Current Cites (Digital Library SunSITE)

Volume 13, no. 5, May 2002

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2002/cc02.13.5.html

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

Billsus, Daniel, Clifford A. Brunk, Craig Evans, Brian Gladish, and Michael Pazzani. "Adaptive Interfaces for Ubiquitous Web Access". Communications of the ACM (40)5 (May 2002): 34-38. - The authors discuss personalization based on their experience in moving the LA Times to the postage-stamp world of wireless devices. Before anyone bails out at the thought of such an exercise, the authors also point out that their conclusions can be applied to web-based media as well. Whatever the method of delivery, personalization will fail, the authors stress, if it relies entirely on a user's willingness to fill out forms, set preferences, tweak configurations, etc. Instead, "user's interests must be inferred implicitly from actions". The system should learn from user choices and there should be enough flexibility built in to handle people's changing interests over time. Equally as important, competing material shouldn't simply be filtered out (potentially creating ghettos of awareness). Instead, it should just show up somewhat lower on the totem pole of prioritized presentations. Following these principles, the authors in their own work were able to show significant improvements in usage and loyalty among users. In other words, personalization can work. The article is one of several from a special issue on personalization/customization in this month's CACM called the 'Adaptive Web'. - LRK

Building a National Strategy for Digital Preservation: Issues in Digital Media Archiving. Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources and the Library of Congress, 2002. ISBN 1-887334-91-2. (http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub106/contents.html or http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub106/pub106.pdf). - The National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) at the Library of Congress was established by Congress in December 2000. NDIIPP has a $100 million budget, which it will receive in stages. Its mission is to "develop a national strategy to collect, archive, and preserve the burgeoning amounts of digital content, especially materials that are created only in digital formats, for current and future generations." ND IIPP asked the Council on Library and Information Resources to commission the papers published in this document to support meetings about digital preservation issues. A "Summary of Findings" by Amy Friedlander, which presents the results of expert interviews about key issues, sets the stage for a fine set of papers on the preservation of digital audio, digital television/video, e-books, e-serials, and the Web. Dale Flecker's paper on "Preserving Digital Periodicals" will be of particular interest to librarians. To learn more about the NDIIPP, see: Amy Friedlander, "The National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program: Expectations, Realities, Choices and Progress to Date," D-Lib Magazine 8 (April 2002). - CB

Foley, John and Chris Murphy. "Q&A: Bill Gates On Trustworthy Computing" InformationWeek (May 20, 2002) (http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020517S0011) - Microsoft has taken it on the corporate chin repeatedly due to ongoing revelations of security holes in its various products. Apparently, this abuse reached critical mass last January, when Mr. Gates sent out his infamous "trustworthy computing" e-mail memo to all Microsoft employees (http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104-817343.html). Microsoft followed up with a "trustworthy computing" white paper later that month; the May 2002 revision is available here: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/craig/05-01trustworthywp.asp. Techno-pundits and Microsoft customers, predictably, have expressed a fair amount of skepticism about the whole "trustworthy computing" thing. In this interview, Gates discusses his companywide initiative and, in a wider context, talks about computer and networking security issues in general. Many security problems were never really addressed, he said, as computer systems moved from "inward facing" to "outward facing" — encompassing things like e-mail, websites and virtual private networks. Gates talks about quality issues in software development, testing, and research and development, touching specifically on Windows XP. He indicates that he does understand customer skepticism and security worries; after all, he says, "you're about to put all your business transactions there," referring to such things as Web Services. In this same issue of InformationWeek, there's also a Q&A interview with Microsoft's Scott Charney, "the new guy responsible for the company's security strategy." (http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020517S0004). - SK

