Current Cites

Current Cites, August 2007

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Susan Gibbons, Leo Robert Klein, Brian Rosenblum, Karen G. Schneider, Roy Tennant

Albanese, Andrew Richard. "Scan This Book!Library Journal  (15 August 2007)( - This piece is mostly an interview with Brewster Kahle of the Open Content Alliance, with an introduction that sets the stage. The Open Content Alliance occupies a particular niche among those doing mass digitization, and this interview explores that well. Kahle sees himself as a crusader, and someone following on the tradition of libraries in this country while bringing their content to the web. "I see the library system in this country as a $12 billion industry dedicated to preservation and access of materials that are not mediated through a corporate experience," Kahle says, "The alternative is that the materials people learn from are forever mediated by a relatively small number of commercial companies in terms of selection and presentation." - RT

Cervone, Frank. "ILS Migration in the 21st Century: Some New Things to Think About This Time Around"  Computers in Libraries  27(7)(July/August 2007): 6-8; 60-62. - Cervone pens a timely and useful article on making the tough transition from one integrated library system to another. Given the current upheaval (some forced, some voluntary) in the ILS market, his advice is timely indeed, and those who are not immediately facing such a migration would nonetheless be wise to pin it to their bulletin board for future use. To rephrase an old quote, there are only two kinds of librarians -- those who have weathered a system migration and those who will. In addition to listing the basic steps of a migration, Cervone includes a summary list of typical tasks and some links to open source web application testing tools. Highly recommended for anyone with an ILS and a future. - RT

Duguid, Paul. "Inheritance and Loss? A Brief Survey of Google BooksFirst Monday  12(8)(6 August 2007)( - Paul Duguid takes us step-by-step through Google Book Search looking for online editions of Tristram Shandy and points out some problematic results: the scans are unreadable, the metadata is non-existent, and the editions appearing at the top of the search results are inferior editions that the contributing libraries tucked away in remote storage long ago. Duguid concludes that Google doesn't really appreciate "the bookish character of books." They don't lend themselves to automated digitization processes, and Google's powerful search tools cannot make up for a lack of metadata. Duguid argues that this visible lack of quality threatens the reputation not just of Google, but also those of the contributing libraries -- he calls this a kind of "patricide" in which the new digital form is not only inadequate itself, but destroys the original resources it hopes to inherit. Invoking Nicholson Baker, Duguid worries about Google Book Search becoming a kind of digital "double fold" -- a high-tech, low quality project libraries find themselves locked into. These arguments are weakened by a selective and incomplete methodology and some narrow assumptions about the typical or potential uses of Google Book Search--nevertheless, a thought-provoking articulation of some of the concerns surrounding this project. - BR

Feather, Celeste. "Electronic Resources Communications Management: A Strategy for Success"  Library Resources & Technical Services  51(3)(July 2007): 204-211, 228. - In her article "Electronic Resources Communications Management," Celeste Feather discusses how e-resources staff can better handle their lines of communication. She writes, "As libraries face the question of how to provide more services with fewer resources, administrators often expect e-resources acquisitions units to mange more resources with fewer staff than their peer print acquisitions units." We can easily apply this situation to other departments in our libraries -- it seems that we're all trying to do more with less. If you find yourself in a communications black hole, Feather's article addresses the literature of the organization of communications, provides analysis of the types of communication the department is receiving, and makes recommendations on how communication can be improved. She admits that her findings are specific to her library's needs, but many of her suggestions can be applied at any library. It's no surprise that a movement to increase face-to-face communication helped to relieve what Feather calls "information fatigue." - KC

Head, Alison. "Beyond Google: How do Students Conduct Academic Research?First Monday  12(8)(August 2007)( - This article, based on research conducted by noted professor and usability specialist Dr. Alison Head, challenges assumptions about student research behavior. Far from turning to Google and confidently flipping out a paper, students rely more on authoritative sources vetted and provided by instructors and librarians, and are more hesitant, diffident, and confused by the research process than is often assumed. The paper concludes by recommending we pay more attention to research instruction and information literacy, but implicit in its suggestions is a ringing endorsement of classic librarian tasks in higher education. - KGS

Lynch, Clifford. "The Shape of the Scientific Article in The Developing CyberinfrastructureCTWatch Quarterly  3(3)(August 2007)( - Clifford Lynch elucidates how the scientific article is likely to evolve in response to changes in the way scholarly work is carried out. Much of the focus is on articles and their relationship to data. For example, to what extent should articles incorporate data versus simply reference data, and how well does our the current data repository infrastructure support data preservation. Along with the need to make data available comes the need for more meaningful, interactive ways to visually present data. Finally, the literature itself will be computed upon on a large scale, not just read one article at a time. Lynch addresses these topics, provides some assessment for how well technology is meeting these needs today, and identifies some areas where more development is needed. This is just one article in the current issue of CTWatch Quarterly, which is worth checking out in its entirety. The issue is devoted to "The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications & Cyberinfrastructure" and contains articles by Paul Ginsparg, Peter Suber, and many others. - BR

McKay, Dana. "Institutional Repositories and Their 'Other' Users: Usability Beyond AuthorsAriadne  52(July 2007)( - A lot has been written on institutional repositories-- so much so that it can be hard for someone new to the topic to know where to begin. Through focusing on the various repository user and usability issues, McKay has created a very useful review of the institutional repository literature. Her conclusion is that while authors have been well studied, there are two other important users of institutional repositories that require more attention, namely information seekers ("end-users") and repository managers. She recommends observational studies, formal usability testing, and usage log analyses as three fruitful methods to improve our understanding of repository users. - SG

Yaffa, Joshua. "The Road to ClarityNew York Times  (August 12 2007): 36. ( - Fonts matter. On the road signs of our highways they can literally mean the difference between life and death. This article is a history of how a new font, Clearview, was developed for road signs in the U.S. It was the first time, the author states that 'anyone attempted to apply systematically the principles of graphic design to the American highway.' The process was careful and took the better part of two decades. The author describes what happened with wonderful detail using it as a vehicle to discuss broader issues of design and typography. If anyone wants an introduction to the subject, this is a great way to start. - LRK

van der Graaf, Maurits. "DRIVER: Seven Items on a European Agenda for Digital RepositoriesAriadne  (52)(2007)( - During the last few years, there have been growing number of surveys about digital repositories that have helped to clarify the activities of these important new systems (ARL, CNI, CNI/SURF, DSpace, and MIRACLE Project). Now, the DRIVER Project has added to that knowledgebase with a survey of repository activity in 27 European Union countries. In 15 countries, a "sizeable proportion" of research universities have a repository, in 5 "a few institutions" have repositories, and in 7 there is no known repository activity. The average repository has about 9,000 records. Ninety percent of these records are for textual materials, and 61% are metadata-only records. GNU Eprints is the most commonly used software, followed by DSpace. Check out the article for more details. - CB