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Last post Author Topic: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia + resource links  (Read 16841 times)

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2012, 04:19:52 PM »
Need more input? Then scan it.
I am sure that this is a Good Thing:

This is a bit like someone just released the modern-day eBook equivalent of the Guttenburg Press, which device seems to have been hitherto controlled solely by the Publishing oligopolies and cartels.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2012, 02:50:06 PM »
In what looks like a breath of fresh air and clear thinking, Charlie Redmayne of Pottermore books seems to have a viable commercial solution to avoiding the prevailing tendency of the monopolistic **AA for mass Fascistic violence towards consumers.
Relevant and interesting post from goodereader copied below, with my emphasis.
Quote
Pottermore CEO Explains the DRM-Free Decision
By Mercy Pilkington, 2012-12-03

Charlie Redmayne spoke on two panels today in London at the FutureBook conference, the third annual conference put on by The Bookseller. Aside from the morning presentation in which he spoke on the importance of establishing a global brand for an author or a book series, Redmayne spoke quite vehemently in the later panel about how the practice of DRM-free ebooks can be better for publishing.

According to Redmayne, the Harry Potter ebooks were published without the restrictions imposed by digital rights management, allowing readers to put them on any device and allowing the sharing of the ebooks, similar to their print counterparts.

Despite some criticism about piracy concerns, Redmayne countered with evidence that piracy of the Harry Potter titles is actually 25% lower than when the titles were only available in print; additionally, he recounted incidences when the ebooks were actually placed on file sharing websites, but most were quickly removed when it became known that all of the ebooks are sold with an embedded digital watermark, essentially tracking the person who uploaded the pirated copy.

This ability to track an ebook stands to be a potential deterrent to piracy, especially if publishers are actually able to hold offenders accountable without creating a bigger problem in trying to prosecute offenders.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2012, 01:40:48 AM »
The ideal of the Library of Utopia seems to have just just inched a bit further away. After the above rather good news, you can now read about in the UK where Waterstones Screensaver on Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Draw Customer Ire (sic)
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Waterstones Screensaver on Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Draw Customer Ire
from Good E-Reader - ebook Reader and Digital Publishing News by Michael Kozlowski

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite owners normally take to social media to celebrate their new purchase. Customers in the UK are instead up in arms over new devices purchased from Waterstones. The company has put up a simple advertisement up promoting themselves via a firmware update that cannot be negated.

In the USA you can purchase a Kindle Paperwhite with Special Offers or Without them. If you pay the additional fee you are not served advertisements when your device is in standby mode or on the main screen. If you elect to save $30.00 you can purchase a model that will display these adverts. The Waterstones version does not really give customers the ability to opt in or out of the Special Offers program.

Customers are venting their frustration on the main Waterstones website. One person mentioned “I really enjoyed reading on it, but after a few days a software update was applied. This replaced the beautiful artwork the device displays when in sleep mode with some ugly advert for Waterstones. I hate it.” Another user chimed in and said”"Really a shame to force a Waterstones screensaver on a device that is supposed to be ad free. Whatever they may call this it is still advertising. I will be returning mine and ordering from Amazon.”

Waterstones sent an email to customers that said: “It is our view that this screensaver does not constitute advertising and differs substantially to the advertising-supported Kindles available to the US market. The Waterstones screensaver is a non-dynamic, static image that will change infrequently and not advertise any specific product, offer or website. It is not possible to remove the Waterstones screensaver to replace it with the former Amazon screensaver.” Waterstones added: “We apologize that this change was made without consultation, and hope it does not detract from or alter your reading experience.”
Some people might say (not me you understand), that that last line sounds a bit like "So long, suckers" - or possibly even something much more rude/offensive - but I couldn't possibly comment.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2012, 01:52:09 AM by IainB »

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2012, 12:47:54 PM »
If the previous post/comment provides an example as to how commercial monopolists can drag things backwards by enforcing a change - something unwanted - on customers/readers alike, for apparently entirely self-serving reasons, then this following bit of news yanks the whole vector of change in a forwards direction:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Programmer Begins Selling 100,000 eBooks on Amazon with New Algorithm
from Good E-Reader - ebook Reader and Digital Publishing News by Michael Kozlowski

When authors want to make a digital eBook, they have to sit down and write them. It often takes a fair amount of time to pump out the written work. Philip M. Parker who spearheads ICON Group International seeks to defy this convention. He has developed a new methodology to write non-fiction material based on an Algorithm. This has allowed him to list 100,000 eBooks on Amazon and his company close to 700,000.

