Library Juice Number 1:42 - November 25, 1998

 
 
Contents: 
 
1. News about Library Juice 
2. Article in NY Times: "Free Book Sites Hurt by Copyright Law" 
3. Geoffrey Nunberg on the future of libraries 
4. Netscape Open Directory 
5. PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award 
6. Barry Goodman's internet resource for quick legal research 
7. United Nations Human Rights Website -- Treaty Bodies Database 
8. ALA/SRRT's 1995 Resolution on Mumia Abu-Jamal 
9. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present 
10. Send a FAX by e-mail 
11. Library Link discussion forum on librarians and publishers 
12. US District Court bars Loudon County Library from filtering internet 
13. ALA statement in response to filter-monger David Burt's nosing about 
14. Candid discussion of commercial database (marginal) usability 
15. 1999 North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) Student Grant 
16. Article on San Jose library merger, by Paul Duguid 
 
 
Quote for the week: 
 
"Librarians would do well to remember _Moses_ or _Pieta_ and think somewhat 
less frequently of Shannon and Weaver." 
 
Jesse Shera, "Librarianship and Information Science," in Fritz Machlup and 
Una Mansfield, _The study of information: interdisciplinary messages_ (NY: 
John Wiley and Sons, 1983 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
1. News about Library Juice 
 
Library Juice was recently listed with the Internic's "Scout Report for the  
Social Sciences," which has generated a minor deluge of new subscriptions.  In a  
few weeks or less Library Juice will be managed using Majordomo list management  
software.  New information on subscribing and unsubscribing will be a part of  
the first issue after this change.  You will continue to receive the Juice  
normally. 
 
The Scout Report's review can be found at: 
http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/report/socsci/current/index.html 
This is the November 17, 1998 issue.  The URL will change. 
 
Library Juice was also added to The Mining Company's library and information  
science directory.  The Mining Company employs 500 web reviewers in constructing  
its directory.  The library and information science directory can be found at: 
http://librarians.miningco.com/ 
 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
2. Article in NY Times: "Free Book Sites Hurt by Copyright Law" 
 
Sent by Chuck Munson to Librarians[at]tao.ca 
 
This is bad news for the web as we have known it. I urge those of you who 
work through the system, to overturn the law. Those of us who think that 
intellectual property is theft, will continue putting etexts online as a 
form of direct action against this stupidity. 
 
Free Book Sites Hurt by Copyright Law 
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/10/cyber/cyberlaw/30law.html 
 
Chuck0 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
3. Geoffrey Nunberg on the future of libraries 
 
 
The full text of this article by Geoffrey  Nunberg (who teaches liguistics 
as Stanford and once applied to be head of The Bancroft Library) is 
available online. The webaddress did not work for me--I just put American  
Prospect into my browser 
 
Copyright  1998 by The American Prospect, Inc. Preferred Citation: Geoffrey 
Nunberg, "Will Libraries Survive," The American Prospect no. 41 
(November-December 1998): 16-23 (http://epn.org/prospect/41/41nunb.html).  
 
Melissa Riley      
1721 Cedar Street 
Berkeley CA  94703  
510 524-2155     Fax  524-5938 
 
(ed. note: ALA Councilor Mark Rosenzweig sent this article to the Council  
listserv, if that tells you anything about it.) 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
4. Netscape Open Directory 
 
http://directory.mozilla.org/ 
 
NewHoo!, a community-maintained search engine started in June, has just 
been purchased by Netscape and is now dubbed the Netscape Open Directory. 
While Web surfers already have an abundance of search engine options, Open 
Directory distinguishes itself through its method more than its content. 
That is, sites are selected, categorized, and annotated by over 4,500 
"volunteer editors." NewHoo! contained over 100,000 categorized Websites 
when acquired by Netscape, and content will surely grow. The site also 
offers information on volunteering as an editor and using copies of the 
directory. "Netscape will offer a special license, similar to the 
mozilla.org open source code development license, to allow individuals and 
organizations to take advantage of and use copies of the directory that 
they can crawl, archive and reuse on their machines." [TK] 
 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/ 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
5. PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award 
 
 
Nominations are encouraged for the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment 
Award. The award, $25,000 and a limited-edition artwork, is presented 
each spring to a U.S. resident who has fought courageously, despite 
adversity, to safeguard the First 
Amendment right to freedom of expression as it applies to the written 
word. 
 
