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On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year's presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.
While Stephen deals with the stress of moving, he asked that I fill in for him for a special episode of LISTen - The LISNews Podcast. As my alter-ego, The Faceless Historian, I'll take you on a journey through history back to the distant past and the origins of the DRM and copying controversies we deal with today.
Stephen and the regular LISTen gang will be back next week with your regularly scheduled podcast. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy something a little different about something related to issues we face in libraries today.
If you're in the mood for more of my historical meanderings, you can catch my podcast (Hyperlinked History) on iTunes or via the Hyperlinked History website.27:45 minutes (8 MB)
If you've been following along with OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing, here's a couple of stories you'll want to check out.
OCLC’s recently revised—and suspended—policy regarding record-sharing: Norman Oder covers a Lively discussion at Midwinter Meeting, he writes OCLC's Karen Calhoun defends intent, apologizes about communication while others question OCLC’s path.
DON'T MISS Consideration of OCLC Records Use Policy: "We build bibliographic records as surrogates for the desired object, meaning that the surrogate is a means to an end – retrieving the described object – and not an end onto itself. We build indexes of these surrogates for patrons to use to discover information. All other factors held constant, the better the surrogate, the greater the chance the user will find the information they are seeking. The following discussion looks at the sources of records, the way they are built, and what it means to try to share them."
A proposed OCLC Policy got Tim thinking about compiling all the arguments against the Policy. He wants to start with the process and legal ones, which have gotten very short shrift. OCLC spokespeople are persuasive personalities, and OCLC's "Frequently Asked Questions" allay fears, but the Policy itself is a scary piece of legal writing and, as it explictly asserts, the only writing that matters. He finishes with a call to action:
Librarians and interested parties have only a month before the OCLC Policy goes into effect. It is time to put up or shut up.
* The New York Public Library is hosting a moderated discussion with OCLC Vice President Karen Calhoun from 1-4pm on Friday, January 17. Show up and make your displeasure known.
* Visit and link to the Code4Lib page on OCLC Policy change.
* Sign the Internet Archive/Open Library petition to stop the OCLC Policy.
* Sign librarian Elaine Sanchez's petition.
Richard Stallman Says: Something strange and dangerous is happening in copyright law. Under the U.S. Constitution, copyright exists to benefit users — those who read books, listen to music, watch movies, or run software — not for the sake of publishers or authors. Yet even as people tend increasingly to reject and disobey the copyright restrictions imposed on them “for their own benefit,” the U.S. government is adding more restrictions, and trying to frighten the public into obedience with harsh new penalties.
How did copyright policies come to be diametrically opposed to their stated purpose? And how can we bring them back into alignment with that purpose? To understand, we should start by looking at the root of United States copyright law: the U.S. Constitution.
The Huffington Post, a venture-capital-backed new media site that mixes links to other sites content with hundreds of celebrity and volunteer blogger posts, is being accused of slimy business practices by a handful of smaller publications who say the site is unfairly copying and publishing their content.
Earlier this week, two students from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, made headlines by releasing a plug-in for the Firefox Web browser that made it easy for people who were browsing books, music and movies on Amazon.com to download the same products free through the Pirate Bay, the illicit BitTorrent site.
Lawyers for Amazon.com promptly served the students’ Internet service provider with a take-down notice, and on Thursday the students complied and removed the tool.
In an interesting twist, the students now say their project was a parody and an “experiment on interface design, information access and currently debated issues in media culture,” according to their Web site. One of the students, John, who did not give his last name, tried to explain further in an e-mail message.
For those of you interested in the metadata production and use in web technologies:
Creative Commons will hold its second technology summit on December 12, 2008, in Cambridge, MA. The summit will focus on the application of Semantic Web technologies to Creative Commons', Science Commons' and ccLearn's missions. Topics covered will include ccREL/RDFa, the Neurocommons project and an update on the Universal Education Search (metadata-enhanced search) project.
Full program information and registration available here
"The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that’s sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it." - Nathan Yergler, CTO -- Read More
Late news via e-mail notes that E-LIS, the E-prints in Library and Information Science, will soon resume functioning. The note indicated that E-LIS was moved to a new server as part of an upgrade by the site to Eprints 3.0. E-LIS Chief Executive Imma Subirats noted that e-mail alerts from the old version site were not migrated to the new version. Subirats suggested that e-mail alerts be re-created by users once the site is fully restored.
OCLC may be trying to pull something sneaky with its new policy of claiming contractual rights over the subsequent use of data created by OCLC. In other words, the data in library catalogues couldn't be used to make anything which competes with OCLC in any way.
Needless to say, this would have a hash chilling effect on the creation of open databases of library content.