This new computer system allows a full book to be written in close to twenty minutes. It is best suited to non-fiction and obscure technical documentation that might not exist. This includes business reports, technical, rare diseases and dictionaries. The company has developed a staggering number of Websters dictionaries for various fringe languages because of the open source nature.

The essence of this computer system is tapping into massive databases of content. It avoids plagiarism it rewrites the content and cross references other subjects written about it. You won’t get a creative perspective on any of the subject matter, but for technical documents it is unwarranted. Most people when studying a very specific subject just want the facts, graphs and statistics, something this system excels at.

The Singularity Hub mentioned that ”The success (and brilliance) of this system is that Parker designed the algorithms to mimic the thought process that an expert would necessarily go through in writing about a topic. It merely involves deconstructing content within a genre. He has some experience in this, as he has written at least three books the old fashioned way. It’s the recognition of how algorithmic content creation is (for the most part) that allows it to be coded as artificial intelligence.”

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2012, 06:06:38 AM »
It really does seem as though monopolistic publishers would hold us all back from entering The Library of Utopia:
Simon & Schuster Agrees to Sell One eBook to a Library
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images, with my emphasis.)
Quote
By Paul Biba - 2012-12-17

One of the things that Simon & Schuster is noted for is its antagonism towards libraries. Its policy is that it will not sell ebooks to them. However, in a great show of public spirit (sarcasm intended!), S&S has broken down and agreed to sell Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home in ebook format to libraries.

This is because the book was selected by the Iowa Center for the Book for its All Iowa Reads program. S&S does not have a large print version of the book available, and so All Iowa Reads was able to convince the company, evidently after a lot of work, that an ebook version was essential if readers with disabilities were to be able to participate in the 11 year-old program.  At least 100 Iowa libraries participate in the All Iowa Reads program.

One book down, the entire S&S catalog to go.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia (Mathematics update)
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2013, 07:41:35 AM »
More potentially good news for the LOU, via Slashdot:
Quote
Mathematicians Aim To Take Publishers Out of Publishing
Posted by Soulskill on Friday January 18, @08:46AM
from the you've-been-subtracted dept.

ananyo writes "Mathematicians plan to launch a series of free open-access journals that will host their peer-reviewed articles on the preprint server arXiv. The project was publicly revealed in a blog post by Tim Gowers, a Fields Medal winner and mathematician at the University of Cambridge, UK. The initiative, called the Episciences Project, hopes to show that researchers can organize the peer review and publication of their work at minimal cost, without involving commercial publishers. 'It’s a global vision of how the research community should work: we want to offer an alternative to traditional mathematics journals,' says Jean-Pierre Demailly, a mathematician at the University of Grenoble, France, who is a leader in the effort. Backed by funding from the French government, the initiative may launch as early as April, he says."

IainB

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5 Places To Find Free Educational eBooks
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2013, 06:17:29 PM »
Books and a decent education are (or would normally be) inseparable. The knowledge contained in books and developed by reading books is free. However, books themselves are not always free, and often there may be some difficulty in finding the lowest cost/free sources for the sorts of books containing knowledge that could assist the reader in gaining a decent liberal education - a reading of the humanities.
There are some very informative pointers in this regard per edudemic.com (Google Reader feed: Edudemic)
5 Places To Find Free Educational eBooks
(Copied in the spoiler below, including embedded hyperlinks.)
Spoiler
5 Places To Find Free Educational eBooks
Added by Katie Lepi on 2013-01-26
Hunting down classic literature and important manuscripts may mean more than a quick Google search for many of us. You may turn to paid sources like Amazon or even (the humanity!) turn to printed books in your library. The horror! We kid. We love the library and feature effective ways to use libraries all the time.

So what happens when Google, Amazon, and your local library come up short in your quest for free educational eBooks? Never fear, there are a few critical resources you should know about. From Harvard to Bartleby to the International Children’s Digital Library … there’s plenty of ways to find a quality epub or downloadable book for your classroom or pleasure reading. Here’s some of our favorites:

The Harvard Classics
  • Some of the most important works of literature are a part of the dozens of volumes available in The Harvard Classics. They were curated by Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot and were published in 1909. They’re available in open format here and here. An interesting note about The Harvard Classics: President Eliot had originally referred to these works as the “3-foot-shelf” and said that one could “obtain the elements of a liberal education” by spending 15 minutes a day reading from the shelf. Let’s see if he’s right!

