Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflecting Diversity

Diversity Mural unveiling 2012
Diversity Mural at the Univ. of the Fraser Valley
In many different ways, our world today has us focusing on diversity - racial, ethnic, gender, language, and geographic.  We have people talking about the benefits of diversity, as well as people who want uniformity. Uniformity is comfortable and easy. Diversity of thought and opinion, which can create innovation, comes as a natural outgrowth of having a diverse group of people.

I believe that diversity is important.  In my position as the director of an academic program, the question that I often ask myself is:
How do we demonstrate that we value diversity and that it is important?
Often you will find text on an organization's web site that talks about valuing diversity. This is especially true if the web site contains job announcements.  If you're like me, you will also look at the photographs an organization uses as a way of deciding if diversity is important to them.  If those organizations understand that diversity is important to us, they should try help us see them as valuing diversity in order to make their organizations more attractive to us.

It is then amazing to me that organizations - that want and need to attract a diverse group of people often in order to have a large pool of prospective customers - show themselves as not being diverse. Pick up a conference brochure, a trade magazine, or promotional literature.  Does it in some way show that the organization behind it values diversity?  If not, how does that make you feel about the organization? Or if yes, how does that make you feel?

The question then becomes how to communicate those feelings to the organization, especially if their text, photos, etc. show that diversity is not important to them. That is my dilemma. How do I tell an organization - especially a library organization - that in our current environment where some want uniformity, it should show that it values diversity and reflect that value in everything it does?  I had hoped that the correct words would have come to me in 2016.  The societal actions in 2016 make me hope that the right words do emerge in 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What color is your robot?

Definition of what a robot is
What is a robot?
Months ago - after the report was released about events in Ferguson (MO) and before the events in Baltimore (MD) - Paul Signorelli and I had a phone conversation about race and discrimination. As we often do, our conversation wandered and touched on several other topics and we somehow stumbled on the topic of robots.

In science fiction, robots do take on humanoid form; however, the robots in our midst tend to be very machine-like.What if our robots could look like humans? What skin color would they have?

A robot
Perhaps the answer seems obvious to you. Perhaps the answer does not seem problematic. Perhaps it is because we have no robots among us that look like us.

Recent events in the United States demonstrate that we still have issues in our communities in relation to race and culture. A person's skin color can be interpreted by others as an indication of that person's value in the community or even value as a human being. Skin color can provide privilege or be a disadvantage.

What privileges do we want robots to have? How will those privileges be signaled?

Although I started this post months ago, it is still timely both because of racism in our world and because of our increased reliance on robots of all kinds. You might take a moment and think about what you want your robots to look like and, if human-looking, what color will they be?

If you haven't thought about racism, watch this video.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Article: Marching Bravely Into the Quagmire: The Complete Mess that the “Transformative” Test Has Made of Fair Use

In 2014, Stephen Carlisle, J.D. published "Marching Bravely Into the Quagmire: The Complete Mess that the 'Transformative' Test Has Made of Fair Use."Carlisle is the copyright officer at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.  In the article, Carlisle provides examples of the problem with determining if a use is transformative.  He says:
The problem the Supreme Court created is that the creation of a derivative work is supposed to be an exclusive right of the copyright owner, and requires permission or a license. Indeed the word “transformed” is right there in the definition of what a derivative work is. Yet now, with this language from the Supreme Court, a work that is “transformed” is fair use and is therefore not an infringement of copyright.
 I'm glad to have found this article.  Transformative use is always an intense topic in my spring copyright class, and now I have this article to add as a reading. Does it make the topic more clear? No, but I think it will help the discussion.

Stephen Carlisle publishes regularly on the NSU Copyright Office web site.  You may want to go and see if another article is of interest to you.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Visit to Scanarkist in NYC

Image from Wikimedia
Last Monday, I had an opportunity to visit Scanarkist, which is both a digitization service bureau and an authorized business partner for Treventus Mechatronics.  They are also a sales partner for the Bookeye and WideTek scanners from Image Access.  It was the Treventus ScanRobot that I had come to see and I also got a peek at Nainuwa and other software solutions.

Scanarkist had exhibited at the IFLA conference in August, where a number of digitization vendors had their equipment on display.  While I had seen the equipment at IFLA, it was good to have an opportunity to sit down with them.  (I must thank my schedule which placed me in NYC walking distance from their location.)  I want to note a few things from that visit:
  • ScanRobot 2.0 MDS:
    • The ScanRobot can scan up to 2,500 pages per hour.  Watching it work, this page count seems quite do-able.  (I say that because often the count is based on optimum conditions, etc.)  
    • It will scan with very little human interaction, although they recommend having someone nearby in case the ScanRobot detects an errors (e.g., flipping two pages at once).  In  service center, I believe a person could watch a couple machines at once.
    • The 60° V-shape book cradle means that it is gentle on a book's spine.
    • The machine uses prism capturing technology, which creates an undistorted image.
    • The machine is on wheels and can be moved between locations or taken into the stacks.
  • Nainuwa (software):
    • The Nainuwa will handle a variety of different media, including images from the ScanRobot.
    • It is possible to search within a document and then use information displayed to go directly to where the search term is mention.
    • A part of an image and its OCR content can be copied and pasted.  While this is a useful feature, it can be associated only with specific types of users if copyright/ownership is a concern. 
    • Content can be zoomed and bookmarked. Bookmarks can be organized so you can retrieved related images.
    • The software has a responsive design, which means that it works on a wide variety of computing devices.
  • Other software mentioned were:
    • Scan Gate
    • Scan Flow
    • Customized tools
So who needs a book scanner these days?  Not everything that should be digitized has been digitized, even when it comes to books. Yet not everyone can purchase a book scanner which costs over $100,000.  Institutions with limited budgets - or institutions who need to scan books but don't have enough materials to warrant their own book scanner - need to be able to partner with someone. That partnership would allow for the purchase of an automated book scanner, which could then be shared.  I can see the Treventus - or similar technology - as a consortial purchase.  In fact, we have consortia who are sharing software and equipment already. They may not, though, have thought about a hardware purchase like this because of its cost.  Justifying the purchase would be important, as well as knowing that the consortium would "get its money's worth" or be able to sell the equipment once they are done (as a way of recouping some of the cost).

By the way, Scanarkist will lease the ScanRobot.  We did not talk about what that meant in terms of cost, but it sounds like an option that could ameliorate some of the cost concerns.

Finally, it was wonderful that several vendors were at IFLA and were able to bring their equipment.  I don't think it is clear to vendors, though, which conferences they should attend and why.  Clearly they cannot go to all of them. And any conference will pitch themselves as "the place" to be.  I wonder if there is a place for library vendors to receive unbiased advice on where to exhibit?

Friday, December 23, 2016

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Members Begin to Propose Copyright Reform

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. are releasing proposals to reform the US. Copyright Office and the U.S. Copyright Law. In a statement, Goodlatte said:
Today [Dec. 8] we are releasing our first policy proposal, which identifies reforms to modernize the Copyright Office so that it can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Among the reforms in this document are granting the Copyright Office autonomy with respect to the Library of Congress, requiring the Copyright Office to maintain an up-to-date digital, searchable database of all copyrighted works and associated copyright ownership information, and many others reforms. 
One of those  policy proposals will be on music licensing issue.  According to Variety:
The proposal also would subject the Register of Copyrights to a nomination and consent process, with a 10-year term limit subject to renomination. They also are calling for adding staffers to the office, including a chief economist, chief technologist, and deputy register.
Clearly this past election will cause many things to be reconsidered and the time may be ripe for changes.  I hope that the changes are well thought out, especially when it comes to copyright, since how we handle intellectual property affects every creator in the U.S. (both individual and corporate).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Politics and the Rule of Three

ThreeSince the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 (2016), several U.S. organizations have publicly said that they will be backing up their data in other countries (e.g., news article on the Internet Archive).  In terms of having backup, IT professionals talk about the "rule of three".  Hanselman talks about what the "rule of three" is not.  It is not having backups on the same device or in the same server farm.  It is having backups on different media and in different geographic locations.  Yes, I believe that these organizations have been backing up properly. What is new is that they are thinking politically about where those backups are.  They want backups in locations where they will be protected from political interference.

In the U.S., we haven't had to think about our content from this point of view.  For those of you in the world for whom this is normal, I hope you will give us some advice.

Monday, December 05, 2016

NYLA2016 : Wrap-up and Session on Recruiting School Library Students

SU alumna Hannah Ralston
SU Alumna Hannah Ralston
It has been a month since the New York Library Association (NYLA) Annual Conference and time has flown.  Time - finally - for me to write a wrap-up blog post.

At the Business Meeting, it was announced that the NYLA membership now exceeds 5000 people for the first time ever. This is an important milestone for this statewide organization.  It was also mentioned that the 2015 Annual Conference had 1,243 participants (library staff, trustees and supporters).  The final total for 2016 has not been announced, but is over 1000 people.  NYLA is oldest state library association with the distinction of holding the largest state library association conference held on the U.S. East Coast.

Future NYLA Annual Conferences will be held at: 
  • 2017: Saratoga Springs, November 8-11
  • 2018: Rochester, November 7-10
  • 2019: Saratoga Springs, November 13-16
  • 2020: Saratoga Springs, November 4-7
SU faculty and MSLIS students
There are seven library and information science programs in NYS and many hold receptions during the NYLA Conference.  The SU iSchool had 64 alumni, current students (13 total), and friends at it reception. While the number of people packed into the reception is impressive, more impressive is that alumni employers were able to talk with students and other alumni about their current job openings.  When employers can network with potential job seekers, that is powerful.  [Thanks to Smote for the photo to the right.]

Melissa Jacobs, Barbara Stripling and I led a session entitled "Recruit, Retain, Repeat", which focused on recruiting school media (school library) students. Sponsored by the NYLA Section of School Librarians  and the School Library System Association, the session was described as:
School librarians are creative, innovative, and brilliant trailblazers. They are also in danger of extinction. Enrollment in graduate programs has substantially declined over the last decade, but school library vacancies are abundant throughout NYS.  Join your peers for an active conversation to brainstorm how we can recruit and retain for the next generation. Learn about education opportunities, scholarships, and partnerships offered by the New York City School Library System and Syracuse University iSchool and share your success stories of recruiting and training highly effective school librarians. The goal of this interactive session is for all participants to have an engaging conversation on the future of school librarianship and reverse the risk of extinction.
We began by reviewing statewide statistics of the number of school media students and data collected by NYLA on the number of school media specialists currently working in schools.  We then reviewed information on the pathways to certification for a school media specialist.  Finally, we had those present brainstorm ideas that would help all of us recruit more people into this valuable and important area of librarianship.

Our session time went by quickly. While the notes from the brainstorming have been typed up, I haven't yet communicated then back out - as I said upfront, time flies.  However, a few of the ideas were:
  • Creating an easier pathway for teachers who want to become school librarians.
  • Providing library orientation for student teachers, which teaches them about career opportunities while also showing them resources available.
  • Exhibiting/presenting at teacher conferences e.g., NYSCATE).
  • Pushing back on legislation which is making it harder to recruit school librarians.
Barb, Melissa and I are planning to submit a proposal to do a follow-up session at NYLA next fall.  

Finally, NYLA remains one of my favorite conferences!  It is large enough to host a variety of sessions, yet small enough to not be overwhelming.  I find it a real plus that it returns regularly to Saratoga Springs.  Saratoga is easy for people to get to from all areas of NYS.  It is also a beautiful location with tons of good food and gems like an independent bookstore (Northshire).  NYLA attracts all types of librarians, including special librarians.  So if you're in NYS, please consider adding NYLA to your conference list.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

NYLA2016 : I STILL Don't Want to Talk About It

Woman with hand over her mouthOne of my favorite NYLA sessions continued to be "I STILL Don't Want to Talk About it".  This year the expert panel included Gerald Nichols, Lisa Rosenblum, and Mary Jean Jakubowski. Prior to the session, the panelists solicit problems from public libraries, which are then anonymized and used during the session.  They specifically seek out problems related to staff and patrons.  During the session, they used those problems to talk about solutions which often include advice on needed library policies.  It is always a fascinating and educational setting.  

