Current Cites

September 2012

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Aharony, Noa. "An Analysis of American Academic Libraries Websites: 2000-2010"  Electronic Library  30(6)(2012) - "Much seems to have changed over the ten years." That’s one of the conclusions from this article (currently in ‘preprint’) where the author with an assist from, compares 31 academic library websites at two different points in time, namely 2000 and 2010. The focus was on content analysis. The author used a checklist of 42 items ranging from use of graphics to listing of hours. Not surprisingly, the role of full-text databases has increased substantially. Enhanced ‘Web 2.0’ services have also taken off (though it might have been helpful to specify exactly what services these are). Additional winners include appearance and better use of graphics. “As technology has changed and influenced website structure and design”, the author reminds us, “libraries must compete with other internet websites. They thus use graphics such as banners and pictures in order to attract and motivate patrons to access the library website.” My, how far we’ve come. - LRK

Band, Jonathan. Cautionary Tales About Collective Rights Organizations  Washington, D.C.: Jonathan Band PLLC, September 2012.( - In the wake of the rejection of the Google Book settlement, which would have provided the public access to the full-text of millions of books, other solutions to the copyright bottleneck in mass digitization have been sought. One common suggestion is that collective rights organizations (CROs) could handle the issue. Frequent library lawyer Band's review of the behavior of CROs reveals "a long history of corruption, mismanagement, confiscation of funds, and lack of transparency that has deprived artists of the revenues they earned." Legislatively-chartered CROs seem no better than voluntary ones such as the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). The GSU lawsuit has demonstrated that the CCC is no friend of libraries; Band's paper suggests to me that any CRO that addresses mass digitization is likely to end up serving its own interests at the expense of authors and the public. - PH

Hirtle, Peter. "When is 1923 Going to Arrive and Other Complications of the U.S. Public DomainSearcher  20(6)(September 2012)( - This piece by our Current Cites colleague Peter Hirtle discusses the difficulties in determining when a work passes into the public domain in the United States. The author of the well-known, highly respected, and oft-consulted chart "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States" is in a position to know just how deucedly difficult this can be. "All copyrighted works must eventually enter the public domain," the author asserts, "but determining when that happens is not easy." This must be the understatement of the year. Some may prefer to poke their eye out with a sharp stick than to consider all of the complications raised by Hirtle, and you would not get an argument from me. But for anyone needing to know whether they could get sued for providing open access to a digitized work -- and there are many of you -- then this piece is essential reading. Just grab a cup of coffee first and tackle it early in the day. The sub-text, which Hirtle seems to allude to but is too gentlemanly to baldly state, is that our copyright regime in the U.S. is a world of head-splitting hurt. When well-intentioned, law-abiding citizens cannot determine when a given action is legal without consulting counsel, something is seriously, irretrievably, broken. - RT

Mack, Deborah L., Nancy  Rogers, and Susanna  Seidl-Fox. "Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory CultureSalzburg Global Seminar and The Institute of Museum and Library Services.  (May 2012)( - Reading this report feels like strolling room to room through a cocktail party filled with international visitors working in, for and around libraries and museums. The party-goers are some of the best in brightest in their respective fields, so the conversations you hear as you pass by involve clear, clever insights, discussions and debate at the global level, about the future of libraries and museums. Held in October 2011, the Salzburg Global Seminar on Libraries and Museums in an Era of Participatory Culture drew “fifty-eight library, museum, and cultural heritage leaders from thirty-one countries around the world into discussion, debate, and the development of a series of practical recommendations for ensuring maximum access to and engagement in museums and libraries, as they examined the meaning of “participatory culture” writ large.” It’s rare to have a report with such international scope, and where the voices of colleagues in developing countries are given equal voice to those from more developed areas. The five discussion themes of Culture and Communities; Learning Transformed; Communication and Technologies; Building the Skills of Library and Museum Professionals; and Demonstrating Public Value are summarised with recommendations. The report’s website ( provides links to over 25 relevant blog posts about the seminar, which places the main report into the context of the real- time conversations, observations and discussions held at the time of the seminar. - WC

Raven, Meg. "Bridging the Gap: Understanding the Differing Research Expectations of First-Year Students and ProfessorsEvidence Based Library and Information Practice  7(3)(September 2012): 4-31. ( - This article explores the differing expectations of entering freshmen and faculty at Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia. The author gathered data via two surveys conducted in fall 2008 - one for entering freshmen, and one for faculty. The student survey looked at their past research behavior, touching on issues such as the types of sources they have used, and the amount of time they spend on research. The faculty survey was designed to gather complementary data on what faculty think and expect their students are doing. The findings are not surprising - just over half of the students responding to the survey had never used a research database before, and a similar number felt that faculty were responsible for imparting any necessary research skills. Faculty members, however, expected that students would take personal responsibility for learning any research skills they did not already have. Additional findings of the survey supported other studies that have found that students think they know more than they do and over-rate their research skills; meanwhile faculty expect that students are spending much more time on assignments than students expect they will spend. The author notes that the information gathered in this study is helping librarians better plan for library instruction sessions that do a better job of filling the gap between the expectations f faculty and the skills and expectations of their students. - AC

Rosenthal, David S. H., Daniel C.  Rosenthal, and Ethan L.  Miller, et. al."The Economics of Long-Term Digital Storage  (2012)( - Do you think that you will need significantly more digital storage capacity in the future? If so, you should read this preprint, which models future digital storage costs, including cloud storage costs. It's not good news for libraries engaged in digitization efforts, digital preservation, digital repositories (especially those storing hard science research data), and similar efforts. In the paper's conclusion, the authors say: "Optimistically, for the rest of this decade the rapid decrease in cost per bit of storage that has been a constant of the last three decades will be much slower; it might even stop." - CB

Van de Sompel, Herbert, Robert  Sanderson, and Martin  Klein, et. al."D-Lib Magazine  18(9/10)(September/October 2012)( - The World Wide Web is over 20 years old, so you would think by now we would have solved the issue of keeping one copy of web-accessible content properly synced up with another copy -- the basic problem of any content aggregator. But no, we have not. At least in a way that most people find satisfactory. So this article is reporting on some beginning work by the NISO/OAI ResourceSync committee to try to solve that very problem. The authors begin by briefly discussing prior art (e.g., OAI-PMH, sitemaps, etc.) and identifying why those solutions failed to be completely successful. The remainder of the piece unpacks the problem into constituent parts, and then places them in a table for further analysis. "In subsequent work," state the authors, "this template will be used to illustrate and explore concrete technological choices to assemble a synchronization framework." Another article on this topic is slated to appear in D-Lib Magazine in November. The NISO/OAI ResourceSync committee has promised to deliver a resource synchronization specification by mid-2013. - RT