SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION ISSUES

A NEWSLETTER FOR THE UIUC COMMUNITY

Issue No. 48

August 1, 2003

Paula Kaufman, University Librarian

Editor

 

 

IN NEW JERSEY, PHOENIX MAY NOT RISE WITHOUT A LIBRARY
Library resources may be increasingly virtual, but at least in New Jersey the physical library remains important. The state of New Jersey has recently deferred its decision on whether to allow the University of Phoenix (UOP), a virtual for-profit educational enterprise, to offer degrees in the state, still citing a number of questions including how the school will provide physical library resources. UOP has been trying to get a license to grant degrees in New Jersey for years. However, the school, which offers library resources primarily via the Internet, has yet to satisfy New Jersey's licensing conditions, one of which requires an educational institution to offer a library containing at least 50,000 volumes. UOP officials meanwhile hope a deal with New Jersey City University that would allow its students to use that school's library will suffice. The New Jersey State Commission on Higher Education deferred its decision until Sept. 26. The UOP enrolls roughly 150,000 students, primarily adult learners, at over 100 "learning centers" around the country.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 15, 2003

 

NEW WEB GUIDES FOR OPEN ACCESS JOURNALS
The Information Program of the Open Society Institute (OSI), along with SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), recently announced three new publications for developers and publishers of open access journals. The Guide to Business Planning for Launching a New Open Access Journal and the Guide to Business Planning for Converting a Subscription-based Journal to Open Access were first published in February 2003 and are now available in updated editions. A new companion volume, Model Business Plan: A Supplemental Guide for Open Access Journal Developers & Publishers, is also available. All three publications, which were developed under contract with the SPARC Consulting Group, are accessible online free of charge for viewing and downloading from the OSI Web site http://www.soros.org/openaccess/oajguides/.

 

DIGITAL SHARING GOES DEEPER
Libraries are collaborative by nature, sharing expertise, staff and ideas. Shared cataloging is a good example: a cataloger in one library creates a record about a book for use in a central database rather than just his own system, and everyone else who contributes to that database can download that record into their local systems rather than re-doing it themselves. Now librarians are talking about extending that collaboration and "deep sharing" digital content by creating a Distributed Online Digital Library. The DODL would depart from the status quo in terms of function, service, reuse of content and library interdependency. First, it would allow a common interface for distributed collections, rather than the widely divergent "looks" of today's linked collections. Second, and more radically, it would allow both librarians and end users to download digital master files as malleable objects for local recombinations. This means they could be enriched with content from librarians or teachers, specially crafted for particular audiences, and unified in appearance and function. A user could download, combine, search, annotate and wrap the results in a seamless digital library mix for others to experience. The services such deep sharing could provide are staggering, and the economics are just as attractive. Imagine 30 libraries coordinating to digitize their collections. Each funds individual parts of the project, but all equally share in the sum of their efforts. So for the cost of building one digital object and depositing it in the DODL, each library would gain 30 downloadable objects. As participation becomes more widespread, the equation becomes even more compelling. (Educause Review Jul/Aug 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 116 (July 24 2003)
http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/erm0348.pdf

 

REPORT SUGGESTS RIAA GAINING ADVANTAGE
Preliminary data from Nielsen/Netratings indicate a sharp drop in activity on file-sharing networks in the weeks following an announcement from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) that it would prosecute individual file traders for copyright
violations. According to Nielson/Netratings, the numbers of visitors to Morpheus and Kazaa each dropped 15 percent. [This finding conflicts with reports from Morpheus and Grokster that file-trading activity increased after the announcement.] Although some of the drop is likely a result of decreased traffic during the summer months, officials at
Nielson/Netratings believe that the timing and the magnitude of the decline indicate that the RIAA's warning is having the desired effect of discouraging illegal file trading. Although companies that distribute file-trading software dispute this conclusion, most are developing features to try to hide the identities of individual users. CNET, 14 July 2003  Edupage, July 16, 2003 http://news.com.com/2100-1027_3-1025684.html

 

RECORD INDUSTRY TARGETS DePAUL, LOYOLA OVER PIRACY

The music industry has set its sights on alleged music pirates at two universities in Chicago, issuing subpoenas to the schools as a precursor to possible lawsuits.

