Here’s a Chance to Hire Walt Crawford

Here’s a rare opportunity to hire a leading thinker in the library profession.

Walt Crawford is looking for work. For those of you who are not librarians and may not have heard of Walt, he is one of the most influential and important figures in the library world, and he was ranked among the most cited authors for the period 1994–2004 in a March 2007 College & Research Libraries article titled "Analysis of a Decade in Library Literature: 1994–2004" (unfortunately this article is not out of the C&RL embargo period yet and is not freely available).

Here’s a reproduction of Walt’s blog posting about this matter:

A special message:

Ever thought you or one of the groups you work for or with could use a Walt Crawford? Here’s your chance.

The RLG-OCLC transition will be complete in September. I’ve received a termination notice from OCLC, effective September 30, 2007.

I’m interested in exploring new possibilities. For now I’m trying not to narrow the options too much.

The basics: A new position could start any time after October 15, 2007 (possibly earlier). January to April 2008 might be ideal as a starting date, but earlier or later is quite possible.

I’m looking for a mutually-beneficial situation, which could be part time, could be full time, could be based on sponsorship of current writing and possible expansion to new areas, could be contract or consulting. I’m open to an exclusive working relationship—but also to more piecemeal possibilities.

Writing is important to me—but so is sensemaking, at the heart of what I’ve done at work and professionally for a few decades. I find numbers interesting (particularly exposing weaknesses in statistical assertions and finding the numbers that make most sense for an organization) and understand them well. I’ve been analyzing, synthesizing, designing (sometimes programming) and communicating throughout my career. I’m interested in the whole range of issues surrounding the intersections of libraries, policy, media and technology, and have demonstrated my effectiveness as a writer and speaker in those areas.

You can get a good sense of what I’ve published here, including my 15 (to date) books and many of the 400+ articles and columns.

I would certainly consider a short-term (say two to four years) situation—but if you have something that makes sense for both of us for a longer term, I have no set retirement date. If I had to name an ideal, it would probably be roughly two-thirds time with benefits (or full time if Cites & Insights was considered part of the job).

Clear limitation: There are very few places we’d be willing to relocate, most of them in temperate parts of the Pacific Rim—that is, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, or maybe Australia or New Zealand. Otherwise, for most possibilities outside of Silicon Valley (or the Tri-Valley area around Livermore), I’d be looking to telecommute—and perfectly willing to travel on a reasonable basis.

If you have acquaintances who are unlikely to see this blog, within "groups that work for/with libraries"—publishers, vendors, search-engine makers, consortia, what have you—where you think I might be a good fit, I’d be delighted if you told them about this. If you’d like to blog about it, please do, saying whatever you like. (Schadenfreude?Be my guest.)

I don’t have a proper resume. I suspect I’m more likely to be hired by someone who knows who I am or is more interested in a full vita, available here. (OK, I’ll be 62 in September and I have an international reputation that is only slightly related to my daytime job: Maybe not the ideal combination for a classic "hit ’em with the keywords" resume.)

Offers, inquiries, questions, comments should go to me at my gmail address: waltcrawford. If you’d like to meet during ALA Annual, let me know.

For those of you who care about Cites & Insights: I have every intention of continuing and, with luck, improving C&I. I have every intention of keeping it free to the reader. I’ve been thinking about a spinoff in an area that I find increasingly important and that requires more room and time than I’ve been giving it—and that spinoff might or might not be free, depending on arrangements that come to light. Naturally, finding the right position will help ensure the future of C&I.

Here’s the brief bio:

Walt Crawford is an internationally recognized writer and speaker on libraries, technology, policy and media.Crawford was for many years Senior Analyst at RLG, focusing on user interface design and actual usage patterns for end-user bibliographic search systems. Through September 30, 2007, he works on RLG-OCLC transition and integration issues.

Crawford is the creator, writer and publisher of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001. He also maintains a blog on these and other issues, Walt at Random.

