Navigating the Library Blogosphere

Posted in Emerging Technologies, Libraries, Webliographies on June 20th, 2005

Needless to say, there has been rapid growth in blogging by librarians over the last few years, and library blogosphere has become more varied and complex. Here are some directories of library web logs to help you navigate the library blogosphere:

Want more information about library web logs? Try Susan Herzog’s BlogBib.

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (6/20/05)

Posted in Announcements on June 20th, 2005

The biweekly update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides brief information on 20+ new journal issues and other resources. Especially interesting are: A Companion to Digital Humanities, "EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers," an issue of the Journal of Library Administration on licensing, Online Submission and Peer Review Systems, "Open Access Self-Archiving: An Author Study," and "Using Dublin Core."

The Counting Game

Posted in ARL Libraries, Libraries on June 14th, 2005

Let’s say you run a research library and you have JSTOR. You are convinced that JSTOR is a safe, permanent electronic archive that fully substitutes for the included print journal volumes. It makes sense to take a second look at those print volumes. It’s a large number of volumes, and space (as always) is tight. What to do? You could withdraw them, you could put them in remote storage, or you could do nothing.

A question that might come to mind is: What impact will withdrawing these volumes have on my volume count? And, if your library is in ARL, a second question might be: what impact would withdrawing these volumes have on my ARL ranking?

Of course, if you are at one of the very top-tier libraries, this might be the proverbial drop in the bucket. If not, it might have an effect, possibly a big effect if you are at the bottom of the rankings.

Another interesting twist comes when the same questions come to bear on cooperative print archives. The idea is that a group of libraries band together and put one archival copy of book or journal volumes in a collective print repository, freeing up a considerable amount of collective space. Perhaps it’s in response to a shift to electronic access, or perhaps it’s based on low usage. In either case, one archival copy is stored safe and sound for that someday when it might be needed.

Makes sense—until you play the counting game.

The problem with the counting game in the emerging electronic era is figuring out how to count electronic "holdings" so that they have the same weight as print holdings. This is make especially tricky by the fact that libraries do not own licensed electronic resources, only "rent" them. What’s held one year may not be held the next due to a wide variety of factors, making counting a bit more difficult than just adding this year’s new purchases to last year’s volume counts.

Like it or not, research libraries are unlikely to stop playing the counting game. ARL’s E-Metrics project is one attempt to define meaningful new measures. In the long run, the counting game will have new rules, because it appears that the substitution of electronic information for print information is gaining momentum, driven by a variety of budgetary and other factors.

Version 58, Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Scholarly Communication on June 10th, 2005

Version 58 of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography
is now available. This selective bibliography presents over
2,420 articles, books, and other printed and electronic sources
that are useful in understanding scholarly electronic publishing
efforts on the Internet.

http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.html

http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepb.pdf

The Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly
Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals
, by the
same author, provides much more in-depth coverage of the
open access movement and related topics (e.g., disciplinary
archives, e-prints, institutional repositories, open access
journals, and the Open Archives Initiative) than
SEPB does.

http://www.arl.org/pubscat/pubs/openaccess/

Changes in This Version

The bibliography has the following sections (revised sections are
marked with an asterisk):

Table of Contents

1 Economic Issues*
2 Electronic Books and Texts
2.1 Case Studies and History*
2.2 General Works*
2.3 Library Issues*
3 Electronic Serials
3.1 Case Studies and History*
3.2 Critiques
3.3 Electronic Distribution of Printed Journals
3.4 General Works
3.5 Library Issues*
3.6 Research*
4 General Works*
5 Legal Issues
5.1 Intellectual Property Rights*
5.2 License Agreements
5.3 Other Legal Issues
6 Library Issues
6.1 Cataloging, Identifiers, Linking, and Metadata*
6.2 Digital Libraries*
6.3 General Works*
6.4 Information Integrity and Preservation*
7 New Publishing Models*
8 Publisher Issues*
8.1 Digital Rights Management*
9 Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI*
Appendix A. Related Bibliographies
Appendix B. About the Author*

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources includes
the following sections:

Cataloging, Identifiers, Linking, and Metadata
Digital Libraries*
Electronic Books and Texts*
Electronic Serials*
General Electronic Publishing*
Images*
Legal*
Preservation
Publishers
Repositories, E-Prints, and OAI*
SGML and Related Standards

Further Information about SEPB

The HTML version of SEPB is designed for interactive use. Each
major section is a separate file. There are links to sources
that are freely available on the Internet. It can be can be
searched using Boolean operators.

The HTML document includes three sections not found in
the Acrobat file:

(1) Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (biweekly list of
new resources; also available by mailing list—see second
URL)

http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepw.htm
http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepwlist.htm

(2) Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources (directory of
over 270 related Web sites)

http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/sepr.htm

(3) Archive (prior versions of the bibliography)

http://info.lib.uh.edu/sepb/archive/sepa.htm

The Acrobat file is designed for printing. The printed
bibliography is about 200 pages long. The Acrobat file is
over 470 KB.

