Library Juice 1:34 - September 23, 1998

1. ALA Washington Office Legislative Action Center 
2. Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998 
3. Mary Minow's map to library law 
4. September 21 American Libraries Online  
5. Ann Symons editorial - "A Challenged Modern Library" 
6. Article on why search engines stink 
7. Try the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts 
8. Participate in Gail Kwak's project: Librarians and Body Modification 
9. Millenium Project - online forum exploring role of technology in education 
11. Katherine Sharp Review - Call for Student Reviewers 
13. ECDL Broadcast live through MBONE!  (European Conference on Digital Libs) 
14. "Help! I'm Surrounded by the Law and I Still Can't Understand Copyright!" 
15. D.C. Environmental internships available 
16. Travel scholarship available from Chinese American Libn Assn 
17. Several sites giving info on international conferences 
18. Reflections on last week's quote from _Information Ethics for Librarians_ 
Quote for the week: 
"We are too civil to books.  For a few golden sentences we will turn over and  
actually read a volume of 4 or 500 pages" 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, journal, 7 June 1841 
1. ALA Washington Office Legislative Action Center 
Fight for Fair Use, 
Fight off Premature Database Legislation, 
Support S. 2288, Respect Local Decision Making, 
Protect E-Rate 
(This URL and the next item both came from the same email to RUSA-L) 
2. Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998 
Sender: owner-rusa-l[at] 
S. 2288 is the Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of  
1998, "...which includes much-needed reform to improve and enhance  
public access to government information." The Senate Committee on Rules 
and Administration held a hearing September 16th, "... but postponed  
action on the bill pending further negotiations among stakeholders." The  
ALA Washington Office is urging librarians to ask their Senators to  
"cosponsor" S. 2288.  
RUSA Liaison to the Legislation Assembly 
Jack King 
3. Mary Minow's map to library law 
Mary Minow's map to library law has grown into a comprehensive resource. 
Find it at its new URL: 
4. September 21 American Libraries Online  
Sender: owner-alacoun[at] 
News stories appearing in the September 21 American 
Libraries Online  
 * Nancy Kranich, C. James Schmidt Are Candidates for ALA President 
 * Starr Report Media Frenzy Hits Libraries 
 * Filter-Makers Get Starry-Eyed over Report 
 * Starr Report Draws Record Numbers to LC's Web Site 
 * White House Debates Starr Report, Committee Considers Online Smut 
 * Hawaii Cancels Dynix Contract 
 * House Joint Hearing Focuses on E-rate 
 * Former D.C. Library Head Is Sentenced 
 * New Survey: 73% of Public Libraries Offer Internet 
 * ALA's "America Links Up" Campaign Is Launched in Washington 
 * Arkansas Librarians Fight Proposed Property Tax Repeal 
 * New Orleans School Librarians Get Funding Boost 
 * 190-Year-Old Diary Bound for Library Left in Taxi 
American Libraries' Web site also features the latest "Internet Librarian" 
columns by Karen Schneider; AL's "Career Leads" job ads; listings of 
conferences, continuing-education courses, exhibitions, and other 
events from AL's "Datebook"; and Tables of Contents for the current 
5. Ann Symons editorial - "A Challenged Modern Library" 
Sender: owner-member-forum[at] 
For Banned Books Week, ALA President Ann K. Symons has written an 
editorial, A Challenged Modern Library, which can be found at 
In the editorial, she states that  
Freedom of thought requires the freedom to explore issues and 
questions necessary to education, enlightenment and self-governance. 
That applies to children as well as adults. Those who seek to limit other 
people's access to ideas they feel are dangerous or repugnant often 
forget that freedom is what undergirds our democracy. 
Don Wood 
Program Manager 
American Library Association 
Office for Intellectual Freedom 
50 East Huron Street 
Chicago, IL 60611 
1-800-545-2433, ext. 4225 
Fax: 312-280-4227 
6. Article on why search engines stink 
This email went to the SJSU SLIS listserv (silicon valley's library school): 
Subject: Article Why Search Engines Stink 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
cybersace is weird. thanks to Dr. Liu's tip on the robot urls, I was 
chatting with a chatterbot named Elvis at 
and he recommended this article, which I found informative. 
