International Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries

IATUL News Alerts

Archive May 2010

Special issue on digital libraries in China

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:36:20 p.m.

The current issue is devoted to the topic of digital library efforts in China. With the help of Sam Sun, long-time CNRI employee and Beijing native, we have gathered a group of authors who speak authoritatively on current projects in China. Four of those articles, primarily describing current and past projects from a non-technical perspective, appear in this issue while some of the more technical articles will appear in issues later this year.

Many D-Lib readers will be unaware of the activities in China, which are extensive and growing. If you read only one article in this issue, it should be the Overview article by Xihui Zhen, which I think most readers will find of great interest. Just as China is assuming a larger and more important role on the world stage, so too it seems to me will they assume a larger and more important role in the digital library world as time goes on. The size of the various projects, the number of universities and research groups in China addressing the issues, and the vast sweep of Chinese history and culture that remains to be digitized and integrated into the world of digital libraries would seem to guarantee that.

Significant language, culture, and political gaps between China and the more established digital library players in Western countries remain, of course, and will present challenges on all sides for years to come. The language gap will even be evident in the current issue of D-Lib, as all of the articles started out in Chinese or in English written by native Chinese speakers. But as the connections between China and the other countries of the world deepen, these gaps will narrow and, in our small slice of the world's intellectual activity, D-Lib will do its best to help that process.

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Model language for author rights in library content licenses

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:34:05 p.m.

Academic and research libraries today are increasingly charged with facilitating the management and dissemination of the scholarly output of their parent institutions. This activity frequently takes the form of organizing the deposit of scholarly work such as research articles and working papers in institutional, national, or subject-based repositories in order to make these works broadly available to other interested scholars and the wider public. Authors of scholarly work also increasingly wish to retain significant rights in the work that they produce rather than transferring all such rights to an external publisher.

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Gutenberg 2.0: Harvardís libraries deal with disruptive change.

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:32:03 p.m.

“THROW IT IN THE CHARLES,” one scientist recently suggested as a fitting end for Widener Library’s collection. The remark was outrageous—especially at an institution whose very name honours a gift of books—but it was pointed. Increasingly, in the scientific disciplines, information ranging from online journals to databases must be recent to be relevant, so Widener’s collection of books, its miles of stacks, can appear museum-like. Likewise, Google’s massive project to digitize all the books in the world will, by some accounts, cause research libraries to fade to irrelevance as mere warehouses for printed material. The skills that librarians have traditionally possessed seem devalued by the power of online search, and less sexy than a Google query launched from a mobile platform. “People want information ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere,’” says Helen Shenton, the former head of collection care for the British Library who is now deputy director of the Harvard University Library. Users are changing—but so, too, are libraries. The future is clearly digital.

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Mobilising the Internet Detective

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:29:49 p.m.

The move towards mobile technologies in libraries and in the wider educational environment is gathering increasing momentum as we enter a new decade. This is reflected in the huge amount of Web content, research reports and innovative projects devoted to mobile learning and mobile applications in libraries which can be found via a quick search on Google. This article describes our own foray at Intute into the world of mobilisation, via a JISC Rapid Innovations project in 2009.

The aim of the Mobile Internet Detective Project was to adapt Intute’s well respected and popular online Internet Detective tutorial to develop a prototype application suitable for access on a mobile device. As well as investigating the provision of more flexible access for end-users, the project was also intended to act as a test bed to inform the potential re-development of other JISC services based at Mimas (the home of Intute) and build on existing expertise in mobile technologies within the organisation.

The foundation stone for this work was a qualitative market research programme commissioned specifically for the project. This enabled us to find out directly about the needs of students in Higher Education in the UK and their own views on the use of mobile technologies for learning. The research provided invaluable insights and also sounded some notes of caution which informed our subsequent work on standards and content for mobile applications.

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Looking forward to a good read

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:24:43 p.m.

Disabled readers are already benefiting from using e-books - but according to a new report, publishers can do even more with the technology to improve access.

Disabled users can for example benefit from a statement by the publisher setting out the accessibility options available to them, from how to magnify the screen to fully personalising the e-book.

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The myth of browsing

Friday, 28 May 2010 12:21:47 p.m.

A headline in the November 12, 2009, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education tells what is becoming a familiar story: “In Face of Professors’ ‘Fury,’ Syracuse U. Library Will Keep Books on Shelves.” Pressed by economic realities, hurting for space, and seeing the opportunities offered by existing and emerging information technologies, the director of an academic library announces plans to move some percentage of the library collection—specifically low-use books and bound journals—offsite. The space gained from the move will be used to create areas in which students can study and collaborate. The reaction from faculty and, in some cases, alumni and students? Fury!

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