NIH Open Access Mandate Becomes Law

President Bush has signed the "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008," which includes the NIH open access mandate. The mandate states: "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."

Read more about it at "OA Mandate at NIH Now Law and "Public Access Mandate Made Law."

Version 70, Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

Version 70 of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography is now available from Digital Scholarship. This selective bibliography presents over 3,195 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

Google Gives Wikipedia a Lump of Knol for Xmas

According to "Encouraging People to Contribute Knowledge," Google has launched Knol, a Wikipedia competitor, in test mode.

Here'as an excerpt from the posting:

Earlier this week, we [Google] started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling "knol", which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. . . . .

A knol on a particular topic is meant to be the first thing someone who searches for this topic for the first time will want to read. The goal is for knols to cover all topics, from scientific concepts, to medical information, from geographical and historical, to entertainment, from product information, to how-to-fix-it instructions. Google will not serve as an editor in any way, and will not bless any content. . . . .For many topics, there will likely be competing knols on the same subject. . . .

Knols will include strong community tools. People will be able to submit comments, questions, edits, additional content, and so on. Anyone will be able to rate a knol or write a review of it. Knols will also include references and links to additional information. At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads.

Read more about it at "Google to Wikipedia: "Knol" Thine Enemy," "Google's Knol: No Wikipedia Killer," "Google's 'Knols' Aren't a Threat to Wikipedia," "Google's Know-It-All Project," and "Google's Units of Knowledge May Raise Conflict of Interest."

Columbia University Libraries and Bavarian State Library Become Google Book Search Library Partners

Both the Columbia University Libraries and Bavarian State Library have joined the Google Book Search Library Project.

Here are the announcements:

Zotero/Internet Archive Alliance to Create Zotero Commons

Dan Cohen has announced a partnership between the Center for History and New Media's Zotero project and the Internet Archive that will create the Zotero Commons, a repository for scholarly materials, as well as personal, restricted-access storage for scholars. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is supporting the project.

Biomedical Digital Libraries and BioMed Central Part Company

According to "Biomedical Digital Libraries Moves to Open Journal Systems," Biomedical Digital Libraries will no longer be published by BioMed Central because "BMC's author payment model had become untenable for most of the authors wishing to publish in the journal." In the future, the journal will be published using Public Knowledge Project's Open Journal Systems without author fees.

BioMed Central has an article-processing charges waiver policy with case-by-case basis review, and it also offers a variety of article-processing charges discounts. It is not clear why these cost-reduction mechanisms did not meet author needs.

Library Copyright Alliance Expresses Concerns over Section 104 of the PRO IP Act

The Library Copyright Alliance has sent a letter to Reps. Howard L. Berman and Howard Coble expressing concern over the chilling effect of Section 104 of the PRO IP Act on the use of orphan works by libraries. By way of example, they note that a library that made 100 letters from World War II soldiers in 1945 available on its Website could potentially face up to $15,000,000 in statutory damages.

Canadian DMCA-Stye Copyright Law on Hold . . . for the Moment

Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice didn't introduce a DMCA-style copyright bill yesterday, and there is speculation that this due to increasing protests against the bill.

According to "Industry Canada Holds Off on Copyright Reform Bill," Prentice said that the: "bill would not be tabled [introduced] in the House until such time as myself and the minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Office Languages are satisfied."

Read more about it at "'Canadian DMCA' Delayed, Protestors Cautiously Optimistic," "Canadian Netroots Rise Up Against Tory Copyright Plans," "CBC on the Canadian DMCA Delay," and "Prentice's Moment."

University of Michigan Libraries Release the UMich OAI Toolkit

The University of Michigan Libraries have released the UMich OAI Toolkit.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

This toolkit contains both harvester and data provider, both written in Perl. . . .

UMHarvester is a robust tool using LWP for harvesting nigh on every OAI data provider available. It allows for incremental harvesting, has multiple re-try options, and a batch harvest tool (Batch_UMHarvest) that can automatically perform incremental harvesting.

UMProvider relies heavily on libxml (XML::LibXML) and will store the data in nearly any relational database. It functions by harvesting from a database of records, making rights determinations from a separate database, and providing the resulting set of records.

Originally, only the UMHarvester was available from UM's DLXS software site. The UMProvider tool is newly developed and takes the place of our DLXS data provider tool.

Google's Senior Copyright Counsel on the PRO IP Bill

Noted copyright lawyer William Patry, who is Google's Senior Copyright Counsel and who is the author of the seven-volume Patry on Copyright, has published a trenchant analysis of the PRO IP bill ("What Does It Mean to Be Pro-IP?"). (Note that Patry indicates in his blog that:"The views in this blog are strictly mine and should not be attributed to Google Inc.")

