Research Online

15
Nov13

Google Wins Fair Use Argument in Book Search Lawsuit

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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On Thursday, November 14, 2013, eight years after the Authors Guild sued that Google Book Search violated the rights of authors, Judge Denny Chin finally handed down his decision (PDF) on the lawsuit. The Internet giant’s project to scan millions of books held by academic libraries was found to “[advance] the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

Advocates of fair use are applauding Judge Chin’s decision. Brandon Butler, formerly Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (and a co-facilitator in the development of the ARL’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries), calls the decision “a powerful affirmation of the value of research libraries.” The Library Copyright Alliance, which last year issued an amicus brief in the case, quoted leaders of library organizations in a press release issued yesterday:

“ALA applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case. This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google’s Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning.” – Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association
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“This decision, along with the decision by Judge Baer in Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, makes clear that fair use permits mass digitization of books for purposes that advance the arts and sciences, such as search, preservation, and access for the print-disabled.” – Carol Pitts Diedrichs, president of the Association of Research Libraries
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“I echo the comments of my colleagues that this ruling, that strongly supports fair use principles, enables the discovery of a wealth of resources by researchers and scholars. Google Book search also makes searchable literally millions of books by students and others with visual disabilities. This is a tremendous opportunity for all our communities.” – Trevor A. Dawes, president of the Association of College & Research Libraries

Inevitably, the Authors Guild has already announced its plan to appeal the decision. And some critics, while perhaps not siding with the Authors Guild, have questioned Google’s motives in embarking on the project – readers’ privacy is uncertain, for example. Google has also been criticized for providing low-quality or sometimes just incorrect metadata for the books it has scanned. But having access to such an enormous textual corpus, despite its flaws, is a boon for researchers working in the field of natural language processing — Brandon Butler lauds the decision as “a victory…for transformative, non-consumptive search” — as well as for the visually disabled.

Posted in: Information and Society, Research Online, Scholarly Communications

23
Oct13

IRis, Northeastern’s Digital Archive, Reaches Milestone: 1 Million Downloads!

Posted by: Hillary Corbett

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When the Northeastern University Libraries launched IRis in 2006, the idea of an “institutional repository” was still fairly new. Universities were starting repositories to share their intellectual and administrative output – faculty-authored articles, dissertations and theses, student-run publications, university-created reports, and other documents. Seven years later, many more colleges and universities around the world have digital repositories of open access materials created by their faculty, students, and staff. These repositories often also host open-access journals and other publications – at Northeastern, IRis has hosted the Annals of Environmental Science since 2007, and also provides access to faculty-authored and -edited books.

IRis began with only a few collections in 2006, but has grown exponentially since then. Today, IRis contains over 6,000 items, and as of Tuesday, October 15, 2013, these items have been downloaded one million times!

Although it’s not possible to determine which one item received the lucky one-millionth download, we know that on that day, 649 items were downloaded 1147 times. Here’s a breakdown of the types of materials downloaded that day:

Here are top downloads in each category, for October 15, 2013:

As you can see, slightly more than half of the items downloaded were dissertations or master’s theses. An important contributor to the growth of IRis has been the university’s transition to an Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) program in the 2007-2008 academic year – instead of depositing print copies of dissertations and master’s theses in the library’s archives, graduate students now submit their ETDs to ProQuest and an open-access copy is made available through IRis. Both undergraduate and graduate research output is very popular in IRis – in fact, almost every month our most highly accessed collection is the Honors Junior/Senior Projects!

In the coming months, we will be expanding on the success of IRis with DRS – Northeastern University’s Digital Repository Service. The DRS will offer even more functionality for users and depositors, such as more flexible sharing options, the ability to manage permissions, and options for curated and noncurated collections.

Posted in: Library News and Events, Research Online, Scholarly Communications, Serendipity

1
Oct13

How the Government Shutdown Is Affecting Research Websites

Posted by: Amira Aaron

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Today’s government shutdown is affecting access to information at Northeastern and all libraries, whether directly or indirectly. We’ll do our best to post alerts about web sites that are unavailable on our database A-Z list.

There are different effects depending on the government agency.  For example, web sites that support essential services, such as the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, which supports federal law enforcement, are up and running. Other sites are running but are not being updated, such as PubMed and MedlinePlus.

Some sites are completely down, such as the Department of Education’s ERIC database, but the library purchases ERIC information through private third party vendors and so fortunately we can make ERIC available to the NU community.   Census.gov is also down, although some of the information there may be available in SimplyMap.

