Can the Information Commons Be Saved?

What looks to be a very interesting article on the corrosive effects of emerging intellectual property laws on intellectual freedom:

One of the more confusing paradoxes of the Internet Era is that even as more information is becoming readily available than ever before, various commercial forces are converging to make information more scarce, or at least more expensive and amenable to strict market control. More than an oddity, this paradox may be an augury about the fate of the free information ecology that has long distinguished our democratic culture . . .

More from the Center for Arts and Culture, with thanks to Library Juice, which you should all bookmark right now :)

Topic: 

New Guinea Prison Libraries Need Books

From today\'s Papua New Guinea Post Courier:

PRISONERS NEED BOOKS

I AM writing on behalf of the detainees (prisoners) in the Papua New Guinea Correctional Institutions who are earnestly seeking the assistance of the citizens of this country and overseas for library books. All the jails in the country have their own mini libraries but only a few books. Others only have the Jack and the Beanstalk novels and nothing else. We therefore need more books and other literature to restock the detainees’ libraries around the country.So, if you have any books that you want to “throw away”, please I urge you to donate them to:

Assistant Commissioner
Welfare and Rehabilitation,
Correctional Service Headquarter,
PO Box 6889
Boroko, NCD 111
Papua New Guinea

Your kind donations will certainly contribute a lot more to the wellbeing of our dear ones in the prisons around Papua New Guinea.

Stephen P. Pokanis
Bomana

More information on books-to-prisoners programs in the United States can be found here. If anyone has links for programs in Canada, the UK, or elsewhere, please email me and I\'ll post them here.

Librarians are Sexy

That\'s about all there is to it folks: just a short notation in Nick Denton\'s weblog entry for August 27th. Some pretty high praise from the founder of Moreover Technologies which takes online current awareness to a new level. The entry in the \'blog is to Peter Scott\'s list of library weblogs.

Topic: 

Bookstore Refuses to Release Custumers\' Purchase Details to FBI

The US Attorney\'s Office in New Jersey has agreed not to pursue subpoenas of purchase details for Senator Robert Torricelli and seven other people. The Senator is the subject of a grand jury investiagtion. Subpoenas were served to three bookstores: Arundel Books in Seattle, Olsson\'s in DC, and Books and Books in Florida.
The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is supporting the bookstore owners in fighting the subpoenas.From the Seattle Times.

Topic: 

Publishers Selling EBooks on Yahoo!

Carrie writes \"Four major publishers have agreed to open an online clearinghouse on the Internet portal
Yahoo to sell their electronic books directly to readers, advancing their efforts to liberate themselves from reliance on online retailers in the nascent business of selling books in digital form.
Full Story from The NYTimes \"


They go on to say Although almost no one is buying electronic books today, there is a mad dash to be the first to market with this kind of thing, on the outside chance it does take off.

Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Putnam, and HarperCollins are the publishers teaming up with Yahoo.

Check Out the Erotica in the State Library

Marina Chestnykh oversees an erotica collection assembled by the Communist government that has been a secret for most of the time it\'s been kept. They say such a tight secret that no one knows exactly what is among the approximately 11,000 books, postcards, prints, brochures, drawings and other objects. It\'s on display in the the State Library, formerly the Lenin State LibraryState Library, formerly the Lenin State Library.

\"All these books brought to the Soviet Union could survive only here, in the library,\" said Ms. Ryzhak, who began working in special sections in 1976. \"Anywhere else they would have been burned immediately. We were able to save them, and they are part of our Russian history that we can now have back.\"

Full Story from the NY Times

Libraries hold key to deterring illiteracy

Laura Bush and James H. Billington [you should know who they are] have ganged up and written an Announcement piece in the USA Today.

They will be hosting the first National Book Festival on Saturday at the Library of Congress in Washington. It\'s intended to be a celebration of the crucial role books and reading have in our individual lives and in the democracy that we cherish.

Topic: 

Library throws the book at patron

The Dallasnews is running This One on a man who landed in jail because of Cinderella and Tom and Jerry. They say that about 20 people have been arrested in 10 years in Nolan County, TX.

His failure to return the two books he\'d checked out for his children, plus two others about handwriting analysis, cost him more than $1,000, jeopardized his job and left him with a criminal record.

\"It\'s crazy,\" said Mr. Fox. \"It\'s ludicrous. This is on my record as theft; nobody can believe it was over library books.\"

Topic: 

Law Librarians as Newscasters

Susannah Crego writes \"I wrote an article on law librarians acting as newscasters in their law firms. It is now available on the Law.com website.
Too many law firms believe librarians are unnecessary. \"Hey, it\'s all available online.\" In order to combat that, law librarians need to do more than just provide legal research assistance. One way-provide news.
The Story is Here
Or go to law.com and click on Law Librarians on the right side of the page. My article is sthe first one in the section titled: \"Breaking News.\"

This is a story not just for Lawbrarians, but for all of us, I think.

Topic: 

Librarians Criticize Copyright Office DMCA Report

This article appeared shortly after the Copyright Office report itself on 8/31, but I missed it:

\"Given the relative infancy of digital rights
management, it is premature to consider any legislative change at this time,\" the report states. The Copyright Office is required to issue the report to Congress so that lawmakers can decide whether there are holes or flaws in the digital-copyright law that need to be fixed. Library groups and scholars have long argued that the act\'s anticircumvention provision and nonnegotiable license contracts with software vendors have been undermining the first-sale principle. The anticircumvention provision forbids breaking the encryption on digital material. . .

