Current Cites

October 2019

Edited by Roy Tennant

Contributors: Leo Robert Klein, Nancy Nyland, Roy Tennant

American Library Association. Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary: Competition in Digital Markets  Washington, DC: American Library Association, 15 October 2019.( - In June, the House of Representatives launched an investigation into competition in digital markets. This publication is the American Library Association's response to the Committee's request for information. "...unfair behavior by digital market actors – and the outdated public policies that have enabled them – is doing concrete harm to libraries as consumers in digital markets" states ALA, "Libraries are prepared to pay a fair price for fair services; in fact, over the past ten years, libraries have spent over $40 billion acquiring content. But abuse of the market position by dominant actors in digital markets is impeding essential library activities that are necessary to ensure that all Americans have access to information, both today and for posterity. If these abuses go unchecked, America’s competitiveness and our cultural heritage as a nation are at risk." ALA then provides an overview of the anti- competitive conduct of content producers, in the areas of e-books, streamed content, academic journal bundles or "big deals", textbooks, and the publishing industry's control over data and analytics. - RT

Conrad, Suzanna, and Christy  Stevens. "'Am I on the library website?' A LibGuides Usability StudyInformation Technology and Libraries  38(3)(September 2019): 49 - 81. ( - The Springshare product LibGuides has been adopted rapidly since its introduction in 2007. Librarians have invested much time and effort in creating and maintaining the more than 600,000 guides published by the end of 2018. It only makes sense to attempt “to ensure that the research guides librarians create are worth the time they invest in them” (p. 75) by making sure that they are designed in a way that library users understand. The compilation here of LibGuides user studies calls that into question, especially a review of Jakob Nielsen’s multiple studies over years showing that “search dominance is a user behavior that gets stronger every year.” (p. 53). Depending on how they are designed, “the creation and maintenance of general subject guides might not be worth the time and effort librarians invest in them.” (p. 74). This usability study led to several recommendations: favoring vertical left navigation over horizontal top navigation, limiting tabs to no more than seven, and using two-column design, among other helpful suggestions. Anyone with a collection of LibGuides should consult the results of this study to check the useful recommendations against their current LibGuides design. - NN

Lund, Brady. "Using the Dark Web in Libraries - Field ReportsLibrary Journal  (2 October 2019)( - The purpose of this brief piece is to introduce librarians to the "dark web" -- essentially a method to browse the web and access information completely anonymously. Using the "Tor" platform, which operates inside a Firefox browser, it can legally be used for legal purposes. The author also explains that it's possible to access some websites that are inaccessible except through Tor (e.g., special sites put up by companies like Facebook and New York Times). Readers are pointed to the Library Freedom Project for more information. - RT

Moore, Samuel A. "Revisiting 'The 1990s Debutante': Scholar‐led Publishing and the Prehistory of the Open Access MovementJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology  70(11)(November 2019): 1-11. ( - Interesting look at the early days of Open Access (OA) publishing in the late 80s, early 90s period. Elements of this earlier period, the author argues, help us understand more thoroughly the needs for OA now. - LRK