New Release of BioMed Central's Open Repository, a Hosted Institutional Repository Service

BioMed Central has released version 1.4.9 of Open Repository, its DSpace-based, hosted institutional repository service.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Open Repository version 1.4.9 has several new features that are designed to enhance the customer experience. The release offers an improved user interface, making it easier for customers to browse and submit their material online. Additionally, institutions can convert their Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Text and RTF documents to PDF format. Customers can also set up RSS feeds, and customize lists and search fields, adding value to the already robust platform.

New York Public Library Makes 600,000 Digital Images Available to Kaltura Users

The New York Public Library has made its collection of 600,000 digital images available for use by Kaltura users. Kaltura is a free, online collaborative video production site.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The New York Public Library and Kaltura, Inc., a pioneer in Collaborative Media, announced today that the organizations have joined forces to further enhance online rich-media collaboration. The New York Public Library's treasure trove of 600,000 digital images can now be incorporated easily into Kaltura's group video projects. The library's digital collection includes a wide range of rare and unique images drawn from its research collections. These range from Civil War photographs and illuminated Medieval manuscripts to historic views of New York City, Yiddish theatre placards and 19th Century restaurant menus. Users can search, preview and add these library images directly from the Kaltura web site (To try it, go to http://www.kaltura.com, click 'start a kaltura').

"Kaltura is a good fit for The New York Public Library as we work to take advantage of the latest technologies and approaches to make our collection freely and widely accessible," said Joshua M. Greenberg, Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship at The New York Public Library. "We are excited to enable the use of our extensive Digital Gallery of historical images in Kaltura's cutting-edge and innovative application. Working with Kaltura was a natural step in enabling the creative use of these rich materials in the broader online world."

Kaltura enables groups of users to collaborate in the creation of videos and slideshows, similar to the way in which Wiki platforms allow users to collaborate with text. When creating a Kaltura video, users can upload their own videos, photos, audio and animation, can import their previously uploaded material from MySpace, Photobucket or YouTube, or they can access and import rich-media from various public-domain and CreativeCommons sources such as Flickr, CCMixter, Jamendo, and now The New York Public Library. Kaltura aims to team with additional databases and digital resource partners in order to both provide users with the widest array of rich-media, and to provide its resource partners with access to Kaltura's Global Network of users, content, and services that allows unprecedented collaboration around rich-media creation, remixing and distribution.

"We strive to provide users with the most comprehensive, enjoyable and user-friendly experience possible when creating their collaborative Kalturas in a fun, safe, and legal environment; The New York Public Library database is a huge addition to resources that we offer, both in terms of its size and the great value that it brings," said Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura.

"Kaltura was built around the principles of openness and sharing with the mission to enhance collaboration and to lower the barriers of participation—it is through partners with a similar vision, like The New York Public Library, that we can achieve our goal of delivering the world's first open platform for peer production of rich media, with the broadest access to rich-media materials, resources and databases," Yekutiel added. "We are truly honored by this collaboration."

Pitt's Libraries and University Press Establish Open Access Book Program

The University of Pittsburgh University Library System and the University of Pittsburgh University Press have established the University of Pittsburgh University Press Digital Editions, which offers free access to digitized versions of print books from the press.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The University of Pittsburgh’s University Library System (ULS) and University Press have formed a partnership to provide digital editions of press titles as part of the library system’s D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program. Thirty-nine books from the Pitt Latin American Series published by the University of Pittsburgh Press are now available online, freely accessible to scholars and students worldwide. Ultimately, most of the Press’ titles older than 2 years will be provided through this open access platform.

For the past decade, the University Library System has been building digital collections on the Web under its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program, making available a wide array of historical documents, images and texts which can be browsed by collection and are fully searchable. The addition of the University of Pittsburgh Press Digital Editions collection marks the newest in an expanding number of digital collaborations between the University Library System and the University Press.

