October 31, 2013

Occasional work available for a publishing assistant


Duties are to include document scanning, bibliographic research, possible social media marketing, research into addresses for review copies and offers of desk copies, possible tasks for Library Juice Academy (e.g. processing enrollments, sending certificates of completion), and help at conferences. We are also looking for someone to do book layout, and these jobs could be combined. The work will amount to a few hours a week with a lot of variation week-to-week, at $10/hr USD. So, it means a little extra income and a resume-builder.

The ideal person has an MLIS or is in progress, is familiar with our work, is interested in publishing and the vendor side of libraries. It would also nice if the person is a resident of the SF Bay Area or the Sacramento area.

If you are interested, please send an email to rory [at] libraryjuicepress.com.

October 22, 2013

Interview with Andromeda Yelton

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

Interview with Andrea Baer

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.

October 16, 2013

LJA Certificate in Library Management

Certificate in Library Management

This series of classes, developed and taught by Deborah Schmidle, provides a strong foundation in managerial skills, and is intended for new managers or those who would like to enhance their current knowledge base. Though these courses touch on organizational theory, the primary focus is on practical skills that can be readily adapted to individual needs.

The six four-week courses in this program complement and build upon each other; however, they have also been developed as stand-alone courses and can be taken as such. Participants who successfully complete all six of these courses will obtain a certificate of completion for the series.

Courses in the series:

* Effective Communication Strategies
* Planning and Leading Productive Meetings
* Strategic Planning: Setting Directions for the Future
* Critical Strategies for Implementing and Managing Organizational Change
* Growing, Developing, and Retaining Dynamic Staff
* Telling Your Story: Successful Marketing Strategies for Librarians

These courses will run from March through August, 2014. You can register for all six courses in the certificate program from the website, at a 10% discount.

Deborah Schmidle is currently the principal consultant at Schmidle Consulting Services. She has developed and taught numerous organizational development-related workshops and has facilitated strategic-planning processes for libraries and library organizations. She holds an M.L.I.S. from Syracuse University and a Certificate in Contemporary Leadership from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Prior to retiring in March 2013, she was Director of Research & Learning Services at Cornell University Library (CUL).

October 14, 2013

New NYC Library Curated by and for the Homeless

Jean Rice

Jean Rice.

A few weeks ago, I attended the opening dedication of the Jean Rice Homeless Liberation Reference Library in the Fordham area of the Bronx. (I’ve written before about Picture the Homeless [PTH], a grassroots organization of currently and formerly homeless people and allies that does advocacy and data collection, among other campaigns.) By the time I got to the event, someone was just beginning a foot-stomping rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come,” to murmurs of encouragement from the crowd, so I suppose it wasn’t your typical library ribbon-cutting. There was wine and cheese, but there were also references to Simón Bolívar and the “shelter-industrial complex,” and the invitation postcard included quotes from Frederick Douglass (“Once you learn to read you are forever free”) and Malcolm X (“My alma mater was books, a good library”).

I love hearing non-librarians talk about what a library means to them (comment cards were also distributed at the event so that everyone could share their thoughts). One speaker described it as an avenue to read, discuss, and critique books together. Others emphasized the self-education element, with someone declaring that everyone has something to offer and something to teach (“We’re all learning”).

This library is meant to be a resource for people fighting homelessness, a space for self-education and reflection. It will be open midday (lunchtime) for now. The collection is mostly nonfiction with some shelves of fiction, and it’s a mix of reference and circulating books. There are also some materials unique to the library, including scholarship from when PTH members traveled to Colombia and other places. A review committee has been set up to vet book donations.

After the opening speeches, I spoke with PTH member Rogers, who actually used to work in the collection development department at Queens Library back in the ’80s. He told me about the divide at the time between the white librarians and the Creole publisher six blocks from the library, of which the QL staff was unaware despite such materials’ relevance to many library users. His former work at QL, he said, would be “only a shadow” of what he’ll do in the new PTH library.

A former PTH employee (and current library school student) who’s a member of the review committee recently gave me an update on how the homeless library is progressing. The committee is refining the book categories and hammering out a collection development policy. They’re building a catalog on LibraryThing, and book discussions (some with the authors present) are already taking place in the library. If you’re in NYC and want to help out, get in touch—they’re currently in need of more bookshelves, bookends, a stamp or ex libris labels, a cart, and transportation to get larger items into the space.

library opening scene

Some dedication attendees in the library.


