Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Open J-Gate

I was just alerted to this new tool (thanks to Paul Pival, the Distant Librarian). According to LISNews (http://lisnews.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/27/2026213), Open J-Gate was launched on February 27 by Jean-Claude Guedon (a very familiar name to the OA world) and is:

"an electronic gateway to global journal literature in open access domain... Open J-Gate is the contribution of Informatics (India) Ltd to promote OAI. Open J-Gate provides seamless access to millions of journal articles available online. Open J-Gate is also a database of journal literature, indexed from 3000+ open access journals, with links to full text at Publisher sites."

The Open J-Gate lists a several "features and benefits":

Portal with the largest number of e-journals
Links to one million+ open access articles
Constant updating
Well designed journal classification
Table of Content (TOC) Browsing
Easy-to-Use search functionalities

I played with it briefly and it looks promising. Note: certain features don't work in Firefox/Mozilla (e.g. browse by journal). There don't seem to be any problems with IE.

The URL for Open J-Gate is http://www.openj-gate.com/.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Wikipedia-Britannica Study is Freely Available

My apologies to Nature. Their recent comparison of Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica is freely available here. I had accessed the article via my library subscription, and did not notice this at first.

Thanks to those who commented on the original posting. Hopefully more extensive comparisons of the Wikipedia with traditional reference sources, in all fields, will soon be forthcoming.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

CLA Information Commons Interest Group Wiki

Friends of the Commons, come help us to build the CLA Information Commons' Interest Group Wiki!. The Open Access page currently focuses on Canadian open access initiatives; watch for more about OA research ideas in the near future.

Aside from Open Access, other topics include:
* Canadian Copyright Law and other Intellectual Property issues
* Licensing Practices;
* Freedom of information;
* International Trade, like the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights from the World Trade Organization;
* Privacy; and
* Open Source Software

Thanks to Olivier Charbonneau.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

OA values are timeless

I am a new member here at OA Librarian, and should like to share my thoughts about the principles of open access that I value in my chosen profession.

First, open access (OA) to scholarly information in the digital world is not only a core value for me, but for many librarians. You could say it's in our DNA (well, I am a medical librarian).

Many themes that run through the writings of great thinkers in library science such as John Shaw Billings, Charles Cutter, Melville Dewey, Ranganathan - even current American Library Association (ALA) President Michael Gorman - revisit the notion of making information easily accessible by all who are made curious by it. These ideas fired my thinking in graduate school: organize information, remove barriers to its access, preserve access to knowledge for future generations. This is why I became a librarian. These values are central to OA.

As a medical librarian, I would only add that - inasmuch as it is practical - free, unfettered and open access to health information is a basic human right. I believe it is essential for the sustainability of our planet. For peace. Lack of access to reliable, trusted information in developing countries has led to a host of intractable health problems, too numerous to list.

I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues in the emerging era of open access. DG

OA Article in University Affairs

The March 2006 edition of University Affairs ("Canada's magazine on higher education") contains an article on OA, "The bottom line on open access" by John Lorinc. It's a good summary of the OA situation at present, with a Canadian slant. The article can be found at http://www.universityaffairs.ca/issues/2006/march/open_access_01.html

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wikipedia May be as Accurate as Traditional Reference Sources

A recent study in Nature (PMID 16355180) showed that entries for 42 science-related articles in the Wikipedia are almost as reliable as entries on similar topics in the Encyclopedia Brittanica . This is a small sample, which is limited to science articles. But larger studies in multiple disciplines may validate this conclusion. If so, this would be empirical proof that open source/open access reference products are not inferior to traditional sources.

Wikipedia allows anyone to edit and re-edit entries, without requiring expertise in advance. All you need is an Internet connection and an interest in a given topic, and you're ready to write.

It is important for open access advocates to recognize that the Wikipedia model is not flawless. For controversial topics, writers on different sides of an issue sometimes edit and re-edit pieces ruthlessly. Wikipedia is taking measures to create "stable" articles that cannot be easily updated, and is also seeking out expert writers in various fields.

