Library Juice 5:18 - May 9, 2002
- SRRT Newsletter #138
- When Shush Comes to Shove
- Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public
- The Amelia Bloomer List
- First Monday, vol. 7, no. 5 (May 2002)
- NRC report on "Youth, Pornography and the Internet"
- Mexico Passes Freedom of Information Law
- Not Censorship But Selection
- Autodafe, the Censored Library
- BookThing (wow)
- Peru Congressman responds to Microsoft
- Mr. Rosenzweig goes to Washington
- Rat Robot
Quote for the week:
"Libraries are what churches should be."
- posting to Metafilter by rushmc, in a thread about libraries -
Homepage of the week: Miriam Gan-Spalding
1. SRRT Newsletter #138
The new SRRT Newsletter, issue no. 138, is now on the web, at:
The newsletter includes:
Resolutions passed at the Midwinter Meeting
Al Kagan's ALA Council Report
A listing of new SRRT members
Sandy Berman News
"ALA Fights Bush Executive Order"
A message from the SRRT Coordinator
Other items of interest
2. When Shush Comes to Shove
Job-seekers, scholars, lunatics! The city's overcrowded, underfunded
libraries have become a war zone.
BY JADA YUAN
...Public libraries have long accommodated both scholars and snorers,
intellectuals and lunatics (yes, yes, often one and the same). But the old
regulars are finding they have little in common with library newcomers,
who tend to surf rather than study. One author who frequents the 42nd
Street branch says, "People get calls on their cell phones, and you can
tell it's about a job they've applied for. And you feel awkward because
you'd really like them to be quiet, but then again, it's someone's
livelihood." He adds, "It feels like it's no longer your place. "
And some regulars are fighting back. Johnny Lew, a 31-year-old grad student
in nineteenth-century American travel literature, practically got in a
fistfight after shushing someone who was chatting about apartment
listings. "I didn't want to succumb to that stereotype that I'm just a
geek so I'm gonna back down," he says. "I told him, 'I can't concentrate.'
And he told me I should get a blood transfusion to get out all my hate.
Then I really couldn't concentrate. So I said, 'Do you have a problem with
me?' And he said, 'Yeah.' And I said, 'Well, what do you want to do about
it?' He stood up: 'What do I want to do about it? What do you want to do
about it?' I just glared and said, 'What do I want to do? I just want to
3. Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public
By Dan Gillmor
San Jose Mercury News Technology Columnist
This article is easier to summarize than to annotate with a quotation.
Dan Gillmor lays out the various ways entertainment/media companies
are trying to restrict the use of new technologies so that they will have
control of what you watch and read (specifically, they want to force you to
spend quality time with their advertisers).
A good little read.
Note: some newspapers are asserting a policy that says linking to
individual articles, like this one, is illegal, because it lets readers
skip the ads on the front page.
4. The Amelia Bloomer List
A few years ago, a book by Shana Carey introduced nineteenth-century
feminist activist Amelia Bloomer to the picture-book crowd. Published in
2000, YOU FORGOT YOUR SKIRT, AMELIA BLOOMER! uses humor and history to
bring the life and work of this pioneering newspaper editor, feminist
thinker, public speaker, and suffragist to a new generation.
In the spirit of Amelia Bloomer, the Feminist Task Force of the Social
Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association proudly
announces the first annual Amelia Bloomer List, a bibliography of
appealing feminist books for young readers from birth to 18. Books
eligible for this award must have been published in the United States
during the 18 months prior to the selection in January of each year.
Set from prehistoric times to the present, these books, both fiction
and nonfiction, provide role models of stong, capable, creative women.
They introduce children growing up in the South during the Civil Rights
Movement, photographers on the cutting edge of their times, young women
surviving in today's Afghanistan, and pioneers in the fields of flyinig
and space exploration. Others feature girls who outwit dragons, create
petroglyphs to save a tribe, and train to win battles.
From a picture book using bear hair and other earthen materials in its
illustrations to a biography written in graphic-novel format, these books
show girls and women exploring exciting ways to solve practical dilemmas
through the courage of their convictions. All of them spur the
imagination and expand the limits of dreams while confronting traditional
female stereotypes. And best of all, these books are fun reading!
For more information, please contact Jennifer Baltes, Amelia Bloomer
Project facilitator, at jenny_baltes[at]hotmail.com or (443) 386-5268.
5. First Monday, vol. 7, no. 5 (May 2002)
The May 2002 issue of First Monday (volume 7, number 5) is now
available at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue7_5/
Table of Contents and abstracts.
Volume 7, Number 5 - May 6th 2002
In Dedication: Sharon Hogan, 1945-2002
This issue of First Monday is dedicated in memory of Sharon Hogan,
University Librarian at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sharon was a
member of First Monday's Editorial Board and a strong advocate of First
Monday and Internet publishing.
Sharon Hogan, university librarian at the University of Illinois at
Chicago (UIC) and a national leader in the transformation of libraries into
information retrieval systems, died Saturday, April 27, in Arizona
following a brief illness. She was 57.
Building Digital Communities: Web-Wise 2002
Papers from the Third Annual Conference on Libraries and Museums in
the Digital World sponsored by the U.S. Institute for Museum and
Library Services (IMLS) and Johns Hopkins University, 20-22 March
Digital Collections, Digital Libraries and the Digitization of
Cultural Heritage Information
by Clifford Lynch
This paper is based on the transcript of a largely extemporaneous keynote
address given at the Web-Wise 2002 Conference on March 20, 2002 at Johns
Hopkins University. It has been edited, but it preserves the character of
an informal talk rather than a formal paper. I have taken the opportunity
to expand upon or clarify a few points, and have also added a few footnotes
and pointers to additional information on some of the topics discussed.
Parts of the question and answer segment that were captured as part of the
transcript have also been included, though I've had the advantage of being
able to reconsider some of my answers while the questioners have not had
that opportunity; my apologies to them.
Rochester Images: From Institutional to Production Models of Collaboration
by Rodney Perry
Collaboration is a popular institutional strategy that brings a number of
well-known benefits. As an institutional strategy, however, collaborations
easily create "arms' length" activities and lose focus on essential
creative and artistic processes. These processes flourish in small working
groups, creating unique and innovative combinations of institutional
disciplines and skills. This brief summary presents several elements that
are necessary for the creation of effective working collaborations and
provides a summary of the characteristics of institutional and production
Voices: Bringing Multimedia Museum Exhibits to the World Wide Web
by Matthew Nickerson
Recent user studies analyzing the patrons of Web museums have discovered
that a majority are seeking exhibits that go beyond a database of disparate
objects. Visitors to virtual museums are looking for guided tours and
exhibits that take advantage of new technologies and present information in
a way that helps them to understand and appreciate the artifacts in their
artistic and historical context. Voices of the Colorado Plateau is a new
cultural heritage Web site featuring oral history recordings and historical
images that seeks to tell compelling, personal stories that invitepatrons
to do less clicking and
Museums in the Online Archive of California (MOAC): Building Digital
Collections Across Libraries and Museums
by Robin L. Chandler
Providing a context for establishment of the Museum Online Archive of
California (MOAC) project funded by IMLS, this article describes the
history and recent development of the Online Archive of California (OAC)
and its mandate to create digital content and make it accessible online.
The article explores the contributions of MOAC to the OAC including
pioneering implementation of EAD in the museum community, development of
standards and best practices, creation of metadata tools, and inclusion of
complex digital objects.
Museums and the Online Archive of California
by Richard Rinehart
The Online Archive of California (OAC) is a digital information resource
that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts,
photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and
other institutions across California. "Museums and the Online Archive of
California " (MOAC) is a series of projects enabling museums to participate
in the OAC. This paper describes MOAC from an operational as well as
theoretical point of view, forming a case study in large-scale integration
of access to museum and archival materials.
Feeding America: Lessons from a Project Demonstration
by Michael Seadle
"Feeding America" is a two-year Institute of Museum and Library Services
(IMLS) funded project. The project began in October 2001 and was first
demonstrated at the Web-Wise 2002 conference in Baltimore in March 2002.
Three lessons emerged from the Web-Wise demonstration, and other public
discourse. The first has to do with reading, the second with technology,
and the third with enhancements.
