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January 31, 2006

Work in Progress:
Safari Exposes Books in Development for Immediate Content Needs

In an age of instantly available global content services the gestation period required to bring most any book to the marketplace seems to be far out of synch with the expectations of most of today's audiences. How do publishers maintain the integrity of book publishing while adapting to the expectations of an electronic era? Safari Books Online's new Rough Draft product line offers audiences a chance to peek at new books online as they're being developed and to provide useful feedback in the process - all for a premium price. In the process of doing so these publishers and audiences are reshaping the very nature of what a book is and can be as a form of vital content. Shore Commentary 1/30/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:20 AM

January 30, 2006

Publishers Say Fact-Checking is Too Costly

Editors and publishers say the profit-margins in publishing don't allow for hiring fact-checkers. Instead, they rely on authors to be honest, and on their legal staffs to avoid libels suits. "An author brings a manuscript saying it represents the truth, and that relationship is one of trust," says Ms. Talese, whose imprint, Nan A. Talese, is part of Random House's Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group. 1/30/06 Wall Street Journal Full story Via

Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:37 PM

January 24, 2006

Library Group Argues Before Congress

A Washington lawyer warned the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on Tuesday not to stymie distance education and scholarship as it considers legislation that would prevent the redistribution of television footage. Congress is preparing to draft legislation that would require manufacturers of consumer electronics equipment to add components to their products so that digital television programming could not be widely copied and retransmitted over the Internet. The lawyer, Jonathan Band, representing the Library Copyright Alliance, said any legislation to require the so-called broadcast flag could counteract the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization Act, which allows educators and libraries to transmit material from news and entertainment programs to students over the Internet. Mr. Band said that Congress should exempt from the flag certain kinds of content, such as news and public-affairs programs. The Library Copyright Alliance is made up of the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Medical Library Association, and the Special Libraries Association. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican who is the chairman of the committee, said distance education is important in Alaska and that he did not want to thwart its development. The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog 1/24/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:23 PM

Vatican Invokes Copyright

Rome: A row has broken out in Rome about whether the speeches and writings of Pope Benedict XVI should be freely available to everyone or subject to copyright. The dispute was prompted by revelations that a publishing house in Milan had to pay £10,000 to reprint 30 lines from the first speech by the Pope following his election in April, after the Vatican transferred copyright on Papal texts to its own publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The Vatican has said that papal texts have always been subject to copyright but that the rules were often not observed. The Hindu 1/24/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:22 PM

January 23, 2006

Generations Online

The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project says that Internet access is the norm for most Americans, up to age 70, and that about 90 percent of all Internet users send or receive email. Given the many other variations in Internet use among different age groups, it is notable that this basic communications tool is almost universally used. Internet users ages 12 to 28 have embraced the online applications that enable communicative, creative and social uses. Teens and Generation Y (age 18-28) are significantly more likely than older users to send and receive instant messages, play online games, create blogs, download music and search for school information. Internet users ages 29 to 69 are more likely to engage in online activities that require some capital: travel reservations and online banking. OCLC Abstracts 1/23/06 Read the Pew Press Release and find a link to report.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:15 PM

Elsevier Lobbying in the U.S.

British companies have spent more than $165 million (£93.7 million) since 1998 with an American lobbying industry that is being described by US Democrats as “part of a poison tree of corruption”. This week both the Republicans and the Democrats have announced proposals to clean up Washington lobbying after the scandal over Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to using gifts of money, lavish meals and foreign trips to buy political influence. Although British lobbying represents less than 10 per cent of this vast network’s earnings, British spending in 2004 totalled almost $30 million....According to Alex Knott, the political editor of the Centre for Public Integrity, British lobbying in Washington was higher than for any other country, and was more than the total spent by 35 American states. The highest spenders were GlaxoSmithKline ($32.4 million), BP ($26.8 million), HSBC ($23.8 million), Reed Elsevier ($12.5 million) and Reuters ($12.2 million). Defence manufacturers, such as Rolls Royce, have, Mr Knott suggested, obtained particularly good value for money. Open Access News 1/23/06 1/20/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 11:04 AM

January 20, 2006

Google Refuses Data Request; Others Don't

Google is challenging a Bush administration request for aggregate search information to help revive a child protection law. Search Engine Watch reports that both Yahoo! and MSN complied with the DOJ requests. BNA's Internet Law News (ILN) - 1/20/2006 Coverage at searchenginewatch. and the New York Times. DOJ submission

