December 8, 2013
Joanne Sprott has been a freelance book indexer, copy editor, and proofreader since 1995, and has taught indexing for the American Society of Indexers. She teaches a course on book indexing for Library Juice Academy, which is running for the second time in January. Joanne agreed to do an interview on the Library Juice Academy blog, to let people know a bit more about her class and about her background.
December 2, 2013
André Schiffrin, Publishing Force and a Founder of New Press, Is Dead at 78 (New York Times obituary).
I will take this as yet another occasion to recommend his very good book on the publishing industry, which he wrote in the 90s in part as a memoir, The Business of Books. He was an influence on more than just one generation of people in the book world.
November 25, 2013
Margaret Heller is Digital Services Librarian at Loyola University Chicago, where she manages the website and institutional repository. She also volunteers as the Technology Director of the Read/Write Library Chicago. She has presented talks and papers about participatory or social library services at various conferences, including the LITA Forum, Media in Transition, and Code4Lib. She is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month, titled Participatory Culture in the Library: Community-driven Collecting, Cataloging, and Curating. Margaret agreed to do an interview for the LJA blog to give people a better idea of what this class is about and what they will learn from it, as well as a bit about her.
November 23, 2013
We interviewed Grace Agnew a year ago, prior to the start of the first session of her Mechanics of Metadata course. Grace is Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems at the Rutgers University Libraries and has been an adjunct professor in the Library Information Science program at Rutgers University since 2005. She is teaching a different class for us in December, Grant Proposal Development for Libraries, as well as another round of The Mechanics of Metadata in January. Grace sent me the introduction to her grant writing class, which outlines what it will cover and talks a bit about her background for teaching it. Read it on the Library Juice Academy blog.
November 20, 2013
I had the opportunity to chat with Elisabeth Jones at the ASIS&T conference earlier this month about the controversy over Google Books. Our conversation was on my mind when I posted that email discussion on the Google Books fair use decision, and I asked her if she would be interested in writing a follow-up. As it turns out, she was already planning on it. Her follow-up follows, and can also be found on her blog. -Rory Litwin
What we talk about when we talk about the Google Books fair use decision
[First, disclosure: I am currently affiliated with the University of Michigan Libraries, and was also so affiliated when the Google Books lawsuits were filed in 2005. I also worked in Media Relations for the UM side of the project in 2006-07. And, of course, I've spent the last several years working on a dissertation in which the Google Books Library Project is perhaps the central case (it's certainly the longest chapter). These experiences have undoubtedly shaped the views that follow. And now, disclaimer: these are my own opinions, and do not reflect the views of any of my employers, past or present. Also, I am not a lawyer, and nothing here should be construed as legal advice.]
Last Thursday, when Judge Chin handed down his decision granting Google’s motion for summary judgment in the Author’s Guild’s 8-year-old* copyright lawsuit against it, I shared the elation of many in the library, tech, and research communities who, like me, have been following the case since the beginning.
Like them, I truly believe that the ruling is a victory for libraries, for innovation, and for research. It supports and confirms Judge Baer’s earlier decision in the AG’s case against HathiTrust, and in so doing provides strong reassurance that future digitization projects – whether executed by libraries or by other private or public entities – should be able to proceed with some confidence that as long as certain boundaries are respected, such digitization will be found fair and legal.
Reading the early celebratory analyses, I initially felt I had little to say – others had summed it up so well.
However, this morning I read the chain of emails re-posted to the Library Juice Blog from the Progressive Librarians Guild discussion list and Social Responsibilities Round Table discussion list, and it made me feel like I might have something to say after all – and when Library Juice’s founder, Rory Litwin, approached me directly to see if I had any thoughts, that sealed it. And here we are.
In that chain of emails, several progressive-leaning librarians expressed a great deal of skepticism regarding the idea that the Google Books fair use decision was actually “a victory for libraries,” on a number of grounds. Most of these rationales rested on a fundamental distrust of Google as a corporation, and of its motives for getting involved in scanning books.
OK, fine. No need to trust Google. No need to like or respect their motives.
But here’s the thing: however you might feel about Google or its motives, those feelings are irrelevant to thinking about the implications of Judge Chin’s decision for libraries.
Yes, Google undoubtedly plans to make money off these scans – though as the opinion notes, not by selling the scans in question, and also not by selling advertising around them.** But does that inherently make them evil from a library perspective? Don’t libraries do business with a lot of other corporations who do much worse things to information access than Google? (I’m looking at you, Elsevier…Wiley…Springer…) And what’s more, don’t libraries pay these corporations millions of dollars per year to provide their services? Google’s library partners never paid Google a red cent for scanning their books (which is not to say it was cost-free – only that Google didn’t charge libraries for its scanning service). So why is one acceptable, and the other not?***
Of course, there are many more substantial critiques that can be made of the Google Books Library Project from a library perspective. Among the most compelling, in my view, are the privacy implications for readers using the service (which are terrifying, if you think about it) and the frankly crappy metadata, which can’t help but impede any kind of research executed using the corpus (but especially the kind of “big data” work that is so in vogue these days). These critiques also appeared in the re-posted email thread.
