Library Leadership for the Digital Age

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.

When our culture’s past is lost in the cloud

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

Librarians Who Lend Out More Than Books

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.

Don't mourn the loss of libraries-the internet has made them obsolete

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

Publicly Funded Research Should Be Publicly Available #FASTR

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

How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate

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

Thinking Out Loud About Patron Privacy and Libraries #nisoprivacy | Librarian by Day

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

Mass surveillance silences minority opinions, according to study

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

Defund libraries. Create a nation of fools.

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 |

Shakespeare’s skull probably isn’t in his grave

Under the cover of night, the three men crept toward the dusty chancel of the church, carrying dimmed lanterns and an assortment of tools. It took them a few, breathless moments to find the right headstone in the darkness. Ignoring the threat engraved upon it — “cursed be he that moves my bones” — they lifted the heavy slab and began to dig up the grave beneath.
From Shakespeare’s skull probably isn’t in his grave - The Washington Post

E-books are more than just digital facsimiles, and publishers need to realize that, pronto

The truth is that e-ink books are great for certain things. E-readers are perfect for taking fiction on holiday with you: You can carry a library’s worth of books on a device that has weeks of battery life. And, as a bonus, nobody can see that you’re reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Perfect. The technology built into the e-readers is maturing rapidly. Highlighting, bookmarking and dealing with footnotes, end notes and cross-referencing is all standard. The biggest change from five years ago is that I can now see myself reading academic works on e-readers without major problems.
From E-books are more than just digital facsimiles, and publishers need to realize that, pronto | TechCrunch

The Little-Seen Maps and Stories of Women in Cartography

Which women, and when? Mapmaking spans genders, centuries, cultures, and technologies. A complete history of women in cartography would require many volumes of pages, and possibly a graduate degree. To make this series sensible for online readers, I’ve narrowed my selection to works by women mapping North America over the past 300 years. Within this “small” range is a diversity of stories, styles, and approaches that, collected together, should provoke curiosity about the many more ways women have mapped the world.
From The Little-Seen Maps and Stories of Women in Cartography - CityLab

The Mystery of the Phantom Page Turner

Impossibly so, as it turns out: After researching the topic for several years, Spellerberg concluded that page turners simply did not exist during the Victorian Era. In fact, according to Spellerberg, page turners didn’t exist during any historical period at all, making them the unicorns, if you will, of office collectibles, mythical objects that tell us more about how we imagine people lived rather than how they actually did.
From The Mystery of the Phantom Page Turner | Collectors Weekly

This Artist is Distributing Mini Libraries of Zines and Collages

He’s not too concerned about the libraries being raided by art thieves who, in keeping and not sharing the works, strip them from their social connections. “I think if you have something nice, it’s even nicer to give it away,” says Ventral is Golden. "I once made a series of illustrations for my girlfriend about how we first met in Portugal... when I gave them to her two months later, she accidentally left the originals on the Metro in Paris. I like the idea that they’re still circulating on a continuous loop underneath the city.”
From This Artist is Distributing Mini Libraries of Zines and Collages | The Creators Project

Launching the Electronic Frontier Alliance

The Alliance will bring together groups pursuing a range of strategies and tactics—from hacker spaces crowdsourcing the open source development of software tools, to student groups hosting teach-ins and documentary screenings. They will be united by five substantive principles:

free expression: people should be able to speak their minds to whomever will listen.

security: technology should be trustworthy and answer to its users.

privacy: technology should allow private and anonymous speech, and allow users to set their own parameters about what to share with whom.

creativity: technology should promote progress by allowing people to build on the ideas, creations, and inventions of others.

access to knowledge: curiosity should be rewarded, not stifled.

Museums and libraries as co-creators of change | MinnPost

A new national research report [PDF] reveals the catalytic role that libraries and museums are playing in rebuilding troubled neighborhoods. These important "anchor institutions" are helping drive economic, educational and social efforts to raise the standard of living in their surrounding neighborhoods.

The Line
Published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the research was recently shared at a meeting of Twin Cities community developers and museum and library professionals. The report captures the ways museums and libraries are leveraging their positions and resources to help fuel successful comprehensive community revitalization. It also offers best practice advice for other institutions.

The most important Obama nominee no one’s talking about (LoC)

When it comes to presidential appointments, Merrick Garland’s nomination to the vacant seat on the Supreme Court is getting all of the attention. But there’s another appointment that’s flying way below the radar: Carla Hayden’s nomination to be librarian of Congress. The Library of Congress rarely attracts the same political pomp that other federal bureaucracies receive, but as we await congressional hearings on the president’s seemingly innocuous nomination, it’s important to note that there’s a lot at stake. The library is in the midst of a massive crisis of mission, and undoubtedly, its next leader faces a daunting challenge to preserve — and possibly revitalize — a symbol of our country’s democracy and culture.

Don't leave UK libraries to councils: ringfence their funds

The problem is that libraries aren’t treated fairly as cultural institutions. Instead councils are forced to contrast them with acute public services, such as child protection or social care. This is an impossible comparison.

Robbie Millen, literary editor of the Times, recently argued that councils are incapable of appreciating the real value of libraries as a symbol for culture, art and literature. He believes the answer is privatisation.


Japanese AI Writes Novel, Passes First Round for Literary Prize

A short-form novel “coauthored” by humans and an artificial intelligence (AI) program passed the first screening process for a domestic literary prize, it was announced on Monday. However, the book did not win the final prize.

Two teams submitted novels that were produced using AI. They held a press conference in Tokyo and made the announcement, which follows the recent victory of an AI program over a top Go player from South Korea. These achievements strongly suggest a dramatic improvement in AI capabilities.

The libraries of Herculaneum: Not quite destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius?

It may require a particle accelerator, X-ray vision, and a highly toxic metal, but researchers believe they could soon be reading from the libraries of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by a volcano to the benefit of archaeology. Scientists have discovered that ancient scholars in the town which, along with its more-famous neighbor, Pompeii, was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius used a lead-based paint, which they may be able to read using X-ray technology, Sonia van Gilder Cooke wrote for the New Scientist.


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