Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wayback Wednesday & Digitization 101 2010 Year In Review

New Year's Eve BallAs I do at the end of each year, I want to spent time looking back at the last 12 months with a few lists and more.

I see four trends as I scan the horizon:
  1. Digitization is no longer an exceptional activity. While digitization is not a normal activity still for many organizations, it is much more mainstream that is was several years ago.  Look around...can you find a workshop on digitization or on scanning?  Yes, they still exist, but they are definitely not as prevalent as they were before.  Those that haven't jumped on the "digitization train" yet are finding themselves left behind.  (I should note that universities are offering courses on digitization, digital libraries, etc., which go into more depth and which are attracting a high number of students. These courses prepare the students for the growing number of digital library positions that are being advertised.)

    In the same vein, one thing to notice is that digitization is no longer in the news as it has been. It is no longer that shiny object that captures the media's attention.  For a while, Google Book Search kept digitization in the news, but even that story is no longer capturing headlines as the sides work toward an agreement.
  3. Digital preservation is where most of the action is in terms of conversations, conference sessions, research, etc.  This is true because we are a digital society and if we cannot ensure long term access to our digital content, we're doomed.  Losing digital content could mean losing the data and information that we need to run our governments, businesses, academic institutions, etc.  It could also mean losing our history.

    If you are not thinking about how to ensure long-term access to your digital content, please begin thinking about it now. You might even make it a New Year's resolution. (Yes, do jump on the digital preservation bandwagon.)
  5. Institutional repositories are where many are focusing their energy. Whether it is a repository of preprint material, course material, lab notebooks or other content, many organizations are creating institutional repositories.  These repositories include digitized and born digital material that require many of the skills we've been fostering in our digitization programs.

    If you haven't heard about a repository in your organization, check to see if one is being built that you don't know about, and then see if you can get involved.  If one hasn't been started in your organization, be sure to position yourself so you will be involved in it.  They will need your skills.
  7. Collaboration is still very important.  I know that there are some institutions where it is difficult to build external collaborations, but those institutions are rare.  If at all possible, reach out and build collaborations with other cultural heritage organizations, schools, and even businesses.  Also build internal collaborations whenever possible.  Remember that collaborative programs are more successful.
As you know, I am a full-time professor, which means that I not only look at what's happening in cultural heritage institutions with my "gee how can I use this in my practice" hat on, but I also think about what I should be introducing to my students.  This year, one of the technologies that captured  my imagination was QR codes.  I've begun to use them personally, as well as give assignments about them.  If you know nothing about QR codes, check out:
Undoubtedly, you are looking at that two-dimensional thing that looks like modern art and wondering if you really need to know anything about it.  QR codes are being used all around you, even if you are unaware of it.  Manufacturers are using smaller versions of these codes to track inventory.  I've found a QR code on cold medication, for example. Someone spotted a QR code in an airport that would provide access to two free ebooks.  Lots of organizations are using QR codes to deliver content to people on their cell phones quickly and easily.  Imagine, for example, having a QR code in an exhibit that linked the person to online content about each specific item exhibited.  As part of an assignment, my students found ways of using QR codes to link people with library content from a wide variety of locations.

That QR code above contains my basic contact information.  If you have a camera phone and QR code software (e.g.,  i-nigma), you should be able to read it and add me to your contacts.

I have three posts that were the most read Digitization 101 blog posts of 2010. Each received an amazing amount of attention:
What I want LIS students to know was mentioned in a number of locations on the Internet and sparked a few similar posts by others.  In addition, I received tweets, emails and other communications from LIS students who valued the advice.  From the sounds of it, my post reached some students when they needed the advice the most.

This blog post may not have received a high number of hits yet, but it is one that I think is worth highlighting:
When a student's work intersects with copyright, integrity and ethics (Opinion/Rant)
Cafe au lait and Beignets at Cafe du MondeIn September, I began a series called Wayback Wednesday, which I hoped would facilitate me resurrecting worthwhile posts from the Digitization 101 archives.  As my fall semester as a professor got busier, my time for blogging grew shorter, and Wayback Wednesday didn't become a weekly feature.  I do, however, intend to produce more of them in 2011 and on a more regular - but not weekly basis.

Here's a list of the Wayback Wednesdays to date:
Jill Hurst-WahlA Moment About Me - My days have been very full this year and one of my goals has been to find a better balance, and to not be over-committed.  However, I enjoy making a difference if at all possible and being involved, which does lead to me having a very full plate of activities...and I enjoy them all!

Two things from my very full plate that I want to highlight are:
A Moment About Digitization 101 - In May, I updated all of my web sites to have a consistent look and feel.  An unintended consequence is that the archive of Digitization 101 is difficult to access.  The labels on the right side of the blog will show you recent posts on that topic, but may not go back far enough.  I didn't think this would be a problem, but I've received a few emails from people who want to be able to search the archives and so I'll have a search feature implemented in 2011.

By the way, you can use your favorite Internet search engine to search this site (e.g, plus whatever terms are relevant to you).

Blountstown High School Class of 1979 30-Year ReunionThat's it until 2011!  Wherever you are, I hope that 2010 is ending on a positive note. I know that some of you have been adversely affected by budget cuts, unusual weather, and personal/family hardships.  Ending 2010 on a positive note may just been that you have survived the year.  If that is true, do take a moment to look ahead to 2011 as a new year and a fresh start.  Remember that you have friends and colleagues that are their to listen, to help, and to send positive energy your way.

Related blog posts:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

When a student's work intersects with copyright, integrity and ethics (Opinion/Rant)

This blog post reflects my opinion and not the opinion of any organization that I am associated with.  I look forward to comments on this, especially from those who deal with copyright, ethics or academic integrity.

Wowza that's a lot of PaperRecently, I spoke to someone who had been hired to write papers for a university student. I knew that there were services available that would either resell older student papers or connect a student to someone who will write their papers for them, but I never expected to interact with someone who had participated in this industry.

You will wonder if the person felt that the work had been wrong.  I didn't ask that that exact question, but sensed that earning money trumped that concern.  In reality, it is the student who would get into trouble if it was discovered that the work was not his/her own and not the person who has been hired to do the work.

This is a topic that is discussed in the news on occasion (e.g., Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 12, 2010 and Nov. 22, 2010 which call these writers "shadow scholars"). In the past few days, I've talked about this with a few colleagues/friends and concerns regarding copyright, integrity and ethics have arose, as well as detection.  That had led me to writing this blog post in order to share some thoughts on this more publicly.

