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Zotero: Zotero is hiring a new developer!

Wed, 2015-06-03 18:53

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is hiring a full-time developer to help extend Zotero. You will have the opportunity to shape an award-winning digital humanities project and build critical research infrastructure.

You will work primarily on Zotero’s website and web application functionality, working with both front- and back-end technologies, including emerging standards for rich client-side web applications. You’ll be maintaining existing systems and implementing new functionality, helping to shape the Zotero ecosystem going forward. In addition to working on website functionality, that might mean extending the API, optimizing the cloud infrastructure, or building back-end services to power new features. As part of a small team, you’ll have responsibility over core components of the project and the freedom to find creative solutions to challenging problems. Most importantly, you’ll participate in a vibrant global open-source community with amazing community developers and passionate users.

You will be working at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, a leading center for digital humanities recognized internationally for its innovative projects. More details about the position are available at

We look forward to hearing from you!

District Dispatch: Slam internet standards back door on NSA

Wed, 2015-06-03 18:12

Photo by:

Last night, immediately post-passage of the landmark USA FREEDOM Act, we celebrated as urged here in the District Dispatch. We also wrote, “Tomorrow, the fight for further badly needed reforms will go on.” Well, it’s now “tomorrow” and there is indeed more work that Congress can and must do as this post goes to press to truly prevent the ongoing wholesale invasion of our privacy in the name of national security.

The House of Representatives is now considering a large bill (H.R. 2578) to fund a variety of agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST, among many other things, develops technical standards for the internet and, you guessed it, for internet security – that means encryption. The NSA, of course, has for some time wanted NIST to incorporate “back doors” – in effect, deliberately designed secret security weaknesses – into its encryption standards for use across the web and the world to make it easier for the NSA to continue to collect our communications in unfathomable volume.

The NSA wants to do this notwithstanding that more than 150 leading cybersecurity and encryption experts just warned in a letter to the President that back doors are a horrible idea that will almost certainly lead to profoundly damaging security breaches at the hands of cyber-criminals and hostile foreign governments. “Secret” back door algorithms, it seems, have a way of not staying so secret.

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY4) will today offer an eight-line amendment to the appropriations bill before the House that will nail closed the back door that the NSA wants by forbidding NIST from using any of its appropriated funds to consult with the NSA or CIA about intentionally weakening NIST encryption protocols.

ALA calls on every Member of the House to support the important and, unfortunately, critically necessary Massie amendment to H.R. 2578.  

The post Slam internet standards back door on NSA appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Representatives from National Library of Uzbekistan Visit ALA Washington Office

Wed, 2015-06-03 18:01

Representatives from the National Library of Uzbekistan with ALA staff

Today, the ALA Washington Office welcomed visitors from the National Library of Uzbekistan as part of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. This program supports international professional discourse and relationship-building by sponsoring short-term visits to the U.S. for foreign leaders.

Gulrukh Iskandarova, Asadjan Khodjaev, Evgeniya Pshenichnaya and Umida Teshabaeva discussed their efforts to provide standards and best practices to Uzbekistan’s approximately 13,000 libraries, and solicited our perspectives on a wide range of policy topics, including privacy, copyright, digital content and telecommunications. Additionally, they sought strategies for offering unified support to a national community of libraries, library professionals, and library patrons.

ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff, Office for Information Technology Policy Director Alan Inouye and I represented ALA. Hosting visitors from abroad is a regular responsibility of the Office, and we’ve met with librarians from many other countries around the world, from Lebanon to Columbia.

The post Representatives from National Library of Uzbekistan Visit ALA Washington Office appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Pew Research Center to share new data on libraries as community hubs

Wed, 2015-06-03 16:53

Photo by World Bank Photo Collection via Flickr

Over the last three years, the Pew Research Center has deftly documented how Americans perceive, use and aspire for U.S. public libraries. From e-book readership to library user typologies, to better understanding how Hispanics use public libraries, Pew researchers have added to our knowledge of our communities—users and non-users alike.

During the session “Pew Library Research Update Program” Senior Researcher John B. Horrigan will preview the newest Pew research at the American Library Association  (ALA) Annual Conference on Sunday, June 28, 2015, from 1:00–2:00 p.m. in Moscone Center room 121N. Based on a national telephone survey of adults, new data will explore people’s e-reading habits, and how libraries serve as community hubs for information exchange, economic opportunity, and cultivation of users’ digital skills. The presentation also will discuss how the public’s views on libraries can illuminate broader discussions on ‘digital readiness‘ (pdf) as the internet of things (IoT) emerges in society.

“From front-line services to national policy advocacy, Pew library research has improved our ability to plan for and communicate community needs and desires,” said Larra Clark, deputy director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy. “This new data could not com at a better time to inform library digital inclusion efforts, and John Horrigan’s deeply informed insights should not be missed.”

Prior to rejoining the Pew Research Center in 2015, Horrigan served as research director for the development of the National Broadband Plan at the Federal Communications Commission. He is a nationally recognized expert on research into barriers to home broadband adoption and use, expertise cultivated as a consultant and in his first stint at the Pew Research Center from 2000–2009.

View all ALA Washington Office conference sessions

The post Pew Research Center to share new data on libraries as community hubs appeared first on District Dispatch.

In the Library, With the Lead Pipe: Soliciting Performance, Hiding Bias: Whiteness and Librarianship

Wed, 2015-06-03 13:00

Image by Flickr user tweng (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In Brief:

Despite the growing body of research on our professional demographics and multi-year diversity initiatives, librarianship in the United States remains overwhelmingly white. I suggest the interview process is a series of repetitive gestures designed to mimic and reinforce white middle class values, which ultimately influence the hiring decisions—and relative lack of diversity—of librarianship as a whole. I consider how the whiteness of librarianship may manifest long before the hiring process. By identifying and interrogating the body of white, middle class values inherent to both librarianship and professional job searching, I offer suggestions to encourage an authentically diverse pool of applicants.

Defining Whiteness

Whiteness is a shifting status bestowed by those in power, intertwined with class relationships and the production of structural inequalities. See the transformation of Italian, German, Irish, and Polish people from white ethnics to white over the 20th century in the United States. “The Italian comes in at the bottom, and in the generation that came over the sea he stays there. In the slums he is welcomed as a tenant who ‘makes less trouble’ than the contentious Irishman or the order-loving German.” (Riis, 1890)

For the sake of brevity, whiteness in this essay means: white, heterosexual, capitalist, and middle class. Whiteness is “ideology based on beliefs, values behaviors, habits and attitudes, which result in the unequal distribution of power and privilege.” ( Beliefs, values behaviors, habits, and attitudes become gestures, enactments, and unconsciously repetitive acts which reinforce hegemony.

Soliciting Performance, Hiding Bias

Librarianship is paralyzed by whiteness. This will continue unabated without interrogating structures that benefit white librarians, including the performative nature of recruitment and hiring. The interview and academic job talk conceal institutional bias under the guise of “organizational fit” or a candidate’s “acceptability”, while the act of recruiting presents an aspirational version of the library to candidates.

