Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, July 27, 2002

The People's Network - from the Web site: Lottery-funded by the New Opportunities Fund and managed by Resource, the People's Network project is part of the Government's commitment to give everyone in the UK the opportunity to use computers and access the Internet. Public libraries will support the information needs of local businesses and community groups and provide access to Internet-based Government services. Specially trained staff will be on hand to help people learn new skills and find the information they want. More than 4000 ICT library centres will be up and running by the end of 2002.

This, compiled by me, was posted to the pub-form and Book People lists (sent July 24): NetLingo is a dictionary of Internet terms, it contains thousands of words and definitions that describe the online world of business, technology and communication. ********************************* Information Sphere free online encyclopedia The best encyclopedia ever written was published nearly 90 years ago! And now you can find right here on the web! This 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is filled with historical information that is still relevant today. Also available on ibiblio and other mirror sites. Find Famous People Fast Antonyms and Abbreviations Canadian encyclopedia Lookwayup Dictionary, Thesaurus The Free Dictionary Ultralingua Dictionary TechWeb Encyclopedia Slider Encyclopedia Middle English Dictionary AccessScience McGraw-Hill Dictionary

Friday, July 26, 2002

The Library of Congress has created a web site offering free downloads of its authority records in MARC format. This is an experiment and the LOC welcomes your feedback. (Thanks to the Scout Report.)

Thursday, July 25, 2002

The ARL Collections & Access Issues Task Force is running an online survey on "how research libraries' collection management and access services are responding to changes in research, teaching, and learning, including the growing reliance by students and other members of research institutions to use the Web to find information." Responses are needed by August 23.

More on the DMCA....The ACLU is in court to overturn parts of the DMCA. The narrow issue is whether Ben Edelman should be allowed to decrypt the blacklist of the N2H2 filtering software, publish the decrypted list, and distribute the decrypting app. Edelman's purpose is to analyze the filtering software for overbreadth and underbreadth. While the DMCA anti-circumvention clause would bar this kind of decryption and analysis, the ACLU believes that the First Amendment protects it. The ACLU is hoping that this case will succeed where other DMCA challenges have failed, because the analysis of filtering software, often used in schools and libraries, serves a more evident public good than many other instances of circumvention.

PS. Ben Edelman is a Harvard law student whose work has already appeared twice in this blog. He is writing a distributed app to map the access barriers imposed by national censors on the internet, and recently wrote a study of internet filtering in Saudi Arabia --both with Jonathan Zittrain.

The Encyclopedia Britannica experimented with free online access for a while, but gave up last year. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover that the acclaimed 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is free online. (Thanks to Terry Foreman.)

The June 20 issue of The Economist has a profile of Edward Felten, who has generalized his complaint against the DMCA. It doesn't just prohibit circumvention devices and the publication of research on security and circumvention. It prohibits tinkering. "Today's debate, [Felten] says, is too focused on the negative aspects of tinkering in the virtual world —such as making copyright infringement possible, or developing products that unfairly compete with the original. His more positive argument is that tinkering —which he defines as understanding, repairing and modifying technological devices one owns— is a valuable activity, which is akin to free speech and should be protected as such....As more and more of our cultural material is digitised and made available online, these technical restrictions could become restrictions on culture itself. Thus, the freedom to tinker ends up being about the freedom of culture."

More on deep linking....A German newspaper is in court demanding a quarter of a million dollars in damages from a search engine for indexing its free online content and giving users direct (i.e. deep) links to individual stories. It's easy to criticize the newspaper's suit as silly --when it could have deflected deep links from its own site or when it could have profited from the increased visibility. But the more troubling silliness lies with the EU database directive, which prohibits this kind of indexing and linking.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

M.J. Rose reports that a growing number of novelists are putting their work online, free of charge, where it can develop a following, and then succeed in attracting bids from mainstream publishers. To Rose, the lesson is that the stigma of self-publishing is vanishing. To me, the lesson is that open access is compatible with traditional publishing and revenue, even if only in succession and not simultaneously.

Kendra Mayfield, How to Preserve Digital Art, Wired News, July 23. Quoting Richard Rinehart, director of digital media for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive: "With digital art, there's no room for things to fall between the cracks. If you don't do something to preserve it within a span of five years, it's not going to survive." Mayfield reviews several recent initiatives to preserve digital art.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

The U.S. government maintains an online database of federally funded research, FEDRIP (Federal Research In Progress). It doesn't contain the texts of research papers, but does include the project title, project duration, project summary, principal investigator, sponsoring organization, URL, and related data. Why isn't this database free?

Elcomsoft is reporting new security bugs in Adobe ebooks. Quoting Elcomsoft: "Some time ago we have found much more serious problem with another Adobe software and reported it to the vendor; however, there was no response at all, and so we decided not to waste our time reporting this one to Adobe" before posting it to the web.

Jonathan Zittrain, who co-authored the study of Saudi web filtering we cited a few days ago, has written a good piece for on how national filtering regimes are undermining the end-to-end architecture of the internet. He and his filtering study co-author, Benjamin Edelman, are writing a distributed app that will run on your computer's untapped cycles to test the unfiltered global reach of your machine across the net, and use the resulting data from all participants to create a dynamic map of the access barriers imposed by censors.

Monday, July 22, 2002

The Newspaper Association of America has announced the launch of Newspaper Tech, a website that will offer more than 600 technical training courses online. (From The WriteNews Weekly dated June 24)

These pages provide links to United States news archives available on the Web.

Download a Desktop Productivity e-Book. Volumes II and III are yet to be released. Free registration required.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Hello: My name is Tom Poe, and I live in Reno, NV. I would like to share a point about scientific publishing that may not have been covered, and look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts about how we might use these thoughts to further the quest for bringing the biological sciences and healthcare research online. The statement is presently housed at: WORLDCCR. I'll move it to the discussion area shortly.