While the problems used during the session are anonymized, they are also specific. And no notes would actually capture all of the information and nuances. So rather than publishing my notes, let me say these things:
  • Every library needs to have written policies which govern staff and patron activities and expectations.  
  • In the case of a public library, the library's board of trustees should be involved in creating those policies and assuring that they are implemented.
  • A public library should not just adopt the policies of its municipality.  Rather the policies should be specific to the library.
  • In some instances, a library director may also need to rely on legal counsel.  Every library should have legal counsel that it can contact/use.
  • Staff should understand the policies.  They should also know who to refer policy questions to.
  • Library directors need to be willing to enforce expectations and policies.

NYLA2016 : Marissa Richardson - I Got the Job! Now What?

PoppiesMarissa Richardson provided information on the decisions one needs to make after accepting a job offer and before starting that position, as well as a few for those first few months in the position.  She noted that 6.9 million people move for work each year, so you are not alone in this activity.
Some of the questions one needs to ask, should actually be asked before accepting the position:
  • Are the salary and benefits appropriate and will that salary work for you?  Use to look up salaries and see what you should be paid. Consider if you are willing to negotiate.
  • What is the cost of living for the place you're going to move to?  Use a cost of living calculator.  There is one at and there are others.  Be honest about what you can "live with" and what you can "live without."  What is truly important to you?  What are the things that support your lifestyle?
  • Do you need to account for a partner or family?  How will that impact the offer and the move?
  • Does your new employer offer a moving allowance?  If not, how will you get yourself and your stuff there?
  • Is the political climate in your prospective new home amenable to you? 
If you get to your new job and location, and are having a hard time adjusting, consider seeking support.  Check the National Alliance on Mental Illness web site for resources,

Overall Richardson asked us to consider our options and be open to new experiences.   She advocate for self-care along the way. Finally, she noted that if the new position is not what you expected, you should consider your options.  Rather than staying in a position that is not suited to you, you should consider it a stop on your journey and move on.

NYLA2016 : Elaine Lasda - Get Fancy With Your Library Data

Data Collection Scenario A
Data Collection Scenario A
Elaine Lasda, @ElaineLibrarian, Her slides will be available at

Some stakeholders respond better to data. In fact, many of our stakeholders respond well to data.   Data can tell us about our impact.  Anecdotes can play very well, too, with some people.

What is data?  Lots of things are and format can affect what you can do with it.

Elaine Lasda focused on quantitative data during the session, but wanted people to realize that data isn't always numbers.

What are the limitations to data?  
  • People can argue over the interpretation of the data.
  • It doesn't account for a person's gut (feelings).
Data can provide actionable insights.  (This is what we want.)

Data Collection is where it starts.
  • Remember garbage in, garbage out.
  • Was the data collected correctly?
  • Does the data fit the purpose?
Data collection scenario "A" (see image)
  • Need a clear definition of what you're looking for.
  • What is the best way of collecting the data?
  • Make sure that the data is collected accurately.
  • As much as possible, eliminate the possibility of errors in the data.
Data Cleaning: (See tools list below.)
  • Data cleaning can take up to 80% of your time.  While it is critically important, it is not "sexy."
  • This is putting the data into the format that you need and doing any normalizing.  
Data Cleaning Resources
Data Cleaning Resources
Data Analysis:
  • Going from data to information to knowledge to wisdom

Data Collection Scenario B
Data Collection Scenario B

Remember that correlation does not mean causation.

How do you get data from non-library users?  One person paired public library staff with board members who then went to different places on a Saturday to interview people.

Data Presentation:  With the chart and graphs, make sure the scale does not lead people astray in interpreting the information.

Top10 Worst Graphs in Science (web page)

Elaine suggests that people use free and low cost data tools.  She said that you don't always need  expensive tools.

Her library has use data analysis to improve workflow.


NYLA2016 : Dr. Daniel M. Russell - In the library of the future

Photo from NIH Library of Dr. Daniel Russell
Photo from NIH Library
Dr. Daniel Russell works for Google.  He is a Senior Research Scientist focused on Search Quality and User Happiness.  He describes himself as a cyber-tribal-techno-cognitive-anthropologist.  He is both a research scientist and a software engineer.  His web site is   His presentation is available here.  His presentation went quickly, so the notes below are incomplete, but may provide information that you might not glean from the slides themselves.  .

He said that we adapt the technology we're using for whatever we're trying to find at the time.  That technology changes the way we think and how we interact with information.

Learning to use the tools, for example:
  • Using google translate in a novel setting
  • Finding help on academic assignments 
What do we need to know about finding information in the Internet age?

Students use google to answer simple questions.  More difficult questions go to the reference desk.

The card catalogue was a static index.  Indexes now are more flexible because  they are digital.

Knowing cultural convention genres/media helps you define the questions.  

We need to be able to find tools that help us define the question, e.g., Metadata EXIF viewers.

He noted that people need executive skills which will keep them on task, and not get distracted.

As searchers, we need to know what is possible.

Google has public data for use at

  • The literacy of information
  • Knowing what the information is...
  • How to use and interact with the information 
  • Knowing how to use information in "hand to hand" combat

Finding text on a page is fundamental online reading skill.
  • Survey of 2225 US-English Internet users, 90.5% do not onion how to "find" on a page.
  • 51.1% of 545 US-English Internet using teachers do not know how to "find" on page.

Spoof sites, e.g., Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.  Sadly students don't have enough life information to help them spot spoof sites.

We live in a time when extraordinary videos need extraordinary evidence.  We need to know if a video could be true.

Emoticons and abbreviations can get in the way of understanding the question or understanding the answer.

Google image search will allow you to upload an image and search using it.

We live in a world where content change, and can radically change quickly.

YouTube - every minute 200+ hours of video are uploaded.  3 billion videos are watched each day.  70% of the traffic is international.

