Current Cites

May 2019

Edited by Roy Tennant

http://currentcites.org/2019/cc19.30.5.html

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


Aspesi, Claudio, Nicole  Allen, and Raym  Crow. SPARC Landscape Analysis: The Changing Academic Publishing Industry--Implications for Academic Institutions  Washington, DC: SPARC, 2019.(https://sparcopen.org/our-work/landscape-analysis/). - Major academic publishers are building on existing publishing infrastructure to develop new data analytic and productivity products. While this may seem to be of potential benefit to academic institutions, this report suggests that potential dangers could also lie ahead: "The move by publishers into the core research and teaching missions of colleges and universities, with tools aimed at evaluating productivity and performance, means that the academic community could lose control over vast areas of its core activities. In addition, the collection of massive amounts of data about faculty and students poses a significant legal and reputational risk for institutions, along with potential privacy and security threats for individuals." Once academic institutions become dependent on these products, it may not be feasible to discontinue use. The report pays particular attention to Elsevier, Springer Nature Group, Wiley, and Clarivate. This is an important report that deserves wide readership by university and college administrators as well as by librarians. - CB

Gibson, Amelia N., and John D.  Martin, III. "Re-Situating Information Poverty: Information Marginalization and Parents of Individuals With DisabilitiesJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology  70(5)(2019): 476-487. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/asi.24128). - Within the broader concept of information inequity lies the more specific concept of information poverty. The authors propose an even more narrowly defined term of 
"information marginalization to describe the institutional … mechanisms by which information poverty is created.” An approach from a perspective of information poverty leads researchers to focus on the supposed inadequacies of users, as defined by the creators of information systems. Information poverty could be defined differently “as a mismatch between the … information seeker and the information system.” The users of search engines and automated systems see lack of information as a “problem with infrastructure, rather than just one of information literacy or access.” An approach from a perspective of information marginalization, on the other hand, allows designers “to understand the ways the information systems can marginalize.” The goal of this shift in lenses is “to create equitable information systems that serve diverse communities well.” - NN

Perlmutter, Marty. "The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace ObsolescenceIEEE Spectrum  (28 April 2017)(https://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/it/the-lost-picture-show-hollywood-archivists-cant-outpace-obsolescence). - Saving digital data is not cheap, as this readable overview of the current state of film archiving documents. Digital movies stored on relatively inexpensive magnetic media need constant monitoring and management. Furthermore, the size of the digital files are growing as studios shift to ever-higher resolution rates and it becomes ever-easier to capture new footage. And while the magnetic media on which movies are stored have an expected life span of 30-50 years, format upgrades mean that expensive migration is required every seven years. How to afford managed storage remains one of our greatest challenges. - PH

West, Mark, Rebecca  Kraut, and Han Ei  Chew. "I'd blush if I could: closing gender divides in digital skills through educationEQUALS Skills Coalition  (2019)(https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367416). - This report by UNESCO for the EQUALS Skills Coalition addresses gender bias in applications using artificial intelligence (AI), such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. The report has nothing, and everything, to do with libraries and technology. Nothing, except this interesting tidbit about the persona of the Google Assistant voice – apparently she is the youngest daughter of a research librarian! And it has everything to do with libraries, as library staff are guides to so many people, helping them to not only understand, but critically approach digital technology. It’s inevitable that libraries will investigate and use artificial intelligence and bots, now and in the future, to act as an interface between customers and library collections and services, so this report presents compelling reasons to approach these AI assistant services critically. As well as outlining the growth of virtual assistants and the scale of the gender bias problem, it has recommendations to help prevent digital assistant technologies from perpetuating existing gender biases and creating new forms of gender inequality. - WC