Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Libraries

Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet

Wired: “…Today, Wikipedia is the eighth-most-visited site in the world. The English-language version recently surpassed 6 million articles and 3.5 billion words; edits materialize at a rate of 1.8 per second. But perhaps more remarkable than Wikipedia’s success is how little its reputation has changed. It was criticized as it rose, and now makes its final ascent to … muted criticism. To confess that you’ve just repeated a fact you learned on Wikipedia is still to admit something mildly shameful. It’s as though all those questions that used to pepper think pieces in the mid-2000s—Will it work? Can it be trusted? Is it better than Encyclopedia Britannica?—are still rhetorical, when they have already been answered, time and again, in the affirmative. Of course, muted criticism is far better than what the other giants at the top of the internet are getting these days. Pick any inflection point you like from the past several years—the Trump election, Brexit, any one of a number of data breaches, alt-right feeding frenzies, or standoffish statements to Congress—and you’ll see the malign hand of platform monopolies. Not too long ago, techno-utopianism was the ambient vibe of the elite ideas industry; now it has become the ethos that dare not speak its name. Hardly anyone can talk abstractly about freedom and connection and collaboration, the blithe watchwords of the mid-2000s, without making a mental list of the internet’s more concrete negative externalities…Yet in an era when Silicon Valley’s promises look less gilded than before, Wikipedia shines by comparison. It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good. More than an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?…”

Open access journals get a boost from librarian much to Elsevier’s dismay

ars technica: “A quiet revolution is sweeping the $20 billion academic publishing market and its main operator Elsevier, partly driven by an unlikely group of rebels: cash-strapped librarians. When Florida State University cancelled its “big deal” contract for all Elsevier’s 2,500 journals last March to save money, the publisher warned it would backfire and cost… Continue Reading

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in WW II Europe

National Archives presentation available via YouTube and C-SPAN – Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe, Thursday, January 23, 2020. “While armies have seized enemy records and rare texts as booty throughout history, it was only during World War II that an unlikely band of librarians, archivists, and… Continue Reading

Local Bookstores Have A New Weapon In The Fight With Amazon

Fortune: “In the book industry, Amazon is Goliath, the giant who overshadows everyone else. But there’s a new David on the scene, Bookshop.org. It doesn’t expect to topple the giant, but it has launched a weapon that could make Amazon’s shadow a little smaller, and help local bookstores fight back. Bookshop.org, a website that went… Continue Reading

LC – Machine Learning + Libraries Summit Event Summary

“On Friday, September 20, 2019, the Library of Congress hosted the Machine Learning + Libraries Summit. This one-day conference convened 75 cultural heritage professionals (roughly 50 from outside the Library of Congress and 25 staff from within) to discuss the on-the-ground applications of machine learning technologies in libraries, museums, and universities. Hosting this conference was… Continue Reading

LC – New Online Collection: Military Legal Resources

In Custodia Legis: “This collection includes material from the William Winthrop Memorial Library at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) is the legal arm of the United States Army, established on July 29, 1775 by General George Washington. Judge Advocates are stationed… Continue Reading

Libraries address food poverty in school holidays with ‘Feed and Read’ sessions

UK Times and Star: “West Cumbrian libraries are set to address food poverty and keep young minds active across the half term break. When schools close for a week from February 17-21, nine Allerdale libraries are taking up Feed and Read sessions. This offers a free healthy lunch to children in libraries, whilst also giving… Continue Reading

Law Libraries and the Future of Public Access to Born-Digital Government Information

Kunkel, Rebecca, Law Libraries and the Future of Public Access to Born-Digital Government Information (2017). 109 Law Libr. J. 67, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3519405 “As government publications have shifted from print to electronic, mechanisms for guaranteeing the public’s right to access government information have not kept pace. Because legal resources are among the publications… Continue Reading

Library Publishing Directory 2020

“The Library Publishing Directory provides an annual snapshot of the publishing activities of academic and research libraries, including information about the number and types of publications they produce, the services they offer authors, how they are staffed and funded, and their future plans. In documenting the breadth and depth of activities in this field, this resource aims to articulate… Continue Reading

National Archives permitting deletion and destruction of gov docs

The New York Times Opinion – Matthew Connelly – professor of history at Columbia.- “…In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens… Continue Reading

Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative Launches Tool to Advance Adoption of Open Educational Resources

University of Maryland – “The Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) initiative–a priority project for the University System of Maryland’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and state higher education partners-has launched M.O.S.T. Commons (https://most.oercommons.org/), a collaborative, online space designed to support faculty and staff in adopting, creating, and sharing open educational resources (OER). M.O.S.T.… Continue Reading