Tuesday, June 23, 2020

REALM Project Update: Round 1 Test Results Now Available

The text below is directly from the website and was published on June 22, 2020:

As part of the REALM Project’s Phase 1 research, Battelle has conducted a natural attenuation study to provide information on how long some commonly circulated library materials would need to be quarantined prior to being returned to public circulation. Testing was conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) on five materials held at standard room temperature and humidity conditions. The materials tested included the following items, which were provided by Columbus Metropolitan Library:
(1) Hardback book cover (buckram cloth)
(2) Softback book cover
(3) Plain paper pages inside a closed book
(4) Plastic book covering (biaxially oriented polyester film)
(5) DVD case.
Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine. The evaluation demonstrates that standard office temperature and relative humidity conditions typically achievable by any air-conditioned office space provide an environment that allows for the natural attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 present on these common materials after three days of quarantine.

Read about the Round 1 Test Results.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums Project: Systematic Literature Review

From their website:
The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project has produced a systematic literature review to help inform the scope of the project’s research and the information needs of libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs). Battelle researchers completed the review, which includes findings from available scientific literature. This review focused on studies of virus attenuation on commonly found materials, such as paper, plastic, cloth, and metal; methods of virus transmission; and effectiveness of prevention and decontamination measures.
On the literature review webpage, they note:
As you read this systematic literature review, keep in mind a few key points:
  1. The research and information captured in the findings include both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed studies. In the interest to publish emerging research related to the COVID-19 pandemic as quickly as possible, publication has been expedited rather than waiting for time-intensive peer review.
  2. The studies included in the review have been conducted by different researchers, under different conditions, likely using different concentrations—and possibly sources—of the virus. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for a reviewer to make a straight comparison across studies; and, interpreting the results may be challenging for readers without a science background. Part of the REALM Project’s future efforts will be more interpretation of these results for a lay audience.
  3. The review includes findings for industries, such as health care, that operate under considerably different constraints and risk factors than do libraries, archives, and museums, (abbreviated LAMs). However, in this preliminary search, it was important to consider a broad range of available research to determine what may be applicable to LAM operations and identify what research gaps exist. The research captured in the review does not represent recommendations or guidance for LAMs; but, commonalities with other fields and industries may be found as the research proceeds, and the project will continue to monitor the science literature for emerging science-based information that relates to LAM operations.
That page includes a link to the literature review and related data.  More information will be released as it becomes available from their testing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Resources about Racism

Racism is a pandemic
I decided to take a moment and compile some of the resource lists on racism and becoming anti-racist that have been developed. These might be resources that interest you, that you want for your library, or that you want to share with a colleague (or love one). Yes, there is some duplication between lists, but there are also items that are not duplicative, so if you have the energy, look at several lists (or all of them!).  And if you find this useful, please share it with others.

Are there more lists than this? Yes! Please leave a comment if you know of one that should be added.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Registration is open: U.S. Copyright Law in the Library: A Beginner's Guide eCourse

Copyright symbol by Horia VarlanI want you know that I will be teaching an online course on U.S. Copyright Law in the Library this August. I’ll cover the basics of U.S. copyright law, including how it informs what libraries, staff, and patrons can do with their materials, as well as how to stay up-to-date as copyright law evolves.

This online course will start on August 3 and run for 6 weeks. You can find more information and register at the ALA Store. Bulk and institutional pricing is available. If you have any questions, you can contact me or the folks at ALA Publishing at elsmarketing@ala.org.