Creating a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections
by Timothy W. Cole
Digitization project funding agencies, like the Institute of Museum and
Library Services (IMLS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), must
give substantial weight to these same factors when assessing programs and
evaluating project proposals. A Digital Library Forum convened by the IMLS
and working in collaboration with participants from the NSF's National
Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library
program has released a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital
Collections to serve as a resource for practitioners and funding
agencies... This paper describes the context and development of the
Framework, briefly presents the major principles articulated in the
Framework, and concludes with remarks regarding the immediate impacts of
the work accomplished by the IMLS Digital Library Forum and a call for the
continued development and maintenance of the Framework.
vPlants: a Virtual Herbarium of the Chicago Region
by Matthew Schaub and Christopher P. Dunn
Three major botanical institutions, the Morton Arboretum, Field Museum of
Natural History, and Chicago Botanic Garden, are developing an online
searchable herbarium (vPlants, or "virtual plants") that will provide
herbarium specimen data and digital images of specimens and labels to
anyone with Internet access. This Web-based system will include a "portal,"
housed at the Morton Arboretum, and three separate databases housed at and
maintained by each participating institution. This virtual herbarium will
be designed using state-of-the-art computer and Web-based technology,
current standards for the searching and retrieving of data sets, ease of
accessibility by any user, and ease of future expansion (enlarged data sets
as well as new participants).
6. NRC report on "Youth, Pornography and the Internet"
[PUBLIB] Fwd: IT: NRC report on "Youth, Pornography and the Internet"
Date: Sat, 4 May 2002 10:17:45 -0700 (PDT)
From: Seth Finkelstein <sethf[at]sethf.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <publib[at]sunsite.berkeley.edu>
Reply to: sethf[at]sethf.com
Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 13:33:52 -0400
From: Seth Finkelstein <sethf[at]sethf.com>
To: "Seth Finkelstein's InfoThought list" <infothought[at]sethf.com>
Subject: IT: NRC report on "Youth, Pornography and the Internet"
[I submitted testimony to the NRC panel. A related paper I co-authored
with Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien, is at
"Blacklisting Bytes", Seth Finkelstein and Lee Tien,
The NRC report on "Youth, Pornography and the Internet"
is now available on the web. It's at:
The executive summary is at:
Contrary to statements often made in the political debate, the issue
of protecting children from inappropriate sexually explicit material
and experiences on the Internet is very complex. Individuals have
strong and passionate views on the subject, and these views are often
mutually incompatible. Different societal institutions see the issue
in very different ways and have different and conflicting priorities
about the values to be preserved. Different communities--at the
local, state, national, and international levels--have different
perspectives. Furthermore, the technical nature of the Internet has
not evolved in such a way as to make control over content easy to
Seth Finkelstein Consulting Programmer sethf[at]sethf.com http://sethf.com
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought list - http://sethf.com/infothought/
articles related to the Internet porn study (from Nanette Perez):
"ILLWeb is a gateway to electronic and print resources
pertaining to all aspects of interlibrary loan (ILL), document
delivery, and resource sharing. Designed to be
comprehensive and international in scope, ILLWeb features
links to resources that will help practitioners locate materials
for their clientele, manage the ILL process, and keep up
with developments in the profession."
From: Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org/
8. Mexico Passes Freedom of Information Law
National Security Archive Update, May 2, 2002
Mexico City, 2 May 2002 - On April 30, after weeks of debate, negotiations,
and some last minute grandstanding, the Mexican Senate unanimously approved
the country's first freedom of information law. The 86-0 vote followed six
days after a unanimous vote in the House, and ushers in a landmark piece of
legislation aimed at guaranteeing the public's right to request and receive
information from all three branches of government.
The Archive is posting the full Spanish text of the new law, to update its
earlier posting of the proposals submitted to Congress by the civil society
collective, Grupo Oaxaca (last October), and the Fox administration (in
December). Watch this space for a forthcoming English translation and
further analysis of the final law.
9. Not Censorship But Selection
By Lester Asheim
Liberty or Control?
...Selection, then, begins with a presumption in favor of liberty of
thought; censorship, with a presumption in favor of thought control.
Selection's approach to the book is positive, seeking its values in the
book as a book, and in the book as a whole. Censorship's approach is
negative, seeking for vulnerable characteristics wherever they can be
found-- anywhere within the book, or even outside it. Selection seeks to
protect the right of the reader to read; censorship seeks to protect--
not the right-- but the reader himself from the fancied effects of his
reading. The selector has faith in the intelligence of the reader; the
censor has faith only in his own.
In other words, selection is democratic while censorship is authoritarian,
and in our democracy we have traditionally tended to put our trust in the
selector rather than in the censor. We treasure our freedom and we trust
those who demonstrate a similar desire to protect it, although we are
sometimes deluded for a time by those who only profess a devotion to our
liberties. While we are willing to defer to the honest judgment of those
in special fields whose knowledge, training, and special aptitude fit them
to render these judgments, we demand that those to whom we delegate such
authority shall demonstrate the virtues which are the basis of that trust.
