A Giant Medieval Puzzle – Library Matters

““Fragmentology” is a new approach to the visual gathering of such dispersed fragments in order to re-assemble the pieces of a codex.  A digital platform is now available to apply collective energy into fitting the pieces of the puzzle back together again, which has an enormous potential for research.  Fragmentarium is the name of a partnership of institutions gathered to develop the technologies needed to build “a common laboratory for fragments” and conduct research.  It promises to yield digital versions from the original fragments, constituted from various holdings. This process will enable provenance research, the study of the circulation of manuscripts, and generate connections among researchers and curators. Thus a leaf holding comparable visual cues may be further investigated as a originating from the same or similar source. …”

Addressing the Alarming Systems of Surveillance Built By Library Vendors – SPARC

“On April 2nd, news broke that RELX subsidiary LexisNexis signed a multi-million dollar contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to reporting on the ICE contract by the Intercept, LexisNexis’ databases “offer an oceanic computerized view of a person’s existence” and will provide the agency with “the data it needs to locate people with little if any oversight.” 

While this contract may be new, it is just the latest development in an alarming trend that SPARC is following. Two major library vendors—RELX and Thomson Reuters—have been building sophisticated, global systems of surveillance that include online tracking technologies, massive aggregation of user data, and the sale of services based on this tracking, including to governments and law enforcement. 

Dollars from library subscriptions, directly or indirectly, now support these systems of surveillance. This should be deeply concerning to the library community and to the millions of faculty and students who use their products each day and further underscores the urgency of privacy protections as library services—and research and education more generally—are now delivered primarily online. …

As alarming as these surveillance technologies are in their own right, they may already be crossing into academic products. Surveillance researcher Wolfie Christl has reported ThreatMetrix tracking code is now embedded in the ScienceDirect website, raising serious questions about what patron information is being collected and toward what purposes….

The Library Freedom Project’s Vendor Privacy Scorecard highlights the many privacy concerns across a wide selection of library vendors….”

SPARC Libraries & OER Forum – SPARC

“The SPARC Libraries & OER Forum (LibOER) is a vibrant community of practice for academic library professionals and allied stakeholders interested in open education. Established in 2013, this network connects more than 1,600 subscribers primarily in the U.S. and Canada through a public email discussion list and a monthly community call. The goals of this forum are:

Enable library professionals and community members to share ideas, resources and best practices pertaining to open education.
Support coordination on librarian-focused events and educational programming about open education.
Disseminate important updates about policy, research, projects and other news from the broader open education movement….”

Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of Harvard Library’s Advancing Open Knowledge Grant Recipients | Harvard Library Communications

“Harvard Library’s Advancing Open Knowledge Grants Program is excited to announce its first cohort of award recipients. From readying Cabot to produce audible versions of library materials for visually impaired users to highlighting the astronomical heritage of Black and Indigenous cultures, the seven selected projects seek to advance open knowledge and foster innovation to further diversity, inclusion, belonging and antiracism.

The program’s co-managers (Jehan Sinclair, Claire DeMarco and Colleen Cressman), as well as a team of library staff reviewers, evaluated the proposed projects on criteria related to user impact, DIBAR impact, innovation, open knowledge, integration with Harvard Library infrastructure, and accessibility. The review process will be evaluated and adapted for the second round of grants….”

Library Vendor Platforms Need a Strategic Reboot to Meet Librarian Curriculum Development Needs – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Our industry must create an equal handshake between paid and open content if our platform is to solve the problem that brings a user to the platform. If I am seeking the best aligned and most comprehensive set of resources to design a course, I must have equal access to open and paid content. To achieve this handshake, I propose three key principles:

