Archive for October, 2007

EFF and Public-Interest-Group Coalition Issue Fair Use Principles for User-Generated Video Content

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on October 31st, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and a coalition of public-interest groups (the Center for Social Media, School of Communications, American University; Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, Washington College of Law, American University; Public Knowledge; Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School; and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California) have issued "Fair Use Principles for User-Generated Video Content."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Fair uses have been mistakenly caught up in copyright enforcement dragnets in the past. For example, earlier this year blogger Michelle Malkin's video about rapper Akon was erroneously taken down from YouTube after Universal Music Group (UMG) claimed copyright infringement. In that case, two excerpts from Akon music videos were embedded in a longer commentary about the rap star. Although UMG ultimately admitted its mistake, automated content filtering raises the possibility that commentaries like this might be blocked preemptively in the future.

With cases like this one in mind, "Fair Use Principles for User-Generated Content" describes six steps that service providers and copyright owners should take to minimize damage to fair use during copyright enforcement efforts. One key principle is "three strikes before blocking" — verifying that the video matches the video of a copyrighted work, that the audio matches the audio of the same work, and that nearly all of the clip is comprised of that single work. In addition, if a video is blocked by a content filter, the creator should be given an opportunity to dispute the filter's determination.

Yale Will Work with Microsoft to Digitize 100,000 Books

Posted in ARL Libraries, Digitization, E-Books, Google and Other Search Engines, Mass Digitizaton, Open Access, Scholarly Books on October 31st, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Yale University Library and Microsoft will work together to digitize 100,000 English-language out-of-copyright books, which will be made available via Microsoft’s Live Search Books.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

The Library and Microsoft have selected Kirtas Technologies to carry out the process based on their proven excellence and state-of-the art equipment. The Library has successfully worked with Kirtas previously, and the company will establish a digitization center in the New Haven area. . . .

The project will maintain rigorous standards established by the Yale Library and Microsoft for the quality and usability of the digital content, and for the safe and careful handling of the physical books. Yale and Microsoft will work together to identify which of the approximately 13 million volumes held by Yale’s 22 libraries will be digitized. Books selected for digitization will remain available for use by students and researchers in their physical form. Digital copies of the books will also be preserved by the Yale Library for use in future academic initiatives and in collaborative scholarly ventures.

Open-Source IRStats Released: Use Statistics for EPrints and DSpace

Posted in Digital Repositories, DSpace, EPrints, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on October 31st, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr. has released IRStats, an open source use statistics analysis package that analyzes both EPrints (versions 2 and 3) and DSpace (beta functionality) logs. The software is under a BSD license, and it requires Perl, awstats, MySQL, Maxmind Organisation Database, ChartDirector, and a CGI-capable Web server.

A description of IRStats features is available as well as examples of its use. For additional information on the project, see "Introduction to IRS."

Just When You Thought Net Neutrality Was Dead

Posted in Net Neutrality on October 29th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Recent actions by AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have rekindled the net neutrality debate, and Senators Byron Dorgan and Olympia Snowe are asking for a Senate Commerce Committee investigation into net neutrality issues.

Here's an excerpt from "Once Thought Dead, Net Neutrality Roars Back to Center Stage":

And then came the bad behavior, the litany of minor cases, dropping like early Christmas gifts into the laps of net neutrality advocates across the country. AT&T censored political lyrics in a Pearl Jam webcast (then apologized). Verizon initially blocked a mass text message from NARAL Pro-Choice America (then apologized). Comcast was found to be delaying BitTorrent and Lotus Notes traffic (and remains unapologetic). AT&T's new terms of service appeared to prohibit criticism of the company (the company apologized and changed the terms).

Read more about it at "Comcast's Internet 'Throttling' Exposes Tip of the Iceberg," "Comcast Needs to Come Clean," "Obama Promises to Reinstate Net Neutrality during First Year in Office," and "Recent Neutrality Scuffles Highlight Need for Transparency."

Mellon Funds Phase 2 of the eXtensible Catalog Project

Posted in Digital Libraries, OPACs/Discovery Systems, Open Source Software on October 29th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given the University of Rochester Libraries a grant to support continued work on its eXtensible Catalog project.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

A $749,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University’s River Campus Libraries will be used toward building and deploying the eXtensible Catalog (XC), a set of open-source software applications libraries can use to share their collections. The grant money will also be used to support broad adoption of the software by the library community. The grant and additional funding from the University and partner institutions makes up the $2.8 million needed for the project. The resulting system will allow libraries to simplify user access to all library resources, both digital and non-digital. . . .

It [XC] will provide a platform for local development and experimentation that will ultimately allow libraries to share their collections through a variety of applications, such as Web sites, institutional repositories, and content management systems.

University of Rochester staff will build XC in partnership with the following institutions: Notre Dame University, CARLI (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois), Rochester Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, the Georgia PINES Consortium, Cornell University, the University at Buffalo, Ohio State University, and Yale University. Each XC partner institution has committed staff time or monetary contributions toward the development of XC.

A second group of institutions will contribute to the project through the participation of its staff members in XC-user research, or by providing advisory support to the University’s development team. These institutions include the Library of Congress, OCLC, Inc., North Carolina State University, Darien (CT) Public Library, Ohio State University, and Yale University.

Six Steps to Digital Copyright Sanity: Reforming a Pre-VCR Law for a YouTube World

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture on October 29th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Gigi B. Sohn, Public Knowledge President, has released the text of her speech to the New Media and the Marketplace of Ideas Conference Boston University College of Communication titled "Six Steps to Digital Copyright Sanity: Reforming a Pre-VCR Law for a YouTube World."

