Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Presidents Day

Somewhat of a holiday here today. Markets are closed, streets are clear and MSNBC can't choose between psycho-analyzing Britneys' coif or ANS's will. And it was a slow weekend in publishing...

I mentioned Worldcat Identities last week and Tim O'Reilly had a nice plug for it as well. He also mentions the idea of some incorporation into wikipedea which has come up in conversation. Adding a resource like Worldcat to wikipedea would aid both authority and functionality. On any particular subject an editor or user has an ability to link to an appropriate and unambiguous data record - in this case a Worldcat Identity - via very simple linking functionality. They will add value to the item they are creating in wikipedea and can be confident in the accuracy and depth of the Worldcat Identity they have linked to.

This video from Librarybites. has been circulating the web for a few days and it is very well done. It comes from Kansas State University and attempts to show how rapidly our relationship with search, content and networking can change. It is about five minutes.

Google has an impressive list of employee benefits which includes inviting authors to speak to employees about their books. They also video the meetings/presentations and they are available to all here. I often wonder why B&N and Borders don't video their author readings....

There is a lot of hype about Second Life and just about everyone is setting up shop there or making some political announcement (that they could make just as easily on Speakers Corner), but is it all over-hyped?. Are there really millions of people populating the site or are there millions like me who tried it once to see what it was all about and have never been back? That and some other comments make this blog post from TeleRead thought provoking for any library(ian) or publisher that is thinking of setting up residence on the site. As he comments:
If libraries decide to invest in SL properties, they may suffer a virtual repeat of the Florida land boom of the 1920s. None other than Electronic Arts, the giant games company, is already bent on competing with SL.
Now don't get me wrong, experimentation is a great thing as is becoming simpatico with the customers/patrons you are trying to service. Just don't loose perspective that's all. Also the following warning is also relevant given the silliness around a recent children's book ban:
The real mainstays of SL at this point are gambling and sex. Don’t libraries and schools have enough problems with American ayatollahs? No prudery here, just practicality. A virtual library should be able to integrate itself well with the rest of its cyberworld, but currently, youth-oriented library areas have to be isolated from SL as a whole.
The European Commission is continuing a policy debate on the scientific publication system. Here is the text of their announcement. No word yet on any outcomes from the meeting last week.

In the context of the beginning of the Seventh Framework Programme, the research Directorate-General has launched a policy debate on the functioning and efficiency of the scientific publication system, understood as the practices, rules and mechanisms defining the process of scientific publication, as well as its exploitation. A first contribution to this debate is the EC-commissioned "Study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe". This Study provides an economic analysis of European scientific publication markets and makes a series of policy recommendations. A public consultation was held from 31 March to 15 June 2006 on the basis of this Study.

An important milestone in the policy debate on the scientific information system is the joint Communication on "Scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation" , presented by J. Potočnik, Commissioner for Science and Research, and V. Reding, Commissioner for Information society and media, and adopted in February 2007. This Communication offers an entry point for discussion within the Council of Ministers, at the Member State level, and within funding bodies and intergovernmental research organisations. Issues to be addressed include dissemination and access strategies (e.g. Open Access), publishing business models (e.g. reader-pay, author-pay), and the relation between scientific publication and research excellence. A further impulse was given by a conference hosted by the European Commission on 15-16 February 2007 in Brussels at the Charlemagne building.

No doubt the above is similar to a study the UK Parliament conduct two or three years ago. I wonder if the outcome will be any different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

>I wonder if the outcome will be any different.

Depends what you mean by "outcome".

This all started with a letter to the European Commission from six Heads of State and Government. They asked the Commission to "take necessary steps to improve access to Europe's cultural and scientific heritage". That was a couple of years ago.

The day before the conference, the Commission published its response to the Heads of State. This is the "Communication to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation"( FR , DE , EN ).

The Communication concludes with the words: "The Commission invites the European Parliament and Council to debate the relevant issues on the basis of the present Communication".

So the debate now continues in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers, and the conference 'Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area' was just a preliminary debate*.

Richard Hardwick
*Actually, it was more a series of powerpoints than a debate.