Issue No. 29

October 25, 2002


Paula Kaufman, University Librarian




Brewster Kahle, the Internet pioneer who first became famous in 1988 for his creation of WAIS, the pre-Web system for searching through large collections of text, is in the news again for his work to develop Internet Archive, the goal of which is to keep a copy of “everything” ever posted to the Web. In fact, he's going beyond the Internet to include in his Archive such things as a collection of TV coverage of "9/11," ephemeral films such as Prelinger Archives, Michael Hart's Project Gutenberg,'s archives of live concert performances, and an archive of more than 8,000 CD ROMs donated by Macromedia. Kahle calls the Internet the "information resource of first resort," since it is characterized by a hundred million searches a day by tens of millions of users, yet adds that "the Net doesn't have the best we have to offer."  Kahle, who is strongly opposed to the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, has been sharply focused on his new "Internet Bookmobile" project, which promotes the downloading and local printing of works in the public domain. "We think there should be lots of books in the public domain."



With digital preservation still in its infancy, there are still more questions than answers about what should be preserved and/or archived, how it should be archived, and who should make all these decisions. In an effort to stimulate discussion and suggest avenues for resolution, Henry Gladney thoughtfully raises a number of issues, including: "For which communities and which kinds of public documents is digital preservation most important?" As Gladney points out, while the quantity of historical data is limited by the simple fact that writing and dissemination were relatively rare and relatively slow in earlier times, the amount of data generated today is mind-boggling. It is neither possible nor desirable to archive everything. The challenge is in sorting the wheat from the chaff. In the public sector, for example, efforts are focused on archiving cultural content, scientific data and records of national significance. In the private sector, items such as medical and educational records certainly warrant consideration for archiving. Ultimately, each archivist must determine which materials to save based on the parameters of the collection under his care. (Digital Document Quarterly Third Quarter 2002)



Scholars of every ilk, from first-year college students to professional scientists, have largely replaced their paper research with Web research; after all, the Web is handy, and a good search engine can turn up numerous resources quickly. But there is a downside to ditching paper. One problem is that many journals do not have their older issues archived, so researchers who only consult the Web won't find material published before a certain date. Another issue is the half-life of Web material. One study found that only about 80% of Web sites were still in existence after one year. And only about 69% of Web pages were still online. Even more disturbing, the same study found that within a year, more than 99% of the pages had changed in some manner. Exacerbating the problem, a growing number of libraries are canceling their subscriptions to print journals, preferring instead to rely on the electronic versions. Writer James Sweetland asks, "Are we, perhaps, eliminating one of the oldest functions of libraries—the archival, or 'group memory' function? And, if so, are we even thinking about what we are doing?" (Library Link Oct 2002) 

ShelfLife 10/24/02



Digital libraries are everywhere, and, even as standards, staffing, clients, and funding are sorted out, the digital domain remains part of every library's future.  The extraordinary digitization efforts underway since the mid-1990s in Canada and Europe are largely driven by a cultural imperative, that is, as a reaction to the dominance of U.S. information and culture on the Web. Digital cultural initiatives or digital culture online, as the institutions are generally referred to in Canada and Europe, also support electronic learning programs. Finally, academic and research institutions at the national and international levels strongly influence the direction of and public access to digital heritage print collections.



In his keynote address to this year's Museum Computer Network (MCN), "What Do We Want from the Cybermuseum?" Stanley Katz frequently referred to the rich conversation recorded in a recent report as a key articulation of current concerns in museums on the development of digital technology. The paper is now widely available. Some of the key themes included rethinking institutional infrastructure, especially for coordinating and integrating digital production; new staffing models; the potential of broadband for furthering museum education and outreach; the role of technology in connecting museums with the communities of the future; the relationship between digital presence and the number of visitors to the physical museum; as well as the developing role of NINCH vis-a-vis its museum members.



The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has provided funding to the California Digital Library for a one-year project to conduct a cost benefit review of the approaches and technologies available for the capture, curation, and persistent management of web-based state and federal government publications. The review will examine how and in what combination these technologies may be applied to develop persistent scholarly collections. The review will also tease out implications that these technologies have in their application for the organization, operation, sustainable funding, and use of such collections. The project will be informed at appropriate stages by scholars who use government documents in their research, by government document librarians, and by decision makers who are involved in planning for, organizing, and sustaining the development of persistent collections of scholarly information that support research and teaching. The work assumes that research libraries need to assemble persistent and readily accessible collections comprising the web-based documents of US federal and state governments. It assumes further that different libraries may wish to build somewhat different collections (or different views of comprehensive collections), just as they build different collections of printed government documents today. Consequently, the proposed work will examine as distinct facets of a single enterprise some of the more promising approaches to the capture, curation, and persistent management of web-based government documents.



