Issue No. 33

December 16, 2002


Paula Kaufman, University Librarian





A Sun Microsystems white paper on digital library technology trends makes the following predictions: 1) The shift from text and image-based systems to audio and video will continue as broadband becomes more prevalent, making full multimedia delivery more practical. 2) Broadly accepted best practices will emerge for digitization, rights management, preservation, metadata encoding, and other key digital library processes, building on the library community's highly collaborative culture. 3) Standards will move from the discussion and trial stage to widespread adoption as library community leaders work through existing standards groups to agree on common approaches. 4) As the center of digital library activity shifts back toward mainstream library implementations, the next stage of digital library development and deployment will focus on providing greater usability for library patrons, increased interoperability among digital collections, and more cost-effective choices for digitization technology. 5) New technology services will enhance the scholarly communication process, just as they have enhanced e-commerce and online auction activities. 6) Growing dependence on digital information resources will create market pressure for the development of cooperative solutions for long-term preservation. 7) Course management systems providers and textbook publishers will continue to work together and their cooperation will increase over time as more texts are published electronically. Digital libraries will be routinely linked to campus e-learning and administrative systems to provide a one-stop virtual campus. (Sun Microsystems white paper: Digital Library Technology Trends)



A new study funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services offers fresh insights on the state of preservation activity today and suggests ways professional organizations, consortia and funding agencies can help academic libraries improve their preservation capabilities. Findings include the observation that, while staff members are generally familiar with functions traditionally associated with preservation, those functions' relationship to an overall preservation strategy is not always apparent to those performing the activities. Further, preservation is seldom central to the process of strategic planning. To address those concerns, authors Anne R. Kenney and Deirdre C. Stam say libraries should encourage a common and more inclusive understanding of preservation: "When preservation is viewed narrowly, it gets separated from mainstream functions, becomes identified as someone else's domain, and is considered a luxury. The message must be clear that preservation is everyone's job and that it cuts across all library operations." A common understanding of what constitutes preservation would improve communication among those involved in its functions, they say, and helping library staff appreciate their role in preservation would enable the library to better meet its preservation objectives. Note: The UIUC Library was one of the participants in this study.  (Council on Library and Information Resources Nov/Dec 2002)



In October 2002, members of the core integration team for the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) program issued a report on progress being made in the continuing effort to improve metadata interoperability in harvesting digital library collections. NSDL's ultimate goal is to integrate the tens of thousands of collections, ranging from simple Web sites to large and sophisticated digital libraries, into a coherent whole that is structured to support education and facilitate incorporation of innovative, value-adding services. Because NSDL can only coax and cajole collections toward preferred standards, their harvesting architecture needs to accommodate a wide spectrum of interoperability, which makes use of widely varying protocols, formats and metadata standards.  Thus, in designing the architecture, NSDL's Core Integration team explicitly recognized the need to accept whatever metadata the collections can provide, which in many cases is very basic, in any of several preferred metadata formats. The team creates the collection-level metadata, but not the item-level records. To provide a minimally uniform level of metadata for all known items, in addition to storing the native metadata (provided by the collections), a Dublin Core record is created for each item in a format called nsdldc. This format contains a number of Dublin Core elements, including some elements unique to the NSDL, but the actual record may be little more than a simple identifier. While the NSDL Core Team believes it would be too optimistic to hope that every collection will support its metadata harvesting program, the increasing positive responses from many important collections would seem to predict that the program will achieve the desired level of popularity. RLG ShelfLife 12/12/02



BioMed Central (an open access publisher) and INIST (the highly specialized documentation center of French government-funded scientific research organization CNRS) have joined together to create a new archive of open access research. In addition, all researchers at CNRS will be able to submit their work, free of charge, to any of BioMed Central’s journals as part of the publisher’s institutional membership program.  Currently, all the research articles published in BioMed Central’s journals are archived, without delay, at the United States National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central site ( The INIST national archive will be a further way in which the information published in the BioMed Central journals is securely archived and by which it can be accessed in the long term. In addition to these online archiving initiatives, BioMed Central will be making archival print versions of the BioMed Central journals. These will be available on demand for libraries that require a printed copy of the research articles published by BioMed Central.