We’ve also noticed effects on our behind-the-scenes work.  We are unable to order PDF articles from the National Library of Medicine, and we’re unable to do some database maintenance that relies on information from the Library of Congress.  That won’t affect you in the short term, but we hope the situation is temporary so it doesn’t have long term effects!

Learn more about how the shutdown is affecting libraries here.

We’re really sorry for any inconvenience, and our reference librarians are here to help you find alternative research sources. You can reach us by phone, email, text, or in person at Snell Library at http://library.northeastern.edu/ask.

Posted in: Information and Society, Library News and Events, Research Online

19
Aug13

Keep up with Current Contents

Posted by: G. Karen Merguerian

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If you’re actively involved in research, you’re probably on dozens of email lists from publishers and scholarly societies, and maybe you’re even following them on Twitter, or with an RSS feed reader. Well here’s a way to consolidate your alerts to make things a little easier to manage and to reduce the amount of mailbox clutter you receive: Current Contents Connect (Thomson Reuters/Web of Knowledge).

With Current Contents Connect, you can

  • Browse tables of contents of all your favorite scholarly publications within a single web site;
  • Subscribe to tables of contents of your favorite journals to receive an update when new issues are published;
  • Set up an alert based on a topic or keyword;
  • Find that hot new article your colleague told you would be really interesting to your research;
  • Link directly from an item in the Table of Contents to the NU library’s subscription, or to request a PDF via interlibrary loan;
  • Email the article author directly to request a reprint or ask questions; and
  • Save the citation to Endnote, Refworks, or Zotero.

Citation tracking is a key strength of the Web of Knowledge family of databases. This means the following advanced features are also available:

  • View a list of all the references the author of the new article has cited (and if they cited you, of course!);
  • Subscribe to an RSS feed to be alerted every time this new article is cited by someone else; or
  • View a citation map that shows links from one journal article to another (see below).
Citation map for Ionescu's Dialectic in Plato's Sophist (2013)

Citation map for Ionescu's Dialectic in Plato's Sophist (2013) (click to enlarge).

 

 

 

 

 

Note also that we have moved away from our old E-journal Finder, so if you have been receiving alerts from that system (in the form of emails from TDnet/Teldan), those alerts will end sometime this fall. Current Contents Connect is the perfect substitute going forward.

Posted in: Research Online

8
Aug13

Scholar OneSearch Quick Tip: Search the Library Catalog

Posted by: Rebecca Bailey

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Now that Scholar OneSearch is live, we want to help you get the most out of this research tool! This is our next installment in a series of Scholar OneSearch Quick Tips. Today’s tip: searching the library catalog.

The default option in Scholar OneSearch lets you search beyond Northeastern University Library holdings and includes articles from a variety of journals, because the tool is meant to help people quickly discover all kinds of information in different formats. This is the “Library Catalogs + Articles” choice that is already selected when you first start to search.

But sometimes you just need to know if the NU Libraries (Snell, Law, African-American Institute) have a specific book, video, or journal, and you don’t want all that extra stuff. That’s where you want to click the area marked above to select a different option. Choose “Library Catalogs” instead. You can do this on our library home page (shown above) or in the Scholar OneSearch environment:




Now when you do a search, two things will be different:

  1. No articles will be included in your results, and
  2. It will only show you books, e-books, videos, journals, etc. that the NU Libraries own or have access to.

Here I have selected “Library Catalogs” and am about to do a search on “language acquisition”:

Here’s the top of my results list. I got 915 items. Notice that the items shown are a journal and a couple of books, and also that on the left-hand side under Material Type I can select just Books, or just Video and Audio, or whichever I choose, but that Articles is not one of the choices.

The same search as above, under the “Library Catalogs + Articles” selection, gives over 420,000 results (!!!), most of them articles. So if you don’t want articles to overwhelm the other items, it pays to change the selection of where to search.

You may also want to choose the “Library Catalogs” option when you have a specific item in mind and you want to see if the library has it. For example, let’s look for the book Life of Pi. First I’ll look using the default “Library Catalogs + Articles” option:

This search brought back over 369,000 results! And the first 3 items I can see are two articles and a video. It’s not obvious from here if we have the book or not. Now let’s try it with “Library Catalogs” selected:

Much better! Only 28 results, first of all, and the first two are the movie and the book, so I can see right away that we own the novel (although it was checked out at the time of writing this post).

So, you can see that changing the selection to “Library Catalogs” can help make a much narrower target for your searches. If you were familiar with our old library catalog, NUCat, you’ll see that the “Library Catalogs” option mimics the types of results you would get from NUCat.

What Scholar OneSearch tips would you like to learn about? Let us know!

Related information:

Posted in: Research Online