1.8 papers are published in ~28,000 journals.  What percentage are vampire journals?

Where are you supposed to learn these literacy skills?

The underlying information space is growing. More answers are available.

The creation of time lapse videos made by taking many photos of the same location,   The photos are sorted by time before the video is made. Assembling the collocation on content.

Question everything and be curious.  Do one more search!  Many things are trivial to look them up, so do look them up!

We need to learning how to ask questions.  It has always been a skills.  Now it's a critical skill. 

Dig into who owns a web site. Check the address.  Who else uses that address?

There is a web site that allows you to clone an article and then alter the article.

We have vastly more content, but what is its quality?

Basic skills include:
  • Learn how to ask the right questions.
  • Know what tools are available.
  • Understand space of information available
  • Can search effectively
  • Can understand how to interpret the results
How to become informate:
  • Take a class...continue to learn more
  • Become more aware
  • Subscribe to 
  • Understand
  • Play a serious game 
  • Teach a class
He has an a class online, Power Searching with Google.  Check his web site for other resources.   The site also contains a link to his blog.

Dr. Russell's contact info

NYLA2016 : Garry Golden - Tap your inner futurist: Libraries and the future of sustainable communities

Photo of Garry Golden from his web site
Garry Golden
The keynote was given by Garry Golden, @garrygolden.  His presentation is available at along with additional resources.   Below are my notes.

Foresight 101: Foresight is routed the studying social change. We associate thinking about the future with prediction. It is impossible to make predictive statements about the future. Rather futurists use a framework called the cone of plausibility. What is plausible? What are a set of scenarios? What signals of change then make one scenario more plausible than others?

Paying attention to the signals of change is the first task. Not being surprised by the future is your first measure of success.

"Everyday make an effort to move toward what I do not understand." - Yo-Yo Ma

The mechanisms of change to watch:
  • Trends - continuities - they give us our plausible futures 
  • Events - discontinuities - they give us our possibles futures. Events cannot be forecasted. 
  • Choices - discontinuities - they give us our preferred futures. 
Drivers of change for sustainable communities:

Demographic transitions
  • Aging populations is the most significant unprecedented change coming in the world. 
  • This is the biggest sustainable change in terms of demographics. 
  • Sustainability from a personal standpoint is going to include wearable technology. 
  • Wearables are compelling and creepy.
The demographic transition model
  • Some populations are starting to contract, meaning that they have fewer children than adults. 
  • The U.S. Demographic dividend - the impact of the baby boomers 
  • The challenge is the transition from the boomers to the millennial. 
  • Not enough Gen X for them to make a difference. 
  •  And the boomers are still working, so Gen Xers aren't getting the high paying jobs. 
  • Libraries need to take the demographics of their local communities and frame it as a story. 
  • Create a population pyramid (visualization).
What does sustainability mean for an aging population? It is about it a personal sense of resilience. What percentage of your population is aging?

Aging strategies:
  • Aging in place 
  • Active aging 
  • Creative aging 
Universal design: libraries and beyond
  • How do libraries need to design their services for an aging population?
  • MIT has developed a suit that allows you to understand what it like to experience a day as an older person.
Mobility: libraries and beyond
  • Equity and access 
  • Autonomous self driving cars could make a huge difference. 
  • Ollie has created an engaging people mover. 
Substance use disorders
  • Resilience and regeneration 
  • Versus the  "silent epidemic" 
  • Aging populations are particularly vulnerable to this.
Can/should the library be the first stop for aging services?
What does sustainability mean to millennial adults?

Libraries and the reframing of social justice issues: equality and equity
Everyone gets the same things versus everyone gets what they need.
How can we get millennials to see us (libraries) as partners?

Transforming energy:
  • Climate change has its own cone of plausibility. 
  • The Yale Climate Change Conversation Project
  • Policy changes everything in the energy world. 
  • New York has arguably the best framework for transforming energy use.  REV 2030. 
  • How do we integrate energy systems? 
  • Beyond solar: fuel cells as foundations for community micro grids. 
  • Can the library be the central power generator for a local micro grid?
Blockchain + trusted transactions:
  • Hard to describe. 
  • The Internet of trusted transactions. 
  • It rethinks transactions. 
  • It's just a decentralized database plus process automation. 
  • It is a way of verifying who owns what. 
  • It uses math to mediate transactions. 
  • There are public and private blockchain systems. 
  • Smart contracts disperse payments 
  • Distributed marketplace 
  • Peer to peer interactions 
  • A shared economy - the Napster for everything 
  • Dubai and the U.K. are leading the blockchain in the public sector.
Next steps:
  • Start conversations 
  • Ready for urgency graph 
  • Follow smart and informed people. 
  • Follow memes and events. 
  • Use killer questions. These are questions that people have to research in order to answer.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Podcast: Pallante Leaves the Copyright Office

Last Friday, Christopher Kenneally and Andrew Albanese discussed the recent news of Maria Pallante leaving the U.S. Copyright Office.  Given that a few days had passed since the news, Albanese provides a useful take on the situation.  You can listen it it here (14 minutes).

Friday, October 28, 2016

UNYOC - Jill Hurst-Wahl: Reach Out Across Your Organization with Information and Compassion

