RAD Lab: Cloud Computing Made Easy

The RAD Lab (Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory) is working to "enable one person to invent and run the next revolutionary IT service, operationally expressing a new business idea as a multi-million-user service over the course of a long weekend."

Read more about it at "RAD Lab Technical Vision" and "Trying to Figure Out How to Put a Google in Every Data Center."

ARL Publishes NIH Public Access Policy Guide

The Association of Research Libraries has published "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The new NIH Public Access Policy, which becomes effective April 7, 2008, calls for mandatory deposit in PubMed Central of peer-reviewed electronic manuscripts stemming from NIH funding. The change from a voluntary to mandatory policy creates new expectations, not just of funded investigators, but also of the grantee institutions that support those investigators.

The ARL guide, "The NIH Public Access Policy: Guide for Research Universities," includes the following sections:

  • Policy Overview
  • Institutional Responses
  • Retaining Rights
  • How to Deposit
  • Resources

The guide focuses on the implications of the NIH policy for institutions as grantees, although some information for individual investigators is included and links to further details are provided. The guide is helpful to a range of campus constituencies that may be involved in implementing the new policy, including research administrators, legal counsel, and librarians.

In addition to compliance concerns, the guide also considers the benefits of the new policy and institutions' opportunities to build on the policy requirements by seeking additional rights for using funded research to address local needs.

Reflecting the dynamic nature of campus implementation activities, the guide will be updated as more campuses release plans, resources, and tools that can serve as models for their peers.

Three-Strikes Copyright Policy: France, the UK, and Now Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian government is evaluating the UK's "three-strikes and you're out" copyright policy, which leaped the English Channel from France. The UK version of the policy involves a warning on the first illegal download offense, a suspension of ISP privileges on the second, and a revocation of ISP access on the third.

Read more about it at "War on Music Piracy."

Presentations from the Open Access Collections Workshop

Presentations from the Open Access Collections workshop are now available.

Here are selected presentations:

Muradora Version 1.2.1 Released: Federated Identity and Authorization for Fedora

The DRAMA (Digital Repository Authorization Middleware Architecture) team has released version 1.2.1 of Muradora.

Here's an excerpt from the Muradora home page that describes Muradora:

Muradora is an easy to use repository application that supports federated identity (via Shibboleth authentication) and flexible authorization (using XACML). Muradora leverages the modularity, flexibility and scalability of the well-known Fedora repository.

Muradora's unique vision is one where Fedora forms the core back-end repository, while different front-end applications (such as portlets or standalone web interfaces) can all talk to the same instance of Fedora, and yet maintain a consistent approach to access control.

Read more about it at "Muradora 1.2.1 Release."

Kete 1.0, Web 2.0 Digital Library Software, Released

Version 1.0 (stable release branch) of the Kete digital library software has been released.

Here's an excerpt about Kete from Katipo Communications' "Kete is Open Source Digital Library and Archiving Software":

Kete is an Open Source application written in Ruby on Rails, released under the GPL. Initial development has been a partnership between the Horowhenua Library Trust and Katipo Communications Ltd. funded as part of the Community Partnership Fund in 2006.

Kete stores, organises, indexes and retrieves all sorts of digital files including Office documents, PDF's, images, videos, audio such as spoken word and music, website links, and html pages/text.

Kete encourages you to make links between different items that enable users to browse your collection. It also faciltates discussion about items and topics, so you can build understanding and foster collaboration.

Read more about it at "Kete 1.0 Release Branch and Upgraded Kete.net.nz."

France's Three-Strikes Copyright Proposal Crosses the English Channel

A draft of a forthcoming Green Paper from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ("The World’s Creative Hub") promises that the UK will "move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing." It appears that the UK version of France's controversial "three-strikes and you're out" digital copyright proposal will involve a warning on the first illegal download offense, a suspension of ISP privileges on the second, and a revocation of ISP access on the third.

Read more about it at "Britain Considers Anti-Piracy Steps," "Internet Users Could Be Banned over Illegal Downloads," "ISPs Demand Record Biz Pays Up If Cut-Off P2P Users Sue," "Report: Three-Strikes Copyright Enforcement May Come to UK," and "UK ISPs Don't Want to Play Umpire to 'Three Strikes' Rule."

Net Neutrality Is Back: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) have introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (H.R. 5353) in the House.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The goal of this bipartisan legislation is to assure consumers, content providers, and high tech innovators that the historic, open architecture nature of the Internet will be preserved and fostered. H.R. 5353 is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers. Internet freedom generally embodies the notion that consumers and content providers should be free to send, receive, access and use the lawful applications, content, and services of their choice on broadband networks, possess the effective right to attach and use non-harmful devices to use in conjunction with their broadband services, and that content providers not be subjected to unreasonably discriminatory practices by broadband network providers.

