Federal Research Public Access Act Reintroduced

New legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week to support the publication of federally-sponsored research results under open access terms.
Sponsored by Senator Lieberman of Connecticut and co-sponsored by Senator Cornyn of Texas, it mandates open access to author pre-print versions with peer review changes in federally-run repositories within six months of publication. Called S.1373, it is a nearly identical version to the bill of the same name that these two senators introduced in 2006, which ultimately died in committee. The 2006 version was supported by a wide variety of organizations including the American Library Association, as tracked by the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA).

Google Book Search Privacy, Orphan Works, and Monopoly

A few weeks ago, a reporter at the Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed Adam Smith, Google’s director of product management, about the Google Book Search settlement and posted the interview in audio form. The page isn’t dated, but guessing from metadata in the URL it was somewhere around the publication of paper issue dated June 26, 2009. I’m calling out this particular interview because Mr. Smith said things that I hadn’t heard in other forms yet — Google’s intentions about privacy in Google Book Search, an explicit statement about the Book Rights Registry releasing information about the status of orphan works, and a statement on what Google expects the size of the orphan works problem to be once the Registry has been in operation for a while.

OCLC Formally Withdraws Proposed Record Use Policy

OCLC has published the final report from the OCLC Review Board on Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship and announced the formal withdrawal of the proposed Policy on Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records. In doing so, OCLC has reaffirmed the existence and applicability of the “Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records” (the 1987 guidelines) and announced its intention to assemble a new group to draft a policy with “with more input and participation from the OCLC membership.”

EBSCO in Cahoots With Harvard Business Press

A controversy is starting to pick up in the business librarian community — primarily in the U.K. it would seem — regarding the licensing demands of Harvard Business Press (HBP) for the inclusion of Harvard Business Review articles in EBSCOhost. HBP content in EBSCOhost carries a publisher-specific rider that says use is limited to “private individual use” and explicitly bars the practice of putting “deep links” of articles from EBSCOhost (so called “persistent links“) into learning management systems. In my words, HBP is attempting to limit access to its content in EBSCOhost to those who find it through the serendipity of searching. And now HBP is going after schools that are using persistent linking, and this raises all sorts of troubling questions.

Two ways to learn about the OLE Project at ALA

There will be two programs at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago where aspects of the Open Library Environment Project will be discussed. The participants in the design phase of the project encourage you to attend one or both of them to learn about the design phase deliverables and the plans for the build phase.

Textbook Affordability at the Student Success Assessment Summit

I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel at the Ohio Student Success Assessment Summit this morning on the topic of textbooks and open educational resources. Specifically, I was talking about the plans and desires of the University System of Ohio to help faculty help students with the escalating of costs of learning materials. My talk (below and on SlideShare) gives a background of the problem in the context of the State of Ohio, principles upon which a working plan for statewide support is forming, and strategic themes

Three New Search Services: Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft Bing, Google Squared

It has been a wild few weeks in search engines — or search-engine-like services. We’ve seen the introduction of no fewer than three high-profile tools … Wolfram|Alpha, Microsoft Bing, and Google Squared … each with their own strengths and needing their own techniques — or, at least, their own distinct frame of reference — in order to maximize their usefulness. This post describes these three services, what their generally good for, and how to use them. We’ll also do a couple of sample searches to show how each is useful in its own way.

Drive-Thru Textbook Buy-Back

I continue to be astonished by how efficient the used textbook market has become. This week, at the end of the spring quarter at Ohio State University, a drive-thru textbook buy-back service popped up on the site of a long-closed gas station. It is a tent on a parking lot that truly does allow someone to drive through to drop off books (see the third image down). The operation is run by Budgetext, a national textbook wholesaler from Fayetteville, AR. I spoke with company representative Jerry Mohr about the service.

Flat World Knowledge and U.S. Gov’t on Open Access Course Materials

The sand is really starting to shift under the traditional textbook providers as the open course content movement shows signs of, well, movement. Already this year there are two events that point to shifts in how instructors and students can shortcut the complex ecosystem of textbooks as we know it today. First, Flat World Knowledge — a provider of open access course materials — launched earlier this year. Second, new legislation has been proposed in the U.S. Congress to mandate that some agencies use their funding to produce open access course materials.

Flat World Knowledge Launches

Thompson Reuters Lawsuit Against Zotero Creators Dismissed

Reported by Zotero co-director Sean Takats, tweeted by CHNM director Dan Cohen, and noted on DLTJ by Rick, Thomson-Reuters’ lawsuit against George Mason University has been dismissed. The details are sparse at the moment, but it would appear that the creators of Zotero have prevailed over the creators of EndNote. Sean’s post has the most information. (The Fairfax (VA) Circuit Court website really stinks in terms of disseminating information about the proceedings of the court.1 ) If the details are interesting, and I somehow expect they might be, I’ll post them here.