Monday, October 16, 2017

Talk the Talk: Genericide

Are you interested in trademarks? The linguistic podcast, Talk the Talk, has an episode on trademarks  which become general terms for the products they represent.  The discussion on “genericide” begins at the 10:30 minute mark.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Smithsonian: This Replica of a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat Is Spurring Dialogue About Digitization

This is a  worth reading story about a Tlingit Killer Whale Hat and it is replica.  I don't want to give away any of the details, but it is interesting to read about the use of the replica.  This video provide use visuals about the digitization process.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Updated Version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

On Sept. 29, the Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett released an updated version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition.  The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. Quoting the Compendium:
It provides instruction to agency staff regarding their statutory duties and provides expert guidance to copyright applicants, practitioners, scholars, the courts, and members of the general public regarding institutional practices and related principles of law.
21 sections of the Compendium were revised.  Information on those revisions is in the Federal Register.  A complete list of all sections that have been added, amended, revised, or removed is posted on the Office’s website. In addition to the revisions, the Compendium has been reformatted for readability and access to linked information.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Fall 2017: Jill's Presentation and Travel Schedule

Cafe au lait and Beignets at Cafe du Monde
Coffee and Beignets
As we head into autumn, this is where my speaking and traveling schedule is taking me through the remainder of 2017.  As always, if you're in the same location as me, I hope you will say hello. If time permits, let's have a cup of coffee together!
  • Oct. 17 - Attending "NDP at 3: Envisioning the next 3 years of the National Digital Platform" hosted by IMLS, Arlington, VA. (Part of the IMLS Focus Series.)
    Description: As IMLS concludes its third year of NDP funding through the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, we will revisit what has been accomplished so far and explore future directions for this work. Meeting attendees will include a broad range of representatives of the country’s libraries, museums, and affiliated organizations. We hope to capture input that will help us move forward together, and to highlight areas where federal investment can most effectively support broad access to digital materials for the American people. We aim to identify concrete insights, including priority areas for funding, topics for future research, opportunities for collaboration, and other tangible outcomes. 
  • Nov. 9-11, New York Library Association Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY
    • Nov. 10, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Presenting "Recruit, Retain, Repeat...Again" with Barbara Stripling.
      Description: The number of school librarians available is not keeping pace with the need. Enrollment in graduate programs leading to school media certification has substantially declined over the last decade, but school library vacancies are abundant throughout NYS. During NYLA 2016, participants noted many barriers to recruiting prospective school librarians and suggested courses of action. This session will provide an update on efforts since then. Participants will brainstorm additional ideas that can be used to recruit school librarians. Participants will also discuss possible advocacy efforts which might have a positive impact on the pathways to certification.
    • Nov. 11, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - On a Women's Leadership Panel to discuss "Nevertheless, She Persisted" with Lauren Comito, Carol Anne Germain, Mary Fellows, and Sandra Michele Echols.
      Description: A forum for women in all areas of librarianship to discuss their experiences and challenges in the profession, and how to empower the next generation of female library leaders.
  • Nov. 15, 12:00 p.m. ET - Presenting "Getting the most out of your MSLIS program" (webinar) for the Syracuse University iSchool.
    Description: Congratulations, you are now in a Master’s of Library and Information Science program and working quickly towards becoming a professional librarian. The time you are spending in your MSLIS/MLIS/MLS program will go by quickly. What do you need to be doing to ensure that you get the most from it? This one-hour webinar will give you actions to take to position yourself for success in your program and afterward as an LIS professional. By the end of the webinar, you will have a series of tried and true steps on which to embark.
  • Dec. 6, 2:00 p.m. ET - Co-presenter of “Oops: Embracing Training Failures and Learning From Them” (webinar) for Southwest Florida Library Network. I'm pleased to be presenting with T is for Training colleagues Maurice Coleman and Paul Signorelli.
    Description: While every one of us who serves as a trainer-teacher-learner in our library settings dreads that moment when something goes wrong, we also know that what goes wrong often leads to something tremendously right: effective learning. In fact, we realize that failure is an integral part of the learning process. In this highly-interactive webinar focusing on the importance of “failure” in learning, the panelists will discuss real-world common and uncommon training mishaps and pitfalls; encourage participants to focus on what has come out of their own failures and those of their learners; and help participants walk away with concrete strategies to implement as they prepare their next learning sessions.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

You and the Internet of Things

 This fall, the SU iSchool has begun to offer Graduate Immersion Milestone Seminars. The first one is on the topic of "You and the Internet of Things."  Graduate students across the iSchool's graduate programs are in attendance, including MSLIS students.  

From my perspective, the the pros, cons and pitfalls of Internet of Things (IoT) is not a topic that is widely discussed in library circles.  Yes, we recognize that devices are capturing information, but:
  • Do we think deeply about what data is being captured by or in the library? 
  • Have we thought about how the Internet of Things can make libraries better?  
  • Have we thought about how the collected data is being stored and secured in the cloud?  
  • Have we thought about what could happen if our data is hacked?
The speakers this morning were not focused on libraries, but that doesn't mean we can't apply their topics to our library environment.  Below you'll see I've inserted some "library thinking" into my notes.  Please add comments if you have information to add or questions to ask.
 
Megan Snyder - Internet of Things and Cyber Security

Concerns:
"Things" can live long, software does not.
  • New vulnerabilities are addressed with new software
  • While you might replace your phone, for example, every two years, it will receive several software updates during that period.  Of course, people might not apply all of the updates, which could leave a security gap.
  • Imagine people being able to hack into a car or other things, which could be used to do harm
Things with sensitive data are connected
  • While you immediately think of banks, there are low tech devices which can capture sensitive data
  • Securing sensitive data
    • proactive ethical data stewardship
    • end to end security processes
    • innovate with new technologies 
Things are making decisions
  • Think about smart locks, smart homes, and smart grids
    • need built-in monitoring and then identifying of risks
  • There have been attacks on infrastructure worldwide, which was done by attacking the software
The future of securing IoT
  • Both customers and businesses need to focus on this
  • Need to look at the entire supply chain
While Snyder did not talk about libraries, consider that libraries are using software which is stored in the cloud or software as a service (SaaS).  That software could be storing information on library users/patrons, including private information such as books borrowed.  A security breach could make that information public.  Or a security breach could be used o alter the user data or alter the information on the library's collection.

Is the personal data stored in libraries a vulnerability that needs more attention?
  • Imagine a child changing his/her personal information so the person can check out adult books.
  • Imagine someone hacking an library system and wiping out fines.
  • Imagine a library's collection information being altered or deleted.
  • Imagine the software being delivered as SaaS being altered at the source, rendering all of its implementations useless.
Snyder noted that the U.S. Is behind in passing laws which would cause non-for-profits to pay attention to their cyber security concerns.

Radhika Garg (@gargradhika) - Does privacy disappear with IoT?

Are the implications that we as consumers are not aware of, in terms of cyber security?

IoT is not a single technology,  it is a combination of sensors, devices, networks, and software that work together to unlock valuable, actionable data.  If you are interacting with any part of that ecosystem, you should be concerned with cyber security. 

Garg asked if people use Dropbox and then asked if people know where the data is actually stored.  We use Dropbox to store a variety of different data, but we have no idea where that data really is and how it is being secured.

Data in the cloud can be used by the cloud service to learn about you, and then use that data, for example, to send you advertisements.

IoT dilemma - the information collected by sensors can be used for services that benefit and simplify people's lives, or it can be used for data mining and other use cases that raise security and privacy concerns.

Imagine the habits that your sensors know about you.

Garg noted that a sensor may only collect data, but then transmit the data to the cloud where it can be analyzed, shared, used, and abused.  Once the data is in the cloud, you have no idea what third parties that data might be shared with.

Although we do anonymize data, data gathered on a person from different sources may contain enough information to de-anonymize all of the data.

Can we collect less data?  Is there a minimal amount of data that is needed for a specific function?

While Garg talked about sensors, it occurred to me that video cameras in our cities and buildings are collecting our images.  Software can be used to identify people in those videos and it can be done automatically.  Software can also then track where people are traveling and when.  Imagine combining that information with sensor data, which could disclose more about your state/health when you were traveling through and between locations.

Garg noted that companies assume that people do not read privacy policies.  She also asked how are we expected to read the privacy policy on sensors, if sensors do not have screens?

Both Garg and Snyder noted that the privacy rules in the EU are better than in the U.S. The EU rules do affect U.S. residents because of U.S. companies doing business in Europe and needing to comply with EU policies.

In the U.S., state and federal laws are not harmonized on what is personal data.  We need to harmonize our laws in the U.S. and then harmonize our laws with the EU.

Next steps for organization in IoT ecosystem include:
  • privacy by design
  • privacy notice and transparency 
Garg ended by talking about the right to be forgotten, which has been written into EU law.

Kim Rose - How hospitals are embracing IoT

Rose talked about privacy legislation related to healthcare, such as the HITECH Act.

Medical devices inside the hospital
  • vital sign monitor
  • surgical procedures
  • intelligent bed
  • medical imaging
Outside the hospital
  • home sleep study
  • CPAP machine
  • cardiac monitor
  • diabetes blood sugar monitor
IoT has changed how medicine is being practiced.

Rose didn't connect her talk to libraries, but I can imagine a patient opting in to having their medical data shared with the hospital's medical library.  That would allow the library to deliver information to a patient which relates to the person's reason for being in the hospitals. Yes, that would raise huge privacy concerns.  Would the benefits outweigh the risks?

The talks this morning have made we wonder about cyber security, the Internet of Things (IoT), and libraries. Is this an area that we're really talking about?  Who are the library leaders in this space?  What conferences are talking about this?

On Twitter (#IoTSUiSchool), Jason Griffey said he is writing a library tech report right now on sensors.  It should be available late 2017 or early 2018.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

So you don't want to be a manager...

Conductor
Conductor, Manager, Leader
At the start of a new academic year, new MSLIS students begin to explore more about the profession, while also stating what attracts and repels them about librarianship.  One job which repels some students is being a manager.  This is not new. Every year there are students who state firmly that they do not want to manage other people or oversee budgets. I think this view of working in a library is shortsighted and self-limiting. Why?
  • Every librarian manages projects, processes, or events.  That includes digitization programs, summer reading programs, advocacy events, renovation projects, and more.  Some of those projects, processes and events may be small, and they still require someone to be in charge.  That person could be a seasoned librarian or someone who is a new professional.
  • Many library positions have management related responsibilities in their job descriptions, even lower level positions.
  • In smaller public libraries, a new librarian may be hired as the library director.  This tosses that person immediately into the position of being in charge and having to draw upon management-related training gained in graduate school or management-related experience gained in non-LIS positions.
  • If a librarian wants to have a positive impact on the community the person serves, that librarian will need to be involved in decision-making, planning, and implementation.  That person will need to take on responsibilities...and...yes...manage a project, a process or an event.
  • To earn more as a library and information professional, a person needs to take on more responsibility.  More responsibility means taking on managerial tasks.
Let's explore that last bullet point a bit more using the following scenario:
Three LIS graduates all begin similar library jobs at the same time. Two of the LIS graduates shun any work that seems related to "management."  The third person looks for opportunities to manage projects.

One year after their graduation, the graduate who has gained some management experience is promoted, receiving additional responsibilities and a pay increase to go with it.  The other two remain in their same original positions and only receive modest  cost of living pay increases.

Another year goes by.  One of the two LIS graduates, who had not wanted to do anything that seemed like "management," had decided to take on managing small projects.  That person receives more responsibilities and a pay increase to go with it.  This leaves one LIS graduate who is still shunning anything related to management.

A few more years go by. The one LIS graduate who received additional responsibilities after being in the profession for one year is now managing a branch library and being compensated appropriately.  That person has taken on very interesting projects at the branch, which has required being able to create project plans and project budgets. These projects have allowed the person to interact with a number of other librarians and has bolstered the person's reputation.

The LIS graduate who began taking on management responsibilities after a year in the profession has continued to take on more responsibilities.  This person has become known as an effective team leader, who leads without others feeling led.  This person is now looking to move to a different library, which would open up additional opportunities.

