Current Cites

April 2018

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Warren Cheetham, Peter Hirtle, Nancy Nyland

American Library Association. The State of America’s Libraries 2018: A Report from the American Library Association  Chicago, IL: American Library Association, 2018.( - This 13th annual ALA report on the State of America’s Libraries contains the encouraging news that the federal government is maintaining or increasing funding for libraries through the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The report covers academic, school and public libraries with useful summaries of research in each area. These include the Association of College and Research Libraries’ annual survey of academic libraries; the American Association of School Librarians publication National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries; and the ALA publication From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018. It is instructional to note which library and national trends have remained in the forefront of ALA’s attention over several years. The 2016 issue of privacy has been dropped, along with the 2017 “Calls to Action in Support of Libraries.” Concerns about intellectual freedom and services to youth by public libraries have appeared consistently for the last three years. New trends in 2018 include an aging workforce in libraries and income inequality, along with “connected learning,” defined as learning provided via the internet through social and digital media. - NN

Blijden, Judith. The Accuracy of Rights Statements on  Amsterdam: Kennisland, 2 February 2018.( - The usability of digital collections is dependent in part on the inclusion of accurate rights information in metadata. Hence the frequent use by libraries and archives of Creative Commons statements and the creation of But are the rights statements accurate? Blijden's sampling of the rights statements in Europeana concluded that 62% of the statements are accurate, while 9% clearly are not. The remainder are uncertain. She suggests that the mistakes may be due to misunderstanding of complex copyright laws, failure to account for the multiple copyrights that may exist in any individual work, and incomplete descriptive metadata. More problematic is the basic incompatibility of CC licenses, which were designed to be used by copyright owners, with cultural heritage institutions, which generally do not own the rights in their works. I suspect an analysis of rights statements in U.S. collections would find similar results. It suggests that more education on how to assess and apply rights statements is needed. - PH

Collomosse, John, Tu  Bui, and John  Sheridan, et. al."ARCHANGEL: Trusted Archives of Digital Public Documents  (23 April 2018)( - The easy mutability of digital documents and the loss of trust in institutions generating and preserving those documents is leading to a crisis in confidence in archives. In 2016 Victoria Lemieux appropriately asked if blockchain could be a help in addressing the problem or if it is all hype. This paper continues the analysis. It describes a prototype decentralised platform built on the Ethereum infrastructure that seeks to ensure the long-term integrity of digital documents stored within public archives. The authors fall on the "hype" side of the argument, concluding that their approach "has the position to disrupt the professional practice of archivists." Before that can happen, we need to see if the content extraction, distributed ledger technology, and cooperation between archives that their proposed solution requires address real archival concerns in an efficient manner. - PH

Johnston, Lisa R., Jacob  Carlson, and Cynthia  Hudson-Vitale, et. al."How Important is Data Curation? Gaps and Opportunities for Academic LibrariesJournal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication  6(1)(2018): eP2198. ( - Do academic researchers think data curation is important? What data curation activities do they engage in? How satisfied are they with these activities? To answer these questions, the authors conducted focus groups with faculty and graduate/postdoc students at six research universities. On a five-point scale, most data curation activities got a 3 or more. The top five activities (in the 4 range) were documentation, chain of custody, secure storage, quality assurance, and persistent identifier. The lowest rated activities (in the 2 range) were emulation, restricted access, correspondence, and full-text indexing. For the top five, here are the actual activity performance and satisfaction percentages: documentation (80.2% and 26.4%), chain of custody (63.6% and 27.3%), secure storage (75.0% and 38.3%), quality assurance (51.6% and 14.3%), and persistent identifier (37.4% and 18.7%). This study provides valuable insight into researchers' data curation needs that can help inform libraries' support services in this area. - CB

Poole, Nick. "The Common Room – Getting Back To The Roots Of Public LibrariesCILIP  (19 April 2018)( - A moving, emotional, beautifully descriptive speech that deserves wide readership. Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP (the UK’s library and information association) presented The Common Room at the joint CILIP Ireland and Library Association of Ireland conference in mid-April. The first part of this piece paints a beautiful portrait of a common room, where all people are welcome, and where they will be met with an amazing variety of resources, and trained, dedicated staff who will help, support and guide them. It is a wonderful piece to share with family, friends, and non-library colleagues who ask “what do you really do all day?” The second part of the speech covers the sobering challenges that libraries in England have faced over the past eight years, and it concludes with a call to action and commitment to challenge the declining perception of libraries. Why am I including this piece in Current Cites when it barely mentions information technology? Whenever I come across such an articulate description of physical library services, I’m challenged as to how we can build digital library services, tools and resources that match the formidable physical spaces and services described in this presentation. The library described in The Common Room deserves to be a benchmark by which we measure our digital library endeavours. - WC