Digital Publishing Category

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Do ‘the Risky Thing’ in Digital Humanities

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the director of scholarly communication at the Modern Language Association, recently wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education called Do ‘the Risky Thing’ in Digital Humanities.  She recounts a story where she encouraged a graduate student to do the risky thing and pursue an innovative project rather than a traditional dissertation. Fitzpatrick added  “Make sure that someone’s got your back, but do the risky thing.” She adds:

“That is not to push experimentation for experimentation’s sake, but it is to say that reining in a project a graduate student really wants to do to conform with a traditional structure is counterproductive, deflating both the student’s passion and the thing that makes her work distinctive.”

Fitzpatrick continues by identifying the support from an adviser as more critical. This support continues through helping graduates in their first jobs explain to senior faculty about their work.

“Too many young digital humanists find themselves cautioned away from the very work that got them hired by well-meaning senior colleagues, who now tell them that wacky digital projects are fine on the side, or once the work necessary for tenure is complete.

“In giving that advice, we run the risk of breaking the innovative spirit that we’ve hoped to bring to our departments. And where that spirit isn’t broken, untenured digital scholars run the risk of burnout from having to produce twice as much—traditional scholarship and digital projects—as their counterparts do.”

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Google Book Settlement Information

Google has been in the news a lot, particularly regarding the Authors Guild anti-trust suit against the HathiTrust and several affiliated universities who have worked with Google to scan books.  Below is a list of articles (compiled by Nicki Saylor), lending background information on the Google Book Settlement, and some insights into the developments of the Authors Guild suit.  Continuing developments on this topic will be address in our blog.

As a service to faculty, other campus authors, and interested members of the UI community we have gathered some information related to the Google book settlement.

Recent Developments

Judge Rejects Settlement in Google Book Case, Saying It Goes Too Far (March 2011)
The proposed settlement in the long-standing class-action lawsuit over Google’s vast book-scanning project is dead, at least in its current form. In a ruling on Tuesday, the federal judge overseeing the case rejected the settlement, saying that it “would simply go too far,” even though “the digitization of books and the creation of a universal digital library would benefit many.” But he also urged the parties to consider revising the settlement, and suggested an approach that would deal with his major concerns.

Federal judge indicates he won’t rule today, as speakers argue for and against the revised settlement agreement (Feb. 18, 2010)
Eighteen parties spoke out against the revised Google Settlement before the lunch break today in a fairness hearing before U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Five spoke in favor. The speakers were limited to five minutes each, and generally either boiled down points made in previous submissions or responded to recently filed documents.

Hurtling Toward the Finish Line: Should the Google Books Settlement Be Approved? (Feb. 16, 2010)
Late last week, Google and the plaintiffs filed their final briefs in defense of the Google Books Amended Settlement Agreement (ASA) that is before the New York Southern Federal District Court. As the rhetoric around the Settlement heats up to white-hot intensity in the final days before the Fairness Hearing on February 18th, I’d like to offer a few personal thoughts from my vantage point at the California Digital Library.

The Google Book Settlement: Second Round Comments (Feb. 10, 2010)
Late last year, Google, the Author’s Guild, the American Association of Publishers, and the individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit over Google’s massive book digitization program negotiated several revisions to their original Proposed Settlement Agreement (original agreement). The revisions were designed to address concerns raised by the Department of Justice and other critics who advised the court to reject the original agreement.1 The deadline to file comments on the new Proposed Amended Settlement Agreement (amended agreement) was January 28, 2010. The Department of Justice filed its comments on Thursday, February 4, 2010. This document describes the second round of comments.

Justice Dept. Criticizes Latest Google Book Deal (Feb. 5, 2010)
In another blow to Google’s plan to create a giant digital library and bookstore, the Justice Department on Thursday said that a class-action settlement between the company and groups representing authors and publishers had significant legal problems, even after recent revisions.

Open access and the Google book settlement (Dec. 2, 2009)
Google and the groups suing it –the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers–released a revised version of their settlement agreement on November 13. Judge Denny Chin gave it preliminary approval six days later. …Many sharp eyes and sharp minds are looking at what the revised agreement says, how it differs from the original agreement of October 2008, how well it answers objections levelled against the original, and whether the preliminary approval ought to become final approval. I won’t do any of that here. I want to focus on the settlement’s implications for OA.

Judge Grants Preliminary Approval to Revised Google Book Settlement (Nov. 20, 2009)
The federal judge overseeing the Google Book Search case has given preliminary approval to the revised settlement submitted late last Friday by the parties to the lawsuit. The new version is “within the range of possible approval,” according to a court order issued yesterday.

