Tag Archives: Wikipedia

ALA annual programs on e-Reference preservation and the impact of wikipedia

As you prepare your ALA Annual schedule, please consider the following two programs sponsored by the RUSA Reference Publishing Advisory Committee and the Reference Books Bulletin Advisory Board.
RUSA Reference Publishing Advisory Committee Program:
Reference Publishing: Preservation Trends & Issues – June 25 Sat 1:30-3:30
As electronic reference products transform to electronic formats, often with continuously updated content instead of one time publications, new challenges for archiving and preservation arise. Building on recent developments for archiving electronic books and journal content, this program will highlight the issues and challenges of preserving free and licensed e-reference content as well as foster discussion on possible solutions.
Panelists:
  • Heather Ruland Staines, Sr. Manager eOperations at Springer Science + Business Media
  • Ken DiFiore, Associate Director, Outreach & Participation Services,Portico
  • Marie McCaffrey, Executive Director, HistoryLink.org
  • Jacob Nadal, Preservation Officer, UCLA Library

Reference Books Bulletin Advisory Board Program:
The Wikipedia Effect: How Wikipedia Has Changed the Way the World Finds and Evaluates Information – Monday June 27 10:30-12 Convention Center 345

Open Access eBooks, Part 3

From Eric Hellman’s Go To Hellman blog.  Please offer your comments to Eric at the Go To Hellman blog.

Here’s the third section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; and What does Open Access mean for eBooks subsequent posts will cover Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the second section prompted me to make significant revisions, which I have posted.

Business Models for Creation of Open Access E-Books
Any model for e-book publishing must have a business model for recouping the expenses of production: reviewing, editing, formatting, design, etc. In this section, we’ll review methods that can be used to support Open Access e-book publishing. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 3

Open Access eBooks, Part 2. What does Open Access Mean for e-books?

Reprinted from the Go To Hellman blog from Eric Hellman.  Here’s the second section of my draft of a book chapter for a book edited by No Shelf Required‘s Sue Polanka. I previously posted the introduction; subsequent posts will include sections on Business Models for Open Access E-Books, and Open Access E-Books in Libraries. Note that while the blog always uses “ebook” as one word, the book will use the hyphenated form, “e-book”. The comments on the first section have been really good; please don’t stop!  Comments can be directed to Eric via the Go To Hellman blog.

What does Open Access mean for e-books?
There are varying definitions for the term “open access”, even for journal articles. For the moment, I will use this as a lower-case term broadly to mean any arrangement that allows for people to read a book without paying someone for the privilege. At the end of the section, I’ll capitalize the term. Although many e-books are available for free in violation of copyright laws, I’m excluding them from this discussion.

Public Domain
The most important category of open access for books is work that has entered the public domain. In the US, all works published before 1923 have entered the public domain, along with works from later years whose registration was not renewed. Works published in the US from 1923-1963 entered the public domain 28 years after publication unless the copyright registration was renewed. Public domain status depends on national law, and a work may be in the public domain in some countries but not in others. The rules of what is in and out of copyright can be confusing and sometimes almost impossible to determine correctly. Continue reading Open Access eBooks, Part 2. What does Open Access Mean for e-books?

TOC Keynote- Kevin Kelly, Wired

What Technology Wants, Kevin’s new book.  He says it’s the last paper book he’ll write because he is learning so much about digital publishing.

Kevin’s keynote discussed “What’s Next” in his view and he offered 6 trends (verbs), screening, interacting, sharing, accessing, flowing, generating.

Screening – screens everywhere, we are moving from people of the book, where author/authority go hand in hand, to people of the screen.  We are surrounded by screens, screens are becoming cheap enough to put anywhere.  This will be the context where we will publish books.  eInk, could it become bound into a flexible book? Screens are the portals into the machine for everything – books, TV, video, radio, web, etc..  One screen for all.  Orality – Literacy – Visuality. Continue reading TOC Keynote- Kevin Kelly, Wired

Articles of Interest

The case for the dedicated e-reader: When is it time to go off the grid

Inkling for iPad: eTextbook Reading Done Right

NBC video: Checking out library e-books

The Future Of Reading

University of Texas San Antonio opens nation’s first bookless library on a university campus

Kobo desktop application now available for download

Playing Hard to Get: Purchasing and Reading E-Books

Wikipedia for Credit – Inside Higher Ed

The All E-Book Diet – Inside Higher Ed

TeleRead meets with Sony in New York to see Sony’s new ereaders; impression – sophisticated refinement

