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Intersect Alerts

Intersect Alert January 12, 2020

International Outlook

Australia’s fires have pumped out more emissions than 100 nations combined

Climate change is driving climate change.

"The wildfires raging along Australia’s eastern coast have already pumped around 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further fueling the climate change that’s already intensifying the nation’s fires."

"That’s more than the total combined annual emissions of the 116 lowest-emitting countries, and nine times the amount produced during California’s record-setting 2018 fire season. It also adds up to about three-quarters of Australia’s otherwise flattening greenhouse-gas emissions in 2019."

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615035/australias-fires-have-pumped-out-more-emissions-than-100-nations-combined/

Research

"Differences in the way healthy and cognitively impaired individuals used their smartphones were enough to tell them apart."

"How they did it: Apple researchers monitored the app usage of 113 adults between the ages of 60 and 75 over 12 weeks. Thirty-one of them had clinically diagnosed cognitive impairment; 82 were healthy. For every session—from the moment users unlocked their phones to the moment they locked them again—the researchers logged the sequences of apps used and categorized the sessions into different types. The data was used to train a machine-learning model."

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615032/the-apps-you-use-on-your-phone-could-help-diagnose-your-cognitive-health/

Privacy

Ten Questions—And Answers—About the California Consumer Privacy Act

Via EFF - "You may have heard from a lot of businesses telling you that they’ve updated their privacy policies because of a new law called the California Consumer Privacy Act. But what’s actually changed for you?"

"EFF has spent the past year defending this law in the California legislature, but we realize that not everyone has been following it as closely as we have. So here are answers to ten frequently asked questions we’ve heard about the CCPA."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/01/ten-questions-and-answers-about-california-consumer-privacy-act


Libraries

Library’s Collections Come to Life as 3D Models

The 3D Digital Modeling, Imaging, and Printing Working Group was created to explore the use of 3D technologies to expand access to the Library’s collections. In Fall 2019, the working group launched a pilot in which a limited selection of items from the online collections were 3D scanned and the 3D models made publicly available. In the blog post below, I share what it was like to be trained to build 3D models alongside other Library staff, how we collaborated as a cross-functional working group, and lay out the potential uses of the models we created as part of the LOC 3D pilot project. 

Library’s 3D models go live!

Ask anyone what is held in the Library of Congress collections and they will give you the obvious answer: books. Lots and lots of books. Up until last month, I would’ve said the same thing. Since joining the Library of Congress 3D Digital Modeling, Imaging, and Printing Working Group, however, I’ve discovered that the world’s largest library in fact houses many three-dimensional objects ranging from casts of President’s hands to banjos to medieval vellum manuscripts. What’s more—you can now see some of them online as 3D objects! The core purpose of the 3D Working Group chaired by Educational Resource Specialist Stephen Wesson is to explore ways to bring these physical artifacts to life online for users. I was lucky enough to come aboard just as the group launched a pilot project to create and display 3D models of objects held in our collections. To this end, 13 staff from all across the Library’s service units became certified in photogrammetry, a process that combines photography and the use of software to create digital, web-viewable 3D models…”


https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2020/01/librarys-collections-come-to-life-as-3d-models/?loclr=eadpb


Archives

By the Numbers 2019


https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2019/12/19/by-the-numbers-2019/

Books and Reading

Dictionaries and the Law

Via BeSpacific - Davis, Laurel, “Dictionaries and the Law” (2019). Rare Book Room Exhibition Programs. 33. 

“Exhibition program from a Spring 2019 exhibit presented in the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room at the Boston College Law Library. The exhibit focused on the history of legal dictionaries published over the last 500 years.”


“The law is a profession built on words, so it is no surprise that dictionaries repre-sent a key component of our professional literature. From John Rastell’s Termes de la Ley in the sixteenth century to Bryan A. Garner’s most recent edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, dictionaries have helped lawyers and judges grapple with words and phrases that are often challenging and obscure. For law students, dictionaries—general or law-specific, online or in print—can help with the daunting task of learning a new professional language with old roots, often in Latin and French..”

https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/rbr_exhibit_programs/33/

Intersect Alert January 5, 2020

International Outlook

Yes, climate change is intensifying Australia’s fires


"Tens of thousands of Australians are fleeing their homes as hundreds of fires rage across the continent’s southeast coast. And yes, climate change is almost certainly to blame for the extent of the disaster."

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615000/yes-climate-change-is-intensifying-australias-fires/

This NASA satellite image shows the extent of Australia’s devastating wildfires


"The context:
Some of the worst wildfires in decades have been burning across Australia in recent months, exacerbated by hot, dry, windy conditions and rising global temperatures. Almost 15 million acres of land have burned so far, compared with two million acres in California in 2018. But to get a visual sense of the sheer scale of the fires, it’s worth looking at them from space. This NASA image, taken on Saturday, shows smoke billowing from country's east coast."

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615009/this-nasa-satellite-image-shows-the-extent-of-australias-devastating-wildfires/

Privacy

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 5, 2020
Via LLRX - "Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: The 5 Best Authenticator Apps for Protecting Your Accounts; Major US companies breached, robbed, and spied on by Chinese hackers; US Army bans soldiers from using TikTok over security worries; and 7 types of virus – a short glossary of contemporary cyberbadness."

https://llrx.com/2020/01/pete-recommends-weekly-highlights-on-cyber-security-issues-january-5-2020/


Libraries

People Are Sharing Library Hacks That Are Useful, Free And There’s No Reason Not To Use Them

"It seems like most of the news we hear about libraries lately is discouraging, with usage declining and funding being denied. Most people’s first assumption would be that it’s an expected consequence of how people use technology. As e-books and apps that let people obtain them in seconds spread, public libraries fall by the wayside as a way to access media. Right?"

"Not quite! It’s actually more likely than you think that you can do all of those things—check out e-books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and other media⁠—not by giving more of your money to Amazon for a subscription, but by using your library card, a public service that your taxes are already paying for, to sign into the many apps that public libraries themselves use. You get a wealth of information and entertainment, and library use statistics go up. If you haven’t checked whether you can sign in to these services with your local library card, this is your reminder to do so."

https://www.boredpanda.com/people-share-library-hacks-audio-books/

A bibliophile’s paradise – the National Library of France

Vox Populi – “Before there was the internet, there was la Bibliothèque nationale de France (the National Library of France) in Paris: an ever-expanding collection of books, manuscripts, maps and other cultural artifacts that has been operating continuously since the 15th century. The documentary Toute la mémoire du monde (All the Memory in the World), made by the influential and celebrated French filmmaker Alain Resnais in 1956, is an astounding tour of the institution before digitisation, when the world’s largest well of information wasn’t at our fingertips, but fastidiously collected and sorted behind library walls. Resnais focuses not only on the imposing scope of the library’s holdings, but also explores the vast enterprise of maintaining it for centuries to come, as well as the facility’s role as a bustling home for curiosity and enquiry. Through moody black-and-white cinematography of the library’s collection, architecture and meticulous processes, the film explores a place that, like human knowledge itself, is ‘destined to be forever a work in progress’. A dramatic score by Maurice Jarre – by turns pulsing, soaring and delicate – acts as a further guide through the labyrinth of the library, and the film itself.” Director: Alain Resnais

https://voxpopulisphere.com/2019/10/06/video-toute-la-memoire-du-monde-all-the-memory-in-the-world/

Bats Are Hanging Out in the Library. What Gives?

In Wales and Portugal, flying mammals have taken roost in unusual places.

"High above the Mondego River, in Portugal’s interior, a colony of common pipistrelles bats wings out of a library, soars over the cobbled university square, and disappears into the night. These are perhaps the most famous residents of the University of Coimbra. By day, they doze in the stacks of the European baroque Joanina Library, home to such ancient works as the first edition of Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities and Homer’s Opera Omnia. Come nightfall, they emerge to feed on flies and gnats and other pests within the library, before swooping out the windows in search of water. Every evening, the librarians here—some who claim they can even hear the bats “singing” late in the afternoon on days when the weather changes rapidly to rain—cover the library’s 18th-century tables with a heavy animal-skin fabric. Every morning, they wash away whatever droppings the bats have left behind."

"Bats have been in residence at the Joanina Library since at least the 19th century, perhaps longer: The librarians know this because they still hold the receipt for that protective fabric that was imported from Russia 200 years ago. Today, as then, the effect of these flittermice, combined with difficult-to-penetrate oak bookcases decorated meticulously in Chinese motifs, is an environment nearly free of destructive bookworms, so to speak." 

https://www.afar.com/magazine/why-bats-are-found-in-these-libraries

Technology

The Decade in Legal Tech: The 10 Most Significant Developments

“In legal technology, it was a decade of tumult and upheaval, bringing changes that will forever transform the practice of law and the delivery of legal services. Feisty startups took on established behemoths. The cloud dropped rain on legacy products. Mobile tech untethered lawyers. Clients demanded efficiency and transparency. Robots arrived to take over our jobs. “Alternative” became a label for new kinds of legal services providers. An expanding justice gap fueled efforts at ethics reform. Investment dollars began to pour in. Data got big. Every year, I write a year-end wrap-up of the most significant developments in legal technology. But as we reach the end of a decade, I decided to look back on the most significant developments of the past 10 years. Looking back, it may well have been the most tumultuous decade ever in changing how legal services are delivered. (Here are my prior years’ lists of the most important developments: For several years now, I’ve closed out the year with a round-up of the 10 most important legal developments 2018, 2016, 201520142013. In 2017, I bypassed the list to focus on a single overarching development, The Year of Women in Legal Tech.)…”

https://www.lawsitesblog.com/2020/01/the-decade-in-legal-tech-the-10-most-significant-developments.html

Intersect Alert December 22, 2019

Internet Access

The Year We Fought to Get Net Neutrality Back: 2019 Year in Review

“Ever since the FCC repealed net neutrality protections in 2017, we’ve been fighting to return as many protections to as many Americans as possible. In 2019, the battles in the courts and Congress both kept those committed to a free and open Internet very busy.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/year-we-fought-get-net-neutrality-back-2019-year-review

 

Privacy

Smart Home Tech, Police, and Your Privacy: Year in Review 2019

“If 2019 confirmed anything, it is that we should not trust the microphones and cameras that large corporations sell us to put inside and near our homes. Thanks to the due diligence of reporters, public records requesters, and privacy researchers and activists, consumers have been learning more and more about how these “smart” home technologies can be hacked, exploited, or utilized by the police and other law enforcement agencies.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/2019-end-year-review-smart-home-tech-police-and-your-privacy

 

Education

2020 Open Educational Resources (OER) Sources and Tools

Via LLRX – 2020 Open Educational Resources (OER) Sources and Tools – “This is a comprehensive listing of Open Educational Resources (OER) sources and tools available in the United States and around the world, by Marcus P. Zillman. His guide includes references to: search engines, directories, initiatives, books, E-books, E-textbooks, free online seminars and webinars, subject guides, open and distance learning, open access papers and research, as well as related costs and metrics to identify and choose reliable, subject matter expert sources for free and open continuing education and research on the internet.”

https://www.llrx.com/2019/11/2020-guide-to-web-data-extractors/

 

Research

FRB launches new Twitter account highlighting research published in Board’s working papers and notes series

“The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 – launched a new Twitter account aimed at increasing access to the research done by the more than 400 economists and other research staff at the Board. The new account—@FedResearch—will highlight research published in the Board’s working papers and notes series, other staff articles, and conferences. Staff members at the Board conduct research on a wide variety of topics in economics and finance. The Board’s Finance and Economics Discussion Series and its International Finance Discussion Papers—along with the FEDS Notes series—offer a venue for Board staff to publish their work to stimulate discussion. The papers and notes reflect the views of the individual authors and do not communicate policy positions of the Board or the Federal Reserve System. The Board’s @FederalReserve Twitter account will continue to provide official news and information about the Board…”

https://www.bespacific.com/frb-launches-new-twitter-account-highlighting-research-published-in-boards-working-papers-and-notes-series/

 

Libraries

IMLS Receives $10 Million Increase in FY2020

Congressional appropriators needed overtime to complete the FY2020 budget, but the result brought good news for libraries: a $10 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)–the largest increase in LSTA funding in 12 years. The final federal spending bill also includes increases for other library programs. The budget bill now heads to the president, who is expected to sign it.

For the third year in a row, American Library Association (ALA) advocates called, emailed, tweeted, and met with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., and at home. ALA President Wanda Kay Brown said in a December 19 statement, “This is your win!”

Congress appropriated $252 million for IMLS, including a $6.2 million increase dedicated to LSTA. Highlights from the $195.4 million for LSTA include:

$166.8 million for LSTA Grants to States ($160.8 million in FY2019)

$5.3 million for LSTA Native American Library Services ($5.1 million in FY2019)

$10 million for LSTA Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants ($10 million in FY2019)

$13.4 million for LSTA National Leadership for Libraries ($13.4 million in FY2019)

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/imls-receives-10-million-increase-in-fy2020/

 

Technology

The biggest technology failures of 2019

What would the holidays be without the Grinch? And what would MIT Technology Review be without our annual list of the year's sorriest tech fails?

This year’s list includes the deadly, the dishonest, and the simply daft.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614990/worst-technologies-biggest-technology-failures-2019/

 

Archives

Merchant Marine Records Document Maritime Service

“SAINT LOUIS, December 16, 2019 — The public now has access to previously unavailable information concerning former merchant mariners and their maritime service through Merchant Marine Licensing Files, made available by the National Archives at St. Louis.”

“The public can access these records in two ways: through a request made via an offsite reference request (with reproduction provided for a fee), or via onsite viewing at the National Archives at St. Louis Research Room. The collection opened to the public on December 2, 2019.”

https://www.archives.gov/news/articles/merchant-marine-records-document-maritime-service

 

 

 


Intersect Alert December 8, 2019

 

Privacy

How do I protect my online privacy from 'surveillance capitalism'?

“Chris wants to better protect his privacy. What can he easily do besides de-Googling his online life?”

“On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a 17,000-word report on this topic. Behind the One-Way Mirror: A Deep Dive Into the Technology of Corporate Surveillance, by Bennett Cyphers and Gennie Gebhart, covers both online privacy problems and the growth of real-word surveillance.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/askjack/2019/dec/05/how-do-i-protect-my-online-privacy-from-surveillance-capitalism

The laws protecting our data are too weak

“The latest in a long line of privacy scandals happened last week, after Google was found to have been pulling unredacted data from one of America’s largest healthcare providers to use in one of its projects. Despite assurances that it won’t use this information to supplant its ad business, that’s not the issue here. How was Google able to acquire this knowledge in the first place? Professor Sandra Wachter is an expert in law, data and AI at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute. She says that every time your data is collected, “you leave something of yourself behind.” She added that anyone can use your online behavior to “infer very sensitive things about you,” like your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and health status. It’s bad enough when the companies use those inferences for targeted ads. But it gets a lot worse when they gain access to very private data. For instance, would you feel comfortable if Google started displaying ads for fertility treatments in your emails after a trip to the doctor? Or if your healthcare provider could access your browser history without your knowledge to determine how suitable you are for insurance…”

https://www.engadget.com/2019/12/05/data-privacy-laws-google-nightingale/

 

Books and Reading

Financial Times Best Books of 2019

“This site is paywalled, but if you have online access – do visit the Financial Times Best Books of 2019 – the extensive subject matter annotated list includes: economics, health, history, art, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, non-fiction, technology, sport, poetry, science, art, gardens, and more – well done.”

https://www.ft.com/booksof2019

 


Libraries

Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010, figures show

Annual survey shows sharp cuts to local authority funding have led to the loss of 17% of branches, alongside sharp staff and funding shortfalls

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/06/britain-has-closed-almost-800-libraries-since-2010-figures-show

 

Libraries in the archive: snapshots of reading in Britain 1930s-1990s

The news that Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010 has prompted us to look back at images of libraries in the Guardian and Observer archives. These are a few highlights, with snippets from their original captions and related headlines.

https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/gallery/2019/dec/06/libraries-archive-snapshots-reading-britain-1930s-1990s

 

Research

ProQuest to Acquire Innovative Interfaces

“In a move that further consolidates the library technology industry, Ex Libris announced on December 5 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Innovative Interfaces from its private equity investors.”

“Since December 2015, Ex Libris has been owned by ProQuest. In addition to its role as a major content provider to libraries, ProQuest is now responsible for a growing portfolio of library technology products, including major systems for resource management, content discovery, materials acquisition, reading list integration, and research services. While ProQuest faces major competition for each of its product categories, this move substantially strengthens its position in the sector and broadens its scope to include public libraries.”

“Ex Libris is a wholly owned business of ProQuest, which is in turn owned by Cambridge Information Group (CIG) and Atairos. The acquisition of Innovative comes on the heels of Atairos’ new major investment in ProQuest. With the infusion of new capital, it is also not surprising to see the company expand through acquisitions and product developments.”

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/proquest-acquires-innovative-interfaces/




Intersect Alert for the Week of November 25th, 2019

Technology


What Tweets and Emojis Did to the Novel

"Until the 2010s, if you were reading, it generally meant you weren’t doing it online. Though change had been in the offing, this was the decade that irreversibly altered how we consume text — when the smartphone transformed from a marvel to a staple. Suddenly, the sharpest cultural and political analysis came in the form of a distracted boyfriend meme. Racists deployed a playful cartoon frog to sugar their messages. From the Arab Spring onward, the best reporters were often panicked bystanders with Twitter accounts.

It would seem as if few times in history could be less hospitable to literature. Not even 20 years ago we mostly read about things in lag, on thin slices of tree, whereas now we do — well, this, whatever this is. Yet instead of technology superannuating literature once and for all, it seems to have created a new space in our minds for it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/books/review/charles-finch-emoji-autofiction-knausgaard-ferrante.html

Tim Berners-Lee unveils global plan to save the web

"Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a global action plan to save the web from political manipulation, fake news, privacy violations and other malign forces that threaten to plunge the world into a “digital dystopia”.

The Contract for the Web requires endorsing governments, companies and individuals to make concrete commitments to protect the web from abuse and ensure it benefits humanity."

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/24/tim-berners-lee-unveils-global-plan-to-save-the-internet

The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe. Does it hide a darker core?

"People in every pocket of this spherical planet are rejecting science and spreading the word that the Earth is flat. There's no clear study indicating how many people have been convinced -- and flat Earthers like Weiss will tell you without evidence there are millions more in the closet anyway, including Hollywood A-listers and commercial airline pilots -- but online communities have hundreds of thousands of followers and YouTube is inundated with flat-Earth content creators, whose productions reach millions."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/16/us/flat-earth-conference-conspiracy-theories-scli-intl/index.html

Privacy


Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. In a 4-3 decision in Commonwealth v. Davis, the court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/victory-pennsylvania-supreme-court-rules-police-cant-force-you-tell-them-your

About Face: Ending Government Use of Face Surveillance

"Many forms of biometric data collection raise a wealth of privacy, security, and ethical concerns. Face surveillance ups the ante. We expose our faces to public view every time we go outside. Paired with the growing ubiquity of surveillance cameras in our public, face surveillance technology allows for the covert and automated collection of information related to when and where we worship or receive medical care, and who we associate with professionally or socially."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/about-face-ending-government-use-face-surveillance

International Outlook


The Council of Europe Shouldn’t Throw Out Our Privacy Rights Just to Speed Up Police Access

"Foreign police often want to investigate a crime by gathering potential evidence from Internet companies located in another country. What if police in Poland want to get a user’s data from an ISP in Germany, Philippines, Japan—or vice versa? Can they do this? Under what rules, and with what kind of oversight?"

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/council-europe-shouldnt-throw-out-our-privacy-rights-just-speed-police-access

It’s not the first time Iran has shut down the internet, but this time, it’s different "

This time, the shutdown is different. Iran is cut almost completely off of the grid, and according to numerous groups in the internet outage measurement community, the method Iran used to carry out this specific shutdown diverges from a “typical” blanket shutdown and its comprehensive nature makes it harder to circumvent. That makes what is already an inherently disproportionate interference with Iranians’ human rights even more harmful and dangerous. "

https://www.accessnow.org/its-not-the-first-time-iran-has-shut-down-the-internet-but-this-time-its-different/

Research


A Lehigh University-Led Partnership Releases Open Web Database of 160,000 Pages Of High-Resolution, Full-Color Manuscripts Dating to the Ninth Century

"Scholars and aficionados can now search, download and study 160,000 pages of high-resolution, full-color manuscripts dating to the ninth century, thanks to library partnerships.

From tattoos to video games to Game of Thrones, medieval iconography has long inspired fascination, imitation and veneration. Now, thousands of original medieval manuscript and early modern images are available for free online, for scholars and aficionados to search, download and study."

https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/digitizing-medieval-manuscripts

10,000 Yiddish Books Now Fully Searchable Online

"fter years of work by a small team of linguists, computer programmers, and volunteer editors, visitors to the Yiddish Book Center’s website can now search millions of pages of digitized Yiddish books with the aid of a newly launched computer program. The program, Jochre, allows users to search for a specific word or phrase and instantly find every mention of it in more than 10,000 Yiddish books. Previously the books, which have been available online in PDF form for a decade, were only searchable by title and author name. It’s no exaggeration, note Yiddish scholars, to say that the software will revolutionize their field."
https://forward.com/yiddish/435210/10-000-yiddish-books-now-fully-searchable-online/

Open Access



Federal Research: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results (GAO Report)

"The 19 agencies that GAO reviewed have made progress implementing their plans to increase public access to federally funded research results (publications and data), as called for in a 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum. However, some agencies have not fully implemented some aspects of their plans, in particular those related to data access and mechanisms to ensure researchers comply with public access requirements."
https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-81


Carnegie Mellon University Announces a Transformative Agreement with Elsevier

"Under the terms of the agreement, which is the first of its kind between Elsevier and a university in the United States, Carnegie Mellon scholars will have access to all Elsevier academic journals. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, articles with a corresponding CMU author published through Elsevier also will be open access."
https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2019/november/cmu-publishing-agreement-milestone.html

Public Policy


Changes to Department of Labor and Healthcare.gov websites foreshadowed formal LGBTQ policy shifts

"Our newest report is a deep dive into how federal web messaging related to the LGBTQ community has evolved under the Trump administration. The report noted a reduction in information specific to the LGBTQ community and changes in language usage related to freighted terms like “gender” and “sex,”” as well as a marked increase in the use of terms related to “religious freedom” on HHS.gov.

Some of the most notable changes we observed were related to federal prohibitions on discrimination, particularly against transgender people, which came amid an ongoing flurry of rulemaking related to anti-discrimination protections at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. Each of the rulemaking efforts ties into one of the Trump administration’s central policy themes — initiatives designed to protect “religious freedom” — and each has significant implications for the rights of the LGBTQ community."
https://sunlightfoundation.com/2019/11/21/changes-to-department-of-labor-and-medicare-websites-foreshadowed-formal-lgbtq-policy-shifts/



Values


Librarianship at the Crossroads of ICE Surveillance

"Information capitalism, the system where information, a historically, largely free and ubiquitous product of basic communication, is commodified by private owners for profit, is entrenched in our society. Information brokers have consolidated and swallowed up huge amounts of data, in a system that leaves data purchase, consumption, and use largely unregulated and unchecked. This article focuses on librarian ethics in the era of information capitalism, focusing specifically on an especially insidious arena of data ownership: surveillance capitalism and big data policing. While librarians value privacy and intellectual freedom, librarians increasingly rely on products that sell personal data to law enforcement, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Librarians should consider how buying and using these products in their libraries comports with our privacy practices and ethical standards. "

http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2019/ice-surveillance/

Transparency


Transparency vs. Good Government

"It is usually taken for granted that transparency is a prerequisite to good government. The idea seems obvious. “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing,” said President Obama in 2009. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” But in practice, that is not always true. Demands for transparency can sometimes be used to undermine the values of an open society, and current events compel a more nuanced understanding of the concept."
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/11/transparency-vs-good-govt/

Archives

No Love for White Gloves, or: the Cotton Menace

There is a unique joy in watching a video or reading a news story with images of a librarian handling a rare book. Rare books, unlike many museum objects, are still used today in the same way that they would have been when they were new centuries ago – they’re held and opened, and their pages are turned. It would make sense that these historical objects should be handled with white gloves to keep them clean, right?
WRONG! Well, mostly. But we’ll get to that part later."

https://blog.library.si.edu/blog/2019/11/21/no-love-for-white-gloves-or-the-cotton-menace/#.XeF9VehKiUk



A Lehigh University-Led Partnership Releases Open Web Database of 160,000 Pages Of High-Resolution, Full-Color Manuscripts Dating to the Ninth Century

"Scholars and aficionados can now search, download and study 160,000 pages of high-resolution, full-color manuscripts dating to the ninth century, thanks to library partnerships.

From tattoos to video games to Game of Thrones, medieval iconography has long inspired fascination, imitation and veneration. Now, thousands of original medieval manuscript and early modern images are available for free online, for scholars and aficionados to search, download and study.
https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/digitizing-medieval-manuscripts

Silicon Valley Archives Update

"Many communities have contributed to Silicon Valley, and in many ways. Unfortunately, their lives and work are not always represented in the archival collections that have been amassed to date. It will be a major priority of the SVA to address areas of under-representation in the archival record. Achieving this goal will require a series of efforts focused on identifying and working with groups that until now have not been represented in terms of race, gender identity, immigration, and so forth. Our second initiative therefore is a project focused on the multiple histories of African Americans in Silicon Valley."
https://us12.campaign-archive.com/?u=af09fe0356fd74e841ec98e34&id=5ccbaeb256

This is the first global map of Saturn’s moon Titan

"Old data acquired by NASA’s Cassini mission has given us our most complete look yet at the mysterious moon. The new map, in Nature Astronomy, offers new insights into how the moon’s methane cycle has shaped the surface."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614730/this-is-the-first-ever-global-map-of-saturns-moon-titan/



Intersect Alert for the Week of November 18, 2019

Privacy

Pew: Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information
"A majority of Americans believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government with some regularity. It is such a common condition of modern life that roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults say they do not think it is possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies or the government." <https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2019/11/Pew-Research-Center_PI_2019.11.15_Americans-and-Privacy_FINAL.pdf

Who Stole My Face? The Risks Of Law Enforcement Use Of Facial Recognition Software "Last week, RIT philosophy professor and expert on the ethical and privacy implications of technology, Evan Selinger, spoke to a group of lawyers in Rochester, New York, about the dangers presented by facial recognition software. The presentation, “Who Stole My Face? The Privacy Implications of Facial Recognition Technology,” was hosted by the committee that I chair for the Monroe County Bar Association, the Technology and Law Practice Committee, and was the brainchild of committee member Aleksander Nikolic, a Rochester IP attorney."
https://llrx.com/2019/11/who-stole-my-face-the-risks-of-law-enforcement-use-of-facial-recognition-software/

Google almost made 100,000 chest X-rays public — until it realized personal data could be exposed
"Two days before Google was set to publicly post more than 100,000 images of human chest X-rays, the tech giant got a call from the National Institutes of Health, which had provided the images: Some of them still contained details that could be used to identify the patients, a potential privacy and legal violation. Google abruptly canceled its project with NIH, according to emails reviewed by The Washington Post and an interview with a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But the 2017 incident, which has never been reported, highlights the potential pitfalls of the tech giant’s incursions into the world of sensitive health data."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/11/15/google-almost-made-chest-x-rays-public-until-it-realized-personal-data-could-be-exposed/

Video: The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University Hosts Conversation with Edward Snowden
"On October 29, 2019, Knight First Amendment Institute’s Jameel Jaffer and The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Sorkin spoke to Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked top-secret documents about the National Security Agency to the press in 2013. Snowden spoke via Skype about the rise of mass surveillance, his thoughts on the recent whistleblower case and how we should protect our privacy. The event at The Forum was open to the public and well attended. "
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/11/the-knight-first-amendment-institute-hosts-a-conversation-with-edward-snowden/

Social Media


The Dark Psychology of Social Networks
"Facebook’s early mission was “to make the world more open and connected”—and in the first days of social media, many people assumed that a huge global increase in connectivity would be good for democracy. As social media has aged, however, optimism has faded and the list of known or suspected harms has grown: Online political discussions (often among anonymous strangers) are experienced as angrier and less civil than those in real life; networks of partisans co-create worldviews that can become more and more extreme; disinformation campaigns flourish; violent ideologies lure recruits." https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/social-media-democracy/600763/

The Internet Dream Became a Nightmare. What Will Become of It Now?
"As the technology critic Evgeny Morozov noted in his trenchant 2013 book, “To Save Everything, Click Here,” the distance between the quotidian reality of the internet and the utopian set of notions we projected onto it had become so vast that quotation marks ought to separate the idealized version from the real thing. “The internet” was going to empower the masses, overthrow hierarchies, build a virtual world that was far superior to the terrestrial one that bound us. But the actual internet was never capable of any of that, and once it fell into the hands of plutocrats and dictators, all the gauzy rhetoric around it only served their interests."
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/13/magazine/internet-future.html

Publishing


The New PubMed is Here
"An updated version of PubMed is now available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ (see Figure 1). The new PubMed will become the default in spring 2020 and will ultimately replace the legacy version." https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/nd19/nd19_pubmed_new.html

Springer Nature First Publisher to Implement Seamlessaccess.Org Service. "For a scientist working on their university’s campus, accessing a paywalled journal article is painless and invisible, if their institution subscribes. The article automatically appears because the publisher recognizes that the request came from the university’s internet address. But many researchers gripe that the minute they step off campus and try to access the same article—through a home internet provider, a coffee shop’s WiFi, or a cellphone—they often face a frustrating experience. Even though many universities allow remote users to gain access by logging in through an online portal, many articles don’t clearly flag that possibility, and following the steps can be cumbersome."
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11/move-journals-seamless-campus-access-raises-privacy-concerns

Research

Huntington Acquires Two Major Collections of Slavery and Abolition Materials
"The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has acquired two collections related to abolition and slavery in 19th-century America, including an exceptionally rare account book from the Underground Railroad.
The first group of materials includes the papers of Zachariah Taylor Shugart (1805–1881), a Quaker abolitionist who operated an Underground Railroad stop at his farm in Cass County, Michigan. The centerpiece of the collection is an account ledger which contains the names of 137 men and women who passed through Shugart's farm while trying to reach freedom in Canada; these names are recorded amid everyday details of Shugart's business life, including the number of minks he trapped and the debts he was owed.

The second collection is the archive of some 2,000 letters and accounts documenting the history of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury saltworks, a major operation founded in 1808 in what is now Kanawha County, West Virginia. The records shed light on an industry that was not plantation-based but still relied heavily on slave labor. . .The two collections, which were purchased recently at auction, are currently being cataloged and will be made available to scholars in the near future. Some materials, including Shugart's ledger, will be digitized."
https://www.huntington.org/news/huntington-acquires-slavery-abolition-materials

Just Launched: Independent Documentary Filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Web Archive "Chinese independent filmmakers from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have long been crucial to bringing attention to social and political developments in their areas, but due to the sensitive nature of their work, their web presences are at risk of disappearing at any time. Created to capture and preserve these ephemeral primary source materials, the archive contains websites, blogs, and video feeds belonging to notable filmmakers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, all made available for future research and access."
https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/spotlights/2019/11/11/independent-documentary-filmmakers-china-hong-kong-taiwan-web-archive/


Old dogs, new tricks: 10,000 pets needed for science "Can old dogs teach us new tricks? Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest-ever study of aging in canines. They hope to shed light on human longevity too. The project will collect a pile of pooch data: vet records, DNA samples, gut microbes and information on food and walks. Five hundred dogs will test a pill that could slow the aging process." https://apnews.com/4bee7e617c2b44b397e79f4a16523877

Open Access


New Landscapes on the Road of Open Science: 6 key issues to address for research data management in the Netherlands
"The road to Open Science is not a short one. As the chairman of the Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud, Karel Luyben, is keen to point out, it will take at least 10 or 15 years of travel until we reach a point where Open Science is simply absorbed into ordinary, everyday science. Within the Netherlands, and for research data in particular, we have made many strides towards that final point. We have knowledge networks such as LCRDM, a suite of archives covered by the Research Data Netherlands umbrella, and the groundbreaking work done by the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences. But there is still much travel to be done; many new landscapes to be traversed. Data sharing is still far from being the norm."
https://openworking.wordpress.com/2019/11/12/new-landscapes-on-the-road-of-open-science-6-key-issues-to-address-for-research-data-management-in-the-netherlands/


Wikiview is a Powerful Photo Browser for Exploring Wikimedia Commons
"Wikimedia Commons has millions of public domain and freely-licensed photos available to the world, and now there’s a powerful new tool that helps you dive into the ocean of imagery for exploring or locating exactly what you’re looking for. It’s called wikiview, and it’s a graph-based visual image navigator." https://petapixel.com/2019/11/07/wikiview-is-a-powerful-photo-browser-for-exploring-wikimedia-commons/

Technology


C-SPAN Provides Near Real-Time Keyword Searchable Video of Today’s U.S. House Impeachment Hearing with Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
"C-SPAN and the C-SPAN Video Library are providing near real-time searchable video (using text transcripts generated from the closed-captioning) of today’s U.S. House Impeachment Hearing with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/15/c-span-provides-near-real-time-keyword-searchable-video-of-todays-u-s-house-impeachment-hearing-with-former-ukraine-ambassador-marie-yovanovitch/

New Report: Spoken Word Audio Share in the U.S. Up 20% Since 2014; Audiobook Listening Hits All-Time High

"The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/17/new-report-spoken-word-audio-share-in-the-u-s-is-up-20-since-2014/

Education


A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges
"Using data from the expanded College Scorecard, this report ranks 4,500 colleges and universities by return on investment. A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges finds that bachelor’s degrees from private colleges, on average, have higher ROI than degrees from public colleges 40 years after enrollment. Community colleges and many certificate programs have the highest returns in the short term, 10 years after enrollment, though returns from bachelor’s degrees eventually overtake those of most two-year credentials."
https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/collegeroi/



Intersect Alert for the Week of November 11, 2019

Freedom of Information

A Constitutional Right to Public Information "In the wake of the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision of McBurney v. Young (569 U.S. 221), this Article calls for policymakers at the federal and state levels to ensure governmental records remain open and accessible to the public. It urges policymakers to call not only for strengthening of the Freedom of Information Act and the various state public records law, but to pursue an amendment to the United States Constitution providing a right to public information. This Article proposes a draft of such an amendment: The right to public information, being a necessary and vital part of democracy, shall be a fundamental right of the people. The right of the people to inspect and/or copy records of government, and to be provided notice of and attend public meetings of government, shall not unreasonably be restricted. Evidence from the House’s impeachment inquiry, including testimony from Ambassador William Taylor, the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine under the Trump administration, speaks to a pattern and practice of bypassing official record-keeping procedures at the State Department. In discussing a June 28 State-organized phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, Ambassador Taylor testified that, not only did the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland exclude most of the regular interagency participants from the call, but that “Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call.” This is a direct violation of the State Department’s obligation under the Federal Records Act to document agency policies, decisions, and essential transactions." https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3472464

Archive, CREW, Historians Sue Pompeo and the State Department over Failure to Create Records, and More: FRINFORMSUM 11/8/2019 "The National Security Archive, together with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), recently sued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Department of State for violating the Federal Records Act by failing to create and preserve essential State Department records." https://unredacted.com/2019/11/08/archive-crew-historians-sue-pompeo-and-the-state-department-over-failure-to-create-records-and-more-frinformsum-11-8-2019/

Privacy

Homeland Security will soon have biometric data on nearly 260 million people "The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to have face, fingerprint, and iris scans of at least 259 million people in its biometrics database by 2022, according to a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations reviewed by Quartz. That’s about 40 million more than the agency’s 2017 projections, which estimated 220 million unique identities by 2022, according to previous figures cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based privacy rights nonprofit." https://qz.com/1744400/dhs-expected-to-have-biometrics-on-260-million-people-by-2022/ ;

Leaked documents show Facebook leveraged user data to fight rivals and help friends "A cache of leaked Facebook documents shows how the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip. . . This trove comprises approximately 7,000 pages in total, of which about 4,000 are internal Facebook communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations and spreadsheets, primarily from 2011 to 2015. About 1,200 pages are marked as 'highly confidential.' Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data — including information about friends, relationships and photos — as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies." https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/leaked-documents-show-facebook-leveraged-user-data-fight-rivals-help-n1076986?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

A detective has been granted access to an entire private DNA database "A Florida detective was granted a warrant to access and search the nearly one million people’s genetic information held by consumer DNA site GEDmatch, even if users had opted out of appearing in police search results, according to the New York Times. The warrant, signed by a judge in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in July, has generated new leads in the case but no arrests, Orlando police detective Michael Fields told the paper. It seems to be the first time a judge has granted this sort of warrant, choosing to overrule a company’s DNA privacy policies." https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614684/a-detective-has-been-given-access-to-private-consumer-dna-data-for-the-first-time/

;What Federal Legislators Can Learn From California’s New Ballot Initiative "On January 1, 2020, the nation’s strictest privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), will take effect. The law empowers consumers to (1) be informed about what personal information a company has collected about them; (2) delete that data; and (3) opt out of companies selling that data to third parties. On top of this, there’s an additional ballot initiative that’s been introduced that could further strengthen California’s privacy protections." https://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/what-federal-legislators-can-learn-from-californias-new-ballot-initiative/

Research

GPO has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo, GPO’s one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. Through these digitization efforts, the public can access records of Congressional Hearings for free. These include the transcripts from meetings or sessions of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, in which elected officials obtained information and opinions on proposed legislation, conducted an investigation, or evaluated the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. This project is part of a multi-year effort to digitize a collection of nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings from Kansas State University Libraries, which serves the Nation as a Federal Depository Library. The digitized documents include many historical sessions. As part of this project, GPO plans to digitize nearly six million pages, of which approximately 230,000 pages have been completed."

https://www.bespacific.com/gpo-has-digitized-more-than-1300-historical-congressional-hearings-dating-back-to-1958/

Are facilities near you polluting the air? A new database could help "In California, 35 local air districts are tasked with controlling air pollution from so-called “stationary sources.” These facilities include oil refineries, power plants, manufacturers and gas stations. They contribute substantially to the emissions of certain pollutants, such as fine particulate matter that can lodge deep inside lung tissue and cause serious and long-term health problems." https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2019/10/15/are-facilities-near-you-polluting-air-new-database-could-help

We R Native: a health resource for Native youth, by Native youth

We R Native is a comprehensive health resource for Native youth, by Native youth, providing content and stories about the topics that matter most to them. We R Native promote holistic health and positive growth in our local communities and nation at large. The site provides articles, blogs, videos, and social support on topics related to culture, mind, body, spirit, relationships, impact, and more.

https://news.nnlm.gov/bhic/2019/11/we-r-native-a-health-resource-for-native-youth-by-native-youth/

Israel: Microsoft Implementing AI in Creating Archive Of David Ben-Gurion’s Handwritten Works "As a part of a joint initiative between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Microsoft, the historical handwritten and printed works of the school's namesake, former prime minister David Ben-Gurion, will be easily searchable and available to researchers with a plan to create an all-ecompassing archive of the work using artificial intelligence (AI). Ben-Gurion kept meticulous records of the events that shaped the formation and early days of the Jewish state." https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Microsoft-implementing-AI-in-creating-archive-of-Ben-Gurions-handwritten-works-607013

EBSCO Information Services releases PsycTHERAPY database
"EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) introduces PsycTHERAPY, a unique streaming video database of therapy demonstrations to support clinical and counseling psychology education. Produced by the American Psychological Association (APA), the PsycTHERAPY library offers more than 500 therapy demonstrations using the latest psychotherapy techniques. PsycTHERAPY provides clinicians, counselors, and trainees with the opportunity to observe candid psychotherapy videos. This collection includes proven methods showcasing common obstacles faced during therapy sessions. Videos are accompanied by corresponding transcripts, making it easy to search interactions within demonstrations." https://librarytechnology.org/pr/24690

Transparency

Open contracting in practice: protecting digital rights and responsible emerging tech
"For anyone who thinks about urban infrastructure, the term is commonly understood to include communication and transportation systems, roadways, water, power, public buildings, and public spaces. Increasingly, cities are buying technologies to connect urban infrastructure to cloud-based computing and data collection systems. In any scenario where cities are buying products from third parties to update essential infrastructure, city decision makers are either making direct no-bid agreements with private companies or going through public procurement processes to craft contracts for public-private collaborations. In order for residents to know how city governments are connecting urban infrastructure and using it for mass data collection, city governments have to commit to open and transparent contracting and public advocates must ensure that city officials are going through processes with strong accountability mechanisms to make these agreements." https://sunlightfoundation.com/2019/11/07/open-contracting-in-practice-protecting-digital-rights-and-responsible-emerging-tech/

Technology

What is the Distant Reader and why should I care?
"The Distant Reader is a tool for reading. The Distant Reader takes an arbitrary amount of unstructured data (text) as input, and it outputs sets of structured data for analysis — reading. Given a corpus of any size, the Distant Reader will analyze the corpus, and it will output a myriad of reports enabling you to use & understand the corpus. The Distant Reader is intended to supplement the traditional reading process. The Distant Reader empowers one to use & understand large amounts of textual information both quickly & easily. For example, the Distant Reader can consume the entire issue of a scholarly journal, the complete works of a given author, or the content found at the other end of an arbitrarily long list of URLs. Thus, the Distant Reader is akin to a book’s table-of-contents or back-of-the-book index but at scale. It simplifies the process of identifying trends & anomalies in a corpus, and then it enables a person to further investigate those trends & anomalies. The Distant Reader is designed to 'read' everything from a single item to a corpus of thousand’s of items. It is intended for the undergraduate student who wants to read the whole of their course work in a given class, the graduate student who needs to read hundreds (thousands) of items for their thesis or dissertation, the scientist who wants to review the literature, or the humanist who wants to characterize a genre." http://sites.nd.edu/emorgan/2019/11/reader/

The AI hiring industry is under scrutiny—but it’ll be hard to fix
"The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate HireVue, an AI tool that helps companies figure out which workers to hire."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614694/hirevue-ai-automated-hiring-discrimination-ftc-epic-bias/

How Does Query Intent Classification Work?
"If I am shopping online for a shovel, there’s a big difference in my search results if I’m search for a garden shovel in the summer or a snow shovel in the winter. How does the search engine know what I mean? Query intent classification starts with a set of training data, which is a list of queries from users and important context like the user’s location and date it was when they clicked on a particular type of shovel. This data gets fed into your neural network for analysis and deep learning. Then the next time a similar user with a similar history and similar location starts a search, the system will automatically boost the intended results. This is one way neural networks help avoid hand-constructing rules, complex algorithms, potential human error, and overall headaches."
https://lucidworks.com/post/query-intent-classification/

The computing power needed to train AI is now rising seven times faster than ever before "In 2018, OpenAI found that the amount of computational power used to train the largest AI models had doubled every 3.4 months since 2012. The San Francisco-based for-profit AI research lab has now added new data to its analysis. This shows how the post-2012 doubling compares with the historic doubling time since the beginning of the field. From 1959 to 2012, the amount of power required doubled every two years, following Moore’s Law. This means the doubling time today is more than seven times the previous rate." https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614700/the-computing-power-needed-to-train-ai-is-now-rising-seven-times-faster-than-ever-before/

Internet Access

Freedom House Publishes “Freedom on the Net 2019” Report
"Governments around the world are increasingly using social media to manipulate elections and monitor their citizens, tilting the technology toward digital authoritarianism. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year, according to Freedom on the Net 2019, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of internet freedom, released today by Freedom House."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/05/freedom-house-publishes-freedom-on-the-net-2019-report/

Social Media

The UK’s election will put Facebook’s political ad policies to the test
"As in the last UK election, just two years ago, targeted ads on social media will play a big role as the major parties try to convince wavering voters or shore up their own support. This time around, however, Facebook has a clearer (and more controversial) stance on what it will and won’t allow on its platform. Specifically, it’ll be the first major election where its policy of letting politicians lie in ads is put to the test, a stance that has come under increasing pressure since Twitter said it would ban political ads last week."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614697/the-uks-election-will-put-facebooks-political-ads-policies-to-the-test/

Open Data

Getting ready for Open Data Day 2020 on Saturday 7th March
"Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Open Data Day! Open Data Day is the annual event where we gather to reach out to new people and build new solutions to issues in our communities using open data. Over the last decade, this event has evolved from a small group of people in a few cities trying to convince their governments about the value of open data, to a full-grown community of practitioners and activists around the world working on putting data to use for their communities." https://blog.okfn.org/2019/11/08/getting-ready-for-open-data-day-2020-on-saturday-7th-march/

Libraries

Watch: The Modernization of the Library of Congress is Focus of U.S. Senate Hearing '
"Three years ago, during my confirmation hearing in this very room, we discussed the many challenges and opportunities presented by technology at the Library of Congress. I am pleased today to tell you that we have significantly improved the Library’s IT. The Library is a different organization than it was just a short time ago. Over the last few years, we have stabilized and optimized our core IT infrastructure. We have streamlined and strengthened our IT management and governance. And we have centralized and professionalized our IT workforce. Altogether, that hard work has allowed us to close as implemented nearly 95% of the IT recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2015, and we will keep working until we close 100%."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/07/video-the-modernization-of-the-library-of-congress-is-focus-of-u-s-senate-hearing/

Values

Affordances: Science Fiction About Algorithmic Bias and Technological Resistance
"Future Tense Fiction, a joint project of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and Slate, has just published Affordances, a new science fiction story by EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow. It's a tale of algorithmic bias, facial recognition, and technological self-determination that touches on many of EFF’s key fights."
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/affordances-science-fiction-about-algorithmic-bias-and-technological-resistance

Intellectual Property

Publishers Should be Making E-Book Licensing Better, Not Worse "Macmillan, one of the “Big Five” publishers, is imposing new limits on libraries’ access to ebooks—and libraries and their users are fighting back." https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/publishers-should-be-making-e-book-licensing-better-not-worse

Intersect Alert for the Week of November 4, 2019

Internet Access

Connecting the world is seen as a humanitarian mission for some technology evangelists – but ensuring a free and open web is a harder problem to solve. "Fifty years after the first computers were laced into an internet, and 30 years since the World Wide Web was built on top of this “network of networks”, the free and open online world envisioned by early pioneers is under attack. In the last few years, partial cuts and even total blackouts have been reported in India, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq." https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191025-the-fight-to-keep-the-internet-free-and-open-for-everyone In the Debate Over Online Speech and Security, Let’s Get to the Science A debate is raging, in Congress and the media, over whether or not we need new regulations to try to shape how Internet platforms operate. Too often, however, the discussion is based on rhetoric and anecdote, rather than empirical research. The recently introduced National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act is intended to change that, and we’re pleased to support its goals. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/debate-over-online-speech-and-security-lets-get-science

Privacy

Private Companies, Government Surveillance Software and Human Rights "It's old news that governments around the world are misusing private company-sold digital surveillance software track and target people for human rights abuses. Recently, Amnesty International reported finding that two prominent Moroccan human rights defenders had been targeted using Israeli-based NSO Group’s software. Just this week WhatsApp sued NSO group for using spyware, noting in the legal Complaint that NSO group counts the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico as customers and that WhatsApp had found targets with telephone numbers from each of those countries. Thanks to advocacy and research by EFF as well as our friends at Citizen Lab, Amnesty International, Privacy International, and others, there is now widespread understanding of the problem. But companies and activists and governments are still struggling to find solutions. All the while private companies based in the UK and Germany (FinFisher), Italy (Hacking Team), and Israel (NSO Group) continue to profit by selling “lawful interception software” to governments and law enforcement organizations in countries with unquestionably poor human rights records." https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/applying-human-rights-framework-sale-government-surveillance-software Website privacy options aren’t much of a choice since they’re hard to find and use "You’ve probably encountered a pair of shoes that won’t stop following you around the internet, appearing in advertisements on different sites for weeks. Today, the vast majority of advertising is targeted – that is, you see an ad because an advertiser thinks that you, specifically, might be interested in what they have to offer. You may have visited a store page for a pair of shoes, or maybe there’s something in your internet browsing history that places you in their target demographic." https://theconversation.com/website-privacy-options-arent-much-of-a-choice-since-theyre-hard-to-find-and-use-124631

Copyright

Where Research Meets Profits "Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles -- published and soon-to-be -- on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit. So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses -- including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham." http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/10/23/what-happened-when-professor-was-accused-sharing-his-own-work-his-website US Copyright Office Launches Learning Engine Video Series "The Learning Engine series of videos introduces the Copyright Office and copyright concepts to viewers who are new to these topics or who want to learn more." https://www.copyright.gov/learning-engine/?loclr=eanco

Research

Research Tools: New Digital Resources Launch Online for Study of Human Rights (Global Access to the PEN International and English PEN Records) "Thousands of digitized records reflecting major historical events of the 20th century related to PEN International, a global writers' organization, are available online beginning this month. A project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and completed by the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin has resulted in a new online finding aid for researchers, as well as access to teaching guides and nearly 5,000 digitized records." https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/press/releases/2019/pen-international.html 10 Little-Known Corners of the Deep Web You Might Actually Like "The dark web doesn’t have a great reputation. Dodgy online marketplaces, criminal gangs, terrorist groups—it sounds like the type of place that only the most troubled members of society would want to hang out. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, that type of content exists. But there are also plenty of dark web websites that you might actually like." https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/little-known-corners-deep-web-might-actually-like/

Values

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Preservation in the Age of Shared Print and Withdrawal Projects "This paper’s review of current issues in shared print retention and preservation identifies such shared issues as the cataloging and validation, retention and withdrawal of holdings, loss rates, current condition of holdings, recommendations for the number of copies to retain, and storage environments. Library institutions require a communitywide dialogue assessing practical retention concerns. We hope that our recommendations and discussion will serve as a call to action for further study and greater interest in strong cooperation at both institutional and repository levels, including collaborative action for multiple levels of collection assessments." https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/23612


Intersect Alert October 27, 2019


Open Access

Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/dont-let-science-publisher-elsevier-hold-knowledge-ransom

 

Open Access Resources for Legal Research

Via Lyonette Louis-Jacques, The University of Chicago | D’Angelo Law Library – “In honor of International Open Access Week, our library created an “Open Access Resources for Legal Research” LibGuide. These are some representative free law sources. The focus is on U.S. law, but there’s a foreign and international law section.”

http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/openlawresources

 

Libraries

Major Public Library System Will Boycott Macmillan E-books

Publishers Weekly – The nation’s top digital-circulating library has said it will stop buying new release Macmillan e-books once the publishers’ two-month embargo begins next month – “With Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release library e-books set to begin in just two weeks, PW has learned that the King County (WA) Library System has decided it will no longer purchase embargoed e-book titles from the publisher. “Despite months of discussion and advocacy, Macmillan continues its position to embargo multiple copies of e-books,” writes King County Library executive director Lisa Rosenblum, in a note sent to fellow library directors (and shared with PW). ”Therefore, effective November 1st, KCLS will no longer purchase e-books from Macmillan. Instead we will divert our e-book funds to those publishers who are willing to sell to us.” The King County Library System, headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, is one of the nation’s busiest and best library systems, circulating more than 21 million items every year. It has earned a coveted five star rating from Library Journal. And for five years running, King County has been the top digital-circulating public library system in the country, logging more than 4.8 million checkouts of e-books and digital audio in 2018. In her note, Rosenblum acknowledged differing opinions among public library staff around the country on whether to boycott Macmillan e-books, and said King County’s decision was ultimately driven by two reasons: one “pragmatic” and the other “principled.”

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/81475-this-major-public-library-system-will-boycott-macmillan-e-books-will-others-follow.html

 

Diversifying your Children’s Lit Section on Purpose

This is not a new topic, but certainly one that deserves more attention. Having worked in public school libraries and now monitoring a small children’s literature collection at my community college campus library, this section always makes me smile. While working on collection development, the children’s lit section is my favorite one to review. “We Need Diverse Books” has successfully transitioned from a hashtag response to a full movement and organization, dedicated to encouraging the publication of books that serve and reflect the lives of young people - all young people. 

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/odlos-blog/diversifying-childrens-lit

 

Librarians

50 Fictional Librarians, Ranked

“Here at Literary Hub, we love librarians. I mean, really everything about them—their knowledge, their kindness, their demon-slaying abilities. If you love them too, then you probably feel a little jolt of extra excitement whenever they show up in pop culture. Or, okay, maybe you aren’t a total nerd, but here you are looking at my ranking of fictional librarians, so I think it’s a fair bet that you are. (Don’t worry—it’s a good thing.) Either way, now that you’re here, please enjoy this totally unscientific, clearly incomplete, undoubtedly age-biased ranking of the best fictional librarians from film, literature, television, and the internet. Feel free to add on ad infinitum in the comments; that’s what comments are for.”

https://lithub.com/50-fictional-librarians-ranked/

 

Privacy

Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords

ars technica – Amazon- and Google-approved apps turned both voice-controlled devices into “smart spies”. – “By now, the privacy threats posed by Amazon Alexa and Google Home are common knowledge. Workers for both companies routinely listen to audio of users—recordings of which can be kept forever—and the sounds the devices capture can be used in criminal trials. Now, there’s a new concern: malicious apps developed by third parties and hosted by Amazon or Google. The threat isn’t just theoretical. Whitehat hackers at Germany’s Security Research Labs developed eight apps—four Alexa “skills” and four Google Home “actions”—that all passed Amazon or Google security-vetting processes. The skills or actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these “smart spies,” as the researchers call them, surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords…”

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/10/alexa-and-google-home-abused-to-eavesdrop-and-phish-passwords/

 

Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids

UK Guardian: “Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students, across thousands of school districts, looking for signs of suicidal thoughts, bullying or plans for a school shooting. The new school surveillance technology doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day, whether students are in their classrooms or their bedrooms. Tech companies are also working with schools to monitor students’ web searches and internet usage, and, in some cases, to track what they are writing on public social media accounts. Parents and students are still largely unaware of the scope and intensity of school surveillance, privacy experts say, even as the market for these technologies has grown rapidly, fueled by fears of school shootings, particularly in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February 2018, which left 17 people dead. Digital surveillance is just one part of a booming, nearly $3bn-a-year school security industry in the United States, where Republican lawmakers have blocked any substantial gun control legislation for a quarter century…”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/22/school-student-surveillance-bark-gaggle


Intersect Alert October 13, 2019

Libraries

Why Libraries Are Eliminating Late Fees for Overdue Books [CityLab]

“Chicago libraries will no longer collect late fees starting this month, becoming the largest public library system in the U.S. to do away with overdue fines. The city is also erasing all currently outstanding fees, which is good news to the more than 343,000 cardholders whose borrowing privileges have been revoked for accruing at least $10 in unpaid fines.”

“Chicago is one of a growing number of cities trying to make access to libraries more equitable. Its own data revealed that one in three cardholders in the public library’s south district, where many of the communities are of color and living in poverty, cannot check out books. That’s compared to one in six people in the wealthier north district. It’s likely that many who have unpaid fines fail to pay them because they don’t have the disposable income to do so.”

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/10/public-library-late-fees-chicago-san-francisco-equity-access/599194/

 

News from the Law Library of Congress Chatbot

In Custodia Legis – “Have you tried the Law Library of Congress Chatbot lately? The chatbot provides answers to frequently asked legal reference questions through Facebook Messenger. You can interact with it by clicking through a series of menu options or you can type in a natural language question. The chatbot debuted in October 2017, and since that time we have been able to learn from user interactions with the chatbot and make revisions to improve the user experience. For example, the chatbot’s natural language abilities have substantially improved since its debut. When the chatbot was released, slight variations from questions the chatbot anticipated, such as deviations in sentence structure, would likely cause the chatbot to return the default response. With the benefit of additional development time, the chatbot’s vocabulary is much more robust and can accommodate variations in sentence structure. Give it a try and let us know what you think. If you would like to try your hand at building your own chatbot, click here for more information…”

https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2019/10/news-from-the-law-library-of-congress-chatbot/

 

Education

‘Ultimate gift to future generations’: plan to laser map all land on Earth

  UK Guardian – Project to record cultural, geological and environmental treasures at risk from climate crisis  – “A project to produce detailed maps of all the land on Earth through laser scanning has been revealed by researchers who say action is needed now to preserve a record of the world’s cultural, environmental and geological treasures. Prof Chris Fisher, an archaeologist from Colorado State University, said he founded the Earth Archive as a response to the climate crisis. “We are going to lose a significant amount of both cultural patrimony – so archaeological sites and landscapes – but also ecological patrimony – plants and animals, entire landscapes, geology, hydrology,” Fisher told the Guardian. “We really have a limit time to record those things before the Earth fundamentally changes.”

