Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007

As discussed previously in DigitalKoans, the Justice Department has been pushing for tougher copyright legislation. Now Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Ohio, has introduced the Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007 in the House, which includes key concepts from earlier work in this area such as criminalizing certain kinds of attempted infringement.

Here's an excerpt from "New Bill Backs Prison Time for Piracy 'Attempts'":

Notably, under Chabot's bill. . . it would be a crime not only to commit copyright infringement but also to "attempt" to do so. Such an offense would carry the same penalties as actually committing infringement—as would engaging in a "conspiracy" with two or more people to carry it out.

The bill would also double the prison sentences currently prescribed for copyright infringement violations, bringing them up to a range of 6 to 20 years. . . .

The bill also grafts additional penalties onto the thorny Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which dictates it's unlawful to sidestep copyright protection technologies except in certain circumstances. Right now, violating those rules can land you up to 10 years behind bars and as much as $1 million in fines, but Chabot's bill would also require the criminal to forfeit any property used in any manner to commit the offense—or anything garnered directly or indirectly from the proceeds of the activity. (The same forfeiture obligations would also apply to a wide array of other copyright-related offenses.)

Source: Broache, Anne. "New Bill Backs Prison Time for Piracy 'Attempts'" CNET News.Com, 30 July 2007.

Marc Truitt Appointed Information Technology and Libraries Editor

Marc Truitt, Associate Director of Information Technology Resources and Services at the University of Alberta Libraries, has been appointed Editor of Information Technology and Libraries, a double-blind, peer-reviewed quarterly. Truitt previously served as ITAL Managing Editor. Prior to his current position at the University of Alberta Libraries, he was the Assistant Dean for Systems at the University of Houston Libraries.

In the press release, LITA President Postlethwaite said: "The Board recognizes Marc Truitt’s extensive editorial experience with ITAL and his commitment to maintaining a high quality publication program for LITA."

ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication

The ACRL/ARL Regional Institute on Scholarly Communication, to be held December 5-7, 2007 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is accepting applicants starting August 1, 2007. Enrollment is limited to 100 participants, and it is competitive. The application deadline is September 14, 2007.

Here's an excerpt from the Institute's Web page:

The Association of Research Libraries and Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) are pleased to announce a regional Institute for Scholarly Communication in Illinois sponsored by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. The Institute is an immersive learning experience to prepare participants as local experts within their libraries and equip them with tools for developing campus outreach strategies. As a participant in this 2.5 day immersion program, you will become fluent with scholarly communication issues and trends so that you are positioned to educate others on your library staff, engage in campus communications programs and other advocacy efforts, and work collaboratively with other participants to begin developing an outreach plan for your campus.

Participants will work with experts in the field to understand how to better engage faculty at their institution around the crisis in the systems of scholarly communication. You will also learn about the emergence of new models for scholarly communication as well as strategies for creating systemic change. These will include:

  • Faculty activism (e.g. editorial board control, author rights, copyright management, and self-archiving)
  • New publishing models
  • Digital repositories
  • Legislative and policy advocacy

The goal is to help participants prepare a program plan that is customized for their institution. To achieve this goal you will prepare an environmental scan before the institute, engage in a series of active learning experiences during the event, and write an outreach program plan for implementation at your home institution. . . .

Institutions and participants from Illinois will receive preferred consideration; however, space will also be reserved from those outside of Illinois. The institute sponsor is seeking participation from a wide range of academic libraries from community colleges to large research institutions. Team applications are encouraged (up to three participants from a campus), particularly for larger institutions, although individual applications will also be considered. Recognizing the challenges smaller institutions face in participating in the institute and the value of their contributions to outreach efforts, small institutions will not be penalized in the selection process if they are able to fund only individual participants rather than teams.

Review by a Prominent Press, Publication by the Rice University Press

In the fall, Rice University Press will publish Images of Memorable Cases by Herbert L. Fred. What's unusual is that the book was first reviewed by "a prominent press," which deemed it worthy of publication, but decided that it was not economically viable to do so by conventional means. However, the Rice University press, a digital press that offers free online access and low-cost print-on-demand books, saw a good fit with its new The Long Tail Press program, which will publish books vetted by other presses that they cannot feasibly publish. The change in publication strategy brought the print copy price down to about $80 from a projected $175.