This spring, when schools asked students to continue their education at home and libraries shifted from in-person to totally online services, many people realized that copyright knowledge was important. This six-week course will help you develop copyright knowledge so you can productively engage in the conversations occurring in your institution, as it continues to work through how it wants to deliver services in our changed world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wayback Wednesday: Upping Your Library Intelligence

Thinking statues
In 2017, I wrote a series on upping your library intelligence. The first post began with this text:
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.
This is still an need for those considering entering the library profession. You will gain more from your education - the MSLIS degree - if you have some background knowledge.  Even now, with the world seeming a bit precarious, you can build that background knowledge. If you decide to work in a library for a while, before obtaining your MSLIS degree, this knowledge will serve you well because you will not be starting from ground zero, which your boss will appreciate.  Finally, if you are finishing your MSLIS degree and waiting to land your first position, now is a great time to continue learning.  Besides what is below, consider thinking about the reopening of libraries and COVID-19. Again, your thoughts, questions, and knowledge will be appreciated by your future employer.

By the way, I know people are worried about job hunting in the wake of COVID-19. Yes, jobs are still available. Organizations are still hiring. You, though, may need to be a bit more flexible, including a willingness to move geographically. You may need to take a position for 1-2 years that is not your ideal, but will help you gain in experience. Remember that you are developing a career, which is more than just your first position.

The Series

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Webinar recording: Productivity 101

On May14, I did a webinar on productivity for the South Central Research Library Council (SCRLC).  Originally this was to be a three-hour in-person workshop, but due to the pandemic it became a 1.5 hour webinar that ran a little long.

If you are interested in time management, managing your email, saying "no", and delegating tasks, then this webinar will be of interest. Most of the time was spent in getting oneself organized, i.e., that blasted to-do list.  (You'll hear when I realize how much time isn't left!) There were a number of questions raised and I enjoyed the interaction.  I do wish I could have passed around materials, etc., which could occur if I am every able to do this as an in-person event.

Addendum, May 21: Here is the handout from this webinar.

Article: What Our Experts Want You to Know About Digitization

In this blog post from the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Emily Niekrasz gives
What are the key steps in the journey of a single reference request from staff or a researcher to a digital asset appearing on our website?
How hard is researching the rights and reproduction limits of a photograph or record?
At the end of the article are related resources from the Smithsonian.

With our increased reliance on digital resources, this is indeed a good time to remember the importance of digitization! Thank you, Smithsonian!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Reopening libraries and COVID-19

COVID-19 image
There has been much discussion about reopening libraries - especially public libraries - as the number of people infected with COVID-19 decreases.  For some communities, the library is an important connection to information and resources. For library staff, while they understand their role in their communities, they are very concerned about the health and safety of staff and patrons. There are voices in the library community to keep the libraries closed for as long as possible, in order to ensure the safety of everyone.

In the U.S., it is up to the states - and sometimes regions within a state - to decide what type of institutions can reopen when (if indeed they had closed in the first place).  If a public library is deemed essential or can provide services that lessen/eliminate face-to-face contact (e.g., no contact curbside pickup), they may be opening earlier than other institutions (e.g., K-12 school).  Library directors should be aware of what their governors, county executives, or mayors are considering.  Hopefully, they have been in direct contact and have been able to put forward a plan for their libraries that considers health and safety, as well as library services.  There is no one right path forward, so deep thinking and sensitivity to the needs of staff and community members will be needed.

In my class, "The Public Library as Institution," I have taken the opportunity to talk with students about what public libraries may be thinking about, as they plan to reopen.  I've encouraged students to think about what library directors are focused on, as well as what staff and the community might want to know about what their public libraries will do.  There are SO many questions and not as many clear answers as we all would like.

This week, I read several documents related to how people are thinking about reopening.  I believe that looking at what others are planning can be helpful, and that includes any plans from libraries.  Those documents are:
This list above may be helpful to you.  Are there others?  Yes.  If you have found one that is particularly helpful, please place it in a comment to this post. Thank you!