Related Article

An article about the bibliography has been published
in The Journal of Electronic Publishing:

http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/07-02/bailey.html

Something Wiki This Way Comes

Posted in Emerging Technologies, Webliographies on June 7th, 2005

Wikis are catching on in the library world. What’s a Wiki? "The simplest online database that could possibly work." (Quote from: "Making the Case for a Wiki.")

Here’s a few examples of how Wikis are being used:

If you want to dig in and learn more about Wikis, try Gerry McKiernan’s WikiBibliography.

Library Juice Online Ph.D. Issue

Posted in Announcements, Information Schools, Libraries on June 6th, 2005

Library Juice has collected a subset of the JESSE messages about online Ph.D. programs and edited them together into an easy-to-read format for its volume 8, no. 10 (2005) issue.

Here is a complete list of the JESSE threads about online Ph.D.’s in the May archive (in the order they display in the topic sort):

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (6/6/05)

Posted in Announcements on June 6th, 2005

The biweekly update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides brief information on 20+ new journal issues and other resources. Especially interesting are: Jennifer A. De Beer’s master’s theses "Open Access Scholarly Communication in South Africa: Current Status, Significance, and the Role for National Information Policy in the National System of Innovation"; Debra Shapiro’s edited book, EScholarship: A LITA Guide; and a new issue of The Serials Librarian, with articles such as "Alternative Publishing—Revolution to Evolution," "Alternative Scholarly Publishing: A Commercial Publisher’s Perspective," and "The Economics of Scholarly Publishing: Through a Glass Darkly."

Online Ph.D. Programs: A UK View

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on June 3rd, 2005

As this excerpt from a recent JESSE message by Sheila Webber (Senior Lecturer, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield) shows, the view of issues surrounding online Ph.D. programs can be quite different accoss the big pond. (You’ll recall that the Robert Gordon University is about to offer an online Ph.D. in addition to its six online master’s degrees.)

Firstly, the information (or an advertisement ;-) Sheffield University Department of Information Studies, in the UK, has options for our PhD programme—”Joint location” (full time—expected to complete the degree in normal 3 years, one year must be spent at Sheffield) and—"Remote location" (part time—there must be at least one face-to-face meeting per year, and there are conditions laid down for communication). At the moment, for example I am supervising one remote location student (an Irish librarian investigating Continuing Professional Development needs of solo librarians).

See: http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/away (info on studying away from Sheffield)
http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research (info on research degrees at Sheffield)
http://www.shef.ac.uk/is/research/resappn.html (info on my Dept.—n.b. the detailed menu for more applications info, on the right of this page, including the format of the research proposal)

Sheffield is a research-led university and the Department of Information Studies has obtained the top possible score in all three of the UK’s Research Assessment Exercises (one of an exclusive band of Departments in any subject area to have done this). (OK, ad almost over.)

I *think* that British PhD programmes differ from North American ones in that the instructional component of British PhDs is less, with focus on developing and investigating your own research question throughout the three years. For full-time PhDs (on campus or joint location) there is a Research Training programme of credit-bearing modules (which most students would take during year 1). Part-time students do not have to take this programme. . . .

Finding people (in addition to your supervisor) to discuss your research with will obviously help you on your personal research journey, particularly people using the same research approach. For, e.g., some types of IR research there is a thriving research community within LIS and sometimes within individual Departments. For others (given the broad spectrum of research approaches which are employed across the whole LIS spectrum) you ideally would want to seek out fellow researchers elsewhere, anyway. Being a distance learner might push/encourage you to get "out there" that bit earlier. From that perspective, if you are able to identify a research community for that research approach internationally and engage in virtual and preferably face to face discussion (at conferences and seminars), this may exteremely valuable.

My feelings are that a mature PhD student may actually have the confidence to engage in this dialogue at an earlier stage, and also have have more command of resources (possibly!) to fund (or get funding for) attending research seminars etc. Also, having to explain and justify your research to interested fellow-practitioners back home can be very valuable & motivating. . . .

The Journal of Electronic Publishing Is Reborn

Posted in Announcements, E-Journals, Scholarly Communication on June 2nd, 2005

Good news! The Journal of Electronic Publishing is coming back after a long hiatus (the last issue was published in August 2002). New issues will be announced on PACS-P and other lists. See the press release below for details.

Contact: Maria S. Bonn Director, Scholarly Publishing Office, 734-763-3343, mbonn@umich.edu

Journal of Electronic Publishing Re-Launched by Library’s Scholarly Publishing Office

Ann Arbor, May 31, 2005—The Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan University Library will re-launch The Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP) in January, 2006.

