"Scholarly communication is the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use. The system includes both formal means of communication, such as publication in peer-reviewed journals, and informal channels, such as electronic listservs. This document addresses issues related primarily to the formal system of scholarly communication."
August 2003 Archives
"The European network for Information Literacy (EnIL) aims at opening a discourse on Information Literacy at European level, in order to promoting the establishment of a Culture of Information in Europe."
"A collaborative Digital Library is a user-centered system. In addition to the traditional purpose of providing resource discovery services, the system might also provide specialized services for some classes of users, ranging from basic alerting and selective dissemination services to complex, virtual community working spaces. In this sense the Digital Library represents a special workspace for a particular community, not only for search and access but also for the process, workflow management, information exchange, and distributed work group communications. But most digital library models are based on non-digital environments. As a result, the perceptions of users and the roles they play are biased by traditional views, which might not be automatically transferable to the digital world. Nor are they appropriate for some new emerging environments. New models are challenging traditional approaches. In many cases they redefine the roles of actors, and even introduce new roles that previously did not exist or were not performed by the same type of actor. With no means of formal expression, it is difficult to understand objectively the key actor/role issues that arise in isolated Digital Library cases, or to perform comparative analysis between different cases. This directly affects how the Technical Problem Areas identified by the June 2001 DELOS/NSF Network of Excellence brainstorming report will be addressed. The report states that the highest-level component of a Digital Library system is related to the system's usage. By understanding the various actors, roles, and relationships, digital libraries will improve their ability to enable optimal user experiences, provide support to actors in their use of Digital Library services, and ultimately ensure that the information is delivered or accessed using the most effective means possible. (Report, DELOS/NSF Working Group, 13 June 2003)"
"BERLIN (Reuters) - Linux (news - web sites), the fast growing and freely available operating system, is set to be the software of choice for future televisions, set top boxes and DVD recorders, consumer electronics executives and specialists said Thursday."
Often we hear about or read headlines of articles claiming to report about machines that think or computers that can understand and reason. In each instance such information ought to be taken with skepticism.
"Over the past five years, a team led by Sandia cognitive psychologist Chris Forsythe has been working on creating intelligent machines: computers that can accurately infer intent, remember prior experiences with users, and allow users to call upon simulated experts to help them analyze problems and make decisions."
Infer intent, remember experiences.... yet, the rest of the article only reports on rules and patterns that are far from any type of thinking, reasoning, or understanding.
Nevertheless, the following quote is an attempt at the right direction, stressing that cognitive entities (such as humans) can interact intelligently because they each know something about each other or have some common/shared background that enables contextualization and understanding:
"When two humans interact, two (hopefully) cognitive entities are communicating. As cognitive entities -- thinking beings -- each has some sense of what the other knows and does not know. They may have shared past experiences that they can use to put current events in context; they might recognize each other's particular sensitivities."
So, how does one build a cognitive entity in its true sense, or perhaps approximate cognitive entity? Is it appropriate to even call a machine a cognitive entity by attaching the same connotation of the cognitivity as it pertains to humans?
I've raised similar issues in a previous entry why machines can't reason or think. The reason why the efforts of AI (artificial intelligence) so far have proven unsatisfactory in emulating the human reasoning and thinking process might have to do with the very fact that so far the approaches have been only mechanistic, thus incompatible with the very nature of the human experience and with the human mind in particular. So, we want computers to think intelligently, reason, learn, and think, and yet we apply mechanistic approaches to attempt to achieve these functions which require intellect?
"Greenstone is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License"
"DSpace is a groundbreaking digital institutional repository designed to capture, store, index, preserve, and redistribute the intellectual output of a university’s research faculty in digital formats."
"Developed jointly by MIT Libraries and Hewlett-Packard (HP), DSpace is now freely available to research institutions worldwide as an open source system that can be customized and extended. DSpace is designed for ease-of-use, with a web-based user interface that can be customized for institutions and individual departments."
