Current Cites

March 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Keri Cascio, Peter Hirtle, Brian Rosenblum, Roy Tennant

Adema, Janneke. Overview of Open Access Models for eBooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences  Amsterdam: Open Access Publishing in European Networks, 2010.( - With existing humanities and social sciences print book publishing efforts on the verge of collapse, there is a critical need to examine new models that will allow the continued publication of specialized, low-sales-volume books in these areas of study. This report uses case studies to examine eight emerging models for open access publishing of e-books that show promise for the humanities and social sciences. The open access models are: commercial publishers (e.g., Bloomsbury Academic), presses established by academies and research councils (e.g., The National Academies Press), presses established by libraries (e.g., Sydney University Press), library-press partnerships (e.g., University of Michigan Press), university presses (e.g., Rice University Press), presses established by academics (e.g., Open Humanities Press), press-commercial publisher partnerships (e.g., TU Ilmenau Press), and other publishing models and experiments (e.g., MediaCommons Press). In the conclusion, the author states: "In general, although there are many experiments going on at this time, it is still too early to say which publishing and business models will emerge in the Open Access book-publishing world as the most viable. Perhaps a combination of funding and subsidies, resource sharing, efficiencies through economies of scale and collaboration, print sales and services along with free content, will prove to be the most successful. In this respect, publishers may eventually become 'producers,' combining different sources of revenue and funding into a break-even model. But, just as monograph publishing has generally become unsustainable in a print world without some form of subsidies, it seems that Open Access monographs will also require additional funding." - CB

John, Jeremy L., Ian  Rowlands, and Peter  Williams, et. al.Digital Lives: Personal Digital Archives for the 21st century >> an inital synthesis  London: British Library, 03 March 2010.( - As more and more of life becomes digital, the challenge of how to preserve our personal archives for the future becomes of greater interest. The New York Times, for example, recently addressed the issue in an article focusing on Emory's efforts to preserve Salman Rushdie's computer files. The Digital Lives project, coordinated by the British Library, has been exploring the technical, ethical, and cultural issues in acquiring and preserving personal digital archives. This 260-page report is a "beta" release of their findings, and will be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the subject (along with Matthew Kirschenbaum's recent report on Approaches to Managing and Collecting Born-Digital Literary Materials for Scholarly Use). Especially useful is the report's discussion of and support for computer forensics as an essential tool in data curation. - PH

Mitchell, Erik. "Using Cloud Services for Library IT InfrastructureCode4Lib Journal  (9)(22 March 2010)( - The hype around "cloud computing" has been off the charts lately, and yet there is a dearth of actual experience with this strategy for meeting library information technology needs. Therefore, this piece on one library's use of cloud computing platforms is well worth reading. Mitchell begins with a well-done brief overview of cloud computing strategies and some specific examples focused on the library market. He follows with a case study of his own library, and the various ways they are using cloud-based services -- including Amazon's EC2 service. The bottom line? "Placing our applications on IaaS [infrastructure as a service] platforms provided us with a flexibility which we had not previously enjoyed with local servers. As a result, the library has been positioned to be more responsive to new developments in the coming years." - RT

PARS Task Force on Audio Preservation Metadata, , and  MLA BCC Metadata Subcommittee. "Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital AudioAssociation for Library Collections and Technical Services  (February 2010)( - In keeping with their mission of applying new technologies to assure continued access to library collections, the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) has published a new document: "Metadata Standards and Guidelines Relevant to Digital Audio." This easy-to-read chart provides a quick overview of metadata standards and guidelines for digital audio projects, including links to standards documentation and examples. The chart is arranged by metadata type, including descriptive, technical, and administrative metadata standards. By creating rich metadata for digitized audio files, libraries can manage and preserve their files for the future. Some of the standards in the document are applicable to other digitized files and collections. The chart was developed by the PARS Section Task Force on Audio Preservation Metadata in cooperation with the Music Library Association Bibliographic Control Committee Metadata Subcommittee. - KC

Schaefer, Sibyl. "Challenges in Sustainable Open Source: A Case StudyCode4Lib Journal  (9)(22 March 2010)( - In this piece, Schaefer uses her experience with the Archivist's Toolkit to highlight the challenges of building and maintaining an active developer community. These challenges are made more difficult by the effort to merge development with Archon, another archival open source project, but there are lessons here that are more generally applicable. For example: "Provide guidelines on how code contributions are handled, and who gets “committer” status." The author ends with some specific recommendations to the AT/Archon merger team, and acknowledges that "It’s easy to reflect back and discuss what should have been done, but it’s much more difficult to implement systemic changes in the middle of a project with finite resources and tight deadlines." The honesty and bravery of this piece in exposing the difficulties faced by this project is very refreshing and will likely help many others involved in open source projects. - RT

Swan, Alma. Modelling Scholarly Communication Options: Costs and Benefits for Universities  London: JISC, 2010.( - Could switching to open access publishing models save universities money? This study says "yes" and it details some significant potential cost savings for UK universities. How much? "If universities switch from the current subscription-based system to publishing all their articles in Open Access journals that charge an article-processing fee, there would be savings for all universities when the article-processing fee is 700 GBP per article or less. Where article-processing fees (APCs) are 500 GBP per article, even the largest university would save, in this case around 1.53 million GBP per annum. The maximum savings found in our modelling, accruing to a medium-sized university, were 1.7 million GBP per annum when the article-processing fee is 500 GBP per article." Also see two related documents How to Build a Case for University Policies and Practices in Support of Open Access and Publishing Research Papers Which Policy Will Deliver Best Value for Your University?. - CB

Tananbaum, Greg . Campus-Based Open-Access Publishing Funds: A Practical Guide To Design And Implementation  Washington, DC: Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), February 2010.( - This SPARC guide provides a good overview of the issues involved in implementing open-access funds and will be useful to any institution considering the creation of such a fund. As defined here, an "open-access fund is a pool of money set aside by an institution specifically to reimburse processing fees for articles published by members of the institution in open-access journals." While this is still a relatively novel area of activity for libraries and research institutions, recent initiatives such as the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity are a sign of the growing interest of the research community in moving ahead to put their money where their mouth is and directly support open access with funds as well as rhetoric. This guide does not provide a specific model for creating an open-access fund (because a one-size fits all model does not exist). Instead it identifies a number of important questions that institutions contemplating such a fund need to ask, and makes clear many of the political and administrative complexities involved. Key topics addressed by this guide include: policy decisions, working with administration and faculty, promoting the fund on campus, and measuring and reporting on the fund's progress. The website (which indicates it will be frequently updated) also includes case studies and other resources for helping create and promote open-access funds. - BR