Interface agents and human control

We hear a lot about Radical Trust, with the emphasis being on trusting users (of systems, websites, etc.) to guide organizations. I have tried to sound a skeptical note at times, pointing out that something called “groupthink” is the danger when you decide to trust the wisdom of crowds. I’ve always most admired people whose … Read more Interface agents and human control

Review article of six books on the loss of Iraqi antiquities

In the current issue of the New York Review of Books there is a review article by Hugh Eakin about the loss of Iraqi antiquities and records in the current war, titled, “The Devastation of Iraq’s Past.” From an historic standpoint, the great loss of Iraq’s cultural record and the inventions of Google will probably … Read more Review article of six books on the loss of Iraqi antiquities

ALA-APA’s Living Wage Resolution in the context of a global economy, global famine, and U.S. economic decline

I am going to be try to be brief here and state my views on the issue of librarians’ salaries as simply as I can, with reference to things happening right now in ALA-APA and in the world as a whole. At the recent ALA conference in Anaheim, ALA’s sister organization, the American Library Association … Read more ALA-APA’s Living Wage Resolution in the context of a global economy, global famine, and U.S. economic decline

Survey report on library services to the poor

ALA has an important policy, Policy 61, on library services to poor people. This policy was brought about in the mid-90s through the dedicated work of SRRT’s Homelessness, Hunger, and Poverty Task Force (HHPTF), with the leadership of Sandy Berman. The HHPTF is still going strong as one of SRRT’s more active Task Forces, and … Read more Survey report on library services to the poor

Electronic journal access found to reduce breadth of citations

Noting an article of interest: “Electronic Publication and the Narrowing of Science and Scholarship” Science 18 July 2008: Vol. 321. no. 5887, pp. 395 – 399 DOI: 10.1126/science.1150473 James Evans finds that scholars’ access to online journals tends to reduce the breadth of the citations to other articles in their work; that is, articles outside … Read more Electronic journal access found to reduce breadth of citations

Intellectual Freedom advocacy in a Huxleyan world

A favorite debate of pessimistic sophomores, or perhaps sophomoric pessimists, is as to whether our society and its future is more like George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It’s such a common juxtaposition and so simple to talk about it that I bring it up at the risk of terribly oversimplifying things. … Read more Intellectual Freedom advocacy in a Huxleyan world

SRRT Councilor’s Report on ALA Council

ALA Council Report to SRRT, Anaheim, June 2008 ALA met at Disneyland, whoops, I mean Anaheim, June 27th to July 2nd. The ALA and APA Councils passed several resolutions that are particularly important to SRRT concerns. As Council goes, it was a remarkably tranquil meeting and Council III finished its business in record time, adjourning … Read more SRRT Councilor’s Report on ALA Council

ALA IFC’s Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries, and ALA’s grey literature in general

In my view, one of the most important documents and position statements that ALA has produced in the last few years was its June 2007 report, “Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries: Strategies and Actions.” This was produced by a subcommittee of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, now dissolved, called the Subcommittee on the Impact of Media … Read more ALA IFC’s Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries, and ALA’s grey literature in general

Call for papers on critical pedagogy and library instruction

Critical Pedagogy and Library Instruction: An Edited Collection Critical pedagogy seeks to identify, critique, and disrupt the inequalities of the dominant culture, thus equipping learners to transform oppressive social, cultural, and economic conditions. While many theorists, critics, and practitioners have considered how critical pedagogical strategies and perspectives might be employed in higher education, the academic … Read more Call for papers on critical pedagogy and library instruction

Book: The Dumbest Generation

A book of interest: Mark Bauerlein’s The Dumbest Generation. What it says is that the under-30 generation is so removed from books and reading that it is shockingly ignorant, and we should all be worried. Bauerlein blames the internet. The Chicago Tribune published a decent review a few days ago. The students at the university … Read more Book: The Dumbest Generation