New RLG Programs Website

The RLG Programs website has been incorporated within the OCLC website.

Of particular interest is the Work Agenda by Theme and Program page, which is organized into the following sections:

Patricia Steele to Continue as Interim Dean of Indiana University Libraries

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has announced that Patricia A. Steele, who has been the Interim Dean of the Indiana University Libraries since 2005, will continue in that role for up to two years.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

"The recent search for the Dean of the Libraries did not result in the identification of a successor who is better positioned than Pat to move forward with new library initiatives," said McRobbie. "Hence, I asked Pat to continue her appointment, effective immediately.

"I appreciate the leadership and hard work that have characterized Pat's tenure as interim dean, and Provost Karen Hanson and I look forward to working with her in the months ahead," McRobbie added.

McRobbie, who said that a new search would begin later this academic year, noted that Steele had moved the libraries forward since 2005 in advancing scholarly communications initiatives, planning for facilities and engaging an assessment of technical services operations. He expects that she will continue to build upon library planning and initiatives already in place and continue to advance IUB Libraries with the extension of her appointment, he said.

ARL Changes Public Ranking Methodology

Beginning with the 2005–06 report, ARL is using an Expenditures-Focused Index instead of its traditional Membership Criteria Index in public ranking reports. The Chronicle of Higher Education has published the "Index of Expenditures at University Research Libraries, 2005-6" (requires subscription).

Here's an excerpt from the ARL Index page:

Starting with 2005–06 data, ARL is calculating an Expenditures-Focused Index as an alternative to the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index replaces the public availability of the ARL Membership Criteria Index. The Expenditures-Focused Index is highly correlated with the Membership Criteria Index and less affected by changes in the collections variables. The methodology behind this new index is described by Bruce Thompson in his October 2006 paper, "Some Alternative Quantitative Library Activity Descriptions/Statistics that Supplement the ARL Logarithmic Index."

University of Minnesota Launches the Digital Conservancy

The University of Minnesota has launched its institutional repository, the Digital Conservancy. It utilizes DSpace.

Here's a description from the University Digital Conservancy FAQ page:

The University Digital Conservancy is a program of the University of Minnesota, administered by the University Libraries. The program provides stewardship, reliable long-term open access, and broad dissemination of the digital scholarly and administrative works of University of Minnesota faculty, departments, centers and offices. Materials in the Conservancy are freely available online to the University community and to the public.

Here are selected web pages about the Digital Conservancy:

Cornell Joins Google Books Library Project

The Cornell University Library has joined the Google Books Library Project.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Google will digitize up to 500,000 works from Cornell University Library and make them available online using Google Book Search. As a result, materials from the library’s exceptional collections will be easily accessible to students, scholars and people worldwide, supporting the library’s long-standing commitment to make its collections broadly available.

“Research libraries today are integral partners in the academic enterprise through their support of research, teaching and learning. They also serve a public good by enhancing access to the works of the world's best minds,” said Interim University Librarian Anne R. Kenney. “As a major research library, Cornell University Library is pleased to join its peer institutions in this partnership with Google. The outcome of this relationship is a significant reduction in the time and effort associated with providing scholarly full-text resources online.”

Materials from Mann Library, one of 20 member libraries that comprise Cornell University Library, will be digitized as part of the agreement. Mann’s collections include some of the following subject areas: biological sciences, natural resources, plant, animal and environmental sciences, applied economics, management and public policy, human development, textiles and apparel, nutrition and food science.. . .

Cornell is the 27th institution to join the Google Book Search Library Project, which digitizes books from major libraries and makes it possible for Internet users to search their collections online. Over the next six years, Cornell will provide Google with public domain and copyrighted holdings from its collections. If a work has no copyright restrictions, the full text will be available for online viewing. For books protected by copyright, users will just get the basic background (such as the book’s title and the author’s name), at most a few lines of text related to their search and information about where they can buy or borrow a book. Cornell University Library will work with Google to choose materials that complement the contributions of the project’s other partners. In addition to making the materials available through its online search service, Google will also provide Cornell with a digital copy of all the materials scanned, which will eventually be incorporated into the university’s own digital library.

BioMed Central Replies to Yale

On Sunday, DigitalKoans reported that Yale had canceled its BioMed Central membership. Today, BioMed Central has replied to the Yale posting about that decision.

