Monday, December 31, 2018

Wrapping up 2018: Copyright, Research, Getting Things Done, and More

Keep It SimpleI always feel as if I should do a year-end blog post that wraps up the year. So here it goes.


These are the stories which stand out to me and the Digitization 101 blog posts which go with them.
Looking ahead to 2019, the next edition of Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators: Creative Strategies and Practical Solutions by Kenneth Crews will be released.  The delay in publication has worked in our favor as he has been able to incorporate recent changes in U.S. copyright law into this edition. 

Do I still blog about digitization? Yes, there were some blog posts about that this year.  I should really rename this blog, but too many people know it as Digitization 101.


I announced earlier in December the iSchool Public Libraries Initiative, which began earlier in the year.  The number of things we could do keeps growing, which is a happy problem to have.  We are not working with individual libraries, but rather want to focus our efforts on research that will help all libraries.  Thanks to everyone - too many to name - who has been enthusiastic about this. Thanks also to MSLIS students Heather Elia and Sabrina Unrein, who have been working with me, and to Georgia Westbook, who will begin working with us in January.


I am blessed every year to be able to attend several conferences in person.  This year was no different.  Below are those conferences and links to my posts about them. 
  • ALISE 2018 Conference - The next ALISE conference will be in September 2019 in Knoxville, TN.
  • Special Libraries Association Upstate NY Chapter Spring Conference - The next Upstate NY Chapter spring conference will be April 12, 2019 in Syracuse, NY.
  • Joint Conference of Librarians of Color Conference - The next JCLC will be in 2022.
  • New York Library Association Annual Conference  - The next NYLA conference will be  November 7-10, 2019 in Saratoga Springs, NY.  At the 2018 conference, I was honored to have been selected as the 2018 NYLA Dewey Fellow representing the Leadership and Management Section (LAMS). Thank you, LAMS, for your recognition of the work I have done in and for the library community.
If you have followed my conference attendance over the years, you'll know that which conferences I attend has shifted.  I think that shift is natural for many professionals as our information needs change and we need to connect with different communities.  I'm sure there might be some changes in 2019.

Getting Things Done

For several years, I have had a paper-based work journal and a paper to-do list, which I carry everywhere.  The work journal contained notes from meetings. The to-do list contained a super long list of work-related items to get done, along with important personal items.  I have roughly followed the David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, since obtaining the audiobook in 2010 (blog post).  Over the years, I've listened to many of the GTD podcasts and tried to implement key parts of the process with moderate success.

At JCLC, I went to a standing room only session on using bullet journals (blog post), because I'm interested in anything that could make my to-do list better.  The bullet journal combines my to-do list with the journal, and make both more usable.  Here are the things I like about the bullet journal:
  • It focuses on creating a daily to-do list, which draws items from a separate to-do list for the month.  This means that I am focused on what I need to get done today and what I can get done today.  If I don't get something done, it is easy to migrate it to the next day, if necessary.
  • There is a place to put to-do's that are in the future. GTD would refer to these as the "someday maybe" list.  However, these future to-do's are placed in specific months. So I can easily capture, for example, something that is a to-do in April.
  • As part of the bullet journal, you create an index, which is built as you use the journal.  This is so simple, yet it is something I hadn't thought of!
  • The journal becomes a place to collect thoughts on specific ideas or projects, and you can do that in a more organized manner.  One suggestion I saw was to start compiling notes on a project at the end of the journal and work forward.  So I'm doing that with my notes for the iSchool Public Libraries Initiative.  All of my notes are in one spot at the back of my bullet journal.
  • I feel more organized, because I am more organized.
  • By creating daily to-do lists and capturing information on what I've done in a specific day, it is apparent how much I cannot fit into one day.  This was important to re-learn.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of videos on the bullet journal method. Some people treat their bullet journals like an art projects and those videos are "nice", but I really like people who are less interested in making their bullet journals pretty and more interested in making them functional.  A great place to start learning about them is the web site by bullet journal creator, Ryder Carroll.

Since I began my bullet journal in October, I am not starting a new journal for 2019.  However, later today I will review my to-do list and create my to-do list for January 2019, and do some other setup tasks so that I'm ready for January 2.  That setup will likely take me 30 minutes and in some ways will be similar to the GTD weekly review.

Reclaiming My Time

In 2017, U.S. Congressional Representative Maxine Waters uttered the words "reclaiming my time" during a Congressional hearing.  Those words sparked social media posts and Internet memes.  As I think about 2019, those words capture something I need to do; I need to make sure I'm using my time wisely.  I need to reclaim time that isn't focused on my goals or top to-do's, and I need to ensure that I have time to relax.  With the Internet, 24-hour news cycles, the ability to work (or take classes) at any time, our lives are as if we are all living in New York City - the city that never sleeps.  In other words, it is easy to do-do-do, yet we know that taking breaks from "the noisy confusion of life" is necessary.

What will this reclaimed time look like?  My hope is that work will shift into more normal work hours and time for non-work activities will be when other people are available!  (As an academic and consultant, I can tell you that work time can become all the time, and that isn't healthy.)  Wish me luck!

