Current Cites

October 2014

Edited by Roy Tennant

http://currentcites.org/2014/cc14.25.10.html

Contributors: Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant


Arlitsch, Kenning. "Being Irrelevant: How Library Data Interchange Standards Have Kept Us Off the InternetJournal of Library Administration  54(7)(October 2014): 609-619. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2014.964031). - "We have had a tendency to implement standards and protocols that are indigenous to the library environment and are used nowhere else," Arlitsch asserts, "Worse, those standards and protocols are often implemented through laborious processes that don’t scale to the data deluged world we now live in." He then backs up these assertions by taking brief looks at various library-only standards, such as MARC, TEI, Dublin Core, EAD, OAI-PMH, and ebooks. "Well-intentioned librarians and archivists have spent decades developing and implementing data interchange formats that simply haven’t been adopted by the Internet, and as a result we struggle to make our materials visible and usable," he concludes, "Is it appropriate, or even responsible, for us to continue to push an environment where people aren’t, or where they don’t even seem to want to be?" - RT

Asimov, Isaac. "Isaac Asimov Asks, 'How Do People Get New Ideas?'MIT Technology Review  (October 2014)(http://www.technologyreview.com/view/531911/isaac-asimov-asks-how-do-people-get-new-ideas/). - A long-forgotten essay by the well-known author Isaac Asimov considers how an environment that fosters new ideas can be created. You should really read this, but if you need the short version he suggests a small group of about five people, comfortable with each other, who know relevant information about the general topic area where new ideas are being solicited, and a willingness, shared by all, to appear foolish. Also, he suggests an arbiter of some kind for these "cerebration sessions," working like a psychoanalyst would, "asking the shrewd question, making the necessary comment, bringing them gently back to the point." This short piece is well worth your while, should generating new ideas be of any importance to you. - RT

Bailey, Jefferson, Abigail  Grotke, and Kristine  Hanna, et. al.Web Archiving in the United States: A 2013 Survey  [Washington, D.C.]: National Digital Stewardship Alliance, September 2014.(http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndsa/working_groups/documents/NDSA_USWebArchivingSurvey_2013.pdf). - October saw the 20th anniversary of the release of Netscape's Mosaic browser, the first commercial browser for the World Wide Web. No one could deny the fundamental importance of the web to our culture since that release. As a consequence, web archiving has emerged as a distinct function. The latest survey from NDSA demonstrates how mature an activity web archiving has become in spite of the fact that the technological and legal bases for the activity are still evolving. Under the auspices of groups such as the Society of American Archivists's Web Archiving Round Table, the largest association of web archivists, good community practices are being shared. More work, though, needs to be done to ensure that other Internet content, including social media, databases, and video, are similarly accessible twenty years hence. - PH

Colegrove, Patrick. "Making It Real: 3D Printing as a Library ServiceEDUCAUSE Review  (Sept/Oct 2014)(http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/making-it-real-3d-printing-library-service). - With all of the recent hype around makerspaces and 3d printing one could be forgiven for thinking such services, based in a library setting, are merely the next fad. According to this article, one would be wrong to think that. The Head of the DeLaMare Science& Engineering Library at the University of Nevado, Reno, Colegrove states "The need for ready access to 3D printing services to support a university's learning and research missions has not only proven substantial but also broad-based. Despite heavy use and thus growing experience provisioning the service, at UNR Libraries we have only begun to explore the impact of 3D printing on the depth of learning, engagement, and innovation possible...In my experience, the potential benefits far exceed the investments." This piece is chock-full of experience-based information on 3d printing services in a library setting, which makes it required reading for any academic library considering such a service. By coincidence, just this week I heard Tara Radniecki of UNR speak about their services at the Digital Library Federation Fall Forum. She is presently helping students with three different patent applications for ideas that were developed and prototyped using their services. I can think of no clearer evidence for the impact of such a service in an academic setting. - RT

Davis, Corey. "Archiving the Web: A Case Study from the University of VictoriaThe Code4Lib Journal  (26)(21 October 2014)(http://journal.code4lib.org/articles/10015). - In this article, the systems librarian at the University of Victoria discusses the issues around implementing Archive-it, a web archiving service from the Internet Archive, to capture scholarly websites being created by the university's faculty. Davis provides a brief overview of the history of web archiving, including the role played by the Internet Archive, and then proceeds to look at the organizational, legal, and technical issues raised as the university proceeded with their project. Topics covered include copyright concerns, the difficulties of archiving dynamic and database-driven websites, and issues of preserving the captured files. While the article does not lay out a step-by-step guide to implementing a local web archiving project, it clearly lays out a variety of issues that any library looking to launch such a project will need to confront and answer. - AC

Deschenes, Amy. "Improving the Library Homepage through User Research—Without a Total RedesignWeave: Journal of Library User Experience  1(1)(2014)(http://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/weave/12535642.0001.102?view=text;rgn=main). - Weave: Journal of Library User Experience is a new, peer-reviewed on-line journal whose first issue was noted in the October 23rd Library Link of the Day. Weave begins with two articles on user testing, this one describing a method to make incremental changes in the library Web page by conducting a small-scale, paper survey. The information gathering was influenced by participatory design techniques from Nancy Fried Foster's ethnography studies in libraries. Fear of "survey fatigue" was addressed by handing out the surveys in person to willing participants and collecting them on the spot, also ensuring that individual surveys would not be begun and then abandoned, as can happen with on-line surveys. The librarians were able to involve students in the project by having them organize the data, which is ideal for academic libraries. Such a small-scale survey works well in libraries that do not have ample resources to finance large usability studies, and want to do continuous, incremental improvement without an unreasonably large commitment of staff time. - NN

Dombrowski, Quinn. "What Ever Happened to Project Bamboo?Literary & Linguistic Computing  29(3)(2014): 326-339. (http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/content/29/3/326). - Libraries -- particularly large ones -- often engage in software development projects. Open source projects like DSpace, Fedora, Hydra, and many others abound. Tales of their successes are not difficult to find. What is hard to find are tales of failure, such as this one from one of the people involved in a project to develop infrastructure and support for shared technology services for the arts and humanities (dubbed "Bamboo"). Although the specifics of this particular failure may not be informative to all such projects, we would do well to read and absorb the ways in which this project failed. There are too few full accounts for why projects like this fail, so ignore this one at your peril. - RT

Novotny, Eric. "From Inferno to Freedom: Censorship in the Chicago Public Library, 1910–1936Library Trends  63(1)(Summer 2014): 27-41. (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/library_trends/v063/63.1.novotny.html). - Trip down memory lane at least as far as the Chicago Public Library and censorship is concerned. The article highlights the first third of the 20th Century as CPL moved from accommodating censorship by basically hiding the books to a more independent position represented by the "Intellectual Freedom statement" of 1936. - LRK