Project Gutenberg
  • Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free e-books (free epub books, free kindle books, read online, or download them). They offer books that have been actually published, and the volunteers at Project Gutenberg have digitized and proofread them. You can read them all for free, but if it is something you use regularly, they do ask that you consider donating a bit to their cause.

Bartleby
  • The go-to source for the classics, Bartleby.com features Gray’s Anatomy, the Harvard Classics (see above), the King James Bible, and just about every major publication you could ever require. The best part of the site is the ease with which you can surface relevant content and sort / filter. You get quality search results with easy download links without all the muckity muck (that’s a technical term) of a Google or Amazon search.

OER Commons
  • Open Educational Resources (aka OER Commons) boasts more than 40,000, well, resources for teachers. When you first hit the website, you immediately feel like you’re about to do a Google search. But once you get your results, you can see that you can then ‘remix and share’ multiple resources to form some sort of Voltron-eque super-resource. Or, to put it another way, you can create the resource that you want thanks to the benefit of open access to all the resources.

ICDL – International Children’s Digital Library
  • Just like a brick-and-mortar library, the ICDL feels just like what you’re accustomed to. It lets you become a member, take out books, and do even more. For example, you can read a book (on any device) and translate most of the text, enlarge the text, and navigate with ease. But remember these are children’s books so when you’re given the ability to enlarge the text … that’s something pretty rare. Definitely worth checking out ICDL if you’re a K-12 educator, student, or parent!


IainB

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Millions of Free eBooks and Audio Books Online
« Reply #32 on: February 17, 2013, 03:27:08 AM »
Seriously helpful post at Gizmo's Tech Support Alert:
Millions of Free eBooks and Audio Books Online
« Last Edit: February 17, 2013, 03:35:22 AM by IainB »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #33 on: February 17, 2013, 06:53:09 AM »
Nice find Iain. I glanced at it, and it looks like they put some work into that to find some of the small collections. A quick tip, Librivox is quickly/quietly becoming one of the big players in the amateur audio book world, and their copies are beginning to float around in altered form by various packagers. Of course that's the point, "All Librivox recordings are in the public domain", but it's just something to keep in mind when you think you see "43 places to find SciFi" but X percent of them are the same Librivox editions, with or without the disclaimer.

Librivox has a bit of an interesting policy philosophy in which they really do not want any feedback about certain kinds of quality topics. (They'll fix others so it takes a little getting used to their culture.) If any of y'all are "quality oriented" be ready for a few jarring shifts in execution across their catalog.

40hz

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2013, 07:47:08 AM »
Seriously helpful post at Gizmo's Tech Support Alert:
Millions of Free eBooks and Audio Books Online

You'll also want to pay a visit OpenCulture which as been maintaining curated lists of free courses, language lessons, books, audio and movies for some time now.

Their daily e-mail newsletter is actually wort subscribing to. Always three or four tings to look at - and zero adverting plus no spam.

Highly recommended! :Thmbsup:




IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2013, 02:13:34 AM »
Another useful post at Gizmo's Tech Support: (may be some duplication)
13 Places For Free Textbooks Online

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2013, 05:59:21 PM »
I operate on the principle that the sum of human knowledge is to be made freely available to all, and especially if that knowledge has been gained from research at the public's expense. You would expect to find that knowledge easily available/accessible via your library.
Unfortunately, it is not always so. A great deal of documented knowledge/research that the public has funded seems to be secured away from public gaze, for example, by secretive and insecure researchers/custodians who are unsure of the validity of their research and who wish to protect it from the harsh light of scrutiny, or where it is controlled by expensive proprietary publishers/paywalls (Elsevier being a classic example).

I was therefore very pleased to read this just-published policy from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy:
Quote
Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research
Posted by Michael Stebbins on February 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM EST

The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. That’s why, in a policy memorandum released today, OSTP Director John Holdren has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. OSTP has been looking into this issue for some time, soliciting broad public input on multiple occasions and convening an interagency working group to develop a policy. The final policy reflects substantial inputs from scientists and scientific organizations, publishers, members of Congress, and other members of the public—over 65 thousand of whom recently signed a We the People petition asking for expanded public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.

