Sunday, November 15, 2009

Media Week 46: Elsevier, Hathi, Virtual Education, Downloading

Elsevier continues their 'article of the future' experiment with some new functionality (link):

The Cell-Reflect pilot is the next step in Elsevier’s ongoing Content Innovation effort with the scientific community to determine how a scientific article is best presented online. This follows Elsevier’s recent launch of an initial ’Article of the Future’ prototype with Cell, where the traditional linear journal article is displayed in a much more useful format for life scientists.

IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President of Content Innovation for Elsevier Science & Technology Journal Publishing, commented, “Whereas the ‘Article of the Future’ prototype focused on the internal presentation of an article, the Cell-Reflect pilot connects the scientific article to its external scientific context. Tools like these have the potential to revolutionize the use of scientific research.”

Inside an article, ‘Reflect’ tags and colors gene, protein, or small molecule names on any web page, usually within seconds, without affecting the article itself or its web page layout. Clicking on a tagged or colored item opens a popup, showing a concise summary of contextually important features, such as sequence (for proteins) or 2D structure (for small molecules).

PND Journal of the Future Post

Hathi trust published an update report and noted among a number of items ongoing discussions with Google and Open Archive about injesting scanned works and with OCLC about the Hathi trust catalog. (Pdf)

A summary of sessions at the World Association of Newspapers meeting with summaries of presentations from a wide variety of international newspaper companies (Link). A comment from an Indian newspaper publisher:

"Thanks to watching the US and Europe, we had the benefit of hindsight and we didn't let go of classifieds. We didn't want a Craigslist or a Monster taking away our strength, and so we created sites like M4Marry - a matrimonial site capitalising on a niche audience, but one that today has more than 300,000 profiles, and it's subscription-based so profitable in its own right, as well as bolstering our print classifieds. The way it works in India is that the paper edition builds credibility, but the transactions are enabled through the website." M4Marry is only one of a number of niche products playing to the hyperlocal market in Kerala (another surprise success turned out to be the obituaries section), all of which are beefed up with blogs and UGC.

"The next big thing in India is mobile," explained Mathew, pointing out that SMS shortcodes and downloadable apps for online content have already proved highly profitable, a situation capitalised on by Manorama's use of both media-specific sales team and Junction K - its cross media integrated sales team that spreads campaigns across all platforms and enables the paper's claim that 'you talk to us and you talk to Kerala.'

The Heyward library in California is to experiment with a NetFlix like model (LJ):

“In my nine years talking to library customers on the front lines and in management I’ve learned that the vast majority of library users who get fined are basically responsible people who wanted to return their library books on time, but for whatever reason, didn’t,” Reinhart told LJ. "I know so many people who have given up on libraries either because they have too many fines, or because they want to avoid getting fined in the first place. The system doesn’t fit their schedule, so they don’t use the resource. So I asked myself, why can’t the library let people have a limited number of items for an unlimited length of time in exchange for a monthly fee, just like Netflix?”
The New York Times suggests that virtual classrooms will create a marketplace for knowledge (NYT):

Teacherless or virtual-teacher learning is described by enthusiasts as a revolution in the making. Until now, they say, education has been a seller’s market. You beg to get in to college. Deans decide what you must know. They prevent you from taking better courses elsewhere.

They set prices high to subsidize unprofitable activities. Above all, they exclude most humans from their knowledge — the poor, the old, people born in the wrong place, people with time-consuming children and jobs.

Champions of digital learning want to turn teaching into yet another form of content. Allow anyone anywhere to take whatever course they want, whenever, over any medium, they say. Make universities compete on quality, price and convenience. Let students combine credits from various courses into a degree by taking an exit exam. Let them live in Paris, take classes from M.I.T. and transfer them to a German university for a diploma.

From Inside Higher Ed, there may be bookless libraries but there will always be librarians (IHEd):

“Now, in the fourth generation, we’re really seeing the library as a place to connect, collaborate, learn, and really synthesize all four of those roles together,” said Luce. “How do you do that without bricks and mortar?”

One audience member commented that libraries are defined more by what they do than what they look like. While new technologies might be replacing print collections, she said, they are not replacing librarians — whose roles as research guides have become more even important as available resources have multiplied.

“I think it’s important to look at the type of reference question that’s asked,” she said. “If you look at the READ Scale, which is a tool used to assess the complexity of a question that is asked, the number of directional and simple … questions has dropped, because we’ve provided the tools to make answering those questions easy.

“If you look at the number of more difficult, research-oriented questions,” she continued, “we find it has grown as the complexity of the tools to provide answers to those questions has become more intense.”

A UK report suggests those who illegally download music spend the most on music (Independent):

People who illegally download music from the internet also spend more money on music than anyone else, according to a new study. The survey, published today, found that those who admit illegally downloading music spent an average of £77 a year on music – £33 more than those who claim that they never download dishonestly.

The findings suggest that plans by the Secretary of State for Business, Peter Mandelson, to crack down on illegal downloaders by threatening to cut their internet connections with a "three strikes and you're out" rule could harm the music industry by punishing its core customers.

Anonymous blogger responsible for a book and television show about high class prostitution has revealed herself to be a science researcher - with a Phd - (Times):

Magnanti is a respected specialist in developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology in a hospital research group in Bristol. Six years ago, in the final stages of her PhD thesis, she ran out of money and turned to prostitution through a London escort agency, charging £300 an hour. Already an experienced science blogger, she began writing about her experiences in a web diary that was adapted into books and a television drama starring Billie Piper.

There has been huge speculation about Belle’s real identity, including a theory that she was a well-known author because of the quality of her writing. The blog and books were also criticised for suggesting prostitution could be glamorous. Last week Magnanti contacted one of Belle’s sternest critics, India Knight, the Sunday Times columnist, saying she wanted to reveal her identity.

Pearson maybe looking to acquire Santillana, the $1.4 billion (£838m) Latin American textbook publisher (Times)

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