Free Version of the Copyright Cataloging Database Now Available

In response to the U.S. Copyright Office's reply to a letter from Carl Malamud and Peter Brantley (and other co-signers) about the $86,625 cost of the U.S. Copyright Cataloging database, has made the database freely available (Web access and FTP access).

Here's an excerpt from the website:

  • The "code" directory contains PERL code from 2000 which is used to convert MARC-format records into XML.
  • The "raw" directory contains the bulk database product as sold by the Library of Commerce as of the year 2000.
  • The "hids" directory contains all bulk data from 1978 to the present. . . .

In posting these data, we rely partly on voicemail from the Honorable Marybeth Peters, the U.S. Register of Copyrights received Fri Sep 21 16:17:02 PDT 2007 in response to the above-mentioned letter, in which Ms. Peters states that "I think our records should be available to the public. Certainly there's no copyright in any of the copyright records. Certainly they're public records and they should be openly available."

Source: Brantley, Peter. "Making a Brouhaha in the Blogosphere." O'Reilly Radar, 30 September 2007.

2007 Digital Preservation Award Goes to DROID

The Digital Preservation Coalition has given its 2007 Digital Preservation Award to the The National Archives (UK) for its DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) software.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

An innovative tool to analyse and identify computer file formats has won the 2007 Digital Preservation Award. DROID, developed by The National Archives in London, can examine any mystery file and identify its format. The tool works by gathering clues from the internal 'signatures' hidden inside every computer file, as well as more familiar elements such as the filename extension (.jpg, for example), to generate a highly accurate 'guess' about the software that will be needed to read the file.

Identifying file formats is a thorny issue for archivists. . . . But with rapidly changing technology and an unpredictable hardware base, preserving files is only half of the challenge. There is no guarantee that today's files will be readable or even recognisable using the software of the future.

Now, by using DROID and its big brother, the unique file format database known as PRONOM, experts at the National Archives are well on their way to cracking the problem. Once DROID has labelled a mystery file, PRONOM's extensive catalogue of software tools can advise curators on how best to preserve the file in a readable format. The database includes crucial information on software and hardware lifecycles, helping to avoid the obsolescence problem. And it will alert users if the program needed to read a file is no longer supported by manufacturers.

Japanese Authors Write Novels on Cell Phones

Texting has been raised to a new level as young Japanese authors have taken to writing novels on their cell phones.

Here's an excerpt from "Ring! Ring! Ring! In Japan, Novelists Find a New Medium":

When Satomi Nakamura uses her cellphone, she has to be extra careful to take frequent breaks. That's because she isn't just chatting. The 22-year-old homemaker has recently finished writing a 200-page novel titled "To Love You Again" entirely on her tiny cellphone screen, using her right thumb to tap the keys and her pinkie to hold the phone steady. . . .

Most of these novels, with their simple language and skimpy scene-setting, are rather unpolished. . . . But they are hugely popular, and publishers are delighted with them. . . . Several cellphone novels have been turned into real books, selling millions of copies and topping the best-seller lists.

Source: Kane, Yukari Iwatani. "Ring! Ring! Ring! In Japan, Novelists Find a New Medium." The Wall Street Journal, 26 September 2007, A1, A18.

Web/Web 2.0 Tools

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

Open Access Documentary Project Grant

The Open Society Institute has given BioMed Central and Intelligent Television a grant to fund the Open Access Documentary Project.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Open Society Institute has awarded a grant to support the production and distribution of the Open Access Documentary Project, a collection of online videos celebrating the benefits of open access to scientific and medical research. Intelligent Television and BioMed Central are co-producers of the Project.

The Open Access Documentary Project will facilitate the ongoing work of BioMed Central and Intelligent Television in promoting open access to science and medicine in fields as diverse as malaria research and particle physics.

The producers are now assembling an international editorial board and contacting institutions that hold archival and production resources that will be vital to the project. Principal production has begun in London, New York, and at CERN in Geneva, featuring video interviews with publishers and consumers of scientific and medical information in the developed and developing world—and with other stakeholders in open access including foundations, government agencies, and the media.

