Advancing Patron Privacy on Vendor Systems with a Shared Understanding

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting a short talk at the second virtual meeting of the NISO effort to reach a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems. The slides from the presentation are below and on SlideShare, followed by a cleaned-up transcript of my remarks.
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Join the Community: Open Source is Nothing Without You

During the American Library Association meeting in Chicago in 2013 I gave an “ignite” talk on open source software in libraries. (The “ignite talk” format, if you’re not familiar, is one in which “each speaker is allocated five minutes of presentation time and is accompanied by 20 presentation slides. During presentations, each slide is displayed for 15 seconds and then automatically advanced.”1 ) The talk was geared to inspiring community involvement and commitment in open source projects. The abstract:

The open source method for developing software works best when everyone contributes a little bit to the process. Do you benefit from open source? Do you wish the open source you use was a little better? Don’t know why the community nature of open source is important? Hear what you can do to make the world a better place by nudging your favorite open source project along a path to perfection.

The slides synchronized to audio are embedded below and are on Slideshare.

Image Credits

Attributed photographs from Flickr and Wikimedia Commons; used under Creative Commons derivatives-okay licenses.


  1. Definition from Wikipedia. []

My ALA Midwinter 2011 Schedule

The end-of-year holidays are behind us and (in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere) the cold days of winter in front of us. What better time to bag it all and head to the warm(er) temperatures of San Diego, California for the ALA Midwinter meeting. I mean — come’on — do you really want to dive into all of that work that piled up over the past week or so? (You say that even more work will pile up if you attend the meeting? Bah, humbug!) If you are going, I wholeheartedly endorse the new ALA Connect-based meeting planner. It is at times frustratingly slow, but chock full of ways to slice-and-dice meeting events that were not possible in the earlier version. (I’m going to put in a suggested enhancement that the iCal file export includes URLs to the meeting listing online; that would be immensely helpful.)

Here is my schedule of events, with links into meeting descriptions on ALA Connect where appropriate. Also don’t forget to check out the What’s Happening (229KB, PDF) document for the inside scoop from the ALA staff to the ALA Council members. If you are interested in getting together with me, let me know and we’ll find a time.

Friday, January 7th

I’m flying Continental through Houston, arriving in San Diego at about quarter after four local time. It has been years since I’ve flown Continental, and I’m kinda looking forward to it. I have many fond memories of Continental Airlines from my days of a commuting suitor and engagement to my now-wife, so I’m hoping to experience their fine service one more time before the merger with United Airlines takes hold. (Who knows what service will be like after that?)

I’m arriving late, but normally I would try to get to the RMG Integrated Library System vendor panel. If the past year is any guide, I think it is going to be another wild year for ILS vendors. I do expect to pop into the LITA Happy Hour at the Uber Lounge of the Se San Diego Hotel.

Saturday, January 8th

I’m starting the day with a private meeting, then I expect to head to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for a presentation by OCLC from 10:30am to noon: The Power of Data, Technology and Community: The OCLC Platform Strategy. OCLC’s Webscale Management — like it or not — is going to rock the world of library automation. I generally like what I see, and I want to hear the first-hand experiences of those that have tried it to know if that opinion is on target. (OCLC asks that you register for its sessions, but I don’t think it is required.)

After time for lunch, some exhibits and a private meeting I’ll have a choice to make. On the one hand is the regular SPARC/ACRL forum on the topic of Open Access and the changing state of scholarly publishing. The lineup is great: Caroline Sutton, President of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA);
Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy for Springer; and Catriona McCallum, Senior Editor for PLoS Biology and Consulting Editor for PLoS ONE. That sounds like a lively discussion.

On the other hand is the ad hoc Google Books Task Force meeting. The topic is certainly of interest, and news of any movement by the court on the settlement has been too quiet. But I don’t see an agenda for the meeting and I don’t know what will be covered. Fortunately, these two meetings are near each other in the convention center. Maybe I’ll start here and move to the SPARC/ACRL Forum.

Sunday, January 9th

Sunday starts early with the OCLC Update Breakfast from 7am to 8am in the Sapphire Ballroom of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. From there I’d like to head to the LITA Top Technology Trends discussion from 8am to 10am, but the room will probably be packed. I doubt I’ll get out of the OCLC Update Breakfast on time and the room is always jammed, so I might have to attend vicariously through the tweets and posts of others. In any case I’ll head back to the exhibits on Sunday morning and then go to the OCLC Developer Network Luncheon. Always good stuff to learn at this lunch about the OCLC APIs and what people are doing with them.

