Concord Free Press: It Really Means Free

The Concord Free Press gives away its printed books for free, shipping included, but asks for a donation to a charity of the reader's choice. Initially, it will publish two books a year, with a print run of about 1,000 copies each. Selected independent bookstores carry its books.

Writers are unpaid, and the press relies on "on donations from our Advisory Board and supporters—and sales of our stylish t-shirts."

Digital Collections/Exhibitions Software: Omeka 0.10b Released

The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has released Omeka 0.10b.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Omeka 0.10b incorporates many of the changes you asked for: an unqualified Dublin Core metadata schema and fully extensible element sets to accommodate interoperability with digital repository software and collections management systems; elegant reworkings of our theme API and plugin API to make add-on development more intuitive and more powerful; a new, even more user friendly look for the administrative interface; and a new and improved Exhibit Builder. While the changes are extensive and represent a next-to-last step forward toward a 1.0 release in early 2009, existing users of Omeka should have little trouble switching to 0.10b. New users should have even less trouble getting started. Meanwhile, visitors to will find a new look, a more intuitive information architecture, easily browsable themes and plugins directories, improved documentation and user support, and new ways to get involved in the Omeka community.

The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

The Center for Social Media at American University has released The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.

Here's an excerpt:

This document is a code of best practices that helps educators using media literacy concepts and techniques to interpret the copyright doctrine of fair use. Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances—especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even in situations where the law provides no specific authorization for the use in question—as it does for certain narrowly defined classroom activities.

This guide identifies five principles that represent the media literacy education community’s current consensus about acceptable practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials, wherever and however it occurs: in K–12 education, in higher education, in nonprofit organizations that offer programs for children and youth, and in adult education.

Study of Open Access Publishing Fellowship at CERN

CERN is seeking applicants for its Study of Open Access Publishing Fellowship. Applicants must be a citizen of one of the CERN member states, hold a MSc or higher diploma, and have less than 10 years post-MSc professional experience.

Here's an excerpt from the job posting:

SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) is a project being negotiated for financing by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program. Partners of the SOAP consortium are CERN, the coordinator, the Max Plank Society, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council and the publishing companies BioMed Central, Sage, and Springer. The project is expected to have a duration of two years, starting in March 2009. Its objective is the study of Open Access business models and a comprehensive survey of the attitudes towards Open Access of researchers across all disciplines. SOAP will deliver evidence on the potential of sustainable forms of Open Access Publishing.

Conditional to the final availability of funding, CERN is looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and motivated person to play a leading role in the SOAP project.

Feasibility Study into Approaches to Improve the Consistency with Which Repositories Share Material

JISC has released Feasibility Study into Approaches to Improve the Consistency with Which Repositories Share Material: Final Report for JISC.

Here's an excerpt:

In view of resource constraints which were often mentioned by our respondents, priority should be given to:

  • populating the repository with sufficient high quality material that your target audience will consider it a 'critical mass';
  • creating and exposing robust policies;
  • creating and maintaining machine interfaces to metadata, indexes and the full text of items held in repositories, particularly scholarly works;
  • creating minimal metadata for all items, with richer metadata for those items which cannot be efficiently crawled and indexed; automation should be used wherever possible to aid and supplement human intervention.

Sufficient consistency for worthwhile collaborative work using standards-based technologies and rich human-created metadata may be achieved only where sufficient staff/human resources exist to create, share and maintain appropriate metadata and policies. In addition, such consistency may only be found where a federation is able to mandate standards, practices and policies or where participants feel they have a strong common interest in the success of shared objectives.

Taking account of the feedback we received, in order to promote more productive sharing between repositories we also make recommendations to:

  • increase the use of automated tools to help, and in some cases replace, human metadata creation;
  • create and maintain stronger relationships between repository owners/sponsors and also between them and other metadata holders such as publishers;
  • move towards embracing Web standards—as opposed to 'digital library' standards—in the production and maintenance of repositories and the sharing of their content.

Read more about it at "Repository Interoperability."

A Web-Based Resource Model for eScience: Object Reuse & Exchange

Carl Lagoze, Herbert Van de Sompel, Michael Nelson, Simeon Warner, Robert Sanderson, and Pete Johnston have deposited "A Web-Based Resource Model for eScience: Object Reuse & Exchange" in

Here's the abstract:

Work in the Open Archives Initiative-Object Reuse and Exchange (OAI-ORE) focuses on an important aspect of infrastructure for eScience: the specification of the data model and a suite of implementation standards to identify and describe compound objects. These are objects that aggregate multiple sources of content including text, images, data, visualization tools, and the like. These aggregations are an essential product of eScience, and will become increasingly common in the age of data-driven scholarship. The OAI-ORE specifications conform to the core concepts of the Web architecture and the semantic Web, ensuring that applications that use them will integrate well into the general Web environment.

