Current Cites

August 2010

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Abrams, Stephen, John  Kunze, and David  Loy. "An Emergent Micro-Services Approach to Digital Curation InfrastructureInternational Journal of Digital Curation  5(1)(2010): 172-186. ( - This paper describes a new way to look at preservation (curation) services as proposed by the University of California Curation Center (UC3). "The new UC3 approach to digital curation infrastructure is based on the idea of devolving necessary function into a set of independent, but interoperable, micro-services that embody curation values and strategies. Since each of the services is small, they are collectively easier to develop, deploy, maintain, and enhance." They use the pipeline metaphor to describe how these small interoperable services can be chained together to provide a full range of digital curation functions. There is even a community of like-minded institutions coming together around this model, as evidenced by the recent CURATECamp 2010 held in Berkeley. Anyone involved with -- or even just interested in -- digital curation should read this paper. - RT

Albanese, Andrew Richard. "Betting the House on HTML5Publisher's Weekly  257(29)(26 July 2010): 37-40. ( - The news is full of reports of that the "tipping point" for e-books has arrived. New on the horizon is HTML5, a format that allows for book pages to be formatted in a logical way for web browsers, eliminating the need for third-party plug-in applications like Flash. Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all behind the new version of HTML, and Scribd, a "social publisher" has joined the club. Scribd is described "as a place for people to share what they are reading, writing, and publishing, just as people use YouTube to share videos." PW interviewed Jared Friedman, chief technology officer of Scribd, about what HTML5 means for e-book publishing. Scribd’s decision to use HTML5 predated the public battle between Apple and Adobe for the non-use of Flash on Apple’s mobile devices. Friedman points out the benefits of an open standard that is supported by most equipment, including mobile devices. Moving beyond PDF and Kindle, HTML5 will allow users to see books and articles the way publishers want their users to see it, including all of the content, formatting, and possibly advertising. Friedman claims that users will be more likely to purchase content in HTML5 since they can use it on multiple platforms, which may allow e-book publishers to make more money. The call out for the article includes four reasons why an open platform like HTML5 is important for electronic publishing: social engagement; mobile distribution; monetization; and multimedia. - KC

Aldrich, Alan W. "Universities and Libraries Move to the Mobile WebEDUCAUSE Quarterly  33(2)(May/June 2010)( - This article reports on a study of the mobile websites of large research universities and their libraries in the U.S. and Canada and compares what was found with what the literature suggests that mobile web users desire. When the author conducted the study in late January/early February 2010, only 29 of the 111 ARL libraries had a library mobile website, suggesting that mobile computing is not yet a "given" for libraries, even though the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports significant growth in the use of the web on mobile devices, particularly for 18-29 year olds. Although the literature on library mobile websites is limited, this article is a great summary of what we already know and provides the building blocks to start what I suspect will soon be a core part of any library's digital presence. - SG

Frankel, Simon J., and Shannon M.  Nestor. Opening the Door: How Faculty Authors Can Implement an Open Access Policy at Their Institutions  San Francisco: Science Commons, 2010.( - In this 18-page report, the authors examine the legal issues surrounding open access policies. They cover relevant copyright basics, nonexclusive licenses, copyright transfers, the "work for hire" doctrine, and conclude with five criteria for an effective license. On the last point, the authors state: "For the licensing portion of an open-access policy, it is recommended that an institution adopt a license, in writing and signed by each faculty author, that contains the following five criteria: (1) nonexclusive, (2) irrevocable, (3) worldwide, (4) perpetual, and (5) non-commercial." This concise overview should be of considerable interest to anyone trying to advance an open access policy at his or her institution. See also the related 2008 report Open Doors and Open Minds: What Faculty Authors Can Do to Ensure Open Access to Their Work through Their Institution. - CB

