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[News] How 'Open Source' Can Replace Textbooks

  • Subject: [News] How 'Open Source' Can Replace Textbooks
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 05:26:49 +0000
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: Netscape / schestowitz.com
  • User-agent: KNode/0.10.4
Richard Baraniuk: Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning

,----[ Quote ]  
| What if Napster stocked textbooks? Engineering professor Richard Baraniuk 
| talks about his vision for Connexions, an open-source system that lets 
| teachers share digital texts and course materials, modify them and give them 
| to their students -- all free, thanks to Creative Commons licensing.   


Preservation news:

Zotero and the Internet Archive Join Forces

,----[ Quote ]
| I’m pleased to announce a major alliance between the Zotero project at the 
| Center for History and New Media and the Internet Archive. It’s really a 
| match made in heaven—a project to provide free and open source software and 
| services for scholars joining together with the leading open library. The 
| vision and support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has made this possible, 
| as they have made possible the major expansion of the Zotero project over the 
| last year.      


Literature is going open and free (see below). No wealth barriers.


Online library reaches million book milestone

,----[ Quote
| The Universal Library Project is the brainchild of researchers at Carnegie 
| Mellon University, and has received $3.5 million in seed funding from the 
| National Science Foundation. The project has also received in-kind 
| contributions from the Zhejiang University in China and the Indian Institute 
| of Science in India that have been valued at $10 million each, and has more 
| recently forged a partnership with the Library at Alexandria in Egypt.     



Behold! The New Anti-Open Access FUD

,----[ Quote ]
| As I've noted before, I'm something of a connoisseur of FUD, and I really 
| like coming across new examples. Here's one, directed at the burgeoning open 
| access movement, which wants to make publicly-paid for scientific papers 
| freely available...   


OUP wants me to pay for my own Open Access article

,----[ Quote ]
| The journal wishes to charge me 48 USD to:
| The journal is therefore
| I am lost for words...


A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free

,----[ Quote ]
| The domination of two legal research services over the publication of federal 
| and state court decisions is being challenged by an Internet gadfly who has 
| embarked on an ambitious project to make more than 10 million pages of case 
| law available free online.   


Libraries Defend Open Access

,----[ Quote ]
| In an open letter last month, Rockefeller University Press castigated the 
| publishers' sock-puppet outfit, PRISM, for using distorting rhetoric in a 
| coordinated PR attack on open access. N  


News Corp undecided on making WSJ.com free

,----[ Quote ]
| "It would be a very expensive thing to do in the short term," Murdoch told 
| analysts on a telephone conference call to discuss News Corp's quarterly 
| earnings. "In the long term, it may be a wonderful thing to do, but we're 
| looking at it very closely."   


The Land of "Nothing for free"

,----[ Quote ]
| I was down there to give a talk on "Open Source Business Models"
| for a conference. Also represented were entertainment industry
| lawyers, "Big Telecom" management, and a smattering of software
| people. Microsoft was there of course. You can't hold a church
| fete with "Open Source" on the banner these days without Microsoft
| turning up and requesting representation. At least we also had
| Bruce Perens on our side to help make up the balance. The venue
| eas an unbelievably expensive hotel. Even though I was on
| expenses I balked at asking the company to pay for a room
| there and found something cheaper (not by much) a few miles
| down the road.


'The New York Times' drops online subscription service

,----[ Quote ]
| The New York Times has finally given up on the Web-subscription model, 
| announcing Monday that the newspaper's online site will no longer charge for 
| any content.  


Academia's Open Access movement mirrors FOSS community

,----[ Quote ]
| Free and open source software (FOSS) has roots in the ideals of academic 
| freedom and the unimpeded exchange of information. In the last five years, 
| the concepts have come full circle, with FOSS serving as a model for Open 
| Access (OA), a movement within academia to promote unrestricted access to 
| scholarly material for both researchers and the general public.    


DJ Google, Sprint Pact Could Heat Up Wireless War

,----[ Quote ]
| Wallsten, however, argued it is unclear their network will be truly open. "It 
| doesn't seem consistent with Google's claims for open access and net 
| neutrality," he said. "Clearly Google is going to benefit from this, and it 
| will be easier to use (Google) than Yahoo" or other rival services.   


