Monday, December 24, 2012

Spring 2013

Spring 2013 is almost here and there are exciting new challenges ahead.  I have been appointed a Graduate Instructional Assistant with the SLIS.  As of now, I will be working with Dr. Borum and Dr. Gathegi.


I’m now taking a full-time course load with Organization of Knowledge I, Basic Information Sources and Services, and History of Libraries.  All three are exciting although I am a bit intimidated by the amount of reading early in the semester.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bibliometrics & Citation Analysis as a Tool

Bibliometrics is an important part of the LIS field and the Information Literacy toolbox (Larivière, 2012).
Bibliometric data is compiled using a citation index and the two leading ones are Thompson Reuters’ Web of Science or Elsevier’s Scopus (see e.g., WoS found at /products_services/science/science_products/a-z/journal_citation_reports/) .  These two services look at citations of scholarly scientific articles and determine their “impact” by the number of times each is cited, where it is cited, and so forth.  Scholarly journals are also tracked this way (DeBellis, 2009; Larivière, 2012). 
While bibliometrics is a general term, there are other related metrics such as scientometrics.  “Scientometrics is the measurement of science communication, and bibliometrics deals with more general information processes” (Patra, Bhattacharya, & Verma, 2006). 
While it all sounds confusing, bibliometrics and scientometrics are widely used in the LIS field today.
Citation analysis helps researchers understand what are the best journals and resources from which to get their information.  I thinks its important today with the proliferation of open source journals and electronic publishing. 

As an analogy, I wouldn't know anything about buying a good car.  They all look the same.  Four tires, an engine, doors, etc.  However, there is a whole industry dedicated to telling us which are the best and safest cars. 

The same with citation analysis.  Which journals are the best?  Which academic discoveries (big or small) are firmly rooted in good science?   This is all done through citation analysis. 

It's also a good tool for self-evaluation.  Many times a journal will make an editorial decision based on an article's "impact factor".  This keeps out research that is done just to get published which is often the case when dealing with institutions that survive on grant money. 

Now, as the literature suggests (Larivière, 2012), citation analysis and bibliometrics is not as accurate in the social sciences and humanities field because the nature of scholarship is different.  SSH disseminates its knowledge differently than the natural sciences but it can still be a useful tool (Patra, Bhattacharya, & Verma, 2006). 

In the end, we should not think of citation analysis as "cheating" but an important part of Information Literacy.  How do we know the different between what is returned from an academic library search and a Google Scholar search, which doesn't do as well with citation analysis?  Tools like bibliometrics, scientometrics and citation analysis.
De Bellis, N. (2009). Bibliometrics and Citation Analysis : From the Science Citation Index to Cybermetrics. Scarecrow Press. 
Larivière, V. (2012). The Decade of Metrics? Examining the Evolution of Metrics Within and Outside LIS. Bulletin Of The American Society For Information Science & Technology, 38(6), 12-17.
Patra, S., Bhattacharya, P., & Verma, N. (2006). Bibliometric Study of Literature on Bibliometrics. DESIDOC Bulletin Of Information Technology, 26(1), 27-32. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Values, Rights, and Ethics in Librarianship

The values, ethics, and rights in the field of librarianship are an intersecting web of ideas designed to guide librarians and information professionals in their duties.  In fact, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Code of Ethics and the ALA Bill of Rights form the foundation for ethical conduct (Rubin, 2010, p. 427).   

For example, all three systems advance the idea that censorship is detrimental.  Gorman’s revision of Ranganathan’s Laws provides for the protection of access to truth (Rubin, pp. 409-410).  Articles III and IV of the ALA Bill of Rights specifically state that censorship should be challenged (ALA, 1996).  Finally, Provision II of the Code of Ethics requires that “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources” (ALA, 2008). 

Another area of overlap deals with the issue of privacy.  The ALA Core Values of Librarianship (2004) states that “Protecting user privacy and confidentiality is necessary for intellectual freedom and fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship” (ALA, 2004).  The third provision in the Code  similarly states that “We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted” (ALA, 2008). 

While these and the other tenets that make up the ethical foundation of librarianship are general guidelines, a few of the issues listed above are easy to identify and defend.  For example, we should all agree that the overriding principles are freedom of access and intellectual freedom (Rubin, 2010, p. 427).  However, the more difficult ethical issues are the ones that may come up daily. 

The first issue is the Fifth Value:

“The public good – libraries make a positive contribution to society by promoting literacy, providing information, preserving the cultural record, etc.  This requires us to reach out to all, regardless of age, economic status, cultural background, etc.”  The problem posed is simple and one that can arise everyday:  “[D]o we provide the same level of service to someone who asks for help with a homework assignment as we do someone who asks for help using Facebook?” 

The first instinct would be to choose the patron requesting homework help over the patron asking for help with homework.  However, given no other information that would elevate one choice over the other (i.e., the Facebook page is for a group of illiterate orphans or that the homework is worth half the grade), such a choice is difficult because we don’t have the ability to fall back on the “righteousness” of intellectual freedom. 

