Category Archives: Libraries

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QuickWire: College and Library Groups Petition FCC on Net Neutrality

[Update (7/15/2014, 5:31 p.m.): The FCC has extended the public-comment period until Friday, and for that reason the college and library group has not yet officially released its comments.]

[Update (7/18/2014, 1:53 p.m.): The coalition officially filed its comments with the FCC this morning. There are now 11 groups signed onto the document.]

A coalition of seven university and library organizations on Tuesday filed comments asking the Federal Communications Commission to preserve net neutrality….

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Mellon Comes to the Rescue of Missouri’s Moldy Books

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Mold-afflicted library books at the U. of Missouri. (U. of Missouri Libraries photo)

This past January, Jim Cogswell, director of libraries at the University of Missouri at Columbia, got news no library administrator wants to hear: Mold had invaded a rented remote-storage facility that housed some 600,000 of the university’s books.

It wasn’t a happy time.

Then came an email from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation expressing sympathy and offering to help. “I practically shouted out loud,” Mr. Cogswe…

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11 University and Library Groups Release Net-Neutrality Principles

The nation’s colleges and libraries have a message for the Federal Communications Commission: Don’t mess with net neutrality.

Echoing almost a decade of pro-neutrality sentiment in academe, 11 higher-education and library groups released a set of 11 principles on Thursday that promote the notion that all Internet content, regardless of origin, should be treated equally.

The 11 principles—meant to guide the FCC as it considers new open-Internet rules—include recommendations to prohibit the bl…

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QuickWire: Authors Guild Responds to HathiTrust Ruling

A federal appeals court on Tuesday largely upheld a district court’s ruling in favor of the HathiTrust Digital Library in a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought against it by the Authors Guild.

On Wednesday the guild released a statement in response to the ruling, calling it a “narrow fair-use decision” that “was not a total victory for either side.” The group did not say what its next legal move might be or whether it had decided to mount another appeal.

That could depend in part on the next …

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HathiTrust Digital Library Wins Latest Round in Battle With Authors

In what legal observers and fair-use advocates are calling a victory for libraries, a federal appeals court has upheld most of a lower court’s 2012 ruling in favor of the HathiTrust Digital Library in a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild and other plaintiffs.

The decision is another legal setback for the Authors Guild, which has also been fighting a long court battle over Google’s mass digitizing of books. But the appeals court’s move will encourage both scholars who wan…

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‘Napping Stations’ at U. of Michigan Library Help Students Face Exams

Universities have long embraced digital technology that improves students’ academic performance. Now the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is embracing another, simpler performance booster—sleep.

Concerned with students’ bad sleeping habits during final-examination season—and their tendency to fall asleep on top of library tables—the university’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library has installed “napping stations.” The pilot program is meant to allow students who live far from the campus to take nap…

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Book Lovers Record Traces of 19th-Century Readers

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An annotated copy of an 1891 edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poems and ballads that belonged to Jane Chapman Slaughter.

A lament for a dead child, written by her mother in pencil on the endpaper of an 1843 copy of The Poetical Works of Mrs. Felicia Hemans. A sewing needle, thread still attached, inserted in the back of an 1860 edition of The Letters of Hannah More to Zachary Macauley. Bittersweet annotations in an 1891 copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Ballads and Other Poems (left), …

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N.Y. Public Library Plans Face-to-Face ‘Classes’ for MOOC Students

In a pilot program with Coursera, the New York Public Library plans to organize meet-ups at which people taking massive open online courses can gather and discuss the courses with help from “trained facilitators.”

The partnership is part the MOOC company’s effort to build an infrastructure for in-person learning around its free online courses. Research has suggested that MOOC students who receive offline help earn higher scores on their assessments.

Coursera is not paying the library to provide …

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Digital Public Library of America Celebrates Its Birthday

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Like most youngsters, the Digital Public Library of America has been growing fast. Officially a year old, it now encompasses more than seven million items, three times what it started with 12 months ago.

Designed to be a gateway to information rather than a final destination, the DPLA doesn’t actually ingest digitized books, manuscripts, photos, moving pictures, recordings, or other materials. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of institutions to aggregate the metadata that describes …

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…