Archive for January, 2007

MIT’s SIMILE Project

Posted in DSpace, Institutional Repositories, Open Source Software on January 31st, 2007

MIT’s Semantic Interoperability of Metadata and Information in unLike Environments (SIMILE) project is producing a variety of interesting open source software packages that will be of interest to librarians and others such as Piggy Bank, "a Firefox extension that turns your browser into a mashup platform, by allowing you to extract data from different web sites and mix them together."

Here is an overview of the SIMILE project from the About SIMILE page:

SIMILE is a joint project conducted by the MIT Libraries and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. SIMILE seeks to enhance inter-operability among digital assets, schemata/vocabularies/ontologies, metadata, and services. A key challenge is that the collections which must inter-operate are often distributed across individual, community, and institutional stores. We seek to be able to provide end-user services by drawing upon the assets, schemata/vocabularies/ontologies, and metadata held in such stores.

SIMILE will leverage and extend DSpace, enhancing its support for arbitrary schemata and metadata, primarily though the application of RDF and semantic web techniques. The project also aims to implement a digital asset dissemination architecture based upon web standards. The dissemination architecture will provide a mechanism to add useful "views" to a particular digital artifact (i.e. asset, schema, or metadata instance), and bind those views to consuming services.

You can get a more detailed overview of the project from the SIMILE grant proposal and from other project documents.

There is a SIMILE blog and a Wiki. There are also three mailing lists.

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    Recent Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) Documents

    Posted in OAI-ORE, OAI-PMH, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 30th, 2007

    In a previous posting, I discussed the Open Archives Initiative’s Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) project. ORE is worth watching closely.

    Two new documents were released this January:

    • "Report of the January 2007 ORE-TC Meeting," which is: "A detailed report of the results of the meeting of OAI-ORE Technical Committee describing features and requirements of the ORE model and its context in the Web Architecture."
    • "Open Repositories 2007," which is: "A presentation describing OAI-ORE and progress based on the January 2007 ORE Technical Committee Meeting."
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      Petition to European Commission to Support Open Access Tops 10,000 Signatures

      Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 29th, 2007

      A petition to the European Commission asking it to support the European Union’s "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe" has been signed by more than 10,000 people.

      From the press release:

      Nobel laureates Harold Varmus and Rich Roberts are among the more than ten thousand concerned researchers, senior academics, lecturers, librarians, and citizens from across Europe and around the world who are signing an internet petition calling on the European Commission to adopt polices to guarantee free public access to research results and maximise the worldwide visibility of European research.

      Organisations too are lending their support, with the most senior representatives from over 500 education, research and cultural organisations in the world adding their weight to the petition, including CERN, the UK’s Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Italian Rector’s Conference, the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts & Sciences (KNAW) and the Swiss Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW), alongside the petition’s sponsors, SPARC Europe, JISC, the SURF Foundation, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Danish Electronic Research Library (DEFF).

      From the petition

      Research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers’ publishing practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions, they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding.

      The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented.

      More signatures are needed, especially from EU organizations and individuals.

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        DOE and British Library to Develop Science.world Portal

        Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 29th, 2007

        The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the British Library have signed an agreement to develop an portal to international science resources called Science.world.

        From the press release:

        Called ‘Science.world,’ the planned resource would be available for use by scientists in all nations and by anyone interested in science. The approach will capitalise on existing technology to search vast collections of science information distributed across the globe, enabling much-needed access to smaller, less well-known sources of highly valuable science. Following the model of Science.gov, the U.S. interagency science portal that relies on content published by each participating agency, ‘Science.world’ will rely on scientific resources published by each participating nation. Other countries have been invited to participate in this international effort. . . .

        Objectives of the ‘Science.world’ initiative are to:

        • Search dispersed, electronic collections in various science disciplines;
        • Provide direct, seamless and free searching of open-source collections and portals;
        • Build upon existing and already successful national models for searching;
        • Complement existing information collections and systems; and
        • Raise the visibility and usage of individual sources of quality science information.
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          New Yorker Google Book Search Article

          Posted in Copyright, E-Books, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on January 29th, 2007

          The New Yorker has published an article about Google Book Search by Jeffrey Toobin in its February 5, 2007 issue ("Google’s Moon Shot: The Quest for the Universal Library").

          Here’s a quote from the article:

          Google asserts that its use of the copyrighted books is "transformative," that its database turns a book into essentially a new product. "A key part of the line between what’s fair use and what’s not is transformation," Drummond said. "Yes, we’re making a copy when we digitize. But surely the ability to find something because a term appears in a book is not the same thing as reading the book. That’s why Google Books is a different product from the book itself." In other words, Google says that being able to search books on its site—which it describes as the equivalent of a giant library card catalogue—is not the same as making the books themselves available. But the publishers cite another factor in fair-use analysis: the amount of the copyrighted work that is used in the creation of the new one. Google is copying entire books, which doesn’t sound "fair" to the plaintiff publishers and authors.

