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[Fwd: 'News for Nov 28th']

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Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
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From: icsti <icsti@DIAL.OLEANE.COM>
Subject: 'News for Nov 28th'
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Comments: cc: bcarroll@infointl.com, gailhodge@aol.com, kjohnson@infointl.com

1.How vulnerable are we??

Telephone companies from Singapore and Indonesia scrambled on Nov 21 to
repair a break in an undersea telecommunications cable that led to major
Internet traffic jams for millions of users across the globe. The
SEA-ME-WE 3 cable was cut between Singapore and Jakarta. The 38,000 km
(23,600 miles) cable links Australia, Asia and Europe and is one of the
world's busiest Internet cables.
Telstra Corp Ltd, Australia's biggest Internet provider, lost 65 percent
of its international capacity. According to local reports the telephone
network seized up in places because access to the Net was unavailable.
Telstra posted a notice on its website warning customers of long delays
due to the disruption to its "Australian backbone".
Just shows how vulnerable we can become, seems strange to me that a
telecom company would rely to such an extent on one channel. Maybe it is
an indication of the downside of de-regulation, competition is so strong
that you cannot afford to invest in 'just in case'  backup facilities.

2.Thomson plans net university

The London Financial Times reported on Nov 23 that Universitas 21 (U21),
an international network of universities, plans a partnership with
Thomson, the Canadian electronic publishing group, to set up a global
online "e-university". U21, whose 18 universities cover ten countries
and have a combined operating budget of $10bn, was founded in 1997.
Thomson and U21 are understood to be investing tens of millions of
dollars in the venture - one of the first attempts to build a large
distance learning institution that can award degrees, outside the US.
The joint venture plans to produce curricula and courses for the higher
education field.
Other e-university ventures are underway, including a 400m ($568m)
project backed by the UK government which is attempting to enlist
support from universities, companies and overseas partners.
Members of U21 include the UK universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham,
Glasgow and Nottingham; Lund in Sweden, Freiburg in Germany, Michigan in
the US; McGill, British Columbia, and Toronto in Canada; plus Melbourne,
New South Wales, Queensland, Auckland, Singapore, Peking and Hong Kong,
employing 44,000 academics and researchers. Talks are underway to expand
the network, possibly to a maximum of 25 universities, further US
representation is likely. The secretariat is held at the moment by the
University of Melbourne. http://www.universitas.edu.au

Is this another example of the shape of things to come. If this takes
off then the next phase might include access to databases and journals
as part of the package, at discount rates. If there are x thousand
students on the courses around the world getting discounted access what
does it mean for library access to these products?

3.A strange case

At this site: http://www.lisnews.com/article.php3?sid=20001126121407  I
found the following:

"In 1988 Henry H. Barschall did a study that found non-profit
society-based journals offered work  equal to or better than commercial
journals, and are cheaper. Commercial publisher Gordon &  Breach didn't
like what was said, and filed suite. Gordon & Breach has now spent
millions of  dollars and eleven years pressing a false-advertising claim
against two non-profit competitors"
Comments are invited to the following question:
Has pursuing a course of continuous litigation against both the
scientific and the academic library communities hurt business for G&B's
journals?
I have never heard of this case, is anybody aware of it?? If so, is it
serious??

Bye,
Barry

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