The standing-room-only presentation at Association of College & Research Libraries 2015 on the experience of academic librarians of color suggests librarianship is at least aware of its demographics. Some libraries are attempting to recruit broader pools of applicants, with a few offering ever-popular diversity residencies and fellowships. The fellowship model is mutually beneficial and offers chances to experiment with otherwise risky initiatives. However, fellowships mask precarity under the illusion of faculty status and support, when librarians accepting these positions may have neither (Salo, 2013).

While recruiting initiatives and fellowships are reasonable starting points, they become meaningless gestures for institutions which screen on performing whiteness. These actions are further undermined by framing diversity as a problem to be solved rather than engaging in reflective work to dismantle institutional bias. Framing diversity as the problem implicitly suggests a final outcome, locating responsibility and discomfort away from white librarians while marginalizing colleagues who do not perform whiteness to the satisfaction of gatekeepers.

Finally, when librarians who are not white and middle class arrive, they are alienated as “the diversity hire”, erasing their skills, talents, and expertise (Sendula, 2015). Librarians with visible minority status are assigned more work, as many marginalized librarians are appointed to diversity and hiring committees by default. This strands non-white and middle class librarians in a “murky place between gratitude and anger” (Bennett, 2015) as their visibility changes to suit the needs of the organization. That librarianship remains overwhelmingly white suggests marginalized librarians are seen when the institution finds it convenient, but rarely heard during critical stages of the hiring process.

The current librarian job market solicits performance and creates barriers to entry in three ways: cultural negotiation, conspicuous leisure, and access to wealth.

Image by Flickr user wolframburner (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Barriers to Entry


The whiteness of librarianship begins long before the job application process, as traditionally underrepresented students come to university systems with varying experiences in libraries. Conclusions on this subject vary: libraries can be a source of anxiety for marginalized students (Haras, Lopez & Ferry, 2008); the university library can feel overwhelming compared to underfunded or nonexistent K-12 libraries (Adkins and Hussey, 2006); or the library as a site of abundance and discovery. Nearly all scholarship on the subject agrees the library is a site where information seeking and cultural hegemony are negotiated (Long, 2011; Sadler and Bourg, 2015). For marginalized students, an academic library may be the largest they’ve ever encountered. “For students from a nondominant culture, knowing how to use library resources is not merely about finding information but also about navigating culture.” (Adkins and Hussey, 2006)

White Savior narratives are found throughout librarianship, where white librarians are framed as benevolent actors toward people of color, who “lack the agency necessary to enact positive changes in their own lives. The underlying assumption is that people of color, on their own, fail to enact resilience,resistance, and success…Any achievements in these areas seem to result from the initiatives of the white savior.” (Cammarota, 2011)

Rather than disarm the “structural, systemic, oppressive conditions disproportionately affecting the most economically disadvantaged people”(Groski, 2008) the middle class White Savior perpetuates myths about poverty. Marginalized patrons in libraries become the saved and lifted, without necessarily seeing themselves in the space of the library.

Students not reflected in the culture of the library are unlikely to see librarianship as a possibility (Williams and Van Arnhem, 2015). Marginalized students employed outside the university system face additional barriers as their work typically does not cultivate the development of a white collar professional identity. The hospitality industry, food service work, call centers, and other low income employment offers prescriptive identities, removing most agency from the employee. Marginalized students in graduate programs arrive after enduring lifetimes of institutionalized oppression surrounding their origins, with a painful awareness the they of “professional language” refers to themselves (Overall, 1995; Johnson Black, 1995; Bennett, 2014).

Moving from a prescriptive work environment to a professional one requires a certain amount of socialization into white culture. I don’t think of myself as an ex-hotel night clerk, but will always be a librarian even if my job title doesn’t reflect this. Librarianship is not simply what we do at work but a component of how we identify as people (Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson & Tanaka, 2014). This creates a dissonant sense of self and belonging in the profession, when our identity does not conform to professional expectations, “worldviews, or emotional orientations” (Costello, 2005).

Librarians themselves manufacture the culture of whiteness, with its ever-shifting criteria and continuous trading in surfaces (Ewen, 1988). Our policies embrace the fiction of neutrality, while our spaces, practices, and culture are not neutral entities (Sadler and Bourg, 2015). The idea of library-as-neutral is seductive because of its usefulness and minimal intellectual effort required from white librarians: neutrality is the safest position for libraries because it situates whiteness not only as default, but rewards and promotes white cultural values.

Whiteness-as-default allowed the conversation about 2015’s Banned Books Week poster to incorrectly assume no Muslim women were part of the image’s construction, effectively acknowledging librarianship’s tendency to reproduce inequalities and in many cases manufacture them in our systems and practices. From organizational structures and descriptions, to images and policy, librarians engage numerous fictions upholding cultural hegemony (Drabinski, 2013).

“Libraries and professional organizations have put together documents and policies on information ethics and intellectual freedom in an attempt to broaden the professional perspective. While these are important policies and procedures, they still reinforce cultural hegemony as they are primarily written in the language of those in power. For example, statements on professional ethics are put together by professional organizations, the overwhelming majority of whose members are white. Intellectual freedom is influenced by the discursive formations of those who write and enforce these policies. It is those in power who decide what level of intellectual freedom the library will support.” (Adkins and Hussey, 2006)

While librarians may fill social media with images of what librarians look like, our professional organizations and policy language articulate further what successful librarians look like: how they organize, what voices are heard, how they construct strategy, which crisis are acceptable to address and which should be suppressed under tone arguments or claims of unprofessional behavior.

The fiction of neutrality became apparent to me as a circulation desk clerk in a large public library system. Over winter break I visited an affluent suburb of Cleveland, Ohio where my partner’s family lives. We toured the public library and I was impressed with the college and career prep resources available. At my home branch I asked if I could make a similar display. I was told “Our kids aren’t really the college type,” and reluctantly allowed to maintain a small collection in the young adult section. This same system employed several librarians who insisted on business wear for work in a casual dress environment, explaining “Children in this neighborhood need a model for what a professional is, because they don’t have contact with any.” Many public library systems continue to address poverty from a deficit theory framework, ignoring the connection between treating poor people as inherently flawed and the profession’s inability to recruit marginalized workers.

A question posted to Librarian Wardrobe suggests one applicant’s struggle to be comfortable, yet professional during interviews. “I tend towards a ‘soft butch’ style and a very broke budget, but I have a major interview coming up. Any suggestions for an outfit that gets across my personal identity, my willingness to crawl around looking for a book, but also my professionalism?” This poster reveals their gender performance during an interview is necessary to maintain the comfort of others, not to present the ‘authentic self’ search committees claim to want. Their question, like so many others I found during my research, is about this maintenance.

  • How can I be butch, but not too butch?
  • Should I buy a plain band for my left hand if I am unmarried?
  • Should I dye my hair or have it relaxed?
  • How provocative is a suit that isn’t gray, black, or navy?
  • Where can I buy a button down shirt that will not gape at my chest?
  • Will not wearing makeup cost me a job?
  • If transcripts are required, how will I explain a differently gendered name?

Each question reflects problems about how to address the cultural expectations of whiteness in the context of othered bodies. Librarians who wear natural hair, whose shape/stature make it difficult to find professional dress, or librarians with disabilities have found their bodies as they exist to be deemed unprofessional. Rather than assign this failure to designers’ inability to account for variations in bodies, this is passed on to applicants. Few blame manufacturers for ill-fitting suits. We blame bodies for not conforming to them.

Such anxieties are pervasive, even when acknowledged. In 2014, I sat on a panel discussing gender, agency, and resistance where one presenter–a scholar from India–expressed concern in the context of her research how wearing a sari during her talk would mean risking objectification and dismissal in a room full of feminist folklorists. The academic job talk is similarly concerning, as the growing tendency to record and make available such talks transforms the interview process into a mediated performance. An intellectual understanding of bias isn’t enough, it must be interrogated to dismantle the mechanisms which produce bias.

Conspicuous Leisure and Wealth

In flooded job markets, barriers to entry can include requiring prior library service for any library job. While MLIS students benefit from on the job experience, such screening policies would exclude promising applicants unable to enroll in face-to-face programs: rural students, students with nonstandard work schedules, students with family obligations, students transitioning careers, and other MLIS-holders outside the fictions of “ideal worker” (Davies, 2014).

Hiring Librarians has documented responses from hiring managers claiming students in online programs cannot work in teams or learn effectively, when many students choose online programs for the exact opposite reasons. As with myths about poverty which overshadow the well-established resourcefulness of poor students, online MLIS students are dismissed as asocial and not “team players”. Bias against online MLIS students is especially harmful to rural and underfunded libraries, in light of the geography of MLIS-holders (Sin, 2011).

The reality of post-MLIS education includes thousands of webinars, MOOCs, chats, listservs, virtual meetings, systems work, and other collaborative technologies. Suggesting online programs lack rigor or cannot result in “real” learning is harmful, technophobic, and helps maintain the whiteness of academic libraries. This attitude favors applicants with the wealth and time to enroll in face to face programs, even though very little of their development as librarians occurs in lecture style, classroom settings. “Candidates must prove that they want it enough, prove that they are ‘the best’, where ‘the best’ sometimes just means the most willing and able to work for free” (Hudson, 2014).

Conspicuous leisure manifests in the time lost learning to perform whiteness and the wealth required to do so effectively. Unpack for a moment what the notion of being “put together” professionally involves: hairstyles, makeup, becoming comfortable in costuming which may or may not be designed for our bodies, voice coaching to eliminate accents and modify tone, time for exercise to appear “healthy”, orthopedics to address poor posture, orthodontics and teeth whitening, eye contacts if our lenses distort our appearance, concealing body modifications, and the countless ways marginalized librarians modify gesture, develop behavioral scripts, and otherwise conceal their authentic selves in the interest of survival.

Favoring applications with access to time and wealth is a larger manifestation of problems in hiring for libraries: we choose people like us because it is easy, rather than advocating for different views by picking “unfamiliar” candidates who might interrogate the processes. This manifests in micro (but no less harmful) aggressions if librarians who aren’t white and middle class manage to get hired and do not perform to “model minority” standards or otherwise refuse to sit quietly. “Our reviews are full of words like ‘shrill’, ‘abrasive’, ‘hard to work with’, ‘not a team player’, and ‘difficult’. We’re encouraged to be nicer and less intimidating and more helpful. Action items and measurable metrics are nowhere to be found.” (

For marginalized librarians, the successful performance of whiteness may include integrating aspects of the self which allow White Saviors to feel good: I am resilient; I overcome; I have transcended my station. Such gestures convey applicants understand the rules of whiteness and hidden curriculum of the academy. Strategically revealed narratives of working nonstandard hours, surviving “bad” neighborhoods, single parents, holding multiple jobs while attending school, and similar stories can become currency in white culture (Cecire, 2015).

White culture embraces stories of overcoming intense odds while learning to perform whiteness, in the same way it creates and consumes stories of poverty tourism and role play for self-promotion: food stamp challenges, homeless awareness “sleep outs”, and the ever-expanding White Savior industrial complex. Recently, these stories have migrated away from individual librarians to libraries as institutions: media coverage of uprisings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and others center the library as a character in resiliency narratives. While the institution benefits in the short term from increased attention and support, this reinforces an ongoing messaging problem: libraries are most visible in the context of state sponsored violence. Libraries cannot simply possess inherent value, they must be framed as populist defenders or as sanctuary. Above all else they must struggle.

By contrast, librarianship assumes access to wealth or tolerance for debt to afford tuition, professional membership, and service opportunities. If I activate my American Library Association membership for all divisions and sections applicable for my job, the annual fee would come to $223 USD. This does not include conference registration fees, travel costs, a safe place to rest, or food. Activity in local and regional groups varies in cost, depending on the organization’s philosophy.

Competitiveness in the current job market requires at minimum a well-placed practicum experience conducting librarian level work, but only students with access to money can afford to take an unpaid internship. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums throughout the United States continue exploiting unpaid labor, insuring the pool of well-qualified academic librarians skews white and middle class.

In the application process, asking for salary history is careless and further privileges a particular kind of applicant. For marginalized hires, salary history is another instance in a lifetime of humiliating scrutiny and surveillance on behalf of the state: the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), housing vouchers, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), charity organizations, free or reduced cost student lunches, and invasive discussions with intervention professionals. FAFSA and SNAP programs are specific to the United States, but surveillance apparatus can be found wherever the “dole” exists.

Librarianship as a profession suffers when practitioners conflate sacrifice with worth, as though receiving comparatively lower salaries were justified due to our status as workers with a “calling”. Marginalized librarians–especially women–are taught to avoid negotiation and highlighting their accomplishments, to say nothing of diminished opportunities to build a livable salary history. This is culturally reinforced, as women pay measurable social costs for promoting themselves (Bowles, 2007). Marginalized librarians find themselves trapped in a rigged process: provide salary history and be underpaid, demand more and be rejected, all with the knowledge that salary will provide access to professional development opportunities.

For marginalized librarians, functioning at work requires navigating white cultural norms, conforming to professional orientations potentially at odds with their identity, taking on the additional work of speaking for an entire group of people (Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson & Tanaka, 2014) and for women, engaging in emotional labor to “be nicer” rather than producing tangible results. Librarianship can claim to recruit a diverse workforce, but without interrogating whiteness, the only winning move for marginalized librarians is not to play. The responsibility of fostering an inclusive workforce must fall to white librarians in power.


