BY SEAN CLARK
Lately I’ve been poking around on a great directory called the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog (located here), which compiles articles about ebooks published in scholarly journals. In general, scholarly journals don’t get very much love from non-scholars. The articles can be pretty dry, and the gists sometimes tough to parse without a filter. However there’s always a lot of interesting reading provided from some very smart people in them, and they’re usually the first places to learn of new trends, studies, etc., before they are disseminated through newsprint and the internet.
I’ve filtered out some of the most intriguing and provided brief abstracts for them below, and I’ve only included articles that can be accessed for free in this post.
Though some articles linked to by the SEPW are gold Open Access (OA), many aren’t. Most of the people who read these sort of things have subscriptions through scholarly sources, but it’s still frustrating there isn’t a better (read: affordable) way for laypersons to access them. Some journals offer unhindered access to schools and laypersons alike through gold OA, but since scholarly journals aren’t exactly lucrative, most have to remain green OA (which scholar decided to use two “g” words to qualify OA I don’t know) to keep afloat. Makes me wish for the good old days of college library access so I could read any I wished. I’m still waiting for a truly great electronic library to spring up at some point and make this point moot.
Speaking of libraries, this first entry describes how the many different functions of libraries can be enhanced through expanded mobile access. Not directly about ebooks, though they obviously play an important role as libraries become higher tech, the author presents some nice points about how libraries can efficient evolve to meet the changing needs of library users.
People use a growing array of services to manage their digital lives. Although some are local to their devices, a growing number are on the network. Think, in different contexts, of Zotero, Delicious or Connotea; Flickr, YouTube or Slideshare; Google Docs, Scribd or Zoho. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, as well as others, will continue to aim to provide a framework within which people manage their resources, communicate, and build their online identity. Two thoughts come to mind. One I have already mentioned: some of these resources may be important to the institution, which may want to provide backup services to ensure their continuity. The other is increasingly interesting: how do library resources play in these environments? Can I link to individual catalog records, journal articles or e–books? Can I mix library resources with those in my personal collections? Are library resources RSS–ified?
Read the whole article (only a few pages) here: Always on: Libraries in a world of permanent connectivity by Lorcan Dempsey.
Next, an interesting piece calling for the digitizing of all documentation by expanding programs such as Google Book Search to encompass film negatives, manuscripts, physical art, etc. The article provides a nice breakdown of how the current digitizing efforts work, and some suggestions for how it can help preserve information in danger of being lost. I found the techniques for cleaning up images and digitization most interesting. It’s really great to see effort like this being made to prevent a modern disaster occurring á la the Library of Alexandria.
Read it all here: Toward Digitizing All Forms of Documentation by George V. Landon.
Finally, here’s more of an opinion piece that bounces around a bit, but mostly focuses on some interesting comments about online journals. Most of this is done by pulling various quotations together like that which set this up:
The message here is that, for some nations at least, online journals may be the only realistic way to publish peer-reviewed articles. For other nations and fields, print may already be a less-satisfactory alternative.
You can find the many viewpoints complied in the bottom half of the article. In the first half, the author brings up nice interesting points about open access to information online, something I wish more people would find concern with:
Gratuitous statements by OA advocates to undermine topical-repository mandates and suggest that institutional repositories don’t cost anything to establish and operate don’t get us there—but help assure that we never will get there. There doesn’t seem much question that IRs are in trouble; that doesn’t bode well for green OA as the only or even the primary answer. And nonsense like the reintroduced Conyers bill threatens to undermine what progress has been made on what should be the low-hanging fruit for repositories: research funded by the Federal government, which—if it was carried out in Federal labs—would automatically be in the public domain.
The whole page: Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large.
And, if you’re into stats, here’s a nice state-of-the-industry piece about OA ejournals: LIS Open Acess E-Journal: Where Are You? By Izabella Taler.