Tuesday, June 20, 2017

EFF International IP Infosheets: Temporary Copies

In 2012, the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) published an information sheet on "Temporary Copies."  Temporary copies are made automatically by computer systems and are very necessary.  However, having a temporary copy could be seen as an infringing on copyright.  This three-page document provides background, the EFF stance on the matter, and even an overview of a relevant U.S. court case.  If you find yourself talking about temporary copies, this document might be one you will want to refer to.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Video: What is a copyright? (Canada)

This three-minute video is an introduction to Canadian copyright. Because of the impact of international treaties, you will find that Canada's laws are similar to those in other countries (like the U.S.), but you will also notice some differences (e.g., the length of protection). Still this is a good introduction and worth viewing/using.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Does an Award Winning Design Reflect the Content Within?

I am catching up on reading and Internet surfing, which means I'm finding things I should have read months ago.  This blog post wonders if award winning book covers are on books with highly rated content.  I've copied the post's graphic below and you're welcome to go read the original post.  However, this got me thinking about web site design and specifically library web sites.

Most libraries have a web site.  Those sites are created in a number of different ways, using free and fee-based tools.  Some provide basic information about the library, while others are more in-depth.  I suspect that most do not provide all of the information that their users want, such as information about the staff or board of trustees, or details about borrowing privileges.  Indeed many libraries only provide what the staff is interested in sharing, and that could be very little.

Most libraries do not have someone on staff who can create a professional design of the web site.  Sites which we might consider "award winning" are likely owned by large, well-funded libraries, where a tech-savvy person internally or externally is charged with maintaining the site.  As our computing devices have changed (e.g., the move to mobile devices), our site designers have had to create sites that will look good and function on any type of device. This is called responsive design.  My own site is an example of one that uses responsive design so that it functions well on any type of device.

The problem with web sites (and books) is that a great looking site may have very little useful content.  In some cases, a great looking site may actually contain fake content, while a site that is not designed by a professional may have extemely useful content.  Yes, judging a book (or web site) by its design can be problematic.

So what are you to do? 
  • Whether your site is for a digitization program, a specific department, or the entire library, make sure that it gives users the information that they desire about you (program, department, library).  If you are waiting until it is designed perfectly, don't.  Place the information online, then schedule time to make it better.
  • State your assumptions.  You actually have no idea who will use your web site, so don't assume that they will know specific details about you (e.g., location).  
  • Work towards a design that is compliant with American with Disabilities Act rules/guidelines.  If you don't know what that means, ask someone.  Yes, there are free tools, like this one, which you can use to assess accessibility.  I know you might get frustrated with the errors, but try to work on fixing them.
  • Work towards functional and informative, then towards beautiful.  People will endure a less than beautiful web site, if it delivers worthwhile information.
  • When possible hire someone - even a knowledgeable intern - who can help you with your web site.  Remember that you can contract with someone to provide this service on-demand.
By the way, I did run my own web site through the WAVE tool and I can see that I have some changes to make!  I guess I better do that before I look at any of the books below.

Created by Syracuse University's School of Information Studies master of information management program.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Protecting Your Personal Information: It is Increasingly Important

Lock & ChainIn March, Jason Griffey wrote a blog post entitled "Personal International Infosec" after he had traveled between the U.S. and Bahrain. Given the current trend of governments checking a traveler's computing devices, Griffey decided to ensure that no one could learn anything if they checked his.  In his blog post, Griffey' lays out exactly what he did and why.  It is definitely worth a read.

We use password to protect our identification and our intellectual property. I had been relaxed in ensuring that may passwords were strong and protected. Like many people, I had a method for creating passwords that made them memorable for me. And like many people, I had a list of passwords and IDs, although it was not up-to-date.  Reading his post, I realized that it was time for me to get my act together and use a password manager, like 1Password, and I did.

I've had three surprises from using a password manager.  First, a password manager is easy to use (and I'm using 1Password).  It is easy to enter ID and password information.  It will even generate new passwords, and I like that.  Now every password can be unique (for real!).

Second, it has not slowed me down.  In fact, having all of my passwords in one location stops me from search high-and-low for that password I don't remember or generating a new password because I can't remember the old one.

Third...wow I have a lot of passwords!  I knew I had a lot of them, but they really weren't all in one location and they were not written down.  I am still discovering IDs and passwords that I need to place into my manager, including passwords that need to be made more secure.

While I've been talking here about your personal information, having a way of securing your organization's information is also important.  Yes, think about securing your passwords and also those of your organization.

If you have not read anything about using a password manager and are interested in securing your ID (or intellectual property), here are some articles to start with:
Please note that some password managers are free, while others require a subscription.  I have colleagues who are using free password managers and they like them.  I decided to use 1Password, which has a 30-day free trial and then a yearly subscription fee.  My decision was not based on in-depth research, but based on what Jason Griffey selected (someone whom I know and trust).  You might do research and decide on something totally different, and that is okay.  What is no longer okay is having passwords that could be easily guessed or listing them on slips of paper (or someplace online that is not secure.  It is time to secure your identity and your intellectual property.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Report: Special Collections in ARL Libraries

While this is an older report, it may be one still worth a read.  Published in 2009, this Association of Research Libraries (ARL) report:
...identifies key issues in the management and exposure of special collections material in the 21st century. Though the initial focus was on 19th- and 20th-century materials, most of what is said below applies with equal force to collecting and caring for materials from previous centuries as well as materials that bring us into the present and oblige us to look forward into the future.
The thee main sections of the report are:
I. Collecting Carefully, with Regard to Costs, and Ethical and Legal Concerns
II. Ensuring Discovery and Access
III. The Challenge of Born-Digital Collections 
The report also contains recommendations in those three areas.