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ShelfLife, No. 62 (11 July 2002)  Peter Suber
 Jul 11, 2002 11:59 PDT 

ShelfLife, No. 62 (11 July 2002) ISSN 1538-4284

ShelfLife, a weekly executive news summary for information professionals,
is a free service of RLG, the not-for-profit membership corporation of more
than 160 universities, national libraries, archives, museums -- and other
institutions with remarkable collections for research and learning. RLG was
created in 1974 as the Research Libraries Group. ShelfLife provides context
for RLG's major initiatives, which celebrate the power of knowledge to
grow, to live, and to last.

        Hell Hath No Fury Like a Publisher Scorned
        Creation of Superarchives to Boost Scholarly Sharing
        Science Publications: For Profit and Not
        Digital Rights Vs. Fair Use
        Biodiversity Information Commons Needed Worldwide
        MapMachine Takes You Where You Want to Go and Beyond
        Three Resources Worth Checking Out

Technology is straining the intricate relationship between libraries and
publishers. Publishers used to love libraries, of course, because libraries
bought lots of books. Libraries then lent out the books, which reduced the
likelihood that cardholders would ever buy the book themselves. But
overall, the tradeoff satisfied publishers, largely because of the inherent
limitations: Libraries could lend a book to only one reader at a time, so
in a year, even the most popular books might be borrowed by fewer than 50
people. Now, however, libraries can simultaneously lend a single book to,
say, everyone in Manhattan, through downloadable e-books. Big publishers,
most of whom live in Manhattan, hate this new development, and they're
particularly unhappy with e-publishers. Random House has already tried to
sue RosettaBooks, claiming that the e-publisher illegally published the
works of William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut and others with whom Random House
had contracts. The authors, who had cut separate deals with RosettaBooks,
disagreed with Random House. So did the judge, who ruled that e-books
comprise a new and different medium, and were not covered by the
publishers contracts with Styron and the others. RosettaBooks now offers
libraries unlimited access to more than 100 titles on its Web site for as
little as $200 a year. Those libraries, in turn, can offer that e-book for
download to as many readers as can access their Web site. The University of
Virginia, for example, claims that 5.8 million e-books have been downloaded
by users in more than 100 countries. (Darwin Magazine 26 June 2002)

The articles that end up in scholarly journals represent just a fraction of
the sum of the intellectual output that fills the office computers of
college professors around the world. Most of that material ends up buried,
but several universities are looking to share more of that work through the
creation of online "institutional repositories." The idea is to gather as
much of the intellectual output of an institution as possible in one
easy-to-search online collection. Proponents say such superarchives could
increase communication among scholars and spark greater levels of
innovation, especially in the sciences. "The whole power of science is the
power of shared ideas, not the power of hidden ideas," says Paul Jones,
associate professor of information and library science at the University of
North Carolina. "Science advances when there's a free exchange of ideas. We
move faster by being open." The most ambitious superarchive project
currently under way is at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Called
DSpace, its goal is to collect research material from every professor at
MIT. While professors are generally enthusiastic about the concept, the
biggest obstacle to its success may be inertia. To combat that, DSpace
creators are working to make the submission process very simple. (Chronicle
of Higher Education 5 Jul 2002)

RLG senior analyst Walt Crawford writes in EContent magazine that "too many
libraries have been pushed to the wall and can go no further" in devoting
excessive portions of their budgets to STM journals at the expense of
monographic acquisitions. He is skeptical of the "Big Deals" in which
commercial journal publishers packaged electronic content with print
content, and approvingly cites Kenneth Frazier, director of libraries at
the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who describes the Big Deal as: You
(the library or consortium) get all of our (the publisher's) articles in
electronic form but only if you pay us every penny you're paying now for
print subscriptions, plus more, plus a guaranteed annual increment."(See
Frazier at http://www.dlib.org/dlib/, and a number of responses in
succeeding issues of D-Lib magazine.) Where will a solution be found to
this expanding crisis for libraries? Crawford notes that "librarians and
scholars are mounting a range of initiatives to weaken the ability of large
international publishers to raise STM prices at will. ARL's SPARC
initiative has helped found a number of new, less-expensive scholarly
journals, most commonly back in the hands of universities and scholarly
societies, competing head-on with established commercial titles. A growing
number of electronic journals and collections of refereed articles are free
to readers, with refereeing overhead and server costs covered through
institutional sponsorship or author fees." If this approach fails the
crisis will deepen, because "many scholars now recognize the plight of the
libraries and are unwilling to see a complete abandonment of monographic
acquisitions just to shore up STM periodicals for a few more years. Things
are starting to give." (EContent May 2002)

