Library Juice 2:34 - September 1, 1999


1. Website on Latinos and Medicine, blocked by CyberPatrol
2. Hotmail Accounts Exposed to All
3. Google Government Search
4. Subject Index to Literature on Electronic Sources of Information
5. Weddings in the library
6. Dewey system gems, anyone?
7. Patron notification by email
8. Looking Back on Turn-off-TV Week sponsorship
9. GODORT response to proposed closing of NTIS
10. _Information Liberation_  - review
11. Hobart College commencement address, 1900

Quote for the week:

"Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human
soul." -Mark Twain

Howard Besser's Home Page:


1. Website on Latinos and Medicine, blocked by CyberPatrol


2. Hotmail Accounts Exposed to All

Announcement sent around by Don Wood of ALA:

                     Hotmail Accounts Exposed to All
                     by Declan McCullagh

                     8:05 a.m.  30.Aug.99.PDT
                     A catastrophic security flaw in Microsoft's
                     Hotmail service lets anyone read the
                     private correspondence of about 50
                     million subscribers.

                     The bug appears to affect all customers
                     of what Microsoft says is "the world's
                     largest provider of free Web-based email." ...

                     The exploit, verified by Wired News,
                     works this way: A Web page with nine
                     lines of HTML code can connect to a
                     Hotmail server without requiring a user to
                     enter a password.


3. Google Government Search

From ResPool -

This appeared on Net-Happenings. I am forwarding the message intact.
Date:    Mon, 30 Aug 1999 09:41:01 -0500
From:    Gleason Sackman <gleason[at]>
Subject: RESOUR> Google's Government Search

From: Computer-assisted Reporting & Research
[mailto:CARR-L[at]LISTSERV.LOUISVILLE.EDU] On Behalf Of Nora Paul
Sent: Monday, August 30, 1999 9:08 AM
Subject: Google's Government Search

Google, by far the best web search site to use if you are just looking
for the most highly recommended sites for the topic you are interested
in, has a government search engine, too.

I just discovered it by clicking on the "More Google" link and scrolling
to the bottom where they list a few "special searches".  It's great,
just searches .gov and .mil pages.  Check it out.

Nora Paul
Poynter Institute
I entered the word 'population' to test the site, and found that the
quality of the yield was excellent.

Margaret Gross, MLS
Bibliothécaire & Conseillère en information
Librarian and Information Officer
EMS Technologies Canada, Ltd.


4. Subject Index to Literature on Electronic Sources of Information

The August 1st, 1999 edition of the "Subject Index to Literature on
Electronic Sources of Information"  is available at:

The page-specific "Subject Index to Literature on Electronic Sources of
Information" and the accompanying "Electronic Sources of Information: A
Bibliography" (listing all indexed items) deal with all aspects of
electronic publishing and include print and non-print materials,
periodical articles, monographs and individual chapters in collected
works. Over 1,000 titles were identified and indexed in great detail for
this project. Thousands of URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) were added to
various entries. Both the Index and the Bibliography are continuously

This message has been crossposted to several mailing lists. Please excuse
any duplication.

*Marian Dworaczek                               *
*Head, Acquisitions Department                  *
*and Head, Technical Services Division          *
*University of Saskatchewan Libraries           *
*E-mail:  dworaczek[at]              *
*Phone: (306) 966-6016                          *
*Fax: (306) 966-5919                            *
*Home Page:   *

5. Weddings in the library

Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 06:30:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jill Patterson <jpatterson[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: library weddings
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.10.9908220630010.17962-100000[at]>

Weddings in the library?  Why not?  One of our staff members met her
husband at the library they both worked in and were married in their
conference room.  Another library--Montclair, a branch library of the San
Bernardino County System--dispenses marriage licenses.  Our director went
there to get hers.  AND the library performs marriage ceremonies--they have
been duly authorized and deputized by the county system.  This small branch
has a lovely, enclosed patio that is just right for intimate, inexpensive
weddings. Don't libraries just reek with romance??

The Calif. Library Assoc. annual conference includes a program this year on
these types of non-library activities, e.g. passports, weddings, etc.