The third LIS graduate stayed true to the intent of not taking on any work that involving managing anything. This person did not manage any projects, programs, or events.  This person never handled a budget and was never in charge of any people.  This person never opened or closed the library, because that required managerial skills (and making decisions).  The person never served on any committees, because that could require being in charge at some point.  This person has received modest cost of living raises, but had not received any significant pay raises because the person had not taken on any responsibilities.  This person has watched the other two LIS graduates move into new positions, while this person stayed in the same position.

Do you want to be that last librarian? Why?  Why not?

{Thanks to Susan Mitchell, executive director for the Onondaga County Public Library. for prompting this scenario.}

If you are interested in being a manager or a leader, great! We need you!  If you are not interested in managing or leading, please take a moment and think about what that will mean for your career.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The 1.5 Factor

FractionsWhen we place content online, either through digitization or the creation of new digital works, we have no idea how people will use it.  Yes, we know how we want them to use it, but we don't always know how people really use it. 

Do they consume the content in the order we expect?

Do they listen, watch or read the entire piece?

Do they follow the links or resources which we provide?

This summer, I recorded all of the video lectures which will be used in my class this fall.  After the lectures were created, I had to then watch them all in order to check their quality.  And I did what I frequently do when I listen to podcasts, I changed the speed to 1.5 or 2x normal.  Yes, even I am understandable if you listen to me at twice my normal speaking speed!

Everyone who creates content makes an assumption about its use.  While my assumption in recording the lectures was that students would watch them at their normal speed, I proved to myself that my assumption didn't need to be true. 

I actually don't like hour long podcasts, but what it I realized that I'm going to listen to it in half the time?  I have yet to ingrain my 1.5 reality into how I select what to listen to.  If I did, I'd recognize that those long podcasts really aren't that long and I would begin to consume a broader range of content.

What are your assumptions as you create digital content?  As a consumer of content, what are you doing which might alter your assumptions? Could altering your assumptions expand your horizons?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Article: The ‘time machine’ reconstructing ancient Venice’s social networks

Through this article in Nature, about an extensive program in Venice (Italy), we can see a wonderful use of digitization and machine learning.
[Frédéric Kaplan] has an ambition to capture well over 1,000 years of records in dynamic digital form, encompassing the glorious era of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. The project, which he calls the Venice Time Machine, will scan documents including maps, monographs, manuscripts and sheet music. It promises not only to open up reams of hidden history to scholars, but also to enable the researchers to search and cross-reference the information, thanks to advances in machine-learning technologies.
If you're not interested in reading the article, then watch this short video (2.5 minutes).


Thanks to both Chad Harper and David Vampola for sharing this article with me.  

Friday, September 01, 2017

Are you digtizing what is true?

1940 Census publicity photo
1940 Census publicity photo
We - the global we - are digitizing our history, including birth, death, marriage, census and other records for a vast number of people.  Ancestry.com looks at these records and uses OCR and algorithms to make sense of them.  However, there are problems.  Records from the late 1800s and early 1900s are handwritten, which can make them difficult to interpret.  Using the information about the age of the person at the census leads to a guess about the year that person was born, and the guess has a 50% chance of being correct.  Then there is the problem of names and if the name is correct. 100 years ago, people knew who each other were and didn't care if the name was misspelled, or if the name was just wrong.  However, now all of these potential errors are causing problems.

We cannot go through every line of data that is being digitized, compare it to other data, and then correct it.  While the data would be more accurate, the process would be too time-consuming and costly.  Ancestry.com (and I'm sure other sites) allow people to compile information and make corrections on their "copy."  This is a wonderful solution, if the person knows the data is wrong, but what if the person has no idea?

This topic came to mind because I'm researching my family tree and the data isn't always close to being accurate. Thankfully, I know enough about the family tree to be able to make intelligence decisions about the data I'm using (or so I hope).  But I cannot go in and correct what I know is blatantly wrong and that is frustrating.

If you are digitizing material today and making it available, or even archiving born digital materials:
  • How do you know that the information is accurate?  
  • What do you need to tell people about the data, which might help them understand its potential lack of accuracy?  
  • Can you build-in a feedback mechanism that would allow people to provide corrections?
Site of Steinway Hall, W. 57th (LOC)
Site of Steinway Hall, W. 57th
Yes, I know people are thinking about this.  I also know that people are creating systems that do allow for user-generated comments, descriptions, and tagging.  People are also doing this on the Internet in places like Flickr.  You see this, for example, with the historic photos that have been uploaded by the Library of Congress.  If you check the photo on the right, you'll see interesting and useful comments. Can we do more of this?



Thursday, August 24, 2017

Personal: "Long Days Held Close to the Heart" & What's next for Jill

Three MSLIS students and Jill Hurst-Wahl
After five years, I have stepped down from being director of the MSLIS program at Syracuse University.  If you work in academia, then you'll recognize this as being quite normal.  If you're not in academia, let me tell you this is quite normal!  No one stays the director of a program forever. At some point, that person returns to being "just faculty."  I am making that transition joyfully!  In celebration of the change, I wrote an article for the iSchool blog and print publication entitled "Long Days Held Close to the Heart."  If you want to know more about what I've been doing, that will give you a peek. You might also read this post, which I wrote after my first semester as director.

So what's next for me, besides fewer emails and fewer meetings? 
  • My teaching load is lighter this year, in order to give me time and space to dig into my areas of interest.  However, teaching-wise I've been developing a graduate class title "Collection Development and Access", which I will teach in October and then April.  (This class had been irregularly taught in the past and will now be taught twice per year online in 11-week quarters.)  I've developed this class from scratch and have put more work into it then you can imagine!  
  • I have scheduled webinars and workshops beginning in December on a variety of topics including copyright, advocacy, providing services outside of the physical library, and training failures.  I am especially looking forward to the events on copyright, because I'll be speaking to library staff, who really need that knowledge.
  • I'll spend time doing things in the community, which I've not been able to do.  Last week, it was working a Multicultural Fair for children. This Sunday, it will be working the NYS Library Booth at the New York State Fair.  After that, who knows!
If you have been wanting to talk with me about a project idea or a workshop idea, and haven't done it, now is the time! Visit my web site and use any of those methods to contact me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Vacuum and Use

Thinking statues
Thinking
In this final post in this series, I think it is important to talk about two things: vacuum and use.

