Re: FOS Newsletter Excerpts

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 23:41:22 +0000

      [Excerpts from] the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
      November 2, 2001

Huge free online astronomy database funded

The NSF has given $10 million to 17 institutions to create a web-based
National Virtual Observatory. This will be a unified front end to 17 huge
databases of astronomical observations and related data. It will function
like an observatory, allowing researchers and students to call up
observations of any part of the sky, free of charge, no waiting, whether it
is day or night at the user's spot of Earth. It will also draw together
quantitative data about celestial objects, permitting unprecedented
comparisons and integration with observations. The entire NVO archive will
contain about 100 terabytes of data to start, and grow to more than 10
petabytes by 2008.

Brian Krebs, National Virtual Observatory To Put Universe Online

National Virtual Observatory

* Postscript. For comparison, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine,
which archives nearly the entire internet (see FOSN for 10/26/01), also
contains 100 terabytes of data. How big is 100 terabytes?

While the NVO is a very big archive, it's not the biggest on the drawing
boards. As far as I can tell, this title belongs to the Particle Physics
Data Grid, a project to build the infrastructure for multi-petabyte data
sets in particle physics.


More on journal resignations

* Alison Buckholtz from SPARC has pointed me toward two new specimens for
our growing collection of journal editors who resign from expensive print
journals in order to launch free or affordable online journals. One is a
case from this year in which a handful of editors resigned from _Topology
and Its Applications_ in order to launch _Algebraic and Geometric
Topology_. The other case is the oldest in the collection so far. In
1989, Eddy van der Maarel and most of his editorial board resigned from
_Vegetatio_ in order to launch the _Journal of Vegetation Science_. For
details on both cases, see my separate page of FOS lists.
(Thanks to Alison Buckholtz and Eddy van der Maarel for helping me gather
the background facts on these cases.)

* In the last issue I told the story of the editor resignations from the
_Journal of Academic Librarianship_ and provided a link to comments on the
resignations by Steve McKinzie. In the September issue of LIBRES, Tony
Seward has a reply to McKinzie's comments. Seward presents data showing
that the subscription price hike that allegedly triggered the resignations
could not have been imposed by Elsevier, the journal's buyer.

McKinzie's comments

Seward's reply and correction

* In the last issue I published a dead link for the _Journal of Academic
Librarianship_ because I didn't have a live one. Here's are two live,
current links.
(Thanks to Paul Pival.)
(Thanks to Tom Kirk.)


* Google may start to charge for specialized searches in vertical
markets. Medicine, technology, perhaps other academic disciplines may
count as vertical markets for this purpose.,,34856,FF.html

* In the plus column, Google has started to index Word, Excel, PowerPoint,
Rich Text Format, and PostScript files. It already indexes PDF files, and
is one of the few search engines to do so. This new format-literacy
greatly increases its coverage of academic content. As with PDF files,
Google will display a non-HTML file in makeshift HTML at the user's choice.


New on the net

* PubMed now supports searches on a growing library of full-text
books. Users can search any book individually or the whole collection at
once. Or you can take advantage of PubMed's sophisticated method of
integrating them with journal abstracts. When you search PubMed's journal
literature, find something relevant, and pull up its abstract, at first it
is static text, just as before. But with one click, its key terms are
converted to links to explanatory parts of the searchable books, making
PubMed abstracts instantly more useful to non-specialists. When you click
on a term and jump to a section of a book, you can scroll from where you
find yourself within limits set by the publisher --i.e. all the books are
full-text searchable but not all are full-text browsable. The book
collection currently contains six biomedical textbooks and is growing.

* The Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS) of the Reference and User
Services Association (RUSA) of the ALA has announced the 32 Best Free
Reference Web Sites of 2001. (PS: If you already know all 32, you deserve
an award yourself, and some time outdoors.)

* Discussion drafts of the framing papers for the upcoming (November 9-11)
conference on the public domain, at Duke University Law School, are now on
the web.

* Matthew Eberle, librarian at The Forsyth Institute and the voice behind
Library Techlog, has put online his method for logging usage statistics for
eJournals. It requires Microsoft ASP and Access.

* The Technology Resource Foundation has put online the Technical Beta
Preview Release of OpenBook Version 0.9 for downloading. OpenBook is an
open source automation system for libraries.


Share your thoughts

* Dave Fowler of Iowa State University is editing a collection of essays
for Haworth Press entitled, _E-Serials Collection Management: Transitions,
Trends, and Technicalities_. If you would like to contribute an essay to
the volume, get in touch with Dave. He wants all essays in hand by end of
February 2002.

* The Pirelli company is soliciting nominations for its 6th annual
International Multimedia Award "for the diffusion of scientific and
technological culture". The winner receives 80,000 euros (approximately
$72,000 U.S.). Last year's winners were all scientific sites. Use of
multimedia is a central criterion. As far as I can tell, the web site
gives no nomination deadline. (Yes, this is Pirelli the tire company.)


In other publications

* In the November/December _CLIR Issues_, Jerry George describes three
takes on the problem of long-term digital preservation, as presented in
three sessions of the Society of American Archivists in Washington last August.

