Peter Brantley Critiques Google Book Search

In "Reading Bad News Between the Lines of Google Book Search" (Chronicle of Higher Education subscription required), Peter Brantley, Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation, discusses his concerns about Google Book Search.

Here's an excerpt:

Q. Why are you concerned about Google Book Search?

A. The quality of the book scans is not consistently high. The algorithm Google uses to return search results is opaque. Then there's the commercial aspect. Google will attempt to find ways to make money off the service.

Digital Video on JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments)

In a digital video from the Google Tech Talks series, Moshe Pritsker, Editor-in-Chief of JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), discusses that video-based journal.

Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

Contrasting the rapid advancement of scientific research itself, scientific communication still heavily relies on traditional print journals. Print journals however, lack the necessary characteristics to allow enable an effective transfer of knowledge, which is significantly impeding scientific progress. Addressing this problem, the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE, implemented a novel, video-based approach to scientific publishing, based on visualization of experimental studies. Created with the participation of scientists from leading research institutions (e.g. Harvard, MIT, and Princeton), JoVE provides solutions to the "bottleneck" of the contemporary biological research: transparency and reproducibility of biological experiments. JoVE has so far released 9 monthly issues that include over 150 video-protocols on experimental approaches in developmental biology, neuroscience, microbiology and other fields.

Mellon Foundation Awards Four Grants for Cooperative University Press Projects

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded grants to four groups of university presses to support the cooperative publication of scholarly books and digital works in the fields of American Literatures, Ethnomusicology, Slavic Studies, and South Asian Studies. The Ethnomusicology project will develop a plan for publishing printed and digital works, and the American Literatures project will utilize a "a shared, centralized, external editorial service dedicated solely to managing the production of books in the initiative."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The four projects and participating presses are:

  • Slavic Studies: University of Wisconsin Press, Northwestern University Press, and the University of Pittsburgh Press;
  • American Literatures: New York University Press, Fordham University Press, Rutgers University Press, Temple University Press, and the University of Virginia Press;
  • South Asian Studies: Columbia University Press, the University of California Press, and the University of Chicago Press;
  • Ethnomusicology: Indiana University Press, Kent State University Press, and Temple University Press. . . .

Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Pittsburgh will use the Mellon funds to support the publication and promotion of first monographs in Russian, East European, and Central Asian studies. Although all three presses have strong publication lists in this field, this initiative will enable them to accept more first books by junior scholars, to work closely with those scholars to develop their authorial skills, and in some cases to underwrite the publication of works in paperback or the incorporation of expensive elements (such as color images). . . .

The American Literatures Initiative, led by NYU in collaboration with Fordham, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia, also seeks to publish promising scholars’ first books in their focus field of English-language literatures of Central and North America and the Caribbean. The most innovative aspect of the program will be the establishment of a shared, centralized, external editorial service dedicated solely to managing the production of books in the initiative. This service will handle all copyediting, design, layout, and typesetting costs, and manage each title through to the point where it is ready for printing. Mellon funds will also be used to pay authors modest royalty advances and develop robust, collaborative marketing efforts among the five presses—which will reduce costs for advertising and electronic marketing, publicity, academic conference exhibits, and other efforts. . . .

Major editorial goals of the Columbia-led South Asian Studies series will be to open up new archival material to scholars, to explore new theories and methods, and to develop scholarship that is both deep in expertise and broad in appeal across disciplines. . . .

The ethnomusicology project received a one-year planning grant, the first phase in establishing a cooperative publishing program that will include the digital publication of related field materials. Through their cooperative series Indiana, Kent State, and Temple will seek to broaden publishing opportunities for emerging scholars in ethnomusicology, and to offer scholars in ethnomusicology and related fields enhanced means of accessing these materials via the Web. In so doing the presses’ goal is to assist in disseminating scholarship and developing new methodologies in both research and publication. The project will be eligible to apply for continued funding at the completion of the planning stage.