The main technology Fisher hopes to use is aircraft-based Lidar, a scanning technique in which laser pulses are directed at the Earth’s surface from an instrument attached to an aircraft. The time it takes for the pulses to bounce back is measured, allowing researchers to work out the distance to the object or surface they strike. Combined with location data, the approach allows scientists to build 3D maps of an area…”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/11/ultimate-gift-to-future-generations-plan-to-laser-map-all-land-on-earth

 

Copyright

One Weird Law That Interferes With Security Research, Remix Culture, and Even Car Repair

How can a single, ill-conceived law wreak havoc in so many ways? It prevents you from making remix videos. It blocks computer security research. It keeps those with print disabilities from reading ebooks. It makes it illegal to repair people's cars. It makes it harder to compete with tech companies by designing interoperable products. It's even been used in an attempt to block third-party ink cartridges for printers.

It's hard to believe, but these are just some of the consequences of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives legal teeth to "access controls" (like DRM). Courts have mostly interpreted the law as abandoning the traditional limitations on copyright's scope, such as fair use, in favor of a strict regime that penalizes any bypassing of access controls (such as DRM) on a copyrighted work regardless of your noninfringing purpose, regardless of the fact that you own that copy of the work.  

Since software can be copyrighted, companies have increasingly argued that you cannot even look at the code that controls a device you own, which would mean that you're not allowed to understand the technology on which you rely — let alone learn how to tinker with it or spot vulnerabilities or undisclosed features that violate your privacy, for instance.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/one-weird-law-interferes-security-research-remix-culture-and-even-car-repair

 

Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation Framework Released For Public Comment

“Today NARA is releasing the entirety of our digital preservation framework for public comment. This digital preservation framework consists of our approach to determining risks faced by electronic files, and our plans for preserving different types of file formats. The public is encouraged to join the discussion, September 16 through November 1, 2019, on GitHub.”

https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2019/09/16/digital-preservation-framework-released-for-public-comment/



Intersect Alert October 6, 2019

Research

600 Years of Grape Harvests Document 20th Century Climate Change

“Climate change isn’t just captured by thermometers—grapes can also do the trick. By mining archival records of grape harvest dates going back to 1354, scientists have reconstructed a 664-year record of temperature traced by fruit ripening. The records, from the Burgundy region of France, represent the longest series of grape harvest dates assembled up until now and reveal strong evidence of climate change in the past few decades. Science with Grapes As far back as the 19th century, scientists have been using records of grape harvest dates to track climatic changes. “Wine harvest is a really great proxy for summer warmth,” said Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York not involved in the research. “The warmer the summer is, the faster the grapes develop, so the earlier the harvest happens…”

https://eos.org/articles/600-years-of-grape-harvests-document-20th-century-climate-change

 

Archives

Today's Document from NARA's Tumblr


Today’s Document started as a small feature on the Archives.gov website several years ago, as a way to highlight interesting documents in our holdings—both the well-known and the obscure—and to observe historical events (usually the significant events but sometimes just the curious ones). Today’s Document is now a popular feature and has inspired a new mobile App and even an independent tribute site. Over the years we have received suggestions and requests for new documents and started this blog as a way to collect and discuss those ideas. We’ll select the most highly rated documents and use them to populate future dates…”

https://www.bespacific.com/todays-document-from-naras-tumblr/


Libraries

Ancient scrolls charred by Vesuvius could be read once again

"When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, their inhabitants and their prized possessions – among them a fine library of scrolls that were carbonised by the searing heat of ash and gas."

"But scientists say there may still be hope that the fragile documents can once more be read thanks to an innovative approach involving high-energy x-rays and artificial intelligence."

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/03/ancient-scrolls-charred-by-vesuvius-could-be-read-once-again


Down with Dewey

Melvil Dewey is a library icon. So why did librarians remove Dewey’s name from one of their most prestigious awards. 

“In June, the American Library Association stripped a familiar name from one of its top leadership honors: the Melvil Dewey Medal. As you may recall from grade school, Dewey was the man behind the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the schema of numbers and subject areas used at libraries around the world to categorize books. Founder of the nation’s first library school, co-founder of the ALA itself, and onetime director of the New York State Library, he’s usually revered as a library icon, his name perhaps the one most strongly associated with the institution. So what drove librarians to erase it from their own award? As it turns out, despite the wholesome associations Dewey has accrued in the public imagination since his death in 1931, the man was no saint…What does this shift portend for Dewey’s intellectual contributions? The DDC might be the world’s most widely used library classification system, but like the man himself, it’s not without controversy. Critics say the subjects are heavily Eurocentric and favorable to Christianity. The 200s of the DDC, for example, are devoted to the subject of religion. But the subcategories are nearly all focused on Christianity, with one section for “other religions.”

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/09/melvil-dewey-american-library-association-award-name-change.html

 

Technology

This is how you kick facial recognition out of your town

"Bans on the technology have mostly focused on law enforcement, but there’s a growing movement to get it out of school, parks, and private businesses too."

"In San Francisco, a cop can’t use facial recognition technology on a person arrested. But a landlord can use it on a tenant, and a school district can use it on students." 

"This is where we find ourselves, smack in the middle of an era when cameras on the corner can automatically recognize passersby, whether they like it or not. The question of who should be able to use this technology, and who shouldn’t, remains largely unanswered in the US. So far, American backlash against facial recognition has been directed mainly at law enforcement. San Francisco and Oakland, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, have all banned police from using the technology in the past year because the algorithms aren’t accurate for people of color and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has even called for a moratorium on police use." 

"Private companies and property owners have had no such restrictions, and facial recognition is increasingly cropping up in apartment buildings, hotels, and more. Privacy advocates worry that constant surveillance will lead to discrimination and have a chilling effect on free speech—and the American public isn’t very comfortable with it either. According to a recent survey by Pew Research, people in the US actually feel better about cops using facial recognition than they do about private businesses." 

"Anyone waiting for a quick federal ban to take shape, either for law enforcement or private industry, is likely to be disappointed, says AI policy expert Mutale Nkonde, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center. “From a federal perspective, anything that seems to undermine business or innovation is not going to be favored,” she says. In theory, bans in cities that have so far been aimed at cops could widen to include private interests. States could then take them up, which might finally spur action in Washington. But it’s going to take a while, if it happens at all."

"In the meantime, there is growing momentum toward curtailing private surveillance, using an array of tactics. From going toe to toe with big corporate interests to leaning on legal theory about what constitutes civil rights in America, here are three main approaches currently in play that could one day drastically change how facial recognition is used in our lives."

 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614477/facial-recognition-law-enforcement-surveillance-private-industry-regulation-ban-backlash/



Intersect Alert September 29, 2019


Publishing

GPO Produces U.S. Code with New Digital Publ
ishing Technology

"GPO has taken a major step forward in the modernization of its publishing systems by beginning to publish the 2018 main edition of the United States Code through XPub, the agency’s new digital technology for XML-based publishing. With the implementation of XPub, GPO will be able to simultaneously publish all legislative documents in a variety of print and digital formats in a more timely manner. The 2018 Main Edition of the U.S. Code is the first, large-scale production job that GPO has published using the new composition system."

https://www.govinfo.gov/features/uscode-2018

Copyright

The Misadventure of Copyrighting State Law

"Abstract- Many states have asserted copyright over their own official state legal texts, limiting access to those materials and attempting to monetize them. This Article aims to provide helpful analysis for state officials deciding whether to pursue such policies and for courts reviewing challenges to such practices. Prior scholarship in this area has focused on the issue of whether such copyright assertions can be valid under federal law given the inherent conflicts they pose to due process and democratic ideals. This Article aims to expand this dialogue in a couple of ways — first, by situating the controversy within the broader arc of legal history, and second, by focusing on matters of present-day practicalities and economics. In so doing, the thrust of this Article is to go beyond arguing that states must surrender their copyright claims over state legal materials and to concentrate instead on providing reasons why states should see it in their own interest and the interest of their citizens to renounce such claims. The policy arguments this Article sets out — including with regard to business behavior, political engagement, and fiscal responsibility — end up providing not merely reasons for states to abstain from aggressive copyright claiming, but also reasons for reviewing courts to deny such claims, including by way of fair use analysis."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3446229

Libraries

The Oldest Continuously Operating Library in the World is in this Egyptian Monastery

"One of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world still in operation, the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai is home to almost 2,000 years of history — and many more years of legend: tradition claims, for example, that the main altar of the monastery is built on the spot where the Burning Bush first addressed Moses."

"But the monastery, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, also holds other places of honor. For example, it accommodates the oldest continuously operating active library in the world."

https://aleteia.org/2019/08/19/the-oldest-continuously-operating-library-in-the-world-is-in-an-egyptian-monastery/

Privacy


The World’s Most-Surveilled Cities

"Cities in China are under the heaviest CCTV surveillance in the world, according to a new analysis by Comparitech. However, some residents living in cities across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, and India will also find themselves surrounded by a large number of watchful eyes, as our look at the number of public CCTV cameras in 120 cities worldwide found."

"Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes, ranging from crime prevention to traffic monitoring to observing industrial operations in environments not suitable for humans. The digital age has boosted the prevalence of CCTV surveillance. Cameras are getting better and cheaper, while live video streams can be remotely accessed, stored on the internet, and passed around. The adoption of face recognition technology makes it possible for both public and private entities to instantly check the identity of anyone who passes by a CCTV camera."

https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

This AI Reads Privacy Policies so You Don’t Have to — and It’s Actually Pretty Good

"Don’t you absolutely hate how dense and confusing privacy policies are? Considering they’re full of gotchas and intentionally obscure legalese, it’s no surprise that hardly anyone bothers to even read them — we’ve simply accepted we’re giving up our data, and with it, our sense of privacy."

"But thanks to this new policy-reading AI, things won’t have to be this way for much longer. Guard is a recurrent neural network-based app that reads and analyzes privacy terms, so you don’t have to. While it can’t yet examine policies on request, the AI has rated the privacy terms of a slew of popular services like Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder."

https://thenextweb.com/apps/2019/09/24/ai-privacy-terms-analysis-reads/

30-Second Privacy Fixes: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Data

"These days, the products we use have an annoying way of spying on us—from inside our cars, our homes, and our offices. That smartphone game you play in the waiting room at the doctor's office, the mobile app that gives you a weather forecast, the photo you share with online friends—all have the ability to reveal intimate details about your life."

"According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 60 percent of Americans now bar mobile apps from accessing the camera, GPS data, and contact list on their phones. And half protect their online accounts with two-factor authentication."

https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/30-second-privacy-fixes/

Thanks For Helping Us Defend the California Consumer Privacy Act

"The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020—having fended off a year of targeted efforts by technology giants who wanted to gut the bill. Most recently, industry tried to weaken its important privacy protections in the last days of the legislative session."

"Californians made history last year when, after 600,000 people signed petitions in support of a ballot initiative, the California State Legislature answered their constituents’ call for a new data privacy law. It’s been a long fight to defend the CCPA against a raft of amendments that would have weakened this law and the protections it enshrines for Californians. Big technology companies backed a number of bills that each would have weakened the CCPA’s protections. Taken together, this package would have significantly undermined this historic law."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/09/thanks-helping-us-defend-california-consumer-privacy-act



Intersect Alert – August 12, 2019

Libraries

Computer Science Could Learn A Lot From Library And Information Science

"Computer science curriculums have long emphasized the power of data, encouraging its harvesting and hoarding, pioneering new ways of mining and manipulating users through it, reinforcing it as the path to riches in the modern economy and proselytizing the idea of data being able to solve all of society’s ills. In contrast, library and information science curriculums have historically emphasized privacy, civil liberties and community impact, blending discussion of public data management with private data minimization. Tomorrow’s future technology leaders could learn much from their library-minded colleagues."
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2019/08/05/computer-science-could-learn-a-lot-from-library-and-information-science/#71b8dfb1587d


Privacy

Digital Privacy Does Matter to You

"At this moment, there is a copy of every unencrypted email, text, photo, gif or emoji you have ever sent in your digital life. These copies are stored under your name/identity in the national data storage facility operated by the U.S. National Surveillance Agency."
https://www.bespacific.com/digital-privacy-does-matter-to-you/


Social Media

Twitter users are escaping online hate by switching profiles to Germany, where Nazism is illegal

"Seeking to shield themselves from online hatred, some Twitter users say they’ve switched their account locations to Germany where local laws prevent pro-Nazi content."
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/02/twitter-users-switch-profiles-to-germany-to-escape-online-hate.html


White House proposal would have FCC and FTC police alleged social media censorship

"A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to multiple people familiar with the matter."
https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/tech/white-house-social-media-executive-order-fcc-ftc/


Technology

A 20-Year Community Roadmap for AI Research in the US is Released

"The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is pleased to release the completed Artificial Intelligence (AI) Roadmap, titled A 20-Year Community Roadmap for AI Research in the US. This roadmap is the result of a year long effort by the CCC and over 100 members of the research community, led by Yolanda Gil (University of Southern California and President of AAAI) and Bart Selman (Cornell University and President Elect of AAAI). Comments on a draft report of this roadmap were requested in May 2019. "
https://www.bespacific.com/a-20-year-community-roadmap-for-ai-research-in-the-us-is-released/

How phishing attacks trick our brains

"It’s simple and effective: getting someone to click a malicious link in an email and enter private information such as a password is the most important skill in many hackers’ toolkits. Phishing is the most common form of cyberattack and still growing.

And the reason it’s so effective, according to research being done at Google and the University of Florida, is that it takes advantage of how the human brain works—and, crucially, how people fail to detect deception, depending on factors like emotional intelligence, cognitive motivation, mood, hormones, and even the victim’s personality."
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614095/how-phishing-attacks-trick-our-brains/

Intersect Alert October 6, 2019

Research

600 Years of Grape Harvests Document 20th Century Climate Change

“Climate change isn’t just captured by thermometers—grapes can also do the trick. By mining archival records of grape harvest dates going back to 1354, scientists have reconstructed a 664-year record of temperature traced by fruit ripening. The records, from the Burgundy region of France, represent the longest series of grape harvest dates assembled up until now and reveal strong evidence of climate change in the past few decades. Science with Grapes As far back as the 19th century, scientists have been using records of grape harvest dates to track climatic changes. “Wine harvest is a really great proxy for summer warmth,” said Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York not involved in the research. “The warmer the summer is, the faster the grapes develop, so the earlier the harvest happens…”

https://eos.org/articles/600-years-of-grape-harvests-document-20th-century-climate-change

 

Archives

Today's Document from NARA's Tumblr


Today’s Document started as a small feature on the Archives.gov website several years ago, as a way to highlight interesting documents in our holdings—both the well-known and the obscure—and to observe historical events (usually the significant events but sometimes just the curious ones). Today’s Document is now a popular feature and has inspired a new mobile App and even an independent tribute site. Over the years we have received suggestions and requests for new documents and started this blog as a way to collect and discuss those ideas. We’ll select the most highly rated documents and use them to populate future dates…”

https://www.bespacific.com/todays-document-from-naras-tumblr/


Libraries

Ancient scrolls charred by Vesuvius could be read once again

"When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, their inhabitants and their prized possessions – among them a fine library of scrolls that were carbonised by the searing heat of ash and gas."

"But scientists say there may still be hope that the fragile documents can once more be read thanks to an innovative approach involving high-energy x-rays and artificial intelligence."

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/03/ancient-scrolls-charred-by-vesuvius-could-be-read-once-again


Down with Dewey

Melvil Dewey is a library icon. So why did librarians remove Dewey’s name from one of their most prestigious awards. 

“In June, the American Library Association stripped a familiar name from one of its top leadership honors: the Melvil Dewey Medal. As you may recall from grade school, Dewey was the man behind the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the schema of numbers and subject areas used at libraries around the world to categorize books. Founder of the nation’s first library school, co-founder of the ALA itself, and onetime director of the New York State Library, he’s usually revered as a library icon, his name perhaps the one most strongly associated with the institution. So what drove librarians to erase it from their own award? As it turns out, despite the wholesome associations Dewey has accrued in the public imagination since his death in 1931, the man was no saint…What does this shift portend for Dewey’s intellectual contributions? The DDC might be the world’s most widely used library classification system, but like the man himself, it’s not without controversy. Critics say the subjects are heavily Eurocentric and favorable to Christianity. The 200s of the DDC, for example, are devoted to the subject of religion. But the subcategories are nearly all focused on Christianity, with one section for “other religions.”

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/09/melvil-dewey-american-library-association-award-name-change.html

 

Technology

This is how you kick facial recognition out of your town

"Bans on the technology have mostly focused on law enforcement, but there’s a growing movement to get it out of school, parks, and private businesses too."

"In San Francisco, a cop can’t use facial recognition technology on a person arrested. But a landlord can use it on a tenant, and a school district can use it on students." 

"This is where we find ourselves, smack in the middle of an era when cameras on the corner can automatically recognize passersby, whether they like it or not. The question of who should be able to use this technology, and who shouldn’t, remains largely unanswered in the US. So far, American backlash against facial recognition has been directed mainly at law enforcement. San Francisco and Oakland, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, have all banned police from using the technology in the past year because the algorithms aren’t accurate for people of color and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has even called for a moratorium on police use." 

"Private companies and property owners have had no such restrictions, and facial recognition is increasingly cropping up in apartment buildings, hotels, and more. Privacy advocates worry that constant surveillance will lead to discrimination and have a chilling effect on free speech—and the American public isn’t very comfortable with it either. According to a recent survey by Pew Research, people in the US actually feel better about cops using facial recognition than they do about private businesses." 

"Anyone waiting for a quick federal ban to take shape, either for law enforcement or private industry, is likely to be disappointed, says AI policy expert Mutale Nkonde, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center. “From a federal perspective, anything that seems to undermine business or innovation is not going to be favored,” she says. In theory, bans in cities that have so far been aimed at cops could widen to include private interests. States could then take them up, which might finally spur action in Washington. But it’s going to take a while, if it happens at all."

"In the meantime, there is growing momentum toward curtailing private surveillance, using an array of tactics. From going toe to toe with big corporate interests to leaning on legal theory about what constitutes civil rights in America, here are three main approaches currently in play that could one day drastically change how facial recognition is used in our lives."

 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614477/facial-recognition-law-enforcement-surveillance-private-industry-regulation-ban-backlash/



Intersect Alert September 29, 2019


Publishing

GPO Produces U.S. Code with New Digital Publ
ishing Technology

"GPO has taken a major step forward in the modernization of its publishing systems by beginning to publish the 2018 main edition of the United States Code through XPub, the agency’s new digital technology for XML-based publishing. With the implementation of XPub, GPO will be able to simultaneously publish all legislative documents in a variety of print and digital formats in a more timely manner. The 2018 Main Edition of the U.S. Code is the first, large-scale production job that GPO has published using the new composition system."

https://www.govinfo.gov/features/uscode-2018

Copyright

The Misadventure of Copyrighting State Law

"Abstract- Many states have asserted copyright over their own official state legal texts, limiting access to those materials and attempting to monetize them. This Article aims to provide helpful analysis for state officials deciding whether to pursue such policies and for courts reviewing challenges to such practices. Prior scholarship in this area has focused on the issue of whether such copyright assertions can be valid under federal law given the inherent conflicts they pose to due process and democratic ideals. This Article aims to expand this dialogue in a couple of ways — first, by situating the controversy within the broader arc of legal history, and second, by focusing on matters of present-day practicalities and economics. In so doing, the thrust of this Article is to go beyond arguing that states must surrender their copyright claims over state legal materials and to concentrate instead on providing reasons why states should see it in their own interest and the interest of their citizens to renounce such claims. The policy arguments this Article sets out — including with regard to business behavior, political engagement, and fiscal responsibility — end up providing not merely reasons for states to abstain from aggressive copyright claiming, but also reasons for reviewing courts to deny such claims, including by way of fair use analysis."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3446229

Libraries

The Oldest Continuously Operating Library in the World is in this Egyptian Monastery

"One of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world still in operation, the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai is home to almost 2,000 years of history — and many more years of legend: tradition claims, for example, that the main altar of the monastery is built on the spot where the Burning Bush first addressed Moses."

"But the monastery, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, also holds other places of honor. For example, it accommodates the oldest continuously operating active library in the world."

https://aleteia.org/2019/08/19/the-oldest-continuously-operating-library-in-the-world-is-in-an-egyptian-monastery/

Privacy


The World’s Most-Surveilled Cities

"Cities in China are under the heaviest CCTV surveillance in the world, according to a new analysis by Comparitech. However, some residents living in cities across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, and India will also find themselves surrounded by a large number of watchful eyes, as our look at the number of public CCTV cameras in 120 cities worldwide found."

"Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes, ranging from crime prevention to traffic monitoring to observing industrial operations in environments not suitable for humans. The digital age has boosted the prevalence of CCTV surveillance. Cameras are getting better and cheaper, while live video streams can be remotely accessed, stored on the internet, and passed around. The adoption of face recognition technology makes it possible for both public and private entities to instantly check the identity of anyone who passes by a CCTV camera."

https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

This AI Reads Privacy Policies so You Don’t Have to — and It’s Actually Pretty Good

"Don’t you absolutely hate how dense and confusing privacy policies are? Considering they’re full of gotchas and intentionally obscure legalese, it’s no surprise that hardly anyone bothers to even read them — we’ve simply accepted we’re giving up our data, and with it, our sense of privacy."

"But thanks to this new policy-reading AI, things won’t have to be this way for much longer. Guard is a recurrent neural network-based app that reads and analyzes privacy terms, so you don’t have to. While it can’t yet examine policies on request, the AI has rated the privacy terms of a slew of popular services like Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder."

https://thenextweb.com/apps/2019/09/24/ai-privacy-terms-analysis-reads/

30-Second Privacy Fixes: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Data

"These days, the products we use have an annoying way of spying on us—from inside our cars, our homes, and our offices. That smartphone game you play in the waiting room at the doctor's office, the mobile app that gives you a weather forecast, the photo you share with online friends—all have the ability to reveal intimate details about your life."

"According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 60 percent of Americans now bar mobile apps from accessing the camera, GPS data, and contact list on their phones. And half protect their online accounts with two-factor authentication."

https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/30-second-privacy-fixes/

Thanks For Helping Us Defend the California Consumer Privacy Act

"The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020—having fended off a year of targeted efforts by technology giants who wanted to gut the bill. Most recently, industry tried to weaken its important privacy protections in the last days of the legislative session."

"Californians made history last year when, after 600,000 people signed petitions in support of a ballot initiative, the California State Legislature answered their constituents’ call for a new data privacy law. It’s been a long fight to defend the CCPA against a raft of amendments that would have weakened this law and the protections it enshrines for Californians. Big technology companies backed a number of bills that each would have weakened the CCPA’s protections. Taken together, this package would have significantly undermined this historic law."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/09/thanks-helping-us-defend-california-consumer-privacy-act



Intersect Alert September 16, 2019

Search

Elevating original reporting in Search

"Google Search was built to provide everyone access to information on the web—and with tens of thousands of web pages, hundreds of hours of video, thousands of tweets and news stories published every minute of the day, our job is to sift through that content and find the most helpful results possible. With news in particular, we always aim to show a diversity of articles and sources to give users as much context and insight as possible." 

"An important element of the coverage we want to provide is original reporting, an endeavor which requires significant time, effort and resources by the publisher. Some stories can also be both critically important in the impact they can have on our world and difficult to put together, requiring reporters to engage in deep investigative pursuits to dig up facts and sources. These are among the reasons why we aim to support these industry efforts and help people get access to the most authoritative reporting."

https://www.blog.google/products/search/original-reporting/

Libraries and Librarians

Chicago’s New Tool Library Is Awesome, Exactly What It Sounds Like

"Need audio equipment to record a podcast? Want to make your own tagliatelle pasta? Lacking the right wire strippers to build your own quadcopter drone?"

"The new Chicago Tool Library has your back, so you can explore your inner Leonardo DaVinci without having to buy and store gear you use once in a blue moon."

"Just launched this summer in Bridgeport, The Chicago Tool Library is a community-driven nonprofit organization that rents out donated tools. The inventory is stacked, ranging from power drills to masonry to woodworking to food-preparation hardware."

 https://www.insidehook.com/article/culture-chicago/chicagos-new-tool-library-is-awesome-exactly-what-it-sounds-like

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books

"The carpet was khaki, THE lights yellow, the walls a dishwater beige. The basement computer lab in Midtown Manhattan didn’t have much ambience. But 20 librarians from the New York Public Library were seated in the room—and they were there to crack mysteries. Their tools were a whiteboard, a marker, a series of screens, and a metal bell of the sort you’d find on a hotel-lobby desk. Whenever it dinged, it meant a case had been closed."

"Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everything from queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles."

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librarian-detectives-forgotten-books

Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain

"A coalition of archivists, activists, and libraries are working overtime to make it easier to identify the many books that are secretly in the public domain, digitize them, and make them freely available online to everyone. The people behind the effort are now hoping to upload these books to the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital archives on the internet."

"As it currently stands, all books published in the U.S. before 1924 are in the public domain, meaning they’re publicly owned and can be freely used and copied. Books published in 1964 and after are still in copyright, and by law will be for 95 years from their publication date."

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3534j/libraries-and-archivists-are-scanning-and-uploading-books-that-are-secretly-in-the-public-domain


Libraries Ensure That Our Future Is Connected and Informed. Let’s Help Them Keep It That Way.

"It should go without saying, but it’s worth shouting from the rooftops every now and then: Libraries are important! While all libraries, from the largest city libraries to the smallest local libraries, provide a diverse array of vital community services, perhaps their most important role is to preserve culturally and historically valuable works and to provide their communities with access to those works. Delivering many of these services has proven to be a challenge for libraries in the 21st century, now that our lives are fully entangled with the internet and access to knowledge happens through digital technologies like electronic books (eBooks)." 

"As is often the case in other areas of public concern, regulatory volatility coupled with the glacial pace of legal development has created obstacles for libraries seeking to fulfill their missions. Two key challenges for libraries are (1) their ability to access (and provide access to) quality, affordable broadband, and (2) their ability to expand the traditional library practice of owning and lending out physical works into the digital world. Policymakers must pursue sensible broadband and copyright policies to help libraries further their service to the public interest. This includes providing libraries with adequate funding for broadband and the freedom to adopt and employ technologies (such as controlled digital lending of works) that allow them to serve their patrons within the confines of current law. If these measures are left untaken, libraries are at risk of being unable to provide the benefits to individuals in the digital age that they have provided for centuries."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/libraries-ensure-that-our-future-is-connected-and-informed-lets-help-them-keep-it-that-way/

Publishing


Why Angry Librarians Are Going to War With Publishers Over E-Books

"If I wanted to borrow A Better Man by Louise Penny—the country’s current No. 1 fiction bestseller—from my local library in my preferred format, e-book, I’d be looking at about a 10-week waitlist. And soon, if the book’s publisher, a division of Macmillan, has its way, that already-lengthy wait time could get significantly longer."

"In July, Macmillan announced that come November, the company will only allow libraries to purchase a single copy of its new titles for the first eight weeks of their release—and that’s one copy whether it’s the New York Public Library or a small-town operation that’s barely moved on from its card catalog. This has sparked an appropriately quiet revolt. Librarians and their allies quickly denounced the decision when it came down, and now the American Library Association is escalating the protest by enlisting the public to stand with libraries by signing an online petition with a populist call against such restrictive practices. (The association announced the petition Wednesday at Digital Book World, an industry conference in Nashville, Tennessee.) What’s unclear is whether the association can get the public to understand a byzantine-seeming dispute over electronic files and the right to download them."

https://slate.com/business/2019/09/e-book-library-publisher-buying-controversy-petition.html

Cengage/Mcgraw-Hill Merger Would Make Students Pay Even More for Textbooks

"Almost a year ago today I unpacked my bags, put up my last poster in my dorm room, and prepared for my first day as a college student. One of the first items on my to-do list — apart from figuring out where my classes were — was buying the textbooks I would need for my classes. As I opened my laptop and looked up the titles I was shocked at what I was seeing. A mix of required readings that individually cost more than the concert ticket I had been saving up for. Apart from traditional print titles, I was equally amazed that some classes required books that were solely online — none of which I would own, but rather would have access to for a limited amount of time."

"The shock I experienced is not unique. Millions of students across the U.S. face a textbook market that is ever changing with prices that are exponentially rising. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, textbooks prices have risen 1,041% (three times faster than inflation) since 1977. According to the College Board, a student at a public, in-state university is expected to spend about $11,140 during their college career on books and supplies with the cost being even higher for out-of-state and private university students. These prices have led to 65% of students not purchasing required materials despite 94% of them being aware that it would hurt their grades."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/cengage-mcgraw-hill-merger-would-make-students-pay-even-more-for-textbooks/

Intersect Alert – August 5, 2019

Copyright

Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub

"Sci-Hub (previously) is a scrappy, nonprofit site founded in memory of Aaron Swartz, dedicated to providing global access to the world's scholarship -- journal articles that generally report on publicly-funded research, which rapacious, giant corporations acquire for free, and then charge the very same institutions that paid for the research millions of dollars a year to access."
https://boingboing.net/2019/08/02/publicsphere-v-elsevier.html

Freedom of Information

California privacy act interpretation could make common newsgathering practice unlawful

"The California court of appeal is considering an expansive interpretation of state privacy law — in a pending lawsuit pending involving Yelp — that would make it unlawful to take notes during telephone conversations. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 17 media organizations are urging the court to reject the argument that the California Invasion of Privacy Act prevents note taking."
https://www.rcfp.org/note-taking-should-not-violate-cipa/

Librarians

A librarian’s case against overdue book fines

"Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there’s one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don’t actually do what we think they do. What if your library just … stopped asking for them altogether?"
https://www.bespacific.com/a-librarians-case-against-overdue-book-fines/

Libraries

Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books

"Librarians to publishers: Please take our money. Publishers to librarians: Drop dead. That’s the upshot of Macmillan publishing’s recent decision which represents yet another insult to libraries."
https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/02/opinions/libraries-fight-publishers-over-e-books-west/index.html

Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis in Collaboration with Their Communities: An Introduction

"The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic. As communities across the country feel the epidemic’s impact, public health and human service organizations are implementing responses that include healthcare, education, law enforcement and the judicial system, emergency services, drug and addiction counseling, and community services. Public libraries around the country are choosing to be part of this response."
https://www.bespacific.com/public-libraries-respond-to-the-opioid-crisis-in-collaboration-with-their-communities-an-introduction/


This Tiny Traveling Bookstore Wanders the French Countryside

"Jean-Jacques Megel-Nuber’s first drawing of his imagined bookstore on wheels had little in common with its final design. “It looked like the cabins in a Christmas market," says Megel-Nuber, who is from the Alsace region of eastern France, known for its festive seasonal markets. He had originally thought about opening a brick-and-mortar bookshop but decided he wanted one that could travel to French country towns whose bookstores have often closed. He also wanted a space where he could live during his travels."
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/tiny-traveling-french-bookstore

Social Media

Full Fact has been fact-checking Facebook posts for six months. Here’s what they think needs to change

"In December 2016, Facebook enlisted a handful of U.S.-based news organizations (ABC News, Snopes, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and the AP) to help stem the flow of false information on the platform. Over time, it’s expanded these third-party fact-checking partnerships: It now has more than 50 partners globally, fact-checking in 42 languages."
https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/07/full-fact-has-been-fact-checking-facebook-posts-for-six-months-heres-what-they-think-needs-to-change

Concerns About Online Data Privacy Span Generations

"In an effort to help inform policymakers about the views of Americans across generations on internet privacy, the Internet Innovation Alliance, in partnership with Icon Talks, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), and the Millennial Action Project, commissioned a national study of U.S. consumers who have witnessed a steady stream of online privacy abuses, data misuses, and security breaches in recent years."
https://www.bespacific.com/concerns-about-online-data-privacy-span-generations/



Intersect Alert – August 5, 2019

Copyright

Elsevier sends copyright threat to site for linking to Sci-Hub

"Sci-Hub (previously) is a scrappy, nonprofit site founded in memory of Aaron Swartz, dedicated to providing global access to the world's scholarship -- journal articles that generally report on publicly-funded research, which rapacious, giant corporations acquire for free, and then charge the very same institutions that paid for the research millions of dollars a year to access."
https://boingboing.net/2019/08/02/publicsphere-v-elsevier.html

Freedom of Information

California privacy act interpretation could make common newsgathering practice unlawful

"The California court of appeal is considering an expansive interpretation of state privacy law — in a pending lawsuit pending involving Yelp — that would make it unlawful to take notes during telephone conversations. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 17 media organizations are urging the court to reject the argument that the California Invasion of Privacy Act prevents note taking."
https://www.rcfp.org/note-taking-should-not-violate-cipa/

Librarians

A librarian’s case against overdue book fines

"Libraries have the power to create a better world; they connect communities, promote literacy and spark lifelong learners. But there’s one thing that keeps people away: the fear of overdue book fines. In this thought-provoking talk, librarian Dawn Wacek makes the case that fines don’t actually do what we think they do. What if your library just … stopped asking for them altogether?"
https://www.bespacific.com/a-librarians-case-against-overdue-book-fines/

Libraries

Libraries are fighting to preserve your right to borrow e-books

"Librarians to publishers: Please take our money. Publishers to librarians: Drop dead. That’s the upshot of Macmillan publishing’s recent decision which represents yet another insult to libraries."
https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/02/opinions/libraries-fight-publishers-over-e-books-west/index.html

Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis in Collaboration with Their Communities: An Introduction

"The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic. As communities across the country feel the epidemic’s impact, public health and human service organizations are implementing responses that include healthcare, education, law enforcement and the judicial system, emergency services, drug and addiction counseling, and community services. Public libraries around the country are choosing to be part of this response."
https://www.bespacific.com/public-libraries-respond-to-the-opioid-crisis-in-collaboration-with-their-communities-an-introduction/


This Tiny Traveling Bookstore Wanders the French Countryside

"Jean-Jacques Megel-Nuber’s first drawing of his imagined bookstore on wheels had little in common with its final design. “It looked like the cabins in a Christmas market," says Megel-Nuber, who is from the Alsace region of eastern France, known for its festive seasonal markets. He had originally thought about opening a brick-and-mortar bookshop but decided he wanted one that could travel to French country towns whose bookstores have often closed. He also wanted a space where he could live during his travels."
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/tiny-traveling-french-bookstore

Social Media

Full Fact has been fact-checking Facebook posts for six months. Here’s what they think needs to change

"In December 2016, Facebook enlisted a handful of U.S.-based news organizations (ABC News, Snopes, PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and the AP) to help stem the flow of false information on the platform. Over time, it’s expanded these third-party fact-checking partnerships: It now has more than 50 partners globally, fact-checking in 42 languages."
https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/07/full-fact-has-been-fact-checking-facebook-posts-for-six-months-heres-what-they-think-needs-to-change

Concerns About Online Data Privacy Span Generations

"In an effort to help inform policymakers about the views of Americans across generations on internet privacy, the Internet Innovation Alliance, in partnership with Icon Talks, the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), and the Millennial Action Project, commissioned a national study of U.S. consumers who have witnessed a steady stream of online privacy abuses, data misuses, and security breaches in recent years."
https://www.bespacific.com/concerns-about-online-data-privacy-span-generations/



Intersect Alert – May 5, 2019

Search

Measure of Things

“The Measure of Things is a search engine for finding comparative or relative measurements of physical quantities.”

“With the Measure of Things tool, you can take a physical quantity - like 84 kilograms or 23 cubic meters - and see how it compares to a list of famous or well-known objects. For example, 84 kilograms is the weight of about 17 gallons of paint, while 23 cubic meters is about twice the volume of a cement mixer truck.”

“You can use the Measure of Things to research equivalent measures for several types of quantities, including weight, length, speed, time, height, area, volume, and computer data.”

https://www.bluebulbprojects.com/measureofthings/default.php

Library Extension

“The #1 Browser Extension that lets you instantly see book and e-book availability from your local library. Easily discover books and ebooks available at your local library!”

“Access to more than one library? No more searching across multiple library catalogs. All conveniently displayed on the sites you visit already!”

https://www.libraryextension.com/

 

Privacy

What Amazon Knows About You

“Depending on how much you shop, watch and read with Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth may know more about you than any other company on earth.”

“The big picture: Naturally, they know what you've browsed or bought on their main service. They also know what you've asked Alexa, watched on Prime, and read on your Kindle. They know even more thanks to their ownership of Whole Foods, Ring, Eero, Twitch, Goodreads, IMDB and Audible.”

“Details: As with Google or Facebook, what Amazon knows depend on how much you rely on its services. That said, these days Amazon's services are all around us. Here are some of the different types of information gathered by various Amazon services.”

https://www.axios.com/what-amazon-knows-about-you-2df28404-b975-4bc8-b2da-ac702e601cf8.html

Introducing Auto-Delete Controls for Your Location History and Activity Data

“Whether you’re looking for the latest news or the quickest driving route, we aim to make our products helpful for everyone. And when you turn on settings like Location History or Web & App Activity, the data can make Google products more useful for you—like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search. We work to keep your data private and secure, and we’ve heard your feedback that we need to provide simpler ways for you to manage or delete it.”

“You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity, and if you choose—to delete all or part of that data manually. In addition to these options, we’re announcing auto-delete controls that make it even easier to manage your data. Here’s how they’ll work:”

https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/automatically-delete-data/

The EU Wants to Build One of the World's Largest Biometric Databases. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

“China and India have built the world’s largest biometric databases, but the European Union is about to join the club.”

“The Common Identity Repository (CIR) will consolidate biometric data on almost all visitors and migrants to the bloc, as well as some EU citizens—connecting existing criminal, asylum, and migration databases and integrating new ones. It has the potential to affect hundreds of millions of people.”

“The plan for the database, first proposed in 2016 and approved by the EU Parliament on April 16, was sold as a way to better track and monitor terrorists, criminals, and unauthorized immigrants.”

http://fortune.com/2019/05/01/eu-biometric-database-india/

Cloud Database Removed After Exposing Details on 80 Million US Households

“In a blow to consumers' privacy, the addresses and demographic details of more than 80 million US households were exposed on an unsecured database stored on the cloud, independent security researchers have found.”

“The details included names, ages and genders as well as income levels and marital status. The researchers, led by Noam Rotem and Ran Locar, were unable to identify the owner of the database, which until Monday was online and required no password to access. Some of the information was coded, like gender, marital status and income level. Names, ages and addresses were not coded.”

“The data didn't include payment information or Social Security numbers. The 80 million households affected make up well over half of the households in the US, according to Statista.”

https://www.cnet.com/news/cloud-database-removed-after-exposing-details-on-80-million-us-households/

Research

Evaluating Shepard’s, KeyCite, and Bcite for Case Validation Accuracy

“Abstract: This study evaluates and compares how accurately three legal citators (Shepard’s, KeyCite, and BCite) identify negative treatment of case law, based on a review of 357 citing relationships that at least one citator labeled as negative. In this sample, Shepard’s and KeyCite missed or mislabeled about one-third of negative citing relationships, while BCite missed or mislabeled over two-thirds. The citators’ relative performance is less clear when examining the most serious citator errors, examples of which can be found in all three citators.”

https://scholarship.law.wm.edu/libpubs/131/

Copyright

Media Alert: Court Hearing Monday for Redditor Fighting to Stay Anonymous

“San Francisco – On Monday, May 6 at 11am, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will argue that a San Francisco court should quash a subpoena from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society aimed at getting the identity of an anonymous Reddit commenter.”

“Watch Tower is the supervising body and publisher of all religious doctrines for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. EFF’s client is a lifelong member of the Jehovah’s Witness community, and has used the handle ‘darkspilver’ to share comments and spark discussion about the religious organization in one of Reddit’s online discussion groups. Watch Tower subpoenaed Reddit for information on darkspilver earlier this year, claiming it was part of a potential copyright lawsuit over material shared in the Reddit group.”

https://www.eff.org/press/releases/media-alert-court-hearing-monday-redditor-fighting-stay-anonymous

Intersect Alert - April 22, 2019

Freedom of Information

Mueller Report Censorship Raises Question: What’s the Government Hiding?

"The National Security Archive has published hundreds of examples over the years of “dubious secrets” where U.S. government censors blacked out documents that had already been released in full – or redacted entirely different parts of the same document at different times.  This surprisingly common occurrence throws into relief how subjective the classification process is and how often agency declassifiers opt for the most sweeping rulings that wind up denying the public reasonable access to their government’s information."

Librarians

Why Doctors and Librarians Make Great Partners

"Raising a community of readers is a fundamental objective of public libraries. Libraries make it their primary business to build readers, with story times, readers advisory, thoughtfully developed collections, and more. But libraries don’t do all the heavy lifting on their own. They get plenty of help from their communities—even at the doctor’s office."
 

Publishing

Elsevier’s Presence on Campuses Spans More Than Journals. That Has Some Scholars Worried

"On a recent panel on challenges to the future of teaching and research, Colleen Lyon outlined what was, to her, a "dangerous" dynamic in the world of academic publishing. "


Technology

Why You Should Use a Password Manager

"Have you ever used ABCDE or 12345 as a website password? If so, you’re not alone. Too many people use weak or common passwords for their online accounts and often the same password for multiple sites.
 
That approach leaves your passwords wide open to hackers who can quickly figure them out. Password managers are one solution as they can create, store, and apply strong and complex passwords for all the websites you use."

Values

Earth Day 2019 – Protecting At-Risk Fish, Birds, and Animals

"It’s Earth Day; and this year’s theme is about broadening protection for at-risk species and their habitats. What is the nation doing on this front? Today’s WatchBlog examines some national and international efforts….”
 

Scientists propose bird conservation plan based on eBird data

"A blueprint for conserving enough habitat to protect the populations of almost one-third of the warblers, orioles, tanagers and other birds that migrate among the Americas throughout the year is detailed in research published April 15 in Nature Communications."  
 
 

Intersect Alert - April 8, 2019

Internet Access

Net Neutrality Bill Passes Crucial Committee Vote

"Congress took a big step today toward protecting net neutrality, competition, and privacy for Internet users. The House Energy and Commerce Committee just voted 30-22 to approve an amended version of the Save the Internet Act of 2019 (H.R.1644). "

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/04/net-neutrality-bill-passes-crucial-committee-vote


Libraries

Boston Public Library’s 78rpm Records Come to the Internet

“Following eighteen months of work, more than 50,000 78rpm record “sides” from the Boston Public Library’s sound archives have now been digitized and made freely available online by the Internet Archive. ”

https://www.bespacific.com/netherlands-makes-trains-free-on-national-book-day/https://www.bespacific.com/netherlands-makes-trains-free-on-national-book-day/


Netherlands makes trains free on national book day

“Dutch book lovers got free rail travel across their country’s entire network this weekend as part of the Netherlands’ annual book week celebrations. Every year since 1932 the Netherlands has encouraged reading with Boekenweek – a celebration of literature marked with literary festivals and book signings across the country. Traditionally, a well-known Dutch author writes a special novel – the “book week gift” or Boekenweekgeschenk – which is given out for free to people who buy books during the festivities or sign up to a library. But the special book – this year the novel Jas Van Belofte by celebrated author Jan Siebelink, can also be presented instead of a rail ticket on every train in the country on the Sunday of book week. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the Dutch state railway company, has long been a sponsor of the annual festivities – and even organises book readings signings by top authors on its trains…”

https://www.bespacific.com/netherlands-makes-trains-free-on-national-book-day/https://www.bespacific.com/netherlands-makes-trains-free-on-national-book-day/


Washington Department of Corrections Quietly Bans Book Donations to Prisoners From Nonprofits

"The Washington State Department of Corrections quietly rolled out a new policy via a memo on their website last month which disallows books to be donated to prisons via nonprofit organizations. So quietly, in fact, that one of the largest nonprofits that works to get donated materials to prisoners was taken by surprise to discover the change. They weren’t informed before it was implemented."

https://bookriot.com/2019/04/03/book-ban-in-washington-prisons


Open Access

Affordable College Textbook Act Reintroduced in Congress

"Today, US Senators Durbin (D-IL), King (I-ME), Smith (D-MN) and Sinema (D-AZ) and US Representative Neguse (D-CO) re-introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act. The bill would create a grant program to support projects on open textbooks. The current bill is largely similar to the version introduced in the last Congress with a few key changes including new language to improve accessibility of materials created under the bill for students with disabilities and amending the Higher Education Act to require publishers to disclose whether material is an open educational resource (OER)."

http://policynotes.arl.org/?p=1833


Paywalls block scientific progress. Research should be open for everyone

"Academic and scientific research needs to be accessible to all. The world’s most pressing problems like clean water or food security deserve to have as many people as possible solving their complexities. Yet our current academic research system has no interest in harnessing our collective intelligence. Scientific progress is currently thwarted by one thing: paywalls."

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/mar/28/paywalls-block-scientific-progress-research-should-be-open-to-everyone

Intersect Alert - March 18, 2019

Libraries

The Secret Service Uses This Massive Ink Library to Catch Forged Documents

"You might know that the Secret Service is on guard against counterfeit currency. You might not know, however, that it also keeps a one-of-a-kind International Ink Library with more than 11,400 specific writing ink fingerprints on hand. The ink library handles a variety of cases, from threat letters — the Secret Service protects not only the President but also other high-profile government officials — and ransom letters, baseballs, and phony documents where someone is 'trying to obscure the truth in some way,' says Joseph Stephens, ink library document analyst." https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/news/a13875/secret-service-ink-forensics-library/

Medieval Masterpiece the Book of Kells, Is Now Digitized & Put Online

"In our digital age, you need not go to Dublin to see this fabulous historical artifact, or a digitization of it at least, entirely viewable at the online collections of the Trinity College Library. The pages, originally captured in 1990, “have recently been rescanned,” Trinity College Library writes, using state of the art imaging technology. These new digital images offer the most accurate high resolution images to date, providing an experience second only to viewing the book in person.”

http://www.openculture.com/2019/03/the-medieval-masterpiece-the-book-of-kells-is-now-digitized-put-online.html

Internet Users

The mass shooting in New Zealand shows how broken social media is

"A gunman live-streamed the murder of dozens of innocents in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday—and the world got a terrible reminder of how flawed existing social-media policies and algorithms are for policing violent and offensive content."

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613132/the-mass-shooting-in-new-zealand-shows-how-broken-social-media-is/

Values

Umberto Eco: 'We Like Lists Because We Don't Want to Die'

"The list is the origin of culture. It's part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order -- not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. "

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/spiegel-interview-with-umberto-eco-we-like-lists-because-we-don-t-want-to-die-a-659577.html

Digital Preservation

A new way to track Web censorship under Trump: Gov404

"The Web Integrity Project’s Censorship Tracker aggregates and verifies examples of the most significant cases of online information censorship on the federal Web since November 2016. The cases come from reporting by the Web Integrity Project (WIP) team, the news media, and other accountability organizations. "

https://sunlightfoundation.com/gov404/

Privacy

People’s online photos are being used without consent to train face recognition AI

"In January IBM released a data set of almost a million photos that had been scraped from photo-sharing website Flickr then annotated with information about details like skin tone. The company pitched this as part of efforts to reduce the (very real) problem of bias within face recognition. However, it didn’t get consent from anyone to do this, and it’s almost impossible to get the photos removed. " https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613118/peoples-online-photos-are-being-used-without-consent-to-train-face-recognition/

Why the Debate Over Privacy Can't Rely on Tech Giants

"In his opening statement, CEO and Founder of DuckDuckGo Gabriel Weinberg said that, “Privacy legislation is not anti-advertising…[our] ads won’t follow [the user] around, because we don’t know who you are, where you’ve been, or where you go. It’s contextual advertising versus behavioral advertising.” Press investigations have exposed, time and again, that large tech companies will often choose their profits over your privacy. This underscores the need for stronger privacy laws across the country, and it helps to have another tech CEO tell the Senate that well-drafted privacy legislation can spur more competition and innovation." https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/03/why-debate-over-privacy-cant-rely-tech-giants

Technology

How voice computing will transform the way we live, work and think

"The move toward one-shot answers has been just slow enough to obscure its own most important consequence: killing off the internet as we know it. The conventional web, with all of its tedious pages and links, is giving way to the conversational web, in which chatty AIs reign supreme. The payoff, we are told, is increased convenience and efficiency. But for everyone who has economic interests tied to traditional web search—businesses, advertisers, authors, publishers, the tech giants—the situation is perilous. "

https://www.wired.com/story/amazon-alexa-search-for-the-one-perfect-answer/

Googling Strangers: One Professor's Lesson On Privacy In Public Spaces

"Whether you're in a cheering stadium or a packed commuter train, it's easy to assume that no one is paying attention to you. And before smartphones, even if someone overheard your conversation, they'd usually have a hard time piecing together whatever information they gathered. The level of effort required to get a complete picture of your identity would, effectively, serve as a deterrent and a privacy protection.

Not anymore. With Google at our fingertips, it's increasingly easyto learn a lot about a stranger, even with just a few details."

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/10/702028545/googling-strangers-one-professors-lesson-on-privacy-in-public-spaces

How library professionals are approaching blockchain technology and its potential impact

"What a particular librarian or library worker needs to know about blockchain technology is incredibly context-dependent; answering reference questions about Bitcoin requires an entirely different breadth and depth of knowledge from making decisions about a blockchain implementation to manage interlibrary loans. That said, as information professionals, everyone in the library world should have familiarity with what blockchain is because it’s likely to become increasingly common in spaces where parties have low trust but still want to cooperate. Perhaps the most important thing to know is that no one’s word in the blockchain space is gospel. Because this is such a new, evolving technology, we haven’t even agreed on what a blockchain is yet."
https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/03/01/library-blockchain-reaction/

Intersect Alert - May 20, 2019

Privacy

Alexa, Are You Spying on Me?

“In May, an Amazon Echo device arbitrarily recorded the private conversation of a Portland family and sent it to a random person in their contacts list, reigniting concerns over the security flaws of smart speakers.”

“And to be fair, smart speakers like the Echo and Google Home have had their fair share of nightmare incidents to justify suspicions and mistrust in their reliability. But while installing a smart speaker in your home does come with security tradeoffs, we often misunderstand them, exaggerating the less critical ones while neglecting the more serious risks.”

“Here’s what you need to know about the security and privacy implications of smart speakers, both the myths and the realities.”

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/alexa-smart-speaker-vulnerabilities/

California: Tell the Senate to Empower You to Protect Your Own Privacy

“Californians have a constitutional right to privacy, and 94 percent of Californians agree they should be able to take companies that violate their privacy to court.”

“S.B. 561, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, would provide consumers with that right and also improve existing tools for the state attorney general to enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act. This bill is the only one in the California legislature today to strengthen enforcement of the CCPA.”

“California State Sen. Anthony Portantino, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will make the decision about whether to move this bill forward next week.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/05/california-tell-your-legislators-stand-your-privacy

Consumer Groups Accuse Amazon of Illegally Collecting Data on Children

“A coalition of 19 consumer and privacy groups plans to file a complaint Thursday alleging that Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition is illegally collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on users under 13 and that the system’s parental controls are flawed.”

“The complaint says that the Echo Dot Kids Edition — a colorful, youth-oriented version of Amazon’s popular “smart speaker” systems that allow users to ask questions, play music or control thermostats with voice commands — violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA. The 1998 law sharply limits what data companies can collect without permission from parents.”

“The 96-page complaint is the latest in a series by consumer and privacy groups urging the Federal Trade Commission to intensify its enforcement of how leading technology companies treat children and their personal data. The Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center served as counsel to the groups on the complaint.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/2019/05/08/2af2d282-71cc-11e9-b5ca-3d72a9fa8ff1_story.html?utm_term=.348afc21e4d4

Publishing

Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing

“Abstract: Each state has its own method for officially publishing the law. This article looks at the history of legal publishing for the fifty states before looking at how legal publishing even in moving to electronic publishing may not ensure public access to the law. The article addresses barriers to free access to the law in electronic publishing including copyright, contract law, and potentially, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The article concludes with prescriptions for how different actors, including state governments, publishers, libraries, and others can ensure robust public access to the law moving forward.”

https://osf.io/preprints/lawarxiv/xnbcp/

Professional Development

NNLM Resource Picks Webinar: NLM’s Data Discovery and Pillbox

“NNLM Resource Picks is a collaborative, bimonthly, webinar series featuring the National Library of Medicine resources to increase awareness of these resources as well as encourage their integration by libraries and other organizations to more fully serve their colleagues and communities.”

“Attend the next webinar session, “NLM’s Data Discovery and Pillbox” on Wednesday, May 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET (please adjust to your time zone).”

“As the National Library of Medicine transitions to become a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health, one area of focus is building a workforce for data-driven research and health. In support of this strategic goal, NLM launched Data Discovery, an online platform for making data findable, interoperable, accessible, and reusable (the FAIR principles). In addition to browser-based exploration, filtering, and visualization of data, Data Discovery includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to help researchers and developers build applications that leverage its datasets. Pillbox, NLM’s pill identification and reference resource, long overdue for redesign, was rebuilt using Data Discovery as its foundation to showcase the power of this platform.”

“You are encouraged to attend the live session but the webinar will be recorded. The webinar is free but be sure to register to receive login information prior to the webinar!”

https://news.nnlm.gov/bhic/2019/05/nnlm-resource-picks-webinar-nlms-data-discovery-and-pillbox/

Libraries

To Fight Misinformation, Bring our Libraries Online

“Misinformation -- how it develops, how it spreads, and why people believe it -- is an unavoidable topic in current information policy debates. And though headlines have largely focused on the high-profile impacts of misinformation on everything from public health to voting behaviors and technological literacy, there’s another, more important question at stake: How do we combat it when it emerges?”

“Misinformation takes advantage of the unavoidable fact that no one can be an expert at everything. People’s impressions about the world, its contours and rules, are based on some combination of personal experience and knowledge imparted by outside sources. This is why fights about how we teach U.S. history to young children resonate so strongly; for many of those kids, that’s all the history instruction they’ll ever receive. The rest of the knowledge is just what they absorb from the media they consume and the other people they talk to.”

“Misinformation exploits this basic fact of human nature -- that no one can be an expert in everything -- by meeting people where they naturally are, and filling in the gaps in their knowledge with assertions that seem “plausible enough.” Sometimes, these assertions are misleading, false, or flatly self-serving (though they do lead to some spectacular twitter fights). In aggregate, these gap-fillers add up to construct a totally alternate reality whose politics, science, law, and history bear only a passing resemblance to our own. And in the absence of accessible, high-quality, primary source information, it’s next to impossible to convince people that what they’ve been told isn’t true.”

https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/blogs/to-fight-misinformation-bring-our-libraries-online#When:15:51:00Z

Library Systems Report 2019

“The library technology industry, broadly speaking, shows more affinity toward utility than innovation. Library automation systems are not necessarily exciting technologies, but they are workhorse applications that must support the complex tasks of acquiring, describing, and providing access to materials and services. They represent substantial investments, and their effectiveness is tested daily in the library. But more than efficiency is at stake: These products must be aligned with the priorities of the library relative to collection management, service provision, and other functions.”

“Outdated automation systems can reinforce work patterns that no longer reflect priorities as core library activities change. Bursts of innovation can create new products better aligned with current library realities. The products that emerge out of these creative booms then become mainstays that support the next phase of library operations. The academic library sector can be seen as a cycle of innovation that began eight years ago with the inception of an automation product substantially different from previous systems. The trajectory of innovation for public and school libraries has followed a different course, characterized by incremental change layered on top of longstanding systems with aging architectures.”

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/05/01/library-systems-report-2019/

Colliding Values at Doane

“Doane University in Nebraska shuttered a library exhibit and put a librarian on leave over historical photos of students in blackface. The university says the images ran counter to its values and, as presented, served no educational purpose. Some of the librarian’s faculty supporters disagree and say that Doane interfered in a learning moment, albeit a painful one, that their colleague was already working to right.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/05/06/doane-u-suspends-library-director-over-exhibit-included-1920s-era-students-blackface

Intersect Alert - May 20, 2019

Privacy

Alexa, Are You Spying on Me?

“In May, an Amazon Echo device arbitrarily recorded the private conversation of a Portland family and sent it to a random person in their contacts list, reigniting concerns over the security flaws of smart speakers.”

“And to be fair, smart speakers like the Echo and Google Home have had their fair share of nightmare incidents to justify suspicions and mistrust in their reliability. But while installing a smart speaker in your home does come with security tradeoffs, we often misunderstand them, exaggerating the less critical ones while neglecting the more serious risks.”

“Here’s what you need to know about the security and privacy implications of smart speakers, both the myths and the realities.”

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/alexa-smart-speaker-vulnerabilities/

California: Tell the Senate to Empower You to Protect Your Own Privacy

“Californians have a constitutional right to privacy, and 94 percent of Californians agree they should be able to take companies that violate their privacy to court.”

“S.B. 561, authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, would provide consumers with that right and also improve existing tools for the state attorney general to enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act. This bill is the only one in the California legislature today to strengthen enforcement of the CCPA.”

“California State Sen. Anthony Portantino, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, will make the decision about whether to move this bill forward next week.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/05/california-tell-your-legislators-stand-your-privacy

Consumer Groups Accuse Amazon of Illegally Collecting Data on Children

“A coalition of 19 consumer and privacy groups plans to file a complaint Thursday alleging that Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition is illegally collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on users under 13 and that the system’s parental controls are flawed.”

“The complaint says that the Echo Dot Kids Edition — a colorful, youth-oriented version of Amazon’s popular “smart speaker” systems that allow users to ask questions, play music or control thermostats with voice commands — violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA. The 1998 law sharply limits what data companies can collect without permission from parents.”

“The 96-page complaint is the latest in a series by consumer and privacy groups urging the Federal Trade Commission to intensify its enforcement of how leading technology companies treat children and their personal data. The Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center served as counsel to the groups on the complaint.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/2019/05/08/2af2d282-71cc-11e9-b5ca-3d72a9fa8ff1_story.html?utm_term=.348afc21e4d4

 Publishing

Who Owns the Law? Why We Must Restore Public Ownership of Legal Publishing

“Abstract: Each state has its own method for officially publishing the law. This article looks at the history of legal publishing for the fifty states before looking at how legal publishing even in moving to electronic publishing may not ensure public access to the law. The article addresses barriers to free access to the law in electronic publishing including copyright, contract law, and potentially, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The article concludes with prescriptions for how different actors, including state governments, publishers, libraries, and others can ensure robust public access to the law moving forward.”

https://osf.io/preprints/lawarxiv/xnbcp/

Professional Development

NNLM Resource Picks Webinar: NLM’s Data Discovery and Pillbox

“NNLM Resource Picks is a collaborative, bimonthly, webinar series featuring the National Library of Medicine resources to increase awareness of these resources as well as encourage their integration by libraries and other organizations to more fully serve their colleagues and communities.”

“Attend the next webinar session, “NLM’s Data Discovery and Pillbox” on Wednesday, May 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET (please adjust to your time zone).”

“As the National Library of Medicine transitions to become a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health, one area of focus is building a workforce for data-driven research and health. In support of this strategic goal, NLM launched Data Discovery, an online platform for making data findable, interoperable, accessible, and reusable (the FAIR principles). In addition to browser-based exploration, filtering, and visualization of data, Data Discovery includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to help researchers and developers build applications that leverage its datasets. Pillbox, NLM’s pill identification and reference resource, long overdue for redesign, was rebuilt using Data Discovery as its foundation to showcase the power of this platform.”

“You are encouraged to attend the live session but the webinar will be recorded. The webinar is free but be sure to register to receive login information prior to the webinar!”

https://news.nnlm.gov/bhic/2019/05/nnlm-resource-picks-webinar-nlms-data-discovery-and-pillbox/

Libraries

To Fight Misinformation, Bring our Libraries Online

“Misinformation -- how it develops, how it spreads, and why people believe it -- is an unavoidable topic in current information policy debates. And though headlines have largely focused on the high-profile impacts of misinformation on everything from public health to voting behaviors and technological literacy, there’s another, more important question at stake: How do we combat it when it emerges?”

“Misinformation takes advantage of the unavoidable fact that no one can be an expert at everything. People’s impressions about the world, its contours and rules, are based on some combination of personal experience and knowledge imparted by outside sources. This is why fights about how we teach U.S. history to young children resonate so strongly; for many of those kids, that’s all the history instruction they’ll ever receive. The rest of the knowledge is just what they absorb from the media they consume and the other people they talk to.”

“Misinformation exploits this basic fact of human nature -- that no one can be an expert in everything -- by meeting people where they naturally are, and filling in the gaps in their knowledge with assertions that seem “plausible enough.” Sometimes, these assertions are misleading, false, or flatly self-serving (though they do lead to some spectacular twitter fights). In aggregate, these gap-fillers add up to construct a totally alternate reality whose politics, science, law, and history bear only a passing resemblance to our own. And in the absence of accessible, high-quality, primary source information, it’s next to impossible to convince people that what they’ve been told isn’t true.”

https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/blogs/to-fight-misinformation-bring-our-libraries-online#When:15:51:00Z

Library Systems Report 2019

“The library technology industry, broadly speaking, shows more affinity toward utility than innovation. Library automation systems are not necessarily exciting technologies, but they are workhorse applications that must support the complex tasks of acquiring, describing, and providing access to materials and services. They represent substantial investments, and their effectiveness is tested daily in the library. But more than efficiency is at stake: These products must be aligned with the priorities of the library relative to collection management, service provision, and other functions.”

“Outdated automation systems can reinforce work patterns that no longer reflect priorities as core library activities change. Bursts of innovation can create new products better aligned with current library realities. The products that emerge out of these creative booms then become mainstays that support the next phase of library operations. The academic library sector can be seen as a cycle of innovation that began eight years ago with the inception of an automation product substantially different from previous systems. The trajectory of innovation for public and school libraries has followed a different course, characterized by incremental change layered on top of longstanding systems with aging architectures.”

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/05/01/library-systems-report-2019/

Colliding Values at Doane

“Doane University in Nebraska shuttered a library exhibit and put a librarian on leave over historical photos of students in blackface. The university says the images ran counter to its values and, as presented, served no educational purpose. Some of the librarian’s faculty supporters disagree and say that Doane interfered in a learning moment, albeit a painful one, that their colleague was already working to right.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/05/06/doane-u-suspends-library-director-over-exhibit-included-1920s-era-students-blackface

Intersect Alert August 19, 2019

Government 

16 million Americans will vote on hackable paperless machines

"Despite the obvious risk and years of warnings, at least eight American states and 16 million American voters will use completely paperless machines in the 2020 US elections, a new report by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice found."
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614148/16-million-americans-will-vote-on-hackable-paperless-voting-machines/

Librarians 

Librarians facing new tasks say crisis isn’t in the catalog

“When Jackie Narkiewicz switched careers and became a librarian, she thought she'd spend her workdays "drinking hot beverages and discussing literature with people.”

But during her 16 years as a librarian on New York's Long Island, Narkiewicz has also faced a man threatening to kill her and a patron screaming while cutting her own hair in the bathroom. For her job, Narkiewicz has been trained in CPR and mental health crisis response and carries the opioid overdose antidote naloxone with her.”
https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/librarians-facing-tasks-crisis-catalog-64882595

Public Policy

Victory! California Supreme Court Blocks Sweeping Search Condition of Minors’ Electronic Devices and Social Media Accounts

"The California Supreme Court just rejected the government’s attempt to require a youth probationer, as a condition of release, to submit to random searches of his electronic devices and social media accounts."
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/08/victory-california-supreme-court-blocks-sweeping-search-condition-minors

Research

ABA Votes to Urge Legal Profession to Address Emerging Legal and Ethical Issues of AI

“The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body, voted this week to approve a resolution urging courts and lawyers to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence in the practice of law. Among the AI-related issues the profession should address, the ABA said, are bias, explainability, and transparency of automated decisions made by AI; ethical and beneficial usage of AI; and controls and oversight of AI and the vendors that provide AI…”
https://www.lawsitesblog.com/2019/08/aba-votes-to-urge-legal-profession-to-address-emerging-legal-and-ethical-issues-of-ai.html

Social Media

Facebook paid people to listen to voice recordings, too

"Facebook paid contractors to listen to, and transcribe, audio clips generated by people using its Messenger app, according to Bloomberg. They were not told where the clips were recorded, or how they were obtained, and the conversations were sometimes deeply personal. The contractors were employed to check if Facebook’s artificial intelligence software correctly interpreted the messages, which the company says were not traceable back to users. Facebook suspended the program a little over a week ago, a spokesperson told Bloomberg."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614158/facebook-paid-people-to-listen-to-voice-recordings-too/

Technology

Data leak exposes unchangeable biometric data of over 1 million people

"You can always change your password. Your fingerprints and face are another story.
A major leak of data discovered this week in the UK includes fingerprints of over 1 million individuals, face recognition information, unencrypted names and passwords, and other personal info from Suprema, a security company used by UK police, banks, and military contractors, according to a report in the Guardian."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614163/data-leak-exposes-unchangeable-biometric-data-of-over-1-million-people/
 

Google’s algorithm for detecting hate speech is racially biased

"Researchers built two AI systems and tested them on a pair of data sets of more than 100,000 tweets that had been annotated by humans with labels like “offensive,” “none,” or “hate speech.” One of the algorithms incorrectly flagged 46% of inoffensive tweets by African-American authors as offensive. Tests on bigger data sets, including one composed of 5.4 million tweets, found that posts by African-American authors were 1.5 times more likely to be labeled as offensive. When the researchers then tested Google’s Perspective, an AI tool that the company lets anyone use to moderate online discussions, they found similar racial biases."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614144/googles-algorithm-for-detecting-hate-speech-looks-racially-biased/

Intersect Alert September 10, 2019

Public Data

Victory! Ruling in hiQ v. Linkedin protects scraping of public data

"In a long-awaited decision in hiQ Labs, Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp., the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that automated scraping of publicly accessible data likely does not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). This is an important clarification of the CFAA’s scope, which should provide some relief to the wide variety of researchers, journalists, and companies who have had reason to fear cease and desist letters threatening liability simply for accessing publicly available information in a way that publishers object to. It’s a major win for research and innovation, which will hopefully pave the way for courts and Congress to further curb abuse of the CFAA."

"Passed in 1986, the CFAA is the federal anti-hacking law, which imposes both criminal and civil liability on anyone who accesses a computer connected to the Internet “without authorization” or “exceeds authorized access.” Because the statute does not define “without authorization,” interpreting its meaning in the context of modern Internet usages has been notoriously difficult for courts around the country. The hiQ case is just the latest in a series of high-profile Ninth Circuit decisions about the CFAA, in which the appeals court has too often vacillated between limiting the CFAA to its original purpose and adopting more expansive interpretations that risk criminalizing widespread, innocuous online-behavior."

Read more here: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/09/victory-ruling-hiq-v-linkedin-protects-scraping-public-data

Data Literacy

We’re in a Data Literacy Crisis. Could Librarians Be the Superheroes We Need?

"Qlik’s recently published global data literacy report found that just 24% of business decision-makers surveyed are fully confident in their ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data. Just 32% of the C-suite is viewed as data literate, potentially holding senior leaders back from encouraging their workforces to use data to their advantage."

"Perhaps most surprising, 60% of U.S. workers 16 to 24 years old—people who have been raised surrounded by technology—are overwhelmed by the data they must read and analyze as part of their jobs."

Read more here: https://fortune.com/2019/08/31/data-literacy-crisis-librarians-library/

Libraries

Truman Library Ground-Breaki
ng Ceremony

"The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, is undergoing a year-long renovation that will result in a new Truman permanent exhibition, new amenities for visitors, and enhanced educational and community programming."

Read more here: https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2019/09/06/truman-library-ground-breaking-ceremony/

Automatic for the People

"Are self-service libraries a threat to the profession or an opportunity to better serve patrons?"

"When Jacob Grussing, director of Scott County Library (SCL) in Shakopee, Minnesota, spoke to the local paper about SCL’s investigation into self-serve library services, he wasn’t exactly prepared for the patron fallout. Comments poured in supporting SCL’s staffers after the resulting article ran online with the headline 'Libraries without Librarians?'"

"Automated and self-service libraries—which have been popular in Europe for years—are gaining a foothold in the US. Will these services eliminate librarian jobs, or are they a cost-effective way to stretch budgets and provide basic services while freeing staff for other work?"

Read more here: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2019/09/03/automatic-people-self-service-libraries/

Privacy

How Does Apple (Privately) Find Your Offline Devices?

"At Monday’s WWDC conference, Apple announced a cool new feature called 'Find My'. Unlike Apple’s 'Find my iPhone', which uses cellular communication and the lost device’s own GPS to identify the location of a missing phone, 'Find My' also lets you find devices that don’t have cellular support or internal GPS — things like laptops, or (and Apple has hinted at this only broadly) even  'dumb' location tags that you can attach to your non-electronic physical belongings."

"The good news is that Apple claims that their system actually does provide strong privacy, and that it accomplishes this using clever cryptography. But as is typical, they’ve declined to give out the details how they’re going to do it. Andy Greenberg talked me through an incomplete technical description that Apple provided to Wired, so that provides many hints. Unfortunately, what Apple provided still leaves huge gaps. It’s into those gaps that I’m going to fill in my best guess for what Apple is actually doing."

Read more here: https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2019/06/05/how-does-apple-privately-find-your-offline-devices/

Firefox will Encrypt Web Domain Name Requests by Default

"Mozilla's Firefox privacy protections will soon include one of the most basic tasks for any web browser: fielding the domain name requests that help you visit websites. The developer will make DNS over encrypted HTTPS the default for the US starting in late September, locking down more of your web browsing without requiring an explicit toggle like before. Your online habits should be that much more private and secure, with fewer chances for DNS hijacking and activity monitoring."

Read more here: https://www.engadget.com/2019/09/07/firefox-dns-over-https-by-default/

Copyright

The Decline of Online Piracy: How Markets - Not Enforcement - Drive Down Copyright Infringement

"Abstract - This article deals with the acquisition and consumption of music, films, series, books, and games through the various legal and illegal channels that exist nowadays, in a set of thirteen countries across the globe. The article has four aims. First, it provides an overview of the rules on liability for and enforcement of online copyright infringement in the countries studied. Second, it gives factual information about the state of authorized and unauthorized acquisition and consumption of these types of content. The third aim is to evaluate the underlying mechanisms and the link with enforcement measures and legal supply. Lastly, the article assesses the effect of online piracy on consumption from legal sources. To further these aims, the article combines different sources and empirical methods, including consumer surveys among nearly 35.000 respondents and comparative legal research. Our main conclusion is that online piracy is declining. The key driver for this decline is the increasing availability of affordable legal content, rather than enforcement measures. Where the legal supply of copyright-protected content is affordable, convenient and diverse, consumers are willing to pay for it and abandon piracy. Policymakers should therefore shift their focus from repressive approaches to tackle online infringement towards policies and measures that foster lawful remunerated access to copyright-protected content. "

Read more here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3437239

Research

A Comparative Study of Perceptions and Use of Google Scholar and Academic Library Discovery Systems

"Google Scholar and academic library discovery systems are both popular resources among academic users for finding scholarly information. By conducting an online survey with 975 users from more than 20 public research universities across the United States, this study comparatively investigates how and why academic users use these two resources. Results show that the ways participants used both resources were similar, and both were perceived as highly accessible and useful. Academic library discovery systems’ perceived comprehensiveness, subjective norm, loyalty, and intended use were higher than Google Scholar, while Google Scholar’s perceived ease of use, system quality, and satisfaction were higher than that of academic library discovery systems."

Read more here:  https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/23532/30841


Intersect Alert September 3, 2019

Publishing

Toward a New Kind of 'Big Deal'


“Making the transition from paying to read to paying to publish academic research won’t be easy for universities or publishers. But it is possible, attendees at an open-access-publishing event were told Thursday.”

“The University of California, which cancelled its ‘big deal’ with publisher Elsevier earlier this year after negotiations to establish a new agreement broke down, hosted a public forum discussing how libraries, publishers and funders can support a system where all research articles are made free to read at the time of publication -- a standard known as gold open access.”

“So-called transformative agreements, which increase gold open access and shift payments away from the traditional subscription model, will be essential to accelerating the progress of the open-access movement, said Jeff MacKie-Mason, university librarian at UC Berkeley.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/08/30/pursuing-new-kind-“big-deal”-publishers

Freedom of Information

How The Times Uses FOIA to Obtain Information the Public Has a Right to Know

“The anonymous note was secretly tucked into an envelope, behind an official letter from a government agency denying our reporter’s request for documents under the Freedom of Information Act.”

“It apparently came from someone deep in the agency’s FOIA bureaucracy. The request sought government documents related to the president’s business interests. Typed in large-font print on plain paper, the inserted note said: ‘The processing of the request was highly irregular. The withholding was entirely unjustified ... The document was probably withheld for political reasons.’”

“I had never seen such a whistle-blower note before, but it brought into sharp focus what we face every day in The New York Times’s legal department as we continue to push against government secrecy through the use of FOIA. Whether it is helping our reporters as they go after documents in Washington and the Virgin Islands related to Jeffrey Epstein, or suing the C.I.A. over its refusal to release information about the United States’ war efforts in Syria, we have made FOIA a centerpiece of our legal work at The Times.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/02/reader-center/foia-freedom-of-information-public-records.html

Libraries and Librarians

When the Public Feared that Library Books Could Spread Deadly Diseases

“On September 12, 1895, a Nebraskan named Jessie Allan died of tuberculosis. Such deaths were a common occurrence at the turn of the 20th century, but Allan’s case of “consumption” reportedly came from an unusual source. She was a librarian at the Omaha Public Library, and thanks to a common fear of the time, people worried that Allan’s terminal illness may have come from a book.”

“’The death of Miss Jessie Allan is doubly sad because of the excellent reputation which her work won for her and the pleasant affection which all librarians who knew her had come to feel for her, and because her death has given rise to a fresh discussion as to the possibility of infection from contagious diseases through library books,’ the Library Journal, published by the American Librarians Association, wrote in October of 1895.”

“Allan’s death occurred during what is sometimes called the ‘great book scare.’ This scare, now mostly forgotten, was a frantic panic during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that contaminated books—particularly ones lent out from libraries—could spread deadly diseases. The panic sprung from ‘the public understanding of the causes of diseases as germs,’ says Annika Mann, a professor at Arizona State University and author of Reading Contagion: The Hazards of Reading in the Age of Print.”

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/during-great-book-scare-people-worried-contaminated-books-could-spread-disease-180972967/

Dr. Donald Lindberg, 85, Dies: Opened Medical Research to the World

“Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, who as director of the National Library of Medicine — the world’s largest — computerized its vast holdings and made them accessible to researchers around the world, died on Aug. 17 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. He was 85.”

“His wife, Mary, said the cause was a cerebral hemorrhage sustained after he fell at home on Aug. 12.”

“Dr. Lindberg was a leader in medical informatics, the science of using computer technology to improve human health and the delivery of health care services. As the longtime leader of the library, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, he modernized, expanded and transformed a trove of material, some of which dates to the 12th century.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/02/obituaries/dr-donald-lindberg-dead.html

September is Library Card Sign-up Month

"
September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning."

http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/card

San Francisco Public Library - September Newsletter

At the library, events and happenings at the San Francisco Public Library

Read the newsletter here: https://sfpl.org/uploads/files/pdfs/ATL/sept19.pdf


Intersect Alert September 16, 2019

Search

Elevating original reporting in Search

"Google Search was built to provide everyone access to information on the web—and with tens of thousands of web pages, hundreds of hours of video, thousands of tweets and news stories published every minute of the day, our job is to sift through that content and find the most helpful results possible. With news in particular, we always aim to show a diversity of articles and sources to give users as much context and insight as possible." 

"An important element of the coverage we want to provide is original reporting, an endeavor which requires significant time, effort and resources by the publisher. Some stories can also be both critically important in the impact they can have on our world and difficult to put together, requiring reporters to engage in deep investigative pursuits to dig up facts and sources. These are among the reasons why we aim to support these industry efforts and help people get access to the most authoritative reporting."

https://www.blog.google/products/search/original-reporting/

Libraries and Librarians

Chicago’s New Tool Library Is Awesome, Exactly What It Sounds Like

"Need audio equipment to record a podcast? Want to make your own tagliatelle pasta? Lacking the right wire strippers to build your own quadcopter drone?"

"The new Chicago Tool Library has your back, so you can explore your inner Leonardo DaVinci without having to buy and store gear you use once in a blue moon."

"Just launched this summer in Bridgeport, The Chicago Tool Library is a community-driven nonprofit organization that rents out donated tools. The inventory is stacked, ranging from power drills to masonry to woodworking to food-preparation hardware."

 https://www.insidehook.com/article/culture-chicago/chicagos-new-tool-library-is-awesome-exactly-what-it-sounds-like

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books

"The carpet was khaki, THE lights yellow, the walls a dishwater beige. The basement computer lab in Midtown Manhattan didn’t have much ambience. But 20 librarians from the New York Public Library were seated in the room—and they were there to crack mysteries. Their tools were a whiteboard, a marker, a series of screens, and a metal bell of the sort you’d find on a hotel-lobby desk. Whenever it dinged, it meant a case had been closed."

"Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everything from queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles."

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librarian-detectives-forgotten-books

Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain

"A coalition of archivists, activists, and libraries are working overtime to make it easier to identify the many books that are secretly in the public domain, digitize them, and make them freely available online to everyone. The people behind the effort are now hoping to upload these books to the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital archives on the internet."

"As it currently stands, all books published in the U.S. before 1924 are in the public domain, meaning they’re publicly owned and can be freely used and copied. Books published in 1964 and after are still in copyright, and by law will be for 95 years from their publication date."

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3534j/libraries-and-archivists-are-scanning-and-uploading-books-that-are-secretly-in-the-public-domain


Libraries Ensure That Our Future Is Connected and Informed. Let’s Help Them Keep It That Way.

"It should go without saying, but it’s worth shouting from the rooftops every now and then: Libraries are important! While all libraries, from the largest city libraries to the smallest local libraries, provide a diverse array of vital community services, perhaps their most important role is to preserve culturally and historically valuable works and to provide their communities with access to those works. Delivering many of these services has proven to be a challenge for libraries in the 21st century, now that our lives are fully entangled with the internet and access to knowledge happens through digital technologies like electronic books (eBooks)." 

"As is often the case in other areas of public concern, regulatory volatility coupled with the glacial pace of legal development has created obstacles for libraries seeking to fulfill their missions. Two key challenges for libraries are (1) their ability to access (and provide access to) quality, affordable broadband, and (2) their ability to expand the traditional library practice of owning and lending out physical works into the digital world. Policymakers must pursue sensible broadband and copyright policies to help libraries further their service to the public interest. This includes providing libraries with adequate funding for broadband and the freedom to adopt and employ technologies (such as controlled digital lending of works) that allow them to serve their patrons within the confines of current law. If these measures are left untaken, libraries are at risk of being unable to provide the benefits to individuals in the digital age that they have provided for centuries."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/libraries-ensure-that-our-future-is-connected-and-informed-lets-help-them-keep-it-that-way/

Publishing


Why Angry Librarians Are Going to War With Publishers Over E-Books

"If I wanted to borrow A Better Man by Louise Penny—the country’s current No. 1 fiction bestseller—from my local library in my preferred format, e-book, I’d be looking at about a 10-week waitlist. And soon, if the book’s publisher, a division of Macmillan, has its way, that already-lengthy wait time could get significantly longer."

"In July, Macmillan announced that come November, the company will only allow libraries to purchase a single copy of its new titles for the first eight weeks of their release—and that’s one copy whether it’s the New York Public Library or a small-town operation that’s barely moved on from its card catalog. This has sparked an appropriately quiet revolt. Librarians and their allies quickly denounced the decision when it came down, and now the American Library Association is escalating the protest by enlisting the public to stand with libraries by signing an online petition with a populist call against such restrictive practices. (The association announced the petition Wednesday at Digital Book World, an industry conference in Nashville, Tennessee.) What’s unclear is whether the association can get the public to understand a byzantine-seeming dispute over electronic files and the right to download them."

https://slate.com/business/2019/09/e-book-library-publisher-buying-controversy-petition.html

Cengage/Mcgraw-Hill Merger Would Make Students Pay Even More for Textbooks

"Almost a year ago today I unpacked my bags, put up my last poster in my dorm room, and prepared for my first day as a college student. One of the first items on my to-do list — apart from figuring out where my classes were — was buying the textbooks I would need for my classes. As I opened my laptop and looked up the titles I was shocked at what I was seeing. A mix of required readings that individually cost more than the concert ticket I had been saving up for. Apart from traditional print titles, I was equally amazed that some classes required books that were solely online — none of which I would own, but rather would have access to for a limited amount of time."

"The shock I experienced is not unique. Millions of students across the U.S. face a textbook market that is ever changing with prices that are exponentially rising. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, textbooks prices have risen 1,041% (three times faster than inflation) since 1977. According to the College Board, a student at a public, in-state university is expected to spend about $11,140 during their college career on books and supplies with the cost being even higher for out-of-state and private university students. These prices have led to 65% of students not purchasing required materials despite 94% of them being aware that it would hurt their grades."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/cengage-mcgraw-hill-merger-would-make-students-pay-even-more-for-textbooks/

Intersect Alert October 6, 2019

Research

600 Years of Grape Harvests Document 20th Century Climate Change

“Climate change isn’t just captured by thermometers—grapes can also do the trick. By mining archival records of grape harvest dates going back to 1354, scientists have reconstructed a 664-year record of temperature traced by fruit ripening. The records, from the Burgundy region of France, represent the longest series of grape harvest dates assembled up until now and reveal strong evidence of climate change in the past few decades. Science with Grapes As far back as the 19th century, scientists have been using records of grape harvest dates to track climatic changes. “Wine harvest is a really great proxy for summer warmth,” said Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York not involved in the research. “The warmer the summer is, the faster the grapes develop, so the earlier the harvest happens…”

https://eos.org/articles/600-years-of-grape-harvests-document-20th-century-climate-change

 

Archives

Today's Document from NARA's Tumblr


Today’s Document started as a small feature on the Archives.gov website several years ago, as a way to highlight interesting documents in our holdings—both the well-known and the obscure—and to observe historical events (usually the significant events but sometimes just the curious ones). Today’s Document is now a popular feature and has inspired a new mobile App and even an independent tribute site. Over the years we have received suggestions and requests for new documents and started this blog as a way to collect and discuss those ideas. We’ll select the most highly rated documents and use them to populate future dates…”

https://www.bespacific.com/todays-document-from-naras-tumblr/


Libraries

Ancient scrolls charred by Vesuvius could be read once again

"When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, their inhabitants and their prized possessions – among them a fine library of scrolls that were carbonised by the searing heat of ash and gas."

"But scientists say there may still be hope that the fragile documents can once more be read thanks to an innovative approach involving high-energy x-rays and artificial intelligence."

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/03/ancient-scrolls-charred-by-vesuvius-could-be-read-once-again


Down with Dewey

Melvil Dewey is a library icon. So why did librarians remove Dewey’s name from one of their most prestigious awards. 

“In June, the American Library Association stripped a familiar name from one of its top leadership honors: the Melvil Dewey Medal. As you may recall from grade school, Dewey was the man behind the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the schema of numbers and subject areas used at libraries around the world to categorize books. Founder of the nation’s first library school, co-founder of the ALA itself, and onetime director of the New York State Library, he’s usually revered as a library icon, his name perhaps the one most strongly associated with the institution. So what drove librarians to erase it from their own award? As it turns out, despite the wholesome associations Dewey has accrued in the public imagination since his death in 1931, the man was no saint…What does this shift portend for Dewey’s intellectual contributions? The DDC might be the world’s most widely used library classification system, but like the man himself, it’s not without controversy. Critics say the subjects are heavily Eurocentric and favorable to Christianity. The 200s of the DDC, for example, are devoted to the subject of religion. But the subcategories are nearly all focused on Christianity, with one section for “other religions.”

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/09/melvil-dewey-american-library-association-award-name-change.html

 

Technology

This is how you kick facial recognition out of your town

"Bans on the technology have mostly focused on law enforcement, but there’s a growing movement to get it out of school, parks, and private businesses too."

"In San Francisco, a cop can’t use facial recognition technology on a person arrested. But a landlord can use it on a tenant, and a school district can use it on students." 

"This is where we find ourselves, smack in the middle of an era when cameras on the corner can automatically recognize passersby, whether they like it or not. The question of who should be able to use this technology, and who shouldn’t, remains largely unanswered in the US. So far, American backlash against facial recognition has been directed mainly at law enforcement. San Francisco and Oakland, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, have all banned police from using the technology in the past year because the algorithms aren’t accurate for people of color and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has even called for a moratorium on police use." 

