Library Issues

Building a Library 2.0

I’m not sure if that title actually comes across with the meaning I’m after. It’s not Building a….Library 2.0. It’s Building a Library….2.0. 🙂

Is anyone aware of a building project being managed via 2.0 tools? MPOW has been funded for a new library, and we are currently in the project planning phases. I’m pushing for us to be completely transparent about the process…we are a state school, and everything we do is more or less subject to sunshine laws. Might as well put it right out there.

As a part of the project, we’re going to be managing it with a wiki (still under construction due to new server being purchased), probably sharing documents with Google Docs, and we’ve already started our Flickr Pro account for photos of site visits. We’ve got two video visits that will probably go up on YouTube.

Is there anyone else out there doing this? I know there aren’t many simultaneous builds going on, especially of academic libraries, but surely someone has done a “transparent build” before. Our plans involve letting the community comment on the wiki, and gathering feedback from as many of these sources as we can to inform our build plan.

Anyone out there have suggestions for the process that the 2.0 technology might improve, other than the things I’ve mentioned? This is new for me…it’s going to be an interesting few years.

Consider this the first of a few blog posts on transparency. More exciting news coming later this summer. 🙂

Digital Culture

5 Weeks

I haven’t talked nearly enough about the 5 Weeks to a Social Library project. I mentioned it long ago, and then never followed up with more information, so I’m fixing that today.

I just finished my presentation for 5 weeks, and it was a complete blast! It was only my second time doing an interactive webcast, and it was amazing…fun and informative and just great. I absolutely adore the multiple conversations aspect of most webcast software, where I’m presenting and doing visuals and voice, but the rest of the class is having a conversation completely separate from me via text on the side. Just amazingly info rich!

My presentation was entitled Make Your Library (warning: full screencast IE only), and focused on the what and how of If you want to listen or take a look at the slides and such, all the content can be found at OPAL.

Let me just say that the organizers of 5 weeks (Meredith, Dorothea, Michelle, Karen, Amanda, and Ellyssa) have completely knocked it out of the park. If this isn’t an exemplar of how to do an online learning experience, I haven’t seen one.

Digital Culture

Folksonomies = Translation Engines

I was lounging about today, idly thinking about folksonomies ( could happen) and I had what I consider a somewhat interesting idea. Are there any existing sites that allow for tagging in multiple languages? I suppose that does by default for language that use the Roman alphabet, but what about systems that use a non-roman…does flickr or technorati allow for Chinese or Japanese kanji? Or for Farsi?

For any system where this were the case, and there was an enormous database of folksonomic data to mine, and the folksonomies were in some way descriptive (it’s possible to have non-descriptive folksonomies…some people actually leverage by using specifically non-descriptive tags in order to pull very specific things from the organization)…well, if you were describing things in the world…would you be able to data mine such a folksonomy as a translation engine?

You would imagine that on flickr, a picture of a red ball might be tagged “red” and “Ball” by multiple languages. By doing some basic statistical work on the data, I think you could come up with a pretty good translation engine.

Anyone out there see that this couldn’t/wouldn’t work? Would this be better than traditional translation engines…I don’t know. It leverages the wisdom of crowds in an interesting new way, though.

Digital Culture

Giving it all away

Cory Doctorow has an amazing essay in Forbes, called Giving It Away. Concerned with how giving away electronic copies of books drives sales of printed copies, it’s a clear and amazing set of thoughts on the current publishing world.

I’m particularly caught up in publishing issues right now, given that I’m negotiating with a publisher for publication of a book. I wonder if I sent them a copy of this essay it could possibly make a difference….

from the essay:

The thing about an e-book is that it’s a social object. It wants to be copied from friend to friend, beamed from a Palm device, pasted into a mailing list. It begs to be converted to witty signatures at the bottom of e-mails. It is so fluid and intangible that it can spread itself over your whole life. Nothing sells books like a personal recommendation–when I worked in a bookstore, the sweetest words we could hear were “My friend suggested I pick up….” The friend had made the sale for us, we just had to consummate it. In an age of online friendship, e-books trump dead trees for word of mouth.

Digital Culture

Back from Thanksgiving

And there’s a bevy of stuff happening at MPOW. We’ve launched the official beta of our new website, and I’ve signed to write an article for Library Journal.

Yeah, yeah…let the stoning commence!

To be fair, I did request and get the “better” publication agreement from Reed, as well as request and receive permission for a clarifying line of text to be added to the agreement (the clarification was in the realm of the term of the contract, and what rights reverted to me after 6 months). I will be able to self-archive the work, which was a big deal. I feel like I was treated fairly in the negotiations, now I just have to write.

So what am I writing about? There’s a great opportunity at MPOW revolving around our instruction section and podcasts/vidcasts/netcasts/whatever the cool kids are calling it these days. I wrote a grant proposal for 30 ipods and supporting equipment (including everything we need to produce nearly professional level videos), and we’ll be moving forward with integrating podcasts into our new instruction/outreach efforts. So my work for LJ will be chronicling that process, as well as looking at ways that libraries can leverage this technology to greatly enhance their efforts towards patron education.