Jill Patterson         jpatterson[at]
Glendora Public Library     140 S. Glendora Ave.     Glendora, CA  91741
Tel:  626/852-4896   FAX: 626/852-4899

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 18:26:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Jill Blake" <jeblake[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Re: weddings in the library

>From: Jill Patterson <jpatterson[at]>
>Weddings in the library?  Why not?

Indeed!  My partner and I held our wedding ceremony at a branch of the San
Antonio Public Library -- and we certainly weren't the first.  The Landa
Branch used to be a house and it's got a beautiful patio (just right for
the reception) a couple of balconies (for the throwing of the bouquets and
garters) and a gorgeous staircase (for great pictures).  It's even got a
new playground and beautiful grounds -- perfect to keep attending kids
occupied and, in our case, for the ceremony.  Another real advantage is
that it was much less expensive than other traditional wedding and
reception sites and the staff was fantastic!!  We couldn't have picked a
better place.


Jill Blake
Fort Worth Public Library
(formerly with San Antonio Public Library -- so there was some sentiment in
the choice as well)

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 18:30:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Judy Duer <jduer[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Library Weddings

When we began working on our meeting room policy after moving into our newly
renovated library a few years ago I was advised by the convention center
director not to try to book weddings, or reunions. He told me these are the
most labor intensive of all the functions they hold. (Lots of confetti, and
apparently the participants are pretty emotional about having everything
"just so".) Since we don't have set-up or clean-up crews, I gratefully
accepted his advice, and haven't regretted it. We don't book any kind of
social event, just informational programs open to the public. I have since
been approached to book wedding receptions, family reunions, and even the
prom for an outlying town, so I was glad to have this in the policy already.

Judy Duer
Temple (TX) Public Library
Jduer[at] <mailto:Jduer[at]>

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 14:55:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jennifer Chilcoat <chilcoat[at]>
To: publib <publib[at]>
Subject: Weddings in the library

We allow weddings and wedding receptions at our library.  We've also had a
memorial service, one prom, family reunions, class reunions, and a host of
other functions.  We've had no more and no fewer problems with these types
of meetings than with more customary library gatherings.  I might suggest
that you start cultivating a list of accepted caterers, because some of
them are more responsible than others.

We have a beautiful facility and are eager to share it.  I say "Go for

       "It never hurts to ask.  But it usually doesn't help, either."

Jennifer E. Chilcoat                       (chilcoat[at]
Head of the Main Library                 phone: 501/918-3031
Central Arkansas Library System


6. Dewey system gems, anyone?

>>> Donna Mandel <dmandel[at]> 08/26 12:01 AM >>>
I am forwarding a message from my colleague at San Francisco Public
Library, Kate Connell.  Kate does a monthly column for our local New
Mission News called "The Library Lady" where she answers obscure
reference questions.  I thought someone on this list would have an answer
for her.  Please respond either to me or to her and cc: me, because I want
to know the answer too.


Donna Mandel
SFPL, Mission Branch

>Return-Path: <KCONNELL[at]>
>Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 16:38:03 -0700
>From: KCONNELL[at]
>To: DMANDEL[at]
>Subject: dewey system gems

Donna, I'm writing my monthly LIbrary Lady column and need wacky dewey
decimal system examples, I thought that I remembered a 70's article by
SAndford Berman pointing out that "cannibalism" was located in something
like family life or something "domestic."

Unfortunately I can't put my hands on any of this material now and
wondered if you had any ideas? I'm looking in general for bon mots on
dewey or the dewey decimal system or the LC system, little gems that
might interest the general public.....Thanks in advance! Kate

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 11:45:21 -0400
From: "Carol Reid" <creid[at]MAIL.NYSED.GOV>
To: dmandel[at], PLGNet-L[at]
Subject: Re: Librarian needs assistance

Speaking of cannibalism, I always thought it was sort of funny that
"body shape, eating habits, magic, symbols; [and] sociology of witch
crazes" are all lumped together in 306.4

"Cannibalism," by the way, is sandwiched between "Dueling and suicide"
and "Etiquette (Manners)." Your more polite cannibals undoubtedly only
eat those freshly skewered or dead at their own hands.

As for Sandy Berman's perspective, I am unaware of his statements regarding
DDC treatment, but he does discuss "cannibalism" as a subject heading in
his books "Prejudices and Antipathies" and "Worth Noting."

