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June 30, 2005

Vacation

:: I am on vacation, and will be returning to work on July 12th. Posts will resume at that time.

June 29, 2005

IEEE - Selectively Digitizing Content on IEL?

:: Interesting e-mail posted to STS-L by Kristin Anderson at Hamilton Library, U Hawaii Manoa regarding IEEE selectively digitizing content from some of its journals. This is disturbing, especially in light of the announcement this week that IEEE plans to digitize all its journals back to v1 n1. Will that include articles that have been to date considered "non-archival", or will it include everything? Kristin's comments:

I may be the only person unaware of this, but I just learned that IEEE does not index articles which they have determined are "non-archival" in their various societal magazines. I find this incredibly disturbing since we cancelled all our print subscriptions to afford the online and had [wrongly] assumed that the online ws equivalent to the print. Apparently it's not even equitable.

I discovered this when trying to locate an article for a student from "Computer" vol 34, issue 1. The article I was looking for was supposed to start on page 18. I couldn't find the article through a keyword or title search in Xplore so I went to browse the journal contents. What I found were the following pages are UNACCOUNTED for: 1-9,13-33,52,88-131. In a journal apparently with 144 pages of content, we are denied access to 50% of the material.

It took 6 weeks of email to a host of "support" people at IEEE to learn that: "The pages you listed below were considered to be non-archival and therefore not Indexed. Please be assured that we are working on making magazines available from cover to cover in the near future."

I've asked for a list of titles which IEEE does not index cover-to-cover. I imagine it will take another 6 weeks to hear any such thing. I am not reassured that they are working on cover-to-cover availability. I will also ask who/how an article is deemed "non-archival". We scream at Elsevier for some of their shennanigans. Did I miss the screaming at IEEE? We pay a great deal of money for this resource and I"m seriously questioning why.

Kris Anderson
Collection Development Coordinator
Science & Technology Reference
Hamilton Library
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Feedback from others has appeared on PAMNET-L. Dana Roth, CalTech, wrote:

It is really inexcusable to arbitrarily deem some articles 'non-archival'. This is worse than what some of the commercial publishers have tried to slip thru ...
Bob Michaelson from Northwestern added:
Kristen:

Thank you very much for pointing this out -- I didn't know about this either, and I'm very angry indeed that the IEEE hasn't included the complete content of journals in IEEE Xplore. It is outrageous of them to decide what is "non-archival"! Absolutely everything must be included in the online versions of journals -- even Elsevier has now agreed to that as a policy. To include anything less than everything is totally unacceptable. See number 4 on the "List of Best Practices for Electronic Resources" published by the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education at http://eld.lib.ucdavis.edu/PunchListMay16approved2.pdf

IEEE certainly didn't mention this when they were trying to persuade us to subscribe to IEL, which of course required us to cancel the print since we can't afford both versions. If anyone from IEEE monitors STS-L or SLA-PAM (I've added PAM to my response; they certainly should monitor both lists)they should immediately respond with information on exactly when they will be expanding their IEL digitization to the complete content of all of their journals, and when they will be retrospectively adding the content which they shamefully excluded.

I do hope IEEE responds to this quickly, as it is a very serious issue. Many have cancelled their print subscriptions in lieu of online access. To learn that certain titles have been indexed selectively is inexcusable and unacceptable.

June 28, 2005

IEEE To Digitize...Everything!

:: Well, almost everything. IEEE announced yesterday its plans to digitize all of its journals back to Volume One, Issue One:

IEEE ANNOUNCES PLAN TO DIGITIZE ALL OF ITS JOURNALS BACK TO VOLUME ONE, ISSUE ONE - 25 Early Years of Flagship Journal, Proceedings of the IEEE, to be Posted Online

June 27, 2005 -- Piscataway, NJ -- The IEEE this week announced that it has completed the first step in its plan to digitize all papers from its technology journals, back to each title's first issue.

In the coming days, more than 12,000 papers and articles published in the Proceedings of the IEEE from 1963 to 1987 will be added to the IEEE online collection. The journal's contents from 1988 through the current issue are already available in digital format. Papers dating back to the first issue of the journal, published in 1913 as the Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers (the name of an IEEE predecessor organization), will be online in early 2006.

The IEEE digital collection now consists of nearly 1.2 million documents. Included are papers from more than 120 IEEE journals, 900 active IEEE standards, and the proceedings of 400 annual conferences. The majority of the content dates back to 1988; content from select publications back as far as 1950 was added in 2003.

"IEEE has made a commitment to digitizing our entire journal backfile, along with past editions of many of our conference publications," said Barbara H. Lange, Director, IEEE Publications Product Line Management and Business Development. "This is the first step in a two-year plan to bring our historic, scholarly content to new generations of researchers and practitioners."

"These first 25 years embody a tremendous repository of papers by visionaries of the electrical engineering profession," said Jim Calder, Managing Editor, Proceedings of the IEEE. "This collection represents a critical evolutionary period that chronicles the development of today's information age. There are literally thousands of authors included here that many people will instantly recognize as leaders in their fields and important contributors to our current level of understanding of technology.
And perhaps the best part of this story is that anyone can now have instant access to the words of these outstanding IEEE contributors of the past."

The added content from the Proceedings of the IEEE is available to subscribers of the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library, which provides access to all IEEE online content. IEEE members with online subscriptions to the journal may access these papers. The papers are also available individually for online purchase. Abstracts and searchable metadata are available to all users.

