Issue No. 37

February 11, 2003

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian





The critical needs of science and rapid progress in information technology are converging to provide a unique opportunity to create and apply a sustained cyberinfrastructure that will "radically empower" scientific and engineering research and allied education, according to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure. Chaired by Dan Atkins of the University of Michigan, the committee details its recommendations in a recent report, Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure.  Like the physical infrastructure of roads, bridges, power grids, telephone lines, and water systems that support modern society, "cyberinfrastructure" refers to the distributed computer, information and communication technologies combined with the personnel and integrating components that provide a long-term platform to empower the modern scientific research endeavor. Cyberinfrastructure is "essential, not optional, to the aspirations of research communities." For scientists and engineers, the report states, cyberinfrastructure has the potential to "revolutionize what they can do, how they do it, and who participates."

While identifying the opportunities, the committee warned that the cyberinfrastructure that is needed cannot be created today with off-the-shelf technology. As a result, they called for increased fundamental research in computer science and engineering. The report recommends that a cyberinfrastructure program encompass fundamental cyberinfrastructure research, research on science and engineering applications of the cyberinfrastructure, development of production-quality software, and equipment and operations.



According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Bush administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the U.S.A. Patriot Act passed in the wake of 9/11, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information. The Center has obtained a draft, dated Jan. 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text. The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of "the Patriot Act II" in legislative parlance.  Justice Department staff stated that the draft has not yet been shown to Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution, reviewed the draft legislation at the request of the Center, and said that the legislation "raises a lot of serious concerns. It’s troubling that they have gotten this far along and they’ve been telling people there is nothing in the works." This proposed law, he added, "would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive ‘suspicion,’ create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups." "In the [U.S.A. Patriot Act] we have to break down the wall of foreign intelligence and law enforcement," Cole said. "Now they want to break down the wall between international terrorism and domestic terrorism."



RLG's RedLightGreen project aims to "strip away the 'librariness' of the catalog so it looks more like what students expect." The finished application will end up a lot more like Google or Amazon than like a traditional library catalog, yet will mine the vast RLG Union Catalog for conceptual relationships and holdings data beyond what both catalogs and Internet search engines can provide. For example, it will evaluate the relevance of various items to particular keyword searches and organize the search results according to the credibility and authority of their sources. How? "If a book appears in dozens of libraries' collections, it's a good bet that the book is considered an important source of information in its subject area: its selection by dozens of librarians is an implicit endorsement. By contrast, an item held by only one library may be of interest to Ph.D. candidates and specialists, but is probably less interesting to a general audience." RLG's 23-year-old Union Catalog contains more than 126 million bibliographic records, representing 42 million unique titles in more than 370 languages from hundreds of libraries worldwide. (RLG's RedLightGreen Project 15 Jan 2003)



One barrier, of course, is the serials pricing crisis, now in its fourth decade. But another barrier, which philosopher Peter Suber labels "the permissions crisis" and calls "a complex quadruple-whammy arising from statutes, contracts, hardware and software," is the result of raising legal and technological barriers to limit how libraries may use the journals to which they have subscribed.  Suber believes that open access will remove both barriers, and says: "All authors, artists, and creators have a right to make money from their work, and we do not criticize anyone for trying. But when authors choose to give their work away, then readers should get the full benefit of their generosity. Opening access to readers would also repay authors by giving them the enlarged audience and impact for which they sacrificed revenue. Intermediaries wishing to erect price and permission barriers between authors and readers serve neither, harm both, and enrich only themselves. Authors and readers should bypass them." His main point is that "the willingness of scholars to write journal articles to advance inquiry and their careers, and not for direct payment and the revolutionary potential of the Internet, both lower prices significantly." And price is the enemy. As Suber explains: "Prices limit access, and intolerable prices limit access intolerably." Lord Acton would have been proud of him. (College & Research Libraries News, 64, Feb 2003)



The third annual University of California at Los Angeles Internet Report on Surveying the Digital Future is now available. Findings include: "The Internet now exceeds television, radio and magazines in importance among online users...." "Only 53 percent of users believe most or all of what they read online, down from 58 percent a year earlier...." "About 61 percent of Internet users find the Net "very" or "extremely" important as an information source, compared with 60 percent for books and 58 percent for newspapers...."