To see the new policy memorandum, please visit: http://www.whitehous...access_memo_2013.pdf

To see Dr. Holdren’s response to the We the People petition, please visit: https://petitions.wh...-scientific-research

Michael Stebbins is Assistant Director for Biotechnology at OSTP

Lets just hope that there aren't any weasel-words in this newfound transparency initiative which were designed to succeed in achieving the opposite effect - i.e., making such transparency impenetrable or obscured, or otherwise going backwards and frustrating the operation of the principle that the sum of human knowledge is to be made freely available to all - because we know from experience that people will try to do just that, regardless.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2013, 06:35:54 PM »
Oh dear. Looks rather like I may have been a bit too optimistic/naive, according to this Slashdot post:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
White House Tells Agencies To Increase Access to Fed-Funded Research
Posted by timothy on Saturday February 23, @10:28AM
from the taxes-and-the-commonwealth dept.

Z80xxc! writes "The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a "policy memorandum" today requiring any federal agency with over $100 million in R&D expenditures each year to develop plans for making all research funded by that agency freely available to the public within one year of publication in any peer-reviewed scholarly journal. The full memorandum is available on the White House website. It appears that this policy would not only apply to federal agencies conducting research, but also to any university, private corporation, or other entity conducting research that arises from federal funding. For those in academia and the public at large, this is a huge step towards free open access to publicly funded research." Edward Tufte calls the move timid and unimaginative, linking to a Verge article that explains that it's not quite as sweeping as the summary above sounds.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2013, 11:26:37 AM »
Another good piece of info from Gizmo's:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Want To Learn Microsoft Office? These Top-Class Training Manuals Are Free.
 Updated 1. August 2013 - 22:45 by rob.schifreen

Best STL is a London-based company that specialises in offering training courses for users of Microsoft Office.  The company recently got in touch with me to say that, as well as offering commercial courses, they also make all their training manuals available for free download from their website. 

There are course materials online for Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 at the moment, all downloadable as PDF files with no registration required. The 2010 documents on offer are shown below.

To browse the library, or download any of the files, just point your browser at http://www.microsoft...training-manuals.php
...

I went to the website in the link, selected the MS Office 2010 training documents, flicked them into FlashGot (Firefox extenstion), which sent them to GetRight to auto-download all 18 of them together. Took four mouse-clicks and a minute or so at most. It was a fuss-free download - no Candyware, no special download manager required, and no forcefully demanding your email address.

GetRight - downladed MS Office training documentation.jpgReader's Corner - The Library of Utopia + resource links

These are training manuals used in actual training courses. Be aware of their limitations - they are only part of the material in the training courses. For example, I am currently reading the 40-page Access 2010 Advanced manual. It refers to case/example databases that the reader would presumably have if they were on the course, but it's not embedded as a file in the PDF manual, and I am not sure how one could obtain it without going on the course.

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2013, 10:26:32 PM »
Looks like a piece of good news here:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Google Books ruled legal in massive win for fair use (updated) | Ars Technica
Scans that show snippets are legal—they don't replace the full book.

by Joe Mullin - Nov 14, 2013 4:32 pm UTC

A long-running copyright lawsuit between the Authors' Guild and Google over its book-scanning project is over, and Google has won on the grounds that its scanning is "fair use."

In other words, the snippets of books that Google shows for free don't break copyright, and Google doesn't need the authors' permission to engage in the scanning and display of short bits of books.

The ruling (PDF) was published this morning by US District Judge Denny Chin, who has overseen the case since it was filed in 2005.

The parties tried to settle this case, but the judge rejected the settlement as unwieldy and unfair. Now, the case has instead resulted in a hugely significant fair use win, opening the door to other large-scale scanning projects in the future.

Along with the First Sale doctrine, fair use is the most important limitation on copyright. It allows parts of works to be used without permission of the copyright owner to produce new things: quotes of books used in reviews or articles for instance.

Legal disputes over what or what is not "fair use" are often complex, and there are four factors that judges consider. But the one that's often the most important is what kind of effect the fair use will have on the market for the original product.

Judge Chin seemed to find the plaintiffs' ideas ignorant, if not nonsensical, in this regard. He wrote:

    [P]laintiffs argue that Google Books will negatively impact the market for books and that Google's scans will serve as a "market replacement" for books. [The complaint] also argues that users could put in multiple searches, varying slightly the search terms, to access an entire book.

    Neither suggestion makes sense. Google does not sell its scans, and the scans do not replace the books. While partner libraries have the ability to download a scan of a book from their collections, they owned the books already—they provided the original book to Google to scan. Nor is it likely that someone would take the time and energy to input countless searches to try and get enough snippets to comprise an entire book.

