Current Cites

February 2008

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Frank Cervone, Leo Robert Klein, Brian Rosenblum, Karen G. Schneider

Gustafson, Aaron. "Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8A List Apart Magazine  (251) (21 January 2008) ( - Nothing like a "tag fight" among web developers to start off the year right. In this case, it's about a tag that Microsoft wants people to add to their web pages so that IE8, Microsoft's new up-and-coming browser, will know whether to render a page in "standards mode" or in "quirks mode". The article discusses the rationale behind this "version targeting" in a relatively favorable light. It's in the 200 or so comments that follow that you can savor some of the less-than-favorable reaction. Digital Web kindly provides links to further heated discussion. - LRK

Guterman, Lila. "Celebrations and Tough Questions Follow Harvard's Move to Open Access"  The Chronicle of Higher Education   (21 February 2008) - The adoption of an open access mandate by Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has received worldwide notice, but it is likely to have an especially strong impact in the U.S. Here's an excerpt from the mandate: "The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Dean or the Dean's designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need." Guterman reports on reactions to the mandate, noting that publishers' criticisms have been "muted." As you would expect, Open Access News has extensively covered this development, and it is the best place to get further information (especially see the February 10, 2008 and February 17, 2008 OAN archives). - CB

Hahn, Trudi Bellardo. "Mass Digitization: Implication for Preserving the Scholarly Record"  Library Resources & Technical Services  52(1) (January 2008): 18-26. - "Digitization is not preservation." This is a sentence that I've heard countless times at digitization workshops over the years. Trudi Bellardo Hahn takes libraries to task for allowing Google and other for-profit vendors to make the rules for the mass digitization, and ultimately preservation, of our scholarly record. Based on a talk she did in 2006 at the Eighth Annual Symposium on Scholarly Communication, Hahn cautions us to pause and think a little bit more about five areas: pace of developments, risk versus vision, justification for digitizing books, trust, and leadership. She argues that libraries should look at who's driving the car of mass digitization, and to make sure that they are more involved in every step of the process, especially when it comes to digitization leadership. - KC

Hahn, Karla L. "Talk About Talking About New Models of Scholarly CommunicationThe Journal of Electronic Publishing  11(1) (Winter 2008) ( - "Research has effectively not happened until it has been communicated," Karla Hann writes at the beginning of this article. This sounds like a good scholarly communication advocate's unequivocal answer to the riddle "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" To look at the analogy another way, librarians have been hearing trees of the scholarly publishing forest falling all around them, but many faculty remain deaf to these changes--although the recent OA vote by Harvard's faculty (see elsewhere in this issue of Current Cites) suggests that may be changing. In any case, Hahn makes it clear that scholarly communication is not just a library issue, but one for the research and scholarly community as a whole. Broad change can only occur with the support of those who produce and use scholarship, and Hahn calls on the library community to accelerate its efforts to engage scholars in dialogue about scholarly communication issues. She discusses six "dangers in our current moment" and offers six suggested topics for campus dialogue. Part of the Winter 2008 special issue of JEP devoted of the theme of Communications, Scholarly Communications and the Advanced Research Infrastructure. - BR

Rieger, Oya Y. Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization: A White Paper  Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2008. ( - In this white paper, Oya Y. Rieger, Interim Assistant University Librarian for Digital Library and Information Technologies at the Cornell University Library, takes a look at four mass digitization projects (Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project) with particular attention to the long-term access and preservation issues that they raise. She investigates the impact that mass digitization programs will have on library book collections, and she offers 13 recommendations for libraries engaged in such programs to consider. In the recommendation section, she says: "Formulating a joint action plan by the cultural institutions is desirable and will help clarify commonly debated aspects of LSDIs [Large-Scale Digitization Initiatives]. It will be important to bring Google and Microsoft, as well as other commercial leaders, into this conversation. Participating libraries should take advantage of the partners' meetings organized by Google and Microsoft to present and discuss the community's digital preservation concerns and plans. However, it is important to acknowledge that there are institutional differences in opinion, digital library infrastructures, funding models, and strategic goals." - CB

Schaffhauser, Dian. "Digital crisis: Motion pictures may fade to blackComputerworld  (8 February, 2008) ( - Contrary to naive claims that since disk drives are inexpensive digital archiving is cheap, this article in Computerworld explores the two most pressing issues affecting digital preservation of films created in Hollywood: a lack of standards during both the content creation and storage phases and the high costs of on-going digital preservation. This article should be a wake up call to us in the information professions that we face the same types of issues and need to move much more quickly in creating and adopting standards as well as forming partnerships to spread the responsibility of digital preservation efforts given the unsustainability, both technologically and monetarily, of many of our current models. - FC

Zemon, Candy. "Candy Zemon Talks With Talis About NCIPPanlibus  (14 February 2008) ( - Aside from the glancing interest of an acronym within an acronym, NCIP -- the NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol -- may not seem exciting to those not involved in its implementation. But in this 47-minute podcast by the Talis software company (part of a series worth subscribing to), Candy Zemon of Polaris Library Systems, who also chairs the NCIP Implementors Group, gives us a friendly layman's stroll through not only this standard's history but the broader, complex, often frustrating yet important world of standards. Zemon talks about why NCIP, first proposed in 2002, has yet to achieve wide implementation and in doing so addresses why interoperability is important. Zemon also touches on the new Digital Library Federation (DLF) ILS and Discovery Systems group. - KGS