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Justin M. White Posts

Upcoming Webinar on Copyright, 6-21 at 2pm Eastern.

June 21, 2017 Emerging Issues in Copyright: A Jaunt Through Some Common Problems 2:00-3:00pm EST Justin M. White

Hodges University

Register for webinar here This webinar will take a stroll through some issues in copyright that show there is a serious need to rethink how we conceptualize copyright, authors’ rights, and fair use. There are no easy solutions, but it’s important to understand the questions. Issues will include: remixing, reusing, fair use, piracy, non-legal rule-making (from digital content platforms), encryption and copying, and the economic and cultural effects of near-costless copying. It will touch on how various economies intersect, such as the prestige economy of academic publishing vs. the economics of plenty. Obscure journals no longer need Elsevier to stay afloat, they only need institutional support, a website, and a good sitemap that can be indexed by Google. Optionally, these journals can also publish in platforms like Scholar Commons (bepress), and again have their metadata immediately indexed by Google Scholar. Open Educational Resources and the textbook industry will come up, along with the non-academic topics of artistic creation in platforms that are constantly policed by our copyright laws. The primary purpose of the webinar will be to give librarians some food for thought: a few cautionary tales from the world of copyright, and perhaps a few ideas to act upon. Recommended for anyone who enjoyed the book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (2016).

You can find more webinars and a call for webinar presenters here: 

A Little Précis of Librarianship, 6-4-2017

I was hoping on doing one a week, but yet again I’m on a bi-weekly schedule.

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

Datafication Station

Emerging Technobabble

Research Reports

Get your professional development on!

New Sources

Ending on a Good Note

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

Rhetoric and the cold war politics of information science. Nuff said. It’s behind a paywall in ASIS&T and doesn’t seem to have an OA version archived. I’m an ASIS&T member. Dunno why I mention that. Also the contact form is to the right. Dunno why I mention that either.

The Association of American Publishers is being reasonable, apparently. Good for them! So proud. *Trips over the bar that has been set for them*

I made it this far without mentioning the FCC, but… “People who were impersonated by anti-net neutrality spammers blast FCC”.

Podcast fans! The future of Internet copyright is among us! Rejoyce!

My favorite satirical magazine came up with yet another gem: To Reduce Terrorism, Repeal Network Neutrality. Seriously, I don’t know how they can parody clueless assholes so well.

Interesting development out of the 11th circuit: obtain a copyright registration before initiating litigation.

Also, calls on the Continent for the European Parliament to make progressive copyright changes. Will Europe become the copyright leader after being the force for more restrictions?

Scholarly (Mis)Communication

Sigh. Just…. sigh. I’m not going to get myself worked up.

Open Peer Review! It’s a thing!

Copyright Corner

Apparently still unaware of the existence of the Streisand Effect, copyright monopolist Elsevier is taking Sci-Hub and LibGen to court again. Though they won the takedown of the Sci-Hub domain two years ago, the site persevered and remained open. This time, Elbakyan (the creator of Sci-Hub) notes that any attempt to shut down the domain will ultimately be futile, since it also resides on a TOR onion site.

Does Fair Use Affect Academic Authors’ Incentive to Write? I’ll give you a hint.

Ever wonder what a Copyright Librarian actually does? It’s pretty important!

This very thoughtful piece on UConn’s decision to not renew its Adobe CC license, and what this means for the values of the university, the students, and one professor’s attempts to navigate the realm of copyright in conversations with their students and peers.

On the arts and copyright, a Japanese music collection society wants private schools to pay up (lousy greedy kids).

Datafication Station

Algorithmic governance. I for one…. you know the joke.

Emerging Technobabble

AI and newsrooms. What could go wrong.

I think someone at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies had an existential crisis: Don’t worry about opaque algorithms; you already don’t know what anything is doing, or why.

What kind of of Information Literacy are we teaching anyway?

Research Reports

I’ve been thinking about:

Scholarly communication in a non-academic sense. Even for librarians.

Open Access, Linked Open Data, and library collections. Also link rot and data protection.

Adult learners and information/search literacy using real-life examples. Also the new ACRL report on how librarians contribute to student success.

I’ve got a copyright webinar I’m giving, and The End of Ownership was useful in thinking of how to connect some dots for the listener.

And of course, cool tools that help organize the chaos of my life.

Get your professional development on!

Webinar: Empower students as creators

Webinar: Move into library middle management

New Sources

The Humanities Commons.

