Current Cites

April 2008

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

"Georgia State University Sued over E-Reserves Library Journal Academic Newswire  ( 17 April 2008)( - Backed by the Association of American Publishers, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications have sued Georgia State University alleging "systematic, widespread and unauthorized copying and distribution of a vast amount of copyrighted works" via GSU's e-reserves, course management, and other systems. The defendants named in the suit are the GSU President, Provost, Dean of Libraries, and Associate Provost for Information Systems and Technology. The suit has sparked controversy about digital copyright issues, sovereign immunity protection for state employees from such suits, and the role of university presses in the scholarly communication system. Here are some postings and articles about the reaction to the suit: "Further Coverage about and Commentary on the Georgia State Digital Copyright Lawsuit," "Georgia State Copyright Infringement Suit Coverage and Commentary," "GSU E-Reserves Suit Moves E-Reserves Discussion into the Light," and "Will the Average University Press Benefit from GSU E-Reserve Suit?." - CB

"Libraries Unleashed: Colleges, universities and the digital challengeThe Guardian  (22 April 2008)(,,2274706,00.html). - This special supplement in the Guardian newspaper (published in conjunction with JISC's "Libraries of the Future" initiative) contains 18 articles highlighting a number of contemporary library-related topics, including information literacy, learning spaces, open access, library 2.0, digitization, and the evolving roles and skills of users and librarians. Regular readers of Current Cites will find the coverage anecdotal and introductory. Still, it is rare to see librarianship getting such attention from a major newspaper, and the issues are clearly, if not deeply, laid out for a general audience (and useful, perhaps, for those friends and relatives who still can't quite grasp that your library job involves more than checking out and reshelving books). The focus is academic libraries and the opening paragraph sets the optimistic tone: "Academic libraries are changing faster than at any time in their history. Information technology, online databases, and catalogues and digitised archives have put the library back at the heart of teaching, learning and academic research on campus." - BR

Albanese, Andrew Richard. "Reality ChecksnetConnect  (15 April 2008)( - Riffing off the 2008 O'Reilly Media Tools of Change (TOC) conference in New York City, Albanese provides a provocative view over the publishing (and by association, library) landscape with ten "reality checks". Listing them hardly does them justice, but hey, I only have a paragraph and you really must read the piece anyway. So here's hoping the titles intrigue you enough to follow the link (and it's free, so what's stopping you?): Publishing "under control", Be upstream, not Updike, Too much information?, Anything but "ebooks", The iPod "moment"?, "Wikiality" check, The end of book scanning, The copyright-DRM balance, Jumping off a cliff, Privacy. "If your business forces users to use only specific formats or platforms you define, if you push users through clunky interfaces, arcane registration or authentication practices, or require DRM-laden plug-ins, you can probably consider yourself a candidate for early retirement," Albanese states, "One user-generated widget cooked up by a college dropout just might trump the five-year plan you drafted in your boardroom. For some, that awesome power represents opportunity and democratization; to others, mob rule. For all of us, however, it's reality." And any reality for publishers is ours as well, at least to some dramatic extent. Read it and weep, or read it and rejoice -- your choice. But by all means read it and think. - RT

DeRidder, Jody L. "Choosing Software for a Digital LibraryLibrary Hi Tech News  24(9/10)(2007): 19-21. ( - DeRidder provides an excellent overview of selecting software for digital library collections. She correctly begins with user requirements, then moves on to the needs of those who will create and support digital library collections, as well as those who will be installing and maintaining the software itself. DeRidder makes note of such important considerations as whether your technical staff know the language the application is written in (assuming it is open source), and counsels that "software selection should be done in consultation with the personnel who will be supporting it". After an initial narrowing to 1-3 options has been accomplished, DeRidder suggests more in-depth testing before making the selection, which she outlines in a series of steps. Overall it is an excellent description of how to successfully select digital library software. - RT

Denton, William. "FRBR and the History of Cataloging" in Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval Tools edited by Arlene G. Taylor, Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 30 November 2007.( - This 23-page book chapter on the conceptual model Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, by William Denton, who writes The FRBR Blog, is several things at once: a swashbuckling, intellectually exciting narrative of cataloging history; a roadmap to FRBR; and a cautionary tale that all things must pass. Denton traces FRBR through brief studies of the work of cataloging theorists Panizzi, Cutter, Ranganathan, and Lubetzky, arguing, for example, that "FRBR's user tasks are descended from Cutter's Objects." Denton is a highly accessible, entertaining writer, but this chapter will be best appreciated by readers who have at least a cursory knowledge of FRBR theory (which can be pleasantly acquired from Robert L. Maxwell's "FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed," also reviewed in this issue of Current Cites). "FRBR and the History of Cataloging" is excerpted from the book, "Understanding FRBR" (Arlene G. Taylor, ed.), published by Libraries Unlimited, which graciously gave permission to place Denton's excellent contribution on the open Web. Oh, and don't miss Denton's endnotes -- they are rich with good citations and his fluid, informed commentary. - KGS

