Archive | May, 2011

WSIS Presentations Available

WSIS Session

Copies of presentations delivered at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2011, which was recently held in Geneva are now available.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

Reinventing Content, Discovery, and Delivery for Today’s Academic Environment: An NFAIS Symposium

About 30 attendees gathered in Philadelphia, PA on May 25, 2011 (with about 20 additional virtual attendees) for another NFAIS symposium to hear about current trends and issues in re-inventing content.  Publishers are not only working on previously unpublished and new content, but they are re-inventing their existing products and adding new capabilities to them.  Although much of the focus was on the academic world, many of the presentations were of more general interest.

Integration of Video

Stephen Rhind-Tutt

One of today’s major trends is the integration of video into all types of content.  In fact, Alexander Street Press (ASP) has become a leader in this effort and has modified its business strategy in order to concentrate on video-enhanced products.  They have translated 20,000 CD-ROMs into streaming media.  According to Stephen Rhind-Tutt, ASP President, video is different from other types of content because it is difficult to digest the content quickly; one cannot scan it but must go through the entire stream.  ASP has built a system to transcribe video into text and synchronize the text with the video, so that one can move through the text, with the video following, and pause on portions of interest.  They have also added tools to videos allowing them to be indexed, cited, linked to other content, sent by e-mail, or saved as a clip.  This has greatly enhanced access and usage, particularly in the academic market.  Here are Rhind-Tutt’s predictions on what we can expect in the next 10 years:

Other major content providers are also experimenting with video products.  The American Chemical Society developed a very successful video course, “Publishing Your Research 101”; it was viewed over 24,000 times in one week.  Pearson, a leading educational publisher is adding video and podcasts to its e-book products, which is changing the paradigm of a book.  And Eric Hellman, president of Gluejar, noted that videos carry much context, and video on websites is becoming increasingly common.

Reinventing Content From Traditional Sources

H. Robert Cohen

H. Robert Cohen, Founder and Director of the Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (RIPM) gave a fascinating presentation on how RIPM deals with very old content—music periodicals from the 1800s and up to about 1950.  They are the only vendor of music information with data from the 19th century, and the problems they have encountered in digitizing this old material are unique.  Some of the publications are literally falling apart; some have wrinkled pages; others have handwritten notes in the margins, etc.


Spelling problems are widespread; for example, there are dozens of ways to spell “Tchaikovsky”, so an auto-suggest feature was implemented.



Just finding complete runs of the journals is a major challenge.  And when they are located, there are, of course, no indexes.

Despite the difficulties, RIPM has assembled a full text database of over 1.2 million pages from over 4,500 journals.  It offers a unique perspective on music and is a major tool for teaching.  Content analysis by music scholars has produced superior indexing results.  One innovative feature of the database interface is the ability to reconfigure one’s keyboard to accommodate non-Roman character sets.


Non-Roman Keyboard Implementation

Search vs. Discovery

Discovery is making content increasingly intelligent.  It is an advance on search, the problems of which are well known.  Search works best when you know what you are looking for.  It finds documents, not answers to questions, knowledge, or new information, and it cannot find answers that are found in multiple documents.  In contrast, discovery leads to answers and finds entities and concepts, facts, opinions, and sentiments.

Maureen Kelly (L), Bruce Kiesel (at podium, L), and Guillaume Mazieres (R)

Bruce Kiesel, Director, Knowledge Base Management, Thomson Reuters IP & Science; and Guillaume Mazières, Executive VP, TEMIS, Inc. collaborated on a presentation discussing semantic content enrichment and how it adds value to information.   One can annotate data, insert knowledge, link to similar documents, etc.  Metadata is used as a springboard to other documents, allowing the creation of document maps, etc.


Company Relationships

The benefits of this technique are that content becomes more findable, exploration is facilitated, and proactive delivery is enabled.  Some products that have benefitted include:

  • A digital archive of Biological Abstracts for 1926 through 1968 was created.  Using OCR and markup, the records were categorized.
  • A full text corpus of Nature Chemistry was processed to find the chemicals mentioned in the articles, which were then linked to free resources on the Web.
  • The BIOSIS Citation Index was scanned to find genes and proteins; synonyms were inserted; and “pathway maps” for unique processes were generated.

Reinventing the Learning Experience

It is no secret that e-book sales are booming.  A new generation of textbooks is creating a new learning experience.  William Zobrist, Director of Product Strategy at Pearson, a leading educational publisher, said that Flash e-books showed us what can be done because they go well beyond simple repurposing of PDF documents.  Although e-ink technology has increased the acceptance of e-book technology, it is actually a downgrade for textbooks because of the lack of color and design features, which has hindered the production of e-book content.

According to Zobrist, the next e-book advance will be the integration of other forms of content such as podcasts and videos into the “learning management experience”.  This will make e-books just part of the body of learning content rather than discrete items and will provide a richer and deeper learning experience.

Luke Curtin

Luke Curtin, Product Manager for WileyPlus, noted that there is a strong emotional context in teaching and learning which goes beyond just receiving a good grade.  For many students, studying has negative emotions and anxiety; they want to feel calm, relaxed, and peaceful, and they believe they can succeed by feeling more organized, focused, and connected.  We must understand these emotions in product development.  Factors such as improving time management, presenting manageable amounts of information, and demonstrating progress frequently were used in the design of Wiley Plus.  For example, tables of contents were organized by time, not topic and displayed on a calendar, which helps students understand where they are in the course and lets them budget their time.  The amount of information was made more manageable by providing tracking and visual reporting.  Content was organized by learning  objective so that students don’t get lost.

Most students don’t know if they are doing poorly in a class until they have failed their first test.  So an early warning system was incorporated in Wiley Plus that uses time and learning objectives as a reporting mechanism, allowing students to know immediately where their weak areas are.  This is a different way of interacting with the textbook content and gives students opportunities to take the initiative to achieve their objectives and increase their confidence levels.

Dana Dreibelbis

Dana Dreibelbis, President & Publisher, M&C Life Sciences, described a different approach to the learning experience for high-level graduate students in the medical area.  The traditional scholarly publishing approach has been frustrating to publishers because many authors are 1 to 3 years late with their submissions; to librarians because they were sold a book that was late; and to authors who did not get paid as much and could not update their work for several years.  M&C’s solution is a 50 to 100 page e-book incorporating animations and video, which is more in-depth than a review and more concise than a typical monograph or textbook.  Bundles of 50 of these are sold primarily to academic librarians at a price of $4,000, which is under the industry average for content of this type.  M&C licenses the content to everyone at the university without any DRM restrictions, thus eliminating the traditional worries and inefficiencies of publishing.

The session on the learning experience concluded with a presentation by Rob Reynolds, Co-Founder of Xplana, which was acquired by MBS Textbook exchange in 2009.  He discussed the trends that matter in today’s education market, some purchasing patterns of students, and his view of the future.

Trends That Matter

Students' Purchasing Patterns

View of the Future

Discovery and Delivery Platforms

Yukun Horsino

The pace of everything is increasing, and researchers must do more with less time.  Despite this, the length of scientific articles continues to increase, so speed is critical, but comprehensiveness is also.  The problem is not too much information but accessing the right information at the right time, in the right place, and in an efficient and effective way. Therefore, content producers must adapt their product offerings.  Yukun Harsono, SVP of Search and Discovery at Elsevier, described Elsevier’s new platform, SciVerse, which offers integrated access to both ScienceDirect and Scopus.  Content buyers want to mash up content in ways that information providers cannot imagine, so on SciVerse, the APIs have been opened for development, which permits customized search and delivery at 3 levels.  Harsono called this “just in need” content that goes deep into users’ workflows.

SciVerse Platform Architecture

Cengage Learning is also working in similar ways, according to Nader  Qaimari, SVP of Marketing.  They have introduced the Personal Learning Experience platform which hosts MindTap,  an open system that has deconstructed print textbooks and allows professors to capture the content they want, add to it, and share best practices.  It was created because Cengage has found in surveys that students are not averse to digital content, but they still prefer print because the best digital solution is not yet available to them.

What is a Book—An Object-Oriented Approach

Eric Hellman

The day concluded with a fascinating presentation by Eric Hellman, founder of Gluejar, who walked us through a systems analysis of publishing.  (Hellman is well qualified to do this, having been a researcher at Bell Labs before founding Openly Informatics, a linking technology now owned by OCLC and then going on to found Gluejar.)  The questions we must ask in this approach are:

  • Is the future of publishing related to paper and ink, or bits?
  • Will we be working with documents or objects (like software)?
  • What are the objects in our environment and what are the relationships between them?
  • What will users do with the objects?

Hellman analyzed a newspaper website (he used the New York Times) and a general news website (CNN).  For the newspaper, the objects are streams of articles or data and photos, and the actions are navigation, search, and sharing.  For CNN, the objects are streams of articles, videos, and photos, and the actions are navigation, search, and sharing.  This analysis shows that these two sites are very much alike.

What is the difference between an article and a video?  A video is focused on a single object and has context.  Actions associated with it include play, change the volume, etc.  An article contains text, metadata, photos, links, and some context.  If the context is absent, an article can still stand on its own.  What about e-books?  They look more like video than an article.  Some of them work as websites.

Selling objects has many advantages.  The most popular model is selling or renting copies, what Hellman calls “pretend it is print”.  This model is compatible with existing businesses.  It has the disadvantage that it competes with free content, which makes sales difficult.  Using context to attract buyers is not a good way to make money because it is a poor fit with the book experience.  Aggregating objects and selling subscriptions is a good fit with the book experience and is compatible with existing businesses.  Gluejar’s new business model for e-books is to sell objects to the public.

Slides from this very useful and interesting symposium are now available on the NFAIS website.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

O’Reilly Announces TOC Webcasts

O’Reilly Media recently announced a new Tools of Change (TOC) webcast series called SneakPeeks that will feature “a pre-release look at some of the best publishing tools, platforms and technologies that are about to hit the market.”  These will provide an excellent background to O’Reilly’s very popular conferences of the same title as well as keeping past attendees up to date.  The first two webcasts are on May 31 and June 2; click on the above link for details.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

IFLA Announces 2011 Annual Meeting Plenary Speaker

Trevor C. Clarke

IFLA has announced that Mr Trevor C. Clarke, Assistant Director General, Culture and Creative Industries Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will present a plenary address at its Annual General Meeting (August 13-18 , San Juan, PR) on Monday, August 15.

Trevor C. Clarke, a native of Barbados, has served with distinction in various areas of telecommunication and investment promotion.  He has held top executive positions at Cable and Wireless (Barbados) and has been a director of several Cable and Wireless companies in the Caribbean region.  In 2003, Mr. Clarke was appointed Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, and Special Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO).  He joined WIPO in 2009, where he leads WIPO’s diverse activities in the complex field of copyright and related rights.

In the year 2000, he was a recipient of the Barbados Centennial Honours (BCH), and in 2003 he received the Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) – Barbados’ second highest national honour. In March 2005 Mr. Clarke was named Barbados’ non-resident Ambassador to Japan – a position he still holds.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

ACM Conference on Web Science Program Finalized

The program for the 3rd International Conference on Web Science – ACM WebSci’11, June 14 – 17, Koblenz, Germany,  has been finalized.  Keynote speakers are Jaime Teevan, researcher in the Context, Learning, and User Experience for Search (CLUES) Group at Microsoft Research; and Professor Barry Wellman, Department of Sociology and Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto.  Teevan will speak on “The Web Changes Everything: How Dynamic Content Affects the Way People Find Online”, and Wellman will discuss “Networked Individualism”.

According to the conference website, the main theme “is concerned with the full scope of socio-technical relationships that are engaged in the World Wide Web”, and “this conference, is inherently interdisciplinary and integrates computer and information sciences with a multitude of disciplines including sociology, economics, political science, law, management, language and communication, geography and psychology.” Many of the presentations and poster sessions are on subjects relevant to information professionals.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor


WSIS Forum, May 19, in Geneva: Remote Access Available

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is holding its 2011 Forum in Geneva, Switzerland on May 16-20.  Part of the meeting will be an Interactive Facilitation Meeting on Open Access.  A new IFLA Statement on Open Access will also be introduced at the meeting.

Remote participation via a webcast will also be provided; check the WSIS website for further information when it becomes available.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

ITI Calendar Updated With 2012 Conferences

The ITI Conference Calendar has been updated with many listings for 2012 conferences.  Because some of the conferences are well into the future, little information apart from a simple listing of the date and place is available on the organizers’ Events websites.  Listings for the conferences will be updated as URLs for their websites become available.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

EPICIC Symposium Presentations Available

The Symposium on comparative epistemology concepts of information and communication in science (EPICIC) was held on April 11 in Lyon, France.  Here is a summary from the website:

This symposium is one of the events planned under the project funded by the ISCC EPICIC (Institute of Communication Science of CNRS) in its tender, 2010 PIR program Program for Interdisciplinary Research) 2010. The project is supported by EPICIC an international consortium of researchers from four research teams.


Although there is no consensus on a common definition of concepts of information and communication, few can refute the thesis that information – it is regarded as an “object” or as that “process” – is a precondition for knowledge. Epistemology is the study of how people acquire knowledge (meaning Anglo-Saxon) or the study of how scientific knowledge is developed and validated (meaning French). Adopt an epistemological position back to commit to report on what constitutes knowledge or procedural terms, to account for when someone can claim to know something. An epistemological theory imposes constraints on the interpretation of human cognitive interaction with the world. It goes without saying that epistemological theories have different criteria more or less binding to distinguish what constitutes a knowledge of what is not. If information is a pre-condition for acquiring knowledge, then realize how knowledge is acquired may affect our understanding of the concepts of information and communication. While several studies in Computer Science and Communication (SIC) have focused on defining the concepts of information – communication, few studies have established explicit links between different theoretical conceptions of these concepts and positions underlying epistemological.”

The conference presentations and videos are now available.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

ITI’s May Conferences in New York and London

New York

ITI will again be holding its traditional May conferences in New York.  These three conferences will be co-located and will share a single exhibit hall.

Content Delivery Summit, May 9:  The opening keynote speaker will be Chris Osika, Senior Director, NA Lead IBSG Service Provider Practice, Cisco, whose address is entitled “The Future is Video”.  He will be followed by Barry Tishgart, Vice President, Comcast Cable, who will speak on “Internet Economics Within the Video Distribution Value Chain”.  A series of panel discussions, case studies, and demonstrations will be presented during the remainder of the day.

Enterprise Search Summit, May 10-11:  The opening keynote, “Dumbing Down of Intelligent Search”, will be by Eric Reiss, CEO, The FatDUX Group.  The second day will be keynoted by Thomas Vander Wal, Principal, InfoCloud Solutions, Inc., following which Martin White, Managing Director, Intranet Focus, Ltd., will moderate a keynote panel.  An endnote panel on The Future of Search, moderated by Miles Kehoe, President, New Idea Engineering, Inc., will close the conference.

Streaming Media East 2011: The Business & Technology of Online Video, May 10-11 will feature a new track devoted exclusively to HTML5 as well as a special broadband-enabled device pavilion in the exhibit hall.  Keynote speakers will be Eric Kessler, Co-President, HBO; and Ran Harnevo, SVP, AOL Video.


SpeechTEK Europe 2011 – Moving Forward with Speech, May 25-26 will have two keynote speakers.  Dave Burke, Engineering Director, Google, will speak on “Cloud-based Speech Recognition for Mobile and the Web”, and Alex Waibel, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, and Founder and Chairman, Mobile Technologies, LLC, will speak on “Bridging the Language Divide”.  A pre-conference day on May 24 will feature the “SpeechTEK University”, which will present four workshops targeted at managers, designers and developers of speech applications in Europe.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor

The Conference Circuit: Publishing Conferences and Society Meetings Dominate in May and June

May and June are traditionally popular months for society conferences, and this year is no exception.  And judging by the number of conferences on the topic, journal publishing also seems to be a topic of increased current interest.

Journal Publishing

Many of the upcoming seminars and workshops on journal publishing are one-day courses organized by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).  Topics include Effective Journals Marketing, Introduction to Journals Publishing, Journal Development, and The Journal Editorial Office.  These courses will be held in Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, and London on various dates between May 10 and June 8; see the ALPSP website for further details.

Incisive Media, organizers of the popular online information conference held in London each December, is the organizer of the 4th EPublishing Innovation Forum, with the theme “Innovate – Generate – Monetise:  Wining Digital Business Models”.  The Forum will be in London on May 17-18.  The keynote speaker will be Kate Worlock, Director and Lead Analyst, Education and Social Media at Outsell, Inc., who will present an outlook for the information industry in 2011.  The second day keynote, “Innovation with the Cloud”, will be by David Langridge, Senior Partner Development Director, Worldwide Education Industry Group at Microsoft.  The program also features a keynote interview with Tim Cooper, Director, Digital and Marketing, Harlequin (UK) Ltd., on next generation e-books.

Renew Training is presenting a one-day course on Understanding the Journals Industry in London on May 11.  Topics include Why Journals Exist, The Role of the Library, Sales, and The Researcher as a Consumer.

Information Science

If you fancy a visit to the Caribbean region, you might consider attending the 5th IEEE International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Science (RCIS 2011), on the French island of Guadeloupe on May 19-21.  Since this is an IEEE conference, it has a strong computer-science component, but there are also presentations on data mining, business processes, and knowledge management.

The creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing and informing scholarship has been called altametrics.  Anyone interested in this subject should consider attending the Altmetrics11: Tracking Scholarly Impact on the Social Web conference (Koblenz, Germany, June 14-15), which is part of the ACM Web Science Conference 2011.  Scientometrics, bibliometrics, citation impacts, and taxonomy metrics are among the research topics that will be discussed.  In a similar vein, the ALPSP has organized a one-day course entitled “Citation Analysis for Publishers” in London on May 26.  (As an indication of the relevance and interest in this topic, this course is now fully booked, and registrations are being taken on a space-available basis only.)

The International Conference on Web Intelligence, Mining and Semantics (WIMS’11), May 25-27 in Sogndal, Norway has been organized by the Western Norway Research Institute.  Topics on the program include Web Information Search and Retrieval, Semantics and Ontology Engineering, Web Mining, and Natural Language Processing.  A workshop on Social Data Mining for Human Behavior Analysis (SoDaMin) is also part of the conference.

The Center for the Study of Information and Religion (CSIR) at Kent State University has organized the First Annual Conference on Information and Religion at its Kent, OH campus on May 20.  Many of the principles of information science can be applied to the study of religion, and this conference explores some of the reserch projects that have been done.

The Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) will hold its annual conference, entitled “Best Practices Beyond Free-Text: The Value of Indexing and Classification when Searching and Analyzing Patents”, in Cincinnati, OH on May 21-26.  In these days of full-text searching with search engines like Google, a conference on the value of indexing and classification is especially important.  The keynote speaker, Jeff Weedman, is well qualified: he is Vice President of Licensing at Procter & Gamble.

Libraries and Library Operations

Here are several upcoming conferences related to various aspects of libraries.

  • The 100th Deutscher Bibliothekartag (German Librarians’ Day) Conference, entitled “Libraries for the Future – Future for the Libraries” will be in Berlin on June 7-10.  It appears that most, if not all, of the program will be in German.  One of the most unusual features of this conference is the pre-conference bicycle ride and “unconference”, Cycling For Libraries, which begins in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 28.
  • The European Library Automation Group (ELAG) will hold its 35th Library Systems Seminar on May 25-27 in Prague, Czech Republic.  The conference website notes “It is not content but context that will matter most a decade or so from now. The scarce resource will not be stuff, but point of view.”  Thus, the conference theme is “It’s the Context, Stupid.”  Linked data, cloud computing, and digital preservation are prominent on the program.
  • The 3rd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference (QQML2011) will be in Athens, Greece on May 24-27.  Organized by the International Society for Advanced Science and Technology (ISAST), QQML will be keynoted by Carol Tenopir, award-winning professor at the School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Director of Research for the College of Communication and Information; and Director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies.  The title of her keynote address is “Beyond Usage: Measuring Library Outcomes and Value”.  Other plenary speakers will speak on knowledge discovery and creation, information literacy, and providing value-added services.
  • The Future of the Academic Library is the subject of a one-day conference on May 17 in Burlington, ON.  Here are some of the questions to be addressed at this event, according to the conference website:

—    In an increasingly complex, information-rich world, how do we assure that we remain relevant?

—    Perhaps more important, how do we establish ourselves and our libraries as change agents on our campuses?

—    This time of uncertainty may be a window of opportunity that may close as quickly as it has opened. How do we prepare ourselves to take advantage of what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?”

  • None of us likes to think about disasters, but the reality is that libraries must be prepared for them.  The Association of Caribbean University, Research, and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL) has organized its annual meeting on this topic (May 30 – June 3, Tampa, FL).  To underscore the topic, one day has been designated as a “day of solidarity with Haiti”.  Besides disaster preparation and response, research topics will also be presented.

Open Access (OA)

Speakers at the 2nd Annual Symposium on Open Access (May 20, Denton, TX) will discuss current trends in OA and how open source software tools are improving access to scholarship.  The conference is organized as a series of plenary sessions by noted speakers.

The 6th Annual International Conference on Open Repositories (OR11, June 7-11, Austin, TX) will consider the role of social interactions within repository technical communities.  It will feature traditional presentations as well as poster sessions and a 24×7 (24 slides in 7 minutes) session.  User group meetings for the Fedora and DSpace platforms will also take place.

Society Meetings

Here are some of the society meetings scheduled for this period

Society Meeting Dates Location
Canadian Library Association (CLA) 66th National Conference and Trade Show May 25-28 Halifax, NS
Association of American University Presses (AAUP) 2011 Annual Meeting: The Next Wave: Toward a Culture of Collaboration June 2-5 Baltimore, MD
American Theological Library Association (ATLA) 65th Annual Conference June 8-11 Chicago, IL
Society for Imaging Science & Technology Archiving 2011 May 16-19 Salt Lake City, UT
Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) 36th Annual Conference June 2-4 Toronto, ON
International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) 2011 Summer Conference: “Upgrading Information to Knowledge and General Assembly June 7-9 Beijing, China
Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting: MLA ’11 May 13-18 Minneapolis, MN
North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) 26th Annual Conference: Gateway to Collaboration June 2-5 St. Louis, MO
Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA) 35th Annual Conference June 5-7 Washington, DC
Special Libraries Association (SLA) Annual Conference June 12-15 Philadelphia, PA
Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) 33rd Annual Meeting: It’s What Counts: How Data Transforms Our World June 1-3 Boston, MA


As always, these and many other conferences, including links to their websites, are listed in the ITI Calendar of Events.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blog Editor