More from the Chronicle of Higher Education, with thanks to LLRX.com.

Topic: 

\'Onion\' editor talks about new book

CNN has a nifty Little Interview with Onion editor Robert Siegel, they have a new book out -- \"Dispatches from the Tenth Circle.\".
The interview is short, but funny.


Siegel: Are your stories real?
CNN: Absolutely. We are the world\'s news leader.
Siegel: OK, then we\'re on the same page here.

Topic: 

Old-Line Publishers Vie For African-American Authors

A short article on the surge of interest in African-American authors from old-line publishers:

Self-publishing and respect don’t usually go hand in hand, but African-American authors are not only getting respect, they’re being sought out and picked up by traditional houses. Random House, Ballantine, HarperCollins, Doubleday and Warner have all launched African-American imprints in the past couple of years, and dozens of the titles that they are issuing this fall were originally self-published . . .

More from Wired.

Topic: 

When is a Use a Fair Use? University Liability for Educational Copying

One of the many interesting articles that have appeared in the new journal portal: Libraries and the Academy:

Ideally, advances in information technology could be used to improve access to information resources and promote the discovery of new knowledge, to improve educational opportunities, or simply to enhance the free flow of information essential to an informed citizenry. But in the new economy, these salutary outcomes are often forced to take a back seat to the proprietary interests of an steadily shrinking handful of multinational corporations whose overriding interest, unfortunately for public policy, is the extraction of profit from information resources.
A striking example concerns the distribution of educational reading materials in the higher education environment . . .

More. The article appears only to be accessible if your institution has paid for access to Project Muse.

Cookies for all of us

The NYTimes has a nice Story on the guy that invented \"cookies\", Lou Montulli. He was employee #9 at Netscape... Just imagine those stock options! He left Netscape in 1998, a millionaire many times over to create epinions.com and they say he has since left that company as well.
It\'s a good story for a little piece of web history, and they also cover all the privacy troubles with cookies.

\"A recent survey by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling organization, found that 67 percent of Americans identify online privacy as a big concern — far more than those who identify fighting crime (55 percent) or building an antimissile shield (22 percent).\"

Topic: 

Bulgari Jewelers Sponsors Novel

This story from the International Herald Tribune: Bulgari payed novelist Fay Weldon for use of the Bulgari name in her new novel The Bulgari Connection. While Bulgari had originally ordered a special printing of the book, it has been picked up by Grove/Atlantic. The book was written in around 6 months and is about 200 pages short.
Both publishers and marketers are enthusiastic about the possibilities if this particular experiment takes off. What\'s next? Harry Potter and the [Insert Product with the Biggest Ad Budget Here]?

Topic: 

Adults in charge-The quiet of libraries shouldn\'t be disrupted by unsupervised

This editorial in the Seattle Times responds the the articles about libraries becoming day cares. Denise Ward writes: \"To those who say the library is a \"great place for kids,\" and everyone should be welcome, I say No, the library is not for everyone.\"

Full Editorial

Topic: 

N2H2\'s Weak AI

Jonathan Wallace has written another critical look at N2H2 called N2H2\'s Weak AI. It takes a detailed look at the company\'s claims of \"robust\", \"state of the art\" artificial intelligence. Can N2H2\'s software (or anyone) tell the difference between a prurient story and a scholarly essay about sexuality? He interviewed experts in AI and took a look both at the company\'s claims for its products and at their actual performance.

In the first article in this series profiling censorware vendor N2H2 Inc. of Seattle, he concluded that the company, which is unprofitable, running out of cash and facing NASDAQ delisting, must leverage its technology to survive. N2H2 is a tech company, and it has nothing else to sell.

Topic: 

Library book returned after 24 years

Someone writes \"Librarians are always hearing wild, wonderful and flimsy excuses for the late return of books.
But former student Mohamed Bokreta could only write of his \"juvenile and youthful wicked whims\" after returning a book to South Thames College in London after 24 years...

Full Story \"

He went on to say :\"I am seeking both apologies and pardon from my dear friends, the respected college principal and his brave librarian staff\".

I just returned one about 11 years over due I found when I moved, ouch.

Topic: 

Library turtle retires - paper calls it a libraria

Steven Bell writes \"On 9/3/01 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported a story about a surburan Public Library, in Abington Township, that held a retirement party for its library pet, a turtle called Eltrut. This would be a fairly standard story, but the Inquirer actually identified the turtle as a librarian. As if our public image wasn\'t bad enough, and the public didn\'t already think that everyone who worked in the library was a librarian, now the Inquirer refers to the library pet as a librarian. The story is found
Here \".

E-Book Encryption and Customer Expectations

An interesting article on a wildly popular program for decrypting Microsoft e-books, and why publishers\' insistance on overly strict copyright control may doom the e-book as a popular medium:

It\'s easy to load a small library of electronic books into your laptop or handheld organizer and carry it with you on the bus or to the beach. But try to make backup copies of those same e-books or loan one to a friend, and you\'ll run smack into the digital equivalent of an electrified fence. The problem is that once a literary work has been liberated from the printed page, it\'s potentially vulnerable to unlimited digital piracy—a danger that makes most e-book publishers insist on strict software controls to prevent anyone but the purchaser from opening an e-book file . . . Until software makers and publishers can figure out how to protect their e-books without treating all readers like thieves, in other words, the summer of beach-blanket e-books may never materialize.

More from Technology Review.

Pages

Subscribe to LISNews: RSS Subscribe to LISNews: - All comments