Thursday Threads: Sakai Reverberations, Ada Initiative Fundraising, Cost of Bandwidth

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Welcome to the latest edition of Thursday Threads. This week’s post has a continuation of the commentary about the Kuali Board’s decisions from last month. Next, news of a fundraising campaign by the Ada Initiative in support of women in technology fields. Lastly, an article that looks at the relative bulk bandwidth costs around the world.

Thursday Threads: Developer Genders, Facebook Release Engineering, Alcohol Among Technologists

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You’ll get the sense that this week’s Thursday Threads is stacked towards cultural awareness. First is the view of a developer of the female gender in a room of peers at a meeting of the Digital Public Library of America. The second thread is a pointer to a story about Facebook’s software release process, and it leads into a story about the role of alcohol in technology conferences and reflections from the library technology community.

Thursday Threads: Website Accessibility Reporting Service and Remixes in Film

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This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads has just two pointers. First, a new volunteer web service to report problems with websites, which may be useful for not only our own sites but for the sites our patrons visit. Second, a nine-minute video that illustrates the reuse of themes and ideas in motion pictures across time.

If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my FriendFeed stream (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

“We are scanning them to be read by an AI.”

Towards the end of the last chapter of his book, Nicholas Carr relates an anecdote about the visit of a guest speaker to the Google headquarters (emphasis added):

George Dyson, a historian of technology…, Freeman Dyson, was invited to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, in October 2005 to give a speech at the party celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of von Neumann’s invention [of an electronic computer that could store in its memory the instructions for its use]. “Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, “Dyson would later recall of his visit, “I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral — not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built. Everyone was busy carving one stone here and another stone there, with some invisible architect getting everything to fit. The mood was playful, yet there was a palpable reverence in the air.” After his talk, Dyson found himself chatting with a Google engineer about the company’s controversial plan to scan the contents of the world’s libraries into its database. “We are not scanning all of those books to be read by people,” the engineer told him. “We are scanning them to be read by an [artificial intelligence engine].”

The Jester Joins Twitter

It was only a few months ago that I was teasing Dan Chudnov for joining Twitter. Now I’ve gone and done it myself. I don’t expect to be using it much, but after observing the “Falls Church, VA” incident yesterday, I thought it would be an useful tool to have at-the-ready. Here’s the story of what inspired it.

Pointless E-mail Disclaimers

I’ve been collecting disclaimers that appear on the bottom of e-mail messages in a draft post on DLTJ for about a year now — every time I’d get a new one with a different twist, I’d save it anticipating the day would come that there would be enough humor here to share with the rest of you. That day has come. There wasn’t one that disclaimer that finally pushed the publication of this post over the edge; just the accumulation of examples. Identifying information has been removed, but the humor was left intact. If you recognize your institution/company in these examples, please laugh along with me. If you are the lawyer or pseudo-lawyer that drafted these, please do us all a favor and find something else to work on. Like drafting disclaimers for toothpicks and such.

Advocates of the Balance Between the Rights of Intellectual Property Owners and the Rights of Information Users

The American Library Association Committee on Professional Ethics is proposing changes to the Code of Ethics.1 Other than two minor changes (adding commas where there were none previously — see the proposed changes page for details), the big change is in article 4, which now reads:

We recognize and respect intellectual property rights.

The recommended version reads:

We recognize and advocate balance between the rights of intellectual property owners and the rights of information users.

This is a good change. It puts the librarian profession at the crux of publisher’s rights and user’s rights — a position that is increasingly non-existent in what seems like an increasingly polarized world.

Two Lectures on Copyright and Fair Use Today

Spotted in the Chronicle of Higher Education Online this morning is mention of two lectures by Wendy Seltzer that will happen today on the topic of copyright and fair-use doctrine. Here are the summaries and hCalendar events (the latter being useful if your browser and/or RSS reader understands the hCalendar microformat markup). Long-time readers of DLTJ might remember Professor Seltzer’s battle with the NFL over the overly broad statement about use of telecasts by posting a 33-second clip the SuperBowl on YouTube, which, at the moment, is still online.

More on Commercial Versus Not-For-Profit Open Access Publishing

DLTJ featured a discussion last month on what I saw as the outcomes of “clashing values” between the interest of businesses and that of not-for-profit higher education. The discussion started with “Educational Patents, Open Access Journals, and Clashing Values” and continued with a focus on open access publishing specifically with “What Is BioMed Central?.” Here is a update on the topic in the form of an e-mail from Ray English and a press release from Marquette Books.

Ray English’s Perspective on Open Access Publisher Economics

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. But we can tell if you are a major news organization or corporation.

Illustration of a dog, sitting at a computer terminal, talking to another dog.  Includes caption: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”Published in The New Yorker July 5, 1993.
Image from The Cartoon Bank

As the saying, now a part of Internet lore, goes: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That may be true, but now we must add: “But we do know if you are from a major news organization or corporation.”