Over the past couple of decades, we in libraries have been asking a lot of soul-searching questions about how we can best carry out our functions in a radically changed (and still-changing) information environment. This self-examination has led to many interesting conclusions and some pretty dramatic shifts in the ways libraries do business—almost always in the context of reaffirmations of the library’s core mission and values. Less frequently have we asked ourselves whether the core principles that underlie traditional library service remain relevant and essential in and of themselves.
Planning and executing a MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course, is not an easy undertaking. It involves a lot of work, including a thoroughgoing reevaluation of pedagogical goals and methods, lots of planning, and extensive technological support to get each module in the MOOC just right. It also involves lots of “new” decisions about copyright.
I never met Aaron Swartz, though I certainly knew of him. I’ve been teaching library school students about him since his 2011 arrest for sneaking into an MIT server closet to mass-download the contents of JSTOR. I learned of his death by his own hand via airport wireless, early on the morning of Saturday, January 12. Exhausted by a week of teaching a data-curation bootcamp for librarians and digital humanists, the most I could muster was a weak, aghast “aigh. no.”
With a company mission statement that reads “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” charges of antitrust in business dealings might seem unexpected. Yet Google has been investigated over complaints of unfair business practices both in the United States and Europe. This is because of what is [...]
A quick search of the Libraries’ catalog at my university shows that we have lots of books about how to talk with different groups. The target audiences for these improved conversations include children, liberals, teens, Christians, senior parents, and physicians. We even have a book (which I haven’t read) about how to talk about books [...]
I got into a thought-provoking conversation on the Digital Humanities Question and Answer site the other day. Columbia University is planning a two-year staff-reskilling program, so that its librarians can “be the consulting arm of [the university’s] re-envisioned Digital Humanities Center.” Columbia’s is hardly the only library—hardly the only academic library, even—needing to reskill some of its existing employee complement in various ways, digital humanities only one possibility of many. Granting the necessity, how do we as a profession do this, and how should we?
When I consider the current state of American copyright law, I often think about the 19th century French economist Frederic Bastiat and his “Petition from the Manufacturers of Candles, Tapers, Lanterns, Sticks, Street Lamps, Snuffers, and Extinguishers, and from Producers of Tallow, Oil, Resin, Alcohol, and Generally of Everything Connected with Lighting,” usually referred to as the Candlemaker’s Petition.
Place Your Bets, People: Semantic Speech Recognition and the Future of Libraries | Peer to Peer Review
Some years ago, when cellphones were still mostly the province of celebrities and hardcore business travelers, I was walking through an airport and saw a well-groomed and prosperous-looking man engaged in animated conversation with, as far as I could tell, himself. He certainly didn’t seem to be conversing with anyone nearby, anyway. As I (carefully) got closer and continued to watch him talking and gesticulating into the empty social space around him I thought to myself, “That’s interesting; he doesn’t look crazy…”
The single most vital, sine qua non skill for any self-respecting library-school instructor is learning to shut up during librarianship’s ubiquitous, interminable “what I didn’t learn in library school (but should have)” kvetch-fests. Not long ago, though, the Library Society of the World’s Friendfeed contingent turned that well-worn wrangle on its head, collecting examples of education they hadn’t intentionally sought out, but now valued.