Hayes, Kevin J. "The Public Library in UtopiaLibraries & the Cultural Record  45(3)(2010): 333-349. ( - With the outlook for libraries looking rather bleak at the moment, what better time to look at futurist visions of the public library from over a hundred years ago? Author Kevin Hayes does precisely this, tapping 'utopian' fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Needless to say, the visions are a reflection of the era that produced them but even trendy-types from our own age can appreciate the 24/7 opening hours, prompt home delivery of library materials and seemingly unlimited operating budgets. Of course we may not choose pneumatic tubes and underground railroads as our preferred methods of delivery but the images presented, as the author emphasizes, are of convenient serviceable institutions full of knowledgeable enlightened users. "In utopia," the author concludes, "everyone knew how to use a library." - LRK

Librarian of Congress. Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works  Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 26 July 2010.( - Every three years, and in response to requests received from the public, the Librarian of Congress can issue exemptions to the broad provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that ban the circumvention of technical measures that control access to works. After a long delay, the exemptions for 2009 have been released. The Librarian identified 6 classes of works that are exempt from the DMCA's restrictions. Two, which address the use of DVDs and the read-aloud function of ebooks, are especially important for education. Good short summaries of the Librarian's action are available on the ARL Policy Blog and in a very thoughtful post by Peter Jaszi on the Collectanea blog. Those interested in proposing future exemptions in 2012 will want to be sure to read all of the 262 pages of the Recommendations of the Register of Copyrights on the issue. - PH

Loren, Lydia Pallas. "The Purpose of CoyprightOpen Spaces Quarterly  2(1)(August 2010)( - The purpose of copyright in the United States, as Loren takes pains to point out, is very clearly stated in the Constitution: "Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power: 'to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.'" Loren goes on to state that "The misunderstanding held by many who believe that the primary purpose of copyright law is to protect authors against those who would pilfer the author's work threatens to upset the delicate equilibrium in copyright law," and follows up with examples of why this is the case. In the end, she writes, "we should not let a fundamental misconception of the primary purpose of copyright law in this country shape our rules to the detriment of the true constitutional aim of the limited statutory monopoly of the copyright: to promote the progress of knowledge and learning." Highly recommended for anyone interested in intellectual property rights, copyright, and the future of free societies. - RT

Salo, Dorothea. "Retooling Libraries for the Data ChallengeAriadne  (64)(July 2010)( - With her usual penetrating analysis, Salo once again lays bare a segment of modern librarianship as she has in the past for institutional repositories and intellectual property rights in academia. Beginning with a litany of challenges, from the characteristics of the data itself to the characteristics of digital libraries and institutional repositories, she then moves to "Ways Forward," in which some emerging options like CDL's "micro services" approach may prove a fruitful direction. Her conclusion is both encouraging and cautionary: "None of the challenges presented herein should discourage librarians from engaging with the research data challenge. Our unique expertise in metadata, digital preservation, public service, and technology translation will serve researchers well, as will our sturdy common sense and the domain expertise of our subject librarians. However, unless we proceed with clear understanding of researchers and their data, as well as our own systems and habits, we will simply trip over ourselves. Research data are too important, and our role in curating them at present too insecure, to allow that to happen." This piece is a great start toward achieving the clear understanding she espouses, and is highly recommended for any who seek to curate data. - RT

Soehner, Catherine, Catherine  Steeves, and Jennifer  Ward. E-Science and Data Support Services: A Study of ARL Member Institutions  Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, 2010.( - This report presents results from an August 2009 survey of 57 of 123 ARL member libraries (46% response rate). Overall, respondents' institutions were making significant progress in supporting e-science: 21 respondents reported that infrastructure or support services were in place, 23 were planning e-science support, and only 13 did not support e-science. E-science was defined "broadly not only as big computational science, but also team science and networked science. It includes all scientific domains, as well as biomedicine and social sciences that share research approaches with the sciences." Four e-science strategies were identified: 1. institution-wide or centralized response, 2. unit-by-unit or decentralized approach, 3. hybrid of both decentralized and centralized efforts, and 4. multi-institutional collaborations. About 73% of respondents said that the library played a role in e-science support, and 45% said that there were designated units for data curation and research data support at their institution. The report also includes six case studies based on interviews (Purdue University; the University of California, San Diego; Cornell University; Johns Hopkins University; the University of Illinois at Chicago; and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), a bibliography, and e-science-related position descriptions. - CB