Current Cites

Volume 13, no. 11, November 2002

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 -

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Margaret Gross, Shirl Kennedy, Roy Tennant

Banerjee, Kyle.  "How Does XML Help Libraries?Computers in Libraries   22(8) p. 30-35 (September 2002) ( - Banerjee has written a brief and gentle introduction to XML and a few of the ways that libraries are using it to provide useful services to their clientele. The piece is accompanied by a simple example of XML-encoded information and an XSLT stylesheet for transforming the XML into an HTML web page. Although readers will need to do additional investigation and learning before they can use and transform XML themselves, this article is a good place to start. - RT

Cheverie, Joan F.  "The Changing Economics of Information, Technological Development, and Copyright Protection: What Are the Consequences for the Public Domain?"  The Journal of Academic Librarianship   28(5) p. 325-331 (2002) - The author has done a great job of boiling down her Georgetown University M.A. thesis (The Intellectual Land Grab: How Does the Public Domain Fare in the Networked Environment?) into this densely packed, but highly readable article, which provides a thoughtful analysis and critique of the economic and legal dynamics of the current networked information environment. In the article's conclusion, she summaries the impact of these dynamics on the multifaceted principle of information access in libraries and similar institutions: "Today, however, the changing economics of information is incrementally negating this principle by allowing content owners to control access through restrictive licensing agreements, expanded legal protection and penalties, and technological measures that ultimately eliminate fair use and gouge the public domain while, simultaneously, undermining the traditional mission of libraries and other institutions of learning who engage in education, research, and the preservation of our cultural and scientific heritage." - CB

Greenemeier, Larry.  "PCs Not Ready for RetirementInformationWeek   (913) p. 50, 52 (4 November 2002) ( - It's not news that companies are cutting back on IT spending due to the moribund economy. One common way businesses slash technology costs is to extend the life cycle of employee PCs. At AT&T, discussed in this article, computers were routinely replaced every three years. "Now that's being stretched to four or even five years, and buying a new PC takes a higher level of managerial approval." An IT analyst quoted here says corporate PC purchases have traditionally been influenced by three factors: "a healthy economy and accompanying healthy IT budgets, an abundant stream of must-have applications, and a need to keep up with the latest processor and memory configurations." All three of these factors "have fallen off," the analyst said, predicting that PC sales are unlikely to revive until the second half of 2003. An added negative? The costs above and beyond the actual hardware -- "making sure each machine works on the existing network and gives users the applications needed for their jobs." Of course, some companies are buying new PCs -- typically to run new applications -- and PC manufacturers are trying to woo potential customers with space-saving smaller size desktops and flat panel monitors. - SK

Karagiannis, Konstantinos, and Matthew D.  Sarrel.  "Keep Hackers OutPC Magazine   21(20) p. 98-130 (19 November 2002) (,4149,653189,00.asp). - This is a two-part article that discusses security threats and reviews hardware and software firewalls for both home and the small business broadband-connected networks. It covers distributed denial-of-service attacks, malicious websites (i.e., embedded rogue ActiveX, Java code), trojan horses, worms and viruses. And it explains common vulnerabilities: e-mail attachments, open ports, unpatched outdated software, always-on connections and clueless users who indulge "in risky computing behavior." There's a chart comparing the pros and cons of hardware versus software firewalls, and a group of popular products of both types are reviewed. The PC Magazine "Editor's Choice" for a home software firewall is Norton Internet Security 2003; for a home hardware firewall, either the D-Link DI-604 or the Linksys Firewall Router. The editors recommend the SonicWall SOHO3 for a small business firewall. - SK

Martin, Kingsley. ""Show Me the Money" - Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management" Law Library Resource Xchange: (4 November 2002) ( - Kingsley Martin is a graduate lawyer who is currently a knowledge management consultant. His article proposes KM measurement tools such as Return on Investment (ROI), the Cost of Information (COI, and tools to be used in the evaluation of knowledge-sharing strategies. While focussing on KM costing in law firms, the analysis proposed can easily be applied to any KM project in any environment. Law firms employ primarily two chargeback mechanisms: 1) Cost recovery and 2) Cost justification. The first method is to directly charge usage back to the client, i.e. the cost of time and materials expended. The Investment cost of KM activity is generally rationalized within the second mechanism, because of the difficulty in calculating its usage charge. The author presumes that investment in KM is necessarily preceded by investment in enabling technology. Thus Return on Investment (ROI) estimation can be derived by measuring the rate at which this technology is converted into information assets. ROI= (Present Value times Incremental Gain) minus Total Cost of the Project; The second measure is Cost of Information (COI) COI=Document Preparation Cost divided by Reuse Rate; Document Preparation Cost subsumes three elements: 1) bibliographic coding (in library terms, document nunmber, author, title, physical description, etc.); 2) Subject analysis and headings; and 3) Search and retrieval engines. For each element hypothetical numbers are presented. The author concludes the article by suggesting that law firms can develop sustainable stratetgies for knowledge sharing by calculating individual profit models, the cost of the KM system, and document reuse numbers. - MG

Standage, Tom.  "Securing the Cloud: A Survey of Digital SecurityThe Economist   365(8296) (26 October 2002) ( - This special section in The Economist contains an introduction explaining why digital security "is now everyone's problem," and six articles covering hardware and software tools; how people are "the weakest link" in any security system ("insider abuse of Internet access" being a large issue); what biometrics can and cannot do; the perils of always-on, interconnected company networks; "balancing the risks and benefits" to come up with an optimal security budget; and why, though cyberterrorism is possible, it isn't very likely to happen. This highly readable package of stories, available in its entirety online, presents a good overview of digital security issues and technology, and is particularly recommended for those who feel they need to know more about this but do not want to wade through technical publications. - SK

Weston, Wil.  "Access to Scientific LiteratureNature   420(19) (7 November 2002) ( - Wil Weston, a librarian at the University of New Orleans, Earl K. Long Library, reinforces what all librarians already know. The internet is no substitute for libraries, and concomitantly, the guidance to research that librarians provide. Presently only 8% of journals and scarcely a fraction of books are accessible via the World Wide Web. Not only are search engines selective as to what to include, but also are biased. Search engines promote those sites which pay a listing fee, thereby ensuring these display early and prominently in retrieved site listings. This would be analogous to librarians offering their clients primarily those books for which publishers had paid a fee for precedence ranking. While this article doesn't present anything new for librarians, it is nevertheless a concise recap for non-librarians about the state of web research, and the qualitative advantage offered by libraries. Interesting citations included are: Lebedev, Alexander Moscow State University, Best search engines for finding scientific information in the Web, Version: August 9, 1996. and Lawrence, Steve Online or Invisible - MG

Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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