Copyright Office Replies to Malamud et al. about the Cost of the Copyright Catalog

In response to a letter by Carl Malamud and other notables questioning the $86,625 price tag on the copyright catalog, the U.S. Copyright Office has replied, and that reply has been posted on the Library of Congress Blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The U.S. Copyright Office neither sets the price nor receives any direct revenue from the sale of the Copyright Cataloging database. Rather, access to these records is a service offered through the Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) of the Library of Congress, which is mandated by Congress to provide this and other services to the public at a charge of production and distribution cost plus 10%. . . .

Fortunately, recent cost savings realized within CDS are anticipated to result in a drop in the price of many services available from CDS, including the Copyright Cataloging database subscription service. Any new pricing structure will appear first at on the CDS Web site in late October or early November 2007, then in the 2008 CDS Catalog of Products in January 2008.

Source: Raymond, Matt. "The Price of the Copyright Catalog." Library of Congress Blog, 26 September 2007.

Contact the Senate Now to Support the NIH Public Access Policy Mandate

If you are a U.S. citizen, now is the time to contact your Senators if you want to support the NIH open access mandate.

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of ALA/ATA text or you can use the same form to write your own text.

If you want to write your own message, Peter Suber has gathered together key documents for talking points. If you use my cut-and-paste text, add a few sentences at the start of the text to personalize it.

Here's what Peter Suber has to say about the Senate fight:

This year is our best chance ever to win an OA mandate at the NIH. But the opposition from the publishing lobby is fierce. Remember that the AAP/PSP has launched PRISM, the behemoth Copyright Alliance has weighed in, and Elsevier has hired an extra lobbying firm. If you're a US citizen, please do what you can: contact your Senators and spread the word.

Version 69, Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

Version 69 of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography is now available from Digital Scholarship. This selective bibliography presents over 3,120 articles, books, and other digital and printed sources that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing efforts on the Internet.

The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2006 Annual Edition is also available from Digital Scholarship. Annual editions of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography are PDF files designed for printing.

The bibliography has the following sections (revised sections are in italics):

1 Economic Issues
2 Electronic Books and Texts
2.1 Case Studies and History
2.2 General Works
2.3 Library Issues
3 Electronic Serials
3.1 Case Studies and History
3.2 Critiques
3.3 Electronic Distribution of Printed Journals
3.4 General Works
3.5 Library Issues
3.6 Research
4 General Works
5 Legal Issues
5.1 Intellectual Property Rights
5.2 License Agreements
6 Library Issues
6.1 Cataloging, Identifiers, Linking, and Metadata
6.2 Digital Libraries
6.3 General Works
6.4 Information Integrity and Preservation
7 New Publishing Models
8 Publisher Issues
8.1 Digital Rights Management
9 Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI
Appendix A. Related Bibliographies
Appendix B. About the Author
Appendix C. SEPB Use Statistics

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources includes the following sections:

Cataloging, Identifiers, Linking, and Metadata
Digital Libraries
Electronic Books and Texts
Electronic Serials
General Electronic Publishing
Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI
SGML and Related Standards

What’s New in Digital Preservation Published

The Digital Preservation Coalition and the National Library of Australia’s PADI program have published the the 16th issue of What’s New in Digital Preservation.

Here’s an excerpt from the padi-forum announcement:

Issue 16 features news from a range of organisations and initiatives, including the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Digital Curation Centre (DCC), JISC (UK), The National Archives (UK), DigitalPreservationEurope, nestor, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands), the US National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), and the PLANETS and CASPAR projects.

Xena 4.0: Open Source Digital Preservation Software

The National Archives of Australia has released Xena 4.0, which is open source digital preservation software.

Here's a brief description of its capabilities from the project homepage:

Xena software aids digital preservation by performing two important tasks:

  • Detecting the file formats of digital objects
  • Converting digital objects into open formats for preservation

More Lawsuits and Pre-Litigation Settlement Letters from the RIAA

In a new round of litigation, the Recording Industry Association of America has sued 24 individuals who had not heeded pre-litigation settlement letters, and it has sent 403 new letters to individuals at 22 universities.

Source: Butler, Susan. "RIAA Sends Another Wave Of Settlement Letters." Billboard, 20 September 2007.

