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March 29, 2004

T-4 days, or the blind leading the blind

A couple of very nice, very motivated students at SJSU have asked me to give an informal presentation at an informal gathering of SLIS students in the East Bay this Friday. In theory, I'm to discuss developing a good relationship with one's advisor (even some of the locals never end up meeting their advisor face-to-face, and many don't contact their advisor unless there's problems), getting active/published and how/why to push the thesis/special project option.

But I'm feeling a bit evil and very tired and APA style is threatening to swallow my soul. And Mr. Emrich has graciously provided me with a metatheme for my talk:

Yes, academia is one big hazing party, though aside from fraternities and sororities the non-consensual buggery and abuse is rarely balanced out with fun and frolic.

Yeah ... I think I can get behind this statement. So along these lines, I've come up with a title for my talk: "Gonzo librarianship 101 -- guns, drugs and Nixon optional : how to win friends, influence people and get the degree and the education you deserve while driving everyone else stark raving mad ..."

The title alone should take 5 minutes (10 depending on how young or sheltered from the deranged influence of Hunter S. Thompson my audience is). The statement of purpose should induce at least 1-2 minutes of stunned silence. After that ... I got nuthin'. Well, not quite nothing, but I'm trying to stay within the middle ground between a Stephen Covey lecture and a drunken best man who's just snorted a line of coke and is about to give the official reception toast.

Thus, I beseech you for your input. What did you do, or want to do, in grad school that you would pass on to others? Not just that 'what they don't teach you in library school' meme, I mean concrete, make-or-break stuff that isn't just going through the motions until you get your union card MLS degree.

March 26, 2004

ERIC contract awarded

I'm kinda late on the ball with this for a number of reasons:

From the U.S. Department of Education:

Department Awards $34.6 Million Contract to Develop and Operate World's Largest Education Database
Department's Institute of Education Sciences to oversee development of searchable Internet-based catalog of education literature

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a five-year, $34.6 million contract to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) of Rockville, Md., along with its subcontractors, to develop and operate a new database system for the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). The ERIC database will use the latest search and retrieval methods to cull education literature and give high-quality access to educators, researchers, and the general public.


"This is a major milestone in furthering the objectives of No Child Left Behind," said Secretary of Education Rod Paige. "For the first time, educators and policy makers will have an easy to use resource for gaining quick access to comprehensive and up-to-date information and research about education."

Libraries will also be able to indicate their in-house holdings so that individuals do not purchase information that is already available to them. Materials will be added to ERIC within one month of release, and authors will submit conference papers through an online system.

Giving a brief scan of CSC press releases on their website, it appears that they did not do a corresponding press release. Then again, looking at some recent deal announcements, $34 million might be a mid-range contract for them. Anyone familiar with this firm?

March 24, 2004

Nature (the journal) and open access

From Nature's website:

The Internet is profoundly changing how scientists work and publish. New business models are being tested by publishers, including open access, in which the author pays and content is free to the user. This ongoing web focus will explore current trends and future possibilities. Each week, the website will publish specially commissioned insights and analysis from leading scientists, librarians, publishers and other stakeholders, as well as key links, and articles from our archive. All content is available free.

This focus has already been completed, but the links are still up and rather fresh.

March 23, 2004

Limited open access

From InfoToday (by Barbara Quint):

Sci-Tech Not-For-Profit Publishers Commit to Limited Open Access

� Forty-eight of the nation�s and the world�s top medical and scientific societies and not-for-profit scholarly publishers have signed the �Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science� (http://www.dcprinciples.org), a statement proclaiming their commitment to providing free access and wide dissemination of published research findings. The announcement declared that the DC Principles represent a �needed �middle ground� in the increasingly heated debate between those who advocate immediate unfettered online access to medical and scientific research findings and advocates of the current journal publishing system.� The press release announcing the statement indicated that the societies signing the DC Principles represent over 600,000 scientist and clinician members and publish over 380 journals. A closer look revealed that the journal titles held by publisher signatories totaled 115 and all signatories were currently hosted on HighWire Press, a Web-based hosting service for academic publishers from Stanford University (http://highwire.stanford.edu).

