We’re taking a break this week from the HarperCollins e-book story; although the commentary continues from librarians (and a few authors), there hasn’t been anything new (that I’ve seen) from HarperCollins itself. There is still plenty more to look at, though. First up is a report from the health care sector on the applicability of open source and open systems. Next is an interview with a financial analyst that sees the end of the “big deal” for library journal subscriptions. And lastly is a list of web archive services that you could use to find old copies of web pages.
The highlights of the past week are around publishing — first with a model proposed by Eric Hellman in which consumers can pool enough money to pay publishers to “set a book free” under a Creative Commons license, then with an announcement by the University of Pittsburgh offering free hosting of open access e-journals. Since we have to be able to describe and find this content, their bibliographic descriptions are important; John Wilkin proposes a model for open access to elements of bibliographic descriptions. Rounding out this week’s topics are a report of a master’s degree program in business using Facebook, and tips for planning an unconference meeting.
NISO voting members are currently considering two new work items: a statement of best practices for the physical delivery of library resources and formalizing the NLM journal article DTD de facto standards. The Physical Delivery and Standardized Markup for Journal Articles proposal documents are openly available for download.
In June, a new service that speeds access to life sciences literature reached a milestone. Called PubGet, it is a service that reduces the number of clicks to the full text of an article, and the milestone was activating the 50th institution using its service. Using its own proprietary “pathing engine”, it links directly to the full text on the publisher’s website. PubGet does this by understanding the link structure for each journal of each publisher and constructing the link to the full-text based on information from the citation. The PubGet service focuses on the life sciences journals indexed in PubMed — hence the play on names: PubMed to PubGet.
DLTJ featured a discussion last month on what I saw as the outcomes of “clashing values” between the interest of businesses and that of not-for-profit higher education. The discussion started with “Educational Patents, Open Access Journals, and Clashing Values” and continued with a focus on open access publishing specifically with “What Is BioMed Central?.” Here is a update on the topic in the form of an e-mail from Ray English and a press release from Marquette Books.
Ray English’s Perspective on Open Access Publisher Economics
Philipp Mayr and Anne-Kathrin Walter, both of GESIS / Social Science Information Center in Bonn, Germany, uploaded an article to arXiv called “An exploratory study of Google Scholar.” 1 Originally created as a presentation for a 2005 conference, it was updated in January 2007 to reflect new findings and published as a paper. Excerpts from the abstract include:
The study shows deficiencies in the coverage and up-to-dateness of the [Google Scholar] index. Furthermore, the study points up which web servers are the most important data providers for this search service and which information sources are highly represented. We can show that there is a relatively large gap in Google Scholar’s coverage of German literature as well as weaknesses in the accessibility of Open Access content. Major commercial academic publishers are currently the main data providers.
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.
What is BioMed Central?
Earlier this year the DOAJ began offering a new schema for registered articles that significantly improves the value of OAI-PMH harvested article content. Prior to this addition the only scheme available was Dublin Core, which as a metadata schema for describing article content is woefully inadequate. (Dublin Core, of course, was never designed to handle the complexity of the description of an average article.) The new schema (graphically represented here
— select thumbnail to see a larger version) includes elements for ISSN/eISSN, volume/issue, start/end page numbers, and author affiliation. There is also a
<fullTextUrl> element that is a link to the article content itself (not the splash page of the article on the publisher’s site).
When it comes to seeking a full-text copy of that known-item citation, are our users asking “what have you done for me lately?” OpenURL has taken us pretty far when one starts in an online environment — a link that sends the citation elements to our favorite link resolver — but it only works when the user starts online with an OpenURL-enabled database. (We also need to set aside for the moment the need for some sort of OpenURL base resolver URL discovery tool — how does an arbitrary service know which OpenURL base resolver I want to use!) What if a user has a citation on a printed paper or from some other non-online form? Could we make their lives easier, too? Here is one way. (Thanks go out to Celeste Feather and Thomas Dowling for helping me think through the possibilities and issues.)
The August 2006 edition of “The DPubS Report” produced by Cornell University Libraries for the DPubS community announced work underway at the Penn State to bridge the worlds of FEDORA. Here is the line from the newsletter:and
--------------------------------------------------------------------------SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE--------------------------------------------------------------------------[...]NEAR-TERM SCHEDULED WORK[...]* Penn State is working on Fedora interoperability. The plan is tohave that capability in the September release, with a working versionfor testing in late August.
The newsletter goes on to say that the work will be made available under an open source license, so I for one can’t wait to see what it looks like and how we might apply it to our own needs.