Interrogating Whiteness

How can we interrogate the process? As I watch other marginalized librarians go through their job searches, a few ideas come to mind:

  • In the absence of paid internships, offer professional development: pay for a conference or workshop attendance fees. If this is not possible, integrate opportunities for networking and mimicking the gestures of professional socialization.
  • Offer hands-on, project driven assignments, and create opportunities to showcase critical thinking and data-driven decision making to interns. Weeding books for three weeks and journaling the experience in a blog is not a solid project, yet I’ve seen this offered as one a half dozen times. Practicum requirements in library and information science graduate programs are meant to be process assignments; a conversation about meaningful, engaging work is part of that process.
  • Offer flexible times for internships. Requiring specific availability is the prerogative of the library, but understand this limits the diversity of your applicant pool. Partial or fully virtual internships offer tremendous opportunities for the library to expand as a truly 24-hour entity.
  • Update boilerplate job descriptions to remove salary history requirements. Given the profession’s reliance on unpaid labor and part-time work, salary history does not reflect individual worth or ability.
  • Screen interview notes for biased language.
  • “Doesn’t seem professional” as criticism without articulating why is a problem.
  • When someone says “I just like them better,” find out why.
  • If search committees consistently defer to one member, find out why.
  • Decide what you are attempting to measure with interview questions. Open-ended questions have answers that feel correct–there’s nothing wrong with behavioral interviews but hiding bias in a “correct” answer or “gut feeling” is a problem.
  • Avoid using White Savior narratives when dealing with communities and patrons in poverty.
  • When seeking marginalized employees to serve on diversity, hiring, or outreach committees, consider if this is the only kind of service work they’re asked to do.  Consistently asking the same people to perform emotional labor causes burnout and suggests the organization is not listening to marginalized staff.
  • Remember diversity is not always visible, and people should not have to disclose their lived experience to be heard by the organization. Provide anonymous options for employee feedback.
  • Give people the power to do their jobs. Actionably curious librarians without basic agency required to explore reskilling and shifting responsibilities causes breathtaking harm to our profession. Research suggests a number of librarians are bypassing this conversation altogether to avoid paternal IT policy, hostile administration, and often both (Yelton, 2015). Librarians in environments with agency and trust consistently build wonderful things.


Librarianship in the United States lacks diversity because the existing workforce functions within oppressive structures, while the culture of whiteness in libraries maintains them. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is the responsibility of all librarians, but this process will move faster with individual voices in power interrogating bias in their practices. While these suggestions are not exhaustive nor universal in their application, I hope they can function as starting points for difficult but necessary discussions.

Thanks to Cecily Walker, Jessica Olin, and Annie Pho for asking hard questions and wading through my rusty prose. Cecily in particular tolerated many stream-of-consciousness Twitter DMs. This essay would not exist without Stephanie Sendaula, Brit Bennett, and many other librarians and writers whose work shaped my thoughts. I am grateful for the library and information science job seekers who shared their anxieties, their victories, and infectious tenacity.

Works Cited

Bennett, Brit. (2014, December 17). I Don’t Know What To Do With Good White People. Jezebel. (Accessed 12/20/2014)

Bennett, Brit. [@britbennett]. (2015, April 3). As someone who has been in so many privileged spaces, I know that murky place between gratitude and anger all too well. [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Bowles, H. R., Babcock, L., & Lai, L. (May 01, 2007). Social incentives for gender differences in the propensity to initiate negotiations: Sometimes it does hurt to ask. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 103, 1, 84-103.

Cammarota, J. (January 01, 2011). Blindsided by the Avatar: White Saviors and Allies out of Hollywood and in Education. Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies,33, 3, 242-259.

Cecire, Natalia. (2015, April 26) Resilience and Unbreakability. Works Cited (Accessed 04/27/2015)

Costello, C. Y. (2005). Professional identity crisis: Race, class, gender, and success at professional schools. Nashville, Tenn: Vanderbilt University Press.

Dews, C. L. B., & Law, C. L. (1995). This fine place so far from home: Voices of academics from the working class. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. See Carolyn Leste Law’s introduction and Laurel Johnson Black’s essay, “Stupid Rich Bastards”.

Drabinski, E. (April 01, 2013). Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction. The Library Quarterly, 83, 2, 94-111.

Ewen, S. (1988). All consuming images: The politics of style in contemporary culture. New York: Basic Books.

Gonzalez-Smith, Swanson, & Tanaka (2014). Unpacking Identity: Racial, Ethnic, and Professional Identity and Academic Librarians of Color. In Pagowsky, N., & Rigby, M. E. (eds). The librarian stereotype: Deconstructing perceptions and presentations of information work. (149-173). Chicago, IL. Association of College & Research Libraries.

Haras, C., Lopez, E. M., & Ferry, K. (September 01, 2008). (Generation 1.5) Latino Students and the Library: A Case Study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 34, 5, 425-433.

Hudson, Cate. (November 18, 2014) We Hire The Best. Model View Culture, 18: Hiring. (Accessed 2/10/2015).

McMillan Cottom, Tresse. (2013, October 29) The Logic of Stupid Poor People. tressiemc (Accessed 03/25/2014)

Riis, J. A. (1890). How the other half lives: Studies among the tenements of New York. (Making of America.) New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Sadler, B., Bourg, C. (2015). Feminism and the Future of Library Discovery. Code4Lib Journal, 28. (Accessed 4/15/2015)

Salo, D. (August 15, 2013). How to Scuttle a Scholarly-Communication Initiative. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 1, 4.)

Sendaula, Stephanie. [@sendulas]. (2015, March 26). LRT: Plus, it’s super awkward when colleagues and/or patrons ask if you’re the diversity hire. [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Sin, S. C. J. (January 01, 2011). Neighborhood disparities in access to information resources: Measuring and mapping U.S. public libraries’ funding and service landscapes. Library and Information Science Research, 33, 1, 41-53.

Williams III, J., Van Arnhem, J. (2015) But Then You Have to Make It Happen Code4Lib Journal, 28. (Accessed 4/15/2015)

Yelton, A. (April, 2015). Political and Social Dimensions of Library Code. (Chapter 5) (Report). Library Technology Reports, 51, 3.


Open Knowledge Foundation: Apply to attend OpenCon2015

Wed, 2015-06-03 11:29

Applications to attend OpenCon 2015 are now open.

OpenCon 2015 is the student and early career academic professional conference on Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data and will be held on November 14-16, 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. It is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), and an Organizing Committee of students and early career researchers from around the world.

Jonathan Gray from Open Knowledge is on the organising committee and we are very excited to be supporting this event! Open Knowledge’s mission is to open up all essential public interest information and see it used to create insight that drives change. Open Access, Open Access to Research data and Open Education are an important part of this mission.

Applications to attend OpenCon are open until June 22nd, but applicants are encouraged to apply early. OpenCon seeks to bring together the most capable, motivated students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data—regardless of their ability to cover travel costs. In 2014, more than 80% of attendees received support. Due to this, attendance at OpenCon is by application only.

Applicants can request a full or partial travel scholarship, which will be awarded to most of those accepted. OpenCon 2015 will convene students and early career academic professionals from around the world and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation to advance OpenCon’s three focus areas—Open Access, Open Education, and Open Research Data. Through a program of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, and hackathons, participants will build skills in key areas—from raising institutional awareness to coordinating national-level campaigns effectively. Apply early at

Open Library Data Additions: Amazon Crawl: part bv

Wed, 2015-06-03 11:00

Part bv of Amazon crawl..

This item belongs to: data/ol_data.

This item has files of the following types: Data, Data, Metadata, Text

DuraSpace News: REGISTER: From Theory to Action–A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Preservation Tools and Strategies

Wed, 2015-06-03 00:00

On June 30 and July 1, the Digital POWRR team will be conducting two FREE, day-long workshop at Portland State University entitled From Theory to Action: A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Preservation Tools and Strategies. This full-day workshop is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence.

pinboard: code4lib on Twitter: "Job: Space/Time Directory Engineer at New York Public Library"

Tue, 2015-06-02 23:10
RT @jschneider: Kickass title: "Space/Time Directory Engineer" at @NYPL #code4lib #jobfairy

LibUX: Almost all LibGuides Use the Same Template

Tue, 2015-06-02 22:52

Springshare is the gold-star standard of customer service in the library vendorspace. What’s more, LibGuides — their content management system — is increasingly designer- and developer-friendly. That’s pretty rare. With version 2.0, they rolled-out a new templating system, and since now that it’s been almost a year I started to wonder how folks were using it.

@schoeyfield these #'s aren't perfect but roughly 92% of guides are tabbed nav. W/ 47% of pgs in those guides set to 3 cols. (2 cols @ 37%)

— springshare (@springshare) May 29, 2015

LibGuides Templates in Use by Menu Type

Almost all LibGuides are using templates with tabs-across-the-top navigation.

LibGuides Column-based Pages by Column Count

Of the 92% of LibGuides that used tab navigation with columns, 47% of pages use a 3 column layout.

This post is part of a new data collection we hope you can use as a reference to make smart decisions. If you’re interested in more of the same, follow @libuxdata on Twitter, or continue the conversation on our Facebook group.

The post Almost all LibGuides Use the Same Template appeared first on LibUX.

SearchHub: Lucidworks Fusion Now Available in AWS Marketplace

Tue, 2015-06-02 22:22
While it’s been easy to download and install Fusion on your own machine, we’ve worked with Amazon Web Services to offer it pre-installed on Amazon Machine Images, so it’s even easier to trial or get started using Fusion. If you don’t have easy access to a machine with the recommended OS, disk space, or memory, you can launch an instance of Fusion in the AWS cloud and have it running on a suitably configured system with just one click. We are offering two editions of Fusion in the AWS Marketplace. Both editions run the same software, but are offered under different terms and usage scenarios:
  • The Lucidworks Fusion demo is available without any software fees. It will only run on selected sizes of AWS EC2 hardware. You can use this edition to experiment with features and functionality of Fusion. Support is not offered on this version.
  • The Lucidworks Fusion standard server is intended for production use and is offered at hourly or annual rates. It is available on a wider variety of more powerful hardware, allowing you to use Fusion at larger scales. Importantly, this edition also includes standard product support to provide assurance to your production deployment.
If you haven’t had the chance to try out Fusion, here’s one more option to get you up and running, and see how you can use it to create powerful search-based applications.

The post Lucidworks Fusion Now Available in AWS Marketplace appeared first on Lucidworks.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Koha - 3.16.11

Tue, 2015-06-02 21:53

Last updated June 2, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on June 2, 2015.
Log in to edit this page.

Package: KohaRelease Date: Sunday, May 31, 2015

Eric Lease Morgan: HathiTrust Workset Browser on GitHub

Tue, 2015-06-02 21:17

I have put my (fledgling) HathiTrust Workset Browser on GitHub. Try:

The Browser is a tool for doing “distant reading” against HathiTrust “worksets”. Given a workset rsync file, it will cache the workset’s content locally, index it, create some reports against the content, and provide the means to search/browse the collection. It should run out of the box on Linux and Macintosh computers. It requires the bash shell and Python, which come for free on these operating systems. Some sample content is available at:

Developing code with and through GitHub is interesting. I’m learning.

District Dispatch: You did it! USA FREEDOM on its way to the President’s desk

Tue, 2015-06-02 20:38

Moments ago, after three amendments that would have gutted it failed in a series of roll call votes, the USA FREEDOM Act passed the Senate by a vote of 67 to 32.  Having previously passed the House by one of the largest bipartisan margins in recent history (338- 88), the first serious reform of the nation’s surveillance law is now en route to the White House where the President is poised to sign it this evening.

Victories like this don’t just happen.  They take collaboration with equally committed organizations and activists, and they take thousands of librarians fighting for years to restore the civil liberties of Americans eroded by the PATRIOT Act and the excesses of the NSA and other agencies.  This first but important victory is yours.

Tomorrow, the fight for further badly needed reforms will go on. Tonight, ALA thanks its allies in Washington and, most of all, you – for your commitment, for your passion, and for answering the call when it came to contact Congress and demand that it right serious wrongs.

You passed the USA FREEDOM Act today because you answered the call. BRAVO!

(ALA’s official statement is online here.)

The post You did it! USA FREEDOM on its way to the President’s desk appeared first on District Dispatch.

Shelley Gullikson: My CAIS poster about library space: background

Tue, 2015-06-02 20:01

I’m presenting a poster at the CAIS Conference on Wednesday, June 3 on some of the work I’ve been doing on student use of library space. I tried to limit the wordiness of the poster, so am including the background information here. I still have to check with the organizers about whether I can post a copy of the poster here after the conference, but if not I’ll give some high-level findings.

Our newly renovated library includes a great new space for undergraduate research (the Discovery Centre), which is administered outside of the library. Work is being done to evaluate the use of that space and I wanted to make sure that the rest of the space in the building was also being evaluated. Reading the literature about library space, I saw that many evaluations of space happen at a single point of time or, if they recur, a few times over a single day, or the same time of day over a single week. I knew that the use of our building changed throughout the day and throughout the term. I wanted to look at how the various spaces in our building were being used, and see how that use changed over time.

I started with pretty basic seat sweeps, using a floor plan and tracking where people were sitting and if any group work was being done. Happily, this was quickly taken over by the library’s Stacks staff as part of their regular routine. They did sweeps of all five floors of the library morning, afternoon, and evening, Monday to Friday from the beginning of November until the end of April. I analyzed that data, looking particularly at any trends that emerged around time of day or over the course of the term.

(The sweeps involved stupidly labour-intensive data collection, data entry, and data analysis. There is definitely a better way to do this. Libraries at NCSU and GVSU have some great models, but I knew that taking the time to investigate and adapt these to my own library would push the data collection even later in the school year, so I chose more difficult data gathering sooner rather than more efficient data gathering later. I find it easy to postpone projects when I know I can’t do them “the right way” but in this case I decided to Just Fucking Do It.)

At the same time, I was part of another project to evaluate how students were using the space in the Discovery Centre and the rest of the library. Part of that project included a questionnaire, and the poster includes selected results from that – mostly around group work. I wanted to include results from photo elicitation in the poster but wasn’t able to get enough participation this spring. I hope to get that part done this fall.

District Dispatch: My First Book Expo America

Tue, 2015-06-02 19:34

From Wikimedia Commons.

I went for work, of course.Our assignment was to meet with middle to small sized trade publishers to talk about ebooks and business models, make contacts, share expectations, and identify obstacles. We came away with a lot of good information and ideas, which are discussed in Carol Anthony’s e-content blog post.

