Current Cites

Volume 15, no. 3, March 2004

Edited by Roy Tennant

The Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720
ISSN: 1060-2356 - http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/CurrentCites/2004/cc04.15.3.html

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

Nature Web Focus: Access to the Literature: The Debate Continues   (2004) - Nature is offering a new series of freely available commissioned papers by noted authors on open access and other innovative publishing business models. Current contributions include "Open Access and Learned Societies"; "Open Access and Not-for-Profit Publishers"; "Open Access: Yes, No, Maybe"; "Universities' Own Electronic Repositories Yet to Impact on Open Access"; "Why Electronic Publishing Means People Will Pay Different Prices"; and other papers. There are also useful links to related articles and resources. Like prior Nature debates on electronic publishing issues, this one is lively and very interesting. - CB

Computers in Libraries 2004   Medford, NJ: Information Today, 2004. (http://www.infotoday.com/cil2004/presentations/). - Many of the presentations from this conference, held March 10-12, 2004 in Washington DC are available in either PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat format, or both. Handouts are also often available, as well as the occasional Perl script. The topics range widely from strategies for keeping up to blogs to dead and emerging technologies. There is, in other words, something here for just about anyone. - RT

Museums and the Web 2004   Toronto, ON: Archives and Museums Informatics, 2004. (http://www.archimuse.com/mw2004/sessions/). - A number of the presentations at this conference are online in HTML as contributed papers. Although many of the topics are perhaps of interest mostly to museums or archives, there are other topics (e.g., building accessible web sites) that cross those boundaries. - RT

Thinking Beyond Digital Libraries - Designing the Information Strategy for the Next Decade: Proceedings of the 7th International Bielefeld Conference   Bielefeld, Germany: Bielefeld University Library, February 2004. (http://conference.ub.uni-bielefeld.de/proceedings/). - The presentations from this conference are available in PowerPoint format. A few also have the speakers remarks available in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Speakers include university professors, academic library directors, and high-level managers of library-related non-profits and commercial companies (e.g., Jay Jordan, President and CEO of OCLC). - RT

METS Opening Day   Washington, DC: Library of Congress, October 2003. (http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/od1_ppts.html). - A number of the PowerPoint presentations from the first "METS Opening Day" for the emerging standard Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) are available. Topics include an introduction to METS, building METS by hand, METS profiles, METS repositories, and METS case studies. A second METS Opening Day will be occuring on April 8 and 9 at Stanford University, with those presentations likely to be available shortly thereafter at the METS web site. - RT

Christiansen, Donald.  "Ephemera for Engineers and ScientistsToday's Engineer (IEEE)   (February 2004) (http://www.todaysengineer.org/feb04/backscatter.asp). - It's not news to those of us in the information profession -- the fact that when it comes to Web-based resources, it's too often a case of here today, gone tomorrow. How many times have you spotted an interesting article while out surfing and, when you wanted to go back to it later on, you could no longer find it? Even if you saved the link, the link no longer works. While this is an annoyance when it comes to our everyday web browsing, it can be a disaster for resarch and scholarship. "Many technical articles now include references to Internet addresses, as opposed to hard-copy resources," the author correctly points out. But when authors or readers attempt to access these URLs at a later time, they have effectively vanished into cyberspace. The author cites a study done at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in which researchers checked articles that appeared in Science, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine. They found "that 3.8 percent of Internet references were inactive three months after journal publication, 10 percent after 15 months and 13 percent after 27 months." While there are ways of tracking these things down after the fact -- the author gives some suggestions, most would agree that this is a tremendous waste of time and energy. A solution, he says, may come in the form of "Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), the Uniform Resource Name (URN) syntax or the Persistent Uniform Resource Locator (PURL)." - SK

Dilevko, Juris, and Lisa  Gottlieb.  "Selection and Cataloging of Adult Pornography Web Sites for Academic Libraries"  Journal of Academic Librarianship   30(1) (January 2004):  36-50. - The authors argue that as interest in adult porn studies proliferates on campus, librarians are challenged to provide support material. The authors delineate various criteria for selecting subject-specific Web sites, reminding us that while the sites themselves may not be scholarly, they may still "represent a type of cultural artifact worthy of (and currently the subject of) scholarly inquiry." Catalogers will appreciate the extensive discussion on subject access in this area. The inclusion of material like this in the academic library's catalog would, we are told, "facilitate scholarly research in this area and fill a prominent gap in the library's collection." (Available through ScienceDirect.) - LRK

Ebare, Sean.  "Digital Music and Subculture: Sharing Files, Sharing StylesFirst Monday   9(2) (2 February 2004) (http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_2/ebare/index.html). - The author takes a fresh look at online music sharing communities, applying theories from popular music studies and cyberethnography. He explores how identity and difference, subculture and genre lifespans, and the political economy of technology and music production combine to influence the use of music on the Internet. Identity is more fluid, and anonymity more prevalent, making the music sharing community somewhat unique. He argues that the subculture of music sharing user-driven and that the ability to forecast how this community behaves will be invaluable for both music publishers and social scientists. He offers his own forecast on the future marketplace for music sharing, arguing that it will depend upon an understanding of the diversity of the members, their need for self-determination, and the mandate to allow these communities to exercise a substantial degree of independence within their online experience. - TH

