Current Cites

October 2009

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Warren Cheetham, Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

"Password Authentication from a Human Factors Perspective: Results of a Survey among End-UsersProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society  53(2009): 459-463. ( - Everyone loves to grumble about password misuse but rather than blaming the user, it might be more productive to look at the system instead. The authors of this study surveyed several hundred employees of a firm that handles "very sensitive private information". They found, not surprisingly, that few users adhered 100% to best practices for password use. People either use simple passwords that they can remember or complex passwords that they have to write down. This isn't due to an unwillingness on their part to cooperate but because, as the authors posit, "they are not capable of 'sticking to the rules'". While the article is relatively short, its discussion of the literature and also possible solutions are quite helpful. - LRK

Brindley, Lynne J. "Challenges for Great Libraries in the Age of the Digital NativeInformation Services and Use  29(1)(2009): 3-12. ( - All library sectors are facing the challenge of moving to a digital environment, and this lecture* by Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library, gives the view from a national institution. By starting with an overview of her career in digital library services, Dame Brindley touches on some of the recent overarching developments in the field, especially in the UK. The rise of the information strategy, the growing recognition of the value of knowledge management, the creation of electronic libraries and the emergence of the digital natives provide background to the six issues that Brindley thinks that libraries “really need to pay attention to ensure that they are strategically position for continuing relevance”. The issues are: 1) e-Science and e-Research – life beyond the document, 2) Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 – beyond the technologies, 3) Special collections and digital content, 4) Information literacy for the 21st Century, 5) Digital preservation and long-term access, and 6) Inspiring spaces. These issues are presented only as broad outlines, however when you consider the position and influence of the author, it is the issues identified, rather than the detail given, that makes this paper interesting. * Miles Conrad Award Lecture to the National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) - WC

Crow, Raym. Income Models for Open Access: An Overview of Current Practice  Washington, DC: SPARC, 2009.( - The Gordian knot of "gold" open access is how to fund free publications. In this 56-page report, Crow offers and discusses a range of solutions: advertising, article processing fees, contextual e-commerce, convenience-format license, demand-side models and free ridership, donations and fund raising, endowments, external subsidies, in-kind support, internal subsidies, partnerships, sponsorships, use-triggered fees, and value added fee-based services. - CB

Fischer, Ruth, and RickLugg. Study of the North American MARC Records Marketplace  Washington, DC: Library of Congress, October 2009.( - This is the report of a study by R2 Consulting commissioned by the Library of Congress. The charge was "to investigate and describe  current approaches to the creation and distribution of MARC  records in US and Canadian libraries. The primary focus is on  the economics of existing practice, in effect mapping the marketplace  for cataloging records, including incentives  for and barriers to production. The underlying question is  whether sufficient cataloging capacity exists in North America,  and how that capacity is distributed." In the execution of this charge, R2 conducted a survey of libraries in North America regarding their creation, use, and attitudes toward MARC records snd their production and dissemination. There is a great deal of interest in this report, so it is highly recommended for anyone interested in the ecology of MARC record creation and use. - RT

Jaschik, Scott. "Breakthrough on Open AccessInside Higher Ed  ( 15 September 2009)( - On September 14, 2009, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley announced the compact for open-access publishing equity. In the compact, each participating university "commits to the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds." Also, the initial compact members "encourage other universities and research funding agencies to join us in this commitment, to provide a sufficient and sustainable funding basis for open-access publication of the scholarly literature." The compact has a Web site. In addition to Jaschik's article, see the Harvard press release, the FAQ, and Robin Peek's article "A Compact for Open Access Publication Announced." - CB

Lim, Sook. "How and Why do College Students Use Wikipedia?"  Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  60(11)(November 2009): 2189-2202. - This study explored how undergraduate students think about Wikipedia, and the ways in which they use it. While the study was small – only 134 students completed the survey – it still provides some food for thought. All of the students who completed the survey indicated that they had used Wikipedia in the past (almost certainly a result of the small sample size, and the fact that the survey was voluntary), and over 30% indicated that they used the site frequently. (The survey also asked about use of library databases, and found that 61% indicated that they were occasional users.) About 60% of students noted that they used Wikipedia primarily for nonacademic purposes; roughly 30% indicated that they used it primarily for academic purposes. That said, on the whole the students indicated that the expected to find “reasonably good information” on Wikipedia – not the best information on their topic. (Many of them noted that they use it to look up a quick fact, or gain some background on an unfamiliar topic. This indicates that while Wikipedia may be a starting place, it is likely that they are also looking elsewhere for information, at least for academic purposes.) In fact, the researchers found that students’ perceptions of the quality of information they found were lower than their actual experiences indicated. This indicates that, one way or another, students are getting the message that Wikipedia entries must be taken with a grain of salt. While the way students use and perceive the service will vary from institution to institution, this perhaps indicates that in some cases, instruction librarians may be able to spend a bit less time talking about the pros and cons of Wikipedia, and more highlighting the library’s scholarly resources. - AC

Pilch, Janice T. Issue Brief : Traditional Cultural Expression   Washington, D.C.: Library Copyright Alliance, 1 September 2009.( - Libraries are filled with the creative expressions of traditional and indigenous cultures, including folklore, myths, songs, paintings, dances, and rituals. While often of great importance to the communities from which they arise, traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) receive little legal respect and recognition. Pilch summarizes the complicated legal status of TCEs and outlines efforts around the world to establish legal foundations for their protection. While downplayed by Pilch (and the ALA Working Group that is drafting a statement on the issue), I can't help but wonder if librarian's willingness to respect cultural norms won't run afoul of our primary responsibility to provide access. For anyone interested in this issue of fundamental importance to the future of the profession, Pilch's issue brief is a great place to start. - PH

Suber, Peter. "Ten Challenges for Open-Access JournalsSPARC Open Access Newsletter  (138)(2009)( - Scholarly authors typically want to publish in well-established high-prestige, high-impact journals. This is especially true of junior faculty members, whose work will be closely scrutinized by tenure committees making up-or-out decisions. On the other hand, open access journals are typically relatively new journals, and, while some have achieved high impact scores and prestige within a few years, many face an uphill slog in these areas. This is not surprising. New print journals face these issues as well, and open access journals also have unconventional characteristics that result from their "born digital" nature that add to doubts about them. Suber identifies the ten most pressing issues that open access journals face and provides helpful advice about how they can be faced. The issues he deals with are: "the gap between journal performance and what prevailing metrics say about journal performance (#1); the gap between the vision of OA embodied in the Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin statements and the access policies at 85% of OA journals (#2); and the gap between a journal's quality and its prestige, even when the quality is high (#3). . . . doubts about quality (#4), preservation (#5), honesty (#6), publication fees (#7), sustainability (#8), redirection (#9), and strategy (#10)." - CB