Proceedings of the IEEE issues from 1963 to the present may be found online at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/RecentIssue.jsp?punumber=5

For more information, visit IEEE Xplore, the IEEE online delivery platform, at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

June 27, 2005

PLoS Computational Biology Debuts

:: As posted by George Porter on a number of listservs today:

PLoS, the Public Library of Science, launched their third Open Access journal this week. PLoS Computational Biology joins PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine.

PLoS Computational Biology is the first journal to launch of the three new titles announced for introduction in 2005. PLoS Genetics has a preview available of some of the articles which will appear in the debut issue. PLoS Genetics will go live on July 25. PLoS Pathogens is slated to debut in September 2005.

PLoS Computational Biology
Fulltext v1+ (2005+)
http://compbiol.plosjournals.org/
Print ISSN: 1553-734X | Online ISSN: 1553-7358

PLoS Biology Fulltext v1+ (2003+) http://biology.plosjournals.org/ Print ISSN: 1544-9173 | Online ISSN: 1545-7885

PLoS Medicine
Fulltext v1+ (2003+)
http://medicine.plosjournals.org/
Print ISSN: 1549-1277 | Online ISSN: 1549-1676

PLoS Genetics
Forthcoming 25 July 2005
http://www.plosgenetics.org/
Print ISSN: 1553-7390 | Online ISSN: 1553-7404

PLoS Pathogens
Forthcoming September 2005
http://www.plospathogens.org/
Print ISSN: 1553-7366 | Online ISSN: 1553-7374

An additional note from earlier this week -- PLoS Biology has an ISI 2004 Impact Factor of 13.9, making it the number 1 general biology journal in the ISI rankings. You can read the complete press release from PLoS in the SOAF Archive https://mx2.arl.org/Lists/SPARC-OAForum/Message/2031.html.

George S. Porter
Sherman Fairchild Library of Engineering & Applied Science California Institute of Technology Mail Code 1-43, Pasadena, CA 91125-4300 Telephone (626) 395-3409 Fax (626) 431-2681 http://library.caltech.edu contributor http://stlq.info | http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html

June 24, 2005

Access 2005 Conference - Edmonton AB, 17-19 October 2005

:: The Access 2005 conference will be taking place in Edmonton, Alberta, October 17th - 19th, 2005. A number of my colleagues at the University of Alberta are members of the planning committee of the forthcoming Access 2005 conference, and on their behalf, I would encourage you to consider attending this event. The Access conference is the preeminent Canadian library technology conference and typically attracts librarians and information technology professionals from all over Canada, and in recent years the United States and even Europe.

Keynote speakers this year include:

Canada’s Choice: Copyright, Culture and the Internet – Dr. Michael Geist: Dr. Geist is the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He is also a frequent contributor to the CBC, Toronto Star and Slashdot on issues of digital copyright, free culture, internet privacy, and file sharing. He has a must read blog at: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

The Library and the Network – Lorcan Dempsey: Lorcan Dempsey is VP of Research for OCLC. He oversees the work of OCLC Research and participates in OCLC's Strategic Leadership Team. Lorcan was named OCLC Chief Strategist in March 2004. He also has a must read blog at: http://orweblog.oclc.org/

Cliff’s Notes, 2005 – Clifford Lynch: Clifford Lynch has been the Director of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) since July 1997. CNI, jointly sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE, includes about 200 member organizations concerned with the use of information technology and networked information to enhance scholarship and intellectual productivity. Cliff is too busy to have a blog :)

Other session highlights include:

Meta-data

A Radioactive Metadata Record Approach for Interoperability Testing Based on Analysis of Metadata Utilization
Dr. William E. Moen

Sorting Out Social Classification: Folksonomies and Tagging In Practice.
Gene Smith

Introduction to METS
Jerome Mcdonough

Management and Assessment

Planning for Assessment in Library Information Technology Services
Frank Cervone

Collaboration Management
Catherine Steeves

library2vendor: Open Source Development at SFU Library
Mark Jordan

Application Development

Have a Martini with that Olive: An Open Source Alternative for Publishing Olive XML.
Mark Leggott and Bess Sadler

(Grease)Monkeywrenching the Library: utilizing the sloppy underbelly of the web to expose our collections and services.
Ross Singer

Breaking out of the Box: Creating Customized Metasearch Services using an XML API
Roy Tennant

Open Source OPAC Clients - Obsolete PC’s as Thin Client OPAC’s
Rich McCue

As we may link: Building Memex with XML pipelines
Art Rhyno and Peter Binkley

Digital Librarianship

Digital Library Dialtone: Bootstrapping with Service Registries and Autodiscovery
Daniel Chudnov and Jeremy Frumkin

Bridging Worlds: Library IT and Free Software
Bruce D’Arcus

Visual Arrangement of Content in Rich-Prospect Browsing Interfaces
Dr. Stan Ruecker

And more sessions still to come. Don’t forget that the Access conference is a one stream conference.

Please do consider attending this conference. Look for registration to open by mid July 2005. The conference will cost $280 plus GST. More information can be found on our web site: http://access2005.library.ualberta.ca

Feel free to contact any member of the planning committee if you have questions (their contact information is available on the Access 2005 homepage.)

June 22, 2005

The Best 46 Free Utilities

:: Rita Vine at Sitelines draws attention to The 46 Best-ever Free Utilities, compiled by Ian "Gizmo" Richards, editor of Tech Support Alert. Free utilities covered included best web browser, anti-virus software, adware/spyware/scumware remover, spam filter for the average user (and one for the experienced user), best BitTorrent client, FTP client, etc etc. The list extends to 64 utilities if you subscribe to Gizmo's monthly newsletter, Support Alert, which I just did myself.