Even as Wikipedia matures, its central concept of building an openly accessible, democratically managed resource will remain the same. Open access advocates should see the Nature study (which is not OA itself, of course) as good news.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ANKOS Open Access and Institutional Repositories Working Group

In these days, some major developments on open access take place in Turkey. One of them is that having the Open Access and Institutional Repositories Working Group under Anatolian University Libraries Consortium (ANKOS). ANKOS is the strongest consortiual body in Turkey and it aims to be a guiding institution for university libraries in meeting their information needs on open access and institutional repositories with the establishment of this group. Its mission, goal, and tasks will be available in English at http://www.ankos.gen.tr/ very soon. First activity of the group was to prepare a handout on definition of open access and libraries' role in open access, providing main resources available through the Internet on a web page.

Open Access in Turkey

The Congress of Informatics Technologies IV, Academic Informatic 2006 took place on February 9th - 11th at Pamukkale University in Denizli, Turkey. It was a very successful conference with variety of subject matters in seperate sessions from e-learning to open access. In the e-library sessions, the ones on open access and institutional respositories were organized around creating an awareness among information professionals about open access and its benefits. At the end of the e-library sessions, the Berlin Declaration was accepted and it was decided that a leading committee on open access and institutional respositories would provide research institutions with necessary information. This committee will be formed with participants from the Turkish Librarians' Associations, Turkish Academic Network and Information Center. After the conference, a press release was distributed covering these decisions and the benefit of open access.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Richard Akerman's Science Library Pad

Science Library Pad is the personal blog of Richard Akerman, technology architect and information security officer at NRC, CISTI, Canada's National Science and Library Publisher. His blog (not officially associated with CISTI) contains a category about open access.

Ray English named ACRL Academic / Research Librarian of the Year!

Noted open access librarian advocated Ray English has been named the winner of the ACRL Academic / Research Librarian of the Year . Congratulations Ray!

Thanks to ACRL, and Peter Suber on Open Access News.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Thomas Krichel: a man with ideas, and drive!

Money doesn't make the world go round. Ideas do!

So said Thomas Krichel, Assistant Professor, Palmer School of Library and Information Studies, Long Island University, at the First E-LIS Workshop.

Very true, Thomas! May I add: it is people with ideas - and the drive and determination to see their ideas realized - that really make the world go round! People like Thomas Krichel - E-LIS team member, early open access pioneer, and founder of the world's second largest archive (after arXiv), RePec.

Thomas is recognized twice on Peter Suber's Open Access Timeline. On February 1, 1993, Thomas launched the Working Papers in Economics (WoPEc), with the deposit of an open access working paper (not his own), the first in economics. On May 12, 1997, Thomas launched RePEc, Research Papers in Economics, which as of today holds over 362,000 items of interest, 261,000 of which are available online.

The secret of the success of RePEc appears to a combination of vision, very hard work, and collaboration.

Vision: Thomas was working on sharing information about economics working papers in different ways, such as early e-mail lists, long before WoPEc became a reality, and also long before the world wide web! If you think it is difficult now explaining to people why we should develop archives, and encourage people to deposit their work there - picture doing this in the early '90's, as Thomas did!

Very hard work: in the years between the beginning of WoPEc and the founding of RePEc, this hobby-project of Thomas' became the largest archive of its kind. When it became obvious that a single database was the best approach, it made sense for the others to merge into the infrastructure of the largest archive.

Collaboration: WoPEC and RePEc both emerge from traditional practices in economics, which has a strong working papers culture. The distributed archives approach also reflects practice in the field. This model works so well because it fits the discipline, rather than the other way around.

RePEc works because others choose to work with RePEc. In the early years, there were a number of approaches to archives for working papers in economics, most notably Bob Parks' Economic Working Papers. The evolution of RePEc was very much a process of working collaboratively toward merger.

Currently, RePEc is at the beginning of an exciting new cycle of growth, again through collaboration. In this case, the new archives tradition has found a way to work together with the traditional publisher in a way that benefits both. The American Economics Association has been collecting information about working papers for years, but their collection was not as comprehensive as RePEc's. Now, information about RePEC is being added directly to the Association's EconLit.
Why would a volunteer-based organization like RePEc choose to give away their work to a profit-making publisher for free? Because, says Thomas Krichel, this works to the advantage of both: EconLit is more valuable, and placing your work in RePEc is the best way to ensure your working papers are included in EconLit, which enhances the success of RePEc.

If your economics faculty members would like to avail themselves of the RePEc advantage for their work, here is where they go for RePEc's very easy, user-friendly author registration.