Homeless/Homesteading/Social Justice

October 10, 2013

Comment’s on Eric Hellman’s note on eBook Copyright Pages

Eric Hellman, founder of Unglue.it, has a note in the current issue of the New York Law School Review titled, “The eBook Copyright Page is Broken.” It is a quick read, and what I have to say is in response to it, so please read it in order to understand what I am commenting on.

Hellman is active in the area of eBook publishing, exploring new economic models for their distribution, and very interested in how eBooks are changing the conditions of what we call publishing. I support his general project and agree in general terms that the technological foundation of eBooks has implications for the way the book trade works. However, I think that in his note on eBook copyright pages, what Hellman has done is simply to notice the way that copyright pages are broken in general, in terms of print books as well as eBooks.

I am a publisher of print books that have e-versions in most cases, and I sign contracts with authors, contributors, translators, illustrators, designers, and other publishers, contracts that involve the trading of rights under copyright. So, I am familiar with some of the complexities behind copyright and its role in book publishing.

Hellman enumerates seven ways in which he says eBook copyright pages are broken. In almost each case, as I was reading I said to myself, “Well this applies equally to print books, and publishers know this, but the copyright page is not intended to communicate the full picture of rights ownership behind a book.”

Let me address each of Hellman’s discovered problems with eBook copyright pages.

1) “Since there currently are not any copyright formalities, the copyright symbol means nothing. The work is subject to copyright with or without the copyright symbol.”

This rather obviously applies to print as well as eBooks.

2) “The work may also not be subject to copyright, for example, if Eric S. Hellman is a government employee, a robot, or a non-creative compiler of factual information. In these cases there is no copyright even if there is a copyright symbol present. There is no legal duty for a publisher to put a copyright symbol only on a copyrightable work. How is the ebook user supposed to know the true copyright status of a digital work?”

This states that a copyright can be falsely indicated when a work cannot be copyrighted, and also that the copyright status of a work is not required to be stated. I understand this to mean mainly that copyright does not rest on a copyright page, and that is worth pointing out, but again, it is rather obviously true of print books as well as eBooks. (Not all of my points will be quite this obvious.)

3) “Eric S. Hellman” is an uncommon name. But suppose the author is named “John Smith.” What use, then, is the copyright statement? It does not specify which Eric S. Hellman or which John Smith is the author.

This again applies obviously to print books, but furthermore, it is a complaint that can be answered in general terms. The copyright page gives some indication of rights ownership even though it doesn’t not paint the full picture or give a lot of specificity. In terms of identifying the true author, if the author is the copyright holder, normally a person would use other available information to figure out which “John Smith” is indicated. If the copyright page has CIP information from the Library of Congress, then the LoC’s name authority information will be included in the cataloging (normally indicated by a year of birth). Sometimes, finding the identity of the rights holder could take additional work. But it doesn’t follow that the copyright statement, incomplete as it may be, is without value. At a minimum, it indicates whether the author or the publisher owns the copyright (even if, in terms of control of rights, it may provide misleading information given stipulations in a contract about transfers of rights limited to a certain number of years, etc.) So Hellman’s observation is of one of quite a few ways in which the copyright page of a book, regardless of format, leaves something to be desired as a complete statement regarding rights holders. I don’t think this means that the copyright page is “broken,” however; it simply relates to the fact that the copyright page is not intended to be a full statement of rights.

4) “The asserted name of the copyright holder can’t be relied on because text in a digital file can be altered without a trace. It’s simple to take a digital copy of Merchants of Culture and change its asserted copyright holder to “John Smith,” then redistribute it. This is a negligible problem in the print world.

This one is clearly about eBooks and not print books, as Hellman points out specifically in this case. However, what he is pointing out is not merely a problem for the copyright page. It is also a problem for the actual copyright status of an eBook. If an eBook is altered and redistributed, the alterations likely represent a copyrightable creative contribution that is not reflected in the copyright statement. Or is it? Why should we presume that if the book is altered the copyright statement is not also altered? Not to alter the copyright statement would simply mean not finishing the book responsibly and creating a product into which false information has been introduced. This means that the copyright page in this sense is only broken when someone breaks it. And this is only if we accept Hellman’s assumption that we should look at the copyright page as something that is intended to paint the full picture of the copyright status of a book.