I’ll be blogging some of the process…it’s exciting, because it’s a completely new feature for MPOW, plus it will involve a lot of integration with the new website and the instructional team.

Digital Culture Library Issues

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

On my campus, as well as others, there has of late been a terrific focus placed upon student plagiarism. I’ve been asked to teach a handful of plagiarism workshops (4 down, 1 to go…this Thursday, if anyone’s in town) and I was recently asked to produce a “statement” of a sort to be used in advertising a conference on Academic Integrity that is being held here at UTC. So I said:

There is a lot of confusion among students as to citation in academic writing, including what needs a citation and who should be cited in specific circumstances. My feeling is that if we continue teaching the specifics of what, who, and how, we’re missing the real issue. Students need to understand why we insist on citation, and the purpose and goals of this very specific sort of writing. We as educators need to encourage students to be willing to see themselves as part of the academic dialogue, as a piece of the ongoing attempt at the creation of knowledge. Students need to see academic writing as a conversation between themselves, the professor, and the rest of the Academy, and not as a hoop to jump through or a check-mark on their transcript. A large part of their vision of academic writing is formed by the way educators present assignments, and I think that we can better serve the student by re-imagining the way this is done.

Plagiarism is something that strikes me as old news…always been here, always will, and until we can convince professors that traditional “write a paper on X” assignments aren’t the best sorts, we’ll always have to deal with it. I need to find a way to get my workshop online…it uses music as a metaphor for academic writing, and shows how something can move from “bad” reuse to “ok” reuse, and how to think about academic writing in a different way. I believe that the current “millenial” student really has a difficult time understanding plagiarism, and the workshop is designed to get them thinking in a new way. I’ll put that on the pile of things to do in the next year or so…

Library Issues

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.

Library Issues

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.

Digital Culture

Head, Library Information Technology Services

If anyone reading this blog would do me a huge favor and throw a linkback or comment or mention on your blog my way…we’re trying desperately to find a great candidate for our recently vacated Head of Systems position here at UTC. The entire job ad is here, and here’s a brief description. If anyone has specific questions, I’ll try and answer them within the best of my legal ability (the state of TN has some wacky rules about job ads)….

Reporting to the Dean of the Lupton Library, this position provides leadership and know-how to advance the Library through the development and expansion of library collections, tools and services that facilitate learning, teaching, and scholarship within a digital environment, as well as creating an infrastructure that facilitates the adoption of next generation library services.

Specific information technology related responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Provides library leadership and strategic planning for the design, integration, and maintenance of the library-computing environment and for the specification, acquisition, development, and support of digital library collections, tools, services, and support applications that facilitate teaching, learning, and research.
  • Manages a staff of 2 professionals who develop, deliver, and maintain information technology services for the Lupton Library and works collaboratively with other librarians and colleagues throughout the Library and the University.
  • Administers the Library’s VTLS Virtua integrated library system.
  • Provides consultation, support and problem resolution to ensure Library software and hardware is functional, interoperable, and serves the ongoing goal of supporting research and teaching.
  • Gathers, monitors, and evaluates usage statistics.
  • Serves as backup to other members of the Library’s Information Technology Services Department.
  • Ensures the Library’s Information Technology Services Department is positioned to take advantage of new developments that improve the patron experience and staff productivity.
  • Serves as primary Library liaison to University’s Information Technology Division.

This is a great environment to work in…the team that is in the library now is remarkable. We’re moving towards a very robust systems/IT infrastructure, and have some really great ideas where we’d like to go. Plus, you’d get to work with me! 🙂

So if anyone knows someone looking, please make sure they apply! As well, throw a link to this entry up anywhere you can, or link directly to the job ad above.

Digital Culture

Hackers Unite!

Holy Crap! Thanks to Patrick for pointing out to me that Wired is featuring a story about the Hacker’s On Planet Earth (HOPE) Conference, which was evidently co-organized by Greg Newby.

Conference co-organizer Greg Newby, a computer science professor at the University of Alaska, said the conference reflected “the hacker spirit, which is about exploration and questioning.” He added, “This involves political awakening, as well as open sharing of information.”

So why do I care? Little did I fully appreciate at the time, but Dr. Newby was my professor for my Information Security class at UNC. Turns out I was learning from one of the best…it was an amazing class. One of the things that stuck with me was that at the beginning of the semester, he told us that he had set up a server in his office for us to crack…and that we should just go to it. Every day we learned a bit more about intrusion, and then used those exploits on our target. It was a phenomenal way to learn about security and network issues in a very practical manner.

EDIT: Wow. I didn’t actually realize that Dr. Newby had been denied tenure at UNC. Thanks, Justin, for bringing this to my attention…I knew he left for Alaska, but I had no idea it was under such trying circumstances. So terrible for him, and for SILS…he was absolutely one of the best professors I had while at SILS.