The D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program includes digitized materials drawn from Pitt collections and those of other libraries and cultural institutions in the region, pre-print repositories in several disciplines, the University’s mandatory electronic theses and dissertations program, and electronic journals during the past eight years, sixty separate collections have been digitized and made freely accessible via the World Wide Web. Many of these projects have been carried out with content partners such as Pitt faculty members, other libraries and museums in the area, professional associations, and most recently, with the University of Pittsburgh Press with several professional journals and the new University of Pittsburgh Press Digital Editions. . . .

More titles will be added to the University of Pittsburgh Press Digital Editions each month until most of the current scholarly books published by the Press are available both in print and as digital editions. The collection will eventually include titles from the Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies, the Pitt-Konstanz Series in the Philosophy and History of Science, the Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture, the Security Continuum: Global Politics in the Modern Age, the History of the Urban Environment, back issues of Cuban Studies, and numerous other scholarly titles in history, political science, philosophy, and cultural studies.

Stable Version of SPECTRa Released: Software for Depositing Chemical Data into Repositories

A stable version of SPECTRa has been released. SPECTRa is designed to facilitate the deposit of chemical data into digital repositories.

The JISC-funded SPECTRa (Submission, Preservation and Exposure of Chemistry Teaching and Research Data a Digital Repository for the Chemical Community) project's final report is also available.

Here's a U.S. Export Canadians May Not Want: DMCA-Style Copyright Laws

There are persistent reports that the Canadian government will introduce copyright legislation that is modeled on the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act as soon as next week.

Read more about it at "Canada Moves to Reform Copyright Protection"; "Canada's Coming DMCA Will Be the Worst Copyright Yet"; "Canada’s Copyright Law Is Stronger and Better than U.S.'s"; "Copyright Choices and Voices"; "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; and "A New Copyright Law Is Coming."

University of Maryland Libraries Digital Collections Launched

The University of Maryland Libraries has launched its Digital Collections repository.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

This release marks two and a half years of work in the creation of a repository that serves the teaching and research mission of the University of Maryland Libraries. Many of the objects are digital versions from Maryland's Special Collections (such as A Treasury of World's Fairs Art and Architecture) or are new virtual collections (The Jim Henson Works). Other collections (such as Films@UM) support the teaching mission of the Libraries. This release also marks the integration of electronically available finding aids, ArchivesUM, into the repository architecture, creating a framework for digital objects to be dynamically discovered from finding aids.

The repository is based on the Fedora platform, uses Lucene for indexing, and Helix for streaming video. The repository features almost 2500 digital objects, with new objects added monthly. Object types currently delivered include full text (both TEI and EAD), video, and images. Objects can be discovered within a collection context or via a search across multiple collections. Cross-collection discovery is achieved through a common metadata scheme and controlled vocabulary. This metadata scheme also provides for individual collections to have more granular domain-specific metadata.

An FAQ for the repository is available.

Digital Identity Issues Explored in Two JISC Reports

JISC has issued two reports that examine the increasingly important problem of effectively managing digital identities: E-infrastructure Security: Levels of Assurance: Final Report and The Identity Project: Final Progress Reports.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Following two 12-month projects to investigate identity management in higher education and the levels of assurance needed to prove an individual’s identity, JISC has just published two reports which both provide important findings on higher education’s current practice and approaches to identity management.‘Identity is becoming increasingly important in society, meaning that students and staff in further and higher education are starting to ask what their institution is doing to manage their identities.'

The Identity Project report reviews how identity is being addressed across UK higher education and, in more detail, at 10 representative institutions. Identifying the need for greater understanding of some of the key issues involved in identity management, it also calls for improved documentation and standards, greater awareness and training amongst staff and the introduction of regular audits to ensure implementation of appropriate measures across the institution.

Levels of assurance (LoAs) are about how much proof is needed of an individual’s identity to access online resources; whether via a simple user name and password or a more complex system of biometrics and tokens. The JISC report on levels of assurance looks at how LoAs can be defined, agreed and then applied to different resources. . . .

For further information, please go to: Identity and ESLOA.

MPAA Toolkit May Allow Internet Users to See Internal University Network Traffic

The Washington Post reports that the Motion Picture of Association of America is trying to persuade universities to utilize its new MPA University Toolkit, which uses Snort and ntop to provide detailed internal network use statistics that may identify possible copyright infringers.

