Category Archives: What Librarians Think About

Open Access Panel, Tuesday Oct 23, Noon

The Library is celebrating Open Access Week! Students, Staff, and Faculty are invited to attend the Library’s first Open Access Publishing panel discussion next Tuesday at noon in the Macdonald-Kelce Library room AV2. If you are interested in alternative ways of publishing your work, join in on the discussion of how open access could be beneficial to you.

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Banned Book Week, Sept. 23 – 29, 2018

square_green-300x300Year after year, we need to remind ourselves that books are still targeted for censorship by various people, groups, and institutions throughout the nation. As Librarians, we strive to make all materials available under the belief that everyone should have the freedom to read.

This year’s tagline is “Banning books silences stories.” How many books have you read or heard about in the video below? A lot of them are children’s books; maybe you read some of them in elementary school or junior high.

Stop by the exhibit in the front of the library. Here we display books in our collection that have been challenged in the recent past. You can read more about frequently challenged books by year here.  Some of them may surprise you.

Digital Life/Daily Life

As college students in 2018, there is no doubt all of you deal with technology in some way in the classroom and in your personal life. You may already have an opinion of how constant contentedness and rapid innovation shape your life for good or ill since technology is so intrinsic to the daily grind. Over the summer, the Pew Research Center issued a lengthy report on how technology effects us. These anecdotes from experts may confirm or deny some of your ideas.

If you are doing a research paper on how technology (social media, health monitoring apps, privacy, Alexa, ebooks, robotics, etc.) play a positive or negative part in our lives, or are simply curious about what this report has to say, take a read below:

July 3, 2018

Stories From Experts About the Impact of Digital Life

While many technology experts and scholars have concerns about the social, political and economic fallout from the spread of digital activities, they also tend to report that their own experience of digital life has been positive

Technology experts and scholars have never been at a loss for concerns about the current and future impact of the internet.

Over the years of canvassings by Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, many experts have been anxious about the way people’s online activities can undermine truth, foment distrust, jeopardize individuals’ well-being when it comes to physical and emotional health, enable trolls to weaken democracy and community, compromise human agency as algorithms become embedded in more activities, kill privacy, make institutions less secure, open up larger social divisions as digital divides widen, and wipe out untold numbers of decent-paying jobs.

An early-2018 expert canvassing of technology experts, scholars and health specialists on the future of digital life and well-being contained references to some of those concerns. The experts who participated in that research project were also asked to share anecdotes about their own personal experiences with digital life. This report shares those observations.

Read more…….

New data protection rules

If you are on social media or have purchased goods online at any point, you’ve probably noticed the dozens of emails about new private policy user agreements flooding your inbox. After deleting all of them immediately (no shame), you should now take a quick look at what is actually going on.

Essentially, these emails are informing you on how the websites you use collect and share your personal information, and how that will change under the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short. Read the article below from Wired to learn how these updated privacy regulations allow for more transparency and protection when handling your own data online.

Although the article is about the UK specifically, much of this applies internationally, since many websites service multiple countries (eBay, Facebook, Etsy, etc.)  Here’s an article from Forbes that explains the complex regulations from a US angle.

What is GDPR? The summary guide to GDPR compliance in the UK

General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, have overhauled how businesses process and handle data. Our need-to-know GDPR guide explains what the changes mean for you

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Europe’s data protection rules are undergoing sweeping changes. To keep up with the huge amount of digital data being created, rules across the continent have been re-written and are due to be enforced. From May 25, 2018, the new mutually agreed European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will update personal data rules.

GDPR will bring outdated personal data laws across the EU up to speed with an increasingly digital era. The previous data protection laws were put in place during the 1990s and haven’t been able to keep pace with the levels of technological change…..read more.


Can your smartphone tell if you are stressed out?

As we navigate the fine balance between technological innovation and online privacy, some companies, including Facebook, are taking the initiative to develop algorithms that point to certain behaviors. The way we use social media, these companies are investigating, could reveal real life anxieties, bouts of depression, PTSD, and other severe persistent mental illnesses.  This type of data collection and assessment of our behavior is called digital phenotyping.

Does all of this stress you out? Or do you want your tech to potentially help with your well-being?

Read the following New York Times article below and see what you think.

How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health

An emerging field, digital phenotyping, tries to assess people’s well-being based on their interactions with digital devices.

Some books are banned from Florida State Prisons – why?

