Current Cites

November 2018

Edited by Roy Tennant

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

Cox, Andrew M., Stephen   Pinfield, and Sophie  Rutter. "The Intelligent Library: Thought Leaders' Views on the Likely Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Academic LibrariesLibrary Hi Tech  (2018)( - AI and libraries? There was a surge of interest in this topic in the early 1990's with a flurry of experimentation using expert system shells and logic programming languages. The University of Houston Libraries' Intelligent Reference Information System Project ( was one example of this trend. Then came another "AI winter," when general enthusiasm for expert systems waned. Afterwards, there was sporadic activity. Recently, some attention is being paid to AI in libraries once more as AI has become more powerful and pervasive in other settings. The authors conducted a series of interviews with 33 participants to assess current thinking about this topic. A key finding was that: "Only two or three interviewee's conceptualized AI as a truly transformative change." One of the key problems AI has had is unrealistically high user/developer expectations, followed by repeatedly dashed hopes. But, for nonspecialists, this issue has often masked a very long, but very strong, trend of increasing power and sophistication of these systems and their stealthy integration into other technical infrastructures. For example, we are often annoyed, but not wowed, by voice recognition technology that would have been seen as miraculous in the 1990's. This year there have been several major reports, such as the World Economic Forum's The Future of Jobs 2018, that suggest that AI will have a significant impact in the near- and mid-term future. Another false dawn? Maybe, but if library thought leaders think that AI has little future significance, they are likely to be in for a rude awakening. OA e-print: - CB

Harrison, Ruth, Yvonne  Nobis, and Charles  Oppenheim. "Sci-Hub; The Librarian's Response.UK Copyright Literacy  (26 October 2018)( - Earlier this year, I noted Carl Malamud's spirited defense of Sci-Hub, the rogue website that makes paywalled journal articles freely available. Here we have a different perspective. While noting that their argument leads to a strange alliance of librarians and publishers, the authors conclude that Sci-Hub is not good for scholarly communication. First, Sci-Hub privileges paywalled content and legacy journals at a time when we should be developing different, more open scholarly communication mechanisms. Second, the authors note that the presumed mechanisms for populating Sci-Hub with articles may put institutions that lawfully license access to content at risk. Lastly, they object to Sci-Hub's "utter contempt for copyright law." They argue instead that it is incumbent on academics to better manage their copyrights in order to solve the problem. - PH

Hervieux, Sandy, and Nikki  Tummon. "Let's Chat : the Art of Virtual Reference InstructionReference Services Review  46(4)(2018): 529-542. ( - Those of us involved in IM or 'chat' with library patrons will be interested in this study coming out of McGill. It looks at a set number of chats through the academic year and attempts to categorize them by, among other things, information literacy instruction. Not surprisingly, a "large percentage" concern circulation, tech problems, etc. The remainder are then categorized by type of instruction and time of year. "Peak" traffic for this latter category, the authors report, comes during midterms which not surprisingly are also the "busiest times of the year" for student assignments. - LRK

Ochoa, Tyler. "An Analysis of Title II of Public Law 115-264: The Classics Protection and Access Act (Guest Blog Post)Technology & Marketing Law Blog  (24 October 2018)( - Many libraries and archives have substantial collections of sound recordings made prior to 15 February 1972. The copyright status of those recordings has been a concern to those who have wished to preserve and make those recordings accessible. The passage of the Music Modernization Act, and in particular Title II, the Classics Protection and Access Act, has gone far to address those concerns. This lengthy blog post by noted copyright professor Tyler Ochoa does an excellent job of summarizing what is in the law. In the absence of summaries specifically directed at librarians, this is probably the best guide for those interested in what the law envisions. Ochoa clearly explains some of the most confusing aspects of sound recording copyright, including the likelihood of multiple copyrights in a recording (musical work and sound) and the importance of the 1972 date. Of particular importance to librarians and archivists is the extension of Section 108, the library and archives exemptions, to all sound recordings. - PH

Smith-Yoshimura, Karen. " Analysis of 2018 International Linked Data Survey for ImplementersCode4Lib Journal  (42)(8 November 2018)( - This is the third international survey of libraries publishing and using linked data conducted by OCLC Research (my former employer, it should be noted). It probably isn't surprising that the top barriers cited for publishing linked data are: 1) steep learning curve for staff, 2) inconsistency in legacy data, and 3) selecting appropriate ontologies to represent our data. Also notable is the fact that the use of Wikidata as a consumed linked data source shot up from 9% of respondents using it to 41%. Libraries appear to have noticed that Wikidata can be a reliable and very useful set of data to use within a library context. The main motivations for using linked data include: 1) provide local users with a richer experience, 2) enhance local data by consuming linked data from other sources, and 3) heard about linked data and wanted to try it out by using linked data resources. The three biggest challenges for consuming linked data: 1) matching, disambiguating, and aligning source data and the linked data resources, 2) what is published to the Internet as linked data is not always reusable or lacks URIs, and 3) size of RDF dumps. - RT

Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy  New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018.( - Libraries are competing with Facebook news feeds and Google searches to be providers of information. The many problems with getting your information from Facebook are documented here in nine chapters: the level of surveillance, the hijacking of our attention, Facebook’s perception of itself as benevolent, its effect on political processes, the ways that disinformation is spread through Facebook and the deliberately addictive design of social media. These problems cannot be solved by individual users, but an awareness of how Facebook grabs our attention and data and then sells it at least gives us fair warning. It can be disheartening to take in all of the many problems with social media as a group, but it is necessary for anyone concerned with the health and survival of our democracy and a shared culture. The author makes suggestions that may help: “Ultimately, those of us who wish for a healthier public culture will have to strengthen other institutions such as libraries, schools, universities, and civil society organizations that might offer richer engagement with knowledge and community.” Interested readers can find more of Vaidhyanathan’s commentary on social media in a previous volume which is still relevant, The Googlization of Everything and Why We Should Worry. - NN