Laura Norvig 
"These go to eleven" --Nigel Tufnel 
7. Try the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts 
   The Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts is a collection 
   of digital documents. The scope of documents in the 
   collection includes items from American literature, 
   English literature, and Western philosophy. 
   The Catalogue has a number of unique features. First, 
   not only can you search for and display texts from the 
   collection, but you can also search the content of 
   located texts. For example, you can search for Mark 
   Twain's The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. You can 
   then search the content of The Adventures for the words 
   like fish and belly to get a description of Huck Finn's 
   Moreover, you can search the content of multiple 
   documents simultaneously. For example, you can first 
   locate all the documents in the collection authored by 
   Mark Twain. Next, you can search selected documents for 
   something like slav* to draw out themes across texts. 
   Another unique feature of the Catalogue is the 
   on-the-fly creation of PDF files. Using this option you 
   can specify things like fonts and font sizes for your 
   output. For example, you can create a PDF version of 
   Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle. This feature allows 
   you to create simply formatted but very readable 
   documents for printing; the documents in the collection 
   are not necessarily intended to be read online. 
   A third unique feature of the Catalogue is the free 
   goodies available for downloading. These goodies 
   include complete sets of the collected documents and 
   the tools necessary to search them without the use of 
   your Web browser. While you will still need a direct 
   Internet connection, the search tools provide the means 
   for more complex content analysis and enhance access to 
   texts in the collection. 
Eric Lease Morgan 
Digital Library Initiatives Department, NCSU Libraries 
To unsubscribe from NetInLib-Announce,  
8. Participate in Gail Kwak's project: Librarians and Body Modification 
(sent to list Librarians[at] 
Dear Collegues, 
I have been lurking on this list now for over a year and have found it to be 
one of the best library/librarian listservs in existence.   
I hope it is the right place to put forth a research/web development project 
I am working on now - Librarians and Body Modification.  To this end, I have 
created a web page at which will be used 
to showcase the body modifications of librarians everywhere along with their 
stories, articles, rants and pictures.  To get the ball rolling, I have 
added pictures of my own multiple ear piercings and my tattoo. 
I am interested in the images of librarians in popular culture and how these 
images and stereotypes differ from reality.  I am particularly interested in 
librarians who have tattoos, multiple ear piercings, other piercings, 
scarification etc and how they are affected professionally by these 
If you are a librarian, library paraprofessional or library employee in any 
capacity and would like to participate in my project, please email me a 
picture of your modification (you can send it as an attachment to 
kwak[at], and any or all of the following information - your 
name, email address, job title, place of employment, if you have an MLS 
where did you get it and when?   
I would also like to know if you got your modification before or after you 
entered the library field and once obtained, how does your modification 
affect your work professionally (ie reactions of coworkers, supervisors, 
patrons, yourself). 
Also, there is a story behind every modification - let's hear it! 
Please respond to me privately if you prefer. 
Gail Kwak 
Gail Stern Kwak				Phone 	318 357-4466 
Government Documents Librarian		Fax	318 357-3201 
Northwestern State University		Email	kwak[at] 
Natchitoches LA 71457			WWW 
"Lady, I gotta tell ya...I have been grossly misinformed about witches!" 
							-Bart Simpson	 
9. Millenium Project - online forum exploring role of technology in education 
To: NetInLib-Announce[at] 
Subject: Meet the Futurists   
MIME-version: 1.0 
Dear All, 
Good Evening from Dortmund University, Germany,  
The Millennium Project is having totally new look, and the discussions are 
on the rampage..  
Please also Visit the site 
Thanks..Regards Arun  
The Academy for Educational Development today launched the Millennium ProjectŘ 
a two-year, online, mediated forum on the evolving role of technology in  
education. The site ( is not merely a place to  
cheerlead technology, however.  To be useful, the discussion will also explore  
problems, challenges and creative failures in a wide range educational 
Among the first experts to participate in the AED Millennium Project are  
nationally-acclaimed education technologists, Chris Dede, Kathleen Fulton,  
Louis Gomez, Lew Perelman and Saul Rockman.  The  Hot Topics they introduce  
        How does technology change the role of the teacher? 
