Can Google’s New “My Account” Page be a Model for Libraries?

One of the things discussed in the NISO patron privacy conference calls has been the need for transparency with patrons about what information is being gathered about them and what is done with it. The recent announcement by Google of a "My Account" page and a privacy question/answer site got me thinking about what such a system might look like for libraries. Google and libraries are different in many ways, but one similarity we share is that people use both to find information. (This is not the only use of Google and libraries, but it is a primary use.) Might we be able to learn something about how Google puts users in control of their activity data? Even though our motivations and ethics are different, I think we can.

My View of the NISO Patron Privacy Working Group

"Privacy Please" by Josh HallettYesterday Bobbi Newman posted Thinking Out Loud About Patron Privacy and Libraries on her blog. Both of us are on the NISO committee to develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems, and her article sounded a note of discouragement that I hope to dispel while also outlining what I’m hoping to see come out of the process. I think we share a common belief: the privacy of our patron’s activity data is paramount to the essence of being a library. I want to pull out a couple of sentences from her post:

Stop SOPA and Protect-IP

This blog will be present first-time users with a warning page on January 18, 2012 — the day that many internet sites are using to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) — and January 23rd, 2012 — the day before the U.S. Senate may vote on the PROTECT-IP act. DLTJ is proud to join many other sites in this demonstration of solidarity for an open, transparent internet.

Thought you heard that SOPA was dead? Or was modified to be acceptable? Or that PIPA is on the ropes? As of January 17th, these statements aren’t true:

AIME v UCal Decision Says Streaming Equivalent to Public Performance

NOTE! The title of this post was updated (replacing “Display” with “Performance”) a day after it was originally published. See the update at the bottom of the post for more details.

Last week a federal district court in California decided in favor of the University of California defendants in a lawsuit brought by Ambrose Video Publishing (AVP) and the Association for Information Media and Equipment (AIME). A majority of the decision hinged around whether the plaintiffs had “standing” to bring the suit, and commentary by Kevin Smith and ARL go into more detail about that. The bit that I found interesting was reasoning by the judge that equated “public performance” rights with “streaming.” Far down in the judge’s decision was this line of reasoning:

Real Life Example of Creative Commons License Applied to MARC Records

Eric Morgan posted a message to the Next Generation Catalog for Libraries mailing list this morning that points to a announcement by the University of Florida library that they are now applying a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication statement to MARC records they create. Their announcement says:

Beginning March 2011, the University of Florida Smathers Libraries implemented a policy to include a Creative Commons license in all of its original cataloging records. The records are considered public domain with unrestricted downstream use for any purpose.

Interesting Google Book Search Settlement Bits in Advance of Thursday’s Fairness Hearing

Thursday will be a big day in the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement: the parties to the lawsuit, along with the objectors, supporters, and friends-of-the-court, will be in the courtroom of United States District Judge Denny Chin offering oral arguments in the final settlement/fairness hearing. In his order, Judge Chin recognized 26 parties that will speak for up to five minutes each on their positions in the settlement (21 in opposition, 5 in favor). The U.S. Department of Justice will also speak at the hearing. But I think we’re all eagerly awaiting to hear what the judge himself will say about the settlement agreement.

In the lead-up to the hearing, Associate Professor James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School has continued his efforts, along with the students from the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, to make the documents and proceedings of the lawsuit accessible and understandable to non-lawyers. In the most recent court filings leading up to Thursday’s hearing are some interesting nuggets.

The Role of the Library in the Future of Reading

A popular topic coming across my radar screen is the future of reading, and more specifically the role of libraries in the future of reading. Much of commentary seems to have been inspired by the announcement of the Apple iPad device, but it isn’t necessarily limited to that. Here are three exemplars, in no particular order, followed by some of my own comments.

Joshua Kim, senior learning technologist and an adjunct in sociology at Dartmouth College, posted a commentary called Popular Nonfiction, Academic Libraries, and Audiobooks at Inside Higher Ed. Joshua does an interesting comparison of the availability of “popular nonfiction” in paper and audio book format. He took his list of 197 audiobooks from Audible and cross-referenced them with availability of paper copies in his academic library. To his delight, he found that the library had paper copies of nearly three-quarters of them. It was his second question, though, that got me thinking: “Should academic libraries supply borrowers with the book format that matches their preferences and learning styles (paper, e-paper, or audio)?”

Notes from the OCLC Record Use Policy Council discussion

On Saturday morning of ALA Midwinter 2010, Dr. Jennifer Younger moderated a session on the progress of the OCLC Record Use Policy Council. The meeting started with an introduction to the reasons behind the creation of the Record Use Council, the charge of the Council from the board of trustees, and how the framing of the discussion of the policy is guided by the values and history of OCLC the cooperative. There wasn’t much new here for those that have been following the progress of the policy discussion, so I am skipping over it most of it with the exception of a few notable topics. After that, I’m focusing on the lengthy question and answer session that followed Dr. Younger’s background presentation.