August 6, 2013

Solidarity Statement from Librarians and Archivists to Palestine

Librarians and Archivists to Palestine has just published a post-delegation statement (reproduced in full below). The statement has also been posted on the widely-read Middle East website Mondoweiss, where there is some additional discussion and context in the comments (one commenter even wrote, “Once again, it is librarians who step up where others fear to tread,” which may not be totally accurate but is still nice to hear). If you want to join LAP’s (low-traffic!) email announcement list, send a blank message to lapannounce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. You can also follow @Librarians2Pal and like our Facebook page, and stay tuned for a full report and events, possibly in a town near you!

Update, 8/6/13: There is one edit and one addition to the statement. See asterisks below.

We are an independent group of librarians and archivists who traveled to Palestine from June 23 – July 4, 2013. We come from the US, Canada, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, and Palestine. We bore witness to the destruction and appropriation of information, and the myriad ways access is denied. We were inspired by the many organizations and individuals we visited who resist settler-colonialism in their daily lives. We connected with colleagues in libraries, archives, and related projects and institutions, in the hopes of gaining mutual benefit through information exchange and skill-sharing. We learned about the common and unique challenges we face—both in different parts of Palestine and in our home contexts. In all our travels and work, we respected the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel and did not partner with any organization that violates this call. As librarians and archivists, as people who believe in access to information, we affirm that institutional academic and cultural boycotts are appropriate responses to curtailed freedoms and are effective tools for change.

Our group was small, our scope limited. We traveled only to Palestine, and only to parts of Palestine. We were not able to visit Palestinian communities in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, or elsewhere, and our trip was only the first step in creating a network of information workers. We were privileged to visit cities, villages, and refugee camps, and to meet with grassroots activists and institutional representatives. In the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and 1948 Palestine (Israel), we engaged with librarians and archivists about their projects and their struggles.

As we travelled we saw barriers to movement everywhere: walls, checkpoints, turnstiles, metal detectors, segregated roads, surveillance watchtowers, military patrols, security cameras, and settler militias. We saw communities devastated by criminalization and incarceration. We visited the rubble of villages that were destroyed in 1948, and we witnessed the ongoing Judaization of Palestinian communities through new housing developments, unequal provision of municipal services, and the Hebraization of place names. We saw new Israeli settlements hovering on hilltops above Palestinian villages, evidence of the forcible land grabs and displacement that Palestinians have been facing for decades. We met families that have struggled and suffered through egregious violence and yet work every day to secure education, opportunities, safety and a more just world for their children.

The erasure of Palestinian culture and history is a tactic of war and occupation, a means to further limit the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Yet the richness, beauty, and complexity of Palestinian existence was everywhere evident, in the historical and contemporary cultural material produced by writers, poets, journalists, artists, archivists and librarians, and in the histories passed down through stories and from person to person. We bore witness to a culture of resistance, which in all its myriad forms resoundingly refutes the notion that Palestine does not exist.

Our experiences in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and 1948 Palestine (Israel) were complex, challenging, beautiful and deeply meaningful. We met creative, committed, and courageous activists, visionaries, cultural workers, artists, librarians and archivists. Everywhere we went we witnessed the daily lived realities of occupation and colonialism, as well as ongoing resistance and the persistent quest for justice:*

  • At Aida Refugee Camp located in Bethlehem, we saw how the Apartheid Wall prevented the community from accessing nearby olive groves which had been used for relaxation, studying, animal grazing and agriculture. We also heard about the Lajee Center’s project to map the people’s histories of the camp.

  • In Nabi Saleh weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the confiscation of the community’s land and water are met with extreme violence from the Israeli military. The villagers are using video to document the violence they experience, as well as collecting the empty tear gas canisters and shell casings which are used against them. This documentation is used by the community to honor their resistance, to communicate their struggle with the wider world, and to dispute false accusations in the courts.

  • School librarians described the difficulty in obtaining Arabic language children’s literature, especially in 1948 Palestine (Israel). Many of the available books are low-quality translations from Hebrew, and Palestinian children have little access to their own literary heritage.

  • We visited the destroyed town of Saffourieh and heard from former resident Abu Arab about his experiences fleeing the town as a child during the Nakba. Abu Arab has a museum of Palestinian material culture, which he developed out of his work as an antiques collector. The museum challenges the process of ethnic cleansing and the erasure of cultural memory. Abu Arab is the brother of poet Taha Muhammed Ali.

  • Throughout Palestine we encountered cultural production by youth to preserve traditions, by the Yaffa Youth Movement in Jaffa, the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata Refugee Camp, and the Lajee Center in Aida Refugee Camp.

