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Aaron Swartz, an advocate for open access to academic journals, committed suicide in January after being charged with hacking into MIT computers and illegally downloading nearly 5 million academic journal articles from JSTOR, one of the largest digital archives of scholarly journals in the world. At the time of Swartz's death, the 26-year-old faced 13 federal felony computer fraud charges — and the near certainty of jail time.
In this NPR blog All Tech Considered, MIT denied "targeting" the programmer and claimed no wrongdoing. But the report raises concerns about existing university policies and whether MIT should have been actively involved in supporting Swartz.
In a stunning demonstration of Poe's law, the American Historical Association has released a policy statement favoring the restriction digital theses ("with access being provided only on that campus") for fears that open access versions could be read. The basis for this argument is FUD about a tenure system that apparently cannot be changed. See Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle for more coverage.
A decade or so ago, ISI's EndNote bought out most of the competition, practically obtaining a monopoly on the reference manager business. In the early Library 2.0 boom, web-based products like Zotero and CSA's RefWorks became the norm. Thomson Reuters played catch up by introducing EndNote Web, and NoodleBib and other adware/freemium clones cropped up in what is now again a crowded marketplace.
Mendeley, recently purchased by Elsevier, has gained fame by offering social media integration and and sharing cababilities. It notably works on the old Questia model of selling itself directly to individual users, not institutions. ProQuest is also putting the finishing touches on RefWorks Flow, which features similar collaboration tools.
The way these newer products allow users to share articles with peers raises interesting questions about them potentially being used as a new "Napster for subscription journals," especially since they are now both owned by major publishers. See my comment for some more philosophical questions....
Protest is taking a new form in Istanbul where I was fortunate enough to visit about a month ago. Individuals are standing in their beloved square and reading books of their choice.
Violent scenes are still occurring around Turkey, including in Istanbul once again this past weekend, but the Standing Man protests continue unabated.
The images in this article explore one aspect of the protest in Taksim Square, ongoing since before the communal standing took off. Public reading and informal education has been notable since the earliest days of the protest, but has since merged with the Standing Man to form "The Taksim Square Book Club".
The chosen reading material of many of those who take their stand is reflective, in part, of the thoughtfulness of those who have chosen this motionless protest to express their discontent.
Librarians Without Borders is recruiting Board members with non-profit management experience, to help us develop communications and fundraising strategies. Join our team! More information, including the application, can be found here. Apply by May 1 and feel free to send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Librarians Without Borders (LWB) is an action-oriented non-profit organization that strives to narrow information access inequities worldwide by supporting libraries in developing regions and domestic communities. We enact our mission by collaborating with partner communities to identify their needs and then mobilize our volunteers – the core being student librarians in a service-learning model – for in-the-field development. We are powered by student committees at the majority of graduate library and information science programs across Canada, who are coordinated by an Executive team comprised of volunteer, professional librarians.
In 2012, Martin Richard, the 8-year-old Dorchester boy who was killed in the marathon explosions, marched at Boston’s City Hall to call for peace.
Richard’s second-grade class was there to “express themselves in a positive manner and become more engaged in the politics of the city,” according to a Boston.com story about the march.
The school says it is grieving for Martin and his family. It released his statement and identified Martin’s mother, another victim of the bombing, as a school librarian:
The Neighborhood House Charter School is mourning today the loss of our beloved student Martin Richard, during the tragic events at the Boston Marathon yesterday. He was a bright, energetic young boy who had big dreams and high hopes for his future. We are heartbroken by this loss.
We are also praying for his mother, Denise, our school librarian and sister Jane, another Neighborhood House Charter student, who were seriously injured yesterday. Our thoughts are with his father, Bill Richard, and older brother, Henry. They are a wonderful family and represent the very best this city has to offer.
Explosion at the Boston Marathon
There was also an expolsion at JFK Library
A third event just after 3 this afternoon at John F. Kennedy library is now being called either a fire or “an incendiary” device and it is too soon to say if it is tied to the explosions at the finish of the Marathon.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said earlier today “a third incident — explosion — was at the JFK Library” on Columbia Point. But he said that information could be “premature.”
In reaction to the recent purchase of Goodreads by Amazon.com, LibraryThing announced the following:
In the wake of Amazon’s acquisition of Goodreads, we’ve had some blow-back on the fact that LibraryThing charges for a membership to add more than 200 books. In fact, when you go to pay, it’s pay-what-you-want. The money helps pay for the site, and keeps us advertisement-free for members. Also, we believe customers should be customers, with the loyalty and rights of customers, not the thing we sell to our real customers.
However, some people don’t like it. And we want everyone. So, as a test and a welcome, we’re giving out free year’s accounts to everyone who signs up through the end of Sunday. We’ve also upgraded everyone who signed up since 4pm yesterday.
More on their site.
They neglected to mention however that they too are part-owned by Amazon.com (40% due to previous small business purchases by Amazon). This was referenced in the NYTimes article about Amazon's purchase of Goodreads.
"The deal is made more significant because Amazon already owned part or all of Goodreads’ competitors, Shelfari and LibraryThing. It bought Shelfari in 2008. It also owns a portion of LibraryThing as a result of buying companies that already owned a stake in the site. Both are much smaller and have grown much more slowly than Goodreads."
Aaron Swartz helped create RSS, a now ubiquitous format, and later became known for his efforts to make many Internet files available free online.
At 14, Mr. Swartz helped create RSS, the nearly ubiquitous tool that allows users to subscribe to online information. He later became an Internet folk hero, pushing to make many Web files free and open to the public. But in July 2011, he was indicted on federal charges of gaining illegal access to JSTOR, a subscription-only service for distributing scientific and literary journals, and downloading 4.8 million articles and documents, nearly the entire library.
Earlier this month, a new version of Jeffrey Beall's List of Predatory Publishers 2013 was posted at scholarlyoa.com. Since then, faked quotes have been posted to multiple blogs, claiming that Jeffrey Beall has been trying to extort money from publishers. This is an apparent smear campaign to discredit the efforts to name predatory publishers. The criteria for listing these publishers is also posted at scholarlyoa.com.