Library Issues Technology

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Legal Issues Library Issues Technology

Technophobia or payola?

Welcome to the gang from Digg! I think the site is finally stable now (thanks Blake). Thanks for stopping by…

In an article today on CNet, the Register of Copyright of the US, Marybeth Peters (who, let me remind you, is an Associate Librarian for Copyright Services for the Library of Congress) admitted that she was a:

…self-proclaimed “Luddite,” who confessed she doesn’t even have a computer at home. “In hindsight, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.”


I’m sorry, but I thought that just said that the person responsible for administering Copyright law in the US doesn’t own a computer.



She goes on to say things like:

Peters indicated she was less thrilled, however, about a portion of the DMCA that generally lets hosting companies off the hook for legal liability, as long as they don’t turn a blind eye to copyright infringement and remove infringing material when notified. That’s one of the major arguments Google is attempting to wield in fighting high-profile copyright lawsuits, including one brought by Viacom, against its YouTube subsidiary.

“Shouldn’t you have to filter? Shouldn’t you have to take reasonable steps to make sure illegal stuff that went up comes down?” she said. She added, without elaborating further, “I think there are some issues.”

No, you shouldn’t, Marybeth. Filtering means that we are placing the responsibility of policing onto the providers of the service, and not on the people ultimately responsible for the infringement. It also means that we move farther from Net Neutrality, because there is a slippery slope from “monitor everything” to “oh, since you CAN monitor everything, prioritize something”.

Is there anyone at all in the actual copyright process that understand that the law is broken beyond repair right now, and that the digital world really does change the rules? Or is it just that all of our media laws are now being written and propped up by corporate interests instead of being written for the good of the people?

Library Issues Technology

Open Source Library

Many libraries are undergoing a re-evaluation of their technology underpinnings…their ILS, their electronic access mechanisms (OpenURL resolvers, OPAC, Metasearch), and other pieces of the melange we use to get our patrons what they need.

If you were going to attempt to move away from commercial, closed-source products and towards open source solutions for the following, what would you use? What are the areas where you are just not convinced that open source is ready for prime time, and in those cases who do you think is the most progressive choice for an academic library?

  • ILS
  • OPAC (if separate from ILS)
  • OpenURL Resolver
  • ERM
  • MetaSearch
  • Other tools I’ve forgotten… đŸ™‚

I’ve got some feelings about a few of these areas, but in others I’m just not sure. Help me make up my mind what to play with…

Library Issues Technology

User Interface Expectations

Been thinking a lot about user interfaces lately…what happens when the “language” of your users changes? For example, how many companies have cute phone numbers that spell their name…something like 1-800-GRIFFEY. Before cell phones, dialing this made sense: you pressed each letter in turn: 1-800-475-3339. (warning, number goes nowhere)

Post-SMS, how many teens do you think will see that number and try to dial the number as if they were texting? I’ll admit that when I think about dialing letters, I default to “txt” behavior.

This isn’t an example of the interface changing. It’s the same phone, with the same letters in the same order. But the expectations of that interface have changed.

Where have libraries been guilty of this? We have an interface, and it’s still being used…but the patron expectations have shifted slightly, and we haven’t taken that into account…