Sunday, June 21, 2009

Media Week 24: OCLC, British Library, Elsevier, Google,

Tim Winton wins Australia's most prestigious literary award for the fourth time (TheAge):

Tim Winton was only 24 when in 1984 he first won the Miles Franklin, Australia's most significant prize for literary fiction. He and his wife, Denise, had a colicky baby and no money. "It saved my bacon; it was the cavalry coming over the hill. And that screaming baby we were racoon-eyed from is a young man with several degrees who turns 25 next month."

Last night, after becoming the first writer to win the award in his own right for a fourth time - for his latest novel, Breath - Winton launched a passionate defence of Australian writers and literary culture
On their public policy blog Google continue their defense of the Google Book Search settlement arguing that it will expand access (Link):
Have you ever gone to your local bookstore looking for a book only to be told that it’s not there? You look for it on Amazon; they don’t offer it. You go to your local library and it’s not there. But you know that it exists because you read it your freshman year in college.

Or let's say you’re a second generation American interested in reading books in your parents’ native language, Greek. Try finding more than a few books in foreign languages in most town libraries or bookstores in the United States.

Or you're a graduate student who has been doing research on your thesis for years. You think you've read every book there is to read on your topic, but then you type your query into Google Book Search, and you suddenly discover a new original book or monograph that you weren't even aware of before.


The settlement won't just expand access to out-of-print books, either. Because authors and publishers will have the ability to let users preview and purchase their in-print books through Google Book Search, readers will have even more options for accessing in-print books than they have today.

Not only did Elsevier create some 'fake' journals for drug makers they also encouraged the drug maker to agree the content. (The Australian):

THE world's largest medical publisher asked the manufacturers of anti- inflammatory drug Vioxx which articles they wanted to include in a so-called medical journal on bone health.

Documents tendered to a Federal Court class action reveal staff at publishing company Elsevier, which produces The Lancet, emailed pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co about its "preferred content selection" for the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine.

The publisher also admits the journal is a "single sponsored publication" where most of the content is chosen by Merck with some "input from Elsevier". The plaintiff in the class action has alleged the journal was fake and it was simply a marketing exercise designed to promote Vioxx.

The court has also heard Merck put the names of high-profile arthritis experts on the editorial board of the phoney journal without telling them they had done so. Since these revelations, Elsevier has expressed embarrassment over its role and admitted it failed to meet its own "high standards for disclosure".

In more Elsevier news, there are rumors that the company is looking to take on the responsibility for managing Universities content repositories: basically managing and hosting the content that academics create. This is a potentially sly approach to the 'open-access' issue (Link):

Elsevier is thought to be mooting a new idea that could undermine universities' own open-access repositories. It would see Elsevier take over the job of archiving papers and making them available more widely as PDF files.

If successful, it would represent a new tactic by publishers in their battle to secure their future against the threat posed by the open-access publishing movement.

Most UK universities operate open-access repositories, where scholars can voluntarily deposit final drafts of their pay-to-access journal publications online. Small but growing numbers are also making such depositions mandatory.

An internet posting earlier this month alerted repository managers to Elsevier's move. "Rumours are spreading that Elsevier staff are approaching UK vice-chancellors and persuading them to point to PDF copies of articles on Elsevier's web-site rather than have the articles deposited in institutional repositories," the memo, on a mailing list operated by the Joint Information Systems Committee, said.

Google Book Search announced some enhancements to their Book Search interface (Link):

Today I'm excited to announce that we're rolling out changes to Google Books that give readers and book lovers everywhere new ways to interact with the words and images contained within the books we've brought online. We've also made it easier for users to share previews of their favorite books on their blogs or websites. Here's a tour of some of the enhancements we've made to the way you search, browse, and share the books that we've digitized.

OCLC is working with print machine manufacturer Kirtas to enable the printing of books on demand having found them via Worldcat (SBWire):

Kirtas Technologies, the worldwide leader in bound-book digitization, and OCLC, a global online library service and research organization; have signed an agreement that will enable streamlined access to the ever-increasing numbers of digitized books to users of OCLC’s WorldCat and

As part of the agreement, OCLC will now be able to provide its users with data indicating that a book is either available as digitized content or that it can be made available for digitization.

In addition, OCLC will provide Kirtas with bibliographic records for use on, ensuring consistent and accurate descriptions of the books being offered for sale by its library content providers.

OCLC has incorporated Worldcat identies into (Blog)

The British library together with JISC and Gale/Cengage announced the launch of a newspaper archive that includes over 2mm pages of news material (Link):

The service - accessed at - includes more than two million pages of newspapers from 49 national and regional titles dating from 1800.

Newspapers covered by the service include the Daily News, Manchester Times, Western Mail, Northern Echo, Glasgow Herald and Penny Illustrated.

Users can read reports of the Battle of Trafalgar in the Examiner and the gory details of the Whitechapel murders in the melodramatic Illustrated Police News. Children as young as nine smoking and drinking, music hall star Vesta Tilley in an X Factor-style contest, and the banking collapse of 1878 are also among the stories.

A search on the words 'Hoboken, New Jersey' resulted in some very interesting results.

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