Current Cites

October 2007

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Jim Ronningen, Brian Rosenblum, Karen G. Schneider, Roy Tennant

The Ecar Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2007  Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE, October 2007.( - No matter how far you've taken your library into providing high tech, it probably isn't far enough, based on the findings of ths "longitudinal extension of the 2004, 2005, and 2006 ... studies of students and information technology" from the Educause Center for Applied Research. Cell phone use is now nearly at 100 percent saturation, laptop ownership is up sharply to almost 75 percent, and student expectations are high. These students live and work on the web; it is not a tool to them, but part of their lifestyle. As often happens in these higher-ed studies, community colleges are underrepresented, so take conclusions about that huge (and hugely-neglected) area of higher ed with a grain of salt. Despite that limitation, this report needs to be required reading for any strategic planning process for libraries -- technology-focused or not. - KGS

"After Years of Effort, Mandatory NIH Public Access Policy Passes CongressLibrary Journal Academic Newswire  (25 October 2007)( - Open access advocates got good news in October when the U.S. Senate passed the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill with the NIH open access mandate intact. Given that publishers opposed to the mandate lobbied strongly against it and two last minute amendments to the bill that would have weakened or killed the mandate were introduced then withdrawn by Sen. James Inhofe, its intact passage was hardly certain. Nonetheless, the mandate survived, and it reads as follows: "The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law." It is likely that publisher resistance will continue during the reconciliation process, and President Bush may veto the bill for reasons unrelated to the mandate. However, OA advocates are optimistic that, given the mandates' show of strength so far, it will become law in the future. - CB

Albanese, Andrew Richard. "Down with E-ReservesLibrary Journal  (1 October 200)(Down with E-Reserves). - My experience with library reserve materials goes back to my first library job -- the Reserve Book Room in the basement of Olin Library at Wesleyan University. They didn't automate the reserve room until the summer after I graduated. So I spent four years in the world of checking out articles and books by hand, and I have to say that the shelf-reading of folders of article copies was truly maddening. Reading articles like Albanese's "Down with E-Reserves" reminds me of how far we've come in the last decade with reserve materials, and how far we still have to go. Most of us feel like we're living in a world of "if it's online, it's free, right?", but the Association of American Publishers (AAP) would beg to differ. Libraries and institutions of all sizes are measuring their risk with what they can put online for e-reserves, and for what audience. When larger state universities can have up to 2,000 students looking at a single article online for a multi-section class, can fair use stand up in court? Albanese recognizes the lack of leadership on the issue, and hits the heart of the problem when he writes, "Being too restrictive can impinge on the educational mission allowed by law, while being too aggressive can lead to a potential lawsuit." - KC

De Rosa, Cathy, Joanne  Cantrell, and Andy  Havens, et. al.Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World: A Report to the OCLC Membership  Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2007.( - This report is based on a major survey of the attitudes and perceptions regarding sharing, privacy, and trust on the network of people in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Like its major predecessors Environmental Scan: Pattern Recognition (2003) and Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005), it is a weighty document printed in full-color on glossy paper to do justice to all of the tables, piecharts, pictures, and diagrams. However, it is also freely available as a downloadable PDF file, either by individual section or in its entirety. It is chock-full of interesting findings, and well worth spending a lot of time with it, which is almost required given its scope. One tidbit of note, although not all that surprising, is that respondents want to have their privacy protected by default, but also want to have the option to give up that privacy when they wish -- for example, to gain the benefits of social networking. Note: I am employed by OCLC, although I did not have anything to do with this report. - RT

Doctorow, Cory. "ScroogledRadar  (October 2007)( - This cautionary tale by popular science fiction writer Cory Doctorow poses the question, "Google controls your e-mail, your videos, your calendar, your searches... What if it controlled your life?" Beyond being an enjoyably scary, snap-crackling good story, "Scroogled" should have every librarian thinking twice about embracing a company whose bottom line has been "don't be evil"--a position quite distinct from "do be good." - KGS

Foster, Nancy Fried, Susan  Gibbons, and  eds.. Studying Students: The Undergraduate Research Project at the University of Rochester  Chicago: ACRL, ALA, 2007.( - This edited volume is the result of a research study conducted by University of Rochester River Campus Libraries staff to answer the question "What do students really do when they write their research papers?". With intriguing section titles such as "Night Owl Librarians: Shifting the Reference Clock," "Mapping Diaries, or Where Do They Go All Day?", and "The Mommy Model of Service" there's likely to be something here for everyone who works in an academic library. In the conclusion Foster and Gibbons provide four representative approaches to the question posed by the study as epitomized by four anonymized students. Highly recommended for all academic libraries, since we can garner the benefit of this thorough set of studies without doing all the work. - RT