Areas of Concerns:

Copyright - One person's immediate reaction was that there was a copyright violation; however, I would argue that paper was a work-for-hire.  In this case, the writer has been paid to write the paper for the student, and the copyright becomes owned by the student.  Therefore, there isn't a copyright violation.

Integrity - One concern is that the student is not representing his/her abilities honestly.  This means that the grade for the work does not reflect what the student can honestly do, nor does it mean that the professor has a correct impression of the student's abilities.  The professor may offer a recommendation for the student based on the work, and thus unknowingly misrepresent what the student is actually capable of.

Ethics - Most, if not all (at least in the U.S.), academic institutions have rules of conduct, which include rules about the student's work being the person's own work. These rules and expectations are often in the student handbook as well as on course syllabi.  Professors may even spend time during the class discussing this expectation.  And universities have processes in place to handle students who break these rules of conduct (e.g., judiciary boards).

Yes, the student has acted unethically and so has the "shadow scholar", whether that is someone hired to do the work or a parent who is trying to be helpful.  For parents, I can see how the lines between being supportive and doing the work for the student can get blurred.  Parents often read their children's papers and offer feedback.  However, wouldn't it just be simple to go and fix paper for the student?  And then wouldn't it be helpful to do some of the research?  And...  Yet being helpful isn't teaching the student anything except that it is not necessary for the student to do his/her own work.

I can imagine that the shadow scholar, who is hired to write papers, sees an opportunity for making money that can't be turned down.  The person will gladly tell you that the work isn't against the law, even if it is unethical.

What Causes Things to be Blurry - A number of years ago, I heard a professor speak about plagiarism and how it is a more blurry subject that we imagine.  Students plagiarize for a number of reasons including:
  • Not having the language skills necessary to write original text.
  • Not having a deep understanding of the topic in order to write original text.
  • Coming from a culture where copying text is not seen as being wrong (in fact, it may show respect to copy what others have said).
  • Not knowing how to edit or reword text in order to give it an original spin.
  • Being overwhelmed with work and thus looking for an easier way of getting some of the work done.
  • Seeing others plagiarize where it is deemed to be "legal" and not knowing when it is not okay to plagiarize.  For example, an business executive takes text prepared by employees and uses it as-is in a report that he puts his name on.  Although he would see text as a work-for-hire, he has not acknowledged that the work is not his own.
Things also get blurry when we tell students to get help with their writing. For undergraduate and graduate students, we may tell them to go to a writing center and ask for help. Campus writing centers do not rewrite papers, but do offer advice on how to make a paper better (e.g., spelling, grammar, focus).  Someone who uses a campus writing center will get better grades because the papers will be better constructed. 

Doctoral students are sometimes counseled to hired an editor in order to fix grammar problems, etc., in a dissertation.  This is seen as acceptable.  The student's doctoral committee would be intimate with the topic and the student's work in order to detect if the student hired someone to do more than just edit. 

It is the ways that things get blurry that could lead to copyright, integrity and ethical concerns, and perhaps cause a student to hire someone do his/her work. As we might say...a slippery slope.

Detection - Did the student do original work?  Internet searches on text, looking at the language usage in a paper, and tools like Turnitin will help a professor understand how original a student's work is.  However, if a student hired someone to write the paper, the paper should be original so these tools/techniques would be meaningless.  (If the student brought a paper that had been used previously, Turnitin might detect that the work is not original.)  [I must note here that have a digital repository of papers - whether those papers were born digital or digitized - helps professors and services locate text that is not original. Yes, even in this post, there is a spot to mention digitization!]

As other professors have noted, understanding what has been discussed in class and in the readings can help you detect papers that do not reflect what is occurring in the class.  Looking at the person's writing style can also help you detect work that is not theirs (e.g., word usage and sentence construction), although it might also indicate that the student went to the writing center for help.

Another solution is to give student's assignments that require that they use what they are learning in class and which requires them to do work that would be difficult to outsource.  I know...not all assignments are like this or should be like this (e.g., literature reviews), which means that professors are always opening themselves up to receiving work that is not the student's own.

And What About Prospective Employers? - Does this mean that a prospective employer should view all applicant grades with suspicion?  If the employer wants to be sure that the grade and degree reflect what the person knows, should the employer ask more detailed questions?  ("Tell me about...")  I can imagine job applicants being annoyed with detailed questions about what they learned, yet that would be one way of ensuring that the person has the necessary knowledge.

By the way, we don't always think about what it means once the cheating student is out of school.  Will the person continue to hire others to do his/her work?  Will the person make bad or inaccurate decisions because of knowledge never gained?  Will the person empower another generation of students who don't do their own work?

As I sit here, my mind turns to the spring semester, which will start in a matter of weeks.  The questions above swirl in my mind and I wonder what should I do differently?  What can I do differently?  I have no perfect answers, the same predicament as my peers.  (Actually, the "perfect" solution would be to have each student meet with the professor individually to discuss/recite what he/she is learning, etc.  But it would be much too time intensive for most classes to be practical, due to the number of students.)  If my wondering leads me to a workable solution, I'll let you know.

If you have thoughts, comments, concerns, solutions, etc., I hope you will share them with me.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book: Preserver Son Patrimoine Numérique

I received a brief email announcement that a new book entitled Preserver Son Patrimoine Numérique has been published.  The 325-page book (available only in French) focuses on digital preservation for individuals and families.  The book is also available in a digital version (16,90€).  The book was written by Claude Huc, a former engineer at the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales. He was also the founded and leader of Pérennisation des Informations Numériques (PIN), the French national digital preservation group.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quote about an emerging theme in digital asset management

From the Henry Stewart Events  DAM newsletter article about emerging themes:

No matter what the industry, or if the consumers of digital and media assets are internal or external to an organization, there are ever increasing expectations that content will be available anytime, anywhere and on any device.
If you don't believe that people want access to content anywhere and at anytime, just watch the people around you on the bus, subway, or train...or on a college campus or in an airport...or at a cafe.  If you are not creating content that can be viewed/used on multiple devices, you may become irrelevant.

Report: Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections

The press release below is from the Council on Library and Information Resources.

December 14, 2010-The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) today released a report examining how the cultural heritage community can benefit from methods and tools developed for work in digital forensics.

The report, Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, was written by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Richard Ovenden, and Gabriela Redwine, with research assistance from Rachel Donahue.

Digital forensics was once specialized to fields of law enforcement, computer security, and national defense, but the growing ubiquity of computers and electronic devices means that digital forensics is now used in a variety of circumstances.

