Archive for the 'librarianship' category

Science Online Together 2014: Who are all the librarians? Who are all the Canadians?

Feb 26 2014 Published by under Canada, librarianship, scholarly publishing, scio14

I'll be at Science Online Together for the next few days. I missed last year so I'm really looking forward to getting back into the Science Online swing of things.

As is occasionally my habit, I'll be listing here some attendees that are either Canadian, librarians or, in a few select cases, both. I'm adding websites and Twitter handles in the lists, but only if they're included in the directory listing.




Jenny Ryan has this Twitter list which picks up a few that I missed. Thanks!

Of course, I've probably missed a few librarians and/or Canadians either by mistake or because I can't tell from the information in the directory listing. If I've missed you, please feel free to add your name in the comments.

As a note, Genome Alberta, Canadian Science Publishing, and are organizing a Thursday evening "Meet Some Canadians" dinner as one of the Dine Arounds. It's at the Tir na nOg pub. Canadian and non-Canadians alike are all welcome, although we may not be able to promise that there won't be any Olympic hockey related bragging.

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Around the Web: OMG still with the librarian angst, Forking the academy and more

May 16 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web, librarianship

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Around the Web: Yet more librarian angst, The business of literature and more

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Around the Web: The librarian tech skills gap, Bookless libraries and more

Mar 30 2013 Published by under around the web, librarianship

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Journal of Library Administration editorial board resigns over author rights

The Journal of Library Administration is published by Taylor & Francis, a big publishing conglomerate. According to Brian Mathews, while he was in the middle of putting together a special issue on the future of libraries he received notice that the editorial board was resigning due to conflicts with the publisher around what kind of author rights regime the journal should use. Here is the note he received from the board:

The Board believes that the licensing terms in the Taylor & Francis author agreement are too restrictive and out-of-step with the expectations of authors in the LIS community.

A large and growing number of current and potential authors to JLA have pushed back on the licensing terms included in the Taylor & Francis author agreement. Several authors have refused to publish with the journal under the current licensing terms.

Authors find the author agreement unclear and too restrictive and have repeatedly requested some form of Creative Commons license in its place.

After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2995 per article fee to be paid by the
Author. As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community who are generally not conducting research under large grants.

Thus, the Board came to the conclusion that it is not possible to produce a quality journal under the current licensing terms offered by Taylor & Francis and chose to collectively resign.

Bravo to the editorial board of JLA for taking such a principled stand.

For a bit more background, Jason Griffey gives the perspective of an author approached by Mathews who strongly disagreed with T&F's current author rights regime. From the other side, Chris Bourg gives the perspective of someone on the JLA editorial board and a bit on how they came to their decision.

Along with many others in the comments on the various blog posts, Peter Suber suggests the board take the next step and launch their own new journal. Suber also helpfully points to a list of journals that have done just that.

My take?

First of all, I think it's a bit unfortunate that Mathews took his rather forward-thinking project to a rather backwards-thinking traditional toll access journal. The way to envision the future is to be the future to want to happen, and it's hard to imagine T&F embodying the future of scholarly communications in a way that anybody but the big commercial publishers would like to see.

That being said, I do sincerely hope his project finds a more suitable home and that one of the themes it explores is the library's role in a fairer, more open scholarly communications ecosystem.

As for the future of JLA, I hope T&F is able to move into the future and create a author rights regime that is more in sync with what authors in the LIS fields are looking for. For the resigned editorial board, I wish for them a way forward, a new partnership with an institution or society that will allow them and the authors they recruit in the future to openly envision and create the future.

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Around the Web: What makes a librarian, Fending off university-attacking zombies and more

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Around the Web: Hacking at education, The great librarian identity crisis of 2013 and more

Mar 18 2013 Published by under acad lib future, around the web, librarianship

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Friday Fun: An update from the Founder and CEO of World Wide Web, Inc.

Just like the author of this piece, I too attended a recent talk by Cory Doctorow -- a brilliant talk relating the life and death of Aaron Swartz with the theme of his latest novel Homeland -- and similarly I often marvel at how lucky we are that the web is free and open.

Enjoy this wonderful little satire and shudder at the possibilities.

The World Wide Web is Moving to AOL!

The World Wide Web has been great, but to be honest, it's also been a lot harder than it needs to be. I know some of you love creating new web pages and participating in online discussions, but the last thing most people want when they get home is one more thing that makes them work. That's why television is so much more popular.


Our team will be working with first-class partners to bring you the content you deserve, from the best magazines in the checkout isle to in-depth reporting from your favorite network news programs. We want your new World Wide Web to be a place you can trust.

As Dave Winer says (quoted in the postscript), "Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet."

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Around the Web: Updated list of posts about the Aaron Swartz story, in chronological order

(This post supersedes the previous post listing items related to the Aaron Swartz story. That post was from January 20, 2013.)

A few comments.

Aaron Swartz's story has had a huge impact, it has reverberated far and wide not just through the interlinking worlds of technology and online activism but far into the mainstream. The library world has been no exception, with quite a few of the items below being from our world.