Read more about it at "Lawmakers Introduce New Net Neutrality Bill," "New Net Neutrality Bill Frowns on ISP 'Favoritism'," "New Net Neutrality Bill Surfaces in House (Updated)," and "Net Neutrality Returns To Top Of Washington's Agenda."

EU Commissioner Wants 95-Year Copyright Term for Musicians

Charlie McCreevy, the European Union's Internal Market and Services Commissioner has said that he would like to extend musicians copyright protection to a 95-year term. Unlike composers and lyricists, who get a lifetime plus 70-year term, performers currently have a 50-year term. McCreevy plans to introduce legislation to support his 95-year term plan.

Read more about it at "Bands Set for Longer Music Rights," "EU Commissioner: Let’s Extend Music Copyrights to 95 years. Ars: 50 Years Is Plenty," "EU Looks to Extend Copyright and Blank Media Levies," and "EU Suggests Singers and Musicians Should Earn Copyright Fees for 95 years."

Commons-Research Mailing List Launched

Giorgos Cheliotis has launched the Commons-Research mailing list.

Here's an excerpt from the list's home page that describes it:

Discussion among researchers studying the commons, for example the use and impact of peer production methods and communities and open licensing. We welcome researchers studying the commons in a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, economics, law, media studies, sociology. . .

JISC E-Journal Archive Registry Study

JISC has released "Scoping Study for a Registry of Electronic Journals That Indicates Where They Are Archived."

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

The research and especially the interviews have confirmed the assumption behind the project that there is a need for more information, and more easily accessible information, about where e-journals are archived. However, what has also emerged strongly is that this issue cannot be considered in isolation, either from the overall context of relationships within the scholarly communication system, nor from other initiatives being undertaken to improve information flows e.g. in relation to the transfer of journal titles between publishers. . . .

Librarians felt that they were most likely to consult a registry in situations where they were considering taking out or renewing a subscription; considering cancellation of a print subscription in favour of an e-only subscription; contemplating relocating or discarding print holdings. The vast majority of potential users of such a registry would be library staff in university and national libraries, though organisations licensing e-journals on behalf of the library community would also be likely to use the registry to check compliance with licence conditions.

One of the key benefits of a registry is perceived to be the exposure of gaps in archive provision. This was identified by all types of stakeholder: librarians would want to be alerted to risks to any of their holdings; publishers who are making provision would like to see their efforts recognised and pressure placed on publishers who are not making satisfactory arrangements; archive organisations would also benefit as that effect fed through to more demand for their services.

The drawbacks to a registry as a solution to the acknowledged information gap were mainly seen as ones of practicality (keeping the information accurate and up to date), trust (especially whether a national solution is appropriate, and conversely whether an international solution is feasible) and sustainability of the funding model. Other solutions were suggested, mainly involving either WorldCat or ERM vendors such as Serials Solutions. The latter were also suggested as a complementary part of a solution involving, but not limited to, a registry.

VALA 2008 Presentations

Presentations from the VALA 2008 conference are now available.

Here's a selection of presentations:

Michelle McLean has blogged a number of VALA 2008 sessions in Connecting Librarian postings.

National Center for Learning Science and Technology Trust Fund Included in Bill Passed By House

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act, recently passed by the House, included funding for Digital Promise's National Center for Learning Science and Technology Trust Fund. One of Digital Promise's goals is to: "Digitize America’s collected memory stored in our nation's universities, libraries, museums and public television archives to make these materials available anytime and anywhere."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

We are thrilled to report that legislation embracing the Digital Promise proposal to establish the National Center for Learning Science and Technology Trust Fund as a pilot program (we had originally labeled the Center "DO IT," the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust) was passed by the House of Representatives by a wide margin on Thursday evening, February 7.

