This topic is a bit far from “library technology” but part of my day job at OhioLINK has been involved with research on digital textbooks. To that end, I’ve been looking at companies that sell a digital form of the printed-and-bound textbook. The sites that I’ve found are summarized below; I would appreciate comments (public or private) that list other sites that you know about so this list can be as comprehensive as possible. Also, if you happen to be researching the same area, please get in touch if you are interested in comparing notes. The list is broken down into two parts, and the companies are listed alphabetically within each part.
President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 2764, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008, also known at the omnibus, making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes, after boarding Air Force One Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007. White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Update 20071227T1147 : Title of the post changed to reflect the certainty of the bill being signed into law. Via Peter Suber’s Open Access News comes that President Bush signed the bill yesterday. Congratulations to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and all those involved in making this happen. I’m sure we’ll be following the outcomes and impacts of this law for years to come.
The blogosphere is abuzz with what would seem to be the final hurdle for open access to taxpayer funded research by the National Institutes of Health. Over the course of the summer, advocates for public access to this research successfully added provisions to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that mandate deposit of manuscripts into PubMed Central no later than one year after publication when NIH funds were used to conduct the research. That legislation , and this afternoon the full Senate is considering amendments to its version of the appropriations bill. On Friday, Senator Inhofe filed two amendments that would either be strike the mandatory public access provisions from the bill, or modified the existing policy a way that would severely limit its effectiveness.
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.
As others have noted, there is now an online petition in support of public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The text of the petition is short:
We, the undersigned, believe that broad dissemination of research results is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge. For America’s taxpayers to obtain an optimal return on their investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible. Yet too often, research results are not available to researchers, scientists, or the members of the public. Today, the Internet and digital technologies give us a powerful means of addressing this problem by removing access barriers and enabling new, expanded, and accelerated uses of research findings.
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.
What of a service existed where the patrons selected an item they needed out of our library catalog and that item was delivered to the patron even when the library did not yet own the item? Would that be useful? With the growth of online bookstores, our users do have the expectation of finding something they need on the web, clicking a few buttons and having it delivered. When such expectations of what is possible exist, where is the first place a patron would go to find recently published items — the online bookstore or their local library catalog? Does your gut tell you it is the online bookstore? Would it be desirable if the patron’s instinct were to be the local library catalog?
ISSN Regina Reynolds, Library of Congress (U.S. ISSN Center)
There are 80 ISSN centers worldwide with about 150 people associated with the assigning of ISSNs.
The ISSN International Center is located in Paris. It assigns the prefixes to ISSN centers and holds a master copy of descriptive metadata — the “Key Title” plus other metadata elements in MARC format — for every assigned ISSN. It also provides documentation, a manual (about 80-100 pages in length) and support for new centers coming on board.
Last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education Review had an opinion piece by Kate Wittenberg, director of EPIC (Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia) with the title “Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing?” (subscription required). An excerpt from the beginning:
While we have been busy attending conferences, workshops, and seminars on every possible aspect of scholarly communication, information technology, digital libraries, and e-publishing, students have been quietly revolutionizing the discovery and use of information. Their behavior, undertaken without consultation or attendance at formal academic events, urgently forces those of us in scholarly publishing to confront some fundamental questions about our organizations, jobs, and assumptions about our work.