Parties Submit New Proposal to Settle Google Book Search Litigation (Nov. 15, 2009)
Though they kept the world waiting until the last legal minute, the parties to the proposed Google Book Search settlement managed to meet their new November 13 deadline to file a revamped version with the federal judge overseeing the case. Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers submitted Settlement 2.0 close to midnight Eastern time on Friday. (Read more about the settlement on the Google Public Policy Blog.)

November 9 Is New Deadline for Revised Google Book Search Settlement (Oct. 7, 2009)
The parties to the Google Book Search settlement have agreed to deliver an amended agreement to the judge in the case by November 9, according to reports in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and other media outlets.

Justice Department Wants Changes in Google Books Settlement (Sept. 21, 2009)
The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the proposed Google Book Search settlement with authors and publishers, advising the federal court overseeing the case that the deal in its current form “does not meet the legal standards this court must apply.”

At Congressional Hearing, Register of Copyrights Slams Google Settlement (Sep. 11, 2009)
At a Congressional hearing, Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office, testified forcefully, warning that key parts of the settlement “are fundamentally at odds with the law,” creating a compulsory license for Google that should be the domain of Congress, not the courts.

CIC Provosts File Letter With Court in Google Settlement (Sep. 8, 2009)
The CIC has been a Google digitization partner since 2007. Under the terms of the partnership, Google will digitize up to ten million volumes across the CIC universities. The CIC has filed a letter with the federal court of New York overseeing the proposed Google Book Search settlement.

Library Associations Submit Supplemental Filing, Call for Increased Oversight of Google Agreement (Sep. 2, 2009)
The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today submitted a supplemental filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York overseeing the proposed Google Book Search settlement to address developments that have occurred since the groups submitted their filing on May 4.

UC Academics Raise Major Concerns About Google Settlement (Aug. 20, 2009)
More than twenty University of California faculty members have written a letter to the court speaking on behalf of academic authors more interested in the public interest than in supporting themselves from their book revenues.

University of Michigan amends its agreement with Google (May 20, 2009)
The University of Michigan, one of the original participating libraries in the Google Book project, recently entered into an amended agreement that will govern the relationship between Google and Michigan if the proposed Google Book Search settlement is approved by the judge.

A Guide for the Perplexed Part III: The Amended Settlement Agreement (Nov. 30, 2009)
The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) released a series of guides to help librarians better understand the revised terms of the Google Book Search Settlement. The first release was A Guide for the Perplexed: Libraries and the Google Library Project Settlement. As a follow up, a second document, “A Guide for the Perplexed Part II: The Amended Google-Michigan Agreement,” provides a concise description of the Google-Michigan amended terms. The third outlines the amended settlement agreement

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Authors’ Guild vs Hathi Trust et al–continuing developments

Statements and observations continued through the end of last week and beyond arising from the Authors’ Guild suit against Hathi Trust. Much of the focus centered on the orphans listed by Michigan that turned out not to be. Stories in Inside Higher Education and the Chronicle provide summaries and links to the various statements. Worth noting is Kevin Smith’s open letter to one author of a work shown not to be an orphan arguing that the best chance for this book to find readers today would be exposure in digital form in HathiTrust.

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arXiv turns 20

A story in today’s Wired Campus  notes the 20th birthday of arXiv. Originally founded as a preprint server for high-energy physics, it is now perhaps the most successful disciplinary repository around–it holds “700,000 full texts, receives 75,000 new texts each year, and serves roughly 1 million full-text downloads to about 400,000 distinct users every week” (Ginsparg in Nature–see reference below).

Paul Ginsparg, its founder and director since its inception, announces his departure and reflects on the implications of arXiv for scholarly communication in a piece in the August 11th issue of  Nature. The Wired Campus item mentions the community support that has helped fund the continuation of arXiv. The University of Iowa Libraries is one of the 85 institutions contributing to that support.

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Coalition of universities with open access mandates is formed

A number of prominent institutions have over the past few years passed open access “mandates,” requiring campus authors (unless a waiver is sought) to deposit copies of their scholarly articles in the school’s institutional repository–their equivalent of our Iowa Research Online , or IRO. Passage of these mandates has come about through the efforts of faculty concerned about problems in the system of scholarly publishing,  and been passed by the equivalents of Iowa’s Faculty Senate. Institutions with open access mandates  include Harvard, Duke, MIT and Kansas, among others.