DePaul and Loyola universities confirmed they both have received subpoenas from the Recording Industry Association of America. The subpoenas list the Internet addresses of people who allegedly used the university computer networks to distribute copyrighted music. The schools are being asked to name the students and staff assigned the addresses.  The music industry—which in the past has sued Web sites that help illegally distribute copyrighted music files—announced late last month it was targeting individuals using those sites or software to let other users copy files from their digital music libraries. Officials said they are in the process of gathering information on the worst file sharers and plan to file copyright infringement lawsuits by late August.

In response to the subpoenas received at both schools, DePaul officials said they had not been able to identify who was using the computer in question and had not released any information yet to the association. Loyola University turned over the names of two upperclassmen who share a dorm room at Fairfield Hall. They allegedly were sharing large amounts of music. Several hundred people will be sued next month, said Matthew Oppenheim, senior vice president of business and legal affairs at the industry association. http://www.suntimes.com/output/music/cst-nws-music20.html

 

PRESERVING ANCIENT TREASURES WITH 3D VIRTUAL REALITY
Curators at the Smithsonian Institution estimate that 70% of the wear and tear on individual objects results from researchers sorting through collections, hoping to identify objects for further study. The larger the objects, the more difficult they are to handle, and the more damage incurred. To allow researchers to search the collections without actually handling objects until they were certain they had found what they needed, Smithsonian researchers collaborated with Scotland's Hunterian Museum to establish leading edge practices in the field of digital imaging for the scientific and cultural heritage sector. Starting in the mid-1990s, using Apple's QuickTime Virtual Reality software, researchers stitched together numerous digital images of the same object into a virtual 3D representation of the object. In later years, they used the QTVR software to produce controllable morphs. One sequence morphed the Hunterian's Egyptian mummy back to the tomb and allowed users to "open" the sarcophagus and "remove" the mummy's bandages to reveal X-rays of its skeleton. Thanks to increasingly sophisticated software, both physical and virtual gallery visitors can now "peel back" the layers of an object to examine the internal structure. The SHADE collaboration has grown past informal skills-sharing activities between staff at the Smithsonian and the Hunterian, and the goal is to further develop the potential of emergent technologies for presentation of museum collections through digital media. SHADE's next phase will be gathering wider input to the evaluation process, collating that feedback, and disseminating the results to the museum community. (Archives & Museum Informatics) ShelfLife, No. 115 (July 17 2003)  http://www.archimuse.com/mw2003/papers/devine/devine.html

 

DIGITAL FACILITATORS EXPAND ACCESS TO PUBLICATIONS
A new type of service provider, the digital facilitator, holds promise for connecting publishers with the researchers and other scholars who need access to their documents. Digital facilitators assist publishers in digitizing their publications for the Web. They may offer additional services, such as hosting the publishers' digital journal editions, conference proceedings, and monographs. Importantly, they also offer their clients an abstracts archive of the primary published documents, making it possible for researchers to run a fairly thorough subject search without resorting to a commercial database and all the irrelevant returns that's likely to generate. With the help of a digital facilitator, a publisher can also easily make all of its publications fully searchable and available in both Adobe PDF and HTML versions to print subscribers for a reasonable surcharge. (Information Today Jun 2003) ShelfLife, No. 115 (July 17 2003)
http://www.infotoday.com/it/jun03/jacso.shtml

