Tuesday, April 20, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Crossroads

Today's video comes from last week's Computers in Libraries conference where the Archivist of the United States presented one of the keynote addresses in the form of an interview. It's an interesting look not just at the intersections of information and technology but at the intersections of archives and libraries as well.

Also, it's kind of funny.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Everybody's Doin' It

Two huge news items this week concern two of the most popular and most hyped things in the digital world: Twitter and the Apple iPad.

The big news of the week was the Library of Congress's decision to archive Twitter. Many questions about this surprisingly (to me) controversial decision are answered in this interview with the LC's Martha Anderson at the American Spectator. This is an interesting move in the history of digital preservation and seems to move even closer toward legitimizing digital publishing well beyond Twitter's 140 character limit.

It would also be hard to ignore the inevitable arrival of Apple's iPad. On the topic of digital publishing, however, more interesting is the backlash against its policies toward publishers and app developers. In addition to widespread discontent over Apple's decision not to support Flash, Cory Doctorow writes the iPad off because it is glued shut and there is no way to get in the box: "if you can't open it, you don't own it." Further commentary come from Jim Stogdill at O'Reilly who condemns the device for being a glorified distribution channel and a limited one at that.

But if we look at the machine simply as what it was initially hyped as - an electronic reader - its biggest flaw in this writer's eyes is the lack of a keyboard.

Time will tell if Apple will bend to publisher and developer demands or if creators and consumers will finally wedge themselves into Apple's mold.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Librarians are always up to something...

...And it IS still Tuesday for another half hour! SHOOSH!

(It is NOT, however, a video from YouTube.)

This video of these two librarians' shenanigans on top of a fun song has a sunshiny feel that seems a fine way to welcome in Spring. Let's give the boot to an overly long winter. Good riddance! Now, let's all dance to our MP3 players.

the not-so-secret life of maggie knapp from Greenman Productions on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Legal Woes

A quick roundup of some of the week's biggest library tech news:

The fight over "net neutrality" continues, and not in a direction that will benefit end users. This week courts ruled against the FCC's efforts to prevent Internet service providers from charging certain clients extra to deliver their content to users.

Meanwhile, Google's legal woes over its Books project continue, this time over visual art in digitized books. According to the New York Times, visual artists were mostly excluded from the company's settlement with book authors and publishers.

In potentially less litigious news, the Library of Congress Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room installed a unique new scanner for patron use. The only one of its kind in the United States, the machine was originally produced by the company book2net for the British Library, and it can scan an entire newspaper page in 0.3 seconds. From photos on the site linked above, the color scans look gorgeous.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Silent Film

After surviving my worst cold in years and then an Easter trip across several states, the long blog silence is finally over!

Which makes this week's selection for NotYouTube Tuesday (Vimeo this week) even more appropriate: a modern day silent film with a charming soundtrack.

The Librarian from benthompsonfilms on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: "The Librarian"

In the age-old battle between librarian and rambunctious child, this librarian finds herself surprised.

The Librarian from Austin Chapman on Vimeo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Virtual Supermarkets

We often talk here about emerging technologies that a few, fortunate libraries are able to take advantage of, but even the technology we have now can still give libraries the power to uplift entire communities.

Entire neighborhoods of East and West Baltimore are considered "food deserts" because grocery stores in these areas have left town, and there are even precious few restaurtants save the worst sort of fast food. This leaves poorer residents who don't have cars without access to nutritious food options.

Thus the Enoch Pratt Free Library has teamed up with the city Health Department in the "Virtual Supermarket Project." Laptops are provided at the library where residents can order groceries, which are then delivered the next day to two branch libraries for pick-up.

This takes the phrase "third place" to a whole new meaning. What other vital services might library technology provide to a library's community that we're just not seeing?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Mullen Has a Secret

Hello, CUA-ASIS&Ters! Hope your Spring Break was fantastic.

Last month at CUA, students took part in the Campus MovieFest, which bills itself as the world's largest student film festival. One group of students filmed their entry in our very own Mullen Library. Enjoy "Suicide Stacks!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Library Love

Maybe a bit cheesy, but it's still insanely cute.

