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Internet Librarian International 2010 – Programme Unveiled

The conference programme for Internet Librarian International (London, 14 – 15 October) is now available.

Internet Librarian International is the innovation and technology conference for information professionals. Keynotes this year come from author Robert Rowland Smith and Hazel Hall of Edinburgh Napier University, who will explore the hidden potential of social media for information professionals and shares her tactics for exploiting social networks.

Over 50 speakers from around the world will present this year, representing a variety of industry sectors, including government, health, education, business and law.

Sessions include Relating value to price and budget, Monitoring and maximising organisational impact, Social and mobile tools, Hot topics in innovation and Digital services for customer satisfaction.

Members of CILIP, SLA Europe, and a number of other associations are all entitled to discounts on the delegate booking fee.

Further information, and download and view the programme here.

Google’s New Search Engine Results Page Examined

Google has rolled out a major set of changes to its search engine results pages. Left-hand navigational search facets are now turned on by default. Greg Notess examines the changes in detail in today’s Infotoday NewsBreak.

Challenges for Academic Libraries in Difficult Economic Times

A recently released guide from the Research Information Network reveals how academic librarians are experiencing and responding to financial cuts in the current economic climate. 

Using data which was gathered in the UK and internationally, and which was then explored further during late 2009 with focus groups of senior librarians, the guide examines the financial position of libraries, their strategies for dealing with challenging economic circumstances, and the value of libraries.

The report reveals that, after a decade of growth in budgets and services, academic librarians now expect a sustained period of cuts over the next three to five years. Directors from across the sector reported that they were being asked to model cumulative cuts of between 5% and 10% a year.

The scale of these cuts means that librarians are having to reconsider the kinds and levels of service they can provide in support of their universities’ missions.  The study reports that librarians across the sector are looking very closely at the costs of the ‘big deals’ and how they might be reduced. As a consequence, there is increased interested in national site licences covering the whole of the HE sector.

Other reductions being considered include opening hours, subject support for academic staff and students, and information skills training.

The report acknowledges that, in the very long term, it is possible that open access may help to reduce the pressure on library budgets. However, for the next three to five years at least, open access initiatives will continue to represent additional burdens on libraries, while the costs of running repositories, or paying publication fees, are not being offset by any significant reductions in subscription costs for scholarly journals.

The guide stresses that library directors from across the sector are keen to use the current financial difficulties as an opportunity to rethink what the library does, and to do things differently. But as yet there are few concrete proposals that will transform services or yield large-scale savings. The report concludes that sustaining world-class information services is of fundamental importance to UK universities. Libraries and their directors have a critical role to play, but they cannot do it all themselves. Leadership and partnership with champions from across the HE and information sectors will be critical to sustaining the outstanding position of UK universities.

Information Industry Apps for the iPad

With the iPad selling 300,000 units on launch day, another 200,000 in its first week, and shortly to be available (we hope) in Europe, Barbara Quint provides a timely overview of apps available from traditional information industry players.

Update on Alternative Search Engines

Paula Hane updates on “evolved search engine” LeapFish and semantic search engine hakia, and provides links to useful recent coverage from Information Today and other resources.

The Times Reveals New Charges for Online Access

The Times and The Sunday Times today announced the charges for access to online news content that will apply from June.

The cost will be £1 a day (the same as the print edition), or £2 for one week’s subscription. Paid customers will get access to both sites and ‘seven day subscriptions’ to the print editions will include web access for free.  

Two new websites www.thetimes.co.uk  and www.thesundaytimes.co.uk will launch in early May, replacing Times Online, the current combined site. This is the first time the two papers have separated their online entities. The new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers before the paywall is erected in June.

Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News International said that tabloid titles The Sun and News of the World would follow behind the paywall but did not specify when. 

John Witherow, Editor of The Sunday Times, promised “new digital features to enhance our coverage and encourage interactivity” and compared the £2 a week charge to “the price of a cup of coffee”. Whether readers will think this is an investment worth making in the face of free news content available elsewhere remains to be seen.

British Library Announces UK Web Archive

The British Library recently announced the launch of the UK Web Archive, which will store and make accessible every site in the .uk top-level domain. The project will deploy an impressive array of text-mining and analysis software - Avi Rappoport reveals the details in Information Today’s Newsbreaks.

Interview with Stevan Harnad – 2010 the Tipping Point for Universal Open Access?

Open access advocate Stevan Harnad looks back over the progress made by the OA movement to date, in a detailed and far-reaching interview with Richard Poynder for Information Today. Harnad speculates as to whether 2010 will see the tipping point needed to usher in universal open access, with the aim of getting the 2.5 million articles a year that are published in 25,000 peer-reviewed journals all freely available online.

Harnad is realistic in his assessment of the progress made to date: “…the history of OA so far has been one of gratuitous over-reaching that has not only netted little, but it has failed even to grasp what has already been well within reach for some time: free online access to refereed reseach.” But he is cautiously optimisitic about the initiatives underway in 2010.

Sources and Strategies for Locating International Industry Information

The latest issue of The Information Advisor has a useful article on sources of  international industry statistics, including tips on finding free market research data. Download the pdf here.

British Library and BBC Team Up to Integrate Access to Archives

The British Library and the BBC are to team up on a digital project designed to integrate access to nearly one million hours of BBC TV and radio content, and more than 150 million items from the BL.

BBC Director General Mark Thomson and Lynne Brindley, head of the British Library, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will seek to develop ‘new ways of integrating access.’ They will also work together on issues such as rights management, digitisation and storage. A joint steering committee will develop a uniform approach across the two institutions.

Mark Thompson said it is “vital we partner, harnessing the power of digital technology to give the public the access they deserve.” According to Brindley, the project aims to “create a model of best practice which will allow the library to develop similar opportunities with other public institutions.” The partnership demonstrates that “we are keen to share content for the benefit of today’s researchers and the knowledge economy”, she added.

The BBC has already made similar arrangements with the British Film Institute and the National Archives.