In the last analysis, this is what makes a profession: the earned
confidence of those it serves. But that confidence must be earned, and it
can be only if we remain true to the ideals for which our profession
stands. In the profession of librarianship, these ideals are embodied, in
part at least, in the special characteristics which distinguish selection
from censorship. If we are to gain the esteem we seek for our profession,
we must be willing to accept the difficult obligations which those ideals
10. Autodafe, the Censored Library
This site features translations of writings from five continents
"with the goal of disseminating censored literary works
through which it will give a voice to those people and their
experiences which have been silenced, to cultures which are
fading and to languages that are in danger of disappearing."
In English and French; some materials available in other
languages. Includes information about the International
Parliament of Writers, which provides "tangible support for
writers victimized by persecution."
From: Librarians' Index to the Internet - http://lii.org/
11. BookThing (wow)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the books really free?
What's the catch?
All the books you take have to be stamped, "Not for Resale."
That's it, though.
What's the suggested donation? A smile.
Is there a limit to how many books I can take?
You can only take 150,000 per day per person.
When are you open?
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. There is a drop-off bin by
the entrance for after-hours donations.
Where do you get all of your books?
We get them from businesses, organizations, and individuals who no
longer have any need for them.
How can I help?
Check out the volunteer sign-up and info or our wish list.
Can I give you books?
We love presents... Donations are always welcome. You can bring books
and magazines when you come to browse, or drop them off after-hours
in the bin by the entrance.
Can I ship you books?
We love gifts in the mail, too...You can ship books to
The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.
2637 St. Paul StreetBaltimore, Maryland, 21218
The Book Thing of Baltimore, Inc.
PO Box 2197
Baltimore, Maryland, 21203
Do you sell books?
On occasion, with the permission of the donor, we may sell a book.
All proceeds from the sale are used to cover overhead and
expenses. We sell fewer than .0002% of the books we receive.
Do you have _________ by __________ from the year ________?
We move such a large volume of books that it is difficult for us to keep
track of what we have! Your best bet is to come down and look for yourself.
Our volunteers can point you in the right direction. Besides, the search is
half the fun - who knows what else you might find.
...And the books are free?
12. Peru Congressman responds to Microsoft
Date: Sun, 5 May 2002 00:40:03 -0700
From: nbs <nbs[at]sonic.net>
Cc: lug-nuts[at]saclug.org, roselug[at]groups1.vip.scd.yahoo.com
Reply to: lug-nuts[at]saclug.org
This is a hilarious read, in my opinion. It isn't WRITTEN to sound funny,
but I can easily imagine that the fellow who wrote this was smirking a lot
To sum it up (it was on Slashdot today), there's a Bill in Peru which would
require all software used by the state to be "free" (eg, non-proprietary).
Someone from Microsoft's Peru offices wrote a letter against it, and this
congressman picks it apart, and brings up some VERY excellent points.
One of favorite quotes is:
In addition, a reading of your opinion would lead to the conclusion that
the State market is crucial and essential for the proprietary software
industry, to such a point that the choice made by the State in this bill
would completely eliminate the market for these firms.
13. Mr. Rosenzweig goes to Washington
My microfilm matinee at the Library of Congress
by Mark Rosenzweig
I had occasion in the last few weeks to visit the Library of Congress
in Washington, DC in order to view a most controversial microfilm
collection. I arrived unannounced as patrons are known to do at
times, even at the microfilm reading room, knowing full well what I
was looking for and (approximately) where I was going to find it.
Actually finding the reading room was another matter. Security was,
as they say these days, impressive and one felt like one was visiting
the Pentagon or the CIA rather than a library. Post 9/11 you know.
Forms to fill out, questions to answer, ID's needed, just to get in
the door. After the form-filling at the desk one was sent to a
special 'waiting' room to get ones own spiffy photo ID made (that
took about twenty minutes) which, inelegantly, one had to wear on the
premises. It's the kind of thing that doesn't 'go' with anything and
makes you feel like the manager at a K-mart.
Fortunately no one in my small group of cohorts looked like an 'Arab'
(probably would have been strip searched!) or had religious reasons
for objecting to graven images (photo IDs) being produced. My own mug
shot on my LC ID was unpleasant-looking enough that it should have
been banned on aesthetic if not religious grounds. Of course we had
to then 'check' every thing at yet another location not exactly next
door or in the direction we wanted to go.
