Today Macmillan announces that its frontlist ebooks will be available through its public library e-lending program. ALA President Courtney Young released a statement welcoming this important development for improving the ability of libraries to connect authors and readers in our communities.
Yesterday the San Mateo, CA office of OCLC Research hosted the first Code4Lib NorCal regional meetup and mini-conference. About 35 people attended from Stanford, UC Berkeley, CSU Chancellor’s Office, UCSF, CSU San Luis Obispo, CSU Fresno, Sonoma State, San Jose State, and other colleges (no public libraries unfortunately).
Code4Lib NorCal joins the growing ranks of regional groups that have formed under the Code4Lib banner to provide programming around the year. Besides the US, there are now regional groups in Canada, the Netherlands, Hungary, Japan, and Australia.
We had four 20-minute talks, two lightning talks, two breakout sessions, and a discussion of what we all wanted for this regional group. OCLC provided a continental breakfast and lunch for attendees. It was an honor to support the creation of our local Code4Lib group by providing the venue and meeting support.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, look for future events to be held at various locations in the area.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland College Park are extending the deadline for public libraries to gauge the quality of public access to the internet until August 8. The speed test study is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and is supported by the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the Public Library Association, and the Urban Libraries Council.
The new study will complement findings from the 2013-2014 Digital Inclusion Survey released last week, providing a snapshot of the broadband speed a library patron experiences at the device level (pdf or png). Taken together, the data will help inform the Federal Communications Commission’s current E-rate proceeding, including questions about future funding needs.
This new data collection effort will seek responses from a sample of about 1,000 libraries, while allowing any library to capture the broadband speed data for their advocacy use. No software needs to be downloaded, and libraries will be asked to run the speed test at least twice during open hours.
MRBS is a system for multi-site booking of meeting rooms. Rooms are grouped by building/area and shown in a side-by-side view. Although the goal was initially to book rooms, MRBS can also be used to book any resource; computers, planes, whatever you want
Representative Rush Holt (D, NJ) joined New Jersey State Librarian, Mary Chute and me at the East Brunswick Public Library. We were celebrating the new law which opens up federal funding for libraries’ work to assist the unemployed. We talked about all the things libraries are doing to assist their patrons in looking for a job and getting 21st century employment skills to get a better job. I explained how the newly signed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will give libraries the resources to do more for the public. Library Director Mary Ellen Firestone talked about all the additional classes they could offer in their computer lab with just a little additional funding to hire a trainer full-time.
Representative Holt had been to the East Brunswick library a few years ago to see their job training activities and used the examples of what he saw at East Brunswick in the Education and Workforce Committee meetings when he fought to have libraries included in the bill, which President Obama signed into law July 22.
Looking for an easy way to donate to DPLA? We’re now participating in AmazonSmile, a program run by the web retailer to donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization of its customers’ choosing. By using Amazon Smile you’ll enjoy the same wide selection of products and shopping features as on Amazon.com, but with the added bonus of supporting DPLA for no extra effort or cost. So sign up today and help support DPLA by shopping at smile.amazon.com for all of your Amazon purchases.
Digital Public Library Of America
How to sign up for AmazonSmile and help support DPLA:
Step 1: Click the “get started” button in the banner to your left to sign in/up using your Amazon account information.
Step 2: Select Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) from the list of available charitable organizations.
Step 3: You’re all set! Remember, you’ll need to shop at smile.amazon.comto make sure that you’re supporting DPLA every time you shop.
There are a few ways to make sure that you remember to keep your browser pointed to smile.amazon.com (as opposed to regular old amazon.com):
For those with Amazon.com saved in your bookmarks, replace your current entry with smile.amazon.com; or
Install the AmazonSmile 1Button. This little widget allows you to go directly to AmazonSmile when you shop. After you install the AmazonSmile 1Button, simply click on the icon from your browser to go directly to smile.amazon.com; or
For those using the Chrome browser, install SmileAlways, a small browser extension that will automatically redirect you to the Amazon Smile homepage every time that you visit amazon.
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. The AmazonSmile Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private foundation created by Amazon to administer the AmazonSmile program. All donation amounts generated by the AmazonSmile program are remitted to the AmazonSmile Foundation. In turn, the AmazonSmile Foundation donates those amounts to the charitable organizations selected by our customers. Amazon pays all expenses of the AmazonSmile Foundation; they are not deducted from the donation amounts generated by purchases on AmazonSmile.
XFR STN (“Transfer Station”) is a grass-roots digitization and digital-preservation project that arose as a response from the New York arts community to rescue creative works off of aging or obsolete audiovisual formats and media. The digital files are stored by the Library of Congress’s NDIIPP partner the Internet Archive and accessible for free online. At the recent Digital Preservation 2014 conference, the NDSA gave XFR STN the NDSA Innovation Award. Last month, members of the XFR collective — Rebecca Fraimow, Kristin MacDonough, Andrea Callard and Julia Kim — answered a few questions for the Signal.
“VHS 1″ from XFR Collective.
Mike: Can you describe the challenges the XFR Collective faced in its formation?
XFR: Last summer, the New Museum hosted a groundbreaking exhibit called XFR STN. Initiated by the artist collective Colab and the resulting MWF Video Club, the exhibit was a major success. By the end of the exhibition over 700 videos had been digitized with many available online through the Internet Archive.
It was clear for all of us involved that there was a real demand for these services, that there are many under-served artists who were having difficulty preserving and accessing their own media. Many of the people involved with the exhibit became passionate about continuing the service of preserving obsolete magnetic and digital media for artists. We wanted to offer a long-term, non-commercial, grassroots solution.
Using the experience of working on XFR STN as a jumping-off point, we began developing XFR Collective as a separate nonprofit initiative to serve the need that we saw. Over the course of our development, we’ve definitely faced — and are still facing — a number of challenges in order to make ourselves effective and sustainable.
“VHS 2″ by XFR Collective.
Perhaps the biggest challenge has simply been deciding what form XFR Collective was going to take. We started out with a bunch of borrowed equipment and a lot of enthusiasm, so the one thing we knew we could do was digitize, but we had to sit down and really think about things like organizational structure, sustainable pricing for our services, and the convoluted process of becoming a non-profit.
Eventually, we settled on a membership-based structure in order to be able to keep our costs as low as possible. A lot of how we’re operating is still very experimental — this summer wraps up our six-month test period, during which we limited ourselves to working with only a small number of partners to allow us to figure out what our capacity was and how we could design our projects in the future.
We’ve got a number of challenges still ahead of us — finding a permanent home is a big one — and we still feel like we’re only just getting started, in terms of what we can do for the community of artists who use our services. It’s going to be interesting for all of us to see how we develop. We’ve started thinking of ourselves as kind of a grassroots preservation test kitchen. We’ll try almost any kind of project once to see if it works!
Mike: Where are the digital files stored? Who maintains them?
XFR: Our digital files will be stored with the membership organizations and uploaded to the Internet Archive for access and for long-term open-source preservation. This is an important distinction that may confuse some people: XFR Collective is not an archive.
While we advocate and educate about best practices, we will not hold any of the digital files ourselves; we just don’t have the resources to maintain long-term archival storage. We encourage material to go onto the Internet Archive because long-term accessibility is part of our mission and because the Internet Archive has the server space to store uncompressed and lossless files as well as access files. That way if something happens to the storage that our partners are using for their own files, they can always re-download them. But we can’t take responsibility for those files ourselves. We’re a service point, not a storage repository.
“VHS 3″ by XFR Collective
Mike: Regarding public access as a means of long-term preservation and sustainability, how do you address copyrighted works?
XFR: This is a great question that confounds a lot of our collaborators initially. Access-as-preservation creates a lot of intellectual property concerns. Still, we’re a very small organization, so we can afford to take more risks than a more high-profile institution. We don’t delve too deeply into the area of copyright; our concern is with the survival of the material. If someone has a complaint, the Internet Archive will give us a warning in time to re-download the content and then remove it. But so far we haven’t had any complaints.
Mike: What open access tools and resources do you use?
XFR: The Internet Archive itself is something of an open access resource and we’re seeing it used more and more frequently as a kind of accessory to preservation, which is fantastic. Obviously it’s not the only solution, and you wouldn’t want to rely on that alone any more than you would any kind of cloud storage, but it’s great to have a non-commercial option for streaming and storage that has its own archival mission and that’s open to literally anyone and anything.
