Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Vacuum and Use

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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.

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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

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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

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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:
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Monday, July 31, 2017

Upping Your Library Intelligence: Get Digital

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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.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Article: From Dusty Boxes to Data Bytes Acquiring Rights to Special Collections in the Digital Age

The Reading Room is an open access scholarly publication focused on special collections.  Its second issue contains an article by April M. Hathcock entitled, "From Dusty Boxes to Data Bytes Acquiring Rights to Special Collections in the Digital Age."  This is remains a topic that people are digging into because there is still so much to be digitized and made accessible.  If you're one of those focused on it, this article may be for you.  Abstract:
Acquiring the rights to special collections material is of increasing importance as special collections are increasingly being digitized and placed online. Greater access to materials can lead to greater risk of copyright infringement, but for materials being acquired currently, it is possible to reduce the risk by acquiring  rights at the point of accession. At New York University, key stakeholders  addressed these issues by creating a framework for special collections acquisitions agreements that covers common circumstances surrounding the transfer of intellectual rights to special collections material, specifically with an eye to the possible digitization and placement of the material online.

Monday, May 15, 2017

MSLIS Graduate Students: Summer Reading/Listening Recommendations

Blue Snowball MicrophoneIt is the end of the academic year  and many students are heading away from campus for the summer.  Our MSLIS students may be going to an internship or to work (in a library or elsewhere).  Yes, some might be taking classes (on campus or online).  As part of their professional development during the summer, I hope that they will take time to explore the material that those of us in the field are consuming. With that in mind, I asked members of Facebook ALA Think Tank Group for suggestions of library-related blogs, podcasts, or other content they would recommend to MSLIS students.  Below are what the people recommended.

If you are an MSLIS student, I hope you will take time to read or listen to what your colleagues have recommended. You might sample each by reading or listening to 1-3 items.  Often reading/listening to just one item (episode/post) is not enough to get a real sense of source.

 Open Access Journal:
Blogs:
Podcasts: 
Why have I focused on blogs and podcasts?  I know that not everyone prefers long form text (books).  In addition, blogs and podcasts often capture what is happening now, rather than what was happening when a particular book was being written.  (The content of a book can become dated even during its publication process.)

Is there a library-related blog or podcast that you would add to this list?  If yes, please leave that information in the comments, so we can all benefit from the information.  Let's make this an even longer list of resources! [5/16/2017: And I've added more recommendations above!]

If you know an MSLIS student, please consider sharing this list with her/him. Then follow-up and ask the person what she/he liked, didn't like, or learned.  Please know that the person might not like these suggestions and that is okay.  (In fact, knowing what you like or don't like is a good learning experience.)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Monroe Community College: Copyright & Creative Commons: Copyright Overview

Here is another libguide on copyright, which is worth using as a reference.  It might also be a good model for other copyright guides.  This libguide from Monroe (NY) Community College covers both copyright and the Creative Commons for instructors.  Its major sections are:
  • Copyright Overview
  • Evaluating Resources for Use
  • In the Online Classroom
  • Copyright for Authors/Creators
  • FAQ
  • More Resources



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wayback Wednesday: Tasini v. New York Times, Co.

One of my favorite copyright court cases is Tasini v. New York Times (filed in 1997), both because of its potential impact on databases and that I am a freelance author.  When looking online for information this case, the trail from its beginning to its final conclusion is not well documented. You have to know that it took several twists and turns in order to find those twists and turns.  And you have to know that there were two similarly named cases AND that there was at least one other case (class action lawsuit) which related to Tasini v. NYT.

When I do an Internet search on this case, I easily find older articles from the early decisions in this case.  Places like Wikipedia, which a person might use to locate additional sources, currently (May 2017) contains older information and is incomplete.  Therefore, it would be easy for anyone to research this case and come to an incorrect decision about its final conclusion (which actually occurred in 2014).

With all this in mind, I have compiled resources which can help someone research Tasini v. New York Times.  These should provide someone with "guideposts", which can help understand the path of the case and then locate additional resources.  (And if  this blog post does help a newbie understand Tasini, then I'll be pleased.)

Relevant Digitization 101 blog posts:
Additional Resources on Tasini v. NYT and NYT v. Tasini:

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

How Do You Digitize a 357-Year-Old Atlas That’s Nearly 6 Feet Tall?