British MEP Asks European Parliament to Filter Internet, Remove/Block Infringing Content, and Terminate Connectivity of Infringers

Chris Heaton-Harris, a British Member of European Parliament (MEP), has proposed an amendment to the draft Cultural industries in the Context of the Lisbon Strategy report that asks the EP to filter infringing content from the Internet, to remove or block infringing content, and to terminate the connectivity of infringers.

Urges the Commission to oblige all those active in the sector to join forces and seek solutions equitable to all with the aim to develop the offer of legitimate online content and to make sure that all the involved stakeholders act responsibly. In the event that adequate solutions have not been found within a reasonable period of time that should not exceed 1 year, calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt legislative measures obliging Internet service providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy. This cooperation of Internet service providers should include the use of filtering technologies to prevent their networks being used to infringe intellectual property, the removal from the networks or the blocking of content that infringes intellectual property, and the enforcement of their contractual terms and conditions, which permit them to suspend or terminate their contracts with those subscribers who repeatedly or on a wide scale infringe intellectual property; draws Member States’ attention on this point to the fact that legislative measures which oblige Internet services providers to cooperate in the fight against online piracy would be more effective than the legal pursuit of users who infringe intellectual property;

Read more about it at "Copyright Extensions and ISP Filtering: Breaking EU Culture, One Amendment at a Time" and "MEP Says Providers Should Cut the Line If Copyright Is Infringed."

Another Denial-of-Service Attack on Digital-Scholarship.Org

There has been another denial-of-service attack on and its version of DigitalKoans. If you have access problems, use the .com site instead. A second feed is also available.

Hello Internet Meter: Time Warner Cable to Test Usage-Based Internet Fees

The number two ISP in the U.S., Time Warner Cable, will test charging Beaumont, Texas users based on the level of their downloading activity.

Read more about it at "Time Warner: Download Too Much and You Might Pay $30 a Movie," "Time Warner Links Web Prices with Usage," "Time Warner Metered Pricing: Not the Solution," and "Time Warner to Test Metered Web Use."

Tim Wu vs. Rick Cotton on Copyright

The New York Times Bits blog running run an interesting debate this week between Tim Wu, Professor of Law at the Columbia Law School, and Rick Cotton, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NBC Universal, about copyright issues.

Postings so far include:

Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership Grant Applications Due in March

Applications for Advancing Knowledge: The IMLS/NEH Digital Partnership grant program are due on March 18, 2008.

Here's an excerpt from the guidelines:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) invite proposals for innovative, collaborative humanities projects using the latest digital technologies for the benefit of the American public, humanities scholarship, and the nation's cultural institutions. These grants require substantive collaborations among libraries, museums, archives, universities, and other cultural organizations. Grants support projects that explore new ways to share, examine, and interpret humanities collections in a digital environment; that develop new uses and audiences for existing digital resources; or that result in extensible and transferable methodologies or tools.

Eligible projects might:

  • advance the role of cultural repositories in online teaching, learning, and research for public audiences, teachers, students, and scholars;
  • develop collaborative approaches involving the scholarly community and cultural repositories for the creation, preservation, use, and presentation of reusable digital collections and products;
  • use innovative approaches in digital technology to provide new perspectives on humanities resources or offer new interpretive contexts for scholars, students, and public audiences; or
  • examine and coordinate community-based approaches and standards for making resources available online and allowing them to be widely shared.

Podcasts from Clever Collections: A National Showcase of Technical Innovations for Digital Collections

Podcasts of sessions at APSR's Clever Collections: A National Showcase of Technical Innovations for Digital Collections conference are now available.

Here are the titles of some repository-oriented presentations:

  • "Enhancing Research Collections by Harvesting Community Annotations"
  • "Integrating Repositories with Researcher Environments"
  • "Object Re-Use and Exchange (ORE): Practice and Experience in the Open Language Archives Community"
  • "The Repository Interoperability Framework"
  • "Taking Aim and (Mostly) Hitting Our Targets: from DART to ARCHER"

AAP Reaches Agreement with Three Universities about E-Reserves Guidelines

The Association of American Publishers has announced it has reached agreement with Hofstra University, Marquette University, and Syracuse University about copyright guidelines for e-reserves.

