Current Cites

September 2011

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Breeding, Marshall. "A Cloudy Forecast for LibrariesComputers in Libraries  31(7)(September 2011)( - If you haven't heard of "cloud computing" and yet you are reading this publication then you are clearly a new subscriber, as we have been covering this topic for some time. But whether you are fresh to the issue or know all about it, this piece can be useful to you. For a beginner, Marshall provides an excellent introduction to the library impact of cloud computing and how we got here. If you're well versed, you can point anyone who asks you what all the fuss is about to this piece. "This new wave of library tech products will phase in slowly," Breeding asserts, but he clearly believes it to represent a major shift in library technology. "Of all the technology trends that I’ve been following for the last couple of years," he writes, "cloud computing continues to gain the most momentum and stands positioned to most radically transform the shape of library technology. I see that we’re at one of those major turning points where technology rounds a curve into a new vision of the mainstream." Remember that this is Marshall Breeding writing here -- the single most respected commentator on the library automation landscape. - RT

Chudnov, Dan. "The Mistakes We Make With Standards"  Computers in Libraries  31(7)(September 2011): 29-31. - In his usual down-to-earth, practical style, Chudnov takes on standards and where we tend to go wrong with them. Some teaser gems: "If you think 'let's write the standard first' then you're thinking backward about it," and "If you think the vendors will implement it you might be waiting a long time for that." He favors starting by solving problems, then working with others to help solve their problems, and as you go along you may see some patterns emerge. But don't get derailed, he urges, with thinking that the standard needs to precede solving problems with software -- or even that you need a standard at all. If you focus on solving real world problems, then the time to create or use a standard should become apparent when it is necessary to solve the problem in front of you. - RT

Cohen, Dan, and Tom  Scheinfeldt. Hacking the Academy, the Edited Volume  Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, September 2011.( - In an interesting experiment in alternative publication, editors Cohen and Scheinfeldt proposed a volume on how digital technologies are transforming academia, and gave potential authors one week in which to submit contributions. They received over 300 contributions from nearly 200 authors. MPublishing, the publishing arm of the University of Michigan Library, has now released an edited version of some of the contributions with a print version from the University of Michigan Press to follow. The value of the book resides in its snapshot quality: one can find out quickly the thoughts of some academic visionaries regarding scholarly communications and changes in teaching. Two contributions (by Andrew Ashton and Christine Madsen) propose radically new roles for libraries in the digital future, and a brief essay by Christopher J. Prom suggests that archival practices as well will be re-imagined as archivists address the challenges of electronic records. If you are starting to feel like you have a handle on your environment, dip into this volume to discover that your future is far from settled. - PH

Imler, Bonnie, and Michelle  Eichelberger. "Do They 'Get It'? Student Usage of SFX Citation Linking SoftwareCollege & Research Libraries  72(5)(September 2011): 454-463. ( - Librarians understand the value of citation linking software such as Serials Solutions' Article Linker and Ex Libris' SFX. But do students? These two authors set out to find the answer. The authors conducted two regular library instruction sessions, making a point of emphasizing the library's citation linker, SFX (branded as "Get It! Penn State"). Two weeks later, they followed up with the students and 39 completed a short exercise to examine their use of the product. The students were asked to work with a pre-populated search result set and find five full-text articles that would be the most useful for a research paper on a given topic. (Search results were pulled up ahead of time to ensure a reasonable amount of full-text and linked full-text results.) The researchers found that 67% of the students used the "Get It!" button at least once, but almost a quarter of this subset of participants did not follow through with the additional clicks required by citation linking software, or didn't wait for the search results to load in the linked resource. Even so, 62% of the participants were able to successfully complete the exercise, and of the remainder, all but four were able to identify at least one full-text article. - AC

Li, Chan, Felicia  Poe, and Michele  Potter, et. al.UC Libraries Academic e-Book Usage Survey  Oakland, CA: University of California Libraries, May 2011.( - This report summarizes the findings of a survey conducted in October 2010 across all University of California campuses to assess the user experience using the Springer e-book collection. The survey also aimed to determine respondents attitudes toward e- books, how they interact with e-books and barriers to use, among other issues. Some interesting findings include: "Undergraduate students express the strongest desire for a corresponding print copy of an academic e-book for borrowing from a UC library, with 66% rating it as important" and "A surprising 41% of respondents rate the option to purchase a "print-on-demand" copy of an e-book as an important feature, implying that utilization of the service should witness an upward trend." - RT

Schlipf, Fred. "The Dark Side of Library Architecture: The Persistence of Dysfunctional DesignsLibrary Trends  60(1)(Summer 2011): 227-255 . ( - Sure, it is wicked to breeze by the first half-dozen or so articles in an issue dedicated to library architecture and only to stop at this final tidbit but there is something particularly tempting about an article whose title begins with the words, 'Dark Side of...' Once inside, you find you have entered a lengthy screed against 'dysfunctional design ideas' that are likely to be annoying, costly, potentially life-threatening or a combination of all three. The author is a building consultant with 40 years experience and he strongly argues against everything from eye-blinding skylights to public bathrooms that reveal their interiors the moment someone walks in or out of them. Part of the fun is recognizing from personal experience just how common some of these issues are. - LRK

Stratton, Barbara. Seeking New Landscapes: A rights clearance study in the context of mass digitisation of 140 books published between 1870 and 2010  London: British Library, September 2011.( - The problems that orphan works present to digitization projects are much in the news. This important new study proves that the problems are real. Utilizing a sample of 140 titles published between 1870 and 2010, Stratton found that only 29% of the titles were out of copyright and 43% of the in-copyright works were orphans. Surprisingly, books published in the 1980s had the highest percentage of orphans: 50%. At an average of 4 hours investigation per title, the report accurately concludes that manual investigations of the type proposed in previous orphan works legislation in the U.S. would be of no value for mass digitization projects. Instead it praises the role of ARROW, a European rights registry. It is ironic that the U.S. abandoned, rather than strengthened, its registry system at precisely the moment when new technology and digital uses make a registry system ever-more important. This report serves as strong evidence in support of Christopher Sprigman's arguments in favor of re-instituting copyright formalities. It is also interesting to note the importance of rich, accurate cataloging records to the project, again at a time when cataloging records are becoming ever more sketchy. This report will be mandatory reading for anyone interested in rights clearance in Europe, and will even be helpful in the U.S., which has a much more complex copyright system. - PH