  • We witnessed the documentation of prisoners’ lives, a central experience in the Palestinian struggle against occupation. At the Nablus Public Library we saw the marginalia and creative book repairs in a former prison library collection, and at the Abu Jihad Museum for the Prisoners Movement Affairs we learned about a project to collect and digitize prisoners’ notebooks from across the West Bank.

  • We learned from the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association that the Israeli military is currently detaining 4,900 Palestinians, including 236 children and 8 members of Palestinian legislature.

  • In East Jerusalem we visited the Nashashibi Center for Culture and Literature, a rebuilt family library from which all the books were stolen during the Nakba in 1948. We also visited the Orient House, which was closed by the Israeli government in 2001 and had significant portions of its archival collections confiscated.

  • Librarians at Birzeit University told us of their success in petitioning the Library of Congress to adopt a call number for the First Intifada, recognizing it as a unique historical period even as it was still happening: DS128.4.**

  • During a meeting with the organization alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, we learned about the process of organizing across the West Bank / 1948 Palestine border, the articulation of Palestinian-specific understandings of sexual identity, and the Singing Sexuality project, which discusses sexuality through music.

  • In Lyd, not far from Tel Aviv, we saw where the library of the local school was removed and replaced with a police station.

  • We visited the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, where residents of the neighborhood create grassroots media about the settler violence they experience on a daily basis.

  • At the El Bireh Municipal Library we learned about the Tamer Institute, which produces and publishes Arabic language children’s books that are distributed to libraries and community centers throughout Palestine.

Recognizing the barriers to movement and access that often keep the aforementioned organizations and projects from connecting with each other, and appreciating the importance of accountability to the communities that hosted us in Palestine, our delegation organized a public forum in Ramallah on our last evening together. We shared our initial ideas and asked for feedback about our observations.

While the delegation has ended, our work will continue: we will seek out and convene events in our home communities where we can share our knowledge about the effects of occupation and colonialism on libraries, archives, and Palestinian society; we will publish reports, articles, and zines that document the challenges faced—and the amazing work being done—by Palestinian information workers; we will develop an international network of information workers to facilitate skill-sharing, solidarity work, and community among librarians and archivists in Palestine and abroad; we will lobby national and international library and archival organizations to take tangible steps against the occupation and in support of Palestinian perspectives in information work; we will join Palestinians, Israelis, and international activists in campaigns for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid and colonialism. We will continue to learn and adapt our strategies to changing realities and will engage in critical examinations of our own positions of privilege. Through these activities we will work to support access to information in and about Palestine and Palestinian self-determination.

Librarians and Archivists to Palestine 2013 Delegation:

Bronwen Densmore – New York City College of Technology
Molly Fair – Interference Archive; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative; CUNY TV
Che Gossett – Independent Archivist, Philadelphia
Amy Greer – Doctoral Candidate, Simmons College
Blair Kuntz – Near and Middle East Studies Librarian, University of Toronto
Grace Lile – WITNESS
Josh MacPhee – Interference Archive; Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
Rachel Mattson – University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Hannah Mermelstein – Saint Ann’s School Library; Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Andrea Miller-Nesbitt – Liaison Librarian, McGill University
Bekezela Mguni – Independent Librarian; New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice
Melissa Morrone – Public Librarian
Vani Natarajan – Barnard College Library
Elisabet Risberg- Librarian, The International Library in Stockholm
Maggie Schreiner – Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive; Rude Mechanical Orchestra

All organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only and in no way indicate a position taken by such organizations on the issues raised in this statement.

*For a more complete list of projects and organizations we visited, please see this handout we distributed at our public forum in Ramallah at the end of our delegation.

**An earlier version of this statement listed the call number as DS119.75. Birzeit University librarians have clarified that DS128.4 was the number assigned during the First Intifada, whereas it appears that the Library of Congress assigned a new number (DS119.75) after the Intifada ended. Birzeit University continues to use DS128.4. We apologize for the error.

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July 11, 2013

Interview with Robert Chavez

XMLSTUFF

Robert Chavez is the instructor for all six courses in our Certificate in XML and RDF-based Systems, which starts next month. He has taught a couple of the classes previously, and we interviewed him about those back in November. Robert has agreed to another interview, this time about the six-course sequence as a whole. Robert is currently a Content Applications Architect at the New England Journal of Medicine, and has worked as an electronic text specialist at Indiana University Bloomington and at Tufts University.

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June 26, 2013

Librarians and Archivists to Palestine Are on the Move

Librarians and Archivists to Palestine is underway! The first of its kind, this delegation is 16 information workers from the West who are spending time in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to meet with archivists and librarians at a wide range of organizations and institutions. We’re discussing issues (some of which we all face, even in our different contexts), exchanging ideas, considering skillshares, and building relationships.

