deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
  • "So You Want to Read YA?", a guest post by Amy Stern at Stacked. Everything she says there is completely worth reading, except for how I think Rob Thomas' later statements about his work have poisoned everything he wrote earlier in his career, to the extent that I find it impossible to talk about his earlier work in any non-negative fashion.[1]
  • "Specimens: Figurines, fishers, bugs and bats – how things in the world become sacred objects in a museum": I want to understand how things come to take their place — especially in museums and collections — as embodiments of knowledge, artefacts out of time and nature, provoking curiosity and wonder. How they become objectified.
  • "Fist-clenchingly poor science": But every time such fist-clenchingly poor science as the current paper is published, the prejudice is reinforced and the cause of open access publishing undermined. Thus, while I’m sure everyone involved is dedicated and scrupulous, it is paramount that PLOS works harder to increase its editorial standards to reduce the chances of such embarrassingly weak science being published.
  • "Colleges Leaving Low-Income Students Behind": Schools have gone from helping to make college more affordable for those with the greatest financial need to strategically awarding merit aid to students who can increase their standings in rankings like U.S. News & World Report and bring in more revenue.

1. But then, I'm still capable of saying positive things about Ender's Gamer and Speaker for the Dead, and I'm sure plenty of other smart people feel the way about Orson Scott Card that I feel about Rob Thomas. Apparently I draw the line somewhere after "gay marriage is destroying my family" and before "women who make rape accusations are lying liars who lie." Or possibly I think Ender and Speaker are good enough books to get me past my anger at their creator; certainly I can no longer read lesser Card with any pleasure. And the highest quality Rob Thomas surpasses the quality of the worst OSC, but doesn't even come close to the best. [back]


Oct. 26th, 2012 10:17 am
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
My built-in china cabinet has long since ceased to be a cupboard to showcase hand-me-down wineglasses and become a closet for hats. Now I've outgrown that space, and my coat closet, too, has become overridden with hatboxes. Veils and feathers, fascinators and caps, boaters and fedoras.

What I'm saying is that I have a lot of hats.

I have almost as many metaphorical hats, though sadly they lack the trimmings of the physical kind. Usually I juggle my professional interests adequately, although every fall I come to terms anew with the reality that, for three months, my contributions to Dreamwidth are what I give up to make room for teaching. This year is slightly tighter than usual, because of membership on the Odyssey Award committee, but at least much of the time spent listening to audio books is time that would otherwise be dead space.

In any case, here is a description of the 48 hour period of which I'm currently in the center.

  • Yesterday morning, go to work as a digital archivist, where I've been having more opportunities to code of late as I've been contributing fixes and features to a blacklight/Hydra digital library portal we will be launching Any Day Now, and where I've been helping to manage our Open Access Week activities.
  • Leave after a short day to teach two sections of the children's and young adult SFF class I teach with Amy.
  • Get home at nearly 11 PM, go to bed, and wake up at 4:30 AM (on a gorgeous, starry autumn morning, Orion and Jupiter high in the sky) to catch the early train to New Haven for code4lib New England, where I'll be presenting on
  • On the train I'll be listening to audio books for the Odyssey Award committee;
  • when I return home I have some reading to do for Kirkus Reviews.

I do like hats. I like how they look and how they feel, how each one makes me into a slightly different person. But sometimes having so many gets a little complicated.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
This year, at work, I helped shepherd an accomplishment of which I am inordinately proud. Those of you who are from organizations which have your shit together more than we do might not think this is so impressive (although it seems to be a truth in this field that every organization thinks that everybody else has their shit together more).

Under the leadership of my manager, our libraries' Scholarly Communications Team worked with the provost to develop a fund for open access publishing. Over the last several months, I've been instrumental in making sure that we set hard deadlines to write guidelines, accept applications, and of course, give away that money. And now we have. Our first round of applications came in, funding has been announced, and now we've started to receive our second round of applications.

Giving away other people's money in order to increase the amount of open access scholarship in the world is totally, thoroughly awesome.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've seen some people in the blogosphere saying things like "the New York Times charging for online access to its articles oppresses poor people".

So, guys. I'm a librarian. Hell, I'm a digital archivist. I believe information was meant to be free. I live information was meant to be free.

And you know what's awesome? It is. In most parts of the United States, there are public libraries. Most of those public libraries have print subscription to the New York Times. In fact, most of the public libraries are part of larger networks which enable their users to plug their library card numbers into a website and get digital access to the most recent issues of the New York Times without ever leaving their seats. This is important, especially for people who live in rural areas, don't have transport to the library, or work unusual or excessive hours.

Does this mean that all of the linky-linking that goes on in the blogosphere, with people labeling their links "here" and not identifying the article in question by title or date, will be less accessible to people who don't pay the New York Times? Of course it does. But just because I believe information was meant to be free, doesn't mean that I believe that the New York Times is obliged to make it trivially easy for everybody to get free access to their expensively-generated content in the most easy way possible without doing any extra work. Bloggers can damn well learn to cite the articles they link to. The rest of us can learn how to login to our local library systems' databases.

You should note that the more you use your online library's databases, the higher their use statistics are, that they can then bring back to the town during budgeting sessions explaining how heavily used they are and how they should get more money to subscribe even more online databases. Supporting libraries for the win!

And as for supporting newspapers, well. I'm in the front lines of people bitching that most newspapers have stopped doing investigative journalism and instead just reprint wire pieces or post she said/he said controversies. But investigative journalism is expensive, and journalists asking to be paid is not oppressive.

(Libraries are awesome, guys. Of course I want you to be supporting your local independent bookstore, but remember you can always order books and DVDs via interlibrary loan! FREE.)
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Over at the Transformative Works and Cultures blog, TWC editor Karen Hellekson has posted an excellent essay "Breaking the primacy of print". Karen asks why online-only peer-reviewed journals are valued less than peer-reviewed journals with a print presence, when the delivery medium has nothing to do with the rigorous miss of the scholarship. TWC, in particular, is a multimedia-rich scholarly journal, for which a print presence would be a watered down equivalent.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
the Internet Archive launched a new service that brings free access to more than 1 million books — from classic 19th century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials — now available in the specially designed format to support those who are blind, dyslexic or are otherwise visually impaired.

More specifically, through its Open Library interface, the Internet Archive has released many of its e-books in DAISY format. DAISY format is a preferred format for many people who don't use print, and this is a real improvement over the frequent that is "but I put up a PDF so it's accessible" (frequently an untagged, inaccessible PDF). Thank you, Open Library.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Peter Suber has announced that he is ceasing to update Open Access News. There are a lot of reasons for this; for one thing, his blogging has been really low for a year anyway. For another, Google's migration of Blogger content has provoked this decision, highlighting one of the problems with resources that are hosted in the cloud.

Thank you so much, Peter. The blog was a great resource.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've been enjoying Public Knowledge's 4-part video series "We Are Creators, Too," but I never expected Francesca Coppa discussing vidding to come across my blog roll!

Kudos to PK for treating vidding like any other form of video remix, not as some weird dysfunctional female behaviour. And kudos to PK for doing the shockingly unusual behaviour of not normativizing male video creation; 3 of the 4 interviews are with women, and video remix not treated as a male activity that some women do as well.

And of course, kudos to Francesca for for an excellent interview which touches on so many of the key points of vidding culture, history, and law.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I'm trying to close out many of my tabs, so I'm going to break this into two posts, one which is mostly about archival/open scholarship/library issues, and one which is about children's literature -- because I think my readership is kind of divided down the middle.

"diaries are a window into life of Kennedy daughter" was a story which really resonated with me as I struggle to learn the ethics of archivists. On the one hand, the diaries are an important part of the historical record, teaching us incredibly troubling things about Joe Kennedy in giving insights into many of the causes supported by Ted Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. On the other hand, their potential for harm to (at the time) living people was not small.

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I've mostly been blogging on children's literature issues lately, not archives and library issues. I think this is because in archives, I'm much more concerned with the pragmatic macro/micro day-to-day realities of the nigtmare that is digital preservation, rather than with any attempt to drive the field forward. It's one of the reasons I haven't said anything about the DuraSpace announcement, not wanting to harsh on anyone's squee, because while in the long-term I can see real benefits to having a joint foundation, not tied to a single software solution, in the short run I just wish the Fedora Commons team would think more about the daily pragmatic realities of running a production preservation and access tool using their software.

But I am going to break my library silence because I haven't seen the Elsevier scandal get much play outside of the science and library blogospheres, and it should. In a nutshell, one of the ongoing Vioxx lawsuits revealed that Elsevier produced a fake peer reviewed journal as a marketing tool for Merck. The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was apparently high enough quality to fool doctors who weren't looking for shenanigans. Jacqueline at Laika's MedLibLog points out that this practice seems either more or less outrageous when you realize it's hardly unique. Good thing Elsevier assures us that it was an isolated practice and those responsible for sacking those responsible have been sacked!

Keep in mind that Elsevier has spent a substantial amount of time and money lobbying at least the United States and United Kingdom governments explaining that open access research will be devastating because it will be impossible for anyone to tell what is high-quality research and what is solid, peer-reviewed, and published by a reputable gatekeeper.
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Yesterday, in the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives blog ([ profile] tufts_dca), I talked about our newly-launched institutional repository, Tufts eScholarship. I'm very optimistic about the success of our IR, though there has been a lot of conversation in the IR world about what makes institutional repositories fail. The number one reason I'm optimistic about our IR: it's not what purists would call an institutional repository.

I'd like to buy university digitization efforts a Coke and teach everyone how to work with each other: cut for length )

The decisions leading to this wonderful conjunction of circumstances all predate my presence here at the university by many years. I'm talking about this not to toot Tufts' horn, but to push this vital idea of collaboration. Even now, I see so many institutions in the repository space that have entirely orthogonal approaches within their own organizations. The people digitizing images aren't talking to the people digitizing texts aren't talking to the people dealing with digital records aren't talking to the people doing institutional repository. Sure, maybe you would never use the same software platform or workflow approaches for all of these efforts. But maybe you will. Maybe instead of getting six different perfect software packages, you will find something that is good enough for all of you, and uses only one license, a smaller number of technical support staff, and something which will continue to be supported by your university even if hard economic times make some of the digital collections look less important.

Heck, I'm looking at this entirely selfishly, and you should too. In tough economic times, digital archives might go by the wayside. Open access institutional repositories are still untested. But management of the university's digital records is never going to be unnecessary. Work with other people instead of merely alongside them, intertwine your jobs, and you will not just save your institution money and resources, but you will increase the number of ways in which you are vital. Job security FTW.
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)
Oh, happiness. The open access, peer-reviewed fan studies journal Transformative Works and Cultures has just released its debut issue. A large crowd of volunteers and contributors has worked very hard to make this happen -- neither editor of the journal has institutional support, so their achievement is particularly impressive.

Of course I'm thrilled about adding a new open access journal to scholarship. Both the social sciences and humanities have far too few OA journals. And of course, I'm particularly smug about some of the things I brought in. DOIs might not seem such a big deal to those of you who are librarians and archivists, but think about how difficult it can be to have your library's databases provide links to material on the open web. And of course, from a preservation perspective DOIs will keep our articles accessible even if the infrastructure changes. For example, if we change our backend software so it is no longer the Open Journal Systems, our URLs might change but our DOIs will remain the same. Once we have the requisite number of published issues, I look forward to seeing our journal indexed in a large variety of indexing and abstracting services.

But one of the most exciting things about this journal is that it is fully multimedia, taking advantage of the online medium -- and of the journal is prepared to stand behind its assertions of fair use for some of the multimedia clips used. For example, Francesca Coppa's "Women, Star Trek, and the Early Development of Fannish Vidding" embeds both images and video, and Bob Rehak's "Fan Labor Audio Feature Introduction" includes audio clips from a workshop discussion at the 2008 Console-ing Passions conference that was inspired by the Gender and Fan Culture discussion (in which I was a participant) and Henry Jenkins' blog in 2007. And even the journal software itself encourages participatory culture; the software allows (and we encourage) commenting by readers.

Press Release )

The call for papers for No. 2 is available as an .rtf file here. Do disseminate widely!
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
If I'm going to be teaching a class, and my institution doesn't have an Open Courseware instance, how should I put up the course materials? CC-licensed on my own site? Connexions? Something else?
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)
This wonderful. The Nebraska Library commission has been making archived copies of Creative Commons published works and cataloging them into their OPAC. They aren't doing this indiscriminately; they are only grabbing works which are in line with their collection development policy. They are also making spiral-bound printed copies of those works for which the license allows it, and shelving them in the physical collection.

What a fabulous, fabulous mashup of old and new.

(And does it say something about my reading habits that I got this link from lisnews and not from boingboing?)
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works edited by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson.

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC’s aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community.

CFP behind link for length )

The call for papers is available as a .pdf download sized for US Letter or European A4. Please feel free to link, download, print, distribute, or post.

Additionally, much thanks to Peter Suber, for blogging us so promptly. Heck, much thanks to Peter Suber regardless, just for his tireless efforts on behalf of Open Access.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
In the last few years, all of the conferences I have been to have had rather fabulous keynote speakers. I don't recall this being the case in the past. Maybe it's just that I'm really interested in libraries, information, and changing technology, and there are some great speakers in that field.

(Though would be nice to have some female or nonwhite keynote speakers every once in a great while. I mean, Brewster Kahle is my Internet boyfriend, and only somebody crazy would skip a Jonathan Zittrain talk, but still. Just once in a great while. Somebody not white and/or male?)

John Willinsky. Sorting and Classifying the Open Access issues for Digital Libraries: Issues Technical, Economic, Philosophical, and Principled  )
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