Here's an excerpt from the BioMed Central posting:

The main concern expressed in the library's announcement is that the amount payable to cover the cost of publications by Yale researchers in BioMed Central's journals has increased significantly, year on year. Looking at the rapid growth of BioMed Central's journals, it is not difficult to see why that is the case. BioMed Central's success means that more and more researchers (from Yale and elsewhere) are submitting to our journals each year.


An increase in the number of open access articles being submitted and going on to be published does lead to an increase in the total cost of the open access publishing service provided by BioMed Central, but the cost per article published in BioMed Central's journals represents excellent value compared to other publishers.

The Yale library announcement notes that it paid $31,625 to cover the cost of publication in BioMed Central's journals by their authors in 2006, and that the anticipated cost in 2007 will be higher. But to put this into context, according to the Association of Research Library statistics, Yale spent more than $7m on serial subscriptions. Nonetheless, we do recognize that library budgets are very tight and that supporting the rapid growth of open access publishing out of library budgets alone may not be possible. . . .

If library budgets were the only source of funding to cover the cost of open access publication, this would be a significant obstacle. Fortunately, however, there are other sources of funding that are helping to accelerate the transition to open access. . . .

The Wellcome Trust report estimated that on average the cost associated with publishing a peer-reviewed research article is less than $3000, and further estimated that this represented only 1-2% of the typical investment by a funder in carrying out the research that led to the article. It is not surprising therefore, that major biomedical research funders such as NIH and HHMI now encourage open access publication, and are willing to provide financial support for it. BioMed Central's list of biomedical funder open access policies provides further information.

Authors may, of course, pay articles from their own grant funds, and around half of articles published in BioMed Central journals are indeed paid for in this way. However, relying on authors to pay for the cost of open access publication themselves puts open access journals at a significant disadvantage compared to traditional journals, which are supported centrally through library budgets, and so are often perceived to be 'free' by authors.

That is why BioMed Central introduced its institutional membership scheme, which allows institutions to centrally support the dissemination of open access research in the same way that they centrally support subscription journals, thereby creating a 'level playing field'.

In order to ensure that funding of open access publication is sustainable, we have encouraged institutions to set aside a small fraction of the indirect funding contribution that they receive from funders to create a central open access fund.

Over the last several months, BioMed Central has hosted workshops on the issue of sustainable funding for open access at the UK's Association of Research Manager's and Administrators annual conference and at the Medical Library Association's meeting in Philadelphia [see report]. Further such workshops are planned.

In this way, by helping research funders, administrators, VPs of research and librarians to work together to provide sustainable funding channels for open access, we aim to "provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options", as called for in statement fromYale's library. . . .

We look forward to working with librarians and research administrators at Yale to develop a solution that will make it as easy as possible for Yale's researchers to continue publish their open access research articles in BioMed Central's journals.

Yale Cancels BioMed Central Membership

Except for current submissions, Yale’s Cushing/Whitney Medical and Kline Science Libraries have stopped funding author fees for Yale faculty who publish papers in BioMed Central journals. According to ARL statistics, the Yale spent $7,705,342 on serials in 2005-06, which raises the question: If Yale can’t afford to support BioMed Central, what academic library can?

Here’s an excerpt from the Yale posting:

The libraries’ BioMedCentral membership represented an opportunity to test the technical feasibility and the business model of this OA publisher. While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options. Instead, BioMedCentral has asked libraries for larger and larger contributions to subsidize their activities. Starting with 2005, BioMed Central page charges cost the libraries $4,658, comparable to a single biomedicine journal subscription. The cost of page charges for 2006 then jumped to $31,625. The page charges have continued to soar in 2007 with the libraries charged $29,635 through June 2007, with $34,965 in potential additional page charges in submission.

As we deal with unprecedented increases in electronic resources, we have had to make hard choices about which resources to keep. At this point we can no longer afford to support the BioMedCentral model.

(Thanks to Open Access News.)

Microsoft Joins Effort to Provide Free or Low-Cost Access to Journals in Developing Countries

Microsoft will provide an access and authentication system to support the AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture), HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment) programs.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Many developing countries lack access to the information and training that can help save lives, improve the quality of life, and assist with economic development. To address this disparity, more than 100 publishers, three UN organizations, two major universities, and Microsoft announced the extension of programs that provide free or almost free access to online subscriptions of peer-reviewed journals. Information technology leader Microsoft announced its support of technical assistance to enhance access to online research for scientists, policymakers, and librarians in the developing world.