But in this personal note, it was weird talking about ebooks when there were so many print books around! Sure, there are a lot of books in libraries, in bookstores, or at ALA conference exhibits, but not like in this extravaganza. Imagine well-crafted displays everywhere, piles of books, ribbons and banners, huge house-size posters of David Balducci, publisher swag, and people — lots of people.

Who cares about ebooks! Long live print!

It was hard to concentrate on ebooks at times, because the exhibit hall was loud, and did I mention— there were all of these books around! Pretty, colorful books; darling children’s books; gardening books; a bunch of recipe books that I wanted; and of course, cute photos of puppies and kittens on some of the book covers. Don’t get me wrong. I love books, but …I could not wait to get out of there.

On the last day, I arrived early to meet with a representative from Sourcebooks. We planned to meet at the Sourcebooks exhibit. Already, there were lines of people outside of the exhibit hall. I then learned that registrants have a limited opportunity to grab free books each morning when the exhibits open. There were several guards positioned, anticipating a frenzy. Everyone was pretty excited, and ready to run.

When the exhibits did open, the mass rush ensued. One contingent of women dashed past by me, their lieutenant yelling “Go to HarperCollins!”  I tried to get out of the way but not before I was bumped from behind firmly on my right side. Due to the ridiculously heavy bag I had over my shoulder, the blow was magnified to such an extent that I twirled a full 360 degrees, but remained standing ….and still in everybody’s way. I could hear breathing down my neck. “Go! Go! Move out of the way!” (Some people even cursed).

Luckily, Sourcebooks was only half way up the exhibit aisle so I was relatively unscathed, but some were not so lucky. Later in the day, I did see one woman down… and she was carrying a cane.

Oh the humanity!

Apparently, Book Con is even more intense, making Book Expo America look like a ride in the park. Print is alive, books are beautiful, and free books —they can be dangerous.

The post My First Book Expo America appeared first on District Dispatch.

David Rosenthal: Brittle systems

Tue, 2015-06-02 15:00
In my recent rant on the Internet of Things, I linked to Mike O'Dell's excellent post to Dave Farber's IP list, Internet of Obnoxious Things, and suggested you read it. I'm repeating that advice as, below the fold, I start from a different part of Mike's post.

Mike writes:
The problem with pursuing such a goal is that it has led us down a path of "brittle failure" where things work right up until they fail, and then they fail catastrophically. The outcome is forced to be binary.

In most of Computer Science, there have been only relatively modest efforts directed at building systems which fail gracefully, or partially. Certainly some sub-specialties have spent a lot of effort on this notion, but it is not the norm in the education of a journeyman system builder.

If it is the case that we are unlikely to build any large system which is fail-proof, and that certainly seems to be the situation, we need to focus on building systems which can tolerate, isolate, and survive local failures.My response also made the IP list:
Mike is absolutely right to point out the brittle nature of most current systems. But education isn't going to fix this. My co-authors and I won Best Paper at SOSP2003 for showing a system in a restricted application space that, under attack, failed slowly and made "alarming noises". The analogy is with suspension bridges - they use stranded cables for just this reason.

However, the cost differential between stranded and solid cables in a bridge is small. Brittle fault-tolerant systems such as Byzantine Fault Tolerance are a lot more expensive than a non-fault-tolerant system that (most of the time) does the same job. Systems such as the one we showed are a lot more expensive than BFT. This is because three essential aspects of a, I believe any, solution are rate limits, excess replication and randomization.

The problem is that vendors of systems are allowed to disclaim liability for their products. Given that even the most egregious failure is unlikely to cause more than reputational harm, why would a vendor even implement BFT, let alone something much more expensive?

Just finding techniques that allow systems to fail gracefully is not going to be enough (not that it is happening). We need techniques that do so with insignificant added cost. That is a truly hard problem. But we also need to change the law so that vendors cannot escape financial liability for the failures of their products. That is an even harder problem.I should explain the comment about the importance of "rate limits, excess replication and randomization":
  • Rate Limits: The design goal of almost all systems is to do what the user wants as fast as possible. This means that when the bad guy wrests control of the system from the user, the system will do what the bad guy wants as fast as possible. Doing what the bad guy wants as fast as possible pretty much defines brittleness in a system; failures will be complete and abrupt. In last year's talk at UC Berkeley's Swarm Lab I pointed out that rate limits were essential to LOCKSS, and linked to Paul Vixie's article Rate-Limiting State making the case for rate limits on DNS, NTP and other Internet services. Imposing rate limits on system components makes the overall system more expensive.
  • Excess Replication: The standard fault-tolerance technique, Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT), is brittle. As faults in the system increase, it works perfectly until they pass a threshold. After that the system is completely broken. The reason is that BFT defines the minimum number of replicas that can survive a given number of faults. In order to achieve this minimum, every replica is involved in every operation of the system. There is no cushion of excess, unnecessary replicas to help the system retain some functionality above the threshold at which it stops behaving perfectly. The LOCKSS system was not concerned with minimizing the number of replicas. It assumed that it had excess replicas, Lots Of Copies, so it could Keep Stuff Safe by failing gradually as faults increased. Adding replicas to the system makes it more expensive.
  • Randomization: In general, the more predictable the behavior of the system the easier it is to attack. Randomizing the system's behavior makes it unpredictable. A significant part of the LOCKSS system's defenses is that since the selection of replicas to take part in each operation is random, the bad guy cannot predict which they are. Adding randomization to the system makes it more expensive (and harder to debug and test).
Debugging and testing were key to Karl Auerbach's contribution to the IP list discussion (reproduced in full by permission):
One of the motivations for packet switching and the ARPAnet was the ability to continue communications even during/after a nuclear holocaust. (Yes, I know that some people claim that that was not the purpose - but I was there, at SDC, from 1972 building ARPAnet like networks with that specific purpose.)

In recent years, or decades, we seem to be moving towards network architectures that are more brittle.

For example, there is a lot of discussion about "Software Defined Networks" and Openflow - which to my mind is ATM re-invented. Every time I look at it I think to myself "this design invites brittle failures."

My personal concern is slightly different. I come from a family of repairmen - radio and then TV - so when I look at something I wonder "how can it break?" and "how can it be repaired?".

We've engineered the internet so that it is not easy to diagnose problems. Unlike Ma Bell we have not learned to make remote loopbacks a mandatory part of many parts of the system. Thus we often have a flat, one sided view of what is happening. And if we need the view from the other end we often have to ask assistance of non-technical people who lack proper tools or knowledge how to use them.

As a first step we ought to be engineering more test points and remote loopback facilities into internet protocols and devices.

And a second step ought to be the creation of a database of network pathology. With that we can begin to create tools that help us reason backwards from symptoms towards causes. I'm not talking artificial intelligence or even highly expert systems. Rather this would be something that would help us look at symptoms, understand possible causes, and know what tests we need to run to begin to evaluate which of the possible causes are candidates and which are not.Examples of brittle systems abound:
  • SSL is brittle in many ways. Browsers trust a pre-configured list of certificate authorities, whose role is to provide the illusion of security. If any one of them is malign or incompetent, the system is completely broken, as we see with the recent failure of the official Chinese certificate authority.
  • IP routing is brittle. Economic pressures have eliminated the "route around failure" property of the IP networks that Karl was building to survive nuclear war. Advertizing false routes is a routine trick used by the bad guys to divert traffic for interception.
  • Perimeter security as implemented in firewalls is brittle. Once the bad guy is inside there are few limits on what, and how fast, he can do Bad Things.
  • The blockchain, and its applications such as Bitcoin are brittle.
The blockchain is brittle because it can be taken over by a conspiracy. As I wrote in another of my contributions to the IP list, responding to and quoting from this piece of techno-optimism:
The revolution in progress can generally be described as “disintermediation”. It is the transference of trust, data, and ownership infrastructure from banks and businesses into distributed peer to peer network protocols.

