Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Copyright and book theft

Typewriter typing the word steal This opinion piece in the New York Times caught my attention in September. In "Steal This Book? There’s a Price",  R
Since 2009, when eBooks and book piracy became a phenomenon, income for authors has declined 42 percent, according to a 2018 Authors Guild income survey, with the median income from writing now so low — just $6,080 a year — that poverty level looks like the mountaintop. By contrast, a 2017 Nielsen survey found that people who admitted to having read a pirated book in the previous six months tend to be middle class, educated, female as well as male, between the ages of 30 and 44 — and with an income of $60,000 to 90,000 a year.
First, I still contend that we aren't teaching children/students/people about ownership of their work at a young enough age, so that they understand what ownership means.  I think, then, children/students/people could learn better about what it means to respect the works of other creators who own their own works. It would also mean reinforcing ownership in other areas, such as recognizing that even taking one piece of candy from a store is wrong.  For this to really work, everyone would need to operate at a higher ethical standard.

Second, there needs to be a easy way of reporting to an author or publisher when an item do not appear to be a legal copy online.  I think what this really means is that authors need to put their contact information on their works, including their books.  That could simply be a specific email address for the purpose of contacting the author about the work, including reporting copyright violations.  (In other words, not the author's personal email account.)  

You may read my two points above and think they will never come to be, which is what I think too.  I'd be interested in hearing what solutions you might have, so leave a comment.  And yes, do read "Steal This Book? There’s a Price".  I think you'll find it interesting.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Random thoughts and examples: Creating accessible content

Not all disabilities are visible
As we all have, I am more aware of creating accessible content and also noticing when material I use is (or is not) accessible.  Accessibility assures that material is usable by all people.

While in Washington, DC, for the ALA Annual Conference, I went to the Starbucks near Gallaudet University.   Gallaudet describes itself as "the premier institution of learning, teaching and research for deaf and hard-of-hearing students."  Businesses near Gallaudet are more aware of the need to be accessible for all.  In the business district on H Street is the first signing Starbucks in the U.S.  "Signing" means that the preferred language in that Starbucks is American Sign Language (ASL).  The facility was built to be accessible for all, rather than being retrofitted.  It is a beautiful and peaceful (quiet) location, where all of the worker use ASL.  In this facility, accessible content is being created constantly as members of the deaf and hearing communities interact.

Question: When your create a new facility or remodel an existing facility, how committed are you to creating space that is truly accessible for all?

Fish from these waters may be harmful to ear
Accessibility is also something we need to consider, when we create signage. How many languages are spoken in your community? How many languages are your signs in?  While we acknowledge that many languages are spoken in our communities, we often only have signage in 1-2 languages.  (Can you guess which ones?)

I'm impressed with this sign in a park along Onondaga Lake, which is in English, Spanish, Burmese and Nepali.  Why? Because some people see the lake as a food source, but eating fish from this lake is not recommended. This sign to right is in four of the languages that are spoken in Syracuse.  I wish there was a visual representation of the message, which would be accessible to more people.

Question: Is your library's signage in language that your community members use?  Have you created frequently asked questions in multiple languages?  Is there a way for your website to be automatically translated into other languages?

Starbucks business card in English and Braille
Going back to Starbucks for a moment, here is the manager's business card in both English and Braille.  (Don't worry, there is no personal contact information on this card.)

Question: If you are interacting regularly with people who need your contact information in other languages or in a different format, have you create a business card for those situations?

Finally, I want to point out that Sabrina Unrein has written a white paper entitled “What Makes a Good Library Website?”   Sabrina is an MSLIS student at Syracuse University and is working working me as part of the iSchool Public Libraries Initiative.  Included in her white paper is information about web security and creating accessible content. 

Question: Have you reviewed your website and all of its content to assure that everyone can use it?  Is it accessible on mobile devices as well as screen readers?


Monday, October 07, 2019

#ALISE19 : Copyright and LIS in a Global Context: Current Knowledge and Future Trends

Presenters

Laura Saunders, Allison Estell, Deborah Charbonneau and Dick Kawooya

Abbreviated session description

Copyright impacts nearly every aspect of an information professional’s job, across all settings. The centrality of copyright to the information professions suggests that LIS professionals need a strong grounding in this topic, and indeed the American Library Association considers knowledge of copyright to be a core competency...Together [four panelists] will share the results of five separate studies to provide a broad overview of the need for copyright knowledge in the field, and discuss the current preparedness of LIS professionals and students. The first panelist will report the results of a study on self-perceived copyright awareness and training needs of academic librarians highlighting copyright, fair use, and intellectual property. The second panelist will discuss the results of a content analysis of job postings for librarians, to examine trends in expectations for copyright knowledge. Finally, two panelists will discuss a series of surveys that put copyright knowledge and literacy in a global context. The first survey gathered current practitioners’ self-reported knowledge of copyright issues in the United States. Data from this study was pooled with data from the same survey distributed across 13 countries for a cross-country analysis. The second survey tested American LIS students’ copyright knowledge and gathered their feedback on actual copyright instruction within their LIS programs. The survey of LIS students has been replicated in 14 countries and while data is still being analyzed, the researchers will share preliminary comparative data. After sharing the results of each of these above-mentioned studies, the panelists will discuss implications for LIS education.

Notes

Copyright  librarians - areas/requirements?Because of my focus on copyright, this was a fascinating and important session. I know that many MSLIS courses touch on some portion of copyright and licensing, but that there are few regularly given courses on copyright in MSLIS programs. Given all of the electives a student could take, being able to take a course in copyright is a luxury that not every student can take advantage of.

For me, these things stood out in the session:
  1. Members of our profession believe that copyright is an important topic for them to understand.  People have taken advantage of a number of different ways in order to learn about copyright. Among those, who responded to a survey on this topic, most believed that they felt prepared in terms of copyright.  However, the survey asked for their opinion and did not assess their actual knowledge.
  2. People (including students) turn to library staff when they have copyright questions.  In other words, people count on librarians understanding copyright and being able to answer questions appropriately.
  3. More job ads are asking for copyright (or licensing) related knowledge.  This seems to have exploded since 2013.  It was noted that although copyright knowledge is desired, there is no widespread hiring of people with law (JD) degrees. Rather they expect librarians to have this knowledge.
  4. Members of our profession believe that copyright should be in the LIS curriculum.  Because every MSLIS student needs copyright knowledge, the speakers felt that copyright should be woven into (and across) existing courses. 
  5. Members of our profession also felt that there needs to continuous learning in this area.  Once you learn about copyright, you need to refresh that knowledge, especially given that the courts do set new precedents regularly.
In term of weaving copyright into exist MSLIS courses, this would mean including such topics as:
  • What is intellectual property?
  • What is covered by copyright (Title 17, Sections 102-105) 
  • The rights of the copyright owner (Sections 106-106A)
  • Fair Use (Section 107)
  • Reproduction by libraries and archives (Section 108) 
  • First sale doctrine (within Section 109)
  • TEACH Act (within Section 110)
I've included the specific sections of the law above for two reasons. First, I think it demonstrates that this needs to be more than just a mention of a specific area, but rather what do we mean by "X".  Second, I do think that students should become familiar with the law itself, in addition to using other resources, including articles and textbook.
These topics could be connected to courses such as:
  • Introduction to the profession
  • Reference 
  • Information literacy
  • Library instruction
  • Collection development
  • Information policy 
  • Materials for... (or classes such as Youth services)
However, the program would need to map which topics are being covered (and where), in order to ensure that students are receiving the copyright knowledge they will need as a practitioner.  Of course, it may be impossible for every course to contain a copyright assignment, but courses could have appropriate lectures and readings.  If classes are taken in a specific order, perhaps a later classes (e.g., Information policy) could contain an assessment which would require students to use all of the copyright knowledge that they have gained.

There were other topics at ALISE, where the answer was "this needs to be infused in the curriculum."  Doing all of those changes would be a huge coordinated effort, a task that would not be for the weary.  An alternative would be to take some topics or subtopics and create a way for students to engage in self-education.  A student should know that they cannot learn everything in their MSLIS program; to do so would require much more than 36-42 credits. Therefore, students should be motivated to learn outside of the structure of the curriculum.  In regards to copyright, a program could develop a list of external resources (books, articles, webinars, ecourses, etc.), which the student could engage with in order to learn the topic.  While the program would not assess the student's learning, the student should be ready and willing to discuss what they have learned during an employment interview. Some students may find other ways of demonstrating their knowledge (e.g., articles, blog posts, etc.), which could be seen by prospective employers. Of course, some learning options might have their own built-in assessments.

I left this session very happy, because of my love of teaching copyright.  I hope that others have taken what they heard back to their programs and are thinking of what they might do with this knowledge.  I know that I am!

Resources

These are articles I found online and were not mentioned during the session.
  • Allison Estell, Laura Saunders (2016) Librarian Copyright Literacy: Self-Reported Copyright Knowledge Among Information Professionals in the United States, Public Services Quarterly, 12:3, 214-227, DOI: 10.1080/15228959.2016.1184997 
  • Deborah H. Charbonneau, Michael Priehs (2014) Copyright Awareness, Partnerships, and Training Issues in Academic Libraries, The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 40, n. 3-4,  228-233, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2014.03.009
  • LeEtta Schmidt, Michael English (2015) Copyright Instruction in LIS Programs: Report of a Survey of Standards in the U.S.A., The Journal of Academic Librarianship, v. 41, n. 6, 736-743, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.08.004


Addendum (Nov. 11): As an FYI, ALISE has reported this information about the conference:
A total of 282 people, including 76 first time attendees, traveled from eight countries - USA, Canada, China, Germany, Jamaica, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom - to participate. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

#ALISE19 : Understanding information seeking behaviors within a community

The word KNOX made from large pieces of woodLast week was the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Annual Conference in Knoxville, TN. This year's theme was "Exploring Learning in a Global Information Context." Part of the global context is diversity and a number of sessions connected with that specifically. A thread that crossed several presentations and posters was the information seeking behaviors within a community, however, that community is defined.

Information and Under-represented Communities


In the juried paper, "Information and Under-represented communities: LatinXs Finding InformaXion in Boston" by Monica Colon-Aguirre and Janet Caja Alcal, we learned of the information seeking behaviors of those who speak Spanish in the LatinX community. A 2015 Pew Research study found that LatinXs are less likely than other groups to know about the services offered by their public libraries. LatinX communities are the largest minority group in the U.S. and have complex information needs. Colon-Aguirre noted that LatinX populations are not monolithic, which means that we need to be careful about any assumptions we might make about their information needs.

Through 13 interviews, Colon-Aguirre and Alcal found that educational attainment and English language acquisition impact the use of library collections and facilities, and whether that use is for the person or for their child. For example, someone with a higher levels of education would use the library for themself, while a person with lower levels of education would seek services for their children.

Colon-Aguirre recommends that LIS educators prepare future professionals with the knowledge and skills to foster cultural competence. She also said we need to encourage students to acquire proficiency in languages used in our communities, other than English. She noted that LatinX communities are less likely to learn English than other migrant groups, mainly due to ethnic enclaves in cities around the U.S. Of course, the optimal solution would be to hire librarians that represent and look like the people in their communities.

Colon-Aguirre also recommended that libraries:
  • Employ community engagement strategies
  • Develop more programming
  • Build rapport with community members, especially those who are gatekeepers
  • Create bilingual catalogues 
Besides being proficient in another language, library will want to build cultural competence. Cultural competence is a set of attitudes, skills behaviors and policies that enable a person to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.  Rajesh Singh (St. John's University) and Beth Patin (Syracuse University) have MSLIS courses on this and others may also exist.


Chatman Revisited


LaVerne Gray and Bharat MehraLaVerne Gray and Bharat Mehra were two of the panelists in the session entitled, "Chatman Revised: A Panel Reexamining and Resituating Social Theories of Identity, Access, and Marginalization in LIS."  Gray joined the SU iSchool in August, so she's been educating me about Chatman for a while! Mehra was her doctoral advisor and remains a collaborator.

Elfreda A. Chatman (1942-2002) was "well known for her ethnographic approaches in researching information seeking behaviors among understudied or minority groups." (Wikipedia) Chatman studied information seeking behaviors, and then created theories about them.

Because I will not be able to fully articulate her work, I encourage you to locate information on Elfreda Chatman. Two articles, which I quickly found, are:
    When we look at a community, we will consider if the community has an abundance of information or is information deficit. We might ask whether the community seeks information from within itself or if it goes outside its boundaries to locate information. Chatman focused on how communities sought information from within itself. She saw an information deficit because a community - for whatever reason - might not go outside of itself for helpful information. Chatman created the theory of "life in the round", which explains why members of a community might seek information from within its boundaries.

    Rather than seeing the abundance of information within a community, Chatman saw a deficit. Rather than seeing external forces that created the confined community and questioning those forces, Chatman focused on the community as is. Mehra looks at Chatman through fresh eyes and is willing to question her theories, recognizing that doing so is uncomfortable for some.

