Current Cites

November 2008

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Frank Cervone, Warren Cheetham, Alison Cody, Susan Gibbons, Leo Robert Klein, Brian Rosenblum, Karen G. Schneider, Roy Tennant,

Band, Jonathan. A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries & the Google Library Project Settlement  Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association, 2008.( - Few copyright cases are as important as the lawsuit brought against Google by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers (The Authors Guild, Inc., et al. v. Google Inc.) over Google Book Search. There is a tentative joint settlement for this lawsuit; however the document is over 200 pages long and it is complex. Needless to say, you are unlikely to want to try to decipher the whole thing yourself. Fortunately, Band, a noted intellectual property expert, has done that for you in a svelte, comprehensible 23-page document. - CB

Breeding, Marshall. "Open Source Integrated Library SystemsLibrary Technology Reports  44(8)(December 2008)( - As the one person most knowledgeable about the integrated library systems (ILS) landscape in the United States (and probably beyond), few are as well-positioned to take a look at open source ILS software as Marshall Breeding. Here is exactly the kind of straightforward expository look at these options you have come to expect from Breeding. Although it is not an in-depth comparison, he provides charts of specific functions (e.g., faceted browsing, book jacket display, invoice processing, etc.) and identifies which of these each of the four highlighted options supports. Systems covered in this detail include Koha, Evergreen, OPALS, and NewGenLib. Unfortunately, this also makes the shelf-life of this LTR likely to be measured in months. As Breeding himself says, "This report provides a snapshot in time of the open source ILS products and companies. The world of ILS is evolving rapidly, even more so than previous trends in library technology." So get it now, while it's hot, or else don't bother. - RT

Cain, Thomas J., Joseph J.  Branin, and W. Michael  Sherman. "Knowledge Management and the AcademyEDUCAUSE Quarterly  31(4): 26-33. ( - The care, organization, and distribution of institutional data appears to be a growing trend within academic librarianship. Ohio State University Libraries was one of the first to recognize this need and provide its institution with a viable solution. This article describes how authoritative data derived from university online systems, such as human resources, registrar, libraries, and sponsored research, were combined to create OSU:pro. The reports and visuals generated by this data provide university administrators with a better understanding of faculty activity, helps faculty to manage research reporting, and offers students and the greater community a way to locate specialists and scholars. While a very complex challenge, it is certainly one that many academic libraries will need to address in the coming years. - SG

Fogel, Karl. Producing Open Source Software : How to Run a Successful Free Software Project  Sebastopol, California: O'Reilly, October, 2005.( - This stupendously useful book addresses not simply the tools valuable to open source products, which are subject to change, but the human factors of these projects, which are timeless. Throughout the discussions of version control, wikis, licensing, and other "how-to" issues, Fogel repeatedly circles back to people issues, with a strong emphasis on that bete noir, communication. Fogel's deep experience with open source projects shines through in chapters such as "Social and Political Infrastructure," where he frankly addresses one of the larger mysteries of open source development: who gets to decide? The chapter called "Money" should be read by any nonprofit organization embarking on an open source project, as Fogel clarifies the need to shake piggy-banks to provide quality assurance, usability testing, documentation, and even development. "Producing Open Source Software" is not only good reading for anyone involved in open source development, but it is also an engaging and useful introduction to open source for library managers and operational staff trying to wrap their heads around this very important software development model. The book is online for free in multiple formats, but also available for purchase in a handy dead-tree edition. - KGS

Horrigan, John B. "Use of Cloud Computing Applications and ServicesPew Internet & American Life Project  (12 September 2008)( - More and more of us are getting used to cloud computing -- whether we realize it or not. This was the subject of a recent study by the Pew Internet&American Life Project. The study asked if internet users had done of one of six cloud computing activities (used webmail, stored photos or videos online, used a service like Google Documents, paid to store files online or backed up a hard drive to an online service) and found that 69% of internet users had done at least one of those activities; 40% had done at least two. Younger users in particular are growing more and more acclimated to cloud computing: 87% have done at least one activity, and 59% have done two. But despite our growing willingness to let someone else store this data on our behalf, we still expect to have control of the data. The study found that 90% of those surveyed said they would be "very concerned" if a company hosting their data sold it; 80% said they would be "very concerned" if their photos and video were used in an ad campaign. This paradox points to a slew of issues, running the gamut from better-educating users about password strength to pushing for more transparency from the companies providing these services. It's also worth considering whether there is a place here for libraries to step in. Can we build on our reputation for protecting our patrons' privacy when it comes to their reading choices, and offer them an alternative storage space for materials relating to their academic pursuits? - AC

