Category: Editorials

Greetings from your new editor-in-chief, Lacey Torge

Hi. I’m Lacey. As you may have seen, I am the new editor-in-chief for Library Juice Press and Litwin Books. I know that the purpose of an initial message of this sort is typically to introduce oneself, perhaps emphasizing career highlights or achievements. And I get why we do this. But I’m going to hold … Read more Greetings from your new editor-in-chief, Lacey Torge

Inland Editions

Inland Editions is a new publisher out of London that is particularly interested in libraries. They are preparing to publish their first book, which appears to be a beautifully designed art book primarily about library architecture. It’s called Bookspace, and they are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its production. That seems a little bit … Read more Inland Editions

Barbara Fister on the “End of the Twilight of Doom”

Barbara Fister expresses a welcome dissenting view regarding the death of libraries and reading in the current Inside Higher Ed: “The End of the Twilight of Doom.” I agree with what she says, especially regarding the problem of high level administrators believing the hype about the death of reading, and the danger that it poses … Read more Barbara Fister on the “End of the Twilight of Doom”

Occupying the First Amendment

The recent assaults by the police on various Occupy movement encampments highlight the tenuousness of our right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. Certainly, there is good reason for municipal ordinances against permanently occupying public spaces. Under many circumstances, this would amount to appropriating public spaces for private use, but the … Read more Occupying the First Amendment

Students at the University of Denver Want Books

Here is a guest post from Julie Teglovic, an MLIS student at the University of Denver, where students have been protesting a decision regarding the library… Library as Space: University Students Want Books This April, the paper books at the University of Denver’s Penrose Library began a move into a storage facility 10 miles away … Read more Students at the University of Denver Want Books

Beyond Access

I was honored when Rory Litwin asked me to write for Library Juice. I have followed the blog for some time now and have always found it a source of interest. As this is my first post, I thought I’d write on an issue that I find to be central to librarianship, namely, the tension between our … Read more Beyond Access

What Google permits and does not permit in Google eBooks

Given Google’s dominance in search and the scope and integration of their Google Books product (hate to use the word product, but libraries have been converted into product here), we should be especially aware of their policies regarding what they will permit and what they will not permit in terms of inclusion in their full … Read more What Google permits and does not permit in Google eBooks

Some objections to our use of library statistics

The use of certain library statistics, mainly related to circulation and its electronic semi-equivalents, has taken on a high degree of importance in library management since 1979, when Charlie Robinson introduced the “give ’em what they want” philosophy of collection development at Baltimore County Public Library. Circulation statistics provide an easy way present an argument … Read more Some objections to our use of library statistics

Terrorists meeting at the Capitol Building today? Government information and alternative media

I was discussing the free press with a Russian friend once, and she told me that the main difference between Soviet Russia and the contemporary USA was that Russians knew they were being lied to, while Americans have naively believed that what the news says is the truth. Amusingly, right wing skeptics are presently doubting … Read more Terrorists meeting at the Capitol Building today? Government information and alternative media

Institutions are switching to Gmail, but are they discussing the fine print?

Many large institutions, such as universities, are beginning to contract their email services out to Google. At the university where I work, we are in the process of switching our accounts over to Google now. All of our students, faculty, and staff will access their university email accounts through a Google interface. In order to … Read more Institutions are switching to Gmail, but are they discussing the fine print?

The underlying reason that the American Right will always be irrational, and a couple of ideas as to why the problem is presently so acute

As the more civic-minded among us have observed, the American Right has mostly rejected rational discourse in favor of strategic communication. There is a reason for it that has to do with more than a calculation of what will be most effective, or a fear that rational discourse will “prove them wrong,” though that is … Read more The underlying reason that the American Right will always be irrational, and a couple of ideas as to why the problem is presently so acute

Our niche and how to get back into it

More and more, I find that the library profession’s efforts to stay relevant in the age of information technology are in fact eroding our relevance. As a result of these efforts, it is becoming less and less clear what we offer that is different from what everybody else offers in the information economy. The reason … Read more Our niche and how to get back into it

Motives in the conception of the “user” in user-centered service design

The big theme in the current era of librarianship is to be user-centered. Being user centered is the key to maintaining relevance, changing with the times, and erasing the barriers to access that turn many people off to libraries. In the background of the idea of user-centeredness are two parallel but very different theories: critical … Read more Motives in the conception of the “user” in user-centered service design

The “assessment piece” and reference strategy

I want to suggest a possible strategy for reference departments in academic libraries. I think a lot of library administrators who have an eye on the future see less of a role for reference, at least in the way we currently understand it. As they see it, it seems to me, it’s a waste of … Read more The “assessment piece” and reference strategy

Quick note on taxonomic transparency

Notice that I am not using the word “ontology.” I’ll get into why later, but if you’ve read any Heidegger you can guess… Hope Olson, Sandy Berman, and many others who have done work based on theirs, have shown how classification systems tend not to represent all users well. Hope Olson has described the problem … Read more Quick note on taxonomic transparency

Two sets of priorities

This post is a presentation of two lists of priorities – first, priorities of the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT), and second, a list of the kind of issue that I think SRRT ought to emphasize instead. The first list is as complete a list as I was able to compile of the subjects of … Read more Two sets of priorities

“Verbiage,” “Intuitiveness,” respect for language, respect for users

“Verbiage” is a derisive word describing prose that uses many words to say not a lot, or more particularly, prose that uses words carelessly, to create impressions without attending to what the words actually mean in a specific sense. For techies, “verbiage” is stuff that English majors add later for the benefit of end users, … Read more “Verbiage,” “Intuitiveness,” respect for language, respect for users