Humanities Commons is a trusted, nonprofit network where humanities scholars can create a professional profile, discuss common interests, develop new publications, and share their work. The Humanities Commons network is open to anyone.

Open Source Survey

Ending on a Good Note

Today we get to end on a really good note: Diego Gomez has been cleared of criminal charges for the heinous crime of sharing a master’s thesis.


Collier County FL and the new battles over textbooks

The Florida Citizens for Science have been doing a great job tracking this legislative battle:

Fresh off their success in the Florida legislature where their instructional materials bill passed, the Florida Citizens’ Alliance is now causing migraine headaches on their home turf: Group sues Collier County schools over textbook selection

The session concerning public objections to the textbooks up for approval by the school board was archived here:

The News-Press reports that five books were approved and one was rejected. 

Here’s a preview of the kinds of objections raised:

Joseph Doyle, a Collier County resident who doesn’t have children in the school system, agreed with the parental objections and said one of the books, “Understanding Economics,” “bent to socialism and social justice warriors trying to indoctrinate our children.”

You can find the list of objections here:

This is just the first in a series of fights that will take place in school districts all across Florida due to the passage of HB 989.

It’s also important to note that another law was passed that isn’t often mentioned, a “religious freedom” bill that will be used in tandem with the instructional materials bill to challenge science and history in the classroom. This is the  explicit position of the Florida Citizen’s Alliance on the bills:

Flaugh said his group will use it in conjunction with the instructional materials bill to contest textbooks that demonstrate “bias toward Islam and seldom mention Christianity,” and promote those that push for a Christian view of the origins of life.

The Florida Citizens’ Alliance seem to be taking cues from the fight in Texas over textbooks, citing Texas Truth in Textbooks in their website.

Librarians will need to be ready and willing to provide supplemental materials for teachers that can support curriculum goals when books have been challenged and removed, but classes will be expected to go on. EDIT: I have also been informed that the bill allows all instructional materials to be challenged, including supplemental materials that librarians might help curate.

A Little Précis of Librarianship, 5-21-2017

I’ve decided to go to a bi-weekly schedule to keep from putting too much pressure on myself.

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.

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

Speaking of interesting ad campaigns, Freedom of the Press Foundation did a targeted ad campaign of their SecureDrop system to potential whistleblowers in the Trump Administration.

Publishers Weekly has joined the list of people who noticed that librarianship is political. At least this time HR 1695 makes an appearance.

Librarians are starting to finally pay attention to HR 1695.

The FCC is in a pensive mood, as a rush of comments about Net Neutrality led it to take down its comments so it can “reflect”.

A dire lack of library access in schools was trending news in Scotland. A defense of public libraries in Northern Ireland also blipped on my radar. I’m not as familiar with the state of librarianship in the UK, but it’s something I would love to hear more about in the comments.

Scholarly (Mis)Communication

Lots here on science publishing. Jon Tennant of Green Tea and Velociraptors gets two features: a guide for researchers looking to get started at ScienceOpen, and another on why we don’t need journal blacklists (particularly ones we have to pay for from publishers, for obvious reasons).

“Steady, strong growth” of OA in the sciences is expected, but so is their relationship to the traditional publishing model. What’s up with that?

But that’s not stopping Nature from profiting from shoddy science (and the retraction papers). Maybe we need to be focusing more on Open Peer Review, as well as Open Access.

“Do ResearchGate Scores create ghost academic reputations?” Social mediafication of academic reputations?! You mean academics are sometimes rated on their popularity, or other inflated prestige indicators, not the sheer quality of their research? Color me shocked.

Copyright Corner

One of the scant updates on Diego Gomez I’ve been able to find, the grad student who is facing jail time for sharing a MA thesis in Colombia. The reason this barbaric level of punishment exists? Why, it’s just the American way. And we’re not going to stop helping other countries create these laws any time soon.

Not only is it possible to copyright the law now, it’s apparently also not fair use to use footage of government proceedings. In cases like this, context is often key.

Whatever happened to digital first sale cases anyway?

Patent troll Blackbird “Tech” (apparently an abstract term representing the idea of technology, not the actual production of it) gets an earful after filing a lawsuit against Cloudflare.

Datafication Station

There was a fascinating speech put out on “The Quantified Worker,” by Ifeoma Ajunwa, and the move away from Taylorism and towards a mastery of the body of the worker: like Wellness Programs creating healthy workers that increase productivity. Similarly, what does the datafication of everything mean for justice and society? As librarians, we are often information scientists, and migrate into a data scientist role. Unlike data scientists, we have a longer tradition of emphasizing the “soft” skills and rights of users, and we should make sure to be heard in that discussion (I have an upcoming chapter on this I’ll link to once the publishing agreement is finished).