Crawford’s books include Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change (2007), First Have Something to Say: Writing for the Library Profession (2003), Being Analog: Creating Tomorrow’s Libraries (1999), Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality (with Michael Gorman, 1995), and eleven others going back to MARC for Library Use: Understanding the USMARC Formats(1984).

Crawford writes the “disContent” column in EContent Magazine and has written columns for American Libraries, Online and Library Hi Tech. In all, he has written more than 400 library-related articles and columns appearing in a range of library publications.

Crawford was recently cited as one of the 31 most frequently cited authors in library literature 1994-2004 (the only American writer on that list outside academic libraries). In 1995, he received the American Library Association’s LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education, followed by the ALCTS/Blackwell Scholarship Award in 1997. He was president of the Library and Information Technology Association in 1992/93.

More information is available at Crawford’s home page.

The REMAP Project: Record Management and Preservation in Digital Repositories

The REMAP Project at the University of Hull has been funded by JISC investigate how record management and digital preservation functions can be best supported in digital repositories. It utilizes the Fedora system.

Here’s an except from the Project Aims page (I have added the links in this excerpt):

The REMAP project has the following aims:

  • To develop Records Management and Digital Preservation (RMDP) workflow(s) in order to understand how a digital repository can support these activities
  • To embed digital repository interaction within working practices for RMDP purposes
  • To further develop the use of a WSBPEL orchestration tool to work with external Web services, including the PRONOM Web services, to provide appropriate metadata and file information for RMDP
  • To develop and test a notification layer that can interact with the orchestration tool and allow RSS
    syndication to individuals alerting them to RMDP tasks
  • To develop and test an intermediate persistence layer to underpin the notification layer and interact
    with the WSBPEL orchestration tool to allow orchestrated workflows to take place over time
  • To test and validate the use of the enhanced WSBPEL tool with institutional staff involved in RMDP activities

What Does Out of Print Mean in a POD Era?

A contract language change by Simon & Schuster that makes all its books available by print-on-demand technology "in print" has raised the hackles of the Authors Guild. The issue is that as long as a book is in print the rights do not revert back to the author, who could then look for another publisher who would actively promote the book and boost sales.

Source: Rich, Motoko. "Publisher and Authors Parse a Term: Out of Print." The New York Times, 18 May 2007, C3.

Copyright Alliance Launched to Promote Strong Copyright

Twenty-nine membership organizations and big media companies have launched the Copyright Alliance to advocate stronger copyright laws that protect their intellectual property.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

The Alliance comprises 29 member organizations from the worlds of entertainment, arts, technology and sports, and represents an estimated 11 million Americans working in copyright-related industries. Its Executive Director, Patrick Ross, is a former journalist and think tank senior fellow with more than 10 years of expertise writing about and advocating for the importance of intellectual property.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) welcomed the coalition’s formation in a statement read at the launch event, which also featured a panel discussion with Grammy-winning musicians, a noted academic expert, and working artists.

"Strong copyright laws are essential to protect the livelihoods of millions of artists and inventors," said Conyers. "But just as importantly, strong copyright is important to all Americans by driving creativity and innovation in our economy." . . .

Members of the Copyright Alliance include: American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; American Society of Media Photographers; Association of American Publishers; Broadcast Music, Inc.; Business Software Alliance; CBS Corporation; Directors Guild of America; Entertainment Software Association; Magazine Publishers of America; Major League Baseball; Microsoft; Motion Picture Association of America; National Association of Broadcasters; National Collegiate Athletic Association; National Music Publishers’ Association; NBA Properties, Inc.; NBC Universal; News Corporation; Newspaper Association of America; Professional Photographers of America; Recording Artists’ Coalition; Recording Industry Association of America; Software & Information Industry Association; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Time Warner; Viacom; Vin Di Bona Productions; and The Walt Disney Company.

The IBM Gameframe

If you thought the era of big iron was dead, think again.

According to the New York Times, IBM is rolling out a "gameframe" that is "capable of permitting hundreds of thousands of computer users to interact in a three-dimensional simulated on-screen world described as a ‘metaverse.’"