What is the role of technology in preparing students for the workplace? 
How is technology changing the role played by communities in education and  
learning? Can technology help to improve public-private collaboration in 
schooling? The site also includes a resources library that will be 
valuable to members of this listserv. Join us at 
(The Millennium Project is a non-profit venture.) 
Thank you. 
ARUN KUMAR TRIPATHI,c/o Braun,Luetgenholthauser Strasse 99 
44225,Dortmund,Germany    EDUCATOR: WEB SITE REVIEW WRITER 
My Short Bio Resume:- 
Moderator of edresource list at 
International Correspondent for WCE: 
Please Join Global Learn Day at 
GLD2 needs sailors:-> 
  E-mail: <tripathi[at]> 
    Research Scholar           Internet Search Expert 
  University Of Dortmund   Internet Information Investigator 
After more than a year's absence, Demo Universe returns to the World Wide Web. 
Demo Universe is a Web site devoted to self-released/unsigned/independent 
music and musicians. In its 
first incarnation, from June 1995-June 1996, DU was widely recognized as 
the largest archive of self-released music reviews on the Internet. 
You ain't seen nothing yet! 
Among the new features: 
A database of ONE THOUSAND reviews, searchable by artist, city, state, 
country, keyword and date -- plus the "Demo Randomizer." All reviews provide 
complete contact information, including live links to band e-mail and Web 
sites. New reviews are added daily! 
Weekly spotlights on the best unsigned bands in the Universe, with 
exclusive interviews and RealAudio song samples. 
Gallery of beautiful and unusual J-card art. 
A robust collection of links to musician home pages, DIY resources, indie 
labels, webzines, on-line record stores and 
personal favorites. 
DU accepts any and all recordings in all formats for review and guarantees 
a review w/in 90 days and often much sooner. 
Send to: 
Jim Santo's Demo Universe, 
POB 4218, Sunnyside, NY 11104 
If you sent me a tape between February 1995 and June 1997, or a CD between 
June 1995 and August 1997, or a 7-inch between July 1995 and August 
1997, your review is waiting! 
Hosted by the kind folks at Outersound (, Demo 
Universe was designed to be the 
biggest, best and most current guide to self-released music in the world. I 
hope I've achieved my goal, and I welcome your comments and suggestions. 
Yours in obscurity, 
Jim Santo 
PS: In case you're wondering who I am, I used to write the 
Demorandum column for Alternative Press magazine. Since 1988 I 
have reviewed approximately 5,000 demo tapes. 
11. Katherine Sharp Review - Call for Student Reviewers 
To: Multiple recipients of list LIS-L <LIS-L[at]POSTOFFICE.CSO.UIUC.EDU> 
                Call for Student Reviewers 
                Katharine Sharp Review 
                (ISSN 1083-5261) 
The Katharine Sharp Review, the first electronic journal featuring 
scholarship and research by students in the field of library and 
information science, is seeking volunteers to participate on the 
peer-review board for the next year.  The review process needs reviewers 
to make this a true 'peer-review' and the opportunity to participate in 
the editorial process first hand will be both enjoyable and educational. 
The due date for applications is Thursday, October 8. 
The review board will be responsible for the selection and review of all 
submitted articles.  The length of commitment to the editorial board will 
be for a full year (actually from now through July) and will comprise two 
issues (April and August).  Each reviewer will be responsible for 
returning complete critical reviews in a timely manner that will provide 
guidance as to the acceptability of any one submission. 
In order to be considered as a potential board member/reviewer, you must 
currently be enrolled in a LIS program (both MLS and PhD students are 
encouraged to consider), have ready access to e-mail as this will be the 
primary means of communication, ability to view documents in Adobe Acrobat 
(PDF) format, and preferably a graphical WWW browser (e.g., Netscape or 
Internet Explorer).  A strong command of English, knowledge of the library 
and information science field, and a strong desire to take part in a 
unique and ground-breaking publication is also recommended! 