That is, if you still have a job.

Emerging Technobabble

Ex Libris is pushing its products towards BIBFRAME. Just as the LoC is upping its efforts. Maybe it’ll be in production by the time other linked-data initiatives steal all the thunder, like Wikipedia and the Wikipedia Library.

Disruption is a term I’m already getting sick of, as it’s almost never about the technology itself.

Personal digital archiving is something I think about often. I wonder what digital archives will look like in 50 years.

Research Reports

I’ve added a neat feature from the Internet Archive I wasn’t aware of, which is a 404 page handler that will attempt to send a person to the archived version of the page they were looking for. Hope some of my site breaks so I can try it out!

I also presented at the Florida Library Association’s annual conference last week, and the Technical Services Member Group’s website now has our slides.

I’m playing around with using Facebook to promote scholarly websites. I don’t know how many people expect to see an Open Access Resources list as a sponsored ad on Facebook, but hopefully they’ll like it.

Get your professional development on! (Starts May 29)

And the Technical Services Member Group also updated our list of training resources on demand.

New Sources

The LoC released 25 million MARC records to the public.

Ending on a Good Note

Although this is ending on a good note, it should also be a section on “how to bury the lede”. Here’s the good note:

LaVaille Reifenrath has also decided to do an independent campaign to raise money for the library. As an independent project and fundraiser, the library director will make a special journey in her wheelchair to raise money for the Emerson Public Library.

“I chose on my 50th birthday, June 11th, to wheel from here to Dakota City and to collect money to do some updates to the library,” said LaVaille Reifenrath, Director, Emerson Public Library.

If you would like to roll with Reifenrath on her 25-mile journey from Emerson to Dakota City or donate money, reach out to her at the Emerson Public Library

The title of the article? “Local libraries are struggling to stay relevant in the age of technology.”

So to actually finish on a brighter note: DUCKLINGS!

Supporting your library (or other charity) with Amazon Smile

I’ve been aware of the Amazon Smile program for a while now, but I always forget to go into to make my purchases count towards my chosen charity (the Friends of the Fort Myers Library). I just got a reminder to make sure to go to the right version of Amazon, and thought “there has to be an addon to remind me of this”. Amazon itself advises you to use Amazon Assistant, which is an incredibly annoying addon. Instead, there’s SmileAlways, which is just an addon for Chrome that redirects you every time you type in Amazon. Simple!

Humanities Open Access Resources

This page was inspired by the Information Resources in the Humanities textbook I used during my MLIS. Although the book was so new that we were a week behind just waiting for the hardcover edition to come out, the paltry Open Access resources were already out of date. This website is a proof-of-concept that OA resources can be robust with a minimum of curation, as long as they are not held down in print formats where URLs decay quickly. Lists like this can be particularly useful with the wide support of librarians, educators, and archivists submitting the resources they turn to on a regular basis.

You can add to this list by using this Google Form:

Also check out the General Open Access Resources page.

A Little Précis of Librarianship, 5-7-2017

This is going to be my inaugural post in what I’m tentatively calling A Little Précis of Librarianship (taking the risk of putting a pun in a title, and in a written format). I have to thank Audrey Watters of Hack Education for the inspiration, with her weekly wrap up of education technology news. I wanted something like that for librarianship, and, finding nothing, thought maybe I should make one. Expect the format to change, but I’ve tried to give some semblance of order.

Jump to:

Politics (the one that there’s nothing funny about)
Scholarly (Mis)Communication
Copyright Corner
Datafication Station
Emerging Technobabble
Research Reports
Get your professional development on!
New Sources
Ending on a Good Note

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

Hold on to your hats, nerds, because I’ve been fuming about HR 1695, the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017” for weeks now. This act will remove the Office from the Library of Congress (and thus away from Dr. Hayden’s pick to replace the previous Register of Copyright and newly-minted head of the Association of American Publishers, Maria Pallante). Pallante being forced out caused a certain amount of outcry from the usual suspects, until it was revealed the Copyright Office mismanaged several million dollars and lied to Congress about it.

As expected, the bill sailed through the House of Representatives. What was surprising was the total lack of coverage I saw about it, despite setting up an array of Google Alerts to catch any news. The ALA finally managed to squeeze out a single bullet-point on the bill’s passage in American Libraries on May 3rd.

Of course, copyright monopolists  cheered and urged Congress to act even faster (presumably because it’s so very pressing an issue, which is always why legislation should be passed as quickly as possible, right?).

Scholarly (Mis)Communication

This doesn’t really count as a scholarly communication issue, but it sure seems like it should: turns out there’s no cheap-and-cheerful replacement for a college degree yet (now just tell our administrators that and we’ll be set).

Copyright Corner

Due to HR 1695, I had to move a lot of articles into the Politics section, but there were still plenty of other stories over the past week.

For example, Australia’s copyright agency kept $11 million in funds that were intended for authors of “orphaned works”, collected from schools and universities, to lobby against adopting an American-style of fair use (by those very schools and universities). This was apparently after the office had previously been criticized for simply distributing the money to its member groups, rather than returning it to the schools and universities.

World Intellectual Property Day was April 26th. There was some excellent recommended reading, which I suspect will be my new tradition each year I remember that the holiday exists.  

A response to WIPD was given by a group of civil societies in the Americas urging copyright reform. In the public’s favor!

A subreddit story with lots of good discussion: a homeowner whose house burned down is now in a copyright fight with the builder, because the builder cannot handle the rebuild. When the homeowner contracted someone else to do the rebuild, they received a cease-and-desist letter. Whether or not any resolution will get posted, it’s certainly interesting to read the comments from lawyers chiming in.

Hackers who acquired some episodes of the upcoming season of Orange is the New Black tried to extort Netflix into paying them to not leak the material. Netflix decided not to, and one episode was leaked (much like the trope of mailing a kidnapping victims finger or something). After much hemming and hawing on the part of the hackers to get some payment, they released the ten episodes of the new season they had. And… nothing happened. Turns out people pay for Netflix for more than just one show’s season.

Bots do a lot of copyright takedown requests these days. It’s fun having to explain that to people who know copyright well enough that they are aware of Fair Use, and then watch their reaction to the fact that website owners don’t care what your rights are, they just don’t wanna be sued. Anyway, looks like Facebook will have to close forever now. Won’t it be nice once the Copyright Office is ready to fight for the regular folks and has a small claims court set up? You can get all kinds of threatening letters then!

Datafication Station

Forbes, my favorite satirical magazine, has a hilarious advice piece directed at CEOs who are worried that automation and data-driven decision making will take their jobs: be charismatic!

Emerging Technobabble

Jimmy Wales announced the upcoming launch of Wikitribune, a mixture of professional journalists and socially-generated peer review, with a crowd-funded revenue model.

Unpaywall, the addon that attempts to let a reader know when an open access version of a paywalled article exists, hinted on Twitter about an upcoming partnership with the OA Button’s author request system. One super-addon in the works?

Audrey Watters of the aforementioned Hack Education blog blocked annotation tools like and Genius on her site. Doug Belshaw had a thoughtful piece about his own process in coming to agree with Watters, expanding on why it can be important to prevent what we might call “digital graffiti” from piggybacking on an author’s hard work. It also made me rethink my earlier position on the Internet Archive deciding it would ignore robots.txt files and archive pages anyway.

Why AI is not like biological intelligence.

Research Reports

I’m looking into discovery systems and open access, so I started a YouTube playlist on the topic to listen to while I mindlessly play games. Maybe I’ll try building my own one day, once the whole OA indexing thing gets a little more settled (apparently indexes are trade secrets of Google’s now).

I made a Quizlet set of Spanish terms for librarians.

On other people’s research: the Carnegie Trust in the UK was criticized for an “over-optimistic” report on the outlook for libraries.

Get your professional development on!

Write for LibUX! They’re specifically looking for entry level writings.

But don’t become too well developed: you’ll be distrusted.

New Sources

Some of the FBI’s “Sex Deviates” program files have been attained by a professor of history at Penn State via FOIA requests, digitized and published online for researchers to use.

Slightly dated now, but the open government project pursued by Steve Ballmer, USAFacts, is worth reading up on. I’m looking forward to using it with students and professors.

Ending on a Good Note

I’ve never had much reason to think about the Authors’ Alliance, but they hosted one of the few full-article, critical examinations of HR 1695. It was so good (or perhaps the only glimmer in the darkness), that I wanted to excerpt one bit here:

H.R. 1695 finds support among industry insiders who are nervous that Hayden, who has made a career as a public librarian, would appoint as Pallante’s successor someone whose positions on copyright issues might be more closely aligned with the interests of libraries and the public than with interests of those who commercially exploit copyrights and who have long had considerable influence on the Office’s policy prescriptions.