How has the library world reacted? If anything, I would hope that we have been challenged to examine our core values very carefully, to reflect deeply about how we make collections decisions for our communities, how we balance their short term needs with our longer term goals to reform scholarly communications. After all, we're not trying to create a fairer, more open system purely for our own edification, but because it will ultimately benefit our communities as well. And I define communities very broadly, not just to include the institutions we work at but the larger context in which our institutions operate.

If we have learned anything from this tragedy, it's that we need to redouble our efforts to make the entire body of scholarly information accessible not only to our institutions but to all the people of the world. We're getting there but with Aaron Swartz's inspiration, we can get the job done.

Bohyun Kim asks whether academic libraries have become too comfortable with the status quo:

Too-comfortable libraries do not ask themselves if they are serving the public good of providing access to information and knowledge for those who are in need but cannot afford it. Too-comfortable libraries see their role as a mediator and broker in the transaction between the information seller and the information buyer. They may act as an efficient and successful mediator and broker. But I don’t believe that that is why libraries exist. Ultimately, libraries exist to foster the sharing and dissemination of knowledge more than anything, not to efficiently mediate information leasing. And this is the dangerous idea: You cannot put a price tag on knowledge; it belongs to the human race. Libraries used to be the institution that validates and confirms this idea. But will they continue to be so in the future? Will an academic library be able to remain as a sanctuary for all ideas and a place for sharing knowledge for people’s intellectual pursuits regardless of their institutional membership? Or will it be reduced to a branch of an institution that sells knowledge to its tuition-paying customers only? While public libraries are more strongly aligned with this mission of making information and knowledge freely and openly available to the public than academic libraries, they cannot be expected to cover the research needs of patrons as fully as academic libraries.


If libraries do not fight for and advocate those who are in need of information and knowledge but cannot afford it, no other institution will do so. Of course, it costs to create, format, review, and package content. Authors as well as those who work in this business of content formatting, reviewing, packaging, and producing should be compensated for their work. But not to the extent that the content is completely inaccessible to those who cannot afford to purchase but nevertheless want access to it for learning, inquiry, and research. This is probably the reason why we are all moved by Swartz’s Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto in spite of the illegal implications of the action that he actually recommended in the manifesto.

And Jenica Rogers sees a parallel between the circumstances surrounding Swartz's death and her own experiences with cancelling American Chemical Society journals:

I spent 11 years paying ACS invoices because in my case, at my institutions, my professional responsibility to do right by my users meant I needed to keep paying. Last year I encountered a rare moment in which my professional responsibility and my philosophical beliefs about my profession lined up, and I had the opportunity to not only continue doing my job well, but to do it right. We in libraries don’t have those moments all that often, those moments when we can do it right guilt-free, in a profession in which the rest of academia drives many of our decisions… and the rest of academia has been ignoring the reality Swartz saw and railed against. But maybe they’re seeing it. Maybe we’re all seeing it. Maybe, just maybe, they don’t want to live in that world either.

And so maybe, just maybe, we won’t have to.

Keep on believing. Keep on asking hard questions. Keep on challenging authority. Keep on fighting.

And, this I hope: May no more idealists be driven to suicide by an irrational, over-reactive, and hysterical government and industry response to challenge. EVER.

"Keep on believing. Keep on asking hard questions. Keep on challenging authority. Keep on fighting."

Some general resources.


The story:

(This is a very long list. There are 263 items in list of posts that tell the story. This update has added 140 items to the previous list. But please do feel free to suggest ones I've missed or to point out any errors I've made.)

Update 2013.03.03. Added one item from today.

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Friday Fun: 20 heroic librarians who save the world

Feb 08 2013 Published by under acad lib future, friday fun, librarianship

Librarians seem to be under siege these days, both from within and without.

But at our core, librarians no matter where they work just want to make the world a better place.

io9 has a wonderful older post with a list of fictional librarians who've perhaps put that motto into action a little more directly than most: 20 heroic librarians who save the world.

Here's a couple, but definitely go on over to the post and check the rest out:

Rex Libris in the Rex Libris comics

Rex Libris is the "tough-as-nails Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library," who strikes fear into recalcitrant borrowers — and also battles "loitering zombies" and alien warlords who refuse to pay their late fees. His teleportation crystals let him travel to any corner of the universe to battle evil. "With fists of steel and mind as sharp as a tack, Rex is a true guardian of knowledge, foe of the foolish, defender of the Dewey Decimal System, and the best hope for the future of civilization."

Giles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Rupert Giles is the school librarian at Sunnydale High, but he's also got a secret — he's a Watcher, who guides Buffy on her journey to become the savior of the world. And he sometimes rolls up his sleeves and goes out to save the world on his own. Not to mention, Giles has another secret on top of that one — he's also Ripper, a ruthless, maybe slightly psycho, former wizard who's not afraid to get his hands a bit dirty. When there are nasty things that need to be done to keep us all safe, you won't have to look further than the book stacks at the high school to find the man to do them. (Thanks to WitnessAria for reminding me of this one.)

I already know a few of these but I'll definitely be checking out a bunch more.


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