"JEP is an excellent fit for us in several ways," says Maria Bonn, Director of the Scholarly Publishing Office. "It is another outstanding journal that we can make available free over the Internet, it fits with our commitment to library-based scholarly publishing, and it covers the very area we are involved in, electronic publishing." Michigan’s Scholarly Publishing Office currently publishes 10 journals and four scholarly monograph series online.

JEP was started by the University of Michigan Press in 1995. In 2003 the press agreed to transfer the journal to the Columbia University Press, but the transfer was never completed and the journal—still at http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/—has had no new issues since then.

"Since its first issue, JEP has been a source of innovative ideas, best practices, and leading-edge thinking about all aspects of publishing, authorship, and readership in the electronic environment," says Mark Sandler, Collection Development Officer for the University of Michigan University Library. Returning after a three-year hiatus, JEP will "continue to document the changes in publishing with the growth of the Internet, and to stimulate and shape the direction of those changes."

The Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO; http://spo.umdl.umich.edu) was founded in 2001 to support academic publishing through a library-based publishing platform. SPO is also teaming with SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition; http://www.arl.org/sparc/index.html) on the recently announced Publisher Assistance Program to provide business planning and digital publishing services to facilitate open-access publishing in the social sciences and humanities. Those services will be available to JEP as well, ensuring its future and keeping it at its original University of Michigan home.

SPO’s first issue of JEP will be in January, 2006. "JEP burst on the scene with a focus on experimentation, vision, and prediction," Sandler said. He said that now, ten years later, electronic publishing practices have stabilized for some formats and markets (for instance, scholarly journals have shown significant convergence of distribution and pricing models), but that many unresolved issues remain for newspapers, trade books, magazines, and newer forms of publishing like blogs and wikis. "All aspects of electronic publishing still face considerable change and sometimes upheaval, and a great deal of the creative turmoil that JEP captured in the mid-nineties still challenges publishers, authors, librarians, and readers. We still struggle to understand author and reader preferences, and still search for stable economic models that will allow publishing to flourish in an age of electronic communication," he said. "The new JEP will continue to look back over the past 20 or 30 years to see how we’ve come to this point in the history of publishing, and look forward to where publishing may be heading. It will look inward at key players and practices of publishing, and also look outward at movements on the margins that are challenging traditional publishing interests, and at readers worldwide affected by the interplay of technological and economic forces that have revolutionized social communication."

JEP‘s editor, Judith Axler Turner, will remain at the helm, with editorial input and publishing support from Mark Sandler and Maria Bonn. A new editorial board will be constituted, and JEP will solicit articles that present wide-ranging and diverse viewpoints on contemporary publishing practices, and encourage dialogue and understanding between key decision-makers in publishing and those who are affected by the decisions being made.

The first new issue will focus on the changes in electronic publishing in the past three years, exploring topics such as the rise of open access publishing, the increasingly complicated intellectual property landscape, the rise of new communication technologies, and the new economics of scholarly publishing. JEP is actively seeking feedback on its new direction and is also looking for high-quality submissions on these topics. Authors and others are invited to discuss JEP‘s future or submit articles by contacting the editorial team at JEP-info@umich.edu. Back issues of JEP may currently be found at http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/

Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 2

Posted in ARL Libraries, Libraries, Webliographies on June 1st, 2005

How do some of the largest libraries in North America see their near-term future? This is part two of an investigation of that question. (Also see: Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 1.)

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a partial list of strategic planning Web sites at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick look at ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by limited site-specific Google searching. Web sites were included if the library’s strategic plan included the years 2004 and/or 2005.

Google Print Controversy Heats Up

Posted in Copyright, Google and Other Search Engines, Scholarly Communication on May 31st, 2005

Lots of ink (real and virtual) on Google Print and the AAUP’s recent resistance (all from Open Access News):

"Forget Google Print Copyright Infringement; Search Engines Already Infringe," SearchEngineWatch

"From Gutenberg to Google: Five Views on the Search-Engine Company’s Project to Digitize Library Books," The Chronicle
of Higher Education
(requires subscription)

"Google Books under Fire," The Register

"Google Library Project Hit by Copyright Challenge from University Presses," Information Today Newsbreaks

"Google Print Goes Live," InternetNews

"A Google Project Pains Publishers," Business Week

"Google This: ‘Copyright Law,’" Business Week

"Google’s Scan Plan Hits More Bumps," Forbes

"Publishers Lay into Google Print," ZDNet UK

"The University Press Assn.’s Objections," Business Week

"University-Press Group Raises Questions About Google’s Library-Scanning Project," The Chronicle of Higher Education

Strategic Planning Efforts at ARL Libraries, Part 1

Posted in ARL Libraries, Libraries, Webliographies on May 31st, 2005

How do some of the largest libraries in North America see their near-term future?

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is a partial list of strategic planning Web sites at ARL libraries. This list was complied by a quick look at ARL libraries’ home pages, supplemented by limited site-specific Google searching. Web sites were included if the library’s strategic plan included the years 2004 and/or 2005.