Feldman, Susan.  "The High Cost of Not Finding InformationKMWorld Magazine   13(3) (March 2004) (http://www.kmworld.com/publications/magazine/index.cfm?action=readarticle&Article_ID=1725&Publication_ID=108). - "There are all kinds of information disasters. Some are caused by wrong information. Some are caused by outdated information.... Missing or incomplete information plagues many projects..... Finally, there is the increasing problem of too much in formation." Some interesting statistics here: -- "(R)oughly 50% of most Web searches are abandoned." -- "Knowledge workers spend from 15% to 35% of their time searching for information." -- "Searchers are successful in finding what they seek 50% of the time or less...." -- "40% of corporate users reported that they can not find the information they need to do their jobs on their intranets." -- "Not locating and retrieving information has an opportunity cost of more than $15 million annually." -- "Some studies suggest that 90% of the time that knowledge workers spend in creating new reports or other products is spent in recreating information that already exists." - SK

Fiehn, Barbara.  "Federated Searching: A Viable Alternative to Web SurfingTechNewsWorld   (21 March 2004) (http://www.technewsworld.com/perl/story/33160.html). - You'll be hearing lots more about federated search. Simple definition -- searching a variety of resources (databases, OPACs, the Web) from a single interface. This article (which originally appeared in the April 2004 issue of MultiMedia & Internet@Schools but is not online there) focuses on school library media centers and the products available for that market. But it is worth reading by all information professionals since it presents a good overview of the topic and explains some of the pros and cons. The biggest advantage is the most obvious -- no need for the end user to hop from resource to resource in order to access all that an institution has available online. Some vendors' products will group results by source which, in essence, can show the user which resources are likely to be most useful for his/her particular information need. And the user only has to learn one search interface. But single-interface searching also has some downsides. Federated search technology is not quite "there" yet as far as relevance and de-duping are concerned. Also, the single interface may not permit the end user to take advantage of whatever sophisticated search features are offered by the individual resources. And this relatively new technology may prove challenging for librarians and IT people alike. If you don't have adequate in-house resources, hosting solutions may be available. - SK

Kurlantzick, Joshua.  "Dictatorship.com: The Web Won't Topple TyrannyThe New Republic   (25 March 2004) (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=oGG%2BvQEIjJRNjHGlOJiX4X%3D%3D). - As a tool to disseminate popular culture, the Internet has had spectacular success, even in "authoritarian nations" such as Laos, China, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. But, the author points out, its political impact has been negligible and, in some cases, "the Internet actually may be helping dictatorships remain in power." This in spite of the fact that pundits have been touting the political potential of the Net since it became more or less a mass medium in the mid-90s. Although "Internet usage has surged in many authoritarian nations," it has had little impact on "the political climate." Why? Because, the author says, it is not particularly useful "for expressing and organizing dissent," and -- technologically -- "it has proved surprisingly easy for authoritarian regimes to stifle, control, and co-opt." The author points out that the Internet is mainly used for individual rather than group activities. As one Laotian researcher quoted here observes, the Internet "is about people sitting in front of a terminal, barely interacting." Also, using the Net requires a relatively high level of literacy. The author provides examples of how different nations have attempted to control access to and content on the Internet, particularly China -- "Despite President Clinton's prediction, Beijing has proved that it can, in fact, nail Jell-O to the wall." And Western companies have proven only too eager "to sell the latest censorship technology" to any oppressive regime willing to ante up. Some dissidents claim the Internet actually facilitates monitoring of individuals by the government. Fascinating read; a don't-miss. - SK

Seebach, Peter.  "The Cranky User: Businesses Behaving Badly : Put Customers First Or Risk Losing ThemdeveloperWorks   (4 March 2004) (http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-cranky38.html). - The "Cranky User" is an occasional column on IBM's extremely helpful developerWorks site (the Ease of Use section is wonderful). In this missive, the Cranky User complains about poor customer service. Poor customer service is a kind of action on the part of a company that produces a reaction in the customer, namely, a negative reaction. While I don't particularly agree with his example near the end of the column where he complains about contact email addresses being replaced by web forms, the notion that bad institutional practices have negative consequences is important to keep in mind. - LRK

Wells, Catherine A.  "Location, Location, Location: The Importance of Placement of the Chat Request Button. "  Reference & User Services Quarterly  43(2) (Winter 2003):  133-137. - Concerned that Chat Reference wasn't being used as much as expected, librarians at Case Western Reserve began experimenting with the size, shape, location and frequency of placement of the Chat Reference button on their site. They eventually found, perhaps to no one's surprise, that usage went up if the button appeared on the most heavily trafficked pages (home page, catalog page, database page). High on their wish list now is getting the button on vendor (i.e. subscription database) pages as well. - LRK


Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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