Security experts have determined that, in its default configuration, the MPA University Toolkit sets up a Web server that provides use statistics to any Internet user unless it is blocked from doing so by a firewall. There is a user/password option, but network administrators are not prompted to set it. Moreover, the software "phones home" to the MPAA upon setup, providing the organization with the IP address of the server.

Read more about it at "MPAA University 'Toolkit' Raises Privacy Concerns."

University of Arizona's Online Digital Information Management Certificate Program Accepting Applications for Summer 2008

The University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science's Graduate Certificate in Digital Information Management (DigIn) program is accepting applications for its second cohort of students, who will begin their studies in the summer of 2008.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Students and working professionals interested in careers in digital information have until Feb. 1 to apply to The University of Arizona's online graduate-level certificate program in digital information management. The program, commonly known as "DigIn," is offered exclusively by the UA's School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona.

The program prepares students to build and manage digital collections in a variety of government and private settings, including libraries, archives and museums. Also, the students in the program acquire practical applied technology skills, along with a solid foundation in the theory and strategy underpinning digital collections.

The digitization and creation of collections of books, photographs, museum archives, artifacts, documents, film and video, and other kinds of resources has exploded over the last several years. This has created a demand for individuals with both an understanding of the information management disciplines and also technical knowledge and skills needed to create, manage and support digital information collections.

Those admitted will become part of the DigIn program's second cohort of students, who begin taking courses in the summer of 2008.

The program starts with an intensive hands-on course in applied technology covering the basics of the Linux operating system and also fundamentals of web servers, databases and scripting applications commonly used in today's digital information environment.

In subsequent courses, students are introduced to strategic technology planning and project management; creating, managing, and preserving digital collections; and basic principles of the information professions. Students will learn to apply key concepts and technologies through case studies, applications, theory, and hands-on work with metadata, content management systems and real-life digital collections. Students complete the certificate with a capstone course involving an individual project and electronic portfolio. Many complete the six-class 18-credit hour online course of study in 15 months, and extended options are available.

The DigIn program has been created in partnership with the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. The certificate is administered by the UA Office of Continuing Education and Outreach. Admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and other stipulations of the School of Information Resources and Library Sciences and the UA Graduate College.

DigIn is currently supported with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will also be providing a generous number of scholarships for the new cohort of students starting in summer of 2008. For more information, visit the website at http://sir.arizona.edu/digin, or call 520-626-4631.

SCImago Journal & Country Rank: Journal Rankings Based on Scopus Data

The new SCImago Journal & Country Rank system utilizes data from Elsevier's Scopus database to produce a variety of scholarly journal rankings. For example, you can rank countries by the number of citable documents in library and information sciences that they produce.

The Help page provides detailed information about the free service.

Institute of Physics Launches an Open Access Earth and Environmental Science Proceedings Service

The Institute of Physics has launched the IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, an open access proceedings service. A FAQ is available.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Based on IOP Publishing’s highly successful open access proceedings in physics, EES allows conference organizers to create a comprehensive record of their event and make a valuable contribution to the open access literature that will be of long-lasting benefit to their research communities.

As part of the service’s launch, EES is waiving a total of US$5000 of publication fees for a number of conferences who expect to publish their proceedings during 2008.

We are delighted to announce that the first conference to qualify for this is the 14th International Symposium for the Advancement of Boundary Layer Remote Sensing (ISARS2008) which takes place on 23–25 June 2008, Risø National Laboratory, DTU, Roskilde, Denmark.

Two Strikes and You're Out: France Plans to Disconnect Digital Pirates from the Internet

The French Ministry of Culture has proposed a number of measures to deal with illegal downloading on the Internet, including a controversial proposal to terminate accused pirates' Internet access after two downloading violations.

Here's an excerpt from "French Gov't Plans to Disconnect Content Pirates":

The government has won agreement for its latest proposals from the French media industry, which will implement the watermarking measures and make legal downloads of films more widely and rapidly available. Albanel signed the agreement Friday with TV channels, Internet service providers (ISPs), and groups representing filmmakers, authors and musicians rights groups.

