Current Cites

July 2012

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

"EDUCAUSE Top-Ten IT Issues: 2000-2012EDUCAUSE Review  (July/August 2012)( - This interactive display of all of the "top ten IT issues" of the last 12 years is interesting. You can click on various years and/or issues and see how important those issues were in various years. Some issues, such as "Distance Education", die virtually overnight (and why?), while others like "Cloud Strategy" appear, dip down, and come back. Common threads over the last decade or more include administrative services, and (not surprisingly) the various ways to describe IT funding. Perhaps the most telling thing, however, is the sense of near haphazardness this depiction provides -- issues come and go or disappear with rapidity and regularity. Perhaps the real lesson is that we don't know what the heck is going on with IT in academia. No surprise there, but at least now we have evidence. - RT

Anderson, Janna Quitney, and Lee  Rainie. The Future of Big Data  Washington, DC: Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 2012.( - Wikipedia defines big data as "a loosely-defined term used to describe data sets so large and complex that they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management tools." This March, the Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative, which included more than $200 million in new funding. Big data had clearly arrived, and not just in the US. The authors of The Future of Big Data asked experts "to weigh two scenarios for 2020, select the one most likely to evolve, and elaborate on the choice." One scenario was positive, the other negative. Fifty-three percent supported the positive scenario and 39% supported the negative one, indicating that big data is not likely to be all blue skies and clear sailing. - CB

Bell, David A. "The Bookless LibraryThe New Republic  243(12)(2 August 2012): 31-36. ( - The ongoing debate over the future of NYPL might lead some to think that most scholars do not want libraries to alter their traditional practices. Princeton historian Bell is a welcome antidote. In this long rumination on the future of libraries, he notes the technological and fiscal pressures that will force libraries to change. He argues that "if libraries are to survive, and thereby preserve their expertise, their communal functions, their specialized collections, and the access they provide to physical books, they must find new roles to play." There is nothing in this piece that will be new to most librarians. Its value lies in that it arises from and speaks to academia and hence may carry more weight with some user communities. - PH

Crawford, Walt. "It Was Never a Universal Library: Three Years of the Google Book SettlementCites & Insights: Crawford at Large  12(7)(2012): 1-58. ( - In this 58-page special issue, Walt Crawford reviews and analyzes selected works dealing with the Google Book Settlement that were published since the end of March 2009. The complex Google Book Settlement is certainly one of the most significant legal cases in the last decade for libraries, and it deserves the in-depth treatment that Crawford gives it. Did libraries hope for too much with Google Books? In his conclusion, Crawford states: "Librarians should never have looked at GBS as an opportunity to stop housing physical collections while still being important. At best, GBS should have resulted in an interesting and potentially quite useful additional service. In any case, the settlement was doomed: It overreached fairness as a class-action settlement." If you care about fair use, mass digitization, and orphan works issues, this article is a must read. - CB

Davies, Karen. "Reference Accuracy in Library and Information Science JournalsAslib Proceedings  64(4)(2012): 373-387. ( - This article looks at the accuracy of citations from 4 'high impact' journals in library and information science for the year of 2007. Results were not particularly good. Error rates range from 40 to 49 percent, mostly in author names and page ranges but also in such things, horror of horrors, as the inconsistent use of 'et al'. - LRK

Scaramozzino, Jeanine M., Marisa L.  Ramierz, and Karen J.  McGaughey. "A Study of Faculty Data Curation Behaviors and Attitudes at a Teaching-Centered UniversityCollege & Research Libraries  73(4)(July 2012): 349-365. ( - This article explores faculty behaviors and attitudes around data curation at California Polytechnic State University. The authors developed a survey for faculty that explored the issue of data curation from three angles: data preservation, data sharing, and educational needs in the field. The survey was sent to all faculty in the College of Science and Mathematics, though it is important to note that the findings reported here are looking at a subset of the faculty who responded. The authors found that the faculty believed that they should have primary responsibility for ensuring that the data from their research was preserved, and that most often that is what happens in practice. (It is worth noting, though, that 40% of faculty indicated that undergraduate students in their labs also played some role in this.) The survey found that most of the faculty know that backing up their data is important, and they are mostly doing this - however they are not using institutional or departmental servers for this purpose, but rather the various computers they have access to (lab, office, home), external hard drives, and USB drives. Additionally, many of the faculty indicated that they were not sure how best to protect their data backups from accidental modification or tampering. Lastly, 70% of the respondents were interested in more guidance and education in this area. While these findings may not hold true at every university, or even between departments at the same institution, the approach taken by the authors is one that could easily be adapted for use in another setting. - AC

Swan, Alma, and John  Houghton. Going for Gold? The Costs and Benefits of Gold Open Access for UK Research Institutions: Further Economic Modelling  London: JISC, 2012.( - This study models open access costs for both global open access and unilateral open access (one university adopting open access in the context of the existing publishing system) for UK universities. It examines the relative economics of the Gold (open access journals) and Green (self-archiving of articles, including an journal overlay version) open access models for universities under these conditions using a sample of four representative universities. The "headline" finding for the global Gold OA model is that, if research funders and corresponding authors' universities pay publication charges, all universities would see cost savings at current publication charge levels and research-intensive universities would reap the greatest savings. Not surprisingly, the headline finding for unilateral Gold OA model is that it leads to higher costs, especially for research-intensive universities. Chart 23 summarizes the relative costs: global Gold OA saves more than global Green OA, and unilateral Gold OA costs more than unilateral Green OA. - CB