Category Archives: ALA

Library of Congress blocks access to Wikileaks

This is evidence of the insane world we’re currently living in…the Library of Congress, ostensibly the Library of Record for the United States, is currently blocking access on it’s staff computers as well as it’s guest wireless network to Wikileaks.

From the above story, the Library issued a statement, saying:

The Library decided to block Wikileaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information. Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.

Oh, really? Is that so?

Anyone online realizes this is a senseless act, and that anyone with any knowledge of the Internet will be able to get around this sort of filter trivially…this does absolutely nothing to protect classified information. As far as I can tell, it does nothing except make the Library of Congress look asinine. Perhaps the librarians running the LoC should take another gander at the Library Bill of Rights to remind themselves what exactly it is that they should be doing.

I hope that there is serious fallout for those who made this decision. ALA Council…here’s a discussion worth having.

Kindle 2 for $89 on Black Friday

I posted this first over at Perpetual Beta, but I felt the need to repost here.

Amazon announced today via Facebook and Twitter that one of their Black Friday deals was going to be blowing out their inventory of the Kindle 2 (the last generation of Kindle) for $89. These are new units, not refurbs, and include 3G access with the device.

This deal is going to get pounded, and who knows how many they have left in stock. If you want to try and grab one, the deal starts 11/26 at 9 am PST.

While I feel that one-day sale prices don’t quite get me where I thought we’d be when I made my < $100 eReader prediction back at ALA Midwinter 2009 as a part of the LITA Top Tech Trends panel, I’d like to think I could take this as partial validation of the prediction.

Building a 21st Century Learning Environment

Here’s the MASSIVE slideshow from the preconference I was a part of for ACRL at the ALA Annual Conference just this past weekend. I was thrilled to be able to present with the team from my library, including the Dean of the Library Theresa Liedtka, our Head of Reference & Instruction Virginia Cairns, our curmudgeonly but kind Assistant Dean & Head of Materials Processing Mike Bell, and our current ILS Manager & Web Technologies Librarian and former Head of Access Services Andrea Schurr. A powerhouse of a team, I think we gave a great preconference about the process behind our renovations and new building. It’s a massive file, but it was also nearly 7 hours worth of content. Enjoy!

LITA Top Tech Trends – ALA Annual 2010

Here’s the video of the LITA Top Tech Trends panel from ALA Annual 2010. My impressions of the panel were mainly “OMFG I’m on stage with Lorcan Dempsey” and “How big IS this room?”…was very hard to concentrate on the content being put forth while actively involved in it. But I think we all had very interesting things to say. I’ll see about cleaning up my notes and putting them up in a post in the next few days.

ALA Annual 2010 Battledecks Champ!

I am truly, honestly surprised and thrilled to be crowned (or tiara’d) the American Library Association 2010 Annual Conference Battledecks champion. I still haven’t seen video of my competitors, but I can say with authority that they are all smarter, better-looking, and funnier than I.

Somehow though, I pulled it off. The official ALA video below doesn’t include my entrance, complete with luchadore mask (which I think got me bonus points). I wasn’t going to watch myself, but I realized I was so completely out of it during the thing that I barely remembered anything except the cataloger joke.

NOTE: about that. I worked as a serials cataloger for the 2 years of my degree at UNC-Chapel Hill, and took every class in cataloging offered. I have great respect for catalogers. But sometimes, you just have to go for the obvious joke. Please don’t hurt me.

Goodreader & the iPad

EDIT: please check out my new post, with the real problem identified. This post contains old information that is not correct!

Goodreader is by far the best interface and app for handling different filetypes on the iPad…PDFs, doc files, images, etc. But this morning at the ALA Annual conference I discovered one really scary security issue with it. By default, Goodreader doesn’t require authentication or any warning to connect via Bonjour, and it allows you to browse AND DOWNLOAD any files that are so shared. Sitting in the Conference Center lobby, I was able to connect to two different iPads, view and grab files arbitrarilly, and push files TO the iPads as well.

Goodreader Security issue

Goodreader Security hole

This is INCREDIBLY SCARY. In the first 2 minutes, I saw files that had credit card information, passwords, bank account information, and more.

If you are using Goodreader and are connected to any public wifi point, make sure that you have gone into Settings, Other Settings, and make sure that Ask Permission Before Connecting is ON.

There's an app for that – OITP Brief on Mobile

The American Library Association Office of Information Technology Policy, better known as ALA-OITP, just released their Policy Brief on Mobile Tech, There’s an App for That! Libraries and Mobile Technology: An Introduction to Public Policy Considerations. Written by Timothy Vollmer, formerly of OITP and now working for Creative Commons, it’s a great “state of the union” brief on Mobile tech, and how it effects the library world in the current and near-future time frame.

I was honored to have been an early reader on this piece, and to have been able to give feedback to Timothy as he worked it up. If you have any interest at all about the future of libraries and the mobile world, this is a must read.