Posted by P. Kaufman at 11:44 AM

January 19, 2006

World's Largest Flexible E-Paper

Plastic Logic, a developer of plastic electronics, has fabricated the world's biggest flexible organic active matrix display, reports fit1. The display, which consists of a flexible, high resolution, printed active matrix backplane driving an electronic paper frontplane, has been presented at the 12th International Display Workshop in Takamatsu, Japan, on December 7 2005. Simon Jones, VP of Business Development, said that the company plans to establish the technology in e-readers and e-signs from 2008. In the area of e-readers many different applications are imaginable, such as electronic dictionaries, e-mail readers or electronic newspapers. 1/19/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 4:06 PM

January 18, 2006

Bertelsmann Eyes Google Killer

A proposed European search engine that supporters are hoping will be a “Google killer” may soon gain the backing of German media giant Bertelsmann. Quaero, which means “I search” in Latin, is being billed as the “Airbus of the Internet,” as European leaders look to provide an alternative to U.S. domination of search with Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Participants in the project, announced last year, already include corporate biggies and startups like Thomson, France Télécom, Deutsche Telekom, Thales, Bertin Technologies, Exalead, and Vecsys. A report in the Financial Times on Monday said Bertelsmann might also join the effort.French president Jacques Chirac announced Quaero’s launch during the French-German ministerial conference in Reims, France in April 2005. The companies are expected to present the project to France’s brand new Agency of Industrial Innovation (Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle) during the second half of January. Red Herring 1/18/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:59 AM

January 13, 2006

British Library Puts Mozart Online

In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of W. A. Mozart,the British Library has placed pages from the omposer's "Catalogue of Aall My Works" online. Mozart compiled the diary of sorts between February 1784 and December 1791, making entries for 145 of his works. For each entry, Mozart wrote the title, date it was composed, and instruments that should perform it. For some works, the composer also identified who commissioned it, where it was composed, and singers who
performed it. Mozart then added to the diary the opening bars of each work included. For the project, the British Library commissioned the Royal College of Music to record those opening bars for about half of the works in the diary. Visitors to the Web site can see Mozart's notes and click on a link to hear the recording of the opening.Edupage 1/13/06
BBC, 12 January 2006

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:54 PM

January 12, 2006

Whose Research is it Anyway?

Author Kevin Cahill is to lodge a complaint against the BBC, claiming it has committed "massive plagiarism" of his book Who Owns Britain in the course of making the documentary Whose Britain is it Anyway?. Cahill claims that, despite a contract making him a consultant, he was never consulted. He said the BBC assured him the programme, which was presented by Peter and Dan Snow [his son] and broadcast on BBC2 this week, would be entirely based on independent research rather than his book. Booktrade.Info 1/12/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:28 PM

Science to Tighten publishing Procedures

US-based journal Science has announced that it will take additional procedural safeguards to prevent publication of any fake data. The move follows a report received by the journal stating, South Korean scientist, Prof. Hwang's earliest claim of deriving human stem cell lines from cloned embryos was based on fraud data. The journal received a report from the investigating panel of the Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea, asserting that the Korean scientist had faked all his claims of deriving stem cell lines from cloned embryos. The editorial board is now considering withdrawing a paper published in its 2004 issue. The journal had recently retracted Hwang's May 2005 paper, claiming success in deriving patient-specific stem cells. In an attempt to tighten its publishing procedure, the journal will require all authors to detail their contributions to the research submitted and to sign statements of concurrence with the conclusions of the work. Knowledgespeak 1/12/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:41 AM

Google Thinks About Starting an Online Bookstore

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), officials from Google said they are considering launching an online bookstore, though they were quick to say such a venture would depend on permission from copyright holders. Google has been embroiled in ongoing legal disputes with publishers and other copyright holders over its effort to scan millions of texts, creating what CEO Eric Schmidt called "the world's largest card catalogue." Despite Google's contention that the scanning
project does not violate copyright, many copyright holders disagree and have challenged the project in court. An online bookstore would be a fundamentally different proposition, according to Google officials, and such a plan would only go forward with the express permission of copyright holders. During the CES, Google unveiled an online video store, the company's first offering that allows consumers to pay for
premium content. BBC, 10 January 2006 Edupage 1/11/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:32 AM

January 11, 2006

Wikis and Blogs by Scientists - a new way to communicate science.