Addendum, May 22:

  • Information from the NYS Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, May 13, 2020, including plans from several public library systems.
  • Albany (NY) Public Library Continuation of Service Plan, updated 5/12/2020.
Earlier this week, NY State Librarian, Lauren Moore, responded publicly through the NYLINE email list to a question about reopening.   Since this was posted on a public email list, I am posting it below (and knowing that this email has already been forward likely many times). Moore recognizes that each library is different and that the State Library cannot provide one-size-fits-all guidance. However, she does outline four things to keep in mind. I've edited lightly to remove some contact information.
Dear [colleague],
Thank you for the question. My guess is that you meant to send this as a personal email, but since it’s been shared on NYLINE, I’ll take this opportunity to address the library community.
State agencies, including the State Education Department, do not have the authority to interpret the Governor’s orders or to provide interpretative guidance.  There are some helpful resources available through the Governor’s Office that can guide libraries’ decision-making, like the NY Forward Business Express Lookup Tool, but I acknowledge that the resources that currently exist don’t address what’s to come.  And thus don’t help to address the seemingly endless uncertainty and anxiety many of us are feeling.
In the spirit of full transparency, it’s important for me to add that even if the State Library had the authority to interpret the guidance, I don’t think these decisions would be best made by fiat of the State Library.  New York is a large and diverse state with a unique range of public libraries.  Although these are “unprecedented times,” we can still look to the trusted institutions that have always been best-positioned to make local and regional decisions.  In the case of the reintroduction of library services, public library systems are certainly best positioned to help libraries work together to make decisions in the best interest of their communities.   Public library systems across the state are developing reopening plans.  Systems are looking at the Governor’s guidance, working with regional Control Rooms to interpret the guidance for that specific region, and then developing policies that will allow libraries to keep staff and community members safe as they reintroduce library services.
Even though it’s not official guidance, and you’re free to take it or leave it, here are the values that have been guiding my COVID-19 response work at the State Library:
  • Value staff- Prioritize staff and community safety over everything else.
  • Caution-  Take your time.  Things change rapidly.  “Abundance of caution” is really just “caution” and is the best practice during this pandemic.
  • Professional respect- Look out for each other.  Recognize the uniqueness of each library and the uniqueness of each community.
  • Service- Do whatever is in the State Library’s power to help libraries succeed.
Although we’re not in Albany writing guidance and issuing edicts, State Library staff are working tirelessly every day to help libraries succeed.  This work is best done on an individual basis, because every situation is unique.  I implore any library who is struggling with a particular decision or navigating a difficult local situation to contact their regional liaison at the Division of Library Development or to contact [..] who oversees the public libraries program.  State Library staff is committed to helping you.
I hope this email helps to explain things a bit, but know that the State Library is always working on your behalf.  Please get in touch any time you have a question.
All the best,
Lauren Moore
Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and New York State Librarian

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Webinar: Productivity 101, May 14

productivityThis training was supposed to be an in-person event. Due to the current events, it is now a webinar that is open to members of the South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) and the Empire State Library Network (ESLN).  If you are in NYS and would like to be better organized and more productivity, consider attending.  You can register on the SCLRC website.

Date/Time: May 14, 2020, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Location: Online via Zoom

Workshop Overview: Productivity. It's important, but we often struggle with how to stay organized so that we are productive. We struggle with email, time management, and managing workloads. We want to delegate tasks, and even say "no" to some, but we struggle with the best way of doing that. In this interactive webinar, you will learn and use methods for these areas, and become more productive. Both paper and digital methods will be discussed.

Learning Objectives: After this webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Use effective techniques for organizing tasks across days, weeks, and months.
  • Adopt methods for staying on track and getting the correct tasks done, at the right time.
  • Create communication guidelines that will make email less burdensome, and a more effective tool.
  • Delegate tasks so that the responsible parties can undertake them without intervention.
  • Say "no" to tasks, when "no" is the correct answer.
Intended Audience: Any library staff member

Speaker: Jill Hurst-Wahl is consultant, speaker, writer, educator, and former corporate librarian. She is a professor of practice in Syracuse University's School of Information Studies and the president of Hurst Associates, Ltd. She is a member of the USNY Technology Policy and Practices Council and the Onondaga County Public Library Board of Trustees. Jill has always realized that being organized is essential for productivity, and that staying organized personally and professionally is a constant struggle. Over the years, she has used different methods including sticky notes, bullet journals, Trello, to-do lists, Getting Things Done®, temporal locality, and others. She enjoys sharing what she had learned and helping others gain productivity skills.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

NWU: What is the Internet Archive doing with our books? (webinar)

The National Writers Union (NWU) is presenting an informational webinar on the Internet Archives book scanning operation  on May 5 (Tuesday) at 10:00 a.m. ET.  Registration information is available on the NWU website.

