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August 31, 2005

Yahoo!Group for coordination of post-Katrina efforts for libraries and archives

From Jason Jackson on GOVDOC-L:

I've created a new Yahoo! group to begin to help organize librarians, archivists, curators, systems, IT, and preservation professionals into contact with their colleagues and friends in Louisiana, Mississippi, and along the Gulf Coast.

There are thousands of information professionals and repositories that have been devistated by Hurricane Katrina. Several of the most valuable historical collections in have more than likely suffered catastrophic destruction. More than likely, some of the America's most vital historical artifacts, records, and documents have probably been lost. Clean-up will take a lot of manpower, muscle, and knowledge. Libraries may need to be completely gutted, whole records collections may need to be sorted, dried, and reprocessed.

But paper, paint, architecture, digital technologies, and metalwork, as anyone who works in information knows, is finite and nowhere near as valuable as a single human life.

There are going to be numerous professionals and paraprofessionals, and their families, who may be without power, phone service, or vital necessities. There will undoubtably be students at the L-Schools at Southern Miss and LSU (both of which have a lot of distance students from NOLA) who have lost much of what they own.

The Katrina Recovery Effort will require, more than likely, a lot of fresh bodies and resources to help. This is a way for librarians to help, even if its just for moral support. People will need to find out about missing colleagues, updates on the storm from on the ground, and may need to solicit volunteer clean-up workers. If someone has some vacation/release time saved up, please feel free to donate some time. This is a new endeavor, so I'm hoping I-Pros around the country will be willing to donate any support they can.

For more information, please e-mail me. Feel free to e-mail this post to professionals in your neck of the woods or hotlink.

Jason W. Jackson (LSU SLIS, 2004)
Acting Special Projects Officer
University Libraries
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056


August 26, 2005

USA PATRIOT Act use for library records

According to the ALA Washington Office, it's official ... a library has received a investigative query under the auspices of the USA PATRIOT Act:

Yesterday the ACLU revealed that the FBI has used Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act to obtain electronic library records at an institution in Connecticut whose identity cannot be disclosed because of constraints imposed by the PATRIOT Act. This is the further evidence that the FBI is indeed using provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act to obtain library patron reading records, an activity the American Library Association (ALA) has fought since the passage of the legislation in 2001.

ALA has argued that Section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act gives the FBI overly broad authority to use a National Security Letter (NSL), an administrative subpoena which requires no judicial oversight, to secretly obtain the electronic library records of any person - whether or not that person is suspected of a crime - without any standard for protecting individual privacy. Records searched could include all the websites visited and all the e-mail sent and received by anyone who used the library's computers. Such open-ended fishing expeditions expose all library users to the search and seizure of their records and to the invasion of their privacy. A gag order accompanies the NSL that prevents its recipient from disclosing that a demand for records has been received.

"The Connecticut case illustrates exactly why ALA continues to fight sections of the PATRIOT Act that allow the government to secretly search the records of ordinary citizens without any judicial oversight," said ALA Immediate Past President Carol Brey-Casiano. "Despite the Justice Department's repeated assertions that it has no interest in Americans' reading records, this case again proves that the government is demanding patron information from America's libraries" she continued.

In 2004, a federal district court judge held that NSLs gave the FBI unchecked authority to obtain records from electronic communications service providers, including libraries, "without any judicial oversight or opportunity for challenge." In striking down the provision, the judge found that the secret administrative subpoenas violated the fourth amendment because they "effectively bar or substantially deter any judicial challenge to the NSL." It further found that even if judicial review were provided, the gag order violated the First Amendment because it represented "a prior restraint on speech that was sweeping in scope" and appeared to apply "in perpetuity."

Two bills reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act have passed in the House and Senate and will go to conference next month. The Senate bill, S. 1389 (the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005), adds many of the safeguards for privacy of reading records that have been sought by ALA since the passage of the law, including tougher requirements for searching library records under Section 215 and an opportunity to challenge an NSL as violating a Constitutional or legal right and to challenge the gag order. The House Bill (H.R. 3199 - The USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005) does not include improved reader privacy protections. ALA is encouraging Conferees to vote for the Senate bill.

August 25, 2005

Online IP/academia series

From Jack Bouve:

The Center for Intellectual Property at University of Maryland University College are holding a series of online workshops devoted to IP concerns in academia. Two in the fall, two this winter, and with some big names attached:

This year's exciting lineup includes four outstanding workshops:

E-Reserves and Copyright
October 17-October 28, 2005
Moderated by Laura (Lolly) Gasaway, Esq.
Professor of Law and Director, Law Library, University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the University Campus: A Safe Harbor?
November 7-November 18, 2005
Moderated by Arnold Lutzker, Esq.
Senior Partner, Lutzker, Lutzker & Settlemyer, LLP

DRM in Higher Education
January 23 - February 3, 2006
Moderated by Kimberly Kelley, Ph.D., and by Clifford Lynch, Ph.D.
Dr. Kelley is Associate Provost, Information and Library Services,
and Executive Director of the Center for Intellectual Property,
University of Maryland University College.
Dr. Lynch is Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked
Information and the 2004-2006 Intellectual Property Scholar at the
Center for Intellectual Property.

