Current Cites

October 2011

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Bibliographic Framework Initiative General Plan  Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 31 October 2011.( - Although it seemed clear from the time the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative was launched by the Library of Congress that change was near, this is the clearest statement so far that the days of the Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC) standard are numbered. And that number is not a large one. "The Library of Congress is committed," this paper states, " to developing, in collaboration with librarians, standards experts, and technologists a new bibliographic framework that will serve the associated communities well into the future." The essential bit in that sentence is "bibliographic framework". They are not describing a new carrier format, nor new rules for filling it -- but something much broader and more accommodating of different methods of description. On this they are very clear: "The new environment should be agnostic to cataloging rules..." Another money quote: "The new bibliographic framework project will be focused on the Web environment, Linked Data principles and mechanisms, and the Resource Description Framework (RDF) as a basic data model." As the person who wrote a column in Library Journal titled "MARC Must Die" over nine years ago, I can't help feeling some vindication. A year later, in 2003, I wrote a longer piece called "A Bibliographic Metadata Infrastructure for the Twenty-First Century" that I flatter myself is just the kind of brave new world where we are presently headed. Kudos to the Library of Congress for leading the way as they did some 40 years ago with the development of the MARC standard itself. - RT

Baker, Thomas, Emmanuelle  Bermès, and Karen  Coyle, et. al.Library Linked Data Incubator Group Final Report  Cambridge, MA: World Wide Web Consortium, 25 October 2011.( - This report by the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group examines the potential use of linked data, such as bibliographic data, authorities, and concept schemes, by libraries. Initially, the report investigates the benefits of library linked data (e.g., it is sharable, extensible, and re-usable). After analyzing current issues with traditional library data, discussing the current availability of library linked data, and examining rights issues, it concludes by offering recommendations for library leaders, library standards bodies, data and systems designers, and librarians and archivists. For example, it suggests that library leaders "identify sets of data as possible candidates for early exposure as Linked Data and foster a discussion about Open Data and rights." For further information, see Michael Kelley's "How the W3C Has Come to Love Library Linked Data" in Library Journal, which discusses a draft version of the report. - CB

Day, Colin. "How ownership affects the growth strategies of scientific journals: A study of economics journals 1950 to 2000Aslib Proceedings  63(5): 445-463. ( - There was a great expansion of scholarship following WWII. More scholarship meant more scholars producing more journal articles. How to accommodate this onrush? Was there a difference in approach between for-profit and non-profit publishers? The author looked at 70 journals in the field of economics during the 'golden age' as he terms it, of 1950-2000. He found that the for-profits increased in number and in the frequency of publication which had the effect of decreasing overall market share for the non-profits from three-quarters to 43%. - LRK

Head, Alison J., and Michael B.  Eisenberg. Balancing Act: How College Students Manage Technology While in the Library during Crunch Time  Seattle, WA: Project Information Literacy, University of Washington, 12 October 2011.( - I'd say virtually every report coming out of Project Information Literacy is worth your time if you're a academic librarian, and this one is no different. You don't need to read the entire thing to garner some good advice -- jumping to the reccomendations is often enough. Some sample tidbits: "In our study we heard more complaints about the quality of Wi-Fi service or the cost of printing than the long line at the reference desk or books not being on the shelves. The challenge to libraries now is how to meet the needs of students without abdicating their role in disseminating knowledge. How do libraries remain relevant to students beyond providing technological equipment like printers and desktop computers and quiet places to sit?" How, indeed? And "These new study practices have a common thread—students study while they are on the go. In fact, they can study anywhere, eschewing heavy books in favor of portable devices that may be the size of a pack of playing cards and weigh even less." Although a study like this doesn't attempt to come up with the answers, knowing the issues is a pretty good start. - RT

