Current Cites

Current Cites, January 2006

Edited by Roy Tennant

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


"Google Free to Cache: CourtRed Herring  (26 January 2006)(http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=15493&hed=Google+Free+to+Cache%3A+Court&sector=Industries&subsector=InternetAndServices#). - Guess what? It's not the end of the world as we know it. A federal district court in Nevada has ruled in Field v. Google that Google's Website indexing practices don't violate copyright law. Just imagine if the ruling had gone the other way. Time to get permission from billions of Websites' owners (and any other copyright owners with material on those Websites) before indexing them. Ouch! In a related press release from EFF, Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney, says: "The ruling should also help Google in defending against the lawsuit brought by book publishers over its Google Library Project, as well as assisting organizations like the Internet Archive that rely on caching." I don't know about you, but I feel fine about this copyright ruling (for a change). - CB

Crawford, Walt. "Library 2.0 and 'Library 2.0'Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large  6(2)(2006): 1-32. (http://cites.boisestate.edu/civ6i2.pdf). - Library 2.0 is all the buzz, but what is it really? That's the question that Walt Crawford set out to answer. The result is a 32-page essay that includes 62 views, 7 definitions, many perspectives by library bloggers and others, and, of course, Crawford's incisive analysis of it all. By far, this is the definitive piece on this rather amorphous topic. Crawford draws a distinction between Library 2.0, the conceptual aggregate that embodies a variety of software and service innovations, and "Library 2.0," the "bandwagon." He favors the former, but feels the latter "carries too much baggage." This is Crawford at his best, and, love it or hate it, it's a stimulating article that informs and provokes serious thought. (See also his follow-up article.) - CB

Glazer, Becky. "Digital Library Curriculum ProjectCollegiate Times  (26 January 2006)(http://www.collegiatetimes.com/news/1/ARTICLE/6358/2006-01-26.html?sid=945afea211a7d357e7fa7b5878cf28c6). - Digital libraries have such a high profile in our profession these days that it is sometimes easy to forget how new this concept is. Which means, as this article points out, that there really is a dearth of adequately trained individuals to build and maintain these repositories. This year, however, the University of North Carolina and Virginia Tech are jointly developing "a quality educational curriculum on the development and preservation of digital libraries," thanks to three years' worth of funding from a National Science Foundation grant. Virginia Tech has a top-quality computer science program and UNC's SLIS is ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report, which should make for an excellent collaboration. The project includes the development of both online and off-line course modules as well as supplementary course materials. - SK

Guy, Marieke, and Emma  Tonkin. "Folksonomies: Tidying Up Tags?D-Lib Magazine  12(1)(http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january06/guy/01guy.html). - Short "seat-of-the-pants" examination of user-generated folksonomies as practiced at del.icio.us and flikr. The authors identify a "natural tendency towards the convergence of tags". That said, there seems to be a great variation in spelling and use of punctuation with upwards of a third of the terms. The authors discuss ways to improve both the system and the practices of people using the system. At the same time, they're mindful of the benefits that an open system despite its irregularities can have. - LRK

Rubino, Ken. "Self-Publishing: The Internet Makes It Easier to Go from Idea to PrintLink-Up Digital  (15 January 2006)(http://www.infotoday.com/linkup/lud011506-rubino.shtml). - One of my staff recently sent a customer my way. A lieutenant colonel on the cusp of retirement. He wanted to write a book. My new book came out recently. Therefore I could help this man, right? Actually I could -- since I'd just stumbled across this article on the Information Today website. Lots of people want to write books. Most of them will never get around to it. And of those who do come up with a completed manuscript, relatively few will make it over the hurdles of the traditional publishing process. But that doesn't matter nearly as much as it used to; self-publishing flourishes in myriad forms on the Internet, as this article points out. From the humble weblog to full-service self-publishing companies -- the opportunities are out there, waiting for the aspiring author to click on them. Naturally, there are caveats; Rubino, "a professional photographer and occasional freelance writer" discusses some of them, offers advice about what to look for when choosing a self-publishing company and provides websites you can browse for more information. He recommends Books Just Books as a good starting point for the would-be self-published author. - SK

