Thursday, July 27, 2006

Internet Pottage?

Thomas Mann, a veteran reference librarian in the
Main Reading Room and the author of The Oxford Guide to Library Research wonders if the national library of the United States is “giving away the birthright of American scholars in exchange for a mess of Internet pottage.”

World Digital Library: Statement of Saul Schniderman
representing The Library of Congress Professional Guild

Destruction of Palestinian Archives

Rory Litwin at Library Juice writes:

Israel targets Nablus administrative records for destruction.

Once the building was reduced to rubble, according to Gale Courey Toensing in “First, Destroy the Archives,” Israeli soldiers drove over the broken file cabinets with bulldozers, mixing their contents with the earth to prevent their recovery.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

FYI, this listserv is funded by the current administration

Every once in a while I go back and look at this because it is so depressing.

Please keep your political beliefs and opinions to yourself.
FYI, this listserv is funded by the current administration and if a
democrat were president now, the headline below would reflect that.

This new essay:
Social Capital and Neo-Liberal Voluntarism by Alex Law and Gerry Mooney helps one to understand the level of control that has been attempted these past few years.

I've written a bit more about it here.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The ACLU argued in a federal court that banning a controversial book on Cuba is a clear case of political censorship.

CBS4/MIAMI HERALD) MIAMI No decision was made Friday following a court hearing on an effort by the Miami-Dade County school board to ban a controversial book on Cuba from school libraries. Evan Bacon reports with an excellent overview of the hearing on CBS. See the video.

The Miami Herald reports:

Judge hears case on banning Cuba book
The ACLU argued in a federal court that banning a controversial book on Cuba is a clear case of political censorship.

As attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union argued in federal court Friday [July 21,2006) that the banning of the controversial children's book Vamos a Cuba was a classic case of political censorship, the ban's defenders said it painted life in Cuba as if it were Coral Gables rather than a communist dictatorship.
''It was only when the politicians got involved that the books were removed,'' said JoNel Newman, a University of Miami attorney leading the ACLU's case, before U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold.
During an evidentiary hearing, her side tried to establish that two review committees and the superintendent had carefully weighed the issues of age appropriateness and accuracy before deciding to keep the books on the shelves of Miami-Dade public school libraries, but the School Board overrode its own procedural rules to ban them....

During Friday's hearing, a small group of librarians sometimes scoffed at the board's lawyers, at one point provoking a shushing from a security officer. In library science circles, they said, the solution to omitted information is to add more books to a collection, not to remove them.

''Not every book can be everything to everyone,'' said Pat Scales, a library science expert and member of the American Library Association, which entered the case in favor of the ACLU. Her testimony: ``Adults are trying to bring their own political views to the minds of children.''

More here

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Teilhard de Chardin

I turned over a catalog card and found this title:
Teilhard de Chardin: Re-mythologization.
I have not thought of Teilhard de Chardin for a long while.

Teilhard de Chardin and the Noosphere.
by Rev. Phillip J. Cunningham, C.S.P.
Inevitably, his observations came to the attention of Church authorities. The reaction to some of Teilhard's ideas was ultimately severe. He was deprived of his teaching position and admonished not to publish his observations on religion and science. He observed that restriction until his death in 1955.

Imagine my surprise at finding this:
An obscure Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,set down the philosophical framework for planetary, Net-based consciousness 50 years ago.

I can't imagine why he would be considered obscure, though?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

National Design Award Winners Reject LauraBush Invitation to be Honored at White House

Stefan Sagmeister
Paula Scher

Design Observer reports
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum began the National Design Awards in 2000 to honor the best in American design. In the museum's words, the program "celebrates design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seeks to increase national awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement."

If design has an Oscar, the National Design Award is it. The honor is taken seriously. Nominations are solicited from advisors in every state of the union. The submissions of entrants are reviewed with great care over a two-day period by a panel of judges (which included me this year). Three individuals or firms are announced as finalists in each of six categories: architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, product design, fashion design, and communication design. Finally, the winners in those categories are announced, along with special awards that include honors for "Design Mind" and Lifetime Achievement.

Because the Awards program was originally conceived as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, the First Lady serves as the honorary chair of the gala at which the winners are celebrated. She also traditionally hosts a breakfast at the White House to which all the nominees and winners are invited. That breakfast was today.

This year, however, five Communication Design honorees---Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgie Stout, from this year's winning firm, 2x4, and Paula Scher and Stefan Sagmeister, respectively finalist and winner for 2005-- decided to decline the invitation. They wrote a letter to Laura Bush explaining why.

We understand that politics often involves high rhetoric and the shading of language for political ends. However it is our belief that the current administration of George W. Bush has used the mass communication of words and images in ways that have seriously harmed the political discourse in America. We therefore feel it would be inconsistent with those values previously stated to accept an award celebrating language and communication, from a representative of an administration that has engaged in a prolonged assault on meaning.

