Visualizing Book Usage Statistics with Metabase · punctum books

“There is an inherent contradiction between publishing open access books and gathering usage statistics. Open access books are meant to be copied, shared, and spread without any limit, and the absence of any Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in our PDFs makes it indeed impossible to do so. Nevertheless, we can gather an approximate impression of book usage among certain communities, such as hardcopy readers and those connected to academic infrastructures, by gathering data from various platforms and correlating them. These data are useful for both our authors and supporting libraries to gain insight into the usage of punctum publications.undefined

As there exists no ready-made open-source solution that we know of to accomplish this, for many years we struggled to import these data from various sources into ever-growing spreadsheets, with ever more complicated formulas to extract meaningful data and visualize them. This year, we decided to split up the database and correlation/visualization aspects, by moving the data into a MySQL database managed via phpMyAdmin, while using Metabase for the correlation and visualization part. This allows us to expose our usage data publicly, while also keeping them secure….”

Visualizing Book Usage Statistics with Metabase · punctum books

“There is an inherent contradiction between publishing open access books and gathering usage statistics. Open access books are meant to be copied, shared, and spread without any limit, and the absence of any Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in our PDFs makes it indeed impossible to do so. Nevertheless, we can gather an approximate impression of book usage among certain communities, such as hardcopy readers and those connected to academic infrastructures, by gathering data from various platforms and correlating them. These data are useful for both our authors and supporting libraries to gain insight into the usage of punctum publications.undefined

As there exists no ready-made open-source solution that we know of to accomplish this, for many years we struggled to import these data from various sources into ever-growing spreadsheets, with ever more complicated formulas to extract meaningful data and visualize them. This year, we decided to split up the database and correlation/visualization aspects, by moving the data into a MySQL database managed via phpMyAdmin, while using Metabase for the correlation and visualization part. This allows us to expose our usage data publicly, while also keeping them secure….”

Equitable, Affordable Access to Digital Course Materials for University Students: Issues and Solutions – Canadian Association of Research Libraries

“To better support student academic success and provide equitable access, libraries are working to overcome these challenges through a variety of means. Efforts include working with instructors to identify alternative course materials through the libraries’ existing collections; working with instructors, publishers, and vendors to identify alternative course materials that have better access and pricing models; and, advocating and developing support for the creation, adoption, and use of openly licensed, high-quality educational resources (OER), which allow for re-use and modification by instructors.[4]

More needs to be done. Online learning necessitates digital access models that foster an accessible, affordable, and inclusive environment for students. Among the measures we endorse are:

Allowing sales of all published e-textbooks and e-books to libraries under a licensing model that allows for access at a cost that fairly reflects content and use.
Making the pricing and availability of e-textbooks and e-books stable and transparent.
Offering license options that enable reasonable, equitable access to educational content without the use of DRM….”

Opening the Future: A New Model for Open Access Books

“Established in 1993 to reflect the intellectual strengths and values of its parent institution, CEU Press is a leading publisher in the history of communism and transitions to democracy. It is widely recognised as the foremost English-language university press dedicated to research on Central and Eastern Europe and the former communist countries. It publishes approximately 25 new titles a year and has a large backlist of over 450 titles with e-books already available through several platforms.

Sustainable funding for OA monographs

Building on library journal membership models such as Open Library of the Humanities and ‘Subscribe to Open’, CEU Press is creating a sustainable OA publishing model that will give members access to a selection of the extensive backlist, DRM free and with perpetual access after a subscription period of three years. This membership revenue will be used to make newly-published books openly accessible to anyone.

When the revenue target is met and the entire monograph frontlist is openly accessible, future membership fee rates can be lowered. The model has support from LYRASIS who will assist with organizing library participation in the programme and has support from OAPEN. Project MUSE will host the books, providing MARC records, KBART files and supporting discovery systems, and subscribers will have access to COUNTER compliant statistics. Membership is open to libraries and institutions worldwide. There are no catches and no hidden fees – members won’t be asked to pay more on top of their annual fee to access ‘more’ or ‘better’ titles. Packages won’t suddenly change….”