Meanwhile, Sun is rolling out a video server that is "potentially powerful enough to transmit different standard video streams simultaneously to everyone watching TV in a city the size of New York."

Source: Markoff, John. "Sun and I.B.M. to Offer New Class of High-End Servers." The New York Times, 26 April 2006, C10.

Wiley Threatens Blogger with Legal Action Over Quoted Article Material

There is quite a buzz in blogosphere about John Wiley & Sons indicating that it would take legal action against Shelley Batts over the use of (in her words) "a panel a figure, and a chart" from a Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture article in her posting "Antioxidants in Berries Increased by Ethanol (but Are Daiquiris Healthy?)." After she redid the figures in Excel, Wiley was apparently satisfied. Batts is a Neuroscience doctoral student at the University of Michigan.

Fair use or not? You can read more about it in "When Fair Use Isn’t Fair."

SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) Project

Led by UKOLN, The JISC SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) Project is developing "a prototype ‘smart deposit’ tool" to "facilitate easier and more effective population of repositories."

Here’s an excerpt from the project plan:

The effective and efficient population of repositories is a key concern for the repositories community. Deposit is a crucial step in the repository workflow; without it a repository has no content and can fulfill no further function. Currently most repositories exist in a fairly linear context, accepting deposits from a single interface and putting them into a single repository. Further deployment of repositories, encouraged by JISC and other funders, means that this situation is changing and we are beginning to see an increasingly complex and dynamic ecology of interactions between repositories and other services and systems. By and large developers are not creating repository systems and software from scratch, rather they are considering how repositories interface with other applications within institutions and the wider information landscape. A single repository, or multiple repositories, might interact with other components, such as VLEs, authoring tools, packaging tools, name authority services, classification services and research systems. In terms of content, resources may be deposited in a repository by both human and software agents, e.g. packaging tools that push content into repositories or a drag-and-drop desktop tool. The type of resource being deposited will also influence the choice of deposit mechanism. If the resources are complex packaged objects then a web service will need to support the ingest of multiple packaging standards.

There is currently no standard mechanism for accepting content into repositories, yet there already exists a stable and widely implemented service for harvesting metadata from repositories (OAI-PMH—Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). This project will implement a similarly open protocol or specification for deposit. By taking a similar approach, the project and the resulting protocol and implementations will gain easier acceptance by a community already familiar with the OAI-PMH.

This project aims to develop a Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit (SWORD)—a lightweight deposit protocol that will be implemented as a simple web service within EPrints, DSpace, Fedora and IntraLibrary and tested against a prototype ‘smart deposit’ tool. The project plans to take forward the lightweight protocol originally formulated by a small group working within the Digital Repositories Programme (the ‘Deposit API’ work) . The project is aligned with the Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) Mellon-funded two-year project by the Open Archives Initiative, which commenced in October 2006. Members of the SWORD project team are represented on its Technical and Liaison Committees. . . . . The SWORD project is not attempting to duplicate work being done being done by ORE, but seeks to build on existing work to support UK-specific requirements whilst feeding into the ongoing ORE project.

Digital Humanities Centers Network Being Formed

Several individuals, including John Unsworth, have issued a call for the formation of a network of digital humanities centers.

Here’s an excerpt from the call:

If you represent something that you would consider a digital humanities center, anywhere in the world, we are interested in including you in a developing network of such centers. The purpose of this network is cooperative and collaborative action that will benefit digital humanities and allied fields in general, and centers as humanities cyberinfrastructure in particular. It comes out of a meeting hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the University of Maryland, College Park, April 12-13, 2007 in Washington, D.C., responding in part to the report of the American Council of Learned Societies report on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences, published in 2006.