Database Preservation: The International Challenge and the Swiss Solution

DigitalPreservationEurope has released Database Preservation: The International Challenge and the Swiss Solution.

Here's the abstract:

Most administrative records are stored in databases. Today’s challenge is preserving the information and making it accessible for years to come, ensuring knowledge-transfer as well as administrative sustainability. Lack of standardization has hitherto rendered the task of archiving database content highly complex. The Swiss Federal Archives have developed a new XML based format which permits long-term preservation of the relational databases content. The Software-Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (short: SIARD) offers a unique solution for preserving data content, metadata as well as the relations in an ISO conform format.

Grant Awarded: DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons for DuraSpace Planning

The DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons have received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support planning for DuraSpace.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Over the next six months funding from the planning grant will allow the organizations to jointly specify and design "DuraSpace," a new web-based service that will allow institutions to easily distribute content to multiple storage providers, both "cloud-based" and institution-based. The idea behind DuraSpace is to provide a trusted, value-added service layer to augment the capabilities of generic storage providers by making stored digital content more durable, manageable, accessible and sharable.

Michele Kimpton, Executive Director of the DSpace Foundation, said, "Together we can leverage our expertise and open source value proposition to continue to provide integrated open solutions that support the scholarly mission of universities."

Sandy Payette, Executive Director of Fedora Commons, observes, "There is an important role for high-tech non-profit organizations in adding value to emerging cloud solutions. DuraSpace is designed with an eye towards enabling universities, libraries, and other types of organizations to take advantage of cloud storage while also addressing special requirements unique to areas such as digital archiving and scholarly communication."

The grant from the Mellon Foundation will support a needs analysis, focus groups, technical design sessions, and meetings with potential commercial partners. A working web-based demonstration will be completed during the six-month grant period to help validate the technical and business assumptions behind DuraSpace.

Digital Preservation: Two-Year JHOVE2 Project Funded

The National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation Program has funded the two-year JHOVE2 project, which will " develop a next-generation JHOVE2 architecture for format-aware characterization." Project particpants are the California Digital Library, Portico, and Stanford University.

Here's an excerpt from the Digipres announcement:

Among the enhancements planned for JHOVE2 are:

  • Support for four specific aspects of characterization: signature-based identification, feature extraction, validation, and rules-based assessment
  • A more sophisticated data model supporting complex multi-file objects and arbitrarily-nested container objects
  • Streamlined APIs to facilitate the integration of JHOVE2 technology in systems, services, and workflows
  • Increased performance
  • Standardized error handling
  • A generic plug-in mechanism supporting stateful multi-module processing
  • Availability under the BSD open source license

To help focus project activities we have recruited a distinguished advisory board to represent the interests of the larger stakeholder community. The board includes participants from the following international memory institutions, projects, and vendors:

  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB)
  • Ex Libris
  • Fedora Commons
  • Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA)
  • Harvard University / GDFR
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB)
  • MIT/DSpace
  • National Archives (TNA)
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • National Library of Australia (NLA)
  • National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ)
  • Planets project

The project partners are currently engaged in a public needs assessment and requirements gathering phase. A provisional set of use cases and functional requirements has already been reviewed by the JHOVE2 advisory board. . . .

The functional requirements, along with other project information, is available on the JHOVE2 project wiki. Feedback on project goals and deliverables can be submitted through the JHOVE2 public mailing lists.

ARL Report: Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication

The Association of Research Libraries has released Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication by Nancy L. Maron and K. Kirby Smith, plus a database of associated examples.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

In the spring of 2008, ARL engaged Ithaka’s Strategic Services Group to conduct an investigation into the range of online resources valued by scholars, paying special attention to those projects that are pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional formats and are considered innovative by the faculty who use them. The networked digital environment has enabled the creation of many new kinds of works, and many of these resources have become essential tools for scholars conducting research, building scholarly networks, and disseminating their ideas and work, but the decentralized distribution of these new-model works has made it difficult to fully appreciate their scope and number.

