Issue No. 50
August 28, 2003
Paula Kaufman, University Librarian

Welcome back to the start of a new academic year. I hope you find this newsletter a useful source of reading about various aspects of scholarly communications issues.  As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.  You may send them to me at


An article in the New Scientist now warns that many documents published online "may unintentionally reveal sensitive corporate or personal information." Simon Byers of AT&T's research laboratory says he was able to unearth hidden information from thousands of Microsoft Word documents posted online using available software tools and some basic programming techniques. After downloading Word files posted online, Byers converted them to plain text, wrote a simple script to locate text not displayed in the original Word format, and discovered potentially sensitive information such as people's names, email headers, network paths and text from related documents.  Corante - Tech News: August 18, 2003.


The American Library Association’s copyright expert gives her take on the challenges digital rights management presents for end users—and librarians in a recent issue of Library Journal. A library customer checks out a new DVD from the library only to discover that it won't play on her Linux operating system at home. Another, who is blind, borrows an e-book from the library and finds that his text-to-voice software cannot "read" the product. Yet another user checks out a new music CD but can't get it to play on his laptop. These activities are absolutely legal, but technologies installed within equipment, tied to content, or built into a software program, make them no longer possible. This is digital rights management (DRM) in action. In the digital realm, DRM technologies are changing the ways in which information is accessed and experienced, and they are undermining fair use. If content providers' interests are allowed, through DRM, to use technology to "define" how patrons can access and use information, a DRM-enforced licensing situation will not only replace copyright and its user exemptions like fair use but will affect the basic ways we interact with information. Fair use is an unauthorized yet lawful activity. If one makes a "request" to use a work from a copyright holder through DRM, one is not exercising fair use.


The non-profit, on-line publisher, the Public Library of Science, has released a sneak preview of the research papers it will be giving away for free from October. Its first journal, PLoS Biology, is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal intended to compete head-to-head with the most prestigious paid-for journals. "I'm delighted with the quality of the papers we're publishing," says Vivian Siegel, the PLoS executive director, who quit as editor of another highly-rated journal Cell to head the new venture. "I think Nature and Science will look at some of these papers and wish they had them."  PLoS released two of those papers as part of the sneak preview. One paper shows Borneo elephants are genetically distinct from other Asian elephants and argues they should be protected. Another reveals details about the parasite that causes malaria. A list of authors with papers in upcoming issues includes a number who have previously published work in top journals.  Open Access News 8/19/03


Here’s what Greenhouse Associates, a strategic consulting firm focusing on online information services and electronic publishing as well as information technologies, including software and the Internet, has to say about PLoS’s efforts: This fall PLoS will start publishing the first of a series of journals built on an “open access” model.  Instead of paying subscription fees, readers will have free access on the internet to all articles that PLoS publishes.  Costs would be covered instead through fees paid by the scientists whose articles are published by PLoS.  The estimated fee is around $1,500 per article.  

Scientists and academic librarians have long complained about the pricing practices of scientific publishers, whose journals can carry subscription prices of thousands of dollars a year.  PLoS looks like it has a good chance of succeeding for a number of reasons.  First, its founders are highly-respected scientists: Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner, the former head of the National Institutes of Health, and now the head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Patrick O. Brown, a Stanford genomics guru; and Michael Eisen, a Berkeley biologist.  Second, PLoS understands the importance of the traditional editorial and peer-review processes and, armed with a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, it has hired a cadre of experienced editors and reviewers.  Third, support for the open access concept is coming from a widening set of voices that are well outside of research and academia.  The issue has become part of a national public policy debate as consumers go increasingly to the internet to do their own medical research, but find the best information is unavailable without subscription or costly to purchase on a per-article basis.  Government officials have become concerned that federally-sponsored research is not easily available to the public.  The government's unhappiness is no doubt exacerbated by the fact that the largest publishers are all European companies, but the underlying concern is bona fide:  even among academic and research institutions, government grants often go toward subscriptions to journals whose content was largely underwritten by public research funds in the first place.  A recent Washington Post article estimated that public money underlies the research resulting in the publication of 50,000-60,000 articles a year. The open access issue has become more mainstream as evidenced by a recent editorial by The New York Times.