Thomson Gale Launches AccessMyLibrary.Com

:: From a press release from Thomson Gale:

Thomson Gale Launches AccessMyLibrary.Com to Allow Tens of Millions of People to Access Trusted Library Information Online --Initiative will improve the quality and relevance of information found on the Internet

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., June 16, 2005 -- Thomson Gale, the world's leading publisher of library reference information and part of The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC), today announced a groundbreaking library advocacy initiative that will enable libraries to capitalize on Internet search engines as a means of connecting library users with authoritative content. This unique initiative, which builds on Thomson Gale's commitment to libraries and their users, will increase peoples' awareness and usage of the library resources users are entitled to and at the same time provide them with direct access to more high-value information than ever before through Internet search.

Studies by a number of organizations, including research firms Electronic Publishing Services (EPS) and Outsell Inc., indicate that student and faculty researchers have joined the legions of more casual information seekers who are augmenting their use of traditional information sources, such as libraries with Internet search engines. The growing reliance on Internet search engines as a means of conducting academic research represents a departure from longstanding research patterns, and according to the EPS, signals a need for libraries to evolve the way they manage and promote their resources to more effectively support their users.

With the launch of AccessMyLibrary.com, Thomson Gale has enabled its content to be crawled and indexed by major search engines such as Yahoo! and Google. In doing so, Thomson Gale is not only making high-value content resources visible to a broader universe of information seekers, but is also highlighting the critical role libraries play as providers of quality information. Once desired content has been identified and made visible through the search engine's results, it becomes available through AccessMyLibrary.com if the searcher is an authorized user of a library that subscribes to that content.

"AccessMyLibrary.com will drive more successful searches and in doing so will remind everyone the worlds' libraries are critically important centers of learning and education," said Gordon Macomber, president of Thomson Gale. "The ubiquity of the Internet and the effectiveness of Internet search engines have forever changed the way people seek information. Thomson Gale has harnessed the power of Internet search engines to assist libraries in continuing to be the world's undisputed source for the highest quality and most authoritative reference information."

According to Yahoo!, Thomson Gale's AccessMyLibrary.com is also an important contribution to the overall evolution of the Internet.

"Through AccessMyLibrary.com Thomson Gale is really leveraging the opportunities that can be created when electronic information providers are thoughtful about making their content accessible to major search engines," said David Mandelbrot, vice president of Search, Yahoo!.

Macomber added, "Our approach to working with search did not develop overnight. Years of experimentation and listening to our customers has brought us to this point. We recognize the transformation that is taking place in the information industry and are excited about what the future holds for Thomson Gale and our customers. During this transformation, our key focus will be to assist libraries in showcasing their enduring role as the best source for high quality, relevant information."

HOW IT WORKS

Thomson Gale has released AccessMyLibrary.com as a beta program, which includes thousands of libraries that will enable their authenticated users to gain access to millions of documents from Thomson Gale's award winning product lines. There are no additional setup requirements for libraries in the beta program. Thomson Gale's service will set the standard for how publishers, aggregators, search engines and libraries can work in harmony for the benefit of their users.

With AccessMyLibrary.com, when searchers select a Thomson Gale article from a search engine's result list, they will be given the option to connect to their local library and freely access the selected article. Users will need to have their library card number or other identification to connect to the library. The library's address and phone number will also be provided so that users can contact their library to obtain a card or to learn more about the library's resources.

Macomber added, "It is important for us to establish, maintain and strengthen our relationships with individual information searchers. We believe that in doing so we will be able to facilitate a seamless connection to high-quality information that searchers are entitled to access through their library. In the process, libraries will continue to fortify their relationships with the countless students and other users they have been serving for years."A quick check of

AccessMyLibrary.com takes you to a beta site, with little information available. Click on "About This Service" or "Search Help", and an empty window pops up. I browsed some of the publication list, and found Polymer Engineering and Science, which is a peer-reviewed publication, and one to which we subscribe at the U of Alberta. Via Wiley Interscience, the June 2005 issue is currently available, and the July 2005 issue is also available as "Early View". Via AccessMyLibrary.com, the most recent issue available is January 2005.

It is not clear how publications are selected for this product. Polymer Engineering and Science is a Wiley Interscience publication, but other WI journals I checked are not indexed in AccessMyLibrary.com, such as Earthquake Engineering & Structural Dynamics or Hydrological Processes.

Click on any article, and the page that follows includes the citation and introduction, and the following: "Read the rest of this article for free courtesy of your local library." Click on "Go To Library", and you begin a three-step authentication process - that is, if you are in the USA. Click on "Not a Member?", or "Accessing outside of the United States?", and two more blank windows pop up (in Firefox or IE - in IE, the error message page appears, rather than the blank page, in FF). So for now, no access outside the USA, and the publication delay appears to be six months.

ASEE Conference Blog

:: The ASEE Conference Blog: Portland 2005, is available. The Engineering Libraries Division's program includes links to a number of presentations from the conference last week. Included among the presentations is one by STLQ contributor George Porter, and Hema Ramachadran, Opening the Vaults of Academe.

Standards Roundtable at SLA Toronto Conference

:: On June 6, 2005, I moderated the annual Standards Roundtable session at the SLA Conference in Toronto. Despite having a room that was half the size requested, and one in which the convention centre staff actually put roundtables instead of rows of chairs, the session was a good one. With twelve speakers, it was a challenge to keep everyone within a 5-7 minute time limit, but all participants did their best to stay within their assigned time, which was appreciated. Feedback from the session was received, and included suggestions for improving the session for 2006.