Mike: If anyone is considering a potential collaboration to digitally preserve audiovisual artwork, what can they learn from the experiences of the XFR Collective?
XFR: Don’t be afraid to experiment! A lot of what we’ve accomplished is just by saying to ourselves that we have to start doing something, and then jumping in and doing it. We’ve had to be very flexible. A lot of the time we’ll decide something as a set proposition and then find ourselves changing it as soon as we’ve actually talked with our partners and understood their needs. We’re evolving all the time but that’s part of what makes the work we do so exciting.
We’ve also had a lot of help and we couldn’t have done any of what we’ve accomplished without support and advice from a wide network of individuals, ranging from the amazing team at XFR STN to video archivists across New York City. None of these collaborations happen in a vacuum, so make friendships, make partnerships, and don’t be nervous about asking for advice. There are a lot of people out there who care about video preservation and would love to see more initiatives out there working to make it happen.
Winchester, MA The July issue of the SHARE Update highlights efforts to deepen engagement with international groups focused on widening access to research, provides technical development details, and news about what to expect after the SHARE notification service is completed. The second SHARE layer will consist of a SHARE Registry that will process raw notification service data into related bundles that could include, for example, a preprint, a published article, and a data set.
The Summer of Archives is back with more archival finds from DPLA. This week we’re featuring short animated GIFs that seem to seamlessly loop forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever. All of the moving images used for this post are courtesy the National Archives and Records Administration, via DPLA. To view this week’s post on Imgur, click here.
An important dimension of the smaller web archiving story is that the blog post didn’t make it into the Wayback Machine by the serendipity of Internet Archive’s web-wide crawlers; an unknown but apparently well-informed individual identified it as important and explicitly designated it for archiving.
Internet Archive crawls the Web every few months, tends to seed those crawls from online directories or compiled lists of top websites that favor popular content, archives more broadly across websites than it does deeply on any given website, and embargoes archived content from public access for at least six months. These parameters make the Internet Archive Wayback Machine an incredible resource for the broadest possible swath of web history in one place, but they don’t dispose it toward ensuring the archiving and immediate re-presentation of a blog post with a three-hour lifespan on a blog that was largely unknown until recently.
Considering the six-month access embargo, it’s safe to say that the provenance of everything that has so far been archived and re-presented in the Wayback Machine relating to the five-month-old Ukraine conflict is either the Archive-It collaborative Ukraine Conflict collection or the Wayback Machine Save Page Now function. In other words, all of the content preserved and made accessible to date, including the key blog post, reflects deliberate curatorial decisions on the part of individuals and institutions.
A curator at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives with a specific concern for the VKontakte Strelkov blog actually added it to the Archive-It collection with a twice-daily capture frequency at the beginning of July. Though the key blog post was ultimately recorded through the Save Page Now feature, what’s clear is that subject area experts play a vital role in focusing web archiving efforts and, in this case, facilitated the preservation of a vital document that would not otherwise have been archived.
At the same time, selective web archiving is limited in scope and can never fully anticipate what resources the future will have wanted us to save, underscoring the value of large-scale archiving across the Web. It’s a tragic incident but an instructive example of how selective web archiving complements broader web archiving efforts.
Thank you for joining us in Berlin and helping to shape OKFestival and the future of the open knowledge movement!
We hope that the event provided you with the opportunity to learn, to share and to connect with open knowledge advocates from around the world. While we were excited and inspired by the collaborations and activities we saw springing up over the course of the week, we know that we can always do better and we want to hear from you about what we did well and what you would change. Furthermore, we’d like to encourage all the festival participants to keep sharing – ideas, blogposts, photos, videos, anything which can make the work done last week together resonate with everyone who was there but also everyone who couldn’t join us in person but can still fuel the upcoming projects online!
So, in the spirit of Open Minds to Open Action – let’s call for action!
i) Tell us how it was for you! Firstly, we’d like to ask for your feedback about the event to help us with planning for the future. We’d really appreciate your answers to this survey, which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete: okfestival.org/feedback
ii) Content from the festival Next, we’d like to remind you of all the great content created at – and around – the Festival, and to encourage you to check it out and contribute to it.
Every session had an etherpad, which is an online tool for note-taking. You can find them listed on the Sched page for the corresponding session or you may want to browse the “pad of pads” where they’re all listed.
We saw lots of great photos being tweeted from the event and would love to collect as many as possible in the festival Flickr pool so that everyone can find them. So whether you snapped people enjoying ice cream or artists creating graffiti, please do add your images to the group here.
Articles & blog posts
Again, we’ve seen lots of tweets sharing blog posts about the festival – if you’ve written one or seen one you liked, please add it to this document so we can gather them all in one place and put the links up as a record on the festival website.
Finally, if you’d like to relive some of the festival, you might want to check out our short video celebrating the event. Enjoy!
Thanks once again for your energy, contributions and enthusiasm in making Open Knowledge Festival 2014 our best event yet.
CRL just released the Certification Report on the CLOCKSS Archive. I'm happy to report that our work was rewarded with an overall score that equals the previous best, and the first ever perfect score in the "Technologies, Technical Infrastructure, Security" category. We are grateful for this wonderful endorsement of the LOCKSS technology.
In the interests of transparency the LOCKSS team have released all the non-confidential documentation submitted during the audit process. As you will see, there is a lot of it. What you see at the link is not exactly what we submitted. It has been edited to correct errors and obscurities we found during the audit, and to add material from the confidential part of the submission that we decided was not really confidential. These documents will continue to be edited as the underlying reality changes, to keep them up-to-date and satisfy one of the on-going requirements of the certification.
This is just a news item. In the near future I will follow up with posts describing the process of being audited, what we did to make the process work, and the lessons we learned that may be useful for future audits.
The book is a practical guide to assessing and improving all sorts of touchpoints in your library, and also covers foundational UX theory. Each chapter deals with a different part of the library and provides a list of checkpoints that you can use to assess how your library is doing. Each checkpoint states why we think is important, and tells you how to improve your score (should that be necessary). Yes, there’s even a scoring system.
As the subtitle says, this is about applying user experience design to your library. Think of it is as a big heuristic evaluation for the whole library, with supporting information about why UX matters, some practical user research methods, and helpful tips on design thinking. Check out the table of contents below to see what’s covered.
What’s more, I’ve been told that the book is “genuinely entertaining.” Not bad, right? Big thanks to Amanda for making the writing process fun, and for making the book really great!
1. Introducing Library User Experience
1.1 What Is User Experience Design?
1.2 Why UX for Libraries?
1.3 The Trinity of Good UX
1.4 The Principles of Library User Experience Design
1.5 How to Use This Book
1.6 A Note on Terminology
2. User Research Techniques in This Book
2.1 Attitudinal and Behavioral Research
2.2 Other User Research Techniques
2.3 Additional Reading
3. Physical Space
3.1 The Library Building Is Clean and Functions as Intended
3.2 The Library Building Is Free from Clutter
3.3 Furniture Adequately Supports Member Needs
3.4 The Building Supports Diverse Behaviors
3.5 Members Have Easy Access to Power Outlets
4. Service Points
4.1 Members Readily Approach Service Desks
4.2 Service Desks Adjust to Changing Needs
4.3 Members Receive Assistance When and Where They Need It
4.4 Members Receive the Kind of Assistance They Need
4.5 Additional Reading
5. Policies and Customer Service
5.1 Your Library Has a Service Philosophy
5.2 Your Staff Members Know and Live Your Service Philosophy
5.3 There Is as Little Policy as Possible
5.4 Library Policies Empower Staff
5.5 Staff Members Are Friendly and Genuinely Want to Help
5.6 Service Is Consistent across Departments and Modalities
5.7 Service Is Consistent across the Organization
6. Signage and Wayfinding
6.1 Your Library Has a Brand Manual That Is Consistent with the Principles of Graphic Design
6.2 All Signage Uses the Same Visual Language
6.3 Different Types of Signs Are Visually Distinct
6.4 There Are as Few Signs as Possible
6.5 There Are No Paper Signs Taped to Walls, Doors, Tables, Computers, or Any Other Surfaces
6.6 Regulatory Signs Are Written in a Plain, Polite, and Friendly Manner
6.7 Library Cards Contain Useful Information and Employ the Library’s Visual Language
6.8 First-Time Visitors Can Easily Locate All Parts of the Library
6.9 Additional Reading
7. Online Presence
7.1 Members Can Easily Search for Library Items and Place Holds
7.2 Members Can Easily Accomplish Critical Tasks
7.3 The Size of Your Website Is Commensurate with the Amount of Effort You Can Devote to It
7.4 Web Content Is Engaging
7.5 Content Is Written for the Web
7.6 Website Employs Web Design Conventions
7.7 Home Page Clearly Expresses What People Can Do on Your Site
7.8 Website Is Easy to Use on All Devices
7.9 Website Employs the Library’s Visual Language
7.10 You Use Social Media in Meaningful Ways
7.11 Additional Reading
8. Using the Library
8.1 The Technology in Your Library Is Relevant, Useful, and Usable
8.2 Collections Are Relevant to Member Needs
8.3 Marketing Materials Are Relevant to Member Needs
8.4 You Merchandize Your Materials
8.5 Library Services and Programs Solve Problems
8.6 Additional Reading
9. Wrapping Up: Philosophy, Process, and Culture
9.1 Whole Library Thinking
9.2 The Design Process
9.3 Your Organizational Culture
9.4 Parting Words
Winchester, MA The Fedora community is gauging interest in hosting a full-day Fedora User Group meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany on September 19, 2014, immediately following the PASIG conference (September 16-18). All Fedora users, including anyone thinking about adopting Fedora, are encouraged to plan on attending. The meeting will be held at FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure, and registration will be free.
