Current Cites

November 2016

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Peter Hirtle, Nancy Nyland

Curson, Ian. "The crUX of user experienceResearch Information  (October/November 2016): 32 - 33. ( - Busy librarians need their topics served up in a nutshell, and Ian Curson summarizes user experience (UX) design by getting to the “crUX” of it. The principles explain things we may all have observed, but not named. For example, the halo and horns effect: when users get an immediate favorable experience (halo), or a less than optimal first experience (horns). A list of five qualities of a well-designed user interface explains that sites must have signposts that set out options clearly, and forgive errors. Six tips for improving your UX recommend an “atomic” design approach, applying patterns to keep design elements consistent. For readers not yet convinced of the benefits of UX design, the author outlines eight benefits. The other seven all flow from “Focused development – working on features that really matter to drive desired outcomes.” That’s all any of us can ask from our jobs, to work on things that really matter. - NN

Darnton, Robert. "The New Hillary Library?The New York Review of Books  63(16)(27 October 2016)( - How quickly the world changes! A month ago, Robert Darnton could dream about what three powerful women in Washington, D.C. (President Hillary Clinton, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, and Register of Copyright Maria Pallante) could do for libraries. Only one of them is now in office. Nevertheless, Darnton's utopian vision is still worth reading. He dares to imagine a world in which there is free public access to manuscripts generated with federal funding and academics embrace open access for their publications. His wildest fantasy imagines the Library of Congress opting to make the full text of out-of-print works freely available unless a copyright owner objects. Overall, the essay encourages us to speculate about what we would like to see from our largest library and plan on how we might get there. - PH

Lemieux, Victoria L. Blockchain Technology for Recordkeeping: Help or Hype?  Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, November 2016.( - Blockchain technology, which is perhaps best known for its use in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, is rapidly moving into new areas. Victoria Lemieux, an archives professor at UBC, noted that the technology is based upon ledgers of transactions, which sounds very much like traditional recordkeeping practice. In this report of an on-going research project, she suggests that there may be a role for blockchains in ensuring authenticity of digital resources over time. First, though, the companies and standards bodies developing blockchain implementations need to develop a better understanding of authenticity. As I read the report, I wondered if there might not be a broader role for blockchains in libraries. Could they be used to protect patron privacy or to create "smart" contracts for licensed resources? Appendix H, "A Primer on the Blockchain and how it operates," should be of interest to anyone looking for an introduction to the subject. - PH