Michael Bills of Baker & Taylor on the Future of Ebooks and Libraries

Independent Reference Publishers Group (IRPG) Meeting Summary – ALA Conference

Each Friday before the ALA Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group (IRPG) gets together to have a program and discussion of issues surrounding reference publishing.  The ALA Annual meeting was no exception.  A large group of publishers and librarians gathered to figure out, “how did we get here?”  A panel of librarians, LIS instructors, reference contributors, and wholesalers, organized by Peter Tobey at Salem Press, presented some thoughts and challenges for reference content and reference publishing.  A summary of these comments is below.  The panelists included:  Buffy Hamilton, a teacher/librarian from Creekview H.S. in Canton, GA and blogger at The Unquiet Librarian and 1/4 blogger for Libraries and Transliteracy;  Sue Polanka (me);  Dave Tyckoson, Associate Dean of the Madden Library, CSU – Fresno;  Bernadette Low, a frequent contributor to reference content from the Community College of Baltimore City;  William Taylor, Manager, Continuations iSelect (R) and Standing Orders at Ingram Content Group;  and Jessica Moyer, a doctoral candidate in literacy education at the U of Minnesota and instructor of a MLIS reference course. Continue reading Independent Reference Publishers Group (IRPG) Meeting Summary – ALA Conference

Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery – webinar summary

Today, Joe Janes from Univ. of Washington, Mike Sweet from Credo, and myself had a great conversation on reference content, student research habits, and how reference content can be more discoverable during the LJ webinar “Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery.”

Joe highlighted research results from OCLC Perceptions study and 2 studies at the University of Washington – Project Information Literacy and use of Wikipedia for course-related research which focused on the changing research behaviors of students.  He also addressed the teaching of reference sources to librarians, comparing his learning of sources years ago to today’s focus on content over containers.  He speculated on various reference sources that have gone away, transitioned, and what still persists. Continue reading Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery – webinar summary

LJ Webinar – Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery

WEBCAST NAME:Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery
SPONSORED BY: Credo Reference and Library Journal
EVENT DATE: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 – 2:00 PM EDT Time – 60 minutes

Register Online – It’s FREE Continue reading LJ Webinar – Reference: The Missing Link in Discovery

Credo Launches Topic Pages

I wrote a piece on Credo’s Topic Pages a couple of weeks ago, but here is the official press release announcing the launch of the Topic Page Beta.

Credo Launches Topic Page Beta
The Librarian’s Answer to Wikipedia

Boston and Oxford, (April 8, 2010) – The data is undeniable, a significant majority of today’s researchers turn to Wikipedia at some point in the research process, very often at the beginning, or “presearch” phase of research. Now, Credo Reference is pleased to announce an easy-to-use alternative for researchers – Credo Topic Pages – that help answer the question, “Where do I start?”
Continue reading Credo Launches Topic Pages

Study on Student use of Wikipedia

Interesting study published by librarians from the University of Washington on “How Today’s Students Use Wikipedia for Course-Related Research.”  The article is online, via creative commons license (thanks to authors Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg).   One of the key findings includes what resources do students turn to for background information.  Wikipedia ranked 6th.  Above it – classroom materials, google, scholarly research databases, OPAC, and instructors.

So, should reference publishers push to get their content indexed in general scholarly research databases?  The print or online encyclopedia ranked 11th – far below the library bookshelves, own collections, and government websites.  I say yes.

Britannica’s Overhaul

Original article in Boston Globe.  By Hiawatha Bray Boston Globe Staff / March 31, 2009

Enter Britannica
For 241 years, it’s been the gold standard of reference books, a premium-priced digest of the world’s accumulated knowledge. Now it’s being overwhelmed by an eight-year-old online upstart authored by amateurs and available at no charge. How can Encyclopaedia Britannica survive in a wiki world?

The venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica is preparing for the most radical overhaul in its 241-year history, and it’s recruiting its readers to do much of the work.

It’s a bid by Britannica to remain relevant at a time when the world’s most popular encyclopedia, the eight-year-old website Wikipedia, is written entirely by amateur experts. The new version of Britannica Online, set to debut this summer, will emulate the Wikipedia concept by letting subscribers make changes to any article, ranging from minor edits to near-total rewrites.

But Britannica president Jorge Cauz scoffs at the idea that he’s merely imitating his giant online rival. “I don’t believe it’s accurate to say that Britannica and Wikipedia are becoming more similar,” he said. While Wikipedia is written and edited by amateurs who often work anonymously, Britannica Online articles will be overseen by professional editors. In addition, there will be no anonymity: Authors and editors will be identified by name. Cauz said this will give Britannica Online articles a credibility and authority Wikipedia can’t match.

If Wikipedia’s credibility is lower than Britannica’s, users don’t seem to mind. With its 10 million articles – 2.7 million in English – and its 275 million readers per month, Wikipedia’s scale and popularity dwarf that of Britannica’s online edition, which serves just 200,000 households and offers just 112,000 articles.

