March 3, 2015

Can We Strengthen our Fragile Public Domain? | Peer to Peer Review

Kevin L. Smith

Each year the copyright community celebrates January 1 as “Public Domain Day.” That is because a convenient fiction included in most nations’ copyright laws says that if a work’s term of protection expired during the previous year, it officially enters the public domain on the following January 1st. Instead of having to figure out the exact day of an author’s death, and having different works enter the public domain each day, we just save them all up, so that all the works whose term expired in 2014 (i.e., all works whose authors died 70 years earlier, in 1944) entered the public domain on New Year’s Day 2015. At least, they did in most other countries, but not in the U.S.

Feedback: Letters to LJ, February 1, 2015 Issue

A French librarian’s response to the Charlie Hebdo shooting, transactional versus transformational, and more letters to the editor from the February 1, 2015, issue of Library Journal

MARC, Linked Data, and Human-Computer Asymmetry | Peer to Peer Review

Dorothea Salo

I had to put together the introductory lecture for my “XML and Linked Data” course early this time around, because I’ll be out of town for the first class meeting owing to a service obligation. Since I’m starting with linked data instead of XML this time, I found myself having to think harder about the question nearly every student carries into nearly every first-class meeting: “why should I be here?” Why, among all the umpty-billion things a library school could be teaching, teach linked data? Why does it matter?

Change for Researchers’ Sake | Not Dead Yet

Cheryl LaGuardia

If there’s one word I’d choose as the single most repeated term in libraries over the course of my career (thus far) it would be “change.” And that word has usually had a good connotation for me, since I’ve always figured that if you’re going to change something, you’re going to change it for the better. But now… I’m not so sure.

Trying Too Hard For Relevance | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

Academic librarians would agree that keeping themselves front and center in the minds of their community members is a high priority. Staying relevant is a good thing. But is it possible to go too far?

Worth the Price: Reflecting on the Problem of “Free” | Editorial

Rebecca T. Miller

“When a library goes out for a vote, the librarians shift from being partners in education, skills building, personal enrichment, and community identity. We turn into the Tax Man,” write political action committee EveryLibrary’s John Chrastka and Rachel Korman in their take on 2014 referenda. This predicament is true for all libraries, but it is especially pointed for libraries that struggle at the polls.

Public Management Is Tougher: Tech drives increased need for libraries | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

My optimistic aging memory had me waiting for the economy to do what it used to do and recover enough so that the public and private nonprofit sectors by which most libraries are funded would catch up with the already recovered private sector. So I was a bit taken aback when Siobhan Reardon, the president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia and LJ’s 2015 Librarian of the Year, told me that wasn’t going to happen.

Crowdfunding Access to Archives | Backtalk

Ryan Cordell, Northeastern University (NU), Boston, and his colleagues are studying how information went “viral” in 19th-century America, when newspapers and periodicals published short works of fiction, poetry, and other prose. Before modern copyright law, it was common for editors to reprint these texts, originally published elsewhere. The texts moved around the country through this network, resulting in a shared print culture. Cordell’s research seeks to identify these shared texts, to examine which were reprinted and why, and to map how they traveled and changed as they passed from publication to publication.

All or Nothing | Peer to Peer Review

Wayne Biven-Tatum

After three columns in a row about the ebook situation for libraries, I thought I was finished with the discussion, but then I got an email from an ebook vendor. He pointed out that his ebook publishing platform did all the things I had said I wanted from library ebooks, and asked, very politely, why, then, hadn’t my library bought any of them? Here is my answer. It probably doesn’t apply to every library, but it applies to some of them, especially some of the larger ones.

Are You “The Man” or “The Mobilizer?” | Leading from the Library

Steven Bell

Leaders have the power: To make changes. To set direction. To accomplish things. The nature of power is changing. Smart leaders will learn how to make the most of it.