Carol Reid
New York State Library

7. Patron notification by email

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 11:41:31 -0700
From: "(GBALC) Greater Bay Area Library Council" <info[at]>
Subject: TALLY of replies - PR FORUM: reporter on the line

I got alot of 'requests' for a tally of the postings for
the topic. Here goes.....starting with the question.
Thanks for responding!    Stephanie Stokes, GBALC PR FORUM

I just received a call from a reporter who is doing a story about a
unique way to notify library users about overdue fines - - via email.
The county library in his area is using email to send out overdue fine
notices. If that does not work, the library will call or use
traditional snail mail. The library tells him that this is a
pioneering effort. Do you agree? Have any of your libraries or
libraries you know of tried this? If so, what was the result?

We are on a very tight deadline. If you have any info for me, I would
appreciate a response within the hour! Thanks for your help.


From: Cheryl Grantano <grantano[at]>

> We have been using email notiification for about a year for staff only;
> and on more limited basis, testing with patrons.  I believe our member
> library, Menlo Park has been doing most of the patron testing.  Biggest
> problem seems to be bad addresses.

Cheryl Grantano, South San Francisco



It would be a pioneering effort. Over time, many more library patrons will
be online. If my memory serves me well, Colorado libraries or Colorado
Springs library has been doing this for a long time.

This may be most effective for public library business, High School, and
college age patrons at this time.
It is likely the schools and universities that give out or require student
e-mail accounts would turn to this
method sooner than other libraries.


From: Anne Turner <TURNERA[at]>

The Santa Cruz City County Library System offers patrons three options for
getting overdue notices when they register for borrower cards:  voice mail
via a computerized voice which
everyone hates but is very effective, email (the patron has to give us
his/her email address, and since we just started this six months ago there
is a long backup of people whose email
address we don't know), and finally regular mail.  The last is the least
attractive option
to the library because it is the most expensive.  I think the more patrons
who know about
the email option, the more we will have electing this option.  We update
borrower cards every four years, so by 2003 we should have covered out who
retrospective borrower base.  Our automation system vendor is DRA.


From: "Arbaugh, Linda" <linda.arbaugh[at]>

     We here at the Mountain View Public Library, Mountain View, CA, have
been using e-mail to notify patrons of overdues since the fall of 1998.  We
also use this method to notify them when materials that have placed on hold
are available to pick up.  The system works very well.  We also have the
ability to contact them by TNS, telephone notification system.  We indicate
their preference on their library record.  Our software vendor is Innovative
Interfaces, Inc., and this service is possible because of the flexibility of
the software.
     When we started this service, only a very few patrons were contacted
with this method.  Over the past 10 months, however, the number of patrons
who have chosen to be notified in this manner has grown considerably.  The
last time we sent out notices, 25% of them went by e-mail and an additional
70% were notified by TNS.  Only 5% had to be mailed through the postal
system.  This has meant a tremendous savings for our library in postage.  I
recently calculated that we save our city about $500 a month in postage.
This figure includes holds notification as well as overdue notices.

Linda E. Arbaugh
Supervising Librarian
Mountain View Public Library


From: smorano[at]

At the Corona (Calif.) Public Library, we have discussed
in the past trying e-mail to notify patrons of overdue
materials.  So far, we haven't tried it yet, but I believe
it's still on the agenda.  Right now we just use regular
mail, and if we don't get a response, we send the patron's
name to a collection agency.  We're already fielding reference
questions using e-mail.

Sal Morano
Literacy Assistant and
Reference Librarian (one of several)


From: "perron, nancy" <nperron[at]>

Hennepin County Library (Minnesota) offers the patron an option of being
notified by eMail, snail mail, or telephone re: a number of things. 

EMail option includes notices that material is overdue; that requested
material is being held at a specific library; and that requested material is
no longer available so the patron's "hold" is cancelled.

Although Hennepin County Library does not send separate notices about fines
for overdue materials, if there is a record of outstanding overdue material
and subsequent fines attached to the patron's account, that information is
summarized at the end of the eMail notices listed above.


From: Mary Kelly <mkelly[at]>

I believe the King County Library System uses e-mail to notify patrons of
holds, and I think of overdues.  Might try calling 206/684-6606 to double


Reply-To: <janis.test[at]>

Abilene Public Library don't yet do this for the public, but we do it
internally for our staff.  It is handy.  We also alert staff members via
e-mail about requested books that have come in and are being held for them.
We have just started this.
Janis Test
Abilene Public Library
Abilene, TX 79601

      (GBALC) Greater Bay Area Library Council
               e-mail: info[at]
         phone 415-749-0130    fax  749-0735
Representing librarians and library systems within
      the fourteen Greater Bay Area counties,
             from Mendocino to Monterey
            and San Mateo to Contra Costa

8. Looking Back on Turn-off-TV Week sponsorship

Note: this message to the ALA Council list from Elaine Harger
follows a long discussion about ALA council's decision some time
ago to abandon their participation in "tv turnoff week."  It was
suggested that ALA's lucrative relationship with the cable station
A&E had something to do with the decision. -ed.

From: "Elaine Harger" <eharger[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Subject: One more note on the TV discussion
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999 21:29:48 -0400

Dear Colleagues,

Before the "turn off the TV" discussion vanishes from the radar screen, I
want to say that I very much appreciate the comments of Ginny McKee, Peter
Graham and Mark Rosenzweig.  Their thoughts are grounded in a sympathetic
understanding of the significant impact television has on human
development, relationships and society. 

As a public school librarian, I felt betrayed by ALA Council when it voted
to abandon support of Turn-off-TV Week.  This is an event that gives those
of us who work with children and parents the opportunity to explore and
discuss and take action in regard to the huge role television plays in the
lives of many. 

Turn-off-the-TV Week is supported by organizations such as the American
Medical Association, the National Education Association, the American
Federation of Teachers, the YMCA, the National Institutes of Health, the
Girl Scouts, the National Association for Sports and Physical Education,
the American Academy of Pediatrics and more.  Even the Surgeon General
supports this event.  The mission of the organization responsible for it,
TV-Free America, is "to encourage Americans to drastically reduce the
amount of time spent watching television to promote family interaction and
community involvement...National TV-Turnoff Week [features] substitute
activities to foster social, physical, academic and creative development."

The average child in the US watches about 4 hours of television per day.
50% of _all_ children between the ages of 6 and 12 have TVs in their
bedrooms.  Medical studies have linked obesity in children to television
viewing, and there are many concerns about the role television violence
plays in children's development.

I find it very troubling that any librarian would expound the specious
argument that television is a "format" that must be protected from
Turn-off-the-TV Week.  Television is no more a "format" than is an author
or the publishing or film industries.  Individual television shows can be
formatted onto videotape, just as Shakespeare's creative thoughts were
formatted into a folio or a book or film.  It is dead wrong to equate a
format, a discreet entity, with a producer or an economic enterprise.
Television is a _business_ that requires a captive audience, and some
members of that audience suffer ill effects simply because they _are_ the
audience - a passive, sometimes "addicted" audience that ought to be given
the opportunity that smokers are given during Don't-Smoke Week. 

Well, looks like ALA Council decided that that the AMA, the NEA, the AFT,
the YMCA, the Surgeon General, the Girl Scouts et al. are all a bunch of

At this point, I feel it's too bad that the anti-Turn-of-the-TV Week
resolution _wasn't_ about money and the ALA/A&E partnership.  The money
motive, at least, would have been more-or-less reasonable.

Elaine Harger
Newark NJ

49 Osborne Terrace
Newark NJ  07108
973/623-7642 home
212/569-0290 ext. 404 work

9. GODORT response to proposed closing of NTIS

Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 17:22:54 -0600
From: Larry Romans <Romans[at]>
Subject: Closing NTIS - GODORT Response
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>
Cc: romans[at]
Organization: Vanderbilt University

Below is the summary of a report prepared by the Government Documents
Round Table (GODORT) for the ALA Washington Office about the proposed
closing of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).  The
URL for the complete report is listed below.