Now a group of these institutions have formed the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, or Coapi, to help address the issues that arise in implementing such policies. University of Kansas Dean of Libraries Lorraine Haricombe observed:

“Society depends on universities for the creation of new knowledge, so we have a responsibility to disseminate and share that knowledge to gain the most benefit for science and society. This new coalition will offer academic institutions an opportunity to stand together and establish open access to knowledge in the sciences and humanities as a broad societal norm.”

Marc L. Greenberg, professor and chair of the Slavic Languages and Literatures department added:

“I always keep the idea of ‘knowledge as a public good’ in mind in doing work for open access and I view what we do as part of renegotiating the social contract between universities and society. Universities belong to the public.”

See the story by Jennifer Howard in today’s Wired Campus: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/universities-join-together-to-support-open-access-policies/32632?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Google Starts Grant Program for Scholars of Digitized Books

From the Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education), March 31, 2010

Even as a lawsuit over Google’s book-digitization project remains up in the air, the search giant has quietly started reaching out to universities in search of humanities scholars who are ready to roll up their sleeves and hit the virtual stacks.

The company is creating a “collaborative research program to explore the digital humanities using the Google Books corpus,” according to a call for proposals obtained by The Chronicle. Some of Google’s academic partners say the grant program marks the company’s first formal foray into supporting humanities text-mining research.

The call went out to a select group of scholars, offering up to $50,000 for one year. Google says it may choose to renew the grants for a second year. It is not clear whether anybody can apply for the money, or just the group that got the solicitation.

The effort seems largely focused on building tools to comb and improve Google’s digital library, whose book-search metadata—dates and other search-assisting information—one academic researcher calls a “train wreck.” These are some of the sample projects that Google lists in its call for proposals:

• Building software for tracking changes in language over time.

• Creating utilities to discover books and passages of interest to a particular discipline.

• Developing systems for crowd-sourced corrections to book data and metadata.

• The testing of a literary or historical hypothesis through innovative analysis of a book.

For more details of the program, read the full Chronicle story.

http://chronicle.com/article/Google-Starts-Grant-Program/64891/

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Digital Humanities – a summary of 2008

Lisa Spiro, Director of the Digital Media Center at Rice University’s Fondren Library, overviews digital humanities developments in 2008 in two postings:

Part 1 discusses the emergence of Digital Humanities, and Part 2 looks broadly at the scholarly communication landscape, discussing open access to educational materials, new publication models, the Google Books settlement, and cultural obstacles to digital publication.

Excerpt from Part 2:

… This year saw some positive developments in open access and scholarly communications, such as the implementation of the NIH mandate, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Science’s decision to go open access (followed by Harvard Law), and the launch of the Open Humanities Press. But there were also some worrisome developments (the Conyers Bill’s attempt to rescind the NIH mandate, EndNote’s lawsuit against Zotero) and some confusing ones (the Google Books settlement). In the second part of my summary on the year in digital humanities, I’ll look broadly at the scholarly communication landscape, discussing open access to educational materials, new publication models, the Google Books settlement, and cultural obstacles to digital publication. …

 

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Bringing history online, one newspaper at a time

From the Official Google Blog (9/8/08):

excerpt:

For more than 200 years, matters of local and national significance have been conveyed in newsprint — from revolutions and politics to fashion to local weather or high school football scores. Around the globe, we estimate that there are billions of news pages containing every story ever written. And it’s our goal to help readers find all of them, from the smallest local weekly paper up to the largest national daily.

The problem is that most of these newspapers are not available online. We want to change that.

Today, we’re launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives. Let’s say you want to learn more about the landing on the Moon. Try a search for [Americans walk on moon] on Google News Archive Search, and you’ll be able to find and read an original article from a 1969 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you’ll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed — photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all.

This effort expands on the contributions of others who’ve already begun digitizing historical newspapers. In 2006, we started working with publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post to index existing digital archives and make them searchable via the Google News Archive. Now, this effort will enable us to help you find an even greater range of material from newspapers large and small, in conjunction with partners such as ProQuest and Heritage, who’ve joined in this initiative. One of our partners, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, is actually the oldest newspaper in North America—history buffs, take note: it has been publishing continuously for more than 244 years.

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Google signs a deal to e-publish out-of-print books

From The New York Times, Nov. 9, 2008

excerpt:

Late last month, American authors and publishers reached an agreement with Google to settle lawsuits over Google’s Book Search program, which scans millions of books and makes their contents available on the Internet. The deal lets Google sell electronic versions of copyrighted works that have gone out ofprint.

