Monday, August 22, 2005

Google Changes Scanning Project

Originally, Google wanted to scan all or parts of five major libraries and provide access to them. They would scan and provide access to entire texts of non-copyrighted materials. They would also scan entire copyrighted texts, but provide access to just small parts of these materials. Because of comments, they have modified the project. They will begin scanning copyrighted materials November 1st, giving publishers time to review their titles and let Google know which titles not to scan and index. [from The Chronicle of Higher Education]

Phone Companies Not Required to Lease Lines

Until earlier this month, phone companies were required to lease their lines to other DSL providers. The FCC has now changed this. Internet Service Providers have one year to make the transition. This does not mean that phone companies will not lease their lines. From what I've been reading, they may continue to do so, thereby bringing in additional revenue. During their last session, the Supreme Court ruled that cable companies did not have to lease their lines to rival cable companies. [from]

Public Colleges Can Block Spam

In 2003, White Buffalo Ventures gathered email addresses from The University of Texas using a public records law. They then sent email messages to the students concerning an online dating service. The university received complaints about these messages and asked White Buffalo Ventures to stop sending the messages. When they didn't, they blocked their IP address. White Buffalo Ventures sued The University of Texas in state court, stating that, as long as they abided by the CAN-SPAM Act and were supported by the First Amendment, they could legally send these messages. The University put forward two arguments:
  1. By blocking this IP address, the university was helping the students use the email system and thereby advancing the interests of the university.
  2. Blocking this IP address aids in protecting the university's servers.
Although the appeals court did not agree with the second argument, they agreed with the first. Apparently, the judges felt that the university could have protected its servers in other ways. So, UT has the right to block spam for their users. An interesting court case that will directly affect public colleges and universities in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi (the geographic area covered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) and indirectly affect other areas. [from Inside HigherEd]

Standards for Open Source Software

Business Readiness Rating (BRR) is a proposed standard for rating open source software. This project is led by Carnegie Mellon West Center for Open Source Investigation, O'Reilly CodeZoo, SpikeSource, and Intel. From the website:
The ultimate goal of BRR is to give companies a trusted, unbiased source for determining whether the open source software they are considering is mature enough to adopt. It will help adopters assess which open source software is best suited to their needs and enable them to share findings with the community. It promotes use and adoption of open source software and may assist developers in creating and delivering software geared to enterprise use.
[from SIGIA-L]

Access to NIH Research

As of May 2nd of this year, all investigators of NIH-funded research have been asked to provide an electronic version of their journal articles to PubMed Central for inclusion in this database within a year of publication. PubMed is available at no charge to the public. NIH provided its initial policy in September of 2004 via the Federal Register. As you can imagine, many comments were provided on this policy. Some include:
  • Any research funded, in whole or in part, through the federal government should be made available at no charge to the citizens of the United States.
  • PubMed Central provides a stable archive for these works; publisher's archives may not be as stable.
  • Instead of a request, this should be a requirement of NIH-funded projects.
  • The lay public may not understand the research itself and may draw unwarranted conclusions.
  • Impact on journal publishers, both large and small.
The NIH has provided a good summary of these and other issues at In addition, Walt Crawford has pulled together reactions of this revised policy in his June 2005 Cites & Insights, page 17. Excellent overview for those of us that don't keep up in this area, with citations for additional reading. [from NIH]

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Keeping Up with Copyright Literature

Tobe Liebert, Assistant Director for Collection Development & Special Projects for the Tarlton Law Library has created a website to help us keep up with the copyright literature. From the website:
I review law journals and law reviews (and a great many other legal periodicals) as they are received in the library. I examine the table of contents of all of these publications and identify any article concerning U.S. copyright law. I then input the basic bibliographic information about each article into this database, and scan the first page of the article. The availability of the first page of the article should better enable readers to know if they are interested in reading the whole article.
Tobe updates this site 2-3 times a week and . . . it has an RSS feed! Great service! [from CNI-Copyright]

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Peek at Windows Vista

Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, is currently in beta release. However, if you want a peek, David Coursey has posted some screenshots. The software itself is not yet considered stable, so some of the functionality doesn't yet work (or work well). However, you can see what the interface should look like. [from eWeek]

Busy Summer

If you read my very first post, you may remember one of the three reasons I started this blog:
So I can learn more about blogging. I want to see it this is helpful to me and if I can actually find the time to do it right.
This summer has been quite busy. I wish I could say that I've taken time off to see the world, but . . . I've been doing a lot of training. I won't be back to a more normal schedule until September. So, although technology marches on, this blog has been pretty quiet. I'm hoping to change that in the fall. Meanwhile, I'm hoping that most of you did take some time off and might not have noticed the lull. Hope you had a good summer!