MULTISPECTRAL IMAGING MAY UNLOCK LOST TEXTS
The medieval library at Chartres, France, was destroyed in a bombing raid on May 26, 1944, but its historical treasure may be salvageable using the same multispectral imaging technology that helped decipher burned scrolls unearthed at the Roman town of Herculaneum, which was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The
Chartres manuscripts, many of which dated back to the 12th century, were removed from the smoldering ruins and preserved, but the effects of carbonization and water damage have rendered them unreadable. "The beauty of [multispectral imaging] is that it is not invasive," says University of Michigan professor Richard Janko. "It's worth a trial [on the Chartres texts]. It could do a lot for the study of medieval literature." Multispectral imaging is widely used by satellites to produce detailed images of the Earth, but it's now gaining ground as a technique in archeological restoration. Researchers take multiple images of a manuscript with a special multispectral camera and the photos are then passed through different filters to produce a set of images viewed at different wavelengths. The image is then processed to reveal subtle features on the page, lending definition to the black-ink-on-black-background typical of a burned document. (BBC News 4 Jul 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 115 (July 17 2003)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3038368.stm

 

THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: ELSEVIER UNVEILS ITS PRICE INCREASE
In its now customary letter to librarians, Elsevier this week announced its average price increase for the coming year. In 2004, the letter said, the average increase for Elsevier's core journals program will be "approximately 6.5%." The letter stressed that the increase was an average and that some journal prices may increase more and others less, with the complete 2004 price list available after August 1 at www.elsevier.com. In the letter, Elsevier, the world's leading scientific publisher, also detailed its many enhancements, including the creation of a digital archive, and the addition of 300 former Harcourt and
Academic Press titles to ScienceDirect, which now offers over 4 million articles. With the latest announced price increase Elsevier continued its 1999 promise to keep its average annual price increase below double digits. Unfortunately, with one of the worst budget scenarios in recent memory affecting academic libraries, an average increase of 6.5 percent still will be tough to swallow for many institutions. In its recently released PRINCIPLES FOR ELECTRONIC JOURNALS LICENSES, the North East Research Library (NERL) consortium said price control was a pressing issue and that prices need to be kept at a minimum so institutions can weather the current financial crisis with as few cancellations as possible. NERL, which includes libraries with some of the nation's larger budgets, such as Harvard and Yale, called for "level pricing for 2004 and increases of no more than 5 percent thereafter."  Library Journal Academic News Wire:
July 17, 2003

 

DIGITAL DARK AGES WARNING
”Libraries warn of digital dark ages as key websites lost”, appeared in the London Sunday Herald, July 13, 2003. It warns that the 21st century will be seen as a cultural dark age unless urgent action is taken to preserve Britain's electronically published heritage for future generations.  Open Access News 7/16/03 http://www.sundayherald.com/35280

 

CONGRESS CONSIDERS ACTION TO CURTAIL ILLEGAL FILE SHARING

A bill introduced in Congress to curtail online music and video piracy would set jail terms of up to five years, accompanied by fines of as much as $250,000, for uploading a single copyrighted work. The bill is the more dramatic of two currently before the House of Representatives that could affect college students who use file-sharing programs. The Author, Consumer, and Computer Owner Protection and Security Act of 2003, HR 2752, would, among other things, make it a felony to upload a single file of copyrighted material, thereby increasing jail time and fines for offenders. Currently, such violations of copyright are usually considered misdemeanors. Democratic Reps. Howard L. Berman, of California, and John Conyers Jr., of Michigan, introduced the bill.

The other bill—the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2003, HR 2517—would establish an "Internet Use Education Program" in the office of the associate attorney general. The program would educate the public, educational institutions, and corporations about using copyrighted material on the Internet. That bill, introduced last month by Mr. Berman and Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, would direct the Department of Education to help schools and colleges comply with copyright law.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also would be required to develop a program to discourage copyright infringement. In addition, the bill would permit copyright owners to sue those who pirate material, even if the owners had failed to register their works with the U.S. Copyright Office. http://chronicle.com/daily/2003/07/2003071801t.htm

 

