Monday, March 22, 2010

Proposals for Australian Research Publishing

This is to propose the Australian Computer Society (ACS) use its ACS Digital Library for free open source publishing of research material. The existing journals and conference publications should be incorporated into the library, made freely available and in paper format by subscription. The aim should be to make the publications profitable and self sustaining, so that new publications can be created. While I have previously been director of publications and chair of the ACS scholarly publications committee, these views are expressed as an ordinary member of the ACS.

ACS Publishing Background

The ACS produces three research publications:

  1. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT),
  2. Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS),
  3. Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology (JRPIT) .

These are available online as free open source publications, via the ACS Digital Library. JRPIT is the oldest of these, having been created in 2000 by renaming the Australian Computer Journal, which had been published by the Australian Computer Society continuously since November 1967 (making it one of the oldest computer journals in the world).

These publications are all peer reviewed, so as to meet standards for academic publishing. However, they try to maintain a balance between articles that are of interest both to practising information technology professionals and to university and industry researchers. In particular, ACS has encouraged papers that report on activities that have successfully connected fundamental and applied research with practical application. Some publications have more emphasis on emerging research and others on professional practice.

Current production processes

While the publications are available via a digital library, only AJIS has all papers indexed in the library and is created using the library software. JRPIT and CRPIT are developed and indexed using separate production processes and software. JRPIT is provided on paper free to members on request and to subscribers. CRPIT is provided in bulk on paper to the relevant conference for distribution to delegates and by subscription.

During my term as Director of Publications and chair of scholarly publishing, web sites were set up for JPRIT and then for the newly established CRPIT. The designs of these publications were standardised, with the aim of using the same online support system later and being able to use print-on-demand for paper copies. Later the ACS digital library was created using the open source Open Journal Systems (OJS) software. The aim was to have all the publications placed in the library. AJIS was the first, and so far only, publication in the library. In 2006 I described the process to provide "Quality e-Publishing Support for the ICT Profession" at several events.

Later the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) expressed interest in having a digital library. For the ACS I cloned the ACS DL, using the same OJS software to create the IFIP Digital Library. After configuring OJS for IFIP, I handed over maintenance of the system to the Australian National University, under contract to the ACS.

Problems with the current process

Production of JRPIT is time consuming and expensive. Currently the production process of requesting reviews and producing papers is done manually. In addition paper production is done via traditional, production processes. CRPIT is less of a problem, as the editorial process is carried out by the conference organisers and there is bespoke software to handle online distribution. AJIS is produced using the OJS software used for the ACS Digital Library, but suffers from limited support as this is the only journal using the system.

Some Publishing Insights

After several years experimenting with publishing systems, teaching it to students at the ANU, and implementing systems for ACS, several points have become reasonably clear:

  1. Journals and conferences can use the same process: While journals and conferences have different aims, the academic papers published from the look very much the same and be produced and distributed using the same online support system. The developers of OJS modified it to produce Online Conference Systems (OCS). But for an organisation producing a series of conference publications (not just one), each conference can be treated essentially as a journal volume. For this reason I chose to use OJS to support the IFIP DL, even though it contains conference proceedings, not journals.
  2. Administration costs can be lowered with automation: Much of the time an effort with publishing is taken up with keeping track of drafts and reviewers comments. This process has been automated by the OJS software and saves a lot of time and effort, especially where this work has been done by volunteers or scarce academic staff. The automated system produces a better result, never forgetting to remind an author, or reviewer that their material is due and keeping track of their response times.
  3. No one cares about paper: There is no requirement to produce paper publications in order to meet academic standards. The standards are based on the content, not what format they are in. It is useful to have paper copies of publications available for marketing purposes and for those who want them. But when shown the cost of paper production, most people opt for an electronic copy. In practice you only need one paper copy to show people it is a real publication, they will then happily use the cheaper electronic version.
  4. Open Access works: Making publications freely avialable considerably increases the readership of the material.
  5. Location Doesn't Matter: Producing "Australian" publications in the online age makes little sense. People from around the world are happy to publish in JRPIT. With the advent of online conferences, they will be happy to take part. What matters is the reputation of the editorial team, the timeliness and rapid production of the publication.
  6. You can sell and give away the same thing: Professional organisations do not aim to make money from their publications, but can aim to at least cover costs. It is possible to give away publications online and still sell paper copies and special compilations. Also academic conferences publishing provides a useful "author pays" model.

Proposed solution: use online production and distribution

  1. Retain current publications, with current names and editorial policies,
  2. Lower the cost by using the ACS Digital Library for production of JRPIT and CRPIT (as is done by AJIS),
  3. Cancel free paper distribution to members of JRPIT,
  4. Retain paper distribution to subscribers of JRPIT and CRPIT, (increasing the charges, if needed to cover the cost)
  5. Introduce POD (Print on Demand) to allow automated sales of one off copies of any of the publications.
  6. Investigate ebook formats for distribution of publications.
  7. Investigate electronic conferences, where delegates provide a podcast presentation and enter into an online discussion, instead of meeting in person. The OJS system already supports includsion of multimedia material, but its discussion facilitites may need suplimenting with something like the Mahara system used for ACS education.
ACS can first transfer JRPIT over to the production process used by AJIS, then CRPIT and lastly consider the development of new publications. This will require enhancements to the current system.

On a recent visit to Australia, Richard Charkin (Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing, London) pointed out that academic publishing had traditionally been very profitable and argued that it still could be. Richard also showed how Bloomsbury was now providing free online copies of academic books, as well as selling paper copies. Therefore I suggest ACS aim to make scholarly publishing self sustaining and profitable by 2015.