Previous winners have included a journalist, playwright, bookstore 
owner and school teachers. 
 
For more information and an application, see 
 
http://www.pen.org/freedom/nomination.html 
 
 
 
________________________ 
Don Wood 
American Library Association 
Office for Intellectual Freedom 
50 East Huron Street 
Chicago, IL 60611 
800-545-2433, ext. 4225 
Fax: 312-280-4227 
dwood[at]ala.org 
------------------------------------- 
{Newman's Own First Amendment? -ed.} 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
6. Barry Goodman's internet resource for quick legal research 
 
Forwarded to the CALIX list: 
 
Return-Path: <goodmanb[at]nsu.law.nova.edu> 
From: Barry Goodman <goodmanb[at]nsu.law.nova.edu> 
To: "'info[at]cla-net.org'" <info[at]cla-net.org> 
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 12:03:54 -0500 
 
I would like to make this legal education & research tool available to 
law libraries, and your site & all of your members. 
 
http://diana.law.yale.edu/diana/db/war10.html 
 
I recently authored a new type of unique internet resource for doing 
legal research quickly. It is located on the Diana site at Yale Law School and 
is the first Internet hyperlinked pathfinder research tool, for human rights 
& international law & related topics. It has also been linked to by Columbia 
University Area Studies (mid-east section) Library, ASIL, Univ of Minn. 
Human Rights Library, Univ. of Ga. Law School, H-net at Mich. State, Univ 
of Maryland, Max Plank Institute, UCSC, Stanford Univ.Law library, Amnesty 
International, WWW Law Library,Derechos Humanos, NSU Law Library & other 
law libraries & Universities. I would like to provide itto those who will find 
it useful & would like to link to it. It is easily viewed & explored by 
reaching the project Diana site at Yale law School, selecting "New on 
Diana", & then scroll to the bottom---the lateset addition --hyperlinked 
pathfinder research tool on Gulf War crimes.OR -- at the above direct 
address. Read : "About This Document" first to understand how it 
operates----Please let me know of your interest.   Thank you in advance. 
 
Best regards, Barry Goodman.   goodmanb[at]nsu.law.nova.edu 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
7. United Nations Human Rights Website -- Treaty Bodies Database 
 
http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf 
 
This database was created "to meet the growing interest in the committees 
established to monitor the implementation of the principal international 
human rights treaties (also referred as 'treaty monitoring bodies' or 
'treaty bodies')" such as the Human Rights Committee, the Committee Against 
Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the 
Committee on the Rights of the Child. These committees are responsible for 
examining the "State reports" submitted by signatories to the various 
treaties to demonstrate their compliance. These reports and the concluding 
observations by the committees form the core of the database, which also 
contains a number of other related documents and data. Users may search the 
database by keyword and view results by relevance or date or browse by a 
variety of parameters, such as country, date, language, treaty, reporting 
status, or status of ratification. Documents may be in English, French, or 
Spanish. [MD] 
 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/ 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
8. ALA/SRRT's 1995 Resolution on Mumia Abu-Jamal 
 
As the state of Pennsylvania prepares to excecute Mumia Abu-Jamal the SRRT  
listserv has been busy with plans for a protest at the midwinter conference.   
The following is the 1995 SRRT Resolution on Mumia Abu-Jamal, supplied to the  
discussion by Carol Barta: 
 
Resolution on Mumia Abu-Jamal 
 
WHEREAS the Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen a 
fair and impartial trial; and  
 
WHEREAS there exists serious questions concerning the fairness of the 
trial that put Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row; and 
 
WHEREAS Mumia Abu-Jamal, a prominent radio broadcaster,  journalist, 
author and President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association of 
Black Journalists, has been subjected to gross violations of his First 
Amendment Rights both during his trial and, following conviction, 
throughout his imprisonment; and  
 
WHEREAS the ultimate injustice is for the state to kill a person for a 
crime that person might not have committed; therefore be it  
 
RESOLVED that the  Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American 
Library Association calls upon Governor Thomas J. Ridge of the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to reverse the death sentence signed on 
June 2, 1995, and to allow Abu-Jamal's lawyers to appeal his conviction. 
 