If you are interested in applying for this unique opportunity, please 
       1) your name and institution, 
       2) a description of your general interests within the field, 
       3) a *brief* paragraph describing your interest in participating in the 
           review process, and 
       4) perhaps three or four keywords describing your specific interests 
          in LIS (these are used to send you papers related to your interest), 
       5) the approximate date you will be graduating from your program 
to the editor, Kevin Ward, at review[at] The due 
date for all applications is Thursday, October 8. 
For more information regarding the Katharine Sharp Review, please e-mail 
the editor or see the Review's WWW site, which includes the past seven 
issues from 1995-98, at The site is also 
mirrored at 
for Europe and elsewhere. 
                 +                                   + 
                               Kevin Ward 
                         Katharine Sharp Review 
                 +                                   + 
                       Friday, November 6, 1998 
                          8:30 AM - 3:45 PM 
                 University of California at Berkeley 
                  Krutch Theater, Clark Kerr Campus 
                    601 Warring St., Berkeley CA 
The wide reach and power of the Internet, changes in academic, scholarly 
society, and commercial presses, and the soaring cost of information are 
changing the face of scholarly communication and publishing. 
Join members of the academic community, librarians, and other information 
professionals and publishers in a wide-ranging discussion of the issues and 
challenges facing academic, scholarly society, and commercial presses. 
9:00-9:15 Opening remarks 
Richard Atkinson, President, University of California 
9:15-10:45 Panel 1 
- Czeslaw Jan Grycz, Virtual Theological Library, Berkeley 
- Lisa Brawley, Assistant Professor, Kent State University.  
  Editor, Postmodern Culture 
- Michael Keller, University Librarian and Director of Academic  
  Information Resources, Stanford University 
- Vincent H. Resh, Professor, UC Berkeley. Editorial board,  
  Annual Reviews  
11:00-12:30 Panel 2 
- Robin Peek, Professor, Library and Information Science,  
  Simmons College 
- William Arms, Vice President, Corporation for National   
  Research Intiatives (CNRI); Publications board, Association  
  of Computing Machinery (ACM) 
- Paul Ginsparg, Research Physicist, Los Alamos National  
- Bernard Hibbitts, Associate Dean for Communications and  
  Information Technology, Professor of Law, University of  
  Pittsburgh [invited] 
1:45-3:15 Panel 3 
- Carla Stoffle, University Librarian, University of Arizona 
- Kenneth Frazier, Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison  
  General Library System; Chair, Steering Committee of the ARL  
  Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) 
- Beverlee French, Associate Director, Shared Collections and  
  Services, California Digital Library 
- Tom Sanville, Director, OhioLINK 
REGISTRATION:  $65 in advance; $75 onsite;  $25 for UC faculty, students 
and staff with university ID. Includes lunch for preregistered attendees. 
To register via the web go to the conference website registration page at: In order to 
ensure adequate processing time, please register by Monday, October 26. 
For more information contact Jeanne Fong at 510-642-7270 or 
13. ECDL Broadcast live through MBONE!  (European Conference on Digital Libs) 
                    ECDL Broadcasted Live through MBONE! 
    Second European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for 
                            Digital Libraries 
         European   European           ICS-FORTH    University of 
         Union      Research                        Crete 
                    Consortium for 
                    Informatics and 
    - IEEE Computer Society            - Lambrakis Research Foundation 
    - OTE                              - FORTHnet 
    - General Secretariat for Research and Technology, 
      Ministry for Development, Hellenic Republic 
    - Hellenic Ministry of Culture     - INTRACOM 
    - NET Computers & Peripherals 
    - General Eelectric  Capital Information Technology Solutions 
    - CaberNet                         - Ergodata 
    - Swets & Zeitlinger B.V. 
                       19 - 23 September, 1998 
                        Knossos Royal Village, 
                       Heraklion, Crete, Greece 
      Web Page: 
      E-mail: ecdl[at] 
  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 
  All plenary sessions and selected parallel sessions will be broadcasted 
  live through the  MBONE.  Users  connected to  MBONE can  view the live 
  broadcasts with  RealNetworks  RealPlayer.  More information  including 
  links can be found ath the "Live Broadcast" web page, at: 
  Links to  live  broadcast channels will soon be available from the Live 
  Broadcast section of our web pages.  The broadcasted sessions will also 
  be  archived for  later viewing. 