The College Opportunity and Affordability Act (HR 4137), authorizes the establishment of the Center as an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation within the Department of Education. Under the legislation, the Center will have its own distinguished nine member board of directors. It will administer a trust fund for precompetitive basic and applied research to help transform education, skills training and lifelong learning for the digital age. It will assess and research prototypes for innovative digital learning and information technologies; support pilot testing and evaluation, encourage their widespread adoption and use, and introduce digital media education programs for parents, teachers, and children to build technology literacy. To carry out its activities the Center will award contracts and grants to colleges and universities, museums, libraries, public broadcasting entities and similar nonprofit organizations and public institutions, as well as to for-profit organizations.

iRODS Version 1.0: Data Grids, Digital Libraries, Persistent Archives, and Real-Time Data Systems

The Data-Intensive Computing Environments group at the San Diego Supercomputer Center has released version 1.0 of the open-source iRODS (Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System) system, which can be used to support data grids, digital libraries, persistent archives, and real-time data systems.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"iRODS is an innovative data grid system that incorporates and moves beyond ten years of experience in developing the widely used Storage Resource Broker (SRB) technology," said Reagan Moore, director of the DICE group at SDSC. "iRODS equips users to handle the full range of distributed data management needs, from extracting descriptive metadata and managing their data to moving it efficiently, sharing data securely with collaborators, publishing it in digital libraries, and finally archiving data for long-term preservation. . . ."

"You can start using it as a single user who only needs to manage a small stand-alone data collection," said Arcot Rajasekar, who leads the iRODS development team. "The same system lets you grow into a very large federated collaborative system that can span dozens of sites around the world, with hundreds or thousands of users and numerous data collections containing millions of files and petabytes of data—it’s a true full-scale distributed data system." A petabyte is one million gigabytes, about the storage capacity of 10,000 of today’s PCs. . . .

Version 1.0 of iRODS is supported on Linux, Solaris, Macintosh, and AIX platforms, with Windows coming soon. The iRODS Metadata Catalog (iCAT) will run on either the open source PostgreSQL database (which can be installed via the iRODS install package) or Oracle. And iRODS is easy to install—just answer a few questions and the install package automatically sets up the system.

Under the hood, the iRODS architecture stores data on one or more servers, which may be widely separated geographically; keeps track of system and user-defined information describing the data with the iRODS Metadata Catalog (iCAT); and offers users access through clients (currently a command line interface and Web client, with more to come). As directed by iRODS rules, the system can process data where it is stored using applications called "micro-services" executed on the remote server, making possible smaller and more targeted data transfers.

A Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies

The OAK (Open Access to Knowledge) Law Project has published A Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies.

Here's an excerpt from the "Conclusion and Next Steps":

The review of publishers’ open access policies and practices found that:

  • the majority of publishers did not have a formal open access policy;
  • only four of the total sample of 64 publishers surveyed had a formal open access policy;
  • 62.5% of the publishers were able to provide sufficient information to enable them to be “colour classified” using the SHERPA/RoMEO colour classification system to denote levels of open access;
  • using the SHERPA/RoMEO colour classifications:
    • 25% of the surveyed publishers were “green” (permitting archiving of the pre-print and post-print versions of published articles);
    • 4.7% were “blue” (permitting archiving of the post-print version);
    • 6.25% were “yellow” (permitting archiving of the pre-print version);
    • 26.6% were “white” (archiving not formally supported).

House Passes College Opportunity and Affordability Act with File-Sharing Provision Intact

Despite lobbying by EDUCAUSE and others, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed, 354 to 58, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act with its Sec. 494 illegal file sharing provision intact.

Here's the provision:

SEC. 494. CAMPUS-BASED DIGITAL THEFT PREVENTION.

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

(1) make publicly available to their students and employees, the policies and procedures related to the illegal downloading and distribution of copyrighted materials required to be disclosed under section 485(a)(1)(P); and

(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.

(b) Grants—

(1) PROGRAM AUTHORITY— The Secretary may make grants to institutions of higher education, or consortia of such institutions, and enter into contracts with such institutions, consortia, and other organizations, to develop, implement, operate, improve, and disseminate programs of prevention, education, and cost-effective technological solutions, to reduce and eliminate the illegal downloading and distribution of intellectual property. Such grants or contracts may also be used for the support of a higher education centers that will provide training, technical assistance, evaluation, dissemination, and associated services and assistance to the higher education community as determined by the Secretary and institutions of higher education.

(2) AWARDS— Grants and contracts shall be awarded under paragraph (1) on a competitive basis.

(3) APPLICATIONS— An institution of higher education or a consortium of such institutions that desires to receive a grant or contract under paragraph (1) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require by regulation.

(4) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS— There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009 and for each of the 4 succeeding fiscal years.

Read more about it at: "Controversial College Funding Bill Passed—P2P Proviso Intact," "Educause Lobbies Against Piracy Measure in House Bill," "House, Focusing on Cost, Approves Higher Education Act," and "House Approves MPAA-Backed College Antipiracy Rules."

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