Passed unanimously in Chicago, IL on June 27,1995, 
by the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library 
Association. 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
 
9. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present 
 
http://bioguide.congress.gov/ 
 
First published in 1859 and most recently in 1989, this biographical guide 
to the more than 13,000 individuals who have served in the national 
legislature and Continental Congress has been updated through the 105th 
Congress and released online. The work of the Senate Historical Office and 
the Legislative Resource Center of the House of Representatives, under the 
direction of the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House, this 
database will be continually updated as necessary. The new online version 
offers resources not available in previous editions, including images and 
information previously published in separate volumes. Users may search the 
database by name, position, and state. Planned additions to the site 
include additional search options, "links to repositories listed in the 
Guide to Research Collections," and links to related Websites. [MD] 
 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-1998. 
http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/ 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
10. Send a FAX by e-mail 
 
sent to media-l[at]tao.ca: 
 
http://www-usa.tpc.int/faxbyemail.html 
 
Other Languages Available:  
Italian, German 
 
An experiment started in June 1993 now makes it possible to send a FAX 
 
(for free) to many different parts of the world by using internet e-mail.  
Any e-mail software can be used to send a text mesage, however formatted 
documents with fonts and pictures require a more sophisticated e-mail 
utility. (read our  
Client Software  
http://www-usa.tpc.int/clients/index.html 
page for more information on this topic) 
Before you begin, use our  
Check Coverage page  
http://www-usa.tpc.int/verify.html 
to verify the area you wish to send a fax to is covered by the TPC  
Probject. 
 
 
:-) :-) Message Ends; Signature File Begins (-: (-:  
George(s) Lessard, Community Media Arts, Management & Mentoring 
Information, subscriptions, public keyword searchable archives and 
CAUTIONS, Disclaimers, NOTES TO EDITORS and copyright information may 
be found [at] http://members.tripod.com/~media002/disclaimer.htm 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
11. Library Link discussion forum on librarians and publishers  
 
 
 
From: "Chris Keenan" <ckeenan[at]mcb.co.uk> 
To: ACRL Forum <acrl-frm[at]ala1.ala.org> 
Subject: Library Link Discussion 
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 14:22:31 -0000 
 
Library Link - http://www.mcb.co.uk/liblink 
 
Apologies for cross-posting 
 
Dear List Member, 
 
I would like to draw your attention to the Library Link discussion forum. 
 
Current discussions have been prompted by the MCB / Library Link workshop at 
IFLA '98 entitled 'Electronic Publishing: Librarian and Publisher 
Challenges, Now and Beyond 21st Century'. Since then the forum has received 
numerous posting from all over the world, debating a number of topics, such 
as: 
 
- The value added role for future librarians and information professionals 
- Networking issues 
- Librarianship and the virtual library 
- Electronic licensing 
- The Internet and the developing world 
 
Selected quotes from the postings include: 
 
"The virtual library is a myth." 
 
"...there will be fundamental changes in the distribution of research 
results in the future." 
 
"A widespread cannibalism is taking place..." 
 
"...librarians should know exactly how the Internet behaves." 
 
"Part of the librarians tasks could be performed as distance work or 
tele-work." 
 
If you have a issue that you thinks needs debating or a question that needs 
answering then the Library Link discussion forum will give you access to the 
views of hundreds of like-minded individuals. 
 
To join the discussion go to the Library Link homepage 
(http://www.mcb.co.uk/liblink) and follow the link that reads "discussion". 
To receive postings from the discussion via e-mail, type your e-mail address 
in the box provided and click on the "subscribe" button. 
 
Library Link is a free online discussion and information forum for 
Librarians and Information professional world wide. If you wish to join 
Library Link then go to the homepage, follow the link that reads "join" and 
fill in your details. 
 
Yours, 
 
Chris Keenan 
Executive - Library Link 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
12. US District Court bars Loudon County Library from filtering internet 
 
 
Sent to the California Library Association's listserv by Gerald Maginnity: 
 
Excerpts from the Washington Post: 
 
Library's Internet Filtering Is Barred 
 
By Brooke A. Masters and David Nakamura 
Washington Post Staff Writers 
Tuesday, November 24, 1998; Page A01  
 
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema in Alexandria found that the 
Loudoun Library Board's decision to screen out Internet sites that could be 
harmful to minors violated constitutional rights of free speech and failed to 
serve a compelling government interest. 
 
Brinkema, a former librarian, wrote in her 46-page opinion that the Library 
Board's policy "offends the guarantee of free speech in the First 
Amendment." She also said that buying commercial software to filter 
Internet sites was an "abdication" of the board's constitutional 
responsibilities to set clear standards itself. 
 
Ken Bass, the board's attorney, said he plans to ask Brinkema to allow the 
filtering software to remain in place while the Library Board decides 
whether to appeal the decision or modify its policy. 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
13. ALA statement in response to filter-monger David Burt's nosing about 
 
David Burt, president of Filtering Facts, recently sent an email 
to the Office for Intellectual Freedom informing them that he has 
written to 25 large library systems requesting the release of library 
records. His purpose, he says, is to "obtain copies of any patron and 
staff complaints about patrons accessing inappropriate material on 
public Internet terminals. I know that my organization is a 
controversial one within the library profession, so this is an 
excellent opportunity for your library to demonstrate its commitment 
to the practices as well as the principles of intellectual freedom. If 
you decide not to release the records, please send me a response 
letter explaining your reasons why." 
 
>From William Gordon's November report to ALA Council 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
14. Candid discussion of commercial database (marginal) usability 
 
 
This discussion took place on librarians[at]tao.ca: 
 
 
Chuck Munson wrote: 
All search languages are doing roughly the same thing.  But  
unless you are familiar with database systems, you would never  
know this to look at their infinite superficial variety.  When  
the assholes who write a database search language get ready to  
pick a truncation symbol, for example, they evidently first look  
around very thoroughly to make absolutely certain it is unique in  
the universe.  God forbid there would be any convention for  
people to fall back on. 
      
I shudder to think how much of my burned-out brain is devoted to  
trivia like remembering truncation symbols! Asterisks, colons,  
hache marks, dollar signs, plus signs, on and on and on.  Yet  
this illustrates why the students are forever clamouring for my  
help. 
 
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   - 
 
 
From: Michael Ravnitzky <mikerav[at]ix.netcom.com> 
Reply-To: mikerav[at]ix.netcom.com 
MIME-Version: 1.0 
To: chuck[at]tao.ca, librarians[at]tao.ca 
Subject: Re: No War but Information War: raging against the library machinery 
Sender: owner-librarians[at]tao.ca 
Precedence: bulk 
 
I am a law student and a patron, not a librarian.  I have spent hours in 
fruitless battles with library staff trying to explain why it would be 
appropriate to put a little taped card on the table next to the database 
or search engine, with a convenient guide to 
 
1-what is the truncation symbol 
2-what is the wild card symbol 
3-what are the boolean operators 
4-what are the mandatory include/exclude symbols 
etc. 
 
I consider myself experienced in database searching.  When I ask to have 
such a card put out, they look at me like I am from another planet.  
Don't complain about patrons that ask for computer help until you put 
out a simple guide to the codes for that computer system. 
 
To some extent, unfortunately, there is some residual reluctance in the 
librarian profession to make information systems transparent to users. 
 
I note that same philosophy with regard to computerized card catalogues 
in most public libraries.  The system is dumbed down and made quote more 
accessible to most users unquote, without recognizing that such fixed 
design is extremely frustrating to experienced users.  A better 
approach, I think, is a selectable system that allows the user to 
indicate his or her experience level at the start, allowing the machine 
to accommodate the person, rather than vice versa. 
 
Michael Ravnitzky 
St. Paul, Minn. 
 
