Current Cites

Current Cites, January 2007

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Leo Robert Klein, Jim Ronningen, Roy Tennant

Cochrane, Lynn Scott. "If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?EDUCAUSE Review  42(1)(January/February 2007): 6-7. ( - Nightmare scenarios concerning a make-believe College in 2010 that does away with its campus library only to find that obtaining research material any other way is less reliable and more expensive. While the author focuses on materials, thus leaving out such vital services as Reference, she still makes a good case that institutions get good value out of their libraries and ought to continue supporting them. - LRK

Coyle, Karen. "Mass Digitization of BooksThe Journal of Academic Librarianship  32(6)(November 2006): 641-645. ( - This is a good high-level overview article on mass digitization projects such as the Google Library project. Mass digitization is contrasted with "non-mass" digitization and "large-scale" digitization in addition to issues such as workflow, output and book structure, user interface, standards, preservation, and scoping. Readers interested in exploring the copyright implications of mass digitization should not look here, but rather to the many contributions on the topic that can be found almost anywhere you care to look. - RT

Coyle, Karen, and Diane  Hillmann. "Resource Description and Access (RDA): Cataloging Rules for the 20th CenturyD-Lib Magazine  13(1/2)(January/February 2007)( - This prosaically titled essay is not the dispassionate exposition of the effort to remake the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR) that you might expect. Rather, it is an exposé of a process that appears, according to the authors, to be too concerned with an easy transition for libraries. Far better, they argue, to forge a new path that is more revolutionary (and probably more painful initially) and likely to be more effective in an Internet age. "Members of our profession," they assert, "who have embraced the present information technologies and are looking forward to what the future will bring are particularly dismayed at the creation of another set of cataloging rules based on technologies that are now decades past." If the future of bibliographic description -- or even the future of libraries -- is important to you, consider this piece to be your wake-up call. - RT

Garman, Nancy. "That Was Then -- This Is Now ONLINE  31(1)(January/February 2007)( - ONLINE celebrates its 30th Anniversary with this trip down Memory Lane by Nancy Garman. Important highlights featured in the magazine include the introduction of CD-ROMs (1984), expansion of the Internet (1993) and of course, the introduction of the World Wide Web (1995). This is just one of several articles looking at the magazine's past and the state of technology over the 30 years of its existence. - LRK

Lenhart, Amanda, and Mary  Madden. "Social Networking Websites and Teens: An OverviewPew Internet & American Life Project  (7 January 2007 )( - This paper reports on the wide use of "social networks" such as MySpace or Facebook by teenagers. Based on survey results, over half of the respondents said they had a profile and slightly less than half (48%) said they frequented the sites every day. The vast majority of them use the sites to "manage their friendships" or in other words to communicate with friends. This communication, as the report makes clear, takes the form of everything from blog entries and comments to in-network email. If ever there were a promising area for library outreach, it's this! - LRK

Markey, Karen. "The Online Library Catalog: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained?D-Lib Magazine  13(1/2)(January/February 2007)( - Markey throws down the gauntlet and challenges libraries to remake library catalogs partly in the model of Google (embrace "post-Boolean" probabilistic searching), partly in the model of classic library strategies (embrace subject cataloging), and partly something entirely new (expand with qualification metadata). She precedes her proposed solution to library catalog woes with a brief litany of failure and an examination of why people use Google. Even if you don't agree with all of her points, there is plenty to ponder and discuss and (hopefully) lead to experimentation and implementation. My only criticism is that our gaze needs to encompass more than library catalogs at this point or else we're toast before we begin. - RT

Rethlefsen, Melissa L. "Chief ThingamabrariannetConnect  (Winter 2007)( - You probably would have to have been living in a cave to not know about So if you have only recently left your mountain domicile, stop reading this and go try it out. We'll meet you back here when you're done. Yes, that's right, who knew cataloging was fun? And that you could actually get just about anyone to do copy cataloging? Well, Tim Spaulding knew it, or at least he suspected it, and the success of LibraryThing is no small matter. This interview with him provides an interesting insight into not just the LibraryThing world, but also tagging, potential linkages with library catalogs, and more. - RT

Smith, Susan Sharpless. Web-Based Instruction: a Guide for Libraries  Chicago: American Library Association, 2006.( - Broad but not too deep, this is a great first resource to turn to for anyone looking at using Web functions for library instruction. This second edition has been greatly expanded with information about the many developments which arose during the four years since the first edition came out, and begins with a new chapter on pedagogy and learning styles. The many options to consider throughout the entire process which begins with a need and ends with a final product are included, with concrete examples given and recommended tools named. The lack of depth is a problem with some topics which librarians are intensely interested in now, such how we can best use web 2.0 spaces: readers find less than a page each for blogs and wikis, for example. But the audience for this book is one which knows how to get further information, so the quibble is minor. - JR

Toobin, Jeffrey. "Google's Moon ShotThe New Yorker  (5 February 2007) ( - One of the most even-handed and informative articles on the Google Library (and Books) Project I've seen. You won't find any major new revelations here, but you will find a good overview of some of the issues and identification of some of the main players. Unlike many accounts that either swallow Google's kool-aid, or else provide knee-jerk style objections, Toobin cleaves to the middle in what might be considered a picture-perfect example of expository writing. One example: after quoting the Google engineer responsible for the scanning operation talking about a future where all the world's information is available online, Toobin states "Such messianism cannot obscure the central truth about Google Book Search: it's a business." Indeed. - RT