    Epistemicide


    Listening to Mehra and Gray reminded me of conversations with Beth Patin about community knowledge, especially in ethnic and indigenous communities and epistemicide (the destruction of traditional knowledge). That destruction begins with devaluing the knowledge held within a community. The community knowledge is held as being deficient, while knowledge from outside the community is held as being more valuable and important.

    For example, using Chatman, the knowledge of an Amish community might be seen as deficit, because the community does not reach outside itself to enhance what it knows.  Thinking of epistemicide, the external world seeks to destroy the traditional knowledge of the Amish people because it is not based on broader concepts and is not valued.

    Did I Get it Right?


    As I've written this, I have gone back through my notes and looked at relevant tweets. I'm thankful for those people who tweeted the sessions, because they captured ideas in real-time that were taking me longer to parse. However, now it is your turn. If you were at ALISE or are steeped in these areas, did I get it right? What should be added or corrected? Please leave comments and let me know.

    Thursday, September 19, 2019

    This rant is overdue: Skype interviews

    Skype logo
    Over the years, I have been on many search committees and some of those committees have conducted Skype interviews.  I have a love-hate relationship with Skype interviews (or Zoom or whatever video tool people are using). They allow the search committee to conducted a live video interview with a candidate, where each side can see the other.  When each side is competent at using Skype, it works well. But often they are not and that is a problem.

    If you (a job applicant) will be giving a Skype interview, here are several things to consider:
    • Do you know how to use Skype to video chat with someone? If you have not used Skype previously, can you take a Skype tutorial or have someone give you a lesson?
    • Do you have the correct hardware, Skype version, and Internet connection so that the video interview will technically be a success?
    • Can you be hardwired to the Internet, so there will be no video lag?  Video lag could cause the interviewer to not hear all of your answers.
    • Do you have a headset, so that the sound will be the best possible?  Note that even earbud headphones can give you very good sound quality.
    • Can your device sit steady on a table, at a height that frames your face well?  The interviewer  does not want to be looking at the top of your head or gazing up your nose.
    • Does the lighting allow the interviewer to see your face clearly?
    • Does the interviewer have a phone number for you, which can be called in case something goes wrong?

    Tips for the Interviewer 

    Read all of the tips above and apply them to your role as the interviewer. Yes, you need to be competent, too. 

    If you are conducting confidential interviews, you may want to use a personal Skype account, so you can control who can see the call history.  Why shouldn't you use a shared Skype account?  Currently, there is no easy way of deleting the history of Skype video calls.  If that shared account can be accessed by anyone, they may see who has been interviewed and that may be a problem.

    Using Skype with Diverse Job Candidates


    • If you believe that seeing your candidates could adversely impact your process - in other words, that it could case bias reactions - then consider a conference call.  You can use Skype for a conference call, but you can also do that with many telephones.
    • Interviewers will automatically assume that the candidate is comfortable with a Skype call.  However, you may want to ask candidates for their consent, rather than assuming. Why?  A candidate may feel that a video interview will disclose a disability and put that person at a disadvantage early in the interview process.
    • Conversely, a Skype interview could be helpful in interviewing someone who using sign language or who needs to text chat along with video.  In other words, Skype could provide useful flexibility.

    What Else?

    This post has just been about the technology, but you - the interviewee or interviewer - need to pay attention to the other aspects of interviewing, too. Have you thought about the questions that will be used?  Have you rehearsed the questions or the answers?  If you are the job candidate, can you provide examples from your work history to support your answers? As the job candidate, can you explain why you are the best candidate?

    In other words, you need to prepare for the interview. Please.



    Wednesday, August 07, 2019

    The difference between a graduate student and a graduate scholar?

    As a follow-up to my first post today, here is a short video I did in 2010 on the difference between a graduate student and a graduate scholar?

    By the way, the auto-generated subtitles are accurate, but the subtitles in the video itself are not.

    Are you committed to learning?

    Seth Godin
    This is off-topic, so feel free to stop reading.  However, if you're interested in learning, keep reading.

    Last month, I wrote about a section in Seth Godin's book Stop Stealing Dreams: What is School Good For? The book is available online for free in full-text.  That post is The Standardized Mass Contract. With the outdoors beckoning, I am slowly making my way through the rest of the book.  As an instructor-teacher-professor, my mind keeps being drawn back to this section:

    27. The decision


    We don’t ask students to decide to participate. We assume the contract of adhesion, and relentlessly put information in front of them, with homework to do and tests to take.

    Entirely skipped: commitment. Do you want to learn this? Will you decide to become good at this?

    The universal truth is beyond question — the only people who excel are those who have decided to do so. Great doctors or speakers or skiers or writers or musicians are great because somewhere along the way, they made the choice.

    Why have we completely denied the importance of this choice?
    In less than three weeks, the fall semester classes will begin on many college campuses.  Students will walk into classrooms expected to be educated.  They will sit and expect that the information delivered will make them more employable after 2-4 years.  There are many reasons why students head off to college. I wonder how many are fully committed to the educational process, which includes a high level of commitment inside and outside the classroom.  I also wonder how many come expecting - and wanting - their thoughts and world-view to be challenged.  If your thoughts aren't being challenged, are you learning anything new?

    In section 44, Godin writes:
    Teaching is no longer about delivering facts that are unavailable in any other format.
    You may need to read that twice.  In most classes, students are expected to learn how others have thought about that subject. They need to get their thinking in line with everyone else on that topic.  However, what we need is to have students committed to learning what others think and then taking the next step and thinking radically about the topic themselves.  They need to question the topic with questions grounded in what is known, with an eye towards what's next.  Imagine a student who could ask what would happen if "X" occurred, and did so with the knowledge of A-W.

    In the movie, Hidden Figures, one of the characters implores his team to "look beyond."  To look beyond, a student needs to be committed to learning, questioning, exploring...and not to obtaining a specific grade.  Going for the grade is easy.  Looking beyond is where the opportunities are.

    If you're heading to school, to a conference, or to a workshop, are you committed?  Will you look beyond?

