Netflix of Academic Journals?

Ran across this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Interesting implications–rented articles can not be downloaded, printed or shared. They do have a free trial–I might have to try it out.

The Netflix of Academic Journals Opens Shop

By opening the largest online rental service for scientific, technical, and research journals, the company Deep Dyve is hoping to do for academic publications what Netflix has done for movies: make them easily accessible and inexpensive for everyone.

The Web site has been an academic-journal search engine since 2005 and unveiled its rental program this week. Now anyone can “rent” an article—which means you can view it on your computer without ownership rights or printing capabilities—for as little as 99 cents for 24 hours. Users can also subscribe for monthly passes. Currently the site has 30 million articles from various peer-reviewed journals.

William Park, chief executive of Deep Dyve, says the model will not only allow more people to read articles they might otherwise not see, but will actually encourage users to purchase more content from journals. He says that now, only about 0.2 percent of people visiting journal Web sites go on to buy articles, because they don’t know exactly what they are getting from just a title and an abstract.

“Nobody would buy a car without at least evaluating it first,” Mr. Park says. “The same is true for anything, whether it’s a dollar or $10,000.”

Mr. Park says that Deep Dyve has revenue-sharing partnerships with hundreds of publications (about 80 percent of which are scientific) and hopes to expand to more of the humanities within the coming months.

ADN on Anchorage libraries (again)

Our view: Library recession

Don’t let Loussac and branches fall out of the 21st century

Published: October 25th, 2009
Anchorage Daily News

The mayor’s proposed 2010 budget envisions contraction for the Anchorage Public Library just when the system is expanding to Mountain View.

What city government can’t do, citizens can. No public institution belongs to all of us more than our library. Let’s keep it growing.

Fewer days, shorter hours. Staff cuts. Fewer materials purchased. And this at a time when our library should be in the forefront of the changes well under way for libraries of the 21st century.

Cuts are coming to a system already on the low end of the high-tech side of modern libraries. An interim report by library consultants found Anchorage, with its 117 computers, well below the basic standard of 140 for a public library in a community the size of Anchorage.

What does that mean?

It means demand exceeds supply, especially at peak-use times — for example, when the Permanent Fund dividend filing deadlines are approaching, or during income-tax season. Library director Karen Keller said users often are limited to an hour. Job applications and resumes can take much longer. So can research, from school projects to car repairs — Keller said exasperated do-it-yourselfers use the library to tap the databases of the Chilton’s or Haynes auto repair publications. This is an example of proprietary information that the library buys for everybody to use.

Cuts also are coming at a time when the library has just started running computer training labs with laptops at the Muldoon branch — a small example of what the library could do with a computer/media lab, where patrons could get training and work on projects, where entrepreneurs might find economical means to build a Web site for a small business.

Such a lab is third on Keller’s wish list for the tech side.

Her first wish?

“Juice up my bandwidth.” Keller said the library could easily to stand to quadruple the available bandwidth so that users wouldn’t have to suffer slow-speed connections that can squander precious time on machines that must be shared.

Her second wish?

“Increase the number of machines.” By the consultants’ numbers, it would take 23 computers — laptop or stationary — to match the basic standard.

Ambitions like these are not grandiose. Ambitions like these merely reflect where healthy, effective libraries are heading. The Knight Foundation has recently announced grants to libraries across the country to provide similar computer and Internet services.

Why? Because what Andrew Carnegie, who endowed hundreds of libraries in the 19th and early 20th centuries, said still applies today:

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

So where does that leave us in this time of cuts?

The library will have to take its share, but the Assembly should take a close look at the mayor’s proposal and make sure that share has the least effect on library services. And if prospects improve and first quarter budget revisions allow, let’s restore what we can.

Given cuts, the time is right to fortify the Anchorage Library Foundation and Friends of the Library. They do yeoman’s work from collections to summer reading. Check out

What city government can’t do, citizens can. No public institution belongs to all of us more than our library. Let’s keep it growing.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t let temporary budget woes do permanent damage to the library.

Another ADN editorial for Anchorage libraries

Our view: Keep lights on in libraries

Budget, staff cuts will constrain gain from treasure at our fingertips

What good is a book in the dark? What good is a computer kept behind locked doors?

Those are questions citizens of Anchorage might ask at this month’s public hearings on the 2010 city budget.

The Anchorage Public Library — Loussac and four branches, with a fifth in Mountain View due to open next year — stands to lose 14 staff positions, along with cuts in its materials budget ($100,000) and capital money ($30,000). If this proposal stands, the library will have taken almost a 10 percent hit in a year, according to library director Karen Keller.

What it means is shorter hours or more days when the doors are locked, fewer books, movies and CDs to borrow, less public access to the Internet and less time for public meetings.

Yes, we’ll save money in 2010. But we’ll also diminish the value of an institution in which we’ve already invested multiple millions of dollars, and which always gives a good return on our money.