The guidelines are below:

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The guidelines, which were developed separately by the three universities, govern how librarians and faculty members distribute copyrighted content through library electronic course reserves systems, course management systems, faculty and departmental web pages and other digital formats.

AAP worked with each of the three universities in cooperative efforts to establish easily understood and common-sense standards that help faculty and staff understand and interpret their rights and responsibilities when using copyrighted content in educational settings. Each of the guidelines reflects the specific needs of the particular university and is consistent with the principles of fair use while providing helpful guidance as to when permission from the copyright holder is required to copy or post materials in digital formats. AAP believes the guidelines, which are similar to those adopted by Cornell University last year, will serve as models for others colleges and universities. . . .

In the last two years AAP has initiated discussions with a number of universities after observing that unlicensed digital copies of course materials were gradually replacing the licensed physical copying of articles, book chapters and other copyrighted works. While it is well established that physical copying of materials for distribution to multiple students, often in compilations known as coursepacks, generally requires permission from the copyright holder, faculty and staff seem less aware that permission is similarly required for distribution of electronic copies of such copyrighted materials.

Read more about it at "AAP Pressures Universities to Limit Fair Use" and "Despite Skeptics, Publishers Tout New 'Fair Use' Agreements With Universities" (Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers only).

New Mailing Lists: JISC-SHIBBOLETH-LIBRARIES and Sword-app-tech

Two mailing lists have been recently established: JISC-SHIBBOLETH-LIBRARIES and sword-app-tech.

Excerpt from the JISC-SHIBBOLETH announcement:

Many institutions are now at the stage with their implementation of federated access management where issues directly impacting libraries are being considered and managed. This includes discovery processes for end-users, testing and changing access to federated service providers, dealing with different user definitions, managing license and resource information and changing send-user information.

To help support this process we have established a separate mailing list to enable discussion and exchange of views directly relating to library issues.

Excerpt from the Fedora-commons-users announcement:

A new mailing list has been created for discussion, bug reports, implementations questions and development ideas relating to SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit).

SWORD is a protocol for interoperable deposit between repository platforms. It was developed by a JISC project during 2007, building on earlier work to define a deposit protocol, and is based on the Atom Publishing Protocol.

NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants Guidelines

The National Endowment for the Humanities has issued guidelines for its 2008 digital humanities start-up grants.

Here's an excerpt:

Two levels of awards will be made in this program. Level I awards are small grants designed to fund brainstorming sessions, workshops, early alpha-level prototypes, and initial planning. Level II awards are larger grants that can be used for more fully-formed projects that are ready to start the first stage of implementation or the creation of working prototypes. Applicants must state in their narrative which funding level they seek. The Endowment will be setting aside funds for each of the two levels and more awards will be made in the Level I category. Applicants should carefully choose the funding level appropriate to the needs of the proposed project. See the section on Awards for more details.

Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants support full-time or part-time activities for periods up to eighteen months. Support is available for various combinations of scholars, consultants, and research assistants; project-related travel; and technical support and services. Up to 20% of the total grant may also be used for the acquisition of computing hardware and software. All grantees are expected to communicate the results of their work to appropriate scholarly and public audiences. In order to facilitate dissemination and the maximum usage of the projects that are ultimately developed through the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, applicants are strongly encouraged to base their projects on open source and fully accessible software.

The Library of Congress Makes Images Available on Flickr

The Library of Congress has put two collections of digital images on Flickr: 1,600 images from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and around 1,500 images from the George Grantham Bain News Service. The images can be found at The Library of Congress' Photos.

Regarding copyright, LC says:

Although the Library of Congress does not grant or deny permission to use photos, the Library knows of no copyright restrictions on the publication, distribution, or re-use of these photos. Privacy rights may apply.

See the FAQ for more details.

Spiro Reviews Last Year's Key Digital Humanities Developments

In a series of three interesting posts, Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center and the Educational Technology Research and Assessment Cooperative at Rice University's Fondren Library, has reviewed 2007's major digital humanities developments: "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 1 of 3]," "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 2 of 3]," and "Digital Humanities in 2007 [Part 3 of 3]."

