Current Cites

April 2017

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

The State of America's Libraries 2017: A Report from the American Library Association  Chicago, IL: American Library Association, April 2017.( - This overview of America's libraries provides a useful high-level viewpoint on the challenges and opportunities faced by the nation's libraries. The "Intellectual Freedom" section includes an infographic that highlights who challenges books and the issues that underly the challenges. "National Issues and Trends" is timely enough to include the issues of "equity, diversity, and inclusion" as well as "net neutrality" -- both hot button issues for libraries under President Trump. Not to be missed is the rather lengthy set of resources consulted in putting together the report. - RT

Association of Art Museum Directors. Guidelines For The Use Of Copyrighted Materials And Works Of Art By Art Museums  s.l.: Association of Art Museum Directors, 24 Marcy 2017.( - The latest version of the AAMD's guide to fair use includes a new section that may be of interest to those outside of museums. Section 1V, Part E, is devoted to the archives and other special collections that may be found in museums, perhaps as part of the museum library. The question posed is whether it can be a fair use to digitize an entire archive or special collection and then make it available online, much as the Archives of American Art does in its Terra Foundation Center for Digital Collections. After a thorough discussion of how the fair use factors might apply, the guide concludes that there is a strong fair use argument for digitization and a defensible argument for online publication. This, along with the ARL's earlier Code of Best Practices in Fair Use, are essential background reading for anyone wondering whether digitizing an entire collection can ever be transformative. - PH

Buchanan, Sherry. "A Toolkit to Effectively Manage Your Website: Practical Advice for Content StrategyWeave: a Journal of Library User Experience  1(6)(2017)(;rgn=main). - Several books have been published with titles beginning “The Accidental,” indicating that librarians sometimes fall into roles they had not expected, such as “The Accidental Webmaster.” This toolkit will be invaluable for those who “were somehow elected to their position or fell into the role of writing web content” or otherwise taking a part in managing their library website. The Portland State University (PSU) library has provided a clear roadmap for webmasters, whether accidental or intentional. The author shares eight of PSU’s documents, which comprehensively cover goals, priorities, analytics, design principles, usability testing questions, monthly website reports, an editing and style guide, and an annual calendar of maintenance tasks. The excellent advice provided reminds webmasters to keep users at the center of their work and make data-driven decisions. It includes a step that may be too often overlooked: share the reports and data with library staff, and “ask for feedback.” - NN

Deazley, R., K.  Patterson, and V.  Stobo. Digitising the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks   Glasgow, Scotland: CREATe, 2017.( - Scrapbooks usually contain lots of potentially copyrighted material that can make digitizing them theoretically risky. "Orphan works" approaches have posited the use of a "diligent search" as part of the solution. The CREATe team in the UK looked at what it would take to investigate clearing the 16 volumes of scrapbooks compiled by Scottish poet Edwin Morgan. Even when using a liberal definition of what constituted a diligent search, they determined that "it would take one researcher over 8 years to undertake the diligent search activity alone, at a cost of more than £185,000." Their conclusion: "mass digitisation and diligent search are fundamentally incompatible, however light-touch the diligent search obligation might be." Careful risk management is a more realistic and cost-effective approach. While based in UK and European law, the discussion of how to assess and manage risk would be of value to anyone wishing to digitize a collection of mixed material. - PH

Dong, Yuxiao, Hao  Ma, and Zhihong  Shen, et. al."A Century of Science: Globalization of Scientific Collaborations, Citations, and  (17 April 2017)( - To write this e-print, a team of researchers at Microsoft Research did a deep dive into over 89 million digitized papers published between 1900 and 2015 to determine how scientific publishing patterns have changed. They found that the dominance of Germany and the US at the beginning of the 20th century (95% of citations) had dropped sharply to only 50% of citations by the end of the studied period. At the same time, international collaborations jumped 25-fold, and citations to papers resulting from those collaborations grew 7-fold. Teams of scholars (versus individual scholars) accounted for 90% of significant innovations (measured by the top 1% of article citations) by the end of this period, four times higher than they were at the beginning. Self citations by individual authors fell from 30% to 10%. The number of scientific papers doubled every 12 years. Overall, this paper provides a an interesting and important summary of how scientific publishing changed in the studied 116-year period. - CB