Ithaka’s findings are based on a collection of resources identified by a volunteer field team of over 300 librarians at 46 academic institutions in the US and Canada. Field librarians talked with faculty members on their campuses about the digital scholarly resources they find most useful and reported the works they identified. The authors evaluated each resource gathered by the field team and conducted interviews of project leaders of 11 representative resources. Ultimately, 206 unique digital resources spanning eight formats were identified that met the study’s criteria.

The study’s innovative qualitative approach yielded a rich cross-section of today’s state of the art in digital scholarly resources. The report profiles each of the eight genres of resources, including discussion of how and why the faculty members reported using the resources for their work, how content is selected for the site, and what financial sustainability strategies the resources are employing. Each section draws from the in-depth interviews to provide illustrative anecdotes and representative examples.

Highlights from the study’s findings include:

  • While some disciplines seem to lend themselves to certain formats of digital resource more than others, examples of innovative resources can be found across the humanities, social sciences, and scientific/technical/medical subject areas.

  • Of all the resources suggested by faculty, almost every one that contained an original scholarly work operates under some form of peer review or editorial oversight.

  • Some of the resources with greatest impact are those that have been around a long while.

  • While some resources serve very large audiences, many digital publications—capable of running on relatively small budgets—are tailored to small, niche audiences.

  • Innovations relating to multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality appear in some cases to blur the lines between resource types.

  • Projects of all sizes—especially open-access sites and publications—employ a range of support strategies in the search for financial sustainability.

Reference Extract: The Librarian-Recommendation-Weighted Search Engine

OCLC, the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University, and the University of Washington Information School have received a $100,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to plan a librarian-recommendation-weighted search engine called Reference Extract.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the most powerful," said Dr. Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington and a lead on the project. "The best search engines are great for basic search, but sometimes the Web site results lack credibility in terms of trust, accuracy and reliability. So, who can help? Librarians. If a librarian recommends a Web site, you can be pretty sure that it's credible. RefEx will take hundreds of thousands of librarian recommendations and use them in a full-scale search engine."

Reference Extract is envisioned as a Web search experience similar to those provided by the world's most popular search engines. However, unlike other search engines, Reference Extract will be built for maximum credibility of search results by relying on the expertise of librarians. Users will enter a search term and receive results weighted toward sites most often used by librarians at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the University of Washington, the State Library of Maryland, and over 2,000 other libraries worldwide.

As part of the planning process, participants are reaching out to partners in libraries, technology organizations and research institutions. "The only way this will work is by making a project of an entire community," said Dr. R. David Lankes, Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse and Associate Professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. "Web searchers get to tap into the incredible skill and knowledge of the library community, while librarians will be able to serve users on a whole new scale. This work follows on previous credibility work supported by the MacArthur Foundation, most notably the Credibility Commons (" . . .

The Reference Extract project will hold a series of meetings and consultations over the coming months. The team is eager to build a business plan and technology architecture to benefit users and the library community alike. Those interested in providing input on the project and learning more can visit the project Web site at

New GNU Free Document License Will Allow Wikipedia to Use Creative Commons License

At the request of the Wikimedia Foundation, the Free Software Foundation has modified the GNU Free Document License so that, in the newly released version 1.3 of that license, the Wikipedia, which uses the GNU FDL License, can use the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

In "Enormously Important News from the Free Software Foundation," Lawrence Lessig discusses the significance of this change.

Here's an excerpt:

It would be hard to overstate the importance of this change to the Free Culture community. A fundamental flaw in the Free Culture Movement to date is that its most important element—Wikipedia—is licensed in a way that makes it incompatible with an enormous range of other content in the Free Culture Movement. One solution to this, of course, would be for everything to move to the FDL. But that license was crafted initially for manuals, and there were a number of technical reasons why it would not work well (and in some cases, at all) for certain important kinds of culture.

This change would now permit interoperability among Free Culture projects, just as the dominance of the GNU GPL enables interoperability among Free Software projects. It thus eliminates an unnecessary and unproductive hinderance to the spread and growth of Free Culture.

Georgia Harper on the Google-AAP/AG Copyright Settlement

In "The LJ Academic Newswire Newsmaker Interview: Georgia Harper," Harper, Scholarly Communications Advisor at the University Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the Google-AAP/AG copyright settlement and the part that research libraries played in it. Also see her blog posting ("Google Book Search—and Buy").

Here's an excerpt:

Brewster Kahle has chastised public libraries for working with Google under a cloak of secrecy. Can libraries realistically refuse NDAs?

