Current Cites

January 2015

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Bailey, Timothy P., Amanda L.  Scott, and Rickey D.  Best. "Cost Differentials between E-Books and Print in Academic LibrariesCollege & Research Libraries  76(1)(January 2015): 6-18. ( - The authors are librarians at Auburn University of Montgomery, where they had been considering favoring the purchase of e-books over print books for reasons of space saving. They were also considering implementing a patron-drive acquisitions process. This led them to wonder whether there was a cost differently between print and electronic books. Thus, they performed the study that forms the bulk of this article. Their conclusion? Electronic is more expensive. "The movement to a predominantly e-only format for information is increasing the pressures upon academic libraries to be able to provide access to the digital resources, while those resources are in a pricing model reminiscent of the serials pricing models that have bedeviled libraries for decades. The continuing access fees for e-books being applied by many publishers are creating an unstable model for libraries to be able to maintain financial support for them, and the failure to discount e-titles are impacting library purchasing power." - RT

Bergmayer, John. "Let's Make It Easier to Expand the Public DomainPublic Knowledge Blog  (23 January 2015)( - Bergmayer points out that, under US copyright law, open licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses, cannot negate an author's right to revoke these license agreements under certain conditions. Nor does it stop them from offering the same work under different licenses. This includes the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0) license and other attempts to put works in the public domain. Problem? Here's an example from Bergmayer: "This means, for example, that contributors to projects like Wikipedia (where an original contributor continues to own the copyright to her work, but licenses that copyright under a liberal license) can revoke that license. It also means that people who transfer actual ownership of their copyrights to stewards like the Free Software Foundation can claw back that ownership." - CB

Digital Public Library of America. Strategic Plan: 2015 through 2017  Boston, MA: DPLA, January 2015.( - In less than two years, DPLA has partnered with content and service hubs in 15 states to provide access to metadata for over 7 million digital items from over a thousand institutions. Even if one were to exclude the 3.5 million records provided by HathiTrust, this is still a substantial achievement. Just as importantly, DPLA has become a major player with funding agencies. For example, in September it received an IMLS National Leadership Grant for Libraries that was almost twice as large as permitted by the 2014 guidelines. It is therefore an organization whose development all librarians should monitor closely. Its new strategic plan outlines DPLA's top priorities for content, technology, outreach, and sustainability. It is fascinating to see DPLA seek to address the challenges faced by all libraries as they seek to build a coherent collection development strategy. It is also interesting to see how DPLA presents itself. The document has trouble distinguishing between DPLA's collection of metadata and the digital resources created, maintained, and preserved by DPLA partner organizations. To speak of the latter as "the DPLA collection" could be dangerous if it suggests to funding bodies that support of content hubs could be reduced since the digital resources are maintained on DPLA servers. And the document does little to refute the frequent criticism that DPLA has little in common with a "public library" since it cannot provide access to contemporary literature. Nevertheless, the strategic plan outlines ways that DPLA will grow more valuable as an index to publicly-accessible digitized historical resources. - PH

Durno, John, and Jerry Trofimchuk. "Digital forensics on a shoestring: a case study from the University of VictoriaThe Code4Lib Journal  (27)(21 January 2015)( - Librarians and archivists have long struggled with how to deal with reading data from outdated computer formats. The authors quote Marshall Breeding who writes, "processing such [old] collections may involve increasing measures of digital archaeology." It is just such "archaeological" activities that this article describes. Using a small grant from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, the authors build their own bespoke workstation with a variety of methods for reading old storage formats. While admitting that simply rescuing data from old formats is just the beginning of what is required to manage this information, it is a major step that is required before you can address the additional issues. The authors proved their ability to build an "old" computer with "new" parts that will at least accomplish this essential first step. - RT

Jones, Elisabeth A, and Paul N Courant. "Monographic Purchasing Trends in Academic Libraries: Did the ‘Serials Crisis’ Really Destroy the University Press?Journal of Scholarly Publishing  46(1)(October 2014)( - (subscription required)- It is common knowledge that one reason why university presses are suffering is because academic libraries stopped spending money on monographs, preferring instead to purchase expensive serial bundles. In this carefully constructed study, Jones and Courant remind us that common knowledge is often no knowledge at all. By examining the number of university press titles in the WorldCat database from a sample set of academic libraries, they demonstrate that a decline in monograph purchases only started in 2000, long after the serials crisis decimated library budgets. The economic problems faced by university presses, they argue, cannot be blamed on their library customers. University presses either do not have or won't make available data on their customers and sales, and librarians are not in a good position to evaluate how their purchases impact the publishing environment. The solid data that Jones and Courant cleverly extract from WorldCat debunks accepted lore and should encourage others to rethink the changes happening in publishing. - PH

King , David L. "Managing Your Library's Social Media ChannelsLibrary Technology Reports  51(1)(January 2015)( - "Landscape of Social Media for Libraries" (Chapter 2) provides a quick catch-up for anyone wanting to implement, review, or expand their social media presence. Statistics about the relative reach of various social media channels allow libraries to compare audience sizes and determine where to invest scarce resources most effectively. Since these free services arise, are bought and sold, and disappear so quickly, libraries may want to keep abreast of changing relationships, for example, that Instagram is owned by Facebook, and Vine is owned by Twitter. Chapter 5, "Analytics, Goals, and Strategy for Social Media," covers sources of collectible use data. The report advocates for use of social media, and concerns about content ownership or information security are not within its scope. Libraries undertaking social media projects must decide on the size of the team they can assign to daily monitoring. The author takes the positive view that monitoring and posting shouldn't be a "huge burden" because "it's social media, so it comes and goes pretty fast.” (p. 34) An outline of how libraries can and should participate in social media is a useful reminder that it requires a level of commitment to remain responsive to trends and events on a daily basis. - NN

Wimmer, Ulla, and Michael Seadle. "A Friendly Conquest: German Libraries after the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989"  Library Trends  63(2)(Fall 2014): 197-211. - This dip into history looks at the position of libraries in East Germany both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is part of an extremely interesting series on the state of libraries in the former east block. The introduction to the series by Hermina G.B. Anghelescu is also worth reading. - LRK