The Rice University Press is also starting a collaborative publishing effort with Stanford University Press, which will review books for potential publication, with the works either being published by Rice alone or by both Rice and Stanford in a "hybrid" print/online model.

Other Rice University Press postings: "Digital University/Library Presses, Part 11: Other Digital Presses," "Rice University Names Head of Its Digital Press," and "Rice University Press Publishes Its First Open Access Digital Document."

Source: Jaschik, Scott. "New Model for University Presses." Inside Higher Ed, 31 July 2007.

RSS Feeds at Academic ARL Libraries

Academic ARL libraries are beginning to offer RSS feeds for current library news, new resource alerts, and other purposes. Here's a list of representative feeds.

New Learned Publishing Open Access Option

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers has announced that Learned Publishing authors now have the option of paying a fee to have their articles immediately available.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), publisher of Learned Publishing. . . announces the launch of "ALPSP Author Choice," an optional Open Access model whereby authors can choose to make the online version of their article freely available to all immediately on publication. The fee for this optional service is £1,250/$2,500 for members of ALPSP and the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and £1,500/$3,000 for non-members. "ALPSP Author Choice" is being launched on a trial basis by ALPSP, the international association for non-profit publishers and those who work with them. The first article to be published under the new service appeared in the July 2007 issue of the journal (Volume 20, No. 3), and is entitled "Going all the way: how Hindawi became an open access publisher" by Paul Peters.

Learned Publishing already provides "Delayed Open Access": all papers can be accessed free of charge 12 months after publication. The journal is also freely accessible to all ALPSP and SSP members, and to participants in the HINARI and AGORA projects. . . .

The "ALPSP Author Choice" service is being offered on a trial basis that will run for 12 months, before being reviewed by ALPSP Council, at which point the current subscription rates will also be considered.

Turning the Pages on an E-Book—Realistic Electronic Books

In this June 26th Google Tech Talk video titled Turning the Pages on an E-Book—Realistic Electronic Books, Veronica Liesaputra, PhD candidate at the University of Waikato, discusses her research on realistic e-books.

Here’s an excerpt from the presentation’s abstract:

In this talk, I will describe and demo a lightweight realistic book implementation that allows a document to be automatically presented with quick and easy-to-use animated page turning, while still providing readers with many advantages of electronic documents, such as hyperlinks and multimedia. I will also review computer graphics models for page-turning, from complex physical models based on the finite element method through 3D geometric models to simple "flatland" models involving reflection and rotation—which is what the demo uses.

Towards Telesophy: Federating All the World’s Knowledge

A video is now available of Bruce Schatz, Director of the CANIS (Community Architectures for Network Information Systems) Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, delivering a speech at Google on July 11th titled Towards Telesophy: Federating All the World’s Knowledge.

Here’s an excerpt from the presentation’s abstract:

Central archives partially survived the transition from a million repositories to a billion, but distributed indexing is necessary to scale to a trillion repositories in the next generation. Supporting scalable semantics requires divide-and-conquer to capture local context as an approximation to global meaning. Concept switches in the Interspace are the analogue of packet switches in the Internet, since user interaction is at the level of logical spaces rather than physical networks. This talk will describe the research technologies and trends creating the global infrastructure, with suggestions for hero experiments and hints at the new world of the near future.

EFF Sues Universal Music to Protect Fair Use Rights in 29-Second Video

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has sued the Universal Music Publishing Group in order to protect the fair use and free speech rights of Stephanie Lenz, who uploaded to YouTube a 29-second recording of her infant son boogying to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." YouTube took the video down after a complaint by Universal Music, then reposted it.

Here's an excerpt from "Mom Sues Universal Music for DMCA Abuse":

"Universal's takedown notice doesn't even pass the laugh test," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Copyright holders should be held accountable when they undermine non-infringing, fair uses like this video."

The lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Lenz's home video does not infringe any Universal copyright, as well as damages and injunctive relief restraining Universal from bringing further copyright claims in connection with the video.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF is currently working with Stanford's Fair Use Project to develop a set of "best practices" for proper takedowns under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

University Publishing in a Digital Age

Ithaka has released University Publishing in a Digital Age by Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, and Matthew Rascoff (preface by Kevin Guthrie).

Here's an excerpt from the "Introduction":

This paper has four purposes: First, we hope to make the case that universities should become more actively involved in publishing scholarship. It may not be obvious to many administrators that they should be in this “business” at all. . . . We will argue, however, that universities give up too much by withdrawing from publishing. They give up the opportunity to enhance institutional reputation and prestige. They reduce their ability to influence what gets published—and, therefore, not only what gets read but also who gets hired or promoted. They give up an opportunity to enhance the quality of what is published through the rich dialogue that is enabled by bringing editors into the fabric of relationships among scholars. And, as is often decried by open access advocates, universities sometimes must pay excessively high prices to gain access to published scholarship. . . .

Our second purpose is to galvanize action and investment to support revitalization of university publishing. . . . In some cases, that may mean making major structural and strategic changes to an existing press. In other cases it may mean forming new collaborations between different entities on campus or even across institutions, or disaggregating and recombining publishing related activities across multiple campus entities. It will no doubt require new infusions of capital, but this investment can create economies of scale that could help, in the end, to lower the costs and extend the reach of scholarly publishing. . . .

Third, we wish to explore some of the challenges and opportunities specific to university presses, as we believe that they can remain a vibrant part of the scholarly system if they are able to adapt quickly to the new electronic environment. . . . We concentrated primarily on exploring how the presses see themselves, how they are seen by others in the university community, and what unique strengths presses have to offer, with an eye towards identifying opportunities for them to translate their skills and assets to the future needs of the academy. We have also sought to understand the factors that have impeded their transition to electronic media, especially in monograph programs, in an effort to identify realistic measures going forward.

Fourth, and finally, we aim to start a conversation and gauge interest in a possible collective investment in a technological platform to support innovation in university-based, mission-driven publishing. . . . Our discussions with administrators, publishers, faculty, and librarians revealed real enthusiasm for the concept of a service that could aggregate published university content online, create a dynamic, efficient space for the tools of scholarship developed within universities, and spread the costs of investment among multiple institutions. We would now like to expand this conversation to the wider community, to test and refine the idea, and determine whether it may merit further exploration and possible investment.

The study was sponsored by JSTOR and Ithaka and was led by Laura Brown, former president of Oxford University Press USA, in collaboration with Ithaka’s Strategic Services group. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Peter Givler of the American Association of University Presses in distributing the survey to university press directors and encouraging their participation.

You can find further information about the report in the Inside Higher Ed article "Ideas to Shake Up Publishing."

Reid Substitutes New P2P Higher Education Reauthorization Act Amendment

CNET News.Com reports that Senator Harry Reid has withdrawn his original Amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, which met with opposition from EDUCAUSE and others, that would, among other provisions, have forced higher education institutions to prove to the Department of Education that they had "developed a plan for implementing a technology-based deterrent to prevent the illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property."

Instead, Reid successfully added an amendment that requires higher education institutions to inform students "that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material on the institution’s information technology systems, including engaging in unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal penalties."

Ars Technica and EFF Deep Links have additional coverage of this development.

CommentPress 1.0 Theme Released: Paragraph-Level Commenting in WordPress

After a year-and-a-half of development effort, the Institute for the Future of the Book has released the open-source CommentPress 1.0 theme for WordPress, which allows paragraph-level comments that are displayed side-by-side with the associated paragraph.

Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

This little tool is the happy byproduct of a year and a half spent hacking WordPress to see whether a popular net-native publishing form, the blog, which, most would agree, is very good at covering the present moment in pithy, conversational bursts but lousy at handling larger, slow-developing works requiring more than chronological organization—whether this form might be refashioned to enable social interaction around long-form texts. Out of this emerged a series of publishing experiments loosely grouped under the heading "networked books." . . .

