Current Cites

Current Cites, December 2005

Edited by Roy Tennant

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


Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. Dublin, OH: OCLC, December 2005.(http://www.oclc.org/reports/2005perceptions.htm). - This report "summarizes findings of an international study on information-seeking habits and preferences." The survey was an attempt to learn more about library use, awareness of and use of library electronic resources, and the library "brand", among other things. "The findings indicate," states the report, "that information consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, but they are unaware of the rich electronic content they can access through libraries." Although there are some bright spots, the report finds a rather depressing set of opinions about libraries. We clearly need to do better on a variety of fronts, but certainly with customer service and the marketing of our services to our users. - RT

IEEE Technical Committee on Digital Libraries Bulletin  2(1)(2005) - This special issue of the IEEE TCDL Bulletin presents brief summaries of poster sessions and demos from the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2005). Example articles include "aDORe, A Modular and Standards-Based Digital Object Repository at the Los Alamos National Laboratory," "If You Harvest arXiv.org, Will They Come?," "Metadata for Phonograph Records: Facilitating New Forms of Use and Access to Analog Sound Recordings," "The Musica Colonial Project," and "Video Recommendations for the Open Video Project." This issue is a good way to get a quick look at current developments in the digital library field. - CB

Coyle, Karen. "Descriptive Metadata for Copyright StatusFirst Monday  10(10)(3 October 2005)(http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_10/coyle/). - The author, a well-known commentator on digital library issues, has taken up a bite-sized topic: metadata for the copyright status of items in digital libraries. She delivers a succinct, but complete proposed strategy, complete with tables, grids and comparative information that buttresses her arguments. She comments that the discussion of intellectual property rights has heretofore focused on access and usage, which lie in the hands of the rights holder. It would be useful, she argues, to have a corresponding set of descriptive data that outline copyright status. She proposes a manageably-sized set of descriptive data elements that might accompany digital materials to inform potential users of the copyright status of the item. She suggests that it is possible to expand upon the well-articulated language of such sources as the Open Digital Rights Language of the Open Mobile Alliance, and the Creative Commons. The absence of well-articulated statements that define the full parameters of access places a heavier burden on users who seek to know what they can -- and cannot do. Digital rights management has focused a lot on the copyright "don'ts" -- Coyle presents a modest, but powerful argument for making the copyright "dos" easier to find and understand. - TH

Goedeken, Edward A. "The Serials Librarian: A Brief History and Assessment"  Serials Librarian  49 (4)(2005): 159-175. - Serious navel-gazing is going on by the journal, The Serials Librarian, as it features this study of its own articles from 1976 to the present day. The author of the study tabulates subjects covered, authors, geographic areas, etc. Perennial favorites as far as topics are concerned, include collection development and cataloging. Other topics seem to come and go. In the beginning there was much interest in bibliographic utilities like OCLC and RLIN; automation was also popular though interest seemed to wane as "librarians became more comfortable with computers and their role in libraries." Not surprisingly, E-journals, once a "curiosity", now demand closer attention. This is a good look at the continuity of serials librarianship from a statistical point of view. - LRK

Kroski, Ellyssa. "The Hive Mind: Folksonomies and User-Based TaggingInfotangle [Blog]  (7 December 2005)(http://infotangle.blogsome.com/2005/12/07/the-hive-mind-folksonomies-and-user-based-tagging/). - "Folksonomies" (loose taxonomies created by uncoordinated individuals) have been getting a lot of press lately, what with sites like Flickr.com, del.icio.us, and others allowing their users to "tag" photos or bookmarks with whatever descriptive terms come into their head. The idea is that this practice can lead to a taxonomy of sorts generated simply through usage. In other words, it's an idiotic idea whose time has apparently come. But setting aside my personal biases, this piece is one of the best I've seen on both the good and the bad of folksonomies. Although this is a blog posting (the first by this author), it is written much more like a journal article, and like such it has a rather awesome list of references. - RT

Liu, Ziming. "Reading Behavior in the Digital Environment: Changes in Reading Behavior Over the Past Ten Years"  Journal of Documentation  61(6)(2005): 700-712. - Interesting study on the changes in reading behavior due to increased use of digital information. People highlight less but search more; people read linearly less but show intense concentration once sections are found that interest them. While considerably more research is needed, this article is a good introduction to the field. - LRK

Noveck, Beth Simone. "A Democracy of GroupsFirst Monday  10(11)(7 November 2005)(http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue10_11/noveck/). - Noveck argues that the critical mass of new display technologies and collaborative software has reached a point where small groups of like-minded persons can work together with much greater impact on work and society. With these new visual display technologies, groups can now create meaningful online community, and utilize much-improved self-governance tools. While the mainstream of cultural and media researchers are interested in the relationship between the individual and the state, there is far less attention given to the rapidly evolving relationship of collaborative, grass-roots democracy in the online sphere of public life. Noveck makes two arguments, which fuel an interesting analysis of the state of online community in 2005. First, she argues that technologies of collaboration will increasingly fuel collective action (think of moveon.org). But the pace of growth will accelerate because of emerging tools for "collective visualization:" the ability to hold full-scale meetings in cyberspace. Her second argument flows from the first, calling for a legislative overhaul that empowers the process of decentralized, group-based decision making. Groups can now have "body" as well as "soul" -- in essence, following the principles of the law of corporations. - TH

Sale, Arthur. "Comparison of IR Content Policies in Australia  (2005)(http://eprints.comp.utas.edu.au:81/archive/00000230/). - In this e-print, Arthur Sale, Professor of Computing at the University of Tasmania, analyzes e-print deposit activity at seven Australian universities for 2004 and 2005 publications (there is partial 2005 data through early December). In brief, he found that mandating deposit resulted in much higher levels of activity than either voluntary deposit without special support for authors by repository staff or with such support. The one university with mandated deposit (Queensland University of Technology) had four times the deposit rate of the closest voluntary deposit university for 2005 publications. No voluntary deposit university had a rate higher than 10% for 2005 publications; QUT's rate is about 40%, and it is projected to be near 60% by the end of 2005. The author concludes: "It is well overdue for DEST to rule that postprints of all research that Australian universities report to DEST must be deposited in an institutional repository, to take effect say for 2007. The costs to the universities are ridiculously small; the benefits from increased global research impact, and enabling Australians to access the research they fund through the public purse, are enormous." (DEST is the Australian Department of Science Education and Technology.) - CB

Sandler, Mark. "Disruptive Beneficence: The Google Print Program and the Future of Libraries "  Internet Reference Services Quarterly  10(3/4)(2005): 5-22. - One of several articles in this special issue looking at the impact, for better or worse, both pro and contra, of Google on Libraries. In this piece we have the Collection Development Officer of UMich, a Google-Print Library, explaining the agreement between it and Google as a "work in progress, not fully formed in anyone's mind". Nevertheless, it's important, argues the author, to focus not on Google but on libraries and what they want to do with digitized material, the goal being at Michigan as elsewhere "to provide online access in perpetuity to its collections". Google can't do everything anyway. This includes local collections and other specialized material. "At best," the author observes, "Google Print will be a massive collection of undifferentiated books." Libraries will still be needed to fill in the gaps and to provide innovative services online and in-person that the competition, including Google, simply can't supply. - LRK