Hahn, Karla L. Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing  (2 April 2008)( - With the publication of the Ithaka Report and the recent ARL Bimonthly Report on scholarly publishing, discussions of library-based publishing are becoming increasingly prominent. Now comes the first broad survey of library-based publishing activity, and it confirms that library-based publishing is becoming an increasingly common service, at least among ARL libraries. Of 80 ARL libraries surveyed, 44% are involved in publishing (usually with a focus on electronic journals) and another 21% are planning to get involved. Author Karla Hahn concludes: "the question is no longer whether libraries should offer publishing services, but what kinds of services libraries will offer." Based on survey responses and in-depth interviews with ten publishing program managers, Hahn discusses the scope of services, various business models, and other administrative, technical and conceptual issues that are emerging across these programs. She also places these activities in the larger university publishing context where these programs have a small but valuable niche to fill. Because many of these programs are moving from an experimental or pilot stage to a more programmatic service, Hahn suggests that the time is ripe for more consideration of these activities by campus-wide leadership. The time is also ripe, she notes, for more information exchange between library publishing programs, which have been developing "in something of a vacuum of community discussion." This report should prove to be a useful step in that direction. - BR

Lankes, R. David. "Collecting Conversations in a Massive-Scale World"  Library Resources & Technical Services  52(2)(April 2008): 12-18. - Libraries today are dealing with massive amounts of data and its storage. How can we as librarians and information professionals respond to the infinite growth of information waiting to be organized? In his article (which came out of a presentation at the ALCTS 50th Anniversary Conference in 2007), Lankes gives us four options for dealing with data: ignore it; limit the library; catalog it all; or embrace it. He asks us to adopt participatory librarianship and to open up the conversation for practice, policies, programs, and tools in our communities and says: "Participatory librarianship is an opportunity not only to enhance the mission of the library, but proactively to position librarians at the forefront of the information field . . . where they belong!" - KC

Lorigo, Lori, Maya  Haridasan, and Hronn  Brynjarsdottir, et. al."Eye Tracking and Online Search: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead"  Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  59(7)(14 March 2008) - Interesting look at using eye patterns to study search behavior using Google and Yahoo. The authors discuss some of the challenges using eye tracking methods and make suggestions as to how these methods can be integrated with other usability testing practices such as 'think aloud' and 'bio feedback'. - LRK

Luther, Judy. "A New Era in PublishingnetConnect  (15 April 2008)( - This overview article headlines this issue of netConnect on the future of publishing and provides an easy introduction to the new opportunities and challenges of digital publication. Luther describes new opportunities such as linkages with other sources of information, data mining, and printing on demand. She touches on the changed economics, where people such as Paul Krugman and others (John Perry Barlow, for example) have described the different economics of intellectual property. "In the industrial world," Luther paraphrases Krugman, "scarcity increases the value of a product since two people can't both have the same physical item. The opposite applies to the value of information, which increases as it is used and shared. Abundance, not scarcity, determines value -- and that is reshaping business models." User created content is also cited, with the examples of Wikipedia, GoingOn, and Sermo specifically mentioned. Luther provides no easy answers for publishers in this new world, but ends with some good advice: "Successful approaches will depend on understanding the needs of readers and involving them in the development and use of tools that can advance their thinking and draw upon their collective wisdom." - RT

Maxwell, Robert L. FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed  Chicago: American Library Association, 2008.( - Halfway through this book, I had a pleasant sensation: I realized I understood what Maxwell was talking about. FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed is a little slow getting out the gate; he begins with a music-cataloging example, was not the best choice for introducing newbies to this conceptual model. But stick with it, because Maxwell soon hits his stride in a book that is clear, intelligent, well-informed, and a sheer delight to read. (By the end of the book, he is using Harry Potter examples.) Maxwell has both praise and blame for FRBR, but more significantly, he clarifies that the real function of FRBR is to restore and build on a cataloging concept that was beginning to blossom before the icy fingers of AACR2 nipped it in the bud: the notion of relationships -- the idea that a bibliographic "thing" might relate to other bibliographic "things" in intelligent ways -- parallel, subsidiary, sequential, etc. -- a topic explored much earlier by Barbara Tillett. Those of us trying to "enable FRBR" in our catalogs might pause to ask ourselves how an OPAC can display a relationship that hasn't even been established in our own mental models, let alone in our data. Maxwell's underlying message is that we have been focusing on the eggs (that is, manifestations and items) at the expense of the egg cartons (that is, expressions and works). Maxwell is at his most provocative -- and dead-on correct -- when he says that a move to FRBR would require that we abandon the flat-file, record-focused structure and move to an entity-relationship database. He has done a superb job of describing not just FRBR but the state of cataloging data, and whether or not you are "perplexed," I heartily recommend you read this book as soon as possible. - KGS

Nguyen, Thinh. Open Doors and Open Minds: What Faculty Authors Can Do to Ensure Open Access to Their Work through Their Institution  Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC: SPARC and Science Commons, 2008.( - Building on the momentum created by Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences open access mandate, this white paper outlines how faculty at other institutions can effectively enact similar mandates and establish appropriate university licenses to give their institutions the necessary rights to archive their scholarly works in institutional repositories. - CB