Over 14 Years

This blog is over 14 years old with 2,841 posts in total. While I don't blog as incessantly as I did in 2005 (528 posts), I'm please that I added 93 blog posts this year.  Blogging here is one constant in my life and something I hope to have more time for in 2019.  I want to do more posts again were I'm doing original writing, and not just reporting on what others are doing.

Okay, that's my 2018 wrap-up.  How was your year?

FTC Disclaimer: Digitization 101 is an Amazon affiliate and receives a small commission if you purchase a product or service from an Digitization 101 Amazon link. (Trust me, I'm not getting rich off of Amazon.)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Podcast: The Year’s Best from CCC’s Velocity of Content Blog

Beyond the Book logo
Beyond the Book did a 10-minute episode on what happened this past year in copyright through the "eyes" of the Velocity of Content blog.  One the year-in-review podcast are Jill Shuman, Chuck Hemenway, and Chris Kenneally, all from the Copyright Clearance Center. For me, this was a great was to remember what all had occurred in 2018 with copyright, and hear if I had missed anything.

Library Copyright Policies

3D Broken Copyright from ccPixs.comThere is the saying that "fences make good neighbors."  Well, I think policies make good work (or learning) environments.  Like fences, policies help you understand what is acceptable.  They act as landmarks, showing what is "in bounds" and what is not.  Like a fence, a policy can be made flexible in the moment (I'm thinking of wire fences that I've bent in the past, so I could climb over).  Also like a fence, a policy can be changed (like a wire fence becoming a stockade fence).

Libraries write and enforce many policies and some libraries have policies regarding copyright. Sadly, there are libraries which do not have any sort of copyright policy in place.  While a library might think that it isn't necessary, having a policy that defines responsibilities of the library and its users can create a useful "fence" which can inform everyone's actions.  This might be especially helpful for library staff, who may not be copyright experts, but who do need to use the law responsibly.

In my graduate class entitled Copyright for Information Professionals, I had students construct a copyright policy for the library of their choice. I have them consider several sections, knowing that this policy is likely longer than one they might construct for an actual library.  However, I want them to consider - and demonstrate proficiency - in several areas.  The elements of the policy are (in brief):
  • Name and location of the library
  • Mission of the library
  • Purpose of the policy
  • A list or overview of the relevant sections of copyright law, which affect this library 
  • General  copyright rules which the library follows
  • Specific rules or guidelines used by staff  in their work for the library or for patrons
  • Advice – for users and staff – on seeking / copyright clearance
  • A disclaimer
  • Who to contact about copyright matters
  • An FAQ (frequently asked questions) 
I can imagine you are looking at that list and yelling, "you don't need all of that!"  As I said, this is an assignment and what you would do in an actual library would undoubtedly be different.  However, as you look at that list, the important questions for you to ask are:
  • Does my library have a copyright policy?
  • Does it provide information that creates the guidance which staff and users need?
  • Does the policy reflect good copyright practices?
  • Is the policy being followed?
Perhaps your library has some work to do.


Friday, December 21, 2018

The Public Domain is About to Get Bigger on January 1

1923 photo of three young women
1923 photo of three young women
1923.  That is the year we all have memorized about which items are in the public domain and which are not.  However,  that date is no longer the dividing line.  The Smithsonian Institute proudly proclaims:
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, all works first published in the United States in 1923 will enter the public domain. It has been 21 years since the last mass expiration of copyright in the U.S.
The article later says:
We have never seen such a mass entry into the public domain in the digital age. The last one—in 1998, when 1922 slipped its copyright bond—predated Google. 
 Cornell has already updated its Copyright Term and the Public Domain chart.

Is everything created in and before now part of the public domain?  No.  If you look at the Cornell chart, you will see that there are still some materials under copyright protection. Those will eventually enter the public domain, but not right now.

Every year from now on, more works will enter the public domain.  Imagine when those works from 1929 enter the public domain, and being able to read more about the impact of the stock market crash.  Imagine the 20th century history that we will have available. It has been said that the 20th century is missing from the Internet.  Having these works enter the public domain will make the 20th century more relevant.  Perhaps with more history available, we will stop repeating our mistakes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

iSchool Public Libraries Initiative (IPLI)

Sometimes one forgets to share good news. As the saying goes, better late than never!  This announcement was originally posted on the SU iSchool web site on Nov. 9, 2018.

A new School of Information Studies (iSchool) initiative is serving as a discovery zone for public library innovation, a hub for student inquiry on librarianship topics, and a means to circulate new ideas and research findings to public library professionals.

