Open Access: Its Future and Academic Libraries

Open Access LogoAn open access (OA) paper titled Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries (PDF) was just released as the result of an international librarian roundtable hosted by the British Library and SAGE International.

Open access refers to freely-available peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles.  There are two forms of open access:

  • Gold OA – The author(s) or institution(s) pays for the article to be published openly.
  • Green OA – Articles are accepted to a repository and access is paid for by the user.

The paper suggested ways that open access will affect academic libraries and change the role of the research librarian.  Open access means users may rely less on library resources and librarian mediation.  One way librarians are increasing their profile at their institution is by managing the institutional repository.  Main functions still will be information literacy and providing research advice.

Open access could affect library budgets.  If the gold OA model is more widely used, costs would shift to the departments of the publishing authors and away from libraries which typically pay subscription fees for access.

Librarians’ experience with metadata will prove important with open access.  Libraries will “compete” with better data and providing better access:

Scaled up OA also challenges the traditional role of collection development for librarians, and it raises the question of how universities can compete with each other on the basis of their libraries if the resources and tools are almost the same. One participant noted that the quality of library provision will be one of the benchmarking issues in the future, rather than the number of books or journals that a library holds.

Download and read the paper Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries (PDF).


Reference Desk Statistics Options

Bar ChartA recent discussion on the WEB4LIB listserv covered options for reference and service desk statistics packages.  Several librarians created in-house solutions using spreadsheets and Google Forms.  But the following products were suggested:

  • Desk Tracker – Web-based statistics service from Compendium Library Services.
  • Gimlet – Track questions, build a knowledge-base, and create reports the (successor to LibStats).
  • LibAnalytics – SpringShare’s (home of LibGuides) service to track and analyze library statistics.
  • RefTracker DeskStats – Electronic tally sheets and in depth statistical analysis from AltaRama.

Please let us know if you have others to recommend.

Get Free Ebooks from Microsoft

Microsoft Office 365 book
Eric Ligman, Director, Partner Experience for Microsoft has posted two collections of free ebooks on his Microsoft SMS&P Partner Community Blog.  Subjects include Microsoft products (of course): Windows 7 and 8, Office 2012 and Office 365, SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server, ASP.NET, Windows Azure, and more.

Browse the two collections:

Electronic Resources on Social Media Sites

Social Media iconsFollow or friend your favorite electronic resource websites on three major social networking sites: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  The database vendors often use these outlets to give updates, offer free access trials, and announce downtime.




Meebo Alternatives

meeboSince Meebo announced it will be shutting down on July 11th, librarians who use the service have been scrambling to find an alternative to the free IM program.  The listservs are abuzz with suggestions for alternatives and recommendations.  Here are a few options:

  • Zoho – Web-based chat and website widget.
  • – This is a free web-based chat service.  It seems the only chat widgets are third-party.
  • AIM – This well-known IM client has a chat widget and app for every mobile platform.
  • Google Talk – IM, voice chat, and file transfer.  Integrates with Gmail.
  • Spark – An open-source IM client.  Note that the widget is only on version 0.9.
  • Pidgin – Free universal chat program.
  • LiveZilla – Customizable widget and client software.
  • LibraryH3lp – A library-specific chat service for a flat annual fee.

Read the LISNews article Meebo Messenger, Meebo Me discontinued July 11, 2012.

Read the LibraryH3lp blog post Meebo Migrations: Alternatives for Libraries.

Does the Digital Public Library of America Have a Future?

Technology Review Library GraphicSeveral companies and organizations are attempting to make all printed books available online.  From Project Gutenberg (public domain books only), to Google Book Search, the HathiTrust, and the Open Library.  Now, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is creating the Digital Pulbic Library of America (DPLA).  But with issues of copyright, does the DPLA have a future?

From Technology Review:

It sounds straightforward. And if it were just a matter of moving bits and bytes around, a universal online library might already exist. Google, after all, has been working on the challenge for 10 years. But the search giant’s book program has foundered; it is mired in a legal swamp. Now another momentous project to build a universal library is taking shape. It springs not from Silicon Valley but from Harvard University. The Digital Public Library of America—the DPLA—has big goals, big names, and big contributors. And yet for all the project’s strengths, its success is far from assured. Like Google before it, the DPLA is learning that the major problem with constructing a universal library nowadays has little to do with technology. It’s the thorny tangle of legal, commercial, and political issues that surrounds the publishing business. Internet or not, the world may still not be ready for the library of utopia.

The DPLA still has to overcome fundamental issues of its mission, goals, and even its name and role as a library.

Read the article The Library of Utopia.