"Private companies and property owners have had no such restrictions, and facial recognition is increasingly cropping up in apartment buildings, hotels, and more. Privacy advocates worry that constant surveillance will lead to discrimination and have a chilling effect on free speech—and the American public isn’t very comfortable with it either. According to a recent survey by Pew Research, people in the US actually feel better about cops using facial recognition than they do about private businesses." 

"Anyone waiting for a quick federal ban to take shape, either for law enforcement or private industry, is likely to be disappointed, says AI policy expert Mutale Nkonde, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center. “From a federal perspective, anything that seems to undermine business or innovation is not going to be favored,” she says. In theory, bans in cities that have so far been aimed at cops could widen to include private interests. States could then take them up, which might finally spur action in Washington. But it’s going to take a while, if it happens at all."

"In the meantime, there is growing momentum toward curtailing private surveillance, using an array of tactics. From going toe to toe with big corporate interests to leaning on legal theory about what constitutes civil rights in America, here are three main approaches currently in play that could one day drastically change how facial recognition is used in our lives."

 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614477/facial-recognition-law-enforcement-surveillance-private-industry-regulation-ban-backlash/



Intersect Alert September 29, 2019


Publishing

GPO Produces U.S. Code with New Digital Publ
ishing Technology

"GPO has taken a major step forward in the modernization of its publishing systems by beginning to publish the 2018 main edition of the United States Code through XPub, the agency’s new digital technology for XML-based publishing. With the implementation of XPub, GPO will be able to simultaneously publish all legislative documents in a variety of print and digital formats in a more timely manner. The 2018 Main Edition of the U.S. Code is the first, large-scale production job that GPO has published using the new composition system."

https://www.govinfo.gov/features/uscode-2018

Copyright

The Misadventure of Copyrighting State Law

"Abstract- Many states have asserted copyright over their own official state legal texts, limiting access to those materials and attempting to monetize them. This Article aims to provide helpful analysis for state officials deciding whether to pursue such policies and for courts reviewing challenges to such practices. Prior scholarship in this area has focused on the issue of whether such copyright assertions can be valid under federal law given the inherent conflicts they pose to due process and democratic ideals. This Article aims to expand this dialogue in a couple of ways — first, by situating the controversy within the broader arc of legal history, and second, by focusing on matters of present-day practicalities and economics. In so doing, the thrust of this Article is to go beyond arguing that states must surrender their copyright claims over state legal materials and to concentrate instead on providing reasons why states should see it in their own interest and the interest of their citizens to renounce such claims. The policy arguments this Article sets out — including with regard to business behavior, political engagement, and fiscal responsibility — end up providing not merely reasons for states to abstain from aggressive copyright claiming, but also reasons for reviewing courts to deny such claims, including by way of fair use analysis."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3446229

Libraries

The Oldest Continuously Operating Library in the World is in this Egyptian Monastery

"One of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world still in operation, the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai is home to almost 2,000 years of history — and many more years of legend: tradition claims, for example, that the main altar of the monastery is built on the spot where the Burning Bush first addressed Moses."

"But the monastery, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, also holds other places of honor. For example, it accommodates the oldest continuously operating active library in the world."

https://aleteia.org/2019/08/19/the-oldest-continuously-operating-library-in-the-world-is-in-an-egyptian-monastery/

Privacy


The World’s Most-Surveilled Cities

"Cities in China are under the heaviest CCTV surveillance in the world, according to a new analysis by Comparitech. However, some residents living in cities across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, and India will also find themselves surrounded by a large number of watchful eyes, as our look at the number of public CCTV cameras in 120 cities worldwide found."

"Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes, ranging from crime prevention to traffic monitoring to observing industrial operations in environments not suitable for humans. The digital age has boosted the prevalence of CCTV surveillance. Cameras are getting better and cheaper, while live video streams can be remotely accessed, stored on the internet, and passed around. The adoption of face recognition technology makes it possible for both public and private entities to instantly check the identity of anyone who passes by a CCTV camera."

https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

This AI Reads Privacy Policies so You Don’t Have to — and It’s Actually Pretty Good

"Don’t you absolutely hate how dense and confusing privacy policies are? Considering they’re full of gotchas and intentionally obscure legalese, it’s no surprise that hardly anyone bothers to even read them — we’ve simply accepted we’re giving up our data, and with it, our sense of privacy."

"But thanks to this new policy-reading AI, things won’t have to be this way for much longer. Guard is a recurrent neural network-based app that reads and analyzes privacy terms, so you don’t have to. While it can’t yet examine policies on request, the AI has rated the privacy terms of a slew of popular services like Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder."

https://thenextweb.com/apps/2019/09/24/ai-privacy-terms-analysis-reads/

30-Second Privacy Fixes: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Data

"These days, the products we use have an annoying way of spying on us—from inside our cars, our homes, and our offices. That smartphone game you play in the waiting room at the doctor's office, the mobile app that gives you a weather forecast, the photo you share with online friends—all have the ability to reveal intimate details about your life."

"According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 60 percent of Americans now bar mobile apps from accessing the camera, GPS data, and contact list on their phones. And half protect their online accounts with two-factor authentication."

https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/30-second-privacy-fixes/

Thanks For Helping Us Defend the California Consumer Privacy Act

"The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020—having fended off a year of targeted efforts by technology giants who wanted to gut the bill. Most recently, industry tried to weaken its important privacy protections in the last days of the legislative session."

"Californians made history last year when, after 600,000 people signed petitions in support of a ballot initiative, the California State Legislature answered their constituents’ call for a new data privacy law. It’s been a long fight to defend the CCPA against a raft of amendments that would have weakened this law and the protections it enshrines for Californians. Big technology companies backed a number of bills that each would have weakened the CCPA’s protections. Taken together, this package would have significantly undermined this historic law."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/09/thanks-helping-us-defend-california-consumer-privacy-act



Intersect Alert January 12, 2020

International Outlook

Australia’s fires have pumped out more emissions than 100 nations combined

Climate change is driving climate change.

"The wildfires raging along Australia’s eastern coast have already pumped around 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, further fueling the climate change that’s already intensifying the nation’s fires."

"That’s more than the total combined annual emissions of the 116 lowest-emitting countries, and nine times the amount produced during California’s record-setting 2018 fire season. It also adds up to about three-quarters of Australia’s otherwise flattening greenhouse-gas emissions in 2019."

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615035/australias-fires-have-pumped-out-more-emissions-than-100-nations-combined/


Research

Differences in the way healthy and cognitively impaired individuals used their smartphones were enough to tell them apart.

How they did it: Apple researchers monitored the app usage of 113 adults between the ages of 60 and 75 over 12 weeks. Thirty-one of them had clinically diagnosed cognitive impairment; 82 were healthy. For every session—from the moment users unlocked their phones to the moment they locked them again—the researchers logged the sequences of apps used and categorized the sessions into different types. The data was used to train a machine-learning model.

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615032/the-apps-you-use-on-your-phone-could-help-diagnose-your-cognitive-health/

Privacy

Ten Questions—And Answers—About the California Consumer Privacy Act

Via EFF - "You may have heard from a lot of businesses telling you that they’ve updated their privacy policies because of a new law called the California Consumer Privacy Act. But what’s actually changed for you?"

"EFF has spent the past year defending this law in the California legislature, but we realize that not everyone has been following it as closely as we have. So here are answers to ten frequently asked questions we’ve heard about the CCPA."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/01/ten-questions-and-answers-about-california-consumer-privacy-act

Libraries

Library’s Collections Come to Life as 3D Models

The 3D Digital Modeling, Imaging, and Printing Working Group was created to explore the use of 3D technologies to expand access to the Library’s collections. In Fall 2019, the working group launched a pilot in which a limited selection of items from the online collections were 3D scanned and the 3D models made publicly available. In the blog post below, I share what it was like to be trained to build 3D models alongside other Library staff, how we collaborated as a cross-functional working group, and lay out the potential uses of the models we created as part of the LOC 3D pilot project. 

Library’s 3D models go live!

Ask anyone what is held in the Library of Congress collections and they will give you the obvious answer: books. Lots and lots of books. Up until last month, I would’ve said the same thing. Since joining the Library of Congress 3D Digital Modeling, Imaging, and Printing Working Group, however, I’ve discovered that the world’s largest library in fact houses many three-dimensional objects ranging from casts of President’s hands to banjos to medieval vellum manuscripts. What’s more—you can now see some of them online as 3D objects! The core purpose of the 3D Working Group chaired by Educational Resource Specialist Stephen Wesson is to explore ways to bring these physical artifacts to life online for users. I was lucky enough to come aboard just as the group launched a pilot project to create and display 3D models of objects held in our collections. To this end, 13 staff from all across the Library’s service units became certified in photogrammetry, a process that combines photography and the use of software to create digital, web-viewable 3D models…”

https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2020/01/librarys-collections-come-to-life-as-3d-models/?loclr=eadpb


Archives

By the Numbers 2019



https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2019/12/19/by-the-numbers-2019/

 

Books and Reading

Dictionaries and the Law

Via BeSpacific - Davis, Laurel, “Dictionaries and the Law” (2019). Rare Book Room Exhibition Programs. 33.   


“Exhibition program from a Spring 2019 exhibit presented in the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room at the Boston College Law Library. The exhibit focused on the history of legal dictionaries published over the last 500 years.”

“The law is a profession built on words, so it is no surprise that dictionaries repre-sent a key component of our professional literature. From John Rastell’s Termes de la Ley in the sixteenth century to Bryan A. Garner’s most recent edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, dictionaries have helped lawyers and judges grapple with words and phrases that are often challenging and obscure. For law students, dictionaries—general or law-specific, online or in print—can help with the daunting task of learning a new professional language with old roots, often in Latin and French..”

https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/rbr_exhibit_programs/33/


International Outlook

Yes, climate change is intensifying Australia’s fires


Intersect Alert January 5, 2020

International Outlook

Yes, climate change is intensifying Australia’s fires


"Tens of thousands of Australians are fleeing their homes as hundreds of fires rage across the continent’s southeast coast. And yes, climate change is almost certainly to blame for the extent of the disaster."

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615000/yes-climate-change-is-intensifying-australias-fires/

This NASA satellite image shows the extent of Australia’s devastating wildfires


"The context:
Some of the worst wildfires in decades have been burning across Australia in recent months, exacerbated by hot, dry, windy conditions and rising global temperatures. Almost 15 million acres of land have burned so far, compared with two million acres in California in 2018. But to get a visual sense of the sheer scale of the fires, it’s worth looking at them from space. This NASA image, taken on Saturday, shows smoke billowing from country's east coast."

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/615009/this-nasa-satellite-image-shows-the-extent-of-australias-devastating-wildfires/

Privacy

Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues January 5, 2020
Via LLRX - "Privacy and security issues impact every aspect of our lives – home, work, travel, education, health and medical records – to name but a few. On a weekly basis Pete Weiss highlights articles and information that focus on the increasingly complex and wide ranging ways technology is used to compromise and diminish our privacy and security, often without our situational awareness. Four highlights from this week: The 5 Best Authenticator Apps for Protecting Your Accounts; Major US companies breached, robbed, and spied on by Chinese hackers; US Army bans soldiers from using TikTok over security worries; and 7 types of virus – a short glossary of contemporary cyberbadness."

https://llrx.com/2020/01/pete-recommends-weekly-highlights-on-cyber-security-issues-january-5-2020/


Libraries

People Are Sharing Library Hacks That Are Useful, Free And There’s No Reason Not To Use Them

"It seems like most of the news we hear about libraries lately is discouraging, with usage declining and funding being denied. Most people’s first assumption would be that it’s an expected consequence of how people use technology. As e-books and apps that let people obtain them in seconds spread, public libraries fall by the wayside as a way to access media. Right?"

"Not quite! It’s actually more likely than you think that you can do all of those things—check out e-books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and other media⁠—not by giving more of your money to Amazon for a subscription, but by using your library card, a public service that your taxes are already paying for, to sign into the many apps that public libraries themselves use. You get a wealth of information and entertainment, and library use statistics go up. If you haven’t checked whether you can sign in to these services with your local library card, this is your reminder to do so."

https://www.boredpanda.com/people-share-library-hacks-audio-books/

A bibliophile’s paradise – the National Library of France

Vox Populi – “Before there was the internet, there was la Bibliothèque nationale de France (the National Library of France) in Paris: an ever-expanding collection of books, manuscripts, maps and other cultural artifacts that has been operating continuously since the 15th century. The documentary Toute la mémoire du monde (All the Memory in the World), made by the influential and celebrated French filmmaker Alain Resnais in 1956, is an astounding tour of the institution before digitisation, when the world’s largest well of information wasn’t at our fingertips, but fastidiously collected and sorted behind library walls. Resnais focuses not only on the imposing scope of the library’s holdings, but also explores the vast enterprise of maintaining it for centuries to come, as well as the facility’s role as a bustling home for curiosity and enquiry. Through moody black-and-white cinematography of the library’s collection, architecture and meticulous processes, the film explores a place that, like human knowledge itself, is ‘destined to be forever a work in progress’. A dramatic score by Maurice Jarre – by turns pulsing, soaring and delicate – acts as a further guide through the labyrinth of the library, and the film itself.” Director: Alain Resnais

https://voxpopulisphere.com/2019/10/06/video-toute-la-memoire-du-monde-all-the-memory-in-the-world/

Bats Are Hanging Out in the Library. What Gives?

In Wales and Portugal, flying mammals have taken roost in unusual places.

"High above the Mondego River, in Portugal’s interior, a colony of common pipistrelles bats wings out of a library, soars over the cobbled university square, and disappears into the night. These are perhaps the most famous residents of the University of Coimbra. By day, they doze in the stacks of the European baroque Joanina Library, home to such ancient works as the first edition of Dionysius of Halicarnassus’s Roman Antiquities and Homer’s Opera Omnia. Come nightfall, they emerge to feed on flies and gnats and other pests within the library, before swooping out the windows in search of water. Every evening, the librarians here—some who claim they can even hear the bats “singing” late in the afternoon on days when the weather changes rapidly to rain—cover the library’s 18th-century tables with a heavy animal-skin fabric. Every morning, they wash away whatever droppings the bats have left behind."

"Bats have been in residence at the Joanina Library since at least the 19th century, perhaps longer: The librarians know this because they still hold the receipt for that protective fabric that was imported from Russia 200 years ago. Today, as then, the effect of these flittermice, combined with difficult-to-penetrate oak bookcases decorated meticulously in Chinese motifs, is an environment nearly free of destructive bookworms, so to speak." 

https://www.afar.com/magazine/why-bats-are-found-in-these-libraries

Technology

The Decade in Legal Tech: The 10 Most Significant Developments

“In legal technology, it was a decade of tumult and upheaval, bringing changes that will forever transform the practice of law and the delivery of legal services. Feisty startups took on established behemoths. The cloud dropped rain on legacy products. Mobile tech untethered lawyers. Clients demanded efficiency and transparency. Robots arrived to take over our jobs. “Alternative” became a label for new kinds of legal services providers. An expanding justice gap fueled efforts at ethics reform. Investment dollars began to pour in. Data got big. Every year, I write a year-end wrap-up of the most significant developments in legal technology. But as we reach the end of a decade, I decided to look back on the most significant developments of the past 10 years. Looking back, it may well have been the most tumultuous decade ever in changing how legal services are delivered. (Here are my prior years’ lists of the most important developments: For several years now, I’ve closed out the year with a round-up of the 10 most important legal developments 2018, 2016, 201520142013. In 2017, I bypassed the list to focus on a single overarching development, The Year of Women in Legal Tech.)…”

https://www.lawsitesblog.com/2020/01/the-decade-in-legal-tech-the-10-most-significant-developments.html

Intersect Alert December 22, 2019

Internet Access

The Year We Fought to Get Net Neutrality Back: 2019 Year in Review

“Ever since the FCC repealed net neutrality protections in 2017, we’ve been fighting to return as many protections to as many Americans as possible. In 2019, the battles in the courts and Congress both kept those committed to a free and open Internet very busy.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/year-we-fought-get-net-neutrality-back-2019-year-review

 

Privacy

Smart Home Tech, Police, and Your Privacy: Year in Review 2019

“If 2019 confirmed anything, it is that we should not trust the microphones and cameras that large corporations sell us to put inside and near our homes. Thanks to the due diligence of reporters, public records requesters, and privacy researchers and activists, consumers have been learning more and more about how these “smart” home technologies can be hacked, exploited, or utilized by the police and other law enforcement agencies.”

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/2019-end-year-review-smart-home-tech-police-and-your-privacy

 

Education

2020 Open Educational Resources (OER) Sources and Tools

Via LLRX – 2020 Open Educational Resources (OER) Sources and Tools – “This is a comprehensive listing of Open Educational Resources (OER) sources and tools available in the United States and around the world, by Marcus P. Zillman. His guide includes references to: search engines, directories, initiatives, books, E-books, E-textbooks, free online seminars and webinars, subject guides, open and distance learning, open access papers and research, as well as related costs and metrics to identify and choose reliable, subject matter expert sources for free and open continuing education and research on the internet.”

https://www.llrx.com/2019/11/2020-guide-to-web-data-extractors/

 

Research

FRB launches new Twitter account highlighting research published in Board’s working papers and notes series

“The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 – launched a new Twitter account aimed at increasing access to the research done by the more than 400 economists and other research staff at the Board. The new account—@FedResearch—will highlight research published in the Board’s working papers and notes series, other staff articles, and conferences. Staff members at the Board conduct research on a wide variety of topics in economics and finance. The Board’s Finance and Economics Discussion Series and its International Finance Discussion Papers—along with the FEDS Notes series—offer a venue for Board staff to publish their work to stimulate discussion. The papers and notes reflect the views of the individual authors and do not communicate policy positions of the Board or the Federal Reserve System. The Board’s @FederalReserve Twitter account will continue to provide official news and information about the Board…”

https://www.bespacific.com/frb-launches-new-twitter-account-highlighting-research-published-in-boards-working-papers-and-notes-series/

 

Libraries

IMLS Receives $10 Million Increase in FY2020

Congressional appropriators needed overtime to complete the FY2020 budget, but the result brought good news for libraries: a $10 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)–the largest increase in LSTA funding in 12 years. The final federal spending bill also includes increases for other library programs. The budget bill now heads to the president, who is expected to sign it.

For the third year in a row, American Library Association (ALA) advocates called, emailed, tweeted, and met with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C., and at home. ALA President Wanda Kay Brown said in a December 19 statement, “This is your win!”

Congress appropriated $252 million for IMLS, including a $6.2 million increase dedicated to LSTA. Highlights from the $195.4 million for LSTA include:

$166.8 million for LSTA Grants to States ($160.8 million in FY2019)

$5.3 million for LSTA Native American Library Services ($5.1 million in FY2019)

$10 million for LSTA Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grants ($10 million in FY2019)

$13.4 million for LSTA National Leadership for Libraries ($13.4 million in FY2019)

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/imls-receives-10-million-increase-in-fy2020/

 

Technology

The biggest technology failures of 2019

What would the holidays be without the Grinch? And what would MIT Technology Review be without our annual list of the year's sorriest tech fails?

This year’s list includes the deadly, the dishonest, and the simply daft.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614990/worst-technologies-biggest-technology-failures-2019/

 

Archives

Merchant Marine Records Document Maritime Service

“SAINT LOUIS, December 16, 2019 — The public now has access to previously unavailable information concerning former merchant mariners and their maritime service through Merchant Marine Licensing Files, made available by the National Archives at St. Louis.”

“The public can access these records in two ways: through a request made via an offsite reference request (with reproduction provided for a fee), or via onsite viewing at the National Archives at St. Louis Research Room. The collection opened to the public on December 2, 2019.”

https://www.archives.gov/news/articles/merchant-marine-records-document-maritime-service

 

 

 


Intersect Alert December 8, 2019

 

Privacy

How do I protect my online privacy from 'surveillance capitalism'?

“Chris wants to better protect his privacy. What can he easily do besides de-Googling his online life?”

“On Monday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published a 17,000-word report on this topic. Behind the One-Way Mirror: A Deep Dive Into the Technology of Corporate Surveillance, by Bennett Cyphers and Gennie Gebhart, covers both online privacy problems and the growth of real-word surveillance.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/askjack/2019/dec/05/how-do-i-protect-my-online-privacy-from-surveillance-capitalism

The laws protecting our data are too weak

“The latest in a long line of privacy scandals happened last week, after Google was found to have been pulling unredacted data from one of America’s largest healthcare providers to use in one of its projects. Despite assurances that it won’t use this information to supplant its ad business, that’s not the issue here. How was Google able to acquire this knowledge in the first place? Professor Sandra Wachter is an expert in law, data and AI at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute. She says that every time your data is collected, “you leave something of yourself behind.” She added that anyone can use your online behavior to “infer very sensitive things about you,” like your ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and health status. It’s bad enough when the companies use those inferences for targeted ads. But it gets a lot worse when they gain access to very private data. For instance, would you feel comfortable if Google started displaying ads for fertility treatments in your emails after a trip to the doctor? Or if your healthcare provider could access your browser history without your knowledge to determine how suitable you are for insurance…”

https://www.engadget.com/2019/12/05/data-privacy-laws-google-nightingale/

 

Books and Reading

Financial Times Best Books of 2019

“This site is paywalled, but if you have online access – do visit the Financial Times Best Books of 2019 – the extensive subject matter annotated list includes: economics, health, history, art, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, non-fiction, technology, sport, poetry, science, art, gardens, and more – well done.”

https://www.ft.com/booksof2019

 


Libraries

Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010, figures show

Annual survey shows sharp cuts to local authority funding have led to the loss of 17% of branches, alongside sharp staff and funding shortfalls

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/06/britain-has-closed-almost-800-libraries-since-2010-figures-show

 

Libraries in the archive: snapshots of reading in Britain 1930s-1990s

The news that Britain has closed almost 800 libraries since 2010 has prompted us to look back at images of libraries in the Guardian and Observer archives. These are a few highlights, with snippets from their original captions and related headlines.

https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-archive/gallery/2019/dec/06/libraries-archive-snapshots-reading-britain-1930s-1990s

 

Research

ProQuest to Acquire Innovative Interfaces

“In a move that further consolidates the library technology industry, Ex Libris announced on December 5 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Innovative Interfaces from its private equity investors.”

“Since December 2015, Ex Libris has been owned by ProQuest. In addition to its role as a major content provider to libraries, ProQuest is now responsible for a growing portfolio of library technology products, including major systems for resource management, content discovery, materials acquisition, reading list integration, and research services. While ProQuest faces major competition for each of its product categories, this move substantially strengthens its position in the sector and broadens its scope to include public libraries.”

“Ex Libris is a wholly owned business of ProQuest, which is in turn owned by Cambridge Information Group (CIG) and Atairos. The acquisition of Innovative comes on the heels of Atairos’ new major investment in ProQuest. With the infusion of new capital, it is also not surprising to see the company expand through acquisitions and product developments.”

https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/proquest-acquires-innovative-interfaces/




Intersect Alert for the Week of November 25th, 2019

Technology


What Tweets and Emojis Did to the Novel

"Until the 2010s, if you were reading, it generally meant you weren’t doing it online. Though change had been in the offing, this was the decade that irreversibly altered how we consume text — when the smartphone transformed from a marvel to a staple. Suddenly, the sharpest cultural and political analysis came in the form of a distracted boyfriend meme. Racists deployed a playful cartoon frog to sugar their messages. From the Arab Spring onward, the best reporters were often panicked bystanders with Twitter accounts.

It would seem as if few times in history could be less hospitable to literature. Not even 20 years ago we mostly read about things in lag, on thin slices of tree, whereas now we do — well, this, whatever this is. Yet instead of technology superannuating literature once and for all, it seems to have created a new space in our minds for it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/books/review/charles-finch-emoji-autofiction-knausgaard-ferrante.html

Tim Berners-Lee unveils global plan to save the web

"Sir Tim Berners-Lee has launched a global action plan to save the web from political manipulation, fake news, privacy violations and other malign forces that threaten to plunge the world into a “digital dystopia”.

The Contract for the Web requires endorsing governments, companies and individuals to make concrete commitments to protect the web from abuse and ensure it benefits humanity."

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/24/tim-berners-lee-unveils-global-plan-to-save-the-internet

The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe. Does it hide a darker core?

"People in every pocket of this spherical planet are rejecting science and spreading the word that the Earth is flat. There's no clear study indicating how many people have been convinced -- and flat Earthers like Weiss will tell you without evidence there are millions more in the closet anyway, including Hollywood A-listers and commercial airline pilots -- but online communities have hundreds of thousands of followers and YouTube is inundated with flat-Earth content creators, whose productions reach millions."

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/16/us/flat-earth-conference-conspiracy-theories-scli-intl/index.html

Privacy


Victory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion today holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. In a 4-3 decision in Commonwealth v. Davis, the court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/victory-pennsylvania-supreme-court-rules-police-cant-force-you-tell-them-your

About Face: Ending Government Use of Face Surveillance

"Many forms of biometric data collection raise a wealth of privacy, security, and ethical concerns. Face surveillance ups the ante. We expose our faces to public view every time we go outside. Paired with the growing ubiquity of surveillance cameras in our public, face surveillance technology allows for the covert and automated collection of information related to when and where we worship or receive medical care, and who we associate with professionally or socially."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/about-face-ending-government-use-face-surveillance

International Outlook


The Council of Europe Shouldn’t Throw Out Our Privacy Rights Just to Speed Up Police Access

"Foreign police often want to investigate a crime by gathering potential evidence from Internet companies located in another country. What if police in Poland want to get a user’s data from an ISP in Germany, Philippines, Japan—or vice versa? Can they do this? Under what rules, and with what kind of oversight?"

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/council-europe-shouldnt-throw-out-our-privacy-rights-just-speed-police-access

It’s not the first time Iran has shut down the internet, but this time, it’s different "

This time, the shutdown is different. Iran is cut almost completely off of the grid, and according to numerous groups in the internet outage measurement community, the method Iran used to carry out this specific shutdown diverges from a “typical” blanket shutdown and its comprehensive nature makes it harder to circumvent. That makes what is already an inherently disproportionate interference with Iranians’ human rights even more harmful and dangerous. "

https://www.accessnow.org/its-not-the-first-time-iran-has-shut-down-the-internet-but-this-time-its-different/

Research


A Lehigh University-Led Partnership Releases Open Web Database of 160,000 Pages Of High-Resolution, Full-Color Manuscripts Dating to the Ninth Century

"Scholars and aficionados can now search, download and study 160,000 pages of high-resolution, full-color manuscripts dating to the ninth century, thanks to library partnerships.

From tattoos to video games to Game of Thrones, medieval iconography has long inspired fascination, imitation and veneration. Now, thousands of original medieval manuscript and early modern images are available for free online, for scholars and aficionados to search, download and study."

https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/digitizing-medieval-manuscripts

10,000 Yiddish Books Now Fully Searchable Online

"fter years of work by a small team of linguists, computer programmers, and volunteer editors, visitors to the Yiddish Book Center’s website can now search millions of pages of digitized Yiddish books with the aid of a newly launched computer program. The program, Jochre, allows users to search for a specific word or phrase and instantly find every mention of it in more than 10,000 Yiddish books. Previously the books, which have been available online in PDF form for a decade, were only searchable by title and author name. It’s no exaggeration, note Yiddish scholars, to say that the software will revolutionize their field."
https://forward.com/yiddish/435210/10-000-yiddish-books-now-fully-searchable-online/

Open Access



Federal Research: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Public Access to Research Results (GAO Report)

"The 19 agencies that GAO reviewed have made progress implementing their plans to increase public access to federally funded research results (publications and data), as called for in a 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memorandum. However, some agencies have not fully implemented some aspects of their plans, in particular those related to data access and mechanisms to ensure researchers comply with public access requirements."
https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-20-81


Carnegie Mellon University Announces a Transformative Agreement with Elsevier

"Under the terms of the agreement, which is the first of its kind between Elsevier and a university in the United States, Carnegie Mellon scholars will have access to all Elsevier academic journals. Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, articles with a corresponding CMU author published through Elsevier also will be open access."
https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2019/november/cmu-publishing-agreement-milestone.html

Public Policy


Changes to Department of Labor and Healthcare.gov websites foreshadowed formal LGBTQ policy shifts

"Our newest report is a deep dive into how federal web messaging related to the LGBTQ community has evolved under the Trump administration. The report noted a reduction in information specific to the LGBTQ community and changes in language usage related to freighted terms like “gender” and “sex,”” as well as a marked increase in the use of terms related to “religious freedom” on HHS.gov.

