October 26, 2012
How Open Is It? A Guide to Understanding the Core Components of Open Access
Hat tip to Legal Research Plus for calling attention to the SPARC (Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), PLOS (Public Library of Science) and OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) production of its 2-page checklist guide, How Open Is It? Open Access Spectrum — OAS: A Guide to Understanding the Core Components of OA. The guide was prepared for this year's Open Access Week: Set the Default to Open Access (October 22-28, 2012). See SPARC's press release for download links to the Guide, FAQ and PowerPoint.
From the Guide
How To Use This Guide:
In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative articulated the basic tenets of Open Access for the first time. Since then, thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the Open Access core components related to: readership, reuse,copyright, posting, and machine readability. However, not all Open Access is created equal. For example, a policy that allows anyone to read an article for free six months after its publication is more open than a policy that creates a twelve month embargo; it is also less open than a policy that allows for free reading immediately upon publication.
This guide will help you move beyond the seemingly simple question, “Is this journal open access?” and toward a more productive alternative, “How Open Is It?”
Use it to:
Understand the components that define Open Access journals
Learn what makes a journal more open vs. less open
Make informed decisions about where to publish
October 15, 2012
Harvard University Library Transitions into the "Digital Future"Recently Harvard University Library launched its new web portal in beta. For details, see the Harvard Gazette's Library in transition: Harvard moves rapidly into digital future, while preserving past and the University Library's Vision Statement. The Vision Statement includes the following animation entitled "The Future of the Harvard Library". [JH]
October 10, 2012
What Else Can An Online Catalog Do?
There is an article in Library Journal, Librarians As Booksellers, which promotes the idea of libraries partnering with publishers as a sales point for e-books. One mechanism would have catalogs include “buy” buttons in a bibliographic record. A borrower may be a buyer if the book is unavailable for loan, or alternatively may want to acquire a title after having borrowed it. I like the idea in that, as the article suggests, publishers and libraries could easily be partners rather than antagonists. One of the themes running through the Apple e-book pricing case is preserving the local bookstore as a place of literary discovery. The library could easily fill that role if the local bookseller went out of business. Comparatively, the local library is not likely going away no matter how much market share Amazon amasses.
This got me thinking on how libraries could further adapt their roles in modern times. The term “information center” is another common way libraries define themselves these days. The heart of the information center is, of course, its catalog. The traditional view of the catalog is Charles Cutter’s Objectives as published in his Rules For A Dictionary Catalog (see page 12):
1. To enable a person to fine a book of which either
(A.) the author)
(B.) the title) is known
(C.) the subject)
2. To show what the library has
(D.) by a given author
(E.) on a given subject
(F.) in a given kind of literature
3. To assist in the choice of a book
(G.) as to its edition (bibliographically)
(H.) as to its character (literary or topical)
Modern catalogs changed in the 1980s and later to include features such as linking to external electronic sources. Many of these will be electronic components of a library’s collection such as subscriptions to electronic journals and books, videos, or any legitimate external link with a stable URL. Those of us in academics promote the use of the online catalog typically during orientation. We want students to use it. The current trend is to overlay the catalog with discovery mechanisms such as WorldCat Local as a way of deep mining subscription information beyond bibliographic content.
I realize that a school’s web site typically contains information about the academic program such as class schedule, texts, faculty, and other details. Why not make some of this information available through the online catalog? It would certainly promote it as a source of institutional information. This may not comport with Cutter’s Objects for a catalog, but the Internet did not exist in 1904 and the way we access and consume information has expanded since then.
I’m well aware of past discussions as to whether libraries should catalog the web. I think that is impossible given the number of pages out there. If anything, that is the purpose of Google and other search sites. Nonetheless, there can be room for curated local information that is not bibliographic. We have research guides and other self-generated content that can be discoverable through the catalog.
Traditionalists may disagree and I understand that. Libraries, however, are doing more than collecting books these days. If the Library Journal article floats the idea of libraries taking on the some of the role performed by bookstores, why stop there? The examples I used may or may not be practical. The institution’s web site may be sufficient. But my real point is how else can the catalog be useful? What other information pointers can be included?
