January 2005 Archives


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(ShelfLife, No. 189 (January 13, 2005) ISSN 1538-4284
While respecting the right of corporations to charge for information, some information professionals are calling for fewer restrictions on its distribution and are lobbying for, or actively participating in, the creation of "information commons" -- a new way of producing and sharing information, creative works and democratic discussions. Like information portals, these "commons" (drawn from the historical existence of the English commons -- pieces of land to which members of a community had specific rights of access) are digital repositories of thematically related information. The information may include everything from scholarly journals to information on knitting. However, instead of being run by corporations, they tend to be run in a collective manner by like-minded individuals -- associations or university departments for instance -- and they are accessible to all. Proponent Marjorie Heins, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and founder of Free Expression Policy Project, doesn't support free distribution of all information; her main concern is the "copyright mentality" that sees media giants attempting to squeeze the last dollar out of all content they control "rather than striking a more reasonable balance between fair return for effort and tying up information... The balance has gone awry." (Information Highways Nov-Dec 2004)

From Preparing tomorrow's professionals: LIS schools and scholarly communication:

How are LIS schools preparing tomorrow's academic librarians to deal with the emerging changes in scholarly communication? What more can they do? In this brief overview, we will look first at specialized courses dealing with various aspects of scholarly communication that have been added to the curriculum in many schools. The next section will look at how existing courses have been modified to include scholarly communication. Finally, we will explore the benefits of field experience, graduate assistantships and participation in institutional projects.

The authors present some interesting insights about the type of current curricula throughout the US schools.

As a conclusion, I think that there should be a stronger emphasis on the role and the implication of digital libraries (DL) and open access (open content, open communication) in scholarly communication. Understanding DLs both as social as well as technological constructs is important because most of the scholarly communication is mediated through some flavor of DL. Knowledge about open access (and open content, open communication) is critical because as an actor in the web of scholarly communication, the concept of openness as related to content and access seems to be influencing and shifting the research focuses of many disciplines.

Internet Archive to build alternative to Google

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From Internet Archive to build alternative to Google:

Ten major international libraries have agreed to combine their digitised book collections into a free text-based archive hosted online by the not-for-profit Internet Archive. All content digitised and held in the text archive will be freely available to online users.

Two major US libraries have agreed to join the scheme: Carnegie Mellon University library and The Library of Congress have committed their Million Book Project and American Memory Projects, respectively, to the text archive. The projects both provide access to digitised collections.

The Canadian universities of Toronto, Ottawa and McMaster have agreed to add their collections, as have China's Zhejiang University, the Indian Institute of Science, the European Archives and Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.

By Mentor Cana, PhD
more info at LinkedIn
email: mcana {[at]} kmentor {[dot]} com

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