Library Juice 8:11 - June 17, 2005


1. Reading recommendations for librarians?
2. Links....
3. Deprofessionalization and the proposed Policy on Inclusiveness
4. Shake it off, ALA - Respond to the Bush Administration
5. Open letter from GODORT to Superintendent of Documents on GPO problems

Quote for the week:

"...If you believe, as I do, that the difference between The Nation and
The National Review and The New York Times, in terms of ideology, is
that The Nation has the ideology of the liberal left, and the National
Review has the ideology of the conservative right, I would say The New
York Times Magazine - and the mainstream media write large - has the
ideology of the center, and it is part of the ideology of the center to
deny that it has an ideology."

Victor Navasky, publisher of The Nation magazine, in a radio interview
with Robert McChesney on WILL's Media Matters, May 15, 2005

Homepage of the week: Leslie Burger


1. Reading recommendations for librarians?

Library Juice readers...

I did something like this in 2001 and it worked very well. I asked
readers to write to me to tell me what they had been reading and to
send me a few paragraphs describing it or reviewing it. The results
were interesting and I published them in the following issue.

This time I'd like to ask you what titles you would recommend for
other librarians, in the sense of relating to our work profession.
They don't have to be Library Science titles, but they should be works
that have inspired you professionally or made you think about
librarianship more deeply or from a different angle.

So, send me your reading recommendations for librarians and library
students with short paragraphs telling us why you think we ought to
read these works. I'll publish them in the nex issue, two weeks from
this one.

Rory Litwin

2. Links....


Editorial: A Blaise with Indignation
Progressive Librarian 10/11, Winter 1995/96
(For bloggers interested in seeing who Blaise Cronin pissed off in the
mid 1990's)


Google Print links

Publisher's Weekly letter to Google
[ found in LJ academic newswire ]

AAUP letter to Google accusing their Google Print for Libraries program
of "systematic infringement of copyright on a massive scale."
[ found in LJ Academic Newswire ]

"Publishers Protest Google Library Project."
(Slashdot discussion)
[ Joe Esposito to Liblicense-l ]

Google Print, or knowledge is power
By Rüdiger Wischenbart
[ from Don Wood to IFACTION ]

Google's books online under fire [BBC News]
[ Library Link of the Day - ]

I thought you'd like to read this article
from LinuxInsider:
"Europeans Look To Start Alternative to Google Print"
[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]


Google Scholar reviews

Google Scholar (Redux)
Peter Jasco

Scientific impact quantity and quality: Analysis of two sources of
bibliographic data.
Richard K. Belew

[ sent by Bernie Sloan and Declan Butler to liblicense-l ]


"Reed Elsevier: more than your average information company"
(Reed Elevier involved in the arms trade)
CAATnews June/July 2005

[ Martyn Lowe to private recipients ]


States Seek to Change Library Rules
Friday, May 27, 2005
New York Blade

[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]


The Right Person for the Job
Library of Congress Accused of Withdrawing Job Offer After Applicant
Reveals Gender Change
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 2, 2005; Page B09

[ found on ]


Librarian stands up to FBI
Refuses to turn over list of users who checked out bin Laden book

[ sent anonymously to the anarchist librarians list ]


IRAQ: Iraqi journalists complain of censorship

[ sent by Tom Baxter to the PLG list ]


"WIPO has an online forum on intellectual property in the information
society going on right now, with ten position papers and room to comment.
So far I don't see many librarians participating (or in fact very many
participants at all) but we all certainly have a stake in where this is
headed. If you'd like to share your two cents' worth it's at: "

- Barbara Fister


" - News - Potential Battle Brews Over Gay History
Books In Schools"

[ Don Wood to IFACTION ]


World Libraries
Special issue on Cuba,
featuring the papers presented by the Cuban delegation to ALA/CLA
VOL. 13, NO. 1 & 2


Curious about "Radical Reference?"
Get the inside scoop on this experiment in distributed virtual reference
by reading their publicly archived listserv:


"The Measurable Impact of Recordkeeping on the Environment."
Terry D. Baxter, Records Management Analyst [ new on ]


Sustaining the Public Sphere in Libraries
Kathleen de la Peña McCook, Distinguished University Professor,
University of South Florida. From her monograph Introduction to
Public Librarianship. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2004.

[ from Don Wood to IFACTION ]


Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries
Human Events Online: The National Conservative Weekly

[ Martin Wallace to the PLG list ]


Read Nepal

[ sent by Mark Rosenzweig to ALA Member-Forum ]


The Hollywood Librarian upcoming actual movie, written by Ann Seidl

[ found on ]


[ found surfing ]

3. Deprofessionalization and the proposed Policy on Inclusiveness

Librarians have always been at least somewhat insecure about our
professional status - for psychological reasons, but not only for
psychological reasons. Our status as a profession has meaning for our
pay and class status, but, in a concrete way, also for the future of
libraries and the question of who will control them and to what ends.
Librarianship's status as a profession has always rested on somewhat
insecure foundations, and a number of processes are currently eroding
those foundations, with implications for the future of libraries.

We won our status as a profession primarily by instituting graduate
education requirements for employment. This was a conscious strategy
developed foremost in the Carnegie-commissioned Williamson Report of
1923. The purpose of trying to attain professional status for
librarians was not primarily so that librarians could feel better about
themselves or make more money, but so that we could claim to have the
type of expertise that justifies exerting our own control over our
institutions, over national library policies, and in our work lives.

The Williamson strategy was basically a success. Librarianship
established itself as a profession, and librarians successfully claimed
a high degree of control over their institutions and over national
policies affecting libraries. The American Library Association has been
the main vehicle for organizing to these ends in the United States as a

The matter of control of libraries has been a constant site of conflict
between parties. Librarians in institutions and at the national level
have always shared control with other power-holders, whether local
governments, university administrative bodies, or state and national
legislatures. Our claim to the right to a greater share of control of
our institutions rests on the claim that those outside the library
profession lack the knowledge to responsibly control our institutions.
That claim is supported by the graduate degree requirement for
employment, but its validity is always under question by competing
powers in the public arena.

Present trends are undercutting our independence and control as a
profession on a number of fronts. There is a new wave of legislation at
the state level that seeks to govern collection development policies in
public libraries. Pressure from funding agencies is leading to
declining commitment to high professional staffing ratios, and work
traditionally done by professional librarians is increasingly done by
less-educated, lower-paid and more controllable support staff. The
shift in staffing ratios makes libraries less able to make a successful
claim for self-governance, because library staffs have become, by the
numbers, less professional. This is happening in a cultural environment
in the United States of increasing skepticism towards professional
expertise and higher education in general, making our claim to
professional status more of an uphill battle than it has ever been.

This is an issue that should concern ALA, its divisions, and many of its
round tables, committees and offices, because it has implications for
ALA's ability to influence library policy and set standards at many
different levels. It has these implications because ALA's claim to the
right to influence policy and create standards and guidelines rests on
its status as a professional organization overseeing the graduate
professional requirements of librarianship.

This, I believe, is the proper context for looking at the proposed
"Policy on Inclusiveness and Mutual Respect" being brought to ALA
Council at the upcoming conference by the ALA Human Resources
Development and Recruitment Advisory Committee and the Library Support
Staff Interest Roundtable.

The gist of this proposed policy is to establish a language change in
ALA's communications, so that in discussions of policy and any business
of the association, "library workers" rather than "librarians" will be
referenced as the people whom ALA represents in its policy statements,
guidelines, standards, etcetera. The proposed policy provides for the
ability to make exceptions and refer to "librarians" where "librarians"
are specifically what is meant, but the default expression for the
people represented by ALA would be "library workers."

Inclusiveness and mutual respect are undeniably good things, and
promising them goes a long way to relieving the class-based guilt that
the new activism of the Library Support Staff Interest Round Table is
arousing among members of Council. It is unclear to me, however, what
this language change would really accomplish in terms of creating
genuine equality for support staff in libraries, since their employment
conditions are not altered by their being referred to along with
librarians as "library workers" in ALA's communications. What it seems
to me that it would do is to create a condescending pretense of equality
within ALA while at the same time weakening ALA's very useful claim to
represent the deliberative judgments of a professional group, whose
credibility is supported by the requirement of graduate-level education
in librarianship.