Library Love from Jacob Hodgson on Vimeo.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Impress Your Professor: ACTA - Potential Impact on Libraries?

It may seem unlikely that an international treaty called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would have much to do with libraries, but certain provisions regarding "Internet distribution and information technology" have given many (even even librarians) cause for concern.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that one of the treaty's goals is "to create a new standard of intellectual property enforcement, above the current internationally-agreed standards in the TRIPs Agreement." Part of the controversy is that the treaty is being written and discussed in extreme secrecy by a handful of nations with only occasional, unofficial leaks regarding the proceedings. The results of the treaty, however, would most likely apply to other nations who have no say in its drafting and cannot currently even find out what's being discussed.

One of the loudest outcries over ACTA involves what is described as a "three strikes" rule that would pressure ISPs to terminate current service and ban users (either individuals or entire businesses) from Internet access over copyright law infringement and illegal repeated downloads.

Writer Cory Doctorow published an article last week where he discussed recent ACTA developments and the overarching shroud of secrecy. In a live chat on February 26, Doctorow also said that FOIA requests for more information had been denied.

Food for thought for libraries already struggling over the degree to which they should or should not police patrons' Internet use in their facilities.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: AACR2: The Movie

"He's a by the books cataloger with nerves of steel who always plays by the rules.
He's a loose cannon who catalogs from the gut with nothing left to lose."


AACR2 Trailer from David Ross on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Open Access Education

It seems the academic Internet is abuzz this week over free student resource access or the desire for it.

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) released a brief this week on the legality of professors streaming entire films to students outside of a physical classroom. Things still seem very much up in the air, but things look promising if professors, schools, and libraries can successfully limit who has access and how long that access lasts.

Meanwhile, Wired Campus has posted two stories on free access to textbooks and print materials online for students. Physics students in certain lower-level courses at North Carolina State University have the choice whether to buy a print copy of their textbook or use it online for free. The University purchased a site license for the textbook in order to defray textbook costs for its students.

Students pushing for free texts elsewhere are finding that their professors are proving the biggest obstacle to their efforts. Also cited was UCLA's recent decision to stop professors from posting copyrighted videos on course Web sites after pressure from an educational-media trade group. Recent successful efforts at Georgetown University are highlighted.

The root of the controversy over all this boils down to one question: Can Universities provide their students free access to course resources in such a way that still allows the scholars and writers who produced it to be properly compensated? Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: Follow Your Bliss Edition

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you a collection of videos of people doing embarrassing things in libraries. Just because no one else can hear the music doesn't mean you can't rock out. (Just don't be surprised when a teenaged boy shoots you on his cameraphone and spreads the video worldwide on YouTube.)

At least this one knew what he was getting into:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Impress Your Professor: A blizard of news

A quick rundown this very snowy week:

Digital Libraries: NARA joins its neighbors the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress in the Flickr commons. The Archives' efforts began on Feb. 4 with a set of Ansel Adams's photos of the American West.

Information Literacy: eSchool News suggests a few points that educators make sure students learn in the age of Web 2.0 (and laments that they're not being taught).

eBooks: LibraryThing's Thingology blog contemplates eBooks' effect on the First Sale doctrine (which means that, when you buy something, you own it and can give it to a friend or, in the case of a library, check it out to patrons).

And that's all for now, folks. Too much snow plus the beginnings of some kind of cold are cutting things short. Stay warm wherever you are.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Attention Tech History Buffs: ASIS&T History Fund 2010


The ASIST History Fund Advisory Board announces the following two competitive awards for 2010:

The ASIST History Fund Research Award:

This award will be for a maximum of $1,000 and will be awarded for the best research support proposal submitted by July 1, 2010. All topics relevant to the history of information science and technology may be proposed. The proposal should state: central topic or question to be researched, qualifications of the researcher (a brief vita should be included), a budget, and how the funds will be expended. All funds must be expended by June 30, 2011. Submit proposals to: http://www.softconf.com/asist/History_Fund/ by July 1, 2010.