Frumkin, Jeremy, editor. "Special Issue: Open Source Software" Information Technology and Libraries 21(1) (March 2002) (http://www.lita.org/ital/ital2101.html). This special issue was reviewed briefly in the Volume 13, no. 4, April 2002 issue of Current Cites. The Open Systems Software (OSS) concept of sharing is so akin to the basic tenet of librarianship, that this reviewer thought a reprise look at the issue was merited. The three articles reviewed, available in full text on the LITA website, blend well, to give the reader a multifaceted view of the promise and the obstacles facing the OSS initiative. David Bretthauer in Open Source Software: A History  (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_bretthauer.html) traces the philosophy of the Open Source movement. In 1984 Richard Stallman resigned from his position as a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab in order to pursue his vision, and remain unfettered by organizational constraints. He envisaged the development of "free software," and a programming environment which gave expression to four essential freedoms: Programs could be used for any purpose, they could be modified for any requirement, and the source code for the original or the modified versions would be freely distributed. Thus the only restriction was that the free availability of the code be maintained. It is important here to define the meaning of "free" in this context. Free means the freedom to use, develop, enhance, and distribute source code. It does not imply gratis or no fee software. Open source code has proliferated, and yielded such important free software as Linux, Perl, Python, Apache web server, mSQL, MySQL, and Samba. Of note, this article contains ample notes and references for those wishing further investigation. Karen Coyle (http://www.kcoyle.net/) in Open Source, Open Standards, (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_coyle.html) brings OSS into the library context. Before OSS projects can achieve success, there must exist open standards permitting the interoperability of programs. It is interesting to note that the first interoperability standard was that of the standardized catalog card, adopted by ALA in 1877. Key standards that followed were ANSI Z39.2, and the commonly accepted MARC. These now interconnect with non-library standards including Z39.50, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). There is evidence that standards successfully adopted define background technical functions, while allowing wide flexibility of presentation. Eric Lease Morgan in Possibilities for Open Source Software in Libraries (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_morgan.html) funnels the Open Source Software endeavours right down to the concerns of librarians. What do librarians want and need in order to realize the potential and promise of OSS. Librarians are people oriented, being primarily concerned with collecting organizing, and disseminating information. The underlying code of the resource-sharing infrastructure is not high on the agenda. Librarians require a set of tools, packaged for easy installation and use. This could provide a niche for third party software aggregators, who could profit from the integration and packaging of OSS, all the while leaving the source code "free" to all. - MG

Hall, Danielle and Janet Swan Hill. "The Care and Feeding of Speakers and the Spoken-To" American Libraries 33(5) (May 2002): 64-67. - As both a speaker and an audience member, I can appreciate both sides of this article representing both perspectives. Danielle Hill represents what audience members appreciate in speakers, and Janet Swan Hill takes the side of the speaker — in particular the colleague who has been asked to speak but whom is not getting paid. Anyone who stands up in front of an audience would do well to head Ms. Hill's admonitions, and if you are organizing an event you will likely find Ms. Hill's suggestions helfpul. - RT

Hawkins, Brian L., Julia A. Rudy, and William H. Wallace, Jr., editors. Technology Everywhere: A Campus Agenda for Educating and Managing Workers in the Digital Age EDUCAUSE Leadership Strategies No. 6, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002. - This edited collection of essays tackles the twin challenges for colleges and universities of both hiring and retaining skilled technical staff and creating the curricula that can educate such individuals for themselves and society as a whole. The first section of essays sets the stage with a review of the supply of information technology (IT) workers in the U.S., identification of IT job skills and standards, and a discussion of IT fluency. The second and last part addresses campus challenges and solutions, including recruitment, retention, reskilling, technology across the curriculum, and leadership challenges. Those in academe — whether you are dependent on IT staff or are attempting to teach them — will find this slim volume well worth the time. - RT

Kobsa, Alfred 'Personalized Hypermedia and International Privacy'. Communications of the ACM (40)5 (May 2002): 64-67. - Also from the CACM issue on the 'Adaptive Web', this article addresses implications for privacy of online personalization systems which basically register every click you make. Guidelines are suggested for collecting this information in ways that respect the rights of users. - LRK

Lord, Lissa. "Electronic Newsletters: The How and Why of Them" LLRX.com (May 15, 2002) (http://www.llrx.com/features/e-newsletters.htm). - Lord, director of electronic communication at the Leon E. Bloch Law Library, University of Missouri at Kansas City, takes you — in detail, with screen shots and other illustrations — through the development of an electronic newsletter for her institution. Anyone facing a similar project can learn from this article, which covers everything from the planning stage to tracking audience response and looking toward future possibilities. The law library's newsletter, The Friday5 (http://www1.law.umkc.edu/library/friday5/), calls itself "a multimedia sampler of electronic resources and law library activity." The staff has kept the format simple but elegant; published each...uh, Friday, the newsletter features...uh, five standard sections: (1) News from the Library (2) Database of the Week (3) Government Publications (4) Websites of Interest (5) Technology Tip. All of the websites mentioned in issues of the newsletter are collected on a single page: http://www1.law.umkc.edu/library/friday5/5thFriday.htm. You can read the newsletter online or sign up for an e-mail subscription. - SK