This series has given you ways of increasing your library intelligence.  Wherever you are in the library and information science field, you need to continue to increase your knowledge of the field. You also need to increase your knowledge of what is happening in other areas.

If your library is expected to react to the world around it, then knowing what is happening around you is important.  You cannot live in a vacuum.  You cannot make the library your fortress against outside forces. You cannot ignore what is happening out in the community.  You must be aware of what is happening and take time to learn about non-LIS things.

Take time to understand what is happening in your larger community - whatever that community might be.  What are its issues, concerns, or joys?  What is changing or needs to be changed?  What's happening with the budget, land use, etc.?  What are people protesting and why?  Learn this so that when you need the information or a point of reference, you have it.  Learn this so if something occurs that requires the library to act, you can do so quickly.

You can learn what's happening outside of the library through interacting with your community and your larger organization. You should also be paying attention to the news sources, which are relevant for your community.  While you may be unable to read, listen, or watch everything that is relevant, you can read headlines and table of contents, and then read any articles that seems particularly useful.  You might want to attend relevant meetings or information sessions in your community, as a way of learning more about what your community is discussing.  Of course, don't forget that social media can help you stay on top of what your community is discussing. Just be sure that you're hearing from multiple sides on an issue.

As for use, this new knowledge which you have garnered is only effective if you utilize it.  Be willing to be part of library conversations, whether that is with LIS students, LIS professionals, or members of your larger community.  Share what you know about libraries but remember:
  • Do not use library jargon.  Please don't use library jargon with members of your larger community, because if you use words that they do not understand, they will just stop listening to you.  Limit your use of library jargon with other members of the LIS profession, because the breadth of the profession means that we all don't actually understand each other's jargon.
  • Listen.  The saying is that you have two ears and only one mouth, so you'll listen twice as long as you speak.  When you listen, you will actually have a better idea of what you should be talking about.  If you're unclear about what you should be saying, ask open ended questions.  By the way, some members of our community are rarely listened to.  Being willing to listen actively and openly is a wonderful gift.
  • Acknowledge that you don't know everything.  There will always be topics that you don't understand.  If it is a topic that you really do need to know more about, use your library skills to learn about it.
When I started this series, my main focus was on LIS students, but it quickly broadened to other members of the LIS profession.  In addition, the topics in this series grew more than I anticipated.  I'm sure there is more to say, but I will stop here.  If you have comments, questions, concerns, or ideas, I hope that you will post them as a comment.  If you have found this series useful, please comment and tell me why.  (I enjoy good news!)  And if you know someone who should read this series, please pass it along to them.

Previous posts in this series:

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

KinderGuides, Georgia State e-Reserves, and Copyright

Copyright symbol
Andrew Albanese and Christopher Kenneally discussed two copyright cases in the August 4 installment of the Beyond the Book podcast.  The KinderGuides case has to do with the creation of plot summaries for young students of famous works.  Was this Fair Use?  The other is the continuing saga of the Georgia State e-reserves case.  The episode is 16 minutes in length.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: An Ongoing Need

Thinking statues
Thinking
This - I think - is the second to last post in this series.  In this post, it is time to confront a reality.  That reality is that some graduates of academic programs believe that they need to learn nothing more than what their degree program taught them, and then get frustrated when they learn that isn't true.  Many of us have heard a graduate lament that his/her academic program did not teach them everything.  That fact, though, should not be a surprise.  No industry - including the information industry - is stagnant. There is always something new to learn.

If you are currently in an academic program and looking forward to a professional position OR you are in your first professional position, there are two points to keep in mind:
  1. Many employers will immediate teach a new employee specific skills for that work environment.  Rather than being frustrated at this, recognize this as an opportunity to learn more.  If what you are being taught is different than what you learned in your academic program, judge neither as being wrong but rather as being options to carry with you into the future.
  2. Employers will want you to continue to learn, whether that employer is able to fund that activity for you or not.  You will need to identify - perhaps with input from your boss and your colleagues - what you need to learn and the best way to learn it.  It is then up to you to pursue that learning whether it is through reading, podcasts, webinars, seminars, workshops, conferences, or academic classes.
Yes, the need to increase your library intelligence will be continual, because libraries are constantly changing.  That means that your job will constantly change.  I encourage you to be proactive in your learning.  Don't wait until your boss must force you to learn something new.

In terms of professional development, I have written several blog posts on attending conferences.  Those tips can be applied to many different professional development situations. I also have a post on reading and listening recommendations for MSLIS students.

By the way, if you are still in school, your academic program should teach you - implicitly or explicitly - how to be a lifelong learner.  If it isn't obvious to you how your academic program is doing (or did do) that, ask.   

Previous posts in this series:

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Thursday, August 03, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Put in the Time

Thinking statues
Thinking
There is no shortcut to upping your library intelligence.  There are things you must do, and those things will take time.  Let me say that we all have the same amount of minutes is a day.  That means that we all have the same opportunities to increase our knowledge of libraries and the information field.  The question for you to consider is... How are you going to fit the necessary activities into your day?

People like Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, David Allen, and others have thoughts on how to learn something new, how to fit learning into your day, or how to make time for the things you need to be focusing on.  It all, though, boils down to putting in the time.

We each have 1440 minutes in each day. Generally, we spend 480 minutes sleeping and 420 (or more) minutes working (that could be working a job or going to school).  That leaves 540 minutes for the other things we need to do, including meals, commuting, taking care of your family and home, etc.  In those 540 minutes, can you dedicate 20 minutes to increasing your library intelligence?

20 minutes a day may not seem like much, but if you spend 20 minutes per day on a learning activity, and do that five days per week, every week, that is 5200 minutes per year (86.66 hours). 

One key is dedicating time on your calendar.  Yes, put that 20 minute block of time on your calendar and keep that meeting with yourself!  This meeting with yourself could be done anywhere (home, car, work, parking lot, park).  Some days, you might use that time to actually meet with someone or to attend a training session.  This suggests, by the way, that the 20 minutes might not occur always at the same time each day and that is okay.  What is important is that you do it!  Will you do this for the a year or for the rest of your life? That is up to you and what your goals are.