American Library Association legislative counsel Miriam Nisbet says recent
advances in digital rights management technology could undermine the
long-standing right of fair use as well as the preservation and archiving
of materials: "You might need to use a piece of copyrighted work for an
article that you are writing or that may be needed in the classroom for
teaching purposes. Those are part of a very carefully crafted balance in
our copyright law and in our copyright tradition. If you have technology
that totally eliminates any human judgment in the process, then you've
effectively overwritten what the law would otherwise allow you to do
Figuring out how that can all work -- and work in a harmonious fashion -- I
think, is the greatest puzzle we face now." Nisbet is especially concerned
over recent legislation introduced by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) that
would require copy protection technology to be installed in all computer
devices. "That's a pretty remarkable scope to require such a thing," says
Nisbet. "I think a lot of people have questions about how such a bill would
work and would it really be good? Let's certainly not have a law passed
that requires something that we don't know will work." (CNet News.com 11
Jul 2002)

Data and information about the world's biological diversity has grown into
a massive body of knowledge that now resides in universities, libraries,
museums, government agencies, research institutions, and conservation
organizations. Typically, this raw knowledge base is not coherently
organized and managed, making it difficult for researchers to quickly and
effectively find the data and information they need. Even key stakeholders
have only fragmentary, incomplete access. Providing free, universal access
to biodiversity information is now recognized as a practical imperative for
the international conservation community. In the opinion of Thomas Moritz,
Director of Library Services at the American Museum, of Natural History,
this goal will be best reached by developing a Biodiversity Information
Commons possessing the legal and technical mechanisms necessary to provide
a free, secure and persistent environment for access to and use of
biodiversity information and data. "An information commons, " Moritz
explains, "defines a community of use and guarantees free unhindered access
to data and information for that community within a defined information
space." Such a commons has the advantage that it can combine public domain
information together with proprietary information made openly available by
owners without loss of their property rights. Moritz acknowledges that
creating a Biodiversity Commons and policies for its administration and
governance is a major initiative that will require the participation and
support of broad sectors of the conservation, research and education
community. He envisions a world-class project that will employ the best
available tool sets and methods for digitization and data capture
(micro-processing) at the institutional/organizational level, including the
development of local capacity (training, skills and tools) to digitally
capture metadata and full-text information. Dissemination of information
(macro-processing) at the network/Internet level will require the design of
a Web-based system of protocols for donation of information and/or full
documents (to a centrally maintained repository) and for sustenance of a
distributed system of repositories. (D-Lib Magazine Jun 2002)

National Geographic Society's Web site's MapMachine
(http://www.nationalgeographic.com/mapmachine) offers something of a
"comprehensive cartographic experience," providing access to dynamic maps
and geographic data organized by physical, cultural and environmental
themes. Here you can find maps and information on such topics as recent
earthquakes, transportation density, socioeconomic trends, political
boundaries, crime statistics, ecological regions, land use zones, natural
hazards and more. The My Maps area of the site lets you save and manage
specific map views, create printable versions and e-mail them to others. In
the site's mapXchange area, users can download free files for use with
TOPO! interactive mapping software, or post their own files so that others
can use them on their adventures. It also offers access to such features as
high-resolution maps from recent issues of National Geographic Magazine and
downloadable updates to the seventh edition of the society's Atlas of the
World. Which means that if you have the printed version, you can download,
print and paste new maps whenever there are changes. Be aware that many of
the maps are finely detailed and may not display well, and some can take a
little time to load on dial-up Internet connections. (InfoToday Jul/Aug 2002)

The Women's Library houses Britain's oldest and most comprehensive
collection of material recording women's lives and concerns, including a
unique collection of early twentieth century suffrage banners, pamphlets
and artwork. The library's collection also covers women's rights, health,
education, employment, reproductive rights, the family and the home. The
Library was established in 1926.
The Database of Award-Winning Children's Literature offers a tailored
reading list of quality children's literature, and includes more than 3,500
records from 49 awards across five English-speaking countries (U.S.,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.). Each book is indexed for
searching via keyword, and the list is continually updated as more books
are added.
The Early Arrivals Records Search was created as a joint project between
the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and
the Pacific Region of the National Archives and Records Administration, and
is geared toward genealogical searches on people of Asian origin who
immigrated to San Francisco and Honolulu in the 19th and early 20th
centuries. Several million people passed through immigration stations in
these cities between 1882 and 1955, and up until now it's been necessary to
visit the National Archives in San Bruno, Calif., to find out if
information existed for a specific person. Users of the Early Arrivals
Records Search can find out whether files exist, what an individual's case
number was, and basic information about that person's immigration.


Visit us at http://www.rlg.org, where we honor the past, think about the
future, and welcome the opportunity to join you and all our friends in
making a difference today.
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