  Also, don't forget to view the  most recent  information available from 
  the Conference Programme web page and the 7h DELOS workshop web page at: 
14. "Help! I'm Surrounded by the Law and I Still Can't Understand Copyright!" 
[Apologies for duplicative postings] 
REMINDER!  There are two weeks left to register for Kenneth Crew's 
"Help! I'm Surrounded by the Law and I Still Can't Understand Copyright!" 
The American Association of Law Libraries, in cooperation with the 
Hewlett Packard San Diego Research Library, is offering this Copyright 
Program, on Monday, October 26, 1998, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., in San Diego,  
California. For additional information on this program, please contact Lara  
Koban, AALL Educational 
Program Coordinator, at 312-939-4764 or lkoban[at] 
This professional development program will demonstrate the growing 
importance of copyright in your career, take the fear out of the law, and 
show new pathways through an often-bewildering maze. If you think copyright 
is dry and boring, this day may also change your view. It is a day of 
serious learning, scandalous politics, cheerful humor, cartoons, your tough 
questions, and maybe a little rap music. This program is intended for law 
librarians, non-law librarians, and others interested in learning the issues 
of copyright law and the effect of copyright on your daily job. 
Topics covered will include: 
- Trends, Developments, and Future Directions of Copyright; 
- Fair Use Issues; 
- Coursepacks, Reserves, and Electronic Reserves; 
- Copyright and the Worldwide Web; and 
- Copyright and the Development of Multimedia Projects. 
Participants will be able to: 
- Assess the situations, activities, and materials in the library that 
  give rise to copyright issues; 
- Recognize that intellectual property law other than copyright may 
  apply to some situations; 
- Secure copyright protection for new works; 
- Describe the complex balance between the rights of copyright owners 
  and the ability to make fair use of protected works; 
- Analyze and apply legal rights to use copyrighted works beyond the 
  right of fair use; 
- Examine the implications of new technologies for copyright; and 
- Pursue options for developing copyright policies for their libraries. 
Instructor for this program is Kenneth Crews, Associate Professor at the 
Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and the IU School of 
Library and Information Science and Director of the Copyright Management  
Center at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. 
Hewlett Packard San Diego Research Library San Diego, California 
The deadline for registrations is October 5, 1998. 
The registration fee is $115.00 for AALL members and HP employees, 
$145.00 for non-AALL members, $77.00 for student members and $95.00 for 
student non-AALL members. The fee includes program, handouts, continental 
breakfast, morning and afternoon breaks. 
Registration forms may be obtained at or by contacting Maggie 
Kearney, AALL Program Assistant, at 312-939-4764 or mkearney[at] 
AALL recognizes major support from BNA, Inc. for the Professional 
Development Program. 
David McFadden                Southwestern University 
Senior Reference Librarian    School of Law Library 
(213) 738-6726 - voice        675 S. Westmoreland Avenue 
(213) 738-5792 - fax          Los Angeles, California 
email - dmcfadden[at]                90005-3992 
15. D.C. Environmental internships available 
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 09:29:39 -0400 (EDT) 
From: Frederick W Stoss <fstoss[at]> 
Reply-To: srrtac-l[at] 
To: SRRT Action Council <srrtac-l[at]> 
Subject: D.C. Environmental internships available 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
Sender: owner-srrtac-l[at] 
Please feel free to post to other lists and newsletter editors. 
Fred Sstoss 
National Environmental Trust is accepting applications for their Fall 
Internship Program in the areas of 1. Grassroots Organizing, 2. Press 
Relations, and 3. Research.  Interested applicants: fax resume and cover 
letter to Internship Coordinator, (202) 887- 8877.  Questions? (202) 
887-8800. All interns receive a monthly stipend. 
Assist in the coordination of field events such as public education 
forums, press conferences, coalition-building, and public education; 
assist the DC field staff in the management of field organizers; expand 
coalitions; produce sample materials; prepare weekly packets and 
coordinate conference calls. 