Platforms need full-text, complete video files, audiobooks, etc. of the relevant content, paid and open, to improve the metadata searched for discovery and the user experience once an item is selected as appropriate.
The search results pages and content entity pages must  clearly display the open access/OER symbol, and the Creative Commons license applied to the content for future uses. In addition, an explanation of the license will often be required to reduce faculty uncertainty about reuse. For example, CC BY-NC 2.0 allows for remixing and re-use but not for commercial gain. A patron may struggle to understand this rights limitation without clear guidance from the platform.
Content providers, publishers, distributors, etc. are the lifeblood of the platform. Platforms invest heavily in services and functionality, but without content there is no user experience. To this end, and especially for providers of open content, we need to deliver robust data and insight into usage, engagement, and impact. Publishers need to see open and paid content usage by account, to include time viewed/pages turned, etc. Publishers need to see how the content is engaged with and when (time of day, device used) and publishers need to see how the content has impacted the recipient, e.g., student performance metrics….”

Librarians’ perceptions and motivations for supporting collaborative models for Open Access monographs · Commonplace

“While the survey revealed several discoveries regarding librarians’ confidence in collaborative OA models for monographs, one of the key findings was that librarians still support the basic principle of OA—despite the obstacles standing in the way—and are willing to support OA models for scholarly books via crowdfunding to help make them available worldwide. They also do not overlook the importance of local benefits (i.e., the benefits for their own communities) derived from their participation. Previous studies on OA already confirmed librarians’ positive attitudes about supporting OA monograph publishing: OAPEN-UK 2014 librarian survey, for example, revealed that 80 of librarians would support OA monograph publishing merely in principle (Collins & Milloy, 2016). The study did not focus on a particular model, but it did show librarians’ commitment to OA, not only in the context of journals but also monographs….”

With 50% Cut, Virginia Research Libraries Recalibrate Relationship with Elsevier – SPARC

“Equity, affordability, and accessibility were at the center of the recent decision by the Virginia Research Libraries (VRL) consortium to cut their spend with Elsevier nearly in half while maintaining access to their most frequently used materials.

The decision by six members of VRL (William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, and James Madison University) was grounded in a values-driven negotiation process that relied on data to make the case to move away from Elsevier’s “Big Deal” Freedom Collection. The new one-year agreement with Elsevier for 2021 significantly reduced the overall spend for each campus and allowed for a collection tailored to include each institution’s most used materials….”

Big Read-and-Publish Push Arrives

“More than 140 U.S. institutions have now signed open-access deals with Cambridge University Press, marking a significant shift in strategy for the nonprofit publisher.

At the end of 2020, just 13 U.S. institutions had so-called read-and-publish deals with the Cambridge University Press. The University of California system, which was the first U.S. institution to sign a read-and-publish deal with Cambridge University Press, accounted for nine of those 13 deals.

The publisher announced today that it struck read-and-publish deals with another 129 U.S. institutions in the first few months of 2021 — signaling a rapid adoption of the model. The institutions include state university systems, liberal arts colleges and major research institutions….

While the MIT framework supports immediate open access publication, it does not necessarily align with the read-and-publish model. Chris Bourg, director of MIT Libraries, and Roger Levy, an associate professor and chair of the Faculty Committee on the Library System, recently wrote that they had concerns about agreements such as the University of California’s read-and-publish deal with Springer Nature becoming the norm. 

One of the primary concerns about read-and-publish deals is that in the long term, the “barriers currently imposed on readers will be erected for authors instead,” said Jefferson Pooley, professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College….”

 

Calls Intensify to Allow Libraries to Narrow Digital Divide – Internet Archive Blogs

“At an event discussing disinformation and the digital divide, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon said he was committed to supporting a balanced copyright system that promotes fair use, digital lending, and the work of libraries.

“Libraries provide vital public services by making high quality resources available to everybody. And that’s true no matter what you’ve got in your bank account or your zip code,” said Wyden, noting he is the son of a librarian.  “If the system is filled with draconian copyright laws and digital restrictions that make it hard for real news to be read, shared, and discussed, that particular vacuum is filled with more misinformation and lies.” …”