Keith Martin of NIST was one of the participants, and he provided the following summary of the standards roundtable:

The Standards Roundtable met with a standing room only crowd. Twelve speakers representing the U.S. Government, Canadian industry, a UN agency, standards developers and standards vendors presented, followed by a vigorous question and answer period. Selected highlights from each speaker are presented here:
  • A representative from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Research Library discussed the standards and standard reference data available for free from NIST.
  • The Canadian Standards Association discussed their work with academic institutions to provide students access to standards and codes.
  • The Standards Council of Canada described itself as a Canadian equivalent of ANSI, with a mission to encourage standards use in Canada. The Council also accredits standards labs, and approves voluntary Canadian standards.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) develops nuclear safety standards, which may be downloaded from their site or purchased from standards vendors.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) noted that its ACSE 7 standard, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, has recently been updated.
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) would like to hear from its library customers if they would prefer to get ASME standards directly from ASME or through a vendor, and why.
  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is working to offer redlined standards. ASTM International is expanding to cover standards in the areas of homeland security and biotechnology.
  • IEEE will add draft standards to the IEEE Electronic Library and also integrate “smart objects”, such as mathematical equations, into their publications.

  • From the standards vendors, Techstreet was purchased by Thomson, and ILI Infodesk has a new website and offers a 40% discount to academic libraries. IHS will soon offer historical SAE standards.
    Topics raised during the question and answer period covered digital rights management, document management software, and the availability of online taxonomies.
My thanks to Keith for providing his notes from the session.

June 21, 2005

8Rs - The Canadian Library Human Resource Study

:: The Canadian Library Association recently issued a press release announcing the formation of the CLA President's Council on the 8R's. At last week's annual CLA Conference, the 8Rs Canadian Library Human Resource Study was released. Of interest to all librarians, including those beyond Canada, the study "is a national research project that is examining important facets of library human resources from both organizational and individual perspectives over a period of two years."

The study draws its name from the eight core issues that the literature suggests are integral to human resource management in libraries: recruitment, retention, remuneration, reaccreditation, repatriation, rejuvenation, retirement and restructuring. The research team is currently gathering data through a series of surveys and focus groups from a number of different sources: library administrations, individual librarians and library technicians at all stages of their careers, library educators and MLIS students This will allow the study to present comprehensive view of the current and predicted needs of library institutions and library workers.

This research arose from the recognition that the existing literature on recruitment, retention, and leadership in the library profession is based on either anecdotal evidence or aggregate statistics, most of which are American. This literature predicts a crisis in succession management across the sector, as senior staff retire in significant numbers, which may leave libraries with inadequate numbers of staff to fill these vacancies. If this crisis does indeed occur, it is anticipated that it will be compounded by the flattening of library organizations, the reduction in numbers of middle managers, and hiring freezes due to sustained cutbacks during the past decade in American libraries. While Canadian public, academic, special, and school libraries have also experienced some of these factors, there is a lack of primary data for the Canadian context. The question remains as to whether Canadian libraries will face a crisis in succession management across the sector.

The study seeks to provide a significant collection of data that can provide a starting point for library institutions, library educators, and professional associations to reveal some of their common gaps in knowledge. As well, this data will illuminate potential areas of convergence, so that educators, practitioners and associations can address upcoming challenges with a shared understanding of the greater context, creating new opportunities for communication and partnership and furthering relationships."

Three reports are available which summarize the data and research from the study:

The CLA press release noted that

The 8Rs research project began in response to calls for a greater understanding of several intersecting human resource challenges believed to be facing Canadian libraries. Of primary concern was that of having a sufficient number of adequately trained and experienced staff that could succeed a senior librarian workforce poised to retire in large numbers over the next 5 to 10 years.

Stephen Abram said, "I believe that this President's Council on the 8Rs is an exciting and critical project for Canadian libraries and I hope it will provide a legacy for generations of libraries and library workers to come. I want to ensure that this Council achieves wide support and recognition. I am especially pleased that widely respected and admired CLA Past-president Wendy Newman has agreed to chair the President's Council on the 8Rs. Almost 30 leading CLA members from across Canada in all regions and types of libraries and from all sectors, representing a diverse range of points of view have accepted my call for participation. It is this kind of volunteer effort that makes CLA and the Canadian library movement stronger."

Wendy Newman, Council Chair and Librarian in Residence at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information Studies and former CEO of Brantford Public Library asserted that "The report covers much ground that has never before been examined in libraries. The 8Rs study provides the data and analysis to inform national coalitions and partnerships between libraries, educational institutions, and representative professional associations of the issues surrounding the supply and demand of the workforce. In doing so, the study permits an unprecedented opportunity to assess our readiness to accommodate change and to illuminate potential strategies that can be used by libraries in planning their own human resources.

Once the readiness, or lack thereof, of libraries to accomodate change and identify strategies is established or confirmed, it will be interesting to see what the profession does next, if anything. If a library system isn't hiring, well, it isn't hiring. If a library is considering recruiting and retaining new staff, the availabilty of funds dictates to a large extent how and when this might happen. Meanwhile, as the workforce in many libraries continues to shrink, managers must offload or redistribute work to remaining staff, or eliminate the work altogether. But perhaps hiring new staff is not the critical issue. As the press release notes, "Of primary concern was that of having a sufficient number of adequately trained and experienced staff..." Can this be done with those already working in the profession? Having trained and experienced staff does not imply bringing in new bodies.

I am not aware of a time frame for the CLA President's Council to complete its work. The list of members of the Council is impressive, featuring many existing and emerging leaders of libraries in Canada. The Council deserves and needs the support of librarians across Canada as it examines a very serious and increasingly critical issue to the profession.