Morrissey, Brian. "Can 'Deep Linking' Lead to Deep Trouble?" Internet.com Business News (May 17, 2002) (http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article/0,,3_1138351,00.html) - Maybe I'm just cynical, but I think the Web was a heck of a lot more fun before the lawyers hopped aboard. The case under discussion in this article involves magazine — http://www.runnersworld.com/ — AKA "the 800-pound gorilla of running news," siccing its attorneys on a couple of brothers who operate a small weblog-type site called LetsRun.com — http://www.letsrun.com/ — "Where We Have No Legal Team." The brothers Johnson made a faux pas when they linked to a Runner's World interview with 800-meter Olympic champion Peter Snell. They linked to the "printer-friendly" version, which bypasses you-know-what. Rodale, Inc., publishers of Runner's World, considered this a copyright infringement and instructed its sharks to dispatch the proverbial "stern letter." After a certain amount of fuss, Runner's World "seemingly backed down," with its editor calling the whole thing a misunderstanding, due to his "technological ignorance." But don't kid yourself that we've heard the last of situations like this. Right around the same time, Belo Companies (http://www.belo.com/), which owns the Dallas Morning News (http://www.dallasnews.com/), went after a local gadfly site, BarkingDogs.org (http://www.barkingdogs.org/) — warning: turn your speakers down before clicking this link). Belo's sharks told the owner of the site that he could link only to the Morning News's home page — with its rich array of advertisements — and not directly to stories within its site. At last report, BarkingDogs.org was getting legal help from Public Citizen, Ralph Nader's group. Read all about it at http://dallasobserver.com/issues/2002-05-16/filler.html/1/index.html. - SK

Soderberg, Johan. "Copyleft vs. Copyright: A Marxist Critique" First Monday 7(3) (March 4, 2002) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_3/soderberg/). - The author locates the current debate about copyright and intellectual property in its historical context, as a safeguard to preserve capital, and he analyzes the digital debate from that perspective. He is specifically interested in the open source community and the contrarian philosophical viewpoints of the hacker community. He argues that the main tenets of hacker culturecreativity and technological empowermentroughly correspond to the Marxist concepts of alienation, division of labor, and commodification. This article is densely cited, providing a map that simultaneously charts Marx's writings about information along with a diverse group of non-Marxists. He suggests that the open source and free software sectors of the digital community may have long lasting importance that transcends current debate about the Internet and society. He concludes that Marxist thought offers a handy "toolbox" for critical analysis, with which we can deconstruct the digital debate about intellectual property, even as the boundaries shift. - TH

Young, Jeffrey R. "Journal Boycott Over Online Access Is a Bust" Chronicle of Higher Education (May 16, 2002) (http://chronicle.com/free/2002/05/2002051601t.htm). - A year has passed since a group of scientists known as the Public Library of Science (http://www.publiclibraryofscience.org/) announced their boycott in which some 30,000 scientists worldwide pledged not to publish in, subscribe to or serve as editors for journals that don't offer "unrestricted free distribution rights ... within 6 months of their initial publication." It appears that very few of the signers  followed through on their pledge and, consequently, the publishing industry has not changed their ways. While the group never expected much response from commercial publishers, they say they are disappointed that society publishers' reaction was much the same as the commercial publishers. But the Public Library of Science is not willing to declare the boycott a failure. They say that scientists are now more conscious of journal policies and they are already planning to starting several alternative journals of their own including two high-profile journals that will compete with Science and Nature. - MP


Current Cites 13(5) (May 2002) ISSN: 1060-2356
Copyright © 2002 by the Regents of the University of California All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2002 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Document maintained at http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2002/cc02.13.5.html by Roy Tennant.
Last update May 28, 2002. SunSITE Manager: manager@sunsite.berkeley.edu