Random House has settled its lawsuit against RosettaBooks over Rosetta's sales of electronic versions of eight popular titles, including Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" and William Styron's "Sophie's Choice." Rosetta will continue to publish the disputed works and will work with Random House to bring additional titles to the e-book market. The case has been watched closely by other publishers, but the recent settlement leaves the core issue in the lawsuit unresolved—whether the rights to publish electronic versions of books are implied and therefore covered in contracts signed with authors in pre-Internet days. The e-book market has continued to grow over the past couple of years, although several publishers, including Random House, have closed down their e- book imprints of original material. (Random House continues to release electronic versions of books it publishes on paper.) RLG ShelfLife, 12/5/02



The BBC's computer-based, multimedia version of the famed Domesday Book has received a new lease on life, thanks to scientists at Leeds University and the University of Michigan, who have found a way to access the archive stored on 1980s-era interactive video discs. To unlock the now-obsolete technology, the Camileon project teams have developed software that emulates the Acorn Microcomputer system and the video disc player. The information on the Domesday discs has been inaccessible for 16 years. By contrast, the original Domesday Book, an inventory of England compiled in 1086 by Norman monks, is in fine condition in a London Public Record Office.  ShelfLife 12/5/02



Penn State University computer scientists have developed new software that responds to written questions by retrieving digital images and that has a variety of possible applications, including streamlining museum curators' archiving of artwork. The Automatic Linguistic Indexing of Pictures (ALIP) system first builds a pictorial dictionary and then uses it for associating images with keywords. In contrast to other content-based retrieval systems that compare features of visually similar images, ALIP uses verbal cues that range from simple concepts such as 'flower' or 'mushroom' to much higher-level ones such as 'rural' or 'European'; the system can also classify images into a larger number of categories than other systems, and can be trained with a relatively large number of concepts simultaneously and with images that are not necessarily visually similar. RLG ShelfLife 12/5/02



Recognizing that the issue of digital archiving is at root a matter of scientific and public policy which should be of concern to all scientists, especially those in a position to influence scientific and government policies, the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) has issued a statement, Maintaining the Permanent Availability of the Digital Records of Science. "A comprehensive scientific digital archive is likely to be a complex network resulting from discipline-specific, institutional, national and international initiatives. Further work is required to define archiving policies, to be clear about where responsibilities lie and to ensure that a properly supported, funded and sustainable infrastructure is put in place which can stand the test of time. The issue of digital archiving is at root a matter of scientific and public policy which should be of concern to all scientists, especially those in a position to influence scientific and government policies."  ICSTI recommends high-level audits by national academies of digital preservation policies and practices that are now in place.  It also recommends that all agencies funding scientific research formulate and publish policies on the preservation of the research they fund, that all scientists undertaking research should bear in mind the importance of the long-term preservation of the data and information they generate and adopt such standards as are recommended to facilitate this.



In an interview in Syllabus magazine, Clifford A. Lynch, the executive director of Coalition for Networked Information, discusses some of the differences between the incremental evolution of print publishing to the digital world, and new works of digital authorship and truly new electronic publishing models that explore the transformative potential of digital media. In the first case, the conceptualization of the work is very much rooted in print, people typically will print out the materials in order to read them, and the authors are mostly still writing things which could appear equally in digital or paper form. ("But it's interesting," Lynch adds, "that journal publishers in particular take the position that the authoritative version is the digital version. I think that is an important intellectual step, but it's one that their authors have not entirely caught up with yet.") In the case of new works developed specifically for the digital world, Lynch says, "In many cases these works aren't coming out through publisher channels, they are not getting into libraries, nor are they really visible to libraries as potential acquisitions. So there is a problem that is now becoming recognized, as to how these new digital works will be sustained and preserved over time—particularly over time spans longer than the active professional lives and interests of the faculty who author them." His solution? "Librarians and information technologists at our universities, working together, can provide more hospitable platforms for new works of digital authorship by creating institutional repositories and addressing the digital preservation and stewardship issues around making sure this content makes it into the future."