We leave the definition of "digital humanities" up to you, but we intend to be inclusive, and we know that there will be cross-over into the social sciences, media studies, digital arts, and other related areas. If you think your center is a digital humanities center, in whole or in part, then we’d be glad to have you as part of the network. This might include humanities centers with a strong interest in or focus on digital platforms. The definition of "center" is only slightly more prescriptive: a center should be larger than a single project, and it should have some history or promise of persistence.

Some early initiatives are likely to include

  • workshops and training opportunities for faculty, staff, and students
  • developing collaborative teams that are, in effect, pre-positioned to apply for predictable multi-investigator, multi-disciplinary, multi-national funding opportunities, beginning with an upcoming RFP that invites applications for supercomputing in the humanities
  • exchanging information about tools development, best practices, organizational strategies, standards efforts, and new digital collections, through a digital humanities portal

For further information (including how to respond), see the call.

DSpace Executive Director Appointed

Michele Kimpton, formerly of the Internet Archive, has been appointed the Executive Director of the newly formed DSpace nonprofit organization.

Here’e an excerpt from the announcement:

I am happy to report that we are making good progress on establishing the new non-profit organization, and I would like to take this opportunity to announce that Michele Kimpton has accepted the position as Executive Director for the organization. The DSpace non-profit corporation will initially provide organizational, legal and financial support for the DSpace open source software project. Prior to joining DSpace, Michele Kimpton was one of the founding Directors at Internet Archive, in charge of Web archiving technology and services. . . .

Michele developed an organization within Internet Archive to help support and fund open source software and web archiving programs, so she comes to us with a lot of experience in both open source software and long-term digital curation. Her organization worked primarily with National Libraries and Archives around the world, so she is familiar with large, widely diverse and distributed communities. Michele was one of the co-founders of the IIPC ( International Internet Preservation Consortium, netpreserve.org), whose mission is to work collaboratively to develop tools, standards and processes for archiving and preservation of web material.

The DSpace non-profit corporation is in the final stages of completing filing status as a not-for-profit corporation of Massachusetts. By summer 2007 we expect to have this legal entity in place, and a complete Board of Directors. Both MIT and Hewlett Packard have provided the start up funding to establish the organization over the next several years. . . .

Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog Update (4/25/07)

The latest update of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (SEPW) is now available, which provides information about new scholarly literature and resources related to scholarly electronic publishing, such as books, journal articles, magazine articles, technical reports, and white papers.

Especially interesting are: "The CIC Metadata Portal: A Collaborative Effort in the Area of Digital Libraries," "Design and Implementation of a Custom OAI Search and Discovery Service," "A Digital Decade: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going in Digital Preservation?," "Digital Imaging—How Far Have We Come and What Still Needs to be Done?," "Google Print and the Principle of Functionality," "Open Access and the Progress of Science," "Open Access on a Zero Budget: A Case Study of Postcolonial Text," Researchers’ Use of Academic Libraries and Their Services: A Report Commissioned by the Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries, "Serial Wars," and Trends in Scholarly Journal Prices 2000-2006.

For weekly updates about news articles, Weblog postings, and other resources related to digital culture (e.g., copyright, digital privacy, digital rights management, and Net neutrality), digital libraries, and scholarly electronic publishing, see the latest DigitalKoans Flashback posting.

Position Papers from the NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop

Position papers from the NSF/JISC Repositories Workshop are now available.

Here’s an excerpt from the Workshop’s Welcome and Themes page:

Here is some background information. A series of recent studies and reports have highlighted the ever-growing importance for all academic fields of data and information in digital formats. Studies have looked at digital information in science and in the humanities; at the role of data in Cyberinfrastructure; at repositories for large-scale digital libraries; and at the challenges of archiving and preservation of digital information. The goal of this workshop is to unite these separate studies. The NSF and JISC share two principal objectives: to develop a road map for research over the next ten years and what to support in the near term.

Here are the position papers:

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.

