Issue No. 30

November 5, 2002


Paula Kaufman, University Librarian




E-print repositories have already done much to fulfill the Open Archive Initiative's aim of making information widely available and free-of-charge. By capturing and preserving research output, these institutional repositories offer researchers wider and more rapid dissemination of their work, showcase a university's quality, and enhance its visibility, status and public value. Repositories are emerging globally in a variety of forms. Examples include the University of California eScholarship Repository and the SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) Initiative, which is studying the development of openly accessible digital repositories in universities. One of the leading initiatives is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's DSpace Project, a digital repository to capture, distribute and preserve MIT's intellectual output. The university believes these archives may provide more efficient open access to research than commercial journals. For some repositories, there is also an avowed intent to challenge the monopolies and aggregations of commercial publishers. Of course, Elsevier and a number of other publishers already allow refereed articles to be placed in institutional repositories. Since most scholarly literature—electronic or otherwise—is little used, alternatives to the present cycle of creation, production, distribution and access could be realized if a process of accreditation, refereeing and branding is developed. A recent alliance between Ingenta and the UK's University of Southampton reveals that some publishers see no contradiction being involved in free electronic journals as well as commercial output. (InCite Oct 2002) Shelflife 10/31/02



An extensive background paper examining scientific and technical data and information in public-private partnerships was prepared for this symposium sponsored by the National Academic of Sciences on September 5-6, 2002 by Stephen Maurer, Attorney at Law and Lecturer, Richard & Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley.



Although the British Office of Fair Trading deems the journal market unfair, it concluded that free-market forces may eventually correct the journal market imbalance.  The OFT report says that science, technology, and medical (STM) publishing showed a 10%-15% greater profitability over other commercial journal publishing with price increases above inflation, despite the introduction of electronic delivery methods that it thinks should have reduced costs by this stage.  The report was not well received by all readers, many of whom question the OFT’s assumption that the market in journals will self-correct.  Read more at



Scientists and others who rely on access to government information for their research are finding that one of the effects of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is a bevy of new restrictions on the availability of that data. The White House last spring issued a memo to government agencies with a guide to help them review information that should be kept under wraps. As a result, the government has cut Internet links, stripped information from agency Web sites, and even required federal librarians to destroy a CD-ROM on public water supplies. While the intent may be to protect national security, the effect of the clampdown is to bring many research projects to a slow crawl, or even a halt. For example, University of Michigan researchers lost access to an Environmental Protection Agency database with information vital to their three-year study of hazardous waste facilities. Librarians fear the restrictions will have a chilling effect on government Web sites. "It's sort of the national history that's being withdrawn," says Andrea Sevetson, former head of government information at the University of California at Berkeley. She fears people won't post information at government Web sites "because they don't want to get in trouble." (AP/San Jose Mercury News 14 Oct 2002) ShelfLife 10/31/02 



No, a cybercemetary isn’t the place where all those e-mail messages that never made it to your desktop ended up.  Deep in the basement of the A.M. Willis Jr. Library at the University of North Texas is a computer server dedicated to preserving the Web sites of now-defunct federal agencies, such as the Office of Technology Assessment, the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and the National Partnership for Reinventing Government. The five-year-old "CyberCemetary," as it's called, ( draws 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a month.  Officials at the university expect the CyberCemetary to continue to grow in spurts, as each administration change repositions funding priorities. George Barnum, electronic collections manager for the Federal Depository Library Program, applauds the UNT program: "When things were printed, they were stable and they stayed around. The Internet is very, very, very much less stable. And so it makes people—particularly librarian-type people—really nervous when stuff is there today and gone later today. And so all we're really trying to do with this… is impose a little of that stability." (Washington Post 21 Oct 2002) ShelfLife 10/31/02 



This site collects links to free online full-text books by authors who have been dead for more than 50 but less than 70 years. These books, therefore, are in the public domain for many countries around the world, but not for the U.S. or the EU. Whether they are lawful to download depends on where you live.  Books by authors from Hervey Allen to Virginia Woolf are available, but not in the U.S.



The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone. In this updated iteration, its goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,000 languages, with the intention to create a unique platform for comparative linguistic research and education as well as a functional linguistic tool that might help in the recovery or revitalization of lost languages in unknown futures. This broad language archive is being created through an open contribution, open review process and everyone is invited to participate. The resulting archive will be publicly available in three different media: a micro-etched nickel disk with 2,000 year life expectancy; a single volume monumental reference book; and through this growing online archive.



The speed of scientific communication—the rate of ideas affecting other researchers' ideas—is increasing dramatically. The factor driving this is free, unrestricted access to research papers. Measurements of user activity in mature eprint archives of research papers such as arXiv have shown, for the first time, the degree to which such services support an evolving network of texts commenting on, citing, classifying, abstracting, listing and revising other texts. The Open Citation project has built tools to measure this activity, to build new archives, and has been closely involved with the development of the infrastructure to support open access on which these new services depend. This article tells the story of the project, intertwined with the concurrent emergence of the Open Archives Initiative (OAI).



