Thursday, December 02, 2010

How important will Google Editions be?

We have been waiting for this for quite a long time. I have written before about the Big G's promised book distribution platform. It looks as though the launch at the end of December might really be on this time, though Google Editions has been promised since summer 2010.

But what is Google Editions? The Wall Street Journal (12/1/10) explains that, "Google Editions hopes to upend the existing e-book market by offering an open, "read anywhere" model that is different from many competitors. Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets."

So, where Amazon's Kindle model is one bookstore (you can only buy ebooks from the Kindle Store) to many devices (mostly the Kindle,but increasingly you can read these ebooks on smartphones etc.) Google's model  is more of an hour glass. Many stores, all purchased ebooks stored in your Google account in the cloud, read on many devices.

GeekBeatTV thinks this will be big because of Google's dominance in search. Many independent booksellers seem to think it will be their route round Amazon and Apple and their entry point into e-book sales. The WSJ in the article linked above indicates that publishers are signed up and transferring files of ebooks, so this could be big because one of the main impediments to e-book use on any one device is the inability to get the full range of titles a reader wants. If Google can get most publishers involved and display content on most devices this could be quite useful.

But, and this is a big but, there seems no place for libraries in all this. Everything is based around the individual  and their Google account. I suppose we just have to wait for the ultimate resolution of the Google Book Settlement and the final  cost of the institutional subscription.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

QR codes

I mentioned QR codes earlier in this blog, and lo and behold, one of our librarians, Susan Montgomery, has made great use of them! I have asked her to guest blog, Here goes....

QR stands for "Quick Response" and is a matrix barcode which smartphone and mobile phones users scan with their phone. If your phone doesn't have a scanner, you can download the app. QR codes were developed in 1994 by Densa-Wave, a Toyota subsidiary. Companies have been using them to provide easy access to their products and services. For libraries, we can provide access to relevant information that interest our users.
QR codes are easy to create. For these, I used Kaywa Code Generator. The code can link people to websites, videos, text messages and even phone numbers. If you haven't had a chance to see the QR codes at Olin, no worries! I've pasted them here for you to see. I think you'll enjoy what you see.
Enjoy and now you know what these weird looking designs mean.
Scan it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More on the future of the book

The transformation of the book continues.As I wrote in an earlier post I think digital technologies and their ability to add multimedia to text will change the nature of the book. But I had not thought about this variation. Stephen Elliott, a writer, has produced a book as app that enables the interactivity that is such a feature of the web. As the NYT article puts it,

"Once readers buy the app, he says, they are beginning a relationship with him and other readers; they can leave comments and read responses and updates from the author. They may even be told down the line that he has a new book for sale and then be able to buy it through the app."

Again, we see the book in digital form seems to inexorably move away from quiet individual reading and communion with the author's words and towards a more social, shared, collective experience.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who is that guy in the library?

21010 is the 125th anniversary of Rollins and the 25th anniversary of the Olin Library so we are celebrating. We thought it might be fun to populate the library with some ghosts of libraries past. So Susan Montgomery and her group of display mavens are busy dressing mannequins in appropriate clothes (and giving them appropriate information accoutrements.)Here is Darla Moore working on the 1960's era student.

Did you know the first African American students enrolled at Rollins in 1966? I personally find that shockingly late, but I suppose that is part of the point of the display.

If you wander round the library before November 7th you will also find models from the 1880's, the 1930's and one from 2010 lurking in various spots.

Gotta love the cool Malcolm X shades! Kudos to Susan, Darla, Marina, Shawne, Cathleen, and Kim Griffis for a great job.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Excellent customer service like a beagle on a woodchuck.

One of the fun parts of my job is to read and respond to all the comments we receive from users. I respond to each one, then we place the comment and the response on the plasma screen outside the library and archive them on the website. I send my responses to each person who leaves an e-mail. But then the fun begins. When a user mentions a staff person or department in a positive way, we congratulate that person and often give them a pickle pin as well. This time I got to congratulate two of our student workers, Allia Alli and Steven

One user described Allia as a librarian. In my response I wrote that she was something far more impressive: a Rollins student! Here she is with Patti Haley and Pat Grall of Circulation.

Steven wins for garnering the most creative comment, he "tracked that book down like a beagle on a woodchuck." This is our new standard in customer service! Here he is with a whole bunch of us.

From Drop Box

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Now This Is What I Am Talking About!

Alexander Street Press just announced that you can download clips from their Dance and Opera in Video databases to your iPhone or Android.

If you read this blog you know I think mobile devices are going to play a big part in your library future. This is exactly the kind of functionality that I have been envisaging.

You search their databases, click on the mobile phone icon next to the record, up pops a screen where you can scan a QR code or type in your phone number,

and a link to the video download appears on your phone. Hit play. They have managed to design this so that it is about as easy as viewing a video on the Onion Network. Brilliant.

Why would students or faculty want to do this? Maybe the student has been asked to bring an example to class or wants to show an example of a particular genre to a study group, or a topic comes up during office hours (in the Bookmark Cafe) and the instructor was to show the student an example.

Give it a try, but be warned we have a limit of 3 simultaneous users on these two databases at Rollins.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Going forward with Georgia State lawsuit

Kevin Smith discusses the latest ruling in the Georgia State copyright case (which concerns course reserves and fair use)in this post Going forward with Georgia State lawsuit.

He highlights three points that I will excerpt here (but, really, read the whole thing.)

First, ... Judge Evans includes a substantial discussion of the economics that underlie providing course materials to students. She acknowledges statements from several faculty depositions that they would not ask students to buy the books excerpted in e-reserves if that option were not available and also that they would not use many of the readings if a licensing fee were necessary. ... the upshot seems to be that a ruling against fair use would have significant negative social consequences and little real benefit for the plaintiffs. ...

Second, ... the Judge is following the Supreme Court precedent that says that a technology does not show “culpable intent” if it is “capable of significant non-infringing uses.” Since e-reserves and course management systems clearly are capable of such uses, the Judge declines to hold that merely making those systems available renders GSU liable for contributing to copyright infringement. So the plaintiffs will have to prove “ongoing and continuous misuse of the fair use” by producing evidence of “a sufficient number of instances of infringement.” The defendants — Georgia State — will then have the burden of proving fair use as to each alleged infringement. ...

Finally, .... This emphasis on the local practices rather than the policy itself will certainly make it easier for other campuses to learn from an eventual ruling and, if necessary, adjust their own implementations to meet whatever standards arise, but it decreases the likelihood that large and dramatic changes will be needed.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Oberlin Group Meeting 2010

 First day of one of my favorite annual meetings. The first discussion was an example of why I like this group so much. An open, thoughtful, egalitarian, discussion of whether and how we should be organized. As a director, I rarely get to participate in such discussions.

I was asked to lead a discussion with Ray English of Oberlin on open access. My part was OA trends to keep track of because they are relevant to the liberal arts. I included OA campus policies, OA content -- production and consumption -- including journals, monographs, reference works, and data, institutional repositories, open education resources, and OA student activism. I tagged a bunch of sites in delicious for examples etc.