The proposed policy change may be well intentioned but should be
carefully considered in light of the context of the
deprofessionalization of librarianship and ALA's role as a professional
organization. On that basis I believe that the proposed policy change
should not be accepted by Council.

4. Shake it off, ALA - Respond to the Bush Administration

The vast majority of ALA members are aware and deeply concerned about
the changes that the Bush administration has brought and is bringing to
our country and to the world. The strength, momentum organization and
radicalism of the conservative movement has the American liberal
majority (don't forget the disproportionate political power of small
rural states) feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

The conservative movement and the Bush administration are pushing in a
number of directions at once, but there is a major complex of policy
developments, especially within the Bush administration, that concern
librarians directly. It is time for ALA members to shake off their
state of shock and intimidation and use their association to alert the
public to aspects of the Bush administration's behavior that concern
librarians and librarians' expertise and presently aren't reaching the
mainstream press. I am referring to the Bush administration's pursuit
of secrecy, propaganda and disinformation, which are unprecendented in
modern American presidential administrations.

Secrecy, propaganda and disinformation represent three core evils in
government from an information ethics point of view. As such, they are
the aspects of Bush administration policy and practice that ALA is
eminently justified in publicly addressing.

One of ALA's basic commitments, stated among its key priorities and
goals in its Constitution, is the wide availability of government
information. The Bush administration, through executive orders and
policy changes in the executive branch, has made itself into the most
secretive administration in modern times, undoing generations of
policies aimed at making government information generally accessible.
(For good documentation of these changes, see the website of the
Federation for the Advancement of Science's Project on Government
Secrecy, at .) If ALA's stated
goals have any meaning, it has a responsibility to address the
unprecedented secrecy of the Bush administration. The policy changes
that have made the secrecy of the Bush administration one of its key
defining characteristics have been virtually ignored by the mainstream
media. ALA has the ability to bring attention to this issue, and should
given its commitment to the accessibility of government information.

While it has implemented new measures to hide its activities, the Bush
administration has also gone to unprecendented lengths to control its
public image and the public's ideas about its actions through new levels
of propaganda and outright disinformation. From broadcast-ready "news"
stories that advertise administration positions, delivered to television
stations and put on the air (see David Barstow and Robin Stein, "Under
Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged Television News," New York Times, Sunday,
March 13th, 2005), to payments to journalists to report favorably on
administration policy priorities (see "Lawmakers Demand President Bush
to STOP Paying Journalists to Promote Administration Policies," Senators
Reid, Lautenberg, and Kennedy, January, 7th 2005), the Bush
administration has employed sophisticated, modern public relations
techniques (in an earlier day referred to as "propaganda" by industry
founders like Edward Bernays) to pursue its goals. When ALA states that
"government information should be widely and easily available," it is
presumably talking about accurate information and not spin. The Bush
administration's PR-as-information is fundamentally a form of
suppression of real government information, and this is something that
should be at the core of ALA's concerns and public activities.

The Bush adminisration hasn't stopped at spin, however. As we know
well, it distorted and manipulated intelligence in order to create a
case for going to war, pretending that this intelligence constituted its
reasons for going to war. I will spare readers a rehashing of the
numerous falsehoods on which the Bush administration has relied in
advancing and perpetuating its war in Iraq, pretending that these lies
were compelling reasons rather than the concocted justifications the
were in actuality, but simply refer to a good, carefully documented book
on the subject, David Corn's The Lies of George W. Bush (now out in
paperback from Three Rivers Press and published in hardcover by Crown in
2003). There's no matter more grave from the point of view of
librarians than the falsification of the human record, particularly when
it leads to consequences as serious as a the mess in Iraq and its
domestic fallout (which have direct implications for libraries and
should concern us on that score as well).

