Current Cites

Volume 15, no. 8, August 2004

Edited by Roy Tennant

ISSN: 1060-2356 -

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Shirl Kennedy, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Understanding Metadata   Washington, DC: National Information Standards Organization, 2004. ( - Metadata (structured information about an object or collection of objects) is increasingly important to libraries, archives, and museums. And although librarians are familiar with a number of issues that apply to creating and using metadata (e.g., authority control, controlled vocabularies, etc.), the world of metadata is nonetheless different than library cataloging, with its own set of challenges. Therefore, whether you are new to these concepts or quite experienced with classic cataloging, this short (20 pages) introductory paper on metadata can be helpful. - RT

Case, Mary M.  "A Snapshot in Time: ARL Libraries and Electronic Journal ResourcesARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC   (235) (August 2004):  1-10. ( - E-journals are definitely a hit at ARL libraries: expenditures have skyrocketed 712% between 1994/95 and 2001/02. In 2001/02, e-serials required a whopping 26% of ARL libraries' serials budgets (versus 5% in 1994/95). To get a more in-depth picture of the issues related to e-serials, ARL conducted two surveys of its members (one in 2002 and one in 2003). This interesting article presents the results of these surveys, which dealt with a wide variety of issues such as "big deals," nondisclosure clauses, pricing models, print cancellations, subscription costs, subscription terms, and usage terms (among others). Of particular note were the findings about print cancellations: "In the fall 2002 survey, only a few libraries indicated that they had moved to electronic-only versions of the titles offered by these 14 publishers. In the more general survey conducted in 2003, many more libraries indicated they were making the switch." Of course, this raises the difficult issue of the long-term preservation of electronic-only journals. I'd also suggest that, as this trend accelerates, it may erode access to scholarly journals by non-affiliated users, who are typically dependent on the availability of a limited number of "public" workstations, and deepen what Peter Suber calls the "permission crisis." - CB

Devine, Jane, and Francine  Egger-Sider.  "Beyond Google: The Invisible Web in the Academic Library"  Journal of Academic Librarianship   30(4) (July 2004):  265-269. - For most librarians, this article won't be their first encounter with the concept of web resources which aren't found by search sites such as Google, but it pulls together current resources and provides concise explanations useful for spreading the word. The problem is the word itself, in my opinion: whenever I talk to library users about an "invisible web" I get the reaction that it's a kind of "librarian layer" that normal people should ignore as long as there's a gatekeeper who can let them in when they need it. Personally, I'd rather not be a keeper of the mysteries, and whenever the opportunity arises I explain the characteristics of the kind of resource that Google couldn't mine: subscription database, unindexed file content, etc. This article can give you the gear needed to take your users diving down to the deeper levels and not leave them floating on the surface. - JR

Entlich, Richard.  "Blog Today, Gone Tomorrow? Preservation of WeblogsRLG DigiNews   8(4) (15 August 2004) ( - Should blogs be archived? If so, how can this best be accomplished? First, we need to know what constitutes a blog. The writer provides a working definition: "(P)ostings (at varying intervals), usually by a single individual, in the form of text, images, and other data forms, arranged in reverse chronological order and accessible with a Web browser." Most sources estimate the number of active blogs at somewhere around two million. The number of blogs created, of course, is much higher, but so many are abandoned, often almost immediately. The author refers to last October's Perseus Blog Survey, which reported that "about 2/3 of over 4 million blogs found on eight popular blog hosting services may have been abandoned, i.e., not updated within the past two months. Over a million consisted of just an initial post. The average active blog was updated about every two weeks." The simple fact is that most bloggers have a day job and/or other responsibilities, and keeping up a weblog is akin to feeding an always-hungry beast. It's not uncommon for a blog to develop a following and foster a sense of community. When the blogger decides, for whatever reason, to shut the blog down, its readers are often quite distressed. And then there's the question of what should happen to the content? Consider that there's always a possibility that a free blog hosting service may shut down suddenly, rendering all the users' content inaccessible. As blogging has gotten more sophisticated and been adopted by mainstream media and other entities, the blogosphere has become an increasingly important part of the web, and shares the same general archiving issues, identified by the author as "copyright, robot exclusion, dynamic content, password protection, exotic file formats, and miscoded material." But weblogs present some unique archving challenges as well, because of features like reader commentary, extensive linking to other sources, and different/non-compatible technologies underlying various blogging tools. Also, notes the writer, "Most librarians and archivists have not yet identified blogs as online resources particularly meriting collection and preservation." At this stage, it seems, the onus falls mostly on individual bloggers to maintain copies of their own content. - SK

