Digital Library Digest: February 7, 2013

Posted by Vicky Zeamer on February 7, 2013 in Digital Library Digest.

Call for internship applications: Participate in paid research at the Berkman Center at Harvard University this summer

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is accepting applications for its 2013 Summer Internship Program. The deadline to apply is February 10, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET.

We are looking to engage a diverse group of students who are interested in studying — and changing the world through — the Internet and new communications technologies; who are driven, funny, and kind; and who would like to join our amazing community in Cambridge this summer for 10 weeks of shared research and exchange.

There are many different opportunities to work in a variety of opportunities. One of the options is the Digital Libraries track:

“Summer interns working on digital library issues will conduct research related to library users, content, governance, funding, publishing models, and a suite of related issues; stay abreast of developments in the digital library field (including news related to e-publishing, copyright, linked open data, and other areas); and conduct research on the legal aspects and considerations related to these issues. Depending on summer needs, interns may contribute to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), an all-digital effort to enable broad, free public access to the vast amounts of digital content (and yet-to-be-digitized content) in the United States’ libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions.  More information about the DPLA can be found at:”

Information about the summer program and eligibility, and links to the application procedures, can be found below and at:

Making educational resources freely available will fast-track Africa’s development

Of more than 2 000 open access repositories worldwide, fewer than 3% are in Africa. And there are even fewer exclusively from sub-Saharan Africa.

“Even though the availability of open access material is low, it is important to recognise the progress that has been made over the past decade: several institutions across the region have adopted and are implementing open access policies. However, in spite of these strides, only about 16% of African scholars claim to have a high awareness of e-resources. Much more advocacy is necessary for open access to become a reality across the continent.

“Africa stands to gain the most from the open access movement. But factors such as the continent’s regulatory environments, the changing role of librarians, weak commitment to institutionalising open access and problems of sustainability have made implementation slow and awareness limited.

“According to the World Bank’s latest Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, more than half of African countries score poorly — less than three out of a maximum of six, in the measure the assessment uses — on the quality of property rights and rule-based governance. Weak public sector management, particularly in the area of intellectual property rights and rule-based governance in turn hinders the development and implementation of open access scholarly resources.

“Poor legal systems make researchers hesitant to adopt or adhere to open access policies because they have little confidence that their intellectual property rights will be respected. As a result commitment to institutionalising open access is weak, sensitisation to its potential is low, and awareness and use of these resources remain modest.

“For librarians, making the transition to open access would require a new skill set, so there is a strong need for training and capacity building here too. Librarians would no longer focus on cataloguing but instead shift to creating and maintaining interoperable, web-scale metadata; advising scholars on the complexities of licensing; and communicating with other open access repositories.”

From Manka Angwafo’s article on Mail & Gaurdian, Africa must use digital libraries

 As a top reference app in iTunes, Izik creates a new way of searching by way of highly visual format and human curation 

“A new app for the iPad and Android devices uses a highly visual format to provide a different search experience for the tablet user. More than just a pretty interface, Izik—which debuted last month as the top reference app iniTunes—is based on Blekko, the search engine that boasts higher quality results based on human curation.

“Enter a search term and Izik surfaces a stack of results based on category. The query “Black History Month” provided a “Quick Answer” up top, followed by related images, recent news, and categories, in this case, “African American,” “Black History,” and “American History.”

“Navigation is optimized for the tablet format. So cutting down on keystrokes, users can swipe horizontally to view more results within the categories or swipe vertically to reveal more categories related to your search topic. Pinch to expand a result and share it via Facebook or Twitter directly from the search page.

“Gary Price, editor of INFOdocket, cited Blekko, along with Duck Duck Go, as a viable alternative to Google. (“Wary of Google? Try These Alternative Search Tools”)

“What distinguishes Blekko is a search tool known as slashtags. This feature enables users to refine results and build curated collections of select Web pages and then search and share those resources with others. So create a collection of Web resources, then share the slashtag with students, suggests Price. “Now, the only sites they’ll be searching are the ones you’ve selected,” he writes.”

From Kathy Ishizuka’s article on the School Library Journal, An Alternative Search Tool for Your Tablet

While many researchers say that they support open publishing, many also want restrictions on how their papers can be used

Academics are — slowly — adopting the view that publicly funded research should be made freely available. But data released yesterday suggest that, given the choice, even researchers who publish in open-access journals want to place restrictions on how their papers can be re-used —for example, sold by others for commercial profit.

“That stance is directly opposed to the views of major funding agencies, such as the seven UK research councils and the Wellcome Trust in London, one of the world’s wealthiest biomedical charities. Advocates of open access say this shows that researchers don’t understand how publishing licences affect ‘open’ research papers, and that more work needs to be done to explain why licences matter. But some publishers argue that restrictions are needed.

“Open, but not open?: A paper that is free to read on the Internet is not necessarily legally open to other uses — such as ‘mining’ the text with computer software to draw conclusions and mix it with other work, distributing translations of the text or commercially selling republished versions in derivative publications.

“In many parts of the world, anyone wishing to re-use papers must get permission from the copyright owner (usually either the publisher or the author). Often, the owner will forbid re-use or demand payment. Supporters of open access argue that free papers should come with licences attached, making it clear what kinds of re-use are allowed.

“From 1 April, the Wellcome Trust and the UK research councils will mandate that when they pay the fees for research that they fund to be published under open-access conditions, the work should be available under the most liberal of licences, allowing anyone, even commercial organizations, to re-use it. In the parlance of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization based in Mountain View, California, this is the CC-BY licence (where BY indicates that credit must be given to the author of the original work).

“There has been very little opposition to our plans” from researchers, says Chris Bird, a lawyer at the Wellcome Trust. But he says that is partly because most researchers don’t understand the issue. “

From Richard Van Noorden’s article for Nature.comResearchers opt to limit uses of open-access publications 

The British Library is calling on members of the public to help in a digital quest to reveal the hidden context of historic maps.

“800 items have been selected for the Georeferencer Project from the British Library’s collection of over 4.5 million maps. The georeferencing interface enables people to plot locations on historic maps by comparing a digitised image with present-day online maps.

“By choosing points that correspond between the historic map and the present, the user generates an overlay in Google Earth allowing us to see how areas have changed and developed over time giving a modern day context for maps up to 400 years old.

“The last time the British Library undertook such a project the response from the public was remarkable, with 708 maps completed in less than one week. Volunteers who take part in this georeferencing project will have their name attached to each tag so they will be able to chart their progress and see what they have contributed to the overall project. When the project is completed the most prolific georeferencer will be announced by the British Library.

“This project brings together people’s passion for maps and history with the latest online crowdsourcing tools,” says Kimberly Kowal, Lead Curator of Digital Mapping at the British Library. “Although many locations have changed significantly over the centuries, sometimes almost beyond recognition, only a handful of common features – street intersections, buildings or some natural features – are necessary to link the past with the present.”

“It’s easy to use and highly addictive – and a fascinating way to explore the past while improving the information that underpins our digitised collections,” she adds.

“The results will be made available online, allowing people to see historic locations across the world viewed alongside the satellite-enabled mapping of the 21st century.”

From the British Library’s press release, Crowdsourcing the past – georeferencing website puts historic maps in their place

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