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: 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: by the due date of July 1, 2010.

For additional information contact: Robert V. Williams at:


(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!