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   - 
 
 
 
     Michael: I'm amazed that the library staff weren't sensitive to your  
     request, but I guess there are some crappy library workers out there. 
      
     Did they have database search sheets attached to the monitor? This is  
     a way that libraries try to help users cope with the different  
     database conventions. 
      
     I think that the library profession is interested in making these 
 
     convention standardized and transparent to users, but many of these  
     problems are created by the vendors with all of their propietary  
     formats. I see library staff as trying to develop a Linux attitude 
 
     toward this, with the vendors being the billion ton Microsofts. 
      
     Libraries should make more of a fuss about this. They are to timid.  
     What they could do is to develop a set of standards and boycott  
     vendors that don't comply. 
      
     Chuck0 
 
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   - 
 
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 08:31:35 -0500 
To: librarians[at]tao.ca 
From: Jen Weintraub <jsw15[at]cornell.edu> 
Subject: Re[2]: No War but Information War: raging against the librar 
Sender: owner-librarians[at]tao.ca 
Precedence: bulk 
 
As a librarian who selects databases for a living (that sounds worse than 
it is) I am interested in these comments. 
 
I completely understand how frustrating it is to be faced with a bunch of 
databases and not know the truncation symbols or basically, how to search 
them.  It is irritating for librarians as well.  At Cornell we  have at 
least 100 databases all networked over the Internet.  If we put up cards on 
every terminal in the library for even 5 interfaces it would be rather 
unwieldy.   I have noticed that many users take cards off the terminals and 
put them aside as nuisances or don't even look at them.  This is completely 
understandable and necessary to consider.  None of this excuses the 
rudeness Michael Ravnitzky faced when asking for help.  I'm just pointing 
out some common problems with signs all over terminals. 
 
I have noticed a trend towards more visible help in databases.  For many of 
the newer web databases the help screens are just "one click away".  We 
also do have those help sheets and the combination seems to work 
adequately, if not spectacularly.  Different people learn in different ways 
and I believe libraries should be flexible.  The idea of multiple 
interfaces for multiple levels of users is an excellent and not entirely 
new idea:  several database producers already put it to use (NISC, for 
example).   Many library catalogs, particularly in bigger or older places, 
are still "first generation" and their interfaces are very primitive. 
 
I would like to make one more comment about the idea of boycotting database 
producers who don't conform to certain conventions.  I guess this might be 
a good idea for some future time when we have such a convention.  However, 
I am not currently in the position of boycotting any decent database that 
costs a reasonable amount and provides access to literature my patrons need 
just because the truncation symbols are not to my liking.  Unfortunately, a 
lot of the high quality database interfaces are very expensive and the 
vendors don't have the databases I need so I am forced to go to lower 
quality interfaces to get a database.  I would think public librarians 
would be in the same position.  I would hate to tell a patron:  "no we 
don't have that database or index to that literature because it doesn't 
search the way we like it to search".  We would just get the bad interface 
for a year and deal with it until there was some competition. 
 
I spend a lot of time complaining to database vendors or pointing out 
flaws in their interfaces.  I'm not particularly timid about it either, as 
I am the customer.  I think that at this point, however, an effective way 
to get vendors to create useful interfaces is to get in on the ground 
level, at the development stage, or provide incessant feedback for their 
upgrades.  If you got 10 librarians in a room you'd have about 15 opinions 
on how databases should look and be searched.   Perhaps that is why there 
are so many interfaces. 
 
Another answer to this whole question may be Z39.50, a standard that 
already exists whereby I can search any library's catalog or any database 
that I have access to that is compliant with this standard using one 
interface.  There are problems with this idea as well, but that's enough 
for this early in the morning. 
 
Jen 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
15. 1999 North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) Student Grant 
 
 
NASIG AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS 
 
1999 NASIG STUDENT GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT 
 
The North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) is currently 
seeking candidates for grants to attend the Fourteenth Annual Conference to 
be held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA June 10-13, 1999. 
Established in 1985, NASIG is an independent organization that 
promotes communication and sharing of ideas among all members of the serials 
information chain - anyone working with or concerned about serials. 
For more information about NASIG, please see the NASIG web page at 
http://nasig.ils.unc.edu/. 
 