QUALIFICATIONS:  Good writing and editing skills, interest in 
environmental policy and politics, personal initiative.  Prefer applicants 
with basic organizing skills, creativity, planning skills, and volunteer 
experience on a political campaign or as an activist. 
Conduct research for radio, TV and print media stories, organize media 
events and paid advertising projects, and pitch stories to radio producers 
and print media reporters. 
QUALIFICATIONS:  Previous volunteer work on a political campaign or in 
a politically charged setting; writing and editing skills; interest in 
communications; some background with environmental, conservation or 
other public interest groups. 
Duties will include 1) Research on a range of environmental policy issues 
but predominantly on toxins and children's environmental health issues, 
and 2)  Some constituency organizing. 
QUALIFICATIONS:  The ideal intern will have creativity and initiative 
for conducting original political and constituency research to further 
a national toxics campaign, strong writing and phone communication 
skills, some previous work experience, and an interest in toxics or 
children's' environmental health issues. 
Posted 9-18-98 by: 
Frederick W. Stoss, M.S. (zoology-aquatic ecology), M.L.S. 
Biological Sciences Librarian 
Science and Engineering Library -- Capen Hall -- Room 228-B 
SUNY Buffalo 
Buffalo, NY 14260-2200 
716/645-2946 ext. 224 -- 716/645-3710 FAX 
16. Travel scholarship available from Chinese American Libn Assn 
Date: Mon, 21 Sep 1998 15:14:09 -0500 
From: Cathleen Bourdon <cbourdon[at]> 
To: Reference and User Services Association List <rusa-l[at]> 
Subject: Travel scholarship available from Chinese American Libn Assn 
Reply-To: cbourdon[at] 
Sender: owner-rusa-l[at] 
The Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) announces the 
offering of the C. C. Seetoo/CALA Conference Travel Scholarship.  As a 
joint effort between Mr. Seetoo and CALA, an award in the amount of 
US$500 will be given to a student to attend the annual ALA Conference 
and CALA program.  The Scholarship is designed to provide the award 
recipient mentoring and networking opportunities at the ALA conference. 
  Students of Chinese heritage who are currently enrolled in 
ALA-accredited library and information science programs are 
encouraged to apply.  The 1999 application deadline is February 15, 
1999.  The winner of the award will be announced by April 30, 1999.  
The award will be presented at the ALA annual conference in New 
	Founded in 1973, the Chinese American Librarians Association is 
affiliated with the American Library Association, and has six regional 
chapters.  In addition to holding annual programs, CALA publishes its 
own Newsletter, Membership Directory and the Journal of Library and 
Information Science in cooperation with the National Taiwan Normal 
	Born in Shanghai in 1916, Mr. C. C. Seetoo was graduated from 
Shanghai University in 1939 and moved to Taiwan in 1946.  Through his 
entrepreneurial success in the export business, he has traveled all over 
the world making many friends and valuable contacts along the way.  He 
recognizes and values the benefits of networking for people striving to 
become successful professionals, and wishes to provide such an 
opportunity to students by co-sponsoring this Travel Award.   
	For application and more information about the Scholarship, 
please contact Dr. Mengxiong Liu, Chair of the CALA Scholarship 
Committee at 
		Clark Library 
San Jose State University  
One Washington Square 
San Jose, CA 95192-0028 
Phone: (408) 924-2817 
Fax:     (408) 924-2701 
Email: mliu[at] 
17. Several sites giving info on international conferences 
Approved-By: ifla[at]NLC-BNC.CA 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Date:         Wed, 16 Sep 1998 13:27:23 EDT 
Reply-To: International Federation of Library Associations mailing list 
Sender: International Federation of Library Associations mailing list 
From: Leah Sparks <LeahJ[at]AOL.COM> 
Subject:      Thanks for Conference Info! 
Hello everyone!  Thanks so much for the helpful web sites on international 
conferences.  I have found many possibilities and I appreciate the input of 
people from so many different parts of the world. 
I have included below the sites that were suggested by at least three or four 
people in case anyone else would like to view them. 
Best wishes, 
Leah Sparks 
Public Librarian 
Maryland, U.S. 