According to Atlas Obscura:
If you’re the British Library, you get creative and set up a special studio to photograph the titanic Klencke Atlas.

The British Library has a video of the process:


Monday, May 08, 2017

Rapid Capture: Faster Throughput in Digitization of Special Collections

My recent class development activities and teaching have been tripping over articles and documents worth remembering.  Although this is a few years old, it is worth knowing that it exists. In this  2011 OCLC report, Ricky Erway wrote:
So in an extremely casual survey, we asked some of our colleagues in libraries, archives, and museums to identify initiatives where non-book digitization was being done “at scale.” We didn’t define “at scale,” because we thought we’d know it when we saw it. It wasn’t always so easy. We heard from lots of places: some with minor achievements, others making a big difference. We selected a few of the latter stories to share with you here. Each one starts with a picture of the equipment in use at the site along with a sample from the collection being digitized.

There are nine stories from nine organizations. I appreciate that the stories include the names of vendors used.

Monday, May 01, 2017

State Copyright Resource Center

While the copyright of U.S. federal government documents is governed by Title 17, Section 105, the copyright on state and local government documents is not.  As this Harvard Library web site  states:

It turns out that figuring out whether state documents are copyrighted is a tricky question....

Thankfully, the Harvard Library have created this web site to help people identify the relevant laws in each state. The U.S. map is a clickable infographic, which gives the viewer a quick indication of  whether state documents are protected by copyright or in the public domain. You can then click on a state to receive more details.

This State Copyright Resource Center is worth bookmarking, as is the web site Copyright at Harvard Library.

Friday, April 28, 2017

LibGuide on Self-Publishing

Meia Geddes has created a libguide on self-publishing.  Under the topic of "administrative," she includes content on copyright and Fair Use. Many new authors do not consider the impact of copyright on their work, so I'm pleased to see Geddes include it here.

Meia Geddes
Geddes, who is a published author, created this libguide as part of her MSLIS studies at Simmons.  This guide is in a Springshare sandbox for LIS programs, however, she intends to keep the guide up-to-date and active so it will not just be a temporary work. Perhaps there is a natural permanent home for this effort?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spinning 3D Digitized Objects

Everson Museum of Art
The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY is known for its world-class ceramic collection.  Items from that collection have been digitized so they are can be reviewed while rotating them.  This Madonna by Waylande Desantis Gregory is a good example of the work.  When they're ready, I hope they publish an article (or two) about this work because this will be of interest to many others.

World Intellectual Property Day, April 26

However you see fit, take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate this day.


Innovation Improves Lives

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Article: Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

This quote seems to be all anyone needs in order to be tempted to read this article:
...the idea that somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25-million books and nobody is allowed to read them. It’s like that scene at the end of the first Indiana Jones movie where they put the Ark of the Covenant back on a shelf somewhere, lost in the chaos of a vast warehouse.

Belfer Audio Archive's Sound Beat

Edison cylinderSyracuse University's Belfer Audio Archives has been producing Sound Beat for several years and perhaps you've heard these 90-second segments on your radio station.  All of the recordings used are in the Belfer Sound Archive, from speeches to music to the sounds of nature.  Each episode give a quick overview or history and a portion of the recording.  It's possible to subscribe (free) the Sound Beat recordings and receive the new one each day.  You can also add Sound Beat to your web site through a widget.

Sound Beat makes the past available through audio.  I can imagine someone wanting to connect these sound bites to other digitized content to make a media rich experience. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Music Memory Dump by Bruan Schuff

Bryan Schuff
Bryan Schuff, who will graduate with his MSLIS degree in a few weeks (May 2017) from Syracuse University, wrote this for one of the online class discussions in my copyright class.  I thought it was worth sharing and Bryan has given me permission to do so.  Thanks, Bryan, for giving me something on music copyright (which is not my forte).

Bryan has been working with "sound" for a over a decade and is an audiophile, so this post was clearly about something he cares about. 



Something we’ve touched on before is that there are copyrights in both the songs/music and in the sound recording. You may have noticed there are different copyright symbols to make this distinction on albums: © for the music and ℗ for the sound recordings (phonogram or phonorecord). This can lead to disputes between record labels and artists, especially when a band records an album and their label decides not to release it, or “shelve” it indefinitely. The artist rarely has much power in this situation when they're "held hostage," but some have found other ways to get their music out, usually by self-distributing the album for free (especially online now), by purchasing the master tapes, or by re-recording the material with a new label. I think the key in these examples is that the record label wasn’t making money off of the material, anyway, so if the artists released it for free, then no monetary harm was done. 

