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Category Archives: Libraries

The Supreme Court is about to decide the future of online speech

The Verge: “Social media companies have long made their own rules about the content they allow on their sites. But a pair of cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday will test the limits of that freedom, examining whether they can be legally required to host users’ speech. The cases, Moody v. NetChoice and NetChoice v. Paxton, deal with the constitutionality of laws created in Florida and Texas, respectively. Though there are some differences between the two laws, both essentially limit the ability of large online platforms to curate or ban content on their sites, seeking to fight what lawmakers claim are rules that suppress conservative speech. This fight has reached the Supreme Court level in part because an appeals court in Florida declared that state’s version of the law unconstitutional, while a separate appeals court allowed the Texas law to stand, creating a legal rift. The laws’ opponents warn that a ruling for the states could force social media companies to carry “lawful but awful” speech like Nazi rhetoric or medical misinformation, which would likely repel a wide swath of users. Rather than offend users, critics argue, platforms may choose to block whole categories of discussion — around topics like race — to avoid legal blowback.  It’s not just big social media platforms that are concerned about the effects of the laws. The nonprofit that runs Wikipedia and individual Reddit moderators have worried that they might need to fundamentally change how they operate or face new legal threats. More traditional publishers have warned that a ruling in the states’ favor could undercut their First Amendment rights as well. But even some opponents of the laws fear that a broad ruling for NetChoice could hobble any future attempts to regulate a powerful industry. These cases are about the future of public discourse online,” says Scott Wilkens, senior counsel at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, “and the extent to which that public discourse serves democracy.”

Émigrés Are Creating an Alternative China, One Bookstore at a Time

The New York Times [no paywall]: “From Tokyo and Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Amsterdam and New York, members of the Chinese diaspora are building public lives that are forbidden in China and training themselves to be civic-minded citizens — the type of Chinese the Communist Party doesn’t want them to be. They are opening Chinese… Continue Reading

Tools for Thinking About Censorship

ReactorMag – “One price of free speech is eternal humility, recognizing that none of us is immune to becoming a tool of censorship if we fail to recognize its manipulative tactics. Was it a government action, or did they do it themselves because of pressure?” This is inevitably among our first questions when news breaks… Continue Reading

National Customer Rage Study

“CCMC’s [Customer Care Measurement and Consulting] Customer Rage Study is an independent analysis of the state of corporate complaint handling in America. The Customer Rage Study offers a clear comparison of customer satisfaction with corporate customer care efforts across decades. A leader in the customer care movement for nearly 45 years, CCMC principals’ work has… Continue Reading

How the Smithsonian Is Helping Black Americans Trace Their Roots

Smithsonian Magazine – Free sessions hosted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture offer visitors advice on researching their genealogy..Genealogy researchers use military records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, wills, legal and court documents, and census records to help piece together the past. The resources referenced by NMAAHC’s team don’t currently… Continue Reading

The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World

Films for Action: “Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels. Over the last [16] years, we’ve watched hundreds of social change documentaries and cataloged the best of them in this library. There are now so many that we realized we needed to… Continue Reading

US GPO Webinars – Health Stats and Govt Info

Webinar: Health Statistics on the Web; Date: Thursday, February 15, 2024; Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST) Register – Recording and closed captioning are available. All webinars are free of charge. Speakers: Katie Pierce Farrier, Data Science Strategist, Region 3, Network of the National Library of Medicine, Christine Nieman, Data Education Librarian, Region… Continue Reading

See What Charles Darwin Kept in His ‘Insanely Eclectic’ Personal Library Revealed for the First Time

Smithsonian: On the English naturalist’s 215th birthday, more than 9,000 titles from his expansive collection are now accessible online: “After nearly two decades of sleuthing and meticulous archival research, academics this week marked the 215th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday on February 12 with a gift for the world: the English naturalist’s complete personal library,… Continue Reading

Book Banning Goes Digital: Libraries Suspending Their E-Book Services and the Complications It Poses For First Amendment Doctrine

Book Banning Goes Digital: Libraries Suspending Their E-Book Services and the Complications It Poses for First Amendment Doctrine – Catherine E. Ferri.  Stanford Technology Law Review, Stanford Law School. Volume 27  Issue 1.  “Book banning predates the United States and has survived and thrived in a splintered twenty-first century political climate. As the fight for… Continue Reading