A recent news item in Nature, Science in the web age: Joint efforts comments on two new ways scientists can communicate collaboratively about their science with other scientists, as well as with the public at large. This is via blogs and wikis, both of which allow user participation in the discussion. Up to this point, most scientists have not widely embraced these new technologies, but this news article gives examples of several efforts in this area:

  1. the wiki, OpenNetWare, an effort to share biological engineering protocols
  2. "A senior US epidemiologist who blogs once or twice a day under the pseudonym 'Revere' on his public-health blog Effect Measure, has attracted a diverse readership. "About 1,500 people visit each day," he says. "If someone told me that I could show up at a lecture hall every day and deliver a short opinion, and that 1,500 people would show up to hear me, I'd be pretty satisfied — 1,500 is twice the subscription of many speciality journals."
  3. If you want to dip your feet in the waters, and are a computational biologist, you might want to sign on to blog at, a blog for bioinformatics
  4. Blog.Bioethics.Net, a companion blog to the American Journal of Bioethics
  5. Cancer Dynamics, "Musings from the coalface in a research lab modelling cancer as a complex system"

UIUC has a subscription to BioMedCentral's Faculty of 1000 database, which is a way to tap into the articles that senior biologists have identified as "key". But what about learning / contributing to the blogosphere, where everybody has an opinion?

Read the full Nature article at:

Posted by Katie Newman at 4:13 PM

CURES Act Would Push NIH

The battle for free public access to government-funded research may heat up after Sens. Joe Lieberman and Thad Cochran introduced legislation to establish the American Center for Cures within the National Institutes of Health. The battle for free public access to government-funded research may heat up after Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced legislation to establish the American Center for Cures within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Included in that bill, known as the CURES act, is an aggressive provision to help make taxpayer-funded biomedical research available to all potential users. Although Congress directed the NIH to draft a policy to achieve that goal in 2005, what resulted was a weak policy that simply requested NIH-funded research be deposited into PubMed Central within a year after publication. A provision of the CURES Act, however, if passed, would require research funded by a number of government agencies be made available within six months. In addition, the law would set penalties for non-compliance. SPARC director Heather Joseph said that library groups were "gratified" to see that Congress took universal access to research into account. Library Journal 1/11/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 3:01 PM

January 10, 2006

Chinese Scholars Protest Wikipedia Ban

Students and professors in China are up in arms over their government's latest attempt to regulate Internet use -- by banning access to Wikipedia, the popular open-source encyclopedia. The Web site, which includes more than 170,000 Chinese-language entries, has been widely used by the nation's researchers. But Chinese authorities have now blocked Wikipedia on three separate occasions, apparently because the encyclopedia features articles about banned topics like the Taiwanese and Tibetan independence movements. The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog 1/10/06 (from The Globe and Mail)

Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:29 PM

Citation Database of Scientific and Medical Literature Now Available Free

Infotrieve, Inc. has announced that it has converted ArticleFinder, its online scientific, technical, and medical (STM) database with more than 26 million citations and eight million abstracts from over 54,000 journals, to a free access model. The move provides scientists and researchers, who work for corporations and are subject to different copyright regulations than their academic counterparts, with an end-to-end solution for conducting STM searches across literature from multiple providers. The solution seamlessly retrieves full-text scholarly journal articles that they need on a pay-per-view basis. Be Spacific 1/9/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 12:20 PM

January 4, 2006

Leading Business Journals on Web Remove Subscription Barrier

The new content and archives of the Business 2.0 family of online magaines, which includes Fortune and CNN Money, are now available for free, without subscription. Be Spacific 1/03/06 Business 2.0 at

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:29 PM

January 3, 2006

USC's Senate Proposals for Responding to the Challenges Facing Scholarly Communications

The University of California's Academic Council Special Committee on Scholarly Communication (SCSC) has published in DRAFT form five White Papers and one Proposed Policy concerning how it's faculty can response to the challenges facing scholarly Communication.

From the Overview:
The papers define and explain the faculty’s view of changes that could improve dissemination of scholarly work to enhance the discovery and communication of new knowledge, and best serve the public interest.

The current model for many publications is that faculty write articles and books, referee them, edit them and then give them to a publisher with the assignment of copyright. The publisher then sells them back to the faculty and their universities, particularly to university research libraries. While there clearly are costs of publication, a number of publishers (particularly, but not always, for-profit corporations) earn munificent profits for their shareholders and owners. However, maximizing profits for these latter groups may work to the detriment of faculty, educational institutions and the public.