Drafted over the past year in discussions initiated at meetings of HighWire Press publishers, the DC Principles are a response to charges that current publisher practices impede access to published scientific research. According to Lenne Miller, senior director of publications at the Endocrine Society and active member of the DC Principles organization, the initiative began as an attempt to counter the Public Library of Science�s open access advocacy, which had �tarred scholarly society publishers with the same brush as commercial publishers.�


Librarian associations responded quickly to the statement, praising the signatories. The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL), American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), American Library Association (ALA), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Medical Library Association (MLA), Open Society Institute (OSI), Public Knowledge, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and SPARC Europe issued a joint statement. It applauded the publishers signing the DC Principles �for their commitment to free access to peer-reviewed research literature where they conclude it is feasible.� (The press release and statement are available at: http://www.arl.org/sparc/.)

Hmmm ... I wonder why SLA is not mentioned above. Then again, I don't know SLA's official position on open access. Hmmm ... something to investigate. Later.

March 18, 2004

Throwing down

I've never been to Boston, but I have it on good authority that Avenue Victor Hugo Books is a fine independent bookstore. Unfortunately, it will be shutting its doors permanently in a couple of months after 29 years of business.

The owner isn't letting the store go gently into that good night. On the site is a list of culprits in the death of small and indy bookstores (it's a regular Mystery on the Orient Express), which includes:

7. Librarians--once the guardians, who now watch over their budgets instead--for destroying books which would last centuries to find room for disks and tapes which disintegrate in a few years and require costly maintenance or replacement by equipment soon to be obsolete.

Owww. Yeesh. Not to revive the whole Double Fold debate, but ... oh heck, words fail. Better people than I can, have and will continue to address such things.

On the other hand, what a fabulous vision statement for the store:

This small outpost of civilization exists because a few people still believe in the essential freedoms guarded by the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Some people believe that government should define for us what we should be able to say, write, or read. Most people think there should be limits to such rights, but are unclear on who should have the power to dictate those limits. Most of our rights have already been traded away by those who prefer the safety of government control to the anarchy of individual freedom. Very few people understand the Faustian bargain they have made. This shop is dedicated to those who have rejected the bargain. It is open to those who might reconsider.

More on Berry

I didn't do a caveat lector for the previous post, but I should have. It's by no means a complete transcript, but I needed to sleep on it before I felt comfortable commenting on Berry's speech. My apologies if the notes resembled a not-so-small core dump.

It was an interesting lecture. Turns out we were in one of the smaller conference rooms in the Library and it was a capacity crowd ... latecomers sat on the floor in the back. The crowd laughed at the appropriate spots and clapped loudly at the end (some people stood).

But what really struck me about the presentation was something Berry kept referring to over and over:

Current trends in intellectual property controls/legislation are posing just as much of a threat to information access and intellectual freedom as threats to privacy and confidentiality. And librarians need to take a pro-active stance against this, just as they have done in regards to censorship and government intervention in libraries.

I'm paraphrasing, of course. And in a way that dovetails nicely with my own position on issues of copyright, licensing, etc. -- my notes, I hope, are not quite as biased.

Assuming my take is correct, Berry is certainly not the only person to feel this way. The Free Expression Policy Project has a report titled "The Progress of Science and Useful Arts": Why Copyright Today Threatens Intellectual Freedom.

I strongly disagree with Berry in one regard, however: his notion that frivolous/ pop culture material, like Mickey Mouse, can be locked up in copyright in perpetuity as long as publicly relevant, 'socially redeeming' information is made available and put in the public domain after a reasonable time. He did say that it was just his opinion ... nonetheless, no.

1) Just taking the Mickey Mouse example: MM is a figure of enormous (and to some extent global) cultural cachet. Don't believe me, just ask Andy Warhol.

2) Let's leave The Miller Test and its judgments of serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value at the courthouse steps and not take them to the Copyright Office. That road is just a vale of tears.