IT’S NOT ALL ON THE INTERNET…YET

A common defense of traditional libraries is that they contain large volumes of information that isn't digitized and not available on the Internet. Well, perhaps it's just a matter of time. Two companies, 4DigitalBooks and Kirtas, have created robots that can automatically scan entire books, even turning the pages between scans. The machines
have vastly increased the speed, with which print collections can be digitized, and libraries no longer need to ship out collections to offshore sites in order to digitize them manually; the robots can be brought to the collections instead. The day when all printed matter is available digitally will probably never come, but innovations like this will ensure that many more print works will see the light of day and be available for research throughout the world in years to come. Libraries will someday lose their "monopoly" on print materials. Their proper response should be to stop focusing on the print medium as a primary advantage over the Web, and focus instead on organization, retrieval,
and service.  Outsell's e-briefs, July 18, 2003

 

AMAZON CONSIDERS MAKING TEXT OF BOOKS FREELY SEARCHABLE
 Amazon.com says that it is developing a searchable online archive of the full text of thousands of nonfiction titles on its site. Amazon officials say they are negotiating with major publishers and reportedly have asked publishing companies to maintain confidentiality until the expected launch of the program, perhaps as early as this
fall. The project is assumed to be a competitive move against popular Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The idea of such an archive is hardly new, as
librarians know all too well, having assembled numerous electronic databases of public domain books, such as the
University of Virginia's popular e-book program. But
whether such a model will fly with publishers' frontlists is another matter. Such a vision was also espoused by Ebrary founder Chris Warnock, who told Library Journal more than three years ago that he was hoping to use the Ebrary service to replicate the bookstore--or library—experience, allowing users to securely, freely browse full-texts, and even copy or download pages for a fee. Ebrary allows users to browse texts at no cost simply by typing in a word or phrase. Users can then highlight any sections they wish to download or print and pay a fee "equivalent to a photocopy fee" set by the publisher. Publishers, however, still remain skittish about the a la carte sale of their content in digital formats, whether they sell it themselves or abdicate that role to other companies such as Ebrary or Amazon. According to publishers, concerns range from copyright and royalty questions to the as yet undetermined effect on their core business: selling books. Although publishing executives are characterized as "guardedly cooperative" with Amazon's plan, reservations clearly remain. Authors are also voicing their concern over such a plan. Writers Guild president Paul Aiken—and some publishers—have raised questions about the revenue, or lack thereof, for anyone besides Amazon under the program.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 24, 2003

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH PRESS DIRECTOR: WE'RE HANGING ON
Good news is still scarce from university presses, as a slumping economy and fundamental changes in the publishing world continue to make university press publishing an uphill climb. Unfortunately, the bad news is still prevalent—earlier this week, Jeff Grathwohl, director of the University of Utah Press, an excellent small scholarly press, highlighted the plight of small presses. He told the Deseret News that the press is "hanging on by the skin of our teeth." Grathwohl said the press has experienced its worse year ever for returns. In addition, other factors, such as the shift to electronic resources by academic libraries—also experiencing strained budgets—and overall changes in the bookselling industry are further complicating matters. The University of Utah Press receives an operating subsidy from the university, enough to cover salaries for roughly 10 employees, but like many presses must otherwise survive on its own.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 24, 2003

 

GROUP LOOKS TO UPDATE TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE ORGANIZATION SYSTEMS
The intellectual capital contained in such traditional knowledge organization systems as classification schemes and thesauri can be mined for use in newer forms of knowledge representation that really put computer processing to work—such as ontologies, topic maps and semantic Web components. But the process can't happen automatically, say participants in a recent workshop organized by the Networked Knowledge Organization Systems/Sources (NKOS). The newer tools for computer-based analysis and reasoning require richer structures, more explicit relationships, standard syntax to perform decomposition, as well as a good knowledge of the domain. One solution may be to consider terminology Web services, particularly as part of knowledge management initiatives. With such technologies, terminology can be incorporated as a component by various corporate systems. Still, developers will have to pay careful attention to standards, including the revision of NISO Z39.19 Standard for Monolingual Thesauri. The NKOS workshop group (http://nkos.slis.kent.edu) will pursue such possibilities through a list of follow-on activities, including developing data exchange/interchange formats in XML/RDF and defining a tool suite for converting traditional tools into intermediate formats that can support the development of new semantic tools. (D-Lib Magazine Jul/Aug 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 116 (July 24 2003)
http://www.dlib.org/dlib/july03/07inbrief.html#HODGE