While intellectual freedom is the cornerstone, I would submit that the polestar of librarianship should be the value of service.  According to Rubin, librarianship is more than meeting an information need (p. 405).  According to Butler (1951) as cited in Rubin (2010), “[t]he librarian undertakes to supply literature on any and every subject to any and every citizen, for any and every purpose” (p. 406).  Thus, according our value of service, there can be no distinction between helping a patron with homework or with Facebook.

I feel comfortable with this and with the foundations of our ethical behavior.  We should look at all ethical issues wearing our “service-orientated eyeglasses”. In that it is the one value that permeates all of the others.  In fact, I appreciate the fact that most of the provisions in the Bill of Rights and the Code of Ethics are positive statements (i.e., “We shall”) as opposed to negative statements on conduct (i.e., “We shall not”). 


American Library Association. (1996). Library Bill of Rights, intfreedom/librarybill, accessed on November 7, 2012.

American Library Association. (2004). Core values of librarianship,, accessed on November 17, 2012.

American Library Association. (2008). Code of ethics of the American Library Association,, accessed on November 17, 2012. 

Butler, P. (1951). Librarianship as a profession.  In Richard E. Rubin, Foundations of Library and Information Science (3rd Ed., p. 406). New York: Neal-Schuman. 

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman.

Service - Our Most Important Value

I think that the value of service is important to the profession because it separates librarians from other information professionals.  Additionally, the requirement of service as an ethical obligation is a foundation for the other values and requirements under the Code (ALA, 2004, 2008). 

Without the value of service, I would submit that the profession would be very different.  In fact, a large number of librarians don’t deal directly with the public.  Areas such as technical services, archives, and collection development do not normally deal with patron on a daily basis.  However, “equitable” and “unbiased” service is important if the rest of the library is to function properly. 

So while the main value we cherish is intellectual freedom (Rubin, 2010, p. 427), I would argue that the one consistent value is “to place the needs of the client above all other concerns” (Rubin, p. 426). 

In fact, I would argue that the service element is so pervasive in all of the other provisions, that without the First Provision, they become weaker (ALA, 2008).  In short, I would argue that in interpreting the Code and the Library Bill of Rights, they should be interpreted in light of the value of service.  Should there be any close calls regarding what is or is not ethical (value driven) behavior, the question should be decided in favor of whichever choice grants better and equitable service. 


American Library Association. (1996). Library Bill of Rights, intfreedom/librarybill, accessed on November 7, 2012. 

American Library Association. (2004). Core values of librarianship,, accessed on November 17, 2012. 

American Library Association. (2008). Code of ethics of the American Library Association,, accessed on November 17, 2012. 

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman.

Is it Black and White or more “Grey”?

In order to survive one must have a plan and I think it is not only insightful, it is necessary (Asato, 2011).  I’m not sure how often censorship matters come up in the public library setting today.  When I was working in a public library, we didn’t have many controversies, at least ones I can remeber.  However, as I posted previously, the Fifty Shades of Grey caused quite a stir in some Florida counties this past year. 

So it may be easy to say “I would stand for intellectual freedom,” but could we today as we navigate our lives during the worst financial crisis in generations?  It’s a point worth thinking about for our institutions and ourselves.  We have mortgages, car payments.  Some of us have children.  We all have bills to pay.  Would we really be expected to lose our jobs over a Fifty Shades of Grey?  Would we be willing to sacrifice public funding over Fifty Shades of Grey?  Is this book “important” enough or do we pick our battles and wait for “better literature”? 

We can look to the past for guidance.  Two areas of censorship are fascinating and possibly quite disturbing.  The first occurred immediately after World War II in response to the growing “Red Scare” and the rise of McCarthyism.  The second involves the post-9/11 threat and the removal of GPO documents.

During the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, the New York Public Library and its librarians often came under attack because of the content of its holdings or because of some associations it had with scholars (Francoeur, 2011).  The library was able to weather these storms and “survive” by taking a pragmatic approach.  When its personnel was attacked using “red-baiting techniques” it vigorously defended them.  Many times, however, when general attacks were levied in the press, it would use the influence of its powerful board members to obtain relief, usually through retractions.  When interest groups challenged its holdings, the NYPL would hide behind bureaucratic language in giving a vague response.  Lastly, when controversy appeared to be on the horizon, the NYPL would quietly change its conduct to avoid drawing its attention to itself and its “questionable” holdings (Francoeur, 2011). 

So in this drastically repressive age, the NYPL survived by being flexible.  It should be noted that the library never destroyed or banned any of its “questionable” material.  It just hid them.

More recently are our experiences with the USA PATRIOT Act (USAPA).  After the events of 9/11, the federal government sought expanded surveillance powers.  In casting its net, the USAPA targeted libraries as an area of concern because of the availability of computer terminals for public use and the nature of the library as a repository of information, some of it governmental. 

