Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Google Books is fair use

By Maurizio Borghi and Stavroula Karapapa
After almost a decade of litigation, on 14 November the Southern District Court of New York has ruled on the class action Authors Guild v Google. Judge Chin, who had rejected in March 2011 the agreement proposing to settle the case, found that the activities carried out in the context of the Google Books project do not infringe copyright.

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From radio to YouTube

By Cynthia B. Meyers
AT&T has produced a teen reality program, @summerbreak—seen not on TV but on social media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. General Electric is sponsoring articles in the magazine The Economist. And Pepsico has a blog site, Green- Label, devoted to skateboarding, rap music, and other interests of “millennial males.”

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University libraries and the e-books revolution

By Luke Swindler
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Libraries, it took well over a century, from the university’s founding in 1789, to reach a collection of one million volumes. In the last five years alone, the campus has added nearly one million “volume-equivalents”, mainly due to massive e-book acquisitions.

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Requiring local storage of Internet data will not protect privacy

By Christopher Kuner
Widespread Internet surveillance by governments, whether carried out directly or by accessing private-sector databases, is a major threat to the data protection and privacy rights of individuals. It seems that in some countries (such as the United States), the national security state is out of control.

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Syria and the social netwar 2011-2013

Syria is Oxford University Press’s Place of the Year, and to call attention to the sociopolitical turmoil in the country, we present a brief excerpt from Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerrilla by David Kilcullen. This is a powerful study of the important role technology, particularly social media, plays in the war zone in Syria.

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The Crab Nebula

By Professor Sir Francis Graham-Smith
The Crab Nebula and the pulsar at its centre are endlessly fascinating. The pulsar is a neutron star, with the same mass as our Sun but only the size of a city.

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Why read radiology history?

By Arpan K Banerjee
Does history matter? Professional historians will not hesitate to answer in the affirmative for a multitude of reasons. I am sure many professionals in technical and scientific fields, however, may have asked themselves the first question in a reflective moment without necessarily the same positive responses attributed to professional historians.

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What has psychology got to do with the Internet?

By Yair Amichai-Hamburger
I believe that the Internet has special characteristics which together create an exceptional environment for the user. To start with, many websites allow you to maintain your anonymity. You may do this by assuming a pseudonym, using your initials or just “leaving the space blank”. This characteristic frees people from many of the issues that constrict them in their day to day offline lives.

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When are bridges public art?

By David Blockley
The costly controversy over the abandonment of the ambitious Wear Bridge scheme and current plans by Sunderland City Council to ‘reduce down to a simpler design’ is a manifestation of what can happen when thinking about various forms of art is confounded.

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Social video – not the same, but not that different

By Karen Nelson-Field
Why is it when a new media platform comes along that everything we know about how advertising works and how consumers behave seems to go out the window? Because the race to discovery means that rigorous research with duplicated results are elusive.

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Smoke and mirrors

By Ian Lloyd
Recent weeks have seen a plethora of media postings concerning revelations about the US government’s systems for obtaining access to communications data. The passage quoted above would seem to fit well into these but actually comes from 1999 and relates to the disclosure of a massive surveillance operation, known as project ECHELON which allegedly allowed the US security agencies (and also those from the UK and a number of other countries) to monitor the content of all email traffic over the Internet.

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Government data surveillance through a European PRISM

By Christopher Kuner
The recent revelations concerning widespread US government access to electronic communications data (including the PRISM system apparently run by the National Security Agency) leave many questions unanswered, and new facts are constantly emerging. Thoughtful commentators should be hesitant to make detailed pronouncements before it is clear what is actually going on.

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Quantum parallelism and scientific realism

By Paul Cockshott
The philosopher Althusser said that philosophy represents ideology, in particular religious ideology to science, and science to ideology. As science extended its field of explanation, a series of ‘reprise’ operations were carried out by philosophers to either make the findings of science acceptable to religion or to cast doubt on the relative trustworthiness of science compared to the teachings of the church.

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People of computing

According to Oxford Reference the Internet is “[a] global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” Today the Internet industry is booming, with billions of people logging on read the news, find a recipe, talk with friends, read a blog article (!), and much more.

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They’re watching, but are they seeing?

By Gautam Shroff
Notwithstanding the many privacy concerns it raises, the role of video surveillance footage in cracking the Boston terror attack case in a matter of days is well known. Such footage played an equally critical role in tracking down the bombers of the 2005 London attacks. However, in 2005 investigators took weeks to manually sift through about two thousand hours of video footage.

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