Seeing the project as a boon to researchers

Before Chin gets into the deep legal analysis, he begins with a section noting the many benefits of Google books. The giant book-scanning project has already become an "important tool for researchers and librarians," noted Chin. Through data mining, researchers can do things they've never been able to do before, examining "word frequencies, syntactic patterns, and thematic markers to consider how literary style has changed over time."

The program expands access to books, particularly to "traditionally underserved populations," he notes. The books Google scans provide the potential for them to be read in larger text formats or with Braille or text-to-speech software. And the project could save old out-of-print books that are literally falling apart in library stacks.

Chin runs through the four traditional factors that decide whether use of a copyrighted work is "fair use."

First, he found Google's use of the works was highly transformative. "Google Books digitizes books and transforms expressive text into a comprehensive word index," he wrote. There's already legal precedent allowing large-scale scanning in order to create indexes and search services—created, in part, by Google. Chin cited the Perfect 10 v. Amazon case, which ruled the scanning of images and publication of "thumbnails" in Google image search is legal.

He also found that Google Books "does not supersede or supplant books because it is not a tool to be used to read books." The service adds value to books.

Chin notes that Google is a commercial service, which weighs against a finding of fair use. But while the service may draw more people to Google websites, Google isn't engaged in "direct commercialization" of the copyrighted works. The company "does not sell the scans it has made of books for Google Books; it does not sell the snippets that it displays; and it does not run ads on the About the Book pages that contain snippets."

Another factor is the amount of the work used. Google is scanning full books. But "copying the entirety of a work is sometimes necessary to make a fair use of the image," wrote Chin, citing a case involving the use of reduced-sized Grateful Dead posters called Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley.

Important, of course, is the fact that Google is showing limited amounts of text to book searchers. Blacked-out sections and other technical measures prevent full-book copying.

In the end, the full-book scanning weighed only "slightly against" a finding of fair use. It was overridden by the other factors. Especially important was Chin's view, discussed above, that Google Books would not hurt, and may in fact help, the market for the original books.
A nearly-settled case will now be fought on appeal

The parties tried to settle this case but were unable to. A proposed settlement not only involved a complicated set of compensation rules for authors, it also had sections dealing with unaddressed copyright issues like "orphan works." But Chin rejected the settlement in 2011, saying it wasn't fair. Fundamentally, it was just too big—issues like orphan works were best left to Congress, not to a class-action lawsuit.

In the long term, the failure to settle may result in more scanning, not less. If Chin's ruling stands on appeal, a clean fair-use ruling will make it easier for competitors to start businesses or projects based on scanning books—including companies that don't have the resources, legal or otherwise, that Google has.

"This has been a long road and we are absolutely delighted with today’s judgment," said a Google spokesperson. "As we have long said., Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age, giving users the ability to find books to buy or borrow."

Authors' Guild Executive Director Paul Aiken expressed his disappointment with the ruling, saying that Google's book-scanning project is a "fundamental challenge" to copyright.

"Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world's valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works," said Aiken. "In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense."

The Guild is going to appeal, he added.

That means the issue will end up at the New York-based US Court of Appeal for the 2nd Circuit. That appeals court has decided several key legal battles between content and technology companies in recent years, including the Cablevision decision. That ruling legalized remote-DVR services, which has aided other tech companies, including Aereo.

Fundamentally, the fact that this case was finally decided on its merits, and not settled, is a better result for the public, argued Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen in his reaction this morning.

"Unlike that settlement, which could have ensconced Google as the only search engine entitled to digitize books without the consent of their authors, this ruling provides a road map that allows any other entity to follow in Google’s path," said Levy.

It's judges' decisions in hard-fought cases—not overseeing secret negotiations between giants—that truly benefit the public.

"[T]he main job of a federal judge is not to supervise settlements, and especially not to bully parties into settling their cases," he wrote. "The judge’s job is to decide cases, so that every member of the public, not only the parties, can benefit from the public resources that go into the judicial system."

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2013, 03:22:21 PM »
Just when you think there is evidence of real progress on the freedom of knowledge front and some growth in the Libray of Utopia, you find evidence that some psychopathic corporation wants to own that knowledge by proxy, and tithe you for it - it's Elsevier, of course.
From VentureBeat - Business:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Academia.edu slammed with takedown notices from journal publisher Elsevier
December 6, 2013 4:51 PM
Jordan Novet

Image: Kang Xu, a scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Academia.edu wants to help researchers share their scientific papers freely. But at least one publisher of academic journals has more, well, nuanced thoughts on access to the research — and it’s issued requests for thousands of papers to be dropped from the site.