Libraries were uniquely aware of such situations after the problems with the Library Awareness Program  (Matz, 2008).  They challenged such governmental invasions of privacy as required by the ALA Code of Ethics (ALA, 1996, 2004, 2008).  In 2002, the ALA had adopted guidelines for dealing with government requests for information.  When the ALA raised issues with the USAPA, Attorney general John Ashcroft dismissed them as “breathless reports and baseless hysteria” (Matz, 2008, p. 77). 

Unfortunately, in 2005, breathless and hysterical librarians in Connecticut were issued with a request for information that included a gag order, prohibiting them from discussing the case or even the fact that they were litigants in Doe v. Gonzales, the style of the case after the Connecticut library consortium decided to challenge the request.  Eventually the consortium was successful in court. 

The response of the Connecticut library consortium was helped by the fact that the ALA had guidelines in place for government requests and had been constantly educating its membership regarding the USAPA.  It took a lot of personal courage by the librarians because if they violated the gag order, they were subject to criminal penalties (Matz, 2008). 

However, could we do the same if the stakes were not so high?  What if it didn’t involve such weighty constitutional issues?  Would we be willing to lose our jobs for a romance novel?  Perhaps the answer isn’t black and white, but “grey”. 


American Library Association. (1996). Library Bill of Rights, intfreedom/librarybill, accessed on November 7, 2012.

American Library Association. (2004). Core values of librarianship,, accessed on November 17, 2012. 

American Library Association. (2008). Code of ethics of the American Library Association,, accessed on November 17, 2012. 

Asato, N. (2011). The Origins of the Freedom to Read Foundation: Public Librarians' Campaign to Establish a Legal Defense against Library Censorship. Public Library Quarterly, 30(4), 286-306. doi:10.1080/01616846.2011.625598 

Francoeur, S. (2011). Prudence and Controversy: The New York Public Library Response to Post-War Anti-Communist Pressures. Library & Information History, 27(3), 140-160.

Matz, C. (2008). Libraries and the USA PATRIOT Act: Values in Conflict. Journal Of Library Administration, 47(3/4), 69-87.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ulysses - A Short History of Censorship

“[T]he answer will be that it is filthy and filthy books are not allowed to be imported into this country." (Casado, 2000, p. 484) 

That’s usually how these things start and with Ulysses, James Joyce’s masterpiece, there was no exception.  What is unusual, however, is the way and magnitude with which the issue was settled. 

Allow me to be a little more personal with this post because I thoroughly enjoy the subject.  As a professed and incurable bibliophile, collecting Ulysses is my passion.  I own twelve separate printings of this work .  Why?  Because, fortunately for us, Joyce was a constant (and horrible) editor, sometimes correcting the wrong manuscript. So each printing is different (Slocum, J. & Cahoon, H., 1971). 

When I read the ALA website, I was stunned at the paucity of information for Ulysses which simply states: “Burned in the U.S. (1918), Ireland (1922), Canada (1922), England (1923) and banned in England (1929) (ALA, n.d.). 

Ulysses was not only burned, it was banned, seized and zealously burned with enthusiastic fervor. 

By the time the censors finished their work, Ulysses had virtually been banned in the entire English-speaking world.  This unity in action prompted a comment from Joyce that this should make him eligible for a Nobel peace prize (Vanderham, 1998, p.4). 

The censorship history of Ulysses is essentially a history of its publication.  Perhaps no modern book from the outset received so much scrutiny from censors where it substantially affected its entire publication and printing history. 

Due to its questionable content, Joyce was unable to get a printer in England (Casado, 2002). Thus, Ulysses first began as a serialization in March 1918 in Margaret Anderson’s literary magazine The Little Review (Ellman, 1982, p. 421) for which Joyce would write one chapter and then have it printed.  Surprisingly, the first hint of censorship came not from the authorities but from fellow author and foreign editor for The Little Review Ezra Pound who proposed several edits to keep it from being censured by the U.S. authorities.  Joyce often refused (Vanderham, p.18). 

Eventually, Ulysses was seized on four separate occasions by the U.S. Post Office between 1918 and 1920, before serialization ended in December of that year, leaving the last four chapters unprinted.  This was due both to an accident of circumstance and by purposeful intent. 

When The Little Review began serialization, the magazine was already under the watchful eye of the U.S. government as being a politically subversive magazine.  With World War I in the backdrop, anarchists and communists were spreading their propaganda.  Thus, by 1917, The Little Review was being monitored by the time the first installment of Ulysses was mailed.  By January of 1920, the U.S. Post office had seized and destroyed copies of The Little Review three times (Vanderham, p. 2). 

