Recently I attended the conference of a major learned society in the humanities. I was only there for a day, and attended only two sessions: one as a panelist and the other as an observer. Both sessions dealt with issues related to Open Access (OA), and in both of them I was deeply taken aback by the degree to which the scholars in attendance—not universally, but by an overwhelming majority—expressed frustration and even outright anger at the OA community. The word “predatory” was actually used at one point—not in reference to rapacious publishers, but to OA advocates. That was pretty shocking.
A little while ago an announcement came out through the library list that my colleague, Paul Worster, has been appointed Multimodal Learning Librarian here at Harvard. Having worked with (and learned from) Paul in his previous incarnation as Multimedia Librarian, I had some idea of what he used to do, but I was really intrigued by this new job, wondering just what it entails. So I thought I’d ask him about the position and share the interview with LJ’s readers since the job sounds cutting edge (and fascinating!), and maybe could be a good career development path for both newer and seasoned librarians.
Speaking here and there, I’ve logged a few airline miles over the years and visited some pretty cool places. A short while ago, I was coming back from the New York Library Association conference, flying from Albany to Chicago, and I was seated next to a friendly young man who asked me what I did for a living.
Librarians and libraries are essential to discourse about intellectual freedoms. Now we have more work to do in light of violent efforts to curtail such rights, perhaps most notably the January 7 attack on the offices of Paris’s weekly Charlie Hebdo. For me, these events brought our work to date into high relief but also intensified a sense of urgency about what librarians can do to defend a richer understanding of the value of freedom of inquiry and expression.
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.
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
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.