Yes? Digital Technology is the Future

Professor Monahan asks us to discuss where we lie are on the spectrum of digital generation theory.

Are we techno utopians that believe the internet can save the world?

Are we techno dystopians that believe the internet is a harbinger of the end of civilization?

Are we cautious enthusiasts who want to figure out how to use the new technological changes for good?

Are we skeptical of the entire discourse?

Yes?

To all of it?

We are in a transitional moment in our culture. This transition exists for many reasons, but one of the most profound is technology, especially digital technology. Our technology changes so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up or anticipate the possible outcomes or consequences.

The kids who are growing up in today’s world live in an entirely different technological landscape than I did, and I’m only thirty. While I think I fit the digital native category, I was born in 1985: I didn’t grow up with cell phones or with constant internet access. Computers and growing tech were prevalent throughout my childhood, but nowhere near to the extent that exist today.

Right before this class started, the mother in law of a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook titled “It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies.” I have multiple issues with this article, but I thought it was interesting that this sort of fearmongering and finger pointing towards technology is occurring in an age where technology is so ubiquitous. The thought struck me that this was written by someone who is not a digital native, and I wondered how scary this new world must be to someone who can’t keep up (or apparently take responsibility for their parenting styles)? (It should also be noted that the author of this article is a doctor in a rehabilitation clinic for addictions and might have more than a small personal agenda to support here). This sort of digital immigrant, as Marc Prensky points out, “w[as] ‘socialized’ differently from their kids, and [is] now in the process of learning a new language” (Prensky, 2001). And of course, this is exactly the topic of the article we read by Plowman and McPake on “Seven myths about young children and technology”.

This is certainly not a new idea either, Alvin Toffler addressed this in his 1970 novel Future Shock and the debate has continued to rage ever since.

In one of my other classes, Children’s Resources, one of the very first things we discussed was the necessity of not limiting information given to children because we think it might be too advanced for them. Children need to be able to take in information and extrapolate from it what they need without adults interfering in the process. I think this point is also necessary when looking at children and what technology we present to them. My first response to the article comparing ipads to heroine was thinking about how I would never deny my children access to the tools that they will need to succeed.

I absolutely believe that digital technology is the current state of the future, and that children today must be exposed early and often to what is available to them in order to afford them future success.

My mother did not let me play videogames as a child. Much like the themes in the above article, she believed that too much screen time was detrimental to my well-being and would firmly boot me outside to go play in the sunlight. Granted, I was much more “addicted” to reading, and she had larger problems prying books out of my hands when it came time to focus elsewhere, but…at the end of the day, one of the things I’ve noticed when comparing myself with friends of mine who did avidly play video games is the extreme difference in technological skills that we carried out of childhood. My friends who were gamers did much better in the STEM areas than I ever did, and have largely chosen professions that utilize technologies that quite frankly I can’t even begin to understand. And again, that was over twenty years ago, so I can only imagine what might happen to child today who is denied access to technology. As Bennett, Maton and Kervin state in their article on digital natives: “Immersion in this technology-rich culture is said to influence the skills and interests of digital natives in ways significant for education” (Bennett, Maton and Kervin, 2008). If digital technology is the wave of the future, the children who will succeed will be those who are comfortable with that technology and understand how to use and create it.

Marc Presnky’s article on digital natives starts with the quote “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (Prensky, 2001). I think this is extremely true. The sister of a friend I grew up with recently began high school. Her school required all incoming freshmen to have Mac laptops. Would this have happened even ten years ago? Probably not. My own elementary school now teaches classes on how to use the internet, on internet safety, and incorporates that discussion into regular coursework. Students use Twitter to talk to others all over the world, and introduce video-making and social media into their arsenal of regular classroom tools. They do this because:

If we want the children of today to continue to be learners tomorrow, we need to help them develop a sense of themselves as competent learners who can function in diverse settings. In order to accomplish this goal, the Lower School curriculum exposes children to different approaches in learning, enhances their awareness of their own individual learning styles, and aids them in discovering that there are many resources for information and knowledge, both within and outside of school. (The Columbus Academy, Lower School)

Can the internet save the world? I think the Egyptian Revolution is a good example of how the internet can cause drastic change for both good and ill. A Wired article about the Egyptian Uprising and social media says: “Did social media like Facebook and Twitter cause the revolution? No. But these tools did speed up the process by helping to organize the revolutionaries, transmit their message to the world and galvanize international support” (Gustin, 2011).