There may also be the opportunity for support from the Australian Government. As the Minister for Education has pointed out, education is now Australia’s third largest source of overseas earnings, at $15.5 billion in 2008 and supporting 125,000 jobs. Australia's ability to attract students is, in part, dependent on being seen as a place where there is excellence in research, particularly in the technical disciplines popular with the Indian and Chinese markets. Having both technical and professional papers published online and accessible from the computer screen of people in India and China (and published in by people in India and China) will help keep Australian educators credible.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Publishing round table National Library of Australia

Greetings from the National Library of Australia. Colin Steele organised a round table with Richard Charkin, Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing, London. There were 26 people present, about one third from the library, a third from the ANU and the rest from federal government agencies and universities.

Richard, who I met in the library's cafe on the way in, is talking at forums in Melbourne and Sydney. Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research talked at the forum yesterday. In his speech "THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION: PUBLISHING IN THE 21ST CENTURY". He announced a book industry support group. The group has not been set up and its composition and role is unclear. Richard commented that the Minister seemed to be making it up as he was speaking.

Richard talked about Bloomsbury's role in publishing educational and scientific materials with "
Bloomsbury Academic". He talked about the tradition business model of publishing, with the separate roles of publishers and book stores. Publishers became more specialised an online delivery became available twenty years ago with Dialog and the like. There were also early CD-ROM books, such as the BBC Domesday Project. The point of this was that e-publishing is not new. One example was the spell check program based on a traditional paper dictionary. One large e-publishing effort was the Oxford English Dictionary.

Large digital scholarly publishing started around 1993 and was largely complete in five years. Scientific journals were traditionally published as a record: to be written, not read. Computer based systems allow the material to be easily searched. The science publisher's staff were scientifically trained and so comfortable with computers. Because the publisher had rights to re-purpose the material allowed for new databases, which Richard argued was a good thing (although in other ways publishers may have too much power). The last link in the chain were the university librarians, who were comfortable with digital materials.

Richard commented that scientific publishing has been very profitable for hundreds of years. The profit was an enabler for digitising publishing. Also university library budgets for subscriptions is a source of funds. He claimed that scientific publishing is now 99% digital. For leading journals, such as "Nature" all submissions are now digital. The print journal is now a sideline.

Book publishers are now being sucked into the maelstrom of electronic publishing. Book publishing is incredibly complicated (something I discovered recently with my new book "
Green Technology Strategies").

Unlike scientific papers, format matters for scholarly books and there are many different complex formats. The rights to books are very complex, with rights for different territories and in different languages. Some of the rights are unclear, as for example, is Hong Kong an "Open Market". A publisher might have the paper rights, but not digital rights, or may have the rights, but have agreed a royalty. This makes the metadata for the rights difficult to encode. Calculating royalties can be difficult when the book is available in different formats and modes, such as subscription.

Richard commented that the fear of book piracy may be more of an issue than piracy itself. There is also a fear of e-book sales cannibalising paper book sales. He also commented on the Macmillan verses pricing issue. With
Amazon Kindle e-books, he commented that the commercial arrangements were confidential (I see this as similar to software licences).

Richard said that many Kindle book sales are to regional areas and less developed nations. He speculated this was a new market of people who previously had difficulty getting access to books. There is a large market for English language books outside English speaking countries. I assume this is particularly the case for technical and scientific works, where English is the language of the discipline (such as Computer Science).

There are frustrations and delays with e-publishing still. This will require new systems and clarification of rights. Richard used the example of the Kindle edition of my book of what is possible, which took only 12 hours to be distributed.

There is needed a new emphasis on marketing of material. Also global agreements on copyright is needed. Richard argued copyright is workable and Creative Commons is an example of how it can be adapted to new needs.

He suggested that academic publishers need to de-specialise, so they find a new wider market.

Post Harry Potter, Richard decided to build Bloomsbury's academic publishing, with
Bloomsbury Academic. He commented that a fiction book goes through 25 intermediaries before publishing, making it difficult to make a profit. The academic publishing process has many fewer steps.

Net Neutrality by Christopher MarsdenBloomsbury set up " Bloomsbury Academic" which has adopted the Creative Commons licence, with "vanilla text" versions online for free, as well as selling e-book and print editions. I was surprised that a credible publisher had taken this innovative step and more surprised that I had not heard about it. I had a quick browse and found at least one book of interest ("Net Neutrality" by Christopher Marsden). But Bloomsbury need to improve their web site, as I could not find a web page about the book. He aims to publish a few hundred titles in five years, an at least break even. He accepts that this new initiative will not appeal to academic authors as much as prestige publishers, but will be attractive as the books will be much widely read and have the potential to become popular. The production process has traditional editors and quality controls.

The floor was then open for questions.

The first question was about Print On Demand (POD), such as the
Espresso Book Machine at University Bookshop and Melbourne University Library. Like me, Richard has doubts about the current machines, but they have potential for the near future (next year or so). Someone then commented that US publishers don't allow POD outside the US, because the US market is so large in itself and they do not have to try too hard. Richard also commented that due to the "thirty day rule" many books are now printed in Australia (unfortunately I could not find a web pages explaining the 30 day rule).

The next question was about markets and demographics. Ricahrd commented there was little science in trade publishing and it as more a matter of passion and reading the book. It occurred to me that the sort of data you get from web sites using tools like Google Analytics could be of use.

The next question was about the ability to produce large print books on demand. It was commented that this was very useful, but expensive from
Amazon POD (but an exclusive arrangement will not be used). I produced a large print edition of my latest book, simply by increasing the paper size. he Apple iPad also got a positive mention.

The next question was composite textbooks, made from chapters out of different works. Richard responded that US style textbooks are an outdated "Oldsmobile 1996" style of working, with a long production time and large costs. He doesn't think "chunking" (taking chapters from different works) is an interesting approach. The lecturer's notes are more interesting. Textbooks are bought by students in shops, whereas digital materials are bought by libraries. He suggested university libraries might buy a e-textbook site licence and then obtain reimbursement from students. Last year at ANU I selected an e-textbook available through the library for COMP2410 and this worked fine (we aren't charging the students extra for this).

The next question was why English and Dutch academic paper publishers think they can make money, but others can't. Richard's reply was that if you subsidise the publishing it will never make money. He argued that academic publishing can make money and university should not subsidise their presses.

One question was why aren't students demanding e-textbooks? One comment was that the text is no integrated into the course and students may never read the text, electronic or on paper. Richard replied that teaching English was producing the most sophisticated e-learning systems. Another comment was that the Australian Government's new publishing intuitive did not include educational institutions, who are a large source of the content, as well as consumers. It occurred to me that the e-learning initiatives funded by the federal education department for universities (
Education Network Australia: edna ) and TAFEs (Australian Flexible Learning Framework) could be usefully combined with the publishing initiative.

Richard commented that "printers" were not now seen as a significant part of the publishing business, but with POD this could become important again: "desperate industries tend to be ahead of the curve".

Another comment was about "Learn on Demand" rather than "Print on Demand". Students want to be able to select components of courses and texts in different formats as required. It seems a shame that the publishing people in this room did not know about all the excellent work being done on exactly this by people who probly a few doors down the corridor from them.

Richard expressed doubts that Google Books would earn significant advertising revenue and was likely done out of idealism. I am trying it out, by making my book avialable on Google Books.

One person commented that academic publishing online was still largely in the format of traditional books. Also better measures than citation index was needed. It occurs to me that some of the sophisticated measures available to web publishers could be applied.

Richard commented that the business model for Apple iPad was still not clear. He also amusingly commented that the market for e-books did not seem to be mobile younger business people as expected, but actually older people who wanted to read in bed without disturbing their partner. He also commented that the limiting factor in selling books was bookshelf space at home and there may be more shelf space in India (haing seen the book store at Bandglore airport and the public library in Panjim, Goa, I can agree). There were also comments about the iPad and Knidle being too big. In 1996 I predicted a
passport size (b7) PADD device, much like the Apple iPad.

There was then a discussion of the disposable nature of mass market paperbacks, particuarly romance novels.

Richard said how he saw no books in the canteen of the British Library, only laptops. He also said how good the canteen is. This I found surprising, as on my one and only visit as a reader at the BL, I found the food at the cafe very poor (along with the poor state of maintenace of the technology in the BL, poor customer relations and poor building design).

There was then a discussion of how quickly books go out of print and general agreement that e-publishing would eliminate this.

Richard asked if books could be e-published in 12 hours, why couldn't peer review be made faster. In fact with electronic support for publishing, this can be done. The systems automatically track how ling reviewers are taking, send them reminders and monitor their performance.

One comment was that books only count slightly more than journal articles for the Australian research ranking system. So a smart academic will chop their book into about five papers to maximise their ranking.

I commented that my e-learning course ended up being a printed book as well. Richard replied that several initiatives at Nature which started out purely electronic later produced print versions which were popular.

One audience member asked that if the academic author does all the production work, then what is the publisher for? Richard responded that authors always feel there publishers are not doing enough, but they do provide production, marketing and distribution services, as well as "love". One of the audience commented that the film industry has a different arrangement. It occurred to me that the modern publisher is more like a holywood studio, which actually does little of the film production.

Bloomsbury created for the
Qatar government. Also is creating Bloomsbury Qatar Publishing Foundation for publishing educational materials and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (couldn't find their web site) to do institutional repository with open access for Education City's research output. These are non profit actives established by Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned (موزة بنت ناصر المسند‎), chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Green Technology Strategies in National Library Archive

The web version of my book "Green Technology Strategies" has been selected by the National Library of Australia for long-term preservation in the PANDORA Archive of online publications by Australian authors. Unfortunately they used the e-book ISBN which is for the PDF version (this has been removed). I didn't have an ISB issued for the web version.

Also the catalogue entry says "Only available online" which is misleading as the book is also avialable hardcover, paperback and PDF e-Book. The NLA have still not catalogued the printed version of the book after a month.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Print on Demand Books for Libraries in Australia

In looking to solve my problems with Print on Demand (POD) for my book "Green Technology Strategies" I discovered some Australian connections. LuLu prints books in Australia and the National Library of Australia buys them.

One aspect of POD which worried me was that if the books are printed overseas, then there will be a high environmental cost in delivery. I criticised Professor Garnaut for his decision to publish his "Climate Change Review" for the Australian Government in the UK. Each book flown to Australia would cause 104 kg of carbon dioxide pollution.

If my "green" book was printed in the USA it would case unnecessary pollution. However, in ordering some more books I noticed that the postage was domestic and checking further showed that LuLu is printing books in Australia. Hopefully, the books travel a few hundred kilometres on a truck, not thousands on a plane.

Also in 2008 there was a National Library of Australia trial for the acquisition of items. NLA had some quibbles with the POD process, as this resulting in one order arriving in many separate packages, from different print depots, rather than in one delivery. But this seems to be more a problem of the NLA's old fashioned systems unable to cope with the modern world, than with LuLu.

Also selection of items was resource intensive, as LuLu simply supplies whatever the customer orders, it does not choose the books for you. This may seem a curious problem, but one of the services which book suppliers provide for libraries is to choose books for them. The library orders books on a particular topic, or for a particular type of reader, and the supplier provides what they think relevant.

There is the opportunity for a new business where an intermediary web based company selects books for libraries and then orders them via a PoD. Such a service might also be useful for individuals looking for a gift or a book for themselves. attempts this to some extent, both with automated suggestions, and lists of books generated by customers. A new service might also use the wisdom of crowds by providing the opportunity for the library patrons to suggest books and vote for a short list of what is proposed for acquisition.

A simple automated acquisition for the NLA would be any book published in Australia and printed by LuLu. Under Australian law a publisher is required to supply the NLA and the relevant state library with a copy of their book. This is not a burden for a commercial publisher who produces thousands of copies of a book. But for a DIY author this could be a burden. NLA might like to choose to simply buy those books themselves. They could offset the cost by offering the books for sale in their catalog and take a commission.

So far I have not managed to get my book into the NLA catalogue. Because the book was POD, NLA refused to provide "Cataloguing in Print", as the book was, in their terms already printed. They also refused to catalogue the book from the electronic version, they insisted on a printed copy. Because of a problem with the POD process I had no book to give them (I tried giving them a proof copy, with no response).

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Problems with Print on Demand Books

I am planning to launch my book "Green Technology Strategies: Using computers and telecommunications to reduce carbon emissions" at "Realising Our Broadband Future" in Sydney next week. But I have had some problems making the book available.

The book was available on the print on demand catalogue (Paperback and e-Book) and some had been sold. But then I requested LuLu add the "GlobalReach", which distributes the book via and conventional bookstores. Instead of the book being more widely available, it disappeared from the LuLu catalog. After getting no response to LuLu support I decided to try and fix it myself.

I "revised" the book, going back to the first step in the online publication process in the hope this would un-stick it. I then went through each step. When I got to the design of the cover artwork I noted an error message warning that the text would not fit on the cover. I reduced the font size and was then able to publish the book on the web site.

My dilemma now is: dare I request "GlobalReach" again, before the launch in Sydney next week? It may well be the problem had nothing to do with this and all will be well. But it may be that if I press "approve" the book will not be available, just as it is being officially launched.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Lulu still in busness?

I am a little worried that my book "Green Technology Strategies" does not seem to be available via Something seems to have gone wrong when I requested the extra option of distribution through and book stores. Instead what seems to have happened that no one can order it, even via Lulu.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Replace PDF with Accessible Web Pages

This is for a submission to the AGIMO PDF Accessibility Review. As the Australian Human Rights Commission points out in their DDA Advisory Notes, organisations who distribute content only in PDF format risk complaints for not providing information in an accessible format. While it is theoretically possible to make more accessible PDF files, I suggest that the Australian Government take the simpler course of providing information in alternative formats, specifically as accessible web pages. This would be simpler to do and have benefits for readers generally, not just those requiring to use assistive technology.

Since 2000, when I was asked to give evidence to the Human Rights Commission on the Sydney Olympics Case, I have been looking at how to easily produce accessible electronic documents. Many tools and techniques have been tried by my ANU web design and e-document students since then, including accessible PDF. In the last few years an approach has emerged using structured web design. This is now to the point where it can be used to replace most uses of PDF.

Using now available web standards and tools, it is feasible to create one version of a document which can be read on an ordinary web browser, can be used with assistive technology, can be printed in a similar format to a PDF document and also work with smart phones, netbooks and e-book readers.

The PDF format was created for producing electronic facsimiles of paper documents. This provided a useful transition, from paper to electronic documents. That transition is can now be completed.

Most government material is read online, not on paper. The government should therefore switch its emphasis from creating high quality paper documents, to creating high quality electronic documents. The simplest and most cost effective way to do this is to create government documents as web pages, while ensuring they can be printed in an acceptable format.

As an interim step, I suggest agencies be advised it is acceptable to have a PDF version of a document (which need not be accessible) in addition to the accessible web version. However, the web version should be offered before the PDF (as readers will usually pick the first plausible option on a web page, without reading further). Currently readers waste time and network resources are being wasted with people selecting the full PDF version of multi-megabyte government reports, when all they wanted was an executive summary.

To create good electronic documents will require some training of government staff in e-literacy. Currently staff think in terms of what the document will look like when printed, and how someone will read it on paper. They need to be educated to think about how the document will look on various electronic devices and how people will access this information.

Apart from providing better information to the public, well structured web documents will reduce the server and network resources needed by the government. This will reduce the cost of providing the service and also greenhouse gas emissions from the lower electricity use of the equipment (3).

See also:
  1. The World Wide Web: For Networked Information Systems, notes on for The Australian National University course "Networked Information Systems" (COMP2410), Tom Worthington, 2009.
  2. Metadata and Electronic Data Management, notes for "Information Technology in Electronic Commerce" (COMP3410) at the Australian National University, Tom Worthington, 2009.
  3. Green ICT Strategies (COMP7310), ANU Masters E-learning course, Tom Worthington, 2009

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Amazon not supporting Australian Authors

I have prepared an electronic edition of my "Green ICT" book for's Kindle e-Book device. are now offering an international version of the Kindle for use in Australia. So it seemed a good time to publish. But after carefully formatting the book and uploading to Amazon's Digital Text Platform web site, I found I was not able to publish without a US bank account and US tax information. I am already registered as an Amazon Associate and receive cheques from Amazon. But the Australian address and Australian tax details which are acceptable for Amazon Associates appear not to be acceptable for Kindle. The result would seem to be that only US based publisher will be permitted to publish with the Kindle. This is unfortunate as it makes the device unsuitable for educational use. I attempted to get around this by seeing if had an arrangement to publish on Kindle, but they don't.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Leadership Training for the Australian Government

Austrade have issued a Request for Tender for "Harvard Business Publishing Online Content". Perhaps they should have made the RFT about materials for leadership and management education, not specifically the material which only one company has the rights to supply. Harvard Business Publishing supply the materials Austrade has asked for, so it is not clear how Austrade were planning to have a competitive tender process.