Lang, Andrew S.I.D, and Joshua  Rio-Ross. "Using Amazon Mechanical Turk to Transcribe Historical Handwritten DocumentsCode4Lib Journal  (15)(31 October 2011)( - Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" is a service that allows virtually anyone to put a job that needs to be done on the web for others to choose to do for whatever price you set. The price is often pennies for a specific task, such as transcribing a short audio clip, or in the case of this article, transcribing a page from a handwritten diary. As the father of twins, I'm hardwired to seek out revenue enhancing activities, so I've played around with Mechanical Turk enough to know that no one is getting rich doing this. But the workforce that finds this a reasonable job is no doubt living in a different economy. Be that as it may, this article demonstrates without a doubt that the days of typical transcription and proof-reading services are largely over for this kind of job. If you're willing to farm out your job in chunks, and get it back in chunks over time, then you can have digitized handwritten texts transcribed and proofread for a fraction of what traditional services cost. This article illustrates the benefit of exploiting the latest technologies to do things differently, and more efficiently, than before. - RT

McHale, Nina. "Open Access Publishing With DrupalCode4Lib Journal  (15)(31 October 2011)( - This is a case study of how a state library association (Colorado) decided to transition from a print journal to an open access online journal. The entire process from the challenges that led to the change to the complete implementation are described in some detail. This detail is helpful enough that anyone could use this piece as a recipe to take their publication online, which is exactly the kind of practical assistance one hopes to find in the Code4Lib Journal. This case study of the use of the modular nature of the open source Drupal content management system is testimony to its flexibility but also illustrates a possible drawback -- the project is somewhat dependent on a module that is maintained by an individual who may or may not choose to upgrade it as the Drupal platform advances. McHale concludes the article with evidence that the transition moved this once relatively obscure publication to the international stage, with potential benefits for the association that are as yet unrealized. Organizations who may be contemplating their choices as print publication becomes ever more expensive would do well to consider the benefits of open access publishing online. Here is chapter and verse both on why it can be a good path to take, and exactly how to walk it. - RT

Neujahr, Joyce. "Lightning Fast Interlibrary Loan: Using E-readers for On-demand DeliveryCollege & Research Libraries News  72(9)(October 2011): 531-541. ( - How can libraries take advantage of the expanding e-book reader market? Neujahr describes how the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) uses Amazon's Kindle to supplement its ILL services. Patrons are given the option of getting ILL requests immediately through purchase via one of the library's Kindles; the Kindle containing the acquired item is then checked out to the patron. Such actions may be prohibited by the Kindle's license terms, but UNO has elected to treat Kindle content as if it were purchased, and thus subject to copyright provisions, rather than licensed. Neujahr notes that Amazon has never contacted them to tell them to stop. As the price of Kindles continues to drop, other libraries might wish to consider whether loaning e-books on dedicated physical devices is an attractive way of acquiring content. - PH

Sims, Nancy. "Library Licensing and Criminal Law: The Aaron Swartz CaseCollege & Research Libraries News  72(9)(October 2011): 534-537. ( - Aaron Swartz's arrest in July 2011 while allegedly accessing articles from JSTOR created a small Twitter and blog-storm of commentary and opinion. Even though there has been no resolution yet to the charges, Sim's thoughtful analysis of the case so far and public reaction to it still provides a valuable service. She demonstrates that most of the media got the legal issues in the case wrong. But while the case isn't about copyright or even necessarily JSTOR's terms of service, it does implicate how we license material. Sims argues that the confusion about the legal issues involved is evidence of public misperceptions of libraries and of licensed content. There is, she suggests "significant disparity between what our users understand our services to be, and what we agree to when we sign contracts for licensed resources." She notes as well how the case has become a locus around which discussions of open access and scholarly communications are taking place. Sims concludes that Swartz's alleged "activities, and the public reactions they have generated, highlight some of the most troubled, and troubling, legal and ethical issues in academic licensing, open access, and scholarly communication." Regardless of the legal outcome of the case, Sims leaves us to wonder whether our licensing and publishing norms need to change. - PH