The news surfaced in a post on Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, a blog about open access.

In response to Elsevier’s requests, Academia.edu has sent messages to several academics on the site to let them know their papers have been removed. And that’s gotten a lot of people talking on Twitter.

In an email to VentureBeat, Richard Price, Academia.edu’s chief executive, told a bit of the backstory.

“In the past, Elsevier has sent out one or two DMCAs a week,” Price wrote. “Then, a few weeks ago, Elsevier started sending Academia.edu DMCA take-down notices in batches of a thousand for papers that academics had uploaded to the site. This is what has caused the recent outcry in the blogosphere and Twitter.”

The message Academia.edu sent out casts Elsevier as getting in the way of Academia.edu’s very mission:
Quote
Academia.edu is committed to enabling the transition to a world where there is open access to academic literature. Elsevier takes a different view, and is currently upping the ante in its opposition to academics sharing their own papers online.
_________________________
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a statement from an Elsevier executive. “We aim to ensure that the final published version of an article is readily discoverable and citable via the journal itself in order to maximize the usage metrics and credit for our authors, and to protect the quality and integrity of the scientific record,” the executive, Tom Reller, told the Chronicle in an email.

Still, Elsevier’s ramping up of take-down requests is reminiscent of the shake-up happening as a result of the rise of massively open online courses, which have enabled millions to learn at a high level — for free. It could be that the basic premise of Academia.edu will throw things off kilter for publishers and cause them to react. And it even has a bit of the flavor of Aaron Swartz’s efforts to liberate academic papers from the premium site JSTOR.

Price thinks things could be changing on the openness front.

“Perhaps the most interesting point here is that the tides are shifting in the academic community’s overall attitude toward open science, and that increasingly scientists and researchers want to be able to share their papers online,” he wrote in his email.

Academia.edu, a five-year-old site, claims nearly six million academics have signed up on it. It recently took on $11.1 million in funding to grow, the its community has a shot at growing further, which could raise the stakes for publishers.

IainB

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GEGeek - a whole new IT category index discovered in The Library of Utopia
« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2014, 02:19:43 AM »
I can't believe that I never knew of this until now, nor that DC Forum hasn't already listed it (well, I can't find a reference here to GEgeek anyway) - it's a large and useful categorised collection of links to information, knowledge and tools - http://www.gegeek.com/. I am sure that a lot of the content will have been collected from other sites that we know of, but this looks like someone has independently taken the idea of an IT categorised index of useful information, knowledge and tools rather seriously.

Maybe this could be an opening into what I referred to as Cayce's mythical Atlantean "Hall of Records" - here.

I got the reference from this post in Geek Squeak:
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GEEK SQUEAK – If You Are An IT Professional, You Must Bookmark This Site
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but at the top of the site there is a tab labelled GEGeek. Please take a moment and click on the tab and you will be taken to a website that has everything, and I mean everything, that an IT Professional would ever need.  All in one place… I often spend time exploring there because there is so much to see (and to learn).

The site administrator of GEGeek is an IT Professional by trade, who labels himself a geek, who works for GE Medical Systems as a X-Ray & PACS IT Field Engineer and has grown up with Microsoft Windows (ever since the IBM AT/XT was introduced back in 1983).

At the very tip top of site you will find a link labelled, “GE Tech Toolkit”, which is a downloadable FREEBIE toolkit that has been put together by the site administrator. Be prepared, this toolkit is an awesome collection that is 2.85 GB in size.

Tech Toolkit - it's FREE!
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A complete collection of over 250 Portable Freeware Tech Related programs, all accessible from one Menu Launcher Utility. There’s even a program to update all the essential programs automatically, all contained on a USB?Flash drive for travel. It’s a Personal tool kit GEGeek put together for his job and peers that he is sharing with everyone to help make everyone’s jobs a little easier. So Enjoy!!

40hz

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2014, 10:53:36 AM »
I can't believe that I never knew of this until now, nor that DC Forum hasn't already listed it (well, I can't find a reference here to GEgeek anyway) - it's a large and useful categorised collection of links to information, knowledge and tools - http://www.gegeek.com/. I am sure that a lot of the content will have been collected from other sites that we know of, but this looks like someone has independently taken the idea of an IT categorised index of useful information, knowledge and tools rather seriously.

