Information Science

What If You Have A Digital Divide And Nobody Cared?

CNN's online presence is carrying a piece by Amy Gahran that comments on a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project report that notes a lack of interest in the Internet itself by that 20% of the population among other findings.

The full report is available PDF download.

The question that does arise is how the Internet can be irrelevant to a particular part of the American population and why.

Bombing Bridges

CNET's Greg Sandoval reported last year that top Internet Service Providers came to an agreement with the RIAA and MPAA to engage in copyright enforcement. Ryan Whitwam noted at ExtremeTech that the agreement is set to kick in during Summer 2012 and would entail a graduated response system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that this was not founded by governmental action but instead a Memorandum of Understanding among multiple companies that remains open for other companies to sign on.

By this summer we will see a graduated response system for copyright enforcement arise in the United States. There won't be a firm procedure in place but the general structure calls for six strikes. During later strikes there is the possibility to utilize captive landing pages that would effectively terminate a user's Internet access until they carry out whatever mitigation measure the Internet Service Provider deems appropriate. While there is the possibility of arbitration, there is not generally recourse to governmental involvement in the matter. Contractual obligations and the use of Terms of Service as private legislation come into play.

As seen at Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in the Ashtabula harbor today, signs are posted warning users of library WiFi that using file-sharing applications and peer-to-peer applications on their network may result in the termination of access privileges. That perhaps highlights the danger shared Internet connections present in light of the Memorandum of Understanding entering into force in Summer 2012. If a copyright violation is found, all that can be seen is the account's access point to the ISP's network. There is not necessarily a way to differentiate which particular user committed the infringement, though.

It is regrettably possible that six infringements by six separate users on a shared network access point could result in the termination of service. In an unprotected wireless network it is possible to have parties unknown usurp a connection and cause infringement without the knowledge of the actual account holder. Unless WPA2 and other security measures are employed, an innocent account holder could be blamed for the foul action of a third party. This has already happened which is why normal advice in establishing a wireless network is to engage WPA2 encryption as soon as possible and to keep your network passphrase secret.

A degree of sophistication is required to avoid the very possible nightmare scenarios above. This unfortunately means, though, that networking hardware marketed to consumers needs to be treated as more than "set and forget" devices. With the greater push to frictionless sharing online and reducing burdens in accessing the Internet the possibility of the digital divide widening grows.

In light of an online environment that continues to deteriorate, fallback options are always necessary. For content producers it is very difficult when potential readers/listeners/viewers cannot access the producer's goods. While it can be said by users that the Internet treats censorship and is built to route around it, that notion assumes that routing can continue without interference or disruption. As we now see, the routing of traffic is now going to be subject to intentional interference and accepting that interference will be a condition of access. By private agreement of a group of companies, the trade in information can be restrained at least with regards to information fixed in electronic form.

When it comes to LISNews let alone the rest of the LISHost galaxy this is not an insignificant concern. When the actual means of routing traffic are effectively compromised, relying on a compromised network can result in the effective disappearance of sites. Who needs to burn books when you can just put the functional equivalent of a minefield around content repositories?

Depending upon how this sort of change impacts the Internet at-large, we have looked at workarounds. Since 2009 there have been two proof-of-concept exercises to continue LISNews and other parts of the LISHost galaxy through alternative means. A print edition of LISNews was piloted after being created using tools provided by FedEx Office. Since then we have seen the creation of HP MagCloud which would more easily do what we attempted. On New Year's Eve 2011 we heard LISTen make its debut on shortwave radio through the broadcast resources of WBCQ in Maine.

In both exercises, the general content remained the same while the manifestation differed. This has been a concept seen often in modern librarianship where books have large print editions and unabridged books-on-tape. As an adaptation tactic in terms of content creation, it may soon become quite critical.

It is not necessarily time to begin fundraising to incarnate alternative manifestations of content online perhaps. A few months remain before the private enforcement regime begins. Keeping the thought in the back of one's mind is prduent, though.

Creative Commons License
Bombing Bridges by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. -- Read More

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183

This week's episode looks at the aftermath of the SOPA battle and the take-down of MegaUpload while looking at some consequences thereupon for the knowledge ecology. A draft resolution for any upcoming ALA meeting is also presented.