Margaret Anderson chanced on a fourth and sent an unsolicited copy of the July –August 1920 issue to the daughter of a prominent New York lawyer.  She was appalled by its language.  The distraught father complained to District Attorney Joseph Forrester and John Sumner from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice (Vanderham, p. 38).  The editors of The Little Review were charged under section 211 of the Criminal Code and trial was scheduled (Casado, 2002, p. 91).  John Quinn, counsel for the editors argued that Ulysses did not provoke immoral desires, citing as evidence the fact that the District Attorney had just read portions of the offending text into evidence without any desirous effect.  The judges laughed at this argument and then convicted Anderson, fining her $50 and prohibiting her from publishing any more of the book.  Ulysses was thus banned in the United States (Vanderham, p.3). 

Ulysses met the same fate in England when the Deputy of Public Prosecutions declared the book to be obscene.  This was done despite the fact that he admits “I have not had the time nor, I may add, the inclination to read through this book.”  (Casado, 2000, p.483).  By January of 1923, England had declared the Book undesirable and began seizing it from the posts under section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act of 1876.  Ireland and Australia had done likewise.  A formal ban, which was irrelevant because it could not be printed or imported into England, came later. 

By the 1930’s, Ulysses had been printed in France and Germany, included some very famous unauthorized copies.  Several scholarly works analyzing Ulysses were written, all for a book that could not be read. 

Seeing its literary value, Bennet Cerf of Random House hired famed civil rights lawyer Morris Ernst to litigate the issue of its exclusion.  Ernst obtained a copy of the Paris edition of Ulysses, had numerous scholarly reviews of the work pasted inside the front cover, and had it imported into the United States, making sure that it was seized by U.S. Customs, and then litigated the seizure (Vanderham, p.88). 

Ernst’s defense was radical.  He did not try to argue that the book was not obscene as had countless other attorneys defending previously seized books.  Using one piece of evidence, the copy of Ulysses with the critical reviews pasted into it, Ernst argued that it was a piece of esthetic art.  Because there is no obscene art, Ulysses cannot fit the definition of obscenity under the statute (Vanderham, p.97).  After trial and briefing on the point, Judge John M. Woolsey ruled in favor of Random House, declaring that Ulysses was not obscene in December of 1933.  More importantly, by siding with Ernst’s argument, Woolsey declared that since Ulysses was a piece of esthetic literature, it could not be banned.  Judge Woolsey’s opinion was so powerful that Cerf had it reprinted in the very beginning of the Random House edition.  The next year, Ireland lifted its ban, with England following in 1934.  The rest of the English-speaking world soon followed (Vanderham, p. 5). 
 (Marilyn taking a break)

Ulysses, sometimes called the longest day in literature, marks a turning point in the history of censorship.  By successfully advancing an esthetic theory of literature, wholesale national banning of books through prior restraint would become more difficult in the future. 


American Library Association.  (n.d.)Banned and/or challenged books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course top 100 novels of the 20th century,, accessed on November 7, 2012. 

American Library Association. (1996). Library Bill of Rights, intfreedom/librarybill, accessed on November 7, 2012.  

Casado, C. (2000). Sifting through Censorship: The British Home Office "Ulysses" Files (1922-1936). James Joyce Quarterly, 37(3), 479-508. 

Casado, C. (2002). Legal Prudery: The Case of “Ulysses”. Journal of Modern Literature, 26(1), 90-98. 

Ellman, R. (1982). James Joyce. Oxford University Press: New York. 

Slocum, J. & Cahoon, H. (1971). A Bibliography of James Joyce [1882-1941].  Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 

Vanderham, P. (1998). James Joyce and Censureship. New York: New York University Press.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Search behavior is an important field in library science.  LIS professionals are responsible for the classification, storage, and retrieval of information.  As each of these areas become more complex, search behavior and strategies are evolving into more sophisticated exercises with definable patterns (Ercegovac, 2008). 

A person’s search behavior or choice of strategy is based on four factors:  task, time, interest, and availability (Singer, 2012, p.1).  During a search, one factor can become dominant, affecting both the quality of the search and the behavior of the searcher. 

Rubin (2010) describes one model of search behavior in which individuals are classified into five different groups:  Horizontal Information Seeking, Navigators, Viewers, Squirreling Behavior, and Checkers.  Other researchers classify the way people search as strategies (Singer, 2012) and classify them as either steps or preferred methods.  

Academics focus on two competing models of search behavior or strategy (Baro, 2010).  According to Ellis (1989) a searcher uses six actions: starting, chaining, browsing, differentiating, monitoring, and extracting.  Kulthau’s (1994) Information search Process (ISP) utilizes six stages of searching:  initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection, and presentation.  

By understanding the way patrons search for information, we as librarians can tailor our services to meet their needs.  Of all the services we offer (eg., reference, job-search help, reading suggestions) I submit that the task of Information Literacy is the most important. 

Why?  With the proliferation of information now available on the web, most patron searches begin on the web (Zickuhr, 2012).  In addition, the mission statements of today’s libraries are now focusing on patron “self-reliance” (USF, 2007; Rubin, 2010).  Thus, if more people are becoming more self-reliant (as opposed to asking a librarian for the information directly) then I submit that our primary goal should be learning how our patrons search and our primary service should be helping them understand what is the best information to use. 