It may be a challenging business environment for the nation's university presses, but according to Princeton University Press Publisher and Senior Economics Editor Peter Dougherty, even free market pioneer Adam Smith would argue for continued support and investment in scholarly publishing. "Smith, who valued learning greatly, would have admired the contribution to knowledge performed by university presses," he said. Dougherty has had a long career publishing scholarly works in economics and has now written WHO'S AFRAID OF ADAM SMITH?: HOW THE MARKET GOT ITS SOUL (Wiley). In it, Dougherty focuses not just on Adam Smith's well-known market philosophy but on Smith's civic writings as well. So what would Smith have thought about today's crisis in scholarly publishing? Suffice it to say that, despite unfavorable market conditions, university presses would have a strong ally in Smith. "Smith would have urged legislators and other leaders such as university and foundation executives and philanthropists to provide the financial support needed to underwrite the publication of university press books. For without the knowledge produced by such books, society would eventually suffer." Still, Dougherty noted, Smith would surely raise some concerns as well—particularly what Dougherty sees as the choice of so many American university presses to concentrate so heavily in the humanities, history, and the social sciences.   Library Journal Academic News Wire: December 05, 2002



Officials at Harvard University Press (HUP) announced that they have teamed up with Acme Bookbinding of Boston to create a print-on-demand (POD) system capable of producing books with the same quality of those from traditional offset presses.  The books in the program have all been printed as facsimiles of the last edition and there have been no changes to typefaces, font sizes, and margins. The titles appear in their original trim size. To launch its program, HUP has printed 25 copies each of 100 classic titles, many of which were out-of-print.  The press will eventually make all out-of-print titles available through the program, beginning with titles in which some consumer interest has been shown. Customer orders will be sent through the Harvard warehouse, TriLiteral, which will forward the order to Acme, which will ship the book to the customer. HUP may some day use POD technology not only to print its backlist books but also to print a small portion of its frontlist.  

Library Journal Academic News Wire: December 05, 2002



Outsell, Inc. has released a market sizing study of the Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) segment of the Information Content (IC) industry, examining changes in 2001, the current state of the market, and prospects for the future. Outsell found that revenues for the 237 companies in the $9.3 billion STM segment of the IC industry declined by 0.8% in 2001.  Much of the decline can be attributed to overall economic conditions, according to Outsell, but prospects for the future are solid for the STM content that plays a large role in the development of new products. The top three overall players in this segment, Elsevier Science, Wolters Kluwer, and Thomson Scientific & Healthcare, grew by 32.6%, 8.3%, and 6.7%, respectively.  The top ten STM publishers' revenues were up a total of 15.4%. Outsell's report analyzes the size, growth rates, and market shares of 237 STM content companies. With data from the Outsell 60 Company Monitor and Outsell's proprietary information about end user information habits and preferences, the study aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the STM content marketplace.



Fourteen scientific and technical information organizations from ten major science agencies have collaborated to create (, the “FirstGov for Science” web site. is the gateway to reliable information about science and technology from across Federal government organizations.  From, users can find over one thousand government information resources about science. These resources include: technical reports, journal citations, databases, Federal web sites, and fact sheets. The information is all free, and no registration is required.  The agencies participating in are the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Interior; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; and the National Science Foundation.



In the December 2002 Information Today, Richard Poynder interviews Mark McCabe (Georgia Tech) on problems in the STM journal publishing industry. McCabe is clear that this is a true market failure. The creation of the information that publishers sell in their journals is not typically funded by them but by subsidies from someone else—be it governments, research foundations, or whatever. The publishers get that information for free and then rely on scholars to provide refereeing services, essentially for free. In the digital environment, the only thing publishers need to provide is the infrastructure for providing the material online, a few account managers, and advertising. They make a relatively small investment and then (rationally) charge a high price for the end product.  McCabe believes that antitrust enforcement alone is not going to fix this market. However, given that governments fund much of this research in the first place—and then pay the publishers to get it back in journal form—he calls on organizations such as the National Science Foundation to invest in a new journal initiative. This could be designed to provide money for people to start dozens, if not hundreds, of competitive nonprofit journals....Like SPARC, but on a much larger scale. The savings could be tremendous, he thinks.  McCabe also notes that in this market—unlike most markets—the nonprofit sector does a better job than commercial publishers in almost all dimensions of performance."



