Archive for February, 2006

SF author self-publishing online

Very interesting, and I hope the author makes money on this attempt. If this technique is successful, I wonder how much the novelty of the situation will play into the success… I’m interested in the book, but I only found out about it due to the unusual story behind its authoring and publishing. (But c’mon- wizard cats? Where can you go wrong?)


Slashdot | Diebold Whistle-Blower Charged With Felony Access

Slashdot | Diebold Whistle-Blower Charged With Felony Access

From Slashdot, a disturbing article involving the person who blew the whistle on Diebold.


Too much I-nformation

NFL Draft Prospect Dreams Big – Deadspin

Last night, my housemate was telling me about this story involving the dreams of UT football player Michael Huff. In a moment of what I can only describe as an extreme disconnection with reality, I was trying to figure out what an iHop was- some new electronic jumping stick of some sort?


RLG DigiNews February 15, 2006, Volume 10, Number 1

RLG DigiNews February 15, 2006, Volume 10, Number 1

A useful chronology of Massachusettes’ efforts to adopt an open standard as a file format. Beyond the access issues that the state was atempting to address, additional justifications included the fact that file format becomes a huge issue in the archiving and preservation of digital objects over the long term as well as problems with digital records retention schedules.


Helping Google help Libraries help Google

There has been more discusson about Google on and Sivacracy.

I do believe that there are actions Google could take to improve perceptions about that particular project. Google could be more transparent in it’s classification and standards process, as Madison points out. I believe that would be a positive step. Google and the libraries could also have a contract that would be better than the existing contract.

Regarding the contract, available from the University of Michigan website, I have a couple of problems. First, I think that Michigan should retain the ability to share the digital objects it receives from Google with the public when the material is in the public domain. Also, I believe that Michigan should be able to continue with lawful activities such as Interlibrary Loan.

The Google Book project should be an addition to library activities in serving patrons, not a substitute to those activities. I know of some librarians that are considering passing on digitization efforts because of Google’s digitization. I believe this rationale is a mistake. Google’s Book project will increase the ability to find books, which is a good thing. However, it is not a substitute for library digitization efforts. Libraries add collection efforts, cataloging and classification standards, preservation, public access, and other services. In my opinion, libraries are better stewards of information than Google can be at this point in time, including librarians’ protection of users’ rights.

I find it interesting that the discussion in these areas has moved away from the copyright concerns. ^_^

[Edit: Typos that I didn’t notice until I read the thing on Sivacracy. Sheesh.]


Boing Boing: US copyright head: world

Boing Boing: US copyright head: world “totally rejects” webcasting restrictions

Very interesting article about the controversial “webcasting provision” of the new proposed WIPO broadcasters’ treaty. The treaty would very much broaden strong copyright protection by adding yet another complex layer on top of copyright law- giving webcasters rights that they do not (and should not) have at this point in time. It makes fair uses more difficult for the public, by adding additional liability to people making fair uses of copyrighted work. It would give casters more authority than the copyright holders in many cases, which I would think should be objectionable by copyright holders as well as the public.


Google, Google, Google

Joining in the discussion about Google and Libraries at

Here’s the text of my comment. To summarize, I like Google, I like libraries, I use them both, and they’re not mutually exclusive. I think people should be very wary of the idea that Google is a replacement for libraries instead of another avenue to use in information seeking.

Again- I’m not a librarian, but I am pro-librarian. To answer your last question, I don’t think so.

I don’t believe that you need to stop Google to save librarians, because I don’t believe that Google serves as a replacement for libraries. I believe that even if all information in the world was available digitally, there would still be a place for librarians. I’m not anti-Google, either- I use Google constantly. I also use libraries, though. ^_^ In my day to day activities, I use Google more than the library. Really, it depends on what I’m doing.

Read the rest of this entry »


Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

In this story, we learn that homeland security is not the library police. Hmm… if they want to help the community by working with libraries, how about going after overdue books? ^_^

Comments (4)

Just another Google post

Posted this as a comment on another blog.

Followed the link from Sivacracy. I don’t 100% agree with everything Siva writes, but I still think he’d be a good guy to go to lunch with. 😛 He really does know a LOT of librarians and talks to them regularly. He isn’t particularly friendly with the publisher perspective, either, though.

