18/01/2012 § 4 Comments
Even if you are not actively involved, if you have been listening to the news or surfing the web in the last few weeks you have likely heard about the debates and activism swirling around SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act or Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act). If nothing else perhaps you noticed that Wikipedia is black today (January 18).
We here at Hack Library School made the decision to add the black banner in the upper right corner to show support for Internet freedom and those working to stop passage of this legislation in its current form.
(As an aside, if you or your patrons are hurting for the loss particularly of Wikipedia as a research tool, according to NPR you can tweet with hashtag #altwiki and have your question answered by someone from The Washington Post, NPR or The Guardian.)
The writers of Hack Library School had our own debate about weighing in on US Legislation versus trying to stay away from the “political.” I am honored to have joined this group of students and leaders in time for this discussion. We talked over if we ought to: proceed as usual and continue to do as we do; post something for discussion as befits a learning environment; or join with the likes of Wikipedia, Reddit, BoingBoing, WordPress and even the “Cheezburger” sites, to completely “Black out” HackLibSchool for the day. I’m sure that many of you have had similar conversations within your organizations (those links by the way go to the blog or opinion pieces about the decision to blackout – interesting reading).
In the end, we decided to leave our site up and open for discussion and sharing. As current and future Information Professionals, (everyone reading this,) it behooves us to be as informed and aware of all points of view as possible. We at HLS want to show librarians and archivists as remaining active and available as a trusted resource, and creators of a safe space for discourse.
So here we are.
In a wonderful moment of kismet, we received a well-researched and thoughtful guest post from Alex Berman (posting at 9am EST), which sheds good light on some of the potentially problematic portions of the legislation. If you are new to this topic I highly suggest starting with Alex’s post as it offers a good basic introduction while citing specific language and verbiage in the actual bills.
If you are interested in more articles, I would offer: “Why we need to stop SOPA” by Director of MIT’s Media Labe Joi Ito; “The Problem with SOPA” by Sonia Simone of Copyblogger; “An Alternative to SOPA: the OPEN Act“ by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; and from the “pro” side: a list of stated supporters by Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (TX), and the Motion Picture Association of America’s RogueWebsites site.
Despite the black banner at top showing our allegiance to stopping SOPA, we welcome all opinions here (as was done with the “Occupy” posts 1 and 2). Copyright protection is as important an issue as intellectual freedom, and there is ample room for debate on the merits of or problems with all or portions of these bills from both sides.
Please share your own best resources, suggestions and opinions in the comment section below. It should be an intellectually stimulating and engaging day and the important thing is that the conversation continues uncensored.
“New Hacker” Joanna
19/10/2011 § 9 Comments
There has always been a hesitation to fully embrace the new. This existed when the codex,or books, with pages that you turn, took the place of scrolls that you roll, as illustrated by this hilarious video. Next, came the invention of movable type, in particular Gutenberg’s printing press. That was met by disdain from the elite due to the fact that the mechanization of the written word further widened the circle of readers, knowledge, and power structure. Now over 500 years later, electronic communication is making its impression by way of the electronic book (e-book). Whether they are reading using an e-reader such as Kindle, Nook, iPad, or a phone or computer, the dissemination of e-books is not stopping and it’s in our interests as library students to learn as much as we can about e-books, their distribution, and a new term for me, Digital Rights Management (DRM).
DRM, as said in Wikipedia, refers to “technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices.” When applied to e-books, this can lead to publishers making drastic decisions on how their authors’ works are read. An example, and current polemic amongst public libraries, is with publisher Harper Collins and their 26 check out limit. An e-book can be borrowed a maximum of 26 times, after which a new e-book must be purchased and again limited to only 26 checkouts. Such a limit has its problems, as this video by Pioneer Library System of Oklahoma explains. Each publisher’s DRM is unique and Harper Collins decision has certainly caused quite a commotion among the public libraries.
Yet, there are other publishers, the small independent ones, whose alternatives demand further contemplation. If e-books are to be embraced, why not comingle written and electronic content together. At least that’s what one publisher, Melville House Publishing, is doing. They sell what is called a Hybrid Book, where the print version of a book comes with additional material, called Melville House Illuminations, that “consist of highly curated text, maps, photographs, and illustrations related to the original book”. What I equate it to, is what music distributors have done to sell their recording artist’s records. They load them with additional features, such as the music video for their single, bonus tracks, or special cover art. This is just a one example of what publishers are doing to incorporate print material with electronic content but what are we as library school students learning about e-books? Being rather green to these terms, I’d like to take a class next semester that introduces me to electronic collections and services, but I’d like to hear from our readers:
What you have experienced when learning about e-content? If the future of books is looking increasingly digital do you feel your library school education is preparing you to handle electronic content?
29/08/2011 § 8 Comments
Everyone’s getting ready to go back to school, including your fellow hackers! Part of the library school experience is keeping up with what’s going on in the library world. That way you can discuss the latest trends or scandals with your classmates and professors.
We’ve compiled a few library related blogs that you should check out if you haven’t already.
Annie: I have always enjoyed these two blogs, they both put out great content. Both are collaborative just like HackLibSchool. Team work makes the dream work.
Lauren: There are so many fantastic LIS blogs out there (there is a partial list on my blogroll of some of my favorites), but I’d like to give a shout-out to two relatively new, incredibly enthusiastic and talented academic librarians who also have awesome blogs! They are:
Rose: Here are two must-read archives blogs that I love. The first is about archives 2.0, the future of archives on the web, and the profession itself. The second is a collaborative blog by the Smithsonian’s archives featuring their collections (full disclosure: as a volunteer for the National Anthropological Archives, I sometimes post on this blog).
Turner: My first recommendation offers sage advice from an academic librarian. The second is put out by the Library of Congress and focuses on digital collections (a growing trend in the library/information management profession and a great place to look for a kick ass job).
Micah: I know this is supposed to be an LIS focused post, but lately I’ve been thinking and rethinking the library blog “echo chamber” (everyone writing about the same things, reading one another’s work, and not engaging outside our field). So my Blogs to Read goes a little outside the LIS world, and it’d be my advice to students to step back once in a while and read something new from marketing, from tech news, from pop culture. These two blogs are both in the “hack” stream, but are great resources for ideas/tips/advice on navigating life in the university.