Library Juice 8:9 - May 20, 2005
2. Censorship in Italy? Librarian condemned for lending a book
3. FYI France: Google Inc., libraries digital & other
(Illness and a major hard drive crash necessitate a short issue.)
Quote for the week:
"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the
attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates
a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently
among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it."
- Herbert Simon
Homepage of the week: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Internet AND Intention: An Infrastructure for Progressive Librarianship
by Toni Samek
IJIE - Internationl Journal of Information Ethics
Issue No 002-01
Vol. 2 - November 2004
abstract: This paper is an introduction to progressive librarianship
(also known in North America as socially responsible librarianship,
activist librarianship, and radical librarianship, and in Europe as
critical librarianship). Progressive librarianship is contextualized
within a broad international movement, with an emphasis on the United
States (U.S.) cultural perspective....
[ from Toni Samek to a private list ]
Changes in LIS Education: A Bibliography
By Bernie Sloan
[ found in logs ]
Luis Posada Carriles: The Declassified Record
[ sent to me by Dana Lubow ]
Sonderberg, Johan. (2002). "Copyleft vs. Copyright: A Marxist critique."
First Monday, volume 7, number 3 (March 2002)
[ sent to the PLG list by Zapopan Martin Muela Meza ]
Right to Information Bill passed
[ sent by Al Kagan to the SRRT list ]
VIDEO NEWS RELEASES
Unattributed Prepackaged News Stories Violate Publicity or Propaganda
Statement of Susan A. Poling, Managing Associate General
Counsel, Office of General Counsel
[ sent to the SRRT list by Carol Gulyas ]
Twenty Million Americans Demand a Seat at the Table When Congress
Makes New Telecomm Policy
Press Release, May 9, 2005
Media and Democracy Coalition
Full (PDF) report: The Fallout From the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Read and sign the Media Bill of Rights
[ sent by Mark Rosenzweig to the PLG list ]
Joshua Frank: an Interview with David Graeber
May 13, 2005
[ sent by Kathleen McCook to multiple lists ]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
"We librarians flatter ourselves that we know a thing or two about
organizing information. It's time we stepped up and contributed to
Wikipedia: not just to its content but to its structures and
technologies. This project page is intended to provide a rallying
point for these activities. --Helperzoom 06:20, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
[ found on Librarian.net ]
Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
[ found surfing ]
Librarian's brush with FBI shapes her view of the USA Patriot Act
By Joan Airoldi
[ from Dana Lubow to the PLG and SRRT lists ]
American Library Association against proposed bill to federally mandate
school library purchases
[ from Don Wood to IFACTION ]
"[A]n attachment to a bill that supplements funds for Iraq, passed by
Congress and now on the president's desk, would allow the United States
once again to keep out and to deport foreign nationals not for their
conduct, but for their politics--their ideas, their speech, and the
groups with which they associate. . . . By comparison, it makes the
Patriot Act look good."
- contributed by ArtsJournal.com
[ From the Center for Arts and Culture culturalpolicy newsletter ]
When Death Means the Loss of an Archive
New York Times, 5/18/2005
Underscoring the importance of wills: Dance archivist Joe Nash died
on April 13 but because he left no will, and had no heirs, the city
is preparing to auction off his vast archives. "Archivists, dance
lovers and Mr. Nash's friends are appalled by the possibility that
the collection could be scattered to the winds." Not an isolated
issue, "[t]here are at least two other caches at the Manhattan
public administrator's warehouse on Church Street of potential
interest to scholars: the estates of the modern dancer and c
horeographer Erick Hawkins, who died in 1994, and Gloria Foster,
a well-known actress, who died in 2001."
[ From the Center for Arts and Culture culturalpolicy newsletter ]
Library board restores 'Bill of Rights'Facing intense public criticism,
members of the Johnson County Library Board voted Wednesday to reinstate
national guidelines of intellectual freedom that guide how library
materials are selected.
The full article will be available on the Web for a limited time:
[ from Don Wood to IFACTION ]
Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
"Some people think that FDR invented the progressive income tax when
he raised income tax rates on the super-rich to 90 percent. Some
believe that LBJ invented anti-poverty programs when he more than
cut in half severe poverty in the US by introducing Medicare,
housing assistance, and food-stamp programs in the 1960s. Some
believe that Jack Kennedy was the first president to seriously
talk about international disarmament, a conversation that Richard
Nixon carried on in pushing through and getting ratified the
anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty so recently discarded byGeorge
Bush Jr. Some believe that Teddy Roosevelt - the Republican Roosevelt -
was the first to seriously discuss the "living wage," or ways that
corporate "maximum wage" wink-and-nod agreements could be broken up.
Some believe the inheritance tax to prevent family empires from taking
over our nation was the idea of Woodrow Wilson, or that FDR was the
first to think up old-age pensions as part of a social safety net
known today as Social Security.
But it was actually Thomas Paine who first developed all these themes
in their modern political context. He did so in his book "The Rights of Man.""
[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]
Cornell Faculty Senate resolution on scholarly publishing
passed 11 May 2005
[ sent by Ross Atkinson to liblicense-l ]
The AA Independent Press Guide
by Dee Rimbaud
[ found surfing ]
2. Censorship in Italy? Librarian condemned for lending a book
From the IFLA-FAIFE list
"MARCO MARANDOLA" <marandol[at]hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 09:55:49 +0000
Subject: [FAIFE-L] Censorship in Italy? Librarian is going to be condemned
for lending a book
It seems to me that I am the only Italian in the list of the FAIFE!
In italy a librarian is being prosecuted for having lent a book to a
This is the story.
The ministry of social affairs published a list of "recomended" books to
inform minors on the bad effect of illegal drugs. One of this book has a
potentially offensive title: "scopami" (a sexual reference that translates
in english to "fuck me"). In a school library in a small city in Italy
(Fanaro), a librarian loaned the aforementioned book to a minor
(authorized by the minor´s parents to use the library service).
Once the minor arrived to the parental home with the book, the parents
made an allegation against the librarian for diffusion of pornographic
material to a minor, which is regarded as a very serious crime in Italy.
The Librarian has been found guilty with the first verdict. The appeal
does not appear to be easy. The public minister has declared that this
will be a "case in point", that is to say that the Public Minister wishes
that the verdict sets a precedent for future proceedings.
At the present time the Librarian cannot leave her house due to the social
condemnation of the residents of the small city and it is likely that she
will loose her job.
The appeal has not been easy, the judge has only admitted 3 of the
witnesses from a long list presented in favor of the librarian.
It is interesting to note that the Italian media has made no feature or
report regarding the case.
The final trial and judgement will be on the 17th of june.
Is there anything we can possibly do? Can FAIFE intervene in anyway in
favour of the accused Librarian?
3. FYI France: Google Inc., libraries digital & other
People interested in GooglePrint and Google Digital Libraries and
GoogleScholar, and the many other exciting -- and/or threatening
-- new "things Google", might be interested in the firm itself.
Who _are_ these "Google" people? What do they _look_ like?
"Where" are they? And what do _they_ say they are doing? "Ses
identités, ses qualités..."
Particularly if you are a Google fan, or foe, residing physically
far from California: someone in Montpellier in France, say, might
wonder what this new bunch online with the strange-sounding name
are like, "in person" -- someone in Sian in China might, too.
So I went down to Google last week, to their "first annual
shareholders' meeting", to have a look: a look at Google's first
formal in-person presentation to one of their most general
publics, anyway -- for those of us still suspicious about the
online world -- who still wonder whether a mere email address
provides sufficient identification of a resource -- who worry
about that now-elderly cartoon, "On the Internet nobody knows
you're a dog."
People in Montpellier, and in Sian, first need to visualize a
California Silicon Valley scene: warm-to-hot weather, and dry --
and tree-lined artificially-landscaped streets, setting off
enormous car-parking lots, encircling low-rise and sprawling
office buildings -- hundreds of them...
Google's head office is located in a vast landscape of such
automobile-encircled buildings, one stretching now for many miles
across the Greater San Jose "urbanization", a growing region
steadily engulfing neighborhoods nearby... older and now-smaller
neighborhoods, such as "Oakland", and "Berkeley", and yes "San
Francisco"... and "Marin County", and "Sacramento", and
"Stockton", and "Salinas"... Take a look at this urbanization,
sometime -- via GoogleMaps, maybe, particularly their new
satellite-photo view of it -- change can be awesome.
But urban sprawl is nothing unfamiliar, in most places now. Nor
is the modern "industrial office park": they have those around
Montpellier -- perhaps Sian has them too, or it will soon.
Google, though, is "different"...
I drove to the predictable enormous parking lot, "checked in" to
attend the meeting, opted to walk rather than take the little
busses so I could view the corporate campus "on approach".