* In the November _FirstMonday_, Kei Ishii and Bernd Lutterbeck argue that
open courseware, like MIT's, will "strengthen the democratic foundation of
a knowledge-based society". Their argument applies to scholarly literature
as much as to course material: "More open access to source code or course
material will generally lead to an increase of knowledge, which in turn
will lead to increased innovation in all fields, and stimulate the economy,
which ultimately will benefit MIT" or the provider of the free resource.

* In the November _Technology Review_, Mark Frauenfelder explains Tim
Berners-Lee's concept of the Semantic Web (see FOSN for 5/7/01). It's one
of the clearest accounts I've seen so far.

* In the October 29 _Scientist_, Eugene Russo reports on the impact of the
Public Library of Science initiative (PLoS). While he believes that its
successes "have fallen well short" of hopes, he does allow that there have
been successes. He cites Michael Eisen, one of the original PLoS
signatories, who argues that PLoS has raised consciousness about FOS and
proved that a large number of scientists are dissatisfied with existing
prices and access rules for science journals. He also cites Nicholas
Cozzarelli, a journal editor and member of the PubMed Central advisory
committee, who enumerates many specific changes in access rules adopted by
journals in response to PLoS, even if not all these changes comply with the
PLoS requirements. Finally, Russo reports on the PLoS plan to launch new
journals with online content free for readers, supported by author charges.
(Thanks to David Osterbur for pointing this out. Free registration required.)

* If you agree that search engines are not the right tools to tame
information overload, then read Paolo DiMaio's survey of taxonomy (or
categorization) software in the October 12 _Online Journalism
Review_. This kind of software reads text files that have not been
pre-digested or stuctured with metatags, and categorizes them to help users
"go beyond searching to finding" and to extract knowledge from them more
efficiently. (PS: Taxonomy software evolved for corporate use. Is anyone
using it for academic research?)

* In the October issue of the _INASP Newsletter_, Sally Morris briefly
enumerates the major advantages and disadvantages of electronic journals
for readers, publishers, and libraries.

* Also in the October _INASP Newsletter_, Rosemary Grimes reviews some of
the non-technical, and therefore less expected, requirements of editing and
publishing an electronic journal.

* Also in the October _INASP Newsletter_, Dee Wood describes ESPERE, an
early (1996) and ongoing project to conduct peer review entirely online.

* Also in the October _INASP Newsletter_, Jamie Cameron briefly describes
the major business models for electronic journals.

* There are several other FOS-related pieces in the October _INASP
Newsletter_, which is devoted to online journal publishing. Check it out.


Catching up (older news I should have discovered earlier)



If you plan to attend one of the following conferences, please share your
observations with us through our discussion forum.

* Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the Flow
Washington D.C., November 2-8

* Long Term Archiving of Digital Documents in Physics
Lyon, November 5-6

* Electronic Book 2001: Authors, Applications, and Accessibility
Washington D.C., November 5-7

* Internet Librarian 2001
Pasadena, November 6-8

* Content Summit 01: Funding opportunities for European digital content on
global networks
Zurich, November 7-9

* Conference on the Public Domain
Duke Law School, November 9-11

* Setting Standards and Making it Real (on Digital Reference Services)
Orlando, November 12-13

* The Future of Intellectual Property in the Information Age
Washington, D.C., November 14

* First Annual Meeting of the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium
Pisa, November 16-17

* British Library and BioMed Central Open Access Forum
London, November 19

* NINCH Town Meeting: Copyright and Fair use: Creating Policy
Eugene, November 19

* ARL Workshop for Publishers: Licensing Electronic Resources to
Libraries: Understanding Your Market
Philadelphia, November 19

* Electronic Journals within Art & Design: Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay?
Northampton, November 21

* A Day in the Life of a Journal Publisher
Bradford, England, November 22

* Eighth Call for Proposals of the European IST Programme
London, November 27

* European Forum on Harmful and Illegal Cyber Content
Strasbourg, November 28

* Canadian Digital Library Symposium
November 28-29

* eGovernment [in Europe]: From Policy to Practice
Brussels, November 29-30

* Digital Media Revolution in the Americas
Pasadena, November 29 - December 1

* Fourth SCHEMAS Workshop: Sharing [metadata] schemas
The Hague, November 30

* 2001 IST Exhibition and Awards
Düsseldorf, December 3

* School for Scanning: Creating, Managing, and Preserving Digital Assets
Delray Beach, Florida, December 3-5

* Online Information 2001
London, December 4-6

* The Electronic Library: Strategic, Policy and Management Issues
Loughborough, December 9-14

* 4th International Conference of Asian Digital Libraries
Bangalore, December 10-12

* Academic Institutions Transforming Scholarly Communications (SPARC/ARL
Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting)
New Orleans, January 18-23


The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter is supported by a grant from the
Open Society Institute.


This is the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (ISSN 1535-7848).

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Guide to the FOS Movement

Peter Suber

Copyright (c) 2001, Peter Suber
Received on Sun Nov 04 2001 - 23:42:57 GMT

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