This afternoon we are talking about institutional repositories with Sabrina Pape of Vassar, Richard Fyffe of Grinnell, Carol Dickinson of Colorado College, Amy Badertscher of Kenyon, Gail Scanlon of Mt Holyoke, and Niel McElroy of Lafayette. Things to keep track of include:

Grinnell College Libraries Data Repository
Alliance Digital Repository
OhioLINK Digital resource Commons
Digital Collections at Lafayette

Next step Dave Pilachowski of Williams College on EBL. An e-book collection development system in which you only buy the book once it is used three times.This patron driven acquisitions model is something I am very interested in.
Pat Tully  on cooperative collection development of e-books using Coutt's MyiLibrary. A similar product to EBL.
John McDonald of Claremont Colleges has done a study that found that patron driven purchases result in higher circulation beyond that patron request. They are using Elsevier. Loaded the MARC records (14,000) to the catalog, and would buy the most heavily used  at the end of the year. Users are comfortable with the model, they use fewer books that you think, we would not overly buy books. Conclusion: use patron driven purchasing for non-core titles and subjects.
I will publish this now, but add to it as the day progresses, so stay tuned.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kindles, iPads, and Nooks, oh my!

We have expanded our offerings of e-readers to include iPads, Nooks,and Kindles. Last year we bought a couple of Kindles and circulated them. Users were able to request titles to be added to the readers and those titles are listed in the OPAC. They proved remarkable popular and circulated pretty continuously, at least until one of them broke. They were particularly popular amongst the college staff who seemed to use them to read popular titles. Our goal was to introduce such readers to our community in an effort to get people thinking about how such devices might be used in the future.

This year we have expanded our offerings with two Kindles, two Nooks, and two iPads. I was lucky enough to take a Nook and an iPad home with me to get a feel for them over the weekend. Personally I prefer the iPad. It is capable of doing far more than simply enabling one to read books and the technology and the software is elegant, although I do find the Apple/Steve Jobs universe a little totalitarian which is ironic is you look back to that iconic ad of 1984.

So first impressions of the Nook and iPad? The Nook is much the same as the Kindle, but the split touch screen is counter intuitive. One is encouraged to touch the screen at the bottom, and so almost invariably you want to touch the screen at the top. I did it, the two teenagers I showed it to (both deep into touch screens at this point in their lives, did it too.The iPad was elegant and functional and just felt good, but not good enough to replace my Android phone. I don't need that large screen enough to lug it around with me.

What I found most interesting was to see my son and his girlfriend begin to use them. I gave both devices to them open to a book but within a few seconds they had left the book behind the and moved to more interactive pursuits. The Nook was used to play sudoku and the iPad to play videos. This confirms my long standing idea that these devices will inevitably have multimedia capabilities and those capabilities will trump simple text.

Here is another aspect of all this. Tomorrow I sit down with a instructional technologist, the director of the Institute for Effective teaching and a professor in Art & Art History to discuss a project to provide pre-loaded e-readers for an archeology field study course.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Research based web usability lessons

Bill Svitavsky shared this piece on web usability by Cameron Chapman with me. It is a good reminder about effective web design.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is Broken

There are so many things about libraries that are broken.

Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

What do you think is broken? I would love to read about it in the comments.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things to Unlearn

Although this list by Joyce Valenza was written for school librarians, it made me think about librarians in higher ed as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What do You Know About Google Editions?

" Google Editions seems poised to become the world's largest seller of e-books." (Peter Osnos for The Atlantic 7/20/10.)

"What do we know about Google Editions? The answer, unfortunately, is not a heckuva lot." (Eric Freese for DigitalBookWorld 7/19/10.)

Stephen Abrams (late of Sirsi, now at Gale) is positive, but Clint Boulton at Google Watch is not.

I like the idea of device independence and the scale of the offerings, but so far everything I hear is aimed at the individual consumer market. No place for libraries until we see the institutional subscriptions that come out of the Google Book Search Settlement.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ripping DVD's for classroom use.

In an earlier post I discussed the recent Library of Congress DMCA Exemption and noted that the Chronicle was going to publish a 'how-to' piece to help faculty who are interested in actually making use of this exemption. Here it is.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Using clips of movies in the classroom.

The Library of Congress's Copyright Office has released its latest round of DMCA exemptions and there is a big one in there for faculty who use DVD's in teaching.

First some background. This rulemaking process undertaken by the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office is designed to, "determine whether the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works [in the DMCA] is causing or is likely to cause adverse effects on the ability of users of any particular classes of copyrighted works to make noninfringing uses of those works." If so, then the Library of Congress can exempt that class of works from the Act's prohibition on circumvention.

Here are a couple of pieces that go into more detail, one from Inside Higher Ed and one from a Chronicle Blog (which is really good by the way, and will be followed put by a how-to guide to actually ripping DVD's.)

Bottomline: it always was legal to use clips of movies in the classroom to help teach particular concepts or content, but the DMCA stopped teachers getting clips of movies off DVD's. Now this exemption to the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA means that that barrier to getting these clips has been removed.

IT departments and libraries will have to understand how to rip clips from DVD's so they can help faculty who want to make use of this exemption.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kindle Android App Review

I downloaded the droid Kindle app to my Verizon LG Ally so that I could read books (Jane Smiley's latest novel, Private Life, and OffBeat Guides' Sao Paulo Travel Guide) while on vacation in Brazil and to test the program since we at Olin are beginning to invest more in e-books and in mobile computing. Here are my initial thoughts.

The app is great in terms of portability. Instead of carrying a number of paper books with me I can fit a bunch of titles (I certainly haven't found the limit yet) on my phone. I downloaded the books quickly and very easily before leaving the states (why I can't -- or won't -- do this in Brazil is a different story and concerns Verizon's own brand of money grubbing idiocy not the droid Kindle app, but more on that in a later post.)

Readability is good as well. The screen is backlit so reading on the plane and in bed has been fine, even outside in cloudy Sao Paulo. The text size can be adjusted, and the font (a comfortable serif style, which cannot be changed) is comparable to a printed book as well. The pages turn instantaneously with a convenient tap on the appropriate side of the screen. About 70 words fit on the screen (though this depends on the text size one selects) which is fine, although it means one turns a page far more often than would be the case in even a mass market paperback. This contributes to a somewhat disjointed reading experience (exacerbated by Jane Smiley's character strewn narrative.) The app automatically takes you to the last page viewed when you open the book again, which a great. So for vacation novels the app works well. I will certainly use it again.

The experience of using a travel guide is less happy. Here search and navigation through the text is very important and the app falls down badly. The table of contents consists of clickable links which is good, but there is no index and the text is not searchable a major drawback for this kind of reference. There is a reference in the app to search coming soon, so maybe this will change. There is also no ability to see any context (smaller images of the pages before or after your text, or some information about the chapter of the book for instance.) The only information you can see is a vague indication of how far, in percentages, you are into the title. One possible solution to this would be to set ones own bookmarks and the app does allow you to do this. However, you cannot edit these bookmarks and they are identified with an incomprehensible position location and some text from the page, not even the closest subtitle. Not very helpful. Finally, the app taunts the user with a function called , but no ability to actually write a note! Also you cannot change the size of images, so the map of the excellent Sao Paulo Metro system is utterly useless.

All of this means that that app does not meet the needs of researchers (even very relaxed vacationers) and certainly not of scholars or students, but works well for pleasure reading, which is in line with the results of a recent survey from the Chronicle.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wikis in Higher Education

There was an interesting piece by Steve Kolowich in Inside Higher Ed today on wikis in higher ed. he concludes that unless wikis find a satisfactory way to attribute specific content to individual contributors they will not satisfy academic researchers, but they that have been more successful in teaching and administration.

I am not sure I agree that they have been more successful in teaching or administration. I have used them in the classroom (as a glorified annotated bibliography in a one credit information course) and in administration (as regular readers of this blog know the Olin Library's strategic plan is a wiki.) The major problem I have found it the lack of enthusiastic adoption by the group one wants to participate in building the wiki. I think this is because the barriers to entry -- logging in, and the WYSIWYG editing features -- are just a bit too high for casual users to manage, even those who have no problem with other web based technologies. That combined with a the lack of attractiveness of much of the content (I am shocked, shocked, to find that our library staff are not as excited about strategic planning as I am!) leads to a lack of uptake.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Painting the Exterior of the Library

This summer we are having the exterior of the library painted. You can follow progress on the Olin Library's Facebook page. But I couldn't resist this photo of the sky blue ceiling of the atrium at our entrance. This is something of an American tradition. Don't worry, the rest of the exterior will be a variation on the Rollins' Mediterranean stucco style.

Friday, July 02, 2010

ALA Advocacy Day 2010

Tuesday was Library Advocacy Day, a sweaty but a fun, and I hope productive, time was had by all. Of particular concern to me was to assess the interest amongst Florida legislators on the Federal Research Public Access Act (H.R. 5037 and S. 1373) and to make sure they understood how important this bill is to college librarians and the people they serve.
There is a lot of cynicism around U.S. government but I always get a great feeling when I am on Capitol Hill. Groups of ordinary citizens are purposefully walking from office to office earnestly lobby for their particular issues. On the day we were there the flags were at half mast for Senator Byrd, and the Kagan hearings were in full swing. It just gives me that warm and fuzzy, democracy in action feeling.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creating Change in Scholarly Communication

I was a panelist at the SPARC-ACRL Forum on Saturday (and at the discussion group on Sunday.) Here are my notes.

Change from the ground up – Campus-based policies to ensure Open Access to institutional research outputs through proactive copyright management, with Jonathan Miller, Library Director at Rollins College.

First I must acknowledge the work of Cynthia Snyder, Bill Svitavsky, David Noe, all librarians at Rollins. They are doing the real work of building the repository.

Rollins is a good selective liberal arts college in central Florida. With 3200 FTE students and 203 faculty. We emphasize teaching excellence. Our mission is to educate students for global citizenship, and responsible leadership. Most of our faculty members are active researchers, creators, and writers, but their main job is to teach.

We have an endowment that is better than most, but not as big as we want it to be. We have survived the latest recession better than most, but the library has had a flat G&S budget for three years.

So, in the context of US higher education, a perfectly normal school.

So how have I, the director of a small college library, found myself in the august company of colleagues from Duke, and UC San Diego?

Since the Rollins Arts & Sciences faculty passed their Open Access Policy a number of my librarian colleagues from around the country have expressed surprise that Rollins should be one of the first liberal arts colleges to pass such a policy. In fact I think we were third, after Trinity University in San Antonio and Oberlin.

Well, I would argue that Open Access is not just for the big guys. It is not just the concern of research universities. In fact I think it might be more relevant for small colleges than for larger schools.

Rollins, as a small, largely undergraduate, teaching intensive, school with a liberal arts curriculum that, at least in one sense, means we need broad not deep access to information. We are net information consumers rather than net producers and our students and faculty make a little use of a lot of resources, rather than a lot of use of a few resources, or a lot of use of a lot of resources. The subscription model of collecting a relatively small number of periodical titles “just in case” students need articles in those titles, doesn’t make much business sense for us. What we really need is “just in time” access to a broad array of information resources, none of which will be used particularly heavily.

Our Open Access policy was simply one part of a larger strategy to change focus of the faculty and students of Rollins College from a local library collection to a larger world of information. There are four parts to this strategy that I will mention today:

1. Working politically to create the scholarly communication system we prefer and that meets the needs of the students and faculty at liberal arts colleges.
2. Building collaboration and cooperation with – amongst others -- the state universities of Florida.
3. Moving aggressively from print to digital periodicals.
4. Contributing to open access initiatives and exploiting open access resources.

First, working politically – I am the outgoing chair of the ACRL Government Relations Committee which plays a leading role in the advocacy efforts of ACRL . For the last few years, pre-dating my involvement, much of that advocacy has focused on open access and on finding a productive balance in terms of copyright law. I also serve on the SPARC Steering Committee. My research and writing also concerns copyright policy. On campus I have looked for opportunities to present that research to my colleagues and build a reputation as someone with whom they can discuss copyright issues.

At the state level I have worked with others to get libraries in the three Florida higher education silos – state universities, state colleges and community colleges, and the private schools to think about cooperation and collaboration. That has led to some interesting strategic planning, some cooperative licensing, and to Rollins and Miami participating in the Florida group involved in the Open Library Environment Project, putting significant money into the project.

I also led an effort amongst liberal arts college library directors nationally to protest the Nature Publishing Group’s recent exorbitant increase in the online subscription price for Scientific American. We also cancelled our subscription. This was not universally popular on campus, but it was an opportunity to explain why we thought we had to hold the line on periodical prices.
That is a good segue into the next point – aggressively moving from print to digital periodicals. Obviously, most if not all of us are doing this these days, we at Rollins are doing for the usual reasons – our users prefer digital articles to print, we are able to link these articles into our wider information systems, we save space, etc. But, in response to flat budgets, we also did a major periodical cancellation project in the last 18 months, focused on print subscriptions because the use was so low and the subscription prices were increasing so fast that the model was unsustainable. We worked closely with faculty on this project and this increased their awareness of just how expensive the annual subscriptions to scholarly periodicals have become. That project was definitely about cuts, but we described it as a necessary pruning. We made sure that faculty understood that when budgets came back, we would consider adding subscriptions to digital content. In the meantime we continued to make them aware of open access journals, open repositories and made sure to incorporate these open resources into our systems and services.

So: I have a reputation on campus as someone who thinks about copyright. The Library is acting in a concerted way to protest journal price hikes, to limit our exposure to periodical inflation, and to find ways to improve our users access to a broad array of resources, including open resources, and our faculty are primed to think about scholarly communication in general and journal pricing in particular.

Which leads us to my presence on this panel. If are going to encourage our faculty and students to use open access resources as information consumers, shouldn’t we also contribute to those resources as information producers?

We were given good advice by those who had traveling this road before us: the good people at SPARC, Peter Suber, Ray English, Diane Graves, Terri Fishel. So I pass this on to you:

  • Find faculty champions to push the OA policy
  • Build the institutional repository at the same time as you develop the policy.
  • Find the message that resonates with particular audiences: on our campus the provost was interested in institutional reputation, the Dean of Faculty by the idea of a stable repository of faculty publications, IT and the librarians in a hosted solution from Bepress which did not involve much staff time and expertise in implementation, and – most importantly – the faculty were interested in more visibility for their own research and a policy that was flexible enough to enable them to get an automatic waiver when necessary, and that recognized the diversity of their output. Fully half of the output of Rollins faculty is something other than the classic peer-reviewed scholarly article.
The policy passed the A&S faculty unanimously in February. The institutional repository site went live at about the same time. We have spent the last few months tweaking the site and loading materials. The next big push will come in the Fall, once we get the data on last year’s publishing output from the annual report each faculty member submits to the Dean.

What are the next steps?

  • Continuing to populate the repository.
  • Passing a similar policy in the other faculty on campus: the faculty of the business school.
  • Reaching out to journal editors on campus – both faculty and students -- and offering to host their content. Preferably with open access, but toll access if necessary.
  • Building other collections – theses for instance.
  • Continue to work on other parts of the strategy – statewide collaboration and cooperation, rewriting our copyright use policy so that it offers more practical guidance to faculty, moving from print to digital, and working politically. I will be on the Hill on Tuesday, lobbying for FRPAA.
Let me end by just mentioning the faculty champions on our campus. Both were members of the Professional Standards Committee. Thom Moore, a physicist who directs the faculty/student collaborative research program, and Claire Strom, a historian and journal editor of Agricultural History. Claire drafted the policy, Thom shepherded it through the faculty.

Throughout the process I was in the background, frankly “loaded for bear” ready with facts, figures, and arguments. I worried we needed to hold all kinds of informational meetings with various constituencies. Thom said, “nah.”

I came to that final faculty meeting ready for any eventuality and just sat and watched Thom and Claire quickly and quietly move to the unanimous vote. At the end the meeting Thom came over and just said, “told you.”

Demonstrating the Value of Libraries

This session from the University Libraries Section was formally titled "Demonstrating Excellence in Higher Education: What Universities are Doing. What Libraries are Doing." University libraries, particularly public ones, and libraries in Europe and Asia are very concerned with this, but we all need to be. Personally, I am increasingly interested in trying to find ways to accurately indicate what value we add to the mission of Rollins.

The speakers included Alexander C. McCormick, Director, National Survey of Student Engagement & Associate Professor, School of Education, Indiana University; J. Stephen Town, Director of Information, University Library and Archives, The University of York; Patricia Brennan, Director of Product Management for Evaluative Products, Thomson Reuters; and the moderator was Marilyn Myers, Associate Dean for Public Services, University of Houston Libraries.

McCormick talk on NSSE was interesting. He pointed out that ranking largely track the incoming SAT scores of students, research rankings ignore undergraduates entirely, and that the official measure of quality assurance in the US is the accreditation process. He did note that there is a direct relationship between students' reported library use and measures of institutional quality, but when one isolated library there is no independent impact on outcomes. He urged libraries to emphasize a “Discourse of improving, not proving.”

But the best speaker was Towns, the University of York in the UK. One measure I use to determine if I have been in a good session, is if I come out with a reading list. Towns gave me that:

ARL SPEC Kit 305

SCONUL’s “Performance portal

Roxanne Missingham. 2005. Libraries and economic value: a review of recent studies. Performance Measurement and Metrics 6, no. 3, (September 1): 142-158. (accessed June 28, 2010). [Rollins people can find the fulltext here.]

Petros A Kostagiola, and Stefanos Asonitis. 2009. Intangible assets for academic libraries. Library Management 30 (6/7): 419.

Town made the point that, “All of this [talk of value and impact] may damage the idea of libraries as ‘transcendent’ collective and connective services.”

He said we need comprehensive and holistic measurement --- true worth, transcendent valuation, in a narrative of worth.

Google Book Search Settlement Discussion

This was a session organized by the ALA Washington Office. The session focused on the future rather than on describing the case. It included Jonathan Band, who provides legal advice for the Library Copyright Alliance, James Grimmelmann of NYU, Mark Sandler of the CIC, Mary Beth Peters (who will be retiring as Register of Copyrights at the end of this year) Johanna Shelton (previously a Congressional Committee staff member and now a lobbyist for Google.)

Peters described the proposed settlement as a "bridge too far." The Judge, Denny Chin, recently appointed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals may provide a roadmap to a more reasonable settlement, the two parties are keen to find such a settlement.

Band laid out a series of scenarios and each of the panelists responded to those.

The first was if the settlement is rejected, litigation ensues, and Google is found to have infringed.

Shelton pointed out that the settlement addresses the legacy problem, not the future of books. Google’s future of books is their “Google Editions” in which consumers can buy and store online books in a personal account. This will be an open platform with opportunities for device developers and bookstores. Not proprietary like Kindle or iPad.

Sandler addressed what the libraries partners might do. He pointed out that we still have Hathi Trust with over 1,000,000 books in the public domain and 6,000,000 in copyright. He stated that, “It is inconceivable that anyone with a shred of a sense of social justice will suggest that those files [the 6 million in-copyright digitized books] be deleted.”

The second scenario was that we scale back to scan and snippet display.

Sandler pointed out that this would still be a substantial benefit to people, because they will use Google Books as a discovery service and come to libraries to find the print. Band pointed out that one can also just use of snippets for reference and Grimmelmann noted other fair uses like the ability to search and conduct research across the collection. Peters suggested that under these circumstances other companies could push for legislation.

Grimmelmann used that opportunity to argue for a radical revision of copyright law with shorter, fixed terms and clear notices. Peters, with long experience, pointed out the difficulty of achieving the correct balance in legislation and that Europe was proceeding with mass digitization and using licensing to manage compensation.
Sandler described the recent decision in Viacom v. YouTube as encouraging. Google’s ability to take down when notified was enough. We can do this in higher education; digitize and then take down if the owner comes forward.

My take away from this is that any definitive decision in the Google Book Search settlement is a long way off and when it does come the outcome will be more limited and lead to less radical change in library service than I had hoped. In the meantime we have to proceed to providing access to those Hathi Trust public domain titles, and pursue digital book access via licensing with individual packages and unify the search experience for users via services like Summon.

Here are a couple of unsubstantiated factoids from the presentation: the size of the existing digitized collection at GBS is around 12 million titles -- 2 million in the public domain, 2 million commercially available and under copyright in the Google partners program, and 8 million potentially in copyright scanned from library collections, 20% of those 8 million are orphaned works. About 35% of the public domain works are viewed during any month.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summon Advisory Board

This was the second meeting of the advisory board and, as with the first, it was an meeting of a committed group of developers and of thoughtful librarians from all over the world. I think Summon is still ahead of the game in unified discovery but has some competition particularly from EBSCO's new discovery product.

New publishers and resources continue to be added, search and relevance continue to be refined, de-duplication is improving, next week we get better usage stats, and an autocomplete feature. As well as lots more stuff a bit further out.

I have lots to talk to Bill and the rest of Digital Services when I get back.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sustaining Copyright in Culture

I am in D.C. for the next week for a variety of meetings, the Center for Intellectual Property's 2010 Symposium, the Summon Advisory Board, then ALA, followed by a visit with Ms. Evangeline Moore about her father's papers, and then the ALA National Day of Advocacy on Capitol Hill.

Let's start with the symposium. This is the first one I have attended and I am not convinced it was money well spent. First that title. Hybrid C: Sustaining Copyright in Culture. I get the hybrid, we live in a hybrid world of analog and digital works and have for many decades, the phrase "sustaining copyright in culture" is as confusing, hazy, and empty as the Symposium turned out to be. I signed up because I thought I might learn something more about fair use, but the argument put forward by Jaszi and Jonathan Band, was pretty extreme. Here is the abstract to Band's 2007 paper for ARL.

“Three appellate decisions [Blanch v. Koons, Perfect 10 v., and Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley] concerning fair use should give educators and librarians greater confidence and guidance for asserting this important privilege. In all three decisions, the courts permitted extensive copying and display in the commercial context because the uses involved repurposing and recontextualization. The reasoning of these opinions could have far-reaching implication in the education context.”

Band thinks these decisions “should give educators and librarians greater confidence and guidance for asserting this important privilege.” Because, if I understand the argument, simply copying copyrighted works originally published for a non-educational market, in an educational context "re-contextualizes" the work and thus makes the use fair use. But he also notes, “many copyright owners will not agree.” (Band, December 2007.)

I did enjoy listening to Maria Pallante and David Balto on the Google Book Search settlement. They disagree on whether the judge will accept the settlement or not, but seem to agree it will be appealed. We could be in for a very long wait on this one.

