John Ben DeVette's Blog

Thoughts experiences & learnings about the world of academic publishing …

XML: A SIMPLE & SHORT INTRODUCTION for people who want to understand WHY IS XML SO IMPORTANT?

Attached is a brief, 7-slide PowerPoint presentation explaining in very simple English why XML is important to publishers, authors, universities, and almost anyone who is creating content to be loaded onto websites, published as an e-book, stored in a digital archive / institutional repository, or needs to be findable via Google or other search engines.

[This PowerPoint presentation is a excerpt of a longer presentation I gave to the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) on 2010 September 17, entitled:  FUTURE TRENDS OF ACADEMIC PUBLISHING:  Creating an Efficient Access & Distribution System for Japan’s Research Output.  A copy of the JST presentation has been translated into Japanese and is available either from JST or by contacting me directly.]

4 October 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, Self Publishing, University Publishing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future Library Should Focus on Collecting and Formatting In-house, Locally Created Content

My vision for the future library is to have it focus on collecting and formating all local content into a single knowledge base. When all content: data sets, science notebook, papers, books, reports, manuals, blogs are part of the same knowledge base, then the archive, search, and distribution interfaces are easily managed and updated as technology evolves. In concept, this is similar to what Adam Bly refers to as a “digital core,” but Adam’s vision is global. The focus here is making the local institution’s in-house content future friendly.

27 April 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, University Publishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Key to an Efficient Archival System Must be How Quickly You Can Access the Content

Librarians have always been good at storage. And to a lesser degree, so have publishers. But the KEY TO EFFICIENT STORAGE MUST BE EASE OF USE. Most archival systems are evaluated in these terms:

– Permanence. Will it be there for the next generation?
– Responsibility. Who is going to build it? Who will maintain it?
– Buy-in. What percentage of our authors are contributing to the archive?
– Completeness. How comprehensive is the archive, how far back does it go?
– Copyright. What are the legal limitations of these archived materials?
– Cost. Can we afford to archive it?
– Accessibility. How do we get the data back out?

In my experience, the last requirement ACCESSIBILITY is not emphasized enough. From the design stages, the end user experience must be kept at the forefront. How user-friendly will the final product be is crucial to the success of all archival systems. If librarians and publishers have successfully stored away the past 200 years of scholarship, but you can’t find it on Google, how useful is it really? If the archived content is not being used, there is a danger it will be considered irrelevant and useless. Certainly, rarely accessed archives that receive little attention will find it difficult to raise funds when needed upgrades are due.

Archival solutions must fit the way humans think and must work with the tools we have on hand now. They must mesh smoothly with the popular search engines. A 2009 study by Dotov, Nie, and Chemero on the impact of inefficient tools on the human brain (citation into with DOI at bottom of this post), consistently shows that learning slows radically when the brain – tool link malfunctions.

If it takes too long to get there, the brain stops focusing on the subject, and starts focusing on packaging (the tool being used to access and evaluate the subject). Or in the case of online searching, if you are used to a search taking 3 seconds, and suddenly it takes 9, your rhythm is interrupted and your brain slows down. When I was at EBSCO we used to call it the “3-Clicks, You’re Out” rule.

An archival system that does not allow for near-immediate access is like frozen steak in the bottom of the freezer downstairs in the basement. If you’re hungry the food in the kitchen is what you’ll eat. Even worse would be a frozen steak in your neighbor’s basement!

Archival and storage systems from the onset must have the end-user access in mind. Just locking it away safely is not enough.

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Dotov DG, Nie L, Chemero A (2010) A Demonstration of the Transition from Ready-to-Hand to Unready-to-Hand. PLoS ONE 5(3): e9433. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009433

20 March 2010 Posted by | Archival, Digital Publishing, University Publishing | , , | Leave a comment

Spain and Finland Say: It Is My Legal Right To Have Internet Access

On October 14, Finland announced a new law that makes access to the Internet a legal right. By July 2010, a 1Mb Internet connection must be available to every Finlander, and it jumps to a 100 Mb broadband connection in 2015.

Then on Nov 17, Spain declared Internet access a legal right, too.

I expect to see most of the European Union follow suit over the next couple years.

While most people in Finland and Spain already have online access, guaranteeing that everyone has access at a controlled fair price will have a deep impact on the development of infrastructure, public services, and a socioeconomic watershed effect into daily life. The long term side effects are barely imaginable.

If developing, impoverished countries are given the same “rights of online access” the improvements to quality of life and learning will be colossal!

References:
Finland: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/14/applause-for-finland-first-country-to-make-broadband-access-a-legal-right/

Spain: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2356014,00.asp

1 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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