March 17, 2004

LectureGrunt: John N. Berry @ SJSU

John N. Berry III, Editor-in-Chief of Library Journal gave a talk on intellectual freedom at the New King Library at San Jose State University, March 17, 2004.

The vulnerability of all Americans grows with each law proposed by Ashcroft, passed by a fearful Congress.
Jimmy Carter -- governments worldwide have used terrorism threats to inhibit civil rights
FBI visited libraries 170 times since 9/11; there have 545 visits from law enforcement (local and federal)
It is time to sound the alarm:
We are close to losing total privacy to our government, a la 1984 (we're just 20 years late)
Librarians across the nation have realized the threat
The right to know should not be proscribed except in the most extreme cases

Current limitations and restrictions:

Why are librarians the ones to sound the alarm? Why is this our job? Why us? We are the only public servants who have been assigned that mission -- the mandate to inform the public
Media claim to have the same mission, but their ideological position and their profit motive have corrupted their effectiveness.

Even scholarly information is commercial nowadays.

Libraries have a crucial difference from other media distribution --
libraries try to gather as much information as possible AND they organize and classify that information and deliver that information to one citizen/patron at a time, without intervention, time/space constraints

Librarians bring no ideological motive to the information query, we're funded by the public/government and we have not an eye to profit

Information is crucial to democratic governance -- a notion that goes all the way to the founding of the Republic -- the Declaration of Independence, the First Amendment ...

Libraries were founded as community agencies -- a communal tradition
Contradicting tradition -- the government that governs best governs least -- individual liberty -- also reflected in library tradition (community vs. individualism)
Libraries are the most used government agency, and the most efficiently run government agencies -- libraries are government at its best

To get all sides of the story, you have to research it at the library

The economic imperative of lighthouses - it costs no more to warn 100 ships of rocks than it does to warn 1 ship

The main job for libraries is to preserve the public sector information infrastructure -- to preserve information access

Threats to information access:
commodification of information
Problems: marketplace failure
"Information is not property" -- corporations that demand deregulation of physical property rights also demand greater government protection of proprietary information
Using copyright to censor

In the interests of an informed public, we must restrict copyright
We must demand a full, strong public domain of information

Free access is threatened by government secrecy and corporate exercise of copyright
government information via the web has been restricted or removed, while FOIA requests are being denied

Librarians must be on guard against these threats
Our duties:
Expert selection, evaluation and aggregation
Must teach advantages and disadvantages of information formats and sources
We must not be afraid to point out ineffective, too costly resources
We must share our expertise in evaluating sources
We must protest, dispute and demand from our government that they uphold and respect our right to know

We undermine our cause with inattention to restrictive licensing agreements, with cost-per-use services in public and academic libraries, by not getting involved in the political arena to protect our users' rights.

Librarians are finally getting militant.

We have the right to be fully informed for work, play, life decisions, community and governance

Information distribution via libraries is a public good and should remain free

Information and knowledge solve problems

Librarians are guides to information, not "information cops"

The core values of libraries are being threatened by rich and powerful foes who view us as commodity competitors

Information escapes ... it never goes away. Until it is shared, it doesn't exist.


Why has Ashcroft never been quoted directly as insulting libraries in your publication? The first two articles that appeared in Library Journal reporting Ashcroft's remarks have made it clear that he was referring to a particular private organization -- the American Library Association.

We don't make that distinction. When you say that ALA is hysterical, you're talking about 65,000 members -- a substantial number of librarians.

How does technology enhance or hinder intellectual freedom and information access?

2 problems with use of technology --

Most important challenge - how to overcome the propensity of a younger generation, who are technologically sophisticated, but has no information patience, and have no evaluation skills to judge the quality of the information

This is complicated by the fact that public information experts are not invited to the information transaction -- we must be more activist in our information pursuit: more outreach is necessary

Infrastructure problems -- easy to hack, manipulate or even pull the plug entirely, as they did in Poland to the Solidarity movement.

What is the proper scope of copyright?

The original scope (20 years) was good.
There should be a form of copyright, without limits, for 'frivolous' information (like Mickey Mouse), but for crucial public/government information, it should have a short copyright term.

What's wrong with requiring a small fee for popular items (bestsellers, DVDs/videos, CDs) in public libraries?

What we might consider to be 'junk' may turn out to be very important to our patrons; the debate over popular fiction and introduction of popular material led to the evolution of intellectual freedom; such material are important to people's social lives; the library also provides access to material to people who cannot otherwise access it due to costs.

March 16, 2004

Ray of Light

Jenny Levine is looking for Madonna's phone number. You wouldn't happen to have it, would you?

It's a tale of a library marketing video that can't be distributed, and a lack of responsiveness by a Big Music Company to a clearance request. And it points to the difficulty to small content producers have in getting permissions for copyrighted material ... even in cases where the copyright holder is well-known. So if you have the direct line to Warner Bros. clearance or legal office, pass it on.

March 14, 2004


First, I offer my apologies for the recent pre-fab ("add water and stir") entries lately.

Secondly ... I apologize in advance for this post ... it's rather cranky.

I got my copy of American Libraries in the mail and cracked open the prelim schedule of the Annual Conference. And I became really excited over some of the programming -- I was ready to take a red-eye out of Atlanta on Friday night, stay in a hostel or El Cheapo motel for a night, fly out on a red-eye on Sunday and push the limits of caffeine intake the next day to function properly at work. But I noticed that some events that pique my interest directly conflict with each other, particularly on Sunday. This made me slightly cranky.

Today on BART (yes, I do a lot of library-related reading on mass transit), I decide to make a grid of what I was interested in at first glance. And I discovered these two programs:

Open Access, Open Minds: Emerging Technologies in Scholarly Information
Speakers: Heather Joseph (President, BioOne, Inc.); Lawrence Lessig (Stanford Law School); Lizabeth Wilson (Director of Univ. Libraries, UWash.)
Sunday, June 27, 2004, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Cultural Democracy and the Information Commons
Speakers: Sam Trosow (Univ. of Western Ontario); Howard Besser (NYU); Jed Horowitz (producer, Willful Infringement), Frederick Emrich, (info-commons.org)
Sunday, June 27, 2004, 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Nearly all of my enthusiasm for the conference drained away. Why on earth would someone schedule Larry Lessig and Howard Besser in separate events opposite each other? Of course, no one did ... both events are being sponsored by different ALA units. They cover different issues. Completely different set of speakers. There's no obvious conflict.

And yet this frustrates me to no end. Lessig's work with copyright and open access, and Besser's articulation of information commons inspired me throughout grad school. To have them both at the same conference, and only being able to hear one ... it's driving me nuts. So nuts, that I wonder if I really should go at all.

Mind you, I'm not completely in my right mind now (thesis issues), but this is really striking a nerve with me.

March 10, 2004

Anarchist Book Fair in SF

Anarchist Book Fair, Saturday, March 13, 2004

It's the Ninth Annual Anarchist Book Fair, Saturday, March 13, 2004, 10AM-6PM, SF County Fair Building, Golden Gate Park near Ninth Avenue @ Lincoln Way

More info? try Bound Together Anarchist Collective Book Store, 1369 Haight Street, San Francisco 94117, (415) 431-8355, or e-mail akpress@akpress.org.

Admission is free.

Speakers: Starhawk, Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Lynn Breedlove, Tim'N T. West, Katya Komisaruk, Agent Apple / Biotic Baking Brigade, Susan Greene, Sun Frog, Sean Sullivan

March 09, 2004

ALA Presidential Candidate Michael Gorman

Interview with Michael Gorman by the Nominating Committee of NMRT as posted to NMRT-L:

1. What knowledge, experience, and skills do you bring to the position of ALA President? Is there are a particular initiative you want to pursue? Would this new initiative impact newer ALA members?