The contractor is required to provide Harvard ManageMentor, Essential Leader, Case in Point, Stepping Up To Management, Leadership Transitions, Harvard Business Publishing Centres, Leading for Results, Fifty Lessons, Harvard Business Review Reprints and Faculty Seminar Series. These are all good materials, but other organisations provide other similar material. In addition, Austrade might want to consider online collaborative education for their staff, rather than just passive reading of web pages.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Creating small PDF files with

The free has a very handy export to PDF function. However, as with other PDF creation tools, unless you are careful the files created can be very large. One way to make smaller files is to use the fourteen typefaces built into PDF. These are the so called "Base 14 fonts": Times/Times Roman, Courier, Helvetica/Arial, Symbol and Zapf Dingbats (in regular, bold, italic and combinations thereof). If you use these fonts carefully, the PDF file need not contain a copy of the font, and the resulting file is much smaller. The catch with this is that the font used for display may not be precisely the same as on your system, but for most documents this does not matter.

As an example, the draft of my Senate Submission on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is an 18 kbyte word processing document. The senate publishes submissions in PDF, so I thought it best to give it to them in that format and avoid conversion. When I exported the PDF from OO it was 97 kbytes. This is not a particularly large file, but not as small as it could be.

My document was in Times, but apparently not the standard PDF times, so a subset of the times font was included in the PDF file making it bigger. Changing the document to Ariel did not make the file any smaller. When I tried Helvetica, I discovered I didn't have it installed on my PC, but could still type it into OOO as the requested font. When I saved this version it was only 23 kbytes and so not much larger than the OOO original. On my computer the Helvetica is converted to Ariel, as that is closest.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR)

The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) provide a useful service where they chart how many new entries there are in open access repositories. The information is presumably automatically extracted from the repository. As an example, for the ACS Digital Library:

ACS Digital Library (410 records)

Thumbnail of
Records Deposited per Day
Running Other softwares (various), based in Australia and is registered as e-Journal/Publication
Registered on 2006-12-05
Cumulative deposits: 410 total [table] [graph]
Daily deposits in last year: 1 days of 1-9, 1 days of 10-99, 0 days of 100+ [table] [graph (PNG format)] [interactive graph (requires SVG format support)]
OAI Interface: Identify List Metadata Formats List Sets [harvest status]
100% freely accessible fulltext (* estimate)
The ACS Digital Library provides international quality magazines, journal articles and conference papers, covering innovative research and practice in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). This service is provided free to the ICT profession by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) as part of its commitment to ensure the beneficial use of technology for the community. It includes: Australasian Journal of Information Systems (AJIS), Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology (JRPIT), and Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology (CRPIT).

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Istanbul Kadiköy to Kartal Metro

International Railway Journal's October edition features "Building Istanbul’s Kadiköy - Kartal Metro" as an online supplement. In May I saw the work under way from the window of the Thessaloniki to Istanbul Train. At the time I assumed this was some of the work for the Marmary Rail Tunnel, but it is work to link up other parts of Istanbul's public transport.

The IRJ's articale is also interesting for the way it is provided as an online suppliment to the print jounal. The article is listed in the table of contents of the print edition, with a note saying "online edition". Presiumbly this is desinged to encourage people to read the online version. The online version is provided using Nxtbook Media, with Adobe Flash. This provides a facsimilie of the print edition, which is hard to use compared to ordinary web pages and which takes a long time to load on a slow Internet connection.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

New JRPIT Editor Needed

The Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology (JRPIT) is seeking a new Editor-in-Chief. JRPIT is peer reviewed journal covering innovative research and practice in Information Technology which has been published by the Australian Computer Society continuously since 1967.

The current Editor-in-Chief is planning to step down within a year and is seeking expressions of interest from suitable persons. The appointment is made by the ACS on the recommendation of the current editor. The appointee can become an Associate Editor for a time, to enable a smooth transition.


The Journal has a dual emphasis and contains articles that are of interest both to practising information technology professionals and to university and industry researchers. In particular, it encourages papers that report on activities that have successfully connected fundamental and applied research with practical application. The journal thus publishes papers relating to both emerging research and to professional practice.

JRPIT encourages submission of innovative and original articles in all areas of Information Technology including Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Systems, Computer Systems and Information Engineering and Telecommunications. Until 2000 it was titled the Australian Computer Journal, and is now published both on paper and online.

About the Editor

There are no formal requirements for this honorary position, but it is expected applicants would have a substantial journal publication record and be a senior academic/researcher in ICT. Those interested can discuss the role with Professor Sidney Morris, after 23 October 2008.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

International Conference on IT Innovation Shows Lack of Innovation

I was asked to review a paper for the 14th ACM-SIGCSE Annual Conference on
Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
(ITiCSE 2009, Paris, July 3-8, 2009). For a paper about international innovation it was surprising to find that there were two versions of the call for papers provided: one for US Letter paper and one for international A4 paper. A few moments thought would have lead the conference organisers to conclude that if they formatted the document correctly it would print on either size page and only one document would be needed.

This may seem a trival point, but the conference deals with the use of technology in supporting computer science teaching and learning, the practice of teaching computer science and computer science education research. ICT is an international discipline and we need international standards in areas such as computer science edcuation. We can't waste time and resources on trivia such as producing versions for slightly different print paper sizes.

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Printing books on demand missing the point

News reports indicate that Espresso Book Machines (EBM) are being installed in some Australian bookstores and US libraries. The EBM is a Print-On-Demand (PoD) book printing service using a laser printer and binding machine which prints books from PDF files on demand. But it will still take several minutes to print a book and so I am not sure this is a viable service. Also I don't think the future of university librarians is in the book printing business, it is in running the teaching facilities in the learning commons.

For PoD you need a printer which is quick enough to do it in the time people are prepared to wait, but cheap enough to buy and easy enough to run. That is very difficult. Print on demand, deliver next day is much easier.

High speed laser printers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. To make them pay their way they have to print a lot of material each day and they need trained staff on hand to keep them working.