Elsevier Science has announced new procedures for handling journal articles in its databases that are the product of plagiarism or other research misconduct. Librarians and scholars have complained that the Anglo-Dutch publisher was jeopardizing the integrity of scholarship by removing articles from its databases with little explanation. The publisher's new plan specifies the conditions under which Elsevier will replace or withdraw articles from its ScienceDirect database, or flag articles for problems. Under the new procedure, an article may be marked for "retraction" if it has been submitted to multiple journals, if it was plagiarized, if it was based on fraudulent data, or if a scholar's claim to authorship was bogus. In such cases, a retraction notice, linked to the original article, will explain why it has been retracted. The digital version of the article will have a watermark indicating it has been retracted.



EBSCO Industries, Inc. has executed definitive agreements to acquire the European operations of RoweCom/divine Information Services. This acquisition allows RoweCom/divine Information Services to continue operations in Europe, and particularly in France, where the Tribunal of Commerce of Evry on Monday, February 3, 2003 removed a declaration of suspension of payment that RoweCom filed on January 23, 2003. The acquisition is subject to approval by French anti- trust authorities, and upon validation of the merger of the two companies EBSCO will proceed to facilitate payment to the publishers for publications provided to customers of RoweCom Europe. Until then, EBSCO is asking publishers to continue to fulfill subscriptions to RoweCom/divine Information Services customers. The majority of the publishers have already expressed their support of this arrangement and confirmed their agreement to fulfill subscriptions.  But the news isn’t all good.  The ad hoc steering committee overseeing a solution to the collapse of divine's RoweCom subscription business issued a second open letter last Friday to update librarians and publishers on the state of negotiations. On the positive side, the letter officially confirmed that a purchase agreement for the sale of the RoweCom Europe had been executed. The bad news, however, is that U.S. publishers and libraries will certainly feel some pain. In sketching the broad strokes of the resolution, including a deal that would have EBSCO industries purchase RoweCom, the letter states that creditors—including libraries and publishers—shouldn't expect much. The "expectation" is that creditors can expect $0.50 on the dollar "and possibly significantly less than this amount." The amounts creditors will ultimately receive will depend upon how much can be raised through the resolution process, including the sale of RoweCom's U.S. business to EBSCO, any funds belonging to RoweCom, and any potential contribution from divine or proceeds from divine obtained through litigation.

The funds will be pooled and distributed proportionately to creditors, meaning that each participating publisher and each library that does not receive 100% of its 2003 subscriptions from participating publishers, will receive their pro-rated share of the proceeds of RoweCom's estate.  The Chicago Tribune reported this weekend that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has launched an investigation into divine’s operations. Library Journal Academic News Wire: February 11, 2003



The stiffest competition in the book business may be among the many publishers staking claim to Dickens, Austen, Herodotus and Plato. Selling the classics is one of the few areas of significant growth in an otherwise stagnant business. Major publishers, including Penguin Group USA and Bertelsmann, are aggressively defending their lucrative share of both the consumer and academic markets by investing heavily in redesigning and expanding their classics lists. Imprints like Penguin Classics, the market leader, as well as Modern Library and Bantam Classics, two units of Bertelsmann, depend heavily on literary works in the public domain. Last month, Penguin Classics began a $500,000 promotion to kick off a two-year global program under which its entire 1,300-book list of classics, the industry's largest, will receive a complete facelift. Sales of the classics have risen, retailers say, because of reading groups and an aging population. With classics, there are usually no royalties, the returns tend to be modest, and though price is comparatively low, the profit, on a percentage basis, not dollars, is greater than with most books. The biggest change has come not from competitors but from Congress. The 1998 Copyright Extension Act sharply limited the works that were scheduled to fall into the public domain. The legislation ensured publishers' continuing exclusive rights to seminal works of modern literature like "The Great Gatsby" and "Mrs. Dalloway," both first published in 1925. F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby," published in paperback by Simon & Schuster, sold 500,000 copies in 2002, figures that would have helped rivals' bottom line, even divided many ways. Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway," published by Harcourt, was the inspiration for the novel "The Hours," by Michael Cunningham, and with the success of the film version of "The Hours," sales of "Mrs. Dalloway" have risen sharply. Last year, it sold 53,000 copies in paperback. Since Jan. 1, it has sold about 85,000.  "The first thing you'd do in classics publishing was keep a list — a rolling schedule of what was going into the public domain," one publisher said. "That was item No. 1. Now it's not only not item No. 1; it's not an item.