The ASIST History Fund Research Paper Award:

This award will be for a maximum of $500 and awarded for the best paper submitted by July 1, 2010. All topics relevant to the history of information science and technology will be considered. The paper should not have been previously published or submitted to a journal. The paper should not exceed 30 pages double-spaced, including notes/references, using the APA style manual. The ASIST History Fund Advisory Board will review all submissions and decide if an award is to be made by Sept. 1, 2010. If an award is made the winner will be expected to present the paper at the 2011 ASIST Annual Meeting and give first rights of refusal for publication to the Journal of The American Society for Information Science and Technology. Submit papers to: http://www.softconf.com/asist/History_Fund/ by the due date of July 1, 2010.

For additional information contact: Robert V. Williams at: bobwill@sc.edu


(DISCLAIMER: This week's YouTube Tuesday video does not actually come from YouTube. On with the show.)

The sad truly glorious thing about that fake commercial is that I think it might actually work. I don't think that's a real commercial, but if it was, I'd send them my resume today. Fun times!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Elsewhere in the Tech World

Tired of iPad news? Your faithful blogger has scoured the Internet for news of anything but Apple's unfortunately-named new release.

* Lest Steve Jobs get all the spotlight this week, Bill Gates and the foundation he shares with wife Melinda have made improving online learning a priority. In his annual letter, Bill Gates ponders the future of e-Learning at every level and wonders who will shape it.

* Before you completely write off the Amazon Kindle, you might want to know that tech company Qualcomm released a video-capable, color screen at the recent CES show, and the buzz is that the next Kindle will use this technology.

* In the midst of all this e-reader insanity, one content format seems uniquely suited to take advantage of it: the comic and graphic novel. eComic reader software Graphic.ly and Longbox recently went into public beta. Some publishers like Marvel, the home of Spider-Man and Captain America, already have their own in-house, subscription-based digital comics readers but nothing yet allows readers (or libraries) to purchase and keep individual volumes.

Sorry! Not entirely iPad-free, but it's still interesting to see how its ripples affect other realms of media technology.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Tube Tuesday: Customer Service

Parker Posey gives a patron a lesson in information organization.

I feel like I need to go review the RUSA Guidelines now...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Impress Your Professor: Bookbinding 101

How do you treat your textbooks? Penciled notes in the margins, easily erased? Dog-eared pages, highlighting, and inkblotted underlining? Crumpled corners from daily transport to campus or a pristine cover (likely from lack of use)?

Or do you download it? PDF it? eRead it? Could you if you wanted to?

The state of California has given its colleges and universities until 2020 to make their textbooks available electronically "to the extent practicable." Some of the rationalization given is that it will put more technology in the classroom and teach students valuable technological skills.

This is, of course, doable for bloated freshman and 100-level textbooks constantly in publication, but what about smaller texts with smaller print runs for upper level and graduate courses? What if the book isn't even in print anymore?

This is reasoning behind the "extent practicable" clause, which has led some to question the usefulness of such a law that doesn't seem to mandate anything. Still others question the idea that textbook vendors will encourage or require students to rent their textbooks, not buy them. Again, this may be fine for required courses outside a student's major, but the theory behind a text is that it should serve as a reference throughout a student's career. Many will want to keep their texts, and some observe that students still buy hard copies more often than electronic when given the choice.

I guess they like to highlight!

In my experience, professors have already been assigning electronic texts. Prior graduate courses required downloading digitized primary source texts that were several hundred years old and several hundred pages long from digital libraries. A great use of technology, but I spent as long printing and assembling my "book" as I did reading it.

Will such laws give students the technological skills promised, or will it just give them a lesson in printing and bookmaking?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

YouTube Wednesday... What?

This week's edition of YouTube Tuesday will be brought to you on Wednesday. We got a little carried away with the holiday - oops.

Now here's the Monty Python crew interviewing a gorilla for a library position. As though the job hunt wasn't challenging enough. Who can compete with a gorilla?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Welcome Back

To all the new students in the SLIS program: Welcome!

To all the returning students: Welcome Back!

The ASIST blog is back from its holiday hiatus and we will now return to our regularly scheduled program. Check back often or add our RSS feed to receive our YouTube Tuesdays, Impress Your Professor, and Event Notification updates.

To kick things off, we welcome you to the cloud.

Have a great semester everyone!