The author of Linux poised to shape software and society: Development of free operating system tracing path of King James Bible attempts to link the influence that the King James Bible had on the English speaking world and the society in general with the potential that the Linux as an open source operating system can potentially influence the software development world and the society.
The analogy presented is an interesting one riding on the similarities of the collaborative writing process of the King James and the collaborative process in the development of Linux:
"The fundamental story of the Bible had existed for a thousand years by the time James and his crew took a crack at it. The information it contains is pretty much the same as all other bibles, but how that information is presented is as important. The second fact of its composition is that a committee of 50 did it. It is a monumental work of literature (in addition to its religious importance) ... and what other work of similar import was written by such a large group rather than a single brilliant author? Finally, it was open (written in compelling and accessible language available to the average person of the time) and wasn't copywrited."
"Sounds like Linux."
"While started by one man (Linus Torvalds) it has since been improved and perfected by thousands of programmers. The Linux system tells computers how to live their little silicon lives."
While the analogy is interesting it also raises a lots of questions on the appropriateness of its use. For example, it states that the Bible in English "was written" when it was a translation. There is no doubt about the benefit of one vs. collaborative effort. However, the significance of translation vs. authorship is not well explained. So, the argument is confined, limited, and based on the analogy of individual vs. collaborative effort.
Can the individual vs. collaborative effort analogy be used to imply inference that the open source OS (such as Linux) can be to the software development as the King James Bible was to the English speaking world and the society in general?
"August 25, 2003 — Public Printer, Bruce R. James, and Archivist of the United States, John W. Carlin announced an agreement that will enable the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to ensure free and permanent access to more than 250,000 federal government titles available through GPO Access (http://www.gpoaccess.gov)."
"A more recent study carried out by the American Association of Law Libraries, “State by State Report on Permanent Public Access to Electronic Government Information,” defined permanent public access “as the process by which applicable government information is preserved for current continuous and future public access.”"
Courtesy of Adina Levin's weblog BookBlog:
"Prof. Lessig reports the breathtakingly clue-deprived opinions of the USPTO on open source software.
The patent office was trying to pull the plug on a WIPO meeting that had open source on the agenda. Lois Boland, director of international relations for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is quoted as saying saying: “open-source software runs counter to the mission of WIPO, which is to promote intellectual-property rights... To hold a meeting which has as its purpose to disclaim or waive such rights seems to us to be contrary to the goals of WIPO.”
Good discussion in the comments to Lessig's blog.
I wonder what the points of leverage are for USPTO accountability. When nearly 2 million people protested the FCC's policy on media consolidation, the FCC blithely ignored the protest -- but Congress advanced bills to overturn the FCC policy. Who's listening on IP policy?"
Curtesy of Open Access News:
"Catherine Zandonella, Economics of open access, TheScientist, August 22, 2003. The good news: she covers the controversy in detail, moving well past the cliches and misunderstandings common just a few months ago. The bad news: except for one line on PubMed Central, she ignores the economics of open-access archives. (PS: For the record, she also misquotes me. I said that even if an open-access journal publisher went out of business or were bought by a commercial publisher, the back runs of its open access journals would remain openly accessible, not that they would remain in the "public domain".)"
Many articles and pieces on blogging have been written from different perspectives and viewpoints. Different people blog for different reasons depending on their background, education, profession, current situations, world view, etc...
Most blog entries appear to be taking the form of responses and comments on other articles or blog entries, as well as links to relevant resources. Yet others, as has been explained in "Scholars Who Blog" in Chronicle of Higher Education have taken a form of research and academic publishing. Some are personal diaries. There are class discussion blogs, etc...
In any case, I don't believe bloggers should worry whether they are 'repeating' things across the blogsphere and apparently creating 'redundancy'. As you have noticed, I've put both redundancy and repetition within quotes to denote that perhaps it is paradoxical to talk of such functions in the blogsphere.