Sirsi and Dynix Merge

:: Who knows what the implications are with this merger, but it's happened. There is already a new, scary looking website. Details from an e-mail received today, complete with corporate spin:

Today, I have exciting news to share with you and others in the Sirsi family prior to announcing it to the world: Sirsi and Dynix, two long-time library technology leaders, are merging to create a single company focused on developing and delivering information technology for libraries and consortia. Yesterday, we signed an agreement to merge our worldwide operations. But this is just the first step. Next comes the integration of the two companies - a process already begun and the major portion of which should be completed before the end of 2005. I'll mention more about the integration process below.

The new SirsiDynix, created through a "merger of equals," brings together two solid companies with 20+-year track records, impressive customer bases, and rich product and service offerings. The result is a new company positioned more strongly than either company on its own to create and deliver the leading-edge products and dependable services needed by our customers.

No doubt, you're wondering what the SirsiDynix merger means to you and your institution. It means that your technology partner is stronger than ever. With 700+ employees and worldwide operations offering unparalleled R&D resources, the broadest array of products and services for libraries and consortia, and unmatched service and support, we provide our customers with unparalleled resources and expertise for meeting their evermore-demanding needs. And because we're already profitable and financially sound, you can count on us today and down the road.Committed to the products you depend on

We're in an enviable position right now by being able to offer superior products like the Unicorn and Horizon 7.x Library Management Systems - as well as the next-generation Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platform, which SirsiDynix will continue to aggressively develop. With a range of other products that integrate with and complement Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian, SirsiDynix offers the strongest suite of library technologies on the market. As part of the integration process, we are taking a look at how we can maximize the value of these technologies.

But several important points are clear now: SirsiDynix will continue to develop and support both the Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platforms. You will not be forced to migrate from one platform to another, and you can continue with the plans you already have in place for moving to another SirsiDynix system or remaining on your current system. It's all up to you.

Unicorn users can depend on SirsiDynix to continue Unicorn development, just as planned prior to the merger. Thousands of libraries, tens of thousands of library staff, and tens of millions of library users around the world have depended on the Unicorn system - some for as long as 20 years. SirsiDynix will continue to invest the R&D in Unicorn required to maintain its reputation as the industry's most comprehensive and evolutionary integrated library system. We are now completing beta testing of the latest version of this product, Unicorn GL3.0, in advance of its general release in August 2005. Development of the next release, Unicorn GL3.1, is already underway.

Users of the DRA Classic and MultiLIS systems will also continue to be supported, as prior to the merger. If you are with one of these sites, we will help you chart out a SirsiDynix upgrade path that works best for you - in terms of both technology and timing.

We will also continue to support the OPAC/user interface products that Unicorn, DRA Classic, and MultiLIS customers are currently using: iBistro, iLink, WebCat, and Web2. As you may know, prior to the merger both Sirsi and Dynix had been developing advanced, industry-standard user interface/portal solutions: the Horizon Information Portal and the Sirsi Enterprise Portal Solution. Development efforts in this critical area will continue, with the stated goal of developing a single standards-based product that will work with both the Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian platforms. But, as with Unicorn, you can make your own decisions about when and how to move to a new user interface/portal solution.

Another thing that won't change is our commitment to working with our users' groups, just as we did prior to the merger. We value these independent organizations and look forward to their leadership as they and SirsiDynix strive to make our products and services the best they can be.

The bottom line is that SirsiDynix customers now have more technology choices than ever before. And you can make these choices on your timetable, with the assurance that we will work with you to meet the needs of your library or consortium.

The best of both worlds

I've already alluded to the fact that one of the major benefits of the SirsiDynix merger is the unparalleled technical capabilities that now come together in a single organization. The merged company will have the expertise and resources to do more research and development than either company could have done separately. So our adoption of a dual-platform strategy (Unicorn and Horizon 8.x/Corinthian) is feasible and reasonable given the capacity we will have going forward to serve our customers' evermore demanding and diverse needs.

An important point to remember is that there is a "bigger picture" to what SirsiDynix offers its customers today. While we may be developing two distinct server platforms going forward, there are great opportunities for developing complementary, platform-independent solutions that will not only make for greater efficiencies within the SirsiDynix product development organization but provide customers with a broader range of options than ever before available. Some of these product development opportunities include:

· Creating a single suite of user interface/portal solutions based on today's industry standard technologies, including uPortal and JetSpeed

· Making the company's content offerings, including Rooms content, available for use with all current user interface/portal solutions

· Offering SirsiDynix customers a single suite of add-on products - both SirsiDynix and third-party products - that can be used with either ILS platform; for example, the URSA interlibrary loan solution, the SmartSource bibliographic/authority record service, and third-party solutions for PC/print management, self-service, e-commerce, and more

Moving forward…

So our name is changing. We're expanding our worldwide presence. We'll have more products and services than ever. But there are some things that won't change. The day-to-day contacts you and your staff have for the sales and service organizations will remain unchanged in the new SirsiDynix. You should experience no operational disruptions whatsoever.

The new SirsiDynix management team is beginning to take shape. Be sure to watch for a related announcement within the next few weeks. At this point, I am indeed pleased to tell you that I will be CEO of the new company. It's been rewarding to work with the library community for nearly five years now, and I look forward to working with even more libraries, consortia, and the professionals who lead and staff them.