The U.S. Department of Education recently sparked controversy in the education and research communities for its decision to both remove and delete information from its agency websites, in the interests of consolidating information and making it more usable and accessible to the public. Critics charge that it is both an effort to remove information with which the Bush Administration does not agree, and symptomatic of broader long-standing problems facing intra- and inter-agency electronic document and records management.


The U.S. Department of Education now says it will archive all content removed from its Web site, possibly through an interactive database accessible through the Internet or in a CD-ROM. The soon-to-be-excised material "does not reflect the priorities, philosophies or goals of the present administration," according to a May 31 memo citing the need for the overhaul. John P. Bailey, director of educational technology, assured critics last week that "Files will not be deleted. They will simply be archived in such a way so as to make them available and accessible." But Patrice McDermott, an assistant director of government relations at the American Library Association, said she has "multiple concerns" over the redesign process. "We think there should be stakeholder-community involvement both in the development of criteria and the implementation of it. We don't think these sorts of removals of information should be made on the part of their agency and solely through their internal deliberations. There's a lot at stake here." McDermott said that an online archiving system would be helpful, but that putting it all on a CD-ROM was not an acceptable solution, especially if it is not indexed. "There would be no way of easily retrieving information," she said.  ShelfLife 10/24/02



Two literary lions spent a lot of time talking about technology when Jason Epstein was interviewed by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt as part of the Small Press Center in New York City's series of Interviews with Great Publishers. Epstein discussed many of the issues he raised in his 2001 title, Book Business (Norton). The business is in "difficult times," he said, because superstores have "devolved into being what the mall stores were, just more so," with inventory skewed toward quick turnover and bestsellers. As a result, publishers cannot support the backlist, which should be the backbone of their businesses. The major problem, he said, lies in inefficient distribution. While online bookselling might seem like a solution, Epstein said his experience with the Reader's Catalog taught him how expensive shipping and handling of books can be. A few months into the experiment, his accountant told him that they were losing money on every order. But digitizing books and printing them out at point of purchase would revolutionize the business, Epstein said. He mentioned a digital printer that he said now exists as a prototype that can print a "library quality paperback." He said this would differ from print on demand because POD current machinery still requires technical attention. In addition, POD does "nothing to change the supply chain," because it does not allow books to be printed at the point of sale. Epstein was reluctant to talk more specifically about "The Machine," but said that he would have something to announce in about six months. He did add, "If there were still 4,000 independent booksellers in the U.S., I wouldn't be thinking of this new technology."



While the debate over the future of e-books hums away in the background, the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) promotes its early 2002 acquisition of the electronic book company netLibrary. Citing a 2000 Forrester report that predicted significant promise for the textbook industry, OCLC's Shirley Hyatt and Lynn Silipigni Connaway say a Columbia University study on e-book usage supports a positive forecast. That study found scholars read or browse a bare sampling of most work-related books—the introduction, a few pages to a couple chapters, plus bibliography, footnotes and index. They want to flip between pages, follow a line of reasoning, and easily move from reference to footnote, index to text. Given navigational flexibility, speed and design that takes advantage of interactivity—plus much larger collections—scholars would increase their use of online books, according to the study. In fact, a University of Pittsburgh comparison of circulation of identical e-book/print titles indicates that electronic circulation is already making ground, with access rates 2.5 times higher than their print counterparts. E-book management systems can help libraries facilitate scholars' needs, as well as monitor and manage usage patterns and availability of high-demand content, say Hyatt and Connaway. (Araidne 10 Oct 2002)



Columbia University Press (CUP) and the American Historical Association have announced the launch of Gutenberg-e, a collection of digital monographs in history. The project is now available to libraries on a license basis. The e-books included in Gutenberg-e were selected by a distinguished panel of historians, who then worked in collaboration with the electronic publishing staff at CUP to develop the works for publication. The goal, according to Robert Darnton, past president of the AHA and the founder of Gutenberg-e, is to promote both the best in scholarship and for electronic publishing in general. Founders hope the project will serve as a cost-effective model for peer-reviewed publications in specialized fields of research to replace the crumbling monograph market. Columbia officials say the digital monographs can be read as easily as any other textual resource, but also offer extensive archival material, documentation, images, video, music, glossaries, translations, links to related web sites, and hyperlinks to supplementary literature. The entire contents of Gutenberg-e will be licensed to libraries, universities, or other institutions through an annual subscription. The collection will expand each year to include new works. The current price is $195.