Wikipedia grew so popular partly because it’s free, while Britannica Online charges $70 a year. And Wikipedia’s array of articles is so vast because anybody can write for it. Only paying subscribers will be eligible to write for Britannica Online.

Cauz concedes that Britannica will never have as many articles as Wikipedia. But he said many Wikipedia articles are about trivial topics Britannica has no interest in covering. “They can talk about porno actors and cartoon characters as well as heart attacks,” said Cauz. “That is something we will never do.”

Instead, Britannica will still focus on its core market: schools, libraries, and homes, where people need authoritative information on important topics.

Britannica still prints a traditional multivolume encyclopedia and other reference works, but about 75 percent of the company’s revenue come from online sales. Privately held Britannica won’t reveal its revenue and earnings numbers, but Cauz said the company has turned a profit for the past five years.

The upgraded encyclopedia is set to debut this summer, but a test version is already up and running. Users who open an article are given an editing option that turns the Web browser into a mini word processor, where they can make small or large revisions. These changes are submitted to a Britannica editor, and perhaps to the article’s author.

“We have full responsibility,” said Cauz. “Every article will have to go through the rigorous editorial review of Britannica.” If the changes pass muster, they’re added to the official Britannica article, and the name of the user who made the changes is published on the website.

Cauz noted Britannica Online will allow edits of all its articles. Ironically, this will give Britannica a more open editing policy than Wikipedia’s. Despite its reputation for openness, Wikipedia permanently “locks” some articles on controversial people and subjects to prevent changes. “We want to stop . . . what we call drive-by vandalism,” said Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales.

Indeed, since its founding in 2001, Wikipedia has gradually tightened its standards, according to Andrew Lih, a Wikipedia editor and author of a new book, “The Wikipedia Revolution.”

“When it was first started, it was completely open editing,” Lih said. “Over the years, they’ve started to put more restrictions on it, simply because as you have a larger and larger crowd, it attracts more vandals.”

For example, about 3,000 articles are “semiprotected,” meaning that they can only be modified by Wikipedia users who have been members of the site for more than four days. Wales said he’s not entirely happy with this limitation. “One of the problems with semiprotection,” he said, “is that it’s difficult for newcomers to get involved.”

The German edition of Wikipedia addressed this problem by using “flagged revisions” of sensitive articles. These can be freely modified by anybody, even Wikipedia newcomers. But the modifications are flagged for review by a trusted editor before being published.

Now Wales plans to introduce flagged revisions to the English-language version of Wikipedia. He called it “an effort to open up pages to public editing that we have not had open to public editing for several years.”

If flagged editing works, it will make Wikipedia more open to public revision. But since some articles will remain locked, Wikipedia still won’t be quite as open to revision as Britannica Online.

Another addition to Britannica Online will come even closer to the original Wikipedia model. Cauz said Britannica subscribers and authors of articles for the encyclopedia will be given access to a separate area, where they can write articles on any topic they choose. When a Britannica Online user searches for information on a topic, links to these independent articles will appear alongside the official Britannica article. Each article will carry the names of its author and anyone who’s edited it, but there will be no review by Britannica editors, and the company won’t vouch for its accuracy.

Its critics say Wikipedia’s good name has been damaged by poorly written or libelous articles posted on the site. Britannica’s new feature could put its own reputation on the line. But determined to reinvent itself, Britannica is taking the risk.

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at bray@globe.com.

A View From the Top Panel at ALA

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference

Here’s a snapshot from the ALA Presentation – A View from the Top.

Left to right:

John Barnes, Gale/Cengage, Rolf Janke, Sage, Sue Polanka, WSU, Michael Ross, Britannica, Casper Grathwohl, Oxford

To start the session, each of the panelists was asked:

Will we have reference in 10-15 years?  If so, what will it look like?

Their responses were:

John Barnes – Yes, but in a different form – digital and more interactive.  The transformation is already happening. The first step is to get our collections online, which we are doing now.  This might help to ease the “if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist” philosophy of researchers

Rolf Janke – Yes, but google and other web based vendors might share the stage with us. 5 years ago google was a threat, now they are partners.

Michael Ross  – Yes, but the vocabulary will change. We won’t have collections or series, ‘search’ will become ‘find,’ and there will be more birthing of products online.  Reference will need to become unbound – in a more transparent environment that address the needs of a variety of people.

Casper Grathwohl – We are not dying, we are knowledge factories. All of us, including Wikipedia, have a place in the environment. The information is there, we need to determine how to define it and add value to it, and there is no lack of ideas on which direction to go.