Horrigan , John B, and Sydney  Jones. "When Technology FailsPew Internet & American Life Project  (16 November 2008)( - The focus of this study is the failure rate of various consumer electronic and ICT devices, user's reactions to those failures, and how people attempted to fix the problem. Internet connections at home are most likely to fail, and iPods and other MP3 players seem to be the most resistant to failure. When faced with a failed device, over one third of users contacted user-support and 28% attempted to fix the problem themselves. The course of action that people choose to remedy a failure depends on the device, and people's reaction to a failed device may depend on age and gender. Some interesting points to ponder for library services, in considering what "user-support" is offered for library-related technology products and services. (P.S. My printer failed when I first tried to print this report.) - WC

Ito, Mizuko, Heather  Horst, and Matteo  Bittanti, et. al."Living and learning with new media: summary of findings from the Digital Youth Project (white paper)Digital Youth Research and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation  (November 2008)( - Most adults seem to be aware that young people integrate digital media and online communication into their lives in ways not understood or experienced by most adults. The question of how this online life shapes young people's experience of literacy, learning and authoritative knowledge are explored in these results of a three-year study of 800 youth and young adults. The results and implications for the education profession (and libraries) are exciting and challenging. Young people are motivated by a desire to manage and strengthen existing friendships, as well as "geeking out", a highly social and engaged way of peer-based, self-directed learning. The report suggests that adults can play an important role in the online life of young people -- by removing barriers that deprive teens of access to online participation, and by setting learning goals when teens are engaged in interest-driven online learning. - WC

Maron, Nancy L., and K. Kirby  Smith. Current Models of Scholarly Communication: Results of an Investigation Conducted by Ithaka for the Association of Research Libraries  Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, November 2008.( - This study, which involved 301 librarians at 41 institutions interviewing professors about their use of digital resources, attempts to increase our understanding about new models of scholarly communication by identifying a large list of specific resources and asking questions about emerging patterns, genres, quality control practices, and other issues. The survey identifies and discusses eight types of digital resources (e-only journals, reviews, preprints, reference sources, data resources, blogs, discussion forums, and academic hubs) and provides a useful list of over 200 digital scholarly resources (also available online in a searchable database). Among the study's main conclusions are: digital innovations are taking place in all disciplines; digital publishing is shaped powerfully by the traditions of scholarly culture; many digital resources are small, niche resources; and achieving sustainability is a universal challenge. The study also suggests there is a valuable role for libraries to play in supporting these digital initiatives, through knowledge-sharing with faculty, proactive preservation initiatives, guiding the creation of new projects, and, more generally, serving as a "nexus of communication" on campus. - BR

Millard, Elizabeth. "How to Make Web 2.0 Productivity Tools WorkBaseline Magazine  (10 October 2008)( - Although written more with a corporate audience in mind, this short article highlights some of the more important things to keep in mind when trying to encourage the use of Web 2.0 tools in an organization. Although some of the suggestions might seem self-evident to Library 2.0 advocates, the author reminds us that if we want to encourage innovation we have to abandon some preconceived notions of how things should be managed. For example, the author stresses the point that we should abandon attempts at detailed productivity measures where Web 2.0 tools are concerned and look instead at overall productivity of workers in relationship to their projects and tasks. Another recommendation is to allow personal use but limit the amount of time people engage in personal work through common understanding rather than rigid control. Finally, the author suggests using microblogging as a recruiting and retention tool. In addition to signifying that the organization is interested in pursuing newer technologies, microblogging and other tools have an additional benefit as they help improve collaboration among workers. - FC

Rochkind, Jonathan. "A Primer in Risk: Taking a Critical Look at Common Support Scenarios for Open Source SoftwareLibrary Journal  (15 November 2008)( - There continues to be much hype and debate about open source software, although we appear to be approaching a level of mature discussion and serious consideration heretofore rarely seen. This piece by Rochkind (a programmer at Johns Hopkins University and well-regarded Code4Lib regular) is an excellent contribution to the kind of level-headed discourse of which this topic deserves. As Rochkind points out, not all open source software is created (and more importantly, maintained) equally. Any library that chooses to go with open source (and make no mistake, there are plenty of very good reasons to do so, and probably every library already uses open source software) would do well to consider the source of support, which can range from one or a few programmers who may move on one day to being backed by the full faith and force of a large organization or commercial company. And as Rochkind also points out, even should the support go away you have the option of taking it on yourself, which is an escape hatch that is often not an option with closed source software. All in all, this is exactly the kind of informative and nuanced discussion of options that will hopefully presage a movement away from what often appears to be a religious debate into the realm of business like decision-making. Highly recommended. - RT

Schindler, Esther. "6 Scripting Languages Your Developers Wish You'd Let Them UseCIO Magazine  (13 October 2008)( - While many people are familiar with the more common scripting languages such as Perl and PHP, this article introduces us to some obscure, emerging, and specialty scripting languages. As has been true since the earliest days of programming language compilers, most of these languages are destined for obscurity as they are designed to fill specific niches which are not well-served by more traditional languages. Nonetheless, you never know where the next major language is going to come from. Who would have predicted in 1997 that PHP would become as important as it has been? The languages that are discussed in this article include Scala, Groovy, Clojure, Lua, F#, and Boo. While it is true that some of these languages are not, in fact, scripting languages that's almost irrelevant. These languages address a multitude of needs, including making it easier for people to learn how to program. The main point of this article is that there is a lot going on in the world of programming languages and it's important for us to keep up. While we may be Perl and PHP code monkeys today, that won't be true 5 or 10 years from now. - FC

Tenopir, Carol, and Donald W.  King. "Electronic Journals and Changes in Scholarly Article Seeking and Reading PatternsD-Lib Magazine  (November/December 2008)( - 'If we build it, they will come', has been a guiding principle of most libraries putting their content online. One advantage of having done so now for several years, is studying the effect, if any, that such access has on scholarly reading habits. This the current authors have done since 1977. In this article, they offer a shortish yet interesting review of their findings particularly in how reading habits relate to what eventually gets cited. There is a difference and the narrower scope of what makes it to the bibliography may, the authors suggest, be due "to peer pressure in the form of choosing more often to cite those [items] that are cited by others." - LRK

Vielmetti, Edward . "Focus on the interfacenetConnect  (15 October 2008)( - Mobile phone ownership and use is growing and this article is a good summary of what libraries are currently doing to provide library services and resources to mobile platforms. OPACs and library webpages can be specially coded for delivery to a mobile device or take advantage of "transcoding", which reformats regular library websites on-the-fly. Library notices delivered by SMS can help to provide "high-value notification and reminder services". Did you know that at least one library can SMS the title, location, floor and call number of an item found on the OPAC to a mobile device? Customers can then move from the OPAC terminal to the correct floor and shelf location of the desired item, using the information received by SMS. The article also looks at mobile services provided by Amazon and LibraryThing, which provides good food for thought for possible library applications. - WC

Zuber, Peter A. "A Study of Institutional Repository Holdings by Academic DisciplineD-Lib Magazine  14(11/12)(2008)( - Based on a sample of forty-one four-year U.S. institutions with over 15,000 students, Zuber found that institutional repositories haven't yet attracted documents from a wide range of disciplines, that disciplines with a history of preprint/e-print use are the main repository contributors, and that most repositories are not using incentives for deposit, such as a "most popular" feature. Eighteen of the 41 institutions had institutional repositories, with nine evaluating or launching one. - CB