We can certainly argue over the politics and whether we believe what happened in Egypt was right or wrong…but think about that: The fact that common people were able to use a tool like Twitter to help an actual revolution take place. That is no small thing.

In the long run, are the Egyptians better off? I’m sure that only someone living in Egypt right now could even begin to give you that sort of answer. The Wired article makes a good point though, social media and other digital technology is a tool, a tool that is still being used by humans, which we all know are capable of great good and great evil. So while these tools can cause wonderful things, they can also cause terrible things. Globalization, which I believe to be one of the major things that digital technology is ensuring will happen, can be both good and bad. It can bring jobs, communication and assistance to those who need it; it can also take them away.

The protests at Standing Rock are a good example of this as well. It seems like most mainstream media is refusing to cover the protests, but Facebook has allowed continual information and communication to spread. The fact that journalists who are covering the action are being arrested, point to social media becoming a safer, more efficient way of covering future revolutions.

But am I skeptical? Of course. We are only in the beginning of the digital world. Even if we consider technology that was developed in the World War eras of the mid twentieth century, we have not yet even ventured for a century into this new world of technology. In the span of human history, that is a mere drop in the bucket.

I think there’s a huge reason that dystopian futures are so popular right now. People can obviously see the possibilities of a world brought about by technologies with devastating effects, effects we cannot predict.

But I am hopeful. I think that technology gives us the capabilities to do things that we have never imagined before. I think I will see the types of change in my lifetime that my grandparents couldn’t even dream about.

What will these drastic changes in our technological landscape bring? Only time will tell.

 

References:

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The digital natives debate: A critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

Gustin, S. (2011). Social Media Sparked, Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire. Wired.

https://www.wired.com/2011/02/egypts-revolutionary-fire/

Lower School. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2016, from

http://www.columbusacademy.org/Page/Academics/Lower-School

Kardaras, N. (2016). It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. New York Post.

http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/

Plowman, L., & McPake, J. (2013). Seven myths about young children and technology. Childhood Education, 89(1), 27.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, Digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Toffler, A. (1970). Future shock. New York: Random House.

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Library Instruction Assignment 2 – How to Apply for a Second Line Permit in New Orleans, Louisiana

For our first active instruction session, we had to make a jing video that showed someone how to do something. We could chose any “How To” topic, but we had to make sure our audience was obvious and that our instruction was clear.

Ever wonder how to apply for a second line permit in New Orleans?

Here’s how!

http://www.screencast.com/t/AfbjCKLs0v

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St. Anne’s Parade, Mardi Gras Day 2016, copyright Lauren DeVoe, please do not use without permission

Hot Topic – Library Related Privacy Concerns

The International Federation of Library Associations considers privacy to be a basic human right, based on statements from Article 19 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Office of Intellectual Freedom, 2010, pg 8). The United States Bill of Rights also upholds the right of citizens to privacy, and grants Americans access to publicly funded libraries. The American Library Association states that the right to privacy is “essential” to the right of free speech and free association, and created their Library Bill of Rights in response, saying: “The American Library Association affirms that rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom and are fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship” (ALA, 2014). Therefore, privacy is seen as a core value of librarianship. For years, libraries have worked to educate patrons on privacy issues and to keep the information provided by patrons confidential. But rapidly changing technology is challenging libraries’ approach to privacy issues. Recent government policies, such as the Patriot Act, make the job of the library much more difficult when it comes to privacy and confidentiality. Libraries are having to change the conversation about privacy issues and work to reevaluate how to handle these issues within the library to ensure that the ethic of privacy is being appropriately upheld.

The ALA maintains that all library professionals have a responsibility to uphold privacy ethics and to facilitate free access to information. While providing access to information without censorship, libraries have upheld basic standards such as withholding patron information from third parties, not monitoring what materials patrons access, and not retaining any information collected in the course of regular patron use of resources (ALA, 2014). In the past, this has been relatively easy. Libraries have disposed of any personal information collected on patrons, such as check out histories and interlibrary loan requests. But with the advent of new technologies, like cloud sharing, this information is not so easily lost. And recent federal laws have made it even harder to deny government requests for information. Libraries continue to try to maintain control over personal information and actively work to resist government violations of privacy rights, but find themselves having to carefully balance lawful requests for information with more stringent, often unethical rights violations from government authorities (ALA, 2014). Federal agents often make this much more difficult by giving federal orders to librarians that tell them that they cannot share the information that the federal government is looking into personal information on patrons in libraries.

