Follow up about

Lat week I wrote about the site that appeared to have just about every popular magazine under the sun available to read for free:

Uhhhh…isn’t this like illegal?

There’s an article from Cnet that goes in to some more details about why this site, who existence seems to run counter to every copyright law I can think of, is still up and running.

It seems our good friends at the PRQ are keeping it up and running and given their propensity for wanting to “stick it to the man”, the site will likely be there for some time.

I can’t condone going to the site to check out the new issue of Maxim with Anna Kournikova on the cover but I can imagine there are some people out there who will.

Uhhhh….isn’t this like illegal?

I came across the site Mygazines a few days ago.

From my experience working on copyright issues I can’t understand how it has not been flooded with takedown notices.

The site appears to consist of hundreds of popular magazines, scanned from cover-to-cover. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that this is being done without the permission of the actual publishers of the magazines.

Looking at the Contact Us section I see no information about an actual address, phone number, etc. I’m guessing the site’s servers may be located in some Baltic republic or other former Soviet satellite state which tend to take a “relaxed” standard to copyright law.

If no one tries to take the site down, libraries may be able to save a lot of money on periodical subscriptions. At least on the popular magazines, I haven’t been able to locate any of the dry, peer-reviewed journals we academic libraries are known for.

I must admit that the temptation to read the latest issue of Mojo (without paying for it) is hard to resist but the existence of sites like this make it harder for us copyright cops to tell faculty they need permission to upload a scan of a Ziggy cartoon to their Blackboard page.

Friday at the OLA Super Conference 2008

After being exhausted from trying to handle two days at my first OLA Super Conference (1, 2) I decided that one day was enough this year.

So I braved the Toronto snow storm on Friday and made my way down to the Metro Convention Centre.

Session 1009 – Google: The New Library Vendor
This session was given by Greg Sennema from Wilfred Laurier. The OCULA blog gives a good description of the talk. I saw his session about WordPress last year and again he put together a very solid presentation. Having a keen interest in all things Google, I must admit I already knew about some of the topics he touched on such as iGoogle and Custom Search Engines. However, his main point in showing some of the new tools Google is creating was to ask the question about how they will effect the services libraries provide in the short and long-term. A thought provoking idea he mentioned was whether projects like Google Books (scanning all of the books in libraries like the University of Michigan, etc.) will replace the traditional delivery of ILL. While the full-text of copyrighted books are not being provided to the public through Google Books, you can imagine that in the future that various universities that are part of the Google Books project may come together to provide full-text access to each others’ user communities, thereby making all the staff time and cost of traditional ILL irrelevant. I’m sure the copyright-owner lobbyists may have an objection or two to this however.

Session 1100 – Slow in the age of speed
This presentation by Carl Honore, author of “In Praise Of Slow“, inspired me to try and make more time to nap in my office. I’ll report back on how my supervisor feels about this effort to be more productive.

Session 1204 – The Kids Are Alright, Or are They?
Any session named after a Who song has to be good. The content of this very interesting talk is summarized well on the OCULA blog. I’m already an avowed Mohawk Library fanboy so it was interesting see and hear from two of the schools’ main librarians. I think the lovely (and award winning) Jennifer commented on my post back in the day. They talked about how educators, library people, etc. are inundated with the idea that today’s students (millenials, etc.) have all these specific characteristics (naturally tech-savy, able to do their homework while listening to their iPods, have differently wired brains, spend all their time in Second Life, etc.) so we must change the ways we instruct and interact with them. They talked about how these claims did not always square with their experiences at the reference desk. I know how they feel. Seeing students struggle with Microsoft Office documents that open inside WebCT and not knowing how to print them, I question the theory that because a kid plays World Of Warcraft all day that he somehow becomes a savant at how various software systems interact.

The speakers did a great job at peaking behind some of the research the Mark Prensky’s of the world use to back up their claims and showing the lack of solid scholarship at the heart of much of it. I knew I recognized that name when they mentioned it and I remembered that I did a copyright request for the use of some of his materials. Hopefully the department I did the request for isn’t basing all their plans on Prensky’s work.

All in all, an excellent example of evidenced based librarianship. Check out the blog they created for their research:

Session 1318 – Scholar’s Portage. Avoiding the Waterfall: Leveraging Social Networking Tools And Scholars Portal Data
Come 3:45pm on a snowy day, the third day of the conference, people are naturally getting a little tired. Add to this a session that some people may consider a little on the ‘dry’ side and it added up to a sparsely attended event. Luckily I dig ‘dry’ and throw in a cute librarian who’s really into music giving the presentation so I found the session very worthwhile. While it has very little effect on my duties I am always curious about what exactly Scholars Portal is and what the future plans are for this joint effort of Ontario’s universities. The speakers gave some interesting insights into what they do now and were open about their thinking process in trying to decide how to evolve their services in a way that truly is a benefit to their users and not just Library 2.0 applications for the sake of Library 2.0. As usual I’m doing a lousy job of describing the session so here is:

All in all it was another very well organized event with interesting speakers and topics. My only complaint was the lack of a free pen in my conference package. Also I can’t really be seen carrying around a bag covered in butterflies so I had to give the conference bag away to my Mom. I also forgot to see if Access Copyright was giving away free mints again this year. There’s always next year.

Haworth swallowed up

When I entered the world of library work a couple of years ago I set out to become acquainted with the journals and magazines relevant to the profession. I thought I’d end up bookmarking the major ones, occasionally check for the new issues in our databases, etc. As I quickly learned, there are a lot more journals dedicated to the world of libraries than I could have imagined and checking when a new issue was available became too laborious and an inefficient use of time.

Most of the time I’d be alerted to interesting new articles by one of the blogs I subscribed to. Over the last couple of years, however, more and more databases/publishers (as noted recently by the The Distant Librarian) are offering RSS feeds for journal updates and specific searches.

I find this approach a lot more elegant than what I was doing about a year ago, going to each individual publishers web site, creating a login name and password, and signing up for email alerts. I can also share/save these feed results in my Google Reader Shared Items feed.

One of the publishers I came across through alerts and searches on topics of interest to me was Haworth Press. What amazed me was just how many library-related journals they published (I would say that having a title like “Slavic & East European Information Resources” qualifies you as a niche publisher). Out of curiosity I set out to read some of the articles from a number of the titles but it turned out that very few of their journals were accessible through the college and university databases I have access to.

It has now been announced that Haworth will be acquired by Taylor & Francis. The most interesting part of the press release for me (besides the fact that it actually includes the phrase “resplendent hosting service”):

“For Haworth Press authors and journal editors, the opportunities for increased access to libraries through consortia deals and stronger journal packages foreshadow increased impact, usage, and both subscription and intellectual growth.

I hope more Haworth titles show up in the databases I do have access to, however Taylor & Francis does not appear to be on the list of publishers Scholars Portal has agreements with.

This blog post by T. Scott highlights some of the deficiencies he has seen with Haworth.

An article I want to read from Haworth’s Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve is “Electronic Reserves and the Copyright Challenge in Canada“. With more and more course developers/teachers wanting to embed content in course management systems and school intranets, finding approaches to this legal minefield is a pressing concern.

I see that only a few area schools provide electronic access to this journal (another reason to be jealous of the cool people at McMaster).

The authour Joan Dalton did do a presentation at the 2005 Superconference with the same name as the article so at least I have a general idea of her thoughts on the topic, but a lot has happend in the past two years that I want to hear the latest views.

Two other articles about the merger: