By Stephen Downes
October 22, 2003

Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities
Released today, the declaration defines open access (as, essentially, "free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work," and placement of the work in an open repository), and expresses its support for open access. The press release adds "The Berlin Declaration is just the beginning of a series of steps that the signatories will be taking to promote open access. Among these steps, the Max-Planck Society is Edoc, an open-access repository of all of the research output of the Max-Planck Institutes' many research laboratories. This is a truly remarkable concerted act of institutional self-archiving, and a superb example for the research world at large." By Various Authors, October 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

When Blogs Get Really Popular
While I have been saying that the blog phenomenon, this article - and the majority view - suggests that it will become even greater. But if you look more closely at the article, what you see is that blogging's growth may be fuelled more by a redefinition of the term than by any actual increase. "The word "blog" will expand to cover any linkable posting (a place) where a person gets to speak her mind more than once. If it's more permanent than IM, it'll be a blog." Sure, whatever. I stand by my prediction. But the good prediction in this paper is this one: "The lines between email and blogs will blur." Watch for more developments here. By David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, October 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How DRM-Based Content Delivery Systems Disrupt Expectations of 'Personal Use'
The 'personal uses' identified in this paper include portability (the ability to use content on multiple devices), excerpting, and "limited relation and interaction with copyright holders." This last is probably the most significant: when you buy a coffee, you don't show identification, you don't sign a contract, and the relationship ends with the transaction. And a coffee is a larger transaction than (would be, in a free market) most purchases of digital content. The report finds, not surprisingly, that "for the most part, the services examined do not accord with expectations of personal use." As though to prove the point, cut-and-paste from this PDF file is encrypted, forcing me to type these excerpts - an annoyance and invasion of my personal use of the content, with a zero increase in security. By Deirdre K. Mulligan, John Han and Aaron J. Burstein, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Schools for the Future
This site, from the U.K.'s Teachernet, surveys and discusses "key drivers for change in schools: the likely impact of a more diverse curriculum, new ways of learning and the impact of ICT, opening the school up to other pupils and the community as a whole, and the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs into mainstream schools." By Various Authors, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Guidance on Teaching the Gifted and Talented
When I was in grade 9 or 10, our teachers herded a group of us into a room and announced their intent to form what they called the Alpha Club for the school's gifted or advanced students. In retrospect, that wasn't the best name, and in any event, nothing ever followed the initial meeting. But it was a small school and there were only four or five of us. Nobody really expected anything. And so I slept my way through the rest of high school. The internet age changes this dynamic, as even small schools have access to the resources they need for small demographics. Resources such as this page (via Sparticus). "This website provides guidance for teachers, coordinators and others involved in teaching the gifted and talented in the context of an inclusive curriculum." By Various Authors, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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