A distributed “world wide ledger” is one of several technologies transforming our highly centralized structures. This technology, cryptically named the “block chain” is embodied in several distributed networks such as Bitcoin, Eris Industries DB, and Ethereum.

Through an encrypted world wide ledger built on a block chain, trust in the systems maintained by third party human institutions can be replaced by trust in math. In block chain systems, account identity and transactions are cryptographically verified by network “consensus” rather than by trust in a single third party. These techno-optimists never seem to ask "what could possibly go wrong"? To quote from this blog post:
Since then, there has been a flood of proposals to base other P2P storage systems, election voting, even a replacement for the Internet on blockchain technology. Every one of these proposals for using the blockchain as a Solution for Everything I've looked at appears to make three highly questionable assumptions:
There have been times in the past when a single mining pool controlled more than 50% of the mining power, and thus the blockchain. That pool is known to have abused their control of the blockchain.

As I write this, 3 pools control 57% of the mining power. Thus a conspiracy between three parties would control the blockchain. More than two decades ago at Sun I was convinced that making systems ductile (the opposite of brittle) was the hardest and most important problem in system engineering. After working on it in the LOCKSS Program for nearly 17 years I'm still convinced that this is true.

Library of Congress: The Signal: Dodge that Memory Hole: Saving Digital News

Tue, 2015-06-02 14:00

Newspapers are some of the most-used collections at libraries. They have been carefully selected and preserved and represent what is often referred to as “the first draft of history.” Digitized historical newspapers provide broad and rich access to a community’s past, enabling new kinds of inquiry and research. However, these kinds of resources are at risk of being lost to future users.  Networked digital technologies have changed how we communicate with each other and have rapidly changed how information is disseminated. These changes have had a drastic effect in the news industry, disrupting delivery mechanisms, upending business models and dispersing  resources across the world wide web.

Current library acquisition and preservation methods for news are closely linked to the physical newspaper. Ensuring that the new modes of journalism, which are moving toward a “digital- and mobile-first” model, are captured and preserved at libraries and other memory institutions is the main goal of the Dodging the Memory Hole series of events. The first was organized in November 2014 by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.  The most recent took place in May of 2015 and was organized by the Educopia Institute at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library in Charlotte, NC.

Hong Kong, 31st day of the Umbrella Revolution, taken October 28, 2014 by Pasu Au Yeung.

I had the opportunity to close out the May meeting and highlight areas where continued work would have an impact in helping libraries collect, preserve and provide access to born-digital news. A (slightly longer but hopefully clearer) version of my talk (pdf) is below.

I want to start with a photograph from last year’s protest in Hong Kong known as the Umbrella Revolution. The picture speaks to the complexity of the problem we face in capturing and preserving the news of today. The protest was unique in that it was one of the first protests in China organized, sustained and broadcast via social media. Capturing a diverse set of materials about this news event would mean capturing the stories from established media companies and the writings and images from individual blogs and other social media. This is especially important in the case of the Umbrella Revolution because official media outlets (and social media accounts) in China are often censored. This protest was also an example of how activism in general has adapted due to networked digital technologies. Future researchers studying social and political movements happening right now would never get the whole story without access to the social media.

The role of the journalist is to get the story out and just like other publishers in the digital age, they’ve had to adapt to stay relevant. Digital storytelling is becoming more dynamic,  exemplified by publications like Highline, a new long-form product from Huffington Post which is richly illustrated with audio and visual elements and is translated into a variety of languages. We can expect that in the pursuit of getting the story out and advancing story telling, news content will come from more sources, be more dynamic and continue using all kinds of formats and distribution mechanisms.

Memory hole.

Libraries have also been transformed by digital technologies. There are a large number of digitized collections; we are creating vast and rich resources and, I think, providing great access and good stewardship to a large amount of this digitized content. Chronicling America and the Digital Public Library of America are great examples of this. However, there are gaps–or holes–in our collections, especially the born-digital content about contemporary events. Libraries haven’t broadly adopted collecting practices so that they are relevant to the current publishing environment which today is dominated by the web.

Several people at this meeting mentioned the study done by Andy Jackson (ppt) at the British Library. I have his permission to share these slides which he presented at the recent General Assembly of the International Internet Preservation Consortium. It is a simple but powerful study of ten years (2004-2014) worth of content from the UK Web Archive. It aims to find out what they have in their archive that is not on the live web anymore. He looked at a sample of URLs per year and analyzed the content to determine if the content at the URL in the archive was still at the same URL on the live web. He broke down and color coded the URLs according to a percentage scale expressing if the content was moved, changed, missing or gone. He found that after one year half of the content was either gone or had been changed so much as to be unrecognizable. After ten years almost no content still resides at its original URL. This analysis was done across all domains but you can make a logical assumption that news content wouldn’t fare any better if subjected to this same type of analysis.

Fifty percent of URLS in the UK Web Archive have lost or missing content after one year. After ten years nearly all content is moved, changed, missing or gone. Credit: Taken from a presentation given by Andy Jackson at the IIPC GA  Apr 27, 2015. The full presentation available at

We have clear data that if content is not captured from the web soon after its creation, it is at risk. Which brings me to where I think our main challenge is with collecting born-digital news: library acquisition policies and practices. Libraries collect the majority of their content by buying something–a newspaper subscription, a standing order for a serial publication, a package of titles from a publisher, an access license from an aggregator, etc. The news content that’s available for purchase and printed in a newspaper is a small subset of the content that’s created and available online. Videos, interactive graphs, comments and other user-generated data are almost exclusively available online. The absence of an acquisition stream for this content puts it at risk of being lost to future library and archives users.

Establishing relationships (and eventually agreements) with the organizations that create, distribute and own news content is one of the more promising strategies for libraries to collect digital news content.  Brian Hocker from KXAS-TV, an NBC affiliate in the Dallas area, shared the story of how KXAS partnered with the University of North Texas Libraries to digitize, share and ultimately preserve their station’s video archives as part of the Portal for Texas History. Jim Kroll from the Denver Public library also shared his story of acquiring the archives of the Rocky Mountain News after the newspaper ceased publication. Both stories emphasized the importance of establishing lasting relationships with decision-makers from news outlets in their respective communities. They also each created donor agreements that provided community access to the news archives which can serve as models for future agreements.

The relationships that enabled these agreements were the result of what I think of as entrepreneurial collection development in the model of acquiring special collections. The archives were pursed actively and over time, they represent a new type of content, required a new type of relationship with a donor and were a good fit–both geographically and topically–with existing collections at UNT and DPL.