Creative Commons Seeks Feedback from Librarians about LiveDVD

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Libraries, Open Access, Open Source Software on October 28th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Timothy Vollmer has announced on Lita-L (10/28/07 message) that the Creative Commons is looking for feedback about its LiveDVD for libraries, which is part of its LiveContent project.

Here's an excerpt from the message:

Creative Commons is working with Fedora on creating a LiveDVD for libraries that contains free, open source software (like OpenOffice, The Gimp, Inkscape, Firefox) and open content, including CC-licensed media such as audio, video, photographs, text and open educational resources. . . .

The next iteration we're working on is a LiveDVD for libraries, providing an informational resource and creative tool that would allow library patrons to test open source software, view (and rip, remix, reuse) open content, and even create new content with the software contained on the disc. . . .

We want to get some more feedback/comments/suggestions on the project and are also looking to identify librarians and interested groups to test out the LiveDVD!

DSpace 1.5 Alpha Released

Posted in Digital Repositories, DSpace, Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Open Source Software on October 26th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The 1.5 alpha version of the popular DSpace repository software has been released.

Here's an excerpt from "DSpace 1.5 Alpha with Experimental Binary Distribution" by Richard Jones:

There are big changes in this code base, both in terms of functionality and organisation. First, we are now using Maven to manage our build process, and have carved the application into a set of core modules which can be used to assemble your desired DSpace instance. . . .

The second big and most exciting thing is that Manakin is now part of our standard distribution, and we want to see it taking over from the JSP UI over the next few major releases. . . .

In addition to this, we have an Event System which should help us start to decouple tightly integrated parts of the repository. . . . Browsing is now done with a heavily configurable system . . . . Tim Donohue's much desired Configurable Submission system is now integrated with both JSP and Manakin interfaces and is part of the release too.

Further to this we have a bunch of other functionality including: IP Authentication, better metadata and schema registry import, move items from one collection to another, metadata export, configurable multilingualism support, Google and html sitemap generator, Community and Sub-Communities as OAI Sets, and Item metadata in XHTML head ‹meta› elements.

OpenURL Referrer Now Available for Both Firefox and IE

Posted in Linking, Linked Data, and Semantic Web on October 26th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

OCLC now offers its OpenURL Referrer plug-in for both Firefox and Internet Explorer. It provides OpenURL links to local electronic resources for COinS-enabled (Context Objects in Spans) Web documents, Google Scholar search results, and Google News Archive search results.

Library of Congress and Xerox Team Up to Build Large JPEG 2000 Image Repository

Posted in Digital Archives and Special Collections, Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Repositories, Metadata on October 26th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The Library of Congress and Xerox will work together to build a repository of around 1 million JPEG 2000 images of public domain works.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The two organizations are studying the potential of using the JPEG 2000 format in large repositories of digital cultural heritage materials such as those held by the Library and other federal agencies. The eventual outcome may be leaner, faster systems that institutions around the country can use to store their riches and to make their collections widely accessible.

The project, designed to help develop guidelines and best practices for digital content, is especially relevant to the Library’s National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, which has been working with several other federal agencies on digitization standards.

The trial will include up to 1 million digitized, public domain prints, photographs, maps and other content from the Library’s extraordinary collections. Scientists in the Xerox Innovation Group will work with these materials to create an image repository that they will use to develop and test approaches for the management of large image collections.

The images to be used from the Library’s collection are already digitized (primarily in TIFF format), but JPEG 2000, a newer format for representing and compressing images, could make them easier to store, transfer and display. According to Michael Stelmach, manager of Digital Conversion Services in the Library’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, JPEG 2000 holds promise in the areas of visual presentation, simplified file management and decreased storage costs. It offers rich and flexible support for metadata, which can describe the image and provide information on the provenance, intellectual property and technical data relating to the image itself.

Xerox scientists will develop the parameters for converting TIFF files to JPEG 2000 and will build and test the system, then turn over the specifications and best practices to the Library of Congress. The specific outcome will be development of JPEG 2000 profiles, which describe how to use JPEG 2000 most effectively to represent photographic content as well as content digitized from maps. The Library plans to make the results available on a public Web site.

ARL Annual Salary Survey 2006–07 Published

Posted in ARL Libraries, Libraries, Research Libraries on October 25th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

The ARL Annual Salary Survey 2006–07 has been published, and it can be purchased from ARL.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The 2006–07 data show that ARL librarians’ salaries outperformed inflation. The combined median professional salary in US and Canadian ARL university libraries was $59,648—a 4.5% increase from the previous year. Over the same period, the Consumer Price Index rose 4.1% in the US and 2.4% in Canada. . . .

Gender-based salary differentials persist in ARL libraries in 2006–07. The overall salary for women in the 113 ARL university libraries is 95.7% of that paid to men; this figure compares to 95.5% in 2005–06. While the data show a marked closure of the gender gap in ARL libraries over the long term—in 1980–81, women in ARL libraries were paid roughly 87% of what men were paid—the data also raise the possibility that the closure has peaked, and that a 5% gap between men’s and women’s salaries may persist.

Google's Alpha Open-Source OCRopus Scanning Software Released

Posted in Digitization, Open Source Software on October 25th, 2007 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Google has released an alpha release of its open-source OCRopus optical character recognition software. The C++/Python software was developed under Ubuntu 7.10, and it initially supports Linux x86 and x86/64.

Read a review of the release at "Hands on with Google's OCRopus Open-Source Scanning Software."

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