Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 12, no. 10, October 2001

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2001/cc01.12.10.html

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Margaret Gross, Terry Huwe, Shirl Kennedy, Leo Robert Klein, Margaret Phillips, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Agre, Phil. "Networking on the Network" (October 21, 2001) (http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/network.html) - Agre, associate professor of information studies at UCLA, feels "few people have figured out how to use the Net productively." While much emphasis has gone into technologies that help people find information online, he says, "hardly anybody has been helping newcomers figure out where the Net fits in the larger picture of their own careers." Agre, who edits the popular Red Rock Eater News Service mailing list, has written this 120-page document primarily for those in the academic and research communities. But the advice he offers is useful for just about anyone whose professional skills could use a boost. Topics include the ins and outs of networking, using e-mail effectively, speaking at conferences, carving out a professional identity, and developing leadership skills. The paper also offers an extensive bibliography of print and online resources. - SK

Dorr, Jessica and Richard Akeroyd. "New Mexico Tribal Libraries: Bridging the Digital Divide" Computers in Libraries 21(8) (October 2001) (http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/oct01/dorr&akeroyd.htm). - For those library folks with conflicting feelings about Gates Foundation grants, I think this article will (unintentionally) put those conflicts in boldface: the large-scale philanthropy made possible by monopolistic business practices, the reaching out to help while creating new Microsoft customers, the gratitude vs. the grudging acceptance. There is a clear need for computing and Internet connectivity in these Native American lands (not to forget more pressing issues like the lack of basic services), and in this article the authors, who are Gates Foundation employees, do a good job of describing the process of working with the tribes to implement custom systems in their libraries. They also do a self-serving job of plugging Microsoft, e.g. the tender moment a trainer had when "teaching a young woman who became teary as she was learning Microsoft Word. 'She was just so happy to be learning new things.'" Well yes, Microsoft Word has brought tears to the eyes of many, all around the world ... Technical specs for the installed systems are included, as are data about the Native American Access to Technology Program grants and plans for the program's next steps. - JR

Dowling, Thomas. "One Step at a Time" NetConnect A supplement to Library Journal and School Library Journal (Fall 2001):36-37 (http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA178131). - Dowling is well-known on the electronic discussion Web4Lib as a straight shooter who really knows his stuff. So when Dowling talks, people listen. And if you manage a web site, no matter how large or small, you should listen too. In this brief but pithy piece, Dowling explains not only the technical methods by which you can make sure not to lose your users when you move a web page or site, but also the process and timing. Don't be dismayed by the two years he says it takes to do this right, since most of that time is spent waiting for crawlers and those with links to catch on to the move. In any event, do your users a favor and just follow the instructions. We'll all be better off for it. - RT

Farrell, Elizabeth F. and Florence Olson. "A New Front in the Sweatshop Wars?" The Chronicle of Higher Education 48(9) (October 26, 2001): A35 (http://chronicle.com/free/v48/i09/09a03501.htm). - When it comes to the working conditions and wages of the offshore workers who provide much of the labor for campus and commercial projects to digitize of scholarly texts, librarians get a better grade than Kathie Lee. Student activists and independent watchdog groups have long been condemning campus stores for subcontracting with apparel manufacturers known to engage in sweatshop conditions, and they have begun to raise questions about scholarly digitizing projects. Projects at the University of Michigan and Harvard, for instance, have contracted with companies in India and Cambodia to provide digitizing tasks such as scanning and keyboarding. As it turns out, these jobs require a relatively high level of skill and workers tend to be well-educated and are typically paid well above minimum wage in their countries, in some cases up to ten times the minimum wage. Activists argue that overseas digitizing contracts should serve as an opportunity for the universities involved to demonstrate global social responsibility. - MP

Ferrell, Tom. "Three Questions For Your Web Agency" Usability InfoCentre (Sept. 26, 2001) (http://infocentre.frontend.com/servlet/Infocentre?page=article&id=225). - In web design and development just about everyone can talk the talk but figuring out who can walk the walk is another thing. To help us out, web-site deconstructionist and usability pro Tom Farrell suggests three great things to ask. - LRK