Shequaga Falls in Montour Falls, NYYesterday I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers at the Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter of the Medical Library Association (UNYOC) Annual Meeting in Watkins Glen, NY.  My talk was entitled "Reach Out Across Your Organization with Information and Compassion."   Over the course of an hour, I talked about:
  • Reaching out to our communities community and to meeting them - physically, mentally, emotionally - where they are...with emphasis on creative ways of being physically with them or in their space.
  • Seeing the human-ness of each person and serving the human-ness in each person.
  • Showing compassion and care for yourself, so that you can serve your community well.
In that last area, I provided five tips which I want to share with you. Those tips are (and I embellished on each in my talk):
  • Use an external brain.  If you decide to use paper or some digital device to help you keep track of your to-do's and other information, your brain will thank you.  And when your brain is happy, the rest of you will be happier.  It really is an act of self-care to give our brains some relief.  And rather than trying to remember a ga-zillion things, you can use that brain power on something else.
  • Seek clarity of purpose.  You might also use the word "goal." What is your purpose for today?  For this week?  For this year? When you're clear, everything else can fall into place.
  • Take a pause.  There is an old "B" movie called "The House of God" which is about a hospital.  In the movie, the young doctors are told to take their own pulse before taking the pulse of a patient.  Later there is a funny scene of them taking their pulse while standing around someone who is having a heart attack.  However, the idea is that they needed to know that they were okay and they needed to be calm.  You do that when you take a pause.
  • Find a partner.  Find someone whom you can confide in and you can give you advice about whatever.  It may be a friend or colleague.  It may be someone who is geographically far away.  It needs to be someone you can trust and who can keep your confidence.  And it needs to be someone who can be in it for the long haul.  That person can help you ground you, even when you're not sure where the ground is.
  • Create rituals.  Rituals calm us and create structure.  And I'm not just talking about religious rituals, but also rituals around how you start and end your day, or even how you prepare for a meeting.  Structure is actually freeing.  For example, the structure of a Japanese tea ceremony is meant to be relaxing.
I heard afterwards that those tips truly resonated with people, and I'm glad!  May the also resonate with you.

UNYOC - Elizabeth Stellrecht: Using Focus Groups to Make Effective Changes to a First-Year Evidence-Based Dentistry Course

Focus group questionsElizabeth Stellrecht, who works at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, did a short presentation about a class she co-taught with Elaine Davis and how they used a focus group to gather feedback on it. That focus group occurred with students after the class was over.

The questions asked during the focus group were simple, yet provided valuable and actionable feedback. The questions were:
  • What was the main takeaway from this class for you as an individual?
  • What did you like most about the class?
  • What did you like the least about this class?
  • How helpful was it having clinicians [practitioners] in the class?
  • How can we improve student buy-in?
Clearly these are questions that could be used to help evaluate and improve any class.

UNYOC - Nancy Fried Foster: Understanding Work Practices to Improve Information Services in Health Science Libraries

Nancy Fried FosterNancy Fried Foster provided the keynote presentation at the 2016 Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter (UNYOC) of the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting in Watkins Glen, NY.

According to Foster, library design can be done at a low risk, while responding to the needs of your community and being relevant for the future.

Driving library change with research (her agenda):
  • User centered design is based on current evidence. 
  • It is participatory and inclusive. 
  • Solutions are not based on assumptions or outdated information. 
  • It is a research based approach.
People understand their own jobs and can contribute that knowledge to the design of new spaces and processes (i.e., whatever is being built).

  • One way of collecting evidence is a work practice study. What tools are people using? Where do they keep things? Can you video people doing their work, then review the video with them in order to gather more information.
    • In looking at classroom space, what will the work patterns of the students be in that space?
  • Can you get people to draw solutions and then talk to them about what they've drawn? That would allow you to annotate the drawing. That could be done in a design workshop.
  • Another method is observation. Observation can take many forms, depending on your project. This methods allows you to slow down, look, and listen.
  • In doing retrospective interviews, you ask people how they completed a piece of work. You annotate the story as the person tells it.
  • Workplace interviews allows you to gather information from the person while they are in their world. You might consider video recording the interview,which will might give you information about the space and how the person uses the space.
  • In photo elicitation interviews, you have people take photos based on prompts. For example, have students take a photo of what they have in front of them when they do homework. .
  • You can use a map diary to have people map or log their movements over the course of a day. The next day, the map prompts them to tell you the story of the day, what they did where and what resources they used. .
  • Reply cards are like a mini survey. Samples questions include:
    • What is the person doing? 
    • If the person had to work elsewhere, where would that be? 
    • What resources is the person using?
  • Snapshot interviews can be done anywhere and are brief. Are good to get quick input from people outside of the library.
 All of these help to answer: What do people need? What do people need to do? You might discover emerging practices and be able to anticipate new practices.

A few examples of analysis:
  • Co-view - videos, photos, transcripts 
  • Coding - with software or manually. Allows you to analyze transcripts and data.
  • Compare - visually inspect,categorize, compare and contrast.
For her, analyze means organizing and clustering the data.

Interpretation:  Foster noted that the process can be lengthy. In some instances, it can take years. She cautioned to start small and get a "win", if possible.

She noted that there was a 2015 presentation entitled "A day in the life of a medical student: applying ethnographic methods in academic health sciences settings."

She said that interesting work at the Miner Library at the University of Rochester (NY). [Lorraine Porcello is involved in this.]

Ethnographic research is not enough. It is also necessary to build collaboration all along the way. In other words, you cannot do this work in a vacuum. You need to understand what else is happening in your organization.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Abrupt Changes in the U.S. Copyright Office

Maria Pallante
Pallante before Congress
Friday (Oct. 21), the Registrar of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, was moved into a new position within the Library of Congress (LOC). Reports say that she was surprised by the move. She was also surprised to learn that her access to LOC computer systems changed that morning.  Removing someone's access to systems sends an unsettling signal both to the person and to those around her.  In this case, the unsettled signal is reverberating throughout the copyright community.  Today Pallante resigned her new position and left the LOC, leaving us to ask many question including:
  • Pallante was supportive of both creators and musicians.  Did this cause problems that could only be fixed by her removal?
  • Pallante had embarked on several initiatives to update Copyright Law.  Was this seen as too ambitious?  Did these initiatives cause problems with an industry that then lobbied for her removal?
  • Since we all love conspiracy this somehow Google's doing?
  • Did the fact that Pallante called for the Copyright Office to be separated from the Library of Congress cause her demise?
Clearly we'll need to wait for these answers (or rumors of answers).  We will also need to wait to see what impact this has on copyright reform.

