Current Cites

December 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Roy Tennant

Adler, Prudence, Brandon  Butler, and Patricia  Aufderheide, et. al.Fair Use Challenges in Academic and Research Libraries  Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries, 20 December 2010.( - After successfully developing a number of disciplinary-specific codes of best practices in fair use, the specialists at the Center for Social Media have joined with the Association for Research Libraries to examine fair use practices in research libraries. This report is the first product from that collaboration. It presents the result of an investigation into how academic and research librarians currently interpret fair use. The results are unsurprising to anyone who must deal with copyright. Uncertainty about copyright and the application of fair use is greatly impacting the mission of the library. The report describes how this uncertainty is affecting teaching and learning, scholarship, preservation, exhibitions and public outreach, and access for persons with disabilities. It concludes that the lack of consensus about how to apply fair use in each of these areas calls out for a firmer collective understanding of fair use: the next goal of the project. In the interim, librarians can read the report to learn if their practices may be too liberal or too conservative in comparison to the actions of their colleagues. - PH

Asunka, Stephen, Hui Soo  Chae, and Gary  Natriello. "Towards an Understanding of the Use of an Institutional Repository with Integrated Social Networking Tools: A Study of PocketKnowledgeLibrary & Information Science Research  (2010)(18 December 2010)( - This in-press article from Library & Information Science Research explores the use of PocketKnowledge, an institutional repository created&used by Teachers College at Columbia University. The repository is open to students, faculty, staff and non-affiliates of Columbia, and includes social networking features, such as tagging and commenting. The authors of this study analyzed transaction logs from eight semesters, exploring registrations, documents uploaded and downloaded, and use of the social networking features. The authors found that students were by far the heaviest users -- they contributed almost 90% of the content uploaded to the system. They also found that while tags were regularly employed by registered users, commenting was hardly used at all: only nine out of over 3,000 items analyzed carried comments. This seems to indicate that the repository is used as a place to store and retrieve documents, rather than a space to interact with scholars and classmates. The authors also found that registration rates declined in tandem with the decline of marketing and outreach efforts to publicize the repository, demonstrating that the library will need to continue promoting the repository in order to ensure its continued use. - AC

Erway, Ricky. Defining 'Born Digital'  Dublin, OH: OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., November 2010.( - This brief but pithy paper by my OCLC colleague does a great job of identifying the diversity of "born digital" materials, from digital photographs to harvested web content and many other types of materials. She also identifies a starter set of additional issues that pertain to these materials, such as bit rot, obsolete media, hardware, and software, and authenticity. Questions such as whether one should attempt to recover deleted files and when something in digital form should be considered "published" are raised. This four-page PDF can serve as a useful introduction to this topic (especially in relation to the more detailed and complex "Digital Forensics" document also cited in this issue), and is even accompanied by a brief but amusing video. - RT

Kirschenbaum, Matthew G., Richard  Ovenden, and Gabriela  Redwine. Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections  Washington, DC: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2010.( - It's unlikely that many cultural heritage specialists, such as archivists, are familiar with digital forensic techniques. This report suggests that, in an age where important source materials are increasingly born digital, they should be. As CLIR President Charles Henry says in the report's introduction: "When the shared interests of digital forensics and responsibilities associated with securing and maintaining our cultural legacy are identified--preservation, extraction, documentation, and interpretation, as this report details--the correspondence between these fields of study becomes logical and compelling." The report examines key issues related to legacy hardware, software and file formats; unique and irreplaceable data; data authenticity; data recovery; and forensic costs. It also discusses ethical and privacy concerns, and it provides recommendations for further progress in the use of digital forensic techniques by cultural heritage workers. Descriptions of forensic hardware and software and further resources for study complete the report. - CB

Martin, Brian, Chris  Moore, and Colin  Salter. "Sharing Music Files: Tactics of a Challenge to the IndustryFirst Monday  15(12)(6 December 2010)( - Each day, I have to explain to my customers how downloadable media works. The common logic by many web users is “If it’s digital, then it’s on the internet, then it’s free!” The truth is that we cannot often buy unlimited access to popular books, videos, and songs. Instead, the library purchases many of these digital items as we do physical items: copy by copy. It still costs us money from our budget, and customers still have to wait for the most in-demand items. But what about our customers who have skipped the library all together, breaking down digital rights management on protected files and reading best sellers posted on file sharing sites? In their article "Sharing Music Files," Martin, Moore, and Salter investigate the struggle between the music industry and peer-to-peer file-sharing services. They argue that the fight between the music industry and file-sharing services can be classified into five categories: "cover–up versus exposure, devaluation versus validation, interpretation versus alternative interpretation, official channels versus mobilisation, and intimidation versus resistance." Each side has tried to use these tactics to their advantage, but the true effectiveness of these methods has not yet been measured. Martin, Moore, and Salter call for strategic thinking in the future, using exposure, validation, interpretation, mobilization, and resistance in the planning process. - KC

Nielsen, Jakob. "College Students on the WebJakob Nielsen's Alertbox  (15 December 2010)( - Digital natives, online generation, technology geniuses--this is how we often think of college-age students. Jakob Nielsen conducted research with 43 students across the globe to study how they interact with websites, including university sites. They were given specific tasks to do on each site, and were also given some open-ended searching opportunities. The results busted three myths of student Internet use: (1) Students are technology wizards; (2) Students crave multi-media and fancy design; and (3) Students are enraptured by social networking. The students often preferred simple design, and repeated comments that have been heard again and again in website usability studies (e.g. website text should be easy to scan). Other findings included that students were skeptical of sites that lacked depth, and they often have multiple tabs open at once and switch contexts frequently. If your web committee needs a reality check, this report from the guru of web usability should do the trick. - KC

Webster, Keith. "The Library Space as Learning SpaceEDUCAUSE Review  45(6)(November/December 2010)( - This piece is a thoughtful consideration of David Lewis' "Model for Academic Libraries 2005 to 2025": "1.) Complete the migration from print to electronic collections; 2.) Retire legacy print collections; 3.) Redevelop the library space; 4.) Reposition library and information tools, resources, and expertise, and 5.) Migrate the focus of collections from purchasing materials to curating content." Webster cites several studies -- both his own and others, that seem to indicate that academic library users would agree with Lewis' model. "Although they make up only one component of evidence to support decision-making," Webster writes, "these various studies do show that Lewis's vision is achievable. Of course, fundamental change will prove controversial, particularly when it involves the removal of print collections from open shelves. But we know that electronic resources are vastly preferred, and we know that we can care for print collections more thoroughly in off-site, environmentally controlled warehouses than in hot and humid libraries. We can then leverage this shift to free up space and staff to more effectively deliver the spaces and services required in our colleges and universities in the future." - RT