Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Computer usage can be a serious health risk for everyone

Ijose, Adetutu. Computer usage can be a serious health risk for everyone. Alternative Health Journal, published : July 09, 2009
Abstract :

Much have been said about the advantages of using computers. It makes people's work faster and a lot easier. But, most of the people using computers are unaware of the serious health risks brought by its unnatural nature. Unnatural as looking directly to a source of light we are not created to look at. There is a considerable amount of information about health concerns on computer use, this article tends to identify, manage, minimize and treat computer related health conditions.

Three (3) things I learned :

1. Computer use by nature generates chemical and electrical imbalances and other stresses. Disorders develop over time and can be easily misdiagnosed.

2. Too much computer exposure may hinder learning (MacDonald, 2004) based on a study involving 175, 000, 15-year old students in 31 countries. The study observed that performance of students in math and reading had suffered for students with more than one computer at home.

3. Two decades of computer use could result to "computer burnout" that eventually could lead to serious complications if not diagnosed and treated immediately.

Reflections :

Computers exposed us to an artificial environment. The computer use environment makes us look directly at a source of light which is contrary to our natural way of never looking directly at the sun. So artificial that it goes beyond our natural well-being. But what really struck me is the idea of having a 'computer burnout'. That 10 years from now (counting my first computer hands-on), I will be experiencing negative health consequences due to the dangers of computer exposure. It is also not always true to say that computers help students improved on their school performance, a study shows it could actually harm students. The use of computers has its pros and cons. With health being the major issue here, people should minimize the risks of overexposure to computer environment. It is quiet alarming if computers continue to be as harmful as it is right now and if it does, people should have a valid reason to be scared of. Heard of some manufacturers taking extra measures on production and on some agencies working on standards to minimize the negative effects of computer use. Computer related diseases are also on the radar of medical practitioners. These are good developments to address the current situation. Given the current situation experienced by people using computers and the call for a health hazard free computer environment, the best way to avoid the consequences is the prevent it from happening that is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Philippine Rules on Electronic Evidence : An Outline

Soriano, Jaime N. The Philippine Rules on Electronic Evidence : An Outline. The Philippine Quarterly IT Law Journal 1(1), p. 7-8.

Abstract :

The Philippine Supreme Court approved the Rules on Electronic Evidence on July 20, 2001 in accordance with Republic Act No. 8792 otherwise known as the e-Commerce Act of 2000. It initially applies to civil, quasi-judicial and administrative proceedings and was revised to cover criminal cases on October 2002. This article outlined the Rules in aid of the viewing public citing a concrete example on using electronic evidence in court cases.

Three (3) things I learned: 

1. Electronic evidence is admissible in evidence provided it is competent, relevant and can be authenticated.
2. To determine the evidentiary weight of electronic documents it is important to factor in the reliability of how the document is generated, stored and communicated and the integrity of the information and communication system.
3. Ephemeral electronic evidence such as telephone conversation, text messages, chat sessions, streaming audio and video if recorded shall be proven as an electronic evidence.

Reflections :
It is clearly stated that the Philippines has it's Rules on Electronic Evidence in place 8 years ago. Although not directly stated, the Philippine Judicial System did acknowledged the complexity of information technology and the significance of electronic documents as applied to court litigations. Such rules however provided major issues on the reliability and the aunthenticity of documents and the information it contains. Taking advantage of the complex technology offered nowadays, electronic documents by all means could be changed and altered and used as evidence to prove allegations to the point of making false accusations and unjust judgment. Electronic documents without electronic signatures and proper authentication will have no credit on court cases. With such issues and the continuing struggles of some people deprived of justice, electronic evidence could also be an avenue to enhance the divisions between the rich and the poor. With the rich having the resources and the poor with nothing to offer. Electronic evidence should serve its purpose. It should be used as a tool for justice and for the truth.  
Note : A major implication of the Rules to the Philippine Judicial System is the creation of the Supreme Court E-Library.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Authors and Open Access Publishing

Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown. Authors and Open Access Publishing. Learned Publishing(2004) 17, p. 219-224

Abstract :

There are two(2) ways in which authors can provide open access to their work : 1) by publishing in open access journal and 2) by depositing their traditional journal articles in eprint archives (self-archiving). This article is a survey carried out to learn more about authors and open access publishing. It is a study conducted to measure the awareness of authors on open access publishing, their experiences and opinions. A comparative survey between OA and NOA authors constitute the findings of the study. Author's awareness of OA publishing, reasons for publishing and not publishing in OA journals, concerns about publishing, and other related views were discussed by the article.

Three(3) things I learned :

1. Awareness of authors on Open Access Publishing is growing.
2. Open Access Authors major reason of publishing is the principle of free access. Other reasons include the perception of a faster publication as compared to traditional journals, large readership and frequent citations of work. NOA authors on the other hand are unfamiliar with any suitable open access journals in their field.
3. Self-archiving is another option to achieve open access to results. Arhives however are not growing and filling as they might. Reasons cited are the author's inertia that includes journal impact factor scores and publication fees, anxiety about the technical aspects of depositing the article in an eprint archive, quality issues, intellectual property rights and copyright infringement.

Reflections :

The use of open access technology in publishing received opposing views from authors using it and from traditional publishing authors. Both have valid views on the concept, but if we look beyond these views, we could somehow see the real picture of the real issues sorrounding the non-adoption of open access publishing by other authors. The real barrier would be author's resistance to the technology seen as a cultural problem that will need to be overcome by education and persuasion. The adoption of open access publishing by authors would be beneficial to researchers and information users. Much more to developing countries considered as primary importers of information. Librarians could also benefit more from open access sources. It is a value added service to their library users. It is about time to embrace the technology of open access publishing considering its vital role to research communities, research funders, scholarly publishers and later to the public.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Library hop : a trip to the IRRI Library - where rice literature reign supreme

The idea of having a class fieldtrip excites me for various reasons. Aside from the fact that it would be a great learning experience, i consider it as the best way to explore new places, meet new friends and a breath of fresh air from the crowded and busy city life. The trip to IRRI Library is primarily educational coupled with side and food trips. That is, dissecting the Millenium - the library's information system while indulging into the taste of liempo and original buko pie.

Considered by many as a benchmark of what a library could offer, The IRRI Library that was established to support the organization's need for information on agricultural research specifically on rice-farming could also be the epitome of a modern information center. It maximizes the use of latest technologies and adopts current trends in library practice. It's integrated library system - the Millenium ILS is considered one of the best. With a global clientele and a worldwide coverage, the Library offers bibliographic and full-text information online through its website integrating the main catalog, rice databases, E-journals, Electronic Resources, and other online databases with its main library services from basic library loans to document deliveries. The system however is too costly to maintain for an institution dependent on donor countries and agencies. It has also provisions on digitizing its collection. Declining budget also hinders the library from acquiring materials and maintaining online subscriptions, thus librarians resorted to open access sources for journal articles, soliciting materials from originating institutions and availing free information sources found on the internet. They also avail Web 2.0 technologies to promote the library's collection and latest activities - a blog to update everybody of what's new in the IRRI Library. It is a step to further enhance to library's visibility and value to users. With its rich collection of rice literature that is being considered the largest in the world, there is an affirmation that it is undoubtedly one of the best. It is however quite alarming that it's strength is not invincible to global downfall. Just like any other libraries, it follows the trend of a declining support leading to a declining value, and a declining is considered a major threat to librarians. I could only wish for its continuous operation and service and could only hope of good things for librarians in the future. Hmmnnn, it's too serious. Maybe I'm just hungry by then...or I just want to explore Los Banos at its best.
The wacky part of the fieldtrip - indulging into a feast of liempo, seafoods, rambutan and buko pie with photo shoots in between - for social networking. Besides, flicker and facebook are Web 2.0 technologies, so it make sense. The group's word of the day - LIEMPO. It was an awesome experience. Objectives were met. The group enjoyed it. We could only complain on the butt cramps we had on our trip back to Manila. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