There are numerous articles on this, including these:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Trying to learn a three-dimesional language

Ever since the IFLA conference (#WLIC2016), I have been thinking more about digitization. It perhaps helped, too, that I guest lectured in a class last week talking about digitization and digital preservation, which means I've been mentally preparing for that for a few weeks.  Also last week, a colleague stopped by and showed me the not-final-version of two projects, one of which includes 3D images, which can be rotated on the screen. And that got me thinking about a language that I'm trying to learn which is three-dimensional.

Many people suffer a hearing loss (statistics). It is estimated that 2% of the U.S. population is deaf.  Given the number of people who could benefit from communicating in American Sign Language (ASL), I've been trying to learn some.  It is not an easy language to learn because word use and sentence construction is definitely different from oral English.  It is also a three-dimensional language that uses space and distance to communicate concepts as being in the past or future, or having a specific relationship.  Thus learning ASL from static photographs is difficult.  Imagine not understanding that a sign has movement to it or how the movement is to executed.  It can also be difficult to learn ASL from videos, since videos are also flat. You cannot see a standard video from the front and then watch it again from the side!

Having now seen images (example) that can be rotated, I am imaging people "digitizing" ASL so that signs can be seen from every angle.  That would be a huge undertaking, but then digitizing books was a huge undertaking and we're doing that.  This would could have the ability to improve communications and that would be a good thing. Anybody interested in getting started?

If you've never considered learning ASL, listen (and watch) Amber Galloway Gallego below. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 SEFLIN Virtual Conference: Links, Citations and Other Fun Stuff from Presenters

SEFLIN Virtual Conference Logo
I am pleased that I was a part of the 6th annual virtual conference hosted by the Southeast Florida Library Network (SEFLIN) on Sept. 16, which had the theme "Embracing Innovation: Creative Disruptions in Libraries."  Over 100 locations viewed/participated in the online event, with some of the sites hosting several people (perhaps a roomful!) which means that the reach of this event was tremendous.  While the conference was recorded and those recordings will be available to those that registered for the event, anyone can access the handouts and other materials through the conference LibGuide at

As you can see my topic was "Storming Towards Innovation." The description:
Many staff meetings become informal periods for quickly generating ideas which can be acted upon. This session will provide tips, techniques and tools for creating an atmosphere where everyone can contribute effectively to spawn concepts, plans and solutions.  Creating that atmosphere means building practices which become part of the workplace.  It also means understanding the role that each person can play in ensuring that the best ideas emerge. 
If you're curious about what I covered, the slides are available here and the handout is here.  I do know that there are topics I discussed which are not on the slides and the recording also captured the questions which were asked, such as how to weed through ideas that are generated. 

I do not know if SEFLIN will ever release the recordings for general consumption.  If there is a topic that interests your organization, let's talk about how to satisfy that curiosity.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Jill H-W interviewed - Making Space for Innovation

Vitamin K your dailt dose of positiveMy colleague, Kelvin Ringold, does a Daily Dose of Positive email (called Vitamin K) and this year expanded into doing podcasts that are informative and motivational.  Knowing my interests, Kelvin asked if he could interview me.  The result is a 39-minute podcast below on what innovation is,  how to make room for it, and tips for brainstorming and getting started being innovative.  The episode page includes links to relevant resources.  If innovation and brainstorming interest you, take a listen!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

WLIC2016 : IFLA Wrap-up

IFLA signage outside the Columbus Public LibraryThis was my first International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) conference.  I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that if IFLA was coming to the U.S., I should go.  IFLA moves its conference around the world and it only comes to the U.S. about once a decade and its last stop in the U.S. was in 2001.

I am impressed in the fact that the conference - the World Library and Information Conference - is truly an international conference.  Not only do people travel from approximately 120 countries, but some of the sessions are simultaneously translated into other languages (English, French, Russian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and German).  Participants were encouraged place a sticker on their badges to signify which language other participants should approach them in.  This allowed participants to easily acknowledge language difference.

The content of the conference is also international. Sessions frequently contained speakers and perspectives from several national and cultural points of view. This was not a U.S. conference with some international conference. This was an international conference with some U.S. specific content.

Silent dance partyThe Cultural Aspect: Unlike other library conferences I've attended, IFLA has a strong cultural component. The opening session was all about the U.S. culture and lots of Ohio history.  It was very entertaining! While some of the cultural history was shown and not explained, it taught me things that I didn't know and which I appreciated.

The Tuesday evening cultural event at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) contained food and entertainment from five regions of the U.S.  Yes, the food and music were good, and COSI is an wonderful facility.  It was also fun watching people try some of the science experience, do country line dancing, and even partake of the silent dance party where participants listened to the music on headsets.

Dress with the AfLIA logoAfLIA: I was really taken by members of the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), who had clothing made out of fabric that contained the association's logo and name.  What an advertisement for their association and what a commitment by them!  Could you imagine the ALA, SLA or some other library association logo made into clothing?  I can!  I can only hope it would be as stylish.

Why go to IFLA? Next year's IFLA is in Poland and then it moves to Malaysia in 2018. Traveling all over the world to be involved in IFLA and to attend the conference is a huge financial and time commitment. Clearly there are people - including retired librarians - who believe in having an global impact and doing it through IFLA.  If you want a peek into that world or if you want to be a part of that world, then this is the conference for you.

I highly recommend attending this conference when it comes close to you (and close is a relative term).  You will find it engaging and informing.  You will leave with new enthusiasm and with new contacts that you would not have met otherwise.

Yes, this is a conference for K-12, public, academic and special librarians. No matter your focus, there is content in this conference for you, as well as people that you should meet.  So start saving your dollars. And talk to your boss about what you could learn about and bring back to your organization.  Yes, start that conversation now, even though getting to IFLA may be a few years in the future.

IFLA 2016 logoList of blog posts: Below is the list of posts I wrote about the conference.  You will notice a large number of photos, which you may need to click on in order to read. Why so many photos?  Some of the content moved quickly and it was easier to take and include photos than to try to type.  It also ensured that I captured some of the content correctly.
Addendum (08/27/2016):I want to note that the people of Columbus, OH were very welcoming to this international conference.  In particular, the bus drivers on the transit system are friendly and extraordinarily helpful, which you don't find everywhere.

