International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive December 2008

Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:39:12 a.m.

The networked digital environment has enabled the creation of many new kinds of works that are accessible to end users directly, and many of these resources have become essential tools for scholars conducting research, building scholarly networks, and disseminating their ideas and work. The decentralized distribution of these new model works can make it difficult to fully appreciate their scope and number, even for university librarians tasked with knowing about valuable resources across the disciplines. In the spring of 2008, ARL engaged Ithaka to conduct an investigation into the range of online resources valued by scholars, paying special attention to those projects that are pushing beyond the boundaries of traditional formats and are considered innovative by the faculty who use them.

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Copyright Angst, Lust for Prestige and Cost Control: What Institutions Can Do to Ease Open Access

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:35:37 a.m.

Leo Waaijers writes about copyright, prestige and cost control in the world of open access while in two appendices Bas Savenije and Michel Wesseling compare the costs of open access publishing and subscriptions/licences for their respective institutions.

The view that the results of publicly financed research should also be publicly accessible enjoys broad support in the academic community. Where their own articles are concerned, however, many authors hesitate to circulate them openly, for example by publishing them in Open Access journals or placing them in their institution’s repository. They ask themselves whether that will not be at odds with the copyright rules and whether they will gain – or perhaps even lose – prestige. For their part, institutional managers wonder whether switching to Open Access will not make things more expensive than sticking with the traditional system of publication.

This article analyses the current situation regarding these three issues. The only possible conclusion is that the academic community finds itself in the course of a transition – from paper to digital – as regards the dissemination of knowledge, a transition that urgently requires an active and directive approach on the part of universities and research institutions. This conclusion is in line with a recent recommendation by the European University Association, with the primary conclusion being that "Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality controlled research results for the broadest possible range of users, maximizing their visibility, accessibility and scientific impact."

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The support of teaching by libraries in higher education: towards an analysis of past and future costs

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:33:49 a.m.

The growth in digital information resources in support of teaching.

The year 1995 saw the start of a revolution in information supply, with the appearance of digital information delivered over the internet. This transformation in the availability of information has now (2008) reached the stage where students expect a high proportion of what they read to be in digital format, and they equally expect to be able to gain access to it virtually anywhere – certainly anywhere on campus. These developments have had a profound and continuing impact on library and information services and their means of delivery.

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The Future of Repositories? Patterns for (Cross-) Repository Architectures

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:31:20 a.m.

Over the past few years, repositories have been created as a product intended to foster dissemination of scholarly works, a shared objective for most academic institutions. Because of this, repositories have grown at a rapid pace over the past decade, with the software trinity of EPrints, DSpace and Fedora leading the field. The openness and willingness of these repository systems to evolve has greatly increased the ability of repositories to disseminate scholarly works; however, the repository community is still in its infancy, and further change as a holistic community is required to support both the users of the systems (institutions) and the users of the resources within the systems (scholars).

Increasing variability can be seen with regard to repository users and institutions. Small organizations are looking for ways to benefit from repositories, and even today, a large number of users still do not have any access to a domain-specific repository. At the other end of the spectrum, there are repositories that are continuously expanding in size and functionality. For many of these, concerns have switched from 'how to get a repository working' to 'how the repository can scale' – both technologically and organizationally. Infrastructure initiatives such as, for example, the Fedora installations at NSDL and Max Planck's eSciDoc are precursors to huge repository-based research environments of the very near future.

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The Semantic Web in Education

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:28:34 a.m.

Jason Ohler

What happens when the read-write web gets smart enough to help us organize and evaluate the information it provides?

The mantra of the information age has been “The more information the better!” But what happens when we search the web and get so much information that we can’t sort through it, let alone evaluate it? Enter the semantic web, or Web 3.0. Among other things, the semantic web makes information more meaningful to people by making it more understandable to machines.

Consider a simple example. If you want to know my mailing address, currently you need to go to my web page and root around until you find it. That’s because the current coding system used to build web pages, largely HTML, displays information without identifying it in any meaningful way. That is, my address is not coded as “an address,” it is simply presented as a series of characters on the screen. Contrast this with a database about your friends that contains a specific column called “mailing address.” Even if your database included millions of entries, locating my address is easy.

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For Advice on Publishing in the Digital World, Scholars Turn to Campus Libraries

Monday, 8 December 2008 9:22:23 a.m.

Jennifer Howard

"Rapidly changing" is the term most often used these days to describe the landscape of scholarly communication. Scholars have to clear new and higher hurdles as they bump up against copyright and fair-use issues, open-access mandates, and a baffling array of publication and dissemination models.

How much of his own published work can a scholar post on a personal Web site without raising his publisher's ire? How much of someone else's work can he use in his course pack without trampling on fair use and risking a fine or legal action? How does a researcher upload her work to her institution's repository, and are there consequences if she opts out? Those are just some of the questions that professors may find themselves tripping over.

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