Thursday Threads: Thanksgiving Edition 2011 – What I’m Thankful For

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With Thursday Threads coming on a Thanksgiving Thursday, it seems appropriate to use a theme of what I'm thankful for. So, in this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads I'm offering three things: open source software, the internet, and public libraries. Reading this on Thanksgiving? Feel free to offer what you are thankful for in the comments.

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Doc Summit Wrap up: 4 Books written in 3 days!

In mid October a Document Summit was held at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California where documentation teams from 4 open source projects, KDE, OpenStreetMap, OpenMRS and Sahana Eden as well as a few documentation ‘free agents’ gathered to a write 4 books in the course of three days and take part in a two day unconference. [In this blog post], one of the dedicated documentation volunteers and the FLOSS Manuals founder/organizer recount their experiences over the course of the week.

One of the striking similarities I've found between the library profession and the open source movement is an innate desire to share amongst ourselves. In the library world the sharing ranges from our ideas for techniques and tactics to our materials and metadata. In the technology world it is best exemplified by the open source "gift culture" of creating, sharing and supporting a community of developers all scratching a common itch. I'm thankful for the open source developers, the documentation writers, and knowledge sharers that enable libraries to efficiently and effectively share the knowledge and services under their care.

Cybersecurity in the Balance: Weighing the Risks of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act

The Senate bill S.968, or the PROTECT IP Act, and the House bill H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, have raised a great deal of controversy. This paper does not deal with the questions of economic value, free expression or other issues raised by advocates on both sides. Instead, I highlight the very real threats to cybersecurity in a small section of both bills in their attempts to execute policy through the Internet architecture. While these bills will not “break the Internet,” they further burden cyberspace with three new risks. First, the added complexity makes the goals of stability and security more difficult. Second, the expected reaction of Internet users will lead to demonstrably less secure behavior, exposing many American Internet users, their computers and even their employers to known risks. Finally, and most importantly, these bills will set back other efforts to secure cyberspace, both domestically and internationally. As such, policymakers are encouraged to analyze the net benefits of these bills in light of the increased cybersecurity risks.

Earlier this month there was a groundswell of opposition to hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In my own way, I registered my opposition to the pending legislation, as did thousands of others. I am optimistic that the bill will not become law, and viewed now from the perspective of the holiday I am thankful for that thing we call The Internet. That it was architected to put creative opportunity at the edges of the network, and that we have seen creativity flourish. That there are engineers and technicians watching the blinking lights around the clock to make sure they blink in the right sequence to get my bits from here to there. And that there are enough people concerned about tampering with the fundamentals of the internet that "strange bedfellows" in Congress now come together to state their opposition to the draft bill.

For Their Children, Many E-Book Fans Insist on Paper

Print books may be under siege from the rise of e-books, but they have a tenacious hold on a particular group: children and toddlers. Their parents are insisting this next generation of readers spend their early years with old-fashioned books.

- For Their Children, Many E-Book Fans Insist on Paper, by Matt Richtel and Julie Bosman, New York Times

I'm in the same category of parent as those in this article, although I'm not sure it is a conscious decision. My 10-year-old daughter reads about a quarter of her fiction on my iPad and begs me to buy more. I bought a couple of iPad picture books for my 6-year-old son for vacation last year, but after the novelty of turning pages with the flick of finger wore off, he wanted to go back to the physical books. Most of what my children read come from the local library, so in the last place I'm thankful for my local public library. (And, well, thankful too for the opportunity to attend ALA conferences and pick up good deals on children's books during the last hours the exhibit floor is open.) Thanks Michael Casey for posting a link to the New York Times article on Google+.