Because most records today are born digital, libraries, archives, and other collecting institutions increasingly receive computer storage media-and sometimes entire computers-as part of their acquisition of "papers." Staff at these institutions face challenges such as accessing and preserving legacy formats, recovering data, ensuring authenticity, and maintaining trust. The methods and tools that forensics experts have developed can be useful in meeting these challenges. For example, the same forensics software that indexes a criminal suspect's hard drive allows the archivist to prepare a comprehensive manifest of the electronic files a donor has turned over for accession.

The report introduces the field of digital forensics in the cultural heritage sector and explores some points of convergence between the interests of those charged with collecting and maintaining born-digital cultural heritage materials and those charged with collecting and maintaining legal evidence.

Kirschenbaum is associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland and associate director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). Ovenden is associate director and keeper of special collections of the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and a professional fellow at St Hugh's College, Oxford. Redwine is archivist and electronic records/metadata specialist at the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin. Donahue is a doctoral student at the University of Maryland's iSchool and research assistant at MITH. The authors conducted their research and writing with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections is available electronically at Print copies will be available in January for ordering through CLIR's Web site, for $25 per copy plus shipping and handling.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Event: Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation

As received via email.

Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation

May 23-25, 2011
Tallinn, Estonia

We are pleased to announce the “Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation” conference. This conference will enable preservation programs from different countries and regions to share information with each other for the purpose of building strategic international collaborations to support the preservation of our
collective digital memory.

The outcomes for the event will be a strategic alignment of national approaches to enable new forms of international collaboration and an edited volume that documents an action plan for building collaboration among interested digital preservation initiatives.

Keynotes and Panel Chairs include:
  • Laura Campbell, U.S. Library of Congress
  • Gunnar Sahlin, National Library of Sweden
  • Inge Angevaare, Netherlands Coalition for Digital Preservation
  • Joy Davidson, HATII, University of Glasgow
  • Maurizio Lunghi, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale
  • Adrienne Muir, Loughborough University
  • Raivo Ruusalepp, Tallinn University
  • Michael Seadle, Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Please visit to register or for more information on participating in or sponsoring this conference.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Report: The Survey of Library and Museum Digitization Projects, 2011 Edition

I received an email about this report -- The Survey of Library and Museum Digitization Projects, 2011 Edition -- and thought it was worth mentioning. I don't know anything about it, except what is below.

ABSTRACT: The nearly 200 page report looks closely at how academic, public and special libraries and museums are digitizing special and other collections. The study is based on detailed data on costs, equipment use, staffing, cataloging, marketing, licensing revenue and other facets of digitization projects from nearly 100 libraries and museums in the United States, the UK, continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. The study covers and presents data separately for digitizers of photographs, film and video, music and audio, text and re-digitization of existing digital mediums. Data is also broken out by budget size, region of the world, type of institution and other factors.  Data presented separately for academic libraries, public and government libraries, special libraries and museums.

COST: $89.00 print or PDF; $189.00 for a multi-site license

James Moses, Research Director for the Primary Research Group, has circulated the information below about the report on the Digital-Preservation discussion list:

Just a few of the study’s many findings are that:
  • Digitizers whose primary medium was music and audio spent 56.25% of their total digitization staff time on cataloging and metadata related issues.
  • Digitization budgets come largely through non-budgetary allocations. The library or museum annual budget accounted for only a little over 35% of the overall digitization budget.  
  • Prospects for digitization funding in the United States were much better than prospects outside of the USA; about 28.6% of US survey participants considered the outlook pretty good or excellent while only 5.88% of those from other countries shared this optimism.
  • The mean annual number of staff hours expended per institution on digitization projects was 2,272 with a range of 0 to 24,000 (or about 12-13 full time employees spending all of their time on digitization projects).
  • Only 3.45% of institutions sampled have outsourced rights, permissions or copyright management to any third party.
  • Overall survey participants say that over the past three years they have outsourced close to 27% of their overall digitization work.  
  • Close to 54% of the organizations sampled have some form of digital asset management software and an additional 8.3% share a system with another department or division of their institution.  
  • 14.61% used the servers of some kind of third party service; this was most popular in the USA, where one sixth of respondents used a third party server service for digital content storage.
  • 16.05% of organizations surveyed license or rent any aspect of their digital collection to any party.
  • Data is also broken out by budget size, region, type of institution, and other factors.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Article: Stolen artifact returned to Historical Society (and how digitization helped)

Although museums have been collecting items since the invention of photography, it has been rare for a museum to photograph its entire collection.  Photography, however, helps staff distinguish between two similar pieces, conduct an inventory after a disaster, and identify a piece that has been stolen.

This is a wonderful story of where photography/digitization helped a museum locate a stolen items.  Over 100 items were stolen from the Wisconsin Historical Society in the 1990s by one of its employees.  Most of the items have not yet been located.  One - a beaded knife sheath - was returned this year.  The sheath had changes hands several times since it was stolen and ended up in a collection that was photographed and placed online.  Staff at Wisconsin Historical Society recognized the sheath from its image, and have been able to get it returned to their collection.

We think of digitization as increasing access, but we also need to remember that it increases the documentation that we have available on our collections.  This story proves that photographic documentation can be very, very important.

Thanks to Peter Kurilecz for ensuring that I saw this article!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

For New Yorkers: Report on the Meeting of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, Dec. 3

Wordle: Libraries: 2020 visionDue to my teaching schedule, I was unable to attend the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting this past Friday in New York City (either in person or by phone).  Thankfully, Bridget Quinn-Carey, chair of the Council, provided some quick notes about what was discussed. 

The biggest topic on the agenda was discussion of the 2020 vision; a topic that was brainstormed at the NYLA conference in November (notes).  The Council "wants to gather more information and engage even more creative thinking (not just planning for where we are or should be today, but where we want and need to be in 2020); best practices vs. vision – need both, but want to be inspired." (Quinn-Carey)  The Council wants to engage in discussions with:
  • Library schools (faculty and students)
  • Foundations (e.g., Robin Hood Project, Gates)
  • Futurists
  • The public
  • Library systems
Because there is no funding for this effort, the Council recognizes that logistics will be challenging and thus will look for creative ways of gathering input.

If you have input on this topic - or ideas how the Council can gather input - please email your suggestions to

Other topics discussed included:
  • Commissioner Steiner's willingness to learn more about libraries. How can we (libraries) capitalize on this opportunity?
  • Attending the Cultural Education Committee meeting on Dec. 13 or 14 in Albany. Someone from the Council will report on the planning project.
  • Discussion of the report the Council will present in April 2011 to the Cultural Education Committee, which will be a continuation of the 2020 process.
  • Brief discussion of the Shubert Committee: Sara Kelly Johns to Chair with Louise Sherby and Mary Muller as committee members. 
  • An update on the State Library - both the Research Library and Library Development.
I know that I missed a very lively discussion.  I look forward to our next meeting, which should be a conference call in January.