The Google offices are installed in several enormous smoked -
glass buildings, set amid sculpted parks and soccer areas and
volleyball courts -- all of it impressive but, for someone
already acquainted with Silicon Valley, still predictable.
Silicon Graphics, which built the buildings Google currently
occupies, looked like this years ago, as did most other big
Silicon Valley firms: no neckties -- youngish kids wearing jeans
and sneakers, playing volleyball during caffeine-breaks --
everything so "casual" that one wondered how the work got done.
The difference offered by Google now, however, is _inside_
the buildings. This was the firm's "first" such event, as I
mentioned, and for the occasion they mounted a couple of dozen
laptops on little tradeshow-style fixtures, each of these manned
by a youthful and enthusiastic tee-shirted "demonstrator", who
guided us not-so-youthful shareholders and venture capitalists
and others through all of their latest "exciting stuff".
GooglePrint and GoogleScholar were shown, of course, and were
excellently presented. So too were "GoogleNews" and "Gmail" and
"Picasa" and "Keyhole", and several more among the many new
directions the company now is taking.
I was shown "Orkut", a "Social Networking" system similar to
Friendster: by invitation only, to preserve confidentiality,
users reveal to one another their dreams and aspirations and
innermost thoughts -- part jobsearch, part dating service, part
21st century solution for the angst of alienation -- they say
over 6 million people now use Orkut, in over 100 countries.
And I saw "Video": Google's new appeal to _all_ the world's
videomakers -- not just Hollywood, then, as competitor Yahoo is
attempting, but little people too -- to let the firm index and
organize and advertise the existence of independent video
efforts to the rest of the world. 6 million... and _all_ the
world's videomakers... "Who _are_ these people at Google, doing
this indexing and organizing?", I found myself asking, again...
Well, first of all, one no longer asks about "nationality", in
California. That is a European habit, odd though this may sound
to Europeans... "Nations" were invented in Europe, remember, and
not so long ago... But nationality has become, somewhat like race
and gender and age, one of a number of "suspect classifications",
no longer considered "politically correct", if they are raised in
a California conversation: one no longer asks "Where are you
from?", as we did in the 1960s, or "Will the speaker be a man or
a woman?", or, certainly, "How old is she?" or "What race is he?"
Judging just from those doing the demonstrating today, however, I
would say the old questions even have become superfluous --
entirely irrelevant, to a GoogleWorld apparently populated by
most of the human varieties possible on the planet. Yes, the
people inside those GoogleBuildings all seem to be young, and of
course very, very, bright -- two characteristics in common -- but
they also appear to be, and they sound as though they are, very
international, and with the genders and races as intermingled as
one now sees, increasingly, in international business meetings
and large international airports.
So is _this_ a Google difference? Silicon Valley always has been
an open and democratic place. Now-classic studies of the
difference between the original Silicon Valley and its early
competitors, and later imitators, always have pointed this out.
[Dozens of such studies exist. The best I have read myself is
that by Annalee Saxenian, _Regional advantage : culture and
competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128_ (Cambridge, Mass. :
Harvard University Press, 1994) ISBN 0674753399.]
But even compared to the Silicon Valley of a dozen years ago, the
variety among the people, in the meeting, and walking around the
corridors inside the place, appears to me to have increased
greatly. The engineers used to be all one type, the secretaries
another, the clean-up staff another still: but no longer -- at
Google, anyway, it looks and sounds like it's all mixed together.
Back to the projects we were shown, then: does any greater human
variety on the staff reflect itself in the work they do?
Take GoogleMaps, one of the more impressive recent innovations.
They just have added wonderful maps of Canada and the UK, to the
US maps which have been offered in this beta project for some
time. For the UK version, the Google team has tried to adopt the
"graphic feel" of the famous old "A to Z" maps, with which
British people and all London visitors are so familiar.
Perhaps a resident anglophile could have suggested this. But the
young "presenter" said their Sydney Australia team in fact
insisted upon it: that and the crucial inclusion of "tubestops",
names & locations, which Londoners use often to give directions.
International input seems to have come in via that avenue, then:
Australians, and Londoners, making "local" decisions, in this
international company -- or is it trans-national?...
"international" being only "among nations", the specialists now
say, while "trans-national" transcends nationality...
Human language access, too, seems to transcend nationality now,
at Google: well over 100 "Interface languages" are provided, from
Afrikaans & Amharic to Xhosa & Zulu -- by way of Frisian,
Macedonian, Tamil, Telugu -- also something called Elmer Fudd
(try it! URL below...), and Klingon, and Pig Latin.
