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A Little Précis of Librarianship, 9-3-2017

Again, I have to thank Audrey Watters of Hack Education for the inspiration of this blogging format, with her weekly wrap up of education technology news.

Jump to:

Politics (the one that there’s nothing funny about)
Scholarly (Mis)Communication
Copyright Corner
Emerging Technobabble
Research Reports
Get your professional development on!
”Why do we even have libraries?”
Ending on a Good Note

Politics (the one that there’s nothing funny about)

With the Net Neutrality debate in full swing, librarians should be well aware that access to high-speed internet is a basic utility required for their users to be integrated into the modern social, political, and economic systems we’ve built upon that utility. Yet Title II remains contentious, mainly due to monopolistic or duopolistic laws across the country that protect cable companies from competition.

Alaska adds its name to the list of fights for high-speed access, along with another fight against discrimination (protected by Title II) in Cleveland, Ohio, leading to a formal complaint against AT&T for slowed speeds in poorer neighborhoods. Comcast has also sued Vermont to prevent the construction of new high-speed Internet lines.

Meanwhile, AT&T has claimed that most of the comments the FTC has received that are “legitimate” are in favor of a repeal of net neutrality. This despite the fact that there are significantly more unique comments against the repeal of Title II.

As much as I dislike the FDLP, it does provide an important service in creating open government (kinda). Here’s a petition to protect title 44: https://freegovinfo.info/node/12325

There’s also a piece from the Washington Monthly that worries about the decline of the public research institution. The majority of research still happens in publicly funded universities… I just wonder how long that will remain the case. Maybe we’ll all be corporate librarians soon.

Also: stop locking laws away behind paywalls!

Scholarly (Mis)Communication

Article: “Academic stratospheres-cum-underworlds: when highs and lows of publication cultures meet”. A critique of predatory publishing mixed with the geopolitics and economics of globalizing knowledge production.

Where we’re going, we won’t need (pay)walls. The importance of self-archiving when dealing with a long publishing process.

Copyright Corner

We’ve had one recurring theme during the short time I’ve been writing these précis: schools, universities, libraries, etc. should be focusing on protecting copyright. Here’s an argument as to why universities cannot perform that role. Lots of spying concerns there.

Techdirt uses the success of the revived NES and other classic Nintendo games as proof that when markets provide something people want, piracy goes down. It can’t just be about wanting “free stuff” (by the way, I would add that a VPN is not cheap…).

In my most recent webinar on copyright, I mentioned there’s something akin to a “10 second rule” for ContentID (a Google anti-piracy product that runs automated takedowns on YouTube). Apparently, there’s also a “seven second rule” that journalism students are taught. The thing is though, neither actually exist in law.

Grim copyright news out of Europe.

Emerging Technobabble

Google is in the news, as usual. This time for apparently putting pressure on think tank The New America Foundation to fire one of its members of their Open Markets group for pointing out Google’s growing monopoly. More on why that’s worrying. Here’s a quote from an email in the Times’ piece:

“We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points,” Ms. Slaughter wrote in an email to Mr. Lynn, urging him to “just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others.”

Google should be a major concern for librarians, since its growing influence will shape information technology and information science for a long time. Plus, as a provider, it has the power to shape services in ways that create systems that favor its vision of the future. What do we do when caught between Big Content’s copyright wars and Big Tech? Of course, it isn’t that simple.

Cathy O’Neil shows who (finally) is taking notice of our algorithmic overlords, and doing something about it.

The library as an education system.

Research Reports

Podcast: Learn a little more about the threats institutions face from hackers.

Paper: Notes on Operations Diminishing Short Term Loans. Looks more maturely at what Demand/Patron Driven Acquisitions has been doing (or not doing) for librarie).

Poster: Reference rot, a digital preservation issue beyond file formats.

Get your professional development on!

In addition to the podcast above, this presentation was a nice discussion on privacy online and the concerns your users may face, with lots of questions submitted by yours truly.

Some fun professional development in coding with students.

I’m not sure if this might instead fit into “Emerging Technobabble of Lore”, but it’s a very nice reflective on 10 years in librarianship.

Call for Papers: Educator Activism in Politically Polarized Times (The Educational Forum)

”Why do we even have libraries?”

Library privatization in California continues, despite public outcry.

Ending on a Good Note

Students are spending less on textbooks/course materials.

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