Codes of Best Practices for Fair Use

Bryan M. Carson on the digital-copyright email discussion list pulled together a list of best practices for Fair Use from the Center for Social Media at American University web site (either ones they have created or point to).  This is a useful list and I thank him for pulling it together!

Article: How to Fail in Grant Writing

These are obviously things you don't want to do, yet many people do them when writing a grant.  A quick read...and worth reading!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Follow-up to "What I want LIS students to know"

100_0488My blog post - What I want LIS students to know- has circulated far and wide since Nov. 23.  Thanks for the comments that have been posted here and elsewhere about it.  I appreciate the feedback and am heartened to know that so many were touched by it.

Since Nov. 23, there have been two blog posts by colleagues that you should know about...

First, Bobbi Newman wrote Is She Crazy to Want to Work in Libraries? Advice for a Potential Librarian, which is an excellent blog post AND links to other relevant blog posts of advice for LIS students and those that are new to the profession.

Second, Roy Tennant wrote his own version of What I Want LIS Students to Know and it is well-worth reading.

Finally, if you have written a blog post of advice for LIS students, please let me know.  I'd like to promote it.

Addendum, Feb. 21, 2011: Here is a recent blog post from Roy Tennant that should also be read: An Open Letter to New Librarians. Jan. 12, 2015: Updated the URLs.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seminar Series: Digital Asset Management: The realities of modern digital and media asset management

Henry Stewart Talks has released a series of seven seminars on digital asset management.  Samples of some of the sessions are available for free. The entire series is available for $119 for three years.  I don't know anything about this series, except what is on the web site.  I do know that Seth Earley, one of the presenters, has done with with libraries and other information organizations.

Amazon Listmania! List: Digitization, Digital Libraries & Copyright

READ doorIn the past, I have tended to use an wish list as well as blog posts to track books of interest relating to digitization and copyright.  Earlier this year, I converted those into an Amazon Listmania list and then added other related books from Amazon.  A few people have stumbled across the list and perhaps have found it useful.  If you're curious about what's on it, check it out.

For me, this is truly a list to use to jog my memory.  Yeah...I saw a copyright book that would be useful...what was it again?  If you'd like to create a list to jog your memory, you can do it in Amazon (or another online bookseller), LibraryThing or on other web sites.  (And having it online really is more useful than in a document on your computer.)  The trick is to find a place that you'll remember and that will have or allow you to enter information that you know will be useful.  Not only is that list then available for you, but you can also share it with others.  And perhaps, if funding is available, it could be the list you use to updated your institution's collection.

FTC Disclaimer: Digitization 101 is an Amazon affiliate and may receive a small commission if you purchase a product or service from an Digitization 101 Amazon link. (Trust me, I'm not getting rich off of Amazon.)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! (and The Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project)

Spiderman rolls the Macy's diceHere in the United States, we celebrate a day of thankfulness in November that historically is tied to a celebration of the Pilgrims with the Native Americans in 1621. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, which may be closer to when the first Thanksgiving occurred because that would have been at the end of the harvest...if indeed such an event actually occurred. At any rate, while we do pause to give thanks, the day is actually marked with big meals, big parades, and getting ready for big consumer sales on Friday.

What generally doesn't happen on Thanksgiving is thinking seriously about the people who were here before the Europeans landed.  There are more than 500 federally recognized Native American Nations within the boundaries of the U.S.  An honest map of the U.S. would show lots of spots that are not actually part of the U.S. because they are tribal lands. 

The Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project contains tribal constitutions and codes.  As the web site says:
The University of Oklahoma Law Center Library and the National Indian Law Library work with tribes whose government documents appear on this web site; these tribal documents are either placed online with the permission of the tribes, or they are U.S. Government documents, rightfully in the public domain.
If you're wondering about the First People among us and their laws (including information on land rights), this is a great place to start. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I want LIS students to know

100_0488Every fall, a new group of graduate students arrives in the classroom on their way to becoming librarians and information professionals.Each group is full of energy and ideas, and ready to take on the world. Each student believes in the power of information, even before they fully realize the power that information holds. Every person is willing to make sacrifices in order to reach his/her goal. While the wide-eyed "this is awesome" attitude remains during the semester, it often becomes tempered as students attend to the details of their classes and their lives as graduate students. We're at the point in the semester where stress and elation are hand-in-hand.  The end of the semester is in sight, but there is so much to do before then!

With that as a backdrop, this is what I want LIS students to know (no matter where in the world you are)...

You have selected a noble professional, no matter what name you use to describe it. Every organization and person needs help locating and using information, and you are becoming poised to assist them. You can help them with its organization and retrieval. You can help with its interpretation and dissemination. You can work to ensure that information is available to those who need it, no matter who the person is or where the person is located.

Yes, what we call ourselves is in flux.  We do seem to be hung-up on labels, which is unfortunate.  What really matters are the knowledge and skills that we have.  Your knowledge and skills will open doors for you, and land you in positions that you might not have imagined when you first said, "I want to be a librarian."

100_0539Your coursework won't teach you everything you need to know. While you will learn a tremendous amount during your coursework, LIS programs are not apprenticeships and we're not like medical schools where students do full-fledged residencies as part of their programs.  We aim to teach you theory and introduce you to practice.  We give you opportunities to learn and to dive into your practice through specific assignments and your internship.

Although there are some thing that you'll need to pick up on the job (and this does happen in every profession), you can take opportunities that present themselves to extend your learning outside of the classroom.  If you see an opportunity, grab it!  And if you don't see an opportunity, create one!

Every information professional you meet during your graduate program is a person who can connect you to a job.  It doesn't matter if you see the person in the classroom, at a conference, or on a library tour...that person has connections that could help you, if only you asked. mmm...and there is the have to engage the person in order to ask about opportunities. I know that it isn't easy talking to strangers, but your joining a profession that likes to share information and be helpful (those really are our traits), so just start with "hi" and let a conversation start.  Remember to exchange contact information and then, when you're comfortable, ask about the opportunities that person sees on the horizon.

