Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Year in Review: It was not what I expected

2017 has been quite a year.  I even I blogged more this year than I had since 2013!  Looking back at those posts, and what was happening elsewhere, this is what stands out to me:
  • It seemed as if the Library of Congress Copyright Office would go through an upheaval this year, but that did not happen. The Copyright Office still reports to the LOC and I've not heard any recent public discussions about moving it elsewhere.  Given how politics is infusing everything, the fact that the Copyright Office is staying as is, may be a good thing.  We don't need that office becoming part of a political jousting match.
  • Nothing happened in terms of updating the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17).  Yes, there are sections that need updating and that updating requires deep thought, not just quick action. When the Congress does consider changes to the law, I hope they will do so without a political agenda and without undue influence from their major donors.
  • A phrase we are hearing every day is "fake news." One way of combating fake news is to providing reliable and verified information resources.  Thanks to libraries and other information providers who have placed reliable and verifiable information online for others to use.  Thank you for providing not just one side of story, but providing many sides.  Thank you for digitizing older information, which helps us put into context what is happening today.
  • Funding for many government agencies is in flux. That means that either funding has shifted away from them or there are rumors that they will lose funding.  Among those agencies is the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).  It is important that the IMLS survive and thrive. Why?  Quoting the IMLS:
    The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.
  • One of the ways IMLS helps all of us is by hosting events, where we can talk to each other about specific issues. One such event was held in October on the National Digital Platform.  We all should be grateful for those institutions who are willing to develop a digital platform which will help all of us.
  • This year Apple released its iPhone X, marking 10 years of increasingly sophisticated smartphones.  Smartphones and other digital devices are all around us. There are a growing number of wifi and bluetooth enabled devices.  An interesting activity is to count the number of wifi devices in your home.  (One friend counted 30!)  If you are surrounded by smart devices, then it may be hard to remember that is not normal for everyone.  Yes, there are people who are still using very basic flip phones.  And there are people who need to borrow wifi hotspots from their local libraries, so they can wifi at home.  There is still a digital divide in 2017 and there is still a need for digital literacy training.
Book cover for Science not Silence
  • I had never marched in a protest before, but in 2017 I marched in four events held in Syracuse: The Women's March, the March for Science, the People's Climate March, and the Procession of Neighbors. The latter was in support of the immigrant and refugee communities in Syracuse. 
  • Out of my blog post about the March for Science came an invitation to be part of the book Science not Silence: Voices from the March for Science Movement, which will be released by MIT Press in March 2018.
  • I wrote a series of blog posts on Upping You Library Intelligence, which were well received. 
  • In collaboration with Copyright Clearance Center's Beyond the Book podcast, I released a blog post on library deserts which was paired with a Beyond the Book interview on the topic.  That blog post was  read over 3200 times making it my most read blog post of 2017.
Lastly, a one negative that is not attached to any one news event:
  • The feeling of not belonging.  That feeling swept over immigrants, people of color, women, and many others.  One good aspect of social media is that we have each been able to find a tribe online were we do belong, and were we can be supported.
I'm sure there is much more that I should be noting and likely your list would be quite different., and that is okay.  What will 2018 have in store for us?  Let's hope that it provides lots of positives!

Person jumping between 2017 and 2018

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Digital Preservation Network: Declaration of Shared Values Open for Comment

This is circulating through the DPN web site and various email lists.You may want to participant in the comment period.

Declaration of Shared Values Open for Comment

December 11, 2017

The digital preservation landscape is one of a multitude of choices that vary widely in terms of purpose, scale, cost, and complexity. Over the past year DPN and a group of collaborating organizations* united in the commitment to digital preservation came together to explore how we can better communicate with each other and assist members of the wider community as they negotiate this complicated landscape.

As an initial effort, the group drafted a Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values that is now being released for community comment. The document is available here and the comment period will be open until March 1st. In addition, we welcome suggestions from the community for next steps that would be beneficial as we work together. Comments, suggestions and observations may be communicated to the group at We also welcome volunteer efforts to translate this code of ethics into additional languages.

* Participating organizations: Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), Chronopolis, CLOCKSS, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), Digital Preservation Network (DPN), DuraSpace, Educopia/MetaArchive Cooperative, Stanford University - LOCKSS, Texas Digital Library (TDL)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Net Neutrality and HOV Highway Lanes

Net NeutralityOn Dec. 14, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to restore Internet freedom.  This is seen as an attempt to alter what is referred to as Net Neutrality. According to Wikipedia:
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.
When we talk about eliminating net neutrality, we talk about some web sites or services (e.g., streaming movies) being treated differently than other sites.  This means that my web site might be given a lower priority and a person might find that it loads more slowly than another site which has been given a higher priority.  However, it is hard for any of us to imagine what this might actually mean, which brings me to two analogies (which are likely not original).

There is one place where some of us have experience being in the fast lane and that is on a highway.  Around major cities or on heavily traveled interstates, there are high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.  In some place, like near Washington DC, the driver pays to be in those lanes which are moving much faster.  As a person in the slow lane, I am being negatively affected by the traffic around me.  In addition, the highway system is not compelled to do anything that might speed-up my trip.  And while I can see the HOV lanes, I cannot get into them because I have not complied with the requirements for using those lanes.  If you understand that, then you can understand what will happen if net neutrality is eliminated.

If you have not experienced HOV lanes, it is likely you may have experienced the Fast Pass at Disney World, or heard friends talk about them.  The Fast Pass allows you to skip ahead in the line at the rides of your choosing.  If net neutrality is eliminated, some Internet sites will have Fast Passes, while the rest of us will be stuck in line.

Now...I have heard good arguments for allowing some services to have faster access or more priority.  For example, should we give emergency services faster or higher access to the Internet?  And if we did that, would that lead to?  Could that lead to giving faster access to the military or government?  For me, that would be a slippery slope and something we (Internet users) should think seriously about.  However, that discussion should happen after we have moved beyond this current net neutrality vote (and hopefully with net neutrality intact).

If you want to contact the FCC on this issue, you can do so through the FCC web site and through other sites like Battle for the Net.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

SWFLN webinar recording: Oops Embracing Training Failures and Learning From Them

Yesterday, Dec. 6, Maurice Coleman, Paul Signorelli and I gave a one-hour webinar entitled "Oops Embracing Training Failures and Learning From Them."  We talked about problems that a trainer might experience and how to mitigate them, as well as tips for learners.  (By the way, as a trainer, you might listen to those tips for learners and use that information to help you provide tips to keep your learners on track.) 

Thanks to Aaron Blumberg at SWFLN for arranging the webinar. Thanks, too, to Deb McClain who provided sign language interpretation (ASL).  The webinar is also closed captioned.