I have had long periods in my life where I needed to dedicate a specific length of time each day in order to accomplish "X".  In one nine-month period it was indeed a learning activity and I did it every day, seven days a week.  Keeping that time was difficult when I was traveling (like at a conference), but I still tried my best to do it, because I of its importance.

If this idea resonates with you, go to your calendar and begin to schedule that time with yourself.  You might use the first few 20 minute periods to organize your learning and networking activities, then use future periods to do those activities.

Resources and Inspiration:
Previous posts in this series:


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Get Digital

Thinking statues
Thinking
When I worked in my college library - eons ago - paper was the format that ruled.  Things have changed and obviously we live in a digital age.  Behind - or underneath - everything we do as librarians is something digital (e.g., a database).  Technology facilities everything.  Without it, most of our work would not get done.

Desktop computers entered the consumer world around the time I was heading to graduate school.  My first professional position wasn't in a library, but was as a corporate technology trainer.  Yes, my job was teaching others how to use this technology that was now on their desktops.  Back then, using technology meant learning a variety of different commands in whatever software was on the computer.  There was a sense of accomplishment in understand how to format a document in word processing software or programming a complex set of commands in the spreadsheet software.  All of those commands were worth knowing and using because you could see how the end result was better.

With that as a prologue, let me encourage you to learn the in's and out's of the technology that is at your fingertips.  Yes, you can open up your word processing software and just type, but there are a ton of commands in the menu - learn what they do! Ditto for the spreadsheet software you're using and any other software you are using on a regular basis.

If you are a student, I can tell you that getting to know the software you are using for your assignments will make those assignments look much better. Yes, better formatting (subheadings, margins, line spacing, pagination)!  You'll also find that there are menu options (e.g., thesaurus) that can help you create a better sounding assignment.  Then there is the magic of tables, merging, etc. that can streamline your work.

If you are an information professional, taking time to get a better handle on the software you're using can help you work smarter. We often don't have enough time in the day, so fighting with your software to get something done is not a good use of time.

By the way, often there is a more "command driven" way of using software.  Don't be afraid of that. Yes, that includes understanding those codes that are actually in the typed documents you're creating. Just trust me that a little knowledge of those commands will be helpful.

If you don't think you can learn these tools on your own, training is available.  Look for low-cost or free training options through your library, library consortium, Lynda.com, and other web-based training services.  You might find free tutorials on the Internet or YouTube. If there is someone in your midst, who is really good with technology, you might ask that person to give you a lesson.  No, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on training! 

Besides the software on your computer, get to know the software you are using to search a library's databases or the Internet.  If you're working with special software to help you with digitization, metadata creation, or something else, learn the in's and out's of that software, too.  Consider how awesome it would be to know become more proficient at that software than the people around you! You would become one of the go-to people for help, and that would make you stand out in a positive way.

If you don't feel that you can learn this software on your own, check to see what training is available from your database providers and the other suppliers of the software in your library. It is likely that there is free training available.  You might also seek out someone who is more proficient and ask if that person can given you an one-on-one lesson in those commands the person finds most useful.

I haven't talked about your mobile device. Yes, those are indeed powerful devices and likely you don't know enough about them.  Take time to learn what they can really do.  Waiting for a meeting or standing at the bus stop?  Explore the apps that you have or search to find better apps for what you want to do.  (I always look for free apps and I can tell you that there are lots of awesome free apps available.)

Finally, I've made this post about you, but let me say that if you learn the technology that is around you, you'll be able to answer technology questions your community members have.  In addition, you'll be able to do one-on-one or group technology training, which many librarians do as part of their positions.

Previous posts in this series:


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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Expanding and Tapping into the LIS Network

Thinking statues
Thinking
I written about why upping your library intelligence is important, the need to increase your vocabulary, and the content you might consume.  Now let me turn to the need of LIS students and new professionals need to quickly expand their professional networks.  Expanding your network doesn't mean collecting names; it means developing relationships.  Yes, one does lead to the other.

You might begin by identifying people with whom you want to interact.  These could be people from whom you want to learn or people whom you see as future employers.  At this stage, you are collecting names, but then you need to actually do something  more before you make the connection.  That something could include looking the person up on social media, finding the person's web site, reading what the person has written, or attend a presentation the person is giving.  This activity is means to ensure that this is a good connection for you, because you can see why the person would be good to have in your network.  (Yes, this does mean that you might decide not to connect to someone, because you now feel the person would not be a good connection.) This background information should also allow you to have a good conversation with the person either by email, phone, or face-to-face.  By the way, when you connect with the person - whether it is LinkedIn, email or face-to-face - tell the person why you want to connect.  That will help the person understand that you are purposefully connecting, rather engaging in a mindless activity of network-building.

Note that your network has several functions which may not be obvious.  One of those things is that it should help you understand the profession, no matter if that help is passive or active. For example, you might read what your network is reading as a way of gaining a different perspective on the profession. Paying attention to what is attracting your network's attention may also help you spot emerging trends.  Knowing what the trends are can help you stay relevant.

Once "settled" in the profession, a person's network continues to grow naturally through conferences, committee work, employer connections, etc.  In addition, a network may change because some connections are no longer relevant. Yes, it is okay to drop people from your network.  I've done this if a person:
  • Has not been an active participant in the information industry.
  • Has moved outside of the information industry into an unrelated field.
  • Has proven to be at odds with my values as an information professional.
  • Is someone whom I really did not know.
How big should your network be?  There is no magic number.  Yes, bigger can be better, but it is not helpful if you have built a network of people with whom you have nothing in common.  A network that is focused around your areas of interest would be much better. However, know that it is not your network alone that is useful to you, but also the networks of those with whom you're connected.  If you have 100 people in your network and they each have 100 people, etc., you have a much more powerful network than if you (and they) only have 5 connections each.  I do recommend to students that they strive for over 100 connections in LinkedIn and then continue to increase the number of people they are connected with.  I think the "100" mark gives students a do-able goal.