AT&T slams Google over open-access wireless proposal

,----[ Quote ]
| AT&T has asked Capitol Hill not to enable an open nationwide wireless 
| spectrum, claiming that Google's lobbying of such a network is a bid by the 
| search giant to obtain broadband airwaves at bargain-basement prices.  


Musicians' copyright pleas fall on deaf ears

,----[ Quote ]
| The music industry has reacted with outrage to the government's rejection of 
| pleas to extend the period musicians get royalties from their tracks beyond 
| the current 50 years.  


Announcing the Open Library

,----[ Quote ]
| Early this year, when I left my job at Wired Digital, I thought I could look 
| forward to months of lounging around San Francisco, reading books on the 
| beach and drinking fine champagne and eating foie gras. Then I got a phone 
| call. Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive was thinking of pursuing a 
| project that I'd been trying to do literally for years.    
| [...]
| So today I'm extraordinarily proud to announce the Open Library project. Our
| goal is to build the world's greatest library, 


Berkman Center and CALI Partner to Create New Legal Education Resource

,----[ Quote ]
| “We are looking forward to renewing a fruitful relationship with Harvard Law 
| School through the Legal Education Commons project, which will provide 
| innovative tools and access to open-licensed course materials to our more 
| than 200 member law schools” said CALI Executive Director John Mayer.   


Wikipedia Founder Joins EC Open Access Campaign

,----[ Quote ]
| Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said he signed a petition calling
| on the European Commission to give the public open access to
| taxpayer-funded scientific research because it was "simple and
| obvious" that the public should have access to research they
| had funded. "Public money should result in public benefit,"
| he added.


Google Custom Search

,----[ Quote ]
| Guha was able to help me understand the significance of the recent 
| announcement with the Hewlett Foundation of the Open Educational Resources 
| search portal.  
| [...]
| For example, a MIT implementation of the OE Search portal could choose to 
| boost mit.edu sites, providing higher visibility for MIT's OpenCourseWare 
| offerings.  


Push for open access to research

,----[ Quote ]
| "Cancer patients seeking information on new treatments or parents
| searching for the latest on childhood development issues were often
| denied access to the research they indirectly fund through their
| taxes"  


Elsevier duo say the future is open

,----[ Quote ]
| Two senior publishers have departed Elsevier and joined rival Biomed
| Central, placing their bets on an open access future for scientific
| research.


China's Ancient Treasures Go Digital

,----[ Quote ]
| Hundreds of workers at museums, academic institutions and government 
| offices in Taiwan are contributing to the National Digital Archives 
| project. The research institute Academia Sinica, for example, is 
| leading the software and database development effort, mainly 
| using Linux and MySQL.


Microlibraries Project: 20,000+ books available on demand

,----[ Quote ]
| The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL) has organized
| the Microlibraries Project, making over 20,000 Project Gutenberg
| books available at minimal cost through a simple print-on-demand
| system.
| [...]
| The entire library can be accessed here. The software used to
| convert these books is open source, and will be available soon.


Publish And Perish

,----[ Quote ]
| Alexander Rose, the executive director of the futurist Long Now
| Foundation, worries about the impermanence of digital information.
| "If you save that computer for 100 years, will the electrical plugs
| look the same?" he asks. "The Mac or the PC--will they be around?
| If they are, what about the software? " So far there's no business
| case for digital preservation--in fact, for software makers like
| Microsoft, planned obsolescence is the plan.
| "The reality is that it's in companies' interest that software should
| become obsolete and that you should have to buy every upgrade,"
| Rose says. We could be on the cusp of a turning point, though, in the
| way businesses and their customers think about digital preservation.
| "Things will start to change when people start losing all of their personal 
| photos," Rose said.


,----[ Quote ]
| Internet Archive Challenges Google
| .----
| |    richards1052 writes "The Internet Archive, whose main claim to
| | fame is the Wayback Machine, designed to archive the internet's web
| | history, has created a new project: the Open Content Alliance. It's
| | purpose is to open the nation's library collections to universal
| | web search. A number of major library systems, including the Boston
| | Public Library and Smithsonian, have refused to sign up with
| | competing ventures by Microsoft and Google because they do not
| | provide for universal access to digitized books. These commercial
| | ventures prohibit books being accessed by competing search engines.
| | So far, 80 libraries and research institutions have signed on with
| | Open Content Alliance. They must pay for the scanning of their
| | books while Google and Microsoft offset that cost for their
| | participating institutions."
| `----
| http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/22/139202
| Related:
| Microsoft "saves" British National Library and National Archive from
| "Digital Dark-age" which /it/ created, using false "open" standards:
| Defending against the digital dark age
| .----
| | Rather than making Microsoft appear heroic about a problem that it
| | had contributed to, the release highlighted a bigger issue that
| | goes to the heart of digital preservation. As well as using the
| | Virtual PC 2007 software to emulate older versions of Microsoft
| | software, the NA also commented on its ongoing work to convert
| | documents into open file formats. Mentioned as it was in a
| | Microsoft press release, some concluded that this meant the NA
| | planned to adopt Microsoft's Open XML document format, which has
| | been criticised by open-source advocates for not being very open at
| | all.
| |
| | "If it were, Microsoft wouldn't need to make Novell and Xandros and
| | Linspire sign NDAs and then write translators for them," wrote
| | Pamela Jones, open-source expert and editor of the Groklaw blog.
| `----
| http://resources.zdnet.co.uk/articles/features/0,1000002000,39288099,00.htm
| 100,000 books freed by the IA
| .----
| | Milestone Achieved
| |
| | The Internet Archive announced on December 20, 2006 that it had
| | achived a milestone in having digitized and made available to date,
| | a total of 100,000 books on its servers. The bulk of these books
| | are from members of the Open Content Alliance. All are available
| | without restriction to public access and enjoyment. A copy of the
| | press release can be seen at the right. Within hours of the
| | release, over 60 news organizations had picked up the AP newswire
| | story. Congratulations to all!
| `----
| http://www.opencontentalliance.org/
| Those 100,000 texts can be found here:
| http://www.archive.org/details/texts
| Uses TXT, HTML, and an online interactive format called Flipbook, which
| is an Ajax standards-based viewer that works in any standards compliant
| browser, without the need for a plugin:
| .----
| | Internet Archive’s Flipbook viewer
| |
| | Roy Tennant on Web4Lib pointed out a blog posting by one of the
| | developers of Flipbook, the Internet Archive’s new Ajax-based page
| | turner for its OpenLibrary. This type of page turner is not unique
| | — the British Library has had one for some time — but it’s great to
| | see new implementations of it.
| `----
| http://digitizationblog.interoperating.info/?p=236
| Unfortunately, the British Library's implementation is /not/ quite so
| standards compliant:
| .----
| | Turning the Pages™ uses the Shockwave plug-in, which can be
| | downloaded from the Adobe website, to simulate the action of
| | turning the pages of a real book. For Mac OS X users there is an
| | alternative download. The volumes may not open if you block popups
| | on your computer.
| |
| | NEW! A new version, called Turning the Pages 2.0™, has been
| | developed for the Microsoft Vista operating system and was launched
| | on 30 January. It will also run on Windows XP with the .NET 3
| | framework. Find out if you have the necessary software and hardware
| | now.
| `----
| http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/ttp/ttpbooks.html
| There's an "accessibility" area for those who choose not to use
| Microsoft's Slopware, with static content only.
| The IA's Open Content can also be downloaded in various formats,
| including this rather interesting Book Format, called DjVu:
| http://djvu.sourceforge.net/abstract.html
| Cross-platform and GPL licensed, unlike Microsoft's "Turning the Pages".
| And let's not forget the one that started it all - Project Gutenberg,
| which began in 1971 by Michael Hart as a community project to make plain
| text versions of books available freely to all:
| http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
| Provides texts in Free Formats, unlike Microsoft's "Turning the Pages".

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