5) “The asserted date of publication may be unrelated to the date of the underlying copyright. For purposes of copyright (for example, when a work is produced as a work-for-hire), re-publication of a book does not change the copyright expiration date of the underlying text.”

This is true of print books as well, and it may come as a surprise to some that it can be a problem with first editions of print books, given the time that it takes to bring a work to publication once it is complete. Aside from the fact that normally only the year is given on the copyright page of a book (as opposed to the date, and, why not, the time), it is often the case that a work that is completed in one year does not reach publication until the next. There is, unfortunately, no agreement as to whether the date given on the copyright page represents the date of completion of the work (the copyright date) or the date of publication. Sometimes the copyright page will be clear as to whether one or the other is indicated. At Litwin Books, we like to be specific and state both the year of copyright and the year of publication when the two are different, but most publishers do not do this. And it is something that is not generally considered in the book world. For example, the rules for a book award may state in one place that the book needs to have been published the previous year and in another that it needs to have been copyrighted in the previous year, or where, in considering books for an award, stated copyright dates are taken as evidence of publication dates or vice versa. Unlike some of the other problems with copyright pages that Hellman notes, this one affects people who don’t even have a need to know information about who owns the rights. But it would be mistaken to think that it is a problem that effects eBooks specifically.

6) “There is no specification of the work being copyrighted. In print there’s not much ambiguity, but digital books are composite objects (text and graphics are always separate entities in a digital book file) and are frequently distributed in pieces. Some ebooks even have front matter distributed as a pdf file completely separate from the chapters. In other cases, an ebook may be displayed on a website that has a separate set of copyright statements.”

Hellman is correct to point out that when a print book is pulled apart and no new copyright information is provided about the separate parts of the book, a new problem is introduced. However, there is a related problem that existed already, which is that the simple copyright page never represented the complex status of rights regarding the different parts of a print book. A preface may be a work for hire owned completely by a publisher, and illustrations may be owned by the illustrator (or another publisher) and used under license. That complex state of affairs regarding the rights behind a book is standard, but I have never heard of a publisher attempting to represent it fully on the copyright page of a book (or what would have to be a copyright section if they were to attempt to represent all of the information concerning rights). If a new problem is introduced with eBooks in this regard, it is in the fact that new discrete digital objects are sometimes produced that have no copyright information attached to them.

7) “If the digital book is legally on your ebook reader, then, somehow, the rights holder has granted you some rights, perhaps under the terms of an explicit license or with the license implicit in its availability on a website. Either way, “all rights” have not been reserved. Licenses are not needed for printed books, but they may be needed for ebooks.”

The license agreements between publishers and consumers of information in electronic form are the big area, in my opinion, where the situation regarding the book trade has changed, and which librarians especially need to pay attention to. Where “all rights reserved” appears on a copyright page, presumably it has been placed there prior to a license agreement. Also, we can presume that it refers not really to “all rights” but to “all rights that we own” (since, for example, it is never taken to be denial of first sale doctrine). I think Eric is correct that in an eBook environment, this statement has to be modified in order to most correct, and further I think it is an easy modification to make. It could simply be amended to say, “All rights reserved where not covered by license agreement,” or words to that affect. However, it could also be argued that the statement is intended to apply to the content prior to a license, which is the same as the situation with print books. Publishers grant licenses all the time that allow specific parties, usually other publishers, to make limited use of content controlled by that publisher (e.g. a chapter in a book where the publisher still controls the rights). In that sense, “All rights reserved” indicates that a license is required for a transfer of rights. We often don’t know where such licenses are already in effect. But that is a somewhat technical point, and I will agree that Hellman has identified an issue here.

