Current Cites

October 2018

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Peter Hirtle, Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

Barzillai, Mirit, and Jenny M.  Thomson. "Children Learning to Read in a Digital WorldFirst Monday  23(10)(1 October 2018)( - This piece scans and summarizes the impact of digital text on children developing literacy skills. Although the authors avoid making any sweeping conclusions, they nevertheless surface some disturbing research conclusions. For example: "parents who read to their young children in print engage in more discussions around word meanings, support children’s efforts to relate the story to their own experiences, and ask more questions than parents reading from interactive storybooks," and "reading on digital devices, so often accompanied by interruptions and disruptions, whether in the form of hotspots, games, or links, presents several challenges to maintaining focus and influences the interactions that parents and children share around reading." Although they fail to unequivocally state this, it seems clear that it's best for adults to read print books to young children. - RT

Borgman, Christine L. "Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy FrontierBTLJ: Berkeley Technology Law Journal  33(2)(3 October 2018)( - Universities are awash in data, especially "grey data": "the vast array of data that universities accumulate outside the research realm." Borgman notes that institutions that effectively exploit data "will gain research grants, awards, students, administrative efficiencies, and other rewards." But data stewardship comes at a price: primarily the threat the data can pose to privacy. Stewardship of data raises deep questions about ownership, academic freedom, and other core questions. Borgman argues that proper management of all data will require the active engagement of many on campus, including librarians. - PH

England, Lenore, and Randy  Lowe. "The Shape of ERM in the USMAIJournal of Electronic Resources Librarianship  30(3)(2018): 150-157. ( - The creation of “a framework to make improvements in electronic resources management (ERM) processes and procedures” applies to any large or consortial library system, although this article is centered in an academic system, the University of Maryland&Affiliated Institutions (USMAI). A primary goal was to create an incubator for innovation within ERM consortial governance. The creators adopted features of business process management to make their framework both holistic and flexible. It provides a base through which ideas from consortium members can be implemented. The framework has seven elements, beginning with creating the consortial ERM staff and ending with evaluation and assessment. Complex central elements, such as creating e-resource workflow practices, require the establishment of subframeworks. Such a project can define what data libraries need from vendors, and help them to advocate to receive that data. Data gathered in assessment can help to establish the value of libraries, such as in improving student outcomes. The authors recommend that consortia collaborate, which they have done by sharing best practices and lessons learned. Those interested in reading further can consult four related columns published earlier, beginning in September 2016. - NN

Kramer, David. "Open Access at a Crossroads Physics Today  (11 Oct 2018)( - Interesting article making the rounds locally about efforts to broaden open access (OA) to research journals. The focus is on 'Plan S', a European initiative to require grant-funded research to be published exclusively in OA journals. The article discusses some of the problems Plan S is likely to run into as well as moves (e.g. global adoption) to make it a success. - LRK

Lynch, Clifford. "Managing the Cultural Record in the Information Warfare EraEDUCAUSE Review  (November/December 2018): 94-95. ( - Hang on to your hat, since if you think "fake news" is bad, wait until you read Lynch's description of how "reality" can completely be faked, and perhaps faked so well that our defenses are unable to protect us from the deceit. "Imagine, for example," he writes, "being able to source fabrications such as police body-camera footage, CATV surveillance, or drone/satellite reconnaissance feeds. The nature of evidence is changing quickly." And the changing nature of "evidence" can cause profound issues for cultural heritage institutions. Lynch posits "A four-pronged approach to the new information warfare environment seems to be emerging. One prong is greatly improved forensics; this is a mostly technical challenge, and memory organizations will be mainly users, not developers, of these technologies. Documentation of provenance and chain of custody are already natural actions for memory organizations; the challenge here is to make this work more transparent and rigorous and to allow broad participation. Capture of materials, particularly in a world of highly targeted and not easily visible channels, will be a third challenge at both technical and intellectual levels (though we are seeing some help now from platform providers). Finally, contextualization of fakes or suspected fakes is perhaps the greatest challenge, and the one that is least amenable to technological solutions." - RT

Prescott, Andrew, and Lorna  Hughes. "Why Do We Digitize? The Case for Slow DigitizationArchive Journal  (September 2018)( - At a time when Greg Crane asked us "What do you do with a million books," Prescott and Hughes suggest a different approach to research. Borrowing from the example of the "slow food" movement, they argue that if we really want to alter scholarship, we need to adopt "slow digitization." Rather than trying to digitize everything, we should instead focus on using advanced imaging techniques, including 3-D and hyperspectral imaging as well as capture with raking light, to conduct deep digital explorations of a few manuscripts. They provide numerous examples of how such investigations are succeeding with medieval manuscripts. "There is," they write, "a need to slow down, look around, and start digitizing in such a way that it helps us understand and encourages us to think more carefully about the manuscripts we are studying." - PH