Through the granting of these awards, NASIG desires to encourage 
participation in this information chain by students who are 
interested in pursuing some aspect of serials work upon completion of their 
professional degrees.  Each June the annual conference is held on a different 
college or university campus, where the various segments of the serials 
community (including publishers, vendors, and librarians) meet in an informal 
setting to network and share information.  The conference includes the 
presentation of papers, panels, workshops, tours, and social events. 
 
GUIDELINES 
 
SCOPE OF AWARD: Recipients are expected to attend the entire 
conference and submit a brief written report to NASIG, which will be excerpted  
for publication in the NASIG Newsletter.  Expenses for travel, registration,  
meals, and lodging will be paid by NASIG. Each recipient will also receive a  
year's membership in NASIG. 
 
ELIGIBILITY: Students who are currently enrolled at the graduate 
level in any ALA accredited library school, who do not already have an ALA 
accredited degree, and who have expressed an interest in some aspect 
of serials work, are eligible. Applicants must be full- or part-time 
students at the time of application. In order to accept an award, a recipient 
must not be employed in a position requiring an ALA accredited degree, 
nor on leave from such a position, at the time of acceptance of the grant. 
Equal consideration will be given to all qualified applicants, with 
preference given to those earning their degrees the year of the conference. 
Students do not have to be NASIG members to apply, and they must not have 
earned their degrees earlier than the end of the school year prior to the 
NASIG conference.   Applicants must not have attended a previous NASIG 
conference. 
 
APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Application forms will be available after 
November 15, 1998, in ALA accredited library schools, through the NASIG Web 
Page, and from Markel Tumlin, Co-Chair, Awards and Recognition Committee. 
Completed applications should be sent to: 
 
 
 Markel Tumlin 
 General Reference Division 
 University Library, LLA 1101-L 
 San Diego State University 
 5500 Camponile Drive 
 San Diego, CA 92182-8050 
 Phone (619) 594-6875 
 Fax (619) 594-3270 
 E-Mail: mtumlin[at]mail.sdsu.edu  
 
APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Applications must be postmarked/faxed by 
February 
16, 1999.  Applications postmarked/faxed after this date will not be 
considered. 
 
AWARD NOTIFICATION: Award recipients will be notified by April 1, 
1999. A 
maximum of ten grants may be awarded for 1999. 
 
 
Patricia (Pat) Frade 
Serials Cataloger 
6380 Harold B. Lee Library 
Brigham Young University 
Provo, UT 84602 
(801) 378-6730 
fax (801) 378-3221 
e-mail: Pat_Frade[at]byu.edu 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
 
 
 
16. Article on San Jose library merger, by Paul Duguid 
 
Forwarded to SJSU's listserv by Hava Rubenson 
 
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   - 
[When Paul Duguid was guest-editing RRE a while back, he was so busy 
being blind-sided by technical problems -- especially the great schism 
between mail software that employs MIME and mail software that does 
not -- that he didn't have time to put his personal stamp on the list. 
Here, however, is a short piece (1700 words) that he wrote about a 
proposal to merge the city and university libraries in San Jose, and 
what happens when you ignore things like the diversity of information, 
the significance of institutions, and the relevance of distinct 
patterns of use.] 
 
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Send any replies to the original author, listed in the From: field below. 
You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use 
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Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 22:17:55 -0800 
From: duguid[at]socrates.berkeley.edu (Paul Duguid) 
 
Information and Libraries 
 
Paul Duguid 
 
The academic senate at San Jose State University, California, 
will vote next week on a plan to merge the city and the university 
libraries.  The plan primarily concerns books, so on the surface it 
is not necessarily of interest to those concerned with the digital 
world.  I suspect, however, that the plausibility of that plan rests 
on notions of information that have flattened distinctions between 
different kinds of institution, use, and users.  But before offering 
my opinion, let me give some facts. 
 