The IFLA Internet Manifesto

This Manifesto was prepared by IFLA/FAIFE. Approved by the Governing Board of IFLA27 March 2002, The Hague, Netherlands.
Proclaimed by IFLA 1 May 2002.
Adopted unanimously without dissent or abstentions on Council meeting of the 68th IFLA General Conference and Council, August 23rd 2002, Glasgow, Scotland

Abstract :

The adoption of the IFLA Internet Manifesto signifies the ongoing movement towards unhindered access to information which is vital to achieving equality and peace, freedom and global understanding. Intellectual freedom, freedom to access of information, unhindered access to the internet by libraries and removal of barriers to the flow of information are major assertions of the IFLA Manifesto. Likewise, the interconnectivity of Freedom of Access to Information, the Internet and Libraries and Information Services and the Principles of Freedom of Access to Information via the Internet are covered by the manifesto enabling the libraries to give services provided by the internet with the responsibility of providing access to quality information. For the implementation of the manifesto, IFLA encourages the support of international community, the national governments and the library community.

Three(3) Things I Learned from Reading the Manifesto :

1. The IFLA Internet Manifesto recognizes the internet as a valuable source of information and libraries and librarians as agents of access with the former as the institution the connects people and the latter as the information services provider.
2. Access to the internet should be consistent with The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights on principles of freedom of access to information.
3. There is a unanimous call to implement the Manifesto globally as featured on the IFLA website listing the manifesto in different languages.

Reflections :

The IFLA Internet Manifesto clearly signifies the individuals' right to freedom of opinion and expression that includes the freedom to search, acquire and disseminate ideas and information through any forms of communication. The Internet is a global communication tool and a universal access to information, thus access to it should be free. I would agree that the Manifesto celebrates equality and global understanding, a weapon to minimize digital divide. A big boost to Open Access movements. It validates the importance of libraries and librarians in the provision of quality information from the Internet through responsible information services and at the same time emphasizes that importance of the individual's privacy. The general approach of the manifesto is its own strength for easy implementation. It is ideal and universal. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is open access?

Bailey, Charles W. Jr., (2006). What is open access? [Electronic version]. This paper appeared in: Jacobs, Neil, ed. Open Access : Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects. Oxford : Chandos Publishing, 2006.

Abstract :

Open access has been defined several times in various ways. The concept is evolving as the technology became more popular to scholars and movements aimed at developing knowledge through unlimited access to scholarly literature for free without financial, legal or technical restrictions. The article encompasses the evolution of Open Access definition based on the historical accounts of existing movements supporting the notion. Self-archiving and Open Access Journals were recommended as strategies to achieve open access to scholarly literature. Whereas, self-archiving strategies covers the Author's Personal Website, Disciplinary Archives, Institutional-Unit Archives and Institutional Repositories. The paper also gave emphasis on the characteristics of Open Access Journal and labeled the following major types of open access journal publishers: born-OA Publishers, Conventional Publishers, Non-Traditional Publishers. The open access movement believes that it can answer the critical questions of scholarly information access and that they are not interested on reforming the existing scholarly information system, but on transforming it so that it can function effectively in the rapidly changing technological environment.

Three (3) things i learned from reading the article :

1. The evolution of Open Access definition from the Budapest Open Access Initiatives, the Bethesda Statement, and Berlin Declaration. The BBB definition collectively implicates the removal of both price and permission barriers to scholarly literature access.

2. There are two(2) complementary strategies to achieve open access to scholarly journal literature coined as the Green and Gold Road to open access : Self-archiving and Open Access Journals

3. The difference of preprints, postprints and e-prints terms in digital publishing. Preprints are draft versions of articles that have not undergone peer-review or editorial review and modification. Postprints are final published versions of the articles. Both digital preprints and postprints are called e-prints.

