In this issue:
First Monday • September 7, 2009
Post-romance reality check. Although superficially it would appear that libraries and Google have much in common in their desire to satisfy information-seekers, their goals are very different. While libraries perceive the role of information as an underpinning of democracy, Google views it as a vehicle for advertising. Swinburne University of Technology (Australia) Research Fellow Vivienne Waller explores the complicated relationship between the two and calls on libraries to reassert their role as quality filters and a counterweight to commercialization.
Washington Monthly • September/October 2009
Creative disruption hits the ivory tower. An education startup called StraighterLine is offering self-paced online courses for a flat $99 per month, with no restrictions on the number taken at any given time. And while accreditation issues must still be resolved, education policy expert Kevin Carey notes the traditional institution is highly vulnerable to the twin threats of debt-fueled price inflation and ever-cheaper information technologies. But while there's certainly some boondoggling on today's campuses, colleges play an important role in local communities and legitimate research and scholarship — and online education can't replace those functions.
Trendwatching.com • September 2009
Finding your doppelsumer. In this month's trendwatching.com, the issue focuses on the new transparency that's fast becoming a requirement of online presence, and is based in part on consumers' reviews and recommendations about an organization's products or services. But who are these people? A crop of new services is compiling and analyzing reviewers' demographic information and dishing up reviews written by people just like you.
Nature.com • September 9, 2009
Build it, but they won't necessarily come. Most researchers agree that information-sharing is a good thing, but several efforts to launch data repositories have been less than successful — victims of technical, legal or cultural barriers. One commenter notes the distinction between data repositories and publication repositories is not made clear in the article, but the real issue is how we can better encourage open access to data of all kinds.
Information Today • September 10, 2009
Praise for Europeana. A recent EU assessment gives Europeana high marks for its efforts, but calls for more collaboration, a plan for dealing with digital rights and sustainable funding. This article provides an overview of the "Next Steps" report and summarizes some of the stickiest issues, such as U.S. vs. European copyright laws. Written comments on the report may be submitted by November 15.
Slate • September 10, 2009
Why Jeff Bezos should worry. Slate pundit Farhad Manjoo says feature creep is a fact of life and devices designed to do just one thing — like Amazon's Kindle — are destined for failure. Witness the iPod — originally designed as a music player but now a touch screen, phone, Web browser, GPS, compass and even a video camera, not to mention the myriad functions you can add on via the App Store. As Steve Jobs notes, general purpose devices generally supplant everything else — and where does that leave the Kindle?
The Boston Globe • September 6, 2009
Grab-bag for wordies. Searching for a gift for a fellow word-person? Read on for quickie reviews of the latest crop of language books — everything from Patricia O'Connor's Woe is I to Jesse Sheidlower's The F-Word. There's something here for everyone.
San Jose Mercury News • September 15, 2009
Battling ignorance. With the science beat an early casualty of newspaper struggles, universities are now taking the lead in feeding information on the latest developments coming out of their research departments directly to top news Web sites such as Yahoo and Google. Thirty-five universities have formed their own nonprofit wire service, futurity.org, with the intent of keeping the public informed on scientific advances that could play a major role in important issues such as global warming and healthcare.
Ars Technica • September 21, 2009
Content publishers on notice. A prominent IP law firm is seeking class action status against Scribd, claiming that the DCMA's "safe harbor" provisions place too much responsibility on copyright owners to conduct their own searches in order to have their copyrighted content removed from Web sites. And while up till now most of the cases against publishers of user-generated content (such as YouTube) have been brought in technology-friendly California, this case will be decided in Texas, which may set a new legal precedent on user-generated content.
Miller-McCune • September 16, 2009
The importance of being absurd. It turns out that absurdist literature makes us smarter, at least when it comes to memorizing random strings of letters. Who would have thought?
Salon • September 22, 2009
Just for fun. Check out this review of A New Literary History of America — with entries running the gamut from mastodon bones to Linda Lovelace, this anthology would be right at home on every information junkie's nightstand.
- Webcast of Anne R. Kenney's Distinguished Seminar Series Presentation, "Approaching an Entity Crisis: Reconceiving Research Libraries in a Multi-institutional Context," Now Available
- Discoverability .. A Report That's Worth a Look
- A DLF Forum Like No Other
- Reputation Enhancement
- A Timely Debate: Whither (or wither) Academic Libraries?
- Mendeley Scrobbles Your Papers
- Waking the Unread
- Clarification on OCLC/OAIster Transfer
- The Straight Dope on OAIster
- Metadata Sources
- 2010 RLG Partnership Annual Meeting and Symposium
9-11 June 2010 in Chicago