Revolt of the Scholars

Written by Sam Vaknin

Scindex's Instant Publishing Service is about empowerment. The price of scholarly, peer-reviewed journals has skyrocketed inrepparttar last few years, often way out ofrepparttar 108504 limited means of libraries, universities, individual scientists and scholars. A "scholarly divide" has opened betweenrepparttar 108505 haves (academic institutions with rich endowments and well-heeled corporations) andrepparttar 108506 haves not (allrepparttar 108507 others). Paradoxically, access to authoritative and authenticated knowledge has declined asrepparttar 108508 number of professional journals has proliferated. This is not to mentionrepparttar 108509 long (and often crucial) delays in publishing research results andrepparttar 108510 shoddy work of many under-paid and over-worked peer reviewers.

The Internet was suppose to change all that. Originally, a computer network forrepparttar 108511 exchange of (restricted and open) research results among scientists and academics in participating institutions - it was supposed to provide instant publishing, instant access and instant gratification. It has delivered only partially. Preprints of academic papers are often placed online by their eager authors and subjected to peer scrutiny. But this haphazard publishing cottage industry did nothing to dethronerepparttar 108512 print incumbents and their avaricious pricing.

The major missing element is, of course, respectability. But there are others. No agreed upon content or knowledge classification method has emerged. Some web sites (such as Suite101) userepparttar 108513 Dewey decimal system. Others invented and implemented systems of their making. Additionally, one click publishing technology (such as Webseed's or Blogger's) came to be identified strictly to non-scholarly material: personal reminiscences, correspondence, articles and news.

Enter Scindex and its Academic Resource Channel. Established by academics and software experts from Bulgaria, it epitomizesrepparttar 108514 tearing down of geographical barriers heralded byrepparttar 108515 Internet. But it does much more than that. Scindex is a whole, self-contained, stand-alone, instant self-publishing and self-assembly system. Self-publishing systems do exist (for instance, Purdue University's) - but they incorporate only certain components. Scindex coversrepparttar 108516 whole range.

The Internet and the Library

Written by Sam Vaknin

"In this digital age,repparttar custodians of published works are atrepparttar 108503 center of a global copyright controversy that casts them as villains simply for doing their job: letting people borrow books for free."

(ZDNet quoted by "Publisher's Lunch on July 13, 2001)

It is amazing thatrepparttar 108504 traditional archivists of human knowledge -repparttar 108505 libraries - failed so spectacularly to riderepparttar 108506 tiger ofrepparttar 108507 Internet, that epitome and apex of knowledge creation and distribution. At first, libraries,repparttar 108508 inertial repositories of printed matter, were overwhelmed byrepparttar 108509 rapid pace of technology and byrepparttar 108510 ephemeral and anarchic content it spawned. They were reduced to providing access to dull card catalogues and unimaginative collections of web links. The more daring added online exhibits and digitized collections. A typical library web site is still comprised of static representations ofrepparttar 108511 library's physical assets and a few quasi-interactive services.

This tendency - by both publishers and libraries - to inadequately and inappropriately pour old wine into new vessels is what causedrepparttar 108512 recent furor over e-books.

The lending of e-books to patrons appears to be a natural extension ofrepparttar 108513 classical role of libraries: physical book lending. Libraries sought also to extend their archival functions to e-books. But librarians failed to grasprepparttar 108514 essential and substantive differences betweenrepparttar 108515 two formats. E-books can be easily, stealthily, and cheaply copied, for instance. Copyright violations are a real and present danger with e-books. Moreover, e-books are not a tangible product. "Lending" an e-book - is tantamount to copying an e-book. In other words, e-books are not books at all. They are software products. Libraries have pioneered digital collections (as they have other information technologies throughout history) and are stillrepparttar 108516 main promoters of e-publishing. But now they are at risk of becoming piracy portals.

Solutions are, appropriately, being borrowed fromrepparttar 108517 software industry. NetLibrary has lately granted multiple user licences to a university library system. Such licences allow for unlimited access and are priced according torepparttar 108518 number ofrepparttar 108519 library's patrons, orrepparttar 108520 number of its reading devices and terminals. Another possibility is to implementrepparttar 108521 shareware model - a trial period followed by a purchase option or an expiration, a-la Rosetta's expiring e-book.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use