Regarding the overall integration of Sirsi and Dynix into a single company, I'm very encouraged by the progress we've made thus far. Staffed by management representatives from both companies, we've formed six integration teams to make plans for our merged company. Addressing the Product and Technology, Operations, Marketing/Communications, Sales/International/Third-Party, Finance, and Human Resources functional areas, these teams have been working for weeks to establish best practices, optimal organizational schemes, and effective strategies for the future of SirsiDynix.

As we progress with the integration, we will update you regularly via the Web and newsletters. Of course, SirsiDynix account managers are always available to answer clients more specific questions. Of course, you may also have important questions that we've not provided answers for. To help in asking and answering these questions, SirsiDynix has set up an anonymous Web form, accessible on the Sirsi Client Care Web site at www.sirsi.com, where customers can submit questions. Answers to those questions will be provided in an online list of customer FAQs, which will be updated as the SirsiDynix integration proceeds.

We're committed to keeping you informed and involved throughout the integration of the two companies. Please never hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns.

Better. Together.

In short, two industry leaders are now together. And we're better and stronger for it. Thanks for letting the new SirsiDynix be your technology partner. I'm confident that you will be pleased with what we all can do together.

Regards,

Patrick Sommers

P.S.: In the coming days and weeks, a member of SirsiDynix management and/or your account manager will be contacting you to answer any specific questions you may have. If you're going to be in Chicago for the ALA Annual Conference, we look forward to the opportunity to talk with you there.

June 18, 2005

Reports from the Canadian Library Association Conference

:: I've been attending and participating in the annual CLA Conference in Calgary. I've been contributing to the CLA Conference Blog as well, and reported on the following two sessions.

I was a participant on a panel on blogging with Steven Cohen, Aaron Schmidt, and Darlene Fichter, which was quite successful and was well attended. I attended an interview-format session, featuring Ken Roberts, Chief Librarian of Hamilton Public Library, interviewing Clifford Lynch on technology issues facing libraries today.

June 15, 2005

CLA in Calgary

:: I will be in Calgary for the next three days attending the annual Canadian Library Association Conference. Check out the CLA Calgary Conference blog.

June 14, 2005

now - Foundations and Trends®

:: While at the SLA trade show, I visited the now booth, i.e., Now Publishers Inc, creators of a new series of journals called Foundations and Trends®. From the Product Overview page:

Each Foundations and Trends® will cover a major branch of a scientific discipline and offer current, state-of-the-art review articles by opinion/research leaders in their field. Authors are allowed 50-100 pages for a complete review of the subject and articles are published upon acceptance in electronic form with all of the references linked to the original source. Each article is intended to put primary research into context, improving researchers' and students' understanding of the original literature. As a result, and guided by the links to source material, users will have access to primary and secondary data - enriching their comprehension, retention and utilization of the content.
From the About Us page:
now is introducing a new type of product into the research information market. Focusing initially in the Business and Technology areas, now is introducing Foundations and Trends® (FnT). This product combines the peer-review of journals, the high usage of reference works, and the pedagogy of textbooks. Each "issue" of FnT comprises one or more monographs of up to 100 pages written by research and opinion leaders in the field that surveys the literature and offers a state-of-the-art review of the subject in full including a complete bibliography. The issues will be published electronically upon acceptance with subsequent distribution in print format. Each issue will be subject to peer-review thereby vetting the content and validating the information. We will also have authors revise their contribution on a regular basis to maintain currency and the incentives include the long-term citation impact of the article and financial compensation. As the number of "issues" grows over time, the subscriber has access to a large corpus of literature "in effect a "digital library" -- covering the entire scope of a discipline.
Again, we are presented with a new and interesting approach to scholarly publishing, and like Morgan & Claypool, focusing on up-to-date, state-of-the-art analysis in selected subject areas. Now's two subject areas thus far are business and technology, with some overlap in subject coverage with M&C. Now is publishing seven titles in business, and eight in technology. Another similarity is that each "issue" will be revised by its authors as required, as is each M&C "lecture". Now will use CrossRef to link to the full text of the references in each article.

Is there a need for this new kind of scholarly publishing? Is a vacuum being filled by now and Morgan & Claypool? Stay tuned to find out.

Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science

:: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, a new company in the STM publishing world, has launched its new series of "lectures", Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science:

The basic component of the library is a 50- to 100-page "Lecture"; a self-contained electronic document that synthesizes an important research or development topic, authored by an expert contributor to the field. We believe that they offer unique value to the reader by providing more synthesis, analysis, and depth than the typical research journal article. They are also more dynamic and convenient than traditional print or digital handbooks, contributed volumes, and monographs.

The library and its lectures are organized in a hierarchical structure of disciplines and series. Each series is managed by a prominent consulting editor. The series editor guides lecture topic and author selection as well as peer review. New series and lectures will be added continuously and existing lectures will be revised as needed. This will make the collection dynamic in a way that has not been achieved with traditional reference or educational products.

The Synthesis platform provides the user with access to content in both PDF and HTML formats, with live links to references and sophisticated search and personalization functions.

I met with company reps Glyn Davies and Mike Jones at the trade show at SLA, who mentioned that the first five lectures are now available: Articulation and Intelligibility, Hf-Based High-k Dielectrics, Understanding Circuits, Spectral Analysis of Signals, and Recognition of Humans and Their Actions Using Video. This is an interesting approach to scholarly publishing, one I haven't seen before. I wonder how researchers will cite these "lectures", especially once an existing lecture is updated. Will the earlier version still be available?

For the moment, the subject emphasis is on electrical and eletronic engineering and computer science topics. I hope the publishers choose to add lectures in the other major engineering fields, including chemical and materials, civil and environmental, mining and petroleum, mechanical, engineering management, and nanotechnology.