I think any adaptation of the online catalog to include other content is less a technological issue than a financial one. It comes down whether the money is there to buy the infrastructure and the people to manage it. Who knows? The future may be a discovery service partnered with a large Internet search company.Look at page 99 of The New Catalogue of Harvard College Library where Cutter describes the mechanisms of the card catalog drawer. He marveled at the utility of the rods that held the cards in place. They prevented accidental spills but allowed orderly rearrangement. I wonder what he would think of today’s catalogs. [MG]
Keynote Sessions from LITA's 2012 National Forum
LITA's 2012 National Forum was held in Columbus, OH Oct. 4-7. Gary Price has embedded the videos of the three keynote presentations on InfoDocket:
- Eric Hellman: “Building a Public Sector for eBooks”
- Ben Shneiderman: “Fresh Thinking about Information Technology: Visual Analytics, Social Discovery & Networked Communities”
- Sarah Houghton: “Library Futures: Star Trek or Starbucks?”
October 05, 2012
The New Model: Near-Unbiquitous Internet Censorship by Democratic and Authoritarian Regimes
Quoting from the abstract of Arizona Law prof Derek E. Bambauer's Censorship V3.1 [SSRN]:
Internet censorship has evolved. In Version 1.0, censorship was impossible; in Version 2.0, it was a characteristic of repressive regimes; and in Version 3.0, it spread to democracies who desired to use technology to restrain unwanted information. Its latest iteration, Version 3.1, involves near-ubiquitous censorship by democratic and authoritarian countries alike. This Article argues that the new censorship model involves four changes: a shift in implementation to private parties; a hybrid approach mixing promotion of favored viewpoints with suppression of disfavored ones; a blend of formal mandates with informal pressures; and a framing of censorship using uncontroversial labels. It suggests a set of responses to censorship that cabin its abuses and push it towards more legitimate methods: focusing on governmental restrictions, insisting on labeling censorship as such, supporting distributed Internet governance, demanding a default right of access to information, and addressing corporate involvement.
September 23, 2012
Hello GmailLike it, use it. Decent spam filter but how come no matter how often I "mark as spam" political emails, they keep filling my in-box from the same sources? Love how the push notifications to my phone tell me I have "X" or "XX" emails but can't the notifications also tell me how many of the great unread are unfiltered political spam? [JH]
September 17, 2012
Google Offers Software To Create Online Classes
Google is getting into the educational technology game by introducing Course Builder. It's a piece of free software used to manage online classes:
Course Builder is our experimental first step in the world of online education. It packages the software and technology we used to build our Power Searching with Google online course. We hope you will use it to create your own online courses, whether they're for 10 students or 100,000 students. You might want to create anything from an entire high school or university offering to a short how-to course on your favorite topic.
Massive Open, Online Classes, or MOOCs, are getting popular in the general educational world. I wrote about them recently in how they could impact law schools. My basic premise is that law schools could use something like this to demystify the law to either the general public or prospective law schools. As a side note to that discussion, see this story in the Daily Camera (Boulder) which describes how the Law School at the University of Colorado is conducting a set of legal lectures in a “Mini Law School” open to the public for a nominal fee:
In the end, CU officials hope the lectures will help people better navigate the legal system or even get them interested in considering law school.
Imagine doing that online instead of on campus.
Google offers design help through its wiki and other sources. The company does take a bit of advantage by cross-promoting its own resources, offering other optional information about Course Builder via Hangouts on Google+. Anyone interested in producing their own online classes should take a look at this. It might also be useful to produce library instructional material. [MG]
September 10, 2012
OpenGov Champions: Sunlight Foundation's video series highlights citizen contributionsHat tip to Sunlight’s Video Production Director Tiina Knuutila for the recent post calling attention to the Foundation's ongoing OpenGov Champions video series. [JH]
September 05, 2012
Sacramento Public Library Authority Reaches Settlement on Lending eReaders Inaccessible to Persons with Disabilities
Last week the DOJ announced it and the National Federation of the Blind have reached a settlement with the Sacramento Public Library Authority (CA) to resolve allegations that the library violated the ADA by using inaccessible eReaders, specifically Barnes & Noble's NOOK, in its patron lending program. From the DOJ press release:
Under the settlement agreement, the library will not acquire any additional e-readers for patron use that exclude persons who are blind or others with disabilities who need accessible features such as text-to-speech functions or the ability to access menus through audio or tactile options. The library has also agreed to acquire at least 18 e-readers that are accessible to persons with disabilities. The settlement agreement also requires the library to train its staff on the requirements of the ADA.