Will You Only Harvest Some?

Posted in Disciplinary Archives, E-Prints, Institutional Repositories, OAI-PMH, Open Access on May 26th, 2005

The Digital Library for Information Science and Technology has announced DL-Harvest, an OAI-PMH service provider that harvests and makes searchable metadata about information science materials from the following archives and repositories:

  • ALIA e-prints
  • arXiv
  • Caltech Library System Papers and Publications
  • DLIST
  • Documentation Research and Training Centre
  • DSpace at UNC SILS
  • E-LIS
  • Metadata of LIS Journals
  • OCLC Research Publications
  • OpenMED@NIC
  • WWW Conferences Archive

DL-Harvest is a much needed, innovative discipline-based search service. Big kudos to all involved.

DLIST also just announced the formation of an advisory board.

The following musings, inspired by the DL-Harvest announcement, are not intended to detract from the fine work that DLIST is doing or from the very welcome addition of DL-Harvest to their service offerings.

Discipline-focused metadata can be relatively easily harvested from OAI-PHM-compliant systems that are organized along disciplinary lines (e.g., the entire archive/repository is discipline-based or an organized subset is discipline-based). No doubt these are very rich, primary veins of discipline-specific information, but how about the smaller veins and nuggets that are hard to identify and harvest because they are in systems or subsets that focus on another discipline?

Here’s an example. An economist, who is not part of a research center or other group that might have its own archive, writes extensively about the economics of the scholarly publishing business. This individual’s papers end up in the economics department section of his or her institutional repository and in EconWPA. They are highly relevant to librarians and information scientists, but will their metadata records be harvested for use in services like DL-Harvest using OAI-PMH since they are in the wrong conceptual bins (e.g., set in the case of the IR)?

Coleman et al. point to one solution in their intriguing "Integration of Non-OAI Resources for Federated Searching in DLIST, an Eprints Repository" paper. But (lots of hand waving here), if using automatic metadata extraction was an easy and simple way to supplement conventional OAI-PMH harvesting, the bottom line question is: how good is good enough? In other words, what’s an acceptable level of accuracy for the automatic metadata extraction? (I won’t even bring up the dreaded "controlled vocabulary" notion.)

No doubt this problem falls under the 80/20 Rule, and the 20 is most likely in the low hanging fruit OAI-PMH-wise, but wouldn’t it be nice to have more fruit?

Streaming Video E-Reserves at Emory University Libraries

Posted in Digital Libraries, Digital Media, E-Reserves on May 25th, 2005

Emory’s Woodruff Library has a streaming video e-reserves service. Here are a few quotes:

Material to be digitized must be owned either by the library or by the person requesting the digitization. We will not digitize any third-party copies, recordings, or transfers, including personal recordings of television broadcasts or rentals. If you would like to digitize material that is not owned either by you or by the library, please contact us and we will attempt to purchase it for the library’s collection. . . .

We will digitize video and compress it into a streaming video format that is accessible via a link posted in ReservesDirect for the duration of the semester. Our current streaming formats of choice are Real and QuickTime. Real and quicktime video players may be downloaded freely from the web. . . . We will optimize the stream for a reasonably wide cross-section of those who are likely to view it. . . .

As with other materials that are digitized and placed on ReservesDirect, we will place a copyright notice at the beginning of all video we digitize. All digitized materials will be retained and archived solely by us. . . .

We will digitize up to 20% total of a commercially produced video or film. . . .

Since all video submitted is for use in an instructional context, we anticipate that all materials submitted will follow guidelines for what is appropriate for display in a classroom setting. Therefore we will not judge or censor materials submitted to us for digitization. However, if a challenge concerning the appropriateness of materials is submitted to us, we reserve the right to restrict access to digitized materials at any time while we review the challenge and make a decision on whether to continue access to the material.

No Respectable University Would Offer an Online Doctorate?

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on May 25th, 2005

During the JESSE debate on online Ph.D.’s, Bill Summers said:

Relatedly, Universities which take themselves seriously do not permit external PHD programs. At any of the three institutions with which I have been privileged to be associated, Rutgers, South Carolina and Florida State, the Dean presenting such a proposal to the Faculty Senate would be hooted off campus and the program forever thereafter labeled as Mickey Mouse.

These are some universities that offer online doctorates (there are others that offer distance-education doctorates that aren’t "online" per se).

University of Arizona, College of Nursing

Boston University, College of Fine Arts

Boston University, Sargent College of Rehabilitation Sciences

Texas Tech University, Department of English

University of Hawaii, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene

University of Maryland University College

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, College of Nursing

Anyone hooting?

Online Ph.D. Programs Redux

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on May 24th, 2005

My "Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?" posting, which I also sent as a message to the JESSE list, triggered a long discussion thread on that list. It makes for very interesting reading. (Choose "Next in topic" in the View box to move from message to message.) For related threads, see the May archive.

