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DuraSpace News: Bern, Switzerland Fedora User Group Meeting Scheduled for October 7, 2016

Wed, 2016-08-03 00:00

Austin, TX  Please join us for a Fedora User Group Meeting on October 7, 2016 in Bern, Switzerland at the University Library of Bern from 10:00AM to 1:00PM. The meeting will be held immediately following the 13th International Conference on Digital Preservation iPres 2016, October 3-6, hosted by The Swiss National Library.

DuraSpace News: VIVO16 Conference Updates: Local Registration Rate, OpenVIVO, BOF Lunches

Wed, 2016-08-03 00:00

Austin, TX  Check out OpenVIVO before, during, and after the 2016 VIVO conference! With OpenVIVO, it's easy to find presentations and other conference materials on the 2016 VIVO Conference page. Speakers and presenters can link slides, flyers, and other documents to OpenVIVO for conference attendees and others in the scholarly ecosystem.

David Rosenthal: Cameron Neylon's "Squaring Circles"

Tue, 2016-08-02 16:17
Cameron Neylon's Squaring Circles: The economics and governance of scholarly infrastructures is an expanded version of his excellent talk at the JISC-CNI workshop. Below the fold, some extracts and comments, but you should read the whole thing.

Neylon starts by identifying the three possible models for the sustainability of scholarly infrastructures:
Infrastructures for data, such as repositories, curation systems, aggregators, indexes and standards are public goods. This means that finding sustainable economic models to support them is a challenge. This is due to free-loading, where someone who does not contribute to the support of the infrastructure nonetheless gains the benefit of it. The work of Mancur Olson (1965) suggests there are only three ways to address this for large groups: compulsion (often as some form of taxation) to support the infrastructure; the provision of non-collective (club) goods to those who contribute; or mechanisms that change the effective number of participants in the negotiation. He points out the issues around club goods:
In the case of digital infrastructures a public good (such as an online article or dataset) can be converted to a club good (made excludable) by placing an authentication barrier around it to restrict access to subscribers (as is the case for online subscription journals and databases). Buchannan and those that further developed his 1965 paper on the economics of clubs have probed how club goods and club size relate (Buchannan, 1965). A core finding is that such sustainable clubs have an equilibrium size that depends on congestion in access to good (the extent to which it is purely non-rivalrous) and the value it provides. With digital resources congestion is low, and the club can therefore grow large. This creates a challenge. Digital resources are not natively excludable, a technical barrier has to be put in place. As the group size rises the likelihood of "leakage" (sharing, or piracy if you prefer) increases. Thus resources are expended on strengthening excludability which leads to both economic and political costs as seen in the Open Access debate. Clearly, the waste of resources caused by implementing excludability for scholarly communication is immense. It starts with the many billions of dollars of excess rent extracted by the commercial publishers in the form of profit, but it doesn't stop there. To that must be added the resources these publishers spend on marketing, sales, on maintaining their subscription management and enforcement systems, and on anti-piracy measures. All of which decrease the value to society of the underlying public goods.

But that isn't the end of the waste. Because subscriptions are so expensive, the publishers' customers spend large staff resources negotiating with the publishers to try to reduce them. In many countries entire organizations are devoted to this task. And the waste doesn't end when licenses are agreed. As Barbara Fister points out, the customers then spend resources acting as unpaid police enforcing the terms of the licenses.

Neylon elaborates:
Infrastructures, such as repositories for data, articles and code, are very close to the ideal of public goods. Mancur Olson in The Logic of Collective Action (1965) discusses how group size has a profound influence on the provision of public goods, in particular noting that provision is only possible for small groups, or where the public good is a byproduct of the provision of non-public goods that are provided to contributors. Indeed Olson's description of the groups that can and cannot provide public goods maps closely onto scholarly infrastructures. ... The transition from small to large is challenging and "medium" sized infrastructures struggle to survive, moving from grant to grant, and in many cases shifting to a subscription model. The LOCKSS Program has sustained itself since 2007 partly by using the "Red Hat" model of free, open-source software and paid support, and partly by operating the CLOCKSS Archive under contract to a separate non-profit. Publishers pay for their content to be preserved and libraries pay to support this non-profit. Diversity in business models is important, and not something that Neylon discusses. While these models have sustained the LOCKSS Program, they have limited its ability to scale up to address the whole problem space. Alternate approaches have been equally unable to scale.

Neylon observes that:
Subscription and membership models such as those used for online subscription journals and for some data infrastructures have been our traditional model and are an example of the second approach. These models are breaking down as the technology of the web and the agenda for transparency and open access leads to unbundling, the separate of the different services being provided. This tends to mean commercial suppliers focus on club and private good provision and neglect public good provision. Addressing this will require the development of support models more like taxation. However systems of taxation require a shared - and ideally globally shared - sense of the principles of governance and resource distribution. Our experience would suggest that although open access (if it uses Creative Commons licenses) significantly reduces the cost of preserving the scholarly literature, it reduces the motivation to subscribe to its preservation even more. This can be seen in the difficulty current archives have in preserving the output of the "long tail" of smaller publishers. To the extent that the open access model succeeds, breakdown is likely.

Neylon writes:
Membership models can work in those cases where there are club goods being created which attract members. Training experiences or access to valued meetings are possible examples. In the wider world this parallels the "Patreon" model where members get exclusive access to some materials, access to a person (or more generally expertise), or a say in setting priorities. Much of this mirrors the roles that Scholarly Societies play or at least could play. Usenix is an example of a society that has successfully transitioned from charging for publications to running meetings, whose proceedings are available to attendees beforehand and to all afterwards. An annual membership is, in effect, buried in the meeting price.

Neylon argues that:
the focus on sustainability models prior to seeking a set of agreed governance principles is the wrong approach. Rather we need to understand how to navigate from club-like to public-like goods. We need to define the communities that contribute and identify club-like benefits for those contributors. We need interoperable principles of governance and resourcing to provide public-like goods and we should draw on the political economics of taxation to develop this. One form of governance model exists already. Funding agencies can place conditions on the funds they supply to scholars, and they have increasingly been doing so. The UK government has mandated that all papers submitted for the next REF (Research Excellence Framework) be open access, and this has transformed UK scholars attitude to open access.
The core of the policy is that journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in an open-access form to be eligible for the next REF. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to an institutional or subject repository. Imagine that the requirement for the succeeding round were to be that the paper, the data and the software were all to be freely available from a repository maintained by the University. Universities routinely tax their scholars for infrastructure, and if maintaining a repository and forcing scholars to deposit their work were a condition of future funding they would be highly motivated to tax for this purpose. As a result of their unhappiness with author processing charges, the Wellcome Trust recently established in cooperation with Faculty of 1000 their own open access publishing platform. Conditioning their research grants on publication of the results via their platform would be feasible and revolutionary.

Neylon concludes:
First we can make a prediction to be tested: All sustainable scholarly infrastructures providing collective (public-like) goods to the research community will be funded on one of the three identified models (taxation, byproduct, oligopoly) or some combination of them. and:
Second, we can look at stable long standing infrastructures (Crossref, Protein Data Bank, NCBI, arXiv, SSRN) and note that in most cases governance arrangements are an accident of history and were not explicitly planned. Crises of financial sustainability (or challenges of expansion) for these organisations are often coupled to or lead to a crisis in governance, and in some cases a breakdown of community trust. Changes are therefore often made to governance in response to a specific crisis.