Here's Some Advice That Won't Cost the AAP $500K

After the PRISM fiasco, it may be time for the Association of American Publishers to consider a new initiative: CIA (Change Instead of Annihilation).

CIA would have a single goal: to develop new business strategies so that AAP members could survive and thrive in a scholarly communication system where open access prevails. The AAP doesn't have to embrace open access to launch CIA—CIA can be a contingency plan. However, CIA will fail if its participants do not take the underlying premise that open access can succeed seriously, and CIA will require intense brainstorming that lets go of long-held beliefs about conventional publishing models.

To that end, why not let the barbarians at the gate in and have lunch? Who better to bring fresh perspectives than open access advocates? After all, open advocates are not generally anti-publisher—they just want to change publishing models to support open access. If Elsevier, Wiley, and others can do it, so be it.

It may sound crazy, but ask yourself this: Who do you want to be if open access gains enough momentum to trigger the collapse of conventional publishing models, the guy with a plan or the guy without a plan? It looks to me like Elsevier is starting to think outside of the box with initiatives such as OncologySTAT and Scirus, and Elsevier has always been a tough, smart competitor in the publishing marketplace. If the day of reckoning comes, how far behind Elsevier do you want to be?

Which brings us to why the AAP may never do CIA. Having an open access plan is a competitive advantage, and publishers may not want to share that advantage. But, that doesn't mean they can't have their own internal planning process, even if it's clandestine.

So, is it time to dance with the devil?

Creative Commons Sued

The Creative Commons, along with Vigin Mobile, has been sued by Susan Chang and Justin Ho-Wee Wong over the "unauthorized and exploitive use of Alison's Chang's image in an advertising campaign launched in June 2007 to promote free text messaging and other mobile services."

Here's an excerpt from Lawrence Lessig's posting:

Slashdot has an entry about a lawsuit filed this week by parents of a Texas minor whose photograph was used by Virgin Australia in an advertising campaign. The photograph was taken by an adult. He posted it to Flickr under a CC-Attribution license. The parents of the minor are complaining that Virgin violated their daughter's right to privacy (by using a photograph of her for commercial purposes without her or her parents permission). The photographer is also a plaintiff. He is complaining that Creative Commons failed "to adequately educate and warn him . . . of the meaning of commercial use and the ramifications and effects of entering into a license allowing such use." (Count V of the complaint).

The comments on the Slashdot thread are very balanced and largely accurate. (The story itself is a bit misleading, as the photographer also complains that Virgin did not give him attribution, thereby violating the CC license). As comment after comment rightly notes, CC licenses have not (yet) tried to deal with the complexity of any right of privacy. The failure of Virgin to get a release before commercially exploiting the photograph thus triggers the question of whether the minor's right to privacy has been violated.

Source: Lessig, Lawrence. "On the Texas Suit against Virgin and Creative Commons." Lessig 2.0, 22 September 2007.

Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access

Fran Berman, director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and Brian Lavoie, a research scientist at OCLC, have been named co-chairs of a Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, which is being funded by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Council on Library and Information Resources, and JISC will also be involved in the task force.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Berman and co-chair Brian Lavoie . . . will convene an international group of prominent leaders to develop actionable recommendations on economic sustainability of digital information for the science and engineering, cultural heritage, academic, public, and private sectors. The Task Force is expected to meet over the next two years and gather testimony from a broad set of thought leaders in preparation for the Task Force’s Final Report. . . .

The Task Force will bring together a group of national and international leaders who will focus attention on this critical grand challenge of the Information Age. Task Force members will represent a cross-section of fields and disciplines including information and computer sciences, economics, entertainment, library and archival sciences, government, and business. Over the next two years, the Task Force will convene a broad set of international experts from the academic, public and private sectors who will participate in quarterly panels and discussions. . . .

In its final report, the Task Force is charged with developing a comprehensive analysis of current issues, and actionable recommendations for the future to catalyze the development of sustainable resource strategies for the reliable preservation of digital information. During its tenure, the Task Force also will produce a series of articles about the challenges and opportunities of digital information preservation, for both the scholarly community and the public.