My favorite band, The Smashing Pumpkins, recorded enough material for two discs on their last (formative) album, MACHINA/the Machines of God, but because their previous album underperformed on the charts, their label Virgin Records rejected that idea and opted for a single-disc record. Band leader Billy Corgan announced the Pumpkins’ break-up shortly before releasing MACHINA, then proceeded to leak a few bootlegs to fans throughout the year leading up to their last show. This culminated with cutting 25 copies of a double LP and triple EP collection (25 songs total) on vinyl for those lucky people to distribute to fans. Radiohead often gets credit for being the first to release an album for free, but the Pumpkins did this in 2000, and their fans had to transfer the songs from vinyl records and burn them to CD-Rs or upload them online at the dawn of high-speed internet. Interestingly, Virgin Records included a few of these songs on the Pumpkins’ Greatest Hits compilation bonus disc the following year (though they were likely high-quality transfers from the vinyl records, not from the master tapes). The Pumpkins began remastering and reissuing their entire catalog in 2011 (after their material was no longer covered by their contract with Virgin), but that came to an abrupt halt after 2014 when the next album to receive this treatment was MACHINA; there has been a dearth of news regarding when this might continue.

Java Records, a subsidiary of Capitol, pulled the rug out from under Splashdown before releasing their major-label debut, Blueshift, so the band burned CDs for members of their mailing list and encouraged fans to share MP3s online; one of the band members has since also made the multi-track audio stems from two songs available for remixing. Aimee Mann purchased the master tapes from her record label so that she could release Bachelor No. 2 on her own, which got a lot of positive hype with the success of the movie Magnolia, for which about half of the soundtrack is comprised of songs from Bachelor. I recall hearing or reading about instances where bands re-recorded an entire album with a new label after their former label shelved it, but I can’t recall or find specific examples of this; I do know the Smashing Pumpkins re-recorded two songs for their major-label debut, Gish, that were previously recorded for singles on independent labels. 

Our fellow LIS classmate Pat reminded me of the prolific mash-up artist Girl Talk, who has made a successful living recording and touring to support albums that consist almost entirely of other artists’ works, but he seems to know what lines to not cross. This webpage breaks down the sources of Girl Talk's material for one of his albums, which is quite extensive! One who was not as (legally) successful with his mash-up was DJ Danger Mouse, who used source material made available by Jay-Z and he got the blessing from surviving Beatles, Paul and Ringo, but not from EMI, when he mashed up The Black Album and The White Album to create The Grey Album. Perhaps the major issue here is that Danger Mouse focused on only two works by using substantial portions of The White Album in order to create the new work. The Grey Album was heavily pirated in a campaign dubbed “Grey Tuesday,” and it’s now available on the Internet Archive. In a similar fashion, Panzah Zandahz remixed and mashed up Radiohead on an album called Me & THIS Army, which is available for free (or donation) on Bandcamp; I’m not sure how Radiohead or their former label feel about this, but since the material is still online, there must not have been a DMCA takedown notice issued. 

I hope these examples help shed some more light on how copyright can tangle up artists and record labels.

It's about librarianship - #WhyImarch #MarchForScience

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate
On April 22, there were hundreds of marches and rallies across the United States and on other continents to support science.  Numerous photos and videos have been posted on social media, as well as news articles about the events.  The signs were creative and  often science inspired like the one at the right. ("If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.")

In Syracuse, students surveyed the crowd on why people were there.  My reason - the word "science" is part of the degree I hold.  I have a Masters in Library Science (MLS).  While I have a colleague who argues that librarianship is a design profession, she too acknowledges that librarianship is a branch of knowledge based on facts and principles. Science.

Without science, the reason this blog was created would not exist (digitization).  Without science, the Internet would not exist, nor the devices you use to read the blog.  Science matters.

Whether you marched or not, I hope you're keep in mind the importance of science.  Perhaps take a moment to point out the things you do each day that exist because of science.  And when you can, please support the continuation of science in all its forms.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Have you thought about subscribing to Digitization 101 through email?

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