But these critiques, as important as they are, are no more relevant to thinking about whether or not Judge Chin’s decision was a victory for libraries than the more subjective distaste for Google described above. They don’t matter either. Not here.
Judge Chin’s decision is beneficial for libraries not because it benefits Google (though of course it does) but because of the way the law works – that is, based on precedent. This decision sets the precedent that scanning books for the purpose of indexing – even books in copyright, and even without the copyright-holder’s permission – is fair use, so long as access to the actual digital versions of those in-copyright books is limited in particular ways. Judge Baer’s decision set a very similar precedent. And those precedents are immensely valuable to libraries who wish to go forward with digitizing and broadening access to their collections, whether they choose to do so in partnership with a corporation like Google, with a nonprofit like the Internet Archive, with a collection of their institutional peers, or with nobody but their own staff.
The nature of legal precedent is such that you don’t have to like the party that wins, and you don’t have to like what it’s doing, in order for that precedent to benefit you. Heck, I seem to recall that at least half of the cases we read in Intellectual Property & Information Law centered on pornographers, hate groups, and other unsympathetic protagonists – and those sketchy characters often won, but that didn’t mean the decisions set bad precedents from the perspective of library values and ethics. Often just the reverse.
Moreover, Judge Chin’s decision also benefits some library projects more directly – especially HathiTrust. Since HathiTrust is mostly composed of Google scans, it would have suffered a significant blow if the Author’s Guild had gotten its way, since it would probably have had to stop using all the scans of in-copyright works that Google had made, both for search and retrieval and, one suspects, for providing access to the print-disabled (though, I am not a lawyer – if Chin’s ruling had conflicted with Baer’s here, I’m not sure exactly what would have happened). Judge Chin’s ruling undoubtedly has the folks involved with both HathiTrust itself and the HathiTrust Research Center breathing a massive sigh of relief.
So yes, I’m sticking with my view, and the ALA’s view, and the view of many others, that Judge Chin’s decision was a massive victory for libraries. Because though the case was about Google, the decision is about more than that. It’s about the rights of information users – whether corporate, public, or individual – to make use of copyrighted works in transformative ways that do not imperil the economic well-being of the copyright holders, in a world where copyright terms last far longer than they truly should. For libraries, it’s about lowering the level of tension surrounding the legal risk of digitization, and of making secondary uses of externally-digitized works. It’s about the public good. Google may be massive, but in the context of this decision, it is only a tiny piece of what matters.
*Seriously, if this lawsuit was a person, it would have just started the second grade.
**Most likely, as one of my dissertation research participants speculated, the benefit of Google Books to the Google bottom line will be indirect, through increased eyeballs and increased data-banks that help to improve the algorithm and sell advertising in other parts of the Google megasphere.
***Also worth noting: Google does not have, and has never had, a monopoly on these scans. Heck, that’s part of what the Author’s Guild was suing over – that Google was providing the scans to libraries, with few limitations on what those libraries could do with them. And hey look! The libraries almost immediately started pooling their scans (along with other scans they’d created under other projects), and made HathiTrust! It’s almost as though the Google scans are accessible through a provider within the library world, which might be more beholden to library ethics and metadata standards! Well go figure!
November 1, 2013
Library Juice Press is happy to announce the winner of the First Annual Library Juice Paper Contest. Ryan Shaw’s paper, titled, “Information Organization and the Philosophy of History,” was judged by the award jury to be the best paper out of fifteen submitted in this year’s contest, in a blind process. Jury member Ron Day wrote,
“[The paper] is extremely well written and researched with a tight, but historically broad and interdisciplinary review of the literature and focus. It is theoretically important and it has very important implications for practices…”
Shaw’s paper was published in June of 2013 in JASIS, and can be read on the web at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asi.22843. Ryan Shaw is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina School of Information and Library Science.
The jury selected one paper for an honorable mention: Julie Graves Krishnaswami’s paper titled, “Critical Information Theory: A New Foundation for Teaching Regulatory Research.” This paper is slated for publication in the forthcoming book, Boulder Statements on Legal Research Instruction: The Intersection of Intellectual & Practical Skills, to be published by William S. Hein & Co.
The Library Juice Paper Contest winner receives an award of $1000. The intention of this contest is to encourage and reward good work in the field of library and information studies, humanistically understood, through a monetary award and public recognition. Papers submitted may be unpublished, pending publication, or published in the year of the award. Any type of paper may be entered as long as it is not a report of an empirical study. Examples of accepted forms would be literature review essays, analytical essays, historical papers, and personal essays. The work may include some informal primary research, but may not essentially be the report of a study.
The critera for judgment are:
- Clarity of writing
- Originality of thought
- Sincerity of effort at reaching something true
- Soundness of argumentation (where applicable)
- Relevance to our time and situation
The jury for this year’s award consisted of Ron Day, Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Indiana University; Toni Samek, Professor, School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alberta; and John Doherty, instructional designer with the Northern Arizona University’s e-Learning Center.