I think that my main point–that the issues Hellman has raised regarding copyright pages apply to print books as well–is fairly obvious. So, I wonder why these issues seem salient regarding eBooks and not so much to print books? I think the reason is that eBooks are forcing us to pay focused attention to issues of rights that have become unstable and have entered into play in new ways with digital content, and that this focus has inspired Hellman to turn a critical eye to traditional copyright pages. Perhaps we need complete statements of the rights situation surrounding works in a way that we didn’t before eBooks. If that is the case, then I could agree with Hellman that the eBook copyright page is broken, but only in the sense that it does not address a new set of needs. Perhaps Hellman assumes that but doesn’t state it directly. In any case, I think it would not be an entirely correct assumption, because print books and eBooks don’t exist in separate legal spheres, and copyright issues that have recently become salient affect print books today in ways that they didn’t previously, even if the change is related to e-publishing.

October 2, 2013

New Book: Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader

Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader

Editors: Patrick Keilty and Rebecca Dean
Price: $60.00
Published: October 2013
ISBN: 978-1-936117-16-1

Number 4 in the Litwin Books Series on Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, Emily Drabinski, series editor

In Feminist and Queer Information Studies Reader, Keilty and Dean put the field of Information Studies into critical conversation with studies of gender, sexuality, race, and technology. In classic and original essays, renowned scholars from a range of disciplines think through a broad array of information and technology philosophies and practices. Conceiving of “information” in a broad sense, the contributors reevaluate conventional methods and topics within Information Studies to examine encounters with information phenomena and technology that do not lend themselves easily to the scientific and behaviorist modes of description that have long dominated the field. A Foreword, Introduction, and Afterword provide helpful context to the reader’s 27 essays, arranged around topics that include information as gendered labor, cyborgs and cyberfeminism, online environments, information organization, information extraction and flow, archives, and performance.

Table of Contents


Foreword – Sandy Stone

Introduction – Patrick Keilty

Information as Gendered Labor

The Bride Stripped Bare to Her Data: Information Flow + Digibodies – Mary Flanagan

Essentialism and Care in a Female-Intensive Profession – Melodie Fox and Hope Olson

Reflections on Meaning in Library and Information Studies: A Personal Odyssey through Information, Sexuality, and Gender – Alvin Schrader

Cyborgs and Cyberfeminism

Feminist Theories of Technology – Judy Wajcman

Cyborg Feminism and the Methodology of the Oppressed – Chela Sandoval

Developing a Corporeal Cyberfeminism: Beyond Cyberutopia – Jessica Brophy

Online Environment

Going On-Line: Consuming Pornography in the Digital Era – Zabet Patterson

Avatars and the Visual Culture of Reproduction on the Web – Lisa Nakamura

“OH NO! I’M A NERD!” : Hegemonic Masculinity on an Online Forum – Lori Kendall

Information Organization

How We Construct Subjects: A Feminist Analysis – Hope Olson

Queer Theory and the Creation of Contextual Subject Access Tools for Gay and Lesbian Communities – D. Grant Campbell

Paraphilias: The Perversion of Meaning in the Library of Congress Catalog – Melissa Adler

Administrating Gender – Dean Spade

Information Extraction, Information Flow

On Torture: Abu Ghraib – Jasbir Puar

Tacit Subjects – Carlos Ulises Decena

A Tapestry of Knowledge: Crafting a New Approach to Information Sharing – Sherilyn M. Williams and Pamela McKenzie

Sharing Economies and Value Systems on the Nifty Archive – Mica Ars Hilson


Police / Archives – Steven Maynard

The Brandon Archive – Judith Halberstam

Love and Lubrication in the Archives, or rukus!: A Black Queer Archive for the United Kingdom – Ajamu X, Topher Vampbell, and Mary Stevens

Welcome Home: An Exploratory Ethnography of trhe Information Context at the Lesbian Herstory Archives – Danielle Cooper

Accessing Transgender // Desiring Queer(er?) Archival Logics – K. J. Rawson

In the Archive of Lesbian Feeling: Documentary and Popular Culture – Ann Cvetkovich


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rape Kit – Aliza Shvarts

Joe Orton, Kenneth Halliwell, and the Islington Public Library: Defacement, Parody and Mashups – D. Grant Campbell

Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study – Micha Cárdenas

GRIDs, Gay Bombs, and Viral Aesthetics – Zach Blas

Afterword – Leah Lievrouw

Author Bios