Haigh, Maria. "Downloading Communism: File Sharing as Samizdat in UkraineLibri  57(3)(September 2007): 165-178. ( - Ukrainian file sharing practices and attitudes towards piracy and international copyright measures may seem like a rather specialized topic, but this article (titled after a popular, satirical poster) illuminates some of the dynamics of intellectual property issues in a globalized world. Going beyond the legal and economic discussions, the author shows that Ukraine's high rate of piracy and the public's dismissive attitudes towards copyright are bound up with Ukraine's national identity and reflect two distinctive features of its cultural heritage -- on the one hand, the Soviet Union's disregard for international copyright norms, and on the other hand, the cultural tradition of Samizdat -- the clandestine (and dangerous) copying and distribution of suppressed literature, often done through a underground, person-to-person network. When the U.S. wielded trading power with Ukraine to defend the intellectual property interests of the American entertainment industry, Ukrainians saw this as yet another heavy-handed attempt at foreign intervention. There are unstated parallels here with open access, open source, and other related issues, which the author plans to explore in future articles. The full text of the published article will be available one year after publication, but the author's draft (PDF) is available online now. - BR

MacCallum, Catriona J.. "When Is Open Access Not Open Access?PLoS Biology  5(10)(October 16, 2007)( - "Open access" does not just mean "free access." It also means, at least in its most tasty flavor, no restrictions on the immediate and unrestricted reuse and redistribution of the material, which is important for individual reuse as well as automated harvesting and data mining activities. As such activities become more widespread, the issue of reuse rights will become more important. This editorial cites the licenses and use policies of several publishers and argues that publishers -- either through a lack of understanding, or through intentional obfuscation -- are making claims to provide open access content that don't stand up to a strict definition of the term. The author calls on publishers to tighten their definition and application of the term open access and be more clear about the restrictions applied to their articles. In the meantime, authors need to be aware of the fine print, especially when they are paying fees for what they think is "open access." For more on this issue, and the relative merits of gold vs green open access with regard to reuse rights, check out the recent discussions in the blogs of Peter Suber, Peter Murray-Rust, Stevan Harnad and Klaus Graf. - BR

Sandler, Mark, Kim  Armstrong, and Bob  Nardini. "Market Formation for E-Books: Diffusion, Confusion or Delusion?The Journal of Electronic Publishing  10(3)(Fall 2007)( - A lively and knowledgeable overview of the factors affecting the market for e-books. On supply side, the impediments include convoluted marketing and pricing models offered by publishers that are not aligned with how libraries actually purchase books, and convoluted functionality that doesn't satisfy the needs and expectations of users. On the demand side, there is no consensus on the part of libraries about the decision making and budgeting structures needed to acquire e-books. Given all this lack of standardization, it is difficult to make the shift of resources required to move from a print to an e-book model. Yet the authors believe that the success of e-books is both desirable and inevitable. The "first wave" of e-book projects offers lessons about what works and what doesn't. Those e-book projects which have been successful have been characterized by a combination of low per-volume costs, simple pricing models, organizational trust, good functionality, and strong scholarly content. Moreover, the issues involved with e-books resemble those related to the shift from print to electronic journals, which has already reached a tipping point towards digital. That experience with journals can provide a framework for all stakeholders for developing successful e-book strategies. Also see the companion piece in the same issue of JEP, What Happened to the E-book Revolution?: The Gradual Integration of E-books into Academic Libraries, which provides an overview of recent literature about this topic. - BR

Starita, Angela. "Village VoicesPrint  61(5)(Sept/Oct 2007): 38-45. ( - When developing a component of increased interactivity in a site for information preservation and access, it's helpful to look beyond our standard boxes of library, archive, etc. This article takes us far beyond by looking at the work of Local Projects, a group which creates environments where information sources, the "voices" in the article title, are brought together in very interesting ways. Past projects have included the design of a travelling 'story collection booth' for StoryCorps, which is building an archive of oral histories by taking its apparatus to the people with the stories to tell, and Memory Maps, in which residents of New York City were able to add their place-specific tales to largescale borough maps. Exhibition design is also part of their work: for the Museum of Chinese in the Americas they created a continuous ribbon-like digital screen which charts exchange between China and the US over 167 years, and they are currently co-designing the permanent exhibition for the World Trade Center Memorial Museum. That museum's director believes that 9/11 is the most documented event in history, and Local Projects' principal Jake Barton says "We realized that the whole DNA of the project was the overlap of physical space with media space." In some form, the overlap of physical space with media space must be considered by all of us responsible for information places, and this article is helpful in reimagining those walls. - JR