B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology   Vol. 32, No. 1  October/November 2005

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From the Editor’s Desktop

Included in this issue of the Bulletin are three articles that reflect a central concern with the disruptive impact of the digital age on areas that have always been controversial – copyright, fair use and protected speech. In the first of a two-part article Tom Lipinski discusses the recent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., Supreme Court decision, beginning with a look at the legal background of the case. He then moves on to discuss the specifics of the decision that holds peer-to-peer software providers Grokster and StreamCast contributorily liable for “massive” copyright infringement.

From another perspective, Jim Campbell looks at the expansion of copyright protections in the United States created by recent legislation and the moves to counteract perceptions of an erosion of the traditional balance between the rights of copyright holders and fair use. Finally, in his International Column, Julian Warner, international liaison to the ASIS&T Board of Directors, considers the roles of democracy, responsibility and free speech in a Web environment.

Elsewhere in this issue, we look at the recent history of information retrieval research, specifically the Text REtrieval Conferences (TREC) sponsored since 1990 by the National Institute of Science and Technology. TREC’s current director, Ellen Voorhees, summarizes the history and results of the use of the TREC testbeds.

And last, turning from the challenge of developing the retrieval algorithms that have been so essential to the success of the Web to-date, we look at the “Semantic Web” of the future. Jay ven Eman discusses how to export to or “wrap” a thesaurus for use by software agents on the Semantic Web using the Web Ontology tool (OWL). He also discusses what additional steps are needed if agents are to take advantage of the potential of the Semantic Web in processing documents that have been indexed using terms from an OWL thesaurus. Anyone seeking to understand the Semantic Web and its relationship to traditional information retrieval or those contemplating a Semantic Web project will find much of value here, including a sober assessment of the difficulties.

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