RLG DigiNews Changes

In the latest issue of RLG DigiNews, Jim Michalko and Lorcan Dempsey announce significant changes to this journal. RLG DigiNews has been a five-star journal that has been essential reading for digital library and preservation specialists. I’d encourage my readers to voice support for its continued excellence as indicated in the below excerpt from the article:

The issue in front of you is the last of RLG DigiNews in its current form. As RLG continues to shape its combination with OCLC and create the new Programs and Research division, we are rethinking the publication program that will support our new agenda while providing readers and authors with the kind of vehicle that supports the re-invention of cultural institutions in the research, teaching, and learning process. RLG DigiNews will be an important part of this program. Expect to see it back with a renewed editorial direction. There’s much to do and coordinate but we’ve committed both the talent and the resources to make this happen. Watch for your next RLG DigiNews no later than January, 2008.

Thank you for your support. Let those responsible know that you’re looking forward to the future.

Friday’s OAI5 Presentations

Presentations from Friday’s sessions of the 5th Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication in Geneva are now available.

Here are a few highlights from this major conference:

  • Doctoral e-Theses; Experiences in Harvesting on a National and European Level (PowerPoint): "In the presentation we will show some lessons learned and the first results of the Demonstrator, an interoperable portal of European doctoral e-theses in five countries: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK."
  • Exploring Overlay Journals: The RIOJA project (PowerPoint): "This presentation introduces the RIOJA (Repository Interface to Overlaid Journal Archives) project, on which a group of cosmology researchers from the UK is working with UCL Library Services and Cornell University. The project is creating a tool to support the overlay of journals onto repositories, and will demonstrate a cosmology journal overlaid on top of arXiv."
  • Dissemination or Publication? Some Consequences from Smudging the Boundaries between Research Data and Research Papers (PDF): "Project StORe’s repository middleware will enable researchers to move seamlessly between the research data environment and its outputs, passing directly from an electronic article to the data from which it was developed, or linking instantly to all the publications that have resulted from a particular research dataset."
  • Open Archives, The Expectations of the Scientific Communities (RealVideo): "This analysis led the French CNRS to start the Hal project, a pluridisciplinary open archive strongly inspired by ArXiv, and directly connected to it. Hal actually automatically transfers data and documents to ArXiv for the relevant disciplins; similarly, it is connected to Pum Med and Pub Med Central for life sciences. Hal is customizable so that institutions can build their own portal within Hal, which then plays the role of an institutional archive (examples are INRIA, INSERM, ENS Lyon, and others)."

(You may want to download PowerPoint Viewer 2007 if you don’t have PowerPoint 2007).

Thursday’s OAI5 Presentations

Presentations from Thursday’s sessions of the 5th Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication in Geneva are now available.

Here are a few highlights from this major conference:

  • Business Models for Digital Repositories (PowerPoint): "Those setting up, or planning to set up, a digital repository may be interested to know more about what has gone before them. What is involved, what is the cost, how many people are needed, how have others made the case to their institution, and how do you get anything into it once it is built? I have recently undertaken a study of European repository business models for the DRIVER project and will present an overview of the findings."
  • DRIVER: Building a Sustainable Infrastructure of European Scientific Repositories (PowerPoint): "Ten partners from eight countries have entered into an international partnership, to connect and network as a first step more than 50 physically distributed institutional repositories to one, large-scale, virtual Knowledge Base of European research."
  • On the Golden Road : Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (RealVideo): "A working party works now to bring together funding agencies, laboratories and libraries into a single consortium, called SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open access Publishing in Particle Physics). This consortium will engage with publishers towards building a sustainable model for open access publishing. In this model, subscription fees from multiple institutions are replaced with contracts with publishers of open access journals where the SCOAP3 consortium is a single financial partner."
  • Open Access Forever—Or Five Years, Whichever Comes First: Progress on Preserving the Digital Scholarly Record (RealVideo): "The current state of the curation and preservation of digital scholarship over its entire lifecycle will be reviewed, and progress on problems of specific interest to scholarly communication will be examined. The difficulty of curating the digital scholarly record and preserving it for future generations has important implications for the movement to make that record more open and accessible to the world, so this a timely topic for those who are interested in the future of scholarly communication."

