Sunday, November 11, 2012

MediaWeek (V4, N46): Library Clouds and Data, Open Ed Resources, GOP, Pearson Investigated

Campus Technology looks at Bucknel University's libary and their implementation of OCLC's cloud based library system. In addition to saving the library money and allowing them to reallocate resources the experience for users is also significantly improved (Campus Tech):
The OCLC implementation radically changes the library experience for students, researchers, and faculty. In a traditional library system, a search of the digital library catalog typically retrieves only those materials owned or licensed by the library. To explore further afield, a patron must access multiple databases, locate items of interest, and then hope that the full text is available. If the library is not a subscriber to that particular content, users must fill out an interlibrary loan form and await delivery.
With OCLC's cloud-based service, however, the research process is more streamlined and simplified: A patron can use the same interface to search the holdings at both Bucknell and WorldCAT--a Bucknell icon indicates which materials are local. In addition, books and journal articles can be searched in one
Since Bucknell's move to the cloud, the acquisition and processing of new material have also been greatly simplified. Previously, Bucknell would place orders directly with Yankee Book Peddler Library Services (YBP) and then receive files via FTP for loading into its catalog. It would then have to update WorldCAT to indicate that the school owned these items. It was a time-consuming process.
Libraries are finding that sharing data on their users can be problematic (Chronicle):
Harvard suspended the practice after privacy concerns were raised. Even though the Twitter stream randomized checkout times and did not disclose patrons' identities, the worry was that someone might somehow use other details to identify the borrowers.
The episode points to an emerging tension as libraries embrace digital services. Historically, libraries have been staunch defenders of patrons' privacy. Yet to embrace many aspects of the modern Internet, which has grown more social and personalized, libraries will need to "tap into and encourage increased flows of personal information from their patrons," says the privacy-and-social-media scholar Michael Zimmer.
Millions of people now share what they're reading through social-networking sites like Facebook, or smaller services including Goodreads and LibraryThing. They're accustomed to the personalized recommendations that Amazon provides by tracking customers' buying and browsing habits.
Libraries are following suit. They're beginning to share data to build tools for recommending and discovering books. They're lending e-books, even though Amazon monitors reading on Kindles, and they're enabling reviews and tags in the once-sacred realm of library catalogs.
Interesting summation of a session on Open Educational Content from the Educause conference last week (IHE):
It turns out that there is a lack of understanding among top academic officials about OER in general. A new study from the Babson Survey Research Group, based on 2011 data and released here on Wednesday, found that 51 percent of chief academic officers were “aware” of OER in any meaningful sense of the word.
“We then probed to see what it is they’re talking about,” said Jeffrey Seaman, the co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group, in a session convened around the study by its corporate sponsor, Pearson, which this week made its first appeal to proponents of OER by unveiling a discovery service for "open" content.
“What we find is that their answers are all over the map,” said Seaman. One of the most common definitions volunteered by the participating academic officers in an open-ended survey question was that “open” simply means “free.”
And what about “open” as it refers to intellectual property and the licensing, re-purposing, or re-mixing of someone else’s materials? “Not mentioned,” said Seaman. “Not on the mindset at all of these chief academic officers. The idea of who did it, how I can use it, what the permissions are for use, can I re-purpose it -- never appeared in any of the examples that they described.“
The Government Printing Office has released a five year plan detailing how they plan to meet the challenges of the electronic world but they've already done a lot particularly since 2009 (GCN):
GPO has been making documents and publications available online since 1994, when it created the GPO Access Web site. This was upgraded to the Federal Digital System (FDsys) portal in 2009, which included the ability to digitally sign and authenticate online documents, giving them the status of official records. This is an important element of GPO’s digital document management, Vance-Cooks said.
“Our market niche is authentication,” she said. “That is very important for customers who want the information for legal purposes and for Congress when using it to make decisions.”
Today, FDsys has 680,000 documents online with more than 13 million downloads a month. GPO is partnering with other agencies, including the Library of Congress and the Treasury Department, to make document collections available electronically through FDsys; has agreements with several e-book publishers to make documents available for popular readers; and is developing applications to make information available in formats friendly to mobile devices.
From The Economist: Do readers know they don't own e-Books?
It may come as a surprise that this sort of thing is even possible. After all, a high-street bookseller would not spontaneously remove paperbacks from a customer’s home, whatever infractions they may have committed. But, unlike with paper books, customers do not actually “own” the e-books they buy. Instead, they are licensed to the purchaser. Customers cannot resell them and there are restrictions on lending them. The transaction is more like renting access to a book than owning one outright. Plus, e-book sellers have the capability to take them back without warning.
The furious backlash against Amazon’s Orwell deletions in 2009 suggests that many customers do not realise this distinction. (Those that do are clued-up on software of dubious legality that can strip the electronic locks—called “digital rights management”, or DRM—from e-books.) Yet this lack of awareness of the legal terms-of-use is largely the fault of the e-book sellers. Their websites talk of “buying” books as if the digital transaction is exactly the same as one in a bookshop. And the explanation that customers are, in effect, merely “renting” their e-books is buried in long, jargon-filled license agreements that almost nobody reads.
Not always good news for Pearson (here at least) and the company is being investigated in the UK for possible conflict of interest between a business unit that evaluates course materials and the textbook division (FT):
Ofqual, the UK’s qualifications regulator, said on Wednesday that it was reviewing the effectiveness of the “business separation” between Pearson’s qualifications awarding organisation – Edexcel – and its textbook publishers. The purpose of the review into Pearson, the largest provider of teaching resources in the UK and the parent company of the Financial Times, is to preserve “confidence in the exam system”, Ofqual said. Responding to the announcement, Pearson said: “Pearson has robust conflict of interest processes and works with a full range publishers, not just our own imprints.” Pearson licenses third-party textbooks for Edexcel courses and also sells “Edexcel Own” branded textbooks. These latter books share the same designs and logos as Edexcel’s examination resources and documents.

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