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ISSUES IN SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION:
News for the University of Illinois Community

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June 11, 2007

One Million University of Illinois Books to be Digitized by Google

It was announced last week that, as part of the Google Books program, 10 million books from the CIC universities (the eleven Big Ten universities plus the U of Chicago) will be digitized within the next six years! This means that around a million books from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will be digitized -- plus another million from our sister university, the University of Illinois - Chicago.

What Google Books can do for you...
The primary purpose of Google Books is to allow you to search INSIDE THE BOOK! Once you've identified a book that you'd be interested in reading, Google Books conveniently provides links to booksellers and library catalogs.

Some further tidbits --


Read more about the CIC / Google Books project:
From the CIC. CIC's FAQ. From Google Books. Libraries participating in the Google Books Program.

Give Google Books a try!
Since the time it began in 2004, over a million books have been scanned as part of the Google Books project and are available for searching at the Google Books site. Use the Advanced Search to limit the search to words in the title, to specify the author and date of publication, and much more. Once you've identified a book that you'd be interested in reading, Google Books conveniently provides links to booksellers and library catalogs.

Other digitization projects.
There are many other digitization projects, but none as ambitious or with pocket$ quite as deep as the Google Books project. Here's a partial listing of some you may like to look into:
Illinois Harvest - provides thematic access to digitized and born-digital resources about Illinois, created by Illinois scholars, or included among the digital collections of The University of Illinois Library.
Internet Archive Texts - a part of the broader Internet Archive, an non-profit organization founded with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages
Microsoft's Live Search Books A "competitor" to Google Books, this product has a very nice display, but not robust search options, yet.
Amazon's Search Inside Millions of the books offered for sale by Amazon offer the option to search inside the book and actually read several pages on either side of the search terms that you're interested in.

Posted by Katie Newman at 12:51 PM

June 7, 2007

University of Illinois is Digitizing Lincoln Books

Announced by Betsy Kruger, on the Open Content Alliance website:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announces the availability of a newly-digitized collection of Abraham Lincoln books accessible through the Open Content Alliance and displayed on the University Library's own web site, as the first step of a digitization project of Lincoln books from its collection. View the first set of books digitized at: http://varuna.grainger.uiuc.edu/oca/lincoln/

At this point, there are 26 books by or about Lincoln, including the 1901 volume "Abe Lincoln's yarns and stories : a complete collection of the funny and witty anecdotes that made Lincoln famous as America's greatest story teller."

A selection of places to search the full text of books....
Illinois Harvest - provides thematic access to digitized and born-digital resources about Illinois, created by Illinois scholars, or included among the digital collections of The University of Illinois Library.
Internet Archive Texts - a part of the broader Internet Archive, an non-profit organization founded with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. The Internet Archive includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages
Google Books
Microsoft's Live Search Books
Amazon's Search Inside

Posted by Katie Newman at 2:11 PM

June 5, 2007

Journal-Value Analyzers, Ted and Carl Bergstrom, Recognized as SPARC Innovators

Washington, DC - June 5, 2007 - SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has recognized Ted Bergstrom and Carl Bergstrom as the new SPARC Innovators. The father-son team advances the open sharing of scholarly information through original research and the creation of innovative tools that are used widely by the academic community to assess the value of research.

Ted and Carl are best known for their collaborations on Ted's journal pricing Web pages and, more recently, on the Eigenfactor.org Web site produced by Carl's research lab.

Ted's journal pricing page, which offers data reporting price per article and price per citation for about 5,000 academic journals, has centralized pricing information so it can be explored and compared in ways that were previously impossible. The site has become a vital resource for researchers and librarians alike.

Carl's Eigenfactor.org site offers a completely new and innovative approach to assessing the value of journals; it provides researchers, librarians and others a new mechanism to evaluate based on a diverse array of criteria. As explained at the Eigenfacter web site:

Eigenfactor.org ranks the influence of journals much as Google’s PageRank algorithm ranks the influence of web pages. By this approach, journals are considered to be influential if they are cited often by other influential journals.

Ted, an economist, holds the Aaron and Cherie Raznick Chair of Economics in the Economics Department at the University of California Santa Barbara. Ted's son, Carl, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington.

Posted by Katie Newman at 11:58 AM

June 4, 2007

Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable,

The U.S. Education Department's Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance has issued a report (May 2007) titled Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable. The report notes that although text book prices comprise just one component of the price of attending college, outlays for these books are very visible and frustrating to students and their parents. There has been a groundswell of criticisms against publishers, bookstores, and institutions of higher education that has translated into a mandate for action. The Committee offers a number of short-term solutions, such as text book rental programs and increasing financial aid to cover text book expenses for students who can't afford them. Efforts such as collaboration among faculty and institutions, innovations in alternative text book formats among traditional and nontraditional publishers, and the increasing use of digital technologies to meet student and faculty demands for appropriate learning materials are offered as longer term solutions. Some of the recommendations, such as increasing donations of text books to libraries, which can then in turn lend them to students, appear to be less practical than others.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 7:19 AM

June 3, 2007

Do Free Downloads Impact Sales of Print Copies?

Tim O'Reilly presents a case study of downloads versus sales of the book Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, and Jim Van Meggelen, which was released for free download under a Creative Commons license. Read about it in his blog O'Reilly Radar (6/1/07).

"The quick answer from this experiment is that we saw no definitive correlation, but there is little sign that the free downloads hurt sales. More than 180,000 copies were downloaded from Jeremy's mirror (which is one of five!), yet the book has still been quite successful, selling almost 19,000 copies in a year and a half. This is quite good for a technical book these days -- the book comes in at #23 on our lifetime-to-date sales list for the "class of 2005" (books published in 2005) despite being released at the end of September. You might argue that the book would have done even better without the downloads, especially given the success of asterisk and the importance of VoIP. But it's also the case that the book is far and away the bestseller in the category, far outperforming books on the same subject from other publishers.

Meanwhile, we saw a huge spike in downloads starting at the beginning of this year, but didn't see a corresponding drop in print book sales, other than the continued slow erosion that's typical of books in print (especially one that's heading towards a second edition.) However, we did see the book's first fall from grace, dropping from an average run rate of about a thousand copies a month to about six hundred back in March 2006 coming at about the same time that we start showing the free downloads, but we're not sure whether or not that is just because we don't have earlier download data -- we believe that the book was available online sooner after publication even though Jeremy didn't start his mirror till March. (Next time we do a book available for free download, we'll be careful to collect accurate data from the start of the project.) "

There's much more information in O'Reilly's post.

Posted by P. Kaufman at 1:28 PM