I've mentioned LinkedIn a couple of time and, yes, I think you should have a LinkedIn profile, even if you are not job hunting.  LinkedIn remains a place where people go to learn about others.  If you are unfamiliar with LinkedIn, there are many books available on it, including these books on Amazon.  And do remember to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date.

I'd also like to make a plug for having good information about yourself in your other social media accounts. While you may not want to have all of your information in a place like Facebook, if someone finds you there, the person should be able to see some basic information (name, general location, industry).  Since most names are not unique, consider providing just enough so people know that they have found the correct person.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Podcast: Fighting the Information Famine

Beyond the Book logoChristopher Kenneally recently did an interview Brad Turner, the Benetech Vice President, who is overseeing the company’s Global Literacy Program.  Benetech's mission is to help people with print disabilities and other learning challenges have access to materials in an accessible format.  Turner notes that 3% and 5% of the general population need material in an accessible format, which translates into millions of people in the U.S. and worldwide.

I found this conversation to be quite interesting. First, it interested me because because I had not heard of Benetech before. Second, I know how important meeting the accessibility needs of our community is.  Acquiring material for your library does not automatically mean that everyone in your community can use it.  The person may not be able to use the material's native format.  Third, I know that this work has become easier because content can be placed in a digital format or is being created in a digital format.   In fact, Benetech was founded by someone interested in pattern recognition, which is the foundation of OCR.

If you're interested in accessibility or how a rocket scientist got involved in making print accessible, then I hope you will listen to or read the interview. This 15-minute interview is available as audio and text on the Beyond the Book website.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Reading, Listening, and Watching

Thinking statues
Thinking
In the second post in this series, I noted that words matter in our profession and that you should expand your vocabulary.  A good way of doing that is by expanding what you are reading, listening to, and watching.

We are a profession of creators. We are constantly creating content by writing articles, books, and blog posts. We also record webinars and podcasts, as well as post our presentations online.  And because we adopt new publishing platforms quickly, you can also find our content on social media.  Yes, we tweet, snap, Facebook, and more. So there is an abundance of content to use for expanding your knowledge of the profession.

In May (2017), I blogged Summer Reading/Listening Recommendations.  Rather than creating another list, let me tell you what to look for, as you begin to expand what you're taking in, and allow you then hunt for what suits you.

First, look for content (audio, video, print, etc.) that has a following.  Yes, go for the popular content for starters, because we will assume that its popularity means that it carries some authority.  (Once you have an understanding of what topic area interests you, you can search for less popular authorative content.) You can often tell the number of people who are using/"reading"/linking to online content. With print content, you should be able to locate the number of subscribers for a journal or the number of libraries that carry a particular book. Yes, you are using numbers to figure out popularity and assuming that popularity means quality.  I know that is flawed logic, but you need to start somewhere as you build your knowledge.  As you build your knowledge, you will be able to better discern the quality of the content you are using.

You might think of this  as what you're consuming now, but not what you might consume long term.  In the near-term its role to help you know more, so you can then locate content that better meets your needs.

Second, look for content that is providing thoughtful analysis, rather than being opinionated (pro or con) without providing adequate reasons.  That analysis will help you learn how members of the profession view a particular topic.

Third, be willing to read/listen/watch dissenting points of view.  Not everyone will agree on a topic and it is important to hear from those that disagree.  Sometimes you learn more from those dissenting voices, because they get you to think about the topic differently.

Fourth, over time you will develop an idea of who the more knowledge voices are (or might be) on a topic which interests you.  Be willing to seek out more of what those people have produced.  Also look to understand who they are referring to or quoting, and seek out the works of those people. This is important, if you are interested in a specific area. You should know who the leading voices are, as well as what the hot issues are. 

In terms of reading, I want to recommend that you locate (perhaps even subscribe to) a print publication that is focused on libraries and read several issues of it.  (If you subscribe to it, then read it regularly.)  And by "read" I mean read it from cover to cover. Why?  First, you may be tempted to skim, but skimming isn't going to teach you the details or the language.  Second, when you read cover to cover, you will be seeing the advertisements. Those ads have been placed their by our vendors and you need to be aware of who they are and what they are selling.  Third, I'm recommending that you read a print version because I think we read differently - more deeply - on paper and it may be easy to ignore the ads (and other details) in a digital version.

I know...reading a publication cover to cover can be boring.  However, every article is informing you of something important.  You may need to read that article - and others on the topic - in order to develop a deeper understanding, so you then know the topic's importance.

I know...you don't want to look at ads. While there are other ways of developing an understanding of the LIS vendors and their services, advertisements are a quick and easy way of developing familiarity.  While you are unlikely to see ads for every library vendor that exists, you will see enough to build knowledge and vocabulary that will serve you well when you decide to dig deeper into a specific area.

When I was a corporate librarian, there were several publications that I did read cover to cover, including the SLA journal that existed then.  I found that reading these publications was especially important before I went to a conference, because I then had a better idea of what was currently happening in the field and that might influence what conference sessions I attended.  I found news items about our vendors to be important because I was the person making decisions about the services we used.

In more recent years, I consume more LIS content through social media, online news, and podcasts.  However, I know that those early years of reading professional journals gave me the grounding I needed so that what I am consuming today makes sense.

At the top of this post, I said that we are a profession of creators and that includes you.  If you your reading/watching/listening teaches you that your area of interest is not being talked about, you might create and publish content on the topic. You can do that by blogging, for example, or writing an article for one of our LIS trade journals.  You could also give a conference presentation or start a podcast (or be a guest on an existing podcast).  Not only would that be a great way of contributing to the profession, but you would also attract attention to yourself by doing it.


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Words Matter

Thinking statues
Thinking
In this first post of this series, I noted that expanding your library intelligence is important for MSLIS students.  I'll note now that it is also important for the rest of us, because we are in a changing field. Yes, it is changing, whether you recognize the changes or not.

Every field, industry or area of focus has its own vocabulary.  While some words are the same as in other fields, their meanings in the library context may be specific.  We don't, however, give new people to the profession a long list of vocabulary words for them to memorize. Yes, we may give them words related to a specific topic/class, and then hope that through reading and professional engagement that they will learn the rest. However, that combination may not teach a new person enough vocabulary.