Some of the most notable changes we observed were related to federal prohibitions on discrimination, particularly against transgender people, which came amid an ongoing flurry of rulemaking related to anti-discrimination protections at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor. Each of the rulemaking efforts ties into one of the Trump administration’s central policy themes — initiatives designed to protect “religious freedom” — and each has significant implications for the rights of the LGBTQ community."
https://sunlightfoundation.com/2019/11/21/changes-to-department-of-labor-and-medicare-websites-foreshadowed-formal-lgbtq-policy-shifts/



Values


Librarianship at the Crossroads of ICE Surveillance

"Information capitalism, the system where information, a historically, largely free and ubiquitous product of basic communication, is commodified by private owners for profit, is entrenched in our society. Information brokers have consolidated and swallowed up huge amounts of data, in a system that leaves data purchase, consumption, and use largely unregulated and unchecked. This article focuses on librarian ethics in the era of information capitalism, focusing specifically on an especially insidious arena of data ownership: surveillance capitalism and big data policing. While librarians value privacy and intellectual freedom, librarians increasingly rely on products that sell personal data to law enforcement, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Librarians should consider how buying and using these products in their libraries comports with our privacy practices and ethical standards. "

http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2019/ice-surveillance/

Transparency


Transparency vs. Good Government

"It is usually taken for granted that transparency is a prerequisite to good government. The idea seems obvious. “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing,” said President Obama in 2009. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.” But in practice, that is not always true. Demands for transparency can sometimes be used to undermine the values of an open society, and current events compel a more nuanced understanding of the concept."
https://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2019/11/transparency-vs-good-govt/

Archives

No Love for White Gloves, or: the Cotton Menace

There is a unique joy in watching a video or reading a news story with images of a librarian handling a rare book. Rare books, unlike many museum objects, are still used today in the same way that they would have been when they were new centuries ago – they’re held and opened, and their pages are turned. It would make sense that these historical objects should be handled with white gloves to keep them clean, right?
WRONG! Well, mostly. But we’ll get to that part later."

https://blog.library.si.edu/blog/2019/11/21/no-love-for-white-gloves-or-the-cotton-menace/#.XeF9VehKiUk



A Lehigh University-Led Partnership Releases Open Web Database of 160,000 Pages Of High-Resolution, Full-Color Manuscripts Dating to the Ninth Century

"Scholars and aficionados can now search, download and study 160,000 pages of high-resolution, full-color manuscripts dating to the ninth century, thanks to library partnerships.

From tattoos to video games to Game of Thrones, medieval iconography has long inspired fascination, imitation and veneration. Now, thousands of original medieval manuscript and early modern images are available for free online, for scholars and aficionados to search, download and study.
https://www2.lehigh.edu/news/digitizing-medieval-manuscripts

Silicon Valley Archives Update

"Many communities have contributed to Silicon Valley, and in many ways. Unfortunately, their lives and work are not always represented in the archival collections that have been amassed to date. It will be a major priority of the SVA to address areas of under-representation in the archival record. Achieving this goal will require a series of efforts focused on identifying and working with groups that until now have not been represented in terms of race, gender identity, immigration, and so forth. Our second initiative therefore is a project focused on the multiple histories of African Americans in Silicon Valley."
https://us12.campaign-archive.com/?u=af09fe0356fd74e841ec98e34&id=5ccbaeb256

This is the first global map of Saturn’s moon Titan

"Old data acquired by NASA’s Cassini mission has given us our most complete look yet at the mysterious moon. The new map, in Nature Astronomy, offers new insights into how the moon’s methane cycle has shaped the surface."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614730/this-is-the-first-ever-global-map-of-saturns-moon-titan/



Intersect Alert for the Week of November 18, 2019

Privacy

Pew: Americans and Privacy: Concerned, Confused and Feeling Lack of Control Over Their Personal Information
"A majority of Americans believe their online and offline activities are being tracked and monitored by companies and the government with some regularity. It is such a common condition of modern life that roughly six-in-ten U.S. adults say they do not think it is possible to go through daily life without having data collected about them by companies or the government." <https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2019/11/Pew-Research-Center_PI_2019.11.15_Americans-and-Privacy_FINAL.pdf

Who Stole My Face? The Risks Of Law Enforcement Use Of Facial Recognition Software "Last week, RIT philosophy professor and expert on the ethical and privacy implications of technology, Evan Selinger, spoke to a group of lawyers in Rochester, New York, about the dangers presented by facial recognition software. The presentation, “Who Stole My Face? The Privacy Implications of Facial Recognition Technology,” was hosted by the committee that I chair for the Monroe County Bar Association, the Technology and Law Practice Committee, and was the brainchild of committee member Aleksander Nikolic, a Rochester IP attorney."
https://llrx.com/2019/11/who-stole-my-face-the-risks-of-law-enforcement-use-of-facial-recognition-software/

Google almost made 100,000 chest X-rays public — until it realized personal data could be exposed
"Two days before Google was set to publicly post more than 100,000 images of human chest X-rays, the tech giant got a call from the National Institutes of Health, which had provided the images: Some of them still contained details that could be used to identify the patients, a potential privacy and legal violation. Google abruptly canceled its project with NIH, according to emails reviewed by The Washington Post and an interview with a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But the 2017 incident, which has never been reported, highlights the potential pitfalls of the tech giant’s incursions into the world of sensitive health data."
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/11/15/google-almost-made-chest-x-rays-public-until-it-realized-personal-data-could-be-exposed/

Video: The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University Hosts Conversation with Edward Snowden
"On October 29, 2019, Knight First Amendment Institute’s Jameel Jaffer and The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Sorkin spoke to Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who leaked top-secret documents about the National Security Agency to the press in 2013. Snowden spoke via Skype about the rise of mass surveillance, his thoughts on the recent whistleblower case and how we should protect our privacy. The event at The Forum was open to the public and well attended. "
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/11/the-knight-first-amendment-institute-hosts-a-conversation-with-edward-snowden/

Social Media


The Dark Psychology of Social Networks
"Facebook’s early mission was “to make the world more open and connected”—and in the first days of social media, many people assumed that a huge global increase in connectivity would be good for democracy. As social media has aged, however, optimism has faded and the list of known or suspected harms has grown: Online political discussions (often among anonymous strangers) are experienced as angrier and less civil than those in real life; networks of partisans co-create worldviews that can become more and more extreme; disinformation campaigns flourish; violent ideologies lure recruits." https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/12/social-media-democracy/600763/

The Internet Dream Became a Nightmare. What Will Become of It Now?
"As the technology critic Evgeny Morozov noted in his trenchant 2013 book, “To Save Everything, Click Here,” the distance between the quotidian reality of the internet and the utopian set of notions we projected onto it had become so vast that quotation marks ought to separate the idealized version from the real thing. “The internet” was going to empower the masses, overthrow hierarchies, build a virtual world that was far superior to the terrestrial one that bound us. But the actual internet was never capable of any of that, and once it fell into the hands of plutocrats and dictators, all the gauzy rhetoric around it only served their interests."
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/13/magazine/internet-future.html

Publishing


The New PubMed is Here
"An updated version of PubMed is now available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ (see Figure 1). The new PubMed will become the default in spring 2020 and will ultimately replace the legacy version." https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/nd19/nd19_pubmed_new.html

Springer Nature First Publisher to Implement Seamlessaccess.Org Service. "For a scientist working on their university’s campus, accessing a paywalled journal article is painless and invisible, if their institution subscribes. The article automatically appears because the publisher recognizes that the request came from the university’s internet address. But many researchers gripe that the minute they step off campus and try to access the same article—through a home internet provider, a coffee shop’s WiFi, or a cellphone—they often face a frustrating experience. Even though many universities allow remote users to gain access by logging in through an online portal, many articles don’t clearly flag that possibility, and following the steps can be cumbersome."
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/11/move-journals-seamless-campus-access-raises-privacy-concerns

Research

Huntington Acquires Two Major Collections of Slavery and Abolition Materials
"The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has acquired two collections related to abolition and slavery in 19th-century America, including an exceptionally rare account book from the Underground Railroad.
The first group of materials includes the papers of Zachariah Taylor Shugart (1805–1881), a Quaker abolitionist who operated an Underground Railroad stop at his farm in Cass County, Michigan. The centerpiece of the collection is an account ledger which contains the names of 137 men and women who passed through Shugart's farm while trying to reach freedom in Canada; these names are recorded amid everyday details of Shugart's business life, including the number of minks he trapped and the debts he was owed.

The second collection is the archive of some 2,000 letters and accounts documenting the history of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury saltworks, a major operation founded in 1808 in what is now Kanawha County, West Virginia. The records shed light on an industry that was not plantation-based but still relied heavily on slave labor. . .The two collections, which were purchased recently at auction, are currently being cataloged and will be made available to scholars in the near future. Some materials, including Shugart's ledger, will be digitized."
https://www.huntington.org/news/huntington-acquires-slavery-abolition-materials

Just Launched: Independent Documentary Filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Web Archive "Chinese independent filmmakers from mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have long been crucial to bringing attention to social and political developments in their areas, but due to the sensitive nature of their work, their web presences are at risk of disappearing at any time. Created to capture and preserve these ephemeral primary source materials, the archive contains websites, blogs, and video feeds belonging to notable filmmakers from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, all made available for future research and access."
https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/spotlights/2019/11/11/independent-documentary-filmmakers-china-hong-kong-taiwan-web-archive/


Old dogs, new tricks: 10,000 pets needed for science "Can old dogs teach us new tricks? Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest-ever study of aging in canines. They hope to shed light on human longevity too. The project will collect a pile of pooch data: vet records, DNA samples, gut microbes and information on food and walks. Five hundred dogs will test a pill that could slow the aging process." https://apnews.com/4bee7e617c2b44b397e79f4a16523877

Open Access


New Landscapes on the Road of Open Science: 6 key issues to address for research data management in the Netherlands
"The road to Open Science is not a short one. As the chairman of the Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud, Karel Luyben, is keen to point out, it will take at least 10 or 15 years of travel until we reach a point where Open Science is simply absorbed into ordinary, everyday science. Within the Netherlands, and for research data in particular, we have made many strides towards that final point. We have knowledge networks such as LCRDM, a suite of archives covered by the Research Data Netherlands umbrella, and the groundbreaking work done by the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences. But there is still much travel to be done; many new landscapes to be traversed. Data sharing is still far from being the norm."
https://openworking.wordpress.com/2019/11/12/new-landscapes-on-the-road-of-open-science-6-key-issues-to-address-for-research-data-management-in-the-netherlands/


Wikiview is a Powerful Photo Browser for Exploring Wikimedia Commons
"Wikimedia Commons has millions of public domain and freely-licensed photos available to the world, and now there’s a powerful new tool that helps you dive into the ocean of imagery for exploring or locating exactly what you’re looking for. It’s called wikiview, and it’s a graph-based visual image navigator." https://petapixel.com/2019/11/07/wikiview-is-a-powerful-photo-browser-for-exploring-wikimedia-commons/

Technology


C-SPAN Provides Near Real-Time Keyword Searchable Video of Today’s U.S. House Impeachment Hearing with Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
"C-SPAN and the C-SPAN Video Library are providing near real-time searchable video (using text transcripts generated from the closed-captioning) of today’s U.S. House Impeachment Hearing with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/15/c-span-provides-near-real-time-keyword-searchable-video-of-todays-u-s-house-impeachment-hearing-with-former-ukraine-ambassador-marie-yovanovitch/

New Report: Spoken Word Audio Share in the U.S. Up 20% Since 2014; Audiobook Listening Hits All-Time High

"The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/17/new-report-spoken-word-audio-share-in-the-u-s-is-up-20-since-2014/

Education


A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges
"Using data from the expanded College Scorecard, this report ranks 4,500 colleges and universities by return on investment. A First Try at ROI: Ranking 4,500 Colleges finds that bachelor’s degrees from private colleges, on average, have higher ROI than degrees from public colleges 40 years after enrollment. Community colleges and many certificate programs have the highest returns in the short term, 10 years after enrollment, though returns from bachelor’s degrees eventually overtake those of most two-year credentials."
https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/collegeroi/



Intersect Alert for the Week of November 11, 2019

Freedom of Information

A Constitutional Right to Public Information "In the wake of the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision of McBurney v. Young (569 U.S. 221), this Article calls for policymakers at the federal and state levels to ensure governmental records remain open and accessible to the public. It urges policymakers to call not only for strengthening of the Freedom of Information Act and the various state public records law, but to pursue an amendment to the United States Constitution providing a right to public information. This Article proposes a draft of such an amendment: The right to public information, being a necessary and vital part of democracy, shall be a fundamental right of the people. The right of the people to inspect and/or copy records of government, and to be provided notice of and attend public meetings of government, shall not unreasonably be restricted. Evidence from the House’s impeachment inquiry, including testimony from Ambassador William Taylor, the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine under the Trump administration, speaks to a pattern and practice of bypassing official record-keeping procedures at the State Department. In discussing a June 28 State-organized phone call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, Ambassador Taylor testified that, not only did the Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland exclude most of the regular interagency participants from the call, but that “Ambassador Sondland said that he wanted to make sure no one was transcribing or monitoring as they added President Zelenskyy to the call.” This is a direct violation of the State Department’s obligation under the Federal Records Act to document agency policies, decisions, and essential transactions." https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3472464

Archive, CREW, Historians Sue Pompeo and the State Department over Failure to Create Records, and More: FRINFORMSUM 11/8/2019 "The National Security Archive, together with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), recently sued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Department of State for violating the Federal Records Act by failing to create and preserve essential State Department records." https://unredacted.com/2019/11/08/archive-crew-historians-sue-pompeo-and-the-state-department-over-failure-to-create-records-and-more-frinformsum-11-8-2019/

Privacy

Homeland Security will soon have biometric data on nearly 260 million people "The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to have face, fingerprint, and iris scans of at least 259 million people in its biometrics database by 2022, according to a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations reviewed by Quartz. That’s about 40 million more than the agency’s 2017 projections, which estimated 220 million unique identities by 2022, according to previous figures cited by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based privacy rights nonprofit." https://qz.com/1744400/dhs-expected-to-have-biometrics-on-260-million-people-by-2022/ ;

Leaked documents show Facebook leveraged user data to fight rivals and help friends "A cache of leaked Facebook documents shows how the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, oversaw plans to consolidate the social network's power and control competitors by treating its users' data as a bargaining chip. . . This trove comprises approximately 7,000 pages in total, of which about 4,000 are internal Facebook communications such as emails, web chats, notes, presentations and spreadsheets, primarily from 2011 to 2015. About 1,200 pages are marked as 'highly confidential.' Taken together, they show how Zuckerberg, along with his board and management team, found ways to tap Facebook users' data — including information about friends, relationships and photos — as leverage over the companies it partnered with. In some cases, Facebook would reward partners by giving them preferential access to certain types of user data while denying the same access to rival companies." https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/leaked-documents-show-facebook-leveraged-user-data-fight-rivals-help-n1076986?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

A detective has been granted access to an entire private DNA database "A Florida detective was granted a warrant to access and search the nearly one million people’s genetic information held by consumer DNA site GEDmatch, even if users had opted out of appearing in police search results, according to the New York Times. The warrant, signed by a judge in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in July, has generated new leads in the case but no arrests, Orlando police detective Michael Fields told the paper. It seems to be the first time a judge has granted this sort of warrant, choosing to overrule a company’s DNA privacy policies." https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614684/a-detective-has-been-given-access-to-private-consumer-dna-data-for-the-first-time/

;What Federal Legislators Can Learn From California’s New Ballot Initiative "On January 1, 2020, the nation’s strictest privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), will take effect. The law empowers consumers to (1) be informed about what personal information a company has collected about them; (2) delete that data; and (3) opt out of companies selling that data to third parties. On top of this, there’s an additional ballot initiative that’s been introduced that could further strengthen California’s privacy protections." https://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/what-federal-legislators-can-learn-from-californias-new-ballot-initiative/

Research

GPO has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958

“The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo, GPO’s one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. Through these digitization efforts, the public can access records of Congressional Hearings for free. These include the transcripts from meetings or sessions of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, in which elected officials obtained information and opinions on proposed legislation, conducted an investigation, or evaluated the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law. This project is part of a multi-year effort to digitize a collection of nearly 15,000 Congressional Hearings from Kansas State University Libraries, which serves the Nation as a Federal Depository Library. The digitized documents include many historical sessions. As part of this project, GPO plans to digitize nearly six million pages, of which approximately 230,000 pages have been completed."

https://www.bespacific.com/gpo-has-digitized-more-than-1300-historical-congressional-hearings-dating-back-to-1958/

Are facilities near you polluting the air? A new database could help "In California, 35 local air districts are tasked with controlling air pollution from so-called “stationary sources.” These facilities include oil refineries, power plants, manufacturers and gas stations. They contribute substantially to the emissions of certain pollutants, such as fine particulate matter that can lodge deep inside lung tissue and cause serious and long-term health problems." https://www.centerforhealthjournalism.org/2019/10/15/are-facilities-near-you-polluting-air-new-database-could-help

We R Native: a health resource for Native youth, by Native youth

We R Native is a comprehensive health resource for Native youth, by Native youth, providing content and stories about the topics that matter most to them. We R Native promote holistic health and positive growth in our local communities and nation at large. The site provides articles, blogs, videos, and social support on topics related to culture, mind, body, spirit, relationships, impact, and more.

https://news.nnlm.gov/bhic/2019/11/we-r-native-a-health-resource-for-native-youth-by-native-youth/

Israel: Microsoft Implementing AI in Creating Archive Of David Ben-Gurion’s Handwritten Works "As a part of a joint initiative between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Microsoft, the historical handwritten and printed works of the school's namesake, former prime minister David Ben-Gurion, will be easily searchable and available to researchers with a plan to create an all-ecompassing archive of the work using artificial intelligence (AI). Ben-Gurion kept meticulous records of the events that shaped the formation and early days of the Jewish state." https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Microsoft-implementing-AI-in-creating-archive-of-Ben-Gurions-handwritten-works-607013

EBSCO Information Services releases PsycTHERAPY database
"EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) introduces PsycTHERAPY, a unique streaming video database of therapy demonstrations to support clinical and counseling psychology education. Produced by the American Psychological Association (APA), the PsycTHERAPY library offers more than 500 therapy demonstrations using the latest psychotherapy techniques. PsycTHERAPY provides clinicians, counselors, and trainees with the opportunity to observe candid psychotherapy videos. This collection includes proven methods showcasing common obstacles faced during therapy sessions. Videos are accompanied by corresponding transcripts, making it easy to search interactions within demonstrations." https://librarytechnology.org/pr/24690

Transparency

Open contracting in practice: protecting digital rights and responsible emerging tech
"For anyone who thinks about urban infrastructure, the term is commonly understood to include communication and transportation systems, roadways, water, power, public buildings, and public spaces. Increasingly, cities are buying technologies to connect urban infrastructure to cloud-based computing and data collection systems. In any scenario where cities are buying products from third parties to update essential infrastructure, city decision makers are either making direct no-bid agreements with private companies or going through public procurement processes to craft contracts for public-private collaborations. In order for residents to know how city governments are connecting urban infrastructure and using it for mass data collection, city governments have to commit to open and transparent contracting and public advocates must ensure that city officials are going through processes with strong accountability mechanisms to make these agreements." https://sunlightfoundation.com/2019/11/07/open-contracting-in-practice-protecting-digital-rights-and-responsible-emerging-tech/

Technology

What is the Distant Reader and why should I care?
"The Distant Reader is a tool for reading. The Distant Reader takes an arbitrary amount of unstructured data (text) as input, and it outputs sets of structured data for analysis — reading. Given a corpus of any size, the Distant Reader will analyze the corpus, and it will output a myriad of reports enabling you to use & understand the corpus. The Distant Reader is intended to supplement the traditional reading process. The Distant Reader empowers one to use & understand large amounts of textual information both quickly & easily. For example, the Distant Reader can consume the entire issue of a scholarly journal, the complete works of a given author, or the content found at the other end of an arbitrarily long list of URLs. Thus, the Distant Reader is akin to a book’s table-of-contents or back-of-the-book index but at scale. It simplifies the process of identifying trends & anomalies in a corpus, and then it enables a person to further investigate those trends & anomalies. The Distant Reader is designed to 'read' everything from a single item to a corpus of thousand’s of items. It is intended for the undergraduate student who wants to read the whole of their course work in a given class, the graduate student who needs to read hundreds (thousands) of items for their thesis or dissertation, the scientist who wants to review the literature, or the humanist who wants to characterize a genre." http://sites.nd.edu/emorgan/2019/11/reader/

The AI hiring industry is under scrutiny—but it’ll be hard to fix
"The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate HireVue, an AI tool that helps companies figure out which workers to hire."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614694/hirevue-ai-automated-hiring-discrimination-ftc-epic-bias/

How Does Query Intent Classification Work?
"If I am shopping online for a shovel, there’s a big difference in my search results if I’m search for a garden shovel in the summer or a snow shovel in the winter. How does the search engine know what I mean? Query intent classification starts with a set of training data, which is a list of queries from users and important context like the user’s location and date it was when they clicked on a particular type of shovel. This data gets fed into your neural network for analysis and deep learning. Then the next time a similar user with a similar history and similar location starts a search, the system will automatically boost the intended results. This is one way neural networks help avoid hand-constructing rules, complex algorithms, potential human error, and overall headaches."
https://lucidworks.com/post/query-intent-classification/

The computing power needed to train AI is now rising seven times faster than ever before "In 2018, OpenAI found that the amount of computational power used to train the largest AI models had doubled every 3.4 months since 2012. The San Francisco-based for-profit AI research lab has now added new data to its analysis. This shows how the post-2012 doubling compares with the historic doubling time since the beginning of the field. From 1959 to 2012, the amount of power required doubled every two years, following Moore’s Law. This means the doubling time today is more than seven times the previous rate." https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614700/the-computing-power-needed-to-train-ai-is-now-rising-seven-times-faster-than-ever-before/

Internet Access

Freedom House Publishes “Freedom on the Net 2019” Report
"Governments around the world are increasingly using social media to manipulate elections and monitor their citizens, tilting the technology toward digital authoritarianism. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year, according to Freedom on the Net 2019, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment of internet freedom, released today by Freedom House."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/05/freedom-house-publishes-freedom-on-the-net-2019-report/

Social Media

The UK’s election will put Facebook’s political ad policies to the test
"As in the last UK election, just two years ago, targeted ads on social media will play a big role as the major parties try to convince wavering voters or shore up their own support. This time around, however, Facebook has a clearer (and more controversial) stance on what it will and won’t allow on its platform. Specifically, it’ll be the first major election where its policy of letting politicians lie in ads is put to the test, a stance that has come under increasing pressure since Twitter said it would ban political ads last week."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614697/the-uks-election-will-put-facebooks-political-ads-policies-to-the-test/

Open Data

Getting ready for Open Data Day 2020 on Saturday 7th March
"Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Open Data Day! Open Data Day is the annual event where we gather to reach out to new people and build new solutions to issues in our communities using open data. Over the last decade, this event has evolved from a small group of people in a few cities trying to convince their governments about the value of open data, to a full-grown community of practitioners and activists around the world working on putting data to use for their communities." https://blog.okfn.org/2019/11/08/getting-ready-for-open-data-day-2020-on-saturday-7th-march/

Libraries

Watch: The Modernization of the Library of Congress is Focus of U.S. Senate Hearing '
"Three years ago, during my confirmation hearing in this very room, we discussed the many challenges and opportunities presented by technology at the Library of Congress. I am pleased today to tell you that we have significantly improved the Library’s IT. The Library is a different organization than it was just a short time ago. Over the last few years, we have stabilized and optimized our core IT infrastructure. We have streamlined and strengthened our IT management and governance. And we have centralized and professionalized our IT workforce. Altogether, that hard work has allowed us to close as implemented nearly 95% of the IT recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2015, and we will keep working until we close 100%."
https://www.infodocket.com/2019/11/07/video-the-modernization-of-the-library-of-congress-is-focus-of-u-s-senate-hearing/

Values

Affordances: Science Fiction About Algorithmic Bias and Technological Resistance
"Future Tense Fiction, a joint project of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination and Slate, has just published Affordances, a new science fiction story by EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow. It's a tale of algorithmic bias, facial recognition, and technological self-determination that touches on many of EFF’s key fights."
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/affordances-science-fiction-about-algorithmic-bias-and-technological-resistance

Intellectual Property

Publishers Should be Making E-Book Licensing Better, Not Worse "Macmillan, one of the “Big Five” publishers, is imposing new limits on libraries’ access to ebooks—and libraries and their users are fighting back." https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/11/publishers-should-be-making-e-book-licensing-better-not-worse

Intersect Alert for the Week of November 4, 2019

Internet Access

Connecting the world is seen as a humanitarian mission for some technology evangelists – but ensuring a free and open web is a harder problem to solve. "Fifty years after the first computers were laced into an internet, and 30 years since the World Wide Web was built on top of this “network of networks”, the free and open online world envisioned by early pioneers is under attack. In the last few years, partial cuts and even total blackouts have been reported in India, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq." https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191025-the-fight-to-keep-the-internet-free-and-open-for-everyone In the Debate Over Online Speech and Security, Let’s Get to the Science A debate is raging, in Congress and the media, over whether or not we need new regulations to try to shape how Internet platforms operate. Too often, however, the discussion is based on rhetoric and anecdote, rather than empirical research. The recently introduced National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act is intended to change that, and we’re pleased to support its goals. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/debate-over-online-speech-and-security-lets-get-science

Privacy

Private Companies, Government Surveillance Software and Human Rights "It's old news that governments around the world are misusing private company-sold digital surveillance software track and target people for human rights abuses. Recently, Amnesty International reported finding that two prominent Moroccan human rights defenders had been targeted using Israeli-based NSO Group’s software. Just this week WhatsApp sued NSO group for using spyware, noting in the legal Complaint that NSO group counts the Kingdom of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico as customers and that WhatsApp had found targets with telephone numbers from each of those countries. Thanks to advocacy and research by EFF as well as our friends at Citizen Lab, Amnesty International, Privacy International, and others, there is now widespread understanding of the problem. But companies and activists and governments are still struggling to find solutions. All the while private companies based in the UK and Germany (FinFisher), Italy (Hacking Team), and Israel (NSO Group) continue to profit by selling “lawful interception software” to governments and law enforcement organizations in countries with unquestionably poor human rights records." https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/applying-human-rights-framework-sale-government-surveillance-software Website privacy options aren’t much of a choice since they’re hard to find and use "You’ve probably encountered a pair of shoes that won’t stop following you around the internet, appearing in advertisements on different sites for weeks. Today, the vast majority of advertising is targeted – that is, you see an ad because an advertiser thinks that you, specifically, might be interested in what they have to offer. You may have visited a store page for a pair of shoes, or maybe there’s something in your internet browsing history that places you in their target demographic." https://theconversation.com/website-privacy-options-arent-much-of-a-choice-since-theyre-hard-to-find-and-use-124631

Copyright

Where Research Meets Profits "Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles -- published and soon-to-be -- on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit. So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses -- including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham." http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/10/23/what-happened-when-professor-was-accused-sharing-his-own-work-his-website US Copyright Office Launches Learning Engine Video Series "The Learning Engine series of videos introduces the Copyright Office and copyright concepts to viewers who are new to these topics or who want to learn more." https://www.copyright.gov/learning-engine/?loclr=eanco

Research

Research Tools: New Digital Resources Launch Online for Study of Human Rights (Global Access to the PEN International and English PEN Records) "Thousands of digitized records reflecting major historical events of the 20th century related to PEN International, a global writers' organization, are available online beginning this month. A project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and completed by the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin has resulted in a new online finding aid for researchers, as well as access to teaching guides and nearly 5,000 digitized records." https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/press/releases/2019/pen-international.html 10 Little-Known Corners of the Deep Web You Might Actually Like "The dark web doesn’t have a great reputation. Dodgy online marketplaces, criminal gangs, terrorist groups—it sounds like the type of place that only the most troubled members of society would want to hang out. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, that type of content exists. But there are also plenty of dark web websites that you might actually like." https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/little-known-corners-deep-web-might-actually-like/

Values

Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Preservation in the Age of Shared Print and Withdrawal Projects "This paper’s review of current issues in shared print retention and preservation identifies such shared issues as the cataloging and validation, retention and withdrawal of holdings, loss rates, current condition of holdings, recommendations for the number of copies to retain, and storage environments. Library institutions require a communitywide dialogue assessing practical retention concerns. We hope that our recommendations and discussion will serve as a call to action for further study and greater interest in strong cooperation at both institutional and repository levels, including collaborative action for multiple levels of collection assessments." https://crl.acrl.org/index.php/crl/article/view/23612


Intersect Alert October 27, 2019


Open Access

Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/dont-let-science-publisher-elsevier-hold-knowledge-ransom

 

Open Access Resources for Legal Research

Via Lyonette Louis-Jacques, The University of Chicago | D’Angelo Law Library – “In honor of International Open Access Week, our library created an “Open Access Resources for Legal Research” LibGuide. These are some representative free law sources. The focus is on U.S. law, but there’s a foreign and international law section.”

http://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/openlawresources

 

Libraries

Major Public Library System Will Boycott Macmillan E-books

Publishers Weekly – The nation’s top digital-circulating library has said it will stop buying new release Macmillan e-books once the publishers’ two-month embargo begins next month – “With Macmillan’s controversial embargo on new release library e-books set to begin in just two weeks, PW has learned that the King County (WA) Library System has decided it will no longer purchase embargoed e-book titles from the publisher. “Despite months of discussion and advocacy, Macmillan continues its position to embargo multiple copies of e-books,” writes King County Library executive director Lisa Rosenblum, in a note sent to fellow library directors (and shared with PW). ”Therefore, effective November 1st, KCLS will no longer purchase e-books from Macmillan. Instead we will divert our e-book funds to those publishers who are willing to sell to us.” The King County Library System, headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, is one of the nation’s busiest and best library systems, circulating more than 21 million items every year. It has earned a coveted five star rating from Library Journal. And for five years running, King County has been the top digital-circulating public library system in the country, logging more than 4.8 million checkouts of e-books and digital audio in 2018. In her note, Rosenblum acknowledged differing opinions among public library staff around the country on whether to boycott Macmillan e-books, and said King County’s decision was ultimately driven by two reasons: one “pragmatic” and the other “principled.”

