October 30, 2007
Some Digitization Gossip
Here's a brief piece from Valleywag - that gossiper with all the tech-cred - about the Google
monetization digitization projects (with a particular emphasis on UMich). Consider it a companion to the New York Times article referred to in this entry.
Open Access Redux (from Chronicle)
October 29, 2007
Senators Support Open-Access Measure
Open-access advocates cheered last week when the Senate passed HR 3043, a bill making appropriations for the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. That’s because the measure included language requiring all researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health to submit their final manuscripts to a free online archive:
The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
That language had already made its way into the House’s appropriations bill, which passed earlier this year. But Sen. James M. Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, led an effort to remove the mandate from the Senate version of the measure. (According to the blog DigitalKoans, one of Mr. Inhofe’s campaign contributors is Reed Elsevier Inc., the for-profit science publisher.)
In the end, Mr. Inhofe relented, and the bill passed by a wide margin. But open-access enthusiasts shouldn’t break out the champagne just yet: As Open Access News points out, it’s “not at all clear that the full Congress will be able to override a Bush veto, something both sides know very well.” —Brock Read
Posted on Monday October 29, 2007 | Permalink |
October 25, 2007
Afternoon news from The Chronicle
October 25, 2007
Are Computers in Libraries on the Wane?
If your college library is planning a renovation, consider tuning in to this Podcast to hear a group of librarians from the University of Rochester talk about what they discovered after conducting a study of their students’ research habits. The librarians were recently interviewed by David Free, editor-in-chief of College & Research Libraries News.
Many colleges are reconfiguring their libraries to make room for computer workstations. But one of the librarians said that’s not exactly what students are looking for. The Rochester librarians solicited students’ design recommendations when a portion of the library was being upgraded.
“I thought that since students are online so much that they always wanted to be near a computer,” one of the librarians said. “But it turns out that part of the reason they’re coming to the library is to unplug, is to actually have some time where they can concentrate on their work. So we wanted to make sure we had lots of big spaces, where they can study, and can be quiet, and can concentrate.”
The librarians also said students favored big tables, lots of natural light, and quiet study spaces.—-Andrea L. Foster
Avatar Defamation (from The Chronicle of Higher Ed)
October 24, 2007
Law Review Editor: Courts Should Handle Avatar Defamation
Digital characters in virtual worlds like Second Life whose income drops because they have been defamed should be able to seek redress in a real court, according to an article published in the current issue of the Brooklyn Law Review.
The author of the article, Bettina Chin, the publication’s editor in chief and a student at Brooklyn Law School, supports her thesis, in part, by arguing that the relationship between an avatar and his human operator is comparable to that of a sole shareholder and his business entity.
“Like corporations or partnerships, avatars have no separate consciousness, but are efficient mechanisms through which users conduct their businesses in cyberspace. Words directed at avatars as non-living entities affect a user’s in-world reputation and communal existence,” the article states. —-Andrea L. Foster
October 23, 2007
Major Libraries Rejecting Deals on Online Books
Some shun tech giants. Goodle and Microsoft offered scanning with restrictions.
NYT 10/22/07 (front page, above the fold story)
Detroit Project Food/Clothing Collection
You will see a big box inside the front inner doors of Taubman Medical Library for the
food and clothing drive connected to the Detroit Project. Please feel
free to drop off clothes, winter gear and nonperishable food items.
Collection date until November 20th.
October 17, 2007
Should we add this blog to the MLibrary2.0 feed?
Of interest from MLA Chapter meeting
As stated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, "every child deserves a medical home" This portal is an interesting model of multidisciplinary information and resources for health care, in this case targeted to children with special needs. Take a look and see if they're aren't best practices and ideas we could use in our community outreach or liaison activities with Family Med or Peds.
"The IME Video Library is a collection of health science presentations available to students, faculty, community preceptors, public health organizations, and health consumers. Major educational presentations will be captured (recorded digitally) and placed on this site along with links of interest to the topics discussed." Grant funded, with the biomedical library a major partner with the school of medicine and public health. It does not include class lectures; those are handled separately.
Ed Holtum at U Iowa is using this inexpensive software to create an online display of historical books, similar to the NLM's "Turning the Pages." I have a copy of his handout, and chatted with him at the meeting. I think this could well be useful for publicizing our historical materials and perhaps for some of the initiatives we are considering for SecondLife.
I also picked up a handout from the MCMLA Research Committee which is available on the committee's website. That same web page has other good resources on conducting and reporting library-related research.
I'll be posting a couple more things over the next few days. In the meantime, I'd very much like to hear what others found of interest at the meeting.
October 12, 2007
Academic Libraries and Video Games, Together At Last!
Here's an interesting link I found on the SI mailing list. The Library at Carnegie Mellon University has released two videogames that put the player in the shoes of a librarian.
The first game, "Within Range," tests your book ordering skills. Can you shelve books in the right order, in quick succession!?