The NWU says:
We've been getting questions about what the Internet Archive is actually doing with the millions of books it has been scanning.

Unfortunately, "Controlled Digital Lending" (CDL) and the new "National Emergency Library" (NEL) are only the tip of the iceberg. The Internet Archive distributes copies of each book it scans in *five* different ways.

The confusion is understandable, given that what the Internet Archive is doing doesn't match what it says it does as CDL or the NEL.
They have also posted an explainer on their website, regarding what is happening. Slides from their April 27 informational webinar are also available.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Creating a copyright policy for your library

One of the questions asked during the April 17 copyright webinar was on creating a copyright policy for an institution or library.   This is an assignment in my copyright class (IST 735: Copyright for Information Professionals).  I want to use that assignment as a way of talking with you about creating a policy.

First, consider why you want to create a policy and who - or what - is the policy for.  Every policy is going to be specific to the organization that created it. Each will be different. Knowing the reason for creating the policy will be important.

After you have done that, you might consider if you want to create a policy or perhaps an FAQ.  A policy can require time to develop and may need to go through an approval process. It could be that in your situation that an FAQ would suit your needs.  In other words, you need to create what is best for your institution and situation. (What is below may help you in thinking about that FAQ.)

Knowing that every policy is different, I have my students create a policy in a specific format, which makes them consider a number of different things and situate the policy in the activities of a specific library.  They must include the sections below, but they also know that a library or institution could create a policy with a different format and with different sections.

In other words, what is below is for an assignment. The sections you might put into your policy will likely be different.

Section of the Policy

  • Name and location of the library.
  • Mission of the library. The policy should relate - implicitly or explicitly - to this mission. 
  • Purpose of the policy.  In other words, why is this policy being put in place?
  • An overview of the relevant sections of copyright law, which affect this library. Include URLs/links to the documents or sections to which you refer.  This is good background information, because many people do not know copyright law and might use this to learn more.  It also demonstrates that your policy is grounded in the law.
  • What general rules does the library use in order to comply with the law and with any licenses?
    • Consider if there are general rules for staff, as well as general rules which might exist for users/patrons.
    • Consider if there are general rules for specific activities that are engaged in inside the library or through its online portals.
  • What specific are used by staff when copying material for (whichever of the following are applicable): 
    • For a patron’s personal use 
    • For delivery of teaching and learning (in classroom or distance learning) 
    • For research purposes 
    • For library internal purposes 
    • For people with disabilities
  • Advice – for users and staff – on seeking copyright clearance 
  • A disclaimer
  • Who to contact about copyright matters. This could be a person's title, rather than a name.
  • An FAQ (frequently asked questions). 
  • Other sections at your discretion
I imagine that you're looking at that and thinking that it is longer than you want. Copyright policies do come in a variety of different lengths, depending on the need and the organization.  In real life, you do what fits you. Again, what is above is for an assignment.

Any policy - or FAQ, if you go that route - should be reviewed by the library director and anybody else who has fiduciary responsibility.  In some organizations, the attorney or legal department may need to review new policies.  Take those as opportunities to assure that everyone understands what you have written.

Once approved, please put your policy on your website and then review it for revisions on a regular basis. For example, some libraries review their policies every three years and make any changes that are warranted.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Webinar Recording: Free Webinar (April 17): Libraries and COVID-19: Considering Copyright during a Crisis, Part 2

American Libraries Live
On April 17, American Libraries Live hosted a webinar on "Libraries and COVID-19:  Considering Copyright during a Crisis, part 2." Details are in this blog post. The 60-minute recording is now available for anyone to view. Resources shared in chat, during the webinar, are available in this document. The slides used during the webinar are also available.