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/81475-this-major-public-library-system-will-boycott-macmillan-e-books-will-others-follow.html

 

Diversifying your Children’s Lit Section on Purpose

This is not a new topic, but certainly one that deserves more attention. Having worked in public school libraries and now monitoring a small children’s literature collection at my community college campus library, this section always makes me smile. While working on collection development, the children’s lit section is my favorite one to review. “We Need Diverse Books” has successfully transitioned from a hashtag response to a full movement and organization, dedicated to encouraging the publication of books that serve and reflect the lives of young people - all young people. 

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/odlos-blog/diversifying-childrens-lit

 

Librarians

50 Fictional Librarians, Ranked

“Here at Literary Hub, we love librarians. I mean, really everything about them—their knowledge, their kindness, their demon-slaying abilities. If you love them too, then you probably feel a little jolt of extra excitement whenever they show up in pop culture. Or, okay, maybe you aren’t a total nerd, but here you are looking at my ranking of fictional librarians, so I think it’s a fair bet that you are. (Don’t worry—it’s a good thing.) Either way, now that you’re here, please enjoy this totally unscientific, clearly incomplete, undoubtedly age-biased ranking of the best fictional librarians from film, literature, television, and the internet. Feel free to add on ad infinitum in the comments; that’s what comments are for.”

https://lithub.com/50-fictional-librarians-ranked/

 

Privacy

Alexa and Google Home abused to eavesdrop and phish passwords

ars technica – Amazon- and Google-approved apps turned both voice-controlled devices into “smart spies”. – “By now, the privacy threats posed by Amazon Alexa and Google Home are common knowledge. Workers for both companies routinely listen to audio of users—recordings of which can be kept forever—and the sounds the devices capture can be used in criminal trials. Now, there’s a new concern: malicious apps developed by third parties and hosted by Amazon or Google. The threat isn’t just theoretical. Whitehat hackers at Germany’s Security Research Labs developed eight apps—four Alexa “skills” and four Google Home “actions”—that all passed Amazon or Google security-vetting processes. The skills or actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these “smart spies,” as the researchers call them, surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords…”

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/10/alexa-and-google-home-abused-to-eavesdrop-and-phish-passwords/

 

Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids

UK Guardian: “Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students, across thousands of school districts, looking for signs of suicidal thoughts, bullying or plans for a school shooting. The new school surveillance technology doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day, whether students are in their classrooms or their bedrooms. Tech companies are also working with schools to monitor students’ web searches and internet usage, and, in some cases, to track what they are writing on public social media accounts. Parents and students are still largely unaware of the scope and intensity of school surveillance, privacy experts say, even as the market for these technologies has grown rapidly, fueled by fears of school shootings, particularly in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February 2018, which left 17 people dead. Digital surveillance is just one part of a booming, nearly $3bn-a-year school security industry in the United States, where Republican lawmakers have blocked any substantial gun control legislation for a quarter century…”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/22/school-student-surveillance-bark-gaggle


Intersect Alert October 13, 2019

Libraries

Why Libraries Are Eliminating Late Fees for Overdue Books [CityLab]

“Chicago libraries will no longer collect late fees starting this month, becoming the largest public library system in the U.S. to do away with overdue fines. The city is also erasing all currently outstanding fees, which is good news to the more than 343,000 cardholders whose borrowing privileges have been revoked for accruing at least $10 in unpaid fines.”

“Chicago is one of a growing number of cities trying to make access to libraries more equitable. Its own data revealed that one in three cardholders in the public library’s south district, where many of the communities are of color and living in poverty, cannot check out books. That’s compared to one in six people in the wealthier north district. It’s likely that many who have unpaid fines fail to pay them because they don’t have the disposable income to do so.”

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/10/public-library-late-fees-chicago-san-francisco-equity-access/599194/

 

News from the Law Library of Congress Chatbot

In Custodia Legis – “Have you tried the Law Library of Congress Chatbot lately? The chatbot provides answers to frequently asked legal reference questions through Facebook Messenger. You can interact with it by clicking through a series of menu options or you can type in a natural language question. The chatbot debuted in October 2017, and since that time we have been able to learn from user interactions with the chatbot and make revisions to improve the user experience. For example, the chatbot’s natural language abilities have substantially improved since its debut. When the chatbot was released, slight variations from questions the chatbot anticipated, such as deviations in sentence structure, would likely cause the chatbot to return the default response. With the benefit of additional development time, the chatbot’s vocabulary is much more robust and can accommodate variations in sentence structure. Give it a try and let us know what you think. If you would like to try your hand at building your own chatbot, click here for more information…”

https://blogs.loc.gov/law/2019/10/news-from-the-law-library-of-congress-chatbot/

 

Education

‘Ultimate gift to future generations’: plan to laser map all land on Earth

  UK Guardian – Project to record cultural, geological and environmental treasures at risk from climate crisis  – “A project to produce detailed maps of all the land on Earth through laser scanning has been revealed by researchers who say action is needed now to preserve a record of the world’s cultural, environmental and geological treasures. Prof Chris Fisher, an archaeologist from Colorado State University, said he founded the Earth Archive as a response to the climate crisis. “We are going to lose a significant amount of both cultural patrimony – so archaeological sites and landscapes – but also ecological patrimony – plants and animals, entire landscapes, geology, hydrology,” Fisher told the Guardian. “We really have a limit time to record those things before the Earth fundamentally changes.”

The main technology Fisher hopes to use is aircraft-based Lidar, a scanning technique in which laser pulses are directed at the Earth’s surface from an instrument attached to an aircraft. The time it takes for the pulses to bounce back is measured, allowing researchers to work out the distance to the object or surface they strike. Combined with location data, the approach allows scientists to build 3D maps of an area…”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/11/ultimate-gift-to-future-generations-plan-to-laser-map-all-land-on-earth

 

Copyright

One Weird Law That Interferes With Security Research, Remix Culture, and Even Car Repair

How can a single, ill-conceived law wreak havoc in so many ways? It prevents you from making remix videos. It blocks computer security research. It keeps those with print disabilities from reading ebooks. It makes it illegal to repair people's cars. It makes it harder to compete with tech companies by designing interoperable products. It's even been used in an attempt to block third-party ink cartridges for printers.

It's hard to believe, but these are just some of the consequences of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which gives legal teeth to "access controls" (like DRM). Courts have mostly interpreted the law as abandoning the traditional limitations on copyright's scope, such as fair use, in favor of a strict regime that penalizes any bypassing of access controls (such as DRM) on a copyrighted work regardless of your noninfringing purpose, regardless of the fact that you own that copy of the work.  

Since software can be copyrighted, companies have increasingly argued that you cannot even look at the code that controls a device you own, which would mean that you're not allowed to understand the technology on which you rely — let alone learn how to tinker with it or spot vulnerabilities or undisclosed features that violate your privacy, for instance.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/10/one-weird-law-interferes-security-research-remix-culture-and-even-car-repair

 

Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation Framework Released For Public Comment

“Today NARA is releasing the entirety of our digital preservation framework for public comment. This digital preservation framework consists of our approach to determining risks faced by electronic files, and our plans for preserving different types of file formats. The public is encouraged to join the discussion, September 16 through November 1, 2019, on GitHub.”

https://aotus.blogs.archives.gov/2019/09/16/digital-preservation-framework-released-for-public-comment/



Intersect Alert October 6, 2019

Research

600 Years of Grape Harvests Document 20th Century Climate Change

“Climate change isn’t just captured by thermometers—grapes can also do the trick. By mining archival records of grape harvest dates going back to 1354, scientists have reconstructed a 664-year record of temperature traced by fruit ripening. The records, from the Burgundy region of France, represent the longest series of grape harvest dates assembled up until now and reveal strong evidence of climate change in the past few decades. Science with Grapes As far back as the 19th century, scientists have been using records of grape harvest dates to track climatic changes. “Wine harvest is a really great proxy for summer warmth,” said Benjamin Cook, a climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York not involved in the research. “The warmer the summer is, the faster the grapes develop, so the earlier the harvest happens…”

https://eos.org/articles/600-years-of-grape-harvests-document-20th-century-climate-change

 

Archives

Today's Document from NARA's Tumblr


Today’s Document started as a small feature on the Archives.gov website several years ago, as a way to highlight interesting documents in our holdings—both the well-known and the obscure—and to observe historical events (usually the significant events but sometimes just the curious ones). Today’s Document is now a popular feature and has inspired a new mobile App and even an independent tribute site. Over the years we have received suggestions and requests for new documents and started this blog as a way to collect and discuss those ideas. We’ll select the most highly rated documents and use them to populate future dates…”

https://www.bespacific.com/todays-document-from-naras-tumblr/


Libraries

Ancient scrolls charred by Vesuvius could be read once again

"When Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD79 it destroyed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, their inhabitants and their prized possessions – among them a fine library of scrolls that were carbonised by the searing heat of ash and gas."

"But scientists say there may still be hope that the fragile documents can once more be read thanks to an innovative approach involving high-energy x-rays and artificial intelligence."

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/03/ancient-scrolls-charred-by-vesuvius-could-be-read-once-again


Down with Dewey

Melvil Dewey is a library icon. So why did librarians remove Dewey’s name from one of their most prestigious awards. 

“In June, the American Library Association stripped a familiar name from one of its top leadership honors: the Melvil Dewey Medal. As you may recall from grade school, Dewey was the man behind the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the schema of numbers and subject areas used at libraries around the world to categorize books. Founder of the nation’s first library school, co-founder of the ALA itself, and onetime director of the New York State Library, he’s usually revered as a library icon, his name perhaps the one most strongly associated with the institution. So what drove librarians to erase it from their own award? As it turns out, despite the wholesome associations Dewey has accrued in the public imagination since his death in 1931, the man was no saint…What does this shift portend for Dewey’s intellectual contributions? The DDC might be the world’s most widely used library classification system, but like the man himself, it’s not without controversy. Critics say the subjects are heavily Eurocentric and favorable to Christianity. The 200s of the DDC, for example, are devoted to the subject of religion. But the subcategories are nearly all focused on Christianity, with one section for “other religions.”

https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/09/melvil-dewey-american-library-association-award-name-change.html

 

Technology

This is how you kick facial recognition out of your town

"Bans on the technology have mostly focused on law enforcement, but there’s a growing movement to get it out of school, parks, and private businesses too."

"In San Francisco, a cop can’t use facial recognition technology on a person arrested. But a landlord can use it on a tenant, and a school district can use it on students." 

"This is where we find ourselves, smack in the middle of an era when cameras on the corner can automatically recognize passersby, whether they like it or not. The question of who should be able to use this technology, and who shouldn’t, remains largely unanswered in the US. So far, American backlash against facial recognition has been directed mainly at law enforcement. San Francisco and Oakland, as well as Somerville, Massachusetts, have all banned police from using the technology in the past year because the algorithms aren’t accurate for people of color and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has even called for a moratorium on police use." 

"Private companies and property owners have had no such restrictions, and facial recognition is increasingly cropping up in apartment buildings, hotels, and more. Privacy advocates worry that constant surveillance will lead to discrimination and have a chilling effect on free speech—and the American public isn’t very comfortable with it either. According to a recent survey by Pew Research, people in the US actually feel better about cops using facial recognition than they do about private businesses." 

"Anyone waiting for a quick federal ban to take shape, either for law enforcement or private industry, is likely to be disappointed, says AI policy expert Mutale Nkonde, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center. “From a federal perspective, anything that seems to undermine business or innovation is not going to be favored,” she says. In theory, bans in cities that have so far been aimed at cops could widen to include private interests. States could then take them up, which might finally spur action in Washington. But it’s going to take a while, if it happens at all."

"In the meantime, there is growing momentum toward curtailing private surveillance, using an array of tactics. From going toe to toe with big corporate interests to leaning on legal theory about what constitutes civil rights in America, here are three main approaches currently in play that could one day drastically change how facial recognition is used in our lives."

 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614477/facial-recognition-law-enforcement-surveillance-private-industry-regulation-ban-backlash/



Intersect Alert September 29, 2019


Publishing

GPO Produces U.S. Code with New Digital Publ
ishing Technology

"GPO has taken a major step forward in the modernization of its publishing systems by beginning to publish the 2018 main edition of the United States Code through XPub, the agency’s new digital technology for XML-based publishing. With the implementation of XPub, GPO will be able to simultaneously publish all legislative documents in a variety of print and digital formats in a more timely manner. The 2018 Main Edition of the U.S. Code is the first, large-scale production job that GPO has published using the new composition system."

https://www.govinfo.gov/features/uscode-2018

Copyright

The Misadventure of Copyrighting State Law

"Abstract- Many states have asserted copyright over their own official state legal texts, limiting access to those materials and attempting to monetize them. This Article aims to provide helpful analysis for state officials deciding whether to pursue such policies and for courts reviewing challenges to such practices. Prior scholarship in this area has focused on the issue of whether such copyright assertions can be valid under federal law given the inherent conflicts they pose to due process and democratic ideals. This Article aims to expand this dialogue in a couple of ways — first, by situating the controversy within the broader arc of legal history, and second, by focusing on matters of present-day practicalities and economics. In so doing, the thrust of this Article is to go beyond arguing that states must surrender their copyright claims over state legal materials and to concentrate instead on providing reasons why states should see it in their own interest and the interest of their citizens to renounce such claims. The policy arguments this Article sets out — including with regard to business behavior, political engagement, and fiscal responsibility — end up providing not merely reasons for states to abstain from aggressive copyright claiming, but also reasons for reviewing courts to deny such claims, including by way of fair use analysis."

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3446229

Libraries

The Oldest Continuously Operating Library in the World is in this Egyptian Monastery

"One of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world still in operation, the Monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai is home to almost 2,000 years of history — and many more years of legend: tradition claims, for example, that the main altar of the monastery is built on the spot where the Burning Bush first addressed Moses."

"But the monastery, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, also holds other places of honor. For example, it accommodates the oldest continuously operating active library in the world."

https://aleteia.org/2019/08/19/the-oldest-continuously-operating-library-in-the-world-is-in-an-egyptian-monastery/

Privacy


The World’s Most-Surveilled Cities

"Cities in China are under the heaviest CCTV surveillance in the world, according to a new analysis by Comparitech. However, some residents living in cities across the US, UK, UAE, Australia, and India will also find themselves surrounded by a large number of watchful eyes, as our look at the number of public CCTV cameras in 120 cities worldwide found."

"Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras serve many purposes, ranging from crime prevention to traffic monitoring to observing industrial operations in environments not suitable for humans. The digital age has boosted the prevalence of CCTV surveillance. Cameras are getting better and cheaper, while live video streams can be remotely accessed, stored on the internet, and passed around. The adoption of face recognition technology makes it possible for both public and private entities to instantly check the identity of anyone who passes by a CCTV camera."

https://www.comparitech.com/vpn-privacy/the-worlds-most-surveilled-cities/

This AI Reads Privacy Policies so You Don’t Have to — and It’s Actually Pretty Good

"Don’t you absolutely hate how dense and confusing privacy policies are? Considering they’re full of gotchas and intentionally obscure legalese, it’s no surprise that hardly anyone bothers to even read them — we’ve simply accepted we’re giving up our data, and with it, our sense of privacy."

"But thanks to this new policy-reading AI, things won’t have to be this way for much longer. Guard is a recurrent neural network-based app that reads and analyzes privacy terms, so you don’t have to. While it can’t yet examine policies on request, the AI has rated the privacy terms of a slew of popular services like Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder."

https://thenextweb.com/apps/2019/09/24/ai-privacy-terms-analysis-reads/

30-Second Privacy Fixes: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Data

"These days, the products we use have an annoying way of spying on us—from inside our cars, our homes, and our offices. That smartphone game you play in the waiting room at the doctor's office, the mobile app that gives you a weather forecast, the photo you share with online friends—all have the ability to reveal intimate details about your life."

"According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, 60 percent of Americans now bar mobile apps from accessing the camera, GPS data, and contact list on their phones. And half protect their online accounts with two-factor authentication."

https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/30-second-privacy-fixes/

Thanks For Helping Us Defend the California Consumer Privacy Act

"The California Consumer Privacy Act will go into effect on January 1, 2020—having fended off a year of targeted efforts by technology giants who wanted to gut the bill. Most recently, industry tried to weaken its important privacy protections in the last days of the legislative session."

"Californians made history last year when, after 600,000 people signed petitions in support of a ballot initiative, the California State Legislature answered their constituents’ call for a new data privacy law. It’s been a long fight to defend the CCPA against a raft of amendments that would have weakened this law and the protections it enshrines for Californians. Big technology companies backed a number of bills that each would have weakened the CCPA’s protections. Taken together, this package would have significantly undermined this historic law."

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/09/thanks-helping-us-defend-california-consumer-privacy-act



Intersect Alert August 19, 2019

Government 

16 million Americans will vote on hackable paperless machines

"Despite the obvious risk and years of warnings, at least eight American states and 16 million American voters will use completely paperless machines in the 2020 US elections, a new report by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice found."
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614148/16-million-americans-will-vote-on-hackable-paperless-voting-machines/

Librarians 

Librarians facing new tasks say crisis isn’t in the catalog

“When Jackie Narkiewicz switched careers and became a librarian, she thought she'd spend her workdays "drinking hot beverages and discussing literature with people.”

But during her 16 years as a librarian on New York's Long Island, Narkiewicz has also faced a man threatening to kill her and a patron screaming while cutting her own hair in the bathroom. For her job, Narkiewicz has been trained in CPR and mental health crisis response and carries the opioid overdose antidote naloxone with her.”
https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/librarians-facing-tasks-crisis-catalog-64882595

Public Policy

Victory! California Supreme Court Blocks Sweeping Search Condition of Minors’ Electronic Devices and Social Media Accounts

"The California Supreme Court just rejected the government’s attempt to require a youth probationer, as a condition of release, to submit to random searches of his electronic devices and social media accounts."
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/08/victory-california-supreme-court-blocks-sweeping-search-condition-minors

Research

ABA Votes to Urge Legal Profession to Address Emerging Legal and Ethical Issues of AI

“The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, its policy-making body, voted this week to approve a resolution urging courts and lawyers to address the emerging ethical and legal issues related to the usage of artificial intelligence in the practice of law. Among the AI-related issues the profession should address, the ABA said, are bias, explainability, and transparency of automated decisions made by AI; ethical and beneficial usage of AI; and controls and oversight of AI and the vendors that provide AI…”
https://www.lawsitesblog.com/2019/08/aba-votes-to-urge-legal-profession-to-address-emerging-legal-and-ethical-issues-of-ai.html

Social Media

Facebook paid people to listen to voice recordings, too

"Facebook paid contractors to listen to, and transcribe, audio clips generated by people using its Messenger app, according to Bloomberg. They were not told where the clips were recorded, or how they were obtained, and the conversations were sometimes deeply personal. The contractors were employed to check if Facebook’s artificial intelligence software correctly interpreted the messages, which the company says were not traceable back to users. Facebook suspended the program a little over a week ago, a spokesperson told Bloomberg."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614158/facebook-paid-people-to-listen-to-voice-recordings-too/

Technology

Data leak exposes unchangeable biometric data of over 1 million people

"You can always change your password. Your fingerprints and face are another story.
A major leak of data discovered this week in the UK includes fingerprints of over 1 million individuals, face recognition information, unencrypted names and passwords, and other personal info from Suprema, a security company used by UK police, banks, and military contractors, according to a report in the Guardian."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614163/data-leak-exposes-unchangeable-biometric-data-of-over-1-million-people/
 

Google’s algorithm for detecting hate speech is racially biased

"Researchers built two AI systems and tested them on a pair of data sets of more than 100,000 tweets that had been annotated by humans with labels like “offensive,” “none,” or “hate speech.” One of the algorithms incorrectly flagged 46% of inoffensive tweets by African-American authors as offensive. Tests on bigger data sets, including one composed of 5.4 million tweets, found that posts by African-American authors were 1.5 times more likely to be labeled as offensive. When the researchers then tested Google’s Perspective, an AI tool that the company lets anyone use to moderate online discussions, they found similar racial biases."
https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614144/googles-algorithm-for-detecting-hate-speech-looks-racially-biased/

Intersect Alert September 16, 2019

Search

Elevating original reporting in Search

"Google Search was built to provide everyone access to information on the web—and with tens of thousands of web pages, hundreds of hours of video, thousands of tweets and news stories published every minute of the day, our job is to sift through that content and find the most helpful results possible. With news in particular, we always aim to show a diversity of articles and sources to give users as much context and insight as possible." 

"An important element of the coverage we want to provide is original reporting, an endeavor which requires significant time, effort and resources by the publisher. Some stories can also be both critically important in the impact they can have on our world and difficult to put together, requiring reporters to engage in deep investigative pursuits to dig up facts and sources. These are among the reasons why we aim to support these industry efforts and help people get access to the most authoritative reporting."

https://www.blog.google/products/search/original-reporting/

Libraries and Librarians

Chicago’s New Tool Library Is Awesome, Exactly What It Sounds Like

"Need audio equipment to record a podcast? Want to make your own tagliatelle pasta? Lacking the right wire strippers to build your own quadcopter drone?"

"The new Chicago Tool Library has your back, so you can explore your inner Leonardo DaVinci without having to buy and store gear you use once in a blue moon."

"Just launched this summer in Bridgeport, The Chicago Tool Library is a community-driven nonprofit organization that rents out donated tools. The inventory is stacked, ranging from power drills to masonry to woodworking to food-preparation hardware."

 https://www.insidehook.com/article/culture-chicago/chicagos-new-tool-library-is-awesome-exactly-what-it-sounds-like

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half-Forgotten Books

"The carpet was khaki, THE lights yellow, the walls a dishwater beige. The basement computer lab in Midtown Manhattan didn’t have much ambience. But 20 librarians from the New York Public Library were seated in the room—and they were there to crack mysteries. Their tools were a whiteboard, a marker, a series of screens, and a metal bell of the sort you’d find on a hotel-lobby desk. Whenever it dinged, it meant a case had been closed."

"Before we each had a little, flickering encyclopedia in our hands, we had librarians, and they’re still experts at finding the answers to tricky questions. Through the Ask NYPL portal, a decades-old phone and text service, the staff has triaged everything from queries about the Pope’s sex life to what it means if you dream about being chased by elephants. The library staff are ace researchers with a massive trove at their fingertips. A sense of mystery in their work comes when people approach them with vague questions and patchy details—particularly when they’re looking for books, but they don’t remember the authors or titles."

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/librarian-detectives-forgotten-books

Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain

"A coalition of archivists, activists, and libraries are working overtime to make it easier to identify the many books that are secretly in the public domain, digitize them, and make them freely available online to everyone. The people behind the effort are now hoping to upload these books to the Internet Archive, one of the largest digital archives on the internet."

"As it currently stands, all books published in the U.S. before 1924 are in the public domain, meaning they’re publicly owned and can be freely used and copied. Books published in 1964 and after are still in copyright, and by law will be for 95 years from their publication date."

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3534j/libraries-and-archivists-are-scanning-and-uploading-books-that-are-secretly-in-the-public-domain


Libraries Ensure That Our Future Is Connected and Informed. Let’s Help Them Keep It That Way.

"It should go without saying, but it’s worth shouting from the rooftops every now and then: Libraries are important! While all libraries, from the largest city libraries to the smallest local libraries, provide a diverse array of vital community services, perhaps their most important role is to preserve culturally and historically valuable works and to provide their communities with access to those works. Delivering many of these services has proven to be a challenge for libraries in the 21st century, now that our lives are fully entangled with the internet and access to knowledge happens through digital technologies like electronic books (eBooks)." 

"As is often the case in other areas of public concern, regulatory volatility coupled with the glacial pace of legal development has created obstacles for libraries seeking to fulfill their missions. Two key challenges for libraries are (1) their ability to access (and provide access to) quality, affordable broadband, and (2) their ability to expand the traditional library practice of owning and lending out physical works into the digital world. Policymakers must pursue sensible broadband and copyright policies to help libraries further their service to the public interest. This includes providing libraries with adequate funding for broadband and the freedom to adopt and employ technologies (such as controlled digital lending of works) that allow them to serve their patrons within the confines of current law. If these measures are left untaken, libraries are at risk of being unable to provide the benefits to individuals in the digital age that they have provided for centuries."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/libraries-ensure-that-our-future-is-connected-and-informed-lets-help-them-keep-it-that-way/

Publishing


Why Angry Librarians Are Going to War With Publishers Over E-Books

"If I wanted to borrow A Better Man by Louise Penny—the country’s current No. 1 fiction bestseller—from my local library in my preferred format, e-book, I’d be looking at about a 10-week waitlist. And soon, if the book’s publisher, a division of Macmillan, has its way, that already-lengthy wait time could get significantly longer."

"In July, Macmillan announced that come November, the company will only allow libraries to purchase a single copy of its new titles for the first eight weeks of their release—and that’s one copy whether it’s the New York Public Library or a small-town operation that’s barely moved on from its card catalog. This has sparked an appropriately quiet revolt. Librarians and their allies quickly denounced the decision when it came down, and now the American Library Association is escalating the protest by enlisting the public to stand with libraries by signing an online petition with a populist call against such restrictive practices. (The association announced the petition Wednesday at Digital Book World, an industry conference in Nashville, Tennessee.) What’s unclear is whether the association can get the public to understand a byzantine-seeming dispute over electronic files and the right to download them."

https://slate.com/business/2019/09/e-book-library-publisher-buying-controversy-petition.html

Cengage/Mcgraw-Hill Merger Would Make Students Pay Even More for Textbooks

"Almost a year ago today I unpacked my bags, put up my last poster in my dorm room, and prepared for my first day as a college student. One of the first items on my to-do list — apart from figuring out where my classes were — was buying the textbooks I would need for my classes. As I opened my laptop and looked up the titles I was shocked at what I was seeing. A mix of required readings that individually cost more than the concert ticket I had been saving up for. Apart from traditional print titles, I was equally amazed that some classes required books that were solely online — none of which I would own, but rather would have access to for a limited amount of time."

"The shock I experienced is not unique. Millions of students across the U.S. face a textbook market that is ever changing with prices that are exponentially rising. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, textbooks prices have risen 1,041% (three times faster than inflation) since 1977. According to the College Board, a student at a public, in-state university is expected to spend about $11,140 during their college career on books and supplies with the cost being even higher for out-of-state and private university students. These prices have led to 65% of students not purchasing required materials despite 94% of them being aware that it would hurt their grades."

https://www.publicknowledge.org/cengage-mcgraw-hill-merger-would-make-students-pay-even-more-for-textbooks/