I have been a member of ALA for many years and have served as a divisional president (LITA) as well as a member of the Executive Board, the Council (twice), and numerous ALA and divisional committees. I have worked in libraries for more than 40 years, most recently as a senior administrator in two academic libraries. I am the author of a number of books and articles and have spoken at many local, state, regional, national, and international conferences. I have taught courses in a number of library schools. I am committed to the profession and the mission of ALA. I am not a fan of new initiatives and themes. I believe that, given the relatively brief time and ALA president holds office, she or he should concentrate on advancing programs that are of great value and providing continuity. At this time, I believe that the work of the ALA/APA on better salaries, pay equity, and certification should be a high priority, as should standing up for the freedom to read (including opposing the USA PATRIOT Act and similar encroachments), and addressing the crisis in library education.

2. Could you address the issue of the greying of the profession, specifically with regards to the leadership of ALA?

The demographic facts are inescapable. It is imperative that we recruit new and more diverse librarians and work with the LIS schools to produce a generation of librarians who are inspired and motivated to carry on the important mission of libraries. The leadership of ALA is, like many of its membership, overwhelmingly white, middle class and of a certain age. We should do more to make it possible for others to participate in the leadership, for example, by making it easier to attend our conference and midwinter meeting and by devising an income-based dues structure for ALA.

3. (For someone new to ALA or thinking of joining), from your experience, what are the benefits of being in ALA?

ALA is the largest (and most diverse in terms of types of library) such association in the world. Its offices provide great service (see for example the Office of Intellectual Freedom) and its programs and services cater to all interests. In my experience, it is also one of the most open and democratic associations in that it offers opportunities to serve to all who wish to do so. My advice would be to join ALA and get involved--you will reap many professional and personal rewards from doing so.

4. As ALA President, how would you provide more opportunities for new ALA members?

As I have written, I think the matter of recruitment and retention is crucial to the continued health of our profession and association. I will be open to all in the committee appointement process and, if I am elected, I urge your members to write to me indicating their interests and willingness to serve. I also think that we should soon bring the discussions on "virtual" membership of committees to a conclusion that creates more opportunities to participate; that we should move to a dues-based fee structure; and seek ways of making conference and meeting attendance more feasible.

Thank you. If you have any further questions, please do get in touch.

Best wishes, Michael

Michael Gorman
Madden Library, CSU, Fresno
"The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost"

ALA Presidential Candidate Barb Stripling

Interview with Barb Stripling by the Nominating Committee of NMRT as posted to NMRT-L:

1. What knowledge, experience, and skills do you bring to the position of ALA President? Is there a particular initiative you want to pursue? Would this new initiative impact newer ALA members?

I am a lifelong school librarian. I am passionate about the power of libraries of all types to change lives. Perhaps because I have been working with teenagers most of my career, I bring special leadership strengths to the position of ALA President. I actively seek information and respect diverse opinions on every issue, I listen carefully and ask probing questions, and I bring decision-making bodies to consensus so that action can be taken. I understand how to lead in a positive way that is inclusive and collaborative. I will bring my passion for learning to the ALA presidency to create a culture that embraces diversity, learns from its members, and extends the association out to all of our members. I have strong public-speaking skills that will enable our Association to take an effective public stance on important issues.

I have developed a platform on Building Community Locally and Professionally that can be seen at http://www.barbstripling.net. As President, I will offer a strong national voice for the First Amendment rights and equitable access for every individual. I plan to focus on providing support to libraries in their local communities, because I believe that ALA has a responsibility to reach out to members and help them respond to the challenges and opportunities they face in their local libraries every day. ALA needs to listen to its members and deliver the programming, publications, networking opportunities, and professional development that will enable members to build communities of learning and empowerment for all their patrons.

An essential piece of empowering patrons is helping them develop the skills to participate actively in their community. One of ALA�s five Key Action Areas is 21st Century Literacy. As President, I will develop an ALA action agenda on the library�s role in fostering 21st century skills. These skills include information literacy in the changing information environment, basic literacy for adults and English language learners, cultural literacy, and engagement in public discourse about community issues. In my career of working with youth, I have discovered that librarians empower users for lifelong learning by helping them develop these critical skills.

My presidential focus on Building Community Professionally will address recruitment of new library workers who are as diverse as the communities they serve and the salaries and status of library workers in the field. New members will particularly want to be involved in the work to improve salaries because they know firsthand about the low starting salaries for most library workers.