IEEE Slide Show From SLA

:: As mentioned in an earlier post, IEEE hosted its annual breakfast session at SLA. Part of the presentation was a report analyzing patent referencing of IEEE publications. The slides from the report are now available for viewing.

June 9, 2005

SLA Session - Future of Search Engines (Google View)

:: I attended a session at SLA in Toronto called The Future of Search Engines. One of the speakers was Cathy Gordon, Director of Business Development for Google. After stating that her opinions were her own, and didn't reflect those of Google, she began with a mini infomercial (standard fare, and expected) about the infamous search engine, noting that users can now search in >100 languages, it is the #1 search engine in 17 of 20 countries (didn't say which 17 countries, or the names of the other 3), and that Google powers 70% of all Internet searches. Google doesn't create its own content, tries to knock down spam results, and does not accept payment for inclusion. Users may submit web pages to Google for indexing, and currently it indexes >8 billion pages, and >12,000 news sources.

She mentioned "Premium Content" (apparently a new or forthcoming feature in which Google will somehow get behind subscription firewalls to for-fee dbs), and noted that book search results from Google Print are not integrated into Google web searches, as the pages from the books are not ranked.

In discussing Google Scholar, she said it was created by an engineer looking for scholarly content. Some dbs and full-text scholarly journals are being indexed, along with theses, dissertations, books, technical reports, and other material. When asked about a source list of what is indexed in Google Scholar, she said she didn't know exactly why this still isn't being offered by Google. GS uses link resolvers to allow for access to articles on an IP-authenticated machine (where the institution subscribes to the publication in which the article is found).

As for the topic of the session itself, Gordon believes that users will continue to demand more control, while the search engine will become more personal and sophisticated but must remain simple to use. The depth, breadth and type of searchable content will continue to expand, and the challenge is to present this variety of information in a coherent and cohesive manner. Geographic and language barriers will continue to decrease, and desktop tethering will be eliminated - i.e., the need to have a desktop computer to search will no longer be the case as searching becomes ubiquitious. To this end, Google offers the option of personalizing your Google homepage, along with My Search History.

She summarized as follows: searching remains a primitive function, users must be at the centre of improvements, the increasing amounts of searchable information will require innovative solutions to manage its complexity, and searching must be accessible at any time, from any location, using any device.

June 7, 2005

ENGnetBASE To Double In Size, SciTech Bloggers Converge at The Steam Whistle

:: At the SLA Conference in Toronto today, I visited with representatives of CRC Press, who advised that ENGnetBASE, the flagship full-text engineering handbook db of CRC Press, will expand in size in July. Currently at 298 titles, approximately 375 new engineering-related titles will be added to the db in July. The titles will be from Dekker and Taylor & Francis, as well as a number of CRC Press titles.

CRCnetBASE representatives also advised that if your library currently subscribes to six different CRCnetBASE products, subscriptions to additional netBASE dbs can be added for US$1000 each.

:: Also of note, tonight at a reception at the Steam Whistle Brewery, I finally met fellow Canadian engineering librarian blogger Catherine Lavalée-Welch, who recently moved to Florida. Also at the reception were a number of other scitech bloggers, including John Dupuis, Teri Vogel, and Christina Pikas. A number of group digital photos were taken with Christina's camera, including this one.

Forthcoming Engineering Village 2 Upgrades and New Features

:: At a meeting today at the SLA Conference in Toronto, the following upgrades and new features to EV2 were announced for Summer 2005:

  • The "faceted search" function will be added to the Quick and Expert search options
  • EV2 RSS feeds will be pushed out to all EV2 subscribers/customers
  • A new feature, "Blog This Record", will be released; users will be able to select records one at a time, and send each record to their blogs
  • A new patent search function will be launched in EV2, initially covering the Esp@canet and USPTO dbs. Forward and backward patent searching will be available, meaning that searchers can link to publications cited by and citing the patent. Non-patent references will link to records in Compendex, Inspec or NTIS if they exist in any or all of these dbs. If a citing or cited non-patent reference isn't indexed in one of these three dbs, EV2 will try to link to the article using CrossRef.
  • In Fall 2005, the deduplication function, used when cross-db searching in EV2, will be enhanced
  • The Ei Thesaurus will be updated in 2006

June 6, 2005

The Latest from IEEE

:: I attended the annual IEEE Breakfast at the SLA conference this morning. Following a delicious morning meal, IEEE presented its slide show of the latest news and forthcoming upgrades to their publications and digital products. Among the highlights:

  • an extensive analysis has been done for IEEE on patents referencing IEEE journals, conferences and standards. Data show that IEEE publications are referenced for more than other commercial and non-commercial publishers; the statistics flew by too quickly for me to record any numbers
  • Patents referencing IEEE have higher citation impacts than peer patents (in the same categories
  • Top patenting organizatgions reference IEEE papers seven times as papers from other publishers; remove conferences, still five times as many
  • 95% of references to IEEE come from the companies filing the patents; 5% are added by the patent examiners at USPTO
  • According to IEEE figures, IEEE publications increased in cost by 6% in 2005; "competitors" increased by 8%; IEEE's average page count per publication increased by 15%, "competitors" by 4% in 2005
  • new content being added to IEL, such as the Canadian Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • many IEEE publications now including multimedia content
  • 27 of 114 titles now posting articles online once they are approved for publication
  • in 2005, two more releases for IEL: 2.1 will include:
    • IEEE press integration; abstract records for IEEE press books with links to Wiley
    • single sales of IEEE standards
    • enhancements to OPAC listings
  • Release 2.2 will include:
    • My Profile functionality
    • Open URL source capability
    • Known citation searching
    • improving readability to address small font problem
    • More legacy content; example: backfiles of the Proceedings of the IEEE will be added as follows: 1963-1987 in 2005; 1913-1962 in 2006
    • watermarking PDFs
I was surprised that no mention was made of integrating RSS into any IEEE products or dbs. In 2005, RSS feeds for journal tables-of-contents is a no-brainer. But they did say they are considering adding RSS in the future. Overall a good presentation (as it is every year at SLA), combined with a good morning meal. Thanks to IEEE for hosting this session again.