    Tuesday, August 06, 2019

    Secretly Public Domain: U.S. Copyright History 1924-63

    Public Domain Mark Last week, Boing Boing published an article entitled, "Data-mining reveals that 80% of books published 1924-63 never had their copyrights renewed and are now in the public domain."  What? According to Leonard Richardson:
    A recent NYPL project has paid for the already-digitized registration records to be marked up as XML. (I was not involved, BTW, apart from saying "yes, this would work" four years ago.) Now for anything that's unambiguously a "book", we have a parseable record of its pre-1964 interactions with the Copyright Office: the initial registration and any potential renewal.
    The two datasets are in different formats, but a little elbow grease will mesh them up. It turns out that eighty percent of 1924-1963 books never had their copyright renewed. More importantly, with a couple caveats about foreign publication and such, we now know which 80%.
    Of course, the details matter and NYPL provides those in its own post, U.S. Copyright History 1923–1964.  I'll note that there is more work to be done to ensure that the data is correct, including harmonizing the variations of an author's name. For now, read the long post from the NYPL and begin to envision how this will change your use of pre-1963 materials!




    Tuesday, July 23, 2019

    Special issue of Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship on Models for Copyright Education

    The Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, vol. 3, no. 2 (2019) is a special issue which includes papers presented at the 2017 International Federation of Library Associations’ (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress' Models for Copyright Education in Information Literacy Program.  Articles included are:
    The Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship "is a peer-reviewed open-access publication for original articles, reviews and case studies that analyze or describe the strategies, partnerships and impact of copyright law on public, school, academic, and digital libraries, archives, museums, and research institutions and their educational initiatives."  Past issues are available in its archives.
     

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

    #ALAac19 : Bias, microaggressions, diversity, and inclusion

    Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, and belonging is having that voice be heard
    Given the conversations in the U.S. since fall 2016 and some of the actions that have occurred, it is not surprising that there were many sessions related to bias, microaggressions, diversity and inclusion. I was able to attend only two. I'm giving you the descriptions because these capture important information.

    New Destinations in the Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement of People of Color to the Library Profession

     

    Description

    In spite of ongoing diversity initiatives and programs by organizations such as ARL, ACRL and other groups, recruitment, retention and promotion among library and information studies (LIS) students and library workers is lagging. Two recent projects, the REFORMA Telling Our Stories: Community Building to Recruit and Retain Latinx to the Library Profession grant and the Hampton University Forum on Minority Recruitment and Retention in the LIS Field grant, both awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), address the need to set new goals and create profession-wide efforts to look at the recruitment and retention efforts if we really want to diversify the profession. Libraries that succeed in recruiting must simultaneously focus on retention and promotion of new hires. Mentoring programs have proven to be effective in supporting new professionals and aiding them to remain in the field. There is a need to develop a climate in the workplace that supports and encourages advancement. The Hampton LIS Forum, held August 1-2, 2018 at Hampton University provided a safe space for the discussion of diversity initiatives and the concerns of people of color within the LIS profession. The forum also created a think-tank to create actionable strategies to address diversity in recruitment and retention. This presentation will discuss both grant-funded projects and the need for continued efforts and research to address the lack of diversity of people of color within the library and information studies field.

    Speakers: Miguel Juarez, Tina Rollins, and Tess Tobin

     

    Notes


    The speakers wanted to spent more of the time having a discussion with the audience, but unfortunately, they spent too much time providing background in this one-hour session.  What is clear, though, from their presentation is that there are areas where we can focus, in order to improvement recruitment, retention, and advancement.  Those areas include two which drew my attention:
    • Mentoring
    • Leadership training
    We often have a specific idea of what mentoring is.  However, I like the varied list of what was mentoring can be in the Tomorrow's Professor post entitled "Mentoring and Productivity." Our staff of color may benefit from mentoring that provides one (or more) of the following:
    • Professional Development
    • Emotional Support
    • A Sense of Community
    • Accountability
    • Institutional Sponsorship
    • Access to Networks
    • Project Specific Feedback
    • Role Models
    • Safe Space

    Library staff of color need to find and connect with mentors, who can provide the type of mentoring they need.  While a library might provide a mentor, staff should be willing to look elsewhere for additional mentors, who can provide a different point of view and perhaps a different mentoring relationship.

    In terms of leadership training, current and future leaders need to be trained on working with diverse staff members, no matter what that diversity might be.  We cannot assume that someone already has those skills.  This training could occur in a number of different ways and might need to occur more than once, since we really don't leave everything about working in a diverse and inclusive environment in one sitting.

    Our staff of color should also receive leadership training, because they will be leaders.  Some will become team leaders, managers or directors, while others might lead a project.  They should get into that leadership role with an understand of what it entails and how to succeed as a leader.  They should see leadership as a natural progression in their careers.  Having people of color in leadership roles puts them in the position of being role models for other staff as well as our communities, so we need to help them succeed, rather than setting them up for failure.

    An Introduction to Implicit Bias and Microaggressions


    Description

    The American Library Association commits to ameliorating marginalization and underrepresentation within the Association and the communities served by libraries through increased understanding of the effects of historical exclusion. This introductory training will explore implicit bias and microaggressions. Participants will be able to identify how these concepts create barriers and begin to explore ways to disrupt our biases and respond to microaggressions. This training will be presented three times throughout Annual Conference and is open to all conference attendees.
    Speakers: Mee Moua and Michael Wenger

    Notes


    They noted the history of bias in the U.S., noting that it was used to justify enslavement and conquest.  Some bias has been based on pseudo science.  Some have been quite intentional through federal government actions.

    Bias is a preference for - or against - a group of people and it occurs on a subconscious level. We all are biased. We all can learn what our biases are and then be more mindful of how we consciously react in various situation.

    One of the exercise we did was to discuss how we would handle the following scenario.
    Two groups of students - one predominately white and one predominately black- are sitting at separate tables in the library, and both groups are speaking loudly to each other.  Your colleague walks over to the table that has mostly black students and tells them to be quiet or they will be kicked out of the library.
    What message do you think the students at either table received from the interaction?
    What would you do or say to the students, if you were the one responding?
    What would you do or say to your colleague?

    That was a fascinating discussion! Wow.  Did we all read the scenario the same way?  And then what did we decide to do?  You might discuss that scenario with your staff and see what happens.  I guarantee it will be educational.

    This session was both informative and fun.  The speakers created good interaction with the participants and assured that we interacted with each other at our tables.

    Resources


    Thoughts


    It is likely that every sessions at ALA related to diversity, bias, etc., began with some sort of an overview of the basics.  While I know having an understanding of the basics is necessary, I wish there could have been a different way of doing it, so that each session could have spent more time one what was unique about that session.  This might have meant creating an introductory session each day, which was marked and promoted as such.  Then the other sessions could have had in their descriptions that people were expected to attend one of the introductory sessions first.  Yes, I know this would be a hassle, but I think participants at these sessions would have appreciated it.