SPARC has published the comprehensive SPARC Institutional Repository Checklist & Resource Guide, by Raym Crowe. There is also a PDF version. From the Introduction: "Institutional repositories contribute as a logical extension of a university's core mission and as a channel through which to increase institutional visibility. However, they can achieve far greater results in synergy with a network of interoperable open access repositories. Further, they build on a growing grassroots faculty practice of self-posting research online....Moreover, they can be introduced by reallocating existing resources, usually without extensive technical development....In sum, institutional repositories offer a strategic response to systemic problems in the existing scholarly journal system—and the response can be applied immediately, reaping both short-term and ongoing benefits for universities and their faculty and advancing the positive transformation of scholarly communication over the long term."



Listen my child and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, as well as FDR's fireside chats, Robert Frost reading his poetry, and World War II veterans reminiscing. Over 2.5 million historic voice and sound recordings are being preserved at the new National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. The Registry, along with the library's enormous photo archive, will move to a new 41-acre complex about 70 miles southwest of Washington. Anything stored there will also be accessible via computer at the library's Madison Building on Capitol Hill. In conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution, the library has embarked on a pilot project called "Save Our Sounds" which seeks to preserve historic recordings. Among them are those made on wax cylinders by inventor Thomas Edison, and others done on acetate discs in the early 20th century. The Library of Congress is not the only government repository preserving sounds, of course. The National Archives and Records Administration has tens of thousands of hours of Capitol Hill speeches, committee hearings and other official gatherings. But the Library of Congress collection is the most diverse, with about 100,000 recordings, new and old, arriving in a typical year. (The URL is (AP/Yahoo News 26 Jan 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 92 (6 February 2003)




More than 500 University of California Press books are available online free of charge through an ongoing partnership between UC Press and the California Digital Library. Over 300 of the University of California Press eScholarship Editions are available to the public. The other titles are currently only available to UC faculty, students and staff. Readers outside the UC system may view citations, abstracts and tables of contents, but not the full texts. The CDL's eScholarship program, which supports experiments in scholarly communications, converted the books into XML (Extensible Markup Language) to support an interactive user interface. An unlimited number of readers may access a single title at one time, so books do not have to be "checked out" to a single user.



In the January issue of Searcher, Melissa Barr has a comprehensive review of the state of free online access to statutes and cases in the U.S. While nearly all U.S. states provide these primary sources of law free on state-run web sites, most do not include cases prior to 1995 or so. Moreover, West Publishing (owned by Thomson) and LexisNexis (owned by Reed Elsevier), the two companies that dominate the market for electronic access to primary sources of law, will not sell accounts to public libraries.  LexisNexis provides a response.



The Scottish Archive Network is a free online collection of digital texts from Scotland. It includes the top-level catalogues of 50 important print archives, wills and testaments of Scots who died between1500 and 1875, and other records relevant to Scottish history, including "exhibitions, research tools, bookshop and discussion forum on history and archives.”



The Infography is a reference tool that enables a student, librarian, or teacher to identify “superlative” sources of information about a subject of inquiry, viewed through the lens of expert opinion. The subject specialists who select the citations published in The Infography are professors, librarians, and other scholars who know the literature about their subjects of expertise and who know which information sources are seminal for research. The Infography purports to serve as an antidote to information overload and qualitatively suspect sources. It integrates citations to books, Internet sites, journal articles, and other sources that provide excellent information. Each subject entry in The Infography refers the learner to six highly recommended sources of information, and most subject specialists also include a longer list of other worthwhile sources for further research.