The emergence of the internet, Open Access and other communication technologies changes the traditional methods of libraries in regards to privacy issues and concerns. Resources that libraries have conventionally provided in print are now being offered online, and the field is at a crossroads for collecting and managing collections (Zimmer, 2013, pg 29). Web search engines, like Google, provide instant access to millions of information sources, allowing patrons unprecedented access to unfiltered, unverified data. Libraries are having to integrate this new electronic environment into their traditional services, and to approach these platforms as widely accepted sources for their users. But this brings up new questions for library ethics, especially in regards to privacy issues. In the past, intellectual activities have been protected by standards in the library field. But now, unlike in the past, to harness these new resources, libraries have to “capture and retain personal information” in order to “create user profiles, engage in activities that divulge personal interests and intellectual activities, be subject to tracking and logging of library activities, and risk having various activities and personal details linked to their library patron account” (Zimmer, 2013, pg 31). And unfortunately, due to excitement over new possibilities for access, privacy concerns are often being compromised by libraries enthusiastic over new digital possibilities (Zimmer, 2013, pg 36). The lack of clear guidelines that address developments in the new technological age creates a policy vacuum that libraries must consider going forward to further their goal to uphold patron privacy.

The difficulty comes from patron privacy being seen as a “facet” of intellectual freedom. In his article on privacy concerns and electronic resources in libraries, Alan Rubel says: “While electronic resource use, coupled with policies regarding that use, may diminish patron privacy, thereby diminishing intellectual freedom, the opportunities created by such resources also appear liberty enhancing. Any attempt to adjudicate between privacy loss and enhanced opportunities on intellectual freedom grounds must therefore provide an account of intellectual freedom capable of addressing both privacy and opportunity” (Rubel, 2014, pg 184). Vendors of electronic resources provide customized services for patrons, which in turn allows vendors to collect much more personal information on patrons and their usage of resources than ever before. While patrons receive a better product and service, they give up personal information without the ability to control how that information is used. Vendor privacy policies are not usually on par with that of library privacy policies, and vendor ethics do not line up with the ethics of libraries (Rubel, 2014, pg 185). Libraries have to walk a narrow line between service and ethics that is becoming harder and harder to navigate as time goes by. Licensing contracts often require libraries to monitor usage and provide those statistics to vendors. While this information can be used innocently to keep track of what resources are actually needed, it can also be used to track personal usage without patrons ever being aware that this information is being shared.

In their article on the paradox of privacy, Campbell and Cowan state that “Privacy, then, exists at the juncture between the user and the information used. Free and untrammeled exploration of the library’s information resources can only take place if users are free from showing others what they are reading and having to explain why and users need not fear that the information they use will enable others to identify them” (Campbell and Cowen, 2016, pg 493). Technology has the ability to create both positive and negative opportunities for privacy, and Campbell and Cowan point out that the exploitation of personal information can exist without patrons knowing that it is happening. In order to ensure that the true library ethic of privacy is attained in this new world, libraries have to continue to acknowledge the right to privacy, no matter what excuse or rationale is given.

Campbell and Cowan examine the experience of LGBTQ library patrons who use the library as safe space to locate information about their gender and sexual identities. While the library should provide a private place to research this type of information, if that privacy is given up for technological advances, these users could be “outed” and harmed unintentionally. The library assists these users to “identify information [which] requires the gradual evolution of an ability to modulate and control one’s own revelations” (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg 501). The library has created an image of itself as a safe space for these individuals to come and do research for themselves, but this can easily change if the library is not mindful of the type of personal data that it is giving out to third parties. Staff need to be trained in how to handle these privacy issues and concerns, and libraries need to be mindful of the electronic infrastructure that we are creating and using to ensure that traditional ideas of privacy can be maintained in a very new technological environment.

Social media is another resource that needs to be examined. While budgets are being cut, social media is a very good way for libraries to advertise services and continue to bring patrons through the doors. Social media allows for multiple opportunities for exposure and advertisement. But social media is a tool for Big Data Analytics to turn users into resources for information. By tagging users, or following a page, patrons give up information about themselves that they aren’t even aware that they are sharing (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg. 503). As libraries, we have a responsibility to monitor these privacy issues and to police ourselves to make sure our patrons are aware of the risks, as well as the rewards, of using these types of resources.