Sadeh, Tamar. "Google Scholar Versus Metasearch SystemsHEP Libraries Webzine  (12)(February 2006)(http://library.cern.ch/HEPLW/12/papers/1/). - The advent of Google Scholar has made many question whether libraries need expensive metasearching systems to unify searching of multiple sources. This thoughtful and informative article addresses this question, and even attempts to clarify the confusing terminology by drawing clear distinctions between "metasearching" (just-in-time unification such as most library metasearch tools) and "federated searching" (just-in-case unification like Google Scholar). Although the author is an employee of ExLibris (vendor of the MetaLib metasearching tool), and naturally uses MetaLib as an example system, what she discusses is generally applicable to the metasearching environment as a whole. She also reviews other metasearching efforts such as Elsevier's Scirus system. Those who are knowledgeable about the isssues will not be surprised that Sadeh does not come down on the side of Google, nor against it. Rather, she acknowledges the utility of both Google Scholar and library-based metasearch services when each is appropriate, as well as carefully watching developments in industry as a whole. This is altogether the best overview of Google Scholar, other large federated search systems such as Scirus, and library-based metasearch tools I've seen. Full disclosure: as a MetaLib customer I have worked with Ms. Sadeh and some of my work is cited in her article. - RT

Suber, Peter. "The U.S. CURES Act Would Mandate OASPARC Open Access Newsletter  (93)(2006)(http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/01-02-06.htm#cures). - In this article, Suber overviews and analyzes the American Center for CURES Act of 2005 (S.2104). This important bill would mandate open access to all research funded in whole or part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is roughly half of all non-classified federally funded research. Deposit of the final, peer-reviewed versions of articles would be required when they were accepted, and any access embargo periods could only last six months. Non-compliance by grantees could result in the denial of future funding. Government employees' articles would also covered by the bill. - CB

Teachout, Terry. "A Hundred Books in Your PocketThe Wall Street Journal  (21 January 2006)(http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113779027926552261.html?mod=todays_free_feature). - As you can probably guess from the title, this article is about e-books -- more specifically, Sony's announcement of a new paperback-sized e-book reader that will use E Ink, a state-of-the-art display technology that is supposed to be like reading from paper (obviously the gold standard). Even more interesting, perhaps, is Sony's intention to open a new iTunes-like store for downloadable e-books. Three major publishers -- HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster -- have signed on; "HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are plan to make their entire backlists available for downloading as soon as they negotiate royalty rights with the authors." The author thinks this will be what causes Sony's reader -- due for release this spring -- to take off. Like the wiildly popular iPod and iTunes, this is "what marketers call an 'end to end' solution to the problem of the e-book" -- one-stop shopping for content, as it were. The author seem to feel quite strongly that the printed book, as "a technology," is circling the drain. "Like all technologies," he says, "it has a finite life span, and its time is almost up." - SK

University of California Libraries Bibliographic Services Task Force. Rethinking How We Provide Bibliographic Services for the University of California  Oakland, CA: University of California, December 2005.(http://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/sopag/BSTF/Final.pdf). - In a no-holds-barred report by this University of California task force, much of the existing library bibliographic insfrastructure is blasted as being out-of-date and inadequate. "The current Library catalog," states the report, "is poorly designed for the tasks of finding, discovering, and selecting the growing set of resources available in our libraries." But it doesn't stop there, in either uncovering deficiencies nor in recommending potentially fruitful directions. The thrust of the report can perhaps be perceived by the headings under which the recommendations for futher action are grouped: "Enhancing Search and Retrieval," "Rearchitecting the OPAC," "Adopting New Cataloging Practices," and "Supporting Continuing Improvement." Although this report is specific to the UC environment, I suspect that many institutions find themselves in a similar situation and therefore reviewing this report carefully is likely to be instructive. Full disclosure: I am a UC employee and was interviewed by the task force in the process of producing this report. - RT