Moore's Law will continue for at least another 10 years, according to Intel cofounder Gordon Moore, but it's going to take a lot of work. Moore's Law—which states that the number of transistors on a given chip can be doubled every two years—has been the guiding principle of progress in electronics and computing since Moore first formulated the famous dictum in 1965. And, for the same amount of time, people have predicted it would hit a wall. So far it hasn't, meaning chips and computers have become simultaneously more powerful and less expensive. The number of transistors produced annually is now roughly equal to the number of letters and/or characters printed annually—and they cost about the same to produce, Moore noted. The amount of transistors produced each year outnumbers the worldwide ant population by 10 to 100 times. Still, future progress will be difficult and likely to some degree slower, Moore noted. Chips now require vast amounts of electricity, a growing portion of which is dissipated through leakage. Designers are going to have to add technologies such as strained silicon to their chips and to redesign transistors to control energy consumption. Progress in lithography, the science of "drawing" circuits on chips, will also have to be made. Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography uses light with much smaller wavelengths and will start to come onto the market in 2007. Perfecting lithographic techniques, though, takes time. Air, Moore noted, can absorb EUV light and cause errors. The tension between the optimists and the pessimists concerning Moore's Law largely seems to revolve around whether an individual sides with engineers or with the laws of physics. Physics dictates that transistors can only get so small. (Shrinking transistors is the principal mechanism for doubling the population on a piece of silicon.) Engineers, though, have typically found workarounds.  Someday progress will stop. "No physical quantity can continue to change exponentially forever," Moore noted. Nonetheless, none of the current looming problems represents a wall, he added.



One of the Web's first open-source encyclopedias, Wikipedia, has reached a milestone—its English-language version has just published its 100,000th article, just two years after the project's inception. This past year particularly has seen a surge in growth, with editors adding 80,000 entries to the English version and 33,000 more to the other language editions. The Wikipedia is the result of collaboration among thousands of volunteers—anyone may contribute an article, or edit an existing one, at any time. Topics range from Internet terms, such as spamming and trolling, to more traditional subjects, such as unicycling. Each page features an "Edit this page" link, which users can click on to add their own revisions. Once a user has made an editing change, it is posted immediately. Users can also view older versions of a page, participate in a forum to discuss the page, view links or see related changes. To maintain some sense of order, a core group of regular contributors help monitor the site's recent changes to correct any errors and ensure that entries aren't vandalized. The project has proven so popular among its fans that it's spawned a sister project dubbed Wiktionary, a free multilingual dictionary and thesaurus. ShelfLife, No. 91 (30 January 2003),1284,57364,00.htm



In the February issue of Wired Magazine, J. Bradford DeLong describes the difficulty of maintaining Project Gutenberg. It's not the law or technology of open access, although shortening the term of copyright would help. Primarily it's digitization and proofreading. "Project Gutenberg...has failed to achieve any form of critical mass. It's not a high priority for governments. It hasn't attracted large donations from foundations. Since the whole point is to create a free universal online library, it won't be driven by markets. And as an open source project, the positive- feedback loops are not strong enough. The work is time-consuming and boring."



A website that published fake news stories from CNN has been taken offline after receiving a threatening legal letter from the cable network alleging copyright and trademark infringement. The Fake CNN News Generator was online only a week, but generated a lot of controversy after ersatz news stories were picked up by local outlets and reported as real.  Phony stories about the death of musician Dave Matthews, or the Olsen twins attending local universities, for example, appeared in a number of local newspapers, as well as regional radio and TV news reports. The rumors were so widely believed; several universities issued statements denying the Olsen twins would be attending their institutions. And Dave Matthews, who reportedly died of a drug overdose, denied the story on the band's official website. Police contacted the fake news site after teachers and the parents of students complained about libelous stories generated by the site. The site's creators think this is the reason CNN shut them down and that copyright infringement was merely an excuse. A CNN spokeswoman said the company didn't comment on legal issues. Fake stories were generated by the site's visitors, who filled out a form with the story's headline and text. After hitting a button, the site created a convincing facsimile that included CNN's logos as well as live links and banner ads. The stories' URLs also appeared to originate from the CNN website, though they contained a telltale '@' symbol, a common spoofing trick. A similar site, FakedNews, which generates stories appearing to come from CNN, CNet and MTV, is still operating. CNN has been the target of spoof sites before. In 2001, CNN shut down a site called CNNdn, "the financial crash network," a play on CNN's CNNfn, the "financial network.",1294,57506,00.html



The scholarly communications are also available on line at