“Emerging technologies like e-readers are changing the way we interact with the world around us and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from the programs where these devices are used,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.
Hat tip to DigitalKoans. [JH]
September 04, 2012
Just in Time for Christmas eShopping: Walmart claims sales increase since roll-out of its own semantic search engine
D'oh! I never once gave a thought about where the SE technology for eCommerce sites came from. Nor had I ever thought about the possible competititve advances any such technology might give to an eCommerce retailer. That's because I never thought that the walmarts of the eCommerce world might be creating their our SEs in-house. Insert your favorite Homer Simpson quote here.
... Recently I read that Walmart's research and technology lab created and launched Polaris. Polaris is a semantic search engine based on the lab's Social Genome project which identifies entity relationships using public data on the Web, proprietary data, and social media. I have no idea if the Social Genome database establishes taxonomic relationships in hierarchical or cluster or hybrid models one might expect for a "semantic search engine" but Walmart is claiming a 10% to 15% increase in shoppers completing a purchase since Polaris was rolled out.
Sam Walton would be proud. Considering the scope of Walmart's catalog and pricing of items for sale, will searchers of the Company's eCommerce site turn to "best pricing" sites after finding the item they were looking for (and just as importantly related items) by way of Polaris? Is the increased sales stats based on single item purchases, bundled item purchases? Who knows. A purchase is a purchase is a purchase.
For more, see Ryan Kim's Walmart builds its own shopping search engine (Gigaom), John Ribeiro's Walmart rolls out semantic search engine, sees business boost (Computer World) and Jessica Leber's Walmart Dives Into Search Technology (Technology Review). See also Stephen Arnold's think piece on Beyond Search, WalMart Blasts Off with Polaris: Destination Semantic Search.
End note. The published reports indicate that Walmart Lab created Polaris in just 10 months. [JH]
August 23, 2012
Getting Involved in Gov. 2.0, Part I: What is your institution's top priority for open government data?
"There’s plenty of data out there. What are you doing with it? How can you manipulate raw free resources into something good for your institution?" -- Meg Lulofs
In Open data in a librarian hat: What's your Number One?, public law librarian Meg Lulofs makes the case that mission-specific institutional objectives on ways and means to use open government data should be the number one priority for promoting its value:
With respect to open gov data: government accountability is not unimportant to me as a voter. However, as a law librarian, I need to focus on Number Ones with more specific, smaller-scale goals than transparency, that will create measurable outcomes, allowing me to show concrete value to my institution. The big picture of how information is available, and the relationship between the government and the governed is important, but it doesn’t always get you funding, and it can’t always answer the question of the patron in front of you.
When Lulofs writes "we library-types, we information professionals, we decision makers, and perhaps we citizens need to narrow open gov to make it work for us," I don't believe she is calling for the open gov data movement to reduce its comprehensive focus. I prefer to think that Lulofs is calling upon us to narrow our focus on specific institutional and/or shared institutional interests in the utilitarian benefits of having open access to the govenment data to use.
While Lulofs makes a good case to institutional-specific objectives, a more pragmatic case can be made for supporting the development of tools and programs to utilize open gov data based on the shared interests of specific types of libraries in general and different types of law libraries in particular. The key here, as Lulofs highlights, is to craft raw open data into resources that address the information needs of library users. [JH]
Forecasting the Near-Term Future of Big Data Use
Pew Research Center's Internet Project conducted a non-random survey on the future of Big Data that "asked digital stakeholders to weigh two scenarios for 2020, select the one most likely to evolve, and elaborate on the choice. One sketched out a relatively positive future where Big Data are drawn together in ways that will improve social, political, and economic intelligence. The other expressed the view that Big Data could cause more problems than it solves between now and 2020." For details, see The Future of Big Data. [JH]
August 22, 2012
Beyond Copy and Paste: Intelligent Content EveryWare as the Next Wave of Technological Innovation from Wolters Kluwer
Unlike our other major vendors, Wolters Kluwer's executives and technologists in Europe present business ideas with a minimum of the usual marketing pablum on the Company's Intelligent Solutions Blog. In a recent two-part series of posts, WK's Jack Lynch, a member of the Executive Board of Wolters Kluwer whose responsibilities include global shared services, technology and business development, discusses the "next wave" business model for delivering contextualized and actionable solutions for intelligent data-intensive professional use.
