Current Cites

July 2015

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Alison Cody, Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Editor's Note: Recently I've given a lot of thought about how to mark the 25th anniversary of continuous monthly publication. Every single month for twenty-five years. I now have a child who has graduated from college who was born nearly three years after we started Current Cites. Five years ago I wrote a blog post about Current Cites and longevity that I believe still applies. So how to mark another milestone? Well, I couldn't resist blogging again. I also suggest that we simply pause, take stock, slap ourselves on the back, and carry on. Because it's what we do. -- Roy Tennant

Ennis, Matt. "Wisdom of the CrowdLibrary Journal  (13 July 2015)( - Wikipedia asserts that the term "crowdsourcing" was coined in 2005 and since then it has been widely used to describe any effort to distribute work across a large population, usually using the Internet. In this piece Ennis highlights several projects that engage users to accomplish such tasks as transcribing digitized restaurant menus and tagging the Biodiversity Heritage Library's Flickr photos. "Understanding what motivates these major contributors is important for any project’s long-term sustainability," notes the author. The grant supported "Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives" project, now shortened to CrowdConsortium was called out as a effort focused on issues of crowdsourcing by cultural heritage institutions. Oddly left out of this piece was any mention of the early and very successful Australian Newspaper Project, which crowdsourced transcribing digitized newspapers. They learned quite a bit about what motivated their contributors, and at least some of what they learned is likely transferable to other crowdsourcing projects. - RT

Gore, Genevieve C., and Julie  Jones. "Systematic Reviews and Librarians: A Primer for ManagersPartnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research  10(1)(2015)( - Librarians are increasingly being asked to assist researchers with systematic reviews (studies of studies), and not just in the health sciences. In this piece,the authors provide a very clear overview of what a systematic review is, how it differs from other types of reviews, and the ways in which librarians are typically involved. They also cover implications for librarians, and libraries, working on these projects; issues to consider include increased use of library resources and staff time as well as the the need for additional training for librarians who are expected to assist with these studies. The authors also discuss other related topics, including how increasing demand for these services can be seen as a new role for the library to play on campus, and a new way to demonstrate the value of the library and librarians. This is an excellent primer for librarians, and for management and administration inside and outside of the library. - AC

Light, Michelle. "Controlling Goods or Promoting the Public Good: Choices for Special Collections in the MarketplaceRBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage  16(1)(20 June 2015): 46-63. ( - [Openly accessible version at] At last year's RBMS meeting, Michelle Light stunned the audience by suggesting that the 70% of special collection repositories that require "permission to publish" were making a mistake. In this expanded version of her presentation, she explains the four reasons why UNLV has abandoned the practice: "First, our practices are not always legal and may put our institutions at risk. Second, it is the right thing to do. Third, the costs of maintaining the infrastructure necessary to manage permissions and charge use fees are probably not worth the benefits. And finally, there are other ways to generate revenue that do not undermine our mission or core values." Since her talk, more repositories have accepted her argument, including the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas and the American Antiquarian Society. I advocated for this approach a decade ago; Light shows convincingly that it can be done. - PH

Liu, Yan Quan, and Sarah  Briggs. "A Library in the Palm of Your Hand: Mobile Services in Top 100 University LibrariesInformation Technology and Libraries  34(2)(2015): 133-148. ( - I just got an e-mail from Google saying that two pages on my website "will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users." Welcome to the age of mobile! Given that mobile is increasingly important, what are academic libraries doing about it? The authors of this open access article investigated the mobile activities of the libraries of the top 100 national universities in U.S. News&World Report's 2014 rankings. They examined their websites in March 2014 and then followed up with a survey in April of that year. All of the libraries had one or more mobile services. E-books topped the mobile service offerings at 92.6%, followed by mobile OPAC (88%), mobile databases (81.7%), mobile website (81.6%), text messaging (77.2%), QR codes (58.7%), mobile app for site (29.2%), and augmented reality (5.0%). The mobile services that libraries wanted to add were mobile library instruction (62%), mobile website (46%), mobile interlibrary loan (38%), mobile book renewal (15%), mobile databases (15%), mobile OPAC (15%), augmented reality (8%), e-books (8%), and mobile app(s) (8%). (Sent from my iPhone.) - CB

Smith, Kevin L. "Figuring on Fair UseLearned Publishing  28(3)(July 2015): 225-227. ( - (Paywall. Open access accepted MSS here.) Can you use someone else's figure, graph, or image in your own publication without seeking permission? Many publishers would say "No," but Kevin Smith makes a strong fair use case for such use. His approach to this simple question serves as a model of how all fair use reasoning should proceed. But as far as publishing is concerned, his response must be tempered by the international scope of current publishing. A companion article in the same issue describes the much more limited scope of the "fair dealing" exception found in many non-U.S. countries. With so many journals now based outside the U.S., one wonders how much US fair use practice can matter in publishing. - PH

Stohn, Christine. How Do Users Search and Discover? Findings from Ex Libris User Research  (May 2015)( - Both libraries and database providers have an interest in the way users search, but only the database companies have access to the huge search logs of their discovery systems. Due to the critical stake of the commercial companies in search behavior, they also fund staff to analyze their search logs. Ex Libris has generously shared a summary of its research in this brief monograph. They use log analysis along with user studies and usability studies to improve the design of their Web interfaces. The user studies covered four academic levels, five countries and a dozen subject areas. The study concluded that “[d]iscovery consists of several core concepts:” search and find, learning, exploration, and personalization. Each is explained as they relate to the Ex Libris discovery service Primo, but the light that they shed on user search behavior is useful for any library. - NN

Zimmer, Michael. "The Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress: Challenges for Information Practice and Information PolicyFirst Monday  20(7)(6 July 2015)( - Five years ago the Library of Congress announced that it was acquiring every public tweet that had been or would be sent on Twitter, with public access to the collection to follow shortly thereafter. Today we are still waiting for that access. Researchers who want to analyze the use of this popular social media tool must rely instead on limited public APIs or expensive commercial products. Zimmer offers a thoughtful analysis of why this is the case. The scope of the task that LC assumed is truly daunting, with the initial data load almost doubling the total amount of digital data stored in the library. In the meantime, use of Twitter has increased ten-fold, generating a firehose of data that would challenge any library that hopes to curate and manage that data stream. At the same time, Zimmer faults LC for not following closely enough library and archival best practices regarding access and privacy. The Twitter archive is important enough that we should all hope that LC gets it right, and soon. - PH

deNoyelles, Aimee, John  Raible, and Ryan  Seilhamer. "Exploring Students' E-Textbook Practices in Higher EducationEDUCAUSE Review Online  (6 July 2015)( - This is a look at 'e-textbook' use among students at the University of Central Florida by three instructional designers. They surveyed both grad and undergrad students on their use of e-textbooks both in 2012 and 2014. Results indicate that we are still in the early days of this technology. Student preferences are still for print and the widely used PDF format is pretty static in what it can do. Off in the horizon the authors see "richer features" including "interaction with content, multimedia, and social features". Instructor involvement is also important particularly in taking advantage of all the possibilities of content now in digital form. In their own institution for example they now offer an online professional development course called "E-Textbook Essentials". - LRK