I had hoped to get some good ideas on how to incorporate issues of copyright and information policy into information literacy, and some of the audience had some ideas (focus on carrots not sticks for undergraduates with contexts that interest them like textbook costs, fan fiction, and open access), but the panelists didn't.

I think that was the overall problem with the symposium. The format of theater style seating before talking heads on a raised panel, left little time for Q&A or interaction. I could have watched a webcast.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thinking About the Future of College Libraries

It is planning time at Olin (when isn't it planning time? Planning should be continuous!) I am gathering readings to be shared with the librarians. So on top of my hastily put together presentation to some Balinese librarians, I also have the following:

Horizons 2010

A collection of 21 pieces gathered by Alire and Evans.

C&RLN's 2010 top ten trends in academic libraries: A review of the current literature.

I haven't had a chance to look at the IMLS wiki yet, but it looks vaguely promising.

Do you have any others I should take a look at?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indonesian Food

From Bali Photos
I really enjoyed the food we ate in Bali. The traditional food of Bali was sweet potato and corn served with vegetables. Meat was rarely eaten and rice was a cash crop. This changed with the green revolution when white rice became more common, as Bali became more open to other Indonesia cuisines, and particularly with the increased economic development that came with tourism. Now the Balinese eat rice up to three times per day and eat more fish and meat. The result has been an increase in obesity and diabetes. We obviously ate in restaurants, tourist restaurants, but it was fun getting to know Indonesian dishes like nasi goreng, nasi campur, mei goreng, and gado-gado. We even had a cooking lesson with Nyoman's family. here are some videos of me learning how to make gado-gado, a vegetable dish with bean sprouts and a spicy peanut sauce.

Trust me. I did more food prep than these videos show. We made about five different dishes. All were delicious.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bali Photos

You can view all my Bali photos here on picasa. I have identified many of them.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Nature news article on open access and government mandates.

As I try to catch up with at least a semester's worth of e-mails, this article from Nature (April 7, 2010) caught my eye.

Blogging from Bali

Phil Deaver just sent me this. We would go to this local restaurant (Marni's? Mauni's?) and use their wifi while drinking Bintang's, the local beer. Many of my posts came from here. I am surpised I got any blogging doen at all!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Lontar Museum in Singaraja.

The Lontar palm leaf is a common traditional writing surface in southeast Asian and India. You can learn a bit more about them here and there is a fine digital archive of them here.

Museum is a misnomer, it is in fact a library or archive. We got a great introduction to the collection from the trained librarian guide who appears in these videos.

One amazing thing about both the art museums and the library we visited is how open they are to the elements in such a tropical climate. As you see in these pictures
From Bali Photos

From Bali Photos

the lontars, although protected in their boxes, were open to the humidity and temperature changes. This was also true of the Arma and and Neka Museums in Ubud.

The Impact of Balinese Religion upon the Rollins Group

Throughout the trip I have been asking members of the group about how they see our engagement with aspects of Balinese Hinduism based their own religious beliefs. Here are some of the clips.

Ilan on cockflighting

This is what it feels like ....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Balinese Cockfight (with apologies to Geertz.)

Yesterday we went to another trance possession ceremony, this one in Denpasar. But the thing that really took me out of my comfort zone at this one was the cockfighting. The Balinese have this marvelous way of mixing the sacred and profane. So while those in the inner temple are concerned with prayer and other sacred pursuits, in the outer temple there is a cockfight tournament and market and the place is absolute Bedlam.

Hundreds of men gather around the cockpit which is about 30 feet across and underneath the usual open pavilion. Some sit at the front, most stand and those that can afford it buy a plastic stool for Rp. 3,000 (30 cents) to stand on so they can see better. Around the back, women ply their trade selling drinks and snacks.

To one side sit the officials with a gong for calling the rounds. In the ring, about a dozen men, big fat, hard, betting men, and short, wiry, hungry men. Not your usual temple goers. These cock fighters, spur tiers, and referees all gather to sort out who will fight whom, everyone is looking for an even fight with well matched birds. The birds are about 8-12 months old and have been lovingly cared for by their owners. The handlers hold their cocks at shoulder height, gently under the belly of the bird, with the razor sharp spur on the left leg held away from the body. This protects the bird and handler and also displays it to the crowd. Other handlers retire to the edge of the ring to tie on the spurs.

The ring clears and the two handlers and referees strut around the ring gathering the money to support the main bet. This could be Rp. 7,000,000 at this temple (about $7,000. But this is chump change at another temple cockfight where the locals invite big gamblers from Java, the main bet can be Rp. 700, 000, 000.) Once each bird has accumulated enough money, the bets are opened to the floor and all hell breaks loose as the crowd wave their right hand to the left or to the right (indicate which bird they want to bet on.) The minimum bet is Rp. 10,000, a dollar, usually even odds. Sometimes it is easy to find a taker, other times the crowd has decided on a favorite and you can't place a bet. For the record I, with the guidance of our driver Nyoman, parleyed Rp. 50,000 into Rp. 200, 000. I gave Nyoman Rp. 100, 000. He will save it for his daughter. All this time the handlers are holding their cocks closely together, almost in pecking range, and are riling them up with pinches, feints, and ruffling of feathers.

The fight begins. The two men move with their cocks to opposite sides of the ring and let them go. the birds immediately rush at each other and jump, slash, and peck for their lives. Often the fight is over very quickly, in seconds, with a mortal wound from the spur. Sometimes the fight lasts a round or two. Occasionally, the two birds tire and refuse to fight. In these cases they are placed together in a bamboo cage and fight to the death, or until one cowers in defeat. During the whole thing the handlers bob and weave as though fighting themselves, the crowd roars, and the blood is up. The fight is the blood sacrifice at the temple.

Outside the ring the processions of Barong from local villages, accompanied by the syncopation of clashing cymbals and gongs of the traveling gamelan, continue to wind into the temple, the priest intones over the sound system. All this clashes with the roar of the cockfight and the sensory overload of a Balinese ceremony is achieved.

The defeated birds are plucked at ring side and taken home by the victor to be eaten. Imagine what it must be like, the cock you have lovingly raised for a year crows in the yard, you have millions of Rupiah in your pocket, and you are eating your defeated opponent -- smells like victory.

Here is Geertz's article.

The betting...

The flight ....

The ignominious end of the defeated.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tourism in Bali

We are staying at the Puri Bagus Candidasa resort, so this is a perfect opportunity to write about tourism in Bali, with the caveat that I have been here all of twelve days. So take these thoughts as the first impressions of an ill-informed neophyte.

There seem to be three kinds of tourism here. The majority of visitors come for relatively cheap fun in the sun beach vacations. This place is pretty close to Australia and to the economic powerhouses of east Asia. The second is cultural tourism, centered around Ubud and Balinese art, music and religion. The third is high end resort vacations in tropical paradise. Finally, I suppose you can also add the ex-pat community. Foreigners who have moved here.

Tourists are coming from Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Europe, particularly the the UK, France,and Germany, the U.S., and from other Indonesian islands, particularly Java. Millions of people come here for vacations every year.

All of this is having a huge impact upon the island. Some positive, even if most tourist dollars stay in Bali for less than 24 hours before transfer to Jakarta or to Japan and destinations elsewhere, this industry is bringing a lot of jobs and money to the Balinese. Tourism is also bringing new ideas and opportunities to the Balinese and while that is not always positive it seems clear that some, perhaps many Balinese find that refreshing. Tourism is also building infrastructure, some of which can be used to meet the needs of ordinary Balinese. Finally, tourist interest in the environment and in Balinese culture seemed to have led to an increased sensitivity and interest in maintaining the environment and Balinese culture.

But it is also pretty clear, in fact it is blinding obvious as soon as you leave the airport that there are significant negative impacts as well. Western tourists bring western consumption expectations with them. This is having a huge impact on water use, electricity consumption, land use, and transportation (to and on the island.) Culturally, tourists come to Bali to see and experience this unique culture and form of Hinduism. But by our very presence and interest we impact on that culture. Ceremonies that were purely Balinese are now attended by foreigners with varying levels of knowledge of and sensitivity towards the ceremony and the people involved. Like European cathedrals, Balinese temples are overrun with people whose relationship to the space and the activities conducted there is very different than that of the local population. Aspects of Balinese ceremony and culture have now become performance or product for tourists and have been radically changed in the process. Hoyt contends that change is inevitable and the the Balinese may be strong enough to find a way to incorporate change brought by tourism on their culture and still maintain control of that culture. I would argue that while cultural change is inevitable, change brought about by post-modern global tourism is almost inevitably corrosive. Environmental change is perhaps the most destructive. Over-consumption by tourists (like me), pollution, the impact on global climate change of simply flying here, all negatively impact the island.

I am living in an object example now. I am sitting by the pool, using the wifi (and too much water and electricity) in a resort hotel that is constructed on a global model and has little connection to Bali. The beach has eroded away because someone mined the coral. The coral reef we went to yesterday evening was gorgeous, the best I have ever snorkeled in (above? over? Whatever!) but then I have only snorkeled in the Dry Tortugas. Seriously though, amazing. Acres of coral, feet from the beach, shoals of brightly colored fish, Mark followed a turtle. Just amazing. But as we swam we had to wave away the plastic garbage floating in the water. Exactly the same stuff Mark and I collected yesterday. Some of the coral was bleached and some had been damaged by boats that have come here to deliver tourists (like me) to the coral reef. Unusually, in my experience, one sees few offerings around the hotel grounds. There are few holy places, and few people employed by or connected to the hotel who feel the sense of connection to the place and culture that would lead to the leaving of daily offerings.

Ironically, it is now May 31st and since I began writing this post we have returned to Ubud, traveled to Denpasar (more on that in a later post) and now find my self at another beach resort hotel in Livona. This is first Internet connection I have had since Candidasa. The experience is much the same. Not much beach, buffet lunch, swimming pool with bar, 1970 - 80's resort experience, twenty middle-aged German tourists all drinking Coke, plonked down in Bali. These experiences have been the least satisfying of my time in Bali.

With one exception. Margaret and I walked out of the hotel in Candidasa through the banana groves and along the cost to the water temple perched on the promontory where the caretaker priest welcomed us and allowed us to take photos and patiently answered all out questions as we gazed over the sparkling Indian Ocean towards the island of Nusa Penida and watched Balinese cows graze on the hillside as the tropical breeze .lofted the cotton awning over the open-air temple.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Little Taste of Home

During the prayer service at Selat Pecan the woman I sat behind was wearing a Mickey and Minnie hair clip.

Chemical Baggies

Today we drive to Candidasa for a few temples and some snorkeling. So Mark and I collected plastic garbage on our regular running route this morning. There is a real problem with plastic garbage on the island. The Balinese used biodegradable containers and wrappings for centuries (banana leaves etc.) and they composted after use. Now they use a lot of plastic (though not as much as the average American) but have continued to toss their waste aside.
The waste we gathered (about 20 lbs in two miles) consisted of plastics bottles, individual candy wrappers, individual hygiene product wrappers, and a large number of small clear plastic bags that the farmers use for agricultural chemicals -- chemical baggies.

What we did not find were any condoms, needles, aluminum cans, or any broken high end plastics (cell phones, sunglasses, etc.) It was also interesting how little plastic garbage there was in light of that fact that they do not seem to ever collect it.

You can learn a lot from garbage.

The Future of College Libraries

Today I spoke to a group of librarians from Udayana University at the new campus at Bukit Jimbaran Badung, near Denpasar about the future of libraries. Here is my PowerPoint. No surprises here for anyone who has talked to me about the future of libraries recently.

The librarians' questions were good and perceptive. They were particularly interested in embedded library instruction, partnerships with faculty, library automation, the library as place, and working conditions for U.S. librarians.

Jaya took this picture of us all with his iPhone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Procession in Mas

This afternoon we went to see a procession in Mas, a village in Ubud region. This is one of the iconic sights of Bali. Women processing to the temple with very tall offerings on their heads. Each neighbourhood gathers at the community center and then they all set off to the village center and then to the temple, accompanied by a marching band. We were told that the offerings are as tall as the family can afford. They are constructed around a banana stem and the fruit, chicken, and cakes are attached with bamboo spikes. Each offering is topped with three Chinese coins (the round ones with a square hole, these commemorate a marriage between a king and a Chinese princess (but don't quote me on that.) The offerings will be stored at the temple overnight and then taken by the family and eaten at about 5 a.m. tomorrow.

Monday, May 24, 2010

And now for something completely different ....

The Water Temple Tirta Empul at Tampaksiring

Today we went to the Water Temple, Tirta Empaul, and also visited the healing waters there. This was very special, again outside my comfort zone in the sense that it challenged my simplistic dismissal of all things spiritual. The temple is located at a spring. The water from this spring is channeled (the Balinese really know how to manage water) into a series of pools fed by multiple water spouts.
We entered the pool area in just our sarongs and sandals, and prayed in the Balinese manner. Men cross legged, women kneeling. Each with a small bowl containing flowers, a bouquet, and an incense stick. After wafting the incense over us we extinguished the stick and prayed with hands clasped in front of our foreheads, then we prayed again with a frangipani flower between our hands, then with the small bouquet, and with two petals, and finally with empty hands one more time.
Then we entered the left hand pool, walked to the first spigot, clasped our hands in prayer one more time and ritually washed our heads five times. Then proceeded to the next spigot and so on. Each spigot was labeled in Sanskrit and Balinese with the particular power, so some we avoided (cremation etc.) The repetition, the rain, the constant falling water, the communal nature of the act, the coolness of the water, the echo of the pool enclosure, all added up to a quite remarkable experience.
From Bali Photos

As Hoyt reminds us, Balinese Hinduism is a religion of orthopraxy (correct ritual practice and behavior), unlike Christianity's orthodoxy (correct belief or thought.) The ritual is important, not the thought, which is why a bunch of westerners like us can be so accepted, as long as we
do the right thing.

Hunting the Durian

One of my goals for Bali has been to taste the fabled Durian. Today I succeeded. As we drove back from the Batur volcano, our driver Wayan Sarma, stopped at a roadside stand and helped us select the best fruit. Here is the video. Because of the smell no one wants to transport these fruits in the passenger compartment, so instead he secured it inside the engine compartment and off we drive. Once back at the hotel, Margaret cut the beast open and we all dug in, I have also posted the reviews here as soon as I can.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reading in Bali

This short video is a great example of one type of reading practice in Bali and I think it is a great example of the totemic power of reading. The sermon is being read in Sanskrit, and translated and interpreted by a second "reader'" in High Balinese.

I used to think that it was unlikely that anyone, other than perhaps a few priests and priests-in-training, hearing these performance understood what was being read or the translation. But today our driver, Nyoman, translated some of the interpretation for me and said that most people understood High Balinese, but did not use it. That doesn't change the point though, what was important was to hear the words in the original and in a revered older language. Another example would be jewel-encrusted codices paraded through medieval European towns but not read, the Latin Mass, or Tibetan prayer wheels.

