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.

March 20, 2013

Whistleblowers, Intellectual Freedom, and Librarians

On February 28, 2013, Bradley Manning read a 35-page statement at a courthouse in Fort Meade, in which he detailed how and why he released certain information to the public. The redacted transcript reveals several intellectual freedom issues that have been central to some recent discussions at American Library Association meetings. Among these issues are recurring concerns about the national security vs. the public’s right to know debate and the over-classification of government information, both of which reinforce government secrecy.

When Manning discussed the release of diplomatic cables, he stated “the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other. I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for more open diplomacy.” Even the Obama Administration agrees that a more open government would be beneficial and joined the Open Government Partnership with several other countries devoted to making governments more transparent and accountable. In theUnited States’ Open Government Partnership action plan whistleblower protection and declassification of government records are listed as working goals, among many others. In addition, the action plan supports “accountability, which can improve performance” and refers to the famous quote from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Yet, Bradley Manning’s court case, along with several other instances of whistleblower persecution, point toward an opposite reality. In fact, the Obama Administration is taking the unprecedented path of charging Manning with “aiding the enemy”, a crime punishable by death and a charge for which Manning has pleaded not guilty.

In Yochai Benkler’s post in New Republic titled “The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case,” he explains that “If Bradley Manning is convicted of aiding the enemy, the introduction of a capital offense into the mix would dramatically elevate the threat to whistleblowers. The consequences for the ability of the press to perform its critical watchdog function in the national security arena will be dire. “Perhaps Manning’s leaks of diplomatic cables along with other information on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been too much “sunlight”, or rather, not the kind of sunlight the Open Government program envisioned. This is where we see a great clash between the Public’s right to know and concerns for national security.

Unfortunately, invoking “national security” has often been used to limit intellectual freedom, including press freedom as outlined under the First Amendment, resulting in fleeting protections for whistleblowers who reveal injustices and abuses within organizations. A prime example is the decision by The New York Times not to publish a story in 2003 on the sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program by the C.I.A. after government officials informed the paper it would endanger “national security.” In addition, President Obama’s 2012 directive titled “Protecting Whistleblowers with Access to Classified Information” does not extend protection to whistleblowers that disclose information outside of institutional channels for example, to the press or the public. Benkler asserts that “freedom of the press is anchored in our constitution because it reflects our fundamental belief that no institution can be its own watchdog,” for even though internal accountability systems are in place, secrecy “can be-and often is-used to cover up failure, avarice, or actions that simply will not survive that best of disinfectants, sunlight.” To ensure effective accountability that eliminates injustices and corruption within our government, we need better transparency and a media devoted to its critical watchdog role.

The International Federation of Library Associations, of which the American Library Association is a member, published the “IFLA Manifesto on Transparency, Good Governance and Freedom from Corruption” which offers some inspiration for librarians who are concerned with issues of national security, press freedom and the over classification of government information. It states that: “Corruption succeeds most under conditions of secrecy and general ignorance” and that since libraries in essence contribute to “good governance by enlarging the knowledge of citizens and enriching their discussion and debates” they should extend their work to be active in the “struggle against corruption.”

Moreover, several of the core values of our profession, as expressed by the American Library Association directly relate to the importance of whistleblowers. First, the core value in support of democracy: “A democracy presupposes an informed citizenry.” Likewise, the value of social responsibility, which includes “ameliorating or solving the critical problems of society; support for efforts to help inform and educate the people of the United States on these problems and to encourage them to examine the many views on and the facts regarding each problem.” Without a doubt, government transparency is a critical problem in our society, and has been a continuous balancing act since the inception of our constitutional republic. As Sunshine Week comes to a close, we are reminded to reflect on these issues and the progress we have yet to make.

As of now, the Obama Administration has denied FOIA requests more than any time in the Administration’s history due to national security and internal deliberations. The Espionage Act, enacted in 1917, has resurfaced in the persecution of whistleblowers who inform the public of government crime. National Security Letters continue to be used as a way to infringe on individual privacies, although a federal judge just recently ruled the letters unconstitutional and a violation of the First Amendment. This varied landscape of political control over information should be explored by information professionals in order to be better informed of the various perspectives and events that have brought it about. As librarians, professionals dedicated to equitable access to information, we should be acutely aware of and decidedly outspoken about the current threat to the vital role that whistleblowers play in times of heightened government secrecy, that of alerting us to troubling, unethical, immoral, and/or criminal acts in our name.

March 14, 2013

Interview with Ray Schwartz

I have just interviewed Ray Schwartz. Ray is a systems librarian at the William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. He frequently presents on topics relating to the use of many forms of electronic transactional data and datamining. He is teaching a course for Library Juice Academy next month called, “Collecting and Evaluating Electronic Transactions from Library Services.” He agreed to do an interview here to give people a better idea about what will be covered in the class and where he is coming from.

March 13, 2013

Interview with Beth Knazook

I have just interviewed Beth Knazook, an image archivist who has worked for the Ryerson University Archives & Special Collections and as the Photo Archivist for the Stratford Festival of Canada. Her expertise is in photographic preservation and photographic collection management, and that is the subject of her introductory course for Library Juice Academy next month, “What Do I Do With All These Pictures? Getting Started With Digital Image Collections.” Beth agreed to be interviewed to give people a better sense of what they will learn from the class and about her background as an instructor.