Where there is governance planning it frequently adopts a "best practice" model which looks for successful examples to draw from. It is not often based on "worse case scenario" planning. We suggest that this is a problem. We can learn as much from failures of sustainability and their relationship to governance arrangements as from successes. The reference to SSRN is interesting given Neylon's earlier post, Canaries in the Elsevier Mine: What to watch for at SSRN, which is about what the history of the governance change at Mendeley when Elsevier purchased it tell us about what to look for at SSRN now that Elsevier has purchased it:
The elements that I have argued were lost after Mendeley was purchased.
  1. Advocacy: SSRN always occupied a quite different space in its disciplinary fields to that of Mendeley, and has never had a strong policy/advocacy stance. Nonetheless look for shifts in policy or narrative that align with the STM Article Sharing Policy or other policy initiatives driven from within Elsevier. Particularly in the light of recent developments with the Cancer Moonshot in the US look for efforts to use SSRN to show that "these disciplines are different to science/medicine".
  2. Data: SSRN doesn't have an API and access to data on usage is moderately restrictive already. One way for SSRN and Elsevier to prove me wrong is to make a covenant on releasing data or even better for them to build a truly open API. In the meantime watch for changes in terms of use on the pages that provides the rankings. When it is updated with the major site refresh that is almost certainly coming check for the tell tale signs of obfuscation to make it hard to scrape. These would be the signs of a gradual effort to lock down the data.
  3. Redirection: This is the big one. SSRN is a working paper repository. That is its central function. In that way it is different to Mendeley where you could always argue that the public access element was a secondary function. Watch very closely for when (not if) links to publisher versions of articles appear. Watch how those are presented and whether there is a move towards removing versions that might (perhaps) relate closely to a publisher version. Ask the question: is the fundamental purpose of this repository changing based on the way it directs the attention of users seeking content?
The last question seems already to have been answered by SSRN's removal of papers on bogus copyright grounds. Of course, both Mendeley and SSRN were for-profit operations. But both started out providing free infrastructure services to the research community. Clearly, doing so as a by-product of commercial operations poses very significant risks.

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Washington D.C. Area Fedora Users Group

Mon, 2016-08-01 21:21
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 10:00 to Friday, September 23, 2016 - 17:00Supports: Fedora RepositoryIslandoraHydra

Last updated August 1, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 1, 2016.
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The next DC Area Fedora User Group Meeting will take place on September 22-23 at the USDA National Agriculture Library. This event is free to attend.

Register here:

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Sufia - 7.0.0

Mon, 2016-08-01 21:14

Last updated August 1, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 1, 2016.
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Package: SufiaRelease Date: Monday, August 1, 2016

District Dispatch: ALA hosts librarians from Belarus

Mon, 2016-08-01 20:47

Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) was pleased to host a delegation of librarians from Belarus. These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State. The delegation included Ms. Oksana Knizhnikova, Minsk Regional Library; Ms. Rafeyeva Maryna, Gomel Regional Universal Library; Ms. Tatsiana Nalobina, Brest Regional Library; and Ms. Natalia Stankevich, Tavlay Central City (Baranovichi) Library.

The discussion was wide ranging. We talked about trends in information technology in U.S. libraries, such as ebooks, networking, and spaces for creating content. Access to digital information from the government was discussed, as was the organization and funding of the library sector of Belarus (so, yes, we learned some stuff too). A particular interest of the guests is the role of ALA in the library community (the comparable association in Belarus was founded only in 1992), including ALA’s advocacy roles and international activities.

Librarians from Belarus visit ALA’s Washington Office

The IVLP brings rising leaders to the U.S. on a three week professional program. The objectives for this delegation are:

  • To examine the role and function of libraries and information specialists in U.S. society;
  • To explore the importance of community-based partnerships and strategies for promoting sustainability in American libraries; and
  • To demonstrate the diversity of library services and to explore the impact of new advancements in digital and online technologies on various types of libraries.

The next stop for the delegation is Portland, Oregon.

The ALA representatives in this meeting were Alan S. Inouye, Jessica McGilvray, and Nick Gross. We thoroughly enjoyed the time together and look forward to future meetings with representatives from around the world as we fulfill one of the responsibilities of the Washington Office—to represent ALA and U.S. libraries with international delegations.

The post ALA hosts librarians from Belarus appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Free media resources for teachers and librarians

Mon, 2016-08-01 15:49

Guest Post: written by Joanne Parsont, WE THE ECONOMY, Big Picture Instructional Design,

WE THE ECONOMY is a series of 20 short films that use animation, comedy, music, documentary, and scripted storytelling to demystify a complicated topic while empowering students to take control of their own economic future. Just in time for the new school year, a limited number of these great media resources are being made available free of charge to middle and high school teachers across the country.

The film collection comes with companion classroom materials aligned with Common Core, C3, and subject area standards in ELA, media literacy, civics, social studies, math, science, and more. A limited number of free DVDs and guides are available for qualifying classroom teachers, so visit their website to find more information and enter.

And coming this fall, WE THE VOTERS! Keep an eye out for ALA’s announcement of the next anthology of short films and educational materials, offering a fresh perspective on voting, democracy, elections, and governance ahead of the 2016 elections.


The post Free media resources for teachers and librarians appeared first on District Dispatch.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: veraPDF - 0.20

Mon, 2016-08-01 15:05

Last updated August 1, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 1, 2016.
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Package: veraPDFRelease Date: Monday, August 1, 2016

ACRL TechConnect: Getting Closer to Accessible Carousels

Mon, 2016-08-01 15:00

Carousels are a popular website feature because they allow one to fit extra information within the same footprint and provide visual interest on a page. But as you most likely know, there is wide disagreement about whether they should ever be used. Reasons include: they can be annoying, no one spends long enough on a page to ever see beyond the first item, people rarely click on them (even if they read the information) and they add bloat to pages (Michael Schofield has a very compelling set of slides on this topic). But by far the most compelling argument against them is that they are difficult if not impossible to make accessible, and accessibility issues exist for all types of users.

In reality, however, it’s not always possible to avoid carousels or other features that may be less than ideal. We all work within frameworks, both technical and political, and we need to figure out how to create the best case scenario within those frameworks. If you work in a university or college library, you may be constrained by a particular CMS you need to use, a particular set of brand requirements, and historical design choices that may be slower to go away in academia than elsewhere. This post is a description of how I made some small improvements to my library website’s carousel to increase accessibility, but I hope it can serve as a larger discussion of how we can always make small improvements within whatever frameworks we work.

What Makes an Accessible Carousel?

We’ve covered accessibility extensively on ACRL TechConnect before. Cynthia Ng wrote a three part series in 2013 on making your website accessible, and Lauren Magnuson wrote about accessibility testing LibGuides in 2015. I am not an expect by any means on web accessibility, and I encourage you to do additional research about the basics of accessibility. For this specific project I needed to understand what it is specifically about carousels that makes them particular inaccessible, and how to ameliorate that. When I was researching this specific project, I found the following resources the most helpful.

The basic issues with carousels are that they move at their own pace but in a way that may be difficult to predict, and are an inherently visual medium. For people with visual impairments the slideshow images are irrelevant unless they provide useful information, and their presence on the page causes difficulty for screen reading software. For people with motor or cognitive impairments (which covers nearly everyone at some point in their lives) a constantly shifting image may be distracting and even if the content is interesting it may not be possible to click on the image at the rate it is set to move.

You can increase accessibility of carousels by making it obvious and easy for users to stop the slideshow and view images at their own pace, make the role of the slideshow and the controls on the page obvious to screen reading software, to make it possible to control the slideshow without a mouse, and to make it still work without stylesheets. Alternative methods of accessing the content have to be available and useful.

I chose to work on the slideshow as part of a retheming of the library website to bring it up to current university branding standards and to make it responsive. The current slideshow lacked obvious controls or any instructions for screen readers, and was not possible to control without a mouse. My general plan in approaching this was to ensure that there were obvious controls to control the slideshow (and that it would pause quickly without a lot of work), have ARIA roles for screen readers, and be keyboard controllable. I had to work with the additional constraints of making this something that would work in Drupal, be responsive, and that would allow the marketing committee to post their own images without my intervention but would still require alt tags and other crucial items for accessibility.

My Approach

Because the library’s website uses Drupal, it made sense to look for a solution that was designed to work with Drupal. Many options exist, and everyone has a favorite or a more appropriate choice for a particular situation, so if you are looking for a good Drupal solution you’ll want to do your own research. I ended up choosing a Drupal module called Views Slideshow after looking at several options. It seemed to be customizable enough that I was pretty sure I could make it accessible even though it lacked some of the features out of the box. The important thing to me is that it would make it possible to give the keys to the slideshow operation to someone else. The way our slideshow traditionally worked required writing HTML into the middle of a hardcoded homepage and uploading the image to the server in a separate process. This meant that my department was a roadblock to updating the images, and required careful coordination before vacations or times away to ensure we could get the images changed. We all agreed that if the slideshow was going to stay, this process had to improve.

Why not just remove the slideshow entirely? That’s one option we definitely considered, but one important caveat I set early in the redesign process was to leave the site content and features alone and just update the look and feel of the site. Thus I wanted to leave every current piece of information that was an important part of the homepage as is, though slightly reorganized. I also didn’t want to change the size of the homepage slideshow images, since the PR committee already had a large stock of images they were using and I didn’t want them to have to redesign everything. In general, we are moving to a much more flexible and iterative process for changing website features and content, so nothing is ruled out for the future.

I won’t go into a lot of detail about the technical fixes I made, since this won’t be widely applicable. Views Slideshow uses a very standard Drupal module called Views to create a list of content. While it is a very popular module, I found it challenging to install correctly without a lot of help (I mainly used this site), since the settings are hard to figure out. In setting up the module, you are able to control things like whether alt text is required, the most basic type of accessibility feature, which allows users who cannot see images to understand their content through screen readers or other assistive technologies. Beyond that, you can set some things up in the templates for the modules. First I created a Drupal content type is called Featured Slideshow. It includes fields for title of the slide, image, and the link it should go to. The image has an alt and title field, which can be set automatically using tokens (text templates), or manually by the person entering data. The module uses jQuery Cycle to control which image is available. I then customized the templates (several PHP files) to include ARIA roles and to edit the controls to make them plain English rather than icons (I can think of downsides to this approach for sure, but at least it makes the point of them clear for many people).

ARIA role. This is frequently updated but non-essential page content. Its default ARIA live state is “off”, meaning unless the user is focused on it changes in state won’t be announced. You can change this to “polite” as well, which means a change in state will be announced at the next convenient opportunity. You would never want to use “assertive”, since that would interrupt the user for no reason.

Features I’m still working on are detailed in The Unbearable Inaccessibility of Slideshows, specifically keyboard focus order and improved performance with stylesheets unavailable. However with a few small changes I’ve improved accessibility of a feature on the site–and this technique can be applied to any feature on any site.

Making Small Improvements to Improve Accessibility.

While librarians who get the privilege of working on their own library’s website have the possibilities to guide the design choices, we are not always able to create exactly the ideal situation. Whether you are dealing with a carousel or any other feature that requires some work to improve accessibility, I would suggest the following strategy:

  • Review what the basic requirements are for making the feature work with your platform and situation. This means both technically and politically.
  • Research the approaches others have taken. You probably won’t be able to use someone else’s technique unless they are in a very similar situation, but you can at least use lessons learned.
  • Create a step by step plan to ensure you’re not missing anything, as well as a list of questions to answer as you are working through the development process.
  • Test the feature. You can use achecker or WAVE, which has a browser plugin to help you test sites in a local development environment.
  • Review errors and fix these. If you can’t fix everything, list the problems and plan for future development, or see if you can pick a new solution.
  • Test with actual users.

This may seem overwhelming, but taking it slow and only working on one feature at a time can be a good way to manage the process. And even better, you’ll improve your practices so that the next time you start a project you can do it correctly from the beginning.


Islandora: iCamp or Islandoracon?

Mon, 2016-08-01 13:18

One of the great things about being in the Islandora community is the regular opportunities that come up to attend face-to-face events where you can get training, network, and share your experiences with the project. Typically, these events take the form of Islandora Camps, although as of 2015, we also have an every-other-year Islandora Conference that you can attend as well. Our next two events are an Islandora Camp in Kansas City, MO from October 12 - 14, and the second Islandora Conference, held May 15 - 19 in Hamilton Ontario, next year. If you are planning your travel and aren't sure which event is a better fit, here's a look at the differences:

Islandora Camp

3 Days - 1 day of general Islandora session, 1 day of hands-on training, 1 day of community and targeted sessions

Staff: 4 experienced Islandora community members, two in the Admin track and 2 in the Developer track.

There are two main reasons why you might choose to attend an Islandora Camp in lieu of the Islandora Conference: proximity and individual attention. Proximity is easy - we move Islandora Camp around the world, trying to ensure that we have one convenient to major Islandora users at least once a year. If Islandora Camp is in your region, it can be a lot easier to attend than the conference. Individual attention is a bit harder to quantify, but the bottom line is that Camps are much smaller than the conference (camps tend to be around 30 - 40 people) and have dedicated instructors who are available during the entire event, so there are a lot of opportunities to focus on what the audience wants to do. The workshops take place in two tracks over an entire day, working directly with Islandora in virtual machines or sandboxes. For beginners to Islandora, this can be a great way to get a sort of "Islandora 101" experience that touches on all of the basics of site building.

Islandora Conference

5 days - 1 day pre-conference events, 2 days of sessions, 1 day of workshops, 1 day of hackfest

Staff: Varies

The Islandoracon is sort of like an Islandora Camp writ large, but there are some key differences. Attendance at the first camp was above 80; we expect to top that handily for the 2017 Conference. You can meet far more Islandora people at the conference, although you might not work as closely with anyone as you would in a Camp where you spend the entire event in the same sessions. The workshops are also shorter and more varied; instead of spending a full day working through Islandora as either a front-end administrator or a developer, Islandoracon features multiple two-hour workshops on more targeted subjects, broken out for beginners, intermediate users, and developers. Since Islandoracon doesn't have the same instructor/staff model as a Camp, there is also more variation in who you can learn from. The pre-conference events (Interest Group meeting, regional group get-togethers, committee meeting, etc - this is our first time having a pre-con day, so we're still working out what it will contain) and hackfest are also unique to Islandoracon.

Both events have a strong social aspects and are a great way to meet your colleagues in the Islandora community. Want a small, tight-knit event with hands-on training and lots of space for individual conversations about how to use Islandora? Come to Camp. Want a big, multi-track event with lots of options for content and the biggest gathering of Islandora users anywhere? Come to Islandoracon.

Still not sure? Drop me an email and I'd be happy to answer questions about the events and help you determine which one will be of more value to you. And hey, you can always attend both :)

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: VuFind - 3.0.3

Mon, 2016-08-01 12:54
Package: VuFindRelease Date: Monday, August 1, 2016

Last updated August 1, 2016. Created by Demian Katz on August 1, 2016.
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Minor bug fix release.

Eric Hellman: Entitled: The art of naming without further elaboration or qualification.

Mon, 2016-08-01 03:28
As I begin data herding for our project Mapping the Free Ebook Supply Chain, I've been thing a lot about titles and subtitles, and it got me wondering: what effect do subtitles have on the usage, and should open-access status of a book affect the naming strategy for the book? We are awash in click-bait titles for articles on the web; should ebook titles be clickbaity, too? To what extent should ebook titles be search-engine optimized, and which search engines should they be optimized for?

Here are some examples of titles that I've looked at recently, along with my non-specialist's reactions:
Title: Bigger than You: Big Data and Obesity
Subtitle: An Inquiry toward Decelerationist AestheticsThe title is really excellent; it gives a flavor of what the book's about and piques my interest because I'm curious what obesity and big data might have to do with each other. The subtitle is a huge turn-off. It screams "you will hate this book unless you already know about decelerationist aesthetics" (and I don't).
(from Punctum Books)

Title: Web Writing
Subtitle: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and LearningThe title is blah and I'm not sure whether the book consists of web writing or is something about how to write for or about the web. The subtitle at least clues me in to the genre, but fails to excite me. It also suggest to me that the people who came up with the name might not be experts in writing coherent, informative and effective titles for the web.
From University of Michigan Press

Title: DOOM
If I saw the title alone I would probably mistake it for something it's not. An apocalyptic novel, perhaps. And why is it all caps? The subtitle is very cool though, I'd click to see what it means.
From Digital Culture Books

It's important to understand how title metadata gets used in the real world. Because the title and subtitle get transported in different metadata fields, using a subtitle cedes some control over title presentation to the websites that display it. Four example,'s data model has a single title field, so if we get both title and subtitle in a metadata feed, we squash them together in the title field. Unless we don't. Because some of our incoming feeds don't include the subtitle. Different websites do different things. Amazon uses the full title but some sites omit the subtitle until you get to the detail page. So you should have a good reason to use a subtitle as opposed to just putting the words from the subtitle in the title field. DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST is a much better title than DOOM. (The DOOM in the book turns out to be the game DOOM, which I would have guessed from the all-caps if I had ever played DOOM.) And you can't depend on sites preserving your capitalization; Amazon presents several versions of DOOM: SCARYDARKFAST

Another thing to think about is the "marketing funnel". This is the idea that in order to make a sale or to have in impact, your product has to pass through a sequence of hurdles, each step yielding a market that's a fraction of the previous steps. So for ebooks, you have to first get them selected into channels, each of which might be a website. Then a fraction of users searching those websites might see your ebook's title (or cover), for example in a search result. Then a fraction of those users might decide to click on the title, to see a detail page, at which point there had better be an abstract or the potential reader becomes a non-reader.

