Editorial

A Food Truck & a Bookmobile Walk Into a Museum

This is an essay I wrote last month and am having trouble finding an audience. I think LISnews readers and I would find it mutually beneficial.

http://grawlsy.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/a-food-truck-a-bookmobile-walk-into-a-museum/

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

Alternative Paradigms of Access

Do you know how many ways you can keep up with LISNews outside the paradigm of a browser?

There is an e-mail digest of posts you can subscribe to if you so choose.

Thanks to the magic of Twitter and SMS short codes, you can get updates sent to your mobile device as text messages when new posts are made. You don't even need to be a registered user of Twitter to do this. To get updates on your phone, send the following to 40404:

FOLLOW lisnews

For readers outside the United States, a list of codes to send that command to can be found here.

RSS can give you feeds in an appropriate reader. Plugging http://lisnews.org/rss.xml into your RSS reader will let you receive posts outside the browser. A variety of feed readers are available and we can recommend tools like liferea and newsbeuter.

If you have a Kindle, you can also receive LISNews posts by way of the magic transport layer known as WhisperSync. Access via Amazon is available at a nominal cost. Nobody will see any revenue from that before the heat death of the universe.

If clicking around in a browser isn't your favored starting point, other avenues do exist to try. -- Read More

Are Research Papers a Waste of Time?

Is the research paper still justifiable as a means of grading a college student's performance?

Critics of the form say it is outdated because the Internet has made sources so readily accessible. In addition, argues an article published recently by the John William Pope Center for Higher Education, research papers promote deference to conventional opinions. Thomas Bertonneau, the author of the article, "Down With Research Papers!" argued that students should instead be assigned essays, focusing on concise arguments staking out a point of view rather than long, informative surveys of a subject.

Room for Debate piece at NYT.com

The PDF to the essay

See the attached file.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #164

Contrary to normal practice, a text copy of this episode's essay is presented below the “Read More” fold. A PDF file will also follow in the podcast feed.

Creative Commons License
LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #164 by The Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. -- Read More

10:10 minutes (5.83 MB)
mp3
[audio-player]

Without Libraries We Are Powerless

Nice little editorial from Canada: Without libraries, we're powerless

"Libraries are an important piece of our community. Are you willing to get rid of it?
Literacy is words: words are power. Getting rid of libraries is the removal of both"

"

Go All In With Your Chips

I loved Michael Stephens' Office Hours column this week, "Seek a Challenge:"

Coasting, in library school and in our jobs, is not an option. Sending students who have coasted through their LIS program to your library to coast perpetuates this problem. I can tell which students are merely sailing through their program, just as I can tell when a professor has “checked out” of his or her own job.

Students—are you doing the bare minimum in your LIS program? Are you turning in “good enough” papers that show no excitement, curiosity, or passion for librarianship? Or are you going above and beyond the expectations of your teachers? You get what you bring to your program.

The onus for change lies with both students and LIS faculty. Students should provide constructive evaluations of their learning experience. Faculty should respond with curricular changes and updated course offerings as quickly as possible. Library school administration should enable these conversations about change in an open, transparent process. LIS programs must be nimble and quick if they are to survive in the current economy. -- Read More

The Opportunity Exchange

I was lucky with the library school I attended – location (New York City) and teaching philosophy (all in person classes) led to numerous professional and social opportunities. Coupled with my high energy, try anything once, personality, Library Land was my oyster.

A conversation with an online friend reminded me of this blessing. She’s in a small LIS doctoral program at Emporia State University – 100 percent online studies, and a very small cohort (10 students). Coupled with where she lives (Arkansas), it’s very difficult for her to find opportunities for professional growth, publishing and speaking engagements, and networking.

It led me to wonder what we are doing – on personal and institutional levels – to create and exchange ideas? Listservs and social networking are great for sharing ideas, but are we talking to our like minded peers and letting those ideas grow into formalized projects? Are library schools showing students the variety of opportunity they have with the LIS degree or just pigeonholing them into the library building? Individually, are we taking risks to share ideas (controversial as they may be) and seek out growth opportunities when our personal situations are less than ideal? It’s one thing to “like” a friend’s library article on Facebook, but it’s another to express your opinion on that article. -- Read More

From Generational Divide to Generational Grand Canyon

I believe all publicity is good publicity - a podcaster friend always reminds me "haters still count as a download."  But, San Diego's KPBS gave a clear example of pure bad publicity this week, in a piece profiling "librarian/stand up comedian" Meredith Myers timed to coincide with the ALA Midwinter Meeting hosted in their city this past week:

Young, Hip Librarians Take Over (January 10, 2011)

Reaction towards what was probably intended to give younger library professionals a larger voice and break down traditional librarian stereotypes was swift and negative. Public librarian Janie offered the following:

I am no longer "young and emerging", but I am very open-minded, always seeking change and tech savvy. -- Read More

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