In the course of our tinkering, we achieved one small but important innovation. Placing the comments next to rather than below the text turned out to be a powerful subversion of the discussion hierarchy of blogs, transforming the page into a visual representation of dialog, and re-imagining the book itself as a conversation. Several readers remarked that it was no longer solely the author speaking, but the book as a whole (author and reader, in concert). . . .

We can imagine a number of possibilities:

— scholarly contexts: working papers, conferences, annotation projects, journals, collaborative glosses
— educational: virtual classroom discussion around readings, study groups
— journalism/public advocacy/networked democracy: social assessment and public dissection of government or corporate documents, cutting through opaque language and spin (like our version of the Iraq Study Group Report, or a copy of the federal budget, or a Walmart press release)
— creative writing: workshopping story drafts, collaborative storytelling
— recreational: social reading, book clubs

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (7/25/07)

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, technical reports, and white papers.

Especially interesting are: "Actualized Preservation Threats: Practical Lessons from Chronicling America"; "Does Open Access Really Make Sense? A Closer Look at Chemistry, Economics, and Mathematics"; "Is Physics the New Biomedicine?"; "Libraries for the Blind as Accessible Content Publishers: Copyright and Related Issues"; "Open Access to Open Publish"; "Select for Success: Key Principles in Assessing Repository Models"; "Size Isn't Everything: Sustainable Repositories as Evidenced by Sustainable Deposit Profiles"; Using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, and "What Open Source Webpublishing Software Has the Scientific Community for E-Journals?"

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.

Michael Keller Appointed CLIR Senior Presidential Fellow

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has announced the appointment of Michael Keller, Stanford’s University Librarian, as CLIR Senior Presidential Fellow. Keller is also Director of Academic Information Resources, founder and publisher of HighWire Press, and publisher of the Stanford University Press.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

During the two-year appointment, which begins August 1, Mr. Keller will undertake a series of studies and reports for CLIR publication. His research will include examining the recommendations of recent cyberinfrastructure reports and exploring how our communities can respond to the complex environment these reports envision, including the role and function of institutional repositories, digital archives, and digital libraries. He will also compose white papers that elucidate new and emerging research methodologies, new models of scholarly publishing, the role of supercomputer
centers in the evolving concept of cyberinfrastructure, and topics specific to rethinking aspects of libraries and academic life. During his tenure as fellow, he will continue to work from Stanford.

Obituary: Peter Banks

Peter Banks, founder of Banks Publishing and publisher for the American Diabetes Association from 1986 to 2006, died on July 21st. He was 52.

Here’s an excerpt from Ann Okerson’s liblicense-l announcement:

Long-time publisher at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and more recently a publishing consultant, he was one who cared deeply about the future of scholarly publishing and wrote thoughtfully and clearly, on this list as well in many other venues, about the issues that concern many of us. He was a key advocate for information and support, and he worked unstintingly with many organizations, individuals, and publishers, to create resources and pathways to usable, high-quality information for patients, their family/friends, and caregivers.

Further information about Mr. Banks can be found on the About Us page at Banks Publishing.

Obituary: Raymond von Dran

Raymond F. von Dran, dean emeritus of Syracuse University's School of Information Studies, died on July 23. He was 60 years old.

Here's an excerpt from the School of Information Studies announcement:

Von Dran served as dean of the iSchool from 1995-2007. In March 2006, he announced his retirement as dean, which was to take effect this summer. Following a year of administrative leave, during which time he planned on traveling the world with his wife, Gisela, recently retired assistant professor and director emerita of the school's master's degree program in library and information science, he planned to return to the iSchool as a professor. On June 28, 2007, it was announced that Elizabeth Liddy G'77, Ph.D. '88, Trustee Professor of Information Studies, would serve as interim dean of the iSchool, effective July 15. . . .

During von Dran's tenure, the number of faculty and students in the iSchool nearly tripled and the school's sponsored research increased five-fold. All seven of the school's research centers were launched under his leadership, and several academic degree programs were instituted. The school's success under von Dran's leadership was recognized by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked its M.S. program in information management and the Ph.D. program in information science and technology second in the nation, and the library and information science program third. Von Dran was also instrumental in increasing the school's endowment, recently helping to secure the largest gift in its 110-year history.