Baro, E. E., Onyenania, G. O., & Osaheni, O. (2010). Information seeking behaviour of undergraduate students in the humanities in three universities in Nigeria. South African Journal of Libraries & Information Science, 76, 109-117. 

Ellis, D. 1989. A behavioral model for information retrieval system design, journal of Information Science, 15: 237-247. 

Ercegovac, Z. (2008). Information Literacy : Search Strategies, Tools & Resources for High School Students and College Freshmen. Linworth Pub. 

Kuhlhau, CC. 1994. Seeking meaning: a proeess approaeh to library and information serviees. Nowood, N.J.: Abex.

Lesk, M. (2005). Understanding Digital Libraries. Elsevier. 

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman. 

Singer, K., Singer, G., Lepik, K., Norbisrath, U., & Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, P. (2012). Search Strategies of Library Search Experts,, accessed on October 28, 2012. 

University of South Florida. (2007). USF Libraries Strategic Plan: 2007-2012. Tampa, Florida. 

Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K., Madden, M., & Brenner, J. (2012). Libraries, patrons, and e-books. Pew Internet & American Life Project, June 22, 2012 2012/06/22/libraries-patrons-and-e-books/, accessed on September 9, 2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Missions of Libraries - USF and Pasco County

Public libraries have broad missions, visions, and values (Rubin, 2010, pp. 173-174).  These can differ based on the size of the population and the type of community they serve (p. 174). Pasco County, Florida, is a small rural community north of Hillsborough County and the metropolitan city of Tampa.  Similar to most systems, Pasco County administers its libraries through a cooperative.  The mission for the Pasco County Library Cooperative (2012) is one which: 

 “Attracts and satisfies customers through outstanding and responsive customer service, an excellent selection of materials and resources, and an environment that encourages personal and community betterment.” (p.15) 

Apart from the mission statement, Pasco County embraces six “strategic focus areas”:  discovery, collaboration, technology, creation, spaces, and awareness.  These strategic focus areas complement and expand upon the American Library Association’s eight roles for public libraries discussed in Rubin (pp. 173-174) without overextending itself. 

By focusing on spaces, Pasco Libraries are focusing on the library as “a community gathering place” (Rubin, p. 178).  Svanhild & Ragnar (2012) found that library patrons tended to socialize more than bookstore customers because they greater sense of “ownership” of the library and treated it as their own. 

The strategic focus of “create” is interesting in that Pasco County is not only seeking to store media content (Rubin, p. 11-8) but is striving to be a place where patrons can “create content” such as videos, presentations, music, and art  By focusing on collaboration, Pasco also is expanding its new role as an “e-government gateway” similar to other public library systems (Jaeger & Fleischnann, 2007) .  

In Summary, the vision, value and mission statement of the Pasco County Library Cooperative is consistent with a small community library that is well supported by the community. 

Academic libraries have a specific purpose to serve those students where the library is located (p. 200).  They also provide a service to the academic community at large by engaging in scholarship and building collections that go beyond the needs of the campus for which they serve (University of South Florida, 2007).  In fact, there is a trend for libraries to go “more global” (USF, 2007; Rubin, 2010, p. 200). 

The USF library system has five libraries and a budget of $17.5 million (USF, p. 1).  Its mission is “to become a globally recognized academic library system advancing knowledge through integrated resources, responsive services, research, and instruction” (p. 2).  It seeks to implement this mission through five strategic goals. 

A few of these strategic goals were interesting.  First, while there was an emphasis on “patron self-reliance” (p. 3) consistent with Outsell (2003a) described in Rubin (p.  200), there was no information literacy program specifically mentioned that would help achieve this goal.  Second, two of the strategic goals focused on the acquisition of interdisciplinary academic and special collections.  Again, this was consistent with Rubin (p. 200) but surprising in that the interdisciplinary academic collection goal was announced as late as 2007.  Regarding the specific special collection areas announced in the strategic goal, the focus has shifted away from “Floridiana” and others such as Medieval studies and cartography to holocaust and genocide studies (B.Lewis, personal communication, September 11, 2012).  This change was surprising. 

The most fascinating mission statement I found, however, was the fairly nondescript one from the Harry Ransom Center (2012) at the University of Austin.  It states: 

“The central mission of the Ransom Center is to advance the study of the arts and humanities. To this end, the Center: Acquires original cultural material for the purposes of scholarship, education, and delight; Preserves and makes accessible these creations of our cultural heritage through the highest standards of cataloging, conservation, and collection management; Supports research through public services, symposia, publications, and fellowships; Provides education and enrichment for scholars, students, and the public at large through exhibitions, public performances, and lectures.” 

As Basbanes (1995) points out, the HRC went on a buying spree funded by Texas oil money from 1956 to where in 1970 it was considered one of the top 5 libraries.  Today it boasts one of the largest collections of manuscripts and letters from the great nineteenth and twentieth century writers.  Its policy of aggressive acquisition has led some to criticize the HRC but, in the end, it ranks as one of the greatest repositories of modern literature. 


Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. (2012). Mission and History. Retrieved October 5, 2012, from 

Jaeger, P. T., & Fleischmann, K. R. (2007). Public libraries, values, trust, and e-Government. Information Technology & Libraries, 26, 34-43. 

Pasco County Library Cooperative. (2012).  2012-2015 strategic vision.  Retrieved October 5, 2012, from 

Rubin, R. E. (2010). Foundations of Library and Information Science (3rd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman. 

Svanhild, A., & Ragnar, A. (2012). Use of library space and the library as place. Library And Information Science Research, 34,138-149. 

University of South Florida. (2007). USF Libraries Strategic Plan: 2007-2012. Tampa, Florida.

New Series of Posts

Beginning today I will be publishing a series of posts based on the discussions we have as MLIS students.  I will try and cover those opportunities and challenges affecting the profession such as Web 2.0 functionality, the internet, Google, DRM, and others as they arise.

Even though they are conversations, I will endeavour to add the appropriate citations and references whenever possible.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Banned Books Week

What do we do?  Should we keep vigilant in our awareness but moderate in our actions?

I just read a blog post from the Annoyed Librarian and I am not sure of her argument.  She makes the distinction between Ulysses, a book she states was actually censored, to other books that were "removed" from some libraries but not "censured" everywhere. 

I think her argument's main point rests on a distinction without a difference.

Is there a legal difference between removing a book and censoring a book under the law?  I'm not aware of one.

The Annoyed Librarian makes a great argument (one argued by govenment many times before) that if a book is available somewhere, then it is not censured.  For example, if the county commission banned Timmy's favorite book from his library, well Timmy could just a) hop on a bus and go to a different library, or b) buy the book himself.

Unfortunately, this argument often fails because the book is being banned by a governmental agency (First Amendment incorporated to the states) without a significant government purpose.  We don't look to "availability in other jurisdictions" as the appropriate test for censureship  (and let's not forget they were censuring Ulysses for our sake, just like they "removed" Fifty Shades of Grey from the libraries in Brevard County. To protect all those young mothers from this "mommy porn").

If that was the case, we could "remove" all questionable books because they would be available at the Library of Congress.

The Annoyed Librarian was right about one thing:  that Ulysses was censured.  The reason that is true is that Ulysses was the last book to be legally censured in the U.S.  This doesn't mean, however, that governments won't keep trying to censure books by "removing" them.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm Not SPAM - I'm People

I'm not SPAM Google (nor will I be Soilent Green) but somehow Google thinks I am a SPAM robot and it is threatening to shut down my nascent blog.  That's the problem with technology: algorythms can only do so much for you before you need intellect and reasoning.  No AI will work here, just old school intelligence.

I think the same goes for librarians.  There is only so much that technology can do before you need a human.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lost without a Library

Where will we be without libraries?

23 Things Tech Post - Historypin

Imagine an interactive access point or gateway into your academic library's digital collection that is both interesting and tied to social networking.  One such site is called Historypin and it can be found at

Here is an example of London in the HistoryPin window.  Images are sorted by location, sometimes with several at one place, and easily accessible.  Once you find an interesting photo, you can click on it.

Here for example is a photo of Crosby Hall in Chelsea.  You can add descriptive data to the photograph.  For our purposes, however, the most important feature is the ability to hyperlink back to your collection.  This allows people to access your digital collection without having to duplicate it over several websites.

Here is the Historypin map for Tampa, Florida.

What's also exciting is that Historypin allows several types of multimedia images to be used.  Below is a movie clip about the destruction of the old Tampa Stadium in 1999.

Historypin is a powerful tool that can be used by libraries to create multiple access point into any number of digital collections.  It is an excellent example of Web 2.0 and how the internet can supplement, and not replace, libraries.

23 Things Tech Post - Bloglines

Today I had to set up my own RSS feed Bloglines account.  In the past, I was reluctant to use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) because I did not want to get inudated with information that I didn't need.  I have several email accounts now and they are starting to get clogged with useless information.  In fact, my primary Netzero account, which has been around for almost 8 years, is barely accessable because of all the SPAM and old push notifications, etc.

After reading about Bloglines, however, it seemed a good alternative to email notifications and Listservs.  You can go to and set up your own account very easily.  I've already got some library blog RSS feeds working!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Library Observation: USF Digital Collections

Today I interviewed Barbara Lewis, the Coordinator for Digital Collections, at the USF library in Tampa.  If there was ever an ideal image of the tech-savy, fearless librarian, she would be it.

The field of digital collections at an academic library could be the model for how public libraries can transition into the digital age.  Most of the major issues with modernization, DRM, digital media, and access have been addressed by those who work in this field.

One of the most interesting features of Digital Collections is the Online Exhibitions, a nearly seamless and intergrated display of mixed media and interdisciplinary work.