I have been in situations where an emerging professional assumes the definition of words/phrases without ever looking them up or trying to discern their correct usage from how others are using the words.  Sadly, when someone talks about a topic and uses the wrong vocabulary, it can be a turn-off to those who are listening.  If that occurs in a classroom or on an assignment, there is an opportunity to make a correction. When that occurs on a job interview, it will likely lead to an unhappy ending (no job offer).  So for no other reason than employment, working to understand a field's vocabulary is important.  However, it is also important in the day-to-day work environment because it assures that we're communicating well.

The Internet has provided a way for all of us to discern the correct meanings of words through web sites, dictionaries, trade and peer reviewed articles, and eTextbooks.  For those resources to be helpful to us, we each need to take a few steps:
  • Keep track of those words you don't understand.  Write them somewhere, so you can look them up later.  I used to write words I didn't understand in the margin of my notes, so they were easy to find.
  • Look of those words you don't understand.  You can start with a dictionary, but you may want to check usage by seeing how the word/phrase has been used in an LIS journal.  By the way, your assumption will be that the way the word was used you heard/read it originally was correct; however, you might discovery that it had actually been used incorrectly!  (And, yes, faculty do sometimes use vocabulary incorrectly.)
  • Use the word - correctly - so you learn it.  That use might be in a conversation, a paper, or elsewhere.  As our K-12 teachers reminded us, when you use a word correctly, you are deepening your learning.  
Besides using words correctly, there are three other things to do:
  • Understand what the acronyms are in the profession.  While it is important to use them, it is also important to use their definitions.  For example, not all librarians work with youth and thus recognize the acronym "YA".  Show you library intelligence  to other LIS professionals by both using the phrase "young adult" and the acronym "YA", when you're talking about this group.  You are demonstrating your ability to talk without jargon and your ability to use jargon.By the way, remember to limit your jargon with your library community.  They should not have to understand our jargon in order to talk with us.
  • Spell library vendor names correctly, which includes capitalization and spacing.  For example, it is "LexisNexis," not "Lexis Nexis" or "Lexis-Nexis."
  • Recognize if specific words (jargon) are associated with a specific library vendor. For example, while some seem to use the word "libguide" generically, it actually refers to the SpringShare content management system.  If you're not using SpringShare, consider what word or phrase you might use instead.
If you are an MSLIS student, you might wonder how many new words you need to learn. The answer is "a lot."  The good news is that you do not need to learn them all at the same time. You will be adding new words each week as part of your classes.  If you also add words outside of class - and I'll be talking in the next post about how you're going to find them - then you should be in good shape.


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Monday, July 17, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: An Area You Need To Focus On

Thinking statues
Thinking
Late in the spring, I had a short conversation with Rachel Clarke about MSLIS students and in which areas we thought they (the generic "they") needed to grow.  A number of people are attracted to M.S. in Library and Information Science programs who do not have deep library experience.  For them, their lack of library experience may inhibit these students from learning and applying new concepts quickly. Rachel and I realized that these students would be helped by engaging in activities that would allow them to increase ("up") their library intelligence. While we promised to continue the conversation later, I've decided to develop a series of blog posts as a way for me to explore the topic and - hopefully - create content which will help current and future MSLIS students, and LIS professionals.

Let me reiterate an important point.  A number of people come into the LIS profession because they realize that the work is calling them; however, they may have only seen what library staff do and not actually done that work themselves.  This is unlike some other professions, where students may be required to have experience before entering an academic program.  For example, in the past, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) has required that applicants have some food service experience before starting at the CIA.  While that does create a hurdle, it assures that students have work experience to draw upon while in class.  Without experience to draw upon, LIS students need to work to gain the library intelligence they will need to be successful in their academic programs.  That means doing work outside of the classroom, so they have growing foundation for what is occurring in the classroom.

So this is the first in a series of blog posts on upping your library intelligence, recognizing that each of us need to do this.  I hope this series gives you ideas and if you know of someone else who could benefit from the series - like a current LIS student - please tell the person!


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Monday, July 10, 2017

Signage, Digital Signage, T is for Training

Rolls of hay in Pennsylvania
My last post here was June 20.  Since then I've been on the road for work and vacation, and then catching up from being "out of the office."  Blogging has not be on my mind.  However, I do have a series of blog posts in the works on increasing your library intelligence.  My goal is to begin to release them next week.

I am not the type of librarian, who must visit libraries while on vacation.  However, I do notice libraries and during the last T is for Training podcast, I started the conversation by mentioning the signage at one public library.  That opened an hour-long conversation on library signage, signage audits, and the digital face of a library. If you haven't thought about your signage (or web site) in a while, you might use this podcast episode to prompt a review.  The T is for Training web site contains show notes for the episode.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

EFF International IP Infosheets: Temporary Copies

In 2012, the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) published an information sheet on "Temporary Copies."  Temporary copies are made automatically by computer systems and are very necessary.  However, having a temporary copy could be seen as an infringing on copyright.  This three-page document provides background, the EFF stance on the matter, and even an overview of a relevant U.S. court case.  If you find yourself talking about temporary copies, this document might be one you will want to refer to.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Video: What is a copyright? (Canada)

This three-minute video is an introduction to Canadian copyright. Because of the impact of international treaties, you will find that Canada's laws are similar to those in other countries (like the U.S.), but you will also notice some differences (e.g., the length of protection). Still this is a good introduction and worth viewing/using.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Does an Award Winning Design Reflect the Content Within?

I am catching up on reading and Internet surfing, which means I'm finding things I should have read months ago.  This blog post wonders if award winning book covers are on books with highly rated content.  I've copied the post's graphic below and you're welcome to go read the original post.  However, this got me thinking about web site design and specifically library web sites.

Most libraries have a web site.  Those sites are created in a number of different ways, using free and fee-based tools.  Some provide basic information about the library, while others are more in-depth.  I suspect that most do not provide all of the information that their users want, such as information about the staff or board of trustees, or details about borrowing privileges.  Indeed many libraries only provide what the staff is interested in sharing, and that could be very little.

