Current Cites

August 2011

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Leo Robert Klein, Roy Tennant

Aufderheide, Patricia. "The Common Sense of the Fair Use DoctrineThe Chronicle of Higher Education  (21 August 2011)( - Aufderheide is a professor of communication and director of the Center for Social Media at American University and in this piece she argues for the correct application of the "Fair Use" doctrine of United States copyright practice to use "appropriate amounts" of a work under copyright for research and publication. Her specific points, aimed at helping faculty exercise their Fair Use rights, include: "1) Do exercise your fair-use rights to teach and research using copyrighted materials, just as your peers are doing, 2) Do teach best copyright practices, 3) Don't mix up fair use and educational exemptions, 4) Don't expect to get a pass on fair use because your use is noncommercial, but don't be afraid of fair use in commercial settings, either, and 5) Don't confuse fair use with the open-source movement or Creative Commons." This piece is a breath of fresh air in a world that at times seems dominated by lawsuits meant to throw a chill on the rightful use of copyrighted material. - RT

Cargill, Carl F.. "Why Standardization Efforts FailJEP: The Journal of Electronic Publishing  14(1)(Summer 2011)( - As someone who advised NISO in 2006 on potential improvements to their standardization process, I read this piece with more than the usual professional interest. Cargill, who has impeccable credentials for stating the facts as he sees them, pulls no punches. How do standards development processes fail? Allow him to count the ways: "1) The standard fails to get started, 2) the standards group fails to achieve consensus and deadlocks, 3) the standard suffers from “feature creep” and misses the market opportunity, 4) the standard is finished and the market ignores it, 5) the standard is finished and implementations are incompatible, and 6) the standard is accepted and is used to manage the market." Still, for my money the primary take-away is not that there are so many ways that these processes can fail. Rather, it is that even in failure, as Cargill asserts and I concur, a standardization process can still have wide-ranging effects on a market. "If you accept the definition of standards as change agents," Cargill writes, "the only true standardization failure is one that has no impact on the market. These happen rarely. If you look to standards as a social, technical, economic, political, and legal activity (which is what they are), they are a subtle and strategic activity that can have a dramatic effect on business, society, and culture. And, as the world becomes a smaller and smaller place, and the level of interconnectivity increases, standards will play a larger and larger role, both in structuring and causing change." Highly recommended. - RT

Connaway, Lynn S., Timothy J.  Dickey, and Marie L.  Radford. "'If it is too inconvenient I'm not going after it:' Convenience as a Critical Factor in Information-Seeking BehaviorsLibrary & Information Science Research  33(3)(July 2011): 179-190. ( - This article reviews parts of the findings of two IMLS-funded studies, with an eye towards how users are influenced by the perceived convenience of the information sources. They found that convenience was frequently cited as a factor in the choice of a resource, but that the user's definition of convenience changed depending on their context. For example, an undergraduate student may note that online databases are more convenient than print materials, because they can access the database from their dorm room. But a faculty member may cite print materials as more convenient, because they have assembled their own personal library and keep it close at hand. Additional factors that were often cited as influencing convenience included the time the user had available and the ease of using the resource. The article is a good reminder that, to paraphrase the authors, it is worth exploring making a move from a model where users adapt to library systems, to a model where library systems adapt to our users. - AC

Davis, Denise M.. Trends in Academic Libraries, 1998 to 2008  Chicago: American Library Association, 2011.( - This report analyzes the "National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Academic Libraries series public user data for 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008." It provides an interesting picture of how academic libraries have changed during the 1998 to 2008 reporting period. For example, information resource expenditures. For all postsecondary degree-granting institutions, such expenditures increased by 134.9%, with 4-year and above institutions increasing by 327.9% and less than 4-year institutions increasing by 51.3%. In the 4-year and above category, Doctor's institutions increased by 499.8%, Master's institutions increased by 96.1%, and Bachelor's institutions increased by 68.6%. Another example is digitization of documents by library staff. For all postsecondary degree-granting institutions, it decreased by 13.3%. By institution level, there was a 3.4% decrease in 4-year and above institutions and a 59.3% decrease in less than 4-year institutions. In the 4-year and above category, Bachelor's institutions decreased by 31.5%, Master's institutions decreased by 6.9%, and Doctor's institutions increased by 19.7%. - CB

Novotny, Eric. "'Bricks without Straw': Economic Hardship and Innovation in the Chicago Public Library during the Great DepressionLibraries & the Cultural Record  46(3)(2011): 258-275. ( - What better time to come up with an entire issue devoted to 'Libraries in the Depression' than now? This particular article looks at the trials and tribulations of the Chicago Public Library during this earlier crisis particularly through the efforts and opinions of its Chief Librarian at the time, Carl B. Roden. "We are afflicted by the worst financial hardship we have ever suffered," the author quotes Roden as saying. "We have bought no books for eight months, the magazine subscriptions for 1932 were cancelled." The author goes on to discuss how the library system adjusted to this new reality and what it did to cope. - LRK

Prescott, Leah, and Ricky  Erway. Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail  Dublin, OH: OCLC Research, 2011.( - While it is abundantly clear users want a single, Google-like search interface to the diverse digital information that a cultural institution such as a library provides, it is not yet clear what the optimal approach to providing such integrated searching is. For example, what's best: a single system such as an ILS, harvesting metadata from multiple systems to a central repository, federated searching of multiple systems, or a centralized search index of multiple systems? Should the employed system be open source or commercial? This concise report presents a summary of the discussions of a working group of nine single-search implementers that was facilitated by OCLC Research about this increasingly important topic. - CB

Robertson, Guy. "Stealing From Library Patrons: A Helpful GuideFeliciter  57(3): 106-109. ( - This humorous but also informative piece on how to steal from library patrons is, of course, an object lesson in how libraries can (but often don't) discourage theft in their buildings. Not only is it a joy to read, given the viewpoint selected to impart this advice, but by the end of this sardonic effort you will have a fairly clear idea on how your users are vulnerable to theft. - RT