I think Kahle’s point, and others raise this point too, is more about the deleterious effects of secrecy on the negotiation process itself. Secrecy tends to be isolating. If you don’t consult with your colleagues at other institutions, your leverage may be diminished. Of course, a library could also hire a business and/or legal consultant to help, and bind the consultant to the NDA. Yes, Kahle has identified a very thorny problem, but it’s one we can ameliorate. I don’t think it’s workable simply not to do business with companies whose assets are ideas and information just because they feel compelled to protect them through secrecy. Either way, consultation does increase information, and information is power—in fact, the power of information is also the source of the [NDA] problem in the first place.

Google-AAP/AG Copyright Settlement: Vaidhyanathan Questions, Google Answers

On October 28th, Siva Vaidhyanathan posed some questions to Google about its copyright settlement with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild ("My Initial Take on the Google-Publishers Settlement"). Now, Google has replied ("Some Initial Answers to My Initial Questions about Google Book Search and the Settlement").

"Defrosting the Digital Library: Bibliographic Tools for the Next Generation Web"

Duncan Hull, Steve R. Pettifer, and Douglas B. Kel have published "Defrosting the Digital Library: Bibliographic Tools for the Next Generation Web" in PLoS Computational Biology.

Here's the abstract:

Many scientists now manage the bulk of their bibliographic information electronically, thereby organizing their publications and citation material from digital libraries. However, a library has been described as 'thought in cold storage,' and unfortunately many digital libraries can be cold, impersonal, isolated, and inaccessible places. In this Review, we discuss the current chilly state of digital libraries for the computational biologist, including PubMed, IEEE Xplore, the ACM digital library, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus, Citeseer, arXiv, DBLP, and Google Scholar. We illustrate the current process of using these libraries with a typical workflow, and highlight problems with managing data and metadata using URIs. We then examine a range of new applications such as Zotero, Mendeley, Mekentosj Papers, MyNCBI, CiteULike, Connotea, and HubMed that exploit the Web to make these digital libraries more personal, sociable, integrated, and accessible places. We conclude with how these applications may begin to help achieve a digital defrost, and discuss some of the issues that will help or hinder this in terms of making libraries on the Web warmer places in the future, becoming resources that are considerably more useful to both humans and machines.

Podcast: Library Publishing Services: An Emerging Role for Research Libraries—An Interview with Karla Hahn

EDUCAUSE has made available a podcast recorded at the CNI 2008 Spring Task Force Meeting: "Library Publishing Services: An Emerging Role for Research Libraries—An Interview with Karla Hahn." Hahn is the Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication at the Association of Research Libraries.

Digital Collections/Exhibitions Software: Omeka Package from OKAPI Released

The Open Knowledge and the Public Interest has created an Omeka package that "bundles together their custom theme, plugin modifications and additions to the 0.9.2 version."

Here's an excerpt from the Omeka announcement:

The Okapi theme enables Omeka users without expert web design skills to create polished multimedia exhibits and collections. The home page features a cinematic 980×500 pixel main image and up to four featured exhibits. Exhibit pages include new layouts for articles, themed collections and embedded multimedia. The bundled Multimedia Links plugin enables embedding of HTML code, flash video (flv), and many other formats supported by the included JWplayer. The theme displays accessible Flash-based typography and is W3C CSS and XHTML compliant.

Ex Libris Digital Preservation System Live at the National Library of New Zealand

After completing a successful beta test, the National Library of New Zealand has started using the Ex Libris Digital Preservation System in production mode. (Thanks to Library Technology Guides.)

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Based on the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) model and conforming to trusted digital repository (TDR) requirements, the Ex Libris Digital Preservation System provides institutions with the infrastructure and technology needed to preserve and facilitate access to the collections under their guardianship.

The understanding that preservation and access belong together—that they are not mutually exclusive entities—dictated a design in which preservation support is built directly into the platform rather than serving as an add-on feature. This end-to-end solution offers full security, auditing, replication, and integrity checks that maintain the safety of collections over time, while persistent identifier tools and standard APIs (Application Programming Interface) enable institutions to make their collections easily accessible to users.

The National Library of New Zealand is using the highly configurable and scalable Digital Preservation System to collect a range of digital material types from a wide variety of sources (such as publishers, government agencies, and Web sites in the New Zealand domain); to review, validate, and organize such materials; and to make them available to end users in accordance with user access rights. Risk analysis and conversion tools enable the system to provide meaningful access to the digital objects over time. The integration of the system with other National Library of New Zealand applications is facilitated by a built-in software development kit and the suite of APIs.

December 2008 will see the general release of the Digital Preservation System by Ex Libris Group.