Copyright and Academic Culture
February 20 - March 3, 2006
Moderated by Siva Vaidhyanathan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Culture and Communication at New York

WORKSHOP FORMAT: Each online workshop will last approximately two weeks, providing the participants with an in-depth understanding of core intellectual property issues facing higher education. They will include course readings, chats and online discussions. Participants will receive daily response and feedback from the workshop moderators. Please visit the web site for all course objectives.

Register early since space is limited and in order to get the best
discounts. Early registration is just $125 each (regularly $150 each); two workshops $225; three workshops $350; four workshops for only $400!
A significant discount is given for full time graduate students until places are filled; please consult the website for details.
To register online, visit https://nighthawk.umuc.edu/CIPReg.nsf/Application?OpenForm.
For additional information call 240-582-2965 or visit our web site.

August 22, 2005

UK online book co-ops

According to the BBC, book sharing via the web is scratching an inch the British public may not have known it had until now:

The My Book Your Book website does not go live until Monday evening, but has already received 750 applications.

All of its "founder members" will be able to access thousands of paperback novels - provided they donate 10 books each to the co-operative scheme.

"I always thought it would work, but I'm surprised how quickly it's taken off," Peter Baillie told BBC News.

Here's hoping that My Book Your Book takes off ...

August 12, 2005

Google blinks

It's not 6 months, but it is a hiatus: the Google Print project is holding off of scanning copyrighted works until November 1st. After Nov. 1, Google will supposedly implement an opt-out program for publishers/rights holders who don't want their works digitized by Google.

Some publisher associations aren't fully placated by this:

In a written statement, the Association of American Publishers, which has been in talks with Google in recent months, said its concerns had not been allayed.

"The U.S. publishing industry, through the Association of American Publishers, continues to express to Google grave misgivings about the Google Print Library Project and specifically the project's unauthorized copying and distribution of copyright-protected works," the statement said.

"Their procedure places the responsibility for preventing infringement on the copyright owner rather than the user, and turns every principle of copyright on its ear," said Patricia S. Schroeder, the group's president and chief executive, in the statement.

August 08, 2005

Where's the midway?

It's a cavalcade of librarianship. Or close: it's actually a Carnival of Infosciences (wow, I nearly typed "Souls" there).

Sorry it's been so light of content here ... I start school in a week and I'm trying to finish up a IA project.

Crazed. Lunacy. Enjoy the carnival.

August 03, 2005

Props to the PL

Stephen Manes of Forbes Magazine has crafted a paeon to electronic library services:

Some libraries let you peek at the Auto Repair Reference Center, which serves up all manner of info relating to cars, including manufacturers' technical service bulletins (technically known as "things likely to go wrong") I wish I'd known about before the warranty on my chariot ran out. Without much effort I've found language courses that can otherwise cost $50 a month, a trove of images for educational use from Bill Gates' Corbis company, Morningstar's stock and fund research tools, and practice SATs, all free. You're likely to find quirky databases of local interest like regional newspapers and historic photographs. And most libraries offer special kid-friendly research tools designed to assist with homework more directly and safely than indiscriminate Googling will.

None of these databases is perfect, since most were initially designed for trained librarians rather than mere flailing mortals, so the user interfaces can be daunting until you get the hang of them. But libraries increasingly have online chat services that let you consult with live experts if you get stuck. Even if your community's library is not in the vanguard, all may not be lost: States such as Michigan offer similar services in exchange for your driver's license number.

Unfortunately, I don't think that the point of the article simply to sing the hosannas of libraries. After all, the article isn't called "Google Isn't Everything" for nothing:

In the age of Google, when we wonder about stuff we want instant answers. I happened to wonder about the first recorded use of the term "personal computer," so I Googled around and ended up at Wikipedia, the hit-or-miss user-developed encyclopedia, whose "personal computer" entry declared authoritatively that "The earliest known use of the term was in New Scientist magazine in 1964, in a series of articles called ‘The World in 1984.'"

I still don't know the answer to my question, but I do know--no thanks to Google--that Wikipedia got it wrong. That's because I found an earlier citation with the help of an even older purveyor of information: my public library. And I didn't have to move an inch to do it.