As for food, yes, lots of good places to eat and drink including:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ALCTS Webinar on "Creating Effective Webinars"

Earlier in the summer the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) approached Maurice Coleman and I were asked to present a webinar for ALCTS members on how to create an effective webinar.  After giving the one-hour webinar last week (Aug. 17), it is now available for anyone to view.  All of the materials are available at and below:
After attending the webinar, it is hoped that ALCTS members might be inspired to give webinars and to:
  • Design better presentations
  • Understand how to prepare for delivering the presentation (producer/tech support)
  • Better engage the audience
  • Prepare for the unexpected, technical and otherwise, during the webinar
  • Understand some of the basic features of “web conference” software and how to use them to your advantage
You will notice - even if you look at the handout - that we covered a wide range of topics. Throughout the webinar, we encouraged people to tell us what questions they had.  One of the questions was about sample speaker agreements.  Every speaker agreement may be slightly different.  Be sure to look for text that acknowledges that the content belongs to you (the speaker).  If that text is not in the agreement (or in a series of communications between you and the organization), state that the materials are yours.  (You might do this by saying that you are confirming your assumption.)

Here are links to two SAMPLE speaker agreements:
In addition, this article may be helpful: "Speaker Agreement Essentials",

Maurice and I really enjoyed giving this webinar! We are both passionate trainers and we want to help others excel at providing webinars.  If you're interested in giving a webinar and don't know how to construct one, please give this one-hour webinar a listen.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

WLIC2016 : Digitization Vendors at IFLA

DLSG Booth
DLSG Booth
When I started this blog in 2004, digitization was a growing area in libraries. For some, it was still something new, while others had and were embarking on massive projects. New hardware and new projects/programs garnered attention. For me, Google Book Search ushered in a huge possibilities. Over the years, I've been heartened by the advances in technology, the breadth of projects (even digital collaborations like those discussed at WLIC), and the number of cultural heritage institutions that see digitization as part of what they do.

At the World Library and Information Congress, I was impressed with the number of digitization hardware vendors in the exhibit hall.  Among them were: (this list may not be complete)
For any librarian interested in digitization, this was a plum opportunity to talk with vendors and to look at hardware.  Yes, there was an impressive array of hardware on display for librarians from around the world.

In talking with a representative from one of the companies, we went over some of the acquisitions that have happened in the industry.  We also talked about where in the world the big scanners are being sold.  Not every institution can afford these large, expensive equipment but some institutions can put together programs that are large enough and funded well enough to afford a piece of equipment that costs over $100,000 (U.S.).

One positive that has happened over the years is that the technology is less expensive - more affordable - equipment has improved.  Look, for example, at the microfilm readers that are also scanners.  Look at the equipment meant for end-users (library users) which many institutions have been able to purchase.  Yes, even look at the equipment that many of us have at home. While these printer-scanners are not what a large digitization program would use, they put an ability into our hands that can be used to digitize materials and share them on a personal level.

Yes, this was an amazing opportunity for the librarians at WLIC and I hope some took the time to look, talk, ask for a demo, or obtain information to take back home.  Seeing this variety of hardware in one spot may not happen soon.

Crowley Booth at WLIC
Crowley Booth
Versascan large format scanner

Thursday, August 18, 2016

WLIC2016 : Privacy Law in the Digital Age: Governments rethink the meaning of information access policies

Roberta Shaffer (moderator) - we've come a long way historical. The right to privacy is not a new one.   The right of privacy is infused with many type of relations.  She questioned whether we can be forgotten, which is part of the right of privacy.  It may not be technically possible.

Dennis Hirsch - blending the European and American approaches

Different privacy regimes

In the US, privacy is often controlled by the Federal Trade Commission.

In Europe, the right to be forgotten.  In Europe, the right to be forgotten makes a lot of sense.  In the US, we see this as true information, which should be available.  He mentioned lawsuits in France and Italy, where the right to be forgotten or the right to privacy had been upheld.

Is US privacy law adequate when dealing with data sharing across country boundaries.  People in other countries are not covered by the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue,but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This conflict is relevant outside of the US and Europe.  Many countries has adopted the European model.

How to think about this conflict?  One way of thinking about it in terms of economic competition.

Economic competition

GAFAM = Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

In Europe, the privacy regulations are seen as protectionism.

But the US and Europe have two different cultures of privacy.  Europe is focused on dignity, while the US is focused on liberty. 

Two cultures of privacy

There is a long tradition in Europe of reputation and honor; your public face.  This was a right of the noble classes, which became a right of everyone.  It became a human right.  Each has a right to personal dignity. 

In the US, we got rid of the monarchy.  We believe that we have the right to make decisions free of state interference.  Our anxiety is that the government would get a hold of all of our private information.  We do not want an overbearing government in our private lives.

In the US, we don't want the government to limit what we can know.

How dose resolve the conflict over privacy?  Both come out of a western tradition.  Can we blend dignity with liberty?  Perhaps there is something in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What about intellectual privacy? There is a book on that.

Make sense of differences in legal regimes

IFLA statement

Anne Klinefelter - Privacy law in the digital age: information access and the US law library

The privacy of library users is shrinking.  The private information of individuals, whom a library user might be researching, may be increasing.

Privacy of USA Law Library Users is Shrinking

We want to increase the privacy of our users as well the privacy of the people on our content.  We want to increase access to content.  We want to limit surveillance, including watching what people are accessing.

Areas affecting privacy:
  • Privacy of law library users
  • Library laws and ethics
  • Attorney-client confidentiality
  • Judge/legislator traditions
In the US, privacy laws are at the state level.  Some were passed in the wake of the Freedom of Information Act.  Laws in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and attorney general opinions form the basis for this.

Some states have laws about digital book services.  There is a new law in Delaware, for example.

Legal research itself is part of the client-lawyer confidentiality.

ALA and privacy

Privacy as shrinking

Data shared with any third party in the US can be monitored without a warrant.  There is a thin barrier between what Google knows and what the US government knows.  (The Third Party Doctrine)

There has been growth of data brokers, who combine information from across the web, and then sell the resultant information.  Data brokers may create discriminatory sounding categories, which can harm a person's dignity.

