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May 25, 2007

Audio Recording Available of Dr John Willinsky's 20 March 2007 Presentation: "Open Access: The Sea Change in Scholarly Publishing"

.:The University of Alberta Libraries is pleased to make available an audio recording of our March 20th forum with Dr John Willinsky - Open Access: The Sea Change in Scholarly Publishing (mp3 format) - .

Dr Willinsky's award-winning Public Knowledge Project is the world's leading open source software for journal publishing, and his recent book: The Access Principle (MIT Press, 2006), has won this year's Blackwell Award for Scholarship.

To learn more about support available from the University of Alberta Libraries, visit our Open Access Publishing Information Site. Please see also the article, "Public knowledge - Open access publishing pushes scholarship into the public realm, advocates say", from the 13 April 2007 issue of the University of Alberta's newspaper, Folio.

May 24, 2007

The Mixed Blessing That Is SAE

.: About a month ago I reported that SAE had done a "180" regarding the DRM and licencing issues surround their SAE Digital Library. I noted the following:

As a result of the concerns brought forward by some of its membership, the word is that SAE has committed to rescinding its DRM policy, and change its licencing options to allow for an unrestricted number of downloaded papers and standards per educational site. Potentially this could happen within the next few weeks.
Subsequently, DRM was removed from University/Academic customers, but it seems little else has changed. Further, the removal of DRM is a temporary suspension.

To wit, this is what appeared in an e-mail on 20 April 2007:

  1. Removal of DRM only applies to the University/Academic Digital Library Tech Paper customers. All Corporate DRM-enabled customers are not affected. Access to subscription Standards via the SAE Digital Library also requires DRM.
  2. Removal of DRM is a Temporary Suspension. SAE is convening a task force to discuss DRM policies (see Press Release below). It is important that IHS continues to indicate SAE is still planning to implement some sort of content protection strategies to uphold their corporate Intellectual Property policy. At the end of 2007, DRM could be reactivated, it could be modified or it could be removed permanently; depending upon the outcome of the special task force discussions.
  3. There is no change to the Download Pricing Model. Academic/University accounts continue to have the following download options available to them: 3,300 downloads (maximum set), 2,500 downloads, 1,800 downloads and 850 downloads.
SAE (and IHS as a partner with SAE) are committed to delivery a quality product resulting in complete customer satisfaction. Thanks to those of who provided feedback from the academic community regarding the SAE DL DRM policy.

SAE issued the following press release to coincide with the now-temporary change in DRM policy for academic institutions:

SAE Publications Board to Review Digital Rights Management Controls for Students, Faculty

DETROIT, April 19, 2007 - SAE International’s Publications Board temporarily will suspend full activation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls as applied on the Society’s Digital Library of technical papers for licensees at colleges, universities and other academic institutions.

Through 2007, DRM controls will be relaxed to allow students and faculty more freedom in printing and sharing SAE technical papers.

“SAE International will convene a special taskforce -- composed of university professors, staff publishing professionals, Publications Board members and librarians -- to make recommendations regarding DRM policies,” John Kinstler, out-going chair of the SAE Publications Board, said.

“SAE’s highest interest is in serving the technical information needs of all mobility professionals,” said Michael Madley, SAE’s new chair of the Publications Board. “We look forward to working in partnership with the academic community to ensure an efficient and economical flow of information while managing intellectual property rights.”

This special taskforce is a very positive development, and one can only hope that the DRM restrictions will be relaxed permanently for educational institutions, where SAE's future members and customers are studying and doing research with a nod towards entering the engineering profession and joining SAE! I was quite disappointed that the insane and completely ridiculous pricing model was not rescinded for academic institutions as well. Why a maximum of 3,300 downloads? What happens if this number is exceeded? The pricing model seems to be designed for for-profit companies and automakers who may have a good idea in advance of how much research might be conducted in a subscription year, but this is seldom the case on a campus. *sigh*

The e-mail notes that "SAE (and IHS as a partner with SAE) are committed to delivery a quality product resulting in complete customer satisfaction." So far there is little evidence of this with regards to SAE and its academic and institutional subscribers, which, at the risk of repeating myself, and teaching SAE's future customers and members. I hope the task force recognizes the need for a standard subscription pricing model, based on institution IP access and not predicted number of downloads, and that it recognizes that DRM does not work in an educational setting.

May 22, 2007

"Using the Engineering Literature" Wins ELD's Best Reference Work Award 2007

.: The 2006 publication Using the Engineering Literature, edited by Bonnie A Osif, is the recipient of the 2007 ASEE Engineering Libraries Division's Best Reference Work Award (previous winners listed here). The award will be presented at the 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in Hawaii in late June.

Congratulations to Bonnie and to the many authors (my University of Alberta engineering librarian colleague Jerry Kowalyk and myself included!) who contributed to this significant work. It is an honour to receive such recognition.

Forthcoming Stanford "Bookless" Engineering Library Facility Advertising Another Position

.: I don't often post new jobs, but this one caught my eye. Last fall, Stanford advertised for a Head Librarian for the forthcoming facility. Now Stanford has posted a position for an engineering librarian who will "..be an important part of the team that develops and builds out the engineering digital library that supports teaching, learning, and research in all fields of engineering at Stanford as well as related fields." The one catch is that SU is looking for a librarian with an engineering degree, which will significantly narrow the field of potential applicants. Details are below:

The Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources seek a well-qualified librarian with significant subject expertise to expand the staff of its Engineering Library. Stanford is currently planning for a new Engineering facility, and this Librarian will have significant responsibility for maintaining communications with and services for faculty and students during the transition.

The new Engineering Library will be a library, but in the most advanced definition of that term, and ultimately, as the literatures of engineering disciplines move to digital form, it is envisioned as a bookless facility. In this environment, deep subject knowledge, facility with electronic information resources and the ability to develop and maintain faculty relationships will be key skills for all of our Librarians. We plan to provide one subject specialist librarian for every two departments in the School of Engineering (Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bioengineering, Management Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical Engineering). These specialists will create and maintain online "reading rooms" or online guides to the specialized literatures of their fields, provide information instruction, manage online information repositories and experiment with new technologies to deliver information resources and access to the School of Engineering faculty and students.

This librarian will be an important part of the team that develops and builds out the engineering digital library that supports teaching, learning, and research in all fields of engineering at Stanford as well as related fields. SULAIR (Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources) operates 16 libraries and numerous academic computing facilities for
Stanford. It is an organization that has for the past 15 years exploited its nearly unique combination of library and academic computing staff, methods, and assets along with Stanford's absolutely unique entrepreneurial spirit to create new approaches to serving the faculty, students, and staff comprising the Stanford community. More information about SULAIR and its
many units may be found on these websites. http://library.stanford.edu/about_sulair/briefguide.html

Qualified candidates will possess an academic degree in engineering or equivalent (Master's degree preferred), knowledge of the literature of engineering, and demonstrated successful engagement with the integration of digital information resources, technologies and services in research library programs.

1. Provides in-depth reference service in dedicated subject areas.
2. Devises and proposes digital library collections and services in support of teaching, learning and research in designated subject areas.
3. Participates in defining goals, planning, developing, and evaluating Stanford's collections in designated Engineering disciplines.
4. Keeps abreast of current publication trends and information distribution practices in all appropriate formats as well as developments in information science.
5. Selects current and retrospective materials in Engineering, in all forms and formats, with emphasis on designated disciplines. Monitors approval plans as appropriate.
6. Maintains contact with faculty and students in Engineering, particularly in designated disciplines.
7. Reviews engineering collections for relegation, discard, and preservation. Helps plan and supervise evaluation and use studies as appropriate.
8. Other duties as assigned.

1. Academic degree in engineering or the demonstrated equivalent in experience required, along with knowledge of the literature of engineering.
2. Masters in Library Science degree from an accredited institution preferred, although the equivalent in training and experience will be considered.
3. Three to five years of experience as a professional librarian in a research engineering or science library.
4. Successful engagement with the integration of digital information resources, technologies, and services in research library programs.
5. Demonstrated ability to contribute to the planning and implementation of new and improved services and resources.
6. Demonstrated skills in public services and collection development as well as the capacity to interact effectively and responsively to engineering faculty and students.
7. Strong communication skills, both oral and written.
8. Promise of making significant contributions to SULAIR services and to the profession.
9. Ability to work effectively in a complex environment filled with ambiguity and promise.

This job is posted on the Stanford Jobs web site.
Please apply by clicking on the Apply Now button after searching for job
#25392 in the Keyword Search field (with nothing else highlighted)at:

Thank you!

Helen Josephine
Head Librarian
Engineering Library
Terman Engineering Center
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4029