On the Internet Everyone Knows You’re a Dog (Bark Carefully)

A recent BusinessWeek article ("You Are What You Post") by Michelle Conlin may give Millennials (and everyone else) pause.

The article leads with a story about then 22-year-old Josh Santangelo’s 2001 posting on a dusty corner of the Internet about a bad drug trip. This caught the eye of super blogger Jason Kottke, and, after he linked too it, it became very popular. Now, Santangelo’s name pops up about 92,600 Google hits. Unfortunately, as the article states:

That was back when Santangelo was an up-all-night raver in giant pants and flame-red hair. Today he’s a Web development guy with a shaved head who shows up at meetings on time and in khakis. Clients have included such family-friendly enterprises as Walt Disney and Nickelodeon, as well as Starbucks, AT&T, and Microsoft.

And the business world is now tuned in to search engines as a rich source of information about potential employees:

Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information—some of it for a nominal fee—that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your marital status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children.

So, this could be trouble for those pouring out the intimate details of their personal and work lives on blogs, vlogs, social networking sites (e.g., MySpace), and other cool sites.

The article gives several amusing examples of employees fired for revealing too much on the Internet (amusing, that is, unless you’re the one fired).

Of course, there is the counter-notion that any publicity is good publicity. For example, celebrity sex tapes. A recent New York Times article ("Sex, Lawsuits and Celebrities Caught on Tape") by Lola Ogunnaike says about the Paris Hilton tape:

Ms. Hilton tried to stop distribution of the tape, although its notoriety paradoxically catapulted her to an even higher orbit of fame, establishing her as a kind of postmodern celebrity, leading to perfume deals, a memoir and the covers of Vanity Fair and W.

And, after discussing the latest round of celebrity sex tapes threatening to emerge, it says:

Celebrity sex tapes surface with such regularity that cynics question whether the stars themselves may be complicit, despite their efforts to suppress them in court, because of the publicity they bring.

However, this counter-notion may only apply to the already famous.

No doubt we’ll find out as part of a generation that’s digitally exposed itself on the Internet increasingly enters the workplace and competes within it.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (3/27/06)

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: "Advancing Scholarship and Intellectual Productivity: An Interview with Clifford A. Lynch (Part 1)," "Building the Econtent Commons," Digital Libraries, "Finding Information in (Very Large) Digital Libraries: A Deep Log Approach to Determining Differences in Use According to Method of Access," "Institutional Open Archives: Where Are We Now?," and "What Do You Do with a Million Books?."

All Sections and Subsections of the Open Access Bibliography Now Linked

There is now a link to each section and subsection of the HTML version of the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals.

For example:

4 Open Access Journals

4.1 General Works
4.2 Economic Issues
4.2.1 General Works
4.2.2 BMJ Rapid Responses about "Author Pays" May Be the New Science Publishing Model
4.3 Open Access Journal Change Agents
4.3.1 SPARC
4.4 Open Access Journal Publishers and Distributors
4.4.1 BioMed Central
4.4.2 Public Library of Science
4.4.3 PubMed Central General Works Science Magazine dEbate on "Building a GenBank of the Published Literature" Science Magazine dEbate on "Is a Government Archive the Best Option?" Science Magazine dEbate on "Just a Minute, Please" Other
4.5 Specific Open Access Journals
4.5.1 Journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals
4.5.2 Pioneering Free E-Journals Not in the DOAJ
4.5.3 Other
4.6 Research Studies

The table of contents in the home page of the bibliography has a complete set of links for all sections and subsections of the document.

The Web page for each major section of the bibliography has links to the subsections (if present) at the start of the page.

Cato Institute Report Denounces DMCA

The Cato Institute has released a report (Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that is sharply critical of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The following quote is from the executive summary:

The result has been a legal regime that reduces options and competition in how consumers enjoy media and entertainment. Today, the copyright industry is exerting increasing control over playback devices, cable media offerings, and even Internet streaming. Some firms have used the DMCA to thwart competition by preventing research and reverse engineering. Others have brought the weight of criminal sanctions to bear against critics, competitors, and researchers.

The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders—and the technology companies that distribute their content—the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

And this quote is from the conclusion (links are mine):

When the next breakthrough media device is invented, its inventor should not face a legal system in which the deck is stacked against him, as Streambox and DeCSS did. He should be free to focus on hiring the best programmers, designers, and marketers, rather than on shopping for a good law firm. If industry incumbents attempt to prevent his product from working with theirs, he should be allowed to circumvent the restrictions as Accolade did in the Sega case. And if the device has a "substantial non-infringing use" and is developed and marketed for such use, Congress and the courts should uphold its legality, even if it threatens the business model of an established industry.