Festa, Paul. "Net Security: An Oxymoron" CNET (October 18, 2001) (http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1014-201-7572885-0.html). - Peter Neumann, principal scientist at SRI International's Computer Science Laboratory, thinks the only way to solve security problems on the Internet is to rebuild the network from scratch. The Net, he says, "is populated by computers that were not designed with network security in mind." As a result, "security is addressed on a patch-by-patch basis." In this interview, Neumann says that September's terrorist attacks have not changed his job or his concerns, as he's been preaching for years about the growing severity of network security problems. "What's changed," he says, "is the awareness that essentially everything is at risk." Neumann says there is not one solution to solving security problems, so the government must approach the problem from a variety of directions, e.g., support for security research, better education. The interview also covers Neumann's thoughts on public key encryption; he says the "trapdoors" desired by law enforcement agencies would weaken the technology, erode privacy rights and, ultimately, not really solve the problem of criminal or terrorist use. - SK

Foster, Andrea L. "40 Computer Scientists Abandon a Print Journal, Preferring Its Online Competitor" The Chronicle of Higher Education (October 18, 2001) (http://chronicle.com/free/2001/10/2001101801t.htm). - On October 8, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and statistics Michael I. Jordan drafted a letter which was signed by 40 of his colleagues in which they collectively resigned from the editorial board of the journal Machine Learning to join another publication the Journal of Machine Learning Research which is distributed free online. Stating that “journals should principally serve the needs of the intellectual community "by providing the immediate and universal access to journal articles that modern technology supports, and doing so at a cost that excludes no one." Articles in Machine Learning are not reaching a large enough audience, the letter states, because the subscription fee for the journal is too high and the publisher policy on the circulation of online articles are to restrictive. Furthermore, it can take more than a year for articles to be published in Machine Learning whereas the competing journal, which is also peer-reviewed, can publish articles in much less time. - MP

Guédon, Jean-Claude. "In Oldenburg's Long Shadow: Librarians, Research Scientists, Publishers, and the Control of Scientific Publishing." In Creating the Digital Future: Association of Research Libraries, Proceedings of the 138th Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario, May 23-25, 2001. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2001 (http://www.arl.org/arl/proceedings/138/guedon.html). - In this lengthy paper, Guédon examines the origin of scientific journals, their role in scholarly communication, the creation of the concept of "core journals" as a result of Science Citation Index, the subsequent "serials crisis" as publishers discovered that they had a captive market for these journals, the establishment of the SPARC initiative (http://www.arl.org/sparc/) to counter this trend, scholars' reactions to and explorations of the possibilities of electronic publishing, the central role of licensing in commercial electronic publishing efforts, the limitations of library consortial licensing efforts, and the development of preprint servers and other efforts to make scientific literature freely available. He concludes by strongly endorsing the Open Archives Initiative (http://www.openarchives.org/) and SPARC. Whew, if he covered all this in his talk, I hope that ARL provided free espresso. Brew yourself a cup (or two) and read this interesting paper, which has also just become available from ARL in printed form as a monograph. - CB

Jacobs, Jim and Karrie Peterson. "The Technical IS Political" Of Significance... 3(1) (2001) (http://ssdc.ucsd.edu/jj/apdu.html). - In the September 2001 issue of Current Cites I cited an article by Jacobs, Peterson, and Elizabeth Cowell, that appeared in American Libraries. This piece, which appears in the journal of the Association of Public Data Users, is a much more thorough explication of what is at stake these days with government information. Recent changes in how government information is published and distributed are presenting new problems for public access and preservation. Jacobs and Peterson enumerate issues such as "cost shifting", in which the cost (in money or time or both) of accessing and using the information is shifted from the government to the library or user. Other concerns include privacy issues and the replacement of government-issued products with commercial ones. And by no means least is the issue of preservation. When the government is the only source for certain information, it can be all too easily altered, removed or destroyed. This is not a trivial issue. Anyone interested in freedom of information, government responsibility, and a strong democracy should be interested in this issue. And by my reckoning, that should cover just about everyone from sea to shining sea. - RT