For an illiterate population or a primary oral culture (which is what Bali would have been when Hindu texts were introduced to the island, perhaps around 800 -- 1100 C.E) the technology of reading and writing -- which enables people to move information through time and space outside of the human brain -- was magical, and those that controlled the technology, the priests and the rulers who employed them, were anxious to keep it that way.

Mass illiteracy is not the case today in Bali, but remnants of these practices remain in this kind of activity.

Jaya at Selat Pecan.

Dr. Cokorda Bagus Jaya Lesmana is the son of Professor Surayni, a leading Balinese psychiatrist and a psychiatrist himself. He is a friend of Hoyt's and I met him at the ceremony at Selat Pecan.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Biting the heads off chickens

This afternoon Hoyt took us to a temple ceremony in Selat Pekan up in the mountains. This was the first time we have had an opportunity to attend such an event that was not designed for tourists. There were hundreds of Balinese there and just a couple of dozen tourists.
The event began with Sanskrit chants and sermons, then prayers, then a long kind of mummers play with kings and demons, and lots of comic relief, and then the main event, a variant Barong dance, during and after which a number of men went into trances. This was quite well organized with a clear group of men officiating. They held the trancees (is that a word?) down -- not an easy task, or at least they made it look theatrically difficult -- and emptied their pockets, not sure if they did other things as well. Then let them go and gave them large knives (which a number of us thought was inadvisable since they then proceeded to charge the crowd, but it certainly added to the excitement of the evening, to most people's glee.) The officiants then dangled live chicks in front of the trancees and also bottles of arak -- Balinese moonshine -- because the possessing spirits love blood and alcohol (reminds me of this song.) The trancees, about five guys at this point, would grab the chicks and bite their heads off, then proceed to eat the birds heads and all. One guy must have eaten a dozen chicks. Finally, they are woken from their trance with holy water and weariness and proceeded through the temple gates and the evening is over. At which point we all stream out of the temple.
Generally a good time was had by all, exciting, communal, gossipy. It reminded me of a bullfight.

The most powerful point for me was when the temple guards forced everyone to crouch down below the spirits and Barong (no one could be higher than a spirit.) They were more successful with those people nearer the action. There was this wonderful transgressive amoeba-like quality to the crowd, everyone wanted to stand up and see but also were scared to exceed the gods or defy the guards. As we crouched down we needed more space and the crowd was pushed back. As we rose, we pressed forward. So under the hot lights in this enclosed space on a tropical night we wavered back and forth as the gods moved amongst us and the Barong paced around.

Next I will post a couple of videos from the event, so stay tuned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Traditional Healer

In another trip outside of my comfort zone, Hoyt took us all to a traditional healer, Cok Rai. I will share Micki's video response when I can get blogger to accept such a big video. But in the meantime let me tell you about my experience. Cok Rai was a superb listener and observer and he very quickly understood quite a bit about each of us. i think this comes from natural empathy, careful observation, and long experience. Hoyt would say I am safely staying in my western rationalist comfort zone and that I should at least consider that he has some other power that is best understood from within a Balinese worldview. Perhaps so, but I think my rationalist explanation still leaves him as an amazing guy. He spent a lot of time poking me in an eclectic mixture of pressure points that seem to be based on Chinese and Indian Vedic medicine. Ultimately ending up poking me between my toes with a stylus, each point connected to a different internal organ. I have one problem, a memory lodged in my head (luckily it has not progressed to my chest) that I need to let go of.

After lunch we went to a mask maker, I Wayan Muka, in Mas. Masks are a common component in Balinese performances. I was amazed at how he was changed by simply putting on the mask and dancing, which is his specialty. But these tourist things, however, accomplished leave me cold. When I have some time I will have to blog about tourism in Bali, or at least my uninformed early impressions of same.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Micki on the traditional healer

Running in Rice Fields

Mark and I found the most amazing run this morning. The hotel staff recommended a run through the rice fields in Ubud. About 3 miles. We ran through a neighbourhood of the usual B&B's and art galleries and then the road narrowed to a track and then to a muddy lane and we suddenly rose up into the rice paddies. we were running along the dikes that separate the rice fields, past coco palms and small compounds. Ducks were working eating bugs and weeds in the flooded fields and leaving their fertilizer behind them. Cocks crowing, We ran up one irrigatin system and then down another and could see the subak system at work. It reminded me of a similar system in Colorado created by the Spanish, but on a much more sophisticated level.
The run was a real mixture of pre-lapserian rural idyll and post-modern responses to globalization. About half way through we met a young man tending an art gallery, yes, an art gallery in the middle of a rice field! But he was also watching his water alarm a simple water balance that continuously filled and emptied and rose and fell, hitting a bamboo pole as it did so The regular "thock" notified the farmer that the water was still running (and thus that his neighbour had not cut off this water supply yet.) We also saw a man shinning up a coco palm after the ripe coconuts above and small fields of mustard greens and soy beans amid the rice.

It ws a run I will always treasure, but as Hoyt said, in ten years time those fields will probably all be art galleries. bali is a strange experience.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Outside my comfort zone

One of the points of these trips is to get you out of your comfort zone. So there we were this afternoon lounging in the pool of a truly superb hotel in Ubud (I will post photos later. I was dumb enough to forget to bring the doo-hicky that allows me to download photos from the camera -- so i will take some with the flip tomorrow. Stay tuned.) Trying to work out how this could possibly be outside of our comfort zone.

Then we went to get ceremonial temple clothing -- sarong, saput (over-sarong), and prayer sash, udeng (hat.) So there we all are choosing colors and styles, mixing and matching, and feeling foolish, but also somewhat peacocky in our finery, at least the men were. That was a little out of my comfort zone.

The reason we got this garb was to be able to attend and participate in an "opening prayer." A prayer tat the Balinese use to begin all kinds of activities, including a visit like ours. Again, photos to come, but this was way out of my comfort zone, old materialist that I am. The service consisted of interlocking prayers from the temple priest, offerings by the family, and various ritual actions by the audience/laity. So all our senses were engaged, hearing the prayers being snug to the sound of bells, the smell of incense, the incredibly rich visual environment, feeling my sorry butt on the hard floor and the feel of flowers between my hands as I pray. I can't wait to share some of these with you.

While we were waiting for the temple priest to arrive we watched a troupe of young girls practicing their dancing with the local gamelan orchestra in the district community center, an open pavilion on the street. These children were totally unconcerned with the audience, in fact pleased to have one. There level of skill was remarkable. Again, photos to come.

Running on the beach at Sanur

Mark Anderson and I went running on the beach at Sanur before dawn today. There were crowds of boisterous young Muslim people who came on big tourist buses and watched the sun come up. Lots of people were delighted to see two lumbering western tourists doing such a silly thing as running on the beach and greeted us with hellos and good mornings. Each beach restaurant, hotel, and house had numerous offerings and shrines clothed in distinctive clothes with lots of offerings placed about.

No pictures I am afraid, I could not run with the camera. So just my memories, but here isan accurate one from someone else.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why are you going to Bali?

In Orlando airport I asked some of the group why they are going on this trip. Here is John Houston's answer.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The road to Bali

On Monday I leave for Bali, Indonesia on the latest Rollins faculty trip. Each faculty member goes with a particular interest. I have two, the first is traditional Balinese writing and reading practices, Lontars, and reading groups, and the other is tropical vegetable gardening.