In “Democracy and Education: The Missing Link May Be Ours”, (Harvard Educational Review, Fall 2002), John Willinsky calls on educational researchers to consider participating in scholarly publishing experiments that leverage information technologies. Willinsky argues that publishing systems that provide greater public access to educational research are likely to help us to understand better and extend Dewey's democratic theory of education while promoting a more deliberative democratic state. Through this appeal, researchers can expand education's role within democracy by increasing the impact educational research has on practice and by providing an alternative perspective to the media's coverage of educational issues. The author challenges researchers to participate in this democratic experiment by thinking of their work as a way to expand global opportunities for edification and deliberation within the public sphere of this information economy.



In a landmark decision for online journalists, Australia's high court ruled that Dow Jones can be sued for defamation in Australia over an article published in the United States and posted on the Internet. The case could set a precedent and affect publishers and Web sites that post articles in the 190 nations that allow defamation cases. "What it means is that foreign publishers writing material about persons in Australia had better have regards to the standards of Australian law before they upload material to the Internet," said Dr. Matthew Collins, a Melbourne lawyer and academic who has published a book on defamation and the Internet. The defamation case was brought by Melbourne mining magnate Joseph Gutnik, who argued that a 7,000- word article in the October 2000 issue of Barron's portrayed him as a schemer given to stock scams, money laundering and fraud. Several media and Internet organizations, including The Associated Press, and AOL Time Warner, filed legal briefs in support of Dow Jones.



The Free Expression Project has released its guide to the copyright wars, The Progress of Science and the Useful Arts: Why Copyright Today Threatens Intellectual Freedom. The primary author is Marjorie Heins. The report strives to provide a useful guide to the issues while underscoring the vital link between free expression and core elements of the copyright system, such as fair use and the public domain.  It recommends : move toward restoring the "limited time"/public domain balance by returning to the copyright terms of the 1976 Act: life plus 50 years for individuals; 75 years for corporations;  repeal the "tools" provisions of the DMCA, or at least, explicitly exempt anyone who is engaged solely in scientific research. Following the Sony case, legalize the manufacture or distribution of circumvention tools that permit "significant noninfringing use" of copyrighted works; create broader exemptions for fair use under the DMCA; limit liability for circumvention to those who intentionally aid and abet copyright infringement or interpret the law narrowly to bar only conventional circumvention devices such as "black boxes," and not to censor computer code; recognize that copying for personal or noncommercial purposes is fair use; require copyright owners to license copyright-protected music and other creative work online on reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms; eliminate requirements that Internet service providers and search engines remove disputed content from their servers; outlaw the industry practice of encrypting portions of works that are not copyright- protected (for example, the original text of public-domain works); and encourage alternatives to lengthy copyright terms through Creative Commons and similar projects.



Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig says the time is ripe for regulators to take a stand on ensuring that access to the Internet remains neutral, and preventing access providers from controlling how consumers use the network. The Internet is essentially an "end-to-end" design, comparable to the electrical grid or the highway system, says Lessig. All the innovation comes from people using, not from the network itself. "But increasingly… U.S. broadband companies are trying to ensure that they have the power to decide which applications and content can run. Under such a regime, if Microsoft wants to sell Xboxes to run on the broadband network then it will have to pay the network providers for that privilege. Or if Disney wants to stream movies on the Internet, it too will have to pay the network tax," says Lessig. And while some people may think taxing Microsoft and Disney is not such a bad thing, the precedent it sets would stymie the growth and potential for innovation on the network. "It might seem strange that this lesson in preserving the original values of the Internet should come from Microsoft and Disney—two companies that have suffered a great deal of criticism from network activists. But on this issue both deserve praise. Policymakers must see that what makes innovation possible on the Internet is the freedom to innovate without the permission of a network owner." (Financial Times 13 Dec 2002)