The three sister programs—HINARI (Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative), AGORA (Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture) and OARE (Online Access to Research in the Environment)—provide research access to journals focusing on health, agriculture and the environment, respectively to more than 100 of the world’s poorest countries. All three of the programs will now have official commitment from the partners until 2015, marking the target for reaching the Millennium Development Goals. . . .

As the initiative’s only technology partner, Microsoft is providing a new system for access and authentication enabling secure and effective use of the programs in developing countries. Through these enhanced features provided under the Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007 as part of the Microsoft Forefront Security products, the system will be able to meet expanded demand and perform at the standards of today’s most heavily trafficked websites.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) survey conducted in 2000, researchers and academics in developing countries ranked access to subscription based journals as one of their most pressing problems. In countries with per capita income of less than USD $1000 per annum, 56 percent of academic institutions surveyed had no current subscriptions to international journals. . . .

The public-private partnerships of these three programs have already resulted in:

  • A strengthened intellectual foundation for universities, enabling faculty to develop evidence-based curricula, perform research on a par with peers in industrialized countries, develop their own publishing record, and enable students to conduct research and seek education in new and emerging scientific fields;
  • More science-driven public policies and regulatory frameworks;
  • Greater capacity for organizations to gather and disseminate to the public new scientific knowledge in the medical, agricultural and environmental sciences and deliver improved services;
  • Increased participation of experts from developing countries in international scientific and policy debates; and
  • A greater movement toward library patronage at universities and an enhancement of the status of libraries.

Representatives from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Programme, and leading science and technology publishers, together with representatives from Cornell and Yale Universities, met today in Washington DC to officially extend their cooperation to 2015, in line with the UN’s MDGs.

British Library Licenses Turning the Pages Toolkit

The British Library has announced that it is now licensing its Turning the Pages Toolkit to libraries and museums. You can see the software in action at their Turning the Pages Web site.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

From today, libraries around the World will be able to license the award-winning Turning the Pages software used by the British Library to bring some of the world’s most rare and valuable books online.

Since its launch in 2004, Turning the Pages has grown to become one of the most popular resources at the British Library, allowing the Library to bring iconic treasures such as the Lindisfarne Gospels, Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks and Mercator’s Atlas of Europe online for everyone to see. With the launch of Turning the Pages 2.0, and a completely re-built software platform developed by Armadillo Systems, May 2007 also sees launch of a new "toolkit" that allows other libraries and museums around the World to create their own Turning the Pages gallery. . . .

Michael Stocking, Managing Director of Armadillo Systems and developer of the Turning the Pages software said "As well as making it easy for our customers to create their own collections, we also wanted to enhance the Turning the Pages experience. We have migrated the software to a new platform that places the book in a 3-D environment so, as well as being able to examine the book as a piece of text, users can now also examine it as an object. They can now look at the book from different angles, zoom in and even look at two books, side-by-side."

ARL’s Library Brown-Bag Lunch Series: Issues in Scholarly Communication

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released a series of discussion guides for academic librarians to use with faculty. The guides are under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.

Here’s an excerpt from the guides’ web page:

This series of Discussion Leader’s Guides can serve as a starting point for a single discussion or for a series of conversations. Each guide offers prework and discussion questions along with resources that provide further background for the discussion leader of an hour-long session.

Using the discussion guides, library leaders can launch a program quickly without requiring special expertise on the topics. A brown-bag series could be initiated by a library director, a group of staff, or by any staff person with an interest in the scholarly communication system. The only requirements are the willingness to organize the gatherings and facilitate each meeting’s discussion.

Council of Australian University Librarians ETD Survey Report

The Council of Australian University Librarians has released Australasian Digital Theses Program: Membership Survey 2006.

Here’s an excerpt from the "Key Findings" section:

1. The average percentage of records for digital theses added to ADT is 95% when digital submission is mandatory and 17% when it is not mandatory. . . .

2. 59% of respondents will have mandatory digital submission in place in 2007.

3. With this level of mandatory submission it is predicted that 60% of all theses produced in Australia and New Zealand in 2007 will have a digital copy recorded in ADT. . . .