The newly established “iSchool Public Libraries Initiative,” (IPLI) led by Associate Professor of Practice Jill Hurst-Wahl as director, has several key purposes. She says it creates an intellectual home for iSchool faculty and students who want to research public library topics and apply the knowledge they discover. Secondly, the initiative offers iSchool master’s-degree Library Information Science (MSLIS) students and others a faculty-supported research hub focused on topics in their field. In a third vein, students and faculty are helping public libraries build added capacity for innovation by sharing the information research projects uncover.
Jill Hurst-Wahl

Ideas Are Welcome

At a time when public libraries face mounting operational and community-support challenges, ideas on how to innovate new offerings are most welcome, according to Hurst-Wahl. “Public library staff often lack time and resources, and consequently they may make decisions with a limited amount of information. Many times, especially with smaller libraries, they don’t have the luxury of sitting around and doing deep thinking about what they can offer. I felt that a group of researchers could provide better information and distribute it so that it is available to libraries, providing information about projects and programs that are in use and that are successful.”
The initiative’s goals include:
  • Researching the state of public libraries and their communities, with a focus on information needed by decision-makers and advocates
  • Compiling and disseminating information about how libraries are innovating, helping them build their capacity to do so
  • Applying iSchool research (such as issues about information privacy and the use of technology in marginalized communities) to the public library setting
  • Developing white papers, trade and scholarly articles, webinars, and presentations on innovation for the public library community’s use
  • Offering classes and professional development programming for library staff, administration and trustees on various topics, including collecting and using data to support public library activities.


Student Projects Underway

Two iSchool MSLIS students are each working 20 hours a week there as research assistants through Wilhelm Library Leadership Award scholar funds, and they have several projects underway.

Heather Elia’s main focus is a national survey of innovative public library programs, especially those that don’t involve books and that are conducted outside of the library building. She’s scouring news articles, library newsletters, academic journals, conference agendas and other sources to source ideas that have been tried, tested and importantly, documented so that others can reproduce them.

Elia and first-year MSLIS student Sabrina Unrein also are working with EveryLibrary Institute, the non-profit research arm of the EveryLibrary, a national organization dedicated to building voter support for libraries. They have obtained information from state libraries and library associations across the United States about the array of legal (governance) structures public libraries use, and are producing a catalog of those models. That information will be used to help libraries understand which legal structures have more stable funding and better funding increases over time.

A third effort, now in the literature-review phase, looks at the creative ways libraries are supporting the health and wellness needs of their communities, from providing information to hiring nurses and social workers on the library staff. Unrein, who has experience as a web developer, also is designing content and a web presence for the initiative and looking at ways to distribute project findings.

The IPLI also has several other projects under consideration and is in discussion with potential collaborators.

Student-Led Agenda

Hurst-Wahl says the Initiative is designed to let students lead the research agenda. “I’m really empowering them to look at this as ‘our’ research and not just ‘my’ research, permitting them to tackle the subjects that are of interest to them, then having them figure out the ways they want to push out what they’re learning.”

Both Elia and Unrein are happy to be involved in the startup effort of the governance model project. “I would have expected something like this would have already existed, so it’s filling a big gap in resources,” Unrein reflects. “Anything to make public libraries better is a good thing. I’m looking forward to seeing what shape it takes because it’s so new, and it can go anywhere and that’s exciting.”

Elia says the initiative is widening her professional scope at a good time, just before she begins work in the library field. “I want to go into public librarianship. I think it’s important that there’s a way for public libraries to share with each other and I’m hoping that’s what this will be. Most people may only have opportunity to get to know one public library. With this initiative, we get to know a lot of different things about a lot of different libraries, and that’s only going to make the experience richer and give me a broader perspective.”

Monday, December 17, 2018

Joining the EveryLibrary Institute Board of Directors in 2019

EveryLibrary Institute logo
In November, the EveryLibrary Institute NFP - the non-profit research companion to EveryLibrary - announced its new Board of Directors, who will take office in January.  I'm pleased to be among an interesting and active group of library supporters, who are joining the board.  Who is the EveryLibrary Institute (ELI)?
The EveryLibrary Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to systematically address the slide in public opinion and support for library funding among the American electorate by partnering with foundations, philanthropic organizations, associations, non-profits, and academic institutions to enhance public perception of libraries and librarianship through research-driven direct engagement with American society.
As a board member, what will I be doing? Well...
The board is charged with supporting and extending the EveryLibrary Institute’s core mission to understand and improve public and voter perception of libraries and librarians. Their role will include setting strategic priorities for the Institute’s research, publishing, training and programmatic agendas, along with building partnerships inside and outside of libraries for success.
I have already been collaborating with EveryLibrary Institute on gathering and analyzing public library data. I look forward, in my role on the board, in helping ELI collaborate with other researchers on data that will help public libraries understand the public's perception of them.

Thanks to John Chrastka, for inviting me to join the board. He has already hosted board orientation events and our first board meeting is scheduled for late January.  Clearly he will put us to work fast!

Friday, December 14, 2018

States' Rights and Copyright

Bill of Rights
In the United States, December 15 is Bill of Rights Day.  The Amendment X states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This is referred to as states' rights. States' rights have been in the news this year, and likely every year, for those rights which the States control related to individuals in each state (e.g., healthcare).  Besides the rights which are reserved for the States, it is important to recognize which rights the U.S. government delegated to itself through the Constitution.  One of the rights under the federal government controls is:
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries
Yes, copyright!  I am wrapping up my graduate copyright class and am thankful that I only needed to teach one law (federal) and not 50 different state laws.  At the federal level, copyright is simple, complex, freeing, constricting, and fun.  This year, there were important changes in copyright law, including the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act and the Music Modernization Act. I'm glad that these changes apply across the U.S. equally because of Amendment X.