There are a number of search tools for RePEc, all listed on the RePEc main page, such as the Ideas search provided by the University of Connecticut.

To return to librarianship, here are some thoughts for librarians and library school students: as Thomas Krichel said about E-LIS at the First Workshop: "When I started to work on RePEc, a totally free and improved A & I dataset in 1993, nobody gave it a high probably to succeed. There is no reason we can not do it again!"

Thomas' advice on what students and librarians should be learning for the future: open source software!

This post is partially based on an interview with Thomas on Feb. 8, and personal observation of Thomas' wonderful collegiality and cooperative spirit through the E-LIS team. When I first met Thomas at the OAI4 conference, this visionary genius was quite preoccupied with yet another voluntary activity, as voluntary conference photographer! Ladies take note: this handsome, mysterious European librarian-genius is still single - at least so far. For all your inspiration, hard work, and cooperative spirit, Thomas - thanks!
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

OPAC Research

There is a large body of literature about the online public access catalog (OPAC) in libraries and finding research reporting the difficulties of end-users searching OPACs isn't too difficult. Martha Yee's FRBRization: A Method for Turning Online Public Finding Lists into Online Public Catalogs, published in Information Technology and Libraries 24(3):pp. 77-95, continues the trend of OPAC research, investigating interface displays, begun in the 1990s. But there's a difference in Yee's paper; if catalogs and cataloging bore you or you think Google, metadata are the keys to information organization problems, this article has many gems worth further reflection and I share a few with you.

Martha acknowledges her focus in the paper and its limitations very clearly: "my focus is on recommending more intelligent use of our millions of existing MARC 21 bibliographic, authority, and holdings records in order to improve system design and to FRBRize OPAC displays and indexes. There are other ways in which our practices could be changed to create better and more FRBRized catalogs, such as changes in the cataloging rules, the MARC 21 format, and the whole infrastructure of the shared cataloging environment, but these other approaches are beyond the scope of this paper."

Insider knowledge is made explicit: "Now we insiders know that, in fact, if you want to use both an author and a title in a search, you can construct a keyword search to do so. This fact is not self-evident to anyone but us; however, as we know from experience at UCLA, where there was a faculty rebellion over the loss of the old name-title search in our last OPAC, despite the fact that the default search on the initial screen of our current OPAC was always a keyword search, and if someone entered author terms and title terms, the result would be the rough equivalent of the old name-title search, with somewhat less precision. UCLA faculty did not recognize
that keyword was roughly the same as name-title; I suspect that means most other catalog users would not recognize it, either....The sad fact is that whenever you do a keyword search in most current OPAC software, your search will not be matched against authority records."

The goal is in the tradition of Seymour Lubetzky's cataloging objectives: "It is critical that we educate a generation of system designers to the point that they can recognize that the fundamental assumption that our current software makes—that its job is to find one record at a time—is antithetical to the work of a real catalog."

Martha M. Yee is Cataloging Supervisor at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

COPPUL Animated Tutorials Sharing Project

COPPUL (the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries) has initiated an Animated Tutorials Sharing Project. From the web page:

About the Animated Tutorial Project

Over the years, libraries have witnessed a significant growth in their number of online resources; matched with an increasing demand for 24/7 information literacy. At the same time new software - that allows librarians to capture Search Screens and insert audio and/or text - means that librarians can quickly create highly professional Animated Tutorials.

Recognizing that creating and updating Tutorials for each online resource is a daunting task for any library to undertake on its own, librarians in COPPUL got together to find a way to share in their development. This project is an outgrowth of that initiative and our goal is to create a critical mass of Open Source Tutorials for online resources used by libraries everywhere. Participation in the project is both welcome and essential to it's success. So please to join us in an initiative that we hope will greatly benefit library users everywhere!

Thanks to several COPPUL people for this info.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

LIS Education Crisis

Is there a crisis in LIS education in the US/Canada today? This is the research question that Andrew Dillon and April Norris answer in a recent deposit Crying Wolf: An examination and reconsideration of the perception of crisis in LIS published in the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 46 (4): pp. 280-298. Dillon and Norris looked for evidence in four areas: curriculum, research, gender, and program quality. They "conclude that the data do not support most of the popular criticisms made of this field. Instead, the notion of crisis is best understood as indicative of a moment of change and an opportunity to significantly affect the long-term future of the field." Whether or not you've been following the ALA/Gorman Forum on Education, Crying Wolf is a must read. It not only demystifies the crisis but points out the real need: careful attention must be paid to how a professional society such as the ALA frames public debate and understanding about information issues.