Important Petition for Access to Government Information

Message from Free Government Information:

A convergence of several things — the White House’s new policy on Open Access to federally funded scientific information, the NAPA Report on the GPO, the CASSANDRA Letter to the Public Printer, Aaron Swartz’ long work with open govt and open access and his tragic suicide and Sunshine Week among them — has led us to create a petition on the White House’s We the People petition site. If you believe in free permanent public access to authentic government information, we hope you’ll sign the petition and forward on to all your friends and social networks to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by April 11, 2013! Thanks in advance!!

Embedded links, the petition, and more, here:


I am going to link to an editorial that is not like what we normally link to here, but it is on a favorite topic of mine, one that I have written about here before (here, here, here, and here), in order to continue asking a question and perhaps to challenge our faith as librarians. Mark Morfords has a column in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle about elitism, in a positive sense, titled, 37 Percent of People Completely Lost. Morfords is asking the uncomfortable question about how a democracy can function when the population is, as measured by surveys, shockingly ignorant and determined to stay that way. He further suggests that providing more and better facts to the ignorant multitudes has not worked and is not going to work, which challenges the faith of librarians who see our mission as supporting the foundations of democracy through information. What do you think?

March 12, 2013

Call for Submissions – Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize

Call for Submissions – Miriam Braverman Memorial Prize

The submission period for the 2013 Braverman Award is now open. Submitted papers should be about some aspect of the social responsibilities of librarians, libraries, or librarianship. Papers related to archivists, archives, and archival work are also eligible.

The winning paper will be published in the Summer 2013 issue of Progressive Librarian. The winner of the contest will also receive a $300 stipend to help offset the cost of travel to and from the 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago, IL from June 27- July 2. The award will be presented at the annual PLG dinner at ALA.

Additionally, the following requirements must also be met:

• Contestants must be library and/or information science students attending a graduate-level program in the United States or Canada.

• Entries must be the original, unpublished work of the contestant, and must be written in English. Entries may not exceed 3,000 words and must conform to MLA in-text citation style.

• To facilitate the blind review process, each entry must include a cover sheet providing the contestant’s name, full contact information (address, phone number, e-mail address), name of the institution where the contestant is enrolled, and the title of the paper. No identifying information other than the title should appear on the paper itself.

• Entries must be submitted electronically, in Microsoft Word or RTF format, to Entries must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on International Workers’ Day or May Day, Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

• The $300 stipend is available only to help defray the cost of ALA conference attendance in 2013; if the winner of the contest is unable to attend, the money will remain in the Braverman Prize endowment fund and may be donated to a progressive cause at the discretion of the selection committee.
Any questions regarding the contest or the selection process can be directed to the chairs of the selection committee, Megan Browndorf at or Kelly McElroy at

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, and we can discuss it.

Thanks, and I look forward to your ideas.

March 11, 2013

The women behind Russia’s literary greats

Interesting article from The Moscow News this week about the women behind the great men of Russian literary history. The author claims that creative partnership between writers prior to women’s independence was a uniquely Russian tradition…

March 7, 2013

Interview with Marcus Banks

I have just interviewed Marcus Banks, who is the Director of Library/Academic & Instructional Innovation at Samuel Merritt University. He has a strong interest in new and alternative methods of quantitatively assessing scholarly work, and that is roughly the subject area of the class he is teaching for Library Juice Academy next month: Digital Scholarship: New Metrics, New Modes. Marcus agreed to be interviewed here, to give people a better sense of what his class is about and what they will learn from it.

March 5, 2013

NASIG’s 28th Annual Conference

NASIG’s 28th Annual Conference: June 6th to June 9th 2013 in Buffalo, NY

“The Art of Information/The Architecture of Knowledge”

NASIG 2013 continues the organization’s tradition of offering conferences that have strong, engaging programs and numerous opportunities to discuss issues and network in a relaxed environment with colleagues—publishers, vendors, print and e-resources providers, and librarians.

– Need to learn more about e-resources, scholarly communication issues, RDA, linked data, DDA, collection management issues for both electronic and print resources, licensing, copyright, IRs, discovery services, workflows and much more? The NASIG conference is the place to be!

Featured Speakers:

– Bryan Alexander (National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education), “Libraries and Mobile Technologies in the Age of the Visible College”

– Megan Oakleaf (Associate Professor of Library and Information Science, Syracuse University), “The Value of Serials in Academic and Special Libraries”

– Siva Vaidhyanathan (Robertson Professor in Media Studies, University of Virginia), “Googlization and the Challenge of Big Data”


– June 5, 1pm-5pm: Library as Publisher (Timothy S. Deliyannides, University of Pittsburgh)

– June 5, 1pm-5pm and June 6, 8am-noon (2 parts): RDA & Serials: Transitioning to RDA within a MARC 21 Framework (Valerie Bross (UCLA), Les Hawkins and Hien Nguyen (Library of Congress))

– June 6, 8am-noon: Copyright in Practice: A Participatory Workshop (Kevin Smith, Duke University)

There will be networking opportunities, a Vendor Expo and fun optional events. For a full list of conference activities and information on Buffalo, see the conference website at:

Got questions?

March 2, 2013

New: Lenny and Nina are Buried in Books

Lenny and Nina are Buried in Books

Author: Linda Cooper
Illustrator: Jana Vukovic
Price: $10.00
Published: March 2013
ISBN: 978-1-936117-88-8

For children 5-7 years old.

Lenny and Nina have so many books that they cannot find what they are looking for and Grandma almost can’t find them! Beginning with this somewhat silly, exaggerated situation, this book proceeds to introduce concepts of library organization to young children in an engaging and humorous story using vocabulary they can understand and a situation to which they can relate. The children’s solution to their problem both empowers them in organizing their own environment and introduces them to how the larger culture organizes information for the community.

New from Library Juice Press.