Friday, March 30, 2007

MediaCommons: A Project of the Institute for the Future of the Book (Update)

A multi-nodal scholarly communication network, MediaCommons is described as:
a network in which scholars and students, as well as other interested members of the public, can help to shift the focus of scholarship back to the circulation of discourse. This network will be multi-nodal, providing access to a wide range of intellectual writing and media production, including forms such as blogs, wikis, and journals, as well as digitally networked scholarly monographs.

Founding editors, Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Avi Santo, have recently assembled an Editorial Board:

Tim Anderson, Denison University
Jeremy Butler, University of Alabama
Richard Edwards, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State University
Chris Keathley, Middlebury College
Kari Kraus, Zotero Project: Center for History and New Media
Tara McPherson, University of Southern California
Jason Mittell, Middlebury College
Lisa Nakamura, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Clancy Ratliff, East Carolina University
Judd Ruggill, University of Arizona
Chuck Tryon, Fayetteville State University

Thursday, March 29, 2007

European Digital Library Grows After New French Contribution

Daniel Griffin in Information World Review reports on the Bibliotheque nationale de France's addition of its Gallica Collection to the European Digital Library:

The Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF) helped the European Digital Library move a step closer to the goal of a fully comprehensive European collection of cultural heritage after announcing the development of their new Europeana portal.

According to the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) the BnF managed to raise funds as well as provide a possible template of what a future European Digital Library may be. The funding will now allow the digitisation and uploading of an additional 80-100,000 items each year from the BnF’s Gallica collection.

CENL, who envisage a digital version of The European Library, have mirrored the BnF attempt by implementing a foundation in a joint venture with other European cultural and heritage organisations, in order to give the digital version a legal and operational foundation.

Commenting on the significant contribution, Elizabeth Niggemann , Director General of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and Chair of CENL said “We have to deepen the existing collaboration with colleagues from archives and museums in order to arrive at a European Digital Library that encompasses material from different types of cultural institutions across Europe”.

Niggemann’s comments reflect CENL’s position that there is an urgent need to mass digitise material for the initiative as currently the amount of actual digital content held in The European Library is miniscule compared to that of each national library in the EU.

The support is there in EU however, which has supported a number of projects surrounding the creation of The European Library. The portal it created by the national libraries who make up CENL and hosted by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands, is widely considered a cornerstone of building a Euro-wide digital library.

Contributions from digital initiatives from other members such as those by the Polish National Library and the Dutch Royal Library are also being put into place following investment from the respective nation’s governments. Whilst private/public initiatives from those such as The British Library and Microsoft are also viewed as positive as they increase the amount of digital information available to the user.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

We Can't Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies

Cathy N. Davidson, interim director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute and a professor of interdisciplinary studies and English at Duke University, wrote about Wikipedia recently for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article is entitled, "We Can't Ignore the Influence of Digital Technologies":
When I read the other day that the history department at Middlebury College had "banned Wikipedia," I immediately wrote to the college's president, Ronald D. Liebowitz, to express my concern that such a decision would lead to a national trend, one that would not be good for higher education. "Banning" has connotations of evil or heresy. Is Wikipedia really that bad?

I learned from Mr. Liebowitz that the news media had exaggerated the real story. The history department's policy that students not cite Wikipedia in papers or examinations is consistent with an existing policy on not citing sources such as Encyclopaedia Britannica. It is hardly a "ban." It is a definition of what constitutes credible scholarly or archival sources.

Even granting that the news media exaggerated, it is useful to think about why this was a story at all — and what we can learn from it. The coverage echoed the most Luddite reactions to Wikipedia and other ventures in creating knowledge in a collaborative, digital environment. In fact, soon after the Middlebury story was reported, one of my colleagues harrumphed, "Thank goodness someone is maintaining standards!" I asked what he meant, and he said that Wikipedia was prone to error. So are encyclopedias, I countered. So are refereed scholarly books. (Gasp!) He was surprised when I noted that several comparative studies have shown that errors in Wikipedia are not more frequent than in comparable print sources. More to the point, in Wikipedia, errors can be corrected. The specific one cited by the Middlebury history department — an erroneous statement that Jesuits had supported a rebellion in 17th-century Japan — was amended in a matter of hours. Read more of the article.