Want to follow LAP’s activities? There’s an email announcement list that you can join by sending a blank message to lapannounce-subscribe@lists.riseup.net. Most of our delegation’s regular updates during our travels will actually not be on the email list, but through three main venues:

Once we are back, we will also send updates about possible work moving forward based on our conversations on the ground. So far, four days in, there’s a lot of food for thought.

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June 19, 2013

Timely in light of the Urbana scandal now unfolding: online course in weeding

Weeding the Academic Library With Confidence

Instructor: Samantha Hines
Dates: July 1-28, 2013
Credits: 1.5 CEUs
Price: $175

All libraries need some regular weeding, but many of us don’t know where to start. An important but often overlooked part of collection development, deaccessioning materials is a vital way to keep your library’s collection useful for your institution. This four-week, asynchronous online course will provide, through readings and exercises, guidance on how to focus a library’s collection and identify where to prune and what to keep. We will explore how to keep faculty (moderately) happy during the weeding process, and what to do with the downsized materials once the decision to deaccession has been made. Students will develop principles on maintaining a manageable library collection during the course which will guide their institution well into the future, while also learning about the mechanics involved in a weeding project.

Samantha Schmehl Hines received her MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003. In 2004 she was hired as the Social Science Librarian by the Mansfield Library at The University of Montana-Missoula and is currently the Distance Education Coordinator and Head Librarian for the Missoula College campus of The University of Montana. She writes and presents widely on issues of online library services, information literacy instruction, and library middle management, and is the author of Productivity for Librarians (2010, Chandos).

Visit Library Juice Academy for more.

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June 1, 2013

Library Juice Membership? What is that?

We have set up something called Library Juice membership, where you can pay a small annual fee to get benefits related to what we are doing here at Library Juice Academy and Library Juice Press, as well as networking and communication opportunities. Memberships are open to individuals and institutions. This is all set up and ready to go. I am excited about where it might lead. Collaboration anyone?

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May 24, 2013

Interview with Martin Wallace

Martin Wallace is a Science & Engineering Librarian at the University of Maine, Orono, and serves as Maine’s only representative to the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), a program administered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He is serving his third term as secretary of the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Association (PTRCA). He is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month in patent searching, and he agreed to do an interview to help people gain a sense of what they will learn in the class, as well as what got him to the point of teaching it for us and what he is about as a person.

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Interview with Cody Hennesy

Cody Hennesy is the E-Learning Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley. He has coded a variety of academic library sites and tools and recently developed the front-end for the online resource maintained by Library Juice Press, Alternatives in Print: A Directory of Alternative Publishers and Critical Periodicals. He is going to be teaching a class in Drupal for libraries next month with Library Juice Academy. He agreed to do an interview to give people a clearer idea of what will be covered in the class, as well as a bit about him and his background and interests.

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Interview with Debra Lucas-Alfieri

Debra Lucas-Alfieri is the Head of Reference and Interlibrary Loan at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY, and is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month on Marketing the Library in the 21st Century. She agreed to do an interview to give people a better idea about what they stand to learn in the class, her background, and other interests.

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May 9, 2013

Greening Libraries Wins Award in the 2013 Green Books Festival

The 2013 Green Book Festival awarded its top honor in the category of Best Business Book to Greening Libraries, edited by Monika Antonelli and Mark McCullough and published by Library Juice Press.

Greening Libraries provides library professionals with a collection of articles and papers that serve as a portal to understanding a wide range of green and sustainable practices within libraries and the library profession. The book’s articles come from a variety of perspectives on a range of topics related to green practices, sustainability and the library profession. Aspects of the growing “green library movement” covered include green buildings, alternative energy resources, conservation, green library services and practices, operations, programming, and outreach.

The Green Book Festival gives awards in a number of categories, as well as overall best and honorable mention awards, which makes it a useful collection development tool for librarians.