Iliff, John, and Judy  Xao.  "Intellectual Honesty in the Electronic AgeBest Practices in E-Learning (Online Conference)   (August 2004) ( - "The trend toward dishonesty seems to be increasing," according to the authors of this paper, who have unearthed a variety of statistics and anecdotal evidence from research studies, articles and websites cited in the extensive bibliography. The Internet is certainly a factor in this trend, Not only has it armed potential cheaters with new tools, but it has spawned a mini-industry of online services designed to assist teachers and professors in catching plagiarists. Meanwhile, the cell phone and the PDA have added a whole new dimension to in-class cheating. "No gum wrapper or note tucked into a sleeve can compare to the storage and intelligence of these devices," the authors observe, wryly. They identify a whole laundry list of reasons why students cheat -- from the obvious ("to get a better grade") to the unintentional (ignorance of how to cite sources properly). And they discuss ways in which cheating can be deterred -- i.e., enforcing a strong academic honor code, defining clearly what constitutes plagiarism, structuring academic assignments so as to either make cheating difficult or make it easy to spot when it occurs. Since technology has "made student cheating faster and easier," it is incumbent upon educators to teach proper research techniques and increase awareness of "what is right and fair." This paper is from a presentation given as part of an online conference hosted by the University of Calgary August 23-27. The authors are librarians at the College of Staten Island, The City University of New York. - SK

Jackson, Joab.  "Advanced search engines link many data sourcesGovernment Computer News   23(24) (23 August 2004) ( - In a nutshell, federated search is coming to the federal government. Rather than have researchers waste time jumping from one search engine to another to access different government databases, various agencies are building single uniform interfaces that allow one-stop searching of multiple repositories. The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research uses Convera Corporation's RetrievalWare to facilitate searching across 15 different document databases. And the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has instituted single-interface searching across multiple document repositories, in different locations, concerning the DOE's "application to house a radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain." The NRC is using a software suite from Autonomy, Intelligent Data Operating Layer Server. - SK

Morgan, Eric Lease.  "An Introduction to the Search/Retrieve URL Service (SRU)Ariadne   (40) (July 2004) ( - Eric Morgan is a master at explaining complex topics simply, and this article is yet another example. Although the true neophyte may be a bit adrift, any moderately technically capable person will find this article a useful introduction to this emerging replacement for Z39.50 based on Web Services. And even those who know about SRU/SRW may find the included example of usage to be instructive. Although Perl familiarity would be useful, given the Perl-based examples, it is not necessary to understand the basic drift of the piece. This article is well worth the time of anyone interested in Z39.50 and/or Web Services. Or, for that matter, any technically capable librarian who wants to keep up with where the profession is going. - RT

Suber, Peter.  "NIH Open-Access Plan: Frequently Asked Questions   (2004) ( - Peter Suber has written a helpful FAQ about the U.S. House Appropriations Committee's recommendation regarding open access to journal articles that result from NIH grant-funded research. To recap the main points of the recommendation, such articles would be deposited in PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication. If NIH funds were used to support any publication costs, the articles would be made immediately available. Otherwise, they would be made available six months after publication. NIH would develop a plan by 12/1/04 to implement the recommendation in FY 2005. The FAQ clarifies the fine points of the recommendation (e.g., it's up to the researcher, not the publisher, to deposit the article), addresses the main issues that it raises (e.g., would journals lose subscribers as a result of the plan?), compares it to the Public Access to Science Act, discusses the future of the recommendation, and provides action steps for supporters (e.g., use the Public Knowledge Web form to send a fax to your Congressional delegation endorsing the recommendation). He also mentions the Alliance for Taxpayer Access , which the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries, the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, and many other organizations have recently formed to support the recommendation. - CB

Current Cites - ISSN: 1060-2356
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Last update July 27, 2004.