Results from a survey by Gartner indicate that many consumers do not see copy protections as a reasonable precaution against music piracy because such protections would infringe on consumers' right to copy CDs they purchased. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they should be allowed to make copies of CDs for family members; 77 percent said they should be allowed to make copies for other devices; and 82 percent said backup copies should be allowed. Researchers involved in the study suggested that music companies that opt for copy protections are likely to annoy many consumers, possibly resulting in lower revenues. IDG, 25 October 2002



The American Library Association said recently that it expects to see UCITA (Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act), a controversial set of laws that would govern computer transactions, resurface in state legislatures in 2003. There has been an array of internal challenges from members of the governing body that created the legislation, the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), and the addition of 38 amendments to the draft law. Still, ALA warns that the legislation is as troublesome as ever for libraries. According ALA representatives, the amendments—the NCCUSL's attempt to address criticism of the legislation offered by the library community and others—are, for the most part cosmetic changes. The amendments, which were approved during the August 2002 annual NCCUSL conference, were the subject of a heated controversy among NCCUSL commissioners. That meeting saw several NCCUSL commissioners initiate a petition to have UCITA downgraded to a model law, which would have been "a fatal blow," to the legislation. The petition was eventually withdrawn. However, experts say that the controversy around UCITA was significant enough to place pressure on the NCCUSL to prove that the 38 amendments "substantively improved UCITA." Part of those 38 amendments included one change for libraries that specifically allowed transfer or donation of software to public libraries, public elementary or secondary schools or consumers "as long as the software remains in the computer."  Among the most highly touted change to UCITA this summer was the removal of the so-called "electronic self-help" provision, which would allow a vendor to unilaterally remotely disable software due to an alleged breach, without due process. However, the revised amendment does provide for an "automatic restraint," which still would allow vendors to remotely shut down an user's software in certain situations. UCITA has been passed in Virginia and Maryland and is pending in several other states.



With more than 50 percent of the U.S. population having Internet access, the World Wide Web has become an important channel for providing information and services. As the Web becomes a part of people's everyday lives—booking travel, finding health information, buying products—there is a growing need to help people figure out whether a Web site is credible or not: Can I trust the information on this site? Can I trust in the services this site describes?  As part of the Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab's mission since 1998, the team has investigated what causes people to believe—or not believe—what they find online. Similarly, Consumer WebWatch, which commissioned this study, has the goal to investigate, inform, and improve the credibility of information published on the World Wide Web. Consumer WebWatch wanted to investigate whether consumers actually perform the necessary credibility checks-and-balances while online that they said they did in an earlier national poll (e.g., read privacy policy pages with at least some frequency.) These shared missions created a nexus between the two organizations, which led to collaboration on what we believe to be the largest Web credibility project to date.  The resulting consumer-driven study titled, How Do People Evaluate a Web Site's Credibility? Results from a Large Study invited more than 2,600 average people to rate the credibility of Web sites in 10 content areas.



Several readers have indicated interest in deep linking.  Here’s another angle. From time to time, one or another news group (e.g., The Dallas Morning News or the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association) has lodged strenuous objections against "deep linking"—the practice of linking directly to an interior page of a periodical (rather than the opening or face page). Most of the complainers allege some sort of copyright infringement or intrusion on the servers of the visited site, but the Dallas Morning News has tried to treat the issue as one of infringement on the "Terms of Service" agreement that the newspaper requires all visitors to agree to. How the arguments will ultimately play out in the courts is still not completely certain, but Bret A. Fausett of New Architect magazine believes strongly that deep linking is a perfectly legitimate practice. "The courts are saying that deep links to specific pages for specific purposes are acceptable. It's a fair use of third-party content to comment on something or link to it. It's also the very foundation of the Web. A court needs a very compelling reason to find that deep links violate someone's legal rights... The Web was created for linking. It should stay that way." ShelfLife 10/31/02 



The Center for Democracy and Technology has released a report advising that US federal agencies frequently share information taken from various federal applications, sometimes without the applicant's knowledge of where it might go.  The information sharing ranges from passport application data that can be shared with foreign governments to details on farm loan applications.  The report also showed that the Department of Education has been sharing information from student aid applications with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and other public and private agencies.,1848,56120,00.html



The ACLU has launched a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, seeking information on how the surveillance provisions found in the Patriot Act have been used.  While earlier disclosures provided anecdotal information, the ACLU and several other groups are seeking statistical information.,aid,106338,00.asp