 

U-TEXAS PUTS GUTENBERG BIBLE ON THE WEB
The University of
Texas has digitized its entire two-volume Gutenberg Bible and posted portions of it on its library Web site: http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/gutenberg/ . While other copies of the famed Bible have also gone digital, officials at the university's Harry Ransom Center say their copy is the best of the lot, because it was in use in monasteries in Southern Germany as late as the 1760s, and was heavily annotated by monks who scratched out some passages and corrected others. Other sections were highlighted for reading aloud or for use during Mass. "Our copy is the most interesting in the world," says head librarian Richard Oram, and Paul Needham, of Princeton University's Scheide Library, agrees: "This is probably the most extensively annotated and corrected copy surviving. This is a very great treasure." The digitization project began in June 2002 and the finished product gives Web viewers 7,000 images of the unique manuscript. (AP 23 Jul 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 116 (July 24 2003)
http://apnews.excite.com/article/20030723/D7SF4NEG0.html

 

DIGITAL PUBLISHERS COULD TAKE A CUE FROM APPLE ITUNES
Publishing technology expert Andreas Pfeiffer says that digital publishers could learn a lot from Apple Computer's recent foray into the digital music field. The runaway success of Apple's iTunes Music Store is all about ownership—when you purchase an iTunes song you actually own it, and are free to share it with family members or burn it to a CD to listen to in your car. Contrast this model with the digital rights management systems that accompany much of the electronic content available today. Citing the example of the New York Times, whose electronic issues "expire" after three weeks whether they've been thoroughly perused or not, Pfeiffer says: "Well, imagine if you bought a book or magazine and all of a sudden there was an empty space on the shelf with a note: 'Sorry, I have just expired. You can buy another copy if you would like to finish it.' The New York Times Electronic Edition is a good example of what is wrong with digital content today: the publishers are far more concerned with blocking illegal use than with providing the legitimate user with a pleasant experience. This is true for many digital rights management systems, and as long as that is the case, digital content will fail to take off in a major way—and peer-to-peer file sharing systems such as Kazaa or Morpheus will thrive. Digital content providers need to think very hard about this. Digital ownership will be a key aspect of the future of media, especially if publishers want to charge similar amounts for digital files that they do for physical books and records." (The Pfeiffer Report
18 Jul 2003)   ShelfLife, No. 116 (July 24 2003)
http://www.pfeifferreport.com/trends/ett_digown.html

 

RIAA SUBPOENAS GRANDPARENTS, ROOMMATES
Subpoenas recently sent by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) have cut a wide swath, targeting roommates and relatives in an effort to stop illegal file sharing. Those engaged in file-sharing who thought their identities were masked behind a user name are finding that the RIAA can track down the computers they are using. Roommates, parents, or other relatives who might have been oblivious to the fact that their
computers were being used for illegal file trading are now receiving subpoenas to halt such use. Gordon Pate, who received a subpoena on his daughter's behalf, said, "There's no way either us or our daughter would do anything we knew to be illegal. I don't think anybody knew this was illegal, just a way to get some music." Christopher Caldwell,
a lawyer for the Motion Picture Association of America, thinks the RIAA's strategy might backfire. He said, "If they end up picking on individuals who are perceived to be grandmothers or junior high students who have only downloaded in isolated incidents, they run the risk of a backlash." Washington Post,
24 July 2003  Edupage, July 25, 2003
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40853-2003Jul24.html

 