Then I have another tough choice. I could go to the LITA Emerging Technologies Interest Group meeting. There will be a follow-up discussion to the panel from ALA Annual (which unfortunately I missed due to a family illness). Or I could go to the LITA Cloud Computing / Virtualization Interest Group meeting. I can’t find an agenda for this meeting either, but the topic is of interest at work.

Rounding out the day will be the public launch of an experimental service “providing a low cost and easy-to-use Web site service for small and rural public libraries” by the OCLC Innovation Lab.

Monday, January 10th

Monday morning will be NISO time, with back-to-back meetings of the Topic Committees as a whole and the Discovery to Delivery topic committee. Monday afternoon is open at this point, but probably will be filled either with other private meetings or some time writing up notes and summaries from all the weekend events.

Tuesday, January 11th

Flying out early, early Tuesday morning back through Houston (with fingers crossed that the choice of going through Houston will mean no weather delays).

Midwinter Meeting Schedule (Plus News of a Free Midwinter Airport Shuttle)

The year is coming to a close, so that must mean that the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association is right around the corner. Yep, there it is — just two and a half weeks away in Boston. A conference in Boston in January — the rates have got to be cheap. 1 Given the fast approaching meeting, it is definitely time to strategize about how to tap into the pulse of library-land. Here is my plan so far. If you would like to get together in the spaces between meetings, or at the meetings themselves, let me know!

Friday, January 15th

Friday morning I’ll be at the OCLC Americas Regional Council meeting (8:30am to 11:30am; Westin Waterfront, Grand ballroom A/B). With a meeting title like “New Ways to Communicate—Engaging the Membership” plus an interest in the OCLC Record Use policy, how can I not go? This is the first public meeting of the Americas regional council. You can sign up to attend at OCLC’s Midwinter Events page.

On Friday afternoon I’ll be at RMG’s 2010 ALA/Midwinter Annual Presidents’ Seminar (2:00pm to 5:00pm; Convention Center Room 162 A/B). Rob McGee’s seminars bring together the heads of library automation companies to talk through the issues of the day. Of late, he has also been giving a platform to the various open source library automation projects that might not have a corporate face, so it usually turns out to be a well-rounded discussion. This has long been a Midwinter highlight for me.

At end the day, I’ll probably be at the LITA Happy Hour (5:00pm to 7:00pm; Capiz Bar of the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel). Note the “probably” — it depends on the arrival schedule of someone I need to meet. If weather messes with late afternoon flights, I’m more likely to be at the happy hour.

Saturday, January 16th

Saturday starts with another familiar ritual: the bi-annual meetings of the LITA Interest Group and Committee chairs (8:00am to 10:00am; Convention Center room 258C). I find this is a good way to get into the swing of the conference: the meeting has a quick tempo and usually has good tidbits of information about LITA activities. During some past conventions I’ve had conflicts on Saturday morning, and when I do I find that I feel like I’m a half-step behind the rest of the convention.

My Saturday morning plans continue with an open meeting of the OCLC Record Use Policy review council (10:30am to noon; Renaissance Boston, Atlantic rooms 1/2). As seen by the reaction to the proposed policy, this group is getting to the heart of OCLC as a cooperative and WorldCat as a pool of bibliographic information. Will we come to a new shared understanding of what membership in OCLC is? Can WorldCat records become the heart of open bibliographic linked data? Am I telegraphing my desires too much? We’ll see…

Saturday afternoon has my firmest commitment of the conference: the LITA JPEG 2000 Interest Group (1:30pm to 3:00pm; Convention Center room 157B). I’m serving as chair of this IG, and although we have no formal programming plans, those that come to the meeting in the past have engaged in interesting and thoughtful conversations about the use of JPEG2000 for presenting still images online and for archiving still and moving pictures. Good stuff.

Saturday afternoon rounds out with either the LITA Standards Interest Group meeting (4:00pm to 5:30pm; Convention Center room 104A/B) or the ACRL Image Resources Interest Group meeting (4:00pm to 5:30pm; Westin Copley Place, Great Republic room). On the one hand, the LITA Standards Interest Group is about the only place NISO is planning a public presentation during Midwinter (from what I understand they are not buying exhibit spaces, so they can’t schedule their normal independent update meeting). On the other hand, the ACRL Image Resources Interest Group is just getting going this year, so I’d like to learn more about what they are planning to do. Tough choice…might default to just staying at the convention center…we’ll see.