I attended the meeting, I admit, from a number of motivations.
First of all, crucial to any "shareholder's meeting", was the
food: and there Google outdid any others I have seen or heard of
recently -- sumptuous outdoor buffet spread, on a beautiful sunny
day, offering salads and delicious multiple entrees and fresh
fruit and _really_ good cookies.
A second vital concern at "shareholders' meetings", then, is
"monetization": investors always want to know whether they are
funding a charity or a money-making enterprise... And in this
narrow arena this firm of course was very reassuring: with their
phenomenal recent financial results, plus all of the little
"tags" they are putting on things now under development which
will guarantee more income in the future. If you do business with
Google you will pay: the lunch will be delicious, but it will not
be free. (The current impression, though, is that Google aims
generally at "economies of scale" rather than at "price-gouging":
at global markets rather than small local ones, many inexpensive
units to many people rather than a few high-priced things to a
wealthy few, low prices spread over a great many customers -- all
good news to any long-term investor, then, and to customers.)
But the third reason for enjoying Google's fine lunch, today, was
my personal attempt to try to figure out what the general
direction of this varied group of Google people is going to be,
and what their motivation really is -- and yes, of course, the
latter is "the money", but it's not _only_ that...
Maybe it's convergence -- "Convergence in Media" -- the long
wished-for & worried-over dream/nightmare of so many, in
libraryland and out in The Matrix and in several other quarters.
For those of us still Stuck In The Previous Paradigm, like me,
herewith a tentative roadmap:Information resources (_all_ of them...):
"printed books" => GooglePrint
"printed journals" => GoogleScholar
"video, & movies (?)" => GoogleVideo
"music" => (hints of "under development")
"mobile" => GoogleMobile
"meetings" => GoogleGroups
"shopping" => Froogle & GoogleLocal
"personal communication" => Gmail & GoogleBlogger &
GoogleTranslate & GoogleGroups &
Orkut(?) & Dodgeball(?)...
"digital social networking"...
"reference librarians" => GoogleSearch
"prints & photos" => GoogleImages & Picasa
"maps" => GoogleMaps & Keyhole
"the news" => GoogleNews
(others?) => (many more...)
but the revolutionary idea being, I think, not so much that
there is a concordance between the two columns, as that the
entries in the latter column all are being collapsed, now, by
Google, into _one_... what the people at Google, and interface
design and marketing people elsewhere, all increasingly call,
which is that single-line, clean-and-simple, little whitespace
Google homepage, where a single "commandline" (remember that?!)
inquiry -- eventually in natural-language, even -- can retrieve,
"The Onebox Result"
consisting of literally _any_ information on the known-item
being sought, in any digital format currently carried by _any_
"traditional" media, anyplace on the planet... plus eventually
maybe even off-planet, if you count satellites and telescopes and
Mars Rovers and Moon Colonies and other things like that...
What Google is aiming for, in other words -- in its CEO Eric
Schmidt's words, at our meeting -- is to, "Organize the world's
[all of it] information [all of it] so it will be universally
[to everyone] accessible [via all 'devices'] and useful..." --
one-stop resource for information, about anything, anywhere.
The vision, for the firm, appears still to come from founders
Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, as many news articles now have
reported, in increasing privacy-invading detail: both grad
students at Stanford, Sergey the datamining guru and Larry the
user interface wizard. Also some others, since the beginning --
Google already has Legends-in-the-making: such as that of Sue
Wojcicki, who supposedly, "let Sergey and Larry store stuff in
her garage", back in, "the very beginnings" -- so much in Silicon
Valley seems to have begun in someone's borrowed garage! -- Sue
always was a fan of books and libraries and now runs, among other
things, the Google project to digitize them...
Or the story of Krishna Bharat, who -- again supposedly, as these
are the stuff of legends now, as I said -- on "9/11" got
frustrated, as did we all, with channel-flipping, as he tried to
obtain a full picture on that disaster from multiple news sources
-- only instead of just complaining of his headache, as the rest
of us did that day, K. Bharat sat down at his screen and figured
out how to comb all news resources and present them on a single
manageable Webpage... which he now runs... GoogleNews...
And there is a Management Vision too, at Google, a firm already
boasting 3000+ employees and running famous job-recruiting
contests, worldwide, which doubtless will multiply that total now
with many bright new minds. To develop all that, and keep it
motivated, Google offers "70/20/10": 70% of an employee's work is
on "Core" projects, involving webcrawling and ranking and
information search & retrieval -- 20% is on "Related"
applications such as GoogleNews and Gmail -- but then 10% is
mandated to be simply "Exploratory" -- which of course is where
the fun, and the competitive advantage, come in...
