Tuesday 27 May 2008

So long Microsoft Live Search Books

I was really surprised to learn that Microsoft have decided to cease their Live Search Books and to discontinue their digitization project.

Through Live Search Books and Live Search Academic, Microsoft digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. They had, you will recall, won a good deal of kudos and respect from the publishing community for taking an approach to book digitization that respected copyright; they started the Live Search Books project by digitizing out of copyright books and had included in-copyright material with the agreement of publishers through their 'Publisher Program'.

The full announcement is currently on the Windows Live Search Book Publisher Program page.

We understand that representatives of the Live Search Books program will be visiting the UK week commencing 2 June 2008 to discuss the cessation of the initiative in person with their Publisher Program Partners.

Joe Esposito on 'Provostial Publishing'

I am grateful to Joe Esposito for alerting me to his recent post on the Publishing Frontier blog titled Provostial Publishing.

Joe's interesting post speaks to a topic that's a hobby-horse subject for me; that of provenance and authority of academic content on the Internet. Joe contrasts the [quite literally] free-for-all that is User Generated Content with "editorial publishing" based on the role of publishers and editors in selection. Then he articulates - in a way I had not personally seen before - the argument that university provosts are acting as gatekeepers to content in Institutional Repositories by selecting faculty and thus fulfilling a selection function for the institution's repository.

I can't improve on the words that Joe uses to explain the differences between these three types of publishing:

"[the provost] chooses the authors but does not choose the works. Traditional editorial publishing is where an editor chooses the work. In UGC the choice of the author is made by the author him or herself–but this is not much of a choice, as we all believe our own thoughts are worth something."

It really is worth a read...

Friday 2 May 2008

CASPER the friendly [JISC] ghost

From Alicia Wise of the Publishers Licensing Society

JISC is funding CASPER which standards for Copyright Advice and Support Project for e-Learning Resources. The CASPER project in turn supports 19 further JISC-funded projects aimed at encouraging the ‘repurposing and reuse of digital content and assessments” in UK universities. These 19 projects are required to use ‘internal’ content from their own universities; ‘external’ content largely sourced from other universities but also potentially sourced from published books and journals, and; content from the JISC’s e-learning repository. The project website is at http://jisc-casper.org/ and will evolve as the project progresses. Publishers may be approached by project staff for permissions. This is really helpful as the need for permissions is not necessarily well understood. It may mean that a little humour and patience is required – especially as publishers are likely to be approached in the first instance to provide free permissions for reuse of published works for open distribution on the web. If successful this approach will also be taken with schools through partnership working by JISC and Becta.