New York Times: subscription as “donation”

Concerned about circumventing the 10 article a month limit? More ways of avoiding are given below, but be prepared to feel guilty (at least until they finally come up with an institution subscription method!)

It’s not a ‘paywall’ when it’s ‘freemium’
By Steve Outing on Jun 8, 2012 in Business models

“The word “paywall” as applied to news websites sucks. It’s a negative word. If a consumer hears that a favorite news site is putting up a “paywall,” the response is highly likely to be: avoid!

…It’s often said that has a “porous paywall,” which is also “metered.” Translation: If you don’t want to pay for an online subscription (or a print subscription which includes full online access), you can visit the site and view up to 10 articles a month, after which you’ll have to buy a subscription for more. That’s the metered part. The porous part means that you can read more than 10 articles in a month if you click through to a article from another source that’s providing a link to it — such as a search engine (including news search engines), a blog, or a social-media site like Twitter or Facebook. Those article reads don’t count toward your free monthly article allotment if you’re not a paying subscriber. is further porous to the at-least-somewhat technically inclined. It doesn’t take much sophistication on a web browser to defeat the 10-a-month limit. If told that you’ve reached your free limit, you can continue reading NYT articles online by: 1) lopping off the last part of the article URL, after and including the question mark, and refreshing the page; 2) clearing your cookies from your browser and starting a new browser session; 3) copying the headline into a search engine to find the article, then clicking that link; 4) following on Twitter and clicking through to articles from there; or 5) setting up multiple free accounts on separate devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone) so that you can read 10 articles a month on each.

Some media experts have suggested that really is using a “donation model,” since it’s so easy to avoid paying and still read more than 10 of its articles a month. The logic goes: The people who are paying NYT’s “demanded” monthly fee actually are those who want to support Times journalism. It’s not that far removed from the NPR model of funding a serious journalism enterprise; public-radio supporters become “members,” and that’s essentially what subscribers are. That approach by the New York Times (with upward of 400,000 paying digital subscribers) appears to be working much better than The Times’ (UK) “hard paywall” model.

Perhaps I’m just getting into a semantic argument, but I think that what actually has established is a “freemium” content system. This is especially obvious on its mobile apps, but it’s also the case on the Times website.”

“Library Test Kitchen” at Harvard

The Neo-carrel does triple duty as chair, laptop stand, and comfortable napping station

“HACKING THE STACKS: The Library Test Kitchen”
by Jonathan Shaw
July-August 2012 Harvard Magazine

““WHAT IF YOU THOUGHT seriously about the library as a laboratory, as a place where people do things, where they make things?” asks Jeffrey Schnapp, addressing his “Library Test Kitchen” class. Libraries as centers of knowledge and learning have a rich history—but an uncharted future. The digital revolution, besides changing the nature of books, is transforming the role of libraries in preserving and disseminating information. “What if the Library of Congress were to become a digital library?” continues Schnapp. “What, then, is the role of the physical public library? This is a source of enormous anxiety at the local level because public libraries” face increasing political pressure, including budget cuts, but “play absolutely fundamental civic roles, often as the only public space that remains in smaller communities.”
Last fall, Schnapp, a professor of Romance languages and literatures who is deeply interested in design questions triggered by the digital revolution (see “The Humanities, Digitized” ), teamed up with then Ess professor of law John Palfrey (who chairs the steering committee of the national Digital Public Library of America project), to teach a seminar at the Graduate School of Design (GSD) exploring what form the library of the twenty-first century might take. The seminar was “both an attempt to get the design community interested” in this question, Schnapp says, and to have a “historically informed, design-driven conversation that was in dialogue with Harvard’s big, institution-wide conversation about the reorganization of its own library system” (see “Gutenberg 2.0”.)

The success of the fall seminar—two class-sponsored discussions drew more than a hundred people—led to a renewed incarnation as the “Library Test Kitchen” this spring, a “rapid prototyping studio” at the GSD. During the semester, students designed, built, and deployed novel devices and objects in an attempt to model the library of the future…

The future, sooner than expected

A report from the Association of American Publishers marks an important tipping point: last year for the first time ebook sales have exceeded hardcover book sales (in the US presumably).

Black day for poetry students

In Ireland, the secondary school Leaving Certificate exam is the only determinant for college placement so pressure is intense. This year, there was deep disappointment when Plath didn’t appear on the English paper.

A new search engine for students and academics

Scholrly, the self-described competition of Google Scholar, has just been launched in beta. Another tool for our students? Read about it here on Brian Mathews’s blog.

Digital History?

How well are we doing preserving things? Is there too much to be preserved? Who has the rights?

New Journal: The first issue of the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication published

This from the introduction to the first issue:

The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (JLSC) was founded to both recognize and embody this increasingly prominent role of libraries in shaping the future of scholarly communication. Recognize, in that we believe that scholarly communication librarianship has become a core service area for academic libraries, and is deserving of an intellectual home. The increase in seminars, articles and dedicated conferences—like the notable IMLS-funded Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success10 project—all demonstrate the growing interest in library scholarly communication initiatives, and the need for a dedicated venue for exchange. Embody, in that this is a journal published by an academic library, with an editorial board of library scholar-practitioners, devoted to open, free and flexible communication of knowledge in our field. And in the interest of keeping the channels of communication as open as possible, we also recognize that there are other stakeholders, such as publishers, technologists, and research funders, who play an integral role in determining the future of scholarly communication. Our profession is best served by engaging in honest dialogue with them, and we hope that the work we publish will reflect these types of discussions and collaborations.

Leslie Fields: archivist/detective

See what they found behind the fireplace at Mt Holyoke!

Google: our new partner in Info Lit

The following clipped from ProfHacker this morning; follow the link to see the embedded video:

‘Google Search Education’
May 22, 2012, 1:00 pm
By George Williams

Google’s search engine is a powerful and impressive tool for locating information online. Unfortunately for many students, the simplicity of the default search interface can lead to some pretty poor search habits and results. As I wrote in a previous post about Google’s efforts to provide information literacy resources, “it’s often a challenge (in my experience) not only to get students to search using something other than Google; it’s also difficult to teach them how to use Google effectively.”

In that previous post, I pointed readers to something Google was calling their “Search Education Evangelism” site, a resource designed to make it easier for instructors to teach information literacy. This week I received notice that Google has moved that resource to a new location, given it a different name, and updated the content.

The new site is called “Google Search Education.” As is often the case, Google has provided a short video overview of this information hub:

The information hub provides several different lesson plans (with a Creative Commons CC-BY license) for use in the classroom:

“Picking the right search terms”
“Understanding search results”
“Narrowing a search to get the best results”
“Searching for evidence for research tasks”
“Evaluating credibility of sources”

Each of the lesson plans is available in three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Although it appears that these resources are perhaps aimed at students in primary or secondary school, I’m pretty confident that this material would be helpful in my first-year writing courses.

How Apple stores do “customer service”

10 Things You Can Learn From the Apple Store

“The Apple Store teaches its employees to follow five steps in each and every interaction. These are called the Apple five steps of service. They are outlined by the acronym A-P-P-L-E. They are: Approach with a customized, warm greeting. Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs. Present a solution the customer can take home today. Listen for and address unresolved questions. End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.”