Privacy rights expanding

Adam Eisgrau - ALA Office of Government Relations

They address key library legislative issues with Congressional representatives.

What data does the US government get? They get it all.  He noted that USA PATRIOT Act and how much was lost in terms of civil liberties.  Librarians took exception to one section, which has become know as a library provision (the national security letter).  (Section 215)

Section 215 expired briefly and then was renewed by the USA Freedom Act on 2015.  This Act ended the bulk collection of the NSA, but requests can be made.  The gag order of Section 2015 now is subject to judicial review. 

The secret court rarely said "no" to requests.  Now advocates/watchdogs can be at the proceedings.

The cybersecurity Information Sharing Act now makes the NSA the collector of information, she something fishy happens,and that information is shared with other agencies.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act - This act was passed in 1986 and it has not been amended since then.  In 1986, people dod not store long term.  If data is over 180 days old, a warrant is not needed.  There is activity in a congress to change this act, however, people are also looking to expand the PATRIOT Act.

What about encryption or digital "back doors"? This is a huge debate currently in the US.  People want stronger encryption. The government wants to get around encryption.  Can the government compel a company to break encryption?  Will the government study this to death?

Student Privacy and FERPA - The real action around student privacy has been in the states. One of the leading states on this is California.


He noted that the President in the US can issue an Executive Order, which can impact privacy.  He mentioned Rule 41, which is about hacking.



  • Hirsch - in the privacy of readers, dignity and liberty are combined.  When it comes to content, dignity and liberty are in conflict.  We need to find creative ways to synthesize liberty and dignity.
  • Eisgrau - expunging versus contextualizing.  What about providing more information in order to provide context?  Given our technology, is an expunging possible? 
  • Shaffer - there is a balance in people's minds between privacy and convenience.  In the US, we have felt that the government would protect our privacy.  However, security breaches in the US demonstrate that the Government is not protecting our privacy.  In Germany, they do not trust the government and felt that corporations would protect their privacy.  However, breaches show that corporations are not adequately protecting people's privacy.
  • Hirsch - privacy has political and cultural contexts in different countries. 

WLIC2016 : National Libraries and Digital Collaborations

All of these papers are available through the digital program on the IFLA web site.

Julia Brungs and Vincent Wintermans - Digitally reassembling scattered collections

Commons terminology:

Restitution - Each term means something different.  Often used for physical materials.

Terminology - Restitution

Unification - some of these terms are used with digital collections

Terminology - Unification

Digital unification - what role can IFLA play?
Yes, documentary heritage items are in countries or institutions different from the county of origin.

UNESCO recommendations

Libraries and digital unification

People are positive about the fact that this conversation is happening.
What should IFLA's role be in this? What role can each of us play?

UNESCO and the Memory of the World:

UNESCO and Memory of the World>

Jaesun Lee - Digital Reunification of Dispersed Collections: National Library of Korea Digitization Project

Over its history, Korea has been overtaken and people have immigrated to other countries.  Korea's cultural items became scattered across many countries. Korea is currently a divided country.

The National Library of Korea began in 1945.  It began digitizing in 1996.  (See photo below.) Digitization has helped the library save the content of items which were deteriorating.

NLK collection digitization

Digitization of rare books held abroad. There are five steps:
  • Planning: Target materials list preparation (photo)
  • Planning: Prior consultation at the working level - this is part of the selection prices
  • Visit / examination - this is also part of the selection process
  • MOU/agreement between NLK and partner institution (Memorandum of Understanding)
  • Digitization - both NLK and the partner institution play important roles
Outline of DPRBA>


NLK is also collaborating with overseas Korean studies librarians, oversees Korean cultural heritage foundation, the a Cultural Heritage Administration, and others.  NLK is working with the Korean Association for the Preservation of Old Books.

She noted that many materials on Korea have been digitized by NARA in the United States, and which are available online. 

Digital reunification and services of dispersed collections


Driss Khrouz - Digital preservation and access on collaborative platforms
Please note that you can use Google Translate to obtain a translation of this paper. The paper is available on the IFLA web site.

Why this project?  The answer can be found in a quote in the paper, where it is stated that the presence of the French language in the digital space is at stake.  This project has brought together people from 19 countries.  Please read the paper for information on it.
What is at stake, right now, is the presence of the French language the digital space. Tomorrow, which will not be digitized and made ​​accessible online risk to simply be overshadowed, if not forgotten. Now our community has large wealth sharing and to share. -  Abdou Diouf
Axes strategiques du Reseau

Maitrise de la numerisation

Caroline Brazier - Digital access and cooperation of shared collections: The British Library and its international collections

The British Library collections reflect global history, not just British history.


Some collaborators are small scale, yet they can still have a large impact.  Some collaborative projects come out of support from philanthropic support provided to other national libraries.  She noted that sometimes the digitization project is part of a larger project.

The impact of mass digitization  project can take time to be realized.  As an example,she spoke about a digitization project of Hebrew manuscripts where a copy of the digital files will be given to a library in Israel.

One of their largest partnerships is with the Qatar National Library which is interested in materials on the Gulf region.  This partnership has included technical collaboration and the creation of school/academic materials.

Digitization allows access to be given to fragile items that are physically housed around the world.

They have also done 3D digitization/modeling which has allowed people then to engage in 3D printing.

She noted that they are entering into a partnership with the National Library of Korea, its newest partnership.  This will help to provide digital reunification of Korean materials held in the British Library.

They are part of the endangered archives program.  The physical items remain in situ.  A coy of the digital file is given to the owner of the physical item.  She noted that digitization does not need to use high tech setups.

You don't need a high-tech setup

Future priorities:
  • Shared priorities for mass digitization
  • Continually improve the service of discover, access, and reuse
  • Realize the full potential of digital research technologies (future proofing)

Isabelle Nyffenegger - A national library, a universal heritage
Again, you can use Google translate to read this paper (which is available on the IFLA web site), which is written in French.

A shared responsibility