What's New in ITI's Other Publications
By Lauree Padgett
As the editorial services manager here at Information
Today, Inc. (ITI), I'm going to be peeking under the
covers, so to speak, of some of ITI's other magazines
and journals to periodically share interesting tidbits
with you. This month, I'll be looking at articles from
the current issues of Searcher, ONLINE,
and MultiMedia Schools, as well as two newsletters, Intranet
Professional and The CyberSkeptic's Guide.
The idea behind this column is that while you may not have
time to read all of ITI's other publications on a regular basis,
chances are there will be articles within each one that can offer
you a wide range of helpful information. So while it's pretty
darn cold here in February at the Medford, N.J., home office,
let's lift up the covers and see what we've got.
Throwing the Book at Plagiarism
As an information professional, you already know how the Internet
has blurred the lines between copyright infringement and acceptable
use. However, were you aware that the Internet has made plagiarism
all the more prevalent within education systems from grade school
If you're a parent or librarian, you might want to know how
Web sites are enticing kids to pass other people's research papers
off as their ownand what teachers and school administrators
are doing to fight back. According to the article "To Cheat or
Not to Cheat: A Rose by Any Other Name Would Still Smell a Cheat," by
Jackie Shane (The CyberSkeptic's Guide, February 2003,
p. 4), the going rate for a pre-written paper at one of the Web's "paper
mill" sites (Shane's Google search turned up 14 pages of URLs)
is $9.95 per page.
Of course, sometimes the Webmasters hate school so much they'll
provide papersfree of charge. One such site is Other People's
which has a warehouse of more than 45,000 papers free for the
taking. (The site does accept monetary donations, however.)
But all is not lost. The Web also has sites that provide plagiarism-detection
software, including Turnitin.com (http://turnitin.com/static/index.html) and
Studies have indicated that the fear of being caught through
the use of these detection sites is enough to keep some would-be
student plagiarizers from cheating.
Backing Up Your Memory
Anyone who suffers from data overload (i.e., most of the civilized
world) knows what it's like to forget an important date, such
as a big management meeting at the office, your significant other's
birthday, or your annual physical. Never fear. If PDAs and strategically
placed Post-it Notes are not enough, there's a new software program
you might want to buy. WinDates, produced by Rockin Software (http://www.rockinsoftware.com/index.html) and
reviewed in Sheri R. Lanza's Tools of the Trade column (Searcher,
February 2003, p. 61), is a calendar that automatically calculates
40 annual holidays, including those like Mother's Day and Easter
that fall on different dates each year.
Through an EventWizard, you can also enter in numerous events
such as birthdays and anniversaries and then choose how many
days in advance you want the date to appear on your calendar.
But wait, there's more. You can also program in an audible alarm.
While stopping short of yelling out, "Danger, Will Robinson!
Danger!" (sound effects, sans the robot from Lost in Space,
include a train, drum, bird, and howl), WinDates can make sure
you never miss an important date again.
Are you working on setting up an intranet for your company
or a client? Steve Arnold, a well-known information industry
consultant, gives some advice in "Ten Intranet Security Pitfalls
and How to Avoid Them" (Intranet Professional, January/February
2003, p. 1). This article outlines the most at-risk areas for
intranet security breaches. He says:
The security for the intranet often focuses on information,
content control, and access security. The operating system and
network devices must be given equal attention. It comes as a
surprise to many managers that an intranet raises more issues
dealing with browser-related security and access to information
on certain machines....
Anyone probing an organization's security quickly discovers
that whenthe intranet connects to the Internet, additional security
issues surface. These include users inadvertently allowing a
virus to infect the intranet as well as hackers who obtain access
to data that the organization views as proprietary. Wireless
access adds yet another level of complexity. System administrators
must treat each wireless accesspoint with the same care given
a network server.
The 10 specific pitfalls Arnold addresses within the article
are encryption, access control, passwords, content publishing
and management, firewall setup, remote access, e-mail management,
viruses and rogue code, standard software, and the security audit.
Online information can be difficult to gather, especially for
people who aren't tapped into the Internet 24/7. For users who
know where to go and how to get it, teaching others their tricks
of the trade isn't always a simple process either.
Thomas Pack's "Fiddling with the Internet Dials: Understanding
Usability" (ONLINE, March/April 2003, p. 36) looks at
ways in which content providers can make it less difficult for
people to work with online information. In the article, Jakob
Nielsen, principal of the Nielsen Norman Group, defines usability
as a way "to help humans overcome technology and make it easy
and efficient and pleasant for them to use."
Nielsen contends that while information types can be quite
different and serve different purposes, once a person has learned
one way of doing a task, it becomes easier to use the process
the same way in other interfaces. This in a nutshell is the principle
of consistency: Using different technologies doesn't mean the
learning process has to be different.
"If you have to learn things only once and then you can do them
the same way everywhere, that dramatically lowers the learning
barrier. And that's fundamental," Nielsen maintains. "It's not
dependent on the specific technology we're using today versus
10 years ago. It's not dependent on whether we're using mainframes
or PCs or Web sites or cell phones."
Would You Like Information Processing with That?
Companies that are trying to become technologically versed
are facing the same kinds of growing pains and adaptation struggles
as the nation's schools. From an educational standpoint, the
biggest issue seems to be how to transform teachers into competent
users so they can in turn pave the way for students to become
literate in all available technologies.
Within an office infrastructure, the roles of teacher and student
may not be as obvious, but the goal to attain optimum literacy
for allwhether for the new employee or seasoned veteranis
much the same. The question becomes how to define this new kind
of literacy, and then, how to attain it.
In her article "Contemporary Literacy: Essential Skills for
the 21st Century" (MultiMedia Schools, March/April 2003,
p. 18), Janet Murray notes that economic forecasters and business
analysts are predicting that jobs in the 21st century will require
information-processing skills. Within school systems, this means
that the standard three "R's"reading, writing, and 'rithmeticare
being greatly expanded. A multitude of literacy connotations
now exist: visual literacy, media literacy, textual literacy,
numerical literacy, technology literacy, and network literacy.
Murray writes: "In each case ... the word 'literacy' ... suggest[s]
a complex of skills, including analysis, evaluation, synthesis,
and application. Merely teaching reading and writing is no longer
sufficient, although those are certainly the foundational skills
upon which all other literacies are built."
Well, it's getting late and I'm getting a bit cold with the
covers off, so I'm going to call this inaugural column a "wrap." Between
now and next month, you can be sure I'll be keeping my copy editor's
eye out for more useful and thought-provoking selections to highlight
from the various ITI offerings.
Read a Good Book Lately? $25
for Your Thoughts!
Information Today to Premiere "Reader's
Information Today will pay $25 for your honest
recommendation on any title of interest to professional
information users. So if you just put down a good book
and would like to recommend it to your fellow readers,
drop us an e-mail with the details (title, author, publisher
name, number of pages, and ISBN) and your 100-word recommendation.
If selected for publication, your review will be included
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bucks in your pocket.
Publishers, please send us your book announcements
and sample copies for inclusion in our New Releases section,
which is also coming soon.
(All submissions become the property of Information Today,
Lauree Padgett is Information
Today, Inc.'s manager of editorial services. Her e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.