Current Cites

January 2016

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Berkman Center for Internet & Society, . "Harvard University's Berkman Center Releases Amber, a "Mutual Aid" Tool for Bloggers & Website Owners to Help Keep the Web AvailableBerkman Center for Internet & Society  (2016)( - Dead links. The Internet is riddled with them. Services like the Internet Archive and help alleviate the problem, but they are not a total solution. As described in this post, Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet&Society has released a new open source tool, Amber, that will allow bloggers and website owners to take action themselves. Amber will take snapshots of linked documents, and, if they disappear, will allow users to access those preserved snapshots. Currently, the software supports WordPress and Drupal. Optionally, the preserved snapshots can be archived offsite at selected services. - CB

Bonn, Maria. "Editor's Note: Reflecting on 20 Years of Electronic PublishingJournal of Electronic Publishing (JEP)  18(4)(Fall 2015)( - Hats off to the open source Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP) on its 20th anniversary. To celebrate the event, the editorial team consisting of (apparently) two people decided to do a 'a big anniversary issue' much of which looks back at the past twenty years. A rather humorous short piece titled 'Ten Reasons We Wish We Were Starting JEP Today' includes at #2, "We wouldn't have to do the HTML markup by hand (or, later, by BBEdit)." - LRK

Head, Alison J. "Staying Smart: How Today's Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete CollegeProject Information Literacy   (5 January 2016)( - This final report in Project Information Literacy's Passage series (Current Cites reviews for Phase One and Phase Two), picks up with a look at the information needs and competencies of college graduates. Results from a large-scale survey are complemented by excerpts from in-depth interviews with some of the participants. While the report is quite long, it's structured in such a way that one can quickly read through the findings from each section. This reviewer found the portion on recent graduates' information needs particularly of interest, but other sections look at the participants' information sources, and on the critical thinking skills they developed during college, and still use. Overall, participants indicated that they felt college prepared them well to evaluate information, but not to formulate and ask their own questions. The graduates indicated that they had more information needs in their personal lives, and were mostly looking for guidance with "how-tos," primarily regarding personal finance and the logistics of living alone, such as evaluating a lease, meal planning, or child care issues. Respondents also indicated a great need to learn more and better interpersonal communication skills, both at work and in their personal lives. The report is full of interesting and useful information like this, offering plenty to draw from when considering new services and approaches to serve recent graduates, as well as current students. - AC

Moss, Michael, and Barbara  Endicott-Popovsky, eds. Is Digital Different?: How Information Creation, Capture, Preservation and Discovery are Being Transformed  London: Facet Publishing, 2015.( - In nine chapters, multiple contributors evaluate the current state of the transition from information on paper to digital access. In the first stages, information went directly from paper to parallel digital formats, not always with prior consideration of how this would affect access. Documents were photographed or scanned, supplying only the most basic access, without text recognition or indexing to make them searchable. Now historians and archivists must contemplate not only how to make digitized paper records accessible, but how to preserve "born digital" content that has no analog equivalent. The task is only made more complex by the speed at which information appears and disappears, and the previously unimaginable volume of data now available through the Internet. Although the book was intended for students of information studies, there are insights here to help practitioners keep up as well. Busy staff librarians are given a valuable opportunity to stop for a moment and contemplate the creation and effects of the Semantic Web, crowdsourcing, secure systems, online risk, and digital archives. Although the answer to the question posed by the final chapter, "Has the Digital Changed the Way We Do Research?" is an unequivocal "yes," it is useful to consider exactly how research has changed, and what may have inadvertently been left behind. - NN

Seabrook, John. "The Invisible LibraryThe New Yorker  (16 November 2015)( - Is there anyone associated with our profession more deserving of a MacArthur genius award than Brent Seales? Seabrook describes the use of multispectral imaging by Seales and others in an effort to recover the text from carbonized papyri scrolls destroyed during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The possibility exists for new technology to make visible some of the long-lost primary texts of antiquity. But regardless of how magical the techniques described in this article seem to be, they are no match for copyright. The experiment has come to an end, apparently because the institute that owns the scrolls being tested has elected to reevaluate them "in terms of intellectual property." - PH

Young, Anne M., ed. Rights & Reproductions: The Handbook for Cultural Institutions  Indianapolis, IN and Washington, DC: Indianapolis Museum of Art and American Alliance of Museums, September 2015.( - Why might librarians be interested in a manual on rights and reproductions published for museums? When it comes to issues surrounding digital reproductions, the differences between library special collections and museums aren't all that great. There is much practical information here of broad value, especially in the case studies. The discussion of the Yale's open access policy is one example. Some libraries have been approached by Google about capturing exhibit spaces; the description of the Indianapolis Museum of Art's experience with Google is the most detailed I have seen. The compilation of image distribution options is also very useful. My only regret is that the book does not indicate whether the many images in the book are used with permission (and, if so, how much was paid) or if they are a fair use. Susan Bielstein's book Permissions, A Survival Guide, remains a model in this regard for how our publications should be formatted. - PH