Here's an excerpt:

This provision [SEC. 104. COMPUTATION OF STATUTORY DAMAGES IN COPYRIGHT CASES] is one of the most gluttonous in the whole bill. It seeks to expand radically the amount of statutory damages that can be recovered, and in cases where there are zero actual damages. The provision is intended to benefit the record industry but will have terrible consequences for many others; the provision has nothing to do with piracy and counterfeiting; instead it seeks to undo rulings in the 2000 litigation, a decidedly non-piracy or counterfeiting case, instead involving the use of digital storage lockers. Under the original decision, where a CD had twelve tracks, there was only one award of statutory damages possible. Under the bill, there may be 25: there would be 12 for each track on the sound recording, 1 for the sound recording as a whole, and 12 for each musical composition. Under this approach, for one CD the minimum award for non-innocent infringement must be $18,750, for a CD that sells in some stores at an inflated price of $18.99 and may be had for much less from or iTunes. The maximum amount of $150,000 then becomes three million, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars per CD. Now multiple that times a mere ten albums, and one gets a glimpse at the staggering amount that will be routinely sought, not just in suits filed, but more importantly in thousands for cease and desist letters, where grandmothers and parents are shaken down for the acts of their wayward offspring. These private non-negotiable demands don’t see the light of day, but they have resulted in "settlements" wherein ordinary people have paid abnormal amounts of money rather than be hauled into court and thereby incur costs that will bankrupt them. One only wishes Congress would hold a hearing on this practice.

IFPI Wants European ISPs to Filter/Block the Internet

The International Federation of Phonographic Industries has sent a letter to European ISPs asking them to filter unlicensed audio files based on digital fingerprints, to block "objectionable" peer-to-peer downloading services, and to block "infringing" Websites.

Read more about it at "IFPI's European Christmas List: Content Filtering and P2P Blocking" and "Music Industry Pressures EU Politicians for Filtered Internet."

Rice University Releases Travelers in the Middle East Archive

Rice University has released the Travelers in the Middle East Archive under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic License.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

IMEA provides access to:

  • Nearly 1,000 images, including stereocards, postcards and book illustrations
  • More than 150 historical maps representing the Middle East as it was in the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Interactive geographical information systems (GIS) maps that serve as an interface to the collection and present detailed information about features such as waterways, elevation and populated places
  • Successive editions of classic travel guides and major museum collection catalogues
  • Convenient educational modules that set materials from the collection in historical and geographic context and explore the research process

TIMEA is able to offer seamless access for researchers by providing a common user interface to digital objects housed in three repositories. Texts, historical maps and images reside in DSpace, an open-source digital repository system. Educational research modules are presented within Connexions, an open-content commons and publishing platform for educational materials. TIMEA also uses Google Maps and ESRI’s ArcIMS map server.

Will Libraries and Other Wi-Fi Access Point Owners Have to Report Known Child Porn under the SAFE Act?

The rapid passage of the Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online Act of 2007 (SAFE Act) in the U.S. House of Representatives has left confusion and controversy in its wake about whether the owners of public Wi-Fi access points must report digital child pornography that they are aware of to the CyberTipline of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or face massive fines. It appears that this was not the intent of the bill's authors, but the wording of the bill could be interpreted by courts to include libraries and other public Wi-Fi access point owners: "Whoever, while engaged in providing an electronic communication service or a remote computing service to the public through a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce . . ."

Read more about it at "House Vote on Illegal Images Sweeps in Wi-Fi, Web Sites"; "SAFE Act Won't Turn Mom-and-Pop Shops into WiFi Cops"; and "Wi-Fi 'Illegal Images' Politician Defends Legislation."

Adobe PDF 1.7 Becomes ISO 32000 Standard (DIS)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) 1.7 as the ISO 32000 standard (DIS). Comments about the new standard will be addressed early next year, and they will either be resolved, followed by the publication of a revision of the standard, or the DIS standard will become a Final Draft International Standard (FDIS), subject to a two-month vote.

Read more about it at: "Adobe's PDF Now an ISO Standard" and "PDF Approved as International Standard."

House Copyright Bill Would Stiffen Penalties and Create New White House/DOJ Intellectual Property Units

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Howard Berman (D-CA), and nine other House members have introduced the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007" (PRO IP).