The second game, "I'll Get It" is a bit more interesting. You control a reference librarian whose job is to attend to patrons by gathering their requests, finding related articles and books, and choosing which one is most relevant to their requests. There's also the job of dropping the used items into the book return. Those darn lazy patrons...
As a self-admitted non-librarian working in an academic library, I think these games are pretty neat. They're educating the public on what librarians really do (besides shushing people, of course). Hopefully more games are on the way at the Library Arcade.
October 11, 2007
Librarians Protest Science's Departure from JSTORS
When the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced in late July that it would pull its flagship journal, Science, from JSTOR, the popular, nonprofit digital archive of scholarly publications, the association cast its decision as a natural evolution.
According to the announcement, the AAAS, as the association is known, was merely joining "an increasing number" of large scientific-society journals that were "digitizing and controlling their own content."
Why, then, are so many librarians kicking up a ruckus about it?
Over the last few months, several library consortia have passed unanimous resolutions depicting the move as a major blow to libraries. They also say the association's decision conflicts with its stated mission to "advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people."
David H. Carlson, dean of library services at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has spearheaded the librarians' revolt. "We understand a little better when a commercial, for-profit publisher makes a decision like this, guided by the bottom line," he says. "But when the AAAS, whose members are 98 percent our faculty members â€¦ makes a decision that is inimical and in conflict with its stated role, it's puzzling."
Librarians are also examining their options in the wake of the decision, which will take effect at the end of the year. From that time, no further back issues of Science will be stored on JSTOR, although JSTOR subscribers will continue to have access to already-archived holdings. Many librarians see the move as a portent of profound new pressures on their budgets and their facilities.
Bundles and Bottom Lines
Since its inception a decade ago as a project of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JSTOR has attracted more than 450 publishers and 900 academic journals to its digital archive. More than 3,600 institutions subscribe to the archive's 14 multidisciplinary and discipline-specific collections.
Until now, Science has been available to about 1,600 subscribers, mostly through the archive's Health & General Sciences Collection. Science joined the archive in 1998, and issues have come online five years after their first publicationâ€”a somewhat longer delay than is the case with most JSTOR holdings.
The association's decision essentially stops the clock at 2002. No Science issues beyond that year will be added to the archive, but none will be removed. Institutions that join JSTOR after this year, however, will be denied access to the existing Science archive.
In its announcement, the association stated that it would work with JSTOR "to ensure a seamless transition and to make sure that the needs of our mutual customers are fully met."
But many librarians contend that that is merely a contorted way of saying that the AAAS will offer access to Science only through its own Web site, which offers two access plans: Science Online, which includes issues from 1997 on, and Science Classic, a new digital archive dating back to 1880.
Individual subscribers to Science get online access to all issues for $99 to $142 per year. Institutional subscribers, which are charged on a sliding scale based on size and usage, get access to issues since 1997, or back to 1880, by paying an extra $2,200 per year or a one-time fee of $15,000.
For small libraries, such fees are high, especially when combined with JSTOR subscriptions. Fees for the digital archive's bundle of health-and-sciences journals, including Science, are between $750 and $8,000 a year, plus a one-time joining fee of $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of the institution.
Revolt of the Librarians
Looking at the AAAS's decision, librarians see more than a clash between profit seeking and the association's mission. They fear that the group's abandonment of JSTOR is the beginning of a trend that will make libraries regret having eliminated print subscriptions and removed journals from shelves. They also wonder how libraries at smaller institutions and in poorer countries will be able to afford new subscriptions to titles removed from "online aggregators" like JSTOR.
Even large library systems say the move, which could push them to return to print journals, may create a new space crunch.
"A lot of us are not looking at getting physical renovations to our buildings anytime soon," observes Celia Rabinowitz, chair of the Council of Library Directors of the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions.
The aggrieved librarians are not standing by silently. Mr. Carlson wrote a resolution condemning the science association's move that was adopted by the Greater Western Library Alliance. Others have used the resolution as a model, including the Maryland council that Ms. Rabinowitz leads and the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. Several other library groups have voiced their support, and delegates at the annual meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, held this month in Stockholm, adopted a similar resolution that has yet to be ratified by its member organizations.
Some librarians' condemnation of the move is based on other factors as well, including its effect on researchers. Mr. Carlson points to the archive's unintended but useful role as a research tool. Scientists will always look to Science, he argues, but having it on JSTOR has meant that "people who would never think to go to Science find that it is in fact a key resource on a subject. For example, if they are interested in the teaching of evolution, which Science has written about again and again."
Joni M. Blake, executive director of the Greater Western Library Alliance, agrees. "That sort of serendipitous stumbling across informationâ€”where one good lead leads to another good leadâ€”is very much the way that science is done. Without it, users are much more likely to hit dead ends," she says.
Mission and Motive
Alan I. Leshner, chief executive of the AAAS, says the decision to part with JSTOR is in keeping with both the association's mission and its bottom line.