Personally, I’m torn on the subject of Google’s digitization project. I’m not a librarian, but I’ve got my MLIS, I work at a library school, and I’m a doctoral student there as well (studying, among other things, copyright and its effects on the missions of cultural institutions). I’m also one of the ALA copyright scholars. I can say with complete certainty that the librarians that are members of the copyright scholar group and ALA’s own copyright committee, representing librarians from around the country, are not completely behind Google’s actions in this case. We’ve been pretty divided, actually. In that setting, I actually usually defend Google in that I believe their use should be fair- but I also think that there are downsides to the Google project as well. I’m glad that Siva at the very least brings some of these issues to our attention. I don’t completely agree with his fair use analysis, although I am familiar with the Tasini,, and Arriba cases.

From a copyright perspective, I think it would be great if Google’s use was considered fair use. I agree with part of your statement. Digitiziation is not an either/or proposition. If Google’s use is fair- well, that would just make it all the easier for other groups, including libraries, to take similar actions. Just because Google is doing it does not mean that libraries, or other interested parties, can’t also digitize. Google does have the resources to take action now, and most libraries certainly do not, but I don’t think that immediacy is necessarily a positive thing in this particular situation. It kind of depends on the end result, doesn’t it? Digitization for digitization’s sake isn’t necessarily good.

That being said, I don’t think that what Google is doing is not necessarily good for libraries and information users. In the short term, I think it is. I agree that visibility is a good thing; my gut reaction to the project, when I first heard about Google Print a couple of years ago, was very positive. I think the ability to keyword search for particular books is great. I started having my doubts when I read the contract that Google worked out with the universities. I don’t know that it’s particularly good for users in those systems. I also think that “the choice is ‘Google digitizes everything’ or ‘libraries digitize less than 1%'” is just as much a false dichotomy as Google digitizes everything or libraries digitize everything. There are many ways that libraries or other institutions can participate, and there are better ways for Google or other for-profit institutions and libraries to work together. The contracts could be much better for the university libraries than the existing one with Google, I think. The libraries can’t do some things that would really make this project worthwhile, I believe, due to Google’s control of the digitized forms. I find this ironic, given that libraries that meet copyright law requirements actually do have more leeway to work with copyrighted materials than Google does.

The benefits I see in this project are the general benefits of digitization- additional gains of use such as searching and indexing, and the potential of increased access to material. I agree with Cory Doctorow that it would be in the publisher’s best interest to work with Google. I don’t necessarily know that it’s in the users’ overall best interest. DRM and proprietary formats are problematic. I don’t automatically believe that big corporations are a bad thing, but I do believe that big corporations do not necessarily have the public’s best interests paramount. Nor do all libraries, either, but most public libraries do tend to have missions and mandates that reflect the public interest, while corporations tend not to. (I hope to be studying the missions and laws related to cultural institutions more when I start my dissertation.) When serving the public interest might harm a corporation financially, they may be very well obligated to act against the public interest. Libraries, museums, and archives often have legal mandates to act for the public, and are I think the public’s best advocates in these situations over the long term. On a somewhat related note, I don’t know how Google’s cataloging is- and I do not believe that keyword searches are a replacement for good cataloging, which is increasingly a view that I disturbingly find cropping up.

I read Sivacracy and pretty regularly. I don’t particularly agree with either one about this particular case all of the time, but I really respect what they have to say. I’ve been quoted on both of them briefly (“not a librarian after all” from Sivacracy, and Madisonian’s misunderstanding of my argument about making a fair use argument rather than a library exemption argument, which was my fault). The Google issue has been very interesting- it’s the first time that people I read and agree with regularly actually disagree with one another in some pretty strong terms.(On a complete side note, if you’re looking for a blog representing what I think is the author’s perspective, Scrivener’s Error is also an excellent one!) I’m glad that they’re engaged in the conversations that they are engaged in, though.

Geez. So overall, I think Google’s use should be fair, but that libraries still have a responsibility to digitize as well, and are probably better stewards of information than Google is.

Wow, this got long, sorry!

Original message on Not Liz.

Comments (69)

Rockstar legal warriors squash online installation | The Daily Page

Rockstar legal warriors squash online installation | The Daily Page

Again, games and copyright cross paths and the resulting crash isn’t pretty. GamePolitics linked to this article about Rockstar’s use of a DMCA Cease and Desist notice to take down a student’s site. The site used material from the Warriors in a manner that was critical to their games (and video games in general, really). I find the use of the DMCA particularly unappealing in this case. I don’t particularly care for the GTA series- not that I haven’t played any of them, but they’re just not my thing. Despite that, I would defend the game maker’s own free speech and expression rights. I find their (mis)use of copyright to stifle social commentary in this situation hypocritical.


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