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Specifically, the PRO IP bill does the following:

  • Titles I and II strengthen the substantive civil and criminal laws relating to copyright and trademark infringement.
  • Title III of the legislation establishes the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER), in the Executive Office of the President, to enhance nationwide and international coordination of intellectual property enforcement efforts.
  • Title IV provides for the appointment of intellectual property officers to work with foreign countries in their efforts to combat counterfeiting and piracy.
  • Title V of the legislation authorizes the creation of a permanent Intellectual Property Division within the Department of Justice. The purpose of the new IP Division is to improve law enforcement coordination. This is accomplished, in part, by transferring the functions of the existing Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section (CCIPs) that relate to intellectual property enforcement to the new IP Division. In addition, Title V provides DOJ with new resources targeted to improve IP law enforcement, including local law enforcement grants and additional investigative and prosecutorial personnel. It also requires that DOJ prepare an annual report that details its IP enforcement activities.

Read more about it at "Congress' Copyright Reform: Seize Computers, Boost Penalties, Spend Money"; "Major Copyright Bill Boosts Penalties, Creates New Agency"; and "Piracy Law Unveiled in Washington."

Is the End of the Print Journal Near?: New ARL Report Examines This Issue

The Association of Research Libraries has published The E-only Tipping Point for Journals: What’s Ahead in the Print-to-Electronic Transition Zone.

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

The role of the printed journal in the institutional marketplace faces a steep decline in the coming 5 to 10 years. Print journals will exist mainly to address specialized needs, users, or business opportunities. Financial imperatives will draw libraries first—and ultimately publishers also—toward a tipping point where it no longer makes sense to subscribe to or publish printed versions of most journals.

Publishers will be driven to rationalize their investments in declining print revenue streams and to finance investments in e-publishing infrastructure and emerging opportunities. Some will be faster to do so, such as those already straining from the cost burden. Others will be slower, such as those with a self-supporting base of individual subscribers or significant advertising revenue from print.

A new focus will emerge on productivity in scholarly communication. Experiments will explore new business models and new ways of conducting and facilitating research. Along the way, vexing issues such as those surrounding assurance of long-term access to the scholarly record will continue to be sorted out and perhaps even solved.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (12/5/07)

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: "Can Open Access Repositories and Peer-Reviewed Journals Coexist?," "Census of Institutional Repositories in the U.S.: A Comparison Across Institutions at Different Stages of IR Development," "The Creative Commons and Copyright Protection in the Digital Era: Uses of Creative Commons Licenses," "eScience and the Humanities," "Open Access and the Divide between 'Mainstream' and 'Peripheral' Science," "Pathways: Augmenting Interoperability across Scholarly Repositories," "Publishing Journals@UIC," Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure and the Internet, "Synergies: Building National Infrastructure for Canadian Scholarly Publishing," "The University of California as Publisher," "Update on the Bill Mandating OA at the NIH," "Use and Users of Digital Resources," "What Do Faculty and Students Really Think about E-Books?," and "Will the Parasite Kill the Host? Are Institutional Repositories a Fact of Life—and Does It Matter?"

Only 50,000 Signatures Needed for Referendum on New Swiss DMCA-Style Copyright Law

Florian Bösch is organizing a petition drive to put Switzerland's new DMCA-style copyright law to a referendum at the No Swiss DMCA website. Only 50,000 signatures are needed, but they must be collected before January 24, 2008.

Read more about it at "DMCA-Style Laws Coming to Canada, Switzerland"; "Swiss DMCA Coming Down—50,000 Signatures Needed to Unmake It"; "Swiss DMCA Petition—50,000 Signatures Will Kill Switzerland's Copyright Law"; and "Swiss DMCA Quietly Adopted."

Sophie Project Gets $1 Million from Macarthur Foundation

Thanks to a million dollar grant from the Macarthur Foundation, version 1.0 of Sophie, software that allows non-programmers to easily create multimedia documents, will be released in February 2008. Sophie runs on Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. An alpha version and several demo books created with Sophie are available.

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

Originally conceived as a standalone multimedia authoring tool, Sophie is now integrated into the Web 2.0 network in some very powerful ways:

  • Sophie documents can be uploaded to a server and then streamed over the net
  • It's possible to embed remote audio, video and graphic text files in the pages of Sophie documents meaning that the actual document that needs to be distributed might be only a few hundred kilobytes even if the book itself is comprised of hundreds of megabytes or even a few gigabytes.
  • Sophie now has the ability to browse OKI (open knowledge initiative) repositories from within Sophie itself and then to embed objects from those repositories.
  • We now have live dynamic text fields (similar to the Institute's CommentPress experiments on the web) such that a comment written in the margin is displayed immediately in every other copy of that book—anywhere in the world.