Current Cites

20th Anniversary Issue

July 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Frank Cervone, Warren Cheetham, Alison Cody, Susan Gibbons, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Brian Rosenblum, Roy Tennant

While sloppily and apathetically compiling this month's screed which masquerades as a newsletter, it occurred to me that we have been foisting this dreck on an unsuspecting and mostly innocent public every single month for exactly 20 years. How is this so, you ask? How, indeed? How have the authorities remained so ignorant of our loathsome existence? Are the Internet police so asleep, or drunk, or both, that our foul bits have crossed their pipes for almost all of this time completely undetected? Is our paltry and misguided readership so corrupt or ashamed that they have failed to raise the alarm?

Indeed, it must be so, as we exist still -- unrestrained, unmuzzled, and unrepentant. Shield your inbox, throw up a filter, and otherwise gird your computer to resist our continuing assault, as we fully intend to sow the seeds of "current awareness" -- or more accurately our very much mistaken interpretation of such -- far and wide for many a decade more.

Meanwhile, should you wish to discover how such a dastardly publication was spawned into a world that is otherwise filled with beauty and light, we have revealed the odious circumstances of its birth in a page on our web site. May Ranganathan have mercy on your soul. - Your Execrable Editor

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication  (June 2010)( - This guide is intended to provide a code of best practices to help "U.S. communications scholars interpret the doctrine of fair use," but the guidance it provides can be helfpul to librarians and scholars in other disciplines as well. The guide begins with a brief description of how "copyright insecurity" and lack of understanding of copyright are hampering research in communication studies and related fields. Then, drawing on traditions and routine practice in the field, it provides general descriptions, principles, and limitations for four common situations in the communication field where fair use doctrines may apply: analysis and criticism, quotation, using copyrighted material to stimulate response during research, and storing material in collections and archives. The document is inspired by (and provides links to) similar codes set forth by other professional communities, such as documentary filmmakers, film scholars, and online video creators. - BR

"Digital technologies and the early career researcherJISC Inform   (28)(Summer 2010): 12. ( - This quick read is an interesting complement to the OCLC Research report discussed elsewhere in this edition of Current Cites. Although not specifically directed to libraries, this article points out some possible areas and ways librarians can become more involved in the day-to-day activities of early career faculty members. One of the findings that libraries need to consider is that early career researchers don't use Web 2.0 tools to share their research and instead prefer face-to-face interactions for many different reasons. As these reasons are more sociological than technological, it probably doesn't make sense to develop tools or systems that can't address the underlying social issues that are acting as an impediment. Additionally, one of the major obstacles for early career researchers that do want to use Web 2.0 tools is that they are often unaware of what e-research tools are available to them. Some of the recommendations in the report include making tools as intuitive as possible, tools should facility as much as possible "social" activities appropriate for the specific discipline, security and data management of research data needs to be robust, easy to use, and portable from one institution/organization to another. Librarians can also get involved by developing a "research toolkit" that lists available tools and those otherwise supported by the institution for specific disciplines. - FC

British Library, . Driving UK Research. Is copyright a help or a hindrance? A perspective from the research community  London: British Library, July 2010.( - In this brief report, fourteen researchers explain how the current copyright system inhibits their research. Many propose solutions. Dame Lynne Brindley's preface says it best: "There is a supreme irony that just as technology is allowing greater access to books and other creative works than ever before for education and research, new restrictions threaten to lock away digital content in a way we would never countenance for printed material. Let's not wake up in five years' time and realise we have unwittingly lost a fundamental building block for innovation, education and research in the UK.... We need to redefine copyright in the digital age and find a balance to benefit creators, educators, researchers, the creative industries – and the knowledge economy." - PH

Butler, Brandon. "Urban Copyright LegendsARL: Research Library Issues  (270)(June 2010): 16-20. ( - Nice run-down of copyright misconceptions so widespread (hence the term, 'urban copyright legends') that even librarians are likely to repeat them. The point of the piece is how important exceptions like Fair Use are to copyright. They provide a "safety valve" as the author puts it, "that prevents copyright from being an oppressive monopoly". - LRK

