Current Cites

February 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Frank Cervone, Alison Cody, Susan Gibbons, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Edgar, Brian D., and John  Willinsky. "A Survey of the Scholarly Journals Using Open Journal SystemsPublic Knowledge Project  (2010)( - In this eprint, the authors present the results of a survey of 998 scholarly journals that use the Open Journal Systems software, an open source system that is freely available from the Public Knowledge Project. This is a particularly interesting study because it provides insight into the operations of open access journals that are not published by corporations, such as BioMed Central. There has been a long history of conflicting data about journal production costs, with conventional publishers and open access advocates often presenting significantly different figures. More often than not, this has been a "compare apples and oranges" problem, since the operations of journals that are similar to the majority of ones in this study are very different from those of commercial publishers. For example, here are the number of journals in the study that spent nothing on selected journal publishing functions: editorship, 522; management, 474; article layout, 454; proofreading, 504; website, 457; customization, 545; technical, 494; and promotion, 536. Regarding costs, the authors note: "The challenge posed by this set of journals becomes starkly apparent, whether the one compares the first copy costs from this journal sample of $188.39 per article, at roughly a tenth of the industry standard over the last decade. . ., or the annual budget for the majority of these journals, which stands at less than what are held to be the "fixed" costs ($3,800) of a single article . . ." - CB

Harley, Diane, Sophia K  Acord, and Sarah  Earl-Novell, et. al.Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines  Berkeley, CA: UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education, January 2010.( - Under the auspices of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Center for Studies in Higher Education at Berkeley has undertaken an exhaustive review of how faculty in seven selected academic fields (archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music, and political science) view traditional and emerging forms of scholarly communication. Their findings highlight the importance of traditional models of scholarly communications in most fields, and suggest that the opportunities provided by new technologies are not soon going to replace the published scholarly article or peer-reviewed monograph. They did identify 5 areas, however, that require further attention in academia: more nuanced tenure and promotion practices; a reexamination of peer review; more high quality and affordable journals and monograph publishing platforms; new models of publishing that accommodate different types of material; and support for managing and preserving new research methods and products. All academic librarians should read the executive summary and first chapter in order to better understand the environment in which we work. Specialists in each of the subject areas will want to read the detailed discussion of their fields as well. - PH

Jacsó, Péter. "Metadata mega mess in Google ScholarOnline Information Review  34(1)(2010): 175-191. ( - Google Scholar has many uses but "bibliometric" searches, say, by name of author or journal is not one of them. In fact, in this strongly argued piece, authors are routinely "robbed" of credit because chapter headings, journal names and even menu settings are misidentified as content creators. The parsers doing this are "under-educated" and most problems originate from "a mix of incompetence, carelessness and reckless negligence in essential quality control tests". Reading this litany, it's hard to understand why the company that gave us Wave and Buzz can't do a better job with structured data. That said, it's also hard to see why anyone would use it for "bibliometric" searches in the first place. - LRK

King, Julia. "Beyond CRM: SaaS Slips into the MainstreamComputerworld  44(4)(February 22, 2010): 16-20. ( - Cloud computing is one of the hottest topics in information technology today. The most prevalent model of cloud computing is currently centered around SaaS (software as a service). In this article, King explores both the pros and cons of implementing software as a service as well as the motivations behind some of these SaaS implmentations. While not specifically directed at the library community, the issues in this article are applicable to libraries as they consider how they will implement their systems in the future. For those not familiar with the ins-and-outs of cloud computing and software as a service, this is definitely recommended reading before your next meeting with IT. - FC

Library Copyright Alliance. Issue Brief: Streaming of Films for Education Purposes  Washington, D.C.: Library Copyright Alliance, February 2010.( - Ever since Inside Higher Educations broke the story, a lot of attention has been paid to the threat of a lawsuit against UCLA for streaming videos for educational use. The coverage by Kevin Smith, Peggy Hoon, and Steve Worona has been particularly helpful. Now a group of lawyers (Jonathan Band, Brandon Butler, Kenneth Crews, and Peter Jaszi) have prepared for the Library Copyright Alliance a ringing endorsement of educational use of streamed videos as an educational fair use. They also consider whether the educational performance exceptions might apply as well. We don't know how a court would rule, but the document is a good reminder that we should not accept at face value the interpretations of copyright law offered by those with a vested interest in licensing work. As the authors conclude, "Educational institutions should know and exercise their rights to use copyrighted works to extend and enrich the classroom experience." - PH

