Current Cites

January 2013

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, . "EBook Business Models: A Scorecard for Public Libraries  (2012)( - Are you struggling with e-book licenses, trying to see the forest for the trees? This paper presents 15 key issues to consider in establishing license terms that meet your library's needs, and it encourages you to rank licenses on each issue using a five-point scale. The authors note that: "While business models will continue to evolve, models that are explored in the year ahead may well help pave the way to models of the future. It is therefore most important that libraries negotiate aggressively for the most favorable and flexible terms possible." Also check out the Working Group's related 2012 "EBook Business Models for Public Libraries" paper. - CB

Bennett, Emily. "The Future of Learned Associations in the HumanitiesLearned Publishing   26(1)(1 January 2013): 32-41. ( - (subscription required). Much open access focus has been on journals in science and medicine, but the same technological shifts that make possible open access for science articles apply to humanities research as well. In this article Bennett, the publisher in Wiley's Social Sciences and Humanities Division, surveys the leaders of six of the largest learned associations in the humanities to see how they foresee the future. The description of the challenges facing learned associations is comprehensive, but the conclusions are surprisingly conservative. Bennett envisions a world in which publishers and learned societies continue to provide the same kind of services they have in the past, even if the delivery mechanism changes. A related call for limited open access was recently issued by a group of 21 historical journals. While there may be more money at stake in STEM journals, how open access will impact the humanities as a scholarly field may end up being just as interesting a question. - PH

Bliss, T.J., John  Hilton III, and David  Wiley, et. al."The Cost and Quality of Online Open Textbooks: Perceptions of Community College Faculty and StudentsFirst Monday  18(1)(7 January 2013)( - In this article, the authors discuss a small study in which they surveyed students and faculty using online, open textbooks at several community colleges in California, Nebraska and New York. (Most of the students involved are designated as "at-risk" by their institution.) Faculty generally seemed to like the texts, but the real meat here lies in the student responses. Most students indicated that they liked the online texts, giving reasons including economics and availability. Those who did not like them cited limitations of the online format, including eyestrain, connection problems and other issues with the web site the texts were on, and the inability to take notes. While there is still certainly more to study in this realm, it is heartening to see that students who are poised to receive the most benefit from free or lower-cost open textbooks are, at least initially, finding them to be at least as useful as traditional print textbooks, if not more. - AC

Charlesworth, Andrew. Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Preservation  York: Digital Preservation Coalition, 2012.( - The Digital Preservation Coalition's Technology Watch Report series offers invaluable advanced introductions to complicated topics. In this report, Andrew Charlesworth tackles copyright and other legal impediments to digital preservation. His analysis of the letter of the law is limited to the UK. What makes the report of broad interest, however, are the practical and pragmatic approaches he takes to working through digital preservation issues. His risk assessment and recommended actions are of value to everyone involved in digital preservation, regardless of jurisdiction. - PH

Philipson, Morris. "The Consequences of a Life in Scholarly PublishingJournal of Scholarly Publishing  44(2)(January 2013): 206-210. ( - Every once and a while, perhaps as often as once a year, it is useful to sit back and evaluate why we do the things we do. As part of a commemorative volume for the author who passed away in 2011, this reprint from 1995 remains a refreshingly idealistic piece that looks at the "enduring themes" of scholarly publishing. The author relates scholarly publishing to music scores and the impact that music has on its audience. The performance takes place in the "privacy of each individual's mind". The goal is always to re-evaluate ideas and always to bring about "transformations of thought". This "unending activity of intellect, spirit, and culture", the author explains, "is its own reward." - LRK

Phillips, Mark. "Metadata Analysis at the Command LineCode4Lib Journal  (19)(15 January 2013)( - Here at Current Cites we try to cite the best articles we find in the library and information technology literature. Although most of the time we tend to cite articles that have the widest possible interest, we are not reluctant to dive down "into the weeds" for the right piece. This is one such time. What makes this article worthy is the effective use of simple tools to do what many libraries may either be using much more complex and time-consuming tools to accomplish, or may not be doing at all. Phillips shows how, by transforming an incoming collection of metadata into a simple format that can be manipulated by already existing Unix command- line tools such as 'sort', 'awk', and 'grep' (I would add 'cut' as well), he can quickly generate a variety of useful reports. Such reports can include a list of the most prolific creators, the number of subjects per record, records that contain an error (for example, dates that do not comply with a particular format), and many others. Specific reports may prompt further work to perform data correction or normalization. In other words, with a few simple tools it is possible to quickly understand an incoming metadata collection by summarizing and reporting on salient aspects, locating errors, and pinpointing variant name forms. In other words, a veritable Swiss Army [TM] knife for the modern metadata librarian. - RT

Rockenbach, Barbara, ed., et. al."Special Issue: Digital Humanities in Libraries: New Models for Scholarly EngagementJournal of Library Administration  53(1)(25 January 2013)( - This special issue of the Journal of Library Administration addresses the role of libraries and librarians in the digital humanities, and fills a gap in the wider literature of both librarianship and of DH. Taken together, the articles-- written by a set of thoughtful and passionate scholars working at the intersection of librarianship and DH--put forth a strong vision of libraries as collaborators in the today's scholarly research environment, and offer a range of approaches and several real-world examples of attempts to fill that role. Guest editor Barbara Rockenbach's introduction lays out four themes that emerge: 1) the larger context of DH, including interdisciplinary research behaviors making use of, and producing, new forms of scholarly materials, tools and methods; 2) DH as an endeavor that is driven by relationships rather than by technology; 3) the tension between traditional notions of library service and new models of user engagement; and 4) institutional barriers related to the traditional organizational and support structures of libraries. Essential reading for all library leaders interested in supporting digital scholarship. - BR