warranting further investigation" unless "competition fails to improve." While this does not assist the academic and library communities in the short-term, the underlying message is that the present situation cannot last. This is an important recognition.

The OFT statement can be found at:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/news/publications/leaflet+ordering.htm go to the "Media" category on this page.  The statement is OFT 396.

 

RECESSION-PROFF? REED ELSEVIER, WOLTERS KLUWER AND THOMSON LEAD 2002

OPERATING MARGINS

Reed Elsevier led other publishers in profit margin for the first half of 2002, according to a summary of publisher profits in Professional Publishing Report.  Reed's overall adjusted operating profits were down one percentage point due to the acquisition of Harcourt's educational assets.  (Reed acquired Harcourt in July 2001 for $4.5 billion.)  Wolters Kluwer claims the second largest profit margin -- 19.9 %, down from 21.2% in 2001. Kluwer revenues increased 9.6% to $1.44 billion, but operating income was up 2.9%, to $287 million for Kluwer's STM group, International Health and Science, and its three Legal, Tax, and Business Clusters.  Thomson's STM and legal publishing activities yielded strong revenue and profit growth, increasing 4.2% to $2.53 billion.  (Source: Professional Publishing Report, September 6, 2002.)

 

BRITISH ROUNDTABLE ON OPEN ACCESS

A recent round-table meeting, co-sponsored by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the Open Society Institute (OSI), considered the future of journal publishing and the opportunities (and threats) that open access brings to researchers, librarians, and publishers. It is clear that there is no single financial model for open access journals (where online access to the literature is free to all at the time of publication) and that different disciplines may require different solutions.  A range of models (together with examples of where they had been used) were discussed.  Among these were: author publication fees, institution submission charges, sponsorship, offprint sales, differential versions (where the basic version is free and subscribers pay for an enhanced version), grants, institutional subsidies.  Overall, there was some consensus from the participants (who were mostly from small to medium not-for-profit publishes) that open access would be good for the research community.  Many also articulated the challenge of migrating from subscription-based to open access, especially in Europe where authors have traditionally not had the funds to pay for publication.  Presentations may be viewed at http://www.alpsp.org/s130902.htm

 

 

ECHOES OF THE COLD WAR ERA?

The University of California at San Diego has ordered a student organization to delete hyperlinks to an alleged terrorist Web site, citing the recently enacted USA Patriot Act. 

School administrators have told the group, called the Che Café Collective, that linking to a site supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) would not be permitted because it violated federal law. In a letter to the Che Cafe Collective, UCSD University Centers Director Gary Ratcliff said the hyperlink violated a law that bans "providing material support to support terrorists." Ratcliff warned that the student

organization would face disciplinary action if it did not immediately remove the link to FARC.  "The concern of the institution is that this could be interpreted as a violation of the law," Ratcliff said. "What we're trying to be is pro-active here. If the FBI decided to pay attention to this matter, the repercussions would go way beyond their group because we're providing network services."  The law in question is one section of the USA Patriot Act, signed by President George W. Bush last October, which outlaws providing "material support or resources" to foreign terrorists who have been placed on a State Department list. Material support is defined as money, lodging, training or "communications equipment."  http://news.com.com/2100-1023-959544.html

 

Chilling, isn’t it?   And it brings back chilling memories.  In 1987 I was confronted with an insidious threat to the right to read in private, a threat the library profession and I resisted.  I’ve been given a little space to reflect on that incident in light of 9/11 in the current issue of Library Journal.  If you’re interested, read my short piece at http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA245046

 

 

RATCHET UP GOOGLE WITH A META SEARCH ENGINE

Good as Google is in providing accurate search results, it does not index all existing Web pages. "No major search engine does," says Daniel Bazac, search engine marketer for Web Design in New York. While Google states it indexes 2.4 billion Web pages, OpenFind claims 3.5 billion, AllTheWeb 2.1 billion, Inktomi a little more than 2 billion, WiseNut 1.5 billion and AltaVista - 1 billion Web pages. "The truth is," says Bazac, "nobody knows how wide the Web is. Some say 5 billion pages, some 8 billion, some even more. Anyway, what's definite is that the major search engines (SEs) index only a fraction of the 'publicly indexable Web.' Moreover, every SE indexes different Web pages, which means if you use only one SE you will miss relevant results that can be found in other search engines." For more effective Web searching Bazac recommends using a meta search engine, which is a multi-threaded engine search tool that sends a query simultaneously to several search engines (SEs), Web directories (WDs) and sometimes to the so-called Invisible (Deep) Web, a collection of online information not indexed by traditional search engines. After collecting the results, the meta search engine (MSE) will remove the duplicate links and, according to its algorithm, combine/rank the results into a single merged list. Meta Search Engines have the obvious benefit of sparing searchers the trouble and time of running a query in each search engine. Some SEs or WDs, however, do not support advanced searching techniques such as quotation marks to enclose phrases or Boolean operators, so that no (or irrelevant) results from those SEs will appear in the MSEs results. Bazac provides a comprehensive list of useful MSEs. (llrx.com 16 Sep 2002)

http://www.llrx.com/features/metasearch.htm  (ShelfLife 9/29/02)

 

DIGITAL BOOKMOBILE TOUR GIVES FREE INTERNET BOOKS TO KIDS—AND THE SUPREME COURT

On September 30, the Internet Archive's (IA) Digital Bookmobile will embark on a cross-country journey to deliver free digital books to children nationwide. The Bookmobile will stop at public schools, libraries, universities, mobile home parks, retirement homes, a Bookmobile conference, Hewlett Packard Digital Village schools, and the Inventors Hall of Fame, printing free copies of public domain books along the way. The Bookmobile will park and print books at the United States Supreme Court building where, on October 9, the Justices will hear arguments in Eldred v. Ashcroft, a landmark case that will decide how many books can be part of the Bookmobile's digital library and all other digital libraries in the U.S. The case will determine if the government can extend copyright by another 20 years, effectively removing millions of books from the public domain.

 

DIGITAL MUSIC FIGHT HEATS UP

Although Napster is dead, the urge to share files of music has not cooled down.  Several music-sharing file technologies, ranging from KaZaA to Morpheus, have emerged to take Napster’s place.  Read about them in Kevin Maney’s USA Today article http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/maney/2002-09-24-digital_x.htm

 

And, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) continues to fight back.  This notice appears on the Music United page http://www.musicunited.org/. The explosion in illegal copying is affecting the entire music community. And contrary to what some people would tell you, it’s having a very real and harmful impact on countless musicians, songwriters, and performers—virtually everyone, from recording engineers to record-store clerks, who dreams about making a living providing music to the public. It’s illegal and it’s a drag!

 

The unauthorized reproduction and distribution of copyrighted music is JUST AS ILLEGAL AS SHOPLIFTING A CD. Burning CD’s from peer-to-peer networks like KaZaA, Morpheus or Gnutella is against the law. The rules are very simple. Unless you own the copyright, it’s not yours to distribute.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE  Please let me know what we’re not covering and how we might make this newsletter more useful for you.  Send me a message at ptk@uiuc.edu

 

The scholarly communications are also available on line at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/administration/news.htm