Editorial

Editorial

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #263

This week we have an essay on information ethics, use the word "lethal" more times than usual in this program, and present a news miscellany that seems biased towards libraries news out of the United Kingdom.

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Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec) (Speex), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. Throw a paperback at us via this Amazon picklist.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

Don’t Panic: Why Catastrophism Fails Libraries

We just celebrated an important holiday – towel day. Sadly, I only just found out about it as I browsed the Internet when I should have been working. But I will henceforth do what I can to “really know where my towel is,” to quote the late great Douglas Adams.

This may come in handy, because I’ve been thinking a lot about “disruptive innovation” and what that really means, about MOOCs and what the rhetoric around them tells us about the present state of higher education, and about the millennial talk about the future of libraries.

Full article

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Library or country club?

Letter to the editor by person kicked out of library because the library was having a private party.

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The Joint New Year's Eve Special

In concert with the team behind the Ubuntu UK Podcast, the Air Staff at Erie Looking Productions presented via WBCQ a New Year's Eve special broadcast via shortwave radio. Now that the show has finished being broadcast, it is being made available for download.

Download here (MP3). You can subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. Stephen's shopping list of items to replace hardware damaged and destroyed due to adverse circumstances over the past week, which includes requiring replacement of our dead in-house server with a lower-powered Raspberry Pi at this point, can be found here where direct purchasing is possible to send the items directly to the Air Staff.

Creative Commons License
The Joint New Year's Eve Special produced by Gloria Kellat of the Air Staff of Erie Looking Productions is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #218

This week's episode brings discussion of preparing to respond appropriately to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath as well as a news miscellany.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. Support and subsistence items for the production team can be purchased and sent from here via Amazon, as always.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/.

Op-ed: Long Live Paper

Opinion piece on the NYT: Long Live Paper

Excerpt:

LAST week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared a war on paper textbooks. “Over the next few years,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club, “textbooks should be obsolete.” In their place would come a variety of digital-learning technologies, like e-readers and multimedia Web sites.

Such technologies certainly have their place. But Secretary Duncan is threatening to light a bonfire to a tried-and-true technology — good old paper — that has been the foundation for one of the great educational systems on the planet. And while e-readers and multimedia may seem appealing, the idea of replacing an effective learning platform with a widely hyped but still unproven one is extremely dangerous.

Elif Shafak: The politics of fiction

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Alexander Wild, Grand Forks, column: Why GF librarians are not underpaid

Editorial discussing pay at the Grand Forks, ND public library.

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Op ed: Seattle's libraries need a makeover for the digital world

Op-ed by George Hageman. He recently graduated from Harvard University. His father, Bob Hageman, is a retired librarian who worked for Seattle Public Library.

First, we need to change the layout of the branches and prioritize the needs of the modern patron. Nowadays, people come to the library to gather with friends and neighbors, to study in a peaceful environment, to watch DVDs and flip through magazines or to browse the Internet for free. As any librarian will tell you, they rarely come to read books.

Full op-ed here.

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LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #201

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.

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.

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

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The PDF to the essay

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.

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"

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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.

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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.

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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)

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