Sunday, January 17th

Sunday starts where I began the day on Friday: back at the Westing Waterfront for the OCLC Update Breakfast (7:00am to 9:00am; Westin Waterfront Grand Ballroom). There seems to be a pattern emerging — watching, contemplating, and influencing (as much as one can) the direction OCLC is headed. Jay Jordon will give his semiannual update of OCLC, which, if the past is any guide, will be recorded and webcast a month or so after the event. The great part about the face-to-face meeting though is catching up with senior OCLC staff. Yeah, I know — I live less than two miles from OCLC’s headquarters and work less than 20 minutes from it, but I have to go all the way to Boston to carve out time to meet with them.

Next planned event is the discussion meeting of the LITA Top Technology Trends Committee (10:30am to noon; Convention Center room 162A/B). A good place to network and soak up information.

Then it is back over to the Westin Waterfront for the OCLC Developer Network Luncheon (noon to 1:30pm; Westin Waterfront, Webster Room). Hobnobbing with geeks and eating cold cut sandwiches. Enough said?

Sunday afternoon is open, and will probably be spent in the exhibit hall.

Monday, January 18th

Starting with the LITA Town Meeting (8:00am to 10:00am; Convention Center room 151A/B). I’m not sure what the agenda will be, but it is a good place — other than the happy hour — to connect with other LITA members.

Flying out Monday late afternoon.

Free Midwinter Airport Shuttle

Ending your convention at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center? This might be just the ticket. While perusing the Midwinter Travel Information page on the ALA website, I came across this announcement:
Free Airport Shuttle-(Proof of hotel reservation in ALA hotel block and sign up required) You will receive a free airport shuttle ticket from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to Logan International Airport on Monday, Jan 18, 2010 if you reserve a room in the ALA hotel block though Experient (our registration company). You must sign up for the ride at the shuttle supervisor table located at the shuttle drop-off location at the convention center. You must keep your ticket to present to the bus driver when boarding for the airport. Tickets are not transferable. Exhibitors are included.

Sounds great to me. Now, where am I going to stash my luggage on Monday…


  1. I wonder when we are going to San Antonio next? That is my favorite place for a midwinter meeting. What?!? According to the future conference schedule we’re not schedule to go back to San Antonio but will be back in Boston for 2016? Bummer! []

Comments on Google Book Search Settlement Coming to a Head (Again)

Ah, it is the beginning of September when thoughts turn to going back to school, the days turn a little colder (in the northern hemisphere) and the smell of lawsuit briefs is in the air. Well, okay — the latter might not be what you expect, but this is a special September, after all. Postponed from May, the deadline for filing comments in the Google Book Search settlement is coming up. And everyone is weighing in (“again” for some) on the details of the settlement. A couple of highlights.

The American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) again offered its support for the settlement, if only the court would promise to extend vigorous oversight of pricing and privacy practices of Google and the Books Rights Registry. This came in the form of a supplemental filing to the brief the three organizations filed in May (just prior to the first comment deadline).

Google Search for Open Book Alliance

Google Search for Open Book Alliance

An odd group of bedfellows has also gotten together to oppose the settlement. Called the “Open Book Alliance“, it is made up of (at the moment): Amazon, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, the New York Library Association, the Small Press Distribution, the Special Libraries Association, and Yahoo!. Sound vaguely familiar? That’s understandable; if you match up the interested parties of the OBA with the OCA (the Open Content Alliance), you’ll find Microsoft, the Internet Archive, and Yahoo in common. A search for “Open Book Alliance” in Google, in fact, still brings up the “Open Content Alliance” as the top hit. The biggest new party, Amazon, to the formation of this group (or reconstitution, if you will) is undoubtedly the inspiration behind a press release from the Authors Guild (a party in the settlement agreement) with a biting title: Amazon Accuses Someone Else of Monopolizing Bookselling.