SculptureYour reputation, CV/resume and portfolio matter.  I believe in having a portfolio of work that you can share with a prospective employer, as well as your resume/CV.  Many people are creating their portfolios online and including in them samples of their work (e.g., papers and presentations).  Keep in mind that your portfolio doesn't need to be fancy; it just needs to be a good representation of you.  Placing this information online -- either on a web site, in a blog, or in LinkedIn (perhaps with a connection to SlideShare) -- allows you to present what you want people to know about you and your work.  It also makes you more findable.  Someone searching on a topic of interest may stumble upon something you have and then be interested in you as a professional. And - yes - you want to be findable.

As you think about your resume and portfolio, also think about your reputation.
According to a Microsoft survey of more than 1,200 hiring managers in December 2009, 79% of companies and recruiters reviewed online information about job applicants and 70% had actually rejected candidates based on what they found. - Information Today, Nov. 2010, p. 1
Take time to clean up that information that is online about you in Facebook and other social networking site.  Review the photos that you're in and make sure that they reflect the you that an employer would like to hire.  And check your profiles - even in places like Twitter - to ensure that they say what you truly want to communicate.   

The bottom line is - Don't lose out on a job opportunity because you either were not findable or what was found wasn't deemed professional.

By the way, this guide can help you think about your resume/CV, cover letter and job interviews.

Use all of the resources that are available to you.  I suspect that you haven't explored all of the resources that are available to you on campus that will help you prepare to find a job as well as ensure that you're prepared for that job.  Have you stopped into Career Services?  Have you done mock interviews?  Have you check out other resources that have been mentioned on syllabi, in classes or during orientation?  Odds are that you haven't and that's a shame.  Those resources are there to help you (and you've paid for them), so you should be using them.

I need some me time. Please do not disturb.There are also resources on campus to help you when your stressed or when your world seems to be crashing around you.  If you need them, please - please - please use them.  If you don't know what those resources might be, please ask. (Think you have no one to ask, then ask me!)

Yes, there are also fun resources on campus. We tend to get caught up in all the work that needs to be done and forget that relaxation is important.  So do schedule time to walk through a building that you think is interesting or to check out an art exhibit.  Those few moments will help to refuel you.

Ingest more content about the profession.  That includes reading blogs as well as the professional literature, watching videos and presentations, and listening to podcasts.  You might start with:
Of course, these are a few of hundreds of resources available to you!  So explore and find those that challenge your thinking as well as inform you. Develop an informed opinion about the profession and what we do (or should be doing).

If you haven't joined a professional association, do so and then read its discussion lists, blogs, and journals as well as attend its meetings.  (I'm partial to SLA, but you should join whichever you believe will help you reach your goals.)

St. Charles Ave. trolleyYour view of your future depends on where you are sitting.   Where are you sitting?  By yourself? In a group? With movers-n-shaker? With those that are fearful of the future? With those that are innovative and entrepreneurial? Are you in a vehicle that is moving forward, staled, or headed in reverse?  Think about those questions and, if necessary, switch your seat!

Finally, no matter the day or the time, there are people who are supportive of you and your desire to be a librarian (or knowledge professional or information professional or...).  Grad school is a stressful time for everyone, so do reach out to family and friends and allow them to heap words of encouragement on you and maybe a little help to get you through a rough spell (e.g., dinner, a game of cards or help with laundry).  Don't some point, you'll repay their efforts by being there to give them or someone else needed support.  Who might find yourself lending support to a stressed LIS student.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Event: 2011 NFAIS Annual Conference - Taming the Information Tsunami: A New World of Discovery

See the press release below about this event.


Philadelphia, PA, November 30, 2010 – The National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS -, the premier membership association for organizations that create, organize and facilitate access to authoritative information, has released the program for its 2011 Annual Conference, Taming the Information Tsunami: A New World of Discovery. The conference will be held at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA from February 27 - March 1, 2011, and will take a look at how publishers and librarians are successfully navigating the exponential growth of digital information to provide scholars and researchers with the reliable, relevant information that deserves their time and attention – no matter what the source, language or medium!

“The Web, search engines and social media have created an information tsunami,” said NFAIS President, Judith Russell.  “We are flooded daily by e-mails, RSS feeds, and postings from blogs, social networks, and other sources.  And Web searching can deliver thousands of results across all media platforms – text, video, audio, datasets and more. Yet, despite today’s wealth of information, finding the most relevant and credible content can be difficult and time-consuming.  Whether you are a publisher, librarian or an information seeker - we all face the same challenge - and that is to ensure that reliable information is not missed and that misinformation is not used.”

Dan Gillmor, author, We the Media, will open the conference with an overview of today’s digital information explosion, the complex problems that it presents, and the entrepreneurial opportunities that it offers.  This will be followed by survey results highlighting the forces that are driving today’s information abundance and offering insights on the exponential growth that can be expected between now and the year 2020. Stephen Berlin Johnson, Contributing Editor, Wired Magazine, will discuss how digital technology is transforming how we create and process information. And a panel of librarians and users will talk about how they are adapting to information overload - the tools that they use, what works, what doesn’t, and how their jobs have changed as a result. Critical issues such as the growth of credible non-English language content, the roles that semantic search, machine-learning, and information filtering play in finding the specific information that users want, and how emerging technologies such as cloud computing and augmented reality can help publishers manage the volume of information required to produce comprehensive products and services will also be discussed. Highlights include case studies from JOVE, Nature Publishing and the Library of Congress who are successfully dealing with the issues of multi-media and information overload, the Miles Conrad Lecture, a plenary presentation by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and a visionary closing keynote on the future of information discovery.

“The information discovery process is changing for everyone,” said Russell.   “Publishers and librarians are currently faced with the daunting challenge of identifying, acquiring, processing, transmitting, and storing incredible amounts of digital content across all media and across a growing amount of foreign languages – a challenge that will continue into the foreseeable future as the volume of information continues to escalate. And more than ever before searchers need innovative products and services to help them navigate the information tsunami in order to find credible, reliable answers to their queries.”

For more information, contact Jill O’Neill, Director of Communication and Planning (, or (215)-893-1561 phone) or visit the NFAIS web site at  Registration is now open and early bird discounts are available until January 7, 2011 at:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Seeking input on your vision for library services in NYS in the year 2020

If you read my NYLA Conference blog post, then you know that the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is seeking input toward the development of a new statewide plan.  Below is an email from Bridget Quinn-Carey, chair of the Council, soliciting additional input. If you are a library worker in NYS, I hope you'll take a moment to respond.  It would be great to get a lot of input before the Council meets on Dec. 3.

On Thursday, November 4, 2010, the “2020: What’s Your Vision for Library Services in New York State?” program was held at the New York Library Association Conference in Saratoga. The program was cosponsored by the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the Library Trustees Association of New York State, the New York Library Association, and the New York State Library.