Section: The Chronicle Review
Volume 53, Issue 29, Page B20
From the issue dated March 23, 2007

Consider Signing Public Access Petition

As U.S. lawmakers consider policies and legislation to advance public access to research results, it is important that academic personnel and others consider publicly supporting such access. One strategem demonstrating support is to sign the Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the United States.

More details about the petition are contained in the following announcement from Heather Joseph, Executive Director, SPARC.

Momentum for public access to publicly funded research reached a height last month with the celebration of a National Day of Action by students across the U.S. and the presentation of over 21,000 individual and organizational signatures to the European Union's Commissioner for Science and Research.

To build on this momentum, several leading American organizations - representing libraries, health groups, students, and consumers - are jointly supporting a Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the United States.

This petition, which is open to supporters around the world, will demonstrate clearly to U.S. policymakers the depth and breadth of support for access to federally funded research in the United States. As U.S. lawmakers consider policies and legislation to advance public access, it is critical that supporters step forward and be counted.

Even if you signed the European petition, it's important that you sign the U.S. petition as well. Here's why:

The European Commission petition was written explicitly to support Recommendation A1 of the EC's Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe.

The U.S. petition is written to support public access to research funded by the U.S. government as well as the reintroduction and passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act.

The U.S. petition collects state-specific information, which is essential to making the case for public access to individual lawmakers.
The Petition for Public Access to Publicly Funded Research in the United States ( is open to individuals and organizations of all types. If you are a researcher whose work is funded by the federal government, your signature is especially important since it shows that you want your work to be shared and used.

Please distribute this message and invite your members, friends, and colleagues to sign the petition immediately in order that as much progress as possible may be made in the 110th Congress.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 Upgraded

Carl Bergstrom and Ted Bergstrom have upgraded their tool, a free influence ranking search engine for "for evaluating the influence of scholarly periodicals and for mapping the structure of academic research." is sponsored by the Bergstrom lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. provides influence rankings for over 7000 social science and science journals (those listed in the ISI database Journal Citation Reports) as well as for over 110,000 reference resources such as books, newspapers, and popular magazines.
From the website:
The scholarly literature forms a vast network of academic papers connected to one another by citations in bibliographies and footnotes [1]. The structure of this network reflects millions of decisions by individual scholars about which papers are important and relevant to their own work. Therefore within the structure of this network is a wealth of information about the relative influence of individual journals, and also about the patterns of relations among academic disciplines. Our aim at is develop ways of extracting this information. is accessible at

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Principles for Digitized Content

The Digitization Policy Task Force of the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy has introduced a draft of the nine Principles for Digitized Content and has created a blog for comments on those principles.
The accelerating mass digitization of collections in libraries and cultural heritage institutions demands a framework of principles and a body of policy to guide decision making and to enable values-driven choices. The principles for the digitization of content will provoke a review of American Library Association policies that address the creation, access, use and preservation of digital materials and that require revision, enhancement and creation. This is critical to the advancement of ALA's leadership role in the information society and to the support provided to members. This will also sustain the relevance and impact of libraries and librarians in their communities.
  1. Digital libraries ARE libraries. The policies of the Association apply fully to digital libraries including the core values such as commitment to access, confidentiality/privacy, the public good, and professionalism.
  2. Digital content, like other library materials, must be given the same consideration for collection development, ease of access, freedom of information, and preservation.
  3. Digital activities and the resulting collections must be sustainable by libraries. Sustainability requires secure and ongoing funding, technology solutions that are appropriate to the longevity of the cultural record, and long-term management capabilities.
  4. Digitization on a large scale requires collaboration. Collaboration enables the building of collections that support research, scholarship and information needs of diverse communities. Collaboration will require strong organizational support and promotion by cultural heritage professionals, their institutions, and their associations.
  5. Digital activity requires ongoing communication for its success. The library and cultural heritage community must reach out to the public, to government, and to funding institutions with a clear and compelling message regarding the role of digital libraries and collections.
  6. Digital collections increasingly address an international audience. These collections are part of a global information infrastructure that is not limited by geography.
  7. Digital collections are developed and sustained by an educated workforce. Members of the cultural heritage professions must engage in continuous learning and be able to explore new technology, to work with new partners, and to reach new audiences.
  8. Digital materials must be the object of appropriate preservation. Preservation activities require the development of standards and best practices as well as models for sustainable funding to guarantee long term commitment to these materials.
  9. Digital collections and their materials must adhere to standards to maximize their usefulness. Standards must serve the broadest community of users, support sustainable access and use over time, and provide user functionality that promotes the core library values.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Changing Global Book Collection Patterns in ARL Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has just issued a report, Changing Global Book Collection Patterns in ARL Libraries, analyzing how the collecting of books with foreign imprints in ARL member libraries is manifesting distinct change. From the Press Release:
This analysis of book records and holdings in WorldCat finds that the overlap of global book collections among ARL libraries is not as extensive as expected. The analysis found that, on average:

* For all countries combined, fewer than five ARL libraries own copies of any foreign-imprint book represented in WorldCat.

* When the same data are examined by world regions, excluding North America, the overlap in holdings ranges from three to six ARL libraries. On average, three ARL libraries hold any given East Asian book and six hold any given book published in Latin America.

A closer examination was made of books from 10 countries (excluding North America) most represented in ARL library collections: United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Japan, Italy, China, Spain, Russian Federation, India, and the Netherlands. On average, holdings from these countries decreased in each of the five-year increments between 1980 and 2004, with the exception of books published in the UK that showed a slight increase.

From the Conclusion:
The relative low average number of holdings per record for many countries and for many time periods suggests that libraries build and maintain collections that reflect local academic programs and faculty research interests or areas of historical strength. On the other hand, the low average number of holdings may also suggest that libraries have been fairly successful in formal or informal collaborative collection development efforts. Finally, the low number of holdings argues for the need for effective interlibrary loan and document delivery services as faculty and students are not able to find all materials in their local or consortia libraries. The downward trajectory in the average number of holdings identifies a decrease in the number of titles research libraries are adding to WorldCat and possibly to their collections.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Make Way for Copyright Chaos" by Lawrence Lessig

In an Op-Ed piece in today's New York Times Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford, considers the probable complexity and costliness introduced into copyright law by the Supreme Court's expansion of the Copyright Act in the Grokster case 20 months ago.
These cases together signaled a very strong and sensible policy: The complex balance of interests within any copyright statute are best struck by Congress.

But 20 months ago, the Supreme Court reversed this wise policy of deference. Drawing upon common law-like power, the court expanded the Copyright Act in the Grokster case to cover a form of liability it had never before recognized in the context of copyright — the wrong of providing technology that induces copyright infringement. It announced this new form of liability even though at precisely the same time Congress was holding hearings about whether to amend the Copyright Act to create the same liability.

The Grokster case thus sent a clear message to lawyers everywhere: You get two bites at the copyright policy-making apple, one in Congress and one in the courts. But in Congress, you need hundreds of votes. In the courts, you need just five.
CLICK HERE for the full article.

Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007

Rep. Rick Boucher, Democrat of Virginia, and Rep. John Doolittle, Republican of California have introduced the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007. This bill would make it easier for scholars to use copyrighted works while remaining compliant with copyright law.

Andrea Foster, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education states:
Mr. Boucher, long a friend of academic librarians and technology companies, says copyright law gives content owners too much control over the works they own, to the detriment of innovation and research.

The legislation (HR 1201), known as the Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007, or Fair Use Act, would amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to allow librarians, archivists, and others to bypass copyright protections on digital content in certain circumstances.

Among the supporters of the bill are the American Library Association and the American Association of Law Libraries.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

The following video has received much attention since it was posted to You Tube on January 31, 2007. As of today the first version has been viewed 1,845,186 times with 4440 comments. Comments have ranged the gamut: "video inane" to "new kind of expository essay." A final version posted on March 8, 2007 is displayed below the first version.

The video author is Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University.

First Version:

Final Version:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Non-Use by Cornell's Faculty of Institutional Repository

Philip M. Davis and Matthew J. L. Connolly have published the article "Institutional Repositories: Evaluating the Reasons for Non-use of Cornell University's Installation of DSpace" in D-Lib Magazine (March/April 2007, Vol. 13, No. 3/4). The Abstract:

Problem: While there has been considerable attention dedicated to the development and implementation of institutional repositories, there has been little done to evaluate them, especially with regards to faculty participation.

Purpose: This article reports on a three-part evaluative study of institutional repositories. We describe the contents and participation in Cornell's DSpace and compare these results with seven university DSpace installations. Through in-depth interviews with eleven faculty members in the sciences, social sciences and humanities, we explore their attitudes, motivations, and behaviors for non-participation in institutional repositories.

Results: Cornell's DSpace is largely underpopulated and underused by its faculty. Many of its collections are empty, and most collections contain few items. Those collections that experience steady growth are collections in which the university has made an administrative investment, such are requiring deposits of theses and dissertations into DSpace. Cornell faculty have little knowledge of and little motivation to use DSpace. Many faculty use alternatives to institutional repositories, such as their personal Web pages and disciplinary repositories, which are perceived to have higher community salience than one's affiliate institution. Faculty gave many reasons for not using repositories: redundancy with other modes of disseminating information, the learning curve, confusion with copyright, fear of plagiarism and having one's work scooped, associating one's work with inconsistent quality, and concerns about whether posting a manuscript constitutes "publishing".

Conclusion: While some librarians perceive a crisis in scholarly communication as a crisis in access to the literature, Cornell faculty perceive this essentially as a non-issue. Each discipline has a normative culture, largely defined by their reward system and traditions. If the goal of institutional repositories is to capture and preserve the scholarship of one's faculty, institutional repositories will need to address this cultural diversity.

Full article at

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Open Culture: A Portal for Cultural and Educational Media

The site Open Culture is a growing collection of cultural and educational podcasts, videos, online courses, etc. The library of podcasts is particularly extensive and diverse and covers such areas as arts & culture, audio books, foreign language lessons, news/information, science, and technology. Many of the podcasts and videos are from universities. Open Culture's claim that someone searching for engaging content will locate it much more efficiently through their site than if they spent their time "searching with Google, Yahoo or iTunes" seems persuasive. Open Culture is accessible at
(Thanks to Robert Stantion, English Dept., for pointing out this site.)

Friday, March 9, 2007

Enhanced Access to NTIS Research Publications

The Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) are working to deliver NTIS reports to Depository Libraries. The Boston College Libraries is a member of the Federal Depository system. NTIS is the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today, covering more than 600,000 information products and over 350 subject areas from over 200 federal agencies. We will be taking steps to make sure that the Boston College community can have easy access to these reports.

Here is a portion of the GPO/NTIS announcement:
The Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) are pleased to announce that Federal depository libraries now have access to online technical reports from NTIS. The pilot project, first announced last October, provides access to bibliographic records for approximately 240,000 publications from 1964-2000 from the NTIS data storage and retrieval system. Through "DARTS: Depository Access to Reports, Technical & Scientific," depository libraries are able to download at no charge the full-text electronic documents for which links are available and, in the near future, they will have the option to purchase print, microfiche or CD/DVD copies from NTIS.

Positive Attitude Toward Open Access Publishing but Reluctance to Use

The results of a survey into attitudes towards Open Access publishing conducted by the Institute for Information Systems and New Media, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt Munich, in cooperation with the Department of Information Science, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, have just been published. The principal finding of the study is that researchers’ general attitude toward Open Access publishing is very positive but that many are personally reluctant to use such means of disseminating their own research work. The executive summary:
This Management Report summarizes the main descriptive results of a study on researcher’s acceptance of Open Access publishing. The study was conducted in 2006 by the Ludwig-Maximilans-University Munich, Germany, in cooperation with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The main focus is centered on the question if and why scientists decide or do not decide to publish their work according to the Open Access principle without access barriers and free of cost to readers. With the responses from 688 publishing scientists it could be demonstrated that the general attitude toward the Open Access principle is extremely positive. However, many seem to be rather reluctant to publish their own research work in Open Access outlets. Advantages like increased speed, reach and potentially higher citation rates of Open Access publications are seen alongside insufficient impact factors, lacking long-term availability and the inferior ability to reach the specific target audience of scientists within one’s own discipline. Moreover the low level of use among close colleagues seems to be a barrier towards Open Access publishing.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

University of California Proposes Open Access Draft Policy

The University of California (UC) has proposed a new open access policy confirming UC faculty ownership of copyright in their scholarly works. The policy provides a mechanism for faculty to use to grant permission to the regents to make their works openly accessible in a digital repository. For more see Association of Research Libraries (ARL) News, item # 9

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Bavarian State Library Joins Google Book Project

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) is partnering with the Google Books Library Project. There are now thirteen library partners in the project. From the press release (Tuesday, March 06, 2007):
As one of Europe's most important and renowned international research libraries, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek will add more than a million out-of-copyright books to the program, from well-loved German classics by the Brothers Grimm and Goethe to extensive collections previously only available to those able to consult the library's stacks. In addition to German-language works, the library's collection includes numerous out-of-copyright works in French, Spanish, Latin, Italian and English. Some of the works of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek date back to the very first moments of book printing and bear incredible cultural meaning.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

American Chemical Society announces new Open Access option

The American Chemical Society has just announced the availability of a fee-based option for authors wishing to make their articles freely available (“open access”) on the Web immediately upon publication. Called “ACS Author Choice”, the program provides authors with the ability to post their ACS papers on their own web pages or deposit them in institutional repositories. Fees are based upon the author’s ACS affiliation. For more information see:

Monday, March 5, 2007

UC Berkeley Awarded A.W. Mellon Grant to Assess the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication

The Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley has been awarded a large grant to examine the future of scholarly communication. This new study will continue from the Center's earlier work which was concerned with the significance of faculty values and the essential function of peer review in faculty attitudes and subsequent publishing behavior.

From the UC Berkeley press release (Berkeley, Calif., March 02, 2007):
The Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) of the University of California, Berkeley has been recently awarded a grant of more than $400,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue its research into the changing nature of scholarly communication and publication practices in the networked age. . . .

The new two-year research project will focus on the needs and desires of faculty for “in-progress” scholarly communication (i.e., forms of communication employed as research is being executed) as well as archival publication. A number of specific, different and complementary disciplines will be explored. The project posits that a broad understanding of the full array of activities related to the scholarly communication lifecycle and its intersection with scholarship itself will be needed to assess the future communication and publication landscape in universities. That includes what roles emerging and interactive electronic media will or will not play at various stages. . . . . MORE

Saturday, March 3, 2007

a collaborative imprint of the University of Michigan Press and the University of Michigan Library

digitalculturebooks is and will be a work in progress, as we develop new publishing strategies to meet the needs of both our authors and readers. In the coming year we will be publishing innovative and accessible work about the social, cultural, and political impact of new media, and developing our online community to support and extend these publications. Read more

Friday, March 2, 2007

Commentary on University Presses and Open Access

Scott Jaschik has published an article, "University Presses Take Their Stand" in Inside Higher Education. It's a commentary on the recent statement from the Association of American University Presses on open access:
The open access debate is one of the hottest topics in academic publishing, with advocates for access and publishers battling for political and public support. University presses have been feeling somewhat in the middle and sometimes ignored — and they responded Tuesday with a policy paper outlining their perspective.

In many respects, the document from the Association of American University Presses focuses on potential harm that could be done to their operations by the open access model, talking about the potential for it to hurt circulation revenues, and emphasizing that university presses are not exactly wealthy institutions. But the paper also talks about the many experiments university presses are undertaking with open access or alternative pricing models — and goes one further. While the open access debate has focused on scholarly journals, the presses suggest that models that work for journals may well also work for monographs. . . . MORE