All posts by Jennifer Howard


Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its Birthday


Like most youngsters, the Digital Public Library of America has been growing fast. Officially a year old, it now encompasses more than seven million items, three times what it started with 12 months ago.

Designed to be a gateway to information rather than a final destination, the DPLA doesn’t actually ingest digitized books, manuscripts, photos, moving pictures, recordings, or other materials. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of institutions to aggregate the metadata that describes …


QuickWire: Collecting Altmetric Data in China

As more researchers use social media to share and comment on one another’s work, those networks have become rich sources of data for altmetrics—alternative measures that look beyond citation rates and impact factors to get a fuller picture of how scholarship is circulating. But researchers in China can’t share journal articles and papers via Facebook and Twitter, which are blocked there.

Altmetric, one of several services that have sprung up to provide altmetrics to publishers, libraries, and re…


Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…


U.S. Agencies, Industry, and Academe Team Up to Compute Media’s Future

As risky as predictions are, here’s a fairly safe one: The future of media is bound up with computers. That doesn’t mean that print and other older forms of media will fade away. It does mean that newer media, whatever shape they take, will be created, shared, and used with the help of computers. If it’s not love, it’s apps that will bring us together.

That recognition has brought together the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Hu…


What Matters to Academic-Library Directors? Information Literacy

Whether they work at a big research university, a small four-year college, or something in between, academic-library directors share a “resounding dedication” to teaching information literacy to undergraduates. Beyond that, the priorities they set for their libraries depend on the size and nature of their institutions and how many (or few) resources they have to work with.

Those findings come out of a 2013 survey of American library directors, released on Tuesday by Ithaka S+R US. That’s the con…


The ‘Oxford English Dictionary’ and the Great War

WWI zeppelinNext time you’re at the diner for breakfast, try ordering “Zeppelins in a cloud.” That’s slang for sausages and mashed potatoes, inspired by the airships used for spying and bombing during World War I, according to the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The distinctive flying machines “must have captured the imaginations of soldiers,” the editors say. But Oxford’s word sleuths have been able to trace the use of the phrase only back to 1925, when it turned up in Edward Fraser and John Gibb…


U. of Southern California Gets Mellon Money to Train Digital Scholars

In yet another sign that the digital humanities are working their way into higher education at every level, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a five-year, $1.9-million grant to the University of Southern California to support graduate-level training in digital scholarship, the university announced on Tuesday. The grant will pay for two-year fellowships for humanities Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral researchers.

It also includes money to run workshops, to digitize and preserve researc…


Mold Outbreak Threatens 600,000 Books at U. of Missouri Library Facility

Mold has invaded a remote-storage facility used by the University of Missouri Libraries, putting hundreds of thousands of volumes at risk, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

All the books in the facility are affected, according to a university spokesman. “We have learned that the entire collection of approximately 600,000 printed volumes in the storage facility is contaminated and must either be treated to eradicate the mold or be disposed to ensure that contamination cannot spread to other co…


Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down

Guy Leonard received an unpleasant surprise in his inbox early this morning: a notice from saying it had taken down a copy of an article of his that he’d posted on the research-sharing platform. The reason? A takedown request from Elsevier, which publishes the journal in which the paper had appeared.

Mr. Leonard, a research fellow in the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, tweeted his dismay and posted a link to a screengrab of the notice.



QuickWire: ‘Frankenstein,’ Online and Kicking

Digital facsimiles and transcriptions of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein notebooks went live on Halloween, marking the debut of the long-planned Shelley-Godwin Archive. The Chronicle wondered what kind of web traffic Shelley’s monster had attracted since then, so we asked Neil Fraistat for an update. Mr. Fraistat is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park, where he directs the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, or MITH; he and Elizabeth C. Denlinger, a …