This discussion was the first step toward developing a new statewide plan for improving library services for all New Yorkers.  The last statewide plan for library services was adopted by the Board of Regents as statewide policy for libraries in 2000.

Session attendees had the opportunity to hear from the following library leaders:
  • Bridget Quinn-Carey, Chair, Regents Advisory Council on Libraries
  • Roberta Stevens, President, American Library Association
  • Kathy Miller, President, New York Library Association
  • Jeffrey W. Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Cultural Education

Attendees then had the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about library services in the future in small group discussions based on the following questions:
·        What services will New Yorkers expect from their academic, public, school, and special libraries in 2020?
·        What strategies will best position library organizations to deliver those services?
·        What role should the State play in serving libraries and New Yorkers more effectively?

Flip chart notes from the groups are now available at: 

If you would like to contribute to this statewide discussion, please fill out the worksheet at and send it to either the address listed on the second page or email it to  Any questions about this program or the discussion toward developing a new statewide plan can be sent to this email address as well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jill interviewed on Another DAM Podcast

Henrik de Gyor has a blog and podcast focused on digital asset management (DAM).  He interviews people who are somehow related to digital asset management and recently interviewed me (7 min.).  I talk about me, the iSchool, and - of course - DAMs.

If you're interested in DAMs, you may want to add Henrik's blog and podcasts to your RSS reader.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Event: 2011 Personal Digital Archiving Conference

I've seen that the call for participation in the 2011 Personal Digital Archiving Conference has been released.  The event will be held at the Internet Archive in San Francisco on Feb 24-25, 2011.  Registration information is also available.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wrap-up of the New York Library Association Annual Conference

City Hall, Saratoga Springs NYThe New York Library Association (NYLA) just held its annual conference in Saratoga Springs, NY. NYLA brings together librarians from across the state for three days to share information, learn and network.  Librarians came from the rural and metropolitan locations, from public and school libraries, from library consortia, from the State Library, and from academic institutions.  Great to see LIS students in attendance!  And like every group of librarians that gathers together, it was an energized group  full of ideas and wanting to make a difference.

Throughout the conference, it was apparent the work that NYLA is doing to improve libraries in NYS.  NYLA is working with organizations on training for library staff as well as library administrators.  NYLA gets library school deans, chairs and program directors to talk about the education of future librarians and to hear concerns from the library community.  NYLA representatives meet with members of the NYS Department of Education, attend Regent meetings and visit legislators all in an afford to improve libraries across the state. Sitting in the annual business meeting, I was impressed with the long list of NYLA activities as well as the results those activities are achieving.  Bravo!

One highlight was hearing Commission of Education David Steiner talk about education in New York State.  What impressed me about his talk was that he understands that education must change and is changing.  For some, however, the changes are hard to see and some changes are happening faster than others. He noted that the three "legs" of education - curriculum, assessment and accountability - are all evolving.  Without these changes, the next generation of adults will not have the ability/skills/education to be good wage earners.  If our system does not change, he predicted that these adults will live with their parents because they will not be able to earn enough to live on their own.  (This is different than what is occurring now where some are living with their parents due to a lack of available jobs.  He isn't talking about a lack of jobs, but a lack of skilled workers to fill those jobs.)

Steiner talked about the inequity of education in the state - sometimes in the same neighborhood - depending on what the families can afford.  Children that go to public school are exposed to fewer hours of learning than those that go to private or charter schools.  Not only do charter or private schools spend more hours per days in learning activities, but they also may spend more days per year.  The more hours children spend in learning activities, the better they will be prepared for their futures.  Steiner understands that libraries have a vital role in expanding the number of learning hours and not just school libraries.  In fact, it was interesting that he consistently said "libraries" and not specifically "school libraries" (at least that is what I remember).

Commissioner Steiner noted that the Regents are interested in constructive input about the changes that need to occur.  You can contact them through email (addresses are on their web site).

One final note from Commissioner Steiner's talk...he noted that the state budget is not going to be better next year.  I've heard for months that next year will actually be worse.  I doubt that anyone is prepared for what that will mean to the services that we have available to us.

2020: What's Your Vision for Library Services in New York State? On Thursday afternoon, a group of more than 40 people gathered to discuss their vision for library services in the year 2020. Present at the session where members of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, members of the NYS Department of Education including Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Cultural Education Jeffrey Cannell, ALA president Roberta Stevens, and NYLA president Kathy Miller.  Each table-full of people in the room brainstormed the following questions:
  • What services will New Yorkers expect from their academic, public, school & public libraries in 2020?
  • What strategies will best position library organizations to deliver those services?
  • What role should the State play in serving libraries and New Yorkers more effectively?
I can tell you that there was no immediate consensus around any of the questions and that's okay.   What is important is to know what members of the library community are thinking about the future of libraries, so that the various organizations that are involved in pushing for our future have information that they can use.

Notes from the tables will be used in continued discussions on this topic, including a discussion by the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries meeting on December 3.  Anyone who would like to send in additional comments may email them to

Battery ParkLate on Friday, I heard Professor James Loewen talk about "sundown towns". Professor Loewen is the author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, and Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Professor Loewen has spent years researching and writing about aspects of U.S. history that have been mistold, misremembered or ignored. Although the statue on the right has nothing to do with sundown towns, Loewen spent a moment discussing it because it demonstrated a few of his points.  When you look at the statue which commemorates that purchase of Manhattan island by the Dutch from Native Americans, what do you see?  Do you see two equals?  Do you see one person who seems civilized and one who is barbaric?  Do you see one in summer attire and one dress for colder weather?  Is the head-dress one worn by Native Americans in New York State or by members of a plains nation?  What view of history is this statue meant to reinforce?  (This questions came from Professor Loewen.)

And what are sundown towns?  They are towns where people only people who were white or Caucasian were allowed to live (or be there after sundown).  These towns - and there are thousands of them - primarily adopted these rules (ordinances) between 1890 and 1940.  Without blinking an eye, I can think of two towns in Pennsylvania that were sundown towns.  One was a suburb of the state capitol while the other was a small town on the state's northern border.  In both cases, rules kept minorities from purchasing homes there for many, many years. 

Professor Loewen's work has inspired others to research sundown towns (and sundown suburbs).  He asked the audience to contact him with information on sundown towns that they know of and to even research whatever ordinances helped to create those towns.

People & Food - Finally, I bumped into a lot of people that I know from across the state and enjoyed the few words we were able to share before heading off to the next event.  Although the weather wasn't very cooperative, we were able to go to local restaurants and remember why being in Saratoga is such a treat (Hattie's, Phila Fusion, Scallion's, Max London's, and Mouzon House).