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            Draft White Paper on Acquisitions and Electronic Resource Management Systems Interoperability

            Posted in Electronic Resources, ERM/Discovery Systems, Licenses, Scholarly Communication on January 27th, 2007

            The Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative Phase II Steering Committee has released a draft white paper on the interoperability of ILS acquisition modules and electronic resource management systems.

            Here is the introduction:

            Electronic resource management systems are becoming an important tool in many libraries. Commercial ERMS development has been driven in part by the lack of accommodation within integrated library systems for elements specific to electronic resources. Financial aspects of acquiring e-resources, in particular, necessitate recording an array of data not suited to ILS acquisitions modules. Unlike other data recorded in an ERMS such as licensing and administrative terms, a moderate percentage of acquisitions data is redundant, being populated in ILS during the acquisitions process, while also being accommodated within ERMS in accordance with the data structure detailed in Electronic Resource Management: Report of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative (Digital Library Federation, 2004). ERMS implementers are eager to automate the process by which acquisitions data move from their ILS into their ERMS. This interest has grown substantially over the past few months as the prospect of connecting financial data to usage statistics has been facilitated through the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI), a NISO draft standard.

            This white paper describes workflows at four libraries; reports on conversations held with product managers and other relevant staff of the leading ERMS; summarizes common themes; and suggests next steps. The paper is a draft for comment; it is hoped that those with interest in this area will provide insight to further this investigation.

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              OAIster Hits 10,000,000 Records

              Posted in E-Prints, Google and Other Search Engines, OAI-PMH, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 25th, 2007

              Excerpt from the press release:

              We live in an information-driven world—one in which access to good information defines success. OAIster’s growth to 10 million records takes us one step closer to that goal.

              Developed at the University of Michigan’s Library, OAIster is a collection of digital scholarly resources. OAIster is also a service that continually gathers these digital resources to remain complete and fresh. As global digital repositories grow, so do OAIster’s holdings.

              Popular search engines don’t have the holdings OAIster does. They crawl web pages and index the words on those pages. It’s an outstanding technique for fast, broad information from public websites. But scholarly information, the kind researchers use to enrich their work, is generally hidden from these search engines.

              OAIster retrieves these otherwise elusive resources by tapping directly into the collections of a variety of institutions using harvesting technology based on the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. These can be images, academic papers, movies and audio files, technical reports, books, as well as preprints (unpublished works that have not yet been peer reviewed). By aggregating these resources, OAIster makes it possible to search across all of them and return the results of a thorough investigation of complete, up-to-date resources. . . .

              OAIster is good news for the digital archives that contribute material to open-access repositories. "[OAIster has demonstrated that]. . . OAI interoperability can scale. This is good news for the technology, since the proliferation is bound to continue and even accelerate," says Peter Suber, author of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. As open-access repositories proliferate, they will be supported by a single, well-managed, comprehensive, and useful tool.

              Scholars will find that searching in OAIster can provide better results than searching in web search engines. Roy Tennant, User Services Architect at the California Digital Library, offers an example: "In OAIster I searched ‘roma’ and ‘world war,’ then sorted by weighted relevance. The first hit nailed my topic—the persecution of the Roma in World War II. Trying ‘roma world war’ in Google fails miserably because Google apparently searches ‘Rome’ as well as ‘Roma.’ The ranking then makes anything about the Roma people drop significantly, and there is nothing in the first few screens of results that includes the word in the title, unlike the OAIster hit."

              OAIster currently harvests 730 repositories from 49 countries on 6 continents. In three years, it has more than quadrupled in size and increased from 6.2 million to 10 million in the past year. OAIster is a project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service.

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                Orphan Works Challenge Fails

                Posted in Copyright, Scholarly Communication on January 22nd, 2007

                The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has denied an appeal of Kahle v. Gonzales, leaving the legal status of orphan works unchanged. The plaintiffs’ attorneys were Jennifer Stisa Granick, Lawrence Lessig, and Christopher Sprigman.

                Eric Auchard’s article "U.S. Court Upholds Copyright Law on ‘Orphan Works’" gives an overview of the Ninth’s decision.

                The opinion is also available. Here is an excerpt:

                Plaintiffs appeal from the district court’s dismissal of their complaint. They allege that the change from an "opt-in" to an "opt-out" copyright system altered a traditional contour of copyright and therefore requires First Amendment review under Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186, 221 (2003). They also allege that the current copyright term violates the Copyright Clause’s "limited Times" prescription. . . .

                Arguments similar to Plaintiffs’ were presented to the Supreme Court in Eldred, which affirmed the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act against those attacks. The Supreme Court has already effectively addressed and denied Plaintiffs’ arguments. . . .