Opening the Future: A New Model for Open Access Books

“Established in 1993 to reflect the intellectual strengths and values of its parent institution, CEU Press is a leading publisher in the history of communism and transitions to democracy. It is widely recognised as the foremost English-language university press dedicated to research on Central and Eastern Europe and the former communist countries. It publishes approximately 25 new titles a year and has a large backlist of over 450 titles with e-books already available through several platforms.

Sustainable funding for OA monographs

Building on library journal membership models such as Open Library of the Humanities and ‘Subscribe to Open’, CEU Press is creating a sustainable OA publishing model that will give members access to a selection of the extensive backlist, DRM free and with perpetual access after a subscription period of three years. This membership revenue will be used to make newly-published books openly accessible to anyone.

When the revenue target is met and the entire monograph frontlist is openly accessible, future membership fee rates can be lowered. The model has support from LYRASIS who will assist with organizing library participation in the programme and has support from OAPEN. Project MUSE will host the books, providing MARC records, KBART files and supporting discovery systems, and subscribers will have access to COUNTER compliant statistics. Membership is open to libraries and institutions worldwide. There are no catches and no hidden fees – members won’t be asked to pay more on top of their annual fee to access ‘more’ or ‘better’ titles. Packages won’t suddenly change….”

Authors Alliance Petitions for New Exemption to Section 1201 of the DMCA | Authors Alliance

“Last month, we reported in detail on our petition to the U.S. Copyright Office to renew exemptions to the DMCA for lawful uses in multimedia e-books. Now, together with Professor Bobette Buster and the Organization for Transformative Works, we have also filed a petition to modify the exemption to Section 1201 as part of the Copyright Office’s seventh triennial rulemaking process.

The new petition, filed today, requests the following:

Lawful circumvention of DRM for use in fiction multimedia e-books (the current exemption is restricted to nonfiction multimedia e-books);
Allowing circumvention of DRM for use in multimedia e-books on other subjects besides film analysis (the current exemption allows for uses in film analysis only);
Removing limitations that refer to screen-capture technology….”

UMass Amherst Libraries Statement on Textbooks | UMass Amherst Libraries

“As fall semester 2020 approaches, library, faculty, and staff are working to provide alternative access to print course reserves. To support instructors and students over the next several months, we are utilizing different approaches to how we acquire course textbooks to ensure that students have access to needed resources in alternative learning environments.  

The cost of textbooks and other course materials are a barrier for students at every university. To avoid fees, some students don’t purchase textbooks, instead, they use a copy on reserve. A significant portion of print books on reserve are required textbooks, which students are unable to use without coming into the library building. Complicating this work are textbook publishers, who often do not make electronic formats available to libraries for purchase as they have built their business models around selling e-textbooks directly to students.  …

Due to these constraints, we are working with faculty and instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including: …

Adopting open educational resources (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors. …”

If I could radically reshape copyright law for research | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“So what, as a thought experiment, might it look like to rethink copyright? What would I suggest if we could get new primary legislation in the UK to change research and copyright arrangements?

I would make it so that research produced by employees at publicly funded research universities could not be placed under copyright. (i.e. were committed to the public domain.) A downstream provision could be included that would mean that no new copyright could be placed on such work by dint of design, typography etc.

I would abolish the implementation of EU Directive 2001/29/EC, at least for academic researchers. This directive makes it a criminal offence to break Digital Rights Management/Technical Protection Measures on digital files. Without the modification or abolition of this criminal directive, even public-domain work can be unusable for text mining.

I would allow academic researchers to re-use and to re-publish material, even that in copyright, that is necessary for their work. In other words, I would absolve academic researchers and institutions of copyright offences that are necessary to conducting their work. This would include distributing in-copyright articles and books to colleagues; publishing in-copyright images and videos that are necessary for work. I would include a clause that such re-use must include attribution credit.

I would extend the current copyright exemptions for text and data mining to a blanket non-commercial research exemption. I would add an allowance to circumvent any API rate limiting or other technological protection measure for the purposes of mining material for research purposes….”

Microsoft Erases E-Library And Digital Rights Management Server : NPR

“Starting in July, Microsoft will be closing its e-book library and erasing all content purchased through the Microsoft e-bookstore from devices. Consumers will receive a refund for every e-book bought.

The company is able to shutter its store – which it launched in 2017 to compete with industry leaders Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble – due to a tool called Digital Rights Management or DRM.

