In a Win for the MPAA and RIAA, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 Is Approved by the House Education and Labor Committee

Despite the opposition of higher education officials, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 was approved by the House Education and Labor Committee with an illegal file sharing provision intact.

Read more about the provision and its approval at "Campus Copyright Mandates Threaten Financial Aid Funds and Campus Networks," "House Antipiracy Measure Passes through Committee," "House Committee on Education and Labor Puts out 'Supporters of Intellectual Property Theft' Propaganda," "Politicos Near Vote on Anti-P2P Rules for Universities," and "Swiftboating Higher Education on P2P."

Preprints on University Publishing from a Special Double Issue of ARL: A Bimonthly Report

Preprints on university publishing from a special double issue of ARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC are now available.

Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure and the Internet

Noted scholar Christine L. Borgman’s (Presidential Chair in Information Studies at UCLA's Department of Information Studies) new book, Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure and the Internet, has been published by MIT Press.

Inside Higher Ed has interviewed her about the book and her views on the changing nature of scholarship.

ALA Urgent Call for Action about the Presidential Veto of the Labor-HHS Bill

The American Library Association has issued an urgent call for action about the presidential veto of the FY 2008 Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which includes the NIH Public Access Policy mandate and essential funding for library programs.

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form.

I've created a cut-and-paste version of prior ALA/Alliance for Taxpayer Access text about the NIH open access mandate and added brief information about key library programs funded by the bill. You can use this text to simplify the process of sending an e-mail via the ALA Action Alert Web form, but personalizing this text with an added sentence or two is recommended.

National Science Digital Library Releases Initial Fedora-based NCore Components

The National Science Digital Library Core Integration team at Cornell University has released a partial version of NCore, a "general platform for building semantic and virtual digital libraries united by a common data model and interoperable applications," which is built upon Fedora.

Here's an excerpt from the NSDL posting:

The NCore platform consists of a central repository built on top of Fedora, a data model, an API, and a number of fundamental services such as full-text search or OAI-PMH. Innovative NSDL services and tools that empower users as content creators are now built on, or transitioning to, the NCore platform. These include: the Expert Voices blogging system (;the NSDL Wiki (; the NSDL OAI-PMH metadata ingest aggregation system; the OAI-PMH service for distributing public NSDL metadata; the NSDL Collection System (NCS), derived from the DLESE Collection system (DCS); the NSDL Search service, and the OnRamp content management and distribution system (

Because NCore is a general Fedora-based open source platform useful beyond NSDL, Core Integration developers at Cornell University have made the repository and API code components of NCore available for download at the NCore project on Sourceforge ( Over the next six months, NSDL will release the code for major tools and services that comprise the full NCore suite on SourceForge.

For further information, see the NCore presentation.

Perseus Digital Library Code and Content Now Freely Available

The Perseus Digital Library Project has released both the source code for Perseus 4.0 and a significant amount of the project's digital content. The Perseus Java Hopper code is open source; the content is under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license.

Here's a description of the Perseus Digital Library from the About page:

Since planning began in 1985, the Perseus Digital Library Project has explored what happens when libraries move online. . . .

Our flagship collection, under development since 1987, covers the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world. We are applying what we have learned from Classics to other subjects within the humanities and beyond. We have studied many problems over the past two decades, but our current research centers on personalization: organizing what you see to meet your needs.

We collect texts, images, datasets and other primary materials. We assemble and carefully structure encyclopedias, maps, grammars, dictionaries and other reference works. At present, 1.1 million manually created and 30 million automatically generated links connect the 100 million words and 75,000 images in the core Perseus collections. 850,000 reference articles provide background on 450,000 people, places, organizations, dictionary definitions, grammatical functions and other topics.

President Bush Vetoes Bill Containing NIH Open Access Mandate

President Bush has vetoed the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill, which contained the NIH open access mandate.