Maybe this could be an opening into what I referred to as Cayce's mythical Atlantean "Hall of Records" - here.


clip_image003_0000.jpg

@IainB - That's an awesome find! This could save a lot of people hours and hours of research and web browsing. Took a quick look and he apparently has ALL the good stuff in one convenient, well-organized site. Brill for sure! :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2014, 12:54:06 AM »
...This could save a lot of people hours and hours of research and web browsing. Took a quick look and he apparently has ALL the good stuff in one convenient, well-organized site. ...
Yea, that's what I reckoned too - a real potential timesaver.
(By the way, nice surrealistic picture of the library.)

40hz

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #44 on: February 08, 2014, 06:49:12 AM »
(By the way, nice surrealistic picture of the library.)

It's by Ron Gonsalves, one of my favorite magical-realist illustrators. He combines a bit of René Magritte, M.C. Escher, James C. Christensen, Chris Van Allsburg, and Kit Williams - but in a style still very much his own. It's from a picture book he did with Sarah L. Tompson titled Imagine a Day.

The caption reads:

Imagine a day...

...when a book swings open
   on silent hinges
   and a place you've never been before
   welcomes you home.


Here's another from its companion book Imagine a Night that, to my mind, captures the essence of storytelling:

imagine1.jpg

Imagine a night...

...when the space between words
   becomes like the space
   between trees:
   wide enough
   to wander in.


Wonderful illustrator. Most wonderful books! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 07:00:06 AM by 40hz »

IainB

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Google’s university book scanning can move ahead without authors’ OK.
« Reply #45 on: June 10, 2014, 07:11:13 PM »
Looks like more good news.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
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Google’s university book scanning can move ahead without authors’ OK | Ars Technica
Court gives Google significant fair use protections.
by David Kravets - Jun 10, 2014 7:10 pm UTC

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the right of universities, in conjunction with Google, to scan millions of library books without the authors' permission.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in a case brought by the Authors Guild and other writers' groups, argued that the universities were not breaching federal copyright law, because the institutions were protected by the so-called "fair use" doctrine. More than 73 percent of the volumes were copyrighted.

The guild accused 13 universities in all of copyright infringement for reproducing more than 10 million works without permission and including them in what is called the HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL) available at 80 universities. The institutions named in the case include the University of California, Cornell University, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan.

Those with "certified print disabilities" like the blind may access the complete scanned works, which the New York-based appeals court also found are preserved indefinitely because of their digital reproduction. Those without disabilities may only search keywords in the books unless an author grants greater permission.

"We have no reason to think that these copies are excessive or unreasonable in relation to the purposes identified by the Libraries and permitted by the law of copyright. In sum, even viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Authors, the record demonstrates that these copies are reasonably necessary to facilitate the services HDL provides to the public and to mitigate the risk of disaster or data loss," the court wrote (PDF).

The fair use doctrine is a defense to copyright infringement and generally may be asserted for reasons such as scholarship and research, teaching, news reporting, commentary, parody, and criticism.

According to the appeals court:

    It is not disputed that, in order to perform a full‐text search of books, the Libraries must first create digital copies of the entire books. Importantly, as we have seen, the HDL does not allow users to view any portion of the books they are searching. Consequently, in providing this service, the HDL does not add into circulation any new, human‐readable copies of any books. Instead, the HDL simply permits users to 'word search'—that is, to locate where specific words or phrases appear in the digitized books. Applying the relevant factors, we conclude that this use is a fair use.

The court added that making volumes available in their entirety to the disabled "is an example of fair use."

Daniel Goldstein, who argued the case on behalf of the disabled, said the decision "changed for the better the lives of print-disabled Americans, that is, those who cannot readily access printed text, whether because of blindness, arthritis, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, upper spinal cord injury, or a host of other conditions."

The guild did not immediately comment on the decision, which largely affirms a 2012 lower court ruling.

Some people (not me, you understand) might say that maybe the Author's Guild would have had more luck if they were subsumed into a strong Mafia-like but legal cartel, similar to (say) the music industry's **AA, but I couldn't possibly comment.

IainB

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School in Florida censors book by banning school-wide reading programme.
« Reply #46 on: June 10, 2014, 07:28:37 PM »
Mustn't have students getting any wrong-thinking ideas...
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School cancels reading program rather than promote “hacker culture” | Ars Technica
Boing Boing editor responds, offers 200 free copies to the school's students.
by Joe Silver - Jun 10, 2014 6:04 pm UTC

After the Booker T. Washington Public High School in Pensacola, Florida, placed best-selling author and popular Boing Boing blog editor Cory Doctorow’s young adult novel Little Brother on its “One School/One Book” summer reading list, the school’s administration promptly cancelled the school-wide reading program.