At the height of the dot-com bubble, twenty-somethings with goatees were telling us that e-books were the wave of the future. Those e-books they had in mind were like proprietary software: they weren't free (-as-in-anything), they only worked on proprietary hardware, and they came with shrinkwrap licenses and digital rights management. They failed. The successful model that's sneaking under the radar is the copylefted book.  Take a look at



The Library of Congress has put the winning entry in its digital talking book contest on display—a hinged device that folds closed like a book and when open, reveals two thick "pages" encasing speakers flanked by a series of buttons that the user pushes to move forward (or backward) in the text, insert bookmarks, or search for a passage. The device, which will be available in three to four years, will replace the bulky plastic tape readers used for today's talking books. Over the next three years, the library plans to spend $75 million to convert about 30,000 titles, mostly standard works and best sellers, to the new technology. After some technical details of the new system are worked out, bids will be sought to manufacture the first 50,000 "dooks," as they're called. The library hopes to begin offering them to patrons sometime in 2008, and slowly phase out the tape players over the following 10 years. The dooks will be offered free to those who need them, just as the current tape players are. (AP 22 Oct 2002) ShelfLife 10/24/02



Three major publishers have filed a copyright infringement suit against a Gainesville, FL copy shop over coursepacks. Much like the landmark Kinkos suit in 1989, the suit filed by Elsevier Science, the MIT Press, and John Wiley & Sons charges that Custom Copies, Inc., and its president Kenneth F. Roberts with "unauthorized mass photocopying." The suit also says the defendants knowingly failed to get permission for material from the publishers' books and journals used in coursepacks sold on the campus of the University of Florida at Gainesville. The matter is being "coordinated" by the Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), a for-profit, private agency which facilitates the copying of materials for coursepack producers by clearing permissions and collecting and distributing royalties to the appropriate rights holders. Thompkins White, Custom Copies' attorney, told UF’s student newspaper the Independent Florida Alligator that he strongly denied "everything that's alleged against us." White said the copy shop would go back through its records to see if some articles slipped through the cracks, and said the company would pay "the full customary fee" if that were found to be true. As coursepacks have risen in popularity on campus in recent years, copyright clearance has become a major headache, and it is not hard to imagine some works "slipping through" the cracks. But publishers say each time something slips through the cracks, it adds up. "Coursepacks have become an integral part of the teaching experience," said Richard S. Rudick, Wiley's senior vice president and general counsel. "They are also an important revenue source for rights holders who deserve just compensation for use of their intellectual properties."  LJ Academic News Wire, 10/17/02



Google has quietly removed more than 100 controversial websites from its search results received at country-specific Google sites.  Removed sites include anti-semitic and pro-Nazi sites from and Google indicated that the removals came at the request of a foreign government.  A new study issued by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School notes that the issue of Internet blocking and filtering raises questions about the ability of governments to censor the Internet. Government efforts to filter or block Internet traffic are on the rise, and include recent attempts by France, still in court, to force Yahoo to remove auctions featuring Nazi memorabilia. Google was also blocked last month by China, which diverted queries for Google to other sites the government deemed friendlier.  The blocking efforts sometimes seemed out of date; at least one Scandinavian site that was devoted to white supremacy has changed its focus since being blocked and is now a Chinese-language site dedicated to legal questions. Silent blocking leaves Google users with no indication of what information is being withheld.

Removal research at

More coverage at



Ending months of speculation, Wolters Kluwer has agreed to sell its academic trade-journal unit Kluwer Academic Publishers (KAP) to the private equity funds Candover Investments plc and Cinven Ltd. for 600 million euros ($583 million). The announcement comes just months after the publisher announced it would divest its academic units in order to expand its legal, tax, health and education publishing business. Cinven's most recent deal in the publishing sector was the acquisition of the healthcare and business publishing activities of Vivendi Universal Publishing in April 2002. Cinven also formerly owned Routledge, a publisher of academic journals, subsequently acquired by Taylor and Francis. KAP currently publishes 700 scientific and technical journal titles and approximately 1,200 new book titles a year, in addition to managing an active backlist of about 13,000 books. Earlier this year, London's

FINANCIAL TIMES reported that potential suitors for Kluwer Academic included John Wiley and Sons and Bertelsmann, and also re-ignited speculation of a Reed Elsevier/Wolters Kluwer merger, but that talk was dismissed by company officials. LJ Academic News Wire 10/24/02