A Response from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT)


The Department of Commerce proposal to close the National Technical
Information Service (NTIS) provides the opportunity for a reevaluation
of how the federal government might best make these information
resources readily available to researchers, businesses, and the
general public. The American Library Association's Government
Documents Round Table (GODORT) is concerned about the consequences of
the proposed transfer of NTIS publications and bibliographic database
to the Library of Congress and about the expectation that there will
be adequate public access to these technical reports and business
information if the only source for this information is agency web

* NTIS should not be closed, nor its services transferred, until there
is a thorough assessment of the full range of NTIS services,
alternatives for providing each service, and the requirement that the
program be self-supporting.

* If NTIS is closed, its functions should not be transferred to the
Library of Congress without careful assessment of which agencies would
do the best job of providing which NTIS functions. No single agency is
likely to be best suited to perform all NTIS functions.

* If NTIS is closed, NTIS functions should be transferred to agencies,
such as the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National
Archives, that have the appropriate experience and expertise. Agencies
taking on the functions should receive additional appropriations so
they can adequately provide and improve these services.

* The review and analysis of NTIS functions should not be limited to
the transfer of its collections and databases. This review is an
opportunity to develop permanent no-fee public access to NTIS
information by including its collections and database in the Federal
Depository Library Program.

* The review is an opportunity to identify ways to reduce duplication
of cataloging and sales functions for government-related technical
reports and other publications.

* The review must also address how the many other critical NTIS
information dissemination functions would be performed if NTIS were

* Current access to the government-sponsored scientific and technical
reports that are on the Internet selectively is not an adequate
replacement for the comprehensive NTIS clearinghouse. Most of these
reports are not available on the Internet, and many users continue to
require hard copy, microfiche, and disc products to meet their needs.

* Retrospective access to government-sponsored scientific and
technical reports through decentralized Internet access is not an
adequate replacement for the NTIS clearinghouse. Posting some of these
reports on individual agency Internet sites will not ensure continuing
and permanent access to the reports, because many Federal agencies
remove their reports from their web-sites after a relatively short
period of time.

* A centrally coordinated clearinghouse for the collection,
dissemination, bibliographic control, retrieval, and archiving of
federal technical reports must be maintained to insure access by
businesses, researchers, and the public.

* There must be both permanent access to government information that
continues to be needed by the public and permanent preservation of
less needed information. NTIS material should be subject to an
agreement, similar to one GPO has now, to transfer masters of older,
low-use material to both the Library of Congress (for ongoing access)
and the National Archives (for permanent preservation).

* If NTIS is closed, regardless of which agency is chosen to maintain
the NTIS database, additional partnerships should be established to
provide cataloging and descriptive services to avoid redundancy, save
money, and increase access.

* Currently even the NTIS bibliographic database is a fee-based
subscription service. Businesses, researchers, and the American public
should have no-fee access to NTIS scientific and technical reports as
well as to indexing and cataloging and a sophisticated and easy-to-use
search engine to make them fully accessible.

This summary is posted at

The full report is posted at

Please send comments to GODORT Chair Larry Romans
(romans[at] and to GODORT Legislation Committee
Chair Kevin Reynolds (kreynold[at]

Larry Romans,
Political Science Bibliographer and
Head, Government Information Services,
Central Library, Vanderbilt University,
419 - 21st Ave. South
Nashville TN 37240-0007
phone (615) 322-2838; FAX (615) 343-7451
E-mail (office): romans[at]
E-mail (home): larry.romans[at]

10. _Information Liberation_  - review

This review is from the forthcoming issue of Progressive Librarian.

Brian Martin, Information Liberation.
London: Freedom Press, 1998
ISBN 0-900384-93-X

Reviewed by Rory Litwin

Freedom Press, the anarchist publishing house founded in 1886, has
published a book on the issues of the information society from a radical
democratic perspective.  "Information is power" and "power corrupts" are
two truths that deserve the intelligent coupling that Brian Martin, the
Australian writer active in the environmental and radical science
movements, has given them in information Liberation.  As Martin shows, the
corruption of power is not merely a potential danger but a fact of life in
the areas of mass media, intellectual property, surveillance, bureaucratic
organizations, libel law, and the world of academic research.  These are
frequent topics of discussion on the left, but not often leading to the
radical conclusions that Martin refreshingly draws, opening up new spaces
for left-of-center thinking.  The book is for a popular audience, and
suitable for public as well as academic libraries.