A founding member of the I-Schools Groupa national consortium of academic institutions focused on the relationship between information and peoplevon Dran has helped define a growing academic and research field in national and international circles. Through his work, he brought acclaim to the iSchool, which often serves as a model for other information schools to follow. In 1980, von Dran wrote "The National Union Catalog Experience: Implications for Network Planning," published by the Library of Congress, as well as numerous articles and papers on such topics as information science education, competencies for the information age, the economics of information, managing information resources and authority control structure in libraries. He chaired the American Society for Information Science and Technology's Education Committee, which created the organization's first educational standards. He advised a score of universities on information technology systems and new information curricula. . . .

Prior to joining SU, von Dran served as dean of the information schools at The Catholic University of America and the University of North Texas. He received a Ph.D. in information science and master's degrees in library science and European history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and bachelor's degrees in foreign languages and history from Seton Hall University.

He is survived by his wife, Gisela, and daughter, Beth.

Web/Web 2.0 Resources and Tools

Here’s a list of a few Web/Web 2.0 resources and tools that developers may find useful.

EDUCAUSE Urgent Call to Action about Higher Education Reauthorization Act Amendment

EDUCAUSE has issued a call to action about a Higher Education Reauthorization Act amendment:

Here’s an excerpt from the call:

I am writing to ask your help in a matter of urgency to higher education in general and the IT community in particular: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) intends to offer a very harmful amendment, involving illegal file sharing, to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act when the Senate turns to this issue on July 22-23. The amendment can be found at <http://tinyurl.com/2x45d2>. The amendment:

*  Makes the Secretary of Education an agent of the entertainment industry;

*  Requires the Secretary to take action using data given to her by the entertainment industry that is terribly inaccurate;

*  Requires targeted colleges and universities to plan for implementing a "technical solution" to illegal file sharing that does not yet exist for many campus environments; 

*  Is aimed only at colleges and universities, and NOT other Internet service providers;  . . . .

It is important that your institution (CEO, government relations official, and yourself) CALL today, not write, your state’s U.S. senators’ staff members for higher education issues and tell them how much higher education opposes this amendment. Please also call Senator Reid’s office (202-224-3542), Senator Edward Kennedy’s office (202-224-4543), and Senator Michael Enzi’s office (202-224-3424). Thank you for your help.

University of Kansas Prohibits Downloading of Copyrighted Material

In a move that should greatly reduce Internet use and library expenditures for licensed electronic resources, the University of Kansas has prohibited campus network users from downloading copyrighted material:

Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is against the law. If you are caught downloading copyrighted material, you will lose your ResNet privileges forever. No second notices, no excuses, no refunds. One violation and your ResNet internet access is gone for as long as you reside on campus.

Most likely Kansas means "If you are caught illegally downloading copyrighted material . . .," but, unfortunately, as worded, the only files that can be downloaded without penalty are those in the public domain.

Source: Bangeman, Eric. "University of Kansas Adopts One-Strike Policy for Copyright Infringement." Ars Technica, 20 July 2007.

House Passes H. R. 3043 and NIH Mandate Is Approved, but Bush May Veto Bill

By a 276 to 140 vote, the House approved H. R. 3043 (Making Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2008, and for Other Purposes), which includes the following wording:

SEC. 217. The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

Due to concerns over increased spending, President Bush may veto the bill (see Peter Suber's "House Approves OA Mandate for NIH, but Bush May Veto" for details).

Here's the party breakdown on the vote:

  • Democrats: 223 yes, 1 no, 6 not voting.
  • Republications: 53 yes, 139 no, 9 not voting.

You can see a breakdown of votes by party, state, and other criteria at the Washington Post Votes Database page for the bill.

From the Washington Post, here are the House members who voted against the bill.