New Leadership at New Zealand’s National Digital Library

John Truesdale has been named the Director of the National Digital Library, Paul Reynolds has been named the Adjunct Director, and Steve Knight has been named Associate Director.

For details, see the press releases: "National Library of New Zealand appoints Director, National Digital Library" and "Trio of Top Thinkers to Lead National Digital Library."

Review of the Jorum Workflow Report Released

JISC has signed off on the Review of the Jorum Workflow report, and it has been released. Jorum is a UK digital repository of learning and teaching materials.

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

The report begins by providing an overview of the original Jorum Workflow model (section 3.2) and illustrates how it was implemented into the Jorum repository software (section 3.3). A general review of the original model is then provided by discussing feedback received from major stakeholders in the Jorum Workflow process (section 3.4), and the section is concluded by exploring specific issues and modifications made to the original design (section 3.5).

Section 4 considers workflow research being undertaken by similar projects involved with learning object repositories. The projects discussed in this section are included due to their focus on learning objects repositories and similarities and relevance to Jorum. Conclusions and recommendations from these projects are then considered under potential new developments and strategies for the Jorum workflow, which is presented in the penultimate section of the report (section 5).

The final section of this report reflects on the Jorum workflow review and conclusions made by existing research. Finally, recommendations are provided to indicate potential areas of development and project monitoring.

The Dezenhall Proposal: What Would $300K to $500K Buy the AAP?

The leaked text of Eric Dezenhall's anti-open-access proposal to the Association of American Publishers has been made available as part of a NewScientist article by Jim Giles, who broke the Dezenhall story in January.

This is a must read for those interested in open access issues.

Source: Suber Peter. "Background on the AAP Hiring of Eric Dezenhall." Open Access News, 20 September 2007.

New RLG Programs Website

The RLG Programs website has been incorporated within the OCLC website.

Of particular interest is the Work Agenda by Theme and Program page, which is organized into the following sections:

MediaDefender Springs a Leak

About 700 MB of file-sharing foe MediaDefender's internal e-mails have been distributed on the Internet. These e-mails detail the tactics that MediaDefender used to disrupt peer-to-peer file-sharing, including decoying, interdiction, spoofing, and swarming. (You can read about these tactics in "Peer-to-Peer Poisoners: A Tour of MediaDefender.")

Here's a selection of news stories and postings about the leak:

Patricia Steele to Continue as Interim Dean of Indiana University Libraries

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has announced that Patricia A. Steele, who has been the Interim Dean of the Indiana University Libraries since 2005, will continue in that role for up to two years.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"The recent search for the Dean of the Libraries did not result in the identification of a successor who is better positioned than Pat to move forward with new library initiatives," said McRobbie. "Hence, I asked Pat to continue her appointment, effective immediately.

"I appreciate the leadership and hard work that have characterized Pat's tenure as interim dean, and Provost Karen Hanson and I look forward to working with her in the months ahead," McRobbie added.

McRobbie, who said that a new search would begin later this academic year, noted that Steele had moved the libraries forward since 2005 in advancing scholarly communications initiatives, planning for facilities and engaging an assessment of technical services operations. He expects that she will continue to build upon library planning and initiatives already in place and continue to advance IUB Libraries with the extension of her appointment, he said.

Will ISP's Filter the Internet for Media Companies?

It appears that some major ISP's, such as AT&T, may filter the traffic that passes through their networks in order to eliminate illegal file-sharing.

Here's an excerpt from "MPAA Head Wants Deeper Relationship (Read: Content Filtering) with ISPs":

Rather amazingly, given the money and time that will be required to implement such a system, AT&T has agreed to start filtering content at some mysterious point in the future. Other ISPs could well follow suit, as most of the major networks are owned by or affiliated with companies that also have a voracious need for content (just think of how both cable companies and telcos like AT&T and Verizon need access to channels for their various TV offerings, if you need an example). The companies want to keep on good terms with content owners, but there may also be some legitimate concern about the impact illicit traffic has on their networks. Cracking down on illegal file-sharing—should that prove to be technically possible—could help with both of these issues.

Source: Anderson, Nate. "MPAA Head Wants Deeper Relationship (Read: Content Filtering) with ISPs." Ars Technica, 19 September 2007.