The instructions to get from this check-room to the microfilm reading
room were so complex that we quite soon were lost in this
fluorescent-lit underground maze of institutional
grey-green-brown-blech hallways, devoid of what we in the library
business call 'signage'. So weary were we at what turned out to be
halfway that we viewed the sudden appearance of a snack shop
concession in the middle of nowhere, a place of absolutely anonymous
rows of office doorways and blank walls, as a mirage, while visions
of coffee and donuts danced in our fevered heads. The coffee was
real, however, at least in the sense of not being an hallucination
induced by flickering fluorescent light in an airless environment, at
least lukewarm and tasted like it was only a week old and for the
lucky among us at least some of the donuts plopped decisively from a
rotating carousel machine, stale and singularly unappealing. But by
this point, already an hour into our odyssey from the entrance we
needed whatever sustenance could be had.
The remainder of the trip, with many exciting detours and wrong
turns, will be the subject of my lecture at the Explorers' Club next
month and so I won't comment on the environmental peculiarities and
geographical anomalies of the underground journey further at this
point except to note that we ran into only a few indigenous peoples
and some scurrying wildlife familiar to New Yorkers as a species
often fought at close range with a spray can in even the better
households and whose much larger, friendlier and more aggressive
brothers inhabit the subways of New York in numbers which make the
squeamish shiver to contemplate.
This was, to be sure, not a casual visit, and so I couldn't fully
enjoy the journey (nor photograph it, as our cameras, tape recorders
etc were all confiscated at the check point), preoccupied as I was
with my mission, an important part of my pursuit of fairness and
justice in an ethical and legal dispute with the LC over their
exclusive holding of certain material, the terms under which they are
being held, the circumstances in which they were obtained and the
conditions placed on their use.
The microfilm collection in question is a supposedly single,
restricted copy of previously unavailable papers of an existing US
political party--the CPUSA -- a party which was the subject of an
almost perpetual witch-hunt from the 1919 Palmer Raids through the
'better dead than Red' decades of jailings, deportations, executions,
black-listings, career-bustings, family-destroyings,
reputation-shatterings, privacy-invasions, frame-ups, slanders and
gossip-mongerings, to the downright deadly COINTELPRO covert
operations of the 60s and 70s, original papers nonetheless of a
legitimate American political party which ended up in post-Soviet
Russia when that federation fell and to which the present government
of that country claims ownership (without any documentation of such
claim). These papers, in what they call 'fond 515', of this still
operative US political party sent to the then-Soviet Union for
safekeeping, represented a large, significant, valuable collection of
original material from 1919 to 1944.
These materials had never been properly accessioned in Russia (or the
USSR), receipt legally acknowledged or ownership legally transferred
to the auspices of either the Soviet or certainly the post-Soviet
government archival establishment, which latter claims complete
As the Director of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies
(RCMS) < http://marxistlibrary.org/ >
in New York City, I'm the legally designated superintendent of (among
other things) the libraries of books , periodicals and pamphlets, the
manuscripts, documents, indexes, catalogs, photo collections, films,
videos, sound recordings, special collections of realia, art work, of
the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) and its predecessor
organizations, as well as its affiliated mass organizations and its
publications. I bear principle responsibility for the collection, its
preservation, arrangement , description, cataloging, reprography,
rights, access, promotion and reference services -- on-site and
remote -- to these holdings (that is, those which were not legally
endowed upon other archives, libraries, museums. or historical
societies, as much of it has been, on an ad hoc, but legal, basis
over the years). I hold this responsibility as the chief executive
officer of a not-for-profit educational institution registered as
such by the State of New York whose Board of Directors has employed
me as a librarian, archivist and manager of a public-access research
facility. You don't need a photo-id to get in and you don't need to
tell me in writing everything about you before I serve you as a
The greatest part of this organization's material, which is not -- to
say the least -- under my control, is held in Washington DC, not far
from the Library of Congress, by the FBI, which it had stealthily and
illegally stolen or copied and/ or partially or totally destroyed
and /or falsified and or/or disfigured, 'acquired', so to speak, by
US government spies and informers since 1919, probably the greatest
secret collection of all of this dissident political organization's
historical documentation (as well as the documentation of the
government's maniacally intense sureveillance of the organization's
individual members, all friends of members, family of members,
sympathizers of causes of members, attendees of events sponsored by
members, of their habits, their love lives, the books they checked
out of the library, who they had a drink with, information
meticulously collected yet only very minimally and with great
difficulty obtainable by legitimate researchers, the public, or even
the individuals whose records they are, whose lives they document in
their peculiar way, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),
which presupposes -- need I say?-- that you already know (with some
specificity) that it is there when you request it, and which is
allowed to be released, even to the individual parties whose papers
they are, only in heavily 'redacted' (censored) form under the best
There is a longish list of reasons for redaction which is straight
out of Kafka. But that is another story.