Chapter 1, "Power tends to corrupt," expresses this basic premise,
illustrating it with historical and psychological insights.  Chapter 2,
"Beyond mass media," discusses modern mass media, which Martin finds
undemocratic by nature, because of its control by a group of people that is
small in comparison with its audience.  He cites numerous publications that
expose media bias and advocate grass-roots action to create fairness and
accuracy, but perceptively notes that these publications rarely find the
root of this media bias in the basic structures of mass media control or
advocate replacing these structures. Alternative mass media, though the
imbalance of power between its audience and producers is moderated by its
smaller scale, falls into this assessment of corruption by power, with
powerful publications such as Mother Jones  and The Progressive  serving as
examples of the impossibility of democratically run mass media.  The idea
of participatory media, with David Andrews' concept of "information
routeing groups" given as an example, is offered as a replacement for mass
media.  The chapter also includes an outline of several strategies for
achieving this replacement. Martin's radical position makes possible
avenues of perception that are perhaps not open to reform-minded media
critics, and asks questions seldom heard on the left that are critical of
reformist and government-reliant strategies.  Cynical readers like myself
will begin to find that a leap of faith is required in order to follow
Martin all the way to his conclusions, but this leap appears to have the
character of a necessary courage against the backdrop of the status quo.  A
shift of mind is precisely what is required by a radical vision.

Chapter 3, "Against intellectual property," is concerned with the concept
of intellectual property and argues for the alternative, "that intellectual
products not be owned, as in the case of everyday language."  Strategies
for challenging intellectual property are outlined, including "civil
disobedience, promotion of non-owned information, and fostering of a more
cooperative society."  The arguments against intellectual property in this
chapter center on the corrupting influence of the ownership of ideas and
the harm it can do to democratic relationships.  Edwin C. Hettinger's
responses to the standard justifications of intellectual property are
summarized.  The alternative to intellectual property (non-ownership of
ideas) is discussed with reference to the perceived needs for it:
protection against plagiarism, protection of royalties, and stimulation of
creativity.  Each of these is shown to be either answerable in other ways
or not actually protected by intellectual property laws.  Ironically, a
copyright on this book is held by Brian Martin and Freedom Press.  This is
discussed at the end of the chapter, with permission given to copy the work
for non-exploitative uses.  It is plain that Freedom Press copyrights their
publications to compromise with a world that has itself not moved "beyond
intellectual property."

Chapter 4, "Antisurveillance," examines the issue of the growing use of
surveillance technologies, including types of data collection not thought
of as "spying," as an issue of power imbalance.  Martin claims that the
regulation of surveillance by professional ethics and by government only
creates an illusion of protection.  Grass-roots activist alternatives to
reformist solutions are outlined, including various forms of surveillance
disruption and a larger program of replacing the social institutions that
have a need for surveillance stemming from their mode of organization.  The
suggested methods for surveillance disruption are particularly timely and

Chapter 5, "Free speech and bureaucracy," is concerned with the
bureaucratic control of information flow in organizations and with workers'
rights to free and open communication.  Martin takes the position that the
bureaucratic mode of organization is prone to corruption by systems of
power due to its hierarchical nature, and is interested in alternatives to
it.  His particular concern about bureaucratic systems is the way that they
lead to secrecy and restrictions against free speech and create an
environment that leaves the lone whistleblower isolated and disempowered.
Martin finds it difficult to challenge a bureaucracy effectively, the only
solution being collective action towards a clear alternative with a
long-term vision.  The role of information exchange in challenging
bureaucracy is given special attention.  Martin also invites action
research into ways of challenging bureaucracy and alternative ways of
organizing work.

Chapter 6, "Defamation law and free speech," is concerned with the way
defamation law, or slander and libel law, is used oppressively, and how to
challenge these oppressive uses.  Martin takes the position that defamation
law is not used primarily to protect people from unfair attack but to
hinder free speech and protect the powerful from scrutiny.  Attention is
paid to the practical issues of defending against a lawsuit under
defamation law.

