Amazon and Hachette Book Group have ended the pricing dispute that the two have been waging since spring of 2014. On November 13 they jointly announced a multiyear agreement for ebook and print sales. The new terms will go into effect in early 2015, but Hachette has said that even before that time Amazon will restore its previous supply of Hachette titles and make them available for pre-order, as well as including them in promotions on the site.
The Charleston Conference felt bigger than ever this year, with multiple attendees in the halls and elevators commenting on the profusion of programs at multiple venues, the standing room only grounds for popular breakout sessions, and the fact that they could no longer count on seeing everyone they know among the other attendees in the course of the conference. It is equally impossible to see even a fraction of the many compelling programs presented during the event; below is only our impression from the handful we could personally attend.
Primary sources publisher Adam Matthew Digital, an imprint of SAGE Publications, launched its newest digital collection in September. Apartheid South Africa, sourced from The National Archives (TNA), London, offers comprehensive coverage of previously classified files from the Apartheid Governments of South Africa. LJ recently spoke to Martin Drewe, Senior Publisher at Adam Matthew and the key person in the National Archives relationship, about this new project, the process of working with TNA material, and the documentary the two produced about the making of the collection.
California has become the first state to mandate open access for the products of some taxpayer-funded research. On September 29 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act, coauthored by Assemblyman Brian Nestande (R–Palm Desert) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D–Los Angeles). AB 609, as the bill is known, ensures that those who stand to benefit most from state-funded research, such as healthcare providers, students and professors, biotech professionals, and anyone with an interest in the field, will have access to current research results free of charge. Beginning January 1, 2015, the products of more than $200 million in annual research paid for by California taxpayers will be freely available—with some restrictions: AB 609 applies only to research funded by the Department of Public Health.
On October 20–21, scholarly nonprofit organization ITHAKA held its annual Sustainable Scholarship conference at New York City’s Wyndham Hotel. The event’s theme, “At the Starting Line,” echoed the concerns of many libraries, publishers, and institutions about the demands for change driven by today’s information marketplace.
Digital archives contain a wealth of interesting images and documents that have been meticulously described by librarians, but databases are not always ideal for browsing. Tools such as time line and mapping software now enable libraries to present digital collections in new ways, facilitating serendipitous exploration for researchers.
John van Whye, a senior lecturer at the National University of Singapore, has digitally reconstructed the library used by Charles Darwin during his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, making it accessible to Darwin scholars and others studying that period in history. He said that this library, which has not existed as a collection for almost 180 years, is what he would have liked as a scholar when he was editing Darwin’s Beagle field notebooks in 2006.
Looking back, the irony is so heavy-handed that it seems contrived. As my colleagues and I were preparing for our MOOC on Copyright for Educators and Librarians, which launched for the first time last week, the only resource that we wanted to use but could not successfully negotiate the permission for was Susan Bielstein’s book about negotiating permissions. It would have been great for us and, I am convinced, for the Press if we could have offered a single chapter of it for our over 8,000 MOOC participants to read. In the event, however, we rediscovered the fear and lack of sound business sense that grips the publishing industry, but also discovered the richness of the free resources that were available to us.