Duncan, Ross. "Ebooks and Beyond: The Challenge for Public LibrariesAustralasian public libraries and information services (APLIS)  23(2)(01 June 2010): 44-55. ( - There is a wealth of current information about the rise of ebooks, ebook devices and ebook publishing, and while this paper presents a succinct overview of the global trends, it balances them nicely with results from a local survey of public libraries users. Sunshine Coast Libraries noticed a lack of contextual data about user perceptions and expectations of e-audiobooks, ebooks and other virtual services. An online survey of library members was conducted “to ascertain existing behaviours and expectations”. The results of the local survey mirror international trends. The survey questions, conclusions and suggested improvements for future surveys all provide a good base for other public libraries to gather data, examine the needs of their communities, and build arguments for the development and delivery of ebook services. - WC

Hagel III, John, John Seely  Brown, and Lang  Davison. The 2009 Shift Index: Measuring the Forces of Long-Term Change  (2010)( - If you are a fan of the The Horizon Report but would like to supplement it with a broader look into the macroeconomic trends impacting U.S. businesses (of which higher education is certainly a sector), then I highly recommend the inaugural edition of The 2009 Shift Index. This very impressive team of authors has constructed a framework for recognizing, understanding, and, in some cases, measuring long-term change using three waves. The "Foundation" wave focuses on the impact of changes in digital infrastructure and global public policies. The global movement of capital, talent and knowledge forms the "Flow" wave. The third, "Impact" wave, measures how well businesses are exploiting the potentials of the first two waves. Twenty-five metrics, including consumer power, brand disloyalty, worker passion and social media activity, are then examined through the perspective of the three waves. The resulting report (112 pages plus appendices) provides insight into a number of technology and policy-driven trends that certainly will not bypass the doors of our libraries. - SG

Henry, Charles, and Kathlin  Smith. "Ghostlier Demarcations: Large-Scale Text-Digitization Projects and Their Utility for Contemporary Humanities ScholarshipThe Idea of Order: Transforming Research Collections for 21st Century Scholarship  (June 2010)( - While everyone patiently awaits the first court decision about the proposed Google Book Settlement (GBS), interesting studies about the project and its potential impact continue to appear. In this chapter from a new CLIR report, Henry and Smith analyze the results of commissioned studies that look at digitized resources in four areas of the humanities. (The full reports are available on the publication web site.) While in theory optimistic about the potential for use of digitized materials, the combination of poor scanning quality, limited metadata, proprietary restrictions, incompleteness, and copyright restrictions keep commercially-available digital collections from serving as a replacement for the research library. A panel on GBS at the recent ACLS meeting presents a slightly different perspective and is well worth a listen. For those who want a current update on the legal and social issues associated with the case, Pamela Samuelson's article "Google Book Search and the Future of Books in Cyberspace" 94 Minn. L. Rev. 1308 (2010) is a good place to start (though she ignores the efforts of partner libraries and the Hathi Trust to mitigate some of the worse potential features of the settlement). - PH

Johnson, Benjamin E. "Google Voice: Connecting Your Telephone to the 21st CenturyComputers in Libraries  30(5)(June, 2010): 21-24. ( - Wide-ranging article that not only discusses possible uses of Google Voice by "cash-strapped" libraries but puts the somewhat dimly understood service into the broader context of our multi-channel communication world. Although he doesn't use the term, the author presents Google Voice as a sort of 'aggregator' for all the various methods of communication be that voice, email, text or im. The Google phone number acts as an alias or placeholder through which we can route phone calls, voice messages, etc., to multiple second party destinations. Furthermore, Google Voice acts as a hub for all these means of communication, allowing the user to look them up and interact with them online in a manner similar to Gmail. But will it scale? The service after all is designed primarily for personal use. The author seems to think so, at least for libraries with "limited means". One way or the other, we have a useful model for up-and-coming integrated communication systems. - LRK

Jottkandt, Sigi. "The Accessibility of Open Access Materials in LibrariesE-LIS  (2010)( - In this Master's thesis, Jottkandt investigated the prevalence of journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals in the WorldCat holdings of U.S. academic libraries. Fifty-four percent of the libraries (2,053 libraries) held at least one open access journal listed in the DOAJ. The median number of open access journals held was 8 and the mean number held was 434. The five libraries with the highest number of holdings were: 1. University of Oklahoma, 3,270 journals; 2. Occidental College, 2,850 journals; 3. Florida Atlantic University, 2,832 journals; 4. University of New Hampshire, 2,691 journals; and 5. University of South Florida, 2,688 journals. Jottkandt also sent a survey to the top 100 libraries with DOAJ journal holdings to determine their attitudes towards these journals and their practices regarding them. Seventeen libraries responded to the survey. - CB