I am taking a laptop and flip camera with me and will try blogging from Bali as we go. I could have done this all from my phone, but Verizon would have charged me an arm and leg, and probably screwed it up anyway. One non-blog example: they put skype mobile on their phone and then only let you use it via their phone system, for which you need an international plan. Dumb.

Wish me luck. By the way, you know where the title of this post comes from.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Olin Library on the iPhone

The Olin Library have now been added to the Rollins College iPhone App. You can search the library's online and physical collection with R-Search, search individual databases or the online catalog more selectively, check your account and renew books, access online reserves or your interlibrary loan materials, ask a librarian for information, and more. Download this free app here using iTunes, or search the iTunes Store for Rollins College.

Next steps: a website tuned for access form mobile devices, and apps for other phones, particularly the droid.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The New Yorker on the iPad

Allen Kupetz and I have been discussing Ken Auletta's article in the latest New Yorker. The iPad, the Kindle, and the future of books:

The thing I find most interesting about the article are the publisher plans to use the iPad to add multimedia to books. I have always thought this was bound to happen when we went digital and will ultimately lead to the overwhelming of text by multimedia, which in turn will lead to a counter trend in which some, smaller publishers, return to a "purer" form of the book dominated by text (probably in both print codex and digital forms.) That counter trend will be smaller, and thus we find ourselves ultimately (as much as there is any 'ultimate' when it come to information storage and distribution) in a situation in which, what we would recognize today as a book, occupies a far smaller place in our information economy and culture than it does at the moment, something akin to poetry today.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Response to "OCLC's Uncommon Dilemma."

Today is Fox Day at Rollins, so I finally have a moment to respond to Barbara Fister’s LJ column “OCLC’s Uncommon Dilemma” of March 18th.

First, let’s deal with the metaphor of the “tragedy of the commons” that I used in response to her column “Something There is That Doesn’t Love a Wall” of March 11th. It seems clear from the tone of her piece that Barbara thinks that the end of OCLC, at least its current business model, would not be a tragedy and certainly not a tragedy of the commons. While I think it is good for the OCLC members and leadership to take the challenges we face in a new digital environment seriously and to consider alternative ways of continuing to serve libraries, I do think it would be a tragedy if we walked away from forty years of progress and experience to follow a relatively untested and rather utopian idea of a, to quote Barbara’s quotation from Yochai Benkler, “new modality of organizing production.” The important word in the quote Barbara takes from my response, which she does not seem to address, is “comprehensive.”

Although OCLC WorldCat is not completely comprehensive, it is the closest thing we have to a global bibliography of the contents of the world’s libraries. This very comprehensiveness makes it a valuable resource. If I need a cataloging record, it is likely to be in OCLC. If I want to borrow an item from a library, I am likely to find a willing lender in OCLC. Such one stop shopping is a huge efficiency for libraries, even if it is only as a resource of last resort after the resources of ones local consortia have been exhausted. So, the membership needs to plan a future that maintains and expands this comprehensiveness. I think it is worth investing some money in ensuring that.

Comprehensiveness is not very useful if it does not last. Long term sustainability is important. OCLC has been a remarkable success for libraries over the last forty years. Apart from the books and print journals my predecessors purchased four decades ago I can’t think of too many other significant resources from the last 1960’s that our staff and users make use of every day. Our library building was not built until 1985, our own OPAC is not that old, we disposed of the physical shelflist last year, and none of our staff were working here in the late sixties. NLM’s Medline might be the only example of a similarly long-lived and stable resource. As a director of an OCLC member library I feel a responsibility to ensure the sustainability of the OCLC bibliographic database for the long term if only for selfish long term planning purposes. We live in an age of enormous turmoil in the information economy, much of it very valuable creative destruction, but some of it just plain tumult. A reliable resource that we depend on to underpin many of the information resources and services we make available to our users, now and for many years to come, is extremely valuable and worth paying for to maintain. Barbara offers Wikipedia as an example of this new modality, but Joseph Janes in American Libraries (What Do You See? March 2010) cites recent work by the Augmented Social Cognition Group at Xerox’s PARC indicating that the rate of expansion in both articles and the number of contributors at Wikipedia has slowed. He wonders whether, “it is a lot harder to than it looks to make an encyclopedia using boldness and no firm rules.” And Wikipedia is just nine years old.

That sustainability has to be balanced with innovation. If the OCLC database had the same interface librarians began using all those decades ago, or even the same one I used when I became a librarian in the early 1990’s (anyone else remember the F11 key?) It wouldn’t be half as useful as it is today. This blog is littered with URLs to records of books in WorldCat and now WorldCat Local. I can now imagine, perhaps even begin planning for, a future without an integrated library system because the bibliographic record of the Rollins library collection is secure within the OCLC database and OCLC staff are making impressive progress on taking library systems to web scale. This innovation comes from a solid, long-lived, membership based not-for-profit organization, not from a hot startup, and not from a privately held, or publicly traded for profit corporation, and is not the result of, “loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands.” (Benkler.) That again, is worth investing in.

I do not want to leave the impression that I am opposed to Open Access, I am not. In fact, OCLC already provides open access to the WorldCat database. It is freely available for searching at I also don’t want to come across sounding like a cheerleader for OCLC, which really isn’t the case. Rollins College is a Summon customer. We are committed to using this unified discovery service to provide the kind of information retrieval experience our students demand. Summon would be even more useful for our students if it included the bibliographic records from WorldCat; that way our users could quickly find a book and request it through interlibrary loan, through our link resolver, without having to sequentially search Summon and then WorldCat. But I don’t think Serials Solutions (and ultimately their parent company, ProQuest) should be able to load all that wealth of data for nothing. Serials Solutions should share with the members of OCLC in the cost of sustaining the comprehensive database. I also don’t think that OCLC should act as a monopoly and use its access to the database to deny access to that database to competitors to its own web-scale unified discovery service –WorldCat Local.

So, how to balance these apparently conflicting goals? The answer might be to divide OCLC into two parts. OCLC1, the bibliographic utility, responsible for maintenance and development of the bibliographic database and records of library holdings, with a specific charge to attempt to be as comprehensive in terms of containing the record of the bibliographic production of humankind, and to provide unfettered access at the lowest price (the same price for everyone) that guarantees sustainability; and OCLC2, a systems and services vendor like any other (except that it is member owned and profits are ploughed back into development and to support the members) that seeks to compete with other vendors to create innovative services for any library. OCLC1 should be low priced enough to obviate the need for any other entity to find it necessary or profitable to attempt to duplicate a similar comprehensive bibliographic database, also other vendors will have a vested interest in maintaining the comprehensiveness of the database since their own systems will be layered on top of the bibliographic utility, and OCLC2 can sink or swim in the marketplace based on price and innovation.

I doubt if Barbara will like my solution. It is based on hard-nosed self interest (albeit organized collectively.) But then so was the enclosure of the English commons in the 17th and 18th centuries. Powerful landowners forced Parliament to provide a legal structure that enabled them to enclose common land and disempower villagers and landless peasants. This was a painful and violent process, but ultimately it contributed to a rise in English food production, the creation of an urban working class, and ushered in the Industrial Revolution leading to raised living standards for all; because landowners were prepared to invest in sustainability and innovation, while commoners were not. While I don’t want to down play the pain my ancestors endured as they left rural Lincolnshire to enter the maw of industrial Sheffield, the tragedy here was the underinvestment in the commons prior to enclosure.