There are still economies of scale in printing, even for print on demand. If the book is not available within a few seconds, then for many customers they will be happy enough to have the book delivered overnight. With the delievry time changed from minutes to hours, the codered can be consolidated at a larger facility servicing a city (or a country). A large high speed printer can then be used with staff who know how to work it.

But PoD is largely irrelevant to publishing. It is a bit like seeing email to fax interfaces as important to the future of written communications. We spent a lot of time worrying about email to fax interfaces about fifteen years ago. It turned out that worrying about faxes was a waste of time, as email quickly supplanted it. There are still fax machines and email to fax is useful, but not very important.

Being able to print documents, such as "books", is useful, but not very important. The real document is the electronic version and print just an option, useful for some limited purposes.

The ACS has made this transition with its Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology. For most of its 40 years, this was a traditional printed publication sent out by mail to subscribers. We still produce printed copies for those who want them. But I expect we will be down to about 200 print subscribers out of 15,000 by the end of this year.

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Monday, August 25, 2008 eBook for Students

 Amazon Kindle eBook readerNews reports suggest are planning a new version of their Kindle eBook reader with a a bigger screen for college and university students. But a subnotebook computer would seem more useful.

The current Kindle has limited functionality as a computer, is US$399, has an electronic-paper display, wireless Internet, a QWERTY keyboard and week long battery life.

There are now several sub-notebook computers for around $US500, which would be about the same size as a larger Kindle. These have a shorter battery life than the Kindle, but have a larger keyboard and more general purpose software. It seems unlikely that a university student would want to purchase and carry around both an eBook and a notebook computer. Given the choice, they are likely to prefer a slightly more expensive but more useful computer (perhaps supplemented with a large screen smartphone).

The Kindle includes a wireless modem for downloading content via a US cellphone network, with are paying the access charge when the US wireless network is used to download a ebook content from Amazon's store. But this is not a great advantage for university students, who are likely to have WiFi access on the campus.

Also while the eBook may be able to display electronic books and play podcasts of lectures, it is less likely to be able to usefully work with other educational content. Students will have to be able to interact with a web based Learning management system (LMS), such as WebCT or Moodle, carry out research using open access electronic libraries (such as the IFIP DL), write and submit their assignments. They are unlikely to want to do that on a tiny monochrome screen and calculator like keyboard. In contrast the sub notebooks have usable keyboards and readable colour screens (and can be plugged into a full size keyboard and screen for desktop use).

The move seems to designed to lock universities and students into purchasing textbooks from large publishers, in much the same way that Apple locked them into buying music for the iPod. Apple have had some success at convincing universities to provide audio lecture podcasts via its store. It will be interesting to see if any universities attempt similar deals for textbooks.
Carrier Sprint
Available November 19, 2007
Screen 600×800 px,
167 ppi resolution, 6" diagonal, 7.5" x 5.3" size, 4-level grayscale
Electronic paper, LCD side scroller.
Operating system Linux (2.6.10 kernel)
Input QWERTY keyboard,
select wheel, next/prev/back buttons.
CPU Intel PXA255.
Memory 64 MB RAM,
256 MB (180 MB available) internal storage, SD expansion slot.
Networks Amazon Whispernet
Connectivity EVDO/CDMA AnyDATA wireless modem, USB 2.0 port (mini-B connector),
3.5 mm stereo headphone jack, built-in speaker, AC power adapter jack.
Battery 3.7V, 1530mAh lithium polymer, BA1001 model.
Physical size 7.5 × 5.3 × 0.7 in
(19.1 × 13.5 × 1.8 cm)
Weight 10.3 oz
(292 g)
Media capabilities Kindle (.azw), Plain text (.txt),
Unprotected Mobipocket (.mobi, .prc),
MP3 (.mp3),
Audible (.aa).
From: Amazon Kindle, Wikipedia, 2007

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

IFIP Digital Library on an iPhone

A few weeks ago I sent out a request for people to test the IFIP Digital Library I am helping set up. One reply complained about the sideways scrolling needed. I didn't understand what this was about until I happened to be in the foyer of Apple's offices in Sydney. There was an iPod touch on demonstration and so I typed in the IFIP DL address. The web page came up but with a very narrow column of text, too small to read. I used the iPod's pinch interface to zoom out and it was readable. I was also able to select a paper and read the full PDF text on the little screen. I don't know how many will want to read technical ICT research papers on a pocket size device, but it was impressive it worked.

But why did the text start out so small? I noticed the banner image in a thin strip across the top of the page. IFIP wanted the Digital Library to have the same corporate look as the rest of their web site. So I had to work out how to change the standard interface of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) free open source publishing software to have IFIP's colours and layout. Changing the colours was not too hard, but getting the layout was harder. I used an extra CSS style sheet, which OJS has provision for, to override the defaults. This was made a little more complicated as I wanted a design which would be efficient in the use of bandwidth, would be accessible for the disabled and work on hand held devices.

One compromise I made was to use the same banner as on IFIP's home page. But what I hadn't noticed was that this image was thousands of pixels wide. The image was trimmed to fit the full screen width, using CSS on their site. But in my implementation the banner made the page wider. This did not normally matter as the extra was off the side of the screen. But the Apple Safari web browser shrank the page to fit the whole width of the banner, reducing the column of text under it in proportion and making it tiny. The iPhone presumably does this as scrolling sideways on the tiny screen is a problem.

The most efficient way to fix this problem is to trim the image to the width of a typical screen (it is a waste to send an image and then have the browser throw away half of it). I did this and it worked fine on my own display. I then got more adventurous and decided to remove the text "International Federation for Information Processing " from the banner. Good design says that you should not have text in an image as this is harder to read and makes the image larger. So I carefully blurred out the text, told OJS to insert it as text and then changed the CSS to put the banner image under the text.