I believe our business is evolving along two dimensions—1) The Computing dimension where we find ourselves today in the Post PC era barreling towards an era of Ubiquitous Computing or, what Adam Greenfield has termed, “EveryWare” and; 2) The Information dimension where today we are just beginning to contextualize information in different customer contexts as we continue to move along the data to information to intelligence continuum.
Angel Sancho Ferrer, Research & Development Director in Content & Online Services, Wolters Kluwer, South Europe follows up on Lynch's theme at Content in Search and Inference Engines.
The integration of content and software is a topic as broad as how to create Artificial Intelligence; and it is very deeply related with the core assets of Wolters Kluwer, with enriched content and algorithms that understand those special structures for research or workflow tools.
Expanding on the concept of "actionable content" presented by Lynch, he discusses the limitations of current search technology compared to rules-based inference engines.
Search technologies, as powerful as they have demonstrated to be, have limits. They:
are reactive, and so depend on the quality of the query;
cannot create information, just select the best documents and fragments (without modifying them, just copy and paste).
Rule systems, on the other side:
Can follow a dialog-based approach to obtain more information from the user, and even from a software system, changing its internal states and strategy.
Can create information that was not there (i.e. a computable document).
The delivery of actionable content by way of inference engines can be viewed as a solution that embeds search and professional-grade editorial content to generate made-to-order templates for work product. Think today's personal income tax preparation software only ratched-up well beyond Form 1040 rules for complex legal matters. This borders on Artificial Intelligence. But to make it work it will require specialist legal expertise with an editorial staff constantly reviewing legal developments to update inference engine rules.
One could argue the case that WK's US legal platforms are not even close to WK's "Next Wave" business development model. But they may be someday. If they do, WK presents a competitive threat to BLaw in several specialist market segments and could "nudge" BLaw and WEXIS to offer specialty-centric "solutions" that are state-of-the-art as defined by WK. [JH]
August 21, 2012
What Does "Open Government" Mean?
Quoting from the introduction of Harlan Yu & David G. Robinson's The New Ambiguity of "Open Government", 59 UCLA L. Rev. Disc. 178 (2012):
In this Essay, we ... argue that the term “open government” has become too vague to be a useful label in most policy conversations. Open data can be a powerful force for public accountability—it can make existing information easier to analyze, process, and combine than ever before, allowing a new level of public scrutiny. At the same time, open data technologies can also enhance service delivery in any regime, even an opaque one. When policymakers and the public use the same term for both of these important benefits, governments may be able to take credit for increased public accountability simply by delivering open data technology.
In place of this confusion, we offer a stylized framework to consider each of these two questions independently. One dimension describes technology: How is the disclosed data structured, organized, and published? We describe the data itself as being on a spectrum between adaptable and inert, depending on how easy or hard it is for new actors to make innovative uses of the data. The other dimension describes the actual or anticipated benefits of the data disclosure; the goals of disclosure run on a spectrum between service delivery and public accountability. This is admittedly a simplification of reality: In practice, many disclosures serve both objectives. However, it is common for one of the two motives to predominate over the other, and we believe this provides a useful starting point for thinking about the competing goals of disclosure.
August 16, 2012
Industry Trade Association Endorses EPUB 3
The Book Industry Study Group has endorsed EPUB 3 as the accepted and preferrred standard for eBooks. See BISG Policy Statement POL-1201: Endorsement of EPUB 3. Hat tip to No Shelf Required. [JH]
August 11, 2012
Review of Nexus 7
Jason Griffey reviews the Nexus 7 on ALA Tech Source ("With the arrival of the Nexus 7, I can honestly now recommend a tablet that isn’t the iPad. I still wouldn’t recommend this over the iPad unqualifyingly, but the devil is in the details as far as purchasing decisions go.") [JH]
August 07, 2012
Will Algorithms Replace or Assist Human Editors in Production of Legal Content?