(You may want to download PowerPoint Viewer 2007 if you don’t have PowerPoint 2007).

OpenDOAR API

The OpenDOAR project has announced the availability of an API for accessing digital repository data in their database.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

OpenDOAR, as a SHERPA project, is pleased to announce the release of an API that lets developers use OpenDOAR data in their applications. It is a machine-to-machine interface that can run a wide variety of queries against the OpenDOAR Database and get back XML data. Developers can choose to receive just repository titles & URLs, all the available OpenDOAR data, or intermediate levels of detail. They can then incorporate the output into their own applications and ‘mash-ups’, or use it to control processes such as OAI-PMH harvesting. . . .

OpenDOAR is a continuing project hosted at the University of Nottingham under the SHERPA Partnership. OpenDOAR maintains and builds on a quality-assured list of the world’s Open Access Repositories. OpenDOAR acts as a bridge between repository administrators and the service providers who make use of information held in repositories to offer search and other services to researchers and scholars worldwide.

A key feature of OpenDOAR is that all of the repositories we list have been visited by project staff, tested and assessed by hand. We currently decline about a quarter of candidate sites as being broken, empty, out of scope, etc. This gives a far higher quality assurance to the listings we hold than results gathered by just automatic harvesting. OpenDOAR has now surveyed over 1,100 repositories, producing a classified Directory of over 800 freely available archives of academic information.

Wednesday’s OAI5 Presentations

Presentations from Wednesday’s sessions of the 5th Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication in Geneva are now available.

Here are a few highlights from this major conference:

  • MESUR: Metrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources (PowerPoint): "The two-year MESUR project, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to define and validate a range of usage-based impact metrics, and issue guidelines with regards to their characteristics and proper application. The MESUR project is constructing a large-scale semantic model of the scholarly community that seamlessly integrates a wide range of bibliographic, citation and usage data."
  • OAI Object Re-Use and Exchange (PowerPoint): "In this presentation, we will give an overview of the current activities, including: defining the problem of compound documents within the web architecture, enumerating and exploring several use cases, and identifying likely adopters of OAI-ORE."
  • OpenDOAR Policy Tools and Applications (RealVideo): "OpenDOAR has developed a set of policy generator tools for repository administrators and is contacting administrators to advocate policy development."
  • State of OAI-PMH (PowerPoint): "The OAI-PMH was released in 2001 and stabilized at v2.0 in 2002. Since then there has been steady growth in adoption of the protocol. Support for the OAI-PMH is assumed for base-level interoperability between institutional repositories, and is also provided for many other collections of scholarly material. I will review the current landscape and reflect on some milestones and issues."

(You may want to download PowerPoint Viewer 2007 if you don’t have PowerPoint 2007).

And the Beat Goes On: Serials Crisis Redux

Library Journal has published its annual review of serials prices. This year, its title is "Serial Wars."

There is considerable discussion of open access issues in the article, and Peter Suber has commented: "This is an excellent picture of where OA stands today. If you have colleagues who want to know what’s been happening and only have time for one article, give them this URL."

As usual, the big bucks in serials are for STM journals (see the table below from the article), and, no surprise, the country with the highest average price per title is the Netherlands.

TABLE 1 AVERAGE 2007 PRICE FOR SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES
Discipline Average Price Per Title
Chemistry $3,429
Physics 2,865
Engineering 2,071
Biology 1,676
Technology 1,502
Astronomy 1,426
Geology 1,424
Food Science 1,345
Math & Computer Science $1,313
Zoology 1,308
Health Sciences 1,199
Botany 1,179
General Science 1,139
Geography 1,050
Agriculture 898

What about next year?: "Expect overall price increases to be in the seven percent to nine percent range for 2008 subscriptions."

Scholarly Journal Podcasts

In a recent SSP-L message, Mark Johnson, Journal Manager of HighWire Press, identified three journals that offer podcasts or digital audio files:

Here are a few others:

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