Mr. Leshner sees the association's mission as the dissemination of scientific information "in a way that is an effective business model." All publishers, particularly nonprofit publishers, are struggling, he says. "We're doing fine, but we're constantly looking for innovations."
"From a business point of view," he says, "it makes more sense to control our own archive than fundamentally to give it away for free."
Mr. Leshner observes that thousands of libraries have already bought AAAS site licenses, and that the publication is available "in over 100 countries for free." But he acknowledges that the decision does suggest a change in academic publication.
"We'll see many different mechanisms for aggregating and searching content become available, and we want to be able to make arrangements with any aggregator that makes access to Science the broadest possible," he says.
Michael Spinella, executive director of JSTOR, argues that his archive has been a key instrument in making Science available to that broad audience. And he points out that the archive does not demand exclusive rights to content. "So," he says, "there's no impediment to their going out and doing whatever else they want with their content."
Mr. Spinella acknowledges the financial pressures on scholarly societies to maximize revenue. "We very much understand that this is a need of publishers, and we're trying to take some of the cost out of it," he says. But publishers' creating their own sites, he argues, doesn't "change the value or necessity of having a third-party archive."
One thing that won't happen soon is a reduction in JSTOR's own fees, says Mr. Spinella. To compensate for Science's departure, the archive has recently added 16 new titles to its Health & General Sciences Collection, including BMJ (the British Medical Journal) and Science News. Nor does the archive plan to increase its fees for that bundle, which have held steady since its debut in 2000.
Critics such as Mr. Carlson say that publishers are realizing that they can now make money by doing what JSTOR did: bearing the expense of digitizing their back issues.
"We don't want this to be a trend," he says.
Mr. Spinella believes it won't be a trend. "Science is a pretty unique publication, and other publications we've talked with have said that they're perfectly happy to stay with JSTOR," he says. "This is not the tip of an iceberg."
Librarians, however, say they see the need to take a stronger position on behalf of the values they profess. Library deans are "tired of being pushed around," says Ms. Blake, of the Greater Western Library Alliance. "This is not the last issue upon which we will take a stand."
What else will they do?
"That isn't clear yet," she says. "But this is the first step in the push back."
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Play Nice with your Colleagues
I recieved an email from my son's first grade teacher regarding a discussion that the children had about the ways they do and do not like to be treated. Reading it at my desk made me translate everything in my mind to the work environment and I thought it was pretty funny to imagine that these were the "rules" for working with your colleagues in a library.
Ways we like to be treated:
-Play with me
-Listen to me
-Use polite words
-Helping me clean up
-Helping me if I get hurt
Ways we don’t want to be treated:
-Taking things away from me
-Saying you won’t be my friend
-Calling me names
-Leaving a game before it is over
-Laughing at me
Ideas for what you can do if someone does something you don’t like:
-Play with other children
-Say stop and tell them what you didn’t like
-Suggest another game
-Tell an adult
October 05, 2007
Exploring the value of second life
Some of you may find this of interest:
October 04, 2007
PHLI Current Projects Blog
Hello everybody. This is Hung Truong, ULA over at the PHLI with some exciting news. We've started a new blog documenting the current projects that we're working on at PHLI.
I thought I'd go over the news here, and provide a link for people interested in subscribing to the new blog.
Grant Opportunities: Second Life and Facebook at SPH
PHLI is working with students from the Public Health school as well as the School of Information on a GROCS grant proposal. This interdisciplinary program will fund projects focused on using digital media to facilitate learning, teaching or research (or all three).
Facebook Applications and Google Gadgets
I've been working on Facebook Applications and Google Gadgets that increase the library's visibility among students and staff. So far, I've created a widget for both Facebook and Google that displays the current week's workshops being offered by PHLI. Hopefully this will help increase enrollment and general love for the library.
I'm open to any ideas for future projects. If you have an idea, let me know about it by leaving a comment!
We'd love any feedback you might have about current or possible future projects for PHLI.
October 03, 2007
Fighting over virtual territory (from Chronicle)
October 2, 2007
MIT and Princeton Face Off in Second Life
It’s no secret that the most competitive colleges tussle over attracting the brightest students. Now it appears that their conflicts extend into ownership of virtual land.
Janet Temos, director of the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton University, told a universitywide council on Monday that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had complained that Princeton’s campus in Second Life was encroaching on MIT’s campus, according to an article in Princeton’s student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian.
The article says that as a result, Princeton shifted its virtual campus farther away from MIT’s.
“They have us blocked off,” Ms. Temos was quoted as saying. “You can go to Cornell, though. They’re quite nice to us.”
Princeton recently unveiled its Second Life campus, which includes eight islands and 3D reconstructions of many buildings from the institution’s real campus, including Nassau Hall, the campus’s oldest building and home to administrative offices. —-Andrea L. Foster