5. The overwhelming majority of respondents offer a mediated submission service, either only having a mediated service or offering both mediated and self-submission services. When mediated and self-submission are both available, the percentage self-submitted is polarised with some achieving over a 75% self-submission rate.

6. Over half the respondents have a repository already and most are using it to manage digital theses.

7. 87% will have a repository by the end of this year, and the rest are in the initial planning stage.

CIC’s Digitization Contract with Google

Library Journal Academic Newswire has published a must-read article ("Questions Emerge as Terms of the CIC/Google Deal Become Public") about the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Google Book Search Library Project contract.

The article includes quotes from Peter Brantley, Digital Library Federation Executive Director, from his "Monetizing Libraries" posting about the contract (another must-read piece).

Here’s an excerpt from Brantley’s posting:

In other words—pretty much, unless Google ceases business operations, or there is a legal ruling or agreement with publishers that expressly permits these institutions (excepting Michigan and Wisconsin which have contracts of precedence) to receive digitized copies of In-Copyright material, it will be held in escrow until such time as it becomes public domain.

That could be a long wait. . . .

In an article early this year in The New Yorker, "Google’s Moon Shot," Jeffrey Toobin discusses possible outcomes of the antagonism this project has generated between Google and publishers. Paramount among them, in his mind, is a settlement. . . .

A settlement between Google and publishers would create a barrier to entry in part because the current litigation would not be resolved through court decision; any new entrant would be faced with the unresolved legal issues and required to re-enter the settlement process on their own terms. That, beyond the costs of mass digitization itself, is likely to deter almost any other actor in the market.

Emory Will Use Kirtas Scanner to Digitize Rare Books

Emory University’s Woodruff Library will use a Kirtas robotic book scanner to digitize rare books and to create PDF files that will be made available on the Internet and sold as print-on-demand books on Amazon.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

"We believe that mass digitization and print-on-demand publishing is an important new model for digital scholarship that is going to revolutionize the management of academic materials," said Martin Halbert, director for digital programs and systems at Emory’s Woodruff Library. "Information will no longer be lost in the mists of time when books go out of print. This is a way of opening up the past to the future."

Emory’s Woodruff Library is one of the premier research libraries in the United States, with extensive holdings in the humanities, including many rare and special collections. To increase accessibility to these aging materials, and ensure their preservation, the university purchased a Kirtas robotic book scanner, which can digitize as many as 50 books per day, transforming the pages from each volume into an Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). The PDF files will be uploaded to a Web site where scholars can access them. If a scholar wishes to order a bound, printed copy of a digitized book, they can go to Amazon.com and order the book on line.

Emory will receive compensation from the sale of digitized copies, although Halbert stressed that the print-on-demand feature is not intended to generate a profit, but simply help the library recoup some of its costs in making out-of-print materials available.

EDUCAUSE 2006 Podcast on Penn’s Institutional Repository

In this podcast ("Content Recruitment and Development: A Proactive Approach to Building an Institutional Repository"), Marjorie Hassen describes the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ strategy for developing and supporting the ScholarlyCommons@Penn, an institutional repository based on the Digital Commons platform.

Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and Their Services

The Research Information Network (RIN) and the The Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles (CURL) have published a new report titled Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and Their Services.

Here’s an excerpt from the report’s Web page:

This study was designed to provide an up-to-date and forward-looking view of how researchers interact with academic libraries in the UK. Harnessing empirical data and qualitative insights from over 2250 researchers and 300 librarians, the RIN and CURL hope that the results will be useful in informing the debate about the future development of academic libraries and the services they provide to researchers.

This is an important moment in the relationship between researchers and research libraries in the UK. The foundations of the relationship are beginning to be tested by shifts in the way that researchers work. The rise of e-research, interdisciplinary work, cross-institution collaborations, and the expectation of massive increases in the quantity of research output in digital form all pose new challenges. These challenges are about how libraries should serve the needs of researchers as users of information sources of many different kinds, but also about how to deal with the information outputs that researchers are creating.

Currently, the majority of researchers think that their institutions’ libraries are doing an effective job in providing the information they need to do their work, but it is time to consider the future roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the research cycle—researchers, research institutions and national bodies, as well as libraries—in meeting the challenges that are coming.