Officials at JSTOR, the popular non-profit aggregator of e-journals, say that they have recently uncovered an organized effort to exploit open proxy servers to illegally access content from the JSTOR database. In a letter distributed to the library community, JSTOR President Kevin Guthrie said the discovery was "a very disturbing development that signals a new level of threat to institutional stewardship of site-licensed electronic resources." Guthrie said that JSTOR was the target of a "sophisticated attack carefully designed to exploit weaknesses in the community's present IP-address-based authentication system," using proxy servers. Proxy servers allow computers to pass through other authenticated computers to gain access to secure networks. They are frequently used to provide remote access to faculty and students when they are away from the campus networks. Guthrie said that over "an extended period" this fall, an unauthorized user or users exploited unprotected proxy servers from participating JSTOR sites to illegally download more than 51,000 articles from 11 JSTOR journals.  Guthrie was quick to point out that this was not simply a JSTOR issue, but a larger issue for publishers, colleges, and universities. After discovering that open proxies had been used to systematically attack JSTOR, Guthrie said he felt a responsibility to "make people aware" of the threat that existed. For the time being, Guthrie said, law enforcement would not be called in.  Meanwhile Guthrie made clear that the issue is not about careless librarians setting up insecure systems. "That's not what this message is about," he said. "There are hundreds of proxies on campuses inadvertently set-up. Most people are unaware of them except for the people who would exploit them."  Library Journal Academic News Wire: December 12, 2002


Berkeley mathematician Jim Pitman has written a comprehensive proposal for open access to mathematical knowledge. His summary: "This is a proposal to construct a new means of organizing, communicating and archiving mathematical knowledge, by a faithful representation of that knowledge in cyberspace. The purpose is first of all to provide a peer-reviewed survey of all of mathematics, professionally organized, fully searchable, navigable and retrievable, continuously archived and updated, and available free online to anyone with Internet access, in perpetuity. This is to be achieved by creation of an electronic journal, The Mathematics Survey (or MathSurvey for short), which would be a multi-layered network of richly interlinked electronic survey journals, one in each branch of mathematics." Pitman and others are already taking steps to realize the proposal and create the distributed network of cooperating journals.

Also see Pitman's draft article, The Digital Revolution in Scholarly Communication



Columbia University announced recently that it was rescinding the Bancroft Prize that it awarded to Michael A. Bellesiles, a professor of history at Emory University, for a book that has come under attack for poor scholarship. The university said that its trustees had concluded that the book, on gun ownership in early America, "had not and does not meet" the standards associated with the prestigious prize. Mr. Bellesiles had been awarded the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy in 2001 for his book Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), which questioned whether gun ownership in early America had been as widespread as previously believed. The book was attacked for careless scholarship, however, and the ranks of its critics soon expanded from gun-rights advocates and a few historians to an array of scholars on both sides of the gun-control issue. An independent investigative panel appointed by Emory officials concluded in a report issued in October that Mr. Bellesile's "carelessness in the gathering and presentation of archival records," along with his questionable use of quantitative analysis, raised serious questions about his "scholarly integrity." In a statement, Columbia said that its trustees had agreed with the findings of the Emory-appointed panel and concluded that Mr. Bellesiles had "violated basic norms of acceptable scholarly conduct." The board's decision "was based solely on the evaluation of the questionable scholarship of the work and had nothing to do with the book's content or the author's point of view," the statement said. Columbia is asking Mr. Bellesiles to return the $4,000 cash award given with the prize. The Bancroft Prize is awarded by Columbia annually, and is supposed to go to the authors of books "of exceptional merit and distinction in the fields of American history and biography."



With a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging mandatory filters in libraries, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a comprehensive study that indicates that the Internet filters most frequently used by schools and libraries can effectively block pornography without significantly impeding access to online health information - but only if they aren’t set at their most restrictive levels. As filters are set at higher levels they block access to a substantial amount of health information, with only a minimal increase in blocked pornographic content.


The scholarly communications are also available on line at