I’ve been enjoying my Fuji Instax 210, but I’m preparing for an upcoming trip and just remembered the challenge of flying with real film.
The Flickr Fuji Instax Room has a couple discussions on the topic, but the answers are inconclusive and unsupported by references. Some people shared personal experiences suggesting there was nothing to worry about:
Studioesper: “never had any problems. I use to work by airports and go thru carry on xray just about everyday with a instax wide.”
BagOfArms: “I have traveled with Instax in my carry-on luggage, and it was not damaged by the security checkpoint x-ray machines.”
Others, however, are more cautious:
Sam Labone: “get your baggage hand checked as the Instax film is rated at 800 ISO which I think is fast enough to be damaged by x-rays.”
abdukted1456: “never put ANY film of ANY speed in the checked luggage, that will most likely be ruined by the much much more powerful x-ray machine they use.”
I needed better answers than those, however. Thankfully, Kodak’s website is rich with information. First up, do airport x-ray scanners damage film? Yes:
X-ray equipment used to inspect carry-on baggage uses a very low level of x-radiation that will not cause noticeable damage to most films. However, baggage that is checked (loaded on the planes as cargo) often goes through equipment with higher energy X rays.
What does this damage look like? X-rays “fog” the film. Kodak’s examples of 400 speed film scanned in checked baggage scanner show significant image loss
ASA400 film untouched by x-rays left, and after one pass through a baggage scanner right
Carry-on baggage inspection conveyors using low intensity x-rays, used at security checkpoints in US airports, usually do not affect film. However, these machines may now be supplemented in some cases by high intensity machines that will fog all unprocessed film. Travelers should be wary of all scanners at foreign airports.
Okay, so US carry-on scanners 0f 2003 “usually do not affect film,” but may have since been replaced with higher intensity devices, and foreign scanners should leave travelers shaking in fear. What about those film bags?
The once popular lead-lined carry bags aren’t practical today because if an inspector can’t see through the bag, he will increase the intensity of the x-ray until he can. Therefore, film may receive more harmful radiation than it would otherwise if it were normally inspected.
I use this summer vacation to finally learn the art of vectorizing images using Adobe Illustrator. Filed under: Doodles Tagged: adobe, bee, bird, bunny, caravan, cat, deer, elephant, heart, icons, Illustrator, lemon, logo, pig, vectorize, whale
Faculty of Agriculture, Sebelas Maret University (Journal System)
Instituto Federal de Educacao, Ciencia e Tecnologia do Rio Grande do Norte (IFRN)
Japanese Association of Health Psychology
Medical Communications Sp. z.o.o.
Research Group on Disalination and industrial Outfall
Sel'skokhozyaistvennaya Biologiya Editorial Office (SBEO)
Universidad De Costa Rica
University of Rzeszow
Japanese Association of Health Psychology
International Journal of Physiotherapy
Last update July17, 2014
Croatian Dairy Journal
Encuentros/Encounters/Rencontres on Education
Instituto Educacional Piracicabano da Igreja Metodista
Instituto Metodista de Ensino Superior
Instituto Metodista de Servicos Educacionais
Instituto Metodista Izabela Hendrix
Instituto Porto Alegre da Igreja Metodista
Journal of Exercise Therapy and Rehabilitation
Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies (JAFES)
PNRPU Publishing Office
Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
Research and Development Centre for Marine and Fisheries Product Processing and Biotechnology
University and Research Librarians' Association
Wyzsza Szkota Spoleczno-Przyrodnicza im Wincentego Pola W Lublinie (Vincent Pol University)
Aleksandras Stulginskis University
Institute of Liquid Atomization and Spray Systems - Korea
Instituto Educacional Piracicabano da Igreja Metodista
Instituto Metodista de Ensino Superior
Instituto Metodista de Servicos Educacionais
Instituto Metodista Izabela Hendrix
Instituto Porto Alegre da Igreja Metodista
Japanese Political Science Review
Korean Academy of Esthetic Dentistry
Korean Academy of Traditional Oncology
Korean Society of Medical History
Max Weber Studies
Revista Cientifica de Producao Animal
Revista de Ensino de Engenharia
Society of Allied Health Services
Society of Conservatoire at Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Geneve
The Korean Society for Marine Biotechnology
The Korean Society of Earth Science Education
The Korean Society of School Health
The Society for Chromatographic Sciences
Todas as Letras: Revista de Lingua e Literatura
The Korean Society for Biomedical Laboratory Sciences
Vellalar College for Women
Indian Association of Health, Research, and Welfare (IAHRW)
International Society or University Colon and Rectal Surgeons
The Korean Association of Political Science and Communication
Total no. participating publishers & societies 6001
Total no. voting members 2433
% of non-profit publishers 57%
Total no. participating libraries 1885
No. journals covered 35,406
No. DOIs registered to date 68,416,081
No. DOIs deposited in previous month 552,871
No. DOIs retrieved (matched references) in previous month 34,385,296
DOI resolutions (end-user clicks) in previous month 98,365,532
In my talk What Could Possibly Go Wrong last April I referred to a paper on the 2012 Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that missed Earth by only nine days:
Most of the information needed to recover from such an event exists only in digital form on magnetic media. These days, most of it probably exists only in "the cloud", which is this happy place immune from the electromagnetic effects of coronal mass ejections and very easy to access after the power grid goes down.
Analysts believe that a direct hit by an extreme CME such as the one that missed Earth in July 2012 could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket. Most people wouldn't even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps.
An extreme CME called the "Carrington Event" actually did hit the Earth in September 1859:
Intense geomagnetic storms ignited Northern Lights as far south as Cuba and caused global telegraph lines to spark, setting fire to some telegraph offices and thus disabling the "Victorian Internet."
A similar storm today could have a catastrophic effect. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina.
Not to worry, because:
In February 2014, physicist Pete Riley of Predictive Science Inc. published a paper in Space Weather entitled "On the probability of occurrence of extreme space weather events." In it, he analyzed records of solar storms going back 50+ years. By extrapolating the frequency of ordinary storms to the extreme, he calculated the odds that a Carrington-class storm would hit Earth in the next ten years.
The LITA Education Committee is now accepting innovative and creative proposals for workshops to be presented at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago in January. We’re looking for interactive full day workshops on technology in libraries–use of, new ideas for, and trends.
*When/Where is the Conference?*
2015 ALA Midwinter Conference; January 30-February 3, 2015, Chicago, IL
Workshops will be presented on Friday, January 30.
*What kind of topics are we looking for? *
We’re looking for workshops that offer a deeper dive into subjects and provide hands on experience with technology currently being used and emerging in libraries.
Workshops and Preconferences offered recently included:
Strategic Social Media: Creating Library Community Online
Level Up Web: Modern Web Development and Management Practices for Libraries
Managing Data: Tools for Plans and Data Scrubbing
Practical Linked Data with Open Source
*When are proposals due? *
August 4, 2014
*How I do submit a proposal? * Fill out this form
Program descriptions should be 75 words or less.
