Submitted by Blake on April 3, 2016 - 2:55pm
The White House is looking to make software code used by the federal agencies more open, sharable and reusable. In a March 10 blog post, federal CIO Tony Scott announced a new draft Federal Source Code policy that would create a new set of rules for custom code developed by or for the federal government.
Once the new policy takes effect, software developed at agencies or created by contractors specifically for government use will be available to share and reuse across agencies.
From White House wants more sharable, reusable code -- FCW
Submitted by Blake on April 3, 2016 - 2:53pm
But suddenly in 2016, the tale has new life. The Washington Post decries it as academic research's Napster moment, and it all stems from a 27-year-old bioengineer turned Web programmer from Kazakhstan (who's living in Russia). Just as Swartz did, this hacker is freeing tens of millions of research articles from paywalls, metaphorically hoisting a middle finger to the academic publishing industry, which, by the way, has again reacted with labels like "hacker" and "criminal."
Meet Alexandra Elbakyan, the developer of Sci-Hub, a Pirate Bay-like site for the science nerd. It's a portal that offers free and searchable access "to most publishers, especially well-known ones." Search for it, download, and you're done. It's that easy.
"The more known the publisher is, the more likely Sci-Hub will work," she told Ars via e-mail. A message to her site's users says it all: "SCI-HUB...to remove all barriers in the way of science."
From A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again | Ars Technica
Submitted by Blake on April 3, 2016 - 2:23pm
Worth writing home about: Inside the most incredible libraries in Britain, from Oxford's historic reading rooms to a futuristic wonder in Liverpool
The existence of many libraries is under threat and nearly 350 libraries closed in Britain over the past six years
Thankfully there are still plenty of breathtaking libraries to explore from historic rooms to modern glass buildings
Oxford's Codrington Library has spectacular white marble statues that contrast with its rows of dark bookcases
From Inside the most incredible libraries in Britain | Daily Mail Online
Submitted by Blake on April 2, 2016 - 4:41pm
There’s another way, says Eric Luis Uhlmann from INSEAD: Get your own studies independently replicated before they are published. He is leading by example. In August 2014, he asked 25 independent teams to repeat all of his group’s unpublished experiments, before he submitted them to academic journals.
From How to Make Psychology Studies More Reliable - The Atlantic
Submitted by Blake on April 2, 2016 - 8:44am
Libraries have long served as havens for homeless people. But it’s only recently that these institutions have started taking advantage of their unique position.
Those who live in shelters typically have to vacate during daytime hours and use their free time to find jobs. And libraries are an optimal place to go since admittance is free and it’s often the only spot in town that has gratis Internet and computers.
In fact, nearly two-thirds of libraries provide the only free computer and Internet access in their communities, the Associated Press reported last year.
From Library Offers Homeless People Mental Health Services, And It's Working
Submitted by Blake on March 31, 2016 - 2:18pm
But Reyes-Gavilan’s ambitions go beyond bricks and mortar. He wants to put the D.C. Public Library at the forefront of American libraries, to be a model for the nation by embracing a “hacker” culture that treats library patrons not as passive consumers of information, but as creators. His mantra is “libraries are not their buildings,” but “engines of human capital.”
From Meet the man who is turning D.C. libraries into a national model - The Washington Post
Submitted by Blake on March 31, 2016 - 10:26am
“It’s taken off, and people are just starting to see the many opportunities that it brings us,” Julene Brown says. “It’s just kind of ironic to see these state agencies that are trying to figure out how to deliver services with the budget cuts that they’re face. This video conferencing is one way they’re able to do that.”
Back in Haines, Miles Curtis says with the world becoming increasingly paperless, access to the web is no longer just a privilege.
“It’s gotten to a point where I would consider it a right,” he says. “Everything is going in the direction where it would be difficult to function, and have access to the information that everyone should be entitled to.”
From KHNS Radio | KHNS FM » Proposed state budget cuts zero out funding for library internet
Submitted by Blake on March 31, 2016 - 10:23am
Alexander is more careful than most.Half of the current cardholders at the Biblioteca branch owe money, and most — 65 percent — are barred from borrowing materials and using computers because they owe $10 or more.
San Jose’s charges are exponentially higher than comparable cities like San Francisco, where there is no charge for late materials for users 17 and younger and a charge of 10 cents a day for adults.
“Fifty cents a day for middle-class families is a slap on the wrist,” said Maria Arias Evans, the principal of Washington Elementary School in San Jose, which is behind the Biblioteca Latinoamericana. Given the choice between paying fines “and putting food on the table and a roof over the children’s head, it’s a no-brainer: It is better not to check out library books.”
From In San Jose, Poor Find Doors to Library Closed - The New York Times
Submitted by Blake on March 30, 2016 - 8:41am
Piles of books were left in high-traffic locations around NYC which were all taken and have now travelled to more than 30 countries as part of The Reading Project.
Part-commentary on the way we live today and part-experiment, the project saw stacks of books accompanied only by a simple note that encouraged passers-by to take a book for free, read it and on completing the book, email me.
From Reading Project — MADE BY SHERRY
Submitted by Blake on March 30, 2016 - 7:50am
Academic style, however, is another thing entirely. This is not to say that there is not “style” in academic writing, contrary to both popular belief and a lot of self-skewering academic jokes. Academic style is dull, jargon-filled, overly ornate, hubristic, timid, and generally bad, and no one says so more than academics themselves. Eric Hayot dug into this reflexive disdain in a recent essay in the journal Critical Inquiry, exploring the oddities of the ways that literary scholars seem to think about scholarly writing, pointing out that “it’s weird for a profession to have one theory of language for its objects and another for its products.” If scholars genuinely care about academic writing, Hayot suggests, we might begin by giving up our contempt for the aspects that make it uniquely our own.
