Welcome to the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
May 30, 2002
Ratcheting down the Newsletter
* I apologize for this long digression from FOS news into housekeeping details. It is unfortunately necessary. If you were a subscriber in December, then you knew this day was coming. (See FOSN for 12/26/01.) By chance, this happens to be a slow news week for FOS, so this issue contains little more than this important housekeeping note.
I've been on sabbatical for the 2001-02 academic year. Although I launched the FOS Newsletter before my sabbatical began, it flourished during my sabbatical because I was able to give it my full-time attention. Now my sabbatical is coming to an end and I must ratchet down the Newsletter in preparation for the 02-03 year, when I will be teaching full-time.
I am slowing down and slimming down the Newsletter, but not halting it. First, I hope to continue it during the coming year at a lower level of activity. I haven't figured out exactly what this will mean and probably cannot do so in advance. It will depend on how much time I can find for it. But at least it will mean shorter issues at longer intervals. It may mean no issues at all for very long intervals. Second, I hope to revive it after the 02-03 academic year if I can find a way to give it the time it requires. If I can, then I'll revive it in the form that seems best at the time, which may differ from the form in which it has appeared during the past year.
In trying to describe the imminent state of the Newsletter, I've discovered that English has good words for death and inactivity, and even for reduced activity in which the previous state was excessive or the reduced state deficient. But it has no good word for reduced activity without these pejorative connotations. Anyway, *that* is the intermediate state at which I'm aiming.
I'll ratchet down the Newsletter in two phases. The first phase starts now and runs until mid-August. During this time I'll prepare my 02-03 courses, move back from Maine to Indiana, and otherwise bring my sabbatical to an end. The second phase starts in mid-August, when I resume full-time teaching.
* To take up some of the functions performed by the Newsletter, I'm launching a blog to gather and disseminate FOS news. It will be a group blog with many contributors. If I can recruit contributors from many nations, many disciplines, and many sectors of the FOS landscape (universities, libraries, journals, publishers, and foundations), then the blog will have a good chance of gathering FOS news comprehensively, yet without greatly burdening any single contributor. I will be one of the contributors and manage the board of contributors.
The blog will differ from the Newsletter in several ways. It will publish many voices, not just mine, which is a plus. It will reside on the web rather than arrive in your email box (although you can sign up for email notification of updates). Its entries will be short, emphasizing news and containing less interpretation and analysis than the Newsletter. For these reasons, it won't replace the Newsletter. And of course, the Newsletter will still exist.
But at least the blog should take over much of the work of reporting the news and lift that burden from me. I expect that when I have a nugget of news, I'll post it to the blog, and when I have a longer interpretive or analytic piece to write, I'll write it for the Newsletter. During the 02-03 year I won't have nearly the time for either kind of writing that I had this year, but this is nevertheless how I see the two outlets covering their common topic.
To seed the blog with news, and show what it will look like, I've put some of this issue's news items on the blog as well. Have a look (link below).
If the blog isn't as comprehensive as the Newsletter at first, it will be from lack of contributors. Give it time to grow and consider becoming a contributor yourself.
The blog will have a searchable archive of past postings and no advertising. I don't have the archive working yet, but I will soon. (When it's ready, the archive will be retroactive to the first posting.)
Blogs are wonderful structures adapting to many serious purposes. While I'm turning to the blog from necessity, I believe it has the potential to be more useful than the Newsletter at least in its coverage of the news.
* I've talked to enough people about my plans to know that this is a question on many minds: Could I keep the Newsletter going at the same level if I had volunteer help? I appreciate the implicit offer of help in these questions, but unfortunately the answer is "no". Volunteers could read everything I now read to gather FOS news, and they could probably apply my own criteria to throw out 90% of it and send me the URLs to the most relevant 10%. But I'd still have to read the 10% and write the stories. This would clearly take me less time than I have been spending, but I'm afraid it wouldn't save enough time. When I teach full-time, I often have weeks on end when I don't even have time to give proper attention to my students and colleagues.
If we're talking about others writing their own stories, and not just feeding me the leads, then that's essentially the blog. If you would have volunteered to keep the Newsletter going, please consider contributing to the blog.
Nor could I solve this problem merely by becoming more selective and limiting coverage to (say) half the topics I've been covering in the Newsletter. To find the relevant stories, I'd still have to read nearly everything I read now, but simply filter out more of it.
* My search for a new host for the FOS Newsletter and FOS Discussion Forum is now much less urgent. I'll continue the search because I'd still like to give you an ad-free Newsletter; I'm still in contact with six serious candidates. But the search is going slowly because we're all busy, and now it will go even more slowly.
* Please don't unsubscribe yourselves on this account. The Newsletter lives, even if mails less often. The discussion forum is unaffected by these changes. It will remain open to all your comments on FOS topics, both from the reduced Newsletter and the new FOS blog.
* During my sabbatical, support from Earlham College and the Open Society Institute allowed me to work full-time on the Newsletter and the FOS cause more widely, a unique and precious opportunity. I welcome this chance to express my thanks and appreciation.