*When will I have an answer? *
The committee will be reviewing proposals after August 4, final decisions will be made before September.
*Do I have to be a member of ALA/LITA/an IG/a committee?*
No! We welcome proposals from anyone who feels they have something to offer regarding library technology. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide financial support for speakers. If you are submitting a proposal on behalf of an IG, please let us know!
*Got another question?*
Please feel free to email Abigail Goben, LITA Education Chair, at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find me on twitter @hedgielib and the committee will figure it out.
And here’s part of the lightning talks from the library camp ed tech edition. Software Tutorials with Animated GIFs Alison Trumble @atrumbled Documentation there were many outdated video tutorials big drawback is that it’s very hard to skip with long intro that is irrelevant best to do something 30-60 seconds break into really short chunks […]
Was great to be able to make it to library camp this time around with the education technology edition hosted at UBC. Live Note Taking Waterbear: Programming for the Fun of It Dethe Elza @dethe a tool that can change your lives being able to program without knowing how to program waterbear! most robust creature […]
Between five incredible keynotes, 70+ participatory sessions, an unFestival and countless fringe events, not to mention informal strategizing in the courtyards of the Kulturbrauerei, I am sure that we are all still taking some time to process all the information. Last week, our incredible volunteers put together a Day 1 roundup, highlighting all the exciting conversations that were taking place! Here is just a taste of what happened on Day 2!
We kicked off Day Two with a keynote from Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner responsible for the digital rights agenda, who called on the open movement to put the pressure on national governments to open up data in order to help create jobs and stimulate growth. She highlighted the need to change the mindset of public administrations, to show them that there is a better way, an open way. After a standing ovation from the audience, Eric Hysen had a tough act to follow and was up for the challenge! He joined us on the OKFestival stage to highlight that open data is not enough and if we truly want to create more innovative societies, we *have* to build the necessary infrastructure. If you missed it, you can read it here.
If you missed the Thursday morning keynotes, you can watch them here:
Finally, because we were, after all, at a Festival, we ended with a live performance from Juliani, Valsero and The Swag. Thank you Artists Without a Cause!
Stay tuned, OKFestival official photos and videos are coming soon! In the mean time, if you want to help us tell the OKFestival story, please add your blogs to our list & your photos to our flickr pool. Thanks for joining us in Berlin last week, it wouldn’t have been the same without each and everyone of you!
The suite of programs retrieves bibliographic data and Open Library pages for a set of identified books, organizes these for selection based on quality, and makes appropriate changes to the MARC records based on the library's requirements. In addition, statistics about book downloads are obtained via simple integration with the bit.ly URL shortening service.
This project was supported by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) granted to Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) from the California State Library to fund the exploration of the effect of including public domain e-books in the library's catalog for discovery by users, and to observe whether e-book use would increase for the selected books. The project was conducted between July 2013 and June 2014.
Hydra Connect (hashtag #HydraConnect) is a chance for Hydra Project participants to gather in one place at one time, with an emphasis on synchronizing efforts, technical development, plans, and community links. As the community expands, it is becoming clear that not every Partner will make every meeting, but there is value in ensuring cross-connections across the community, and we'd be well served to have at least one meeting where everyone shows up.
The Great Reading Adventure is a web-based, open source software program designed to manage summer reading programs. The software is currently available for download. It is completely free to use. It is being developed (and piloted in summer 2014) by the Maricopa County Library District with support by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.
My colleague Leslie Meltzer Henry and I have sent letters asking three institutions—the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the federal Office for Human Research Protections, and the Federal Trade Commission—to investigate the Facebook emotional manipulation study. We wrote three letters, rather than one, because responsibility for the study was diffused across PNAS, Cornell, and Facebook, and it is important that each of them be held accountable for its role in the research. The letters overlap, but each has a different focus.
Our letter to PNAS deals with the journal’s commitment to publish articles on human subjects research only when participants gave informed consent and an IRB reviewed the substance of the research. We explain why emotional manipulation study met neither of those conditions, and why the only appropriate response by PNAS is to retract the article.
Our letter to OHRP deals with the Cornell IRB’s flawed reasoning in treating the emotional manipulation study as research conducted independently by Facebook. We unpack the conflicting statements given to justify the study, and show that none of them stands up to close scrutiny.
Our letter to the FTC deals with the heightened concerns that arise when consumers are subject to active manipulation and not just passive surveillance. We explain why conducting psychological experiments on consumers without informed consent or oversight can be a deceptive and unfair trade practice.
Our letters deal with cleaning up the mistakes of the past. But they also look to the future. The Facebook emotional manipulation study offers an opportunity to put corporate human subjects research on a firmer ethical footing, one in which individuals given meaningful informed consent and in which there is meaningful oversight. We invite PNAS, OHRP, and the FTC to take leading roles in establishing appropriate ethical rules for research in an age of big data and constant experiments.
UPDATE, July 17, 2014, 1:30 PM: I am reliably informed that Cornell has “unchecked the box”; its most recent Federalwide Work Agreement now commits to apply the Common Rule only to federally funded research, not to all research undertaken at Cornell. (I made the mistake of relying on the version of its FWA that the Cornell IRB posted on its own website; I regret the error.) This affects the issue of the OHRP’s jurisdiction, but not the soundness of the Cornell IRB’s reasoning, which rested on the activities of Cornell affiliates rather than on the source of funding.
UPDATE, July 24, 2014, 2:00 PM: The letter to the FTC overstates the effects of the Bakshy et al. link-removal study when it describes the study as making some links “effectively unshareable.” Links were removed from News Feeds on a per-user basis, so removed links were still seen by other users.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am an eighth grade Language Arts teacher working at the DPLA this summer, researching ways the DPLA is useful for instructors and students alike. My exploration of Japanese Internment revealed how the DPLA’s wealth of primary sources can help engage students and promote deeper understanding. In this post, I will examine resources related to a different period of American history – Slavery in the U.S. These texts and images may be useful to Social Studies classes focusing on the antebellum period, or to Language Arts classes reading slavery-related texts (e.g. Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, etc.) For purposes of clarity, I’ve organized my discussion into four sections: the experiences and perspectives of slaves themselves; fugitive slaves; abolitionism; and government response.
The Slave Experience
Introduction of negro slavery into Virginia. Courtesy The New York Public Library.
Getting students to empathize with victims of slavery could seem a daunting task, as the period may immediately feel too foreign or cruel for middle or high school students to imagine. However, by presenting the slave story through a variety of media, including drawings, paintings, and personal accounts, teachers can begin to bring slaves’ perspectives and experiences to life. Drawings like this one, for instance, of a family being showcased and sold like cattle, reveal how slaves were dehumanized and often helpless. Images in this anti-slavery children’s book, of slaves being sold, whipped, and chased with torches, further reveal how owners tried to strip victims of agency and dignity. Teachers might encourage students to compare this book to those from their own childhood, and imagine how even goods marketed to children can become politicized. Students could also examine this oil painting of a man in shackles in order to infer an overall mood of the period; the man’s stooped position and pained stare powerfully illustrate his sense of entrapment.
The DPLA’s text-based resources on slaves’ experiences include these firsthand accounts, which paint a brutal and honest picture of how slaveholders treated women. Additionally, the DPLA contains links to important slave narratives, including Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery and William Henry Singleton’s Recollections of My Slavery Days. Students will likely appreciate these individual tales of struggle and triumph, as many feel most connected to history when it’s presented through personal stories.
As part of a unit on slavery, teachers might be interested in incorporating information on runaway slaves and their pursuers. After examining the text of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the law that required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters, students could consider how this act broadened the slavery’s impact: escaped slaves now feared for their future, while previously uninvolved northerners were forced to either return captured slaves or break the law. These ads, showing pictures of runaway slaves and offering rewards for their capture, may remind students, sadly, of today’s ads for missing pets, and dramatically reveal how people were viewed as property. Students interested in hearing a fugitive slave’s perspective would appreciate this account, detailing one man’s thought process as he finds places to hide. Lastly, this image, depicting soldiers returning captured slaves among angry onlookers in Boston, reveals the passionate public reaction in certain cities.
Runaway slave advertisement. Courtesy The New York Public Library.