Law Professors and academic library groups are asking a federal appeals court to modify a recent ruling to make it clear that established copyright provisions, like fair use, sometimes trump software-licensing agreements that would otherwise narrow consumers' rights.   The case in question, Harold L. Bowers v. Baystate Technologies Inc., involves the shrink- wrap license on a piece of software Mr. Bowers created to improve computer-aided-design software. Mr. Bowers said Baystate had purchased a copy of his software and then "reverse-engineered" the product—figuring out how it worked and then creating a similar product for sale under Baystate's name. Mr. Bowers charged that Baystate had violated the terms of his software's shrink-wrap license, which prohibits purchasers from reverse-engineering the software. Such licenses are typically found inside the box containing the software, and are printed on the envelope containing the CD- ROM or disk. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed in August that Baystate, based in Marlborough, Mass., had breached its contract with Mr. Bowers. Baystate had argued that the Copyright Act pre-empted the shrink-wrap license's ban on reverse engineering, as well as other restrictions in the license. Such restrictions prevent fair use of copyrighted material, the company said. The scholars who are seeking clarification from the court don't necessarily agree with Baystate that the Copyright Act overrules Mr. Bowers's shrink-wrap license. Rather, they say, they are concerned that the court's decision is a "blanket rule" that shrink-wrap licenses "are never pre-empted." Because the terms of the licenses are written by the sellers and vary widely from product to product, the scholars are worried that the licenses do not necessarily recognize longstanding assumptions of copyright law, such as fair use.


Computer-science researchers are also concerned about the provision in Mr. Bowers's license banning reverse-engineering, which the researchers say is an important technique in their discipline.



The scientific community should work closely with federal agencies responding to new national security threats, said the presidents of the National Academies in a recent statement. But they also asked the federal government to refrain from creating poorly defined categories of "sensitive, but unclassified" information that do not provide precise guidance on what data should be restricted from public access. A recent National Academies report identifies immediate actions the government can take using available technology and identifies critical research and development areas.


Background Paper

Making the Nation Safer: The Role of Science and Technology in Countering Terrorism (2002)



At the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) National Forum, Clifford Lynch, executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information, told attendees that library technology is entering a period of change and instability.  Lynch cited four factors contributing to the destabilization of library technology. The first was the growth of portals on college and university campuses. "Everyone wants to be the portal for everything," Lynch explained, noting that he viewed the advent of portals as bridging the world of Google and proprietary content to build "access points that reach across deep and surface web content." The emergence of course management software (CMS) is another factor. While Lynch said that while there was a lot of action in this area, there's no consensus as to where on campus CMS should fit: libraries, IT, and instructional technology departments are all viable contenders. The problem? While Lynch acknowledged that many faculty members want to bring content, including licensed content, out of the library and into the CMS, some CMS companies are talking to content suppliers, whose content the library may already have licensed. "Is this in the best interest of anybody?" Lynch asked. Lynch said that the "open courseware movement," such as the one initiated by MIT, also provided a new challenge for academic libraries. Lynch described the open courseware movement as a "new form of scholarly communication," and a new means of publishing scholarly gray literature, and predicted that student content in open courseware would create a new set of issues for libraries. "While the 90s were the decade of faculty intellectual property rights, this decade we will visit student intellectual property rights and the issue of implied consent," he said. Finally, Lynch cited the emergence of "institutional repositories," such as new MacArthur fellow Paul Ginsparg's ArXiv at Cornell University, as another issue placing pressure on libraries. He described the recent emergence of various digitization projects and major scholarly undertakings that live "on the computer underneath faculty desks" and argued that such content needs "to move to where it can be secure and be preserved."



The New Alexandria Library opened on October 16.  The modern complex, funded by a variety of countries and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), seeks to replace the famous center of learning that was destroyed more than 1500 years ago. The $225 million new facility opened with approximately 240,000 volumes—far short of the eight million originally hoped for. With an annual operating budget of $20 to $25 million, the aim of recreating the original library's role as the world's greatest repository of knowledge has been scaled back to serve mostly Egyptian users. The library was originally scheduled to open in April, but was postponed due to widespread political demonstrations. Critics of the project have cited the Egyptian government's censorship policy. One report has Chief Librarian Layla Abdel Hady saying that potentially dangerous books will be locked up and charges that many of the library's reference books are obsolete, although they are backed up by electronic resources. The collection focuses mainly on Egyptian and Mediterranean civilizations. 

LJ Academic News Wire, 10/22/02

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