Links to the recording, etc., from part 1 are in this blog post.

Thank you to the 1700+ people who participated in these and for prompting the discussion. Thank you to Lesley Ellen Harris and Kenneth Crews for their wisdom.  It was awesome being on the panel with you!

The National Emergency Library

Because of the number of people still discussing this, I want to do a long blog post on it.  I hope this answers some of the questions you have.  Please feel free to leave comments, if you have questions that are not covered here.

In my course (IST 735: Copyright for Information Professionals) lecture about the National Emergency Library, I'm using several quotes from the Internet Archive and from the Controlled Digital Lending websites.  Below are the  quotes, which I hope will help to education you on this topic. At the very bottom of this post are my comments.

WAIT...STOP: I know you're going to skim the quotes, but don't. Read the quotes. Then consider reading the documents in the list below. Why? Because the details matter.  Undoubtedly you will question something and say "but they are doing...", and not realize that they have addressed your concern. So read before you applaud, criticize, or question.

Readings for this class lecture


Quotes from FAQ for the National Emergency Library

  • Our digital library is free to read for anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.
  • The library will have suspended waitlists through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.  
  • According to UNESCO,  the COVID-19 crisis has shuttered the classrooms for one-in-five  students worldwide, plus an additional one-in-four from higher education  classes. And that number is growing, quickly approaching 1 billion students physically cut off from classrooms, teachers and libraries.Our focus is providing online access to older books that don’t have an ebook.
  • Readers who borrow a book from the National Emergency Library get it for only two weeks, and their access is disabled unless they check it out again. Internet Archive also uses the same technical protections that publishers use on their ebook offerings in order to prevent additional copies from being made or redistributed.
  • The Internet Archive has partnered with ISKME and an expert group of educators and school librarians to develop the Universal School Library, a curated list of 2,300 books organized by reading level and grade. 
And also from the Internet Archive FAQ: Is this controlled digital lending?
    No. It is close to controlled digital lending but is significantly different while waitlists are suspended. This library is being mobilized in response to a global pandemic and US national emergency. It shares aspects of controlled digital lending by controlling the physical book that was scanned and the redistribution of files through digital rights management software, but differs by having no waitlists for users borrowing books.  Once the US national emergency is over and waitlists are back to their normal capacity, the service will return to full controlled digital lending. 


So what is Controlled Digital Lending? (from the CDL website)

  • …a method by which libraries loan print books to digital patrons in a “lend like print” fashion similar to how non-digital patrons check out books in-person. Through CDL, libraries use technical controls to ensure a consistent “owned-to-loaned” ratio, meaning the library circulates the exact number of copies of a specific title it owns, regardless of format, putting controls in place to prevent users from redistributing or copying the digitized version.
  • CDL isn’t itself a silver bullet for mass digital access to books. It’s not meant to be a competitor to Overdrive, nor a replacement for licensing e-books of best-sellers or other currently licensable e-book content. But we think CDL does deserve significant attention as a legal strategy, particularly to help address access to the large number of books published in the “20th Century black hole” that have little hope of otherwise bring made available to readers online.


What does owned to loaned ratio really mean?

For example, if a library owns three copies of a title and digitizes one copy, it may use CDL to circulate one digital copy and two print, or three digital copies, or two digital copies and one print; in all cases, it could only circulate the same number of copies that it owned before digitization.
Then the CDL websites discusses:
  • The Principle of Exhaustion and the Fair Use Doctrine 
  • First Sale and the Common Law Exhaustion Principle


First Sale and the Common Law Exhaustion Principle

This legal set of rules mandates that any time there is an authorized transfer of a copy of a copyrighted work, the rights holder’s power to control the use and distribution of that copy is terminated or ‘exhausted.’ Exhaustion allows the owner of a particular copy of a work to sell, lend, or give away that copy without payment to or permission from the rights holder. Among other important benefits, exhaustion ensures that after copyright holders price and control the initial distribution of their works, secondary outlets (such as libraries) and markets (such as used bookstores) can expand the affordability, preservation, and availability of works. Library CDL approaches that track the principle of exhaustion are thus much more likely to fall within its protections.