In return for the support of these organizations, the government will create a new agency to monitor Internet traffic for the presence of watermarked files and handle complaints from rights holders. Anyone whose Internet connection is used to download such files could receive an official warning from their ISP. A second offense could result in their contract with the ISP being terminated and their name being added to a registry of offenders.

Read more about it at "The Insanity of France's Anti-File-Sharing Plan: L'État, C'Est IFPI," "French Pact Aims to Fight Unauthorized Downloading," and "Pirates Face Crackdown over Movie Downloads."

JISC Academic Database Assessment Tool: Compare E-Resource Access Capabilities across Vendors

The free JISC Academic Database Assessment Tool allows users to compare journal title lists, journal database capabilities, and e-book database capabilities for selected e-resource products and systems. For example, the user can compare the functionality of ebrary with that of NetLibrary.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

With so many products offering a huge diversity and wealth of information, it can be difficult for librarians to know what resources they should be investing in. The Academic Database Assessment Tool provides access to detailed information and title lists for major bibliographic and full text databases. It also delivers key service information for database and e-Book content platforms. This enables librarians to quickly compare and contrast key items to assist in the purchase decision process. These include: a list of titles included in each database; search features available; linking methods e.g. full text linking; metadata standards and methods of access provided to these resources e.g. IP access, Athens or Shibboleth.

Prompted by the strong support from university librarians in the UK, a prototype version of this tool was launched at the end of 2006. Sponsorship from IBSS, Thomson Scientific, Elsevier and ProQuest means that this tool has been further developed from the beta stage of its development and continues to remain freely available.

As the information for this tool has been provided directly by the relevant content suppliers and publishers, librarians will have the opportunity to access the latest information on the resources they already subscribe to. Librarians can subscribe to the email altering service notifying them when suppliers update their listings.

Goliath Just Got Smaller: Free Software Foundation Establishes Expert Witness Defense Fund to Fight RIAA Lawsuits

The Free Software Foundation has established an Expert Witness Defense Fund to "help provide computer expert witnesses to combat RIAA's ongoing lawsuits, and to defend against the RIAA's attempt to redefine copyright law." Ray Beckerman and a group of selected attorneys will advise the fund. You can make tax deductible contributions to the fund, which is a registered 501(c)3 organization.

Infringement Nation: Does Typical Digital Technology Use Made Us All Infringers?

John Tehranian, Professor of Law at the University of Utah, has written a paper for the Utah Law Review titled "Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform and the Law/Norm Gap."

Here's an excerpt from the paper where Tehranian summarizes the infringement activity of a hypothetical U.S. law professor during a single day:

By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails, three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal charges).

If copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent allowed by law, he would be indisputably liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a single act of infringement through P2P file sharing. Such an outcome flies in the face of our basic sense of justice. Indeed, one must either irrationally conclude that John is a criminal infringer—a veritable grand larcenist—or blithely surmise that copyright law must not mean what it appears to say. Something is clearly amiss. Moreover, the troublesome gap between copyright law and norms has grown only wider in recent years.

Reed Elsevier Says It Will Have at Least 10% Earnings Growth in 2007

Reed Elsevier has issued a press release saying that its adjusted earnings per share at constant currencies will grow by at least 10% in 2007.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Elsevier: Subscription renewals are very strong and there is good demand for our expanding online services. The second half medical publishing programme is going well with good growth in particular in the nursing and health professional sectors. Pharma advertising markets remain weak, but represent a relatively small part of the business.

Light My Fire? Amazon's Kindle E-Book Reader Launched

Amazon has launched Kindle, its e-book reader.

Here's a selection of articles and postings:

Center for History and New Media Launches ScholarPress: WordPress Plugins for Education

The Center for History and New Media has launched ScholarPress, which provides WordPress plugins tailored for educational use.