Finally and above all, I thank all 1170 of you for choosing to fill your mailboxes with an unusually long and idiosyncratic weekly mailing. Your affirmation of my work and the FOS cause has been deeply gratifying. The work isn't over, and my voice isn't going away, but my year of freedom is coming to an end.
FOS News blog
How to become a contributor to the blog
If you're new to blogs, read Dan Gillmor's thoughts on why they are the future of journalism, especially on tech subjects.
FOS discussion forum. Tell me I'm making a mistake, that I'm overlooking an obviously superior solution, or that blogs are for teenage diarists. I'll take it as long as you understand the constraints I'm facing.
(Anyone may read; only subscribers may post; subscription is free.)
* The Budapest Open Access Initiative has changed the phrase "alternative journal" to "open access journal" in all its online documents. (Full disclosure: I am one of the BOAI drafters.) When we launched in February, the term "open access" was not in common use for this kind of unpriced, barrier-free online access. No term was in common use for this. We picked "open access" for the initiative itself, and defined it carefully in the public statement. But we thought we needed a more self-explanatory if imprecise term, like "alternative journal", to describe the kind of journal we hoped to launch and encourage. The recent change of terminology is more significant than a change of wording. It shows our confidence that the language of open access is becoming familiar enough to use in short phrases, where there is no opportunity to include a clarifying definition. Until now, the FOS movement lacked this kind of familiar terminology for its central goal. Because words are tools, this is progress. (PS: These are reasons to change the name of the newsletter and blog, but "FOS" itself has acquired a useful kind of branding familiarity of its own.)
* At the same meeting that launched Lawrence Lessig's Creative Commons, Tim O'Reilly announced that all O'Reilly books by consenting authors would be given only a 14 year copyright before passing into the public domain. Copyrights lasted for 14 years at the time the U.S. Constitution was ratified, but now last for the author's life plus 70 years, or 95 years for works by corporations.
* HINARI has added 17 publishers to its consortium of publishers offering online medical journals and databases to developing countries at tiered prices, free for the lowest tier. (See FOSN for 2/25/02.)
List of the 17 new publishers in the program
* TheScientificWorld has launched what it calls dynamicREVIEWS. These are peer-reviewed literature reviews linked to online databases and kept current as new developments require. The dynamicREVIEWS are free to subscribers to TheScientificWorldJOURNAL, and at a fee to others.
New on the net
* There are several interesting discussion threads on the LibLicense list at the moment, all trying to go beyond criticism of the DMCA to sketches of a constructive alternative that would respect IP rights as far as they ought be respected and no further.
* The CEDARS Project (CURL Examplars in Digital Archives) has posted five new working papers to its website, on IPR, Preservation Metadata, Collection Management, Digi Preservation Strategies, and the Distributed Digital Archiving Prototype.
(Thanks to Charles Bailey's Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog.)
In other publications
* In the May 28 _Information Today_, Barbara Quint reports that OCLC will become the exclusive distributor of Olive software to libraries. Olive publishes a suite of tools for digitizing newspapers and creating a searchable archive of their articles and photographs.
* In the same issue of _Information Today_, Paula Hane reports that CrossRef may launch a full-text search engine. The search engine would index all online texts that use DOIs for reference linking, which would give it a huge headstart in indexing academic content. (PS: However, most of this content is DRM-protected and not free. I'm guessing the search engine will work like Elsevier's Scirus, and allow free searching of unfree texts, list links or citations among the search results, but only let authorized users click through.)
* In the May 28, Jeffrey Young describes how netLibrary has emerged from bankruptcy as an acquisition of OCLC and how it is using OCLC's connections and credibility with academic libraries. Rich Rosy, the new CEO, says that publishers originally forced it to limit ebook circulation to one borrower at a time, but may now be willing to permit more simultaneous use.
* On May 28, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released the results of its survey of technology use by library and museum professionals.
* In a pair of UPI stories dated May 27 and 28, Sam Vaknin does a two-part interview with Michael Hart, the founder of the Gutenberg Project.
Part I, http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=24052002-063619-6754r
Part II, http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=28052002-120328-3546r
* In the April 15 _Library Journal_, Kathleen Born and Lee Van Orsdel give a very helpful overview of the results of the ALA's 41st Annual Report Periodical Pricing Survey (see FOSN for 5/23/02). They include tables of essential data (e.g. average journal price by discipline every year for the past five years) and succinct summaries of other important findings.
* In the March 16 _Telepolis_, Konrad Lischka has a very positive review of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, "Der Geist, der aus der Flasche kam".
Following up (new developments in continuing stories)
To see past coverage of these stories in FOSN, use the search engine at the FOSN archive.
* More on the DMCA
The Free Software Foundation has launched the Digital Speech Project to work toward the amendment or repeal of the sections of the DMCA incompatible with freedom of digital speech.
(Thanks to C-FIT.)
* More on the Eldred case
On May 23, the ARL put online its amicus brief on behalf of Eldred, or against copyright extension.