Fair Use

Other socially beneficial purposes, such as increasing public access to works, may also qualify for fair use. Library CDL approaches that are designed for socially beneficial purposes are much more likely to fall within the protections of fair use.
The CDL website provides information on how the four factors might be applied.  I've summarized them in this table, but there is a MUCH longer - and important - explanation on the website.

In order to properly position CDL within the analysis above, proponents say that 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.


Finally, Kyle Courtney in Controlled Digital Lending Concept Gains Ground said:

This is how things start. You put out a position statement, you back it up with a white paper, and you see the conversations that happen.


There are many articles critical of the National Emergency Library, including:

My Thoughts

The details of this matter, which is why I have encouraged you to read the quotes and other information.  The Internet Archive has laid out and documented a plan, including how they are relying on Fair Use.  Notice that they have not thrown the doors open on all of their content, but have constructed a specific library for a specific population under specific circumstances.

The Internet Archive is exercising Fair Use. We know that we should exercise Fair Use and push on what we perceive the boundaries are. If we don't use Fair Use, then we may lose it. Not using Fair Use could cause its boundaries to shrink.  It is when we push on Fair Use that we are able to get people to consider what is possible, and positive changes can happen.  Think of the pushing on Fair Use which Google has done (e.g., Google Book Search, Perfect 10 v. Google).  Think of the work that HathiTrust has done.  Yes, there was push back. Yes, there was some re-thinking. And while it took years, there came a time when how we thought about that activity changed and we saw it as normal.

It is too early to know the final disposition of this National Emergency Library will be.  It is unlikely, during this national emergency, that authors and publishers will make a formal move against it. That could be seen as bad public relations. Therefore, let's wait to see what happens after the emergency has ended. What do the authors and publishers say (and do) then?

If this national emergency extends longer than we all hope, I would be interested in seeing what the Internet Archive does then.  Does it continue with the National Emergency Library as it is now? And what about the authors and publishers? Will they raise legal challenges?

Remember that the final arbiter in determining if a use is legal is a court.

Finally, I hope this is an opportunity for more people to really learn about Fair Use, which means reading the law, reading commentary and articles on the law, and practicing using the four factors.  I also hope that more librarians will learn about Controlled Digital Lending, by reading what has been published about it. This could be something that more libraries would like to implement, if they understood what it was.

Addendum (4/20 afternoon):

These resources were forwarded to me and they are from the National Writers Union.

Addendum (June 12):

Kahle, Brewster. (June 10, 2020) Temporary National Emergency Library to close 2 weeks early, returning to traditional controlled digital lending.
Today we are announcing the National Emergency Library will close on June 16th, rather than June 30th, returning to traditional controlled digital lending. We have learned that the vast majority of people use digitized books on the Internet Archive for a very short time. Even with the closure of the NEL, we will be able to serve most patrons through controlled digital lending, in part because of the good work of the non-profit HathiTrust Digital Library. HathiTrust’s new Emergency Temporary Access Service features a short-term access model that we plan to follow.

We moved up our schedule because, last Monday, four commercial publishers chose to sue Internet Archive during a global pandemic.  However, this lawsuit is not just about the temporary National Emergency Library. The complaint attacks the concept of any library owning and lending digital books, challenging the very idea of what a library is in the digital world. This lawsuit stands in contrast to some academic publishers who initially expressed concerns about the NEL, but ultimately decided to work with us to provide access to people cut off from their physical schools and libraries. We hope that similar cooperation is possible here, and the publishers call off their costly assault.