Monthly Archives: September 2006


posterAnother must-see film for those who might have missed this (I know I did until today)…Renaissance. This came out in France in March, and is just now making it over to the US.

In 2054, Paris is a labyrinth where all movement is monitored and recorded. Cut off from the world for its own protection, the city has nonetheless continued to expand. Now, 21st century skyscrapers overlay centuries-old architectural masterpieces. And below street level, a sophisticated network of streamlined plazas push up against the city’s ancient, deteriorating tunnel systems. Casting a shadow over everything is the city’s largest company, Avalon, which insinuates itself into every aspect of contemporary life to sell its primary export – eternal youth and beauty. When 22-year-old Ilona (Romola Garai), one of Avalon’s most promising scientists, is abruptly kidnapped, Avalon calls on Barthélémy Karas (Daniel Craig), a Paris cop with a hard-fought reputation for finding anyone, no matter what sacrifices he has to make along the way. As the trail gets hot, Karas senses he’s not the only one looking for the beautiful enigma, and every witness he digs up seems to turn up dead. To find Ilona and unlock the secs of her disappearance, Karas must plunge deep into the parallel worlds of corporate espionage, organized crime and genetic research – where the truth imprisons whoever finds it first and miracles can be bought but at a great price.

I recommend hitting Apple’s Trailer site to get the full HD goodness of the film…WOW this looks good. Like Blade Runner meets Sin City.


Facebook takes down libraries

Facebook seems to be getting touchy in their new-found attempt to take over the social network world…they took down the University of Kentucky’s profile with no warning, citing breach of ToS:

Facebook profiles are intended for use by a single individual. Groups, clubs, and other types of organizations are not permitted to maintain an account. I apologize for the inconvenience, but you will no longer be able to use this account. I will not be able to reinstate the account under a different email address.

text from email from facebook support

So Facebook won’t give them back their content? This seems like a BAD idea on the part of Facebook support, and I’m guessing this will get fixed in short order.

I’m friends with a few libraries…curious how long it will take Facebook to get rid of them all. Here at MPOW, we’ve not created a page just for the library, instead having the library as Group, as Facebook suggests. This wasn’t done with any forethought…just seemed to make sense at the time.

TurnItIn and copyright infringement

All I can say is that it’s about time some students got upset about TurnItIn (no link love from me). I expected that it would be a university student somewhere that realized what they were doing, but nope…it was high school kids.

The for-profit service known as Turnitin checks student work against a database of more than 22 million papers written by students around the world, as well as online sources and electronic archives of journals. School administrators said the service, which they will start using next week, is meant to deter plagiarism at a time when the Internet makes it easy to copy someone else’s words.

But some McLean High students are rebelling. Members of the new Committee for Students’ Rights said they do not cheat or condone cheating. But they object to Turnitin’s automatically adding their essays to the massive database, calling it an infringement of intellectual property rights. And they contend that the school’s action will tar students at one of Fairfax County’s academic powerhouses.

Indeed. I asked TurnItIn representatives years ago at an ALA Midwinter conference how long they thought they could maintain their business model without compensating students for increasing their databases…no suprisingly, they didn’t really respond to my question.

I have long thought that they were getting away with something in the IP arena. Yes, I’m sure they’ve covered their legal bases with click-through licenses and such, but everyone knows those are only good until challenged. I see a class action suit on the way…students who’s work was used to produce profits for TurnItIn should see some of that profit, I think.

I actually spoke up here at UTC during my last faculty plagiarism workshop against TiI. Several of the faculty knew of it, but didn’t understand how it worked or what you got from it…although there were a couple of strident defenders of it in the room, I got across my rather strong feelings on the subject. It’s just wrong, even apart from the IP issues, in the same way that strip searches at the airport are wrong…trading liberties for an illusion of security (or in the case of TurnItIn, trading trust and honestly for guilty until proven innocent) is not the sort of image that our institutes of higher education should be dealing in.

Leveraging Facebook

So at MPOW, we’re trying to drum up student interest in a few upcoming events, as well as get some input on the new website design, so I dove into Facebook. I’m curious if other libraries are using the “event” function in this manner to drum up attendance at workshops.

Plagiarism Workshop
Citation Workshop

So I posted our classes as “events” and then pushed invites to all of the students and professors in my network. I also decided to reach out for website testing:

Love / Hate the Library Website?

Here I’m hoping to get some remote feedback as part of our usability testing. We’re doing on-site testing next week, but hopefully someone will find this interesting enough to leave a few comments on the wall and we’ll be able to use them.

Anyone out in LibraryLand doing something else interesting with Facebook? Anything new?

Identity 2.0 meets real life

Mark from BoingBoing tells this story about a friend who meets the next identity crisis early: what do you do when there’s bad information given about you, and you have no recourse?

What interests me is that this whole phenomenon is only just beginning to get rolling. Criminal background checks are still a little too expensive right now for most apartment landlords, home-owner associations, and employers. That obviously will not last, since apparently those millions of paper documents in county court houses have been largely digitized. Now that the data entry has been completed (competently or otherwise), information just wants to be free, right? Certainly it wants to be cheaper than $78. In a few years (or maybe months) from now, when you can check any job applicant or prospective tenant for $5, or maybe for free if the service is supported by context-sensitive popup ads, everyone will be checking everyone. Already it costs me nothing to view a map of the alleged child molesters living in my neighborhood. (I wonder how many errors are in _that_ database.) Can other felons be far behind?

Maybe one of your readers has some ideas on how this can be fixed. I don’t see any way. It makes the fuss over Wikipedia look pretty trivial; John Seigenthaler certainly didn’t have to submit a set of fingerprints to get _his_ error corrected, and it didn’t deprive him of a place to live, either.

This is as much about information management as it is identity. I’m not sold on this answer, but what if we owned the information about ourselves? That is, any information that was a formal measure of my identity was owned by me in the same sense that I can own copyright on something I write. I could then license said information to those institutions I wished (the government would have built in license for identification purposes, I suppose, in a limited scope) and could sue organizations that used my information illegally. We solve junk mail and the many-database problem all at once. Of course, the cure may be worse than the disease…

Never go over in america, volume 1

I really, really don’t understand Germany. Or Germans. I give you: The Dreamship Surprise!

Dreamship SurpriseSpace in the year 2304: in a UFO that crash-landed in the Nevada desert 300 years ago, mankind found the scientific guidelines which were used to colonize Mars half a century later. Now the descendants of the first colonists are on their way back to Earth. Led by their unbelievably wicked Regulator Rogul and his unbelievably even more wicked disciple Jens Maul, they are up to no good. In fact, the Martians are planning to subjugate the blue planet to the red one. With a huge array of spaceships, a conquest of Earth seems imminent. And only the crazy crew of Dreamship Surprise can “help”: Captain Kork, engineer Shrotty and first officer Mr. Spuck. But instead of fighting intergalactic crime, they´re busy with their choreography for the upcoming “Miss Waikiki Pageant”. With the help of the space cowboy and taxi-pilot Rock, they set out to save the earth from invasion…

Watch the trailer for the ultimate in gay space heroes. The only one I could find to embed is in Japanese (with German audio)…so be warned. Wonderfully off-kilter gay sci-fi movies…there’s just not enough of them.

I dare anyone to find a more homosexual sci-fi picture than this:


Just another example of the sort of thing that would never happen here. This film had the largest theatrical opening in the history of Germany. And it doesn’t even have The Hoff in it.