I've been told that NYLA will again be in Saratoga Springs next year.  It is an affordable conference, especially for students, and a great location.  Start planning now to attend.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Copyright owners need to signal their intent (A rant)

I am as guilty as the next person in this, and I know that I need to change AND you do too!

This afternoon I had a conversation with someone who is building a repository.  More and more digital repositories are springing up to collect content of all types and make it more accessible.  While that is a good thing, the problem is that they often find content that they want to collect, but:
  • Don't know if the owner wants it to be redistribute  (distribution is a right of the copyright owner)
  • Don't know who owns is or how to contact him/her/it in order to seek permission
The universe drove this point home tonight when a colleague forwarded a white paper to me that might be useful to some of my students.  The white paper was created by an organization that is well-versed in copyright and it contains a copyright statement, but it provides no guidance on their expectation of its use.  So I have a great educational white paper on copyright that would be useful to give to students (and others), but unfortunately, the copyright owner hasn't explicitly told me that I can do it.  If I want to redistribute it, I'll need to seek permission...yet it seems stupid that they didn't just say "use this to educate your colleagues!"

In the United States, once words are in a fixed medium they are copyrighted.  Period.  We may want our words (text) to be disseminated or even to 'go viral', but legally they can't unless we give people permission.  The easiest way to give permission is through a Creative Commons license.  If you are unfamiliar with those, please follow the link and then use one of the licenses on works that you want people to share.  Doing so will help all of us.

Event: Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, June 13-17, 2011

Received via email.

Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL 2011)
June 13-17, 2011 - Ottawa, Canada
Hosted by the University of Ottawa

The ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries is a major international forum focusing on digital libraries and associated technical, practical, organizational, and social issues. JCDL encompasses the many meanings of the term "digital libraries",including (but not limited to) new forms of information institutions and organizations; operational information systems with all manner of digital content; new means of selecting, collecting, organizing, distributing, and accessing digital content; theoretical models of information media, including document genres and electronic publishing; and theory and practice of use of managed content in science and education. Digital libraries are distinguished from information retrieval systems because they include more types of media, provide additional functionality and services, and include other stages of the information life cycle, from creation through use. Digital libraries also can be viewed as a new form of information institution or as an extension of the services libraries currently provide.

The theme for JCDL 2011 is "Digital Libraries: Bringing Together Scholars, Scholarship and Research Data", in recognition of the changes the digital age is now bringing to scholarship, broadly writ. Publishing models are changing, along with the breadth of digital material that must be managed coherently in the context of users forcing the move from information silos to a landscape of interconnected systems supporting scholarship for both research and education. Additionally in a number of disciplines we are seeing funding agency directives to include with primary scholarship those materials on which the scholarship is based such as data sets both in the sciences and humanities. Further, we are seeing more focus on requirements for managing data for use in the future by other scholars.

The intended community for this conference includes those interested in all aspects of digital libraries such as infrastructure; institutions; metadata; content; services; digital preservation; system design; scientific data management; workflows; implementation; interface design; human-computer interaction; performance evaluation; usability evaluation; collection development; intellectual property; privacy; electronic publishing; document genres; multimedia; social, institutional, and policy issues; user communities; and associated 
theoretical topics. JCDL welcomes submissions in these areas, and submissions associated with the JCDL 2011 theme of "Digital Libraries:  Bringing Together Scholars, Scholarship and Research Data" 
are particularly welcome. The conference sessions, workshops and tutorials will cover all these aspects.

Participation is sought from all parts of the world and from the full range of established and emerging disciplines and professions including computer science, information science, data science, librarianship, data management, archival science and practice, museum studies and practice, information technology, medicine, social sciences, education and humanities. Representatives from academe, government, industry, and others are invited to participate.

JCDL 2011 invites submissions of papers and proposals for posters, demonstrations, tutorials, and workshops that will make the conference an exciting and creative event to attend. As always, the conference welcomes contributions from all the fields that intersect to enable Digital Libraries.

All contributions are to be submitted in electronic form via the JCDL 2011 submission Web page, following ACM  format guidelines and using the ACM template. Please submit all papers in PDF format.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blog post: Understanding DPI

If you are digitizing using a camera, how do you calculate DPI (dots per inch)?  Misty De Meo has tackled that calculation in her blog.  The key is knowing the resolution of the camera you are using.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Report: Expert Meeting: Price Tags of Digital Preservation Policy Choices

Quote the report:
On 16 September 2010 a rather unique meeting took place in The Hague: the experts behind five past and present projects on cost modelling for digital preservation came together to exchange information and discuss possibilities for international cooperation. The projects discussed included Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS, UK), CMDP (Denmark), LIFE3 (UK), DANS (Netherlands), National Archives Testbed (Netherlands). 
I haven't read this seven-page report yet, but skimming through it, I can see that there is a lot to digest.  Plus you can view all of the presentations, too (46 pages).

Blog post: Who infringed at Georgia State?

This copyright lawsuit involving Georgia State was mentioned yesterday by a librarian who visited one of my classes.  Peter Hirtle wrote in his blog post:
We have a ruling from the court over the motions for summary judgement in the lawsuit over Georgia State's ereserve program.  Kevin Smith gives an excellent analysis of the order in Going forward with Georgia State lawsuit.  The bottom line is that the court did not find Georgia State guilty of direct and vicarious copyright infringement, as the plaintiffs requested.  The only issue that will go forward is whether Georgia State contributed to the copyright infringement of others through its implementation of its 2009 policy.
In reading Kevin Smith's blog post, this text stands out to me:
Perhaps more importantly, Judge Evans was impressed by declarations from multiple professors about how they use e-reserves. She quotes at length one professor’s explanation that she uses e-reserves only in cases where she is assigning so little of a work that students would not buy the text if it were assigned. Judge Evans also cites approvingly several professors’ declarations to the effect that if they had to pay a royalty to use e-reserves, they would stop using the system.
Being able to put text on reserves is important. Because many campuses have gone to an e-reserve system, the rules about what can be put on reserves are more strict. This means that professors are justifying what they put on reserves and only putting on reserve as much as necessary.  Universities are also putting into place systems that limit access to those reserves to only the students who should have access. 