Individuals have things to say and blogs have opened another venue for doing so. Indeed a venue much different than before, because blogs and the corresponding blogging related tools provide an open communication and interconnectedness amongst individuals with similar interests.
For example, the new semester is about to start in September. Many graduate classes are conducted in seminar form and thus provide a platform for discussing interesting and relevant issues. For me, this will be another trigger point for writing blog entries. For one, writing about issues one is concerned ensures better understanding and comprehension of the subject. Maybe an interesting individual will comment on a blog entry with a twist that can bring new learning experience and a viewpoint not initially and readily available considering constrains resulting from previous experience and materials read. If nothing more, it is a learning experience that can expand beyond things immediately reachable.
One could argue that all of this could be done via discussion lists and posting on a regular personal page. Perhaps it could. However, there is an advantage to blogging vs. regular personal page because blog entries are usually fed into aggregators, read on regular basis by those interested, and interconnected with similar entries on other blogs. Thus, in a sense facilitating targeted information finding and learning.
As far as mailing lists are concerned, one difference comes in mind. While mailing lists are topic centric, blogs are multi topic centric, with more than one topic centers in a blog (i.e. categories). Thus, blogs provide more rounded profile of an individual expressing his/her opinions, ideas, and thoughts. In addition, besides blog entry interconnectedness, the categorization of entries can facilitate topic of interest interconnectedness. Following the traces (i.e. links) from one blog entry to another ensures multiple opinions as in mailing lists.
Needless to say, any such discussion whether facilitated through blogs and blogging, discussion lists, class seminars, or other discussion platforms, will result in same or similar issues being discussed more than once. But this is good as each instance has its own peculiarities and surrounding which makes it unique for the participants.
For this reasons, when viewed from participants' perspective, the issues of redundancy and repetition are non-issues. Even when viewed from the blogsphere ecosystem perspective repetitions of issues discussed tell much about the blogsphere itself and the topics/issues being discussed in particular.
From purely philosophical perspective it can easily be argued that a Ph.D. is definitely good as you gain more knowledge and more knowledge is better. At least this is the common sense understanding in our human society.
From pragmatic and utilitarian perspective, working in the industry, having a Ph.D. does not necessarily mean more money, better job, better work conditions, or more opportunities. In my work history as information systems analysts, I've met colleagues with Ph.Ds who were performing the same jobs as those with masters.
And yes, it is definitely true that a Ph.D. can be a barrier in getting certain types of positions as it might suggest over-qualification.
Usually, what I sense from discussions with friends and my fellow Ph.D. students, most of those who continue their Ph.D. studies are motivated by factors other than industry work opportunities. Here are some of my thoughts about why I started with Ph.D. studies.
Needless to say, if one aims at academic jobs (i.e. teaching), a Ph.D. is the 'license'.
MIT's OpenCourseWare project, is yet another manifestation of the philosophy of 'openness'.
Definition of information design from InfoDesign:
"Information Design is the intentional process in which information related to a domain is transformed in order to obtain an understandable representation of that domain." [Peter J. Bogaards, 1994]
STC Information Design SIG
Information Design Theory - A representation in the making
INFORMATION DESIGN ATELIER - R&D in information theory
Information Design and Technology program at Georgia Tech
Information Design - Tech Head Stories A nice collection of resources
organic information design [A Thesis]
How to Publish in Top Journals by Kwan Choi, is a very valuable resource to any publisher, especially to current Ph.D. students on the road to academia and publishing.
Brief and to the point, it covers the following topics:
- General Publication Strategies
- Writing Strategies
- Preparation and Submission
- Rejection and Revision
- Being a Good Referee
- Questions and Answers
"According to the web page, all major search engines have proprietary ranking formulae, and some other engines index sites depending on payment.
The developers claim that Nutch will not use such techniques but they admit there's a considerable challenge ahead."
For more info visit the Nutch website.