I will not here recount either the hoarding of illegally obtained
materials by the FBI or the issues involved in the on-going dispute
between the Reference Center for Marxist Studies with me as director,
the Library of Congress with James Billington (a gouty academic
anti-Communist 'conspiracy theorist' -- of renown if not repute -- as
Director); his employee, the sub-academic archivist John Earl Haynes
(who bought this pirated, purloined material at Billington's behest
in (poor quality) microfilm from unethically entrepreneurial Russian
archivists without so much as contacting or recognizing the
legitimacy of the existing organization whose papers they actually
are (the CPUSA) nor consideration of the possibility which he -- and
the LC's lawyers -- absolutely refuses to consider -- that they, my
client, the CPUSA, had a legitimate interest in the matter; the
Russian Government Archive of Social and Political History, known by
visiting scholars (and written-up in the literature) as an
institution in utter disarray and riven with corruption), and, last
of all, the toothless Society of American Archivists (SAA). It's a
ripping yarn but the last stitch is far from tied: you can read about
it elsewhere and I hope you do.
This deals with something else librarians might find amusing.
Having finally found the microfilm reading room where this material I
was interested in was held, I went to the reference desk with my
friends, one a Princeton graduate with an MA in Russian and Soviet
Studies and fluent in Russian, brought along in case there were
translation issues and because I needed some jocular company, the
other someone with some knowledge of intellectual property issues.
We all three had to fill out forms including stating what we were
there to research. We got one copy of what was called a provisional
finding aid telling what was on what roll of microfilm and stating,
in the introduction, mysteriously, that there was, in fact, a finding
aid in Russian but they didn't have a copy and it hadn't been
translated 'yet' (it would help to have a copy to translate it and
there are actually people here doing research -- like the friend I
brought along -- who could have read it).
We then were asked to sign yet another form agreeing to stipulations
made by the Russians (!) on the use of the material, stipulations
which were unusual indeed, especially given it was (a) not their
material and (b) they were requesting things which were ethically
questionable in terms of the Society of American Archivists' Code of
Ethics, making it dubious for the LC to hold the copy of the material
under those conditions. Most unusual was ceding to the Russians the
right to decide who could use the material for what purposes in what
form -- especially since it was my client's material.
I asked as pseudo-innocently as possible (I'm not a great actor)
whether this form I and my friends had to sign was typical of signed
conditions for the use of others of their collections.
Without a moments hesitation the person at the desk said "No, just
this one". Nonplussed (and looking it every bit), I foolishly asked
if this didn't seem odd to him, at which point he realized he had
better refer me and my pals to higher authorities. He asked if I
would like to speak with archivist John Earl Haynes who was 'in
charge' of the material. I said "Not particularly, but if I did, when
would he be available." Oh, he would be in next week. Thanks but I
wasn't staying that long.
The head of Reference was available after lunch however and I was
welcome to speak with her. I said I would consider that, but in the
meantime would like to see the microfilm. And, "by the way, does this
department have a 'patron confidentiality policy' ?"
Not to his knowledge. I suggested that it was highly unlikely that it
didn't. What about LC as a whole? Not as far as he knew, but he would
check and get back to me. Did he know what was going to happen with
the forms we had filled out? No.
As my friends and I huddled around a microfilm reader/printer with
the boxes of film we had requested as samples of what LC had
advertised as the 'secret archives of the American Communist Party
(sic)' in its press release, we marvelled at the way in which a
microfilmed 'archive' made research about as difficult as possible
and that one lost the sense of the connection of things and their
context. Finding the provisional finding aid of very little
provisional help, we sampled parts of the collection just to get a
sense of it. This I will save for some other occasion. But suffice it
to say I was more convinced than ever that it belonged in its
original and copy in the hands of the organization whose activities
generated it, especially provided they were willing to make it
appropriately accessible (as they were).
At some point a friendly reference librarian comes over and says she
understands I had some questions about policy.