Andrew Dillon, known for his impeccable and iconoclastic research is Professor and Dean, Information School, University of Texas at Austin. In the Microsoft Cleartype project he and his team are investigating and measuring user responses to the new technology. His Designing Usable Electronic Text is now in its second edition and in December he completed 5 years of the Information Architecture column for the ASIST Bulletin. April Norris is a student in the same school and 2004-2005 President of the UT-Austin Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Turkish Articles are in E-LIS!

Turkish Librarians' Assocation (TLA) agreed on having the Journal of Turkish Librarianship's articles in E-LIS starting from 1993 to present. There are now 16 articles in E-LIS from Turkey and the participation of TLA will be a major step to increase this number.

─░lkay Holt
E-LIS editor from Turkey

OA Librarian blogger problems...

Saturday, February 4 - it seems that OA Librarian is going through some blogger problems - recent posts seem to be appearing, then disappearing...we hope to see these issues resolved soon. Apologies for any confusion. Sunday, February 5 - we seem to be back on track, although two small posts of mine are still missing..I'll find them and post again at a later date. Heather

Publishing OA Journals at Your University

Click here to read a "Canuck Librarian" blogger account of what Wayne Johnston, Digital Services Librarian, Library, University of Guelph, had to say at a recent Ontario Library Association meeting, about publishing open access journals at your university.

(Originally found here, on Peter Suber's Open Access News).

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The magic link! an easy way to promote OA

Here is one very, very easy way to promote OA! Create a magic link to a collection of subject-specific OA journals. Include the magic link on subject pathfinders and/or subject blogs, and send it to your faculty liaisons!

Here is how: simply go to the Directory of Open Access Journals. Browse by subject. Decide whether you want a main subject heading, or a subheading. For example, you could select Chemistry, or Analytical Chemistry. After you have clicked on the subject heading of your choice, copy the URL at the top of the page. For example, for a listing of Chemistry journals, the URL is: http://www.doaj.org/ljbs?cpid=60. Voila! This is your magic URL. This is exactly how we have created the link to LIS journals in DOAJ, for OA Librarian.

If anyone knows about a way to create a magic link to subject-specific articles in OA archives, please do post a comment, we'd like to hear about this!

This would help very much to address the strategy for faculty members Peter Suber talks about in the Feb. 06 Open Access Newsletter - under "Six Things that Researchers Need to Know about Open Access":

(1) What OA journals exist in your field?

When "presented with a list of reasons why they have not chosen to publish in an OA journal and asked to say which were important...[t]he reason that scored highest (70%) was that authors were not familiar enough with OA journals in their field." Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown, "Authors and Open Access Publishing," Learned Publishing, July 2004, p. 220.

There's no excuse not to know the OA journals in your field. Go to the DOAJ and browse by discipline.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

LIS Research

LIS Archives: Research

Problems of Quality in Digital Libraries
LIS education crisis: Practitioners respond
OPAC Research
LIS Education Crisis
User Privacy
Research Publishing Ethics
Digital Preservation
Selective Exposure
A Research Agenda About Googling

OA Librarian in SPARC e-news

OA Librarian has been mentioned in the latest (Dec. 2005-Jan. 2006) edition of the SPARC e-news. Here's the section from the newsletter:

New Weblog: _OA Librarian_
_OA Librarian_ is a new, cooperatively produced weblog, which combines a pathfinder function with news and commentary on open access and librarianship. Postings vary widely and include news items pertinent to librarians, relevant conference presentations, and other blogs or resources about open access developed by librarians.
One theme of _OA Librarian_ is highlighting the work of librarians who advocate for apen access. Recent articles focus on Antonella de Robbio, the originator of E-LIS; Anita Coleman, the driving force behind DLIST; and Charles W. Bailey, Jr., the author of the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals. Please visit: http://oalibrarian.blogspot.com/.

This is nice to see, if I may say so.

The complete newsletter can be found at http://www.arl.org/sparc/pubs/enews/dec05.html.

BTW, SPARC stands for Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. The main SPARC website is http://www.arl.org/sparc and the website for SPARC Europe is http://www.sparceurope.org.