Ten Stories That Shaped 2016

Can you believe we're closing in on 2017? It's time once again to look back at the notable library-related stories from the past year.

Dishonorable Mention: Librarian Arrested in "First Amendment" Issue
In May, an altercation with security personnel at a Kansas City Public Library event led to violent arrests against several people, including the programming director.

10. Google Books Case Finally Ends
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the last appeal of the Authors Guild in the nearly decade-old Google Books copyright case.

9. Open Data Initiatives
This year saw continued growth of efforts to make research data freely available.

8. Libraries Catch Pokémon Go Fever
Many libraries got on board with the latest augmented reality app based on collecting and fighting with other Pokémon creatures.

7. Intellectual Property Disputes Aplenty
Legal cases involving everyone from Anne Frank to the NFL made headlines this year.

6. Libraries Fund Open Access
More libraries now offer to pay author fees for open access publications.

5. Welcome, Robot Overlords
This year AI agents won a game against a grandmaster of Go, made medical diagnoses, and drove a truck across the highway. Time will tell how these advances impact libraries.

Hay-on-Wye: The Town of Books

Hay-on-Wye, also known by its Welsh name Y Gelli (“The Grove”), lies on the border between Wales and England, and is about halfway between the English cities of Bristol and Birmingham. Its English name is derived from the Norman word for an enclosed field (“hay” or “haie”) and from its setting on the banks of the River Wye. Earlier on in its thousand-year history, the town was the scene of immense political upheaval owing to its strategic location between Wales and England. The history of the castle at its center illustrates how tumultuous those times were. Built in A.D. 1200 by the local ruler, William de Breos II, Hay Castle replaced an older, smaller castle. After displeasing King John of England, William was forced to flee to France in 1211, and his wife and son were imprisoned.
From Hay-on-Wye: Interesting Thing of the Day

Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either

Contrary to what a couple of people I talked to at the time intimated might happen, my scientific world didn’t immediately collapse. The only real consequences I’ve experienced as a result of avoiding Elsevier are that (a) on perhaps two or three occasions, I’ve had to think a little bit longer about where to send a particular manuscript, and (b) I’ve had a few dozen conversations (all perfectly civil) about Elsevier and/or academic publishing norms that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have had. Other than that, there’s been essentially no impact on my professional life. I don’t feel that my unwillingness to publish in NeuroImage, Neuron, or Journal of Research in Personality has hurt my productivity or reputation in any meaningful way. And I continue to stand by my position that it’s a mistake for scientists to do business with a publishing company that actively lobbies against the scientific community’s best interests.
From Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either – [citation needed]

English Wikipedia is in decline

English Wikipedia is in decline. As a long-time editor & former admin, I was deeply dismayed by the process. Here, I discuss UI principles, changes in Wikipedian culture, the large-scale statistical evidence of decline, run small-scale experiments demonstrating the harm, and conclude with parting thoughts.
From In Defense Of Inclusionism -

Libraries Become Unexpected Sites of Hate Crimes

Because of a “sudden increase” in such crimes — three in a couple of weeks after one in a year — the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom is starting to formally track them, the office’s director, James LaRue, said in an email. He said it was difficult to know whether the uptick was “a blip or a trend.” “We hope to track the details, locations and frequency, the better to stay on top of it, develop training or webinars, and support our members,” he said.
From Libraries Become Unexpected Sites of Hate Crimes - The New York Times

ALA warns Members it is "Concerned" about Trump Administration

From Central NY News:

Statement from ALA Prez Julie Todaro confirms that she is concerned how core values of free access, intellectual freedom and privacy will fit with the president elect Donald Trump's administration. [aren't we all]

"It is clear many of those values are at odds with messaging or positions taken by the incoming administration."

Will this statement soften the blow of Todaro's statement on November 15? (reprinted below):

“We are ready to work with President-elect Trump, his transition team, incoming administration and members of Congress to bring more economic opportunity to all Americans and advance other goals we have in common.”

Hidebound: The Grisly Invention of Parchment

While most of the Old World was writing on papyrus, bamboo, and silk, Europe carved its own gruesome path through the history books.
From Hidebound: The Grisly Invention of Parchment : Longreads

What's the fastest way to alphabetize your bookshelf?

You work at the college library. You’re in the middle of a quiet afternoon when suddenly, a shipment of 1,280 books arrives. The books are in a straight line, but they're all out of order, and the automatic sorting system is broken. How can you sort the books quickly? Chand John shows how, shedding light on how algorithms help librarians and search engines speedily sort information.
From What's the fastest way to alphabetize your bookshelf? - Chand John - YouTube

Colson Whitehead, Rep. John Lewis Among National Book Award Winners

"The past week has mad me feel like I'm living my life all over again — that we have to fight some of the same fights," Lewis said. "To see some of the bigotry, the hate, I think there are forces that want to take us back."

When he later accepted his medal for young people's literature, for his work with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell on March: Book Three, Lewis drew from memories of his own childhood for a tearful speech.

"I remember in 1956 when I was 16 years old, going down to the public library, trying to get library cards, and we were told that the libraries were whites-only and not for coloreds," Lewis said.

I recommend listening to the piece so you can hear the emotion with which Lewis gives his speech.


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