In light of the arguments presented in New front in SCO-IBM-Linux war, it appears that SCO is aware (or they should be aware) they can't win the war against IBM, Linux and open source in general.
"Start with the fact that Linux isn't as much product as it is movement. As the emblem of open source and brainchild of Linus Torvalds, Linux stands for the notion that progress is not proprietary. Given that SCO means to ration access to the secrets Linux's father set free, SCO's lawsuit is a little like locking the door on Martin Luther King Jr.'s jail cell and expecting to stop the civil rights movement."
Whether the above analogy is an appropriate one is not very important. However, it is worth noting that the 'open source movement' can't be stopped with a subpoena.
Does SCO really believe they will be able to get licensing fees from all the users of Linux? I think they know they will not be able to win this war. What is this game about then?
"The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. The Open Archives Initiative has its roots in an effort to enhance access to e-print archives as a means of increasing the availability of scholarly communication. Continued support of this work remains a cornerstone of the Open Archives program."
"A shift to an open-access model of publishing would clearly benefit science, but who should pay?"
Well, if the research is funded by taxpayers' money (federally funded research), it would be appropriate for the end user to have free access to such scientific information. This still calls for organizing structure to maintain and disseminate the research in terms of journals and other publications.
“The PLoS plan is simple in concept: Instead of having readers pay for scientific results through subscriptions or other charges, costs would be borne by the scientists who are having their work published -- or, practically speaking, by the government agencies or other groups that funded the scientists -- through upfront charges of about $1,500 an article.”
bq. “The shift is not as radical as it sounds, the library's founders argue. That is because government agencies and other science funders are already paying for a huge share of the world's journal subscriptions through "indirect cost" grants to university libraries, which are the biggest subscribers.”
In response to George's entry Open Source as a Social Movement I would like to add that open source should be looked beyond the software space. Open source software is just one manifestation of the open source philosophy, and the open source as a social movements is yet another manifestation of the open source philosophy--in a way more abstract than the open source software given the practical results, its products, as explained in Open Source as a Social Movement.
The 'source' in open source can mean different things to different people and contexts, depending on the level of abstraction and/or pragmatics:
- to the software development is the code
- to the publishing function it the content therefore the 'open content'
- to the access function is the process of communication, therefore 'open access'
Independently of the various manifestations of the open source, there appear to be two important factors in trying to understand and elaborate the various manifestations: the open content and open communication, aided by the concept of translation. I have elaborated many of these items in the corresponding entries [follow the links] as well as in the following two categories: Open Content and Open Communication, The Open Source Philosophy, and Actor-Network theory & methodology.
From a more social perspective, in the open source Internet as a possible antidote to corporate media hegemony it is argued that the open source Internet, as a result of open source movement, manifests itself as a possible antidote to the corporate media hegemony, not only in the US but also throughout the world.
It has been often stated that technology will solve the problems of poverty. While it might be true that technology has increased productivity in certain areas around the world, it is perhaps very much debatable whether it has decreased poverty in general. That is why I read with skepticism the following statement by Switzerland's Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger, in Switzerland sees technology as key to democracy, speaking at a conference on e-Government:
“It is our mission to make modern technology accessible to everybody,” Leuenberger said. “People living in developing countries can only escape poverty if they have access to information.”
If history is any indication, we should have already learned that technology alone does not solve social problems, not necessarily, and perhaps not unless it can be shown so. For example, it would be beneficial to hear how does access to information help developing countries escape poverty? It might, if the means of production in the developing countries are improved to build self sustainable economy based on access to information and information technology in general.
However, considering the conditions around the world at this stage, I would rather expect that activities related to building sustainable local economies (independently if they are related to information access or no) are more important in escaping poverty. People in the developing countries can have access to all information they want (even this process is questionable because to achieve such access to information one needs to first create the necessary economic conditions in order to bring access to information to majority of the people) and still might not be able to escape poverty unless some sort of sustainable local economy is established to a certain degree.