Let me briefly recap some of my main points in light of this discussion. Academic librarians with faculty or faculty-like status who are at the associate and full levels do not need to be taught how to be scholars: they are scholars. In this respect they represent a unique doctoral clientele. What they need, if they do not have them, are Ph.D.’s. They do not want to quit their jobs or commute long distances to get them from the few information schools that remain. If they wanted Ph.D.’s in other subject areas, they would not be troubling information school faculty. Certainly, a DLIS option would be a welcome alternative to nothing. However, they are not in any way intimidated by the prospect of a research degree. They are researchers. They are interested in a research degree, but many have no interest in joining the ranks information school faculty. Having a research degree will help them in their current career path in a variety of ways.

Illustrating the point that academic librarians are researchers, an examination of high-impact library-oriented journals would likely show: (1) academic librarians edit such journals, (2) information school faculty edit such journals, (3) academic librarians publish in journals edited by information school faculty, (4) information school faculty publish in journals edited by academic librarians, (5) academic librarians often cite papers written by information school faculty, and (6) information school faculty often cite papers written by academic librarians. In short, the peer-reviewed library literature is a co-mingling of the scholarly work of academic librarians, information school faculty, and others. If all identifying information were stripped away from a peer-reviewed library journal article, it would be impossible to determine if it was written by an academic librarian or an information school faculty member.

In spite of some frustrations, most academic librarians have a high regard for information school faculty and believe that what they do is very important. However, they find it difficult to understand how, in 2005, with the wide array of digital technologies at information schools’ disposal why, in light of their unique circumstances, their needs cannot be adequately met with these technologies, supplemented by brief on-campus stays. This dialog has revealed a number of information school faculties’ concerns. It appears to me that a key one is that such a degree would not be viewed as legitimate by faculty in other disciplines at the local institution. This is understandable, because these faculty do not have a potential doctoral study body with similar characteristics. But, depending on local circumstances, they may, at the same time, be officially recognizing local librarians as faculty members or as having a faculty-like status. They sit beside them at the Faculty Senate, and they may have elected an academic librarian to lead them. This could be pointed out to them as a case was made for establishing a special program that was designed to reflect the unique status of academic librarians.

The extent of interest in an online Ph.D. program among academic librarians may not be apparent to information school faculty. However, market research is likely to reveal that a significant subset of academic librarians are interested in pursuing such an option, and information schools that overcome the barriers that prevent such programs will find that their pool of potential doctoral students is significantly expanded with experienced, highly desirable candidates that they would never otherwise attract.

Postscript:

Based on a JESSE message from Ian M. Johnson, it appears that the Information Management department at The Robert Gordon University in the UK is about to offer an online Ph.D. (It currently has six online Master’s programs.)

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (5/23/05)

Posted in Announcements on May 23rd, 2005

The biweekly update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides brief information on 20+ new journal issues and other resources. Especially interesting is a new issue of the INDICARE Monitor, which has an article about Digital Rights Management (DRM) and open access by Richard Poynder. Also, Walt Crawford weighs in on the DigitalKoans Bailey-Harnad debates in the latest Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, and there is a theme issue of Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship on open access.

Online Ph.D. Programs: Unique Clientele?

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on May 21st, 2005

Information schools have one group of potential Ph.D. students that appear to have unique characteristics: academic librarians with faculty or faculty-like status.

To advance in rank in these up-or-out systems, academic librarians:

  1. Publish in peer-reviewed journals, edit such journals, serve on the editorial boards of such journals, write books, and edit books. They also write, edit, and serve on editorial boards of a variety of other publications.
  2. Write proposals for, manage, and analyze the results of funded research projects.
  3. Make presentations at professional conferences and elsewhere.
  4. Teach for-credit and non-credit courses.
  5. Serve as adjunct faculty in information schools.
  6. Serve on committees and as officers of professional associations.
  7. Often obtain multiple master’s degrees.

This is not to say that other librarians do not also perform the above activities; however, academic librarians with faculty or faculty-like status are typically required to do 1, 3, and 6, with the main difference in such requirements being on the need to perform higher-level activities in 1. And they are "rewarded" for performing all of them.

So, what other disciplines with Ph.D. programs have potential students with similar requirements? If the answer is "none" and if the above activities are not viewed as a kind of faux scholarship, then it would appear that experienced members this client group (say those with associate status or above) have characteristics that suggest that their need for enculturation, lengthy preliminary study, and other academic requirements that are obviously needed for freshly minted undergraduates or inexperienced MLS graduates is limited or nonexistent. Consequently, they may be quite successful in online Ph.D. programs where these other students would fail, especially if online study is supplemented with brief on-campus stays.

The Nearly Nonexistant Online Ph.D.