How far will the creation of professional legal content be automatically generated is the topic of WK's John Barker post, Algorithmically Assisted Editorial Insight for Professional Publishers. A snip from the conclusion of the post:
I still do not see algorithms replacing editors. But there is an interesting possibility with “low value” content. For example, officially unpublished opinions do not have precedential value. The volume of these opinions is high. Human editors cannot invest valuable resources in summarizing those opinions compared to appellate court opinions. This is an example where automated methods might be sufficient for a customer’s research needs. Of course, automated content enrichment methods could be used to identify for editors those officially unpublished decisions that might be of particular interest. Closer attention is needed into the value of each type of content for professional customers and what combination of human and algorithmic enhancements are necessary to make it actionable.
I am convinced that professional publishers must strike a balance between applying algorithms and editors to content. What is clear is that technology is advancing and what tasks are delegated to computers versus editors will always be in flux. Any thoughts?
It is unusual for a vendor representative involved in tech and publishing to be seen thinking out loud by blogging. Certainly we do not see that from BLaw, Lexis or TR Legal, at least not uncensored and not full of marketing pablum. You may find WK's The Intelligent Solutions Blog interesting and insightful about where WK is heading. At the moment, WK is developing legal solutions for its European markets that may eventually make an appearance in the US market. [JH]
August 04, 2012
The Top 10 Technology Game Changers for the Next Decade
- Computer Eyewear
- 3-D Printing
- Visual Learning Robotics and
- Voice and Eye Recognition.
For details, see Christina Farr's Good Technology post. [JH]
July 31, 2012
Remember When ... paidContent's Brief History of Digital Media
Remember when Friendster was the hot social network, publishers doubted that ebooks would ever sell, and Netflix thought DVDs in red envelopes was the future?
We do — that was that state of digital media when paidContent launched in 2002. Other weird things were happening back then too: People still got much of their news from television and newspapers, and they learned about major events after they had already happened.
There have been some huge shifts since 2002: Tablets and smartphones are now ubiquitous, lots of people read on their digital devices, and just about everyone is part of a social network or three. This summer is the tenth anniversary of our launch. In an effort to gain some perspective on the past decade in digital media, I’ve been reading back through paidContent’s archives — a collection of over 80,000 posts.
Read more about it in Laura Hazard Owen's interesting and entertaining post, paidContent turns 10: A brief history of digital media. [JH]
July 30, 2012
Shouldn't SCOTUS Records Be Format Neutral? No, Dull Stuff Wouldn't Educate the American People
In a nutshell, that's why Justice Scalia is opposed to televising SCOTUS processings according to an excerpt from the video C-Span interview Mark posted last week. Wearing his Originalist cap, Scalia added that the Constitution does not require televised proceedings. Well, that is certainly true if the Constitution is a fossilized document because multi-media did not exist in the late 1780s.
But is the argument for televised SCOTUS proceedings really about educating the American people about dull stuff only lawyers would understand? I don't think so. I would argue that if multi-media formats and the Internet existed in the 1780s, James Madison would have expected Congress and federal courts to use the format and platform as a way to ensure that government proceedings were open and accessible to all as one among many ways to create and distribute official public records. Imagine the wealth of information Originalists like Justice Scalia would have if the Constitutional Convention was "televised" and curated by C-Span... .
Moving forward some 200-plus years, take the case of the SCOTUS heathcare proceedings as an example. Differing nuances of the the healthcare oral arguments and questions from the bench have been noticed by law profs who opined different opinions based on whether they relied solely on the written transcript or also listened to the audio.
Shouldn't court proceedings (and legislative history, oops, sorry Justice Scalia) in the 21st century be format neutral? It is not a matter of boring the American public to death. It is a matter of providing as complete an offical public record as possible. Imagine practitioners, law profs and law students have access to official transcripts and equally official video recordings available for research and interpretation. That is certainly doable with today's technology and will, in my opinion, undoubtly be incorporated by commercial legal vendors in their enhanced electrontic products even if not deemed official evidence of the record. Citing to and incorporating by providing links to official videos of judicial and legislative proceedings will be common in court pleadings and secondary literature someday just as videos from patrol car cams are already used as evidence in DUI cases. [JH]