James, Somers. "Torching the Modern-Day Library of AlexandriaThe Atlantic  (20 April 2017)( - As James Somers's concise and readable history makes clear, we are still living with the fallout from the rejection of the Google Books Search Amended Settlement. For Copyright Librarian Nancy Sims, the Google Books settlement was always and forever a TERRIBLE THING FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST." And in a series of tweets, lawyer James Grimmelmann describes how the settlement would have done damage to class action law. But as Somers notes, Google has had to lock away 25 million unusable digital books whereas we would be reading those books now if the settlement had been approved. As one commentator notes, "everyone has lost and no one has won." - PH

Knight Foundation. "Developing Clarity: Innovating in Library SystemsKnight Foundation  (March 2017)( - Through two recent funding activities and an investment of nearly $5 million in 36 projects, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation have learned a lot about the state of innovation in libraries, from both librarians and non-librarians. They have also heard a desire from library leaders to learn more about what innovation means in a library context. This report is a result of the questions heard from people who lead, work in, use and love libraries. What do urban public libraries need to succeed? How might they leverage their unique assets of trusted public spaces, a professional workforce trained in information needs, and the openness to collaborate to maximize their value to the public? Based on interviews with practicing public library leaders, this clear and well-designed report provides authentic information about opportunities and barriers to innovation in libraries. It outlines steps to assess different levels of innovation- readiness in libraries, as well as steps to putting those levels of readiness into specific actions. The essence of the report is a Framework that helps outline what a library’s innovation agenda might be, and this is coupled with a brief but useful assessment tool. - WC

Maxwell, John W., Alessandra  Bordini, and Katie  Shamash. "Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative (Final Report, May 2016)Journal of Electronic Publishing  20(1)(2017)( - This report, published in JEP using the web annotation platform, aims to summarize the results of the Andrew W. Mellon 2014-2015 effort to develop new capacities in the scholarly monograph publishing environment. Specifically, thirteen projects funded by the initiative are summarized and reviewed. Few would argue that scholarly monographic publishing is not in crisis, so both the grant support for these projects and this report on them is welcome and timely. In Part 1 the context and background is described, followed by descriptions of each project. Part 3 explores "reflections and open questions". As the title of that part implies, these projects seem to have raised more questions than they answered. Such is the current state of scholarly monographic publishing, where no one is certain about anything. - RT

Pyne, Derek. "The Rewards of Predatory Publications at a Small Business SchoolJournal of Scholarly Publishing  48(3)(April 2017): 137-160. ( - Given the month, one is tempted at first glance to assume something funny going on in this article. What, after all, would be the 'reward' of having one's work appear in a predatory publication? But the author argues that "without understanding the incentives to publish in predatory journals, it is difficult to know what action should be taken". Okay. He then goes on to look at the publication listings of faculty at a recently opened business school in Canada. He concludes, "there are few incentives not to publish in predatory journals" and the requirements, or lack thereof, for submitted material just means more time for other activities. - LRK

Wolff-Eisenberg, Christine. US Library Survey 2016  Washington, DC: Ithaka S+R, 3 April 2017.( - This survey has "has examined the attitudes and behaviors of library deans and directors at not-for-profit four-year academic institutions across the United States on a triennial basis since 2010." Key findings include: "Library directors anticipate increased resource allocation towards services and predict the most growth for positions related to teaching and research support...Library directors are deeply committed to supporting student success, yet many find it difficult to articulate these contributions...Collections have been digitally transformed, and directors are interested in expanding their collecting to include more non-textual materials...Library directors are increasingly recognizing that discovery does not and should not always happen in the library...Library directors are pursuing strategic directions with a decreasing sense of support from their institutions." I doubt any of these findings would surprise an academic library director in the US, but it's nonetheless interesting to spot trends in how academic libraries are responding to the changing academic and societal environment in which they are situated. - RT