San Jose State University [SJS], part of the California State system, 
has long needed a new library.  The current collection is illogically 
divided between two buildings, and each is inadequate.  Attempts to 
fund a new library through a bond issue, voted on when the state was 
in recession, failed.  Meanwhile, the city had acknowledged that, for 
a major metropolitan center (San Jose is the nearest city to Silicon 
Valley and growing fast), its public library was small and the 
collection weak.  In February 1997, the mayor, Susan Hammer, proposed 
fixing all these problems by combining the two facilities.  The city 
would gain access to SJS's collection, and so not need to improve its 
own.  The university would get a new building funded in good part by 
the city.  Predictably, this was announced as a "win-win solution." 
 
The city's plans for the libraries, however, are not as pure as they 
are naive.  The current city library sits opposite the convention 
center.  The city wants the site for a new hotel.  By merging the 
two libraries, it will get it.  Under the current plan, the city will 
provide $71 million, the state $90 million, and SJS $10 million and 
a new facility will be built on the campus housing both collections. 
The collections will be kept physically separate within the building, 
but all users will have access and borrowing privileges to all 
books.  There will be one circulation and one reference service for 
all.  And though the staff of each organization will remain separate, 
plans promise an undefined "seamless service".  The SJS senate will 
vote on the matter on December 7th and those opposing the plan would 
welcome any support you can offer.  (Fuller details can be found at 
<http://www.myeditor.com/soul.htm.) 
 
The planned merger takes it for granted that libraries are somehow 
indifferent to the collection they hold or to the particular users 
they serve.  Only from this perspective can a single library to serve 
profoundly different communities seem unproblematic.  That perspective 
may in turn reflect ways in which access to libraries has been 
portrayed simply as access to information they store, access which 
a digital future will provide remotely, rendering local features yet 
more irrelevant.  Indeed, the California State system doesn't even 
believe that this is a matter for the future.  In 1993, it decided 
to build a new campus at Fort Ord without a library at all, arguing 
that the information the students needed was or soon would be on line. 
 
Where do such ideas come from -- when not from the willful ignorance 
of administrators hoping to save money or mayors with Mitterand-like 
pretensions hoping to cut a deal for a convention center?  One source 
is the popular portrayal of the Web as home for "all the answers 
you need" -- as a line on Oracle's web site reads.  Another might 
be advertisements of the sort IBM aired in the States a few years 
ago -- early in its series "solutions for a small planet," when the 
"envisionary" (or simply deceptive) nature of the genre was not well 
established. 
 
The ad ran in Italian with subtitles and showed an old Italian farmer 
on his farm telling his astonished granddaughter that he had just 
received his Ph.D.  The exchange went on: 
 
     Grandfather:       Did my Research at Indiana University. 
     Woman:             Indiana? 
     Grandfather:       Yup.  IBM took the school's library ... 
                            and digitized it.  So I could access it 
                            over the Internet. 
           She cocks her ear to take this all in. 
       Grandfather:     You know...  It's a great time to be alive. 
 
[The storyboards for the ad are at 
http://www.ibm.com/sfasp/locations/italy/index.html] 
 
The picture, particularly to those who know little about the 
digitization of libraries, is compelling.  Unfortunately, it is also 
grossly misleading.  IBM has not digitized the Indiana library.  (In 
response to protest, the library confessed that "some of its music 
collection" has been digitized.  IBM did not respond at all.)  But, 
above all, the ad endorses the notion that libraries are little more 
than information repositories -- a primitive form of file server. 
(It also gives a weird view of education, but let that pass.) 
 
Actual work on digital libraries, while more difficult than IBM's 
ad acknowledges, is often very impressive.  But, in general, it 
has critically failed to address libraries as social systems rather 
than information systems.  Yet by using the name "library," the 
work suggests that it is concerned with all that term encompasses. 
 
I once suggested that the U.S. digital library initiative, funded 
with government money, had appropriated the term "library" to help 
draw popular and political support for what was in essence computer 
science work.  Far from it, I was told by one proponent, the term 
library was probably more of a disadvantage than an advantage to 
their work.  Nevertheless, though it was considered, the National 
Science Foundation has not abandoned the term.  Nor, perhaps more 
importantly, has anyone involved considered that, in using the phrase 
"digital library," whatever the disadvantage to them, the problems 
for conventional libraries was likely to be far greater. 
 
