can you spare some change?

Posted on August 15th, 2005 by

This Friday, August 19th, we’re switching over from one form of off-campus authentication to another. What on earth does that mean? Well, if you’ve set up your browser to recognize you as an authentic Gustie for the purposes of searching our databases, you can turn it off now. The system will know who you are without fiddling with your browser at all. (Of course, that means if you already fiddled, you’ll need to unfiddle. Depending on what browser you use, it’s just a matter of clicking a choice in your preferences.) This should make it easier for all of us–students included–to use library resources from off campus. That takes care of one more “dog ate my homework” excuse.

Another project in the works: we are setting up a system to link directly to full text articles in one database from a citation in another (or even, eventually, from Google Scholar). We’ve found that actually finding the articles that are listed in a database is a huge challenge for many of our students, so we hope this will help.

Of course, libraries aren’t the only ones adapting to changing expectations. Publishers, according to The New York Times, are introducing paperbacks that offer more readable pages for an aging audience. They’ll be the same width, to fit on bookseller’s racks, but they’ll be taller. The price will be a bit steeper, too.

Google has backed away from its ambitious plan to digitize libraries – sort of. They’re giving publishers an opportunity to opt out. Publishers (at least some of them) are not convinced that making a copy and showing the public snippits is within fair use. This is another example of how the concept of “copy” in a digital world is making it harder than ever to know what’s legal. Many lawyers love the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine;” they can find that embarrassing comment you thought you’d deleted from your site. But naturally, at least some folks suggest the archive itself violates copyright law. The jury is out …


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