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 http://blog.libraryjournal.com/annoyedlibrarian/2012/09/24/a-solution-looking-for-a-problem/ 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 http://www.historypin.com.

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 http://www.bloglines.com/ 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 ERICRequests@ed.gov 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.  http://www.ala.org/ascla/asclaissues/librarystandards

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 (http://pascolibraries.org/) 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."