Citation, Location, and Deposition in Discipline & Institutional Repositories

The JISC CLADDIER project has published Citation, Location, and Deposition in Discipline & Institutional Repositories: CLADDIER Project Report III, Recommendations for Data/Publication Linkage.

Here's an excerpt from the abstract:

A key aim of the CLADDIER project is to investigate the cross-linking and citation of resources (in particular data and their associated publications) held in institutional and subject-based repositories within the research sector. Typically traditional citations are partial in that they are "backward citations", referring to work which influenced the current research, and they only cite other formal publications, ignoring other artefacts which are the output of research, in particular research data. Online repositories storing more dynamic digital objects gives the opportunity to provide a more complete picture of the relationships between them, with backward and forward citations to data and publications being propagated between repositories.

This report motivates the cross-citations of data from the CLADDIER use case example, and considers the approaches which have been implemented to harvest and propagate citation information. Most of these existing approaches depend on centralised services, which were considered unsatisfactory in an environment where independent repositories wish to maintain control of their resources and do not wish to be dependant on third-party services. Criteria are identified for building a Citation Notification Service to propagate citation references and links between repositories, including using a peer-to-peer protocol. A number of different architectures are proposed and evaluated.

The requirement for a light-weight peer-to-peer service which is as widely applicable as possible lead to the selection of Linkback services, in particular Trackback which provides an existing simple specification which can be implemented quickly and adapted to the requirements of citation notification. A detailed description the Trackback protocol is then given, together with the design of the adaptations and extensions identified as required for citation notification. This extended Trackback protocol has been implemented in the STFC ePubs institutional repository; this implementation is described and a use case is described.

Geoffrey Bilder has commented on the report in "CLADDIER Final Report."

Draft Curation Lifecycle Model Released by the Digital Curation Centre

The Digital Curation Centre has released the Draft DCC Curation Lifecycle Model for comment by February 29, 2008. Further information about the model can be found in "Draft DCC Curation Lifecycle Model" from the latest issue of the International Journal of Digital Curation.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The model provides a generic graphical high-level overview of the stages required for successful curation and preservation of digital material from initial conceptualisation. The Digital Curation Centre will shortly start to use this draft model to ensure that information, services and advisory material cover all areas of the lifecycle.

Israeli vs. Canadian Copyright Law

A translation of the Israel's Copyright Act of 2007, which takes effect on May 25, 2008, is now available.

Last December, Ariel Katz, Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, wrote an interesting analysis of the Israeli law ("What Can Canada Learn from Israel about Copyright Reform?"), which contrasted it to Canadian copyright law. In summary, he said:

Israel's new act has revealed its copyright priorities. Overall, Israel decided to increase the flexibility of its copyright law and make it more open and friendlier to users, educators and innovators. It decided to reduce the ways in which copyright law can work to restrict competition. For the time being, it decided not to enact anticircumvention rules that have the potential to work in the other direction. This choice is compatible with Israel's innovative and creative record. This choice is essential for a small economy whose citizens' brain is the only natural resource. Canada should seriously consider doing the same.

Archivists' Toolkit Version 1.1 Released

The project team from the Five Colleges, Inc., New York University Libraries, and the UCSD Libraries have released Version 1.1 of the Archivists' Toolkit.

Here's an excerpt from the project's home page that describes the new features of the release:

  • Batch import of EAD files: target a directory containing the EAD files to be imported and import all EAD files in the directory
  • Batch export of EAD and MARCXML records: from the resource browse screen select two or more resources that you want to export as either EAD files or MARCXML records
  • Import of XML encoded accession data: Import of multiple names using the XML import method.  Use the accessionsImport.xsd file to map your accession data and to create an accessions import file
  • EAD schema: replaces the EAD DTD for importing / exporting EAD files
  • Extended accession record: includes new fields, including many user definable
  • Extended repository record: includes new fields for recording repository statistics, per recommendations of Archival Metrics Project
  • Support for other database backends. In addition to the open source database backend MySQL, the application can be run using either Oracle or MS SQL server as a backend
  • Updated documentation. User manual and additional documentation have been updated to reflect new features

Podcast of ALA's Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group Meeting

A podcast of the first meeting of the ALA's Virtual Communities and Libraries Member Initiative Group is now available.