The runaway slaves, Anthony Burns and Thomas Sims, returned to slavery. Courtesy The New York Public Library.
After learning about slaves, fugitives, and the injustice they experienced, students will surely feel inspired by the abolitionist movement. One poster to share announces a vehement anti-slavery stance, while another one proclaims that the institution is not religiously sound. Teachers might also be interested in this advertisement for a rally in Massachusetts, where famous abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, and Henry David Thoreau spoke. Students may enjoy reading this anti-slavery acrostic, the “Alphabet of Slavery,” which details the evils of slavery through memorable rhymes. Other unique resources include this “Moral Map of the U.S.,” which depicts slavery as a dark, immoral mark on our country. The DPLA also provides access to documents revealing women’s active involvement in the abolitionist movement. For example, this 1864 address from the Women’s National League, signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, articulates a clear and powerful message: “While slavery exists anywhere, there can be freedom nowhere.”
Advertisement for anti-slavery rally, 1854. Courtesy Massachusetts Historical Society via Digital Commonwealth.
Alphabet of slavery. Courtesy The New York Public Library.
“Moral Map of U.S., Jan. 1837. Slavery is a dark spot on the face of the nation.” Courtesy The New York Public Library
Finally, units on slavery might culminate with a discussion of how the U.S. government abolished slavery once and for all. Students can read President Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the freedom of slaves in rebellion states. This next document includes the text of the Thirteenth Amendment that followed, outlawing slavery completely.
The DPLA’s primary sources related to slavery in America are numerous, informative, and powerful. The variety of resources – including texts, songs, maps, and storybooks – promises to reach students with a range of learning styles and interests. I hope that this post helps teachers present a vivid and accurate picture of slavery, and brings students a deeper understanding of this dark period in our past.
Cover image: “The child’s anti-slavery book: containing a few words about American slave children and stories of slave life.” Courtesy The New York Public Library.
Who says that Republicans and Democrats can’t work together? Last week, bipartisan legislation was passed by the Senate! The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (S. 517) allows cell phone users—once their contract term with a service provider expires—the right to circumvent technology in order to use their existing phone with a new service provider. But wait, there’s more. The House passed bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1123) on the same topic on February 29th.Now we await the House to pass the Senate bill and on the way to the President for signature. Who said nothing gets done in Washington?
That’s the glass half-full story, now for the half-empty accompaniment. This legislation was only necessary because the Librarian of Congress, under the advisement of the U.S. Copyright Office, did not renew the exemption that allowed such circumvention in 2010. Instead the exemption was limited to “legacy” phones—those purchased before the rulemaking, making unlocking of newly purchased phones a violation of the anti-circumvention provision. The Register of Copyrights considered changes in providers’ policies that often allow unlocking as evidence that the unlocking provision was no longer necessary.
Now you might be saying, “Why the hell are we even talking about this?” Bear with me because there is a library connection.
Due to a provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), people who can demonstrate that technological protection measures—used by rights holders to limit piracy—prevent lawful uses of digital content or technology can get a three-year exemption to circumvent. Hack away, my friend! Recently, the libraries have successfully proved that there is an adverse effect due to a technological protection measure—specifically the “content scrambling system” (CSS)—used by rights holders to lock DVDs, preventing faculty from extracting clips for use in the face-to-face classroom.
Again, you might be saying, “Why the hell are we even talking about this?”
Why do we spend so much time, energy, and money arguing for these tiny exemptions that are so detailed, prescriptive, and only last 3 years? Well, ALA and many others are saying much the same thing. I can’t imagine that anyone—even rights holders—involved in this process can think it is worthwhile. Consider the fact that piracy has not been deterred by the technological protection provision. Contemplate the absurdity of arguing for an exemption that you haven’t even exercised because, if you did so, you would be violating the law. Imagine going through this process every three years even to retain exemptions that were previously accepted. And after this long drawn out process—including a week-long public roundtable deliberation and a reply comment period, you have to wait another year for the Librarian of Congress to make his recommendation. It’s insane!
But, back to the glass half-full: The House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Court, Intellectual Property, and the Internet is conducting a wide scale review of the copyright law. One can anticipate that this loony triennial review process will be discussed and surely, improvements will be made. One can hope. I know I do.
Today, the House Judiciary Subcommittee for the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held another copyright review hearing—this one on copyright remedies. The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), of which the American Library Association (ALA) is a member, submitted comments that focused on §504(c)(2), a provision in the copyright law exempts libraries from statutory damages under certain conditions. For non-profit educational institutions, libraries, and archives, 504(c)(2) excuses some remedies for copyright infringement under certain conditions:
If an employee working in a non-profit, educational institution, libraries and archives believes and “has reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of a copyrighted work is a fair use,” rights holders cannot turn to statutory damages ($750 to $30,000 per use) as a remedy. Hot dog!
But this “safe harbor” only applies to the reproduction right, and not to the other exclusive rights of copyright—public performance and display, the creation of derivative works, and distribution to the public. In the digital environment, these other rights, especially public performance and display, are more likely to occur.
In addition, the LCA said that this safe harbor “should be expanded to include museums. For these entities to perform their critical public service missions in the 21st century, the safe harbor must be amended to apply to innocent infringement by these entities of all exclusive rights with respect to all kinds of works.”
What would happen if your library’s website disappeared? You’d probably get a lot of phone calls. If I had to guess, most would be about:
Finding library items
Renewing library items
Library hours and locations
To a lesser extent, there might be questions about:
How to get a library card
However, I’d guess you would not receive many calls about:
Library value calculator
History of the library
Library mission statement
Library board minutes
This thought experiment gives us some perspective about the things library websites should be focusing on—the critical tasks users are trying to accomplish. It also offers perspective on the aspects of our websites that are comparatively unimportant—everything else.
Plainly, a lot of the content on your library’s website could be a complete waste of time and effort. Are your users looking at it? Check your analytics. Are those who do deriving any value from it? One way to find out is to remove it temporarily and see if anyone speaks up. Given the hard work it takes to create and maintain content, you might find that your return on some investments is low.
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WON’T COME
Why do some libraries insist on developing website content that is not being used? There’s no doubt it would be great if library users came to our sites to read book reviews, listen to podcasts, and calculate the value that the library delivers to them. We want to be a valuable resource. We want people to trust our opinions and rely on us for guidance. But just because this would be wonderful doesn’t mean it is going to happen.
We’re ever hopeful that if we advertise our websites in the right way, or create the right sort of graphic, or make the visual design more attractive, people will begin to use our content. This is pure fantasy. We need a healthy dose of reality.
By living in this dream world, we’re doing ourselves and our members a disservice. It is time for us to adjust our expectations about what it means to create and maintain a library website. If we liberate ourselves from producing scads of content that no one wants, we’ll have some surplus resources. We can use this extra horsepower to achieve other library priorities that meet user needs, such as improving our catalog interfaces.
SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE
I’m not yet aware of any libraries sending out great niche newsletters; please get in touch if you’re doing so. But here are three libraries that have reduced the scope of their sites and focused on what’s important.
Lane Public Library, Hamilton, OH
This site’s content is quite restrained and presented in an effective, attractive manner.
Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, KS
There’s still a decent amount of content on this site, but the staff have done a lot of whittling down from the previous iteration. The result is an easy-to-grasp understanding of what users can find on the site and targeted information that’s worthwhile to those interested.
NEW/OLD SPACES FOR CONTENT
Instead of creating content for your website and hoping people will visit, consider delivering it to their inboxes. Email newsletters are experiencing a renaissance and for good reason. Nearly everyone uses email. And sending an email is a sure way to get something in front of someone’s eyeballs. Marketing experts have observed that people are much more likely to take action as the result of an email than a tweet.
I’m not advocating spamming your users’ in-boxes with generic library information. Instead, consider creating one or two newsletters based on the interests of your community. These newsletters will not appeal to everyone, and that’s the point. Find a niche—such as cooking, gardening, or hiking—and invest your efforts in developing a relationship with the folks who are passionate about that activity. It is a lot easier and more effective to deliver value to a select group of people about a specific topic than it is to create a website that appeals to everyone. Start small, and if you’re successful and have extra time, create a newsletter for another group.
Library print newsletters face the same problem as library websites. While they’re useful for providing a comprehensive look at what’s going on at a library, they’re too general for anyone to get excited about. Consider rolling your newly developed niche content into a complementary print newsletter, too.