Because of a constantly changing digital environment, privacy is an ever evolving concern, and libraries need to be constantly mindful of how we are handling this concern. One way to stay on top of privacy assurance in the twenty-first century is to keep doing what we are already doing, only do it a little better: “The ALA’s Core Value of Privacy rests on an assumption that continues to be valid: namely, that by exercising up-to-date collection management and accurate and effective bibliographic control, we empower users to locate information with a minimum of interference” (Campbell and Cowan, 2016, pg 505). In the future it will be necessary to continue to be mindful of the effects of technology on privacy issues and to be willing to be flexible in how we tackle the use of these technologies. There is no one right answer to the question of how to fully maintain an ethical policy in regards to privacy, but libraries must not overlook privacy in their excitement over new and better technological products. Privacy as a core library value has not diminished: in some ways, it has only become more necessary than ever before.

 

References

ALA Council. (amended 2014, July 1). An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved

July 1, 2016, from

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations/privacy

Campbell, D. G., & Cowan, S. R. (2016). The Paradox of Privacy: Revisiting a Core Library

Value in an Age of Big Data and Linked Data. Library Trends, 64(3), 492-511.

Office of Intellectual Freedom. (2010). Privacy and Freedom of Information in 21st-Century

Libraries. Chicago, Ill: American Library Association.

Rubel, A. (2014). Libraries, Electronic Resources, and Privacy: The Case for Positive

Intellectual  Freedom. The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, 84(2),

183-208. doi:10.1086/675331

Zimmer, M. (2013). Assessing the Treatment of Patron Privacy in Library 2.0 Literature.

Information Technology and Libraries (Online), 32(2), 29-41.

How to Apply for a Second Line Permit in New Orleans

I’m taking a course on Library Instruction and teaching this semester. We were tasked with making a short, active instruction session on some “how to” subject. I did mine on how to apply for a second line permit. I caught a typo after the fact (of course!) and had a couple spots where I stumbled with my voice slightly, but over all I was pleased with how it turned out!

http://www.screencast.com/t/AfbjCKLs0v

 