PubMed Central (PMC) is the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) digital archive of medical and life sciences journal articles. It was conceived in the spring of 1999 when Harold Varmus, then director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of which NLM is a part, proposed that NIH create and manage an open archive of research papers in the life sciences. Many of the early exchanges about the proposal within the publishing community made it sound as if revolution was in the air. The reality, however, is that PubMed Central represents evolution not revolution. PMC is here to stay, but it does not spell disaster for academic societies and other publishers.  (Note: your editor is a member of PubMed Central’s Advisory Board)  Open Access News 8/19/03


In June the journal shelves at the Health Sciences Library of the University of Pittsburgh began showing holes. Where current issues of Leukemia Research were once stacked, now stands a small cardboard sign: "Issues for 2003 are available only in electronic form." The cardboard tents have replaced print copies of hundreds of journals, from Fertility and Sterility to Cancer Detection and Prevention to the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. And at the library's computer terminals, where employees and students of the university can tap into the fast-growing digital collections, other signs advise that "You need an HSL Online password to use these computers." Restrictions in the contracts the university has signed with publishers prohibit librarians from issuing passwords to the public. A patient newly diagnosed with leukemia, a parent concerned about a risky operation her child is facing, a precocious high school student—whatever their motivation, ordinary citizens have for decades enjoyed free access to the latest scientific and medical literature, so long as they could make their way to a state-funded university library. That is rapidly changing as public research libraries, squeezed between state budget cuts and a decade of rampant inflation in journal prices, drop printed journals in droves. The online versions that remain are often beyond the reach of "unaffiliated" visitors.


The Scientist reports that the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has launched a top-to-bottom assessment of the way the U.S. funds science. It is soliciting comments from the public, due by September 22. The goal is to improve the "efficiency, effectiveness and accountability" of U.S. science funding. Open Access News 8/26/03


"The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, which allows US universities and research institutes to patent and commercialize discoveries financed with federal funds, may inadvertently hinder scientific research and impede innovation, scientists and legal experts say....Some legal experts contend that Bayh-Dole actually blocks scientific research when institutions claim ownership of fundamental discoveries and processes, such as new DNA sequences, protein structures, and disease pathways."  Open Access News, 8/25/03


MIT caught distance educators by surprise in April 2001 when it announced plans to post the content of some 2,000 classes on the Web, saying it hoped to spur a worldwide movement among educators to share knowledge and improve teaching methods. In a world where most institutions are seeking to squeeze a few extra bucks from their Internet activities, here was a preeminent university willing to give it all away for free.

In September, MIT will officially launch OpenCourseWare with 500 courses, but during the past year's beta phase, it's already learned a few lessons, such as how do you discourage Third World scam artists from hawking MIT degrees as if they were Rolex knock-offs? Despite these problems, the test was hailed a success, and OpenCourseWare is now set to expand its outreach by offering translations of 25 courses into Spanish and Portuguese, courtesy of Universia, a Madrid-based consortium of universities. Similar offers from the Middle East, the Ukraine and Mongolia are under consideration. The real test, however, will be whether the project will sprout the online communities needed to support individual courses ( Sep 2003)  NewsScan Daily, 26 August 2003


A new report by Carol Tenopir for the Council on Library and Information Resources summarizes and analyzes more than 200 recent research publications, issued between 1995 and 2003, that focus on the use of electronic library resources.  Tenopir highlights some of the “valid conclusions” that shed light on user behavior with electronic resources.


Outsell analyst Mary Corcoran has concluded that the corporate library as we knew it is dead. Information professionals in leadership positions are taking the step of closing down physical libraries, not as a defensive, reactive move imposed on them, but as a planned strategic decision. The remains of physical collections are increasingly finding their way to storage space, and reference materials are often relocated to conference rooms. Content buyers are “fed up” with vendors who are not willing to offer global licensing arrangements, to the point that many are simply refusing to do business with vendors of fairly important content. At the same time, they are slowly abandoning the idea that they own content once they buy it - a relic of the print world. Instead, they are starting to accept the idea that they license content, and they are looking for vendors that offer licensing terms that recognize their needs for both current and future access.

Virtual libraries and "information spaces" are enjoying a very robust level of activity. There is less talk and more action: information professionals are collaborating with IT and other functions to apply taxonomies and search and categorization tools to their internal and external content. A broader, more business process-oriented, enterprise content management operation is picking up where the old corporate library left off.

Meanwhile, a brand-new university library in the Midwest offers a glimpse of what the future, and sometimes the present, can look like: it's not a building built around a physical content collection. Rather, it looks more like a gathering place, with space for collaboration and research. What's left of the physical collection is stored away from the central knowledge-sharing commons. 


A European initiative to define current needs and future directions of museums recently completed a survey on the use of 3D technology in archaeology museums across the continent. The ORION (Object Rich Information Network) project found higher-than-expected use to date of 3D technology, as well as a very strong interest in employing 3D technology in the future. 3D literacy has always been an important part of the museum environment. In archaeology, especially, it's a critical tool, enabling scholars and museum visitors to examine artifacts from every angle and actually see those objects as they were used in their original setting. According to the survey, some 65% of archaeological museums said 3D had an "important" or "very important" role to play in presenting archaeology to the public and in the study of material culture. About half of them are already using 3D in some form. Dr. Joachim Paul of the Medienzentrum

Rheinland des LVR explains, "The visualization offered by 3D serves as a better stimulation of the human system of cognitive perception: less abstraction and more real understanding of archaeology. The transfer and the marketing of archaeological or cultural content by 3D opens this field to a greater public and does not focus only on few people of a well-educated elite." (digiCULT.Info Aug 2003)  ShelfLife, No. 120 (August 21 2003)


Stephen Abram, VP for corporate development at Micromedia Proquest Canada and chair of the SLA's Branding Taskforce, says he expects to see radio frequency identification (RFID) tags making inroads in the library world, where they can help with inventory and collection maintenance. "We are seeing it in retail now, like the bar codes you put on books. So, we can start fitting information objects and information identifiers so that they can float through things. I think that is going to create a very different way in which to move physical objects around. Many of our libraries are still dependent on physical objects and that is going to be a very exciting thing." Abram says display technologies like Anacubis, "where we can see contextual displays of information instead of just content," will also change the way librarians do their jobs." If you type Mercury into a visual display engine it will folder and release the meta-data to say 'here is a group of sites that are only to do with Mercury the winged messenger' and they are not polluted with a group of sites that are about Mercury the car or the other meanings. It is critical that we actually create that kind of contextual display." ShelfLife, No. 120 (August 21 2003)


A report co-authored by the Gartner Group and Harvard Law School's Berkman

Center for Internet & Society says that "technological development is the spur for change today and, as in other technologically turbulent periods, old methodologies and business models persist as new consumer-behavior models develop. In the case of digital media music, movies and print, the transition to fully formed digital distribution services is now in progress." Contrasting the "terrors" and the potential benefits of digital distribution, the report says the challenge for music distribution is to secure digital transactions and, in the light of KaZaA and other peer-to-peer networks, create a more compelling alternative to decentralized file-sharing networks, whereas the challenge for visual entertainment content comes from the time-shifting of TV programming and the increasing obsolescence of "prime time" and advertising rates. But there are important potential benefits that balance these terrors: In the case of music, the Internet and new technologies have proven extremely effective marketing tools for the music companies and musicians, and "labels can use Web sites to promote new releases, provide samples and near instantaneous access to an artist's back catalog." In the case of visual entertainment content, there is an opportunity for advertising-dependent TV broadcasters to "explore new advertising models, including sponsorship, product placement and targeted advertising, in order to sustain the revenues to produce new content." ( Aug 2003) ShelfLife, No. 120 (August 21 2003)


The "digital divide" that once separated information-poor rural areas and information-rich urban areas has now pretty much been erased, according to the Center for Rural Policy and Development. A new report from that group cites wireless Internet as one reason that people in rural areas now enjoy about the same level of broadband access as all Americans. For example, the Rural Minnesota Internet survey showed that 15% of rural Minnesota households have high-speed connections, compared with 16% of all U.S. homes. Barb Fasnach, information technology coordinator for LCS Precision Molding in Waterville, MN, is enthusiastic: "I think we would have stagnated and shrunken" without

Midwest's service. "It's, 'If you build it, we will exist.'... We have a little advantage over the big companies because we're in rural Minnesota and have a work force that wants to go to work. Our costs are less, and that's one of the reasons we stay here. Broadband makes the footing more even." (AP/USA Today 20 Aug 2003) NewsScan Daily, 21 August 2003 ("Above The Fold")


Greg Dyke, director general of the BBC, has announced plans to give the public full access to all the corporation's program archives. The service, the BBC Creative Archive, would be free and available to everyone, as long as they were not intending to use the material for commercial purpose.  Open Access News 8/24/03


Consumers report increasing satisfaction with news Web sites in the latest installment of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a quarterly survey that measures consumer sentiment. News sites' overall score rose 1.4% to 74 (out of 100)., and all registered improvement. was the only site surveyed to register a drop in satisfaction levels, falling to 70.


When divine, Inc.'s Faxon/RoweCom subscription business collapsed in late 2002, it took with it an estimated $65- $70 million of library payments destined for publishers, never paying the money, and never delivering orders—a devastating blow, especially during a slumping economy. Now, nearly nine months after the scandal broke, with EBSCO's recent completion of a deal to acquire divine's assets and offset part of its collapse, the scope of the scandal, its solution, and its aftershocks are finally beginning to emerge. Library Journal reports that the good news is that the period of uncertainty now appears to be over. The bad news is that the familiar mantra often heard as the scandal unfolded, that all parties would have to share the pain, has proven true. Library Journal Academic News Wire: August 26, 2003


When divine Inc.'s RoweCom/Faxon subscription collapsed at the end of 2002 it was a major shock to the system for libraries and publishers—but as the dust settles and the economy continues to slump, it appears that publishers will end up being hardest hit by the scandal. For EBSCO, its investment in acquiring divine's subscription business is a risk with the potential to yield growth for the company. The settlement EBSCO has fashioned has mitigated a healthy portion of libraries' exposure. For many publishers, however, the divine collapse means 2003 will turn out to be a wash. With 2004 not looking much better given the dire budget scenarios hitting academic libraries, that means the immediate future could be a difficult prospect for some publishers. Library Journal Academic News Wire: August 28, 2003


Business Week interviewed Princeton professor Edward Felten on copyright. Felten has a history of fighting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In 2001 he was threatened with legal action under the DMCA by record companies for planning to release a paper outlining security flaws in a copy-protection scheme. According to Felten, we're in what he calls the copyright wars: "We're now in a situation where policy isn't just about copyright, it's about cultural and industrial policy as well. That's the point of the trend to try to defend the interests of copyright owners, which are legitimately threatened, by trying to slow down or control the development of some general-purpose technologies... In making policy designed with copyright in mind, you end up making decisions about whether other important technologies, such as privacy-enhancing or file-search technologies, should be encouraged or discouraged. A collision is happening between creativity and protecting IP." Corante - Tech News: August 27, 2003


The Association of College and Research Libraries has issued Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication.  The document is the foundation statement for the ACRL scholarly communications initiative. The document contains a brief definition of the existing system of scholarly communication, an overview of the scholarly communication crisis, and an enumeration of general principles and specific strategies that ACRL supports in working for reform of the system of scholarly communication. The document is accessible online at:


Writing in EContent magazine, Marydee Ojala says that the British Library, with its Turning the Pages project, has taken preservation, conservation, and e-books to the next level (; "This may not sound so revolutionary; digitization isn't all that new or unusual. What's different about this project is clarity of the reproduction and the technology that enables the pages to be turned. A combination of digital imaging and animation, created by Armadillo Systems, produces a remarkably realistic experience. The newest version of the software, TTP3D, will enable the Library to make its digital library of treasures available via the Internet." The British Library plans to digitize other collections as well (for a fee). But not all books warrant the full treatment, and Clive Izard, the project's creative manager, explains, "We've digitized the Gutenberg Bible, but we haven't animated it. TTP3D works best with manuscripts that have intricate illumination. Text is not well-suited to animation." (EContent Magazine 19 Aug 2003) ShelfLife, No. 121 (August 28 2003)


Many of the massive digital preservation projects now underway are the beneficiaries of funding grants from governmental or other organizations, but looking toward the future, institutions involved in these efforts must develop both "an economic framework and a context within which these processes can assure continuing access to information preserved in electronic form," says Shelby Sanett of AMIGOS Library Services. Research to date has focused on the development of software and hardware to support long-term preservation strategies; Sanett suggests that future efforts should include devising ways to evaluate costing strategies, developing policies to ensure continued preservation and access, and formulating other long-term mechanisms for digital preservation. By taking all the costs—upfront, hidden and ongoing—into consideration, libraries and archives can come up with preservation strategies that fit their individual circumstances. Sanett suggests that costing models be evaluated in terms of 1) acquisition and preservation-related activities and 2) access-related activities. In addition to laying out a framework for comparing those costs, Sanett includes a section for information on the targeted user populations in order to evaluate the estimated cost per use. Sanett's model provides a rational framework that institutions can use to plan for sustained preservation activities, once the soft-funding scenario of the past is no longer viable. "A number of strategies have been proposed, some of which are continued institutional support, fee for use, fee from the author, fee from the publisher, and legislative support… Not all of these are possible solutions for all institutions… [but] a cost model makes intelligent planning possible." (RLG DigiNews 15 Aug 2003) ShelfLife, No. 121 (August 28 2003)


Hewlett-Packard researchers have developed a prototype electronic book that can hold a whole library's worth of reading in a one-centimeter-thick device about the size of a paperback. The e-book incorporates a series of touch-sensitive strips that the user strokes to "turn" a page. By stroking the strip at different speeds, the user can speed-read or browse more casually. Electronic bookmarks and "fingers" can be inserted for marking a place or flipping between chapters. The market for electronic books is still in the embryonic stage, but Hewlett Packard scientist Huw Robson says his company wants to be ready when it does take off: "Radical new display technologies are on the horizon which will give a much more paper-like feel. When this comes along we need to have researched all aspects of how we will develop new displays so that we're ready to rock and roll." (BBC News 24 Aug 2003) ShelfLife, No. 121 (August 28 2003)


Power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely, claims visual presentation expert Edward Tufte. The ubiquitous presentation program puts a little information - eight seconds' worth of reading material - on each of a lot of slides. ''Audiences consequently endure a relentless sequentiality, one damn slide after another. When information is stacked in time, it is difficult to understand context and evaluate relationships.'' PowerPoint emphasizes form over content and turns everything into a sales pitch, argues Tufte, who is particularly concerned about its use in K-12 classrooms. His conclusion: ''PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it.''  Corante Tech News 8/20/03

(Note: There’s an extraordinary amount of coverage of RIAA’s activities.  A sampling follows below.)


A letter sent to Sen. Norm Coleman by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) asserts that the labels only want to go after "substantial" infringement. Coleman is chairman of a subcommittee looking into the RIAA's aggressive legal strategy against file sharers. So far, the RIAA has asked for 1,075 subpoenas against file sharers, and a spokesperson for the RIAA says the first suits may be filed by the end of August. A group representing Internet Service Providers, called NetCoalition, says the RIAA's letter leaves many questions unanswered. "The RIAA admits that they're sort of the judge, jury and executioner here," says Markham Erickson with NetCoalition. "If we're going to trust them, we're going to need to know more information."  Corante Tech News 8/19/03


The Recording Industry Association of America will send MIT a second subpoena seeking the identity of a network user alleged to have been illegally “offering hundreds of copyrighted works to the world-at-large” from MIT’s network through the KaZaA file-sharing system, an RIAA spokesman said on August 26. This time, the RIAA will file the subpoena the way MIT has asked: through the federal district court in Boston, instead of Washington, D.C. MIT says it will comply with a subpoena issued through the Boston court. Federal copyright law generally makes it illegal to reproduce or digitally transmit copyrighted music recordings without the permission of the copyright owner, usually a record label represented by the RIAA. In a section used more than a thousand times by the RIAA in recent months, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act empowers copyright owners to demand the identity of users they allege to be committing copyright infringement from Internet service providers. MIT says it has identified and notified the owner of the computer alleged to have been illegally offering the recordings, based on logs provided by the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, where the computer was located. MIT originally suspected a “young lady” living at TDC over the summer as being the computer’s owner, said an MIT official. But now, based on examination of the logs provided by TDC, MIT has decided a different individual is the computer’s owner.