Henry Jenkins, Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, with USC Annenberg School for Communication and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
The following is a guest post from Julia Fernandez, this year’s NDIIPP Junior Fellow. Julia has a background in American studies and working with folklife institutions and is working on a range of projects related to CurateCamp Digital Culture. This is part of an ongoing series of interviews Julia is conducting to better understand the kinds of born-digital primary sources folklorists, and others interested in studying digital culture, are making use of for their scholarship.
Anyone who has ever liked a TV show’s page on Facebook or proudly sported a Quidditch t-shirt knows that being a fan goes beyond the screen or page. With the growth of countless blogs, tweets, Tumblr gifsets, Youtube videos, Instagram hashtags, fanart sites and fanfiction sites, accessing fan culture online has never been easier. Whether understood as a vernacular web or as the blossoming of a participatory culture individuals across the world are using the web to respond to and communicate their own stories.
As part of the NDSA Insights interview series, I’m delighted to interview Henry Jenkins, professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and self-proclaimed Aca-Fan. He is the author of one of the foundational works exploring fan cultures, “Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture,” as well as a range of other books, including “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide,” and most recently the co-author (with Sam Ford and Joshua Green) “Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture.” He blogs at Confessions of an Aca-Fan.
Julia: You state on your website that your time at MIT, “studying culture within one of the world’s leading technical institutions” gave you “some distinctive insights into the ways that culture and technology are reshaping before our very eyes.” How so? What are some of the changes you’ve observed, from a technical perspective and/or a cultural one?
Henry: MIT was one of the earliest hubs in the Internet. When I arrived there in 1989, Project Athena was in its prime; the MIT Media Lab was in its first half decade and I was part of a now legendary Narrative Intelligence Reading Group (PDF) which brought together some of the smartest of their graduate students and a range of people interested in new media from across Cambridge; many of the key thinkers of early network culture were regular speakers at MIT; and my students were hatching ideas that would become the basis for a range of Silicon Valley start ups. And it quickly became clear to me that I had a ringside seat for some of the biggest transfomations in the media landscape in the past century, all the more so because through my classes, the students were helping me to make connections between my work on fandom as a participatory culture and a wide array of emerging digital practices (from texting to game mods).
Studying games made sense at MIT because “Spacewar,” one of the first known uses of computers for gaming, had been created by the MIT Model Railroad club in the early 1960s. I found myself helping to program a series that the MIT Women’s Studies Program was running on gender and cyberspace, from which the materials for my book, “From Barbie to Mortal Kombat” emerged. Later, I would spend more than a decade as the housemaster of an MIT dorm, Senior House, which is known to be one of the most culturally creative at the Institute.
Through this, I was among the first outside of Harvard to get a Facebook account; I watched students experimenting with podcasting, video-sharing and file-sharing. Having MIT after my name opened doors at all of the major digital companies and so I was able to go behind the scenes as some of these new technologies were developing, and also see how they were being used by my students in their everyday lives.
So, through the years, my job was to place these developments in their historical and cultural contexts — often literally as Media Lab students would come to me for advice on their dissertation projects, but also more broadly as I wrote about these developments through Technology Review, the publication for MIT’s alumni network. It was there where many of the ideas that would form “Convergence Culture” were first shared with my readers. And the students that came through the Comparative Media Studies graduate program have been at ground zero for some of the key developments in the creative industries in recent years — from the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign to the community building practices of Etsy, from key developments in the games and advertising industry to cutting edge experiments in transmedia storytelling. The irony is that I had been really reluctant about accepting the MIT job because I suffer from fairly serious math phobia.
Today, I enjoy another extraordinary vantage point as a faculty member at USC, who is embedded in both the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism and the Cinema School, and thus positioned to watch how Hollywood and American journalism are responding to the changes that networked communication have forced upon them. I am able to work with future filmmakers who are trying to grasp a shift from a focus on individual stories to an emphasis on world-building, journalists who are trying to imagine new relationships with their publics, and activists who are seeking to make change by any media necessary.
Julia: Much of your work has focused on reframing the media audience as active and creative participants in creating media, rather than passive consumers. You’ve critiqued use of the terms “viral” and “memes” to describe internet phenomena as “stripping aside the concept of human agency,” and that the biological language “confuses the actual power relations between producers, properties, brands and consumers.” Can you unpack some of your critiques for us? What is at stake?
Henry: At the core of “Spreadable Media” is a shift in how media travels across the culture. On the one hand, there is distribution as we have traditionally understood it in the era of mass media where content flows in patterns regulated by decisions made by major corporations who control what we see, when we see it and under what conditions. On the other hand, there is circulation, a hybrid system, still shaped top-down by corporate players, but also bottom-up by networks of everyday people, who are seeking to move media that is meaningful to them across their social networks, and will take media where they want it when they want it through means both legal and illegal. The shift towards a circulation-based model for media access is disrupting and transforming many of our media-related practices, and it is not explained well by a model which relies so heavily on metaphors of infection and assumptions of irrationality.
The idea of viral media is a way that the broadcasters hold onto the illusion of their power to set the media agenda at a time when that power is undergoing a crisis. They are the ones who make rational calculations, able to design a killer virus which infects the masses, so they construct making something go viral as either arcane knowledge that can be sold at a price from those in the know or as something that nobody understands, “It just went viral!” But, in fact, we are seeing people, collectively and individually, make conscious decisions about what media to pass to which networks for what purposes with what messages attached through which media channels and we are seeing activist groups, religious groups, indie media producers, educators and fans make savvy decisions about how to get their messages out through networked communications.
Julia: Cases like the Harry Potter Alliance suggest the range of ways that fan cultures on the web function as a significant cultural and political force. Given the significance of fandom, what kinds of records of their online communities do you think will be necessary in the future for us to understand their impact? Said differently, what kinds of records do you think cultural heritage organizations should be collecting to support the study of these communities now and into the future?
Henry: This is a really interesting question. My colleague, Abigail De Kosnik at UC-Berkeley, is finishing up a book right now which traces the history of the fan community’s efforts to archive their own creative output over this period, which has been especially precarious, since we’ve seen some of the major corporations which fans have used to spread their cultural output to each other go out of business and take their archives away without warning or change their user policies in ways that forced massive numbers of people to take down their content.
Image of Paper Print Films in Library of Congress collection. Jenkins notes this collection of prints likely makes it easier to write the history of the first decade of American cinema than to write the history of the first decade of the web.
The reality is that it is probably already easier to write the history of the first decade of American cinema, because of the paper print collection at the Library of Congress, than it is to write the history of the first decade of the web. For that reason, there has been surprisingly little historical research into fandom — even though some of the communication practices that fans use today go back to the publication practices of the Amateur Press Association in the mid-19th century. And even recently, major collections of fan-produced materials have been shunted from library to archive with few in your realm recognizing the value of what these collections contain.
Put simply, many of the roots of today’s more participatory culture can be traced back to fan practices over the last century. Fans have been amongst the leading innovators in terms of the cultural uses of new media. But collecting this material is going to be difficult: fandom is a dispersed but networked community which does not work through traditional organizations; there are no gatekeepers (and few recordkeepers) in fandom, and the scale of fan production — hundreds of thousands if not millions of new works every year — dwarfs that of commercial publishing. And that’s to focus only on fan fiction and would does not even touch the new kinds of fan activism that we are documenting for my forthcoming book, By Any Media Necessary. So, there is an urgent need to archive some of these materials, but the mechanisms for gathering and appraising them are far from clear.
Julia: Your New Media Literacy project aims in part to “provide adults and youth with the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, ethical framework and self-confidence needed to be full participants in the cultural changes which are taking place in response to the influx of new media technologies, and to explore the transformations and possibilities afforded by these technologies to reshape education.” In one of your pilot programs, for instance, students studied “Moby-Dick” by updating the novel’s Wikipedia page. Can you tell us a little more about this project? What are some of your goals? Further, what opportunities do you think libraries have to enable this kind of learning?
Henry: We documented this project through our book, “Reading in a Participatory Culture,” and through a free online project, Flows of Reading. It was inspired by the work of Ricardo Pitts-Wiley, the head of the Mixed Magic Theater in Rhode Island, who was spending time going into prisons to get young people to read “Moby-Dick” by getting them to rewrite it, imagining who these characters would be and what issues they would be confronting if they were part of the cocaine trade in the 21st century as opposed to the whaling trade in the 19th century. This resonated with the work I have been doing on fan rewriting and fan remixing practices, as well as what we know about, for example, the ways hip hop artists sample and build on each other’s work.
