Current Cites

April 2011

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Bleicher, Ariel. "A Memory of Webs PastIEEE Spectrum  (March 2011)( - Using the example of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Bleicher writes an absorbing account of the history and technology of web archiving. The scale is enormous, and the technical challenges in using the Heritrix web crawler to capture new forms of web content are daunting. "Right now, we're 100 percent ready to archive the way the Web was 10 years ago," notes one French web archivist. Add to that mix the fear of many librarians that providing access to the preserved content will generate legal challenges. Effective and legal solutions to the problems of web archiving must be a community priority. - PH

Christenson, Heather. "HathiTrust: A Research Library at Web Scale."  Library Resources & Technical Services  55(2)(April 2011): 93-102. - The most remarkable thing in Christenson's comprehensive overview of HathiTrust is that it was only launched in October, 2008. In 2 1/2 years, the HathiTrust cooperative has accomplished remarkable things: built a digital collection of more than 8 million volumes, including 2 million public domain volumes; created bibliographic and full-text searching systems that address many of the complaints that have been leveled against Google Books; established a preservation infrastructure and planning process in accordance with library best practices; undertook copyright investigations that have added many digitized titles to the public domain; begun planning for a "research corpus" that would promote algorithmic analysis of the HathiTrust holdings; and started thinking about how the availability of millions of digitized titles might shape how member libraries manage their print collections. In the process, it has far surpassed all other library mass digitization efforts. Christenson's essay was written prior to the rejection of the amended settlement in the Google Books Search case, which throws into question some of the more ambitious and productive future plans that were dependent on the settlement. The scope of HathiTrust itself may be severely limited if the courts now agree with the publisher's complaint that libraries have no right to own the digital scans of 6 million volumes. If allowed to proceed, however, the activities described by Christenson in this article have the potential to alter radically the delivery of research library content, and are likely to have an impact on all libraries. - PH

Cook, Joel, Daniel  Hulls, and DavidJones, et. al. Heading for the Open Road: Costs and Benefits of Transitions in Scholarly Communications  London: Research Information Network, 2011.( - The Research Information Network, JISC, Research Libraries UK, the Publishing Research Consortium, and the Wellcome Trust commissioned this study, which was intended to "provide evidence that will help the different constituencies involved in scholarly communication to understand better the dynamics of the transitions needed to improve access to research papers in a variety of ways; and the costs, benefits, opportunities and risks that this entails." The study examined five approaches to increasing access: delayed access, gold open access (i.e., open access journals), green open access (i.e., self-archiving), license extension, and transactional (i.e., "increased access focused on targeted user groups"). It concluded that the best approach was to encourage green open access, taking care not to reduce embargo periods so much that it threatened publishers' viability, and, at the same time, to gradually shift to gold open access, as long as several necessary conditions (such as author fees at or below £1,995) could be met. - CB

Donovan, Stephen K. "The Sign of FourJournal of Scholarly Publishing  42(3)(April 2011): 382-386. ( - Brief (and light-hearted) introduction to the wonderful world of academic publication. The author goes over four types of publication (conference abstracts, book reviews, etc.) which he feels ought to be "minimum outputs" per annum in order, in his words, to keep "your boss happy and your post intact". The piece is particularly suitable for those just starting out. - LRK

Geitgey, Terri. "The University of Michigan Library Espresso Book Machine ExperienceLibrary Hi Tech  29(1)(2011): 51-61. (, - Geitgey notes that "Given that bookstores sell books, while libraries lend them, one might well wonder why a library would want to install a book-making machine and sell books on site." After reading this account of the Michigan's implementation and use of the Espresso Book Machine, a self-contained print-on-demand system, one is more likely to wonder why every library does not have one, even in spite of the price. Kenning Arlitsch, in an article entitled "The Espresso Book Machine: a change agent for libraries" in the same issue of Library Hi Tech suggests that book printers may become as ubiquitous and accepted in libraries as photocopy machines. Taken together, these two articles offer a good introduction to the hardware, highlight some of the challenges of being early implementers of this technology, and suggest some of the transformative impacts it can have on library services. - PH

Neal, James G. "Prospects for Systemic Change across Academic LibrariesEducause Review  46(2)(March/April 2011)( - Jim Neal, VP for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, is one of the most provocative figures in academic libraries. In this essay, Neal calls for "radical collaboration" among libraries as a response to changes in how users acquire and use information. He challenges libraries to shed many traditional activities in order to take on new roles. What can go? Print collections, for one; we can rely instead on electronic access and a network of print repositories. Technical services can go, too, to be replaced by a network of regional service agencies that can manage the acquisition, management, cataloging, preservation, and digitization of library resources. There are areas where librarians do need to invest more: in a national plan for the preservation of web sites; in research into cyberinfrastructure, data curation, and applications that support learning, teaching, and research; in greater collaboration to ensure that global resources are systematically identified, collected, and preserved; in reformulating scholarly communication; and in greater political involvement in the shaping of a national information policy. (For example, Neal's address at the recent ACRL meeting entitled "Fair Use is Not Civil Disobedience: Rethinking the Copyright Wars and the Role of the Academic Library" identifies issues of importance to librarians in copyright policy.) Neal makes a convincing argument on the need for systematic change across academic libraries. Whether his call for "radical collaboration" resonates with other library directors remains to be seen. - PH

Schaffner, Jennifer, Francine  Snyder, and Shannon  Supple. Scan and Deliver: Managing User-initiated Digitization in Special Collections and Archives  Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research, April 2011.( - "Delivering digitized versions of materials is now a core function in libraries and archives," the authors of this report assert. "[D]igitzation should be...a service that's provided to users on request (often at no cost to the user." In order to make digitization in special collections ubiquitous, scanning workflows need to be simplified. The authors present three different possible workflow scenarios and encourage repositories to be flexible in their use, adopting those scenario elements that would work best in a specific situation. This report should be an eye-opener in those repositories that are still worried that digitization may lead to the loss of control of holdings. Efficient and economical delivery of digital to users has become the professional norm; this report suggests strategies for making delivery happen in a cost-effective manner. - PH