From The Future of Academic Style: Why Citations Still Matter in the Age of Google - The Los Angeles Review of Books
Submitted by Blake on March 29, 2016 - 6:26pm
Google BigQuery Public Datasets
A public dataset is any dataset that is stored in BigQuery and made available to the general public. This page lists a special group of public datasets that Google BigQuery hosts for you to access and integrate into your applications. Google pays for the storage of these data sets and provides public access to the data via BigQuery. You pay only for the queries that you perform on the data (the first 1 TB per month is free, subject to query pricing details). It includes the GDELT HathiTrust and Internet Archive Book Data. This dataset contains 3.5 million digitized books stretching back two centuries, encompassing the complete English-language public domain collections of the Internet Archive (1.3M volumes) and HathiTrust (2.2 million volumes).
From Google BigQuery Public Datasets — Google Cloud Platform
Submitted by Blake on March 29, 2016 - 5:51pm
To understand the demands for digital leadership, they conducted a comprehensive
study of successful digital organizations, as defined by the extent to which they met their
mission and achieved profitability. They found ten surprisingly consistent practices
among these digital leaders, and for purposes of making the case for digital leadership in
libraries; I am borrowing their ten descriptors of successful digital organizations as my
headings and adding some interpretation to connect these practices from a broader context of organizational types specifically to academic libraries. . So what are these successful digital organizations doing?
1. Building a comprehensive digital strategy that can be shared broadly and repeatedly
across the organization.
2. Embedding digital literacy across the organization.
3. Renewing focus on business fundamentals
4. Embracing the new rules of customer engagement.
5. Understanding global differences in how people access and use the Internet.
6. Developing the organization's analytical skills.
7. Focusing on the customer experience.
8. Developing leaders with skill sets that bridge traditional and digital expertise.
9. Paying close attention to cultural fit when recruiting digital leaders.
10. Understanding the motivations of top talent.
Submitted by Blake on March 29, 2016 - 4:55pm
We tend to think of memory as a purely mental phenomenon, something ethereal that goes on inside our minds. That’s a misperception. Scientists are discovering that our senses and even our emotions play important roles in recollection and remembrance. Memory seems to have emerged in animals as a way to navigate and make sense of the world, and the faculty remains tightly tied to the physical body and its material surroundings. Just taking a walk can help unlock memory’s archives, studies have shown.
From When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud - The Washington Post
Submitted by birdie on March 29, 2016 - 1:34pm
Cool story from Mental Floss
on many of the things that can be borrowed from a library other than books, tapes, etc.
Among the objects for loan are neckties, kitchen equipment, guitars and puppets. Let us know if your library loans non-book objects in the comments section.
Submitted by Blake on March 29, 2016 - 12:05pm
We can, and should, still love books, but we should not be sentimental about libraries, because they are a means to an end. Access to information is now widely available via smartphones: three quarters of us have one, it was one in five in 2010. Library and information services have to be designed with that reality in mind.
The true inequality remains access to books and reading. Children who grow up with and around books do better educationally than those who don’t. That is where childcare, nurseries and schools are the key. Libraries must adapt to the changing habits of adults, where there is a clear and irreversible trajectory there. But they must never abandon children. As Groucho Marx once said: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
From Don't mourn the loss of libraries – the internet has made them obsolete - Telegraph
Submitted by Blake on March 29, 2016 - 8:01am
When you pay for federally funded research, you should be allowed to read it. That’s the simple premise of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.779, H.R.1477), which was just passed out of a major Senate committee.
Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy. Although the bill gives each agency some flexibility to develop a policy appropriate to the types of research it funds, each one would require that published research be available to the public no later than 12 months after publication.
From Tell Congress: It’s Time to Move FASTR | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 8:53pm
Everyone thinks libraries have a positive role to play in the world, but that role differs greatly based on whether you’re talking to a librarian or a patron. Ask a patron what libraries have in common and they’d probably answer: they share books with people. Librarians give a different answer: they share a set of values. It’s time for libraries to step up to those values by supporting access to the Internet and taking the lead in fighting to keep the Internet open, free, and unowned.
From How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate / Boing Boing
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 3:47pm
There are many reasons people relinquish person information, perhaps they don’t know how it will be used or they don’t have a choice or they do it willingly, none of this is an indication that expectations about privacy have changed. The argument that this behavior is an indication that people no longer expect privacy and therefore it is acceptable to collect and use data is deeply problematic. The idea of reasonable expectation of privacy reinforces the status quo and ignores the needs of minorities. It benefits large corporations and an elite few. Instead we should endeavor that policies, rules, and guidelines reflect what we want, not what we have come to expect.
From Thinking Out Loud About Patron Privacy and Libraries #nisoprivacy | Librarian by Day
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 2:09pm
A new study shows that knowledge of government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. The research offers a sobering look at the oft-touted "democratizing" effect of social media and Internet access that bolsters minority opinion.
The study, published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, studied the effects of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on its subjects. The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority. This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.
From Mass surveillance silences minority opinions, according to study - The Washington Post
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 10:15am
Libraries are a final safety net. People use libraries to search for jobs, read newspapers and books, take computer classes and inform themselves. They’re a particularly valuable resource for educating children.
An informed and educated population would see through the Koch brothers’ goals and fight back against their enrichment at the expense of the poor and middle classes. Defunding libraries can only serve to keep the population pliant and ignorant.
From Editorial: Defund libraries. Create a nation of fools. | The Platform | stltoday.com