Kroll, Susan, and Rick  Forsman. A Slice of Research Life: Information Support for Research in the United States  Dublin, OH: OCLC Research, June 2010.( - While perhaps not explicitly stated as such, this latest report from OCLC Research paints a bleak picture for libraries as part of the research process. In many ways, the authors discuss and reemphasize many of the points that have been made in several recent studies. For example, the authors find that the "relationships between researchers and traditional library and university support for research have shifted radically." Additionally, the concept of "satisficing" (accepting an adequate answer or solution over an optimal one) now clearly extends into the research process itself. More troubling for libraries is that the authors find significant evidence that researchers use online tools and commercial services that are discipline-specific in lieu of the more generic tools provided by university libraries. Furthermore, it doesn't seem that current efforts by libraries to devise new services to manage research data have helped researchers much as they still feel overwhelmed by the disorganized and increasing accumulations of "relevant" data in their fields. Most troubling for libraries is that the authors did not encounter a single respondant in the study who had visited a library for help or assistance while performing their research. The authors state that "researchers do not realize what expertise librarians have to offer their users, are uninformed about services offered, and have little idea what the library might do in the future." Consequently, the study repsondants "did not see libraries as having much to offer in any of these areas as researchers require practical evidence of direct value" and libraries have not provided that to the respondants' satisfaction. - FC

Metz, Rosalyn. "Cloud Computing ExplainedEDUCAUSE Quarterly  33(2)(2010)( - What is cloud computing? In this article, Metz provides a concise answer to this question using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition and illustrating her points with embedded digital videos. In the NIST definition, cloud computing has five characteristics (broad network access, measured service, on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity, and resource pooling), three service models (cloud infrastructure as a service, cloud platform as a service, and cloud software as a service), and four deployment models (community cloud, hybrid cloud, private cloud, and public cloud). This article is part of a special issue on cloud computing. - CB

Salo, Dorothea. "Who Owns Our Work?Serials  23(3)(July 2010)( - Don't let the brief and direct question of the title fool you -- as Salo deftly points out, each one of those words is heavily laden with meaning, and taken together the entirety of the issues and problems those words identify are definitely greater than the sum of the parts. This piece is a worthy companion to her seminal piece on institutional repositories (IRs), "Innkeeper at the Roach Motel," reviewed previously in Current Cites. As she did for IRs, her laser-like gaze, incisive prose, and brutal honesty lays bare what others may have only dimly or incompletely perceived about intellectual property in academia. A brief bit to whet your appetite: "The dilemma of our time is how to give all stakeholders what they want and need while containing costs and avoiding the terrible and expensive conflicts, roadblocks and palpable absurdities that have arisen from our current system." If you are in academia or publishing you must read this, and think deeply about the issues Salo so starkly exposes. - RT

Walsh, Andrew. "QR Codes – Using Mobile Phones to Deliver Library Instruction and Help at the Point of NeedJIL: Journal of Information Literacy   4(1)(June 2010): 55-65. ( - In this article, the author reports on the experimental use of QR codes at the University of Huddersfield in the UK. QR, or quick response, codes are 2D barcodes that can be read using a smartphone equipped with a camera and a free software download. The codes can contain a variety of information: text, a link to open a webpage, a phone number or contact information to be added to the user's phone book. A variety of different uses for QR codes in the library were tested to see what uses students might find the most helpful. Dummy books featuring QR codes linking to ebooks were shelved next to their print companions; QR codes were posted near printers and photocopiers, containing code that loaded the telephone number for IT support and an instructional video about using the library's printing system. The codes proved more popular when placed at a doorway and linking to a video tour of that floor of the library, and when placed in the library catalog, providing a link back to the record that the user could open on their mobile device and take into the stacks. Overall the use of the codes was found to be disappointing. This is due to several reasons, including users' unfamiliarity with them (despite an awareness campaign) and students' attitudes that they will not adopt something new until they see a practical use for it. - AC