Aligning the text with the IFIP banner so it looked like the original took a lot of trial and error. The result is not perfect: the original text has a grey shadow around it which can't be reproduced easily with CSS (current browsers do not support CSS's text shadow function). I then spent hours trying to duplicate the shadow in a portable way, before realising this was a waste of time. But then I thought it did not look too bad and looks much better for people who can't see the image.

However, when I looked at the result on a higher resolution screen (at the National Library of Australia) I found the shortened image did not fill the whole screen and was being repeated. I will need to make the image longer, stretch it to fit or just fill the space with plain color.

Also I find that I had changed the "Contents" screen earlier to insert the banner. To do this I had to change the OJS source code. The result was that the system was inserting two copies of the banner one over the other. I will need to manually adjust the code.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

ICT and Learning for the Net Generation

ICT and Learning for the Net Generation is one of the conferences the new IFIP Digital Library has the papers from. Comments on the format, indexing data and any other aspect welcome:

Table of Contents

  1. Patchworking and Power Users - a Novel Approach to Understand Learning?: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Thomas Ryberg, Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld
  2. How to Tell a Joke? - Modelling Communication in Informatics Classes: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Michael Weigend
  3. Pedagogical Potentialities of Podcasts in Learning: reactions from K-12 to university students in Portugal: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ana A. Carvalho, Adelina Moura, Sonia Cruz
  4. Storytelling for Students - Web 2.0 at School: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Andy Schar
  5. ICT Action School Development on the Basis of an Inspectorates Assessment: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Pieter Hogenbirk, Peter van de Braak
  6. An Evaluation and Assessment Follow-up Infra-Structure Support for Large Scale Distance Learning Courses: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Maria Carolina de Souza, Joberto Sergio Barbosa Martins, Teresinha Quadros
  7. Combining Different Perspectives on Informatics Systems - A Case Study at Upper Secondary Level : Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Peer Stechert
  8. Student Teachers' Beliefs about Creativity in Computer Science: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ralf Romeike
  9. Diagnosing problem solving strategies of programming novices in secondary education automatically?: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ulrich Kiesmuller, Torsten Brinda
  10. ICT competences of the teacher: About supporting learning and teaching processes with the use of ICT: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Bert Zwaneveld, Theo Bastiaens
  11. The KPEC Project; building teacher capability in the use of learner-centred pedagogies and collaborative, ICT-supported learning environments.: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Jedd Bartlett, Jenny Keeton, Norlizah bt Che Teh, Derek Wenmoth
  12. Developing the AGORA road map - ANDIL: AGORA Network against Digital Divide by means of Information Literacy : Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Johannes Magenheim
  13. Establishing an online peer-support and mentoring community for international students: Some cultural and design considerations: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Kwok-Wing Lai, David Berg, Fiona McDonald
  14. A Catalogue of Exercise Classes for Internetworking: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Kirstin Schwidrowski
  15. E-Readiness in Austrian Schools - From Theory and Visions to Practice and Reality: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Peter Micheuz
  16. From exercise characteristics to competence dimen-sions - exemplified by theoretical computer science in secondary education: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Kirsten Schluter, Torsten Brinda
  17. What's a Good Model and How to Teach It? - Introducing object oriented modeling by using scenarios: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ira Diethelm, Leif Geiger, Albert Zundorf
  18. Knowledge Networks for Internetworking in the Process of Course Design: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Stefan Freischlad
  19. Using Robots as Teaching Aids in Early Secondary In-formatics Education: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Bernhard Wiesner, Torsten Brinda
  20. Risk Analysis towards Secure E-Learning: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Christian J. Eibl
  21. Hybrid Problem Based Learning: C2HADAM Courseware Testing Result: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Faaizah Shahbodin, Halimah Badioze Zaman
  22. The BEBRAS Contest on Informatics and Computer Literacy - Students' Drive to Science Education: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Valentina Dagiene
  23. Re-engineering a learning environment for object-oriented modelling in secondary informatics education: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Silvia Schreier, Torsten Brinda
  24. Mobile Programming - Enhance Teaching Informatics: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ludger Humbert, Peter Micheuz
  25. High School Graduates' Yearbook on CD-ROM: an Attempt at a Funky Project instead of just Boring Theory : Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Natasa Grgurina
  26. A Pilot Test on Perception of e-learning in a Malaysian University: An International Students' Perspective (Part I): Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Renee Chew Shiun Yee, Leow Fui Theng
  27. Bridging the Digital Divide: Intercultural understanding and global activism across continents.: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Alnaaz Kassam
  28. An integrated informatics curriculum for higher secondary education?: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Peter van de Braak, Pieter Hogenbirk
  29. Discovery Learning about Informatics Systems: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Stefan Freischlad, Peer Stechert
  30. A Creative Introduction to Programming with Scratch: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Ralf Romeike
  31. Making MUVEs: Informal Learning in Second Life: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Steve Wheeler, Graham Attwell, Helen Keegan, Steven Warburton, David White
  32. Towards the development of NET-generation among Malaysian Youth: Abstract, or Full Text (PDF) by Norizan Abdul Razak, Hazita Azman, Ruzy Suliza Hasim, Faridah Ibrahim

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Optical Network Design and Modelling 2008

Optical Network Design and Modelling (ONDM 2008) is one of the conferences the new IFIP Digital Library has the papers from. Comments on the format, indexing data and any other aspect welcome:

Table of Contents

  1. Experimental demonstration of ASON-GMPLS signaling interworking in the NOBEL2 Multi-domain Multi-Layer Control Plane Emulator: Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by R. Munoz, R. Martinez, R. Casellas, R. Morro, C. Cavazzoni, S. Pizzaja, M. Jaeger, H.M. Foisel, J. Jimia
  2. Distributed RWA Tools via Web Services : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by C. Gaumier, S. Rumley
  3. Extending the UCLP Software with a Dynamic Optical Multicast Service to support High Performance Digital Media : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Eduard Grasa, Sergi Figuerola, Albert Forns, Gabriel Junyent, Joe Mambretti
  4. Performance Analysis of a Hybrid Optical Switch: Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by M. De Leenheer, C. Develder, J. Vermeir, J. Buysse, F. De Turck, B. Dhoedt, P. Demeester
  5. Provisioning Lightpaths and Computing Resources for Location-Transparent Scheduled Grid Demands: Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Hong-Ha Nguyen, Mohan Gurusamy
  6. Analysis of the Processing and Sojourn Times of Burst Control Packets in Optical Burst Switches : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Luis de Pedro, Javier Aracil, Jose Alberto Hernandez , Jose Luis Garcia-Dorado
  7. Emulating lossless, one-way signaling protocols in OBS networks with traffic prediction : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Demetris Monoyios, Kyriakos Vlachos
  8. Efocient Availability Evaluation forTransport Backbone Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by G. Booker, A. Sprintson, C. Singh
  9. Local Restoration with Multiple Spanning Trees in Metro Ethernet : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Jian Qiu, Gurusamy Mohan, Kee Chaing Chua, Yong Liu
  10. On Provision ofAvailability Guarantees Using Shared Protection : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Anders Mykkeltveit, Bjarne E. Helvik
  11. Availability-Aware Design in FIPP p-cycles Protected Mesh Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Amin Ranjbar, Chadi Assi
  12. Aggregation Networks: Cost Comparison of WDM Ring vs. Double Star Topology : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Matthias Gunkel, Malte Schneiders, Sascha Vorbeck, Werner Weiershausen, Ralph Leppla, Frank Rumpf, Ralf Herber, Volker Furst, Markus Rodenfels
  13. Regular Reconfiguration of Light-Trees in Multilayer Optical Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Marcell Perenyi, Peter Soproni, Tibor Cinkler , David Larrabeiti
  14. Assessment and Performance Evaluation of PCE-based Inter-Layer Trafoc Engineering : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Sebastian Gunreben
  15. A Computer Aided Design for Optimization of Optical Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by M. Fontana, F.F.Costa, U.B.Sangiorgi, P.A.D.Bichara, D.Guimaraes , A. C. de C. Lima
  16. Analytical Model for Dynamic Waveband Switching : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Paul Ghobril
  17. Performance evaluation of slotted OPS switching fabrics under self-similar traffic : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Veiga-Gontan, P. Pavon-Marino, M. Izal, D. Morato, J. Garcia-Haro
  18. Dimensioning an Optical Packet/Burst Switch - More Interconnections or More Delay Lines? : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Khurram AZIZ, Shahzad SARWAR, Slavisa ALEKSIC
  19. Guaranteeing Packet Order in Load Balanced Distributed Schedulers for WASPNET Optical Packet Switches : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Miguel Rodelgo-Lacruz, Cristina Lopez-Bravo, Francisco J, Gonzalez Castano
  20. Routing and Wavelength Assignment Encompassing FWM in WDM Lightpath Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Adelys Marsden, Akihiro Maruta, Kenichi Kitayama
  21. Multi-Domain Routing Techniques with Topology aggregation in ASON Networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Guido Maier, Chiara Busca, Achille Pattavina
  22. Solving Large Size Instances of theRWA Problem Using GraphPartitioning : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Lucile Denud Belgacem
  23. OBGP+: A Simple Approach to Drastically Improve OBGP : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by M. Yannuzzi, X. Masip-Bruin, Guillem Fabrego, Sergio Sanchez Lopez, Josep Sole Pareta
  24. End-to-End Service Provisioning in Carrier-Grade Ethernet Networks: The 100 GET-E3 Approach : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Xiaomin Chen, Admela Jukan, Thomas Fischer
  25. Availability and cost estimation of secured FTTH architectures : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by I. Boyer Heard
  26. A Mean Value Analysis approach for evaluating the performance of EPON with Gated IPACT : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by M.Thanh NGO, Annie GRAVEY , Deepak BHADAURIA
  27. Capacity and availability comparison of OMS protection schemes in ASON/GMPLS mesh networks : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Luis Velasco, Salvatore Spadaro, Jaume Comellas, Gabriel Junyent
  28. Availability Analysis of GMPLS Connections based on Physical Network Topology: Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Juan Segovia, Eusebi Calle, Pere Vila
  29. Network Delivery of Live Events in a Digital Cinema Scenario : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Dario Di Sorte, Mauro Femminella, Alessandro Parisi, Gianluca Reali
  30. On the design of MPLS-ASON/GMPLS Interconnection Mechanisms : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Luis Velasco, Ricardo Romeral, Fernando Agraz, Salvatore Spadaro, Jaume Comellas
  31. S/G Light-tree: Multicast Grooming Architecture for Improved Resource Allocation: Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Javier E. Sierra, Luis F. Caro, Fernando Solano, Ramon Fabregat, Yezid Donoso
  32. Dimensioning Aggregated Voice TrafocinMPLS Nodes : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Antonio Estepa, Rafael Estepa, Ignacio Campos, Antonio Delgado
  33. Multiobjective Model for Multicast Overlay Networks over IP/MPLS using MOEA : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by Juan Montoya, Yezid Donoso, Edwin Montoya, Diego Echeverri
  34. An educational RWA network planning tool for dynamic flows : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by P. Pavon Marino, B. Garcia Manrubia, R. Aparicio Pardo, J. Garcia Haro, G. Moreno Munoz
  35. Differentiated Survivability in a Distributed GMPLS-Based IP-over-Optical Network : Abstract or Full Text (PDF) by David Harle, Saud Albarrak

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