Ten Stories that Shaped 2005

It's that time again when the media looks at the year in ideas and we review the top stories of 2005. Below are some of the highlights of this year's library news. For some background, see the 2004 and 2003 recaps, as many of those stories are alive and well.
This year we look back at stories that cover Google, a good looking librarian, a curmudgeonly president, Wikis, Rootkits and more. The LIS world continues to be shaped by the stories you read here.

Update: 12/30 13:12 GMT by J :Added some late entries. Make sure you add your own memorable stories in the comments below!

Honorable mention: LISNews server upgrade

Kudos to Blake Carver, the LISNews operator, for upgrading the server and software driving this site. Plus, he still found the time to post the bulk of LISNews stories—and pen several quality features to boot.

10. The "Pretty Librarian" Lawsuit

In April, Desiree Goodwin lost her case against Harvard University for discrimination. A library assistant with two masters degrees and over ten years of library experience, Ms. Goodwin was repeatedly denied promotion. She claimed it was because she is black and was viewed as a "pretty girl" who dressed too provocatively. LISNews later ran an interview with her. Harvard has since counter-sued for legal fees.

9. Oprah's Book Club Re-launches

To the delight of publishers, in September, Oprah Winfrey started picking modern authors again for her Book Club selections. As expected, this had a positive effect on the industry in general.

8. Katrina Disaster Response

Hurricane Katrina destroyed a lot more than libraries in August. The ALA and other library organizations pitched in with recovery efforts, which are well underway. In a debatable decision, the ALA announced in October that the 2006 Annual Conference would go ahead in New Orleans as planned.

7. USA PATRIOT Act Sunset?

The Patriot Act stayed in the news this year with more confusion than ever about how it was and wasn't being used or could be used in relation to library patron records. News of library searches continued, including one high-profile case in Connecticut. Despite efforts by many congressmen to let some of the act's provisions expire, it looks doubtful that those "radical militant librarians" will strike a blow for privacy and liberties. However, it looks like the expiration of Section 215 and other provisions is going to be pushed back only to February 3rd, so look for more Patriot Act news in early 2006.

A suspicious claim about the government monitoring ILL requests, later revealed as a hoax, also made headlines in December.

6. Librarian Employment Outlook

Will it never end? After perennial "just around the corner" forecasts for a rosier library job market, a new story predicted a potential balance of job-seekers and jobs… by 2027. So those abysmal salaries seem to be here to stay.

On a related note, a post by Jenny Levine about being charged to attend a library conference she was invited to speak at yielded a lot of c-h-a-t-t-e-r amongst those pesky librarian bloggers.

5. Sony's "Rootkit" CDs

In what was probably the most under-reported library story of the year (as the president of Sony BMG's global digital business division so aptly said, "most people don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?"), Sony BMG was busted for selling pseudo-CDs to unknowing customers. The music discs had anti-piracy software, which essentially acted like a computer virus, hidden in them. Consumer complaints, lawsuits, and a public relations nightmare for the company followed this discovery in October. But the scariest thing is probably how tame this will likely sound after a few more years of DRM advances.

4. Social Software Rising

If you haven't heard of Facebook, you obviously don't deal with teenagers. This year saw the continued rise of web-based social networks, as well as the use folksonomies for tagging. And speaking of Flickr, have you framed your LISNews Trading Card yet?

3. Gorman Mouths Off

Poor misunderstood Michael Gorman. He loves to lob disparaging quips about blogs, Google Books, Google Scholar, Google, and, it seems, digitization in general. But he can't understand why people think he's speaking as the ALA President and a representative of our profession and not just some random librarian The Wall Street Journal happens to interview.

2. Year of the Wiki

Wikipedia seemed to be everywhere this year, from conferences, to a disastrous experiment with Wikitorials, to media darling Jimmy Wales, to countless nitpicks, to, finally this month, a validation of sorts. With the success of the ALA Conference Wiki, the wiki software also found itself being used by LISWiki and a growing number of library-themed wikis.

1. Google Book Search and Copyright Conundrums

Google Print (now called Google Book Search) seemed to rile up everyone this year, including publishers, presses, authors, the French, and hospitals. It's an exciting and ambitious project, but how it will impact the future role of libraries and digital copyright laws makes it the top story to watch.

Please post your comments, list critiques, and additional memorable or significant stories below!


Thanks again, this year, to John, for taking this task on! He always asks for input from other LISNews authors, but does most of the hard work. It's a laudable and much appreciated endeavor.--rochelle

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