* In last week's issue I said that the March workshops in Bangalore on electronic publishing and open archives were organized by the Indian Institute of Science, when they were only held in its facilities. The workshops were organized by the Indian Academy of Sciences. I thank Mr. N. A. Prakash for the correction.
If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your observations with us through our discussion forum. (Conferences marked by two asterisks are new since the last issue.)
* Society for Scholarly Publishing (AAP)
Boston, May 29-31
* Fair Use Seminar
Portland, Oregon, May 30
* Off the Wall and Online: Providing Web Access to Cultural Collections
Lexington, Massachusetts, May 30-31
* Multimedia Content and Tools: Towards Information and Knowledge Systems
London, May 30-31
* Advancing Knowledge: Expanding Horizons for Information Science
Toronto, May 30 - June 1
* Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2002
Provo, Utah, May 30 - June 1
* International Association of Technological University Libraries Annual Conference: Partnerships, Consortia, and 21st Century Library Science
Kansas City, June 2-6
* Digital Behavior: European Forum on Digital Content Creation, Management, and Distribution
Cologne, June 4-8
* DELOS Workshop on Evaluation of Digital Libraries: Testbeds, Measurements, and Metrics
Budapest, June 6-7
* Social Implicatoins of Information and Communication Technology
Raleigh, North Carolina, June 6-8
* Electronic Resources and the Social Role of Libraries in the Future
Sudak, Ukraine, June 8-16
* First International Semantic Web Conference
Sardinia, June 9-12
* Frontiers of Ownership in the Digital Economy: Information Patents, Database Protection and the Politics of Knowledge
Paris, June 10-11
* IASSIST 2002: Accelerating Access, Collaboration, and Dissemination
University of Connecticut, June 11-15
** Joint Conference of EARMA and EuroScience: Integrating European Research and Innovation Management
Budapest, June 14-15
** Open Access to Scholarship: Paths for Libraries [part of the ALA annual meeting, no separate URL]
Atlanta, June 15, 1:30-3:30,
* Building our Cultural Heritage --Electronically
Atlanta, June 17
* The Commons in an Age of Globalisation. Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, June 17-21
* Informing Science and IT Education
Cork, June 19-21
* 8th International Conference of European University Information Systems
Porto, June 19-22
* Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers: Exploiting the Online Environment for Maximum Advantage
Birmingham, June 20-21
* Transforming Serials: The Revolution Continues
Williamsburg, Virginia, June 20-23
* Delivering Content to Universities and Colleges: The Challenges of the New Information Environment. Sponsored by JISC, PA, and ALPSP.
London, June 21
** Digitisation, Conservation, and Preservation Workshop
Toledo, Spain, June 23-25
* Choices and Strategies for Preservation of the Collective Memory
Bolzano, Italy, June 25-29
* CIG Seminar: REVEALed: The Truth Behind the National Database of Resources in Accessible Formats
London, June 26
* 4th International JISC/CNI Conference
Edinburgh, June 26-27
* Digitisation Summer School for Cultural Heritage Professionals
Glasgow, June 30 - July 5
** Library and Information Services in Astronomy
Prague, July 2-5
** Libraries as Portals to Information. 31st Annual LIBER conference.
Graz, July 2-6
** The Digital Revolution: An Overview of the New Communication Realities
Maastricht, July 3-5
** Digital Library IT Opportunities and Challenges in the New Millennium
Beijing, July 8-12
** DELOS, 2nd International Summer School on Digital Libraries
Pisa, July 8-12
** Digital Library: IT Opportunities and Challenges in the New Millennium
Beijing, July 9-11
** Networked Virtual Museums and Memory Institutions. Digital Cultural Heritage IV.
Maastricht, July 10-13
** Challenges in Knowledge Representation and Organization for the 21st Century: Integration of Knowledge Across Boundaries
Granada, July 10-13
** Joint Conference on Digital Libraries 2002
Portland, Oregon, July 14-18
** Usability for Digital Libraries (Part of the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries)
Portland, Oregon, July 18
** Workshop on Developing Digital Libraries Education and Training Programs (Part of the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries)
Portland, Oregon, July 18
** Workshop on Document Search Interface Design and Intelligent Access in Large-Scale Collections (Part of the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries)
Portland, Oregon, July 18
** Conceptions of Library and Information Science: Emerging Frameworks and Methods
Seattle, July 21-25
** Eighth ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
Edmonton, July 23-26
** International Summer School on the Digital Library 2002: The Management of Change
Tilburg, July 28 - August 1
** Museums, Libraries, and Archives: Summer Institute for Knowledge Sharing
Los Angeles, July 29 - August 1
** Advances in Infrastructure for e-Business, e-Education, e-Science, and e-Medicine on the Internet
L'Aquila, Italy, July 29 - August 4
The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.
This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).
Please feel free to forward any issue of the newsletter to interested colleagues. If you are reading a forwarded copy of this issue, you may subscribe by signing up at the FOS home page.
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Sources for the FOS Newsletter
Copyright (c) 2002, Peter Suber
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