I told her, indeed, I was interested in seeing the patron records
confidentiality policies either of the unit or of the LC as a whole.
I explained that I was a librarian active in ALA and that many fellow
librarians were concerned with confidentiality of patron records
especially in the context of the new USA PATRIOT Act, thinking that
would jog her into action. Puzzled, she said she would look into it.
A half hour later she returned to say they seemed to have no such
policies in print, but she would take my contact information and get
back to me about it.
I thought it was the kind of thing almost any library had at the
reference desk or certainly could produce relatively easily upon
request. I was wrong, at least about the LC.
Finishing up, we returned the material, bid the staff good-by, and
reminded them they were going to get back to me with the answer to my
inquiry. Within a half and hour we managed to find our way to the
place we had checked all our worldly goods and then some time later
to the street, feeling relieved to have emerged from the dingy
labyrinth and breathing relatively fresh air again.
Weeks passed and from my office in NYC, not having received any
message from the microfilm department's staff or management in answer
to my simple patron inquiry, I e-mailed them several times reminding
them. They never responded.
However, I finally got a formal letter from an Assistant Legal
Counsel of the LC. How high up this simple query had gone!
With some irritation I was told not what their patron records
confidentiality policy was but what their access policy was. It was
apparently not something which staff or management seemed to know or
patrons likely to interested in. Furthermore, it was not what I asked
about either! I explained in a response that I was interested in the
patron records confidentiality policy, which was not coterminous
with the apparently well-hidden access policy.
The Assistant Legal Counsel of LC responded that the question of
confidentiality was covered in the US Code of Federal Regulations and
I could find that... at the library.
Well, it took a highly-paid lawyer to answer (however misguidedly,
inadequately and inappropriately, at that) a question that any
reference librarian should have been able to answer. I guess that's
Washington, DC for you or one of the things that makes the Library of
Congress so special.
14. Rat Robot
Boston Globe: Scientists Produce 'Ratbot' - First Radio-Controlled Animal
New Zealand Herald: New York Scientists Unveil Robo-rat
Considerations for the 2002 Farm Bill
Farm Bill Network Information on Use of USDA Conservation Programs
Intro to Jose Delgado
Dr. Jose M. R. Delgado
Scientist have created the world's first radio-controlled animal by wiring a
computer chip directly into the brain of a living rat. The rats, each wired
with three hair-fine electrical probes to their brains, can be directed by
remote control by an operator typing commands on a computer up to 500 meters
(1,640 feet) away. Developed by Sanjiv Talwar at the State University of New
York and colleagues, this latest discovery in machine-based mind control not
only responds to a user's commands, but also transmits a sense of touch.
"The animal is not only doing something -- it's feeling something," said
Talwar, who also suggests the rats might be used as scouts for sniffing out
hidden land mines or for search and rescue teams that look for survivors
amid rubble. Unlike clunky machines, Talwar reveals that rats have the
ability to travel adeptly over rough terrain and, therefore, might be more
easily deployed in chaotic environments. Last year, the US Department of
Agriculture adopted regulations that might someday limit such experiments if
they're shown to cause unnecessary harm or stress to laboratory rats and
mice. However, an amendment to the Farm Bill, now pending in Congress, would
repeal these protections. Sen. Jess Helms (R-SC) inserted the amendment in
February that would scuttle any protections for laboratory rodents or birds.
Helms asserted the regulations would only lead to cumbersome paperwork.
"Isn't it far better for the mouse to be fed and watered in a clean
laboratory than to end up as a tiny bulge being digested inside an enormous
Mind control research projects is nothing new to the scientific world. In
the 1960s, Yale physiologist Jose Delgado proved he could influence the mood
and actions of animals through remote control. In one famous demonstration,
Delgado stood, unarmed, in front of a charging bull. As the bull bore down
on him, Delgado flicked a switch on a small radio transmitter that sent
charges to electrodes implanted inside the bull's brain, causing the animal
to immediately brake to a halt and meekly walk away. Delgado also
experimented with monkeys and cats, and generated horror when he suggested
the technology could be used to limit obsessive and criminal behavior in
human societies. For recent press releases on the rat robot phenomenon,
viewers may access the first two links listed above. The third link gives
information on the status of the 2002 Farm Bill, as well as other major
bills. The fourth link provides information from the US Department of
Agriculture Farm Bill on use of USDA conservation programs. Finally, the
last two links provide information on Jose Delgado's research and practices.
From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2002.
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