DAVID LIPMAN TALKS ABOUT PUBMEDCENTRAL AND OPEN ACCESS

Can you imagine scientists trying to do research without GenBank and PubMed? These public databases of sequences and literature citations have become such essential tools for the research scientist that it's hard to imagine life without them. Open Access Now talks to David Lipman, the man behind both of these as well as his latest project – PubMed Central, a digital archive of the full-text biomedical literature that will be a key component of life in the Open Access future. Integrating literature and databases

PubMed and GenBank are services run by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), part of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), based at the US National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. NCBI’s Director David Lipman was there at the beginning, when NCBI began pioneering database integration. “PubMed came out of two streams that merged together,” recalls Lipman. “One was that the NLM had been producing MEDLINE for many years as an electronic index and bibliographic search service for the biomedical and life sciences literature. MEDLINE contained the citation and abstract, with some keywords and indexing terms. It was being made available online, usually by telephone-based access and then via internet as well, for a small fee to recover certain costs. About ten years ago NCBI started producing GenBank and providing some CD-ROM-based services for DNA and protein sequences.” A few years ago discussions about Open Access to the literature led to the creation of PubMed Central. “From the beginning, PubMed Central really had two roles,” says Lipman. “One was to try to increase access to the information and the other was electronic archiving. As electronic journals became more important and digital versions of articles, with more information, started to replace print as the definitive versions, the issue of archiving came up. “For paper journals, archiving was always done by libraries, so it was natural for the NLM to work with publishers to provide digital archiving through PubMed Central. So we started PubMed Central firstly to see if we could get the publishers to provide open access through our system and secondly to provide digital archiving.”  http://www.biomedcentral.com/openaccess/2/features/

 

MEDICAL LIBRARY JOURNAL CHANGES COPYRIGHT POLICY

Starting with the current issue, the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) has adopted a new copyright policy. Here's how T. Scott Plutchak describes it in an accompanying editorial: At their January 2003 meeting, the members of the MLA Board of Directors approved a motion to revise the copyright policy for JMLA. As is the case with most scholarly journals, the JMLA routinely required authors to sign a form transferring all rights to the association. Late last summer, that policy was challenged by several MLA members who pointed out that it was somewhat contradictory that at a time when we, as a profession, were urging the scholars that we serve to pay more attention to preserving their own copyrights, we, as a professional society, were still demanding that our own authors give up those rights.  During the fall a new copyright policy was devised that acknowledges that JMLA authors retain the rights to their work. MLA is given the right of first publication and the right to republish the work in whatever fashion the JMLA may be republished in the future (for example, as part of an aggregated database). Individuals wishing to make copies of articles for educational, nonprofit purposes are still entitled to. But the authors are now free to make whatever further use of their work they wish, and, if some other person or entity wants to republish or make some other use of the work in the future, they need to get those permissions directly from the authors.   Open Access News  7/25/03

 

OPEN ACCESS ARCHIVES

Jean-Claude Guédon, Open Access Archives: from scientific plutocracy to the republic of science, IFLA Journal, 29, 2 (2003) pp. 129-140. Excerpt: "The recent history of science has been characterized not only by a transition from science to ‘Big Science’, to use Derek de Solla Price’s terminology, but also by a deep transformation which, in retrospect, threatens to subvert the original values of modern science. Originally, science appeared as an offspring of the ‘Republic of Letters’, and as such, it belonged to a certain elite: the social structure of Europe in the late Renaissance would have made any other arrangement most unlikely. However, inside the scientific playground, elitism gave way to a peer-to-peer mode of behaviour."  Open Access News 7/23/03  http://www.ifla.org/V/iflaj/ij-2-2003.pdf  Note: Guédon will be speaking at our on-campus Conference on the Future of the Library, October 30.