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on May 19th, 2005

Well, I had that bit about UNT offering an online Ph.D. program wrong. UNT’s grant PI Brian O’Connor says:

I must say that our program is NOT web-based, though it has a strong web component. Our IMLS cohort members are considered members of the same doctoral program and subject to the same requirements as our "residential" students. . . . The IMLS program is design[ed] so that more than 51% of course time is conducted with the same level of face-to-face engagement between students and faculty as would be the case for residential students. . . . I would comment that enculturation is terribly important, though one might be able to imagine someone making major contributions while not being "enculturated.". . . Perhaps more intriguing is the assertion that enculturation cannot be adequately accomplished within a virtual environment. Is this a necessary case? Is it not at all true now, but possible with different technology?. . . . Is there not some virtual way to accomplish critical thinking, sharing, debating, using different perspectives? So far, our experience shows that such give and take is quite possible, especially if the students have had an opportunity to meet each other face-to-face at some point early on. Please do not take the above to mean that I prefer the possibility of a virtual academy—I do not. I am simply suggesting that we not toss out the possibilities, at least, not yet.

Looks like we’re down to one online Ph.D. program (and waiting for a disclaimer on that one). Since it’s only been about 12 years since the Web took off with the release of the alpha version of Mosaic, I guess we need to be patient.

The Ever-Elusive Online Ph.D.

Posted in Information Schools, Libraries on May 19th, 2005

Recently, there has been some discussion of online Ph.D. programs in information studies on the JESSE list. I probably don’t need to tell you that few such programs exist.

The University of North Texas has an online Ph.D. program. However, this IMLS-funded program limits who can apply to school media and public librarians. Nova University has had one for quite some time.

While I’m sure that information school faculty have many good reasons why they believe that such degrees cannot be offered online, I’m afraid that to some academic librarians, who are not about to abandon their day jobs and who have no program within striking distance, this seems like a decidedly 19th-century viewpoint, especially if offered by a school that has morphed into an avant-garde “I” school.

It also seems to be based on the peculiar notion that all Ph.D.s must want to teach. Academic librarians, who are "neither fish nor fowl," may want a Ph.D. for other career reasons.

But leaving that aside, is it really the case that, in 2005, the rich diversity of online tools at our disposal cannot substitute for pressing the flesh, especially if augmented by brief on-campus stays? If that’s really true, why aren’t online MLS degrees second-rate? Isn’t physical proximity as important to future library professionals as to the future teachers of library (and other) professionals?

There is a certain delicious irony in the fact that "I" schools, like my old alma mater Syracuse University, strive mightily and successfully to teach and develop advanced technologies, but cannot bring themselves to use them to deliver online Ph.D. degrees in subject areas like digital libraries. Yet, they offer online digital library CAS degrees (SU and UIUC) without any apparent qualms.

But, it’s unfortunate that, by doing so, they deprive potential students of doctoral degrees and themselves of an expanded client base.

Joint Institutional Repository Evaluation Project

Posted in Institutional Repositories, Open Access on May 18th, 2005

The Johns Hopkins University Digital Knowledge Center in conjunction with MIT and the University of Virginia are working on a Mellon Foundation-funded "A Technology Analysis of Repositories and Services" project to: "conduct an architecture and technology evaluation of repository software and services such as e-learning, e-publishing, and digital preservation. The result will be a set of best practices and recommendations that will inform the development of repositories, services, and appropriate interfaces."

The grant proposal and a presentation given at the CNI Spring 2005 Task Force Meeting provide further details about the project.

FCLA Digital Archive

Posted in Digital Curation & Digital Preservation, Digital Libraries on May 17th, 2005

Since 2003, the Florida Center for Library Automation (FCLA) has been creating an IMLS-grant-funded Digital Archive (DA) to serve Florida’s public universities. The DA project’s goals are to: "1) establish a working and trusted digital archive, 2) identify costs involved in all aspects of archiving, and 3) disseminate tools, procedures and results for the widest national impact."

The DA will "accept submission packages from participating partners, ingest digital documents along with the appropriate metadata, and safely store on-site and off-site copies of the files."

The DA is a "dark" archive:

Our original idea, and the one thing that did not change over time, was the idea of
building a dark archive. By “dark” I mean an archive with no real-time, online access to
the content by anyone except repository staff. Dark archives are out of favor right now
but we had some good reasons for it. We serve ten state universities and each of them
has its own presentation systems and some have their own institutional repository
systems. Some of the libraries use FCLA delivery applications but some use their own
applications. Central Florida uses CONTENTdm, South Florida uses SiteSearch and
Florida State uses DigiTool. At FCLA we donÂ’t have the software to replicate these
access functions and we donÂ’t have any desire to; it would cost a great deal to acquire the
software licenses, and it would take a huge amount of staff to support all these
applications. So the idea of our offering presentation services on top of our stored
repository content wasnÂ’t feasible.

Real-life digital preservation efforts are always worth keeping an eye on, and this one is quite ambitious. You can track their progress through their grant page and their publications and presentations page.