DRM allows companies to control content to protect copyright holders and prevent piracy….”

Microsoft’s Ebook Apocalypse Shows the Dark Side of DRM | WIRED

YOUR ITUNES MOVIES, your Kindle books—they’re not really yours. You don’t own them. You’ve just bought a license that allows you to access them, one that can be revoked at any time. And while a handful of incidents have brought that reality into sharp relief over the years, none has quite the punch of Microsoft disappearing every single ebook from every one of its customers.

Microsoft made the announcement in April that it would shutter the Microsoft Store’s books section for good. The company had made its foray into ebooks in 2017, as part of a Windows 10 Creators Update that sought to round out the software available to its Surface line. Relegated to Microsoft’s Edge browser, the digital bookstore never took off. As of April 2, it halted all ebook sales. And starting as soon as this week, it’s going to remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them….”

Microsoft is about to shut off its ebook DRM servers: “The books will stop working” / Boing Boing

” “The books will stop working”: That’s the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn’t profitable enough for them, and when they do, they’re going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working.

Almost exactly fifteen years ago, I gave an influential, widely cited talk at Microsoft Research where I predicted this exact outcome. I don’t feel good about the fact that I got it right. This is a fucking travesty….”

Microsoft is about to shut off its ebook DRM servers: “The books will stop working” / Boing Boing

” “The books will stop working”: That’s the substance of the reminder that Microsoft sent to customers for their ebook store, reminding them that, as announced in April, the company is getting out of the ebook business because it wasn’t profitable enough for them, and when they do, they’re going to shut off their DRM servers, which will make the books stop working.

Almost exactly fifteen years ago, I gave an influential, widely cited talk at Microsoft Research where I predicted this exact outcome. I don’t feel good about the fact that I got it right. This is a fucking travesty….”

Blockchain technology may lead to true ebook ownership

“The vast majority of publishers use DRM to encrypt their ebooks and some retailers like Amazon have their own formats. Publishers have mandated that when you purchase an ebook, you are merely licensing it. There is no true sense of ownership. This has led to a crisis in confidence in the digital format because ebook stores can go out of business, shut down their systems and anyone who purchased an ebook is out of luck. Blockchain technology might change the game when it comes to ebooks, finally giving us true ownership….

There are two companies that are developing blockchain technologies for ebooks.  The e-book platforms from two startups — Scenarex, based in Montreal, and Publica, based in Gibraltar and Latvia….

The basic concept behind today’s e-book/blockchain startups is to emulate ownership — as a practical, technical matter — more closely than existing digital content distribution systems do. The idea is to use two properties of blockchains that help facilitate digital ownership. First, blockchains are ownerless, so that a record of file ownership on a blockchain is not controlled by a central distributor such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Second, blockchains are immutable, so that if a system puts an entry on a blockchain that you own an e-book, that entry is there to stay forever, even if the vendor whose technology you used to buy the e-book goes out of business. And if you sell the e-book to someone else, another entry goes onto the blockchain that also stays there, unaltered, in perpetuity.

In other words, blockchains enable transfers of ownership that are secure and not controllable by a third party after the fact. But there are other aspects to emulating ownership, such as not being able to send copies to your million best friends or keep your own copy after you’ve alienated it. For this, DRM is necessary. …”

Microsoft announces it will shut down ebook program and confiscate its customers’ libraries / Boing Boing

Microsoft has a DRM-locked ebook store that isn’t making enough money, so they’re shutting it down and taking away every book that every one of its customers acquired effective July 1.

Customers will receive refunds.

This puts the difference between DRM-locked media and unencumbered media into sharp contrast….”

Controlled Digital Lending Fact Sheet | Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries

“CDL is the digital equivalent of traditional library lending. A library can digitize a book it owns and lend out a secured digital version to one user at a time, in place of the physical item.

CDL has three core principles:

  1. A library must own a legal copy of the physical book, by purchase or gift.
  2. The library must maintain an “owned to loaned” ratio, simultaneously lending no more copies than it legally owns.
  3. The library must use technical measures to ensure that the digital file cannot be copied or redistributed.

Beyond these core principles, libraries may choose to implement CDL in different ways. …”