Miall, David S. and Teresa Dobson. "Reading Hypertext and the Experience of Literature." Journal of Digital Information 2(1) (Aug. 2001 [announced October 2001]) (http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/Articles/v02/i01/Miall/). - There's nothing nicer in Autumn as the days grow cool than snuggling up to a weighty article on the nature of hypertext. The focus here is the process of reading and whether a strongly non-linear structure helps or hinders this process. The intent of the authors is to argue against what they describe as "misleading" claims made by hypertext enthusiasts. These claims see hypertext as a vehicle of liberation that will free readers from the doldrums of traditional (authoritarian) printed books whose demise, for this reason, is imminent. In response, the authors set about testing two groups of readers: one that reads a traditional linear piece of fiction and a second that reads the same text albeit in "simulated hypertext format". No extra credit for guessing which group expresses the greater comprehension and satisfaction. - - LRK

Morris, Peter W.G. "Updating the Project Management Bodies of Knowledge" Project Management Journal 43(3) (September 2001). - A must for understanding project management are the "Bodies of Knowledge" or BOKS, published by professional project management associations. These documents provide guidelines and standards to best practices. This article is an introduction and overview of the various BOKs, where they originate, and how they differ. Further highlighted is the difficulty encountered in working towards the goal of a single, unified and universally accepted BOK. There are three primary Bodies of Knowledge. In North America, the accepted document A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, is published by PMI, The Program Management Institute. In Europe, the corresponding Body of Knowledge document originates with the U.K's APM, the Association for Project Management. Numerous national bodies in Europe have issued BOKs similar to the U.K.'s, but in their own national language. By the middle 1960s, these national organizations formed a federation called the IPMA, International Project Management Association, comprising twenty-eight National Associations. IPMA has issued a BOK, which is accepted throughout Europe. Interestingly, one of the only national associations not a member of IPMA, is the American PMI. The European Bodies of Knowledge are broader in scope than the PMI BOK. The American BOK is organized as a hierarchical structure, limited to managing scope, time, quality, resources, risk, procurement, and communications. The IPMA ICB Competence Baseline is structured in the form of a sunflower. Each petal is a competency, thus obviating the dissent and disagreement caused by which concept should take precedence in a hierarchy. Addressing the professional ethos of project management, it includes additional concepts such as technology, environment, and regulatory issues. All BOKs can be downloaded from their respective web sites. This reviewer is well aware that as librarians, we are often tasked with managing projects directly, or we are called upon to provide pertinent project management information to senior staff members. In exposing the complexity of updating the standards, Mr. Morris provides a good primer to the underlying methodology of project management.- MG

Olsen, Stefanie. "Sites Seek to Blast Ad Blockers" ZDNet News (October 10, 2001) (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,5098080,00.html). - The Internet advertising wars have just been ratcheted up a notch. As more and more Web users employ ad-blocking software as they browse, a German company (MediaBeam, http://www.mediabeam.com/), has come up with a software product it says will detect ad-blocking software and stop the user from accessing a site's content without paying a fee. AdKey, a plug-in for Web servers, operates from the server side via http. It can tell whether a Web page "has loaded properly." If all the graphics haven't loaded, the page issues a message that prevents the surfer from accessing the page's content. Analysts and technology pundits doubt that AdKey will have much of an impact on peoples' browsing habits. The ad-blocking software vendors are bound to come up with ways of getting around AdKey and, anyhow, it's estimated that only 5 percent of surfers actually use ad blocking software. The other 95 percent largely ignore the ads. - SK

Scott, Brendan. "Copyright in a Frictionless World: Toward a Rhetoric of Responsibility." First Monday 6(9) (September 3, 2001) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue6_9/scott/). - Scott assesses the history and application of copyright, and pays particular attention to its treatment of author's rights and privileges. He then expands his to the distribution chain, and argues that copyright is actually structured to benefit distributors and publishers. This historical treatment is driving much of the struggle over intellectual property in the digital era. He identifies challenges faced by distributors and publishers in enforcing their rights without the various sources of "friction" which made infringement difficult. On the consumption side, he finds that consumer cynicism is a powerful and influential arbiter of actual practice, and it has far more influence on compliance that the feeble add-ons to traditional copyright law. He concludes that it would be more productive for distributors to "tone down" the rhetoric about "rights" and emphasize the rhetoric of "responsibility". - TH


Current Cites 12(10) (October 2001) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 2001 by the Regents of the University of California All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2001 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Document maintained at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2001/cc01.12.10.html by Roy Tennant.
Last update October 31, 2001. SunSITE Manager: manager@sunsite.berkeley.edu