The project’s most recent presentation by Priscilla Caplan ("Preservation Rumination: Digital Preservation and the Unfamiliar Future ") is available from OCLC in both PowerPoint and MP3 formats.

Is the Access Spectrum a Red Herring or Are Green and Gold Too Black and White?

Posted in Open Access, Scholarly Communication on May 16th, 2005

Stevan Harnad has commented extensively on my "The Spectrum of E-Journal Access Policies: Open to Restricted Access" DigitalKoans posting. Thanks for doing so, Stevan. Here are my thoughts on your comments.

First, let me concede that if you look at this question from Stevan’s particular open-access-centric point of view that, of course, the spectrum of publisher access policies is a complete and utter waste of time. I don’t recall suggesting that this was a new open access model per se, even though it includes open access in it as a component and it makes some further distinctions between open access and free access journals. Rather, it is what it says it is: a model that presents a range of publisher access policies from the least restrictive to the most restrictive. The color codes merely enhance the model slightly, they are not central to it (and, of course, as Steven says, he created this color coding Frankenstein to begin with). The model says nothing about e-prints.

That said, Steven’s view that open access equals free access (period) is not, as he well knows, universal, and his green and gold models are based on this premise.

Here is how Peter Suber defines OA in "Open Access Overview: Focusing on Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Research Articles and Their Preprints" (boldface is mine):

  • OA should be immediate, rather than delayed, and OA should apply to the full-text, not just to abstracts or summaries.
  • OA removes price barriers (subscriptions, licensing fees, pay-per-view fees) and permission barriers (most copyright and licensing restrictions).
  • There is some flexibility about which permission barriers to remove. For example, some OA providers permit commercial re-use and some do not. Some permit derivative works and some do not. But all of the major public definitions of OA agree that merely removing price barriers, or limiting permissible uses to "fair use" ("fair dealing" in the UK), is not enough.
  • Here’s how the Budapest Open Access Initiative put it: "There are many degrees and kinds of wider and easier access to this literature. By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited."
  • Here’s how the Bethesda and Berlin statements put it: "For a work to be OA, the copyright holder must consent in advance to let users ‘copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship….’"
  • The Budapest (February 2002), Bethesda (June 2003), and Berlin (October 2003) definitions of "open access" are the most central and influential for the OA movement. Sometimes I call refer to them collectively, or to their common ground, as the BBB definition.

So, by most OA definitions, a journal that "makes all of its articles immediately and permanently accessible to all would-be users webwide toll-free" is not OA unless it also uses a Creative Commons or similar license that permits use with minimal restrictions. It is FA (Free Access). As I have said in an earlier dialog, we can count on no journal to be "permanently accessible" unless some trusted archive other than the publisher makes it so, an issue that Steven apparently disagrees with, believing that publishers never go out of business.

I note that Steven has deviated from his "chrononomic parsimony" principle by having both "Green" and "Pale-Green," in his model and then lumping them both together in his discussions as "GREEN." (In his Summary Statistics So Far site he also introduces the color Grey, for "neither yet.") If preprints and postprints are of equal value, why not just code them Green? If they are not of equal value (i.e., postprints that accurately incorporate the changes that occur during the peer-review process are the only real substitute for the published article), then, in reality, those 15.5% of "Pale-Green" journals are of limited value in terms of self-archiving, and the real GREEN journal number is 76.2%, not 92%.

I must admit to some confusion on his latest stand that all types of self-archiving are equal. In "Ten Years After," he seems to be expressing a different sentiment regarding author home pages:

That said, there was a naive element to the Subversive Proposal, too, since Harnad’s plan would have led to researchers posting their papers on thousands of isolated FTP sites. This would have meant that anyone wanting to access the papers would have needed prior knowledge of the papers’ existence and the whereabouts of every relevant archive. They would then have had to search each archive separately. Today, Harnad concedes that "anonymous FTP sites and arbitrary Web sites are more like common graves, insofar as searching is concerned."

Perhaps I misunderstand what is meant by "arbitrary Web sites."

As the prior DigitalKoans dialog beginning with "How Green Is My Publisher?" shows, we clearly disagree on many points related to the importance of author copyright agreements (e.g., they have to permit deposit in disciplinary archives), the importance of deposit in OAI-PMH-compliant archives, and the mission and scope of institutional repositories.

A series of DigitalKoans postings that start with "The View from the IR Trenches, Part 1" provides numerous quotes from the literature that bolster my case.

Second, while I admire Stevan’s unflagging advocacy of open access (by which he really means free access), open access is not the only issue in the e-journal publishing world that is of concern to librarians to whom this missive was mainly addressed. This is because librarians, while hopefully working to build a better future, have to deal with the messy existing realities of the e-publishing environment to do their jobs and to make decisions about how to allocate scarce resources. Consequently, librarians have to scan the e-publishing environment, analyze it, categorize it, and make evaluative judgements about it. They have to make models of e-publishing reality to better understand it. They don’t have the luxury of only dreaming about what that reality should be.