As an addition to my previous entry regarding the Framing the Issue - Open Access by ARL, it is informative to note that the Public Library of Science (PLoS) emerges as a practical attempt to establish such open access scientific/research publication. In A Fight for Free Access To Medical Research it is written:
"Why is it, a growing number of people are asking, that anyone can download medical nonsense from the Web for free, but citizens must pay to see the results of carefully conducted biomedical research that was financed by their taxes?"
Here is the role of the PLoS:
"The Public Library of Science aims to change that. The organization, founded by a Nobel Prize-winning biologist and two colleagues, is plotting the overthrow of the system by which scientific results are made known to the world -- a $9 billion publishing juggernaut with subscription charges that range into thousands of dollars per year."
and the benefit of open access:
"For scientists, the benefits would extend well beyond being able to read scientific papers for free. Unlike their ink-on-paper counterparts, scientific papers that are maintained in open electronic databases can have their data tables downloaded, massaged and interlinked with databases from other papers, allowing scientists to compare and build more easily on one another's findings."
Do we need any more arguments about why taxpayer funded research publications should be accessible for free? Yes, we could go on and on trying to explicate the benefit of free and open access to scientific information, as many have done. However, the above argument is simple and convincing. :) Perhaps not to the commercial publishing enterprises.
The following definition of open access to scholarly and scientific information is provided:
"As used by ARL, open access refers to works that are created with no expectation of direct monetary return and made available at no cost to the reader on the public Internet for purposes of education and research. The Budapest Open Access Initiative stated that open access would permit users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of works, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself."
The argument is that any government funded research (and its corresponding publications) should be free to be accessed by anyone. This is rather a specific proposition related to government funded research. How about open access to all scholarly publications? What factors need to be in place to make this happen? For pros and cons argument please see open access to scientific information.
"Blogs are perfect for this kind of information dissemination as the system of dated entries makes it easy for viewers to identify new content. The Suburban Library System has gone so far as to make a blog the central content of their home page. A number of the system's libraries have caught the fever as well. Librarians at St. Joseph County Public Library in South Bend, Indiana are being encouraged to use their respective knowledge domains to publish topical blogs. So far, they offer a Book Blog and a Sights and Sounds Blog. Notice that blogs can represent both the collective voice of the organization and the diversity of the individuals that comprise it."
Nicely said ...
I just came across an article regarding the concept of singularity as it pertains to society and technology. The article (Exploring the 'Singularity') goes to lengthy details to explain the concept of singularity, what it means, and sort of why is it 'inevitable'.
The predominant framework of the article relies on the belief that there is (or there will be) such existential state, a tangible reality, where machine intelligence is a possibility. This 'understanding' then leads to the belief that technology 'has life of its own'.
The article provides the following brief and succinct definition(s):
"Kurzweil and many transhumanists define it as "a future time when societal, scientific, and economic change is so fast we cannot even imagine what will happen from our present perspective." "
that will result when the machine intelligence surpasses the human intelligence.
"A number of scientists believe machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence within a few decades, leading to what's come to be called the Singularity."
As I have elaborated in another entry (why machines can't reason or think) the word 'intelligence' has two distinct meanings when applied to humans and to machines. Our intelligibility is a reality that we experience, we feel it, and we manifest intelligent actions. Now, if there is to be a machine intelligence in its true meaning, it is us humans that will have to implement it or as will singularists say 'turn the switch' to that machine intelligibility.
Short of using the argument that how can an intelligence create intelligent form more intelligent than itself, we should not forget that machines will definitely become more powerful and more capable in their information processing functions. But, are we ready to call this intelligence? Furthermore, the fast pace of technological development and advance will certainly come. However, how is this related to machine intelligence as stated in this article?
If anything, singularly should better refer to the future time when our human activities are fundamentally dependant and conditioned by the technology that surrounds us. We saw this sort of mass behavior with the Y2K bug. It had nothing to do with machine intelligence. Actually, one can argue that it very much had to do with human mis-intelligence in depending so much on technology even for the most critical daily life necessities.