Not only does the phrase suggest that the future of all libraries 
is simply digital.  It also leads to the flattening of distinctions 
between the way libraries are used.  But does anyone really know how 
libraries are used?  At the moment, I suspect, most people simply 
assume that they know what goes on in libraries.  At a workshop of the 
National Science Foundation's digital library project that I attended, 
studies of use and users were referred to by one researcher as "touchy 
feely" issues, while a previously rejected proposal by an eminent 
ethnographer to study use was mentioned with a rolling of eyeballs. 
 
(The failure of the book to die when its obituaries were confidently 
read has led studies of the book and print culture to flourish.  I 
hope that the same will soon be true of libraries.  Digital library 
work is not sufficiently advanced here, however, to meet the sort of 
rebuff that prompts reflection.  In Australia, the collapse of a major 
national project that was due to go on-line at the end of 1996 has 
provoked a major reassessment.) 
 
At the moment, the idea of different patterns of use has received 
little attention.  Take, for example, the matter of electronic 
journals.  Justifiably, Andrew Odlyzko's paper, "Tragic Loss or 
Good Riddance" has become one of the most influential papers on the 
future of such journals, an important issue for all libraries.  But 
that paper is directed entirely at scientific research and articles. 
It does not tell (because it does not attempt to tell) much at all 
about the humanities and social sciences or the ways their researchers 
use libraries.  Indeed, because those most deeply involved in 
digital research tend to be scientists, the way other fields work has 
generally been taken for granted.  So Odzlyko's paper is read as if it 
spoke for all journals and journal users.  It's not hard to think of 
reasons why physicists use preprints from a file server at Los Alamos 
extensively, but those studying the humanities do not.  But I don't 
know of the difference being widely acknowledged.  It might be time 
to revive, at least for purposes of analysis, C.P. Snow's old notion 
of the "two cultures" -- but now from quite a different perspective. 
Snow felt that the sciences were being slighted; now they are used to 
represent all research.  And if one voice can speak for all, then one 
library, presumably, can serve for all. 
 
It's worth noting, then, that the new British Library, which has 
been well received, has separated the reading and periodical rooms 
for the humanities and the sciences, as if in recognition of their 
distinct practices.  More relevant perhaps to San Jose, the New York 
Public Library on 42d Street, which has just reopened after extensive 
renovation, has maintained its historic distinction between the 
research facilities (which are nonetheless open to all), and its 
public lending facilities.  Though both in the same building, the two 
are entirely separate. 
 
Without conducting research (though I do use both city and university 
libraries here in Berkeley), it seems quite unexceptional to me to 
say that the patterns of use in a university research library and a 
civic lending library are quite distinct.  The university's library's 
primary obligation, for example, is to its collection; thus its 
barriers are high.  The city's obligation, by contrast, is primarily 
to its readers; its barriers are correspondingly low.  The university 
lends only to people who pay fees to the university.  And it refuses 
to graduate students who have library fines outstanding.  Guards 
search bags at the exits.  The city lends to anyone with proof of a 
local address; it cannot search bags.  (The library of the city of San 
Jose has about $1 million dollars outstanding in fines and no current 
record of how many books are lost, stolen, or unreturned.) 
 
In numerous other ways -- patterns of readership, use of reference 
facilities and reading rooms, development of collections, availability 
of materials, resistance to censorship laws, and use of information 
technology -- public and private libraries are different kinds 
of institution.  Any suggestion that both are little more than 
information warehouses, however, obscures the difference.  To those 
who theorize information, who create ads for IBM (and who went along 
at Indiana), and particularly to those involved in digital library 
research, it will no doubt seem reckless to suggest that the merger 
in San Jose has anything to do with them.  But is it too far fetched 
to think that the damage that will result to both city and university 
libraries as a result of this merger is in part "collateral damage" 
from the indifference shown in these instances as elsewhere to the 
institutional and organizational structure in which libraries and all 
information sources are, inescapably, situated? 
 
_______________________________________________________________________________ 
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