Current Cites

December 2012

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Brian Rosenblum

Black, Alistair. "Organizational Learning and Home-Grown Writing: The Library Staff Magazine in Britain in the First Half of the Twentieth Century Information & Culture  47(4)(2012): 487-513. ( - Easy and enjoyable reading for the holidays. The author looks at three in-house library staff magazines from public libraries in Britain in the first half of the 20th Century. The context was an information revolution that predated the computer, in fact going back to the late 19th Century. This revolution consisted of “new information technologies, from the telephone to the vertical file, and new information techniques, from the circular letter to the formal memo and, indeed, the staff magazine.” Organizations, both private and public, were growing larger and more complex. Wealth was increasing. In this dynamic context, the staff magazine afforded library staff an opportunity both to read and write their own articles. The magazines encouraged professional development, a place to blow off steam and even on occasion, at least to the modern eye, to reflect social prejudices of the period. - LRK

Dempsey, Lorcan. "Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, AttentionEducause Review Online  (10 December 2012)( - There are few librarian/futurists that are more thoughtful than Lorcan Dempsey, and so when he decides to reflect on the past and future of cataloging and discovery services in the library, we should all sit up and take notice. Dempsey starts this long, rich, and thought-provoking essay by noting that information discovery, use, and creation has shifted focus from locally-available resources to the network. He then wonders what the implications of this shift may be for the catalog - traditionally a local tool. He briefly describes 13 trends that are underway and hints at the implications those trends may have for library activities. Dempsey is happy just to describe in a relatively neutral way both the shifts underway and how some libraries are seeking to adjust to them, but his analysis raises serious issues for all library technical services. In order to support new scholarly workflows and the new technological environment, the catalog as we know it is going to give way to other solutions. Yet at the same time, the type of data that is found in the traditional catalog may be more important than ever, even if it is supplemented with new data derived from social media, reference management tools, and other networked-based resources far removed from our rules-based approach. Dempsey's piece is a valuable overview of why we need to reinvent fundamental library practices and hints at the new approaches and skills that need to be incorporated in future discovery systems. - PH

Pinter, Frances. "Open Access for Scholarly Books?Publishing Research Quarterly   28(3)(September 2012): 183-191. ( ). - (subscription required) Open access serial publishing is inevitable, and likely to occur much sooner than anyone expects. That is what David Lewis has taught us. But what about open access monographs, especially in the humanities and social sciences where print runs have shrunk and costs have skyrocketed? There are a number of experiments underway including OAPEN and its Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), The Open Humanities Press, and the recently announced Amherst College Press. In this article, Frances Pinter, founding publisher of Bloomsbury Academic, describes a new publishing initiative, Knowledge Unlatched. It seeks to have member libraries commit to purchasing titles prior to publication, resulting in lower fixed costs for publishers, cheaper prices for member libraries, and open access to some version of the content. The first titles are promised for 2013. Given Pinter's successful publishing track record, this is an initiative to watch and possibly join. - PH

Schmidt, Ben. "Reading digital sources: a case study in ship's logs Sapping Attention: Digital Humanities: Using tools from the 1990s to answer questions from the 1960s about 19th century America.   (15 November 2012)( ). - Ben Schmidt's series of essays on ship's logs, whaling, and conducting digital historical research is a fascinating and highly educational read for anyone interested in the emerging research methods of digital humanities. In this series of seven (and possibly more) posts on his blog, Schmidt walks us through an assessment of his use of 19th century ship's logs as a way to think through more general questions about using digital sources for historical research. Along the way he provides clear examples and insights into issues such as the use of personal stories vs. aggregate data in narrating history; understanding and working with data (analog and digital); machine learning, data mining techniques and data visualizations (some quite beautiful); and an interesting discussion on pre computer-era history of data, in particular Matthew Fontaine Maury's groundbreaking efforts to gather and analyze data from the logs of whaling ships. Equally important here are the active and ongoing conversations between scholars about Schmidt's blog posts--comments, links to related data sets and initiatives, and ongoing conversations on twitter and elsewhere. This is open scholarly communication in action-- transparent, critical, engaged, with the methodological questions foregrounded. - BR

Siemens, Ray, Meagan  Timney, and Cara  Leitch, et. al."Toward modeling the social edition: An approach to understanding the electronic scholarly edition in the context of new and emerging social mediaLiterary & Linguistic Computing  27(4)(December 2012): 445-461. ( - This article looks ahead to the future of the electronic scholarly edition, specifically the emergence of the "social edition" situated at the intersection of social media and digital editing tools. Beginning with a basic typology of current electronic scholarly editions (they identify three: the dynamic text, the hypertextual edition, and the dyanmic edition), the authors note that these formats remain, to various extents, bounded by print-driven conceptions of what a scholarly edition is. Though still yet to fully emerge or take full advantage of current networked environment, the next generation of scholarly editions will incorporate new modes of community engagement in areas such as collaborative annotation, user-derived content, folksonomy tagging, community bibliographies, and shared text analysis. These features will push further at the boundaries of our notion of a scholarly edition, requiring us to think of the edition as user- rather than creator-driven; fluid rather than fixed; collective rather than individual; expansive rather than inclusive; a process rather than a product. The article references and provides links to numerous tools and further reading both in the body of the article itself and in two extensive annotated bibliographies published in a recent issue of the open acces journal Digital Humanities Quarterly. - BR

Walsh, Andrew. "Mobile Information Literacy: A Preliminary Outline of Information Behaviour in a Mobile EnvironmentJournal of Information Literacy  6(2)(December 2012): 56-69. ( - In this article, Walsh quickly walks us through a literature review that looks at information use on mobile devices, looking at the topic with an eye towards information literacy. To complement the review, he also conducted semi-structured interviews with 5 mobile phone users. As those of us who have smartphones already know, mobile users are typically looking to quickly find context-specific information. This means that users are frequently going straight to known sources for information needs, removing any need to evaluate the information once it is found. Users are also looking for key information to be readily and easily available, particularly when searching for local information while out and about. While none of this is particularly new, the article is an excellent entry point for anyone who is less familiar with how mobile users search. - AC