Knitting for black liberation: familiar activity opens dialogue [...]

“As a black woman, you’re invisible,” says Taylor Payne, a member of the [The Yarn Mission]. “But knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.’ Sometimes they respond and sometimes I just get ‘Oh, my grandma knits,’ like the person didn’t hear me. But at least it opens the door to talking about my experiences.” source: The Guardian

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Behind censorship, the need to control and make decisions for others [...]

Interview with Professor Emily J.M. Knox, who studies and advocates for intellectual freedom.

I have an article on how in fact our ideas about intellectual freedom are based in reader response theory, which is that everybody brings their own baggage to reading. You can never know what that baggage is, and it’s not your job as a librarian to infer what someone’s baggage is, to say that “I know what’s best for you.” And also this only happens to certain people. I think this is another way to think about it. There is a lot of material out there for men that is very damaging, but very rarely do we see people get upset about that. It’s generally women and children who seem to have what Cathy Davidson calls an “undisciplined imagination.” They “aren’t able to process what they read as well as men do.” I have never seen a thriller on the banned books list. Ever. No one talks about how violent some of those thrillers can be, and what sort of toxic images they have. It’s only books for certain people that have this designation. source: Hack Library Science

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CardBox:: Language [...]

Artificial intelligence sheds new light on classic texts
Precision of language: climate change dissenter vs. climate change denier
Ad of Polish man teaching himself English to visit émigré family goes viral

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Pushing for open access deal, about 60 German institutions cancel Elsevier contracts [...]

> Despite its current profit margin of 40 percent, [Elsevier] is still intent on pursuing even higher price increases[…]The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany rejects Elsevier’s offer (PDF 25 KB). As a consequence, no access to full texts of Elsevier journals is expected to be available from 1 January 2017 on. All participants in this process are aware of the imminent effects this has on research and teaching. However, they share the firm conviction that, for the present, the pressure built up by the joint action of many research institutions is the only way to  to reach an outcome advantageous for the German scientific community. source: SUB Göttingen, published Dec 13, 2016

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Mentoring program for new Wikipedia authors [...]

The Mentoring Program is designed to support new and inexperienced users, who are willing to contribute to this encyclopedia, by connecting them with experienced users assisting them during their first steps. If you need some guidance to get along, your personal contact, the mentor, will answer your questions, help to solve problems, and give advise on technical matters. (Source)

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Google is not ‘just’ a platform. It frames, shapes and distorts how we see the world [...]

> Google’s business model is built around the idