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September 29, 2005

O’Reilly on Google Print

Tim O'Reilly, the publisher of popular computer books, provides his views on Google Print in an op-ed in the NY Times. O'Reilly argues that "webscurity is a far greater threat to authors than copyright infringement, or even outright piracy." BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 9/29/2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 2:55 PM

Wikibooks Takes on Textbook Industry

If you found yourself needing an old biology textbook and couldn't locate your battered copy from college, you'd have a few options. You could go to a university bookstore and snag a used copy; you could drop a few dollars on a new one at; or you could track down some old college chums and ask for their copies. But if Jimmy Wales and his colleagues at the Wikimedia Foundation have anything to say about it, you could have another way to go--the Wikibooks project. It's their attempt to create a comprehensive, kindergarten-to-college curriculum of textbooks that are free and freely distributable, based on an open-source development model. Created in the same mold as the Wikipedia project--the open-source encyclopedia that lets anyone create or edit an article and that now has nearly 747,000 entries in English alone--Wikibooks is still in its earliest stages. Cnet

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:09 AM

September 28, 2005

A New Report Bemoans the State of Online Research on American Literature

Whether digitizing out-of-print novels or publishing their own criticism, a growing number of scholars are putting their research on American literature on the Web. But they're not getting much support from their colleges, according to a new report that also serves as a catalog of online literary research. The report, "A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature," was released on Tuesday by the Digital Library Federation and the Council on Library and Information Resources. It draws on interviews and case studies compiled by Martha L. Brogan, a library consultant who was once the director of collection development for libraries at Indiana University at Bloomington. Ms. Brogan's study is, first and foremost, a catalog that includes digital collections, bibliographies, oral histories, and other critical material. According to David Seaman, executive director of the Digital Library Foundation, the catalog is unprecedented, chiefly because scholarly projects on the Web pop up in a "disjointed" fashion. The report "provides us, I think for the first time, with a fairly comprehensive, current survey of what's out there," Mr. Seaman said, "and that's half the value of the report." The other half, he said, comes from Ms. Brogan's finding that too many book-digitization projects are maintained by scholars as "a labor of love," without any significant support from their college libraries or English departments. That is a disturbing trend, Mr. Seaman said, because it means that many influential scholarly sites have no agreed-upon standards for presenting material, no consistent source of outside funding, and no plan for what happens if a professor quits or suffers a computer breakdown.. Chronicle of Higher Education 9/28/05 Report at

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:21 AM

September 27, 2005

Pressure Prompts Publisher to Punt

Pressure Prompts Publisher to Punt
A publisher of nearly 200 scholarly journals has canceled publication of a book on same-sex desire in ancient times, citing complaints from a conservative Web site that one chapter in the book “could be interpreted as advocating adult and adolescent sexuality.” Haworth Press, Inc. announced that its Harrington Park Press imprint would not publish Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West. The book was scheduled to appear as a freestanding title and as a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, which Haworth also publishes, in November. The book, which is edited by two researchers at Nova Scotia’s Acadia University and includes the work of scholars at the University of California at Los Angeles, City University of New York’s Hunter College, and the University of Texas at Austin, among others, is generally a history of the role and perception of homosexuality in ancient Greece and Rome. But it also features a chapter, called “Pederasty: An Integration of Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Empirical Data,” by Bruce Rind, an assistant professor of psychology at Temple University. Last week, WorldNetDaily, a Web site that describes itself as independent but that often takes up conservative causes, published an article drawing attention to an abstract of Rind’s article that appeared on Haworth’s Web site, which began this way: “Pederasty, or sexual relations between men and adolescent boys, is condemned in our society as an unqualified evil that maims and destroys. In ancient Greece, samurai Japan, and numerous other cultures, pederasty was seen as the noblest of human relations, conducive if not essential to nurturing the adolescent’s successful intellectual and physical maturation.” Inside Higher Ed News 9/27/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:40 PM

WIPO’s Future Work, Past Credibility On Table At General Assemblies

The top officials of the World Intellectual Property Organization member states this week gather for their annual meeting facing an unusual number of critical issues for the U.N. body, several of which involve the credibility of the organization itself. The issues before the WIPO General Assemblies, which range from global patent harmonization sought by its most influential members to scrutiny of WIPO’s financial practices to the proposed wholesale reform of the organization to more strongly reflect developing country concerns, also appear to be more closely tied to each other than usual, observers say. The assemblies run from 26 September to 5 October at WIPO headquarters in Geneva. An issue of top concern for developing countries and one that sets this year apart from the past is a proposal for a WIPO Development Agenda that would affect many of its activities. The proposal reflects dissatisfaction among many members with WIPO’s perceived orientation toward its biggest clients – and contributors: the developed countries. The development agenda proposal was first introduced at the General Assemblies in October 2004 by Argentina and Brazil, who were joined by 12 other so-called Friends of Development. It has been expanded during the year and includes a variety of changes to WIPO’s structure and operation including greater transparency in policy-making and budget-setting, an office to evaluate the development impact of WIPO activities, and changing its bylaws to better resemble other U.N. bodies. Intellectual Property Watch 9/26/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:38 PM

September 26, 2005

UIUC Library Joins LOCKSS Alliance to Support E-Journal Archiving

The University of Illinois Library recently joined the LOCKSS program as members of the LOCKSS Alliance. LOCKSS (lots of copies keep stuff safe) is a consortium based at Stanford University of over 80 institutions world-wide that provides open-source archiving software, and works with publishers to get permission to archive Web versions of their e-journals.

Becoming a LOCKSS library involves setting up the LOCKSS archiving software on a computer, and periodically archiving selected e-journal titles to which the Library subscribes, and for which the LOCKSS consortium has obtained permission from the publishers.

LOCKSS has negotiated permissions to archive e-journals from over 60 subscription publishers and a number of publishers of open access journals ( In taking this step to join the LOCKSS Alliance, the University Library is adding LOCKSS as one of several digital preservation technology tools that it will use or acquire in the coming years to fulfill our commitment to ongoing digital preservation of important e-content.

The LOCKSS Alliance is a membership organization for libraries interested in LOCKSS as part of their strategy for building and preserving digital collections of e-journals and other web-based content. Until recently LOCKSS has been supported by a variety of grants and in-kind contributions.

The Alliance was formed recently in an effort to stabilize the support for LOCKSS software development and program activities. It is governed by a Board of Directors, and staffed by project team members. The Alliance is working intensively with the Board as well as a newly-
appointed Technical Policy committee to determine LOCKSS' technical development directions and priorities, and how LOCKSS can establish a permanent role in the library and publisher communities.

Beth Sandore is a member of the Technical Policy committee, representing the UIUC Library. Nuala Koetter and John Weible will be responsible for implementing the LOCKSS server in the Library, and they will work closely with the Office of Library Collections and Acquisitions in this endeavor.

Posted by at 10:12 AM

September 22, 2005

University of Michigan Statement on Google Library Project

Statement from James Hilton, University of Michigan associate provost and interim librarian, regarding the lawsuit against the Google library project:
"This project represents an enormous leap forward in the public's ability to search and find knowledge. Throughout history, enormous breakthroughs in technology have always created challenges, but we cannot lose sight of the tremendous benefits this project will bring for society. "The Google library project will transform the way we do research and scholarship. For the first time, everyone will be able to search the written record of human knowledge. It also allows libraries to create a digital archive that preserves this material for all time. Only libraries are tasked by the public with the responsibility of archiving all the world's written works. No other entity can take on this responsibility. "We continue to be enthusiastic about our partnership with Google, and we are confident that this project complies with copyright law. The overarching purpose of copyright law is to promote progress in society. In doing so, it is always a balancing act between the limited rights of the author and the rights of the public. "It is important to note that we will not be sharing the full text of copyrighted works with the public. The Google library project will point searchers toward the works, and tell them how to buy or borrow a copy, but will not give them the full content of works in copyright. This increased searching capability will benefit authors and publishers. Their works will become available to a much wider audience than has ever been the case in the past, and we believe this will increase sales of their works. "This is a tremendously important public policy discussion. In the future, most research and learning is going to take place in a digital world. Material that does not exist in digital form will effectively disappear. We need to decide whether we are going to allow the development of new technology to be used as a tool to restrict the public's access to knowledge, or if we are going to ensure that people can find these works and that they will be preserved for future generations." University of Michigan news Service 9/21/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:33 AM

Broadband Adoption in the United States: Growing but Slowing

This new report from the Pew Internet & American life Project argues that, while broadband adoption has grown quickly in recent years, there are reasons to believe that it is slowing. The report develops a model of broadband adoption that hypothesizes that the intensity of online use is the critical variable in understanding the home high-speed adoption decision and the trajectory of the adoption curve. Using national survey data from 2002 and 2005, the paper shows that the role of online experience in explaining intensity of internet use has vanished over this time frame; the explanatory effect of having a broadband connection has grown. This suggests that relative to 2002 there is not much pent-up demand for high-speed internet use at home. Pew Internet & American Life Project 9/21/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:15 AM

Camera Phones will be High-Precision Scanners

New software, developed by NEC and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan, goes further than existing cell phone camera technology by allowing entire documents to be scanned simply by sweeping the phone across the page. Commuters in Japan already anger bookstore owners and newsagents by using existing cell phone software to try to take snapshots of newspaper and magazine articles to finish reading on the train to work. This is only possible because some phones now offer very rudimentary optical character recognition (OCR) software which allows small amounts of text to be captured and digitized from images. But with the new software entire documents can be captured. As a page is being scanned the OCR software takes dozens of still images of the page and effectively merges them together using the outline of the page as a reference guide. The software can also detect the curvature of the page and correct any distortion so caused, enabling even the areas near the binding to be scanned clearly. New Scientist 9/14/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:52 AM

September 21, 2005

Google Print and the Authors Guild: A Googler Responds

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President, Product Management

Today we learned that the Authors Guild filed a lawsuit to try to stop Google Print. We regret that this group chose to sue us over a program that will make millions of books more discoverable to the world -- especially since any copyright holder can exclude their books from the program. What’s more, many of Google Print’s chief beneficiaries will be authors whose backlist, out of print and lightly marketed new titles will be suggested to countless readers who wouldn’t have found them otherwise. Let's be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries.

Google respects copyright. The use we make of all the books we scan through the Library Project is fully consistent with both the fair use doctrine under U.S. copyright law and the principles underlying copyright law itself, which allow everything from parodies to excerpts in book reviews. (Here's an article by one of the many legal scholars who have weighed in on Google Print.) Just as Google helps you find sites you might not have found any other way by indexing the full text of web pages, Google Print, like an electronic card catalog, indexes book content to help users find, and perhaps buy, books. This ability to introduce millions of users to millions of titles can only expand the market for authors’ books, which is precisely what copyright law is intended to foster. Google Blog 9/20/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:49 AM

Authors Group Sues Google

The Authors Guild on Wednesday announced a federal class action lawsuit against Google over the Google Library Project. The project involves an effort to digitize the holdings of key university libraries, and making those holdings searchable. While Google has said that the effort will expand access to knowledge, the authors’ group charged that the program amounts to “massive copyright infringement” because authors have not given permission to have their work reproduced. Authors Guild 9/20/05 Inside Higher Education 9/21/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:01 AM

September 20, 2005

Peer-Review Researchers Explore Hyped Conclusions, Open Access, and Bias

Several presentations suggesting improvements in peer review and publishing were given recently at the Fifth International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication. One group of researchers reported that industry financing of certain medical review papers is associated with hyped conclusions. Other presentations included a small journal's experience that supports the claims of open-access advocates, and data suggesting that hiding authors' identities can reduce bias in peer review of their submissions. Chronicle of higher Education 9/19/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:46 AM

September 16, 2005

UK losing £1.5 billion due to limited access to research outputs: university prof

The UK is losing nearly £1.5 billion every year in the potential effect of scientific research expenditure in the country, says Professor Stevan Harnad, Moderator of the American Scientist Open Access Forum and Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science. He has estimated the potential earnings on the investment in scientific research that are lost due to the existing academic publishing environment. Though Research Councils UK’s (RCUK) £3.5 billion annual funding leads to the publication of nearly 130,000 articles, that does not fully represent the return on invesment for the UK Government, adds the professor. For research papers to attain value there must be further usage, application and value addition. The research/citation impact - the number of times an article is cited by other articles – must be measured, he opines. In his article titled ‘Maximising the Return on UK's Public Investment Research’(, Harnad contends that there is a certain loss of citation impacts owing to the inaccessibility of UK research papers. The online environment has enabled authors to self-archive their works or place them in institutional repositories that can be viewed for free. Supporting RCUK’s policy of free access to research papers, Harnad says that the online era is an opportunity to maximise the earnings on public investment in research studies.
From: KnowledgeSpeak, 9/16/05,

Posted by at 1:38 PM

September 12, 2005

Organization That Received Patriot Act Letter May Identify Itself in Public, Judge Rules

