deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Free Government Infomation's Best. Titles. Ever. is back! It's now a tumblr, it's hilarious as ever, and it's managed by the amazing Aimee. Come for the lulz, stay for the muskrat meat. Thanks, GPO and Pueblo, Colarado.

This mab of the London Tube is rendered entirely in CSS! It's hasn't taken advantage of that for accessibility, but it'd be easy: a positioned off-screen header before each line, some text to announce junctions of two lines.

In response to "Of 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, just 93 were about black people":

Christopher Myers: "The Apartheid of Children’s Literature" in the NYT.

The mission statements of major publishers are littered with intentions, with their commitments to diversity, to imagination, to multiculturalism, ostensibly to create opportunities for children to learn about and understand their importance in their respective worlds. During my years of making children’s books, I’ve heard editors and publishers bemoan the dismal statistics, and promote this or that program that demonstrates their company’s “commitment to diversity.” With so much reassurance, it is hard to point fingers, but there are numbers and truths that stand in stark contrast to the reassurances.

And père. Walter Dean Myers: Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?

Simple racism, I thought. On reflection, though, I understood that I was wrong. It was racism, but not simple racism. My white co-worker had simply never encountered a black chemist before. Or a black engineer. Or a black doctor. I realized that we hired people not so much on their résumés, but rather on our preconceived notions of what the successful candidate should be like. And where was my boss going to get the notion that a chemist should be black?

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've got another litcrit post bubbling along on the back burner, but in the meantime, if I don't clear out some of these tabs my browser will explode. So here, have some web accessibility linkspam:
many links about web accessibility )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Two links today which were both partially inspired by the 20 year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

First, the depressing one: Via Jennison Mark Asuncion, Dennis Lembree identifies several accessibility gaps on the home page of the new web site. The site was launched partially in celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the ADA, and some of the accessibility gaps Lembree finds are whoppers: overly styled text instead of heading tags, for example. As Jennison said, what does it say when the chief US gov agency promoting IT
accessibility is not where it needs to be with their own site?

But let's follow with a much more inspiring post: [personal profile] jesse_the_k: "20 Years and a Day for the Americans with Disabilities Act". This essay inspires me to see all the good we've done in two decades. From [personal profile] jesse_the_k:

So, thanks for my life, ADA: many mundane things, and a few great big ones.

The law is not enough; as Cal Montgomery taught me:
Discrimination is always illegal; only activism makes it unwise.

And something I don't say very often, because I'm still pissed off about certain comments about atheism, But thanks, George H. W. Bush, for signing the ADA into law. Because of that law, I have a job.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
1. Here's a great post from the Archivist of the United States (RSS/[syndicated profile] aotus_feed), where he uses the news that the Library of Congress is acquiring the digital archive of public tweets as a jumping off point for explaining the difference between the missions of the National Archives and the Library of Congress. And along the way, he showed an interesting historian's perspective on twitter:

Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 )

2. If you are looking for fascinating new blogs, the C-SPAN video blog (RSS/[syndicated profile] cspan_video_feed) is a great entry point into their huge collection. (I just watched a baby turtle poop in a senator's hand!)

3. I really like this Book Spine Poetry that the Somers Library in New York put up on Flickr. A couple of my favorites, linked and transcribed here:

Book Spine Poetry )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
My office at work in the most pleasant of locations (notwithstanding its windowless and freezing environments). Situated in the stacks, surrounded on all sides by LOC E-P, so practically every nonfiction book I decide I want to read is right there around me.

My favorite walk to my workspace ("favorite" here meaning "I only have to use my hands once") goes right to government documents, and because our government documents section uses compact shelving, my route is slightly different every day. When I see an interesting looking book or pamphlet, I often grab it to bring back to my desk.

Some of my recent perusals:

Bulletin of the Department Of Labor: Volume VI, 1901 )

Report on the Introduction of Domestic Reindeer into Alaska, with Illustrations, by Sheldon Jackson D.D., General Agent of Education in Alaska. 1896 )

Coastal-change and glaciological map of the Northern Ross Ice Shelf area, Antarctica: 1962-2004, Geological Investigations Series Map I-2600-H, 2007 )

US Support for the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. The Secretary Of State. April 11, 1979 )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Thingology has been doing a good job of reporting on the dangers of the new OCLC policy [PDF] which goes into effect in February, explaining how it de facto removes work from the public domain. This is important: a private company is, by licensing terms, effectively stealing intellectual content created by government employees in the course of doing their jobs, and putting in noncompete clauses which make it implausible for these government agencies to contribute to public domain or open licensed efforts such as the Open Library. Read:

Then, if you are angry -- and you should be -- sign Aaron Swartz's petition. And then, if you are a librarian or a WorldCat user, sign the Petition for OCLC to Collaboratively Rewrite Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)'s suggestions to Obama's transition team on improving public domain access to government resources are fabulous. I hadn't known about FedFlix [FedFlix on the Internet archive, Fedflix on YouTube], but what a fabulous resource: and NTIS teamed up together to make public domain digital copies of many government videotapes.

Or how about their idea for The Library of the USA, which would not only create a fantastic archival series of curated documents, but would be a nice New Deal-style public works jobs program in a time where even libertarians are beginning to realize we need one.

And nobody can deny that right now high-speed Internet access is part of enfranchisement in modern society, and a program to bring high-speed Internet to more rural parts of America would be fabulous.

We are in prime time to do both so much good and so much harm. Traditionally, government information has been printed by the GPO, an organization which knows that its mandate from United States code includes permanent public access, and knows that all work of the United States government is in the public domain. Their digitization efforts include an understanding of the public domain. But these days, the US government publishes many documents directly to the Web, without involving the GPO, and the individual departments responsible for that publication can be unaware of their responsibilities to the public. Comedians make jokes about Dick Cheney and his shredder, but the problem goes beyond illegal government programs and secret laws. Evil people will always do evil, and it's our responsibility to stop them, but a lot of what's going on now is just carelessness and ignorance. If government departments don't know they have a responsibility to publish into the public domain, if by bypassing the FDLP with direct-to-Web publication they don't realize they are bypassing a mandate to permanent public access, then it doesn't take any evil whatsoever to deny the public our right to permanent access to these public domain materials.

Some government offices, such as the Government Accountability Office, are already on the right track. Let's make sure the new administration keeps us going the right way.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Clearing out old tabs, I find this great post by [ profile] free_govt_info, "New Best. Title. Ever" really exemplifies two points which are so strange about copy-blocked PDFs. This post showcases a government publication for which the PDF was released so that the text could not be copied out or the images extracted. First of all, this copy protection was completely legally unnecessary; the PDF was of a public domain government document, so it was crippled for no reason whatsoever. And more humorously, as you can see if you look at the various ETAs in the post, the electronic limitations of the PDF don't even work! It's very easy for anyone with technical know-how to break the protections on any PDF that's readable by the user, and without violating any provisions of the DMCA, either. As long as you can view it, you can copy and print it -- but you have to know how. So this government document, public domain and owned by the citizenry, was ineffectively and unnecessarily crippled. What's up with that?

Of course, this post is only made better by the fact that the government document in question, now available as an open PDF on the FGI post, is entitled "Hills Bros. Coffee Can Chronology: Field Guide. Awesome.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Some library, book, archives, records, baseball fandom, and government information musings and links just so I can clear the tabs out of my browser again: Cut to save your screen real estate )

many links

Feb. 22nd, 2008 02:40 pm
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
The only way to get all these tabs out of my browser is to actually post some links.

This is one I've been saying for awhile "somebody has got to be working on this". Omeka is creating a free platform to help people create curated digital exhibits. The next thing that needs to happen is a hosted service -- not CONTENTdm style hosted service, but a real hosted curation service including preservation planning.

Republicans utterly refuse to compromise on telecom immunity, while the president insists that anyone who doesn't grant immunity to the telecommunications companies want the terrorists to win.

Why students want simplicity and why it fails them when it comes to research is a good introduction to the idea that the skills learned in googling for facts are not actually going to serve a student who needs to learn how to do complex research. Sometimes we need to adapt to user-perceived needs, but sometimes, as academic or school librarians, our job is to teach our patrons. The trick lies in choosing the right balance.

It doesn't do us much good to have an independent, bipartisan Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board if the President can make it vanish simply by not appointing any members.

The MPAA's numbers about the effect of campus music piracy were vastly overblown. Only about 15% of their losses were due to campus downloading, and only about 3% probably came from on campus networks, but the record companies and Congress are bullying the universities to police anyway.

These pictures are very beautiful and very, very sad. "It will rise from ashes" is a blog post and accompanying Flickr set of images from an abandoned Detroit school system book depository. Trees growing from the soil created by burned then rained upon books; it's a kind of renewal, but renewal not from the typical post-apocalyptic vision of a rich industrial culture, but renewal from... well, I don't want to be too horribly melodramatic and say shattered potentials, so I don't know how to finish the sentence.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Here's another great one from [ profile] free_govt_info: "Expect more from". provides performance reports on man government programs. If you want to be depressed, check out the list of programs marked as "ineffective", which includes programs such as Amtrak:

Amtrak's purpose is ambiguous, and the program has been ineffectively managed due to this lack of clarity. Congress has not specified whether Amtrak should: 1) provide alternative transportation nationwide at any cost, 2) maximize ridership, or 3)take a business-based approach focused on minimizing losses.

If it's not obvious, I vote for #1.

Anyway, the search engine is non-existent, but the transparency (we have a moderately effective "Geothermal Technology" program? An adequate "CDC: Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis" program? Only four DoE programs ranked "effective"? Who knew?) is truly awesome.

If you're not reading [ profile] free_govt_info, consider it. A few days ago they linked to The American Presidency Project's database of all presdential signing statements. Did you know that George Bush, Sr. felt that "To provide for the minting of commemorativecoins to support the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games and theprograms of the United States Olympic Committee, to reauthorize andreform the United States Mint, and for other purposes" impinged on his constitutional authority?

In other linkage, from [ profile] openaccess_rss, a hilarious and apt analogy to the current academic publishing model:

I have an ingenious idea for a company. My company will be in the business of selling computer games. But, unlike other computer game companies, mine will never have to hire a single programmer, game designer, or graphic artist. Instead I'll simply find people who know how to make games, and ask them to donate their games to me. Naturally, anyone generous enough to donate a game will immediately relinquish all further rights to it. From then on, I alone will be the copyright-holder, distributor, and collector of royalties. This is not to say, however, that I'll provide no "value-added." My company will be the one that packages the games in 25-cent cardboard boxes, then resells the boxes for up to $300 apiece.

It goes on, getting more painful with every line.

And in incredibly depressing news, judges have been citing Wikipedia in verdicts. Copiously.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
A few links from today:

Bad government:

Bad responses to bad government:

  • On the other side of the Big Brother coin, I don't see how wikileaks can possibly work. It seems to me that it would be filled with fraudulent unverifiable documents almost immediately. It's a nice idea, though. (Also, they have to stop using the word "Wikipedia".)

To balance this all out, a good government link from Free Government Information: The Consumer Action Website, a handy resource provided by the feds.
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