Meanwhile, opportunities to reduce production and distribution costs and to create innovative forms of publication and dissemination are increasingly manifest, and enabled by networked digital technologies, new business models, and new partnerships.
The papers explore this simultaneous challenge and opportunity from five starting points:

USC Report

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:15 AM

Radical Change for Tenure

Three years ago, all members of the Modern Language Association received a letter from Stephen Greenblatt, then the group’s president, warning of a crisis facing language and literature departments. Junior faculty members were unable to publish the books that they needed to win tenure and cuts in library and university press budgets left open the possibility that higher education “stands to lose, or at least severely to damage, a generation of young scholars.” He called for academic departments to rethink the way they considered publication as a tenure requirement, and his letter set off considerable debate. Thursday night, a special panel of the MLA offered the first glimpse at its plan to overhaul tenure — and in many ways the plans go well beyond the reforms Greenblatt proposed. As he suggested, the panel wants departments — including those at top research universities — to explicitly change their expectations such that there are “multiple pathways” to demonstrating research excellence, ending the expectation of publishing a monograph. But the panel does not appear likely to stop there. It plans to propose that departments negotiate “memorandums of understanding” with new hires about what factors will go into their tenure reviews. It wants departments to end a bias that favors print over online publications. It wants to change the rules of how tenure candidates are evaluated, proposing that a limit of six be set on the number of outsider reviewers asked to look at a tenure candidate and that those outside reviewers no longer be asked certain questions that seem likely to doom some candidacies while adding little valuable information to an evaluation. More at Inside Higher Education 12/30/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 8:01 AM

Call It Gutenberg's Revenge

When was born in 1997, the parenting e-zine reveled in the cost savings to be found in cyberspace. No postage rates or paper bills to worry about. Ink? So yesterday. So it comes as quite a surprise that eight years later, at a time when the magazine industry is falling over itself to boost its presence online, that BabyCenter has launched a version of its popular Web site on -- gasp -- paper. As wired as the world is today, there seems to be relief in turning pages the old way. BabyCenter researchers visiting readers' houses last year saw shelves full of books on parenting. "Then we'd notice the stack of parenting magazines in the living room," says BabyCenter President Mari J. Baker. In September the e-zine launched a paper magazine with stories on eating habits during pregnancy and chic maternity clothes. Sticking exclusively to online, says Baker, would leave too many ad dollars on the table.Traditional magazines from Time to Playboy years ago started cyberspace versions to keep up with the demand for round-the-clock news updates and online communities. Now the tables have turned. Upstart Internet publishers, helped by low costs that go with signing up their online members, are venturing into the print world they once viewed as an albatross of paper and distribution expenses. Besides BabyCenter, the new Web-to-print ventures include a magazine devoted to Google, WebMD the Magazine, spun off from Web site WebMDHealth Corp., and AlwaysOn, a print version of the tech Web site. Consumers bounce on and off the Web, so cyberpublishers must "surround the readers and be wherever they are," says independent consultant Gerry L. Ginsburg. Even with online subscribers to leverage, there's no guarantee, of course, that these new entries will stick. Most print magazines don't survive for more than a few years. The few online brands that have tried print editions shuttered them. Ziff-Davis () began publishing Yahoo! Internet Life in 1996 but pulled the plug six years later, after the dot-com bubble burst. Expedia Travels met the same fate in 2001. There's more art than science in figuring out which brands can transfer to print. While Yahoo offered topics that were perhaps too general -- ranging from online shopping to privacy -- Sandhills Publishing Co. in Lincoln, Neb., launched quarterly Google () with articles focused on mining the Web portal for fun and profit. More at Business Week Online 1/9/06

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:57 AM

Curling Up With a Good E-Book

Can Sony make the iPod of digital books? That's the plan. At the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 4 in Las Vegas, BusinessWeek has learned, the Japanese giant plans to unveil a portable e-reader device for the U.S. The new gadget will let users store and view digital books and will sell for $300 to $500, about the same price range as a full-size iPod. Sony, which would provide few details about the e-reader, also has agreements with at least three major publishers to sell digital book downloads on its Sony Connect online store -- much the way Apple sells music and video at its iTunes Music Store. Back in 2000, a bunch of e-book readers hit the market, only to tank because the technology didn't adequately duplicate the book-reading experience. Now, with everyone from Google to Microsoft to HarperCollins digitizing books, plus the arrival of slick new display technology, Sony figures the time is right for a handheld e-reader in the U.S. But while Sony's iPod-like strategy -- seamlessly wedding content to hardware -- has promise, reading books on a digital device still feels nothing like the real thing to most consumers. As such, it will be an uphill battle building a sizable market for e-books, which accounted for an estimated 0.1% of the 2.3 billion books U.S. publishers sold worldwide in 2004. More at Business Week 12/29/05

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:51 AM