SPARC IR, Sun PASIG: Towering Content, Now What?

Thu, 2008-11-20 22:35 -- Anonymous (not verified)

blog_bromo_seltzer.jpgThe Bromo-Seltzer Tower in Baltimore, Maryland. © by James G. Howes, 2008.

Baltimore, MD Bromo-Seltzer was invented in this town by Captain Isaac Emerson. To celebrate his tummy-taming elixir he built a clock tower in 1911 that was intended to look like the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The Baltimore version included a marvelous 51-foot lighted blue rotating bottle on top.

The big blue bottle is long gone but the Bromo-Seltzer Tower remains. Preservationists, archivists, librarians and technology specialists might argue that the blue bottle has gone the way of other parts and pieces of our cultural heritage as increasing amounts of digital information and data threaten to overrun the institutions whose job it is to preserve knowledge into the future. At the SPARC Institutional Repostiories (SPARC IR) Conference and the Sun Microsystems Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) attendees reviewed new solutions and grappled with the thorny issues around creating durable knowledge for future generations in an era of burgeoning information.

SPARC IR, November 18

Living in a land of “Plenty ‘O Information” has caused libraries and institutional repositories from all parts of the world to examine policies, look to economies of scale, and find new ways to disseminate intellectual products in order to provide greater service with public funds. Innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives also provide new ways to consider funding access to scholarship and scholarly resources.

In Nov. 18, 2006 SPARC IR morning sessions David Prosser, Director, SPARC Europe, Syun Tutiya, Chiba University, Japan. The Japanese Policy Environment and Bonnie Klein, Defense Technology Information Center, USA, U.S. Federal Government Repositories & Public Access to Grant Research presented different views of legal and open access policy environments around access to data and information in their three countries.

European information policy is interested in leading the charge towards making materials open and available as a way to stiulate and drive economic development. The Berlin Declaration in Support of Open Access, for example, now has 255 signatories worldwide including Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, China and others. The Wellcome Trust has independently funded biomedical research that is mandated for deposit by UK law, as is publicly-funded research. “Any original research paper” is required to be deposited. Other European research organizations are have also begun putting policies in place to require deposit of papers.

Japan is concerned with getting the technology right prior to instituting overall policy. Tutiya reported, “No policy is our policy.” Assessment and establishing industry/society relationships are two aspects of how ideas around Open Access policies are evolving. Japanese information managers are working towards being able to harvest metadata nationally and are concluding that “environments [for data and information] are more important.”

CENDI is an interagency group of United States federal agencies whose work involves managing repositories, information centers and the government printing office. All 13 CENDI agencies play a role in addressing science- and technology-based national priorities—26 agencies fund about 1,000 grant programs.

Since 2001 online public information facilities such as Science.gov have been paid for out of pocket by participating agencies to provide greater citizen access to basic science research results. Version 5 has just been launched which includes a federated search over many federal repository databases

WorldWideScience.org is an even larger collaborative effort with the British Library. It was launched during the summer of 2007 with 15 partner countries including China. The “fundamental research” represented at World Wide Science can be defined as basic and applied research in science and engineering, the results of which are ordinarily pubished and shared broadly—about 70% of U.S. research falls under this category.

An ongoing discussion is how to structure “interim” scientific reporting. Early results are not always peer-reviewed and can include spotty data types and formats. Only 53% of grantees thought that early posting on a government web site was a good idea because:

–an invention could be prematurely disclosed

–scholarly journals view web site postings as “publication.”

Klein concluded, “[US] Government agencies feel that they do not have the right to mandate Open Access.”

To be continued . . .

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