Summer saw painful cuts

We’ve just restored a seven-day week for the Loussac Library and five-day-a-week service at the branches after a summer of staff furloughs that sharply cut back service. For 2010, the branches are looking at four-day weeks again. Loussac will stay open seven days — but with only four hours on Sundays.

Mayor Dan Sullivan’s budget for 2010 increases taxes by $6 million but cuts spending and city services while trying to maintain public safety and street maintenance at current levels. State revenue sharing that in past years provided property-tax relief will shore up the budget. And the mayor doesn’t want to tax to the legal cap — his budget is about $10 million below that — in this uncertain economy.

“I understand the situation the city is in,” Keller said.

But here’s the rub — actually, several rubs.

Community support is strong

The Anchorage Public Library has wide support in the community — the library draws more visitors in a year than the total attendance of every event in the Sullivan Arena. Since 2006, Keller said, the library has raised more than $14 million in donations and other non-city sources. Friends of the Library carries the summer reading program and other services, and the Anchorage Library Foundation provides ongoing financial support.

Yet the city has continually targeted the library for cuts.

As staff is cut, hours of operation are shorter and those collections enhanced by private donors are less accessible.

And once cut, staff and materials budgets aren’t likely to bounce back. “Historically, we haven’t been able to gain much ground,” Keller said.

Bill Wilson, a national library consultant here this week to help with long-range library planning, said the Anchorage library already is short-staffed compared to the average of libraries serving similar-sized cities.

Importance grows in hard times

Continually shortchanging the library shortchanges the entire community.

Institutions like the library become more, not less, important in hard times. Maybe you can’t buy that book, but you can borrow it. And it reads just as well. Or maybe you can’t afford to look up material on a database that charges for access — but the library provides that database. Maybe you can’t afford a computer, but you can still bridge the “digital divide” at the library and do a job resume or send an e-mail.

Libraries are social and civic centers for the city — from the Assembly chambers in the Loussac to lectures, plays, community forums and readings at the branches. Libraries all over the United States have become “third places,” after home and work or school.

Safe places. Places to learn and get productively and wonderfully lost. Lose track of time in the library and chances are it’s time well spent. Here’s a community institution that offers no end of paths to progress.

Look at the Loussac and its four branches. Name five other buildings in town where anyone in the community can find so much knowledge, beauty, enchantment, hope, entertainment, democracy and opportunity free for the asking — a universe, with a support staff to boot.

The mayor and Assembly need to think twice about such unkind cuts. Like Keller, we understand the situation. If these were temporary cuts, like this summer’s, the community could take them in stride. But if the cuts outlast the current economy, if a constricted library becomes the norm, that will leave us poorer for keeps.

BOTTOM LINE: Let’s look for ways to keep our libraries open, rather than just take the cuts.

Hometown, Alaska: The Future of Libraries

“Libraries make information available for everyone. But in a world of Google and Kindle, the work of libraries has changed. What is the new role of libraries, and how should they be redesigned to do these jobs? This week on Hometown, Alaska Charles Wohlforth hosts national library consultant Bill Wilson, who is visiting to help the Anchorage Public Libraries navigate this new world, and Carlton Sears, director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Ohio, who has started innovative new programs in his community.”

Visit the Public Radio KSKA FM 91.1 website to download the MP3 of the broadcast.  They have also posted several documents on the Anchorage 21st Century Libraries Project.

It’s definitely worth a look/listen!

Happy Information Literacy Awareness Month!

From the press office at


Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                           October 1, 2009

– – – – – – –

Every day, we are inundated with vast amounts of information. A 24-hour news cycle and thousands of global television and radio networks, coupled with an immense array of online resources, have challenged our long-held perceptions of information management. Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decisionmaking. National Information Literacy Awareness Month highlights the need for all Americans to be adept in the skills necessary to effectively navigate the Information Age.

Though we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries and universities, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise.

Our Nation’s educators and institutions of learning must be aware of — and adjust to — these new realities. In addition to the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic, it is equally important that our students are given the tools required to take advantage of the information available to them. The ability to seek, find, and decipher information can be applied to countless life decisions, whether financial, medical, educational, or technical.

This month, we dedicate ourselves to increasing information literacy awareness so that all citizens understand its vital importance. An informed and educated citizenry is essential to the functioning of our modern democratic society, and I encourage educational and community institutions across the country to help Americans find and evaluate the information they seek, in all its forms.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2009 as National Information Literacy Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to recognize the important role information plays in our daily lives, and appreciate the need for a greater understanding of its impact.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

# # #

23 Things

This is probably old news, but I ran across this again the other day:

This library provides an incentive for its staff to try out 2.0 stuff, which I thought was kind of cool.
It seems there are quite a few sites out there of the “Build Your Own List of Things to Learn.” Here is another with a bunch of links: