Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database at Emory U.

Emory University recently opened a new OA resource: "Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database". Voyages documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World between the 16th and 19th centuries, providing details on almost 35,000 slaving voyages. One may create listings, tables, charts, and maps using information from the database. In addition, one may identify over 67,000 Africans aboard slave ships, using name, age, gender, origin, and place of embarkation. Voyages is sponsored by Emory University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Medieval Manuscripts of Abbey Library Digitized.

The Abbey Library of St. Gallen, the oldest library in Switzerland, is one of the earliest and most important monastic libraries in the world. The Catholic Administration (Katholische Konfessionsteil) of the State of St. Gallen owns the Abbey Library. An important recent development is the digitization of many of its manuscripts. An informative article, Cataloguing the Middle Ages in Cyberspace, describes this digital project, the history of the Abbey Library and e-codices, the virtual manuscript library of Switzerland. An e-codices search retrieves 221 digitized manuscripts in the St. Gallen Collection. One must accept the Terms of Use before searching.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

E-Dissertations at Temple University

Temple University has announced that all doctoral dissertations completed at Temple University from August, 2008 will be freely available online through its Digital Collections website. From Temple’s press release:

Temple doctoral candidates are now able to complete all their work electronically, submit it for review in electronic format and have it permanently archived at the Library as a born-digital document. As part of this shift to all-digital dissertations the Libraries will no longer add paper copies of Temple dissertations to the Library stacks nor will it collect dissertations on microfilm. The versions of the dissertations available through the Library's Digital Collections website are the original and complete versions of the dissertation. Dissertations accessed through the ProQuest Digital Dissertations database may be subject to some editing changes performed by ProQuest. . . .

All Temple Dissertations will continue to be indexed by the authoritative international database Digital Dissertations (formerly known as Dissertation Abstracts) to which Temple and many other universities subscribe, but now they will also be directly accessible to any Web user free of charge. Many other leading research universities have created similar “open-access” electronic dissertation repositories and have found that cutting-edge doctoral research is more frequently read and cited as a result of making dissertations globally available in an open-access repository.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

5 Million Articles Online at HighWire, 2 Million of which are OA

HighWire Press, a division of the Stanford University Libraries, announced this week the posting of its five millionth article on its e-publishing platform. HighWire now hosts 1189 journals and 5,009,562 full text articles from over 140 scholarly publishers. Over 2,013,680 of these articles are open access, i.e. freely accessible to anyone with internet access.

SPARC Open Access Newsletter: December Issue

The December issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter is now available. Particularly interesting are Peter Suber's predictions for 2009.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Studying Institutional Repositories through a Sociological Lens

In the Fall 2008 issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing, Oya Y. Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Information Technologies at Cornell University Library, argues that the development of institutional repositories (IRs) should be viewed from a sociological perspective, i.e., the perspective which explores how two groups - librarians and faculty - have approached the creation and use of IRs. According to Rieger,
IR development and deployment efforts to date have been predominantly driven by digital libraries. IRs provide a provocative case for examining the consequences of system development primarily based on perceptions, background, and expectations of a particular community of practitioners—in this case information and library scientists. It is an example of a technologically sound system that is facing challenges being embraced and adopted by intended end users. The problem is the misalignments between developers’ inscriptions of end users—their projection of users’ behavior in order to create the user interface—and the actual end use patterns.
Without more of a coordinated effort between the two groups, the IRs will be no more than "a set of empty shelves." The value of Rieger's article is her use of specific social theories to interpret how this particular area of library technology has evolved thus far. Her concluding remarks serve as an invitation to librarians to become more aware about who was involved in the construction of the IR and how it could be done differently.
Through analysis of sociocultural factors based on social theories, we can attain a better understanding of how information and communications technologies should be designed and implemented, and improve promotional activities to encourage their appropriation. . . . To design effective information and communication technologies, we need to better understand the associations among the information practices, institutions, and the social and material foundation of the scholarly communication processes.