    Finally, I want to say that I appreciate ALA having so many sessions on these topics. Now more than ever, we need to be trained and retrained on them.  And then we need to be willing to use what we have learned to make our libraries more welcoming for everyone.

    Friday, July 12, 2019

    #ALAac19 : Privacy and legal issues

    Mobile at the Convention Center made from guitarsI was unable to attend these two sessions, but want to tell you what they were and  point you towards articles about them. Why? Because I believe the topics to be important.

    Library Confidentiality: Your Privacy is Our Business


    American Libraries covered this session with an article.

    Description

    Protecting patron privacy has long been a tenet of libraries. In today’s environment of social media dominance, political partisanship, and big data collection and analysis, libraries continue their gate-keeping tradition. Participants in this program will learn about the policies, guidelines, ethics and laws behind the privacy and confidentiality standards that affect their libraries. Attendees will have several opportunities to share and explore cultural and policy approaches to privacy and confidentiality with their colleagues, while strategizing to resolve challenging patron privacy scenarios and policy concerns they may encounter at their own institutions.

    Privacy is as much an institutional cultural construct as it is a framework of laws, regulations, and policies. We begin by reflecting upon our own personal concepts of privacy. The presenters will share what students have told them about their privacy fears. You will find that our concerns are surprisingly similar, and yet we wittingly or unwittingly share our private information on a regular basis. As information professionals, what is our role in creating privacy and confidentiality awareness among our patrons and staff? Our examination expands to compare and contrast how we, as a profession, protect the privacy of our patrons even if that is at odds with how our patrons want (or do not want) their privacy protected.

    This program makes participants aware of the potential for challenges to patron reading records and models options to be both proactive and reactive, outlines the history and practice of ALA’s ethical and legal response to those challenges, and reflects upon the increasing institutional focus on assessment, data-driven decision making and the use of Big Data to prove our value. Will these new initiatives threaten our patrons’ privacy?

    Speakers: Kathleen Ross and Nancy Greco, St. John Fisher College

    PLA Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum



    This event was part of the PLA meeting at ALA. American Libraries did an article on it.

    Description


    Can a patron require us to accept a gift subscription to a publication we don't want? Can I play music during a story hour and have the children sing along? What if we stream the story hour from our website? We notice one patron often comes into the library barefoot. Can we do anything about that? Can "that" group really be allowed to use our meeting room? We have received a list of books for which a number of patrons (there is a signed petition) want restricted access so that children cannot read or check out the books unless there is a parental permission on file. Must we abide by their wishes? The library has a new crafting space, with glue guns, various cutting blades and other sharp objects. Can we have patrons sign some sort of release protecting the library in case someone gets injured? I am reviewing an agreement from a new online content provider. What does it mean when the agreement says the vendor waives all warranties including non-infringement and that the library will indemnify the vendor? Need answers to these and similar questions?
    PLA announces a new conference resource and informational session, the Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum. The Forum is an open discussion venue for legal issues common in public libraries such as patron privacy, challenges to both in-house and online content, patron behavior, copyright and licensing, other liability issues such as those related to maker spaces, and more. Recent cases and legislation affecting libraries can also be discussed. The Forum serves as a resource, a place where issues you may be facing can be vetted in a neutral space. The Forum draws upon the experience and knowledge of your peers, of those in attendance.
    Held at future Midwinter and ALA Annual Conferences, the Forum is convened by Tomas A. Lipinski, Dean and Professor at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, author and co-author with Mary Minow and Gretchen McCord of numerous books and articles on various legal problems in libraries. Tom, like Mary and Gretchen, is both a librarian and a lawyer. The hope is to always have several lawyer librarians in attendance as well as seasoned library administrators.

    Please note this Forum is intended to provide accurate information in regard to the subject matter covered. However it is not a place to obtain legal advice or other professional service. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

    The Standardized Mass Contract

    Seth Godin
    Seth Godin spoke at the Association for Talent Development conference in May in Washington, DC.  Godin, who knows how to promote himself and his activities, gave away copies of his book Stop Stealing Dreams: What is School Good For? and two of my friends got me a copy.  The book is available online for free in full-text.  Yes this was first published in 2012.

    Godin has written the book in a series of short chapters and it is indeed focused on education, both K-12 and higher education.  He does a very good job dissecting what is right and wrong with education today, which makes it a worthwhile read.  In addition, there is text that can be applied to other situations, such as this about standardized mass contracts, which is a quote from Friedrich Kessler (1943):
    The development of large scale enterprise with its mass production and mass distribution made a new type of contract inevitable — the standardized mass contract. A standardized contract, once its contents have been formulated by a business firm, is used in every bargain dealing with the same product or service. The individuality of the parties which so frequently gave color to the old type of contract has disappeared. The stereotyped contract of today reflects the impersonality of the market…. Once the usefulness of these contracts was discovered and perfected in the transportation, insurance, and banking business, their use spread into all other fields of large scale enterprise, into international as well as national trade, and into labor relations.
    When I read this, I thought immediately of the "click through" (or "click and accept" or"web-wrap") agreements that we are confronted with daily.  These are standardized mass contracts which we cannot negotiate and must accept as-is, if we want to use that service.  We are so used to these agreements - and their long, unintelligible legal text - that most of us click and agree automatically.

    I think, too, of the content we use from a variety of different databases and  websites, where we cannot individually easily negotiate a different terms of use.  (Notice the word "easily" in that sentence.  Yes, negotiation is possible.)

    Godin would argue that our education system has taught us to comply and to stay with what the larger group is doing. Thus we accept these click through agreements, because it is what is expected of us and it is what others are doing.  In the past, libraries have automatically accepted the standardized mass contracts their vendors have given them, but that is changing.

    What do we each need to do to change these contracts that have been standard since the industrial revolution?  How do we create changeable contracts that can be easily altered to meet specific needs? Yes, I know we have the Creative Commons, but I'm thinking of database contracts, for example.  Can we build momentum, rather than having individual libraries seemingly tackling this alone?

    Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Podcast: How to ensure free speech; and the EU's new copyright directive

    RN Future Tense did a 30-minute podcast on "How to ensure free speech; and the EU's new copyright directive." While the later would definitely be of interest to you, the topic of free speech is something that many libraries and other groups are struggling with. 

    The podcast is available on the Future Tense website and other places where podcasts are available (e.g., iTunes).

