Sunday, February 24, 2008

Vista and Silverlight Deal between Microsoft and the Library of Congress

Slashdot via Cory Doctorow and Boing Boing and they via GCN.com with a hat tip to public.resource.org sound the alarm on the new deal between Microsoft and the Library of Congress on Vista and Silverlight.

It definitely looks like a win-win deal on both sides to us. The public wins too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Open-Access Law Libraries

OK, we were surprised, but the link is courtesy of a hat tip to Instapundit, linking to TaxProf Blog writing on, of all things, open-access law libraries, with his own hat tip to David Lat and Above the Law on Some Cool New Research Tools (A'nd they're free, too!).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

German Library Law, Library Science and Academic Publication in German : Bibliotheksrecht, Bibliothekswesen, Wissenschaftliches Publizieren

For those of our readers who speak or read German, Eric Steinhauer is a German librarian
(Dr. jur. Eric W. Steinhauer, Bibliotheksrat an der Bibliothek der Technischen Universität in Ilmenau/Thür : Librarian, Technical University of Ilmenau; Lecturer for Library Law, Bavarian Library School/Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany )
who has two blogs, Bibliotheksrecht (Library Law) and Skriptorium, and a website Bibliotheksrecht und Bibliothekswesen focusing on library law, library science and academic publication.

Among his own publications is the presentation in English, "Digital library services and the amended copyright act in Germany", 20 November 2007, International Round Table "Digital Libraries and Copyright", Riga, Latvia.

Robert Darnton, Harvard Library Director, Outlines Harvard Arts & Sciences Faculty Adoption of Mandatory Opt-Out Open Access Academic Publication

The biggest academic news of the year is the adoption by the Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences of a mandatory "open access" opt-out policy regarding scholarly articles published by that faculty. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education, we are blogported to the Open Access News of Peter Suber as also to Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, and his article at the Harvard Crimson, which outlined the new policy prior to the acceptance vote:

"Although this initiative is being submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, it concerns all the faculties of the University. All of them face the same problems. Harvard Medical School, for example, is working on ways to help its faculty members comply with the recent legislation by Congress mandating that all articles based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health be made openly accessible through PubMed Central, the database maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

The Harvard University Library will set up an Office for Scholarly Communication to make the open-access repository an instrument for access to research across all disciplines in the spirit of the “one-university” environment that the HOLLIS catalog now provides for holdings in all the libraries, more than 80 of them, throughout the University system. The Office for Scholarly Communication will also promote maximum cooperation by the faculty. Many repositories already exist in other universities, but they have failed to get a large proportion of faculty members to submit their articles. The deposit rate at the University of California is 14 percent, and it is much lower in most other places. By mandating copyright retention and by placing those rights in the hands of the institution running the repository, the motion will create the conditions for a high deposit rate.


What further sets Harvard’s proposal apart from the others is its opt-out provision. Whereas other repositories depend on faculty opting in by volunteering to provide digitized copies of their work, the Harvard system would have all faculty members grant a non-exclusive permission to the President and Fellows of Harvard to distribute their articles. The system would be collective but not coercive. Anyone who wanted to retain exclusive rights to her- or himself could do so by obtaining a waiver. Of course, those who cooperate with the system will also retain full rights to the publication of their work. By sharing those rights with Harvard, they sacrifice nothing; and they will have the collective weight of Harvard behind them if they resist a journal’s demand for exclusive rights. We have designed a legal memorandum called an author’s addendum to reinforce them in negotiations with commercial publishers."


Harvard thus becomes "the first university in the United States to mandate open access to its faculty members’ research publications".

This is the beginning of a revolution in academic publishing.

The text of the resolution presented to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences was:

"On behalf of the Provost’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing, Professor S. Shieber will
move:

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University is committed to disseminating the
fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Dean or the Dean’s designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need.

To assist the University in distributing the articles, each Faculty member will provide an
electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Provost’s Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository.

The Office of the Dean will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes
concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty."

Inside Higher Ed writes inter alia:

"Harvard University’s arts and sciences faculty approved a plan on Tuesday that will post finished academic papers online free, unless scholars specifically decide to opt out of the open-access program. While other institutions have similar repositories for their faculty’s work, Harvard’s is unique for making online publication the default option.

The decision, which only affects the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, won’t necessarily disrupt exclusivity agreements with journals or upend the academic publishing industry, but it could send a signal that a standard bearer in higher education is seriously looking at alternative distribution models for its faculty’s scholarship. Already, various open-access movements are pressing for reforms (from modest to radical) to the current economic model, which depends on journals’ traditional gatekeeping function and their necessarily limited audiences but which has concerned many in the academic community worried about rising costs and the shift to digital media....

“This is a large and very important step for scholars throughout the country. It should be a very powerful message to the academic community that we want and should have more control over how our work is used and disseminated,” said Stuart M. Shieber, the James O. Welch Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science, who sponsored the bill before the faculty governance group.

In an op-ed published in The Harvard Crimson on Tuesday, the director of the university library, Robert Darnton, wrote: “In place of a closed, privileged, and costly system, it will help open up the world of learning to everyone who wants to learn ... ideas would flow freely in all directions.”"

We are very gratified at this development in the availability of academic publications, a problem about which we posted previously at some length on LawPundit.

Update: ars technica covers this development, via digg

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Social Networks for Law Librarians and Law Libraries featured at LLRX

Social Networks for Law Librarians and Law Libraries, or How We Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Friending by Meg Kribble and Debbie Ginsberg, published on January 19, 2008 at LLRX.

Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions

ILLCD, the Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions, by Martin Samson, "features extensive summaries of over 530 court decisions shaping the law of the web; providing facts, analysis and pertinent quotes from cases of interest to those who do business on the Internet and in New Media."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Law Librarians as Avatars in Second Life

We ran across this at California Lawyer Magazine, where they have a write-up (right column) about a librarian who is an avatar in Second Life.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Most Famous Library Resident and Super Bowl Winning New York Giants Head Coach Share Same Home Town

What does Tom Coughlin, head coach of the just victorious New York Giants Super Bowl championship football team, have in common with Steven Stanzak, also known as Bobst Boy, the most famous library resident of all time?

Both hail from Waterloo, New York, birthplace of Memorial Day.

Friday, February 1, 2008

CILIP & OCLC Executive Briefing on the Digital Library 17 April 2008

The European Union (EU) Digital Libraries Initiative shows us clearly that digital libraries and digitization are on the march, not just in the United States, and not just at Google.

In the UK, CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, informs us about an upcoming 17 April 2008 Exectuive Briefing on the Digital Library:

"CILIP is joining forces with OCLC, the world's largest library service and research organisation, to present an Executive Briefing on the Digital Library in London on 17 April 2008. It will focus on how digital media is impacting on UK libraries, and the challenges and opportunities this trend presents."

As we wrote previously at LawPundit:

"The bookless digital libraries of the future are already on their way. CNET's Stefanie Olsen wrot in ZDNET News on "The college library of tomorrow" that book digitization has been well under way for some time, but that the major problem in digitizing books is the law:

"Yet the biggest challenge to digitizing libraries are the concerns of publishers and intellectual property rights holders. Copyright laws have changed over time and can be different outside the United States. As a result, many book-digitization projects must entail copious amounts of time researching the rights of works and obtaining permissions."

Here again, sensible legislation concerning this inevitable development is lacking in the US Congress and elsewhere among the world's civilized nations."

Accordingly, anyone interested in digital libraries must also keep one eye on legal developments. LawPundit is a good place to start.

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