By Stephen Downes
August 9, 2004

China - Traditional Music Sound Archives
This is the sort of thing I would much rather be covering in these pages: the UNESCO project digitizing (and hence preserving for all of humanity) traditional Chinese music has concluded. Clips are available on this website. Or this item: Lewis Carroll's Scrapbook, digitized and placed online by the Library of Congress. Beautiful. By Various Authors, UNESCO, July 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Freedom in Learning Innovations
Elliott Masie has caused a flap in the e-learning world by sending a letter attacking the patent litigation campaign launched by iplearn, "a company with no products and a patent attorney." OLDaily readers will be familiar with iplearn; as reported here, the company has convinced various e-learning companies to settle rather than fight, including Saba, Skillsoft and Digital Think. Such settlements help no one; while they confer a short term advantage to the LMS company, they simply give iplearn money to pursue its case and they encourage other companies - such as Acacia, which is sending letters to colleges and universities demanding royalties for streaming media - incentive to continue. The education sector as a whole is weak with respect to its ability to defend against such frivolous lawsuits, and when companies that should not cave do so it hurts the sector as a whole. So the best of luck to Masie, I say, join us in the fray, late but not unwelcome. By Michelle Lentz Gerl, Write Technology, August 7, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Reed Elsevier Chief Hits Back in Scientific Publishing Row
Reed Elsevier is hitting back against the open access publishing model. In this item, company CEO Sir Crispin Davis notes that publisher content continues to hold sway. “After five years, the author-pays model has gained a 1 per cent market share. Libraries do push back on costs, but we are securing a 96 per cent renewal rate, and that tells the real story.” In another item he is quoted as calling "'daft' the idea that British universities should have to make publicly funded research freely available to all." In a third article, the CEO finds himself defending Reed Elsevier's record profits. The CEO, who has apparently never heard of Google, argues, "Today, through his laptop, a scientist can access 3.5 miles of research articles and do in an hour what would have taken a week before. That would not have happened if we hadn't been able to invest and you didn't have a profitable industry. None of it would have happened under author pays." All items via Open Access News. By Dan Sabbagh, Times Online, August 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Devil You Don’t Know: The Unexpected Future of Open Access
Laden with snide remarks and innuendos, this article suggests that advocates of open access are promoting a simplistic solution with no regard to the long term consequences. The long term result of open access journals, argues the author, will be an increase, not a decrease, in the cost of scholarly publication. This is because open access shifts spending decisions from librarians to authors. "Authors, on the other hand, are acting out of personal impulse. No holds are barred. First they will pay for domain names and blogging software, then for metatagging tools, then for linking networks, then for annotation capability, and so on, ad infinitum. As the number of services rises, the expenditures per publication will rise. The total cost of research publications will grow enormously, driven by the author side of the equation." By Joseph J. Esposito, First Monday, August 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Technology Newsletter
The July 2004 issue of IETF's Learning Technology newsletter is now available but published only in PDF, making it impossible to link to specific articles. Some good reading here, though: Steven C. Shaffer's An algorithm for comparing labeled graphs suggests the possibility of applying graph theory to semantical networks, something someone with a lot of patience and a powerful computer system should try one day. Also worth a read is Juha Puustjärvi's Conceptual Representation of Learning Objects. By Various Authors, IETF, July, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Protestant Majority Slips: A Sign of Things to Come in the LMS Wars
In what must be the oddest lede to ever mark an article on e-learning, this author introduces the coming diversity in LMS solutions available to colleges and universities by analogy with the apparently increasing diversity of religion in the United States. The emphasis of this post is to introduce Sakai, an open source LMS building on the SCORM and OKI standards. The proliferation of alternative LMSs, argues the author, serves to increase the importance of standards in the learning community. Via ADL Co-Lab news. By Rob Reynolds, Xplana Zine, August 6, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Assessing Understanding With Multiple-Choice Questions
A couple of short posts on writing multiple choice questions to evaluate not just knowledge, but also understanding and evaluation. The link to the second part is at the bottom of the first page. By Ian Grove-Stephensen, Chalkface, August 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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