The advance of the conservative movement and the momentum of the Bush
administration are still shocking, but perhaps more shocking is the
failure of liberals to respond with more than feeble protests. That
failure is an intimate part of the success of the conservative movement
and the extreme ambition of the Bush administration to return us to
McKinley's America. We have to recognize our share of the
responsibility for what is happening, as private citizens and, for those
of us who are ALA members, as a professional association. In the time
of the waning public sphere, increasingly it is large associations of
people, representing classes, professions, and interest groups, who are
the real political actors. ALA should respond to the issue of the Bush
administration's secrecy, propaganda and disinformation, because nothing
has a greater or a more direct impact on an official ALA priority and
goal than this issue has on ALA's commitment to making government
information widely and easily accessible.

I urge ALA members to write to their chapter Councilors or to other ALA
Councilors whom they know to ask them make this an issue at the level of

5. Open letter from GODORT to Superintendent of Documents on GPO problems

[ALACOUN:15089] Fwd: GODORT questions for GPO regarding Information
Dissemination (SuDocs) activities
Date: Thu Jun 16 19:28:20 2005
From: "Cathy Hartman" <CHARTMAN[at]>
To: ALA Council List <alacoun[at]>

For those of you interested in current issues related to the Federal
Depository Library Program, see the open letter below sent to Judy
Russell, Superintendent of Documents, by John Stevenson, GODORT chair.
Ms. Russell will be speaking at the GODORT Update on Saturday, June 25,
in Chicago.

Cathy Hartman
GODORT Counselor

>>> varken[at] 6/16/2005 2:06 PM >>>

Dear Judy:

Rumors and unofficial postings to GOVDOC-L are making it clear that it's
not "business as usual" at GPO. Concerns are being raised about the
attentiveness of GPO to the business of providing public access to
current government information through the FDLP and Sales Programs.
GODORT members would like you address these financial health issues and
related questions when you speak at the GODORT update on Saturday, June

There are rumors that, while GPO boasts of financial success to
Congress, Information Dissemination actually has a budget shortfall in
the millions of dollars. Such a shortfall would explain the FDLP's
apparent reluctance to ride tangible distribution of materials,
including those that are not available online. Is there a shortfall, and
if so, what is being done to ensure that the program, including
distribution of important tangible items, continues?

The low distribution rates of tangible items has been mentioned on
GOVDOC-L (see "Dismal per centages for tangible format" at
posted Tue, 31 May 2005) but complaints that electronic titles reported
to GPO are also not being included in the program came up in GODORT's
spring DLC session (audio at ). Are
there official statistics regarding the number of print products being
distributed a year ago vs. today?

Are there problems at GPO? Serialists note that late and combined issues
of publications are often an indicator of trouble at the publisher. The
most recent Administrative Notes (posted on 5/23) covers April 15-May
15, 2005; the most recent Administrative Notes Technical Supplement
(ANTS) is dated February 28, 2005.

GPO's annual update to item selections, normally held through June and
July, is delayed without an explanation to the FDLP community. Since the
cycle is clearly late, may we have an explanation?

Rumors of large numbers of staff transfers out of Information
Dissemination (SuDocs), if confirmed, would help explain the delays in
publications and annual updates, since staff transfered out of the FDLP
area would then presumably be working on other projects for GPO. It
would also explain why PURL redirections (and other CRM questions) are
taking longer to solve. Are staff, especially from acquisitions and
cataloging areas, being transfered? If staff are transfered out of ID,
are the remaining staff be able to support the work of the FDLP at
acceptable levels? Has the FTE count in Information Dissemination plummeted?

Supporters of the FDLP want to ensure permanent public access to the
government information that is the core of the program. Projects to
digitize and catalog the previously distributed collections are
exciting, but what about the fugitive titles being produced today? What
resources does GPO need to make the FDLP work properly and can we help
secure the necessary resources?

In the absence of official GPO communication on these issues, we have
only symptoms and rumors. As libraries participating in the FDLP should
not be making management decisions on the basis of rumors, we ask that
you to address these issues and share facts at the GODORT Update.

Thank you for your consideration.


John A. Stevenson


ISSN 1544-9378

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