You may not be surprised to learn that the American prison system censors the types of reading materials accessible to the incarcerated.  Banned books are an unfortunate, but incessant part of American history, and occur in many institutions including public schools, libraries, bookstores, and, yes, prisons. Take a look at the New York Times article below. This article makes a case that these bans are racially motivated. Do you think having access to all books is a basic human right?

Why Are American Prisons So Afraid of This Book?

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“In the eight years since its publication, “The New Jim Crow,” a book by Michelle Alexander that explores the phenomenon of mass incarceration, has sold well over a million copies, been compared to the work of W.E.B. Du Bois, been cited in the legal decisions to end stop-and-frisk and sentencing laws, and been quoted passionately on stage at the Academy Awards.

But for the more than 130,000 adults in prison in North Carolina and Florida, the book is strictly off-limits…..read more

Paying more and getting less: the Net Neutrality roll back plan

Are you frustrated with your cable or phone provider but live in an area where you have little choice? Get ready to be frustrated with the entirety of the internet in the same way.

The ALA (American Libraries Association) blog discusses the upcoming FCC vote to roll back protections that disallow ISPs (service providers – like Comcast or Verizon) from taking advantage of what they will allow us to see on the web or tamper with the quality of certain websites.

“…this new FCC order would create a world where ISPs are allowed to block, slow down and limit quality access to any websites or applications they want. ALA stands vehemently opposed to these actions; the draft order violates all the principles we believe are necessary for a free and open internet as well as fundamental library values.”

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Net neutrality protections eliminated in draft FCC order

Reads: "because the internet shouldn't have a slow lane. libraries transform"Last week, we highlighted a disturbing policy change that we had been anticipating for a while: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai’s plan to roll back the net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat all internet traffic and services equally.

Between Thanksgiving preparations and leftovers, we have had some time to review this big turkey (220 pages worth). Below are some first impressions…..read more.

The myth of online privacy: if you are on social media, consider yourself exposed

Do any of you remember Friendster? Of course you don’t. I’m an “old,” so I have fond memories of being apart of one of the first large-scale social networking platforms that began in the early aughts. Friendster and MySpace are now defunct, or close to it, replaced by a dozen other social sites, with Facebook as the reigning champion with over one billion accounts worldwide. My old Friendster account is archived online and can be analyzed in a variety of ways, just as yours is today.

As a college student in 2017, you are probably apart of at least one of these social networking sites. You may think your profile is fully private (please adjust your settings if it’s wide open – employers can and will look you up!), but the truth is that if you have friends online, certain kinds of information about you can be gathered, even if you aren’t on Snapchat or IG.

If you’re interested in media studies and would like to write about “social media” as a contemporary phenomenon, consider privacy issues. Read the article below and see what you think.

On social media, privacy is no longer a personal choice

Social networks can make predictions about people, based on information from their friends

……..“It’s a good illustration of an issue we have in society, which is that we no longer have control over what people can infer about us,” says Elena Zheleva, a computer scientist at the University of Illinois in Chicago. “If I decide not to participate in a certain social network, that doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to find things about me on that network.”

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UT TED Talk: Predatory Publishing, Panel Presentation

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On the proposed elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Museums and libraries in America, institutions that largely depend on federal funding, are in danger of closing their doors. If you like visiting the Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Aquarium, or you’re one of the many people that depend on your hometown public library, this is a cause for concern. A message from the American Library Association:

WASHINGTON, DC — In response to President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services in his FY2018 budget, American Library Association (ALA) President Julie Todaro today issued the following statement:

“The President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in his FY2018 budget just released, and with it effectively all federal funding for libraries of all kinds, is counterproductive and short-sighted. The American Library Association will mobilize its members, Congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a Congressional reality.  Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive through their states into an incredible range of services for virtually all Americans everywhere to produce what could well be the highest economic and social “ROI” in the entire federal budget.

“The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funded through IMLS is the primary annual source of funding for libraries in the federal budget. IMLS distributes the majority of LSTA funds to every state in the nation according to a population-based formula. Each state library determines how to best spend its allocated federal funds, which must be matched at the state level. The range of services provided to millions of Americans through LSTA grants is matched only by the creativity of the libraries that receive them: veterans transitioning to civilian life, small businesses seeking to expand their business online, summer reading programs, resources for blind and hearing-impaired patrons, resume writing and job skills workshops and computer coding courses to teach youth 21st century job skills.

“America’s more than 120,000 public, school, college and university and many other libraries are not piles of archived books. They’re trusted centers for education, employment, entrepreneurship and free inquiry at the core of communities in every state in the country – and in every Congressional district. And they’re staffed by the original search engines: skilled and engaged librarians.”