Here's the open access mandate in the bill:

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

Here's Peter Suber's analysis of the President's veto:

  • First, don't panic.  This has been expected for months and the fight is not over.  Here's a reminder from my November newsletter:  "There are two reasons not to despair if President Bush vetoes the LHHS appropriations bill later this month.  If Congress overrides the veto, then the OA mandate language will become law.  Just like that.  If Congress fails to override the veto, and modifies the LHHS appropriation instead, then the OA mandate is likely to survive intact."  (See the rest of the newsletter for details on both possibilities.)
  • Also expected:  Bush vetoed the bill for spending more than he wants to spend, not for its OA provision.
  • Second, it's time for US citizens to contact their Congressional delegations again.  This time around, contact your Representative in the House as well as your two Senators.  The message is:  vote yes on an override of the President's veto of the LHHS appropriations bill.  (Note that the LHHS appropriations bill contains much more than the provision mandating OA at the NIH.)
  • The override votes—one in each chamber—haven't yet been scheduled.  They may come this week or they may be delayed until after Thanksgiving.  But they will come and it's not too early to contact your Congressional delegation.  For the contact info for your representatives (phone, email, fax, local offices), see CongressMerge.
  • Please spread the word!

Towards the Australian Data Commons: A Proposal for an Australian National Data Service

The Australian eResearch Infrastructure Council has released Towards the Australian Data Commons: A Proposal for an Australian National Data Service.

Here's an excerpt from the "Overview":

This paper is designed to encourage, inform and ultimately summarise the discussions around the appropriate strategic and technical descriptions of the Australian National Data Service; to fill in the outline in the Platforms for Collaboration investment plan.

To do so, the paper:

  • introduces the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the driving forces behind its creation;
  • provides a rationale for the services that ANDS will provide, and the programs through which the services will be offered; and
  • describes in detail the ANDS programs.

Part One (Background) provides a brief summary of the reasons to focus on data management, as well as an overview of ANDS, and identifies some issues associated with implementation.

Part Two (Rationale) sets out the systemic issues associated with achieving a research data commons, and provides the resultant rationale for the services that ANDS will offer the programs that they will be delivered through.

Part Three (Detailed Descriptions of ANDS Programs) sets out in detail the Aim, Focus, Service Beneficiaries, Products and Community Engagement activities for each of the ANDS Programs.

Fedora Meets Web 2.0: Repository Redux Presentation from Access 2007

A digital video of Mark Leggott's (University Librarian, University of Prince Edward Island) presentation from Access 2007 is now available.

Here's an excerpt from the program that describes the talk:

The University of Prince Edward Island has embarked on a substantial project to support the institutions Administrative, Learning and Research communities using a Web 2.0/3.0 framework and the Fedora/Drupal/Moodle systems as the foundation. The session will describe the architecture and demo some of the core systems, such as Learn@UPEI, UPEI VRE (Virtual Research Environment) and some sample digital library collections.

Urgent EDUCAUSE Call to Action on Illegal File Sharing Provision

EDUCAUSE has issued an urgent call to action regarding an illegal file sharing provision in the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007.

Here's the text of the provision:

Section 494: Campus Based Digital Theft Prevention

(a) IN GENERAL—Each eligible institution participating in any program under this title shall to the extent practicable—

(2) develop a plan for offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity

For further information, see EDUCAUSE's P2P or File Sharing page, especially the talking points and the suggested templates for calls and letters. You can use Congress Merge to find contact information for your Congressional representatives.

Digital Preservation Report from RAND Europe

RAND Europe has released Addressing the Uncertain Future of Preserving the Past. Towards a Robust Strategy for Digital Archiving and Preservation. The report "examines key determinants of the sustainable digital preservation of scholarly records, with specific reference to developing a robust approach to the archiving of such records at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands."

Sara Lowman Named Vice Provost and University Librarian at Rice University

Rice University has named Sara Lowman, former Director of Fondren Library and Interim Vice Provost and University Librarian, as Vice Provost and University Librarian.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

As vice provost and university librarian, Lowman will be responsible for providing the overall leadership, strategy, policymaking and fundraising for Fondren Library and its related departments, including Woodson Research Center, Digital Library Initiative, Digital Media Center, Fondren Library Information Technology and Friends of Fondren Library. She will oversee a staff of 120.