Design Observer concludes

The Cooper-Hewitt is an extraordinary institution, and every designer in this country should be grateful to the role it plays as an advocate for design. And although it's part of the Washington-based Smithsonian, its future is never as secure as it ought to be. But isn't it appropriate that the museum be, as it has been here, a focal point for dissent as well as celebration?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Treason meme about state secrets that weren't secret

How sad that a library dean in texas would fall for the treason meme.

Treason meme about state secrets that weren't secret

Joe Conason writes:
Right-wingers desperate to intimidate the press have accused the New York Times of treason for publishing details of a terror investigation -- ignoring the fact that everything significant about that operation has been known for years.

Losing the national debate over the war in Iraq while falling to unprecedented lows in public approval, the Republican right is returning to a favorite smear tactic: charging the loyal opposition with "treason."

In recent days, the buzzing swarm of right-wing drones has spread the treason meme, from the House Republican caucus to Fox News Channel, MSNBC, talk radio and the Internet. The ubiquitous Ann Coulter compared Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger to Tokyo Rose, while a California radio host named Melanie Morgan, who also operates a Republican-funded Web site, convicted Times executive editor Bill Keller of capital treason and urged his execution by gas chamber.
--read more

Friday, July 07, 2006

Collaboration Will Preserve Digital Research Data

NSF Press Release-June 29, 2006.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), with concurrence from the National Science Foundation (NSF), have signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides an avenue for preserving some of the nation's most valuable digital research collections. This collaboration marks the first time NARA has established an affiliated relationship for preserving digital data with an academic institution.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Urdu, Thai, Hungarian, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil and Yoruba.

Less commonly taught languages.
The goal of this project is to create and share resources to support additional basic research and initial technology development in what have been called Less Commonly Taught Languages. These languages have also been called Low Density, not for the population of native speakers but rather for the scarcity of resources. A typology that distinguishes both population of native speakers might label them High Density/Sparse Resource language since the languages of current focus have more than a million speakers but inadequate resources for building human language technologies.
Linguistic Data Consortium was founded in 1992 to provide a new mechanism for large-scale development and widespread sharing of resources for research in linguistic technologies. Based at the University of Pennsylvania, the LDC is a broadly-based consortium that now includes more than 100 companies, universities, and government agencies.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

University Press Books and the Digital Public Sphere

Most of my non-work time is spent reading and I follow many literary blogs in addition to regular subs to reviewing sources. I served on the ALA Notable Books Council for 4 years and regularly used blogs as an alterting service but seldom as a review source. The essay by McLemee I reference below has made me start to reconsider the reviewing process. It also has implications for librarians in collection development and their use of blogs.

Scott McLemee of Inside Higher Education writes: "I’ve learned to move between what Marshall McLuhan called “the Gutenberg galaxy” (the cultural universe created by movable type) and “the broadband flatland” (as we might dub the uncharted frontier landscape of digital media)....with regard to making university-press books known to the public, it appears that the old gap remains deep and wide. On the one hand, there may now be more opportunities than ever to connect up readers with the books that will interest them. (That includes not just new titles, but books from the backlist.)So much for the good news. The bad news is that, for the most part, it isn’t happening....In short, there is still a tendency to think of bloggers, podcasters, etc. as some distinct group that operates apart from the worlds of academia, publishing, or offline culture. To treat them, in effect, as ham-radio operators — people who possess a certain technical knowhow, and who talk mainly to each other....The reality is very different. The relationship between online communities and other kinds of social or professional networks is a complicated topic. Scholarly careers will be made exploring this matter."

Monday, July 03, 2006

Push for Government Openness

On Right and Left, a Push for Government Openness
By JASON DePARLE (NYTimes-July 2,2006)
A plan for a public online database of U.S. spending has
drawn support from both conservatives and liberals....

The push for openness runs counter to the trend of increased secrecy among government officials who cite the need to protect national security. Criticizing that trend, Mr. Tapscott said, "people in the Pentagon, like bureaucrats everywhere, overclassify too much because of the basic instinct to protect yourself."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The NY Times want you and your family dead

Colbert takes on the fury that the right wing has unleashed over Bill Keller and the NY Times. He sums up the story quite easily.
Colbert: So let me simplify it for you. The NY Times want you and your family dead.

Fox Advocates an Office of Censorship

Fox & Friends co-host Kilmeade advocated "Office of Censorship" in wake of NY Times banking surveillance story.

Summary: On June 29, several Fox News media figures suggested that the U.S. government should "put up the Office of Censorship" to screen news reports to determine whether they "hurt the country" or are of "news value," in the wake of a New York Times article disclosing a Treasury Department program designed to monitor international financial transactions.