Having reached a detail page, some fraction of potential readers (or purchase agents) will be enticed to buy or download the ebook. Any "friction" in this process is to be avoided. If you're just trying to sell the ebook, you're done. But if you're interested in impact, you're still not done, because even if a potential reader has downloaded the ebook, there's no impact until the ebook gets used. The title and cover continue to be important because the user is often saving the ebook for later use. If the ebook doesn't open to something interesting and useful, a free ebook will often be discarded or put aside.

Bigger than You's strong title should get it the clicks, but the subtitle doesn't help much at any step of the marketing funnel. "Aesthetics" might help it in searches; it's possible that even the book's author has never ever entered "Decelerationist" as a search term. The book's abstract, not the subtitle, needs to do the heavy lifting of driving purchases or downloads.

The first sentence of "Web Writing" suggest to me that a better title might have been:
"Rebooting how we think about the Internet in higher educationBut check back in a couple months. Once we start looking at the data on usage, we might find that what I've written here is completely wrong, and the Web Writing was the best title of them all!

1. The title of this blog post  is the creation of Adrian Short, who seems to have left twitter.

Library Tech Talk (U of Michigan): Now Scanning: Tightly Bound Books

Mon, 2016-08-01 00:00

DCU has a new, A1-sized V-cradle scanner for digitizing tightly bound books. This post examines the need, research, and choice of scanner we purchased.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER: DC Area Fedora User Group Meeting September 22-23

Mon, 2016-08-01 00:00

From David Wilcox, Fedora product manager

Austin, TX  The next DC Area Fedora User Group Meeting will take place on September 22-23 at the USDA National Agriculture Library [1]. This event is free to attend.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER for Hydra Connect 2016–Workshop Timetable Available

Mon, 2016-08-01 00:00

From Richard Green on behalf of the Hydra Connect 2016 Program Committee

Ed Summers: Passivity and Compliance

Sun, 2016-07-31 04:00

Here’s Langdon Winner talking about the effects of computing and telecommunications in 1984 (Winner, 1984). It’s kind of astonishing that this much was visible to him thirty years ago.

… as people handle an increasing range of their daily activities through electronic instruments–mail, banking, shopping, entertainment, travel plans, and so on–it becomes technically feasible to monitor these activities with unprecedented ease. Social transactions leave digitized footprints that afford opportunities for ingenious matching and correlating, opportunities that have a menacing aspect. While many have written about this problem, most identify the issue as one of a “threat to privacy.” As important as that issue certainly is, it by no means exhausts the potential evils created by electronic data banks and computer matching.

The danger extends beyond the private sphere to affect the most basic of public freedoms. Unless preventive steps are taken, we may develop systems that contain a perpetual, pervasive but apparently benign surveillance. Confronted with omnipresent, all-seeing data banks, the populace may find passivity and compliance the safest route, avoiding activities that once comprised political liberty. As a badge of civic pride one may announce: “I’m not involved in anything a computer would find the least bit interesting.” (p. 594)

Thanks to Roxanne Gay for her recent The Blog That Disappeared that points to Winner’s idea of mythinformation. Winner uses mythinformation to name the ideology that open access to information technology is necessarily a good thing, and that we needn’t spend time and effort thoughtfully and actively crafting its deployment. After reading his Wikipedia page it also seems that Winner was an early proponent of the idea that artifacts can have politics…a notion that seems congruent with the idea that archives, while seeming neutral, have politics as well.


Winner, L. (1984). Mythinformation in the high-tech era. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 4(6), 582–596.

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Fedora Camp NYC

Sat, 2016-07-30 19:41
Date: Monday, November 28, 2016 - 08:00 to Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 17:00Supports: Fedora Repository

Last updated July 30, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on July 30, 2016.
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The Fedora Project is pleased to announce that Fedora Camp in NYC, hosted by Columbia University Libraries, will be offered at Columbia University’s Butler Library in New York City November 28-30, 2016.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: CollectionSpace - 4.4

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Last updated July 30, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on July 30, 2016.
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FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: ArchivesSpace - 1.5.1

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Last updated July 30, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on July 30, 2016.
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Package: ArchivesSpaceRelease Date: Friday, July 29, 2016