Reflection Paper #1 – Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age

Reflection Paper #1
   
          In the book Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age, author Alex Wright concludes: “Otlet’s Mundaneum will never be. But it nonetheless offers us a kind of Platonic object, evoking the possibility of a technological future driven not by greed and vanity, but by a yearning for truth, a commitment to social change, and a belief in the possibility of spiritual liberation” (Wright 2014, 308). This statement sums up the model of information services that libraries and librarians offer in answer to the question ‘what can libraries can offer that institutions and organizations cannot?’ While Paul Otlet was an idealist who struggled his entire life towards a three dimensional system of information, an idea similar to H.G. Well’s concept of ‘A World Brain,’ he also understood the need for standards and common terms: “He…advocate[d for] his belief in international standards, arguing that librarians should embrace common protocols, including a universal set of subject headings that could enable them to share their work more effectively across institutional and national boundaries” (Wright 2014, 88). Libraries and librarians respond to the specific needs of their users by adhering to standards and core competencies of the library alone, never letting a single organization or institution monopolize or control how information and data is found and organized. Without having any agenda other than open access to their materials, libraries are able to offer their patrons something that corporations and institutions never can: access to information without advancing private interests in an environment that works for social change and a dedication to the latest trends in information.
          Unlike corporations, the primary goal of the library is in meeting the needs of its users. The agenda of the library is in openly offering access to information, while maintaining the privacy of patrons. In their article on future data curation trends, Weber, Palmer and Chao state: “Thus, the essence of librarianship holds—maximizing the ‘effective use of graphic records’ by adding value that is aligned with the social structures of a broader intellectual community” (Weber, Palmer, & Chao, 2012, 306). By functioning this way, the library becomes an important part of the publishing lifecycle of information, one not isolated by the agenda of a specific institution or entity. When a patron accesses information offered by a library, that material has already been deemed acceptable under the library’s expectations and standards, ensuring that the patron does not have to take the extra steps of reviewing that information for themselves. And if the library to which one goes does not have what one needs, it’s very possible that the inter-library system can procure that resource for you. This is just one example of the library as a collaborative model that works within a wide range of groups and institutions to facilitate research and information sharing with no hidden agenda.
          Paul Otlet was working to create a system that allowed users access to knowledge in a more convenient manner than was available at the time. Convenience seems to be a big point in the consideration of meeting user needs easily and rapidly. By adhering to core competencies and agreed upon standards, libraries meet user needs more conveniently than any single organization could. In her article on how libraries can meet user needs in a rapidly changing information environment, Mary Pagliero Popp states: “The concept of convenience is not new, but it is likely that some of these findings are even more important now in the context of current technologies Librarians must determine better ways to help users while being cognizant that most of the users they are helping want to get research done and go do something else” (Popp, 2012, 85). Libraries serve as a user-driven resource which implement systems and databases to aid in quickly finding needed information. The library as an institution itself is dedicated to facilitating this need for information easily found and accessed. By a commitment to agreed-upon core competencies and standards, libraries offer services that are more convenient to users than a more individualized organization might. Libraries constantly work to seek out the newest technologies and possibilities for the dissemination of all information, with no focus according to agenda, allowing them to present the most up-to-date capabilities much sooner than most individual organizations. The library constantly looks at changing trends in the information world and remains flexible, adopting those trends to allow information to be more convenient for our users: “The issue of change must be at the forefront of planning in all libraries, regardless of size. Both economic realities and the impacts of technology have the potential to greatly alter the way libraries are organized, the services libraries provide, and the work that is done by library employees” (Popp, 2012, 85-86). A commitment to change is one of the greatest assets that libraries are able to offer their patrons.
          But how do we sort out the services we need to offer our users to create an atmosphere of both competency and convenience? In her article, Tamara Pianos poses the question of knowing our patrons and their specific needs: “What does the user want? And who is the user? Or rather who are our users?”(Pianos, 2010, 5). While search engines like Google offer access to an amount of unprecedented information, the library is able to shift through that information and ensure that it is coming from acceptable sources, tailoring that information to their specific community: “However, user needs for filter options, expert search options and subject-specific search options are not fulfilled by Google, even though Google by now offers a few facets. This is traditional library turf; libraries should use their advantages creatively and intelligently” (Pianos, 2010, 10). When a user approaches information found at a library, that information is ready to use. They do not have to worry about whether or not that source has been peer reviewed or comes from a reliable author. The library has already put that stamp of approval on the source just by the act of offering it.
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References:
 “Code of Ethics of the American Library Association.” Code of Ethics of the American Library Association. Accessed October 5, 2015. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics.
 Pianos, T. (2010). EconBiz Meeting User Needs with New Technology. Liber Quarterly: The Journal of European Research Libraries, 20(1), 424. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lih&AN=88858709&site=ehost-live
 Popp, M. P. (2012). Changing World, Changing Libraries, (April), 8489.
 Weber, N. M., Palmer, C. L., & Chao, T. C. (2012). Current Trends and Future Directions in Data Curation Research and Education. Journal of Web Librarianship, 6(4), 305320. http://doi.org/10.1080/19322909.2012.730358
Wright, Alex. Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Higher Education Brief – Open Access

This was an assignment for my Academic Libraries class.

The assignment was to produce an evidence-based briefing paper on one topical concern chosen from the list of topics (Bibliometrics and altmetrics, Digital humanities, Internationalization and multiculturalism, Massive open online courses (MOOCs), Online education, Open access, Open textbooks and Research data management). From the original assignment: “You should imagine that you are working in a college or university library and have been asked to  research the area in question and to produce a paper sharing your findings that will  help your colleagues develop  a  better  understanding of the subject and its implications, including an awareness of how other academic libraries are responding to the situation” (Corrall 2).

I chose to discuss open access and here is my brief!

Higher Education Briefing Paper – Open Access

Introduction:

Often seen as the answer to replacing economically unsustainable subscription based models of publication, Open access publishing has been a rising trend in the academic community throughout the last ten years. Open access journals offer an alternative method of publishing scholarly work that costs less money for the institutions that these types of research serve. They also offer a larger number of opportunities for access, enabling work to be read by a much greater readership. David W. Lewis argues in his article on the inevitability of open access that, “we can anticipate that it will become the dominant model for the distribution of scholarly journal content within the next decade” (Lewis 2012). Thomas J. Liesgang claims in his discussion for a continued movement of open access that, “after decades of a successful publication process, the traditional subscription model of publishing research is now at a crucial and evolving stage” (Liesegang 2013). Open Access is a part of this crucial evolution in the publishing industry that is both inevitable and unstoppable. It is a trend that libraries need to understand and utilize in order to serve the needs of their communities, and deal with rapidly declining budgets which cannot maintain rising subscription costs from traditional publishers.