The first two plugins are:

  • Courseware: "Courseware enables you to manage a class with a WordPress blog, including a schedule, bibliography, assignments, and other course information."
  • WPBook: "WPBook works with the Facebook Development platform to create a Facebook Application (addable by users within the site) using a WordPress blog."

Eduserv Releases Study about the Use of Open Content Licenses By UK Heritage Organizations

The Eduserv Foundation has released Snapshot Study on the Use of Open Content Licences in the UK Cultural Heritage Sector (Appendices).

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

This study investigates the awareness and use of open content licences in the UK cultural heritage community by way of a survey. Open content licensing generally grants a wide range of permission in copyright for use and re-use of works such as images, sounds, video, and text, whilst retaining a relatively small set of rights: often described as a ‘some rights reserved’ approach to copyright. For those wishing to share content using this model, Creative Archive (CA) and Creative Commons (CC) represent the two main sets of open content licences available for use in the United Kingdom.

The year of this survey, 2007, marks five years from the launch of the Creative Commons licences, two years since the launch of the UK-specific CC licences and two years as well since the launch of the UK-only Creative Archive licence.

This survey targeted UK cultural heritage organisations—primarily museums, libraries, galleries, archives, and those in the media community that conduct heritage activities (such as TV and radio broadcasters and film societies). In particular, this community produces trusted and highly valued content greatly desired by the general public and the research and education sectors. They are therefore a critical source of high-demand content and thus the focus for this project. The key objective has been to get a snapshot of current licensing practices in this area in 2007 for use by the sector and funding bodies wishing to do more work in this area.

Over 100 organisations responded to this web-based survey. Of these respondents:

  • Only 4 respondents out of 107 indicated that they held content but were not making it available online nor had plans to make it available online;
  • Images and text are the two content types most likely to be made available online;
  • Sound appears to be the most held content type not currently available online and with no plans to make it available in the future;
  • Many make some part of their collection available online without having done any formal analysis of the impact this may have;
  • 59 respondents were aware of Creative Archive or Creative Commons;
  • 10 use a CA or CC licence for some of their content; and
  • 12 have plans to use a CA or CC licence in the future.

House Doesn't Override Presidential Veto of Labor-HHS Bill Which Contains NIH OA Mandate

By two votes, the House failed to override President Bush's veto of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008, which contained the NIH open access mandate (the vote was 277-141). Bloomberg reports that Senate Democrats have a new strategy:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats will combine the 11 unfinished appropriations bills still needed to fund the federal government into one measure that exceeds the administration's request by $11 billion—half the $22 billion Democrats initially supported.

However, CQPolitics reports that:

The White House brushed off Reid’s proposal Thursday, as administration officials have done previously when Democrats have said they are willing to negotiate on funding levels.

"The president has been clear that Congress should adhere to the budgetary process and pass individual funding bills at reasonable and responsible spending levels," said Sean Kevelighan, a spokesman for the White House budget office. "Perhaps [the] Democratic leadership in Congress. . . should concern itself less with capturing political news cycles and more on their fundamental responsibility to fund the federal government."

Peter Suber had this to say about the override failure:

OK, on to Plan B.  The OA mandate for the NIH is a small part of a big bill to pay for about one-thirteenth of the federal government.  Some version of the appropriation will certainly pass and get the President's signature.  You can already see the jockeying between Congressional leaders and the White House about the contours of that version.  There are four grounds for optimism:

  1. The OA mandate was approved by both houses of Congress.  The easiest provisions to delete are those approved by just one chamber and kept by the House-Senate conference committee.
  2. The OA mandate has bipartisan support in Congress and Republican friends in the Executive Branch.
  3. The President has expressed strong objection to some of the policy provisions of the bill, but his stated concern about the OA provision is very mild by comparison.  If Congress deletes some of the more sensitive provisions in the spirit of compromise, it needn't touch the OA mandate.  In fact, deleting the OA provision would do virtually nothing to ingratiate the President.
  4. To reduce overall spending levels in the bill, Congress will cut some of the appropriations.   But the OA mandate is a policy change, not an appropriation.  There's no need to cut it to satisfy the President's fiscal objections to the current bill.   Stay tuned.
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