Current Cites

August 2012

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Crews, Kenneth D. "Museum Policies and Art Images: Conflicting Objectives and Copyright OverreachingFordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal  22(July, 2012): 795. ( - For many libraries and archives, museums represent an enviable policy model when it comes to controlling and monetizing reproductions made from their collections. In this study, Crews examines closely the legal and policy bases for restrictive museum policies. He concludes that many museum copyright claims surpass anything that may be found in law. The restructured concepts of ownership and control found in the policies work to curtail the availability and use of art images in ways that most would find unacceptable, and would not be applicable in any event outside of a museum setting. Any repository thinking about the legal and intellectual basis for its permission policies would do well to consider Crews's analysis. - PH

Geffert, Bryan. " How to Succeed in Publishing Without Really TryingInside Higher Ed  (24 August 2012)( - Geffert, the Librarian of Amherst College, uses the structure of C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters to comment on the current state of scholarly publishing. He conjures one half of an exchange between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his protégé, Wormwood, who has decided to enter the scholarly publishing arena. With wit and humor, Geffert highlights the absurd position in which librarians and faculty find themselves and implies that they only have themselves to blame. The only thing harder than making scientific publishing funny is figuring out how to solve the problems that Geffert satirizes. - PH

Houghton, Sarah. "I'm Breaking Up with Ebooks (and you can too)Librarian in Black  (1 August 2012)( - Every once in a while there is a blog post that rises well above the daily outpouring of text on the web. This is one such piece, and the response to it (over 100 comments as of this writing) is testimony to that fact. As the technically-savvy library director for the San Rafael Public Library (CA), the author can be considered on the front lines of the disaster known as e-books in libraries. And this post makes it clear that she's fed up and won't take it any more. Using a brilliant metaphor of breaking up with a "bad boyfriend", Houghton skewers the e-book publishing industry. Contrast this treatment of the subject with the much more restrained piece "E- Books in Libraries: A Briefing Document Developed in Preparation for a Workshop on E-Lending in Libraries" cited elsewhere in this issue of Current Cites. I won't give away Houghton's punchlines, as you need to go read it, but I will leave you with this introductory paragraph which helps set the scene: "eBooks is to libraries what that awful boyfriend (or girlfriend) was to you. Think about it. And when I say “eBooks” I mean the whole messed up situation–the copyright nightmares, the publishers, the fragmented formats, the ridiculous terms of service, the device incompatibility, the third-party aggregation companies libraries do business with–all of it. eBooks is the guy who takes advantage of your good nature and generosity only to exploit every last weakness you have for his own personal gain. The guy your family loved the first time they met him, who swept you off your feet, but who everyone came to regard as that unwanted interloper who would never leave. Well, my friends, it’s time to boot eBooks’ ass to the curb. There are better boyfriends to be had." You go, girl. - RT

Howard, Jennifer. "CSI: Rare Book School, or Computer Forensics in the ArchivesWired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education)  (23 August 2012)( - This past July Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Jennifer Howard was a student in a class on "Born-Digital Materials: Theory&Practice” offered at Rare Book School. She reports on the experience in three postings to the Chronicle's Wired Campus blog. This is the last entry in the series to date, but it contains links to the first two: "But Is It a Book?" and "Digital Materiality, or Learning to Love Our Machines." Howard captures the excitement and fun that can accompany trying to tackle obsolete hardware and software in a responsible manner. Ricky Erway's new OCLC report, "You've Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born-Digital Content Received on Physical Media," tells me what I need to do in theory to deal with born-digital material; Howard's articles make we want to be able to attend RBS next summer to get hands-on practice as well. The three essays should make all curators and librarians welcome our future digital collections. - PH

LIBER Working Group on E-science, . Ten Recommendations for Libraries to Get Started with Research Data Management  The Hague, Netherlands: LIBER, 2012.( - Driven by the requirements of federal funding agencies and other funding sources, research data management has quickly become an important concern of academic libraries. Faced with this new responsibility, a growing number of academic libraries are establishing new data librarian positions to help them deal with a wide range of data management issues. This brief document reports on three workshops held by LIBER about research data and libraries. In the final workshop, ten concise and sensible recommendations for how libraries should deal with research data management issues were generated. These recommendations can help librarians who are unfamiliar with research data management to get oriented to key strategies for dealing with this new responsibility. - CB

Lewis, David W.. "The Inevitability of Open AccessCollege & Research Libraries  73(5)(September 2012): 493-506. ( - In this article, Lewis argues that the movement towards open access (OA) - and in particular the model of OA in which all articles from the journal are freely available immediately upon publication - is a disruptive innovation, as defined by business theorist Clayton Christensen. This essentially means that the growth rate of OA will be different, and faster, than what one might otherwise extrapolate from past growth. In the process of making this argument, Lewis provides a concise, solid overview of OA in general, including the history of its development and the various arguments for or against it used by publishers, authors, and other stakeholders. Much of this will not be new to those who have been following the development of open access, but the article is a good review and could serve as an excellent introduction for authors and faculty who are not yet sure what to make of open access publishing models. - AC

O'Brien, David R., Urs  Gasser, and John  Palfrey. E-Books in Libraries: A Briefing document developed in preparation for a Workshop on E-Lending in Libraries  Cambridge, MA: The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 1 July 2012.( - This 29-page briefing document is an excellent view into the badly broken world of e-books in libraries. If you are responsible for acquiring (or, more accurately, licensing access to) e-books for a library you are likely already somewhat, if not thoroughly, acquainted with this litany of woe. However, even for the experienced it will likely be helpful to have it so cogently and succinctly revealed and explained. The target audience for this piece is really library administrators and others who may not be as intimately familiar with the disaster that the e-book world for libraries has become. Pick your metaphor: "train wreck," "cluster f@#!", you name it -- they likely all apply. But at least with this document in hand you have the opportunity to a) help inform others who may not be as familiar with the issues, and b) receive the cold comfort of knowing you are not alone in your misery. If there is a drawback in this treatment of the subject, it likely resides in the verbiage itself, which is so measured and controlled as to be almost apologetic. Kind of like an eyewitness of a train wreck calmly stating, "The train left the track and a certain amount of damage and injury ensued." So for those of you lusting after a more visceral reaction to the situation in which we find ourselves, I highly recommend Sarah Houghton's awesome piece cited elsewhere in this issue of Current Cites "I'm Breaking Up with Ebooks (and you can too)". Lord help us all. - RT