    Description

    Many Western governments continue to struggle with free speech. It’s not that they’re necessarily against it, it’s just that they don’t know how to effectively regulate out the offensive stuff. Political scientist Katherine Gelber has put forward what she calls the “capabilities-informed approach”. Also, the EU’s new Directive on Copyright — why are the big tech players warning it can’t work?

    Tuesday, July 09, 2019

    #ALAac19 : Digitization

    Among the 701 exhibitors at the ALA Annual Conference were several digitization vendors; however, I only took photos of two of the booths.  Interestingly, there is no way to search the exhibitor list on the ALA website to locate all of the digitization vendors. (Trust me, I tried.)  With that as a introduction...

    What stood out to me?


    First, I continue to be pleased that digitization vendors such as SMA, DLSG, Backstage Library Works, and others continue to exhibit at library conferences.  For some in our industry, digitization is still "new" (even though it isn't). So having a presence and being willing to talk about the technology and its uses is important for those thinking about digitization for the first time (or thinking about digitization in a new way).

    Second, the technology is changing.  Scanners are getting bigger.  Complete systems are available for use by library patrons.  Digitizing is being integrated with systems to help students study and help community members create their own works (e.g., photo albums).

    By the way, if you have not looked at digitization equipment in a while, don't make decisions based on your old knowledge.  While no one is screaming this from a mountaintop, you should know that these vendors are continuing to develop their technology and systems. They are not standing still.

    Third, speaking of complete systems, DLSG offers the Knowledge Information Center, which allows patrons to scan materials and have the output in several different formats, including searchable PDF, JPEG, MS Word, KIC Study System, and others.  These complete systems allow users (patrons, students) to control what they digitize and how they are going to access the material.  While I've mentioned DLSG,  I'm sure other vendors are offering similar technology.

    Fourth, what vendors display at conferences isn't always what they have available on their websites.  DLSG had two interesting publications at their booth:
    • Digitization Technologies for Public Libraries
    • Digitization Technologies for Academic Libraries 

    While I cannot find these publications on the Internet, these seem to be similar (but not the same) to some of DLSG's online content, such as this about using KIC in K-12 education.  This is a reminder that if you're interested in a company or technology, it can be good to pick up material from their booths, even if you don't talk to anyone.  What you pick up may be a unique and helpful marketing piece.

    I should note that I skimmed the 701 exhibitors, rather than taking a deep dive into any particular area.  I did not have as much unstructured time as I would have liked, and so did not really spend as much time in the exhibit hall as I likely should have. The time I had was spent getting a feel for the entire exhibit hall, going to a couple specific meetings, talking to library colleagues, and resting my feet.  (Thanks to those companies that had seating available that could be used without feeling that a marketing pitch was eminent.)

    Photos


    Below is a photo of the SMA booth, which contained large format scanners. There are also three photos of the DLSG Knowledge Information Center (KIC) booth, which was massive.


    SMA V3D Flatbed Scanner booth


    ALAac19


    Knowledge Imaging Center


    DLSG Knowledge Imaging Center Study System

    Monday, July 08, 2019

    #ALAac19 : How to Hug a Porcupine: Relationship Building with Lawmakers and Why It's Important

    In this session, Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, spoke on how to build relationships with elected officials, as well as effective communication tactics.

    Description

    Building relationships with elected officials can sometimes be difficult and uncomfortable. It forces you and your key stakeholders to get close to politicians in ways that may feel “prickly” – like hugging a porcupine. This program will help participants overcome that discomfort, revealing the methods and benefits for building relationships with elected officials. Participants will learn: who members of Congress and state legislators listen to; what congressional staffers believe are the most effective communications tactics for influencing undecided Members of Congress; and how to conduct effective in‐person meetings, influence legislators at town hall meetings, as well as effective advocacy in the state/district.

    Summary


    I want to note that early in his presentation, Fitch recommended the documentary The Congress, which was released by Ken Burns in 1999.  Clips from the documentary are available for free, with the entire documentary available for purchase.  This documentary provides the history of Congress, which most people know little about.

    Fitch, who has been a Congressional aide, gave us a valuable lesson on advocating with our elected officials.  We tend to think that an official needs to hear from many people, in order to be spurred to action, but that is not true.  Often just hearing from 10-30 people is enough, especially if those people personalize their communication, and connect themselves and their stories to the issue.

    Note bene: The photos below are of slides Fitch used during his presentation. The background on the slides was white, but when I photographed them, the background displayed in a rainbow color.  I don't know why it happened, but I do like the result.


    As the slide above shows, in-person visits from constituents provides the most influence, followed by contact from constituents' representatives, individualized email messages, and a visit from a lobbyist.  What provides the least influence is what we often do and that is a form email message.  Those form email messages, which many organizations have us do, have the least amount of effect.

    What is helpful or very helpful

    This slide notes that a personal story related to the bill or issue is rated as "helpful" or "very helpful" by 79% of politicians and their staffers surveyed.  When a constituent provide a reason for supporting or opposing a bill or issue, that is seen as "helpful" or "very helpful" by 90% of respondents.  Information about the impact the bill will have on their Congressional member's district was rated as "helpful" or "very helpful" by 91% of respondents.

    What is unhelpful

    So what is unhelpful? As the slide above shows, it is unhelpful when the constituent:
    • Didn't have data on impact on the person's district or state
    • Didn't know the Congressional member's history on the policy or issue
    • Was unspecific with their request
    • Didn't convey a personal story related to the issue
    • Was rude
    Fitch provided a recipe for a successful interaction with a member of Congress or a Congressional staffer.  He said to:
    • Begin with the end in mind.  In other words, know what you hope to achieve.
    • Set the stage for your story. This could be a brief introduction.
    • Paint a picture or, in other words, tell a personal story related to the issue or policy.
    • Describe the fight or conflict related to this issue or policy.
    • Include a surprise.
    • Introduce the potential for success and joy.  What will happen if this issue or policy is addressed in the manner that you are advocating for?
    • Finish with a hook.
    I've listed seven items above, but I think he had five, which means a couple these should be combined. What doesn't show is that these steps can happen quickly.  You will not have endless amounts of time to talk with your representative or that person's staff member.  You will need to do this likely in just a few minutes.

    Due to Brad Fitch's work in DC, this was a valuable and well-thought out presentation.  I clearly could not capture all of the information he provided.  Luckily, his organization has useful information on its website (Communicating with Congress), where we can continue our learning.

    By the way, the ALA Cognotes publication had a story on this session.  It is on page 12 in the June 24 issue.

