Monthly Archives: April 2010

Films to Engage Students in Discussions About Copyright

In my LIB 1015 class this week, we had a really lively conversation about fair use, copyright, and the public domain after watching RIP: A Remix Manifesto (the library owns a few copies of the DVD). Here’s the trailer for the film:

You can also check out the film’s official website.

Another good film that I considered using (and which the library also owns) is Copyright Criminals. Here’s the trailer for that:

Copyright Criminals from IndiePix on Vimeo.

You may also want to check out the official website for Copyright Criminals, as well.

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Tech Sharecase, 23 April 2010

Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Joseph Hartnett, Gerry Jiao, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Wilcina Longdon, Kannan Mohan, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Chris Tuthill

Legal Information Industry 
The Tech Sharecase began with a discussion of the current state of the legal information industry. The conversation stemmed from a graphic done by Sarah Glassmeyer showing mergers of legal information providers. The graphic can be found here and posted on Sarah Glassmeyer’s blog.

We discussed how this has affected access. One results is costs have gone up. Westlaw Next will bill at $1,700 an hour if you don’t have a contract. The same problems are coming up in financial information industry too.

We recapped the situation surrounding the Firefox addon, RECAP, and the Princeton University, Center for Information Technology Policy’s efforts to build a free and open repository of public court records by providing access to PACER documents. We also touched upon Carl Malamud’s battle to make legal information available freely.

Louise mentioned the WorldBank is going to make all of its data, over 2,000 economic indicators,  freely available.  And we discussed some of the less-than-optimal methods information seekers go through in order to obtain information that is prohibitively expensive. The group noted instances where the situation has led information seekers to cross legal and ethical boundaries. Some scholars who have obtained data surreptitiously have been contacted by database vendors and been asked how they are able to source data to which those scholars’ libraries have no subscription.

Embedding Videos into LibGuides
Linda presented her centralized LibGuide which is a repository of video sites. It will be useful for others  creating LibGuides as they can copy boxes from Linda’s LibGuide. Linda explained how to solve the problem–windows overlap–by altering embed codes in edit mode. The solution is to add two lines of code to the embed script. Details are on Linda’s LibGuide entitled “Reusable Media.”

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OpenSciNY: Free Conference at NYU

NYU’s Bobst Library is hosting a free conference, OpenSciNY, on May 14 that looks like it will be very interesting. The conference website notes that the event will focus on discussing the “impact of publicly accessible scientific tools & resources, open access publishing in the sciences, and open data/notebook efforts.”

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Instructional Aspects of the Library Website

I meant to post this to this blog a while ago and just realized that I never did:

From November 2009 through January 2010, a group of librarians consisting of Lisa Ellis, Stephen Francoeur, Randy Hensley, and Linda Rath, met a handful of times to generate ideas about ways that the library website could be more driven by instruction considerations. The list below was developed by this group and presented at the IS Division meeting on 27 January 2010.

  1. Opportunities for instruction on how to accomplish tasks. We’d make space in the design for elements that would allow students to learn more (screencasts, screencaptures, tutorials, etc.). The creation of such instructional content would take a much higher priority in our overall web design and maintenance efforts than in previous iterations of our website.
  2. Simplified interface and simplified organization.
  3. A goal of the design would be to find ways to build relationships with our users. In various ways, the site should signal to our users that there are librarians at work (offering help to users, providing services, etc.) The human presence of our staff should be visible on the site.
  4. We should design a LibX toolbar that would help our users locate licensed content that they found via Google Scholar, etc. That toolbar would be installed on every laptop we loan out and we would promote it to our students and faculty with the hope that it gets installed on their home computers and personal laptops.
  5. The home page should make it easy for users to do known item searches, particularly for those items they’ve found via search engines that they can’t access directly. In general, there should be a stronger relationship between the library website and the larger global search mechanisms (Google, etc.) that our students and faculty rely on. We want a tool that will help the student who comes to us asking, “I found this thing on the web but I can’t get into it without paying. Does the library have it?” Maybe we should also have our own customized advanced search page for Google (in the spirit of the Unofficial Google Advanced Search page perhaps).
  6. The library website (or maybe selected features) should be optimized to work in mobile devices.
  7. There should be tools to help students with concept mapping and mind mapping (see this list of mindmapping software) and generating keywords (examples include: KwMap; Visuwords; Visual Thesaurus; Google’s Wonder Wheel). The website of the U of Mississippi Libraries features a page with some of these tools as a way to help students kickstart the research process.
  8. There should be tools that offer rich feedback on every page. See for example: UT Chattanooga’s Lupton Library (uses service from GetSatisfaction; look for the “Feedback” tab on left side of every web page) and Cal State San Marcos Library (gives you a web survey form when you click the “feedback” tab on the right side of any web page).
  9. Having a web designer who is skilled in graphic design as well as the basics of coding is absolutely critical. We need someone with a strong design sensibility, not just someone capable of making a utilitarian design.
  10. A feature for followup, making sure searches found what they needed. Maybe when users use the back button on the browser to return to the library web site from a search of a database they launched via the library web site, they’d see a page from us asking, “Did you find what you needed?” and that could offer suggestions of related or similar databases to also try.
  11. The databases page should feature unique URLs for each subject set of databases and for each database. Currently, if you go to the databases page and get a list of psychology databases, the URL that is generated is the same one you’d get if you got the list of accounting databases. Subject sets of databases should have their own URLs, something like:

    Individual databases should also have their own URLs, something like:

    By creating URLs like this, users can easily share and bookmark specific resources or sets of resources.

  12. We need to have a rich set of tools for web analytics.
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Tech Sharecase, 9 April 2010

Janey Chao, Arthur Downing, Stephen Francoeur, Moon-Seok Kang, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Jin Ma, Ryan Phillips, Mike Waldman

Net Neutrality and the FCC
We discussed the recent court decision that ruled the FCC lacked the authority to regulate the internet, a move which presently curtails the FCC’s ability to issue policies relating to net neutrality (covered in this New York Times article from 6 April 2010). We noted, though, that because of this setback to the FCC, there may soon be legislation that will expressly give the FCC regulatory powers over the internet.

Launch of the iPad
Moon-Seok Kang, a BCTC lab assistant, showed us his brand new iPad and talked about its features and usability. We took a look at a blog post from NCSU Libraries about their new iPad loan program. We also discussed the news that Apple was developing a way to deliver ads in the apps that you can install on your iPhones and iPads (see this New York Times article from 9 April 2010). It was also suggested that we might benefit from having a regular gadget petting zoo, where library staff and faculty could get their hands on the latest technological gadgets to see what they look like and how they work.

Semantic Web
Jin Ma shared some notes of hers from what was Corey Harper’s presentation at the recent LACUNY/METRO event on the semantic web. We looked at the following:

Flat World Knowledge
Arthur Downing gave an update on a recent meeting that he and a group of others from Baruch had with an executive from Flat World Knowledge to hear the company’s pitch to provide textbooks for selected courses here.

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Videos on Information Retrieval

If you’re looking for video content to use in courses and workshops on the subject of information retrieval, you might find these two videos made by Jeffrey Beall, metadata librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, to worth taking a look at:

  • The Importance of Word-Sense Disambiguation in Online Information Retrieval
  • The Shortcomings of Full Text Searching
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