Direct download link: MP3

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #183 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Where should our information literacy standards come from?

Where should our information literacy standards come from?
"The ACRL Information Literacy standards have often frustrated me. I struggle to find their usefulness to my day-to-day work, since the content of most of my information literacy sessions comes from conversations with the professor of the class, and are geared directly to student assignments. As such, use of the standards usually involves fitting what I’m already doing back into the structure of the standards. And because the standards are meant to apply to all disciplines, they suffer from being both too vague and too specific at the same time."

Information Literacy For The Mythical Digital Natives

I wish I could've used this as the title for this post: "Designing information literacy instruction without understanding that feral place where many library users reside is about as effective as taming a wolf. We can do it, but what good does that do for the wolf?"

GREAT post from Joe Grobelny: Feral "Information Literacy"

"Digital native is a fantasy invented by the fans of silicon valley to pigeonhole a generation for the sake of selling technology, but the truth is far less convenient. Not only the digital natives, but many people take on a feral state in their interactions with the internet, as it constantly shifts its boundaries, its cities and deserts. Likewise, the library is a place where we ought to allow for the feral. The ACRL information literacy standards are only useful to the domesticated to promote their efficient and purposeful use of the library. The truth is that most people do not experience the library as a city, but rather as a wilderness on the edge of civilization.

See Also: Matthew Battles, The Call of the Feral.

Three Mindsets of Search: Answer Me Educate Me Inspire Me

Are these the same for in person reference questions in a library?

According to a survey by About.com, people do it for one of three reasons. They want answers, they want to be educated or they want to be inspired.

Study revealed three distinct search types:
1. Answer Me (46% of all searches) – People in a “answer me” search want exactly what they ask for, and no more, delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible.
2. Educate Me (26% of all searches) – People in an “educate me” search want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. They will search until their goal is achieved – this may stretch over long periods of time and through related topics.
3. Inspire Me (28% of all searches) – The fun “browsy” type of search, where people are looking for surprises, have open minds and want to be led.

A Bookshelf the Size of the World

From the Boston Globe:

As the digitization of human culture accelerates, publishers and academics have had to begin addressing a basic question: Who will control knowledge in the future?

So far, the most likely answer to that question has been a private company: Google. Since 2004 Google Books has been scanning books and putting them online; the company says it has already scanned more than 15 million. Google estimates there are about 130 million books in the world, and by 2020, it plans to have scanned them all.

Now, however, a competitor may be emerging. Last year, Robert Darnton, a cultural historian and director of Harvard University’s library system, began to raise the prospect of creating a public digital library. This library would include the digitized collections of the country’s great research institutions, but it would also bring in other media - video, music, film - as well as the collection of Web pages maintained by the Internet Archive.

Violate Terms & Conditions, Get Indicted

The Bits Blog online with The New York Times reports that programmer Aaron Swartz was indicted for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from MIT and JSTOR. According to documents posted to Scribd, the arrest warrant cites alleged violation of 18 USC 1343, 18 USC 1003(a)(4), 18 USC 1003(a)(2), 18 USC 1003(a)(5)(B), and 18 USC 2.

The Boston Globe summed up the charges stating:

Aaron Swartz, 24, was charged with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer. He faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Activist group Demand Progress, of which Swartz previously served as Executive Director, has a statement posted. Internet luminary Dave Winer also has a thought posted as to the indictment. Wired's report cites the current Executive Director of Demand Progress as likening the matter to checking too many books out of a library.

(h/t Evan Prodromou and Dave Winer)

(Update at 1641 Eastern: The Register has reporting here) -- Read More

Expertise is a posture as much as it is a volume of knowledge

From Asimov to Zelazny

Reading every single trade journal, for example, or understanding the marketing, engineering and sales of your field--there are countless ways to go deep instead of merely paying lip service to the current flavor of the moment.

Trending Terms, Digital Books & Historical Data Crunching

NPR's OnPoint Radio program today looks at Google and the way of words. They look at what 500 years of word usage tells us about our culture with the Google NGram Viewer. It airs live today, Wednesday December 22nd at 11:00 AM EST with an online stream and will be available later in the day as a podcast.

Syndicate content