The COUNTER project recently announced that vendors wishing to remain compliant to the code of practice for books and reference works must now undergo a mandatory annual audit. Previously an audit was only required after the first year of delivering the usage reports. This will be good news for those librarians who are concerned that the figures publishers provide after the first year of compliance might be inaccurate. An annual audit should ensure that no software errors suddenly appear. However this will be bad news for those wanting to see costs kept down in a sector which is already hugely challenged by budget cuts. Publishers must bear the extra costs of the annual audit, and it’s hard to imagine that these will not be passed on to libraries in some way. The audit must be carried out by a professional organisation recognised by the COUNTER project. This includes ABC Electronic in the UK, who offer a fixed price for this service. I contacted ABC Electronic to find out their prices but I did not recieve a reply. It’s hard to imagine a worse time for this change. Although the financial impact will be fairly small, costs and budgets are being squeezed from all sides at the moment. Lets hope there are no more changes like this in the pipeline. Update: After I published this ABC Electronic saw this blog post and called me to apologise for not replying to my email enquiry, and I subsequently received pricing details for the COUNTER compliance auditing service they provide.
The Semantic Web has taken significant steps towards reality in recent months, with the powerful triumvirate of Google, Facebook and Twitter moving to integrate elements of semantic technology into their operations. All of a sudden, a development that for too long appeared to be stalled by the chicken-and-egg problem of how website owners could be induced to tag their metadata looks to be in imminent danger of going seriously mainstream. Marketers, it seems likely, rather than academics, will lead the charge to the VW campers from here on in. And in all probability, publishers and information providers who aren’t already waxing their boards in preparation for this particular wave of technologic change could risk being left behind as it steadily takes on tsunami proportions and thunders beachwards. Continue reading