HTML Version of the Open Access Bibliography

An HTML version of the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals (OAB) is now available.

The HTML version of the book was created from the final draft using a complex set of digital transformations. Consequently, there may be minor variations between it and the print and Acrobat versions, which are the definitive versions of the book.

The OAB provides an overview of open access concepts, and it presents over 1,300 selected English-language books, conference papers (including some digital video presentations), debates, editorials, e-prints, journal and magazine articles, news articles, technical reports, and other printed and electronic sources that are useful in understanding the open access movement’s efforts to provide free access to and unfettered use of scholarly literature. Most sources have been published between 1999 and August 31, 2004; however, a limited number of key sources published prior to 1999 are also included. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are freely available on the Internet (approximately 78 percent of the bibliography’s references have such links).

An Important Partial Win for Google and Privacy

U.S. District Court Judge James Ware ruled on Friday that Google does not have to turn over 5,000 search queries to the Justice Department; however, it does have to turn over 50,000 random Web URLs.

The Google Blog posting ("Google Wins!") was ecstatic, stating that:

This is a victory for both online rights activists and users of Google. Google may not always be perfect, but this time they stood up for what is right.

According to an article in Red Herring ("Judge Limits US Data Hunt"):

The government’s subpoena originally told Google it must turn over massive amounts of data in two broad categories: all the URLs available on the company’s search engine as of last July 31, and all search queries entered into Google’s search engine during June and July of 2005. That likely would have included tens of millions of data points.

A San Francisco Chroncile article ("Google Must Divulge Data Judge Cuts Amount of Info Company Has to Give Feds") noted that:

Google, along with privacy advocates, argued that sometimes users can reveal personal information in search queries, including their Social Security Numbers. Or they can suggest the sexual preferences of public officials or use inflammatory phrases such as "bomb-making equipment," which would pique the interest of law enforcement. The privacy advocates said that the Justice Department couldn’t be trusted with access to such sensitive data, despite the administration’s promises to use the queries only for its online pornography case.

Judge Ware expressed concern about the impact of search-term disclose on Google due to user privacy issues:

The expectation of privacy by some Google users may not be reasonable, but may nonetheless have an appreciable impact on the way in which Google is perceived, and consequently the frequency with which users use Google. Such an expectation does not rise to the level of privilege, but does indicate that there is a potential burden as to Google’s loss of goodwill if Google is forced to disclose search queries to the government.

Digital Generation? Latest Breakdown of Web Users By Age Group

What age group uses the Web most heavily? The latest numbers may surprise you.

Here a ranking of unique Web site visitors by age group for February 2006:

  1. 50 and older: 47 million.
  2. 35-49: 42.5 million.
  3. 17 and under: 30.3 million.
  4. 25-34: 19.9 million.
  5. 18-24: 11.2 million.

Seventeen-and-under users are third; traditional college-age students are dead last. Digital generation? Geezers rule the Web.

Source: Etter, Lauren. "Google vs. Justice: Privacy, Pornography, Secrets." The Wall Street Journal, 18-19 March 2006, A7.

dLIST E-Print Archive Adds Use Statistics

Authors who deposit e-prints in dLIST (Digital Library of Information Science and Technology) can now see use statistics for their works (archive users can see use startistics as well). For example, at the record for the "Indian Digital Library in Engineering Science and Technology (INDEST) Consortium: Consortia-Based Subscription to Electronic Resources for Technical Education System in India: A Government of India Initiative," you would click on "View statistics for this eprint" to get the use statistics for this work. You can view use statistics for the past four weeks, this year, last year, or all years.

Archive-wide use statistics are also available from either an e-print record or the dLIST Statistics page. From either one, you can rank all e-prints by use for the same time periods as individual e-prints and show overall archive use by year/month or country.

Disclosure: I am now the Scholarly Communication subject editor for dLIST.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (3/13/06)

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: "Establishing a UK LOCKSS Pilot Programme," "EThOS: Progress towards an Electronic Thesis Service for the UK," "Long-Term Preservation of Digital Humanities Scholarship," "Net Neutrality Reading List," "Managing Digital Assets in Higher Education: An Overview of Strategic Issues," "Three Gathering Storms That Could Cause Collateral Damage for Open Access," and "Update on the NIH Policy."