ImprovEverywhere’s Ghostbusters Library Promo

A fun promo for New York Public Library: Thanks ImprovEverywhere!

Want to see more library promos with movie or tv themes? Check out the Musings About Librarianship top twelve list.

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Fall 2010 at SJSU SLIS: Week 2

Much better than week 1. Much, much better. Sigh of relief.

I’ve turned in my first assignment, read the required readings, and feel settled into the fall semester. I’m way more organized and finally can get a grip. The major hiccup for me during week 2 was the discovery of a vampire novella, Dinner With a Vampire. Did I mention I’m Vegetarian?, available online at Wattpad, an eBook community. I only have Twitter to blame for alerting me to the story in 140 characters or less (and myself, of course, for following the link, retweeting it myself, and getting sucked in). I spent a day obsessively reading a story about a teenage girl who is kidnapped by hot teenage vampires. Seriously, this gives the traditional captivity narrative a new twist. Twisted, but fun. Seriously guilty pleasure. I had to cut myself off, though. I haven’t finished reading it, so I still don’t know how it ends. Does she get away? Does she get turned into a vampire? Is it all a dream? Who knows. Maybe I’ll read more for Labor Day. Gotta love three day weekends. Although, three day weekends have little meaning in the online classes environment. I mean, my assignment was due Sunday night. Weekend-interruptus syndrome. Oh well.

As for school, I’ve been thinking about my research methods course. I’ll have to write a research proposal this semester which I may link to my summer internship at GTU. I interned at the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library and did a lot of research on copyright issues for pre-1972 sound recordings. I’d like to find out how other organizations are handling this issue, and specifically if the complexity of intellectual property law for this particular class of resources does indeed hamper efforts at digitization and digital preservation. Of course, I don’t know what research if any exists on this topic, but I expect if this becomes my topic, I will soon find out. I also know from experience how daunting the intellectual property issues are.

I’ll be refining my research proposal idea over the coming week. I’m sure I’ll have more to add by then.

As for other projects, not much progress yet. My fall internship for Bancroft Library in Berkeley still hasn’t started. My ePortfolio (thesis project) is slow going, but at least it is going. And I plug away little by little at understanding and using RDA to catalog with MARC. All of these will be ramping up soon, and I will be very very busy.

Holy moly. This fall semester is going to be nuts. But oh, how I like me some nuts!

School’s Out For Summer, err…Summer’s Out For School?

Wow, it is so hard to believe, summer is officially over. School starts again on Wednesday. I’ve already been checking in on my course websites, and spent all morning trying to add a class late–so it feels like school is already in session.

This week I complete my internship, I just have some polishing to do on my metadata and copyright documents, and of course a final check in with my site supervisor at GTU‘s Flora Lamson Hewlett Library. This week is going to be busy, but exciting.

I also got news that I was selected for an internship at UC Berkeley‘s Bancroft Library (want to check the library out? Go to their open house on Wednesday 8/25/2010). I’ll be processing manuscript collections along with three other interns. I start in mid-September. Also very exciting.

So, welcome to my final semester at SJSU! I will graduate with my masters in Library and Information Science in December. Wow! Time flies.

Coming to a Close: Summer Digitization Internship

My summer digitization internship at the Graduate Theological Union‘s Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, has been different than expected. But as it comes to a close, I’ve reviewed my anticipated learning outcomes, and realize that I’ve met my goals. I started with a wild list of possible learning outcomes, that no one could possibly meet in one short summer. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and I pared the list down to three fairly specific goals:

  1. Competently use equipment and software for 1) the digitization of reel-to-reel audio tapes and 2) the management of digital files online in accordance with industry standards and best practices.
  2. Plan, assess and create descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata in order to support the discovery, management, and preservation of digital files.
  3. Demonstrate competence in applying knowledge of legal and ethical issues surrounding intellectual property in the management of digital collections in the online environment.

By tailoring the list so specifically, I was able to self direct my activities to a certain degree and spend the time it took (a luxury I realize working professionals don’t always have) to review material and learn about new aspects of the project, rather than flailing from task to task without direction. Of course, my site supervisor at the GTU Library, Melodie Frances, would never have let me fall into that trap in the first place. Fortunately for me, she allowed me to work independently, thus gaining confidence, and was ready and willing to listen to the knowledge I brought to the table, as many of the areas I was researching were new to her as well. Well, primarily the area of copyright. She had been involved with project metadata and digitization long before I arrived at her library. The intellectual property issues surrounding the project are a different cup of tea, however, and I will discuss my third learning outcome below.

Copyright for pre-1972 sound recordings, as I’ve posted before, is tricky stuff. Federal copyright law only applies to any underlying works on the recording such as a musical composition or poem, not to the actual recording itself. Seriously, this complicates matters. As a result, state law fills the gap, and protects the recording with criminal and civil antipiracy statutes, as well as state common law, including common law copyright (relating to the right of first publication), unfair competition & misappropriation, conversion, and unauthorized distribution. Additionally, rights of privacy and publicity can apply as well. And then of course, there is no guarantee which particular state’s laws will apply in a given case, as it is possible and highly likely for the laws from more than one state to apply, particularly when there are multiple copyright holders.

So what is a library or archive to do? There is hardly a circumstance where recordings are in the public domain. Clearly, one must attempt to get permission in good faith. But what about orphan works where the rights holder cannot be ascertained or found? Is it a safe bet to assess the risk, make sure that any intended use is not for commercial gain (directly or indirectly), and make it accessible online? Or is it best to wait until 2067 when the work enters the public domain? Waiting until 2067 just seems like too long a wait. Hopefully orphan works legislation will be passed before then, although I’m not holding my breath.

The whole issue is seriously complicated. I am finishing a paper about unpublished pre-1972 sound recordings for my internship. It is an assessment of current documentation at the GTU Library, the specific needs of the Jesuit Tape Collection, and recommendations for steps to take going forward with the digitization project. These poor tapes are at the end of their life span, and will not wait until 2067. For preservation sake, the digitization has to happen now. Fortunately, there is little risk with this. The problem is of course access. And what good is a historically significant tape collection, if few may access and use it?

One of the major advantages of digitizing a collection is increasing access to a wider audience while at the same time reducing wear and tear on the original, already damaged tapes during use. Magnetic reel-to-reel tapes just don’t last as long as some other materials.

Too bad intellectual property law is not up to date with the digital age of online access. I hope to see some positive changes to this as I move from intern to MLIS to professional.

Getting Technical at the Library

Did you know that there are more public libraries offering free technology training than there are businesses offering technology training?

Library and technology class graphic

Libraries rule.

Library resources support learning new technologies.

“More libraries—5,400—offer technology training classes than there are computer training businesses in the U.S. Every day, 14,700 people attend free library computer classes—a retail value of $2.2 million. That’s $629 million worth of computer classes annually (based on 286 business days per year)” (ALA, 2009; OCLC, 2010; ReferenceUSA Business & Residential Directory; Geek Squad).
For more public library factoids, please visit OCLC‘s How Libraries Stack Up: 2010.

“Oregon Trail: The Movie” & The Place of Gaming in Libraries

Do you remember the educational game “Oregon Trail” from your grade school days? Well, thanks* to the folks over at Half Day Today, you can imagine a live action version of the high stakes ups and downs of life (and death) along the Oregon Trail with their “faux” movie trailer on YouTube.

Half Day Today:

In 1864, a family embarks on an impossible journey into the untamed American West. Based on the classic educational computer game, The Oregon Trail by MECC.

As a kid, I remember dying to go to the computer lab where we played Oregon Trail. In the 1980s, classrooms didn’t yet have computers of their own. But I loved playing that game (so much so that when my husband found the game app for our BlackBerries, I enthusiastically downloaded it for our young nieces and nephews to play). It was such an innovative way to capture the attention of 4th graders (or whatever grade I was in). And I took it so seriously and was so disappointed when we all died of dysentery or broken legs and didn’t make it to Oregon. How very tragic. I’m not sure that I really learned a lot about the pioneer spirit or the pioneer reality, but I certainly did have my imagination captured by technology, so really I learned something else, indirectly through the experience: that technology is cool and can be fun.

At around this same time, I discovered the MS-DOS based version of the game Adventure (aka Colossal Cave, Colossal Cave Adventure, or ADVENT). I loved it, and spent hours trying to map out the cave on huge sheets of drawing paper (this method did not work very well, as I never really could tell where the neighboring cave rooms should be). I think it just goes to show, and here is my big library tie in, that new technologies, gaming, and environments such as Second Life really can capture the imagination of kids, and libraries do and will have a place in providing some of this, through education and outreach.

*Special thanks to Mashable for their tweet directing me to their blog post about the trailer.

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Related Articles & Posts:

Classic Gaming’s Apple II Game of the Week: Oregon Trail

Digital Humanities Quarterly’s Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original “Adventure” in Code and in Kentucky

Mashable’s Faux “Oregon Trail: The Movie” Trailer Hits the Web [VIDEO]

Nicholson, Scott. (2007). The Role of Gaming in Libraries: Taking the Pulse. White paper available online at http://boardgameswithscott.com/pulse2007.pdf

Job Seeking Help and the Public Library

Did you know that 300,000 Americans visit public libraries daily for job seeking help?

Americans use library services for job seeking graphic

Public libraries rule.

In economic times such as these, those facing the digital divide continue to turn to their libraries for access to the internet. Tough times lead to tough choices, and it seems likely to me that the digital divide has grown as income loss might lead some to choose to cancel services such as home Internet access. Cable and phone bills can be expensive, and when you are struggling to make ends meet, you cut back where you can. This means more people will turn to their public library (0r Internet cafe) in order to use on site Wi-Fi with a laptop, or use the machines provided by the library computer lab or work station. Those who aren’t using computers directly for job-seeking are able to stay in touch with friends and family, network, explore, learn, and contribute in the Web 2.o (3.0?) world. Computers are a necessity for job-seekers today, and public libraries provide access.

For other public library factoids, visit OCLC‘s report How Libraries Stack Up: 2010.

UPDATE 8/2/2010 5:19pm PST

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Related Articles & Posts:

San Francisco Chronicle: Libraries Branch Out Into Job-Hunting Centers