Background:

Open access is a method of publishing that offers an alternative to the traditional model. In this new paradigm, authors, as Lila Guterman states in her article on the promise and peril of open access, “are the revolutionaries offering an alternative to the publishing status quo…creating online journals that charge no subscription fees [in order to] rescue librarians from the tyranny of prohibitively costly journals – upwards of $20,000 per year – and to empower researchers who, because of the expense, often have difficulty keeping up with new developments in their fields” (Guterman 2004). With the continued rise in journal subscription prices, and new technological possibilities brought about by the Internet, open access publishing has become an important movement within the academic world. However, it has only been recently that researchers have started treating open access publishing as a viable and acceptable means for releasing their work. because of issues such as lack of peer review, exclusivity and reputation, as well as predatory behaviors on the part of the open access journals themselves. While the open access movement likes to ignore these issues, they cannot be ignored by the wider community of researchers and scholars.

Considerations:

Open access has radically changed the publishing industry in a fairly short period of time and seems to offer an answer to the rapidly increasing cost of subscription based journals. Open access may be the wave of the future, but there are complex issues that still need to be worked out before it can become more widely used and accepted by the academic community. Traditional methods of publishing have caused delays in the timely publication of research, and as Jill Cirasella points out in her history of open access, “these delays frustrated authors and readers, and slowed the pace of scholarly dialogue and discoveries” (Cirasella 2014). In a world where technology allows for rapid communication, these publishing delays are no longer acceptable. The most up-to-date research must be made immediately available to digital age scholars, and open access offers a solution to this problem.
Open access has also been regarded with suspicion by large academic institutions, so that “authors wishing to enhance their reputations often feel compelled to publish in established, highly thought of venues and, especially before tenure, are unwilling to risk exploring other alternatives” (Lewis 2012). And while open access offers a solution to the need for much more immediate publication, open access publishers have often been seen as ‘unscrupulous, obfuscatory and predatory” (Cirasella 2014). Open access journals have been accused of being less rigorous in their peer review process, an important key to traditional journal publishing, and one of the reasons traditional publishers are able to charge so much. While many open access publishers claim the same level of peer review that traditional publishers offer, many have simply published any article sent to them (Cirasella 2014). In the last several years, this has largely changed, and open access is slowly gaining a better reputation for the quality of work being offered.

Status:

Authors will find that open access offers them a wide range of advantages when it comes to publishing their work. In discussing the ongoing trends in this medium, Mercieca and Macauley state in their article on open access that, “for more than ten years it has promoted the use of networked communications to provide alternative models for the dissemination of scholarship” (Mercieca and Macauley 2008). Also, “by being freely and easily available to anyone connected to the Internet, the author’s work is available to the widest possible audience” (Lewis 2012). But libraries also have to realize that by embracing open access journals and challenging traditional publishers, expectations and budgets for content will be drastically changed: “libraries may end up disrupting academic publishers, potentially including university presses. Taking on this role, especially at scale, could be culturally and politically complex” (Lewis 2012). By continuing to pursue open access models, libraries will cancel more and more subscriptions, therefore causing prices to rise even higher, eventually ensuring that all subscription based journals will fail (Lewis 2012). The open access movement is just as social and political as it is financial; the way that libraries decide to approach their use of open access will for the first time in years be able to force publishers to change their pricing models, and will have a much greater effect on the academic community than it ever has in the past.
Karen Okamoto states in her discussion of how to make higher education more affordable, that “textbook prices have been increasing more than four times the rate of inflation. For community college students, textbooks can constitute up to 75% of the total cost of their education, and books are typically not covered by financial aid. Open and free educational resources are considered to be a possible solution to the textbook affordability crisis” (Okamoto 2013). Textbooks are only one aspect of the open access movement; costs across the board could see a large decrease through the use of open access journals. In a world where library budgets have become much more static, “libraries’ budget concerns may finally be alleviated by the open-access movement…At the same time that libraries have hit the wall, new journals have appeared that would cost subscribers nothing” (Guterman 2004).