Monday, September 10, 2012

23 Things Tech Post - 2012 Pew Library Report

Two interesting studies seem to echo most of the concerns in this class week’s discussion.  I mention them because they are relatively recent, something necessary in our quickly changing environment. 

The first is a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project titled “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books” [Pew Report] (2012).  There were some interesting trends that mirror some of the positions stated in the discussions. 

Based the Pew Report’s findings, a strong argument could be made that libraries need to do a better job in updating their image as an agency ready for the 21st Century.  For example, 58% of library card holders were not aware that e-book lending was available at their library even though 76% of libraries do lend e-books.  Fifty-three percent of tablet users, such as an iPad or Kindle Fire, do not know if the library loans e-books.  Similarly, 48% of e-reader owners did not know whether their libraries loaned e-books.  Finally, 47% of those who read an e-book within the past year did not know about library e-book lending (Pew Report, 2012). 

Libraries are still important, however, to most Americans.  Fifty-eight percent of Americans have a library card and 69% of those people state that the library is important to them (Pew Report, 2012, p.6).  Of those who own library cards, e-books habits are nearly equal:  46% prefer to buy e-books while 45% want to borrow them (Pew Report, 2012, p. 7).   

One disturbing trend is for those 16-17 years of age.  Fort-five percent of these people indicated that the library was “not important” to them (Pew Report, 2012, p.12).  Whether this changes as their needs become more complex is one trend to study closely, perhaps as a temporal cohort study. 

The data that includes interactions with librarians show that 20% receive research help from a librarian.  However, of that 16-17 year old group that responded about libraries being not very important to them, 43% did get research help from a librarian.  Also, specific comments from librarians indicate that technology support is becoming more important in their jobs (Pew Report, 2012, p. 35). 

I’ll post about the second report later. 


Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K., Madden, M., Brenner, J., & Pew Internet & American Life, P. (2012). Libraries, Patrons, and E-Books. Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Friday, September 7, 2012

23 Things Tech Post - Ebook vs. Print

This is my post about the ebook versus print study.

23 Things Tech Post - oops!

I wanted to write something about e-books and libraries for my 23 Things Report.  I found this interesting report. This is the cite in APA style:

Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K., Madden, M., Brenner, J., & Pew Internet & American Life, P. (2012). Libraries, Patrons, and E-Books. Pew Internet & American Life Project,

Here is the abstract:

This report explores the world of e-books and libraries, where libraries fit into these book-consumption patterns of Americans, when people choose to borrow their books and when they choose to buy books. It examines the potential frustrations e-book borrowers can encounter when checking out digital titles, such as long wait lists and compatibility issues. Finally, it looks at non-e-book-borrower interest in various library services, such as preloaded e-readers or instruction on downloading e-books. To understand the place e-reading, e-books, and libraries have in Americans' evolving reading habits, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given the Pew Internet Project a grant to study this shifting digital terrain. Libraries have traditionally played a key role in the civic and social life of their communities, and this work is aimed at understanding the way that changes in consumer behavior and library offerings might affect that unique relationship between libraries and communities. Findings include: (1) 12% of readers of e-books borrowed an e-book from the library in the past year. But a majority of Americans do not know that this service is provided by their local library; (2) E-book borrowers appreciate the selection of e-books at their local library, but they often encounter wait lists, unavailable titles, or incompatible file formats; (3) Many Americans would like to learn more about borrowing e-books; (4) 58% of Americans have a library card, and 69% say that their local library is important to them and their family; (5) Library card holders are more than twice as likely to have bought their most recent book than to have borrowed it from a library. Many e-book borrowers purchase e-books, too; (6) Library card holders use more technology, and they report that they read more books; and (7) Leading-edge librarians and patrons say that the advent of e-books has produced a major transformation in book searching and borrowing at libraries. (Contains 66 footnotes.)

When I read the abstract, I thought that this report would be relevant and up to date.  It does not appear to have a print version available at USF.  This wasn't important to me because this was a project on the Web 2.0 paradigm and an electronic version would seem to fit what I was trying to describe in the first place.

A full online version of this 80 page report was available only through ERIC, the Education Resource Information Center.  The USF catalogue record had a link to the report.  When I clicked on it, this is what I got instead of my report:

Dear ERIC Community,
In early August we discovered that sensitive personally identifiable information appeared in some full text documents contained in the ERIC collection. Specifically, social security numbers and other highly sensitive information were found in multiple documents and in a way that could not easily be isolated. For that reason, we had to temporarily disable access to many full text documents.
Although these documents had been publicly available in microfiche for many years, the advent of Internet search engines has made it easier to find this information. Our number one concern is to ensure that any full-text documents we provide do not violate any individual's privacy. We believe that if any of us were to have our privacy compromised by an ERIC document, we would want the same consideration.
We are seeking to restore access to documents as soon as possible. In order to restore access to ERIC, we have to check every document to see if it contains personally identifiable information. Due to the quality of many of the documents, a large portion of the search has to be done by hand. This is a large undertaking and we are in the process of hiring a team to help restore access in a fast and responsive manner. We hope to get this team in place by late September and releasing large numbers of ERIC documents by the end of October. We will continue to release documents after that point on a rolling basis.
To minimize the burden on our users, we will prioritize searching the documents that users request. If you would like to request a PDF to be returned online, please email with the record number (such as ED263102). Documents will be returned on a rolling basis and may take several weeks, but we are working as fast as possible.
We are sorry for the inconvenience and want to thank you for bearing with us through this unexpected delay.
The ERIC Team