Here's the group's statement of purpose from its ALA Wiki entry:

To provide a group within ALA for members interested in fostering the practice of library work, the visibility of libraries and library workers, and the extension of library services within online social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. To provide a mechanism for sharing experiences and practices in-person or virtually through programming or asynchronous communications. To encourage wider participation by the profession and the association in virtual worlds. and To establish a forum across all types of libraries and at all levels of library employment concerned with the development of library services in emerging social networks, virtual worlds, and other communities of intention. This group is open to all members.

EFF Files Amicus Brief in Atlantic v. Howell: Atlantic Is Trying to Prosecute Attempted Infringement

An amicus brief filed by the EFF suggests that Atlantic is suing Pamela and Jeffrey Howell based on attempted, rather than actual, infringement and that there is no evidence of infringement other than hearsay evidence by Atlantic's hired investigator (MediaSentry).

Here's en excerpt from the brief:

Plaintiffs' investigator, MediaSentry, did not observe Defendant's disseminating any materials to third parties. Nor do Plaintiffs contend that MediaSentry invited Defendants to make any unauthorized reproductions. Nor have Plaintiffs established that MediaSentry's downloads constitute circumstantial evidence that the Howell's computer disseminated copies of the 11 songs in question to any other KaZaA user. In fact, Plaintiffs' own evidence makes this seem particularly unlikely. According to Plaintiffs' expert, during the period that MediaSentry performed its investigation, there were 2,282,954 KaZaA users online, sharing 292,532,420 files. . . . Even accepting Plaintiffs' hearsay testimony as true, these facts together suggest that it is highly unlikely that, among the millions of KaZaA users who are likely to be sharing them at any time, these 11 songs would have been downloaded from Defendants' computer. At any instant, KaZaA users are likely to have thousands of sources for these particular songs to choose from and no reason to choose the Defendants' computer over any other. And while Plaintiffs may be correct that, in the aggregate, KaZaA users engage in a prodigious amount of infringing activity, that general statement tells us nothing about the crucial issue in this case: whether these Defendants transmitted (i.e., uploaded) any of these 11 songs during the time period in question.

Here's an excerpt from "EFF Files Brief in Atlantic v. Howell Resisting RIAA's 'Attempted Distribution' Theory":

As in more than 20,000 other lawsuits, the recording industry claims that Mr. and Mrs. Howell committed copyright infringement by using P2P file sharing software (in this case, Kazaa). But rather than going to the trouble of proving that the Howells made any infringing copies (by ripping CDs or downloading songs) or any infringing distributions (by uploading to other Kazaa users), the record labels argue that simply having a song in a shared folder, even if no one ever downloaded it from you (i.e., "making available"), infringes the distribution right. This essentially amounts to suing someone for attempted distribution, something the Copyright Act has never recognized (although the DoJ unsuccessfully tried to get something like that from Congress last year).

Swedish MPs Want to Legalize Noncommercial File Sharing

Seven Swedish MPs have written an article calling for Sweden to legalize noncommercial file sharing.

Decriminalizing all non-commercial file sharing and forcing the market to adapt is not just the best solution. It’s the only solution, unless we want an ever more extensive control of what citizens do on the Internet. Politicians who play for the antipiracy team should be aware that they have allied themselves with a special interest that is never satisfied and that will always demand that we take additional steps toward the ultimate control state. . . .

The simple truth is that almost all communication channels on the Internet can be used to distribute copyrighted information. If you can use a service to send a message you can most likely use the same service to send an mp3-song. Those who want to prevent people from exchanging of copyrighted material must control all electronic communication between citizens.

Read more about it at "Political Breakthrough for Filesharers in Sweden" and "Swedish Politicians Strike Blows at Copyright Lobby."

Source: "Legalize File Sharing, Say Swedish MPs."