Maron, Nancy L. "Capitalising on Crowdsourcing: Lessons From eBirdDigital Content Quarterly (DCQ)  (1)(Winter 2009): 5. ( - This one-page piece in the inaugural issue of Digital Content Quarterly (DCQ) from the JISC Strategic Content Alliance, highlights a few useful points on how to be successful in attracting and effectively using user-contributed content. Written by a Strategic Services Analyst for Ithaka in relation to the online resource "eBird" that encourages contributions from amateur birders, Maron points out such lessons as: "1) Where’s the ‘candy’? Users are unlikely to contribute content or time purely to help you achieve your mission...2) ‘Free’ user-generated content often carries its own costs...3) Once content is in, what is required to make it useful?" Although the brevity of this piece may leave you desiring more, the article includes links to more complete treatments of the topic. If you have Acrobat 9, be sure to check out the interactive version of this publication, which includes embedded video. - RT

McSherry, Corynne, and Cindy  Cohn. "Digital Books and Your Rights: A Checklist for ReadersElectronic Frontier Foundation  (February 2010)( - In a new whitepaper, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) encourages readers to understand their rights when purchasing and using digital books. It gives readers questions to ask, and why these questions are important. Topics include privacy, licensing and ownership, digital rights management (DRM), censorship, and compatibility. The whitepaper introduces readers to the concepts of the first sale doctrine, the ways companies can track (and share) your reading habits, and the open EPUB format. A must read for libraries and readers alike. - KC

Tapscott, Don, and Anthony D.  Williams. "Innovating the 21st-Century University: It's Time!EDUCAUSE Review  45(1)(Jan/Feb 2010): 16-29. ( - The theme of the Jan/Feb issue of EDUCAUSE Review is "rethinking the future of higher education." Among the many interesting articles is a piece by Don Tapscott (author of Growing Up Digital) and Anthony D. Williams (co-author of Wikinomics). The authors join a growing chorus of warnings that higher education is overdue for a radical paradigm shift. Collaborative learning and collaborative knowledge production are at the heart of what Tapscott and Williams believe will be the 21st-century model of higher education. Open access content, open courseware and social networking ("a Facebook for faculty") are some of the necessary elements of a more flexible and pedagogically-sound education system. While we have been hearing elements of this University 2.0 concept for several years now, the disruption, dislocation, confusion and uncertainty of the paradigm shift needs another push or two because the stakeholders are far too entrenched to willingly consider change; a situation, which the authors and others, liken to health care reform (augh!). - SG

Vandenbark, R. Todd. "Tending a Wild Garden: Library Web Design for Persons with DisabilitiesInformation Technology and Libraries  29(1)(March 2010): 23-29. ( - This article provides an overview of guidelines for creating a website accessible to patrons with disabilities. The author breaks down the major requirements of Section 508 (added to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act in 1998), which requires local and state government agencies to provide accessible versions of all materials on their website. The guidelines include instruction on ensuring that there are alternative means of accessing all of the non-text portions of a page -- descriptions of images, transcripts of videos, and the like -- as well as other concerns for patrons with a variety of disabilities. After discussing these regulations, the author makes suggestions of how library webmasters can begin to implement them. These include starting out by trying to access the existing site using a variety of assistive technologies, in order to gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn't. The author also points out the benefits of fully-accessible sites -- they are easier to use for all patrons, and easier for the webmaster to maintain. The author notes that it is generally easier to build an accessible website from scratch rather than retrofit an existing site. This article is a great introduction to the topic for a new library webmaster, or anyone who needs a quick refresher on the main requirements of Section 508. - AC