    Learn from Others


    We are fortunate that there are library advocates in our midst, who are willing to train us as well as spearhead advocacy efforts.  Among them are Libby Post, John Chrastka and Patrick Sweeney, and ALA.  It is likely that your regional or state library association (e.g.. NYLA) also provides help with and training for advocacy.  In other words, if advocating for your library or cultural heritage institution is new to you, there is someplace where you can learn more about what to do, as well as people who can help.

    Wednesday, July 03, 2019

    #ALAac19 : Yes, copyright sessions!

    Copyright Help BoothYes, there were copyright related sessions at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

    Copyright Help 5 cents


    This was not a session.  A group of copyright librarians had a Copyright Help booth near the registration area and I thought this was awesome. I have no idea how many people may have stopped to ask a question.  However, I do know that we need to recognize that asking questions is important and helpful, especially when you can someone who understands copyright law. Kyle Courtney, pictured above at the booth,  has spearheaded an effort to create copyright first responders. Like this booth, those first responders are available to help triage questions people might have.

    Resources


    Empowering Libraries to Lend Digital Books via Controlled Digital Lending


    Michelle Wu, Jim Michalko, and Kyle Courtney gave this session on controlled digital lending (CDL).  Description:
    Book scanning projects have made tremendous strides in bringing public domain literature online for the world's scholars and enthusiasts, but materials published after 1923 are still not widely available due to policy and copyright uncertainties. The Internet Archive has developed a controlled digital lending service (CDL) that enables libraries to digitize and lend a digital version of a physical volume stored on their shelves. Through CDL, a library circulates the exact number of copies it owns, regardless of format, while ensuring that users cannot redistribute or copy the digitized version. Using CDL, libraries can make available the 20th-century scholarship that is largely absent from their digital holdings in a way that respects the rights of authors and publishers. This panel will bring together librarians, publishers, and ebook specialists to share their experiences about serving patrons via controlled digital lending.
    With controlled digital lending, a library can digitize a book, store the physical book, and then lend the digital version to one person at a time.  In other words, lending the digital book in the same way you would lend a physical book. Having the book in digital form would allow it to be loaned more widely. This uses both Section 109 and Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

    What's the catch?


    The Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending notes the following:
    libraries should (1) ensure that original works are acquired lawfully; (2) apply CDL only to works that are owned and not licensed; (3) limit the total number of copies in any format in circulation at any time to the number of physical copies the library lawfully owns (maintain an “owned to loaned” ratio); (4) lend each digital version only to a single user at a time just as a physical copy would be loaned; (5) limit the time period for each lend to one that is analogous to physical lending; and (6) use digital rights management to prevent copying and redistribution.
    If this area is of interest to you, I encourage you to read the resources below.

    Resources


    Figuring out the Fourth Factor


    With more then 21,000 participants and hundreds of vendors in the exhibit hall, there is clearly too much to do.  So I unable to attend this session, "Figuring out the Fourth Factor: Copyright librarians discuss fair use case law," but thankfully American Libraries wrote an article on it. 

    Coasters from the Copyright Help Booth

    Here are coasters about fair use factors 2, 3, and 4.  Sadly, there didn't seem to be a coaster available for factor 1.

    Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright

    Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright

    Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright Four factors of fair it use coasters. Copyright

    #ALAac19 : I went, I saw, and I was overwhelmed!

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia SotomayorThis year, I attended my first American Library Association Annual Conference. Yes, my first! I spent more than two decades involved in the Special Libraries Association and made that my primary affiliation and conference home. While I had been around the edges of a couple ALA Annual Conferences, I had never fully immersed myself.  This year, I dove into the deep end!

    The conference was June 20-25 in Washington, DC with most of the events being on June 21-24.  There was too much happening for me to blog during the conference, so my hope is to catch up this week, including a post on digitization vendors. So stay tuned.

    I want to note the size of this conference, because most people have no idea how mammoth it is.  This year, the total attendance was 21,460 participants. That was higher than 2018 (17,599 in New Orleans) and lower than 2017 (22,702 in Chicago).  It was also lower than the most recent annuals that were held in DC.   The 2007 conference in DC had 28,499 attendees and 95+ exhibits.  In 2010, the conference was again in DC and had 26,201 attendees.  Participation in the ALA Annual Conference does vary based on location, with some locations being more desirable than others.  While 21,460 is lower, the conference is still huge given number of rooms needed for sessions, the number of hotel rooms used, the sheer number of concurrent sessions, etc.  It is a conference where you cannot see or do it all, even if you never slept.

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor


    Let me tell you about one session.

    Many authors speak at ALA and this year Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was one of them. Justice Sotomayor is the author of My Beloved World, Turning Pages, The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor, and the forthcoming Just Ask!  She was a warm and engaging speaker, who wandered the ballroom as she spoke. She shook hands with people and had her photo taken with those who asked her questions (questions were submitted in advance).  As you can see from the photo above (she is off in the distance in a white jacket), there was security present, whom she said was there to protect her from herself!  However, she did note that no one should make any sudden moves.

    From her talk, one thing stood out to me and it was in response to a question.  Justice Sotomayor said that how she writes legal briefs has changed since she has been writing children's books.  A children's book need to be focused in terms of topic and pages. Her legal briefs have become shorter and more focused, according to her law clerks and she seemed quite pleased with that.

    While I have not read any of her books, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her talk about herself and her books. And I pleased to know that someone who is so down to earth is serving on our Supreme Court.

    Tuesday, June 11, 2019

    June - November 2019: Jill's Presentation and Travel Schedule

    Web badge for I'm attending the ALA Annual Conference
    It's June and I have several conferences on my schedule for the remainder of 2019.  If you are attending any of these, let's get together!

    Conferences

    • June 20-25 - ALA Annual Conference, Washington DC - While I've been to events "around" the ALA Annual Conference, this is my first time as an actual attendee, and I'm looking forward to it!  This is the third annual conference to be held in DC in the last 12 years.  In 2007, there were 28000+ attendees and 950+ exhibits), while 2010  had 27000+ attendees. Due to its size, if you want to cross paths with me, please message me here or on Twitter, so we can arrange to get together.

      By the way, I would be happy to talk with people about the iSchool Public Libraries Initiative and the research we have done over the last year.

    • Sept. 24-26 - ALISE Annual Conference, Knoxville, TN - This is the first time in recent history (if not ever) that the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) Annual Conference is being held without being adjacent to another library conference.  While I appreciated networking with people who were attending the other conference, it will be nice to be able to focus solely on the topics and sessions at ALISE, including those on assessment and accreditation.