In a blog post on Friday, Doctorow argued that the school’s motivations for gutting the program included the administration's desire to shield students from his book’s politics and content. The school’s principal, Michael J. Roberts, cited reviews that emphasized the novel's “positive view of questioning authority, lauding ‘hacker culture,’ discussing sex and sexuality in passing" as his motivation for trying to steer students clear of the book. He also said that a parent complained about profanity in the book.

Doctorow countered that there is no profanity in the book, “though there’s a reference to a swear word.” What’s more, Doctorow wrote that his publisher, Tor, has now agreed to send 200 copies of the book to the school, along with two lithograph posters containing the full text of the novel.

Doctorow's post continues to describe his motivations for freely distributing his book to the school’s students. "I think that the role of an educator is to encourage critical thinking and debate, and that this is a totally inappropriate way to address 'controversial' material in schools."

The school’s decision to gut its summer reading program of Doctorow’s book came despite the school’s extensive vetting of the novel and lack of a “formal challenge to the book and thus no reconsideration by a review committee to address the merits of the book or respond to any objections to it,” a spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Censorship explained in a letter to the school’s principal on Monday.

The book tells the story of Marcus, aka “w1n5t0n,” a seventeen-year-old who is "smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world... he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems," the book's description says. "In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself."

Probably not part of Common Core then...

IainB

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Re: Reader's Corner - The Library of Utopia
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2014, 09:58:48 AM »
I had recently been thinking "Why the heck don't Microsoft think to make it easier to export their documentation?", after having had to copy copious amounts of their info using the FF add-in ScrapBook.

Surprise!:
Taking TechNet Offline: Build Your Own Personalized Documentation
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
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Posted on: Jun 11, 2014
by  Ben Hunter

IT pro’s live and breathe information. You need accurate data at your fingertips all the time.  That’s why we are constantly creating new content just for IT pro’s to help you with tasks like Windows Deployment or Planning for App-V 5.0. We publish this information via TechNet Library which is a great resource when you are online but is not so great when not connected to the internet.  Our technical writers and support teams are frequently asked for downloadable versions of documentation from TechNet. Well you are in luck, TechNet has a little-known feature that allows you to create your own custom downloadable documentation from TechNet  with the click of a link.

Every page of the TechNet library has a link up at the top-right of the page that reads “Export.”  Click it and you’ll go here: http://technet.micro.../library/export/help. This page explains how to build your own pdf or html document (.mht) from topics you select in the library.  That’s right, you roll up the content you want and download it.

Click the “Start” button and you’ll be taken back to the page you arrived from – the assumption being that’s a topic you want to export.  From there you can select all the topics you want to include in your personalized downloadable file.  Note there is a functional ceiling to the number of pages you can export at 200 topics.

Save your new doc set to any device and you’ll have it when you need it.  It’s that simple!

Nathan Barnett, Technical Writer, Microsoft Corporation

IainB

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Download a Treasure Trove of 130 Free Ebooks from Microsoft
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2014, 08:00:53 AM »
Could be well worth checking out:
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Download a Treasure Trove of 130 Free Ebooks from Microsoft
Patrick Allan Today 4:00am

Download a Treasure Trove of 130 Free Ebooks from Microsoft

It has happened before, and it is happening again. Microsoft's MSDN blog has released a whole new batch of free ebooks that cover everything from Windows 8, to Office 2013, to SQL Server, and more.
Grab Over 80 Free Ebooks from Microsoft and Learn Something Tech-y

Microsoft's MSDN blog has released a boatload of free ebooks on a range of technologies and…Read more

Eric Ligman, the Santa Claus of Microsoft ebooks, has unleashed the biggest collection yet, with 130 different titles. Each ebook is hundreds of pages long and filled with knowledge sure to help any IT pro or home use alike. Formats vary, but a majority of the titles are PDFs.

It's Christmas in July. Go open your presents:

Largest collection of FREE Microsoft eBooks ever, including: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, Office 2010, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server, and much more | Microsoft MSDN blog - Eric Ligman via Tech Support Alert

IainB

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Archive.org post millions of historic images to Flickr
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2014, 07:49:25 AM »
I think this might be good news, but it saddens me if it means that all the e-book OCR scanning might have had any/most relevant pictures stripped out. I mean, imagine "Alice in Wonderland" without the original engravings. Quelle dommage!
Read it at the link: Millions of historic images posted to Flickr | Internet Archive Blogs