On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. But we can tell if you are a major news organization or corporation.

Illustration of a dog, sitting at a computer terminal, talking to another dog.  Includes caption: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”Published in The New Yorker July 5, 1993.
Image from The Cartoon Bank

As the saying, now a part of Internet lore, goes: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That may be true, but now we must add: “But we do know if you are from a major news organization or corporation.”

Survey on Library Automation Trends

Marshall Breeding, editor of Library Technology Guides homepage, is conducting a survey on the trends in library automation. He describes the survey in a web4lib mailing list posting:

I am conducting a survey on library automation trends. The survey aims to measure how well libraries are satisfied with their automation systems and the companies or other organizations that support them. It also attempts to get some indication of whether libraries are looking favorably on open source software for their automation system.

The survey leverages the “Library Technology Guides” list and the lib-web-cats list of library catalogs. You’ll need to register for the Library Technology Guides website and then read the survey instructions.

Aligning Clashing Values

This started out as a comment to a posting by Chris Coppola, president and co-founder of rSmart Group. The comment got longer and threaded with yesterday’s posting about the nature of BioMed Central, so I moved it to this posting on DLTJ. For those in the library community who are not familiar with rSmart, it provides commercial support for the Sakai collaboration and learning environment and the Kuali administrative systems suite. rSmart is somewhat equivalent to Equinox Software and LibLime in the library automation arena.

What Is BioMed Central?

My posting on Friday about the clashing values of academic institutions and businesses prompted a comment from Bill Hooker about linking to his blog posting about the pricing structure at BioMed Central (BMC). His comment and the e-mail I received this morning from BMC (reproduced below) got me rethinking about the nature of open access publishing.

Educational Patents, Open Access Journals, and Clashing Values

This posting has two goals — first, to introduce DLTJ readers to the notion of “Educational Patents” or “edupatents” and provide an update on events of this week. Second, to frame the sometimes contentious interaction between academic institutions and supporting businesses as one of “clashing values.” The former serves as a cautionary tale within the wider scope of the latter.

Educational Patents


Are you following the world of “edupatents” (broadly defined as patents that affect the educational markets)? This kicked into gear about this time last year with Blackboard‘s lawsuit [PDF] against Desire2Learn over alleged infringements by Desire2Learn of a Blackboard patent. Michael Feldstein posted a layman’s analysis of the lawsuit and concludes that many “Learning Management Systems have most or all of the features listed in the claims and therefore may infringe on the patent.” Those in the list are not only Desire2Learn and other commercial packages, but also the open source Sakai and Moodle projects. Al Essa has a graphical view of Blackboard’s patent claims, and it does seem that the patent covers a broad spectrum of educational technologies that we are starting to take for granted.

PocketModMac: MacOSX PocketMod Generator Via Print Dialog

This one goes out to all of the MacOS X users out there. (For the rest of you, why aren’t you switching?) Perhaps you have seen PocketMod — the origami-like manipulation of an 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper into an 8-page booklet.

PocketMod example pictureExample PocketMod, courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Touted as a way to “get back to the basics” using analog media over digital media, it is a scheme by which you can transform pages of text into a pocket-sized form for carrying around. Many use it as a way to synchronize their digital to-do lists with the analog world, while others use it document shortcuts and cheat-sheets in a convenient form.

Gentoo Abandons WordPress in Portage

I don’t think this has been widely announced, but while waiting for an update to Gentoo‘s portage entry for WordPress to cover the latest security and bug fixes, I discovered in the comments of a bug in Gentoo’s bugzilla database that they are making no effort to support WordPress on Gentoo. I think this is really a poor move on Gentoo’s part. As one of the bug commenters noted, “WordPress is, in general, a good product with an extremely active user community and good upstream maintenance.” 1

A GLSA was issued for WordPress vulnerabilities in March — problems that have since been fixed — with this ‘resolution’:

NPR’s Headquarters

NPR's Headquarters, looking east
NPR’s Headquarters, looking east
Side view of the triangular building, looking from Mt. Vernon Square. The DC Convention Center is just to the north of where this photograph was taken.

NPR's Headquarters main entrance
NPR’s Headquarters main entrance
The main entrance to NPR is along Massachusetts Avenue, and this banner in front of the construction scaffolding shows the address that I hear often on the radio: 635 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, Washington, DC, 20001.

NPR's Headquarters facing Massachusetts Avenue
NPR’s Headquarters facing Massachusetts Avenue
Three banners, “Think” – “Explore” – “Share,” hang from the front of the headquarters.

NPR's Headquarters viewed from 6th St and Massachusetts Ave NW
NPR’s Headquarters viewed from 6th St and Massachusetts Ave NW
VW car billboard, supplementing NPR’s membership dues and corporate sponsorships?

JPEG XR Could Be Neat, but JPEG2000 is Still Neater

On Tuesday, the Joint Photographic Expert’s Group (a.k.a. “JPEG”) announced a new work item for the standardization of Microsoft’s HD Photo as JPEG XR (XR is short for “extended range” — a reference to its improvement over the original JPEG standard). You can read the publicity details in the Microsoft press release and the JPEG press release, but beyond the public relations pieces I wonder if you are thinking about HD-Photo/JPEG-XR for digital archiving. And if you’re thinking that I’ll bet your wondering about how HD Photo compares with JPEG 2000. As with many things, the devil is in the details, so here is a first, gut-reaction pass at the details.

SOLINET’s Collective Vision of the Future of Libraries

Library Journal reports on the results of discussions among SOLINET1 members to envision what their library of the future will be. The summary is available as a PDF document as are the instruments used to generate the discussion. The report is two pages of executive summary, four pages of compact overviews of the major areas of focus, and four pages of recommendations for the SOLINET organization.