On October 20–21, scholarly nonprofit organization ITHAKA held its annual Sustainable Scholarship conference at New York City’s Wyndham Hotel. The event’s theme, “At the Starting Line,” echoed the concerns of many libraries, publishers, and institutions about the demands for change driven by today’s information marketplace.
My last column addressed some of the tensions that underlie the idea of “not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good” in library leadership, and at the end I promised that my next would deal in a similar way with trying to balance the occasional tension between problems that are truly important and those that are merely “noisy.” However, an issue has come up in the meantime that is more timely and urgent, so I’m putting off the “noisy vs. important” column until next time. This month I want to address the issue of patron privacy in the context of the recent revelations about privacy incursions in the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions.
I participated in a series of meetings last week to determine how the Duke Libraries would respond to the bankruptcy filing made by subscription agent Swets. We have been through this before, when Faxon/RoweCom failed, and many libraries lost a lot of money. Unfortunately, more money is going to be lost this time around. Perhaps it is time for us to think about how we got into this situation——and how to make sure we never end up back here again.
I’ve run into a few problems with library ebooks lately that have made me even more skeptical of them as complete replacements for print books in libraries. Since skeptics of library ebooks are sometimes considered luddites or reactionaries, I should go ahead and add the disclaimer that I really like ebooks that I don’t acquire from the library. I did a quick calculation of the books I’ve read since mid-January and of those 33 books, 27 were ebooks. Some of them were several hundred pages long, but reading them on a good ereader was generally a pleasant experience.
In a case that has drawn comparisons to the RoweCom/Faxon Library Services bankruptcy almost 12 years ago, the court of Amsterdam on Friday, September 19 granted Netherlands-based Swets & Zeitlinger Group permission to suspend payments to its creditors, and on Tuesday, September 23 accepted a bankruptcy filing from the group’s subsidiary—global subscription management provider Swets Information Services
In the latest of our In-Depth Interviews with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, we caught up with Kyle Denlinger, eLearning Librarian at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library in North Carolina. Fresh out of library school, Denlinger helped create WFU’s information literacy massive open online course (MOOC) ZSRx: The Cure for the Common Web. It provided easy answers to common questions about online research. Passionate about library teaching, knowing “just enough HTML to be dangerous,” Delinger continues to promote life-long learning through the resources libraries can offer.