ACLS HISTORY E-BOOK PROJECT PROVING THAT E-BOOKS REALLY ARE THE FUTURE
The e-book has had a rough couple of years. While a long list of commercial e-book ventures have flopped amid high expectations, the American Council of Learned
Societies (ACLS) History E-Book Project has been quietly making progress. The ACLS History E-Book Project launched in September of 2002 with 500 e-books. In
September 2003, it will add 275 more titles; ACLS plans to add approximately 250 books annually to the collection, as well as 85 completely new "born digital" electronic titles. The project is supported by site licenses from library customers; as of this week, a respectable 141 subscriptions had signed since the launch—well on the way to the 200
subscriptions needed by June 2004 to fulfill conditions of the project's 5-year, $3 million Mellon Foundation grant.  Project directors Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner told the LJ Academic Newswire that the project needs to eventually garner between 600-800 subscriptions to reach sustainability. They are confident they'll meet that goal, as historians become not just comfortable with electronic formats, but also embrace the expanded possibilities of e-books. Indeed, Musto and Gardiner say that the ACLS is very
happy with the results thus far and that the project will continue after its initial grant expires. A combination of bridge funding, subscription income, and perhaps another grant will fund the ongoing operation. Collaboration has been key to the early success of the project. The ACLS initiative counts academic librarians, as well as eight
learned societies and a select group of university presses among its collaborators.  Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 31, 2003

 

HISTORIANS MAKE THEIR OWN HISTORY BY EMBRACING E-BOOKS
Although librarians have witnessed a quick ascent in the demand for electronic journals, e-books have lagged far behind. But since starting the ACLS History E-Book Project
three years ago, project directors Ron Musto and Eileen Gardiner say they have seen significant progress. When the project first began, alongside the Gutenberg-e History
Monograph project of
Columbia University and Princeton historian Robert Darnton, the thought was that electronic publishing could help save the monograph. Years later, that
thinking has now been adjusted. Rather than save the monograph, it appears the e-book is poised to replace it. "In e-publishing the classic image of the monograph
falls apart," explained Musto. The idea of the monograph, a single copy of an expensive, static book, is slowly being replaced, he said, by the notion of a "database" of cross-
searchable, highly enhanced works that offer clear advantages, such as links to source documents and multiple, remote user access. Researchers and students, who generally use portions of monographs for their work, are finding that e-books better support much of their current behavior and offer much promise for expanding the way scholarship is communicated. Unlike the previous unsuccessful commercial e-book
ventures, which jumped into the marketplace with exuberance and speculation, the ACLS history e-book project has taken a more sober tack. The project is not a publisher, but a publishing partner utilizing a wide array of expertise to pioneer the e-book through the myriad technological, business, and cultural issues that have stymied other e-book ventures thus far. At once, the project aims to encourage authors to plan and write e-books, help presses by streamlining production processes and reducing costs,
and encourage libraries to embrace history e-books in their collections. The project is also addressing thornier issues, such as developing an archiving plan for long-term
access and assuring that e-books are properly reviewed and promoted within the profession. Refreshingly, another of the project's stated goals is push fair use in the digital realm. Where many digital ventures use rights management to limit copying and printing, such is not the case with the ACLS project. The ACLS is also actively pushing the acceptance of e-books for hiring, tenure, promotion, and related professional concerns. For more information on the ACLS History E-Book Project, visit http://www.historyebook.org/  Library Journal Academic News Wire: July 31, 2003 

 

