Smatterings and Chatterings

In an interview Brewster Kahle tells LJ why scanning books in an open way is so important.

Paul Duguid explores what happens to a cultural heritage when a book is digitized – and what is lost at First Monday. In his brilliant article he examines copies of Tristram Shandy and concludes, among other things, “Google Book’s Library Project reminds us that the newer form is always in danger of a kind of patricide, destroying in the process the resources it hope to inherit.” Once again, someone forgot to wind the clock. Read this article, and send it to friends in the English Department.

Reports are coming in that Cambridge UP is sending letters to libraries that have Alms of Jihad, offering them an errata sheet that is part identified factual errors and part legal apologia of the “I do not recall” variety, as predicted. Libraries that don’t want to insert the sheet are invited to remove the book from the shelves entirely. (Q: How many lawyers does it take to remove a book from a library? A: None. You don’t have to do what this letter suggests.)

Meanwhile, Yale took a different stance on a different suit. When the publisher was sued by a charity named in Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, Yale fought back with an anti-SLAPP suit designed to fight off attempts to litigate a non-profit into silence. Score one for intellectual freedom.

Finally – what about the children? We’ve heard about the Anthropologist on Mars at Rochester who has done an ethnographic study of college students in their own habitat. Interesting results from the field can be found in Scott Carlson’s Chronicle article. Apparently, kinship patterns are woven very tightly into library usage in this culture. We must honor the ancestors – or at least find ways to turn “lifelong learning” goals into “information literacy for parents’ programs. And maybe have a conversation about the fine cultural differences between “workshopping drafts with other readers” and “what might appear to someone in this culture as a strong taboo called academic fraud.”

Author: Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

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