June 2003

‘Political nightmare’ awaits Libs on National Archives bill

Some not so Encouraging News out of Canada, where The bill to amalgamate the National Archives and the Library of Canada moved one step closer to law last week — complete with controversial proposed changes to the Copyright Act that would extend copyright protection for unpublished works for as long as 42 years after death.

They say what was supposed to be a simple housekeeping bill could turn into a political nightmare for the Liberals when the House resumes next fall now that committee members from both government and opposition sides of the table are claiming that Parliamentary Secretary Carole-Marie Allard (Laval East, Que.) broke a promise to remove the contentious copyright changes at clause-by-clause reading.

Book Buyers are Buying but not at Bookstores

Steve Fesenmaier points us to The NYTimes and an article on the book business, “the spinster aunt of the entertainment industry.”

They say it’s enjoying a rare star turn this summer, thanks to three record-setting blockbusters: a new Harry Potter novel; the memoir of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Oprah Winfrey’s new Book Club choice, “East of Eden,” by John Steinbeck.

Hacking for Free Speech

Hackerbrarian writes This One Says The free exchange of information over the Internet has proven to be a threat to the social and political control that repressive governments covet. But rather than ban the Internet (and lose valuable business opportunities), most repressive governments seek to limit their citizens’ access to it instead.

To do so, they use specialized computer hardware and software to create firewalls. These firewalls prevent citizens from accessing Web pages – or transmitting emails or files – that contain information of which their government disapproves.
Fortunately, however, this kind of wholesale Internet censorship now faces a serious challenge. Hacker groups such as Hacktivismo are determined to poke holes in firewalls used for repression.

Ancient Arabic manuscripts from Timbuktu go on view

Here’s An Article on a small sample of texts from the Haidara library is on view at the Library of Congress.
The delicate pages were not bound, but stacked and stored in tooled-leather cases. Documents on display, selected from some 23 books brought to the Library of Congress to be microfilmed, include works on astronomy, mathematics, Islamic law, religion, and business ethics.

It is an unprepossessing exhibit, and like most exhibits of documents, there’s something inert about pages of old script lying under glass. The collection, however, is anything but inert, and it is at the center of great scholarly excitement.

New words find place in updated Webster’s

CNN Is One Place To Read An AP Article on The 11th edition of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, available in bookstores Tuesday, includes 10,000 new words and more than 100,000 new meanings and revisions among its 225,000 definitions.

Some of the new words have been a longtime getting the widespread assimilation that merits a move from the unabridged dictionary to the Collegiate. The citation file on the Yiddish exclamation “oy,” for example, dates back to the immigrant waves of the 1890s. Others have zoomed into the language with the speed of the Internet.

Pop culture still remains a vibrant source of new words, with such additions as “headbanger” (defined as both a hard rock musician and a fan), “dead presidents” (paper currency), “McJob” (low paying and deadend work), and “Frankenfood” (genetically engineered food).

In 1997, ALA said, “We Can Gloat”

Jim Faith writes “From Library Journal, 6/28/97

“ALA REPORT: Triumphalism at Panel on Filtering

“Riding the momentum from the Supreme Court’s overwhelming denial of the Communications Decency Act, an air of triumphalism–perhaps misplaced–dominated a Saturday afternoon panel on “To Filter or Not to Filter” sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table. “We can gloat,” declared program chair Fred Stielow of the Mid-Hudson Library System, Poughkeepsie, NY. Indeed, the three library panelists each denounced the use of filters”

Full Story.

Libraries in the Sky

Today, Morning Edition had a short item about the Airbus company’s newest model, the A-380. This will be the largest passenger plane in the world, with two full-length decks. According to NPR, one of the mockups at a recent trade show included a bar and a library in the luxurious upper-deck lounge. I couldn’t see the library in this QuickTime tour, nor did I find a mention on the product page. Sydney is already planning to remodel its airport to accomodate the beast.

Rev. Charles Banet obituary

Anne writes ” Today’s issue of the Ancestry Daily News includes an obituary for Charles Banet, librarian and genealogist, “records preservation activist”, and former college president. See ancestry.com.

This was a man who accomplished a lot in his lifetime. “

Bill Seeks to Loosen Copyright Law’s Grip

The Washington Post Is Covering legislation we hope would ensure the American public’s access to the nation’s intellectual and artistic heritage.

The Public Domain Enhancement Act would require the owners of copyrighted works — such as songs, books and software — to pay a $1 fee to maintain their copyrights once 50 years have transpired from the work’s original publication. If owners failed to pay the fee, the work would enter the public domain, and the public would be free to reproduce, republish or alter it. The Bill’s number is H.R. 2601, read a PDF Here.

Tthe American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, and the Association of Research Libraries sent a letter to Congress expressing their support for the Act.