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April 28, 2013

On Timeliness and Timelessness in Book Publishing

I’m working on a “Publisher’s Pledge to the Library Community” that we will release soon. I’ve put out some feelers regarding what people want to see in this pledge, and one concern came up that I feel is too complex in its implications to respond to in a bullet point on the pledge, and that is “timeliness of publication.” It turned out that this question was coming from an author’s perspective, which is fairly valid for the purposes of a pledge to the library community, since most book authors in the professional literature are librarians and many librarians have publishing expectations as a part of their job responsibilities. The question of timeliness is also relevant to collection development and acquisitions librarians, both in terms of the timeliness of the content of a book in the context of its use and in terms of organizing the process of buying books based on publishers’ advertised publication dates. In terms of advertised publication dates, I will readily admit that Litwin Books and Library Juice Press have not always published our books by the advertised publication dates, and can say in our defense only that it is difficult to work on that kind of a schedule when much of the work is subject to factors we can’t control. Among these factors may be other responsibilities of contractors to whom we send production work, permissions issues, and the ability of editors of collections to submit their manuscripts on time (given that they too have issues beyond their control that can affect their schedules, especially for work that is not their primary responsibility in life). So there are factors that are difficult or impossible to control that can affect how long it takes to bring a work to publication once we have announced it and set an expected publication date. As a result I have begun to build in a longer period of time for the expected publication date, for the sake of truth in advertising.

There is always the possibility of cutting corners to make the work go faster, and we avoid doing this, because quality has a different balance point with timeliness in book publishing than it does with faster forms of publishing in the information ecology. Often, I feel that an expectation of “timeliness” of topics is a little misplaced with regard to books. The long form and permanent nature of the book format gives room for the long view as an intellectual approach. I think the perspective of time is one of the contributions that book publishing has made culturally, and not only because we have a lot of old books around. The format encourages work that takes a long time to write, work that is the product of reflection over greater spans of time. Not all forms of book publishing are like this or should be like this. Software manuals, for example, become useless quickly. In academic subjects, the intellectual duration of long-form works can vary by discipline and sub-discipline. My feeling as a book publisher, though, is that if people are less interested in books than they used to be and read fewer of them (which may or may not be true, if you want to be inclusive of e-books, and we are), then the importance of long-form publishing for creating a space for intellectual culture has only increased. Compromises with faster forms of publishing represent compromises with the long view. Timeleness isn’t exactly irrelevant, but I want it to be in balance with quality, and with something that with some exaggeration I will call “timelessness,” by which I mean that I want to publish books that will be of interest to people in ten or twenty years and not just next year, and a few books that will be of interest for much longer than that.

So that is what I bring with me to conversations with impatient authors or contributors to edited volumes. Often, their impatience is based in part on a lack of understanding of all that is involved in the publication process. We had a problem with a book recently that was held up for a long period because the editors had personal issues to deal with, but because they didn’t communicate about this with contributors, we as a publishing house took the heat (and it had to do with people’s tenure portfolios, among other things). So I have experience with authors who have had serious issues regarding timeliness of publication. But because it is not always possible to make people happy regarding their expectations of timeliness, I don’t feel it’s possible to make “timeliness of publication” a promise in our pledge to the library community.

What about the option of saying that we will “make every effort to ensure timeliness of publication,” as was suggested to me by the person who brought this up? That would allow us to avoid promising what ends up being impossible. The problem I have with that option, though, is that it places too much stress on the value of timeliness in a form of publishing that is less about timeliness than other forms. So I have arrived at this:

“We pledge to balance timeliness, quality, and ‘timelessness’ in our choice of book projects and our processes for bringing them to publication.”

I’m interested in readers’ feedback on this.

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April 24, 2013

International Librarians’ Hosts Directory

Letter from the CILIP International Library and Information Group:

Dear Colleagues,

In the interest of international cooperation and experience-sharing, I would like to invite you to join the Hosts Directory and help make it a global resource.

So what is it?

The Hosts Directory is exactly that – a list of international librarians who are willing to host, for a day or two, a fellow library and information worker who is visiting their city or region. Hosts are located across the world – please see the Map of hosts at www.tinyurl.com/CILIPHostsMaps . All information is anonymous and you will not be put in contact with a guest without agreeing beforehand – the idea is that you will be able to stay with a professional colleague when attending a conference, event or just travelling abroad rather than in a hotel.

All you need is a spare bed or room and the desire to meet colleagues from other countries, to share experiences and to contribute, in a small way, to building bridges to international understanding and co-operation within the library and information profession. Guidance for potential Hosts is also available online at www.tinyurl.com/CILIPHostsGuide.

Please help us expand the directory by registering online at www.tinyurl.com/CILIPHostsRegistration.

For the visitor – the guest – it is a chance to get to know, at first hand, something of the life of a fellow professional in a foreign country as well as the opportunity to stay with a colleague for free or at limited cost.

If you would like to use the Hosts Directory as a guest, please first check the Map of hosts at www.tinyurl.com/CILIPHostsMaps to see there are Hosts in the area you are visiting and email the Hosts Directory Administrator at ciliphostsdirectory@gmail.com with details of who you are, where you want to and how long they want to stay.

Please feel free to pass this information onto colleagues who may also be interested.