A Connecticut organization that received an order from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn over the records of library patrons should be allowed to identify itself publicly, a federal judge ruled on Friday. The FBI issued the order under a provision of the USA Patriot Act, a controversial law intended to help prevent domestic terrorism. Despite Friday's ruling, the name of the Connecticut organization may not be known until next week at the earliest. The judge hearing the official's challenge to the act, Janet C. Hall of the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Conn., has given the government an opportunity to appeal her decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which government officials have indicated they will do. If the appeals court does not overturn Judge Hall's ruling by September 20, the organization can be identified. Court papers refer to the organization only as "John Doe." The documents also show that the organization is an active member of the American Library Association and the Connecticut Library Association. The order that the Connecticut group received is called a national-security letter and is similar to a subpoena. It allows the FBI to demand that libraries, businesses, colleges, and "electronic service providers" hand over the records of their clients. Recipients of the letters are not allowed to tell anyone about them. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the Connecticut organization, has challenged the constitutionality of the letter the group received, arguing that the government has not demonstrated a compelling need for the library records and that the order prevents the organization from speaking freely about the Patriot Act. Chronicle of Higher Education 9/12/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:27 AM

September 9, 2005

Lancet Calls for Publisher to Cut Ties with International Arms Trade

Editors of the Lancet, one of the world's foremost medical journals, have demanded that its corporate owner stop promoting the international arms trade. The journal's publisher is Reed Elsevier, the multinational behind an arms fair opening in London next week. The company is one of the world's biggest medical publishers and the owner of Spearhead, which organises some of the world's biggest arms exhibitions. BookTrade.Info 9/9/05 The Guardian 9/9/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:12 AM

September 7, 2005

A Copyright Analysis of the Google Print Project

Jonathan Band, a leading IP lawyer, has written an interesting copyright analysis of the Google Print project. Band concludes that the project is similar to the everyday activities of Internet search engines that is covered by the fair use doctrine. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 9/7/2005

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:53 AM

September 2, 2005

In Unsealed Legal Papers, Librarian Speaks of Fear of Imprisonment Over Government Gag in Patriot Act Challenge

In previously sealed legal papers made public on Spetember 1 by the American Civil Liberties Union, an unnamed librarian expressed fears of imprisonment if he were to violate a gag order in a challenge to a controversial Patriot Act power used by the FBI to demand library records…. The ACLU has created a special Web page on its National Security Letter litigation, which includes links to legal papers, online at The affidavit of the librarian who works for the ACLU's Doe client is available online at The affidavit of another individual who represents the ACLU's Doe client is available online at: The affidavit of ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero is available online at: The redacted version of the ACLU's request for a Preliminary Injunction is available online at: The transcript of the hearing is available online at: American Civil Liberties Union 9/1/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 10:30 AM

Digital American Literature

Recent years have seen a blossoming of innovation by digital humanists. In a new report from CLIR and DLF titled "A Kaleidoscope of Digital American Literature," author Martha Brogan describes achievements in digital American literature and explores priorities and concerns of digital practitioners in the field. Written with the help of Daphnée Rentfrow, the publication is based on a preliminary report prepared for The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2004. The bulk of the 176-page report consists of an extensive overview of selected Web-based resources in six categories: quality-controlled subject gateways, author studies, e-book collections and alternative publishing models, reference resources and full-text primary-source collections, ³collections by design,² and teaching applications. CLIR E-Bulletin 21 A pdf version of the report is available at

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:29 AM

September 1, 2005

Google Extends Book Scanning Operation

Google isn't backing down from its plan to scan every book in the world. On Tuesday, the search goliath rolled out stand-alone book search services in 14 countries. The same day, the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) became the latest publishers' organization to call Google's opt-out strategy backwards. The international book search services let users in the UK, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan, American Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Kenya, Jamaica, Mauritius and Uganda search English-language books via keyword, then read passages from the books where those words appear. As in the United States, searchers can search only books via domain-specific search services similar to; results from books also may appear at the top of regular Web search results in their countries' versions of In either case, the book search results will include links to online retailers to allow searchers to buy the books. However, the indexes of books may differ from country to country, in order to comply with local copyright laws, according to Jim Gerber, Google's director of content partnerships. 8/31/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 2:25 PM

Web creator joins academic group to support free access to research papers

A British academic group including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has urged the government and public funding organisations to stipulate that publically funded research papers be published for free on the Internet. In a joint letter to UK Science Minister Lord Sainsbury and the Research Councils UK (RCUK), the eight academicians have criticised the activities of conventional publishers who hinder free dissemination of the papers. They have urged the RCUK to go ahead with its proposal to mandate the scientists it sponsors to provide a copy of their papers in an online academic repository soon after they are published in a traditional journal. The RCUK funded nearly £2.1 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) in research studies last year. In a similar move, a committee of MPs advocated open access to publicly funded research papers but it was futile due to pressure from the scientific publishing industry.

From: Knowledgespeak,
See also: Financial News, "Scientists reignite open access debate",

Posted by at 11:30 AM