June 3, 2005

Chemical Market Reporter To Offer IP Access to Universities/Colleges

:: I have been in contact with Connie Magner, Assistant Manager of Subscription Sales for ICIS Publications, publishers of Chemical Market Reporter. Connie advises that CMR will be offering two options to learned/academic institutional subscribers of CMR, to allow for access to the chemical prices. One option, for US$415/year, will provide for unlimited online access to the current issue of CMR every Monday morning plus unlimited search access to a one year online archive (moving wall.) For US$715/yr access will be provided to the full CMR archive, currently 6 years worth of material, including the chemical prices. The rates offered are being offered to the institutions who will maintain their current paper copy subscriptions. Access to the online version of CMR will be provided via IP authentication.

While I lament the loss of the chemical prices in the print edition, I am pleased that CMR has offered an alternative to colleges and universities, to allow access to the very important chemical prices. My sincere thanks to Connie Magner in London, and Helga Tilton, the Editor-in-Chief of CMR in New York, for working towards a solution, which will allow universities and colleges access to the very important weekly chemical prices. My thanks also to Brian Gray at Case Western Reserve for his work towards solving this access dilemma.

What Do PAM and STS Members Read?

:: As posted by Joe Kraus to PAMNET and other discussion groups this morning:

What do PAM and STS members read?

That question is answered in the article:

Ortega, Lina and C.M. Brown. 2005. "Information Seeking Behavior of Physical Science Librarians: Does Research Inform Practice?" College and Research Libraries 66(3):231-247

Physical science librarians rely on personal communication and online discussion groups for information to enlighten their practice. Scholarly journals appear third on the list of resources used to inform daily activities and are used primarily to support information literacy instruction, subscription decisions, and their own research as well as to learn about best practices in other libraries. The preferred library and information studies journals publish virtually equal proportions of research and nonresearch articles, with the majority of research articles being reports of qualitative surveys without statistical analysis. The popular journals were not those most highly cited, nor were the research articles cited to a greater extent than the nonresearch articles. In essence, the experiences and opinions of colleagues and patrons were found to be of greater value to the practice of physical science librarianship than reports of original research.

June 2, 2005

IoP Librarian Insider #4 Available, SLA and CLA Near

:: The latest issue of IoP's Librarian Insider, Issue 4, is available for viewing.

:: Next week I'll be in Toronto attending SLA, and the following week in Calgary attending CLA. At SLA, I'll be moderating the annual Standards Roundtable, this year featuring 12 invited speakers presenting the latest news and developments from their companies and organizations. I am on the DENG Board, and will attend three related Board meetings. Hope to see you in Toronto. In Calgary, I'm on a panel called Blogging & RSS: Applications & Technology, with Darlene Fichter, Aaron Schmidt, and Steven Cohen. See you in Calgary?

:: For a break from reality and for a good laugh or two, check out Grocery Store Wars.

June 1, 2005

Nobel Prize Winner Slams ACS, Resigns from Society

:: Richard J Roberts, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, has written a (publicly available) devestating letter regarding the American Chemical Society's continued attempts to shut down the freely available db PubChem, produced by NIH's National Center for Biotechnology Information. Further details are available at the U Cal Office of Scholarly Communications site, on the page, The American Chemical Society and NIH's PubChem.

The content of Dr Roberts' letter follows:

Dear Dr. Namaroff:

I regret that I am going to have to pull out of the ACS-CSIR conference in India next January. For some time now I have been deeply troubled by the actions of the ACS and this has finally reached breaking point with the violent opposition to the PubChem initiative at NCBI. I find myself no longer able to support anything that carries the imprimatur of the ACS.

I was greatly troubled when ACS so vehemently opposed the Open Access initiative. This led me to resign my membership in the society after more than 20 years as a member. The recent legal actions against Google have also disturbed me very much, but the current opposition to PubChem is reprehensible and without any redeeming merit. As an advisor to PubChem I am aware of what they are trying to do and it is in no way a threat to anything that ACS is doing. Rather it complements those activities very nicely and provides for the biological community an important resource that is not provided by CAS. Furthermore, PubChem is keen to provide links to CAS and thereby enhance the usefulness of both resources.

My only interpretation of the recent actions by the ACS Board and management is that it is no longer trying to be a scientific society striving towards the goals of its Congressional charter, which is to represent the best interests of the scientists who form its membership. Rather it seems to be a commercial enterprise whose principle objective is to accumulate money. The ACS management team might be well-advised to poll its members to discover if they are happy about the recent actions taken in their names.

Aside from the listed recipients of this letter, I am prepared to make to make it publicly available if requested. Frankly, the recent actions of the ACS are a disgrace to its image in the USA and around the world. They engender such bad feelings as to raise in question the motivations of its leadership. I cannot in good faith support any of the activities of a body that has gone so seriously wrong.

Richard J. Roberts
1993 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

Dr. Richard J. Roberts
New England Biolabs
32 Tozer Road
Beverly, MA 01984
USA

Via: George Porter.