So, we developed a curriculum which brought together Melville’s own writing and reading practices (as the master mash-up artist of his time) with Pitts-Wiley’s process in developing a stage play that was inspired by his work with the incarcerated youth and with a focus on the place of remix in contemporary culture. We wanted to give young people tools to think ethically and meaningfully about how culture is actually produced and to give teachers a language to connect the study of literature with contemporary cultural practices. Above all, we wanted to help students learn to engage with literary texts creatively as well as critically.
We think libraries can be valuable partners in such a venture, all the more so as regimes of standardized testing make it hard for teachers to bring complex 19th century novels like “Moby-Dick” into their classes or focus student attention on the process and cultural context of reading and writing as literacy practices. Doing so requires librarians to think of themselves not only as curators of physical collections but as mentors and coaches who help students confront the larger resources and practices opened up to them through networked communication. I’ve found librarians and library organizations to be vital partners in this work through the years.
Julia: Your latest book is on the topic of “spreadable media,” arguing that “if it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.” In a nutshell, how would you define the term “spreadable media”?
Henry: I talked about this a little above, but let me elaborate. We are proposing spreadable media as an alternative to viral media in order to explain how media content travels across a culture in an age of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, etc. The term emphasizes the act of spreading and the choices which get made as people appraise media content and decide what is worth sharing with the people they know. It places these acts of circulation in a cultural context rather than a purely technological one. At the same time, the word is intended to contrast with older models of “stickiness,” which work on the assumption that value is created by locking down the flow of content and forcing everyone who wants your media to come to your carefully regulated site. This assumes a kind of scarcity where we know what we want and we are willing to deal with content monopolies in order to get it.
But, the reality is that we have more media available to us today that we can process: we count on trusted curators — primarily others in our social networks but also potentially those in your profession — to call media to our attention and the media needs to be able to move where the conversations are taking place or remain permanently hidden from view. That’s the spirit of “If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead!” If we don’t know about the media, if we don’t know where to find it, if it’s locked down where we can’t easily get to it, it becomes irrelevant to the conversations in which we are participating. Spreading increases the value of content.
Julia: What does spreadable media mean to the conversations libraries, archives and museums could have with their patrons? How can archives be more inclusive of participatory culture?
Henry: Throughout the book, we use the term “appraisal” to refer to the choices everyday people make, collectively and personally, about what media to pass along to the people they know. Others are calling this process “curating.” But either way, the language takes us immediately to the practices which used to be the domain of “libraries, archives, and museums.” You were the people who decided what culture mattered, what media to save from the endless flow, what media to present to your patrons. But that responsibility is increasingly being shared with grassroots communities, who might “like” something or “vote something up or down” through their social media platforms, or simply decide to intensify the flow of the content through tweeting about it.
We are seeing certain videos reach incredible levels of circulation without ever passing through traditional gatekeepers. Consider “Kony 2012,” which reached more than 100 million viewers in its first week of circulation, totally swamping the highest grossing film at the box office that week (“Hunger Games”) and the highest viewed series on American television (“Modern Family”), without ever being broadcast in a traditional sense. Minimally, that means that archivists may be confronting new brokers of content, museums will be confronting new criteria for artistic merit, and libraries may be needing to work hand in hand with their patrons as they identify the long-term information needs of their communities. It doesn’t mean letting go of their professional judgement, but it does mean examining their prejudices about what forms of culture might matter and it does mean creating mechanisms, such as those around crowd-sourcing and perhaps even crowd-funding, which help to insure greater responsiveness to public interests.
Julia: You wrote in 2006 that there is a lack of fan involvement with works of high culture because “we are taught to think about high culture as untouchable,” which in turn has to do with “the contexts within which we are introduced to these texts and the stained glass attitudes which often surround them.” Further, you argue that this lack of a fan culture makes it difficult to engage with a work, either intellectually or emotionally. Can you expand on this a bit? Do you still believe this to be the case, or has this changed with time? Does the existence of transformative works like “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” on Youtube or vibrant Austen fan communities on Tumblr reveal a shift in attitudes? Finally, how can libraries, museums, and other institutions help foster a higher level of emotional and intellectual engagement?
Henry: Years ago, I wrote “Science Fiction Audiences” with the British scholar John Tulloch in which we explored the broad range of ways that fans read and engaged with “Star Trek” and “Doctor Who.” Tulloch then went on to interview audiences at the plays of Anton Checkov and discovered a much narrower range of interpretations and meanings — they repeated back what they had been taught to think about the Russian playwright rather than making more creative uses of their experience at the theater. This was probably the opposite of the way many culture brokers think about the high arts — as the place where we are encouraged to think and explore — and popular arts — as works that are dummied down for mass consumption. This is what I meant when I suggested that the ways we treat these works cut them off from popular engagement.
At the same time, I am inspired by recent experiments which merge the high and the low. I’ve already talked about Mixed Magic’s work with “Moby-Dick,” but “The Lizzie Bennett Diaries” is another spectacular example. It’s inspired to translate Jane Austen’s world through the mechanisms of social media: gossip and scandal plays such a central role in her works; she’s so attentive to what people say about each other and how information travels through various social communities. And the playful appropriation and remixing of “Pride and Prejudice” there has opened up Austen’s work to a whole new generation of readers who might otherwise have known it entirely through Sparknotes and plodding classroom instruction. There are certainly other examples of classical creators — from Gilbert and Sullivan to Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle — who inspire this kind of fannish devotion from their followers, but by and large, this is not the spirit with which these works get presented to the public by leading cultural institutions.
I would love to see libraries and museums encourage audiences to rewrite and remix these works, to imagine new ways of presenting them, which make them a living part of our culture again. Lawrence Levine’s “Highbrow/Lowbrow” contrasts the way people dealt with Shakespeare in the 19th century — as part of the popular culture of the era — with the ways we have assumed across the 20th century that an appreciation of the Bard is something which must be taught because it requires specific kinds of cultural knowledge and specific reading practices. Perhaps we need to reverse the tides of history in this way and bring back a popular engagement with such works.
Julia: You’re a self-described academic and fan, so I’d be interested in what you think are some particularly vibrant fan communities online that scholars should be paying more attention to.
Screenshot of the VlogBrothers, Hank and John Green, as they display a symbol of their channel in a video titled “How To Be a Nerdfighter: A Vlogbrothers FAQ”
Henry: The first thing I would say is that librarians, as individuals, have long been an active presence in the kinds of fan communities I study; many of them write and read fan fiction, for example, or go to fan conventions because they know these as spaces where people care passionately about texts, engage in active debates around their interpretation, and often have deep commitments to their preservation. So, many of your readers will not need me to point out the spaces where fandom are thriving right now; they will know that fans have been a central part of the growth of the Young Adult Novel as a literary category which attracts a large number of adult readers so they will be attentive to “Harry Potter,” “Hunger Games,” or the Nerdfighters (who are followers of the YA novels of John Green); they will know that fans are being drawn right now to programs like “Sleepy Hollow” which have helped to promote more diverse casting on American television; and they will know that now as always science fiction remains a central tool which incites the imagination and creative participation of its readers. The term, Aca-Fan, has been a rallying point for a generation of young academics who became engaged with their research topics in part through their involvement within fandom. Whatever you call them, there needs to be a similar movement to help librarians, archivists and curators come out of the closet, identify as fans, and deploy what they have learned within fandom more openly through their work.
I like thrillers. Good thrillers. Not the slightly expanded movie scripts that they all seem to write now, but real novels that happen be exciting adventure stories. Like Alistair MacLean wrote. Through the sixties he did a string of excellent thrillers one after the other. He’s not read much now, but he should be.
I think of his novels in these editions, Fontanas with photographic covers. No one makes covers like this any more.
I just reread The Golden Rendezvous (1962), one of his best and showing all his hallmarks, with a sailor on a luxury cruise ship getting caught up in a takeover of the ship by some very dangerous customers. The sailor is smart, fast-thinking, extremely competent, keeps his wits, and most importantly, like in all the best thrillers, he just doesn’t give up.