Web archiving is another promising strategy to capture and preserve born-digital news. The Library of Congress recently announced its effort to save news websites, specifically those not affiliated with traditional news companies. Ben Walsh, creator of, announced that his service is now Memento-compliant, which will allow the archived front pages of websites from major-market newspapers that PastPages collects to be available in a Momento search. These projects will capture content at a national level, but the hyper-local news sites and citizen journalism and other niche blogs– news that used to be published as community newsletters or pamphlets–are most likely not being captured. Internet Archive’s Archive-It service is a mechanism for smaller libraries to engage in web archiving and capture some of this unique content. Capturing the social media around news events continues to be challenging but tools have been developed to capture tweets and collections of tweets around news events are being captured and shared.

The Dodging the Memory Hole events have thus far been excellent opportunities to bring librarians, archivists, the news industry and technologists together to help save news content for future generations. Look for more from this group on awareness raising, studies on what news content has already been lost, collaborations with the developers of news content management systems, and more guidance on developing donation agreements. To read more about the event, check out Trevor Owens’ report on the IMLS blog.

Open Knowledge Foundation: Why Open Contracting Matters to the OGP Agenda in Africa

Tue, 2015-06-02 13:53

This is a guest post by Seember Nyager. Seember is an Open Knowledge/Code4Africa Open Government Fellow advocating for the adoption of open contracting data standards in Nigeria.

To be honest, the state of public services across Africa shames us. Often, you find that public services do not meet the generally accepted standards of efficiency, regular maintenance and service delivery. In most cases, it is unknown and improbable whether public services followed any specifications in the phase of contract execution and service delivery is often poor and non-standardized.

The state of public services on the continent is hard to relate with the abundance of our natural resources and the amount of external financing that is channeled to Africa in each year. The standard of Public service delivery has consequences; sometimes tragic and the prevalence of tragedy is witnessed in our health care systems. Arguably the most tragic consequence of low standards in public service delivery is the erosion of trust between the Government and the people as this is the greatest saboteur of good intentions that are in the public interest.

There is no quick fix to the infrastructure and service delivery deficit that plagues the continent. Some public services such as efficient transportation networks may only be fully operational after a decade. But there are ways to rebuild trust between Governments and the citizens and chart a formidable course for sustained efficiency in public service delivery.

In another vein, citizens of OGP participating countries may not know about the OGP and in the light of the current commitments being made by countries, may view OGP as an abstract concept that they do not need to involve themselves with. But there is compelling reason to believe that citizens of OGP participating countries may be able to relate and internalize the values behind the OGP if Open Contracting practices are made a part of the OGP agenda in each of these countries.

Open contracting advocates for all stages that lead to public service delivery to be exposed to scrutiny subject to narrowly defined exceptions. Open contracting also advocates that such routine information ought not be requested for but made readily available through multiple channels so that as much as it is possible, the people know where responsibility for the success or failure of public project lies and can participate in the contracting process which ultimately leads to public service delivery.

The scrutiny of the public contracting process requires that information is presented in ways that enables one set of information to be linked to other related information on a public project or service to be delivered. This would require data standards to be followed. Open contracting would require that information is shared through multiple channels and taken to people in formats that they would understand. Open contracting requires that information on public contracts has milestones that show expectations at each stage of contract implementation and specifications that must have been met at each milestone. Open contracting requires that there is publicly available information of the service to be expected at the end of contract execution. Open contracting requires information around the contracting process to be regularly updated and for contracting information to facilitate continuous dialogue between representatives of Government, the people, the contractors and other stakeholders within a community.

For OGP Africa participating countries like Kenya and Ghana who have FOI and RTI bills currently going through parliament, it is recommended that their bills reflect the proactive disclosure provisions on public finance information as contained in the Model Law on Access to Information. This would provide the legal backing for a robust open contracting practice to thrive. For OGP Africa participating countries like South Africa that are currently undergoing a reform to public sector procurement, it is recommended that there are clear requirements backed by law to ensure public participation in each phase of the contracting process.

For OGP participating countries like Sierra Leone who already have a robust access to information and Public Procurement Law, it is recommended that Contracting data such as pricing benchmarks for public contracts is made readily available, the data follows specified standard, is updated regularly and distributed through multiple channels, in ways that the people can understand.

Committing to open contracting practices would require Government and civil society organizations working closely together and the OGP provides that platform. Further, the Open Contracting Partnership and the web foundation have developed Open contracting data standards that would be of great help to each country willing to adopt open contracting practices. As a non-participant to the OGP, I am hopeful that my own country, Nigeria, would prioritize trust in public service delivery by adopting the spirit and practice of Open Contracting.

Seember can be reached on twitter @Seember1

LITA: Create, Build, Code and Hack with a choice of 4 LITA preconferences

Tue, 2015-06-02 13:00

Register now for one of four exciting LITA pre conferences at 2015 ALA Annual in San Francisco.

On Friday, June 26, at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) brings you a choice of 4 dynamic, useful and fun preconferences. These all-day preconferences, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., will teach you how to create, build, code and hack the newest trends in technology for libraries. Register through the 2015 ALA Annual Conference website. The price to register is: $235 for LITA members (use special code LITA2015); $350 for ALA members; and $380 for non-members.

Creating Better Tutorials Through User-Centered Instructional Design. Hands-on workshop with experts from the University of Arizona. Event Code: LIT1

Build a Circuit & Learn to Program an Arduino in a Silicon Valley Hackerspace: Panel of Inventors & Librarians Working Together for a More Creative Tomorrow. This workshop will convene at Noisebridge, a maker space in San Francisco. Clearly, it will be hands on. Event Code: LIT3

Learn to Teach Coding and Mentor Technology Newbies – in Your Library or Anywhere! Work with experts from the Black Girls CODE to become master technology teachers. Event Code: LIT2

Let’s Hack a Collaborative Library Website! This hands-on experience will consist of a morning in-depth introduction to the tools, followed by an afternoon building a single collaborative library website. Event Code: LIT4

Through hands on activities participants will learn to code, build, create and learn to teach others new initiatives such as video tutorials, collaborative website tools, programming languages and arduino boards. These events are intended for any librarian wanting to stretch themselves and meet their patrons in these new hands on technologies worlds.

Notable preconference presenters include: Yvonne Mery, Leslie Sult and Rebecca Blakiston from the University of Arizona Libraries; Mitch Altman of Noisebridge, Brandon (BK) Klevence of The Maker Jawn Initiative (Philadelphia, PA), Angi Chau off the Castilleja School (Palo Alto,CA), Tod Colegrove and Tara M Radniecki of the University of Nevada – Reno; Kimberly Bryant and Lake Raymond from Black Girls CODE; and Kate Bronstad, Heather J Klish of Tufts University; and Junior Tidal of the New York City College of Technology.

See the LITA conference web site for information about LITA events including details on the preconferences, the LITA Presidents program with Lou Rosenfeld, the Top Technology Trends panel, and social events.

For questions, contact Mark Beatty, LITA Programs and Marketing Specialist at or (312) 280-4268.