Archive for May, 2007

Where’s the iTunes and iTunes Music Store for STM content?

An article in Fast Company from last September talked about how users are adding iMixes to the iTunes Music Store (ITMS), and how this creates value:

“McGuire and his research partner, Derek Slater of Harvard University, predict that recommendations by music consumers online will drive 25% of all Web-based music transactions by 2010, up from less than 10% today. Gartner expects the U.S. market for music downloads, excluding ring tones, will nearly quadruple, to $1.9 billion, in five years.”

This got me wondering about what would be the equivalent of iTunes and the iTMS for scientific literature. That is, a really easy-to-use programme for managing your “assets”, i.e. scientific articles, with seamless links into the sources. The software would have to be easily configurable (preferably self-configuring) to work with current access systems, e.g. would know about OpenURL and local library systems (and/or downloaded PDFs, though these are increasingly lacking compared to the full online version). EndNote has some of the iTunes functionality (though with a very clunky old-fashioned interface) but it doesn’t link to a single source like iTunes links to ITMS, so that there is no way for users to create and share recommendations directly through EndNote. Perhaps the combination of EndNote plus Connotea (or CiteULike) is the nearest?

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Apple iTunesU: Educational material from leading universities – but none from UK

Apple has announced the launch of iTunes U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store.

iTunes U features free content – including course lectures, language lessons, and lab demonstrations, as well as more promotional content such as sports highlights, and campus tours — from such leading universities as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Shame that there is nothing from UK universities, though – don’t they want to promote themselves to the iTunes generation?

Picture 1-3

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I am an Amazon author …

I hadn’t realised until today that two reports I wrote for ALPSP were available via Amazon:

It’s tremendous the way that a tiny publisher like ALPSP can get global distribution this way. In this case, I assume that ALPSP’s supplier, the print-on-demand company Lightning Source provides the catalogue feed to Amazon.

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eBooks: Elsevier/ScienceDirect trial

From the press release:

Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical (STM) information, has announced that more than 900 leading research libraries and corporations from all over the world are participating in the trial of eBooks on ScienceDirect. The trial will provide participating institutes with preliminary access to 500 of the 4,000 scientific and technical books that will be launched on ScienceDirect in the third quarter of 2007.

The eBooks program represents a major expansion to the reference works, handbooks and book series already available on ScienceDirect. At launch, the program will comprise high-quality selected titles published from 1995 to the present day. The books will cover a wide range of scientific disciplines, including those published under the renowned Pergamon and Academic Press imprints. Following the launch, approximately 50 newly published titles will be added to the eBooks list on ScienceDirect each month, offering researchers unparalleled integration and linking between the latest online book and journal information.

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Feature Creep

A nice article by James Surowiecki in the New Yorker on feature creep:

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, allowing us to do things more quickly and efficiently. But too often it seems to make things harder, leaving us with fifty-button remote controls, digital cameras with hundreds of mysterious features and book-length manuals, and cars with dashboard systems worthy of the space shuttle. This spiral of complexity, often called “feature creep,” costs consumers time, but it also costs businesses money. Product returns in the U.S. cost a hundred billion dollars a year, and a recent study by Elke den Ouden, of Philips Electronics, found that at least half of returned products have nothing wrong with them. Consumers just couldn’t figure out how to use them.

Something that it’s too easy to forget is that its no good asking users what they want – they really don’t know. The only good way is to observe them in action:

… although consumers find overloaded gadgets unmanageable, they also find them attractive. It turns out that when we look at a new product in a store we tend to think that the more features there are, the better. It’s only once we get the product home and try to use it that we realize the virtues of simplicity. A recent study by a trio of marketing academics—Debora Viana Thompson, Rebecca W. Hamilton, and Roland T. Rust—found that when consumers were given a choice of three models, of varying complexity, of a digital device, more than sixty per cent chose the one with the most features. Then, when the subjects were given the chance to customize their product, choosing from twenty-five features, they behaved like kids in a candy store. (Twenty features was the average.) But, when they were asked to use the digital device, so-called “feature fatigue” set in. They became frustrated with the plethora of options they had created, and ended up happier with a simpler product.

Surowiecki doesn’t give the full reference to marketing study the article is based on, but it’s probably Defeating Feature Fatigue
Read full article

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Internet advertising grew at 35% in 2006

The Internet Advertising Bureau issued its year-end report for 2006:

Internet advertising revenues (“revenues”) in the United States totaled $16.9 billion for the full year 2006,
with Q3 accounting for $4.2 billion and Q4 totaling $4.8 billion. Internet advertising revenues for the full
year of 2006 increased 35 percent over 2005.

For the third consecutive year, revenues post record results—Total revenues for the 2006 fourth
quarter ($4.8 billion) increased 14 percent from the 2006 third-quarter total of $4.2 billion, and 33
percent from the 2005 fourth-quarter total of $3.6 billion. Full year 2006 Internet advertising revenues
totaled $16.9 billion, up 35 percent versus full year 2005 revenues of $12.5 billion.

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Ovid Partners with Springer to Distribute E-Books

Ovid Partners with Global STM Publisher Springer Science+Business Media to Expand E-Book Offerings

From the press release:

More than 800 Titles Spanning Core Medical Specialties Will Be Available on Books@Ovid for Purchase or Subscription

Ovid will offer more than 800 medical and health sciences titles to medical organizations globally, including hospitals and hospital consortia, medical schools, and medical departments or entities within a higher education institution, government organization, or corporation. The books will be available via an annual renewable subscription or as a one-time purchase, which provides the institution the right to own the book in perpetuity. Key titles coming to Books@Ovid include AJCC Cancer Staging Atlas, Medical Informatics, and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, widely considered must-have, “core” resources in their respective disciplines. Content is expected to become available on the Books@Ovid platform beginning in the third quarter.

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