"Sara brings deep knowledge, experience and insight of Fondren Library, of Rice and of Rice's extended community, as well as long managerial and leadership experience within Fondren," said Provost Eugene Levy. "These are all attributes that will help Sara, working with her colleagues, move the library and the university forward through the important evolutionary changes that libraries confront in the 21st century." . . .

"The primary role of a university library is to acquire and preserve information and make it available to its user community," said Lowman. "Although technology will change many of the ways that libraries function, this fundamental principle of acquisition, access and preservation remains." . . .

The Digital Library Initiative will play an increasingly important role at Fondren as Rice pursues the V2C goal of becoming a major research university. "We need to digitally preserve the research papers by our faculty and students so that they will be available to future generations," Lowman said. "This is challenging, due to rapidly changing formats." . . .

Lowman came to Rice in 1985 after receiving a master's degree with distinction in library and information science from the University of Iowa.

Starting out as a science reference/collection development librarian at Fondren, Lowman served as coordinator of collection development and online search services, interim co-director of reader services, head of reference, assistant university librarian for public services and associate university librarian before becoming director of Fondren Library in 2000. She has been interim university librarian since Chuck Henry left Rice this past March. . . .

Lowman, who also has a bachelor's in biology with a concentration in Russian studies from Carleton College, has been involved with a number of professional library associations, including serving as president of board of trustees of both the Houston Area Research Libraries and of Amigos Library Services, a library resources consortium. She was a coordinating council member for TexShare, the Texas library resource-sharing network, and served on the ZLOT Project Advisory Board, which focused on developing requirements and planning for a common search and retrieval interface application for the Library of Texas Project through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

She has held a number of positions with the American Library Association, where she currently serves on the LAMA Building and Equipment Section Committee.

This year Lowman received the Shapiro Award, which recognizes Fondren Library staff members who have developed an innovative library service at Rice or have shown exemplary service to the university.

In addition to acknowledging her work on the recent renovation of Fondren and the library customer service survey, the award committee cited her contributions to the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic project. Lowman provided a room in Fondren Library to the Graduate Student Association to store and use recording equipment that allows volunteers to read sections of textbooks for the benefit of people who are blind or have a reading disability like dyslexia. Lowman also helped organize and train the circulation staff to monitor access to the room, and she encouraged library staff to volunteer to read for the project.

Presentations from and Blog Coverage of the Digital Library Federation Fall Forum 2007

Many of the presentations from the Digital Library Federation Fall Forum 2007 are now available.

Here are selected blog postings about the event:

Coverage of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007

Yesterday, DigitalKoans reported that Senators Patrick Leahy and John Cornyn introduced the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007, which is sometimes called the "PIRATE Act."

Here are some of the most interesting articles about the bill:

Primary Research Group Publishes International Institutional Repository Survey

The Primary Research Group has published The International Survey of Institutional Digital Repositories. Paper and PDF versions are available at $89.50 each.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The study presents data from 56 institutional digital repositories from eleven countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, South Africa, India, Turkey and other countries. The 121-page study presents more than 300 tables of data and commentary and is based on data from higher education libraries and other institutions involved in institutional digital repository development. . . .

Close to 41% of survey participants purchased software to develop their digital repositories. US-based institutions were much more likely than others to purchase software for this purpose. . . .

On average, a drop more than 12% of the content in the repositories came from pre-existing repositories maintained by academic departments or some other institutional unit.

A sixth of the libraries in the sample used Digital Commons software, and 28% of US-based repositories used this product. . . .

Those repositories in the sample that required less than 500 hours of labor per year had budgets of just less than $9,000 US. The largest repositories, those requiring 3,600 hours or more annually, had budgets averaging $145,444. 5.21% of the overall labor required to run the digital repositories in the sample came from academic departments not connected to the library. . . .

The mean number of journal articles held by the repositories in the sample was 772 with a mean of 162. . . .

15.56% of the repositories in the sample were funded largely through grants.

Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007 Introduced in Senate

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) have introduced the Intellectual Property Enforcement Act of 2007.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Intellectual Property Enforcement Act introduced Wednesday by Leahy and Cornyn would strengthen law enforcement capabilities and resources in thwarting copyright theft. The bill would give civil copyright enforcement powers to the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, and it would authorize additional funding to investigate and prosecute intellectual property crimes involving computers and the Internet. The bill also requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assign a minimum of 10 agents to work on intellectual property crimes, and it classifies both the importation and exportation of pirated works as infringement.

Version 1.0 of SWORD, A Smart Deposit Tool for Repositories, Has Been Released

Version 1.0 of SWORD has been released The release includes DSpace (1.5 only) and Fedora implementations, GUI/CLI clients, and the common Java library.

Here's an excerpt from the SWORD Wiki that describes the project:

SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) will take forward the Deposit protocol developed by a small working group as part of the JISC Digital Repositories Programme by implementing it as a lightweight web-service in four major repository software platforms: EPrints, DSpace, Fedora and IntraLibrary. The existing protocol documentation will be finalised by project partners and a prototype 'smart deposit' tool will be developed to facilitate easier and more effective population of repositories. The project intends to take an iterative approach to developing and revising the protocol, web-services and client implementation through evaluative testing and feedback mechanisms. Community acceptance and take-up will be sought through dissemination activities. The project is led by UKOLN, University of Bath, with partners at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the University of Southampton and Intrallect Ltd. The project aims to improve the efficiency and quality of repository deposit and to diversity and expedite the options for timely population of repositories with content whilst promoting a common deposit interface and supporting the Information Environment principles of interoperability.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (11/7/07)

The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides information about new works related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, journal articles, magazine articles, technical reports, and white papers.

Especially interesting are: "A Critical Theory of Open Access: Libraries and Electronic Publishing"; "The DARE Chronicle: Open Access to Research Results and Teaching Material in the Netherlands"; "Developing an Integrated Institutional Repository at Imperial College London"; "DRIVER: Building the Network for Accessing Digital Repositories across Europe"; "The Effect of 'Open Access' on Citation Impact: An Analysis of ArXiv's Condensed Matter Section"; "Linking Repositories: Scoping the Development of Cross-Institutional User-Oriented Services"; "Newfound Press: The Digital Imprint of the University of Tennessee Libraries"; "Open Access to Open Publish: National Library of Australia"; "Opening Up Scholarly Information at the University of Illinois at Chicago"; "The Prevalence of Additional Electronic Features in Pure E-Journals"; "Redefining Scholarly Publishing as a Service Industry"; "Rethinking Collections—Libraries and Librarians in an Open Age: A Theoretical View"; Scholarly Communication Education Initiatives, SPEC Kit 299; "Society Publishers with Open Access Journals"; and "Victory in the Senate: Update on the Bill to Mandate Open Access at the NIH."

SPARC/ACRL Explore Sustainability Issues with Three Open Access Journal Publishers

SPARC and ACRL have released podcasts/transcripts of interviews about sustainability issues with Bryan Vickery (BioMed Central), Mark Patterson (Public Library of Science), and Paul Peters (Hindawi Publishing Corporation). It has also released a matrix that analyzes the responses of these OA journal publishers about sustainability issues.

Development Pack about Managing Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Learning Materials in Repositories

The TrustDR (Trust in Digital Repositories) Digital Repository Project's Managing Intellectual Property Rights in Digital Learning Materials: A Development Pack for Institutional Repositories is available. The publication, which was the final output of the JISC-funded project, is under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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

What is this pack for?

  • To help clarify and update IPR policy for the management and use of digital learning materials created within institutions and develop a sustainable infrastructure (human, technical, educational and organisational) for the effective use of e-learning particularly in support of delivering a more flexible curriculum.

Who is this pack aimed at?

  • Senior management with responsibilities in this area and those supporting them, individuals and teams tasked with overhauling institutional IPR policy, managers and consultants etc who are interested in developing viable e-learning infrastructures, managers of e-learning projects and those involved in planning for projects, partnerships and collaborations, people with a general interest in this increasingly important aspect of e-learning.