MIT officials say they are not sure the owner is actually the person who was allegedly infringing the RIAA members’ copyrights by distributing recordings on KaZaA. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 8/27/03


Three media groups have filed an appeal to a federal court ruling in April that freed Grokster and Streamcast from responsibility for the copyright violations of their users. The ruling does not apply to Sharman Networks, distributor of the Kazaa file-sharing software. The Recording Industry Association of America, along with the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Music Publishers Association, argue in their appeal that Judge Stephen Wilson's decision disregarded a previous appeals court opinion regarding Napster, which held the maker of the file-sharing software responsible. Michael Page, an attorney for Grokster, said Wilson did follow the tenets of the Napster decision and ruled properly. A similar case against Sharman Networks is still pending in Wilson's court. CNET, 19 August 2003  Edupage, August 20, 2003


Several groups—including a list of legal scholars, international copyright organizations, legal music services, and other copyright holder groups—have filed "friend of the court" briefs supporting the RIAA and studio's positions in their fight against Grokster and StreamCast.  The briefs come as part of a renewed legal battle over the status of file-swapping services such as Morpheus and Kazaa, which were revitalized by federal Judge Stephen Wilson's surprise ruling in April. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 8/27/03


A Florida man convicted of pirating music faces a fine of up to $250,000 and as much as five years in prison. Mark Shumaker admitted to being the leader of the Apocalypse Crew, an online group that put copyrighted materials on the Web for download. In many cases, the group obtained copies of music that had not yet been released. Shumaker will be sentenced on November 7. He was caught as part of Operation Buccaneer, a global crackdown on online copyright violators. The Recording Industry Association of America hailed the conviction, saying that it is a clear indication that copyright infringement is a crime and that "the Justice Department means business." BBC, 22 August 2003 Edupage, August 25, 2003


The RIAA's latest court papers describe in unprecedented detail some sophisticated forensic techniques used by its investigators. These disclosures were even more detailed than answers the RIAA provided weeks ago at the request of Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who has promised hearings into the industry's use of copyright subpoenas to track downloaders." Among the tools in the RIAA's arsenal: a library of digital fingerprints, called "hashes,'' that the RIAA says can uniquely identify MP3 music files traded on the Napster service. The RIAA says it can determine if the song was recorded from a legally purchased CD or downloaded over the Internet.  Corante - Tech News: August 28, 2003

The recording industry has decided to put more pressure to curb illegal file-sharing on college administrators, many of whom have traditionally resisted industry pleas to monitor or restrict student Internet use. Last year, the RIAA formed a joint committee with university representatives to brainstorm ways of approaching the problem. Since many of the most enthusiastic offenders are freshman, the committee focused much of its energy on the late-summer orientation programs meant to acclimate 18-year-olds to college life.  UB Daily for 8/28/03


While there is no way to know exactly what the RIAA is going to do, who it is going to sue, or even how much music qualifies as a "substantial" amount, EFF offers users of P2P networks some ideas to reduce their chances of being sued.: “The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced on June 25, 2003, that it will begin suing users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing systems within the next few weeks. According to the announcement, the RIAA will be targeting users who upload/share "substantial" amounts of copyrighted music. The RIAA has stated that it will choose who to sue by using software that scans users' publicly available P2P directories and then identifies the ISP of each user. Then, using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the RIAA will subpoena the ISP for each user's name, address, and other personal information in order to sue that user. To find out whether your name has been subpoenaed from your ISP, check out our Subpoena Query page.  For more information about the RIAA lawsuits and responses to them, check out our RIAA v. The People page.”

The scholarly communications are also on line at