The “Human Trace” of Illegal Uploaders and Scanners.

Ok. So I download a lot of comics illegally via the Pirate Bay. (Let’s not get into the ethical issues of illegal downloading right now….) Now scanning is a lot of work. One of my professors, Sarah Roberts, has done research on how for the Google Book project sometimes a finger is accidentally scanned in with the images of the book. This reminds us that there are workers, human beings, scanning and making digital copies of these books. Somebody is doing the endlessly repetitive and boring task of turning the page, scanning, turning the page, scanning, turning the page…etc.

Continue reading “The “Human Trace” of Illegal Uploaders and Scanners.”

The Library Showdown Smackdown: Abram versus Buschman

Ok. So in the past few weeks I’ve seen two of the leading voices in librarianship speak, both Stephen Abram and John Buschman. Both are fascinating speakers, charismatic individuals and, without doubt, brilliant individuals. However, I couldn’t help but notice some fundamental differences between the things they were saying. I’ve been thinking this through for a while and thought it might help to try to get some of these thoughts down on paper. So be warned. These ideas are extremely half baked and maybe should have stayed in the oven for a while longer. But what are blogs for? So here we go.

1Continue reading “The Library Showdown Smackdown: Abram versus Buschman”

Fisking How “Libraries Are Failing America”

Agnostic, Maybe

Last week, a column by David Harsanyi entitled “Libraries Are Failing America” appeared in the online version of The Federalist. In this fair but meandering article, Mr. Harsanyi makes some good points about how libraries can do better as well as some wonderfully awful points about the modern library. Since his focus wanders around through the piece, I’m going to chop it up into sections.

A new Pew Study claims that libraries “loom large in the public imagination,” with 90 percent of Americans ages 16 and older saying that closing down their local libraries would have an impact on their community. The public may imagine that libraries are dynamic centers of learning and community, but the Pew data seems suggest that they’re mostly places where your prosperous neighbors borrow books and movies without having to directly pay for them. And as Pew points out, adults with “higher…

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Google, Power and Profit

Ok. Sooo Google is totally  starting to build Military robots

Scary right? Talking about the ramifications and benefits of Google is always one of my favorite discussions.

Perhaps the best article I’ve ever read about Google, that lays out why Google is what it is and how it has kind of become an almost necessary evil is this article entitled The Political Economy of Google by Christian Fuchs:


[It might seem like I breaking some copy-right laws uploading this. But it does appear to have a creative commons licence and is available freely and widely online. (I found it using Google)]

Check it out. It’s worth the read, especially for the more Marxist sympathetic of my readers.

google even though youre

E-books Change Everything

Ok. Let’s talk about e-books.

Why readers read what they do has always been a mystery for publishers and retailers. E-books and the current growth of exploration into “Big Data” is changing this. E-books are essentially reading you as you read them. They are collecting data about how long it takes you to read- be it the whole book or a page-, what sentences you highlight, your reading habits- what time you read, what kind of books you like to read, If you binge on a book or consume it slowly throughout a month-, what books you don’t finish, and so forth… This perhaps has scarier implications with the recent Snowden NSA leaks, and privacy laws will have to play catch up as this technology and information keeps advancing, but all this ‘big brother’ worries being said, the potential implications of this are fascinating.Continue reading “E-books Change Everything”

11 issues facing academic libraries right now.

Stuff we should be talking about in Library School….

Deepening the Conversation

A friend asked me if I had any thoughts on the top issues facing academic libraries right now, for a class she’s teaching for first year LIS students. It turns out — no surprise — I do have thoughts about that! I sat down and built a list off the top of my head. With some fleshed out explanation, here’s my list.

A couple of notes:

  • I tried to think ‘whole library’. I did not include on this list “The impact of the new ACRL Information Literacy standards/ integration of threshold concepts”. I know that will have a huge impact, but only on a specific sector of academic librarianship, and I felt the teaching pressures were already represented.
  • Context: I am an instruction and outreach librarian, with liaison responsibilities in the social sciences. I am tech & geek friendly, but probably wouldn’t be called techy or geeky. I’ve never worked…

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A New Dawn for Digital Comic Books?

Ok. Let’s make some things clear here. Comic books, graphic novels, graphic non-fiction, or whatever, are exploding right now as a form of literature. The growth of public libraries collections for these materials has grown from almost nonexistent six years ago to being a pretty prime and popular section.

A digital graphic novel database just makes sense. Most Ebook lending systems for libraries are a mess. Too many restrictions, to unnecessarily complex a process, and (maybe worst of all) too little control in the hands of librarians.
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No such thing as a Libertarian Librarian?

This being the inaugural post of my blog, what better way to start then with a rant against the system? Ok. So, Man, the issue with library school is that it kind of functions as a massive group-think for librarians. Which, of course, is pretty damn awesome. When it comes to things such as finding creative ways to answer reference questions, adapting to new technology, identifying trends, and discussing different approaches to information management, you really can’t beat the atmosphere created within a Library school.

However, just try mentioning the word (god-forbid) “privatization” and watch us react by clutching on to our books furiously, as if Stephen Harper himself was trying to tear them from our clammy grasp. The thing is: there are no libertarian librarians.Continue reading “No such thing as a Libertarian Librarian?”