SHARED FACILITIES, HERITAGE TOPICS OF CLIR REPORTS
Two new reports from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) examine shared print repositories and digital cultural heritage initiatives. DEVELOPING PRINT
REPOSITORIES: MODELS FOR SHARED PRESERVATION AND ACCESS
documents the growth and achievements of shared repositories while also pointing to the potential they hold
for collaborative management and preservation of collections of high research value but infrequent use. The report suggests which practices, policies, and programs
best foster the equitable sharing of the costs of collection care. It identifies which practices and organizational and financial structures best support the integration of cooperative collection development and preservation efforts. Such cooperative arrangements do more than solve problems caused by a shortage of real estate on
campus. The full report is available at www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub117abst.html.
Digital cultural heritage initiatives are proliferating. They include organizations or programs that create digital products for use in the cultural or educational community
or that address issues integral to the promotion of cultural heritage. Many of them have produced valuable resources for research and teaching. Support remains dependent on external funding, which puts many programs at risk in the current economic downturn. The CLIR commissioned a survey of 33 North American-based digital cultural heritage initiatives. Survey findings and recommendations are reported in A SURVEY OF DIGITAL
CULTURAL HERITAGE INITIATIVES AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY CONCERNS
. That report is available at www.clir.org/pubs/abstract/pub118abst.html. Library Journal Academic News Wire:
July 31, 2003 

 

GUIDELINES FOR DIGITAL PRESERVATION
UNESCO may soon join the cause of preserving our digital heritage. A Draft Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage was positively received during a recent session of UNESCO's Executive Board. While the charter focuses on advocacy and public policy issues, the accompanying guidelines present practical principles for technical decisions throughout the life cycle of a wide range of digital materials. The guidelines, which might be useful for anyone working on digital collections, point out that not all digital materials need to be kept, only those that are judged to have ongoing value. Digital preservation will happen only if organizations and individuals accept responsibility for it. The process must address threats to all layers of the digital object—physical, logical, conceptual and essential. Digital materials cannot be said to be preserved if access is lost; the purpose is to maintain the ability to present the essential elements of authentic digital materials. While comprehensive and reliable preservation programs are highly desirable, they may not always be achievable. Where necessary, it is usually better to take non-comprehensive and non-reliable action than no action at all. Managers should recognize that there are complex issues involved. It is important to do no harm. Managers should seek to understand the whole process and the objectives that eventually need to be achieved and avoid steps that will jeopardize later preservation action. (RLG DigiNews 15 June 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 117 (July 31 2003)
http://www.rlg.org/preserv/diginews/diginews7-3.html#feature3

 

NEW WEB CRAWLERS GET SPECIFIC
With all the Web's frustrations, users must remember that the sport and science of surfing is still in its infancy. Author and Professor C. Lee Giles, Ph.D., says one step in the evolution of search tools is the emerging trend toward personalization. Some day, he says, search engines may be so individualized that users will be able to design their own directories, based on personal needs and interests. Until then, Giles has created a practical short-term solution called the niche search engine, designed to meet the needs of a group of people with similar interests, such as members of a profession. By limiting its crawling to a specific subject area, the niche engine can burrow deeper, providing more consistently useful information. One example is the computer- and information science-specific CiteSeer.org, which crawls the growing body of technical literature and ignores everything else. Because the amount of information it finds relevant is relatively small, it can offer users important features that generic engines can't. Its success has prompted the launch of eBizSearch.org, a niche engine for practitioners and students of e-business, built on the same software platform that powers CiteSeer. Look for more subject-specific engines in the future, he says. (Penn State Research May 2003) ShelfLife, No. 117 (July 31 2003)  http://www.rps.psu.edu/0305/search.html

 

FUTURE TOOLS WILL TRANSFORM SEARCH PROCESS
Cindy Hill, president of the Special Libraries Association, sees visualization of information as one of the most important tools that will transform the Internet for users over the next 10 years: "So that when you do a search on any of the search engines and you come up with hundreds of thousands of hits—to help with that, I think that the mapping technology—where it visualizes— like a map, a geography, and it points to where the big bulges of information are. That is the future. You can also look at the outlying information too using mapping." In addition, Hill sees speech recognition and a wireless interface transforming the process of searching the Internet. "I think that we are going to be able to have a screen in front of our face. Walk along and ask questions and there pops up the answer." (FreePint) ShelfLife, No. 117 (
July 31 2003)  

 http://www.freepint.com/portal/events/sla-2003/cindyhill.htm?FreePint_Session=3ba4d91407f214199f13584ea8b1126a

 

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