Concerns:

While open access has become a very popular method of publication, there are still many issues that need to be resolved before it can become the industry standard. Okamoto states that through advocating, promoting and facilitating open access, libraries have served a historic role in changing publishing trends, but “warns libraries to be aware of the literature on student preferences for electronic versus print books: … the technology and concepts are still very new and require teaching, training, and conversations on campuses before the idea can be considered fully ready to push out across colleges and universities” (Okamoto 2013). And while open access seems like an easy solution, libraries cannot entirely abandon traditional journal subscriptions. Tony Durham argues that access to technology is a privilege of the elite to begin with, so even with open access journals, less privileged institutions will still hit budget walls, “inequalities of wealth and knowledge, on the other hand, seem assured of survival well into the next millennium” (Times and Education 1996). Open access solves some problems, but opens up issues that libraries have not yet begun to consider.

Conclusion:

It is important to think about how traditional, subscription based journals can be balanced with open access journals. Many publishers see open access as a “fight to the death”. As Patricia Renfro points out in her examination of the possibilities of open access, “there is no reason to believe that the subscription model is the only way or the most cost-effective way to ensure the effective dissemination of quality peer-reviewed research, or even that the subscription model is incompatible with delayed public access” (Renfro 2011). While subscription based services offer many options, open access journals offer important bodies of work that cannot be ignored, and create an affordability in accessing this work. In embracing open access services, we may risk driving prices higher on traditional, subscription services, but open access journals seem destined to challenge traditional publishing methods and their costs as they grow in popularity. Okamoto also believes that, “library involvement in OER initiatives can be understood within this larger growing movement of libraries involved in publishing as a means to address the rising costs of serials, textbooks and other publications” (Okamoto 2013). Paul Rainford points out that through the use of open access, “Open access materials tend to be more cited than comparable material behind pay walls, and making an open access version of materials available can help companies, public agencies and NGOs find the right academic experts far more easily, because none of these groups typically have library access to learned journals” (Rainford 2011). Libraries and librarians must begin to think about how open access publishing will serve the needs of their communities, and how it will effect library budgets. And although, open access brings with it its own set of issue, it’s something that we cannot ignore and must consider a permanent addition to advancing library collections.

References:

Cirasella, J. 2014. “Open Access.” Contexts 13 (2): 12–14. doi:10.1177/1536504214533489.

Guterman, Lila. 2004. “The Promise and Peril of ‘Open Access’.” Chronicle Of Higher Education 50, no. 21: A10-A14.

Lewis, Dw. 2012. “The Inevitability of Open Access.” College & Research Libraries 73 (5): 493–506. doi:hwp:master-id:crl;crl-299.

Liesegang, Thomas J. 2013. “The Continued Movement for Open Access to Peer-Reviewed Literature.” American Journal of Ophthalmology 156 (3). Elsevier Inc.: 423–32. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2013.04.033.

Mercieca, P., & Macauley, P. (2008). A New Era of Open Access? Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 39(4), 243–252. http://doi.org/Article

Okamoto, Karen. 2013. “Making Higher Education More Affordable, One Course Reading at a Time: Academic Libraries as Key Advocates for Open Access Textbooks and Educational Resources.” Public Services Quarterly 9 (4): 267–83. doi:10.1080/15228959.2013.842397.

Rainford, Paul. 2011. “University Libraries, Repositories and Open Access Should Be Seen as Crucial Tools in Improving the Impact of Academic Research.” http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/.

Renfro, Patricia. 2011. “Open Access Within Reach: An Agenda for Action.” Journal of Library Administration 51 (5-6): 464–75. doi:10.1080/01930826.2011.589351.

Times, The, and Higher Education. 1996. “Invisible Borders around the Elite ; Multimedia Feature,” 1–3.

open-access-may-college_0

Introduction to the Library Ghoul!

Hi Everyone! I just started my MLIS at Pittsburgh University. I am going to use this blog to explore the issues that we examine in class, post assignments for those classes and generally discuss the things that interest me about library issues. Hopefully in the long run, I can turn this blog into a tool I use throughout my professional career.

Privacy is a huge concern of mine. I think online portfolios and resumes are amazing! But not necessarily for me at the moment. I have unfortunately learned the hard way that privacy is a very important issue and that putting certain information out there can be really harmful. So I’ll keep my real identity secret and simply introduce myself under my library persona, Library Ghoul! There have always been monsters in the Stacks and I am simply one of them! (My real name will crop up here and there, but just like Batman’s real identity, hopefully you can all happily ignore it and realize that Library Ghoul is much cooler anyway!)