(I couldn't help thinking, as I heard all this, of standards and
standardization: of the open-source software and techniques, and
society, which created the synergies which launched the earlier
Silicon Valley hitech revolution... [See Saxenian, cited above,
and many others.] Google is testing and deciding, now, how many
dots per inch and what type of scanning device and how many news
sources per webpage, and all sorts of other "standards" for the
tasks they are undertaking. I hope Google will see their way
clear to adopting an "open systems" approach, eventually:
releasing source code and sharing techniques and ideas and
developing things in partnership with other firms -- all that
they are doing is still only a very small slice of a very large
pie, as used to be said in Silicon Valley, and the building of a
critical mass really able to develop it all, to the mutual
benefit of all, will be the work of many firms, not just one.)
So, does all this reassure a worried rare books librarian,
concerned that the precious objects in her collection might be
damaged by hamfisted "scanning" handling? Or does it satisfy a
librarian in France, upset that "The Scarlet Pimpernel" might
come in ranked higher, on a Google retrieval, than Michelet or
Lefebvre, Guizot or Furet? Well, no -- no such guarantees -- no way...
But does it inform, and does it broaden the debate, regarding the
motivations involved in various efforts? Also the role in them,
or lack thereof, of traditional notions such as "nationalism"?
Is the world ready, yet, in a word, for the truly
"trans-national" corporation? --
[Keohane, Robert O., and Joseph S. Nye, eds.
_Transnational relations and world politics._ (Cambridge,
Mass., Harvard University Press, 1972).]
well, they've been talked about, for a very long time --
[Vernon, Raymond. _Sovereignty at bay; the multinational
spread of US enterprises._ (New York : Basic Books, 1971)
and they have been feared for even longer --
[Servan-Schreiber, Jean Jacques. _Le Défi américain_.
(Paris : Denoël, 1967).]
but maybe Google is in fact the new beast which has slouched
toward our Silicon Valley digital revolution Bethlehem and at
last been born... Think of all of these trans-national kids, all
mixed in together, and of the overseas workgroups which Google is
sprouting, now, all interacting digitally / seamlessly, 24/7
around-the-globe, and all innocent of traditional "nationality" &
"race stereotypes" & "gender roles", & "authorities"... just as
they are in their online global video gaming... Perhaps Michelet
& Guizot have better chances, against the Baroness Orczy, with
this new and young crew, than they would have with any others?
And maybe all this runs even broader and deeper than that...
On my way back from the Google meeting, a local US radio host was
discussing "all this new stuff". The guy has two daughters, ages
15 & 17, so he figures he is "on the front lines", in everything
regarding the new Society or Anti-Society or whatever it is which
we all are piecing together now: he vigorously defends videogames
& flipfones & television "reality shows" -- perhaps because he
truly believes in them, or perhaps just to keep the peace in his
own home, I don't really know.
He, or maybe it was his guest, observed, "You know, things aren't
really getting better, or worse, they're just changing..."
So that is what it is, perhaps: not really a digital information
era which is better, than that of the previous era of print, or
one that is worse, but simply one that is different -- with
attendant advantages and disadvantages -- also a different
"trans-national" world, than the one of "nationalism" which, like
"print culture", we inherited from our parents and grandparents,
again with attendant advantages and disadvantages.
A few things about the new situation may be said for sure, at
least: there will be more to life in it, initially anyway, than
simply the, "ses indentités, ses qualités", of Established and
Older and more tired eras -- more than there was before, anyway.
And we will have meetings which involve a few people, and great
cookies, and Webcasts...
I just wish I could have met the GoogleDesigner who does the
"holiday" logos: the guy is wonderful --
and be sure to try,
--oOo-- FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916
* | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic | journal published since 1992 as a small-scale, | personal experiment, in the creation of large- | scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler. / \ Any material written by me which appears in / \ FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for // \\ any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me // \\ credit and show my email address, and, b) it // \\ isn't going to make them money: if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives may be found at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search fyifrance), or http://www.cru.fr/listes/biblio-fr[at]cru.fr/ (BIBLIO-FR archive), or http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive) or http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all will be gratefully received at kessler[at]well.sf.ca.us . Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as indicated above. --hjlm--
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