An increasingly large share of the information produced today in practically all areas of human activity is compiled digitally and is designed to be accessed on computers. But this enormous trove of digital information may well be lost unless specific techniques and policies are developed to conserve it. UNESCO is presently examining these issues with a view to defining a standard to guide governments’ preservation endeavors in the digital age.  UNESCO's campaign for the preservation of the world's digital heritage took another concrete step with the first of a series of Regional Consultation Meetings held in Canberra, Australia, on 4-6 November. The meeting focused digital preservation challenges in Asia and the Pacific. The documents that were discussed at the Canberra meeting at the National Library of Australia included: a preliminary draft Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage being prepared by UNESCO and draft technical guidelines on the preservation of digital heritage being prepared for UNESCO by the National Library of Australia. Participants at the meeting included representatives of a range of producers, preservers and users of digital heritage materials, and other stakeholders. Similar consultation meetings will be held in Managua, from 18-20 November, Addis Ababa, from 9-11 December and Riga, from 18-20 December 2002.



Last year U.K.-based journal publisher MCB University Press changed its name to Emerald—an attempt, some claim, to shed its bad reputation. Certainly the company's record is not unblemished, but has it now reinvented itself? And how does its future look?  Richard Poynder describes the transformation of MCB University Press into Emerald and how it left behind some, but not all, of the practices that angered librarians.



The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is suppressing scientific information on contraception and abortion, and apparently increasing audits of nonprofit grantees that disagree with the administration’s “abstinence-only” program, according to a recent letter from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and a group of House Democrats to Tommy Thompson, secretary of HHS. “A growing number of cases provide evidence that actions directly affecting the public health are being driven by ideology rather than science,” the letter charges, referencing HHS’s efforts to stack scientific advisory committees with conservative ideologues and industry allies, including, most recently, a panel on childhood lead poisoning.  Waxman’s letter specifically cites the removal of information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) web site that debunks a commonly held myth that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. Congressional representatives wrote to Thompson on July 9 seeking an explanation, but have thus far received no response. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has removed information from its web site about educational programs that have proven effective in reducing risky behavior among adolescents, as well as fact sheets regarding the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.  Read more at



The Library Technology Access (LTA) initiative, led by Hewlett-Packard, aims to increase library computer accessibility for users with disabilities. The goal of the program is to design "template" solutions that libraries can implement easily to improve access for users with visual, hearing, mobility, or learning disabilities. The first part of the initiative launched recently with installations at several libraries around the nation. The workstations at the test sites will record how users interact with the technology, providing data that will be used to generate models of how assistive technology and accessibility tools can best serve library patrons.  Edupage 11/4/02



In a back-to-the-future twist, electronic facsimile is emerging as one of the newest ways to deliver content. The New York Times, Consumer Reports, National Geographic Traveler, and Harvard Business Review are among a growing list of publications now available in an on-screen format that is identical to their original print layouts. While facsimile can be difficult to read on screen and has other disadvantages compared with HTML, publishers are increasingly using it as an ancillary delivery technology.  Electronic facsimile is catching on because publishers don't have to do much work. Vendors like NewsStand and Zinio will take a publisher's print files after publication, convert them into an online facsimile edition, handle billing, and then return a split of the revenues to the publisher. Publishers won't get rich doing it, but there is no financial risk to them either. And they get a new format that appeals to readers who want to see a publication in its original layout. Facsimile is fundamentally a derivative form of print without much relationship to the more dynamic world of web publishing. A facsimile edition appears only as often as its original print version, and in some organizations, notably The New York Times, facsimile publishing falls under the jurisdiction of print operations rather than the group responsible for web publishing. Two factors may drive electronic facsimile adoption. First is the deployment of new tablet PCs with their enlarged and improved screens. Second is the evolution of electronic facsimile into a richer medium with hypertext linking, better searching, and other features found on the web.  Greenhouse Effects 11/02



The JISC Higher Educations Digitisation Service has issued a study done on behalf of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation  to investigate some of the underlying assumptions being made in the move from previously analog photographic services into the realm of digital capture and delivery, and in particular to look at how marketable, cost efficient and income-stable the new digital services and resources are in comparison with previous methods (which in many places still exist alongside the newer digital developments).


The study, through interviews and comparative modeling of costs and fees charged, highlights the differences in practice for the sale of analog versus digital formats. The report shows how pricing structures are determined for delivering digital versions of rare or unique items in libraries, museums, archives and similar public institutions. The report gives evidence of how these digital pricing structures compare to those used for the delivery of the same or similar resources in analog form and explores the thresholds that determine the point at which an organization charges for the sale of content and other rights to their digital holdings and the reasons given for such charges. This report aims to provide information which will aid the future decision making of funding agencies and project planning in deciding the relative merits of digital resources over analog in terms of their chargeable status and possible rights issues. The Conclusions and Implications sections of this report identify the clear relationship between the gatekeeper function, the pricing policy and the assignment of revenue raised in the institutions accounting of whether a service is profitable or not. Future trends and further steps are also suggested.



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