I’ve been working in libraries for years. I started out shelving and assisting the librarians in my middle school and high school libraries and moved on to become a student aid for my undergraduate science library. When I graduated, I managed the reference desk for the main library of my alma mater and worked with faculty and students to help facilitate the research they needed. I liaised with librarians and other library staff members to ensure our patrons had the best research help possible and oversaw student staff members, in turn teaching them how to aid others with their research needs. I oversaw the care of the reference collection and assisted in the student computer and printing labs. I gained valuable knowledge of library databases, research methods and technology.

When the economy took a hit in 2005, I moved to the Government Documents department, which existed within the education library. There I processed all incoming gov docs and managed the circulation desk for the education and audiovisual collections. This is where I was introduced to technical services, cataloging, OCLC, sudoc numbers and many other valuable aspects of the more technical aspects of library work. I also got to continue working with patrons and oversaw a large, always wonderful collection of student workers.

I also got to have a lot of fun with our materials. I got to use gov docs to prove that there really might be something to Abraham Lincoln killing vampires…

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Government Document Display

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Government Document Display

I saw that the government contemplated a lot of really interesting issues:

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Good to know that piracy on the high seas is still going strong…

And I enjoyed the fact that the government puts out a lot of really ridiculous and fun things for the kid in all of us, like coloring books. (Who knew the gov had a sense of humor?) I used to make copies and have coloring contests during exam weeks when the undergrads were stressed and needed a break! This was one of my favorites:

Don't do drugs, kids!

Don’t do drugs, kids!

When the economy finally hit rock bottom for my university, I took a job at a state university in my home town managing the circulation desk for the law library. This was a completely new experience! We were the only law library open to the public after hours and I never knew who would walk through the door! We had supreme court justices, lawyers, activists, faculty, students and just normal, everyday people who needed help with legal research. I learned many new skills and worked closely with faculty on their individual research. I also got to contemplate issues that I had never taken seriously before!

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The law library was a great experience, but unfortunately I fell in love. Yup, that’s right, library nerds have deathless romance stories too! My love interest lived in New Orleans and in 2011 I moved to this amazing city and became the acquisitions coordinator for one of the big, fancy universities down here. I currently manage five full time staff members and work with the librarians and administration to oversee an eight million dollar materials buying budget. I deal with licensing issues, e-resources and anything else that is a part of the purchasing process. I work closely with cataloging, database management and the electronic resources librarian. Acquisitions is the beginning of the life cycle of any library material and I am pleased that I get to play such an active role in building the collections of such a cool place.

Also, I get to spend large sums of money on the types of things I would love to buy for myself, but could never afford.

This is $60,000 worth of facsimiles, which are available for anyone to look at in our special collections!

This is $60,000 worth of facsimiles, which are available for anyone to look at in our special collections!

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Ediciones Vigia are some of my favorite purchases. They are handmade in Cuba by a women's collective and the money raised goes to help them.

Ediciones Vigia are some of my favorite purchases. They are handmade in Cuba by an artists’ collective who focus on re-purposing materials.

Last year I graduated with my M.A. in English Literature and I knew that it was finally time to pursue my MLIS. I got into a lot of great schools, but the University of Pittsburgh seemed to be the best choice out of all of them! I am super excited to embark on this degree and look forward to continuing to pursue this really amazing career.

In my spare time, I love to costume and parade. I am personally interested in mythology, folklore and magic and spend personal time researching all of the above.

Shhhhhh! Here’s where my real identity comes in! While I haven’t done a lot of presenting and writing in the library world, I have a little here and there. If you’re interested:

Cuthbertson, William, Lauren DeVoe and Ashley Jones. “Displaying Our History: Miami University Celebrates its FDL Centennial with Rich Displays.Docs Prescriptions 71(2009): 10-12. Print.

DeVoe, Lauren. “The Good, the Bad and the Unread Presentation.” Charleston Acquisitions Conference. The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC. 8 Nov. 2014. Poster Presentation. – https://thegooodthebadtheunread.wordpress.com/

Thesis: DeVoe, Lauren. Erichtho’s Mouth: Persuasive Speaking, Sexuality and Magic. MA Thesis. University of New Orleans, 2015. – http://scholarworks.uno.edu/td/2020/

If you want to contact me about anything, please email me at libraryghoul@gmail.com!