Schwerdtfeger Library News -- November 2003

Schwerdtfeger Library News - November 2003

By Jean Phillips, Librarian



Library Open House

Please join us in the Schwerdtfeger Library for an open house on Tuesday, 2 December 2003, 3:30-4:30pm to celebrate our recently completed renovations. Try out the new compact shelving, learn about the library and enjoy some hot cider before heading home for the day.


SSEC and AOS Publications

Schwerdtfeger Library staff will compile a bibliography of SSEC and AOS publications for the year 2003 and in the process, fill any gaps in the reprint collection. If you publish and have a current curriculum vita or a list of your publications on a web site, please send a print copy of the cv, an e-mail attachment or the URL to the web site to the Library. The bibliography will be posted on the Schwerdtfeger Library's web site at the end of the year and reprint files will be searchable by you shortly thereafter.

In addition, we are looking at the publishing history of the Center over the past few decades and would like to have as complete a picture as possible. Watch for results and observations in a future Library column.


FYI: Statistics on Database Cost and Usage

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries license access, that is subscribe to, over 300 databases. Most of these databases are for campus-wide use. If the collection budget remains flat as anticipated, cancellations will continue because journal and database subscription costs are expected to rise 8% or between $300,000 and $400,000 next year.

I've selected a handful of those used by our disciplines to provide a real look at costs -- the spreadsheet compares cost per year and total searches for the resource for the year 2002. Total materials expenditures for UW-Madison for 2002 was $9 million (this includes all journals, databases, monographs and all other materials). These electronic tools, most of which are proprietary databases, are costly to provide. During tight budget times, the campus libraries will be looking closely at costs and relevance to determine which tools could be reduced or eliminated. This does not mean that primary databases for a given field will be cancelled but it does mean that a reduction in the number of databases licensed campus- or system-wide will affect us directly.

What does this all mean? The Association for Research Libraries prepares statistics on libraries in North America. When compared to its counterparts in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (Big Ten plus University of Chicago and Purdue University), the University of Wisconsin-Madison has dropped from the top quartile to bottom quartile in collection expenditures.


How Much Information? 2003

The research study documented on this site is a continuation of a study conducted in 2000 that estimated "how much new information is created each year." The results of the most recent study, which were published on October 27, 2003, show the approximate amount of new information stored on film, magnetic, optical, and print media in the year 2002. This figure totaled five exabytes, or five billion gigabytes. Different kinds of information streams are also analyzed, consisting of radio, television, telephone, and the Internet. These electronic data flows accounted for nearly eighteen exabytes. Comparisons to the previous study are also drawn. The full report of the study can be downloaded as a 112-page document or viewed online. (NSDL Scout Report v.2, no.22, 7 November 2003)

So, just how much information is created each year? Print, film, magnetic, and optical storage media produced about 5 exabytes of new information in 2002. Ninety-two percent of the new information was stored on magnetic media, mostly in hard disks.

  • How big is five exabytes? If digitized, the nineteen million books and other print collections in the Library of Congress would contain about ten terabytes of information; five exabytes of information is equivalent in size to the information contained in half a million new libraries the size of the Library of Congress print collections.
  • Hard disks store most new information. Ninety-two percent of new information is stored on magnetic media, primarily hard disks. Film represents 7% of the total, paper 0.01%, and optical media 0.002%.
  • The United States produces about 40% of the world's new stored information, including 33% of the world's new printed information, 30% of the world's new film titles, 40% of the world's information stored on optical media, and about 50% of the information stored on magnetic media.
  • How much new information per person? According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world population is 6.3 billion, thus almost 800 MB of recorded information is produced per person each year. It would take about 30 feet of books to store the equivalent of 800 MB of information on paper.

The report cites sources and describes each media type along with how information flows and methodology of the study. It was was published by the University of California-Berkeley's School of Information Management and Systems


Going, Going, Gone: Lost Internet References, an Article from Science Magazine

The use of Internet references in academic literature is common, and Internet references are frequently inaccessible. The extent of Internet referencing and Internet reference activity in medical or scientific publications was systematically examined in more than 1000 articles published between 2000 and 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and Science. Internet references accounted for 2.6% of all references (672/25548) and in articles 27 months old, 13% of Internet references were inactive. Publishers, librarians, and readers need to reassess policies, archiving systems, and other resources for addressing Internet reference attrition to prevent further information loss. (Science: 302, no.5646, 31 October 2003, 787-788)

The best current solution to improve access to Internet references is for publishers to require capture and submission of all Internet information at the time of manuscript consideration. Although this policy change should facilitate access to the content of lost URLs, it will not prevent URLs from becoming inactive or migrating. To slow the rate of the introductions of inactive Internet addresses into the literature, authors should also be required to provide accession dates and to verify Internet reference
activity immediately before publication. Publishers, authors, and libraries must adopt better Internet reference policies and archiving strategies to limit the loss of Internet reference information in current medical and scientific literature.

Future strategies might include some combination of Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) or participation in an Open Archival Information System (OAIS). The Schwerdtfeger Library currently archives a print version of articles and reports published by SSEC researchers.


Bill to Disclose Library Records for Juveniles

Under Wisconsin law, with certain exceptions, a library that is supported by public funds is prohibited from disclosing library records that indicate the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library’s documents or other materials, resources, or services.

A bill currently under discussion in the Wisconsin legislature (Senate Bill 128), requires a library that is supported by public funds, upon the request of a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 16, to disclose to the parent or guardian all library records relating to the use of the library’s documents or other materials, resources, or services by the child.

On Wednesday, 5 November, the Senate approved the bill 20-12 that would change the law for children under the age of 16. The bill now goes to the Assembly for debate and must be approved by both houses of the legislature before it can be signed into law by the Governor.

Supporters of the bill say parents need access to records of what materials their children use; opponents say it violates children's right to privacy. The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) states that local library boards already deal with this issue in a way that meets the needs of their communities. WLA would support compromise language that provided parents with access to information about materials loaned on the card of their child of 14 years of age or younger, according to policies established by the local library.



November 2003