                In March 2004, Plaintiffs Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive, Richard Prelinger, and Prelinger Associates, Inc. filed an amended complaint seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Brewster Kahle and Internet Archive have built an "Internet library" that offers free access to digitized audio, books, films, websites, and software. Richard Prelinger and Prelinger Associates make digital versions of "ephemeral" films available for free on the internet. Each Plaintiff provides, or intends to provide, access to works that allegedly have little or no commercial value but remain under copyright protection. The difficulty and expense of obtaining permission to place those works on the Internet is overwhelming; ownership of these "orphan" works is often difficult, and sometimes impossible, to ascertain. . . .

                Plaintiffs also argue that they should be allowed to present evidence that the present copyright term violates the Copyright Clause’s "limited Times" prescription as the Framers would have understood it. That claim was not directly at issue in Eldred, though Justice Breyer discussed it extensively in his dissent. See Eldred, 537 U.S. at 243. Plaintiffs assert all existing copyrights are effectively perpetual. . . .

                Both of Plaintiffs’ main claims attempt to tangentially relitigate Eldred. However, they provide no compelling reason why we should depart from a recent Supreme Court decision.

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                  Creative Commons India to Launch on 1/26/07

                  Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Scholarly Communication on January 22nd, 2007

                  The Creative Commons India will be launched on Friday.

                  From "Creative Commons Readies for India Launch":

                  Creative Commons-India’s project head Shishir K Jha, assistant professor at the IIT’s Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, said the project would focus on three specific areas in India.

                  These are—centres of higher education like the seven IITs, regional technology institutes and management and other institutions. . . .

                  Creative Commons-India also plans to focus on non-profit and non-governmental organisations and corporates keen on adopting easier-to-share licences for the dissemination of their documents.

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                    Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (1/22/07)

                    Posted in Announcements on January 22nd, 2007

                    The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides information about new scholarly literature and resources related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, journal articles, magazine articles, newsletters, technical reports, and white papers. Especially interesting are: "Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing?"; "Copyright, Publishing, and Scholarship: The ‘Zwolle Group’ Initiative for the Advancement of Higher Education"; "Electronic Books and the Humanities: A Survey at the University of Denver"; "E-Prints and Journal Articles in Astronomy: A Productive Co-Existence,"; "Evaluating Research Impact through Open Access to Scholarly Communication"; "If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?"; and Managing Digitization Activities.

                    For weekly updates about news articles, Weblog postings, and other resources related to digital culture (e.g., copyright, digital privacy, digital rights management, and Net neutrality), digital libraries, and scholarly electronic publishing, see the latest DigitalKoans Flashback posting.

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                      2006 PACS Review Use Statistics

                      Posted in Announcements, E-Journals, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on January 21st, 2007

                      The Public-Access Computer Systems Review (PACS Review) was a freely available e-journal, which I founded in 1989. It allowed authors to retain their copyrights, and it had a liberal copyright policy for noncommercial use. It’s last issue was published in 1998.

                      In 2006, there were 763,228 successful requests for PACS Review files, 2,091 average successful requests per day, 751,264 successful requests for pages, and 2,058 average successful requests for pages per day. (A request is for any type of file; a page request is for a content file, such as an HTML, PDF, or Word file). These requests came from 41,865 distinct host computers.

                      The requests came from 134 Internet domains. Leaving aside requests from unresolved numerical addresses, the top 15 domains were: .com (Commercial), .net (Networks), .edu (USA Higher Education), .cz (Czech Republic), .jp (Japan), .ca (Canada), .uk (United Kingdom), .au (Australia), .de (Germany), .nl (Netherlands), .org (Non Profit Making Organizations), .in (India), .my (Malaysia), .it (Italy), and .mx (Mexico). At the bottom were domains such as .ms (Montserrat), .fm (Micronesia), .nu (Niue), .ad (Andorra), and .az (Azerbaijan).

                      Rounded to the nearest thousand, there had previously been 3.5 million successful requests for PACS Review files.

                      This is the last time that use statistics will be reported for the PACS Review.

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                        Fedora 2.2 Released

                        Posted in Fedora, Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Open Source Software, Scholarly Communication on January 20th, 2007

                        The Fedora Project has released version 2.2 of Fedora.

                        From the announcement:

                        This is a significant release of Fedora that includes a complete repackaging of the Fedora source and binary distribution so that Fedora can now be installed as a standalone web application (.war) in any web container. This is a first step in positioning Fedora to fit within a standard "enterprise system" environment. A new installer application makes it easy to setup and run Fedora. Fedora now uses Servlet Filters for authentication. To support digital object integrity, the Fedora repository can now be configured to calculate and store checksums for datastream content. This can be done globally, or on selected datastreams. The Fedora API also provides the ability to check content integrity based on checksums. The RDF-based Resource Index has been tuned for better performance. Also, a new high-performing triplestore, backed by Postgres, has been developed that can be plugged into the Resource Index. Fedora contains many other enhancements and bug fixes.

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