Reflections :

The foundation of the movements supporting the notion of an open access system lies on the clamor that access to scholarly information is vital to the development of knowledge in the society. There is an ongoing dilemma of people on the access of specialized literature which is further associated by others as an implication of the so-called digital divide. Open access maybe defined in various ways but there exist a collective notion of using it as a tool to address access difficulties of scholars and learning institutions to scholarly literature. It is an attempt to make these literatures available to the public without legal restrictions to facilitate knowledge acquisition. At present, universities and other institutions have acknowledged the importance of open access by simply putting links on there library websites (UP Main Library, Philippine Elib). It has been tagged as the future of digital publishing and the evolution of information. With limited access to online databases due to license restrictions, i found myself benefiting from the technology of open access. I found it useful for my RA's and later for my research activities. It may not be as comprehensive as the subscribed online databases but it could be a good alternative or even a replacement to the former. Some may consider it as a threat to the existing communication system, a revolution and not an evolution to information. With the people craving for free access to information, open access could be a threat and could be an agent to an information revolution.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Developing countries and copyright in the information age

Pistorius, T. Developing countries and copyright in the information age : the functional equivalent implementation of the WCT. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 9(2), p. 1-27, 2006

Abstract :

The internet is tagged as the "world's biggest copy machine". With this description, the internet and digital technology provides opportunities and pose threats to public and private interests in intellectual property rights. This paper introduces the functions and implementations of existing copyright laws worldwide as applied to developing countries. The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) provides for the protection against the circumvension of technological protection measures applied to works protected by copyright. The paper discusses strong points on the legislative responses to the digital media and on the technology measures on the implementation of the WCT. It provided views on the implementation of the WCT, the impact of technological protection measures and the functional equivalent of WCT on developing countries. It has also provisions on trends on copyright law and also made critical reviews of the laws governing the digital world. The paper concluded with the recommendation that the rights of owner's and users should be functionally equivalent irrespective of the media embodiment and that the balance between private and public rights maybe restored if a functional equivalent approach will be adopted.
Three (3) things i learned from reading the article :
1. Current trends in copyright law have upset the balance between the copyright owner's rights and public interest. Issues arise between the copyright owner's rights to impose technologies to prevent unauthorized use of their works and the legitimate rights of users to access such works.
2. Technological protection measures give authors complete control over the market for their works and sometimes become abusive. The pay per use mechanism limits the access to information which is an argument to copyright protection which should encourage the publication of works and should later enhance the society's level of knowledge.
3. Implementation of WCT and anti-circumvention provisions in developed countries disturbed the copyright balanced and has upset the equilibrium between private and public rights. The trend is harmful to developing countries as net importers of information products.
Reflections : 
The article encompasses an overview of current copyright laws existing worldwide. Copyright laws that are drafted not just to protect the rights of the copyright owners but also the rights of the public to access knowledge. However, with the emerging technological advances in the information world, these laws become agents of protectionism and commercialism. Developed countries made law provisions that will only benefit the owner's rights with the public being deprived of their rights to knowledge acquisition. It is also viewed as an implication of the great divide. It enhances the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the developed and the developing nations. The developed countries being the exporter of the information and the developing countries as net importers. The WCT is conceptualized to balance these rights but in the long end, it became a tool for abusive authorities. Other applications does not provide exceptions to academic and research use of copyright materials. Rights should be balance and not dependent on the media format. It should work well for the author and the public interests.
As an information professional, I believe that knowledge plays an important role to the development of an individual and the society. Depriving the public of access to the right information is by all means hindering their growth as individuals. Copyright laws is playing a crucial role in the information society. The abusive side of these laws will favor the commercial use of information that is making money out of it. Although not as evident, libraries are experiencing this abusive side. Libraries are being pushed to avail of a costly information on a pay per use idea from subcriptions of online databases. Owner's have full control on the materials and could demand payments after the ending of contracts. It is logical but it is often harsh to academic institutions. Earning and learning should be balance, and the only way to attain the equilibrium is to make the copyright laws objective enough to balance the private and public rights.