Lest you think the fun be over too soon, the deadline for filing briefs has been extended yet again from close of business tomorrow (Friday, September 4th, 2009) until 10:00am Tuesday. Apparently, the court’s electronic filing system will be unavailable from 2pm today until 8am on Tuesday the 8th. The main settlement website says explicitly that the deadline for rights holders to opt out of the settlement remains September 4th.

But seriously, if you are looking for thoughtful commentary on the commentary, I recommend James Grimmelmann’s blog, The Laboratorium. Although there isn’t a single page that brings together all of his postings about the Google Book Search settlement, he helpfully prepends “GBS:” to the title of all such postings. If you are looking to participate in the discussion surrounding the settlement, the best place I know of is the interactive version of the settlement notice hosted at The Public Index. There you can comment and watch the comments of others on a section-by-section basis, along with a catalog of documents and links from others regarding the settlement.

The next big event after the filing deadline is the Final Fairness Hearing, scheduled for 10am on October 7, 2009 (or, at least, scheduled for that day and time at the moment). At the fairness hearing, we get to hear from the the court as it considers whether to grant final approval of the Settlement. Somehow, though, I don’t think even that will be close to the final word on the settlement. Stay tuned…

The text was modified to update a link from to on January 20th, 2011.

The text was modified to update a link from to on February 11th, 2011.

The text was modified to update a link from to on August 22nd, 2013.

The text was modified to update a link from to on August 22nd, 2013.

Summary of Recent Google Book Search Settlement Activities

Today was to be the deadline for objecting to, opting out of, and/or filing briefs with the court on the Google Book Search Settlement. That was the plan, at least, when the preliminary approval statement from the court was issued last year. That deadline changed, and that is part of a recent flurry of activity surrounding the proposed Settlement. This post provides a summary of recent news and an index of documents that you might want to read for more information.
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Library Associations File Amicus Brief for Google Book Search Settlement

The American Library Association (through the Association’s Washington Office and the Association of College and Research Libraries Division) and the Association of Research Libraries filed a brief [PDF] with the court in support of the Google Book Search Settlement while asking the judge to “exercise vigorous oversight” over details the settlement. In the 22-page amicus1 brief, the library associations say they do not oppose the settlement, but they do request that the courts provide strict oversight of the activities of Google and the Book Rights Registry. From page 2 of the brief:

The Settlement, therefore, will likely have a significant and lasting impact on libraries and the public, including authors and publishers. But in the absence of competition for the services enabled by the Settlement, this impact may not be entirely positive. The Settlement could compromise fundamental library values such as equity of access to information, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom. In order to mitigate the possible negative effects the Settlement may have on libraries and the public at large, the Library Associations request that this Court vigorously exercise its jurisdiction over the interpretation and implementation of the Settlement.

The brief then describes “concerns with the Settlement, and how the Court’s oversight can ameliorate those concerns.”
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  1. Latin: “friend”, informal form of amicus curiae of “friend of the court” — Wiktionary []

ALCTS Forum on Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data

Community-shared metadata has certainly been a hot topic of late. It is timely, then that ALCTS is sponsoring a panel discussion about sharing library-created data inside and outside the library community at the upcoming ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver. From the panel description:
Panelists will share a variety of perspectives on community norms, policies, and best practices for accessing, using, and sharing the data that supports the discovery and delivery of library collections. What can libraries and the organizations that serve them learn from the open data movement and sites like Wikipedia? What principles and practices for shared data creation and maintenance will most help and strengthen libraries in the future? Panelists will also be addressing the changes in the OCLC Record Use Policy, particularly in light of the recent announcement from OCLC on the establishment of the Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship.

The panel is called the ALCTS Forum: Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data, and it will be on January 26th from 8:00am to 10:00am at the Colorado Convention Center, Korbel Ballroom 3C. Yours truly has been asked to speak on shared catalog data from the perspective of a library membership organization (OhioLINK) that provides consortial access to a large union catalog, licensed content, dissertations, and digital media. Also on the panel are:

  • Karen Calhoun (VP, OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services), speaking on the environment for library data sharing and the process of revising OCLC’s 21-year-old Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records.
  • Brian Schottlaendar (University Librarian, University of California San Diego), talking about library data sharing from his perspective as a library leader with a background in collections and technical services.
  • John Mark Ockerbloom (Digital Library Planner & Architect, University of Pennsylvania Libraries), on the perspective of a library practitioner with a keen interest in freely accessible data and content.

The text was modified to update a link from to on November 13th, 2012.