American Libraries Datebook 
*   IFLA-L is provided by the International Federation of Library     * 
* Associations and Institutions (IFLA). For further information about * 
*    IFLA activities, including organization or personal affiliate    * 
*               information, contact:  IFLA[at]                  * 
*                                                                     * 
*                      URL:                              * 
18. Reflections on last week's quote from _Information Ethics for Librarians_ 
Last week I couldn't resist commenting on the quotation I chose.  I would like  
to discuss it further.  First, here's the quotations and the questions I asked  
about it: 
Quote for the week: 
"If information is not neutral, if moral judgments are part of information  
usage, and if one of our jobs as a profession is to recognize those judgments  
and to make decisions, it would seem that certain principles of truth, 
justice, equality, and freedom must be defining values of the profession." 
-Mark Alfino & Linda Pierce, p. 123 of their _Information Ethics for  
(Editor's comment: I have to think about this. Whose judgments are being  
refered to, the librarian's or the user's?  And why make the stated principles  
and not others - such as "Family Values" - the defining values of the  
Of course, I don't mean to suggest that "Family Values" are possibly to be  
seen as fundamental values of librarianship.   
I would like to suggest that it's too easy to assume that there is something  
in the nature of the work of librarianship, something eternal and innate, that  
makes truth, justice, equality and freedom its defining values.  Those make  
good defining values, but it is up to define the profession through them.   
Librarianship is a function, an occupation.  There is nothing in its defining  
nature that would prevent it being torn from its "defining values," as we  
chose them to be.  I have been naive about this in my thinking in the past. 
I took the quotation in question out of its context in a very thoughtful book.   
However, I think that _Information Ethics for Librarians_ leaves a major  
unanswered question behind in its recommendation to rethink library service  
with consideration of community values:  How is any consensus about what is in  
the public interest to be created among librarians?  Finding such a consensus  
seems to be only more difficult if we distance ourselves from the attempted 
objectivity of empirical science as a measure of truth, as is recommended by  
the book.   
The debate over social responsibility and intellectual freedom is still with  
us, perhaps not in the form of debate so much as in the form of a dilemma or a  
tension, despite arguments for a co-existence or synthesis.  Whose judgments  
about the moral significance of a piece of information - or an information  
need - are to prevail, the librarian's or the patron's?  Aside from the duty  
to give full representation to all points of view in collection development,  
the essence of intellectual freedom and neutrality in service seems to be to  
respect the mind of the patron.  And if we are going to play a role of 
educators or moral advisors, what are our qualifications?   
It is an occassional dream of mine to make a case for some objective truth to  
the liberal/progressive position, and argue for its incorporation into the  
educational role of librarianship on that basis.  After all, truth, justice,  
equality and freedom all have opposition in the political arena, and the True  
political analysis of things indeed claims to be True.  But even if those who  
strongly disagree with a leftist analysis of things REALLY ARE the dupes of  
the ruling class, in a society of democratic pluralism their opinions have to  
be respected.  As disingenuous as David Berninghausen's argument in "'Social  
Responsibility' vs. The Library Bill of Rights" against the formation of SRRT  
clearly was, (the article is given an illuminating discussion in Pierce &  
Alfino's book) the principle of intellectual freedom, as the principle of  
respect for others, is still a limiting factor in our natural desire to guide  
library users according our own personal judgments or personal sense of the  
community or public interest.  Even if most librarians rarely consider it an  
issue that needs to be thought about, I think the question is subtly at issue  
in almost every transaction and decision a librarian makes.  I can admit that  
I have an "overdeveloped" conscience, but I think this conflict or tension is  
at the heart of the profession, and might be the most difficult thing about  
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| Except where noted, items appearing in Library Juice     | 
| are copyright-free, so feel free to share them with      | 
| colleagues and friends.  Library Juice is a free weekly  | 
| publication edited by Rory Litwin.  Original senders     | 
| are credited wherever possible; opinions are theirs.     | 
| Your comments and suggestions are welcome.               | 
|                mailto:Juice[at]                     | 

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Date: Thursday, October 29, 1998 12:02 PM