Comparing Library Alternatives

Lee Hadden writes \"The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article in the June 16, 2003
issue that compares Questia, Britannica, MSN Learning & Research and
eLibrary as alternatives to visiting traditional libraries.
\"Writing Tools: For students researching a paper, online libraries
are increasingly the way to go. Here\'s how they stack up.\" By LEAH MCGRATH
Paige Taylor, a 17-year-old high-school student from Laguna Beach,
Calif., says using online libraries cuts the time it takes for her to write
a paper in half. \"It\'s so much faster and it keeps me organized,\" she says.
\"I\'ve used the Internet for every single paper I\'ve done this year. I don\'t
think I\'ve actually gone to the real library in a long time.\"
Already, U.S.-based commercial Web sites offering research materials
make up a small but fast-growing segment of the Internet. Total revenue for
the group -- some of which make their money from subscriptions, some from
advertising -- increased 84% in 2002 from a year earlier, to $106.6
million, according to comScore Networks Inc., a Reston, Va., company that
measures consumer behavior on the Internet. The two most trafficked sites
are Microsoft Corp.\'s MSN Learning & Research site, with 7.7 million
visitors a month, and the Web site of Chicago-based Encyclopaedia
Britannica Inc., with 4.1 million visitors.\"

Steven Bell ads: \"What I found particularly annoying was the statement \"local libraries are getting in on the act\" that suggests that we\'re following the lead of commercial information vendors by making our resources available in web-based formats. But if that doesn\'t get you, the inevitable \"I don\'t have to use the library anymore\" quotes will.\"

Topic: Acquires LSSI Reference Division, "the innovative leader in one-to-one on demand online homework help, today announced that it has acquired the Reference Division of LSSI."
Included in the acquisition are LSSI Virtual Reference ToolKit™, Web Reference Services and LSSI Integrated Reference Management System with RefTracker™. LSSI's Arthur Brady has been named Vice President and General Manager of the new Reference Division. Steve Coffman will serve in an advisory role to as Vice President of Strategic Development.


Fantagraphics needs your help

Underground/alternative comic book publisher Fantagraphics is putting out a plea for survival. The company that houses such greats as R. Crumb, Los Bros Hernandez (of Love and Rockets fame), and the visionary author of Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth, Chris Ware, is in deep financial trouble.
I know that much of what Fantagraphics puts out is challenge-bait for public and school libraries, but anyone in charge of a large public collection should at least devote some time to their website to see if you can justify purchasing a few of these ground-breaking titles. If nothing else, buy yourself something.


Software Vendors Say to Public: You Have No Rights

Don Saklad points over to and This Look At Spyware, Adware, Back doors, and all the other stuff vendors put in programs to spy on your machine.
They say the biggest problem, might come in the form of back doors to popular programs, which may give software vendors complete access, and in some cases complete control, to an end user's system.
There's a list of possible solutions, and a list of links to other stories for background readings as well.


Not a divine comedy

Jill O'Neill passed along This IT-Analysis Story on divine, who you probably know filed a petition to reorganise under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy rules on Tuesday.
They cover some history, and say that Rowecom had collected some $50m worth of subscriptions for magazines and other publications on behalf of a variety of publishers but had then used the money to pay off its own debts and to cover running costs rather than coughing up to the publishers.

I don't know enough about this to make any judgements, but apparently the story missed some points, or made some mistakes.


Elsevier Announces New Procedures for Retracting Online Articles

Gary "Visit The ResourceShelf" Price sent over This Chronicle of Higher Education Story that says Elsevier Science announced new procedures last week for handling journal articles in its databases that are the product of plagiarism or other research misconduct. Librarians and scholars have complained that the Anglo-Dutch publisher was jeopardizing the integrity of scholarship by removing articles from its databases with little explanation.


NCI Discontinuing CancerLit

I received this short email today with no other details.There\'s also no mention on the Cancerlit Site.

\"We regret to inform you that NCI is discontinuing the
CANCERLIT bibliographic database. Therefore, no more updates
will be distributed to licensees. This decision is the
result of a reassessment and prioritization of NCI cancer
information products and services, given limited resources.

Thank you for your interest in helping distribute
cancer-related information to the widest possible audience.
If you do not already license other NCI products and
services, we encourage you to explore those possibilities.
Information is available on the Web at In the near future, we will
be calling you to answer any questions you may have.\"

See Also??


RoweCom Files for Bankruptcy, then Sues divine for Fraud

Paula J. Hane, over at InfoToday is keeping up on the RoweCom saga.
She says the beleaguered subsidiary of divine filed a 14-count lawsuit in the same court against its parent company, alleging that divine had made “fraudulent transfers” of over $73.7 million of RoweCom funds and had looted the company.
You can read the exact text of RoweCom’s allegations can read the original complaint filed with the bankruptcy court by downloading this PDF file.


Microsoft Warns SEC of Open-Source Threat

Steve writes \"I found This Story from eWeek to be so ironic as to be funny. In it, Microsoft cautions that significant damage may be done to its business model by the open source software movement. Hmmmmm, why can\'t I shed any tears for Microsoft? And why do I inwardly shout Hip Hip Hooray for open source?!\"

Slashdot has it too, with more than a few good comments. As always, check out OSS4LIB, or to see how you can use Open Source stuff in your library.


EBSCO in talks to buy RoweCom

This Chicago Tribune article (free registration may be required) says that EBSCO is close to reaching a deal to buy RoweCom (formerly Faxon). The publishers that RoweCom didn\'t pay with the money libraries paid to RoweCom are apparently in separate discussions with EBSCO regarding this deal. Swets Blackwell pulled out of its talks to buy RoweCom, citing liability issues.



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