For me the key to a great thrilling novel or movie is a main character who isn’t particularly special in any way getting caught up in something and deciding to see it through to the end and not give up. (This is one of the reasons Children of Men is such a fine movie: the scene at the farmhouse where Clive Owen’s character realizes what he’s gotten into and that he has to save the pregnant woman. After that, there’s no going back and he never, ever stops.) The sailor here is a very good sailor, but he’s no super-spy. He’s a good sailor.
One of MacLean’s trademarks was keeping secrets from the reader, holding back information in order to reveal it either in an offhand way that makes you think back to what had to happen to set it up, or in a larger way where it’s revealed the narrator is not who you thought he was. I won’t give away examples of the latter, but there are a number of the former in The Golden Rendezvous.
For example, the sailor was hurt and is in sick bay with a few others. A chapter begins a few hours after the last one finished, and the sailor gets out of sick bay to do something on the ship without being seen. While he’s out a part of his plan is revealed to have been set up with one of the other injured sailors. There was no mention of this when we saw them both in sick bay, or when the sailor was narrating the beginnings of his plan; it’s only mentioned when that part of the action happens. Because, after all, shouldn’t we realize they would have been talking and plotting in the unrepresented time between chapters? MacLean doesn’t need to spell it all out like we’re fools. We need to keep our wits about us while reading, too.
I’m struck by the density of the text, which is nothing like thrillers nowadays. Here is page one of my edition of Ice Station Zebra:
How would Dan Brown or James Patterson handle an opening like this?
Command James D. Swanson of the United States Navy was short, plump and crowding forty. He had jet black hair topping a cherubic face, and with the deep permanent crease of of laughter lines radiating from his eyes and curving round his mouth he was a dead ringer for the cheerful, happy-go-lucky extrovert who is the life and soul of the party where the guests park their brains long with their hats and coats. That, anyway, was how he struck me a first glance but on the reasonable assumption that I might very likely find some other qualities in the man picked to command the latest and most powerful nuclear submarine afloat I took a second and closer look at him and this time I saw what I should have seen the first time if the dank grey fog and and winter dusk settling down over the Firth of Clyde hadn’t made seeing so difficult. His eyes.
(A page or two later, the narrator is lying to Swanson about why he needs to be on his submarine and make a trip under the ice and break through high the Arctic … but we don’t know why.)
Look at that third sentence! Eighty-two words! Look at pages two and three:
Most of the thrillers I see in the stores now, not only is the reading level juvenile, every paragraph is two sentences long and every chapter is three pages long.
MacLean’s male protagonists were typically cool, morally resolute and prodigiously skilled, often harboring secret knowledge crucial to the plot’s resolution. The odds against them were predictably astronomical, and their physical and mental stamina might be sorely tested; but no matter the cruelty of their foes (Nazis, drug dealers, foreign agents, gun runners, etc.), MacLean’s heroes eventually prevailed. His female characters didn’t often enjoy such complexities of character. While they might display a flash of steel in their spines and barbs on their tongues, they were usually sexier than they were self-reliant—though not alluring enough to distract the leading men from their duties; unlike many of his contemporaries, MacLean believed that fictional love-making and romance were needless fetters on a story’s pace.
The 1970s was a great decade for adventure novels. There was a wave of writers, mostly British, who were writing suspense adventure—generally featuring a common man in very uncommon trouble—as well as the genre as ever been written. The most popular, and the most remembered, is Alistair MacLean, but there were others. Men named Desmond Bagley, Gavin Lyall and Jack Higgins. These writers were very nearly MacLean’s equal; if Mr MacLean’s early work is the measuring stick.
I agree about Bagley, Lyall and Higgins, and I’d add Hammond Innes to the list. Try them all, but start with MacLean, and look for an old Fontana paperback.
Join us at the annual VIVO Conference in Austin to connect with colleagues, new and old. This year's conference will continue the tradition of bringing together conference attendees with dynamic speakers.
VIVO is happy to announce this year's keynote speakers:
• Carole Goble: Full Professor in the School of Computer Science, at the University of Manchester
According to a new study from the American Library Association (ALA), nearly 100 percent of America’s public libraries offer workforce development training programs, online job resources, and technology skills training. Combined with maker spaces, coding classes, and programs dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business development, libraries are equipping U.S. communities with the resources and skills needed to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – global marketplace.
The Digital Inclusion study website includes an interactive state map.
President Obama and Congress recently acknowledged the vital contributions of libraries by enabling them—for the first time—to be considered One-Stop partners and eligible for federal funding to support job training and job search programs. The bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act also authorizes adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries as an allowable statewide employment and training activity.
“Senator Jack Reed and I led the effort to include public libraries in this important new law because they are often the first places Americans go for skill development and job search assistance,” said Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). “I’ve seen this firsthand with NJWorks@yourlibraryproject, which used federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding to help get job seekers back to work with access to online job resources and training in every community in New Jersey.”
Overall, libraries report technology improvements—including nearly ubiquitous public wi-fi, growing mobile resources and a leap in e-book access—but the ALA’s 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey also documents digital differences among states and an urban/rural divide.
“Until the Digital Inclusion Survey, no national study has shown in such detail the extent to which libraries complete education, jumpstart employment and entrepreneurship, and foster individual empowerment and engagement, or the E’s of Libraries™,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “The study also begins to map new programs and technology resources that range from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) maker programming to 3D printing to hackathons.”
Among the study findings:
98% of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89% in 2012;
98% provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media;
98% provide assistance completing online government forms;
97% provide online homework help;
95% offer workforce development training programs;
90% offer e-books, up from 76% in 2012;
56% offer health and wellness programs regarding developing healthy lifestyles;
50% offer entrepreneurship and small business development programs; and
Average number of computers provided by libraries is now 20, up from 16 in 2012
“Changes in technology—whether internet speeds, or new devices or new applications—are racing faster all the time,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “Libraries are ideally positioned to help everyone in our communities get up to speed. This is the heart of digital inclusion—equitable access to internet-connected devices and online content plus the skills to take advantage of the educational, economic and social opportunities available through these technologies.”
While most libraries marked progress from the last national library technology study in 2012, advances are uneven. Less than half of rural libraries reported they increased bandwidth speeds in the last 24 months, compared with 64 percent of urban libraries and 56 percent of suburban libraries. Fewer than two-thirds of rural libraries report having access to information technology (IT) staff, far behind their counterparts. A vast majority of all libraries (66 percent), though, agree they would like to increase their broadband capacity, and that cost is the leading barrier to doing so.
“It is increasingly understood that access to broadband is the critical success factor across our society, and we must do more to connect all of our communities,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “Libraries play an essential role in helping local governments meet their greatest challenges by connecting their services to critical community priorities.”
The study provides a first national look at emerging trends, from STEM maker spaces (17 percent, or about 3,000 libraries), to wireless printing (33 percent) to 3D printers and hosting hackathons or other coding/application development events (about 2 percent each, or roughly 260 libraries). Creation and making activities already are transforming what is possible for communities through libraries. At the Johnson County Library in Kansas, for instance, a library patron printed a mechanical hand for a family friend. High school student Mason Wilde loaded needed blueprints onto library computers and used the library’s 3D printer to create the necessary parts. Wilde then decided to start a nonprofit to make 3D prosthetics for other children, and he is now considering a career in the biomedical field.
“Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs,” said Ann Joslin, President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. Joslin also is the state librarian in Idaho, which currently has a pilot program underway to support library maker activities and encourage the use of new technologies and tools.
“Whether it’s a class on internet safety, an entrepreneur who identifies potential customers from databases or a class on digital content creation, libraries continue to establish themselves as digital leaders in communities,” Young concluded. “This study demonstrates how technology investments benefit our libraries and our patrons, and keep our communities thriving.”
Methodology: The Digital Inclusion Survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013. The survey was open to all public libraries to participate. However, the analysis conducted used only sampled libraries. The survey received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate. For more information, please visit http://www.ala.org/research/digitalinclusion and http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/. Past related reports on public library technology are available at www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.
This week, American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young appeared on an episode of Comcast Newsmakers, a national interview program that airs on the Headline News (HLN) network. Highlighting new data from the 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey, Young discussed the plethora of digital learning opportunities available in libraries and detailed the ways that libraries have transformed into tech classrooms for young students and adult learners nationwide.
The news segment, titled “Modern Libraries,” will air on HLN from today until July 27, 2014.
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.