“Almost overnight, not only has the largest publishing deal been struck, but the largest bookshop in the world has been built, even if it is not quite open for business yet,” wrote Neill Denny, editor of The Bookseller, a trade publication based in London, on his blog.

The settlement remains subject to court approval, and the bookshop would operate only in the United States for now. But the agreement is only one of many initiatives under which books are making what may be the biggest technological leap since Gutenberg invented moveable type.

From LJ Academic Newswire, One for All? As Google Deal Is Evaluated, Critics Question Single Library Terminal, Nov. 11, 2008:

excerpt:

While the Google Book Search settlement has prompted much debate, commentators have only begun to question how it might affect library service. One of the big questions: the deal’s allowance for free access at a designated terminal within public libraries. On one hand, getting every library a free access terminal for patrons to use the full Google Book Search database is a win for libraries—certainly neither Google nor publishers were obligated to consider libraries needs in their deal. On the other hand, critics note, mandating a “single terminal” is a  counterintuitive restriction in the digital age, and unfairly lumps all libraries, large and small, well-funded or not, into a single, geographic point of access.

“I strongly object to at least one aspect of the proposed Google Book Search settlement, which lets libraries offer just one terminal per library building for access to various books,” blogged Teleread’s David Rothman. “How backwards—not just the one terminal limit, but also the whole notion of linking access to your presence inside a library!”

Digital Library Federation president Peter Brantley called the restriction “irksome” and hinted that a one-size-fits-all provision was inadequate in the face of a lingering digital divide. “I do not know where program management at Google wakes up every morning; I do not know what pretty suburbs publishing executives wake up in every morning,”Brantley blogged. “But in Richmond, CA, [Brantley’s home city] and in many cities around the country, it is heinous to suppose that one public terminal given free reign to the corpus of the world’s literature is an adequate set aside against the promise of the opportunity that Google, publishers, and authors have made possible.”

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Harvard Says No Thanks to Google Deal for Scanning In-Copyright Works, Oct. 30, 2008

excerpt:

Harvard University has examined Google’s recent legal settlement with publishers and authors, and found it wanting. The Harvard Crimson reported today that the university would not allow its in-copyright holdings to be scanned by Google Book Search because of concerns over the terms of the $125-million settlement, which was announced on Tuesday.

The deal, touted as a watershed moment in mass access to books, promises to make millions more titles available online. Scanned books could be previewed at designated public-library terminals or at institutions that bought a subscription from Google. Users would have to pay to purchase copies of the books, with Google, the publishers, and the authors sharing the proceeds. The settlement awaits final approval by a judge.

Harvard’s concerns center on access to the scanned texts — how widely available access would be and how much it might cost. “As we understand it, the settlement contains too many potential limitations on access to and use of the books by members of the higher-education community and by patrons of public libraries,” Harvard’s university-library director, Robert C. Darnton, wrote in a letter to the library staff.

More Commentary on the Google settlement:

Kevin Smith’s Looking for the devil in the details

Karen Coyle’s “pinball” comments here.

Open Content Alliance’s objections here.

This Washington Post article on Google’s New Monopoly (requires free membership).

PC World’s article on how business considerations have trumped ideals in this negotiation.

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Citation controversy: does online access change citation practices?

by Philip Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, Oct. 13, 2008

Excerpt:

Earlier this year, Davis reported on a study by sociologist James Evans suggesting that online access to scientific journals is leading to more recent citations and a narrowing of the diversity of those articles which are cited.

This study was not taken at face value, and three information scientists (Vincent Larivière, Yves Gingras, and Éric Archambault) all at the University of Quebec in Montreal have released a new analysis taking aim at the diversity claim.

Their manuscript, “The decline in the concentration of citations, 1900-2007,” deposited September 30th in the arXiv, uses a simpler methodology. They report the percentage of papers that received at least one citation, the percentage of papers needed to account for 20%, 50%, and 80% of total citations, and the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, a measure used to estimate market concentration.

. . . What makes this controversy interesting is that both studies make theoretical sense.  A narrowing of science conforms to attention economics and preferential attachment (why the cited get more citations and the rest get ignored); a broadening of science conforms to information foraging theory, the principle of least effort, and the increasing ease of retrieving relevant articles.  The results of both studies imply something different about the state of science, whether scientific information is being disseminated efficiently, and whether the literature is reflecting more diversity of opinion or more conformity.

Read the entire post at: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2008/10/13/citation-controversy/

Read more commentary on the topic at:

Great minds think (too much) alike. Economist; 7/19/2008, Vol. 387 Issue 8589, p89-89, 2/3p (available to UI affliates only)