Chapter 7, "The politics of research," is about the economics and
organizational structures that support professional researchers, and
determine what knowledge is created and how it will be used.  Strategies
for challenging existing patterns are given, including critical teaching
and research and community participation in research for practical ends.
Some of the potential problems here go unexamined, such as how to fund,
disseminate, and lend legitimacy to community-generated and directed
knowledge, and how the corrupting influence of power would be avoided if
these practical goals were attained.  These problems are of the type faced
at any point along the front lines of radical democratic work, and could be
addressed specifically by less general, more action-oriented works.  The
implicit answer to this type of question seems to be that if the structures
that lead to power imbalances were replaced new conditions would apply.

Chapters 8 and 9, "On the value of simple ideas" and "Celebrity
intellectuals," are concerned with the practical question of how people
think, and offer potentially helpful insights.  Martin finds it important
to begin with simple ideas that can be directly applied to empower people
where they are, and to build a social theory only secondarily, if at all,
on the basis of the simpler, functional ideas.  The phrase "ivory tower" is
not used, but the image is clear.  Complex ideas are inaccessible and not
as readily applicable as simple ideas.  The implications of this chapter
are not as clear as the implications of the rest of the book, as the point
is somewhat abstract.  I find myself wishing Martin had taken greater care
here to discourage anti-intellectualism and irrationalism.  Related to his
point in Chapter 8 is the idea in Chapter 9 that people must think for
themselves and in relation to their own needs rather than following the
orthodoxy of celebrity intellectuals.

Chapter 10, "Toward information liberation," is the concluding chapter, and
treats general issues such as how to move towards an alternative to
oppressive modes of information creation and use, working both inside and
outside the system, and working with others.  The spirit of this chapter is
encouraging and practical.  It is worth noting that in this work of radical
democracy, with its cautions against the pitfalls of reformist thinking,
the idea of revolution doesn't arise, the idea of gradually "living the
alternative" thoroughly in its place.

Martin's radical democratic position, like any political position, leads to
its share of difficulties and contradictions (such as how exactly a free
people, under the influence of the history that we are living today, could
be restrained from exploiting one another).  Martin deals with these to the
limited extent that it is appropriate in a book written for a popular
audience, going far enough to sketch the outlines of a radical alternative
but not far enough to fill in the details or answer potential critics with
the depth that one would find in a more narrowly focused or scholarly book.
The annotated references to other works are plentiful and helpful in this

Information Liberation is an excellent example of a book that libraries
should own, but probably will not.  By taking an admittedly extreme
position relating to the information society, the book functions as a tent
post, without which a library will be less capacious of mind and less able
to fulfill its purpose.  Aside from the need for a book like this to
complete a balanced collection, Martin might be right, and we would be
selling ourselves short to pursue a society where information is any less
free than he envisions.

The Freedom Press website is at

11. Hobart College commencement address, 1900

From Dinah Sanders:

Via Rageboy/Chris Locke (of & The Cluetrain Manifesto):

   John Jay Chapman
   Commencement address to the Graduating Class
   Hobart College, 1900

   When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to
   say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing
   to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will
   silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion,
   whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a
   university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power
   you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you
   take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart
   from this course you become dampers, mutes and hooded
   executioners. As a practical matter a mere failure to speak out
   upon occasions where no opinion is asked or expected of you, and
   when the utterance of an uncalled for suspicion is odious, will
   often hold you to a concurrence in palpable iniquity. Try to
   raise a voice that will be heard from here to Albany and watch
   what comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German
   sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the precinct. It is a note
   from a friend of your father's offering you a place in his
   office. This is your warning from the secret police. Why, if any
   of you young gentleman have a mind to make himself heard a mile
   off, you must make a bonfire of your reputations and a close
   enemy of most men who would wish you well. I have seen ten years
   of young men who rush out into the world with their messages, and
   when they find how deaf the world is, they think they must save
   their strength and wait. They believe that after a while they
   will be able to get up on some little eminence from which they
   can make themselves heard. "In a few years," reasons one of them,
   "I shall have gained a standing, and then I will use my powers
   for good." Next year comes and with it a strange discovery. The
   man has lost his horizon of thought. His ambition has evaporated;
   he has nothing to say. I give you this one rule of conduct. Do
   what you will, but speak out always. Be shunned, be hated, be
   ridiculed, be scared, be in doubt, but don't be gagged. The time
   of trial is always. Now is the appointed time.


  L I B R A R Y   J U I C E

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