Kind Regards

Doug Knock
ILIG Chair
Web: http://www.cilip.org.uk/ilig/
Twitter: @CILIP_ILIG
Facebook: International Library and Information Group
ILIG YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/CILIPILIG

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April 13, 2013

LISdocstudents email discussion list

LISdocstudents is an unmoderated email discussion list for doctoral students in Library and Information Studies, working at any institution. The purpose is to communicate with other doctoral students about shared issues, be they intellectual questions in the field, problems facing emerging academics on the path through graduate school and into academic careers, issues having to do with trends in higher ed and LIS as a discipline, or other topics that seem appropriate. Announcements are good too. Doctoral students in LIS are the main constituency of the list, but masters students, graduate students in other fields, and professors are invited to participate.

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April 11, 2013

Library Juice Academy Certificate in XML and RDF-Based Systems

In this 6-course certificate program, you will gain competency as a coder in XML and RDF-based systems that create, transform, manage, and disseminate content and metadata. Typically, these are the structures at the heart of content management systems, repositories, and digital libraries. Topics covered include XML fundamentals, XPath, DTDs and Schemas, standard markup languages, XSLT and Xquery, the semantic web, RDFa and RDFa Lite, RSS, ontologies and linked data, and the SPARQL semantic query language and protocol.

Courses in the series:

1. Introduction to XML

2. Transforming and Querying XML: An introduction to the XSLT and Xquery

3. Introduction to the Semantic Web

4. RDFa1.1 (RDFa and RDFa Lite) and RSS

5. Ontologies and Linked Data

6. The SPARQL semantic query language and protocol – the Semantic Web in action

These courses are four-weeks in duration and taught asynchronously.

These courses work best if taken in sequence, as the sequence builds on knowledge gained, but we have no formal prerequisites in place. If you need to take them out of sequence, feel free to contact us about your situation.

The cost for each course is $175, but you can register for all six courses in the program at once and receive a 10% discount.

More Information

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March 27, 2013

Library Juice Academy Certificate in User Experience (UX)

In this 6-course certificate program, you will learn the fundamentals of user experience (UX) and how to apply user-centered strategies to library websites and beyond. The program begins by teaching you the key concepts of UX design and how to employ them in your website projects. Next, you will learn the ins and outs of information architecture: how to structure and organize your content so that it is both discoverable and navigable in the easiest way possible. The next two courses will give you the tools to continually get feedback on your website through usability testing and other research methods. You will then learn how to better write for the web so that once your users discover your content, they can both understand it and act on it. Finally, you will learn how you can create a website content strategy, so that from that point forward all your content will be useful, usable, and findable. All together, these courses cover a breadth of topics that will equip you with the skills necessary to create, manage, and sustain library websites that provide an excellent user experience.

Courses in the series:

Designing a Usable Website (Concepts of User-Centered Design)
Instructor: Carolyn Ellis

Information Architecture: Designing Navigation for Library Websites
Instructor: Susan Teague-Rector

Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing
Instructor: Rebecca Blakiston

Beyond Usability Testing: Other Research Methods
Instructor: Sonali Mishra

Writing for the Web
Instructor: Nicole Capdarest and Rebecca Blakiston

Developing a Website Content Strategy
Instructor: Rebecca Blakiston

These courses need not be taken in sequence for the purposes of earning the Certificate in User Experience, and none have prerequisites. Contact us for more information.

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March 12, 2013

Call for Presenters – Creative Solutions in Academic Libraries

Library Juice Academy is starting a webinar series on “Creative Solutions in Academic Libraries,” and this is a call for presenters.

There is no shortage of discussion about “problems faced by academic libraries” at the big scale, regarding trends in higher education and technology, where the approach to these problems is mainly a question of strategic planning. There is less attention to the small scale problems that academic librarians solve in the process of adapting services and processes to a changing environment or to new plans. These solutions to small scale problems can be in the realm of technological kludges or hacks, organizational adjustments, creative ideas in outreach, procedural changes, questioning and revision of “the way we do things” in a specific sense, recognition of areas where “what didn’t work before” can work now, time management strategies, and others.

We are looking for presenters for a series of monthly webinars where academic librarians will share a creative solution that may be helpful to librarians in other institutions. These hour-long webinars will likely include two 20-minute presentations and a period for discussion, with presentations grouped by theme. Presentations may be by individuals or groups. There will be monetary compensation for presenters based on the number of paying attendees.

If you have an idea for a presentation that would fit this webinar series, contact Rory Litwin at rory@libraryjuiceacademy.com, and we can discuss it.

Thanks, and I look forward to your ideas.

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