Robert Aderholt, Todd Akin, Rodney Alexander, Michele Bachmann, Spencer Bachus, Richard Baker, J. Gresham Barrett, Roscoe Bartlett, Joe Barton, Melissa Bean, Brian Bilbray, Rob Bishop, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Jo Bonner, John Boozman, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, Henry Brown, Ginny Brown-Waite, Michael Burgess, Dan Burton, Steve Buyer, Dave Camp, John Campbell, Chris Cannon, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Steve Chabot, Howard Coble, Tom Cole, Michael Conaway, Ander Crenshaw, John Culberson, Geoff Davis, David Davis, Tom Davis, Nathan Deal, Mario Diaz-Balart, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, John Doolittle, Thelma Drake, David Dreier, John 'Jimmy' Duncan, Mary Fallin, Tom Feeney, Jeff Flake, Randy Forbes, Vito Fossella, Virginia Foxx, Trent Franks, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Elton Gallegly, Scott Garrett, Paul Gillmor, Phil Gingrey, Louie Gohmert, Virgil Goode, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Ralph Hall, J. Dennis Hastert, Doc Hastings, Dean Heller, Jeb Hensarling, Wally Herger, Peter Hoekstra, Duncan Hunter, Bob Inglis, Darrell Issa, Sam Johnson, Walter Jones, Jim Jordan, Steve King, Peter King, Jack Kingston, John Kline, Joe Knollenberg, Randy Kuhl, Doug Lamborn, Ron Lewis, Jerry Lewis, John Linder, Frank Lucas, Daniel Lungren, Connie Mack, Donald Manzullo, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Michael McCaul, Thad McCotter, Jim McCrery, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Jeff Miller, Jerry Moran, Marilyn Musgrave, Sue Myrick, Randy Neugebauer, Devin Nunes, Stevan Pearce, Mike Pence, Thomas Petri, Joe Pitts, Ted Poe, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, George Radanovich, Thomas Reynolds, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Hal Rogers, Dana Rohrabacher, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Peter Roskam, Edward Royce, Paul Ryan, Bill Sali, Jean Schmidt, Jim Sensenbrenner, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, John Shimkus, Bill Shuster, Lamar Smith, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Cliff Stearns, John Sullivan, Lee Terry, Mac Thornberry, Todd Tiahrt, Pat Tiberi, Timothy Walberg, Greg Walden, Zachary Wamp, Lynn Westmoreland, Ed Whitfield, Roger Wicker, Joe Wilson

Should the need arise due to a veto, you can easily contact House and Senate members by e-mail using ALA's Action Alert form.

VuFind 0.5 Beta Released

Villanova University's Falvey Memorial Library has released VuFind 0.5 Beta. This open-source software operates in conjunction with Voyager OPACs (more drivers being developed), and it is powered by Solr.

Here's an excerpt from the project's home page:

VuFind is a library resource portal designed and developed for libraries by libraries. The goal of VuFind is to enable your users to search and browse through all of your library's resources by replacing the traditional OPAC to include:

  • Catalog Records
  • Digital Library Items
  • Institutional Repository
  • Institutional Bibliography
  • Other Library Collections and Resources

VuFind is completely modular so you can implement just the basic system, or all of components. And since it's open source, you can modify the modules to best fit your need or you can add new modules to extend your resource offerings.

World Information Society Report 2007: Beyond WSIS

The International Telecommunication Union has released the World Information Society Report 2007: Beyond WSIS.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

Developing countries (most notably, India and China) are gaining on OECD countries in terms of fixed line penetration, mobile cellular subscriber penetration, Internet usage and broadband penetration. Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are also catching up with developing countries in terms of mobile phones, Internet usage and broadband. However, LDCs are actually being left behind in fixed lines, where there is a widening gap between developing countries and LDCs. This may later have a negative impact on the take-up of broadband in LDCs. . . .

The digital divide is also narrowing in terms of Internet usage. In 1997, the nearly three-quarters of the world’s population living in low-income and lower-middle income economies accounted for just 5 per cent of the world’s Internet users (see Figure 2). By 2005, they accounted for just over 30 per cent of all Internet users. . . .

In terms of broadband subscribers, high-income economies account for nearly three-quarters of total broadband subscribers worldwide (see Figure 1). Lower-middle income economies accounted for 20 per cent (with China alone accounting for 87 per cent of these or some 15 per cent of the global total). Low-income countries accounted for less than 1 per cent of total global broadband subscribers, with India and Vietnam accounting for virtually all of these.