Thus, while Steven is indifferent to many of those 894,302 free full-text articles from 857 HighWire-hosted journals (a number which likely dwarfs all articles available from OA/free journals), librarians are not. Paying attention to them is important. While many are not immediately free, they are free nonetheless after some embargo period. And EA (Embargoed Access) journals are better than RA (Restricted Access) journals in practical terms for users who have no other current access. And even limited access to more restrictive PA (Partial Access) journals is likely to be welcomed by users who today would have no access otherwise. I know that both kinds of access are welcomed by me as a user.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t strive for journals to move up the spectrum from red to green, but it is to say that: (1) some free access is better than no free access for journals that will never move further up the spectrum, and (2) it may be that some journals have to move step-by-step, not in one leap, for the change to take place, and, if they start higher, it may be easier to encourage them to move further and faster. (But we have to know which ones have this potential based on their current status.)

Steven’s model has colors, but, in reality, each color is black and white: Gold and nothing, GREEN and grey. All or nothing. And, as long as you accept his premises, it works, and it allows him to focus on his free-access goal with single minded determination, undistracted by the knotted complexities of the e-scholarly publishing environment. Long may he run.

For those who have a different view of OA or who have broader concerns, it’s too "black and white."

I give him the last word on this matter.

The Spectrum of E-Journal Access Policies: Open to Restricted Access

Posted in Copyright, E-Journals, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on May 13th, 2005

As journal publishing continues to evolve, the access policies of publishers become more differentiated. The open access movement has been an important catalyst for change in this regard, prodding publishers to reexamine their access policies and, in some cases, to move towards new access models.

To fully understand where things stand with journal access policies, we need to clarify and name the policies in use. While the below list may not be comprehensive, it attempts to provide a first-cut model for key journal access policies, adopting the now popular use of colors as a second form of shorthand for identifying the policy types.

  1. Open Access journals (OA journals, color code: green): These journals provide free access to all articles and utilize a form of licensing that puts minimal restrictions on the use of articles, such as the Creative Commons Attribution License. Example: Biomedical Digital Libraries.
  2. Free Access journals (FA journals, color code: cyan): These journals provide free access to all articles and utilize a variety of copyright statements (e.g., the journal copyright statement may grant liberal educational copying provisions), but they do not use a Creative Commons Attribution License or similar license. Example: The Public-Access Computer Systems Review.
  3. Embargoed Access journals (EA journals, color code: yellow): These journals provide free access to all articles after a specified embargo period and typically utilize conventional copyright statements. Example: Learned Publishing.
  4. Partial Access journals (PA journals, color code: orange): These journals provide free access to selected articles and typically utilize conventional copyright statements. Example: College & Research Libraries.
  5. Restricted Access journals (RA journals, color code: red): These journals provide no free access to articles and typically utilize conventional copyright statements. Example: Library Administration and Management. (Available in electronic form from Library Literature & Information Science Full Text and other databases.)

Using this taxonomy, an examination of the contents of the Directory of Open Access Journals quickly reveals that, in reality, it is the Directory of Open and Free Access Journals, because many listed journals do not use a Creative Commons Attribution License or similar license.

Some may argue that the distinction between OA and FA journals is meaningless; however, to do so suggests that the below sections of the "Budapest Open Access Initiative" in italics are meaningless and, consequently, that the Open Access movement is really just the Free Access movement.

By "open access" to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.

Not that there would be anything wrong with the Free Access movement, but some may feel that the broader scope of the Open Access movement is much more desirable.

In any case, the journal universe is not just green or red, and it’s a pity that we don’t know the breakdown of the spectrum (e.g., x number of green journals and y number of cyan journals), for that would give us a better handle on how the world has changed from the days when all journals were red journals.

Institutional Repository Overviews: A Brief Bibliography

Posted in Bibliographies, Institutional Repositories, Open Access on May 13th, 2005

You want a good introduction to institutional repositories. What should you read? Try one or more of the works below. For a quick overview, try Drake, Johnson, or Lynch. For more detail, try Crow or Ware. For an in-depth, library-oriented overview, Gibbons can’t be beat.

Crow, Raym. The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper. Washington, DC: The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, 2002.

Drake, Miriam A. "Institutional Repositories: Hidden Treasures." Searcher 12, no. 5 (2004): 41-45.

Gibbons, Susan. "Establishing an Institutional Repository." Library Technology Reports 40, no. 4 (2004). (Available on Academic Search Premier.)

Johnson, Richard K. "Institutional Repositories: Partnering with Faculty to Enhance Scholarly Communication." D-Lib Magazine 8 (November 2002).

Lynch, Clifford A. "Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age." ARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC, no. 226 (2003): 1-7.

Ware, Mark. Pathfinder Research on Web-based Repositories. London: Publisher and Library/Learning Solutions, 2004.


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