Most libraries do not have someone on staff who can create a professional design of the web site.  Sites which we might consider "award winning" are likely owned by large, well-funded libraries, where a tech-savvy person internally or externally is charged with maintaining the site.  As our computing devices have changed (e.g., the move to mobile devices), our site designers have had to create sites that will look good and function on any type of device. This is called responsive design.  My own site is an example of one that uses responsive design so that it functions well on any type of device.

The problem with web sites (and books) is that a great looking site may have very little useful content.  In some cases, a great looking site may actually contain fake content, while a site that is not designed by a professional may have extemely useful content.  Yes, judging a book (or web site) by its design can be problematic.

So what are you to do? 
  • Whether your site is for a digitization program, a specific department, or the entire library, make sure that it gives users the information that they desire about you (program, department, library).  If you are waiting until it is designed perfectly, don't.  Place the information online, then schedule time to make it better.
  • State your assumptions.  You actually have no idea who will use your web site, so don't assume that they will know specific details about you (e.g., location).  
  • Work towards a design that is compliant with American with Disabilities Act rules/guidelines.  If you don't know what that means, ask someone.  Yes, there are free tools, like this one, which you can use to assess accessibility.  I know you might get frustrated with the errors, but try to work on fixing them.
  • Work towards functional and informative, then towards beautiful.  People will endure a less than beautiful web site, if it delivers worthwhile information.
  • When possible hire someone - even a knowledgeable intern - who can help you with your web site.  Remember that you can contract with someone to provide this service on-demand.
By the way, I did run my own web site through the WAVE tool and I can see that I have some changes to make!  I guess I better do that before I look at any of the books below.



Created by Syracuse University's School of Information Studies master of information management program.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Protecting Your Personal Information: It is Increasingly Important

Lock & ChainIn March, Jason Griffey wrote a blog post entitled "Personal International Infosec" after he had traveled between the U.S. and Bahrain. Given the current trend of governments checking a traveler's computing devices, Griffey decided to ensure that no one could learn anything if they checked his.  In his blog post, Griffey' lays out exactly what he did and why.  It is definitely worth a read.

We use password to protect our identification and our intellectual property. I had been relaxed in ensuring that may passwords were strong and protected. Like many people, I had a method for creating passwords that made them memorable for me. And like many people, I had a list of passwords and IDs, although it was not up-to-date.  Reading his post, I realized that it was time for me to get my act together and use a password manager, like 1Password, and I did.

I've had three surprises from using a password manager.  First, a password manager is easy to use (and I'm using 1Password).  It is easy to enter ID and password information.  It will even generate new passwords, and I like that.  Now every password can be unique (for real!).

Second, it has not slowed me down.  In fact, having all of my passwords in one location stops me from search high-and-low for that password I don't remember or generating a new password because I can't remember the old one.

Third...wow I have a lot of passwords!  I knew I had a lot of them, but they really weren't all in one location and they were not written down.  I am still discovering IDs and passwords that I need to place into my manager, including passwords that need to be made more secure.

While I've been talking here about your personal information, having a way of securing your organization's information is also important.  Yes, think about securing your passwords and also those of your organization.

If you have not read anything about using a password manager and are interested in securing your ID (or intellectual property), here are some articles to start with:
Please note that some password managers are free, while others require a subscription.  I have colleagues who are using free password managers and they like them.  I decided to use 1Password, which has a 30-day free trial and then a yearly subscription fee.  My decision was not based on in-depth research, but based on what Jason Griffey selected (someone whom I know and trust).  You might do research and decide on something totally different, and that is okay.  What is no longer okay is having passwords that could be easily guessed or listing them on slips of paper (or someplace online that is not secure.  It is time to secure your identity and your intellectual property.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Report: Special Collections in ARL Libraries

While this is an older report, it may be one still worth a read.  Published in 2009, this Association of Research Libraries (ARL) report:
...identifies key issues in the management and exposure of special collections material in the 21st century. Though the initial focus was on 19th- and 20th-century materials, most of what is said below applies with equal force to collecting and caring for materials from previous centuries as well as materials that bring us into the present and oblige us to look forward into the future.
The thee main sections of the report are:
I. Collecting Carefully, with Regard to Costs, and Ethical and Legal Concerns
II. Ensuring Discovery and Access
III. The Challenge of Born-Digital Collections 
The report also contains recommendations in those three areas. 


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Marrakesh Treaty

brailleAccording to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
The Marrakesh Treaty eases the production and transfer across national boundaries of books that are specially adapted for use by people with visual impairments, most of whom live in lower-income countries.
The Marrakesh Treaty came into effect for WIPO member states on September 30, 2016, including the United States. However, the U.S. Senate has not ratified it yet. As of today, they last took action on it in early 2016.

To understand the effect the treaty will have on Title 17, we can just look at the letter sent from the U.S. Department of Commerce to Vice President Joe Biden, when the text of the treaty was given to him.  It says:
The bill implements provisions of the Marrakesh Treaty that aims to expand the availability of print materials in accessible formats such as braille, large print, and specialized digital audio files, for the use of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.  A limited set of changes is proposed to section 121 of the Copyright Act.  The proposed bill broadens the scope of works currently covered by section 121 and elaborates of the section's definition of "blind of other persons with disabilities."  It also specifies that accessible format copies may be exported for the exclusive use of such eligible persons in other countries that are parties to the treaty, and for U.S. citizens or domiciliaries located abroad.
In talking about the treaty, Secretary of State John Kerry wrote:
The Marrakesh Treaty includes two core elements designed to promote access to published works for persons with print disabilities. First, it requires every Treaty party to provide an exception or limitation in its national copyright law to copyright holders' exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, and making available published works to the public, in order to facilitate the availability of books and other printed materials in accessible formats. Second, the Treaty requires that parties allow "authorized entities" (for example, libraries, or organizations devoted to assisting the visually impaired) to distribute such "accessible format copies" to other authorized entities and to "beneficiary persons" (individuals who meet defined criteria for visual or other reading-related impairments) in other countries that are party to the Treaty.
It has been said that millions of people world wide would be positively impacted by the Marrakesh Treaty if every country ratifies it.  Let's hope that the U.S. Senate is pushed to ratify the treaty soon and to make the requisite changes to our own law.