    • Nov. 13-16 - NYLA Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY - Yes, the NYLA conference will be back in Saratoga Springs (and again in 2020).  As a member of a public library board of trustees, I've found the conference to be even more important to me.  I look forward to what new information I'll learn this year.

    Courses at Syracuse University

    In the fall, I will be teaching these courses at Syracuse University in the School of Information Studies.  If space is available, non-matriculated students can enroll in them.
    • Management Principles for Information Professionals (IST 614) - Aug. 26 - Dec. 10 (on campus, graduate course)
      Basic ideas, concepts and perspectives of management as they apply to the information professions. Students learn to understand and apply basic principles of organization theory and behavior and managerial techniques needed to improve organizational effectiveness.

    • The Public Library as Institution (IST 600) - Oct. 2 - Dec. 10 (online with synchronous and asynchronous components each week)
      This is a new course, which I am developing and which will be offered regularly.  The description is: Unique aspects of public libraries include structure, governance, funding, and community interactions. In addition, public libraries are impacted by many societal concerns. This course prepares students to examine and support those areas of public librarianship.

    Looking ahead to 2020

    I want to note that the ALA eCourse I gave this year on US Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner's Guide went very well. I think it is a good sign that students wanted to learn more. I will be giving this eCourse again in February 2020 and it will be expanded to six-weeks in length.  Look for more information on this in the fall.

    Tuesday, May 28, 2019

    Does Canada's copyright exception for education use but their educational publishers at risk?

    When good weather comes, that is when I catch up on listening to podcasts. I had saved this episode from Beyond the Book for months.  I'm glad to have finally given it a listen.

    Flag of Canada (leaf)At the 2018 Frankfurt Book Fair,  Michael Healy. the executive director of international relations at the Copyright Clearance Center, interviewed Michiel Kolman, the then president of the International Publishers AssociationDuring that interview, Kolman mentioned the change made to Canadian copyright law in 2012, which provided more exceptions for educational use.  He noted that this change had a negative impact on educational publishers in Canada.  Some publishers have gone out of business.  Some education authors are choosing to publish in other countries.  The result could be that schools may need to use textbooks from outside of Canada. Kolman said:
    I think another important aspect there is that Canadian students will not have access to Canadian textbooks that reflect the heritage, as they say in Canada, in other country, the culture – of their own country? It could very well be, if we don’t do anything there, that it’s the Texas Board of Education who’s more or less determining what textbooks are going to be used in Canada. That’s something that should not happen.
     In the U.S., we know that the number of textbooks purchased by the State of Texas can give them undue influence over what is in those textbooks and the textbooks used in other states.  It really stood out to me that Texas could also influence what as being used in Canada, if Canadian schools begin to look elsewhere for their textbook resources.

    But are things truly dire in Canada because of Copyright?  The National Copyright Unit in Australia has followed this situation and determined that the answer is "no." They believe that Canadian publishers had not responded to market forces, including:
    ...open access publishing, student preferences for second-hand books, reduced spending on new curriculum, new media players such as Google and Apple...
    While I cannot sit here and truly determine which point of view is correct, what I do know is that this is being watched by people outside of Canada. That to me says something about how important it is.

    Earlier this month, the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage issued its report entitled "Shifting Paradigms", which contains 22 recommendations for changing the current copyright law.  In his article, "Copyright Advocates Applaud Canada’s Parliamentary Review of Modernization Act," Porter Anderson lists 10 of the recommendations which Access Canada believes "will foster positive, sustainable conditions for Canada’s writers, artists and publishers, and benefit students and educators at every level by encouraging continued investment in high-quality Canadian content.”

    When will this all move through the Canadian Parliament?  I don't know. But I'll be keeping my eyes open for news about it.

    Additional Resources:

    Thursday, May 23, 2019

    What Makes a Good Library Website? (And a question about copyright)

    What makes a good library website?
    Last year, I start the iSchool Public Libraries Initiative (IPLI).  In the fall, two MSLIS students - as part of their work with the IPLI looked at the state library websites for all 50 state libraries.  What they found were websites that varied in how they were organized and in their usefulness. One of the MSLIS students has a background in information technology (IT) and became interested in what libraries - of all types - could be doing differently with their websites.  Sabrina Unrein took that exploration and create a paper on the topic entitled, What Makes a Good Library Website?  She introduced the paper on May 20 through a blog post.

    Haven't we talked about this before, as a profession?  Haven't we already improved our websites?  Yes, we've talked about it, and some libraries have improved their websites.  However, some have not kept up with those improvements and those sites are out of date and not accessible to those with vision impairments.

    Is you website content using copyrighted materials?


    Sabrina did not touch upon copyright, because her efforts were focused on how websites are structured.  However, as you're reading her report and looking at your website, now would be a good time to review your graphics. Are you using graphics which you created? Are you using works with an appropriate Creative Commons license? Are you using works in the public domain?  Are you using works where you have received written permission from the creator?  If you find works on your site that cause you to answer "no" to any of those questions, now would be a good time to remove them. 

    Review your website regularly


    Is your website up to date and using current technologies? That is a question which you need to ask yourself regularly.  I would suggest that you review your site yearly, at least, with more frequently reviews being more useful.  Do not let your website get so out of date that updating its structure, content, or technology requires more time or money than you can give.

    Monday, May 20, 2019

    Article: Accused of ‘Terrorism’ for Putting Legal Materials Online

    While judicial decisions, recorded by U.S. courts, have been held a being in the public domain, states have turned to legal publishers to make the materials available, and copyright has become an issue.  In 1888, the Supreme Court ruled that:
    The whole work done by the judges consitutes [sic] the authentic exposition and interpretation of the law, which, binding every citizen, is free for publication to all, whether it is a declaration of unwritten law, or an interpretation of a constitution or a statute. Nash v. Lathrop, 142 Mass. 29, 35, 6 N. E. Rep. 559. In Wheaton v. Peters, at page 668, it was said by this court, that it was 'unanimously of opinion that no reporter has or can have any copyright in the written opinions delivered by this court; and that the judges thereof cannot confer on any reporter any such right.' What a court or a judge thereof cannot confer on a reporter as the basis of a copyright in him, they cannot confer on any other person or on the state.
    In Georgia, the state believes it can stop someone from publishing court decisions, because of the annotations, which are not part of a judge's ruling.  A federal appeals court has rules against the state, and now the state has asked the Supreme Court to step in, even though it ruled on this in 1888. 

    The New York Times has a good article on this and it is a fascinating read. Can a state limit who publishes court rules? Can it limit how much is published?  And if a state can control the dissemination of rulings, what affect will this have on its residents?