Maybe it is time to start thinking on how to better utilize the technology around us, or perhaps to how better design the technology that will surrounds us, in such a way that minimizes the possibility of chaos due to overdependence on information technology.
Technology is what we make it. Yes, the appropriation of technologies influences us, our human society, and our activities. This influence, inscribed into the technology by us the humans, might prove to be negative and appear controlling at some instances, maybe with devastating consequences and relative chaos. However, this should not be confused with machine intelligence. We didn't create our intelligence. How can we create machine intelligence (or artifical intelligence) at all, let alone intelligence more intelligent than our own as the concept of singularity suggest?
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY: DOES IT PAY?
Economic Factors of Digital Libraries
"The literature is full of articles about digital projects, new technologies and methods, research, development and user studies, but the economic aspects of managing digital content and establishing digital libraries are woefully under-represented. In this issue of the Journal of Digital Information (JODI) dedicated to the theme of economics, the editors grapple with the choices made by individuals, institutions and communities as they work to balance the desire to go digital with the reality of scarce resources. There are several components to be considered in cost-evaluating digital libraries. In addition to the immediate start-up costs of either creating or purchasing digital content, institutions have to consider the expenses associated with providing patrons with access to that content, as well as the implicit costs of preserving, managing and maintaining digital resources for the long term. One problem is that, instead of replacing
print content, electronic journals are often treated as a value-added service, meaning that the library budget appears to be shrinking for the same amount of information resource. (Journal of Digital Information 9 Jun 2003)"
"In this paper, I consider open content as an important development track in the media landscape of tomorrow. I define open content as content possible for others to improve and redistribute and/or content that is produced without any consideration of immediate financial reward — often collectively within a virtual community. The open content phenomenon can to some extent be compared to the phenomenon of open source. Production within a virtual community is one possible source of open content. Another possible source is content in the public domain. This could be sound, pictures, movies or texts that have no copyright, in legal terms."
Not that the "open content phenomenon can to some extent be compared to the phenomenon of open source", from another perspective perhaps it is more appropriate to look at open source as open content. I would argue that open source (as related to software) is a special case of open content. I guess my definition of open content then becomes broader than what the above article suggests in relation to media.
Open Content and Open Communication
"This paper proposes the creation of an Augmented Social Network (ASN) that would build identity and trust into the architecture of the Internet, in the public interest, in order to facilitate introductions between people who share affinities or complementary capabilities across social networks. The ASN has three main objectives: 1) To create an Internet-wide system that enables more efficient and effective knowledge sharing between people across institutional, geographic, and social boundaries; 2) To establish a form of persistent online identity that supports the public commons and the values of civil society; and, 3) To enhance the ability of citizens to form relationships and self-organize around shared interests in communities of practice in order to better engage in the process of democratic governance. In effect, the ASN proposes a form of "online citizenship" for the Information Age."
Certainly an interesting concept. Perhaps this is one step towards the publishing of research material free from comercial publishers.
In In DSpace, Ideas Are Forever NYT reports on institutional libraries (i.e. digital library repository) and the publishing practice.
"The Journal Backlash Institutional repositories are novel in that much of their content sidesteps academic publishers, which have come under attack from the so-called open-access movement. Some scholars complain that journals delay publication of research and limit the audience because of their soaring costs."
"Out of frustration with journals' limitations, some scientists have started their own archives."
Certainly there seems to be a momentum, rightfully so, against the bureaucratic delays in publishing research articles by publishers of journals and other research periodicals. It appears that the open access movement might be restructuring the publishing of research material in a fundamental way.
However, before any major change does happen, the issues of authority will have to be fundamentally changed in researchers’ perceptions. Whatever authority lies within the peer-reviewing process of a particular journal, will perhaps have to shift to individual universities or other non-for-profit institutions.