2005 and 2006 were a period of startling growth in Internet in many countries, thanks to the boost from broadband. The United States remains the largest Internet market in terms of the number of Internet subscribers, but China is gaining fast and, if current growth rates continue, China could overtake the United States in terms of total Internet subscribers within two years. . . .

In developed countries, growth rates in Internet subscriptions tend to be lower, but many subscribers are exchanging their narrowband dial-up connection for a higher speed broadband connection. One example is the substitution of broadband for dial-up in the United Kingdom (see Figure 4). In the United States, some 60 per cent of all Internet connections are now broadband, while in Japan and Spain, efforts by operators to encourage consumers towards broadband have resulted in three-quarters of Internet subscribers now using broadband. In the Republic of Korea and Canada, virtually all Internet subscribers already enjoy broadband access to faster, advanced services such as video, teleconferencing, multi-player gaming and triple play.

Open Access Update Revision

I’ve revised Open Access Update migrating the aggregate RSS feed for the OA-related weblogs to Yahoo Pipes, switching the source feed for the aggregate FeedBurner feed to the new Yahoo Pipes feed; adding more weblogs to the aggregate RSS feed; correcting the URLs for the OA-related mailing lists, e-journals, and wikis; and correcting the URLs in the Google Search Engines for those resources.

Publishers May Challenge NIH Mandate

According to a Library Journal Academic Newswire article, publishers may challenge the provisions of the NIH Public Access Policy mandate if it is made law. The issue arises from the wording of the House bill:

Sec. 217: The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

Regarding this wording, the Library Journal Academic Newswire article says:

While seemingly innocuous, that language almost certainly will form the basis for a challenge to the policy's implementation. In a letter to lawmakers, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) argued that "a mandate may not be consistent with copyright law," a position emphasized by Brian Crawford, chair of the AAP's Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division Executive Committee. "The copyright proviso in the Labor/HHS Appropriations language does not in itself provide sufficient assurance of copyright protection," Crawford told the LJ Academic Newswire. "The mandatory deposit of copyrighted articles in an online government site for worldwide distribution is in fundamental, inherent, and unavoidable conflict with the rights of copyright holders in those works."

Microsoft Joins Effort to Provide Free or Low-Cost Access to Journals in Developing Countries

Microsoft will provide an access and authentication system to support the AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture), HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment) programs.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Many developing countries lack access to the information and training that can help save lives, improve the quality of life, and assist with economic development. To address this disparity, more than 100 publishers, three UN organizations, two major universities, and Microsoft announced the extension of programs that provide free or almost free access to online subscriptions of peer-reviewed journals. Information technology leader Microsoft announced its support of technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, policymakers, and librarians in the developing world.

The three sister programs—HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment)—provide research access to journals focusing on health, agriculture and the environment, respectively to more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries. All three of the programs will now have official commitment from the partners until 2015, marking the target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals. . . .

As the initiative’s only technology partner, Microsoft is providing a new system for access and authentication enabling secure and effective use of the programs in developing countries. Through these enhanced features provided under the Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007 as part of the Microsoft Forefront Security products, the system will be able to meet expanded demand and perform at the standards of today’s most heavily trafficked websites.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) survey conducted in 2000, researchers and academics in developing countries ranked access to subscription based journals as one of their most pressing problems. In countries with per capita income of less than USD $1000 per annum, 56 percent of academic institutions surveyed had no current subscriptions to international journals. . . .

The public-private partnerships of these three programs have already resulted in:

  • A strengthened intellectual foundation for universities, enabling faculty to develop evidence-based curricula, perform research on a par with peers in industrialized countries, develop their own publishing record, and enable students to conduct research and seek education in new and emerging scientific fields;
  • More science-driven public policies and regulatory frameworks;
  • Greater capacity for organizations to gather and disseminate to the public new scientific knowledge in the medical, agricultural and environmental sciences and deliver improved services;
  • Increased participation of experts from developing countries in international scientific and policy debates; and
  • A greater movement toward library patronage at universities and an enhancement of the status of libraries.

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities, met today in Washington DC to officially extend their cooperation to 2015, in line with the UN’s MDGs.

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