In my very personal view of the situation, I believe that publishers who are trying to further restrict access or seeking additional fees are doing nothing but making it more difficult for professors to teach the next generation.  We should want to ensure that students have access to the best information.  However, if publishers are going to make that more difficult to do, then our students' education will suffer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Event: DAM LA 2010, Nov. 15-16, 2010, Los Angeles, CA

I've recently become aware of conferences produced by  Henry Stewart Events on digital asset management. This one is called DAM LA.
DAM LA 2010 highlights all the important issues - from the fundamentals of how to get started with a DAM solution to the latest and best practices in the management of digital media. Attendance at DAM LA 2010 ensures that everyone involved in the capture, storage and application of digital media assets is fully briefed on the latest developments and best practices.
If you quote DIG101 when registering, you will receive a $100 discount on this event.

Next year, they will host DAM events in  New York, London, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Dates should be announced in a few weeks.

Event: 6th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC10)

Received via email.

6th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC10)
“Participation & Practice: Growing the curation community through the data decade”
6 – 8 December 2010
Chicago Mart Plaza, Chicago, USA.

The updated IDCC10 programme including all the accepted papers is now available on the DCC website, with a link at both the top and bottom of the page to the PDF.  A full list of posters and demos will be added shortly.

Register for pre-conference workshops and the conference at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wayback Wednesday: Metadata blog posts from the Digitization 101 archives

Cafe au lait and Beignets at Cafe du MondeSince I don't describe myself as a metadata librarian, metadata can make my eyes cross. However, I have discussed metadata in this blog (quite amazing!.  So this Wednesday night, I want to curl up with cup of coffee and highlight several Digitization 101 blog posts on it.)
Want to dig into the archives yourself?  Use the "popular labels" on the right side of the blog OR use your favorite Internet search engine to search this site (e.g, plus whatever terms are relevant to you).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, PAToday blogs around the world will participate in Blog Action Day by writing about this year's topic - water. According to the Blog Action Day web site:
The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
This point has been driven home to me through news stories, documentaries, fact sheets and web sites. The result is that I struggle to use less water and get mad at myself when I use more to do a simple task than I think necessary.  Can I be more efficient in washing dishes and vegetables, for example?  Should I put a timer on my showers and then challenge myself to make them shorter?  Can I reuse grey water in a way that is practical and makes sense? While I ponder those and other questions, I look around and see neighbors that wash their cars frequently, have swimming pools, or do other things that waste something that is so precious in other areas of the world.  I can even look at my own family and see members who are water wasters.

Woman holding water vesselThe problem -- or good news -- is that people in my region have enough water.  There is no need for us to give our unused water to our neighbors, because they have enough.  Those that need water are elsewhere in the world.  While shipping water to them is a possibility, what they need is a way for them to make what they have sanitary.  They also need to be able to get water to the areas where it is needed, so people aren't walking miles for potable water (suitable for drinking).  They may need help drilling wells, building irrigation systems or aqueducts.  These are often tasks that a community cannot do on its own because of the expense or resources needed.

So if I can't be there to help them, what can I do?  What can you do?  
  • Learn more about the problem and its solutions.
  • Find ways of using less water, because even though we think we have enough water, the reality is that our water supply is changing and every year we have more people who are reliant on it.
  • Help to keep our waterways and aquifers free of pollutants.Pollution travels and our pollutants end up in places that we can see and affect people we don't know.
  • Support organizations and projects that are working to reduce the number of people in the world who do not have access to clean water and adequate sanitation.
  • Teach those around us about this issue. 
Those are not difficult tasks.  If we all do our part, this is a problem that can be solved.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blog post: The view from Frankfurt: who controls the ebook business?

Alastair Horne has written a very good post about a panel discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair entitled "The eBook Business: Who’s in Control?". While publishers had come close to losing control of the ebook business, the tide has turned due to increased competition, which means that publishers are out of it yet.
The panel agreed that, with ebooks currently accounting for approximately 15% of trade sales in the United States, it no longer made any sense to have a separate strategy for ebooks: digital had instead to be at the heart of a more general publishing strategy. 
The prediction is that ebook could account for 50% of book sales in five years.  That type of shift will put pressure on brick-and-mortar bookstore, who may see their needed shelf space decrease and a lose in business.

Two areas not addressed in the article are textbooks and libraries.  Textbooks continue to increase in price and are often available only in hardcopy.  E-textbooks could be lower cost and provide more information (e.g., connecting the text to other sources).  Many students carry laptops, iPads and smartphones to class (at least in the U.S.) which means that they have an ebook reader available to them.  Wouldn't it be great if they could have their books on that reader?

Some libraries are carrying ebooks, but I don't know if there is yet an agreed upon model for library pricing, circulation policies, etc.  Could it be that some books will only be available in ebook format?  What would happen if a library couldn't get a needed book because it couldn't handle that format?

The FutureBook blog has other blog posts about the Frankfurt Book Fair and promised to have more.  Blog posts already available include:

Event: Staying on TRAC: Digital Preservation Implications and Solutions for Collaboratives

From the collaborative-dig email list....

Ensuring the longevity of your collections is a challenge you need not face alone.  Join LYRASIS for Staying on TRAC:  Digital Preservation Implications and Solutions for Collaboratives.  This workshop has been designed especially for libraries and cultural heritage institutions with existing digital content, created collaboratively or locally, that need to plan for long-term preservation of, and access to, these materials.
Goals of the Staying on TRAC workshop:
  • To help libraries and cultural heritage organizations gain an understanding of the organizational roles and responsibilities related to digital preservation;
  • To provide the information and tools that organizations need to develop a local digital preservation policy;
  • To provide the information and means to help institutions advocate for digital preservation at the local and collaborative levels;
  • To assist institutions and their collaborative partners in developing the capacity to assume responsibility for long-term accessibility of digital collections under their stewardship.
Using de facto guidelines, standards, and tools for digital preservation planning, analysis, and assessment such as the CRL-OCLC-NARA Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification: Criteria and Checklist (TRAC), the workshop will provide you with the information and tools you need to plan, assess and outline a digital preservation plan for sustaining collaboratively generated digital content. 
Limited space, register today!
The workshop consists of 3 webinars and an in-person session:
  • Webinar 1 -  November 2, 1-3 p.m. ET
  • Webinar 2 - November 3, 1-3 p.m. ET
  • Webinar 3 - November 5, 1-3 p.m. ET
  • In-person session - November 16-17, 2010, Northwestern University Libraries, Evanston, Illinois
BONUS:  Five collaboratives who complete their plans will be selected for an onsite digital preservation readiness assessment. Each assessment will be conducted by two of the faculty members.

Workshop Fee: The cost to attend this invaluable workshop is $150 for the first member of a registered collaborative team, and $75 for additional on-site attendees from the same collaborative team. NOTE: The fee covers the webinars and in-person session, as well as all workshop materials and post-workshop online activities. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided at the in-person session.