Wikipedia decided to dance with the devil when certain editors were given complementary accounts to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect. Ars Technica is reporting that the company is donating 45 accounts to top editors at the online encyclopedia. This doesn’t sit well with some open source advocates like Michael Eisen. He’s shocked that people who use the encyclopedia will click on links that will only lead to an abstract and an option to buy. Of course, that’s not quite true for us in academics, at least for us employed at an institution with a subscription.
The debate pits those who believe in open access only against those who believe that links to pay walled articles share useful information in understanding a topic. Count me in the latter group, not because I can get to the “download PDF” link, but because there is a world of useful information that exists beyond open source. Libraries and not just those from universities are a big help in getting this kind of information into the hands of researchers or the general public. Hey, we bought the subscription so none of you had to.
In another report concerning information freedom, it looks as if the Department of Homeland Security has taken a dim view to the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire becoming a node on the Tor network. DHS sent a stern email to the Lebanon Police Department who then contacted the Library. The net effect (no pub intended) was to temporarily halt the project until the Library could gather community input. Pro Publica has the story.
In other news, the Library of Congress is acquiring a large archive of material documenting the career of comedian Jerry Lewis. Lewis is donating some of the material while other parts of the collection will be purchased. The archive will document some 70 years of Lewis’ career and include rare recordings that do not exist anywhere else. The Fort Wayne New-Sentinel has the story. Speaking of Fort Wayne, the city will host the 2015 meeting of the Ohio Regional Association of Law Libraries (ORALL) on October 21-23. Details are available from AALL and the organization’s web site. Early registration discounts end on September 15. The registration form is here. The Program looks pretty good in my opinion.