Entries in next year’s award are due September 1st, 2014.
Library Juice Press is an imprint of Litwin Books, LLC specializing in theoretical and practical issues in librarianship from a critical perspective, for an audience of professional librarians and students of library science.
October 22, 2013
You may already be familiar with Andromeda Yelton; if not, she is a librarian and software developer who is known for her passion about promoting coding, collaboration, and diversity in library technology. Recently, she was doing library outreach, software, and communications at the ebook startup Unglue.it. She is a member of the LITA Board of Directors.
Anrdromeda is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month: Introduction to Python Programming for Librarians. She has graciously agreed to do an interview with us, to tell people more about the class and why they might benefit from it, as well as a bit about herself.
October 17, 2013
Andrea Baer holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Washington and a Masters in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee. She is teaching a class for Library Juice Academy next month, titled, Information Literacy, Composition Studies, and Higher Order Thinking. She has graciously agreed to do an interview for the Library Juice Academy blog, to tell people more about the class, as well as a bit about herself.
August 19, 2013
Annie Downey tught a class for Library Juice Academy recently, titled, Techniques for Creative Problem Solving in Libraries. Next month she will be teaching another one for us: Academia 101: A Crash Course on How Colleges and Universities Work. She did a second interview with me, about the new class being offered in September.
August 16, 2013
Beth Knazook has taught a course in managing digital image collections for Library Juice Academy a couple of times, and we interviewed her about it back in March. Now she is going to teach a follow-up class titled, Describing Photographs for the Online Catalog. Beth holds an MA in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University/George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. She has previously worked as the Curatorial Specialist for Ryerson University Archives & Special Collections and as the Photo Archivist for the Stratford Festival of Canada. She agreed to do another interview with us to give people a good sense of what this new class will cover.
August 15, 2013
Jeremy McGinniss is the Library Director at Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennyslvania. He is the instructor for the Library Juice Academy offered next month on Student Staff Development. Jeremy agreed to an interview to give people more of an idea of the content of this course and his background as the instructor, as well as some of his interests.
July 30, 2013
Feminist Pedagogy for Library Instruction
Author: Maria T. Accardi
Published: July 2013
Number 3 in the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, Emily Drabinski, Series Editor
Providing both a theoretical framework and practical guidance, this title introduces feminist pedagogy to librarians seeking to enrich their teaching practices in feminist and progressive ways. Drawing heavily upon the women’s studies literature where the concept first appears, Accardi defines and describes recurring themes for feminist teachers: envisioning the classroom as a collaborative, democratic, transformative site; consciousness raising about sexism and oppression; ethics of care in the classroom; and the value of personal testimony and lived experience as valid ways of knowing. Framing these concepts in the context of the limits of library instruction–so often a 50 minute one-shot bound by ACRL-approved cognitive learning outcomes–Accardi invites a critical examination of the potential for feminist liberatory teaching methods in the library instruction classroom.
This book is available from online booksellers and vendors to libraries and bookstores. Litwin Books and Library Juice Press no longer do direct retail sales to the public.
July 9, 2013
Julia Skinner is a doctoral student at Florida State University’s School of Library & Information Studies. Her research interests include social media, library history, and services for sexual assault survivors. She is the instructor for two classes coming up with Library Juice Academy in August: Social Media for Libraries, and The Librarian as Scholar: Taking Part in Scholarly Communication. She agreed to do an interview with me in order to give people a better sense of what will be covered in these classes and how they might benefit from them, and a little bit more about her and her varied interests.
July 4, 2013
July 1, 2013
We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Litwin Books Award for Ongoing Dissertation Research in the Philosophy of Information. Out of a field that included some highly interesting and solid work, one applicant’s submission stood out strongly. We are granting this year’s award to Steve McKinlay of Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia, based on his dissertation proposal, titled, “Information Ethics and the Problem of Reference.” McKinlay’s dissertation argues that information is best understood through a concept of reference, as opposed to Floridi’s notion of information as a category of reality, and that this conception has important implications for information ethics, especially regarding the treatment of “information objects.” We admire the clarity of McKinlay’s writing and find his statement to be an important one, and are pleased to grant him the award. The award consists of a certificate suitable for framing and $1000 check.
Since this award is for ongoing research, other applicants who are still working on their dissertations will be eligible to enter their work next year, and we strongly encourage them to do so.
For more information about the award, please visit http://litwinbooks.com/award.php.
Litwin Books, LLC
PO Box 188784
Sacramento, CA 95818
June 21, 2013
Susan Teague-Rector works at the University of Colorado, specializing in information architecture (IA) and UX design for University Web Services. Previously Susan led the IA, design and implementation of a new website for NCSU Libraries in 2010; and led IA, design, web programming and usability testing as Web Applications Manager at VCU Libraries. She is the instructor for a Library Juice Academy course next month titled Information Architecture: Designing Navigation for Library Websites. This course is a part of the six-course Certificate in User Experience that Library Juice Academy offers. I interviewed Susan recently, to give people a clear idea of what her course will cover and a bit about her background as the instructor and her other interests.