This seemed to be a perfect example for many things Web 2.0.  First, with digital media, searching through documents is easier, faster, and more efficient than searching through traditional text resources.  Second, the ease and efficiency of digital text search also makes it easier to find a person's private information, also making it easier to commit identity theft.  Three, digital information is not always available.  Four, digital information can be made unavailable quickly.  Any sense of permanance is wielded by the person or group in charge of the data, usually at a centralized location.

However, like all librarians do, I did find the information.  Here's the link to the report:

Is "library" outdated

This week we have been discussing whether the term "library" is outdated. Underlining this argument is the public's perception of the internet being the new "library without walls". This argument is based on a few false assumptions. First, that all information is free. Second, that all information is digitally accessable.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Library Observation: Prison Library

I have decided that one of the libraries I will be observing will be at a prison facility.  Prison libraries have a long history, one that is as long as our traditional public library model.  As early as 1825, correctional institutions in the U.S. have had libraries.  Originally the texts were all spiritual in nature but the idea was to help "reform" the inmate.  In the 1840s, Eliza Farnham began to innovate at the Sing Sing prison in New York where she introduced non-spiritual texts for the first time.  This, naturally, created an uproar.  Even though she was eventually forced out of her position due to community and national pressure, her efforts paved the way for prison librarianship.

Steadily, Farnham's ideas caught on and the prison library was seen not only as a tool for spiritual reform but also something to fit the recreational and educational needs of the inmates.

Today, correctionallibrarianship faces difficult issues as the prison system model shifts from rehabilitation to retributative to re-entry.  Tight budgets and behavior compliance are constantly in the background in trying to serve this needy population.

The ALA has published guidelines for prison librarianship with the most recent being the 1992 edition.

Library Observation: Go Local?

I have been doing some thinking about our second major research project requiring us to observe two libraries and interview two librarians.  I actually did this inadvertantly one time when I was applying for library positions (they hired in-house).  I went to my local brach and asked some questions about the nature of today's library and the effects of e-books on lending.  I discovered a whole new "virtual" Pasco Public Library System ( after my discussion which left me excited about the future of librarianship.  I also leanrned about Tumblebooks!

Our library branch is new, modern, neat, and clean.  This makes finding books a pleasurable experience.  This made me wonder about other types of libraries where the sensibilities of the public is not a major concern.  This is probably going to be my focus on this project in the future.

Ask A Librarian Chat in One Word: Awesome!

Yesterday I began my research for this week's discussion concerning the term "library" and whether it is outdated.  This led me to research all sorts of issues about the merging of the internet and the traditional library.  This time, in analyzing the term, I decided to do some research on mission statements.

I searched online for the USF libraries mission statement and found only one for the office of undergraduate research.  No good.

More searching kept leading me back to the libraries home page where the picture of "Dr. Drew", an SLIS graduate, kept flashing before me in the "Ask A Librarian" box.  Many regional libraries have this feature but I did not know it was an IM/Chat function(almost like buying insurance or a new cell phone).

I was instantly connected to "Renee".  I asked her if the USF libraries mission statement was online.  Within two minutes the webpage with the mission statement popped up before my eyes.  It was amazing!  I thanked Renee.  She asked me if there was anything else she could do for me and responded "no".  That was it.

This was a great example of why librarians are not obsolete.  With more information on the internet, it is necessary to have someone guide you in the right direction.  That's why librarians are "the best search engines."

Friday, August 31, 2012

First Library Visit

Thursday was the first day I had to do research for our Foundations class.  Week 6 requires that we have a completed library center report so I decided to get an early start.  We have to observe two different libraries using what our professor calls a "critical eye".  For me, that means coming from a well-informed point of view.

I have decided that I will try and observe a prison library which means learning on how they operate.  The ALA put out standards in 1992 for adult correctional institutions and there are several new books about prison librarianship.

The USF library is immense and somewhat intimidating but I was able to talk to "Nancy" a very helpful reference librarian.  As soon as I told her I was an MLIS student, she not only told me the information I needed but also taught me how to find the information.  "This is what you are going to have to learn," she said with a helpful smile.

Week one almost done!

The campus is still alive and electric with returning students. Yesterday, I ventured to the library to start my first bit of research for an assignment. More on that later.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

First week of class!

Classes started on August 28th for us at the USF MLIS programs.  So far, our Foundations of Library and Information Science class (LIS 5020) has about 15 students.  I'm excited and nervous about this semester.

I am writing under the pseudonym Dedalus.