Current Cites

September 2017

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Peter Hirtle, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Arnold, Taylor, Stacey  Maples, and Lauren  Tilton, et. al."Uncovering Latent Metadata in the FSA-OWI Photographic ArchiveDigital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ)  11(2)(27 September 2017)( - One of the exciting things about digital collections is the kind of research that is only possible if the collection is in digital form. In this case study, the authors show how it is possible to extract from a set of photographs taken during the Depression information on the route the photographers followed, the sequence in which the photos were taken (thus making it possible to speculate as to identity of the authors of otherwise anonymous photos), and the classification system that had been originally developed to characterize them. Their work leads to a series of questions that could not have been asked, let alone answered, when the images were in print form, and hints at the kind of exciting things that can be done with large sets of public domain images. - PH

Pekala, Shayna. "Privacy and User Experience in 21st Century Library DiscoveryInformation Technology and Libraries  36(2)(June 2017): 48 - 58. ( - Libraries have an obligation to protect user privacy. The requirement is defined by guidelines of the American Library Association, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and the National Information Standards Organization. But libraries have no control over what data is collected by search engines and other entities about library patrons who are using library computers. Libraries may even wish to meet expectations created by custom services in commercial search products, but the data collection required to personalize library search services conflicts with a library’s user privacy obligations. The author argues that ignoring “the benefits of using patron data to improve the discovery user experience may threaten the library’s viability in the age of Google.” One possible solution is that third-party vendors be certified as adhering to a set of standards, perhaps comparable to the federal government standards for electronic health records. Consumer Reports is also in the process of developing standards for consumer privacy and security which could be a model for libraries. Librarians must maintain enough technology literacy to be able to “understand the related user experience benefits and privacy concerns and the resulting ethical implications.” - NN

United States Copyright Office. Section 108 of Title 17: A Discussion Document of the Register of Copyrights  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Copyright Office, September 2017.( - The title doesn't sound like a page-turner, but for anyone interested in the legal basis of librarianship, this new "discussion document" is fascinating reading. Section 108 codifies some explicit exceptions to copyright law that are of use to librarians and archivists. The report proposes adding museums to the list of eligible institutions. It would allow us to make preservation copies of published works and expand the kinds of documents that can go online during the last twenty years of copyright term. It is strangely silent on whether technical protection measures can be bypassed in order to conduct otherwise legal functions, even though the recent report on the 1201 anticircumvention rules suggested that the issue would be addressed. The Office decided not to include an exception for web archiving initiatives, as the Section 108 Study Group (of which I was a member) recommended. If adopted, the proposed language would provide clearer legal authority for many things that libraries already do, usually without any worry. If you don't want to read the full 58 page report, Dave Hansen at Duke has a good overview. - PH