Newer members to ALA will be essential to the success of my presidential initiatives. First, newer members can look with fresh eyes at their local library community -- why people use the library and why they don�t -- to see what services, skills, and programming people need and want and, therefore, what ALA should offer its members. Newer members will bring diverse ideas and creative perspectives to the action agenda on 21st century skills and will be heavily involved in its development. Perhaps most important, newer members will provide much-needed impetus for ALA to be more flexible as an organization, to involve members in substantive work that responds to their needs and interests, to use technology to push the Association out to members, to make a real difference in the salaries and status of all library workers, and to build a more collaborative culture within ALA.

2. Could you address the issue of the graying of the profession, specifically with regards to the leadership of ALA?

This is an amusing question to me, since I have a head full of white hair. I do see the problem though -- committee and Council leaders are often those who have been in the Association the longest and it�s very hard for new people to break in. I actually see two solutions to the problem that I would recommend even if the leadership weren�t graying. First, the definition of leadership needs to change. Leadership should not be power and control vested in the �leader.� Instead leadership should empower others. A good leader establishes a collaborative environment and builds capacity and energy in those with whom he or she works. Perhaps ALA should offer leadership training for those who are placed in leadership roles.

Second, ALA needs to change the way it involves members. Every member of ALA who wants to work on professional issues with others should have that opportunity. After all, leadership abilities are developed when we have opportunities to lead. I envision flexible electronic work groups that form when a professional interest or need arises, complete the investigation/task, and disband when appropriate. I think new members can help ALA figure out how to restructure the opportunities for member involvement and leadership development.

3. (For someone new to ALA or thinking of joining), from your experience, what are the benefits of being in ALA?

For me, the most important benefit of being in ALA has been the friendships I�ve formed with fellow librarians across the country. I have several very close friendships that are a direct result of our getting to know one another through ALA. The friendships began when we discovered that, although we were in totally different parts of the country, we shared many experiences. I�ll never forget my first conference. I was all alone at a reception, clinging to the wall because I didn�t know anyone. I struck up a conversation with the person next to me and almost immediately we discovered that we were dealing with the same issues in our libraries. I was hooked.

I�ve gotten a number of other benefits from ALA because I got involved in division committees right away. Through committee work, I have been able to grow professionally, to learn alongside others. My thinking has been pushed because I have encountered different perspectives and new ways of doing things. I have had many opportunities to contribute to the Association and the field, which is essential for my old-fashioned, �save-the-world� mentality.

ALA has also given me national support in the field of librarianship. Without ALA, I think I might have stayed in my school-library circle, never understanding the larger picture of libraries and the specific contributions of librarians in niches like government documents, cataloging, database management, and public library services. Because of ALA, I could see how the work I did with students in high school connected to public library experiences and fed into their academic and lifelong library experiences. The documents and professional development available through ALA have kept me up-to-date and thinking about the future of our field as well as the changing nature of our users and the information landscape.

I have also appreciated ALA�s national support for the fundamental values of intellectual freedom and equity of access that I tried to implement every day. For example, I was able to use ALA documents with my principal to end a potential censorship challenge. Even ALA public-service ads and National Library Week materials have helped me garner local support for my library program.

Finally, and this is still somewhat surprising to me, the connections I�ve formed through ALA have provided me opportunities for career advancement. I would not be working where I am today without ALA.

4. As ALA President, how would you provide more opportunities for new ALA members?

The major way that I think ALA needs to change is in member involvement. At the present time, a number of characteristics of ALA curtail opportunities for members to participate in the work or governance of the Association, connect with other members, express their opinions, or affect the actions or positions of the Association. I�ve identified some possible ways to address the problems.
Communication should go two ways � from the Association to the members and from the members to the Association. Through technology, ALA can solicit member opinions and analyze trends and patterns. ALA�s actions should be based on the needs of our members. Members of the New Members Round Table are in an excellent position to provide information about your needs because of your electronic list. ALA should provide a mechanism for you to provide input to the organization on a regular basis.

New members need to be appointed to ALA committees, perhaps as interns, so that they can contribute to the ongoing work of the Association. Because committee appointments do not offer enough opportunities for members to participate in the work of the Association, ALA needs flexible work groups that can respond quickly to arising issues and that are open to all who are interested.
Membership meetings should provide opportunities for members to connect with one another around issues of interest. We need to restructure the meetings to enable everyone to have a voice. New members are often not able to come to conferences, but they still need to be able to express themselves. Perhaps we can use technology to conduct virtual components of the membership meetings so that ALA members at home can participate.

I am very interested in providing deliberative forums for our members. These carefully constructed sessions actively engage participants in investigating all sides to an issue. New members would have a place at the table in helping all members understand and value different perspectives on library issues.
New Member Round Table members represent a slice of membership across all ALA units. You are in an outstanding position to connect ideas and people from one division or round table to those in another. Wouldn�t it be interesting if ALA used new members to break down the Association�s silos?

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to respond to your questions. I hope you got to know me a little. I welcome any follow-up questions or comments.


March 04, 2004

The future of library education: panel discussion at LoC

R. David Lankes, PhD, will moderate a video conference between the Library of Congress and San Jose State University entitled, Library and Information Science Education Panel: Serving the Needs of the Profession and the Academy on Tuesday, March 16th, from 11:00am-1:00pm (EST). This video
conference will be broadcast live on the Internet, in RealPlayer format.

Questions for the discussion panel may be sent, in advance, or during the presentation using the form on the Luminary Lecture web site.

R. David Lankes, PhD, is Executive Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse (IIS) and an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. The IIS houses the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology, the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM), AskERIC and the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD).

Our panelists :
Participating in the Panel at the Library of Congress:

Participating in the Panel at San Jose State University, San Jose, CA:

  • Dr. Michael Buckland, School of Information Management & Systems (SIMS), University of California, Berkeley, CA

  • Dr. Ken Haycock, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), University of British Columbia, Canada

  • Dr. Linda Main, School of Library and Information Science (SLIS), San Jose State University, CA

Description of the discussion: There is an ongoing tension in the library and information science field between the demands of preparing professionals and the forward-looking research mission of many of today's LIS programs. How can this seeming division between research and practice be bridged in curriculum, delivery modes (distance education), and accreditation? How are today's LIS programs serving the existing profession and helping shape the profession of tomorrow? This panel discussion will explore current thinking in the LIS academy and seek to highlight the sometimes precarious balance of LIS education.

The Public Service Collections Directorate of the Library of Congress sponsors this speaker series.

Please check the Luminary Lectures @ Your Library web site for more information about this lecture series.

A webcast of this lecture will be made available on this site after the event.

March 01, 2004


Coming up for air while a chapter full of tables prints on the lil ole DeskJet ...

Library school has been quite an experience for me -- but it has not turned me into a technology librarian. Then again, I'm not sure that anything could. Nevertheless, I like keeping up on technology and getting the 411 directly from those in the know about such things. Besides which, I'm in agreement with Walt Crawford and Cory Doctorow: the most important trend in technology is policy. But to create and evaluate good policy, you have to understand the technology.

And while I still qualify for student rates, I'm considering joining one of two organizations. If I thought I had a career on the technology/systems end, I'd join both ... but since I'm not, that would be a waste of time and resources, and there's already enough on my plate. So, I need to choose, on the basis of what will keep me in the loop and treading water (i.e. not overwhelmed and unable to understand the vast majority of the literature). It would be nice if I could participate lightly enough to gradually bump up my knowledge and skillset.

The two organizations I'm considering are the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST). ACM is probably way over my head, but it does offer all sorts of e-learning modules to members ... that definitely piques my interest. ASIST has a lower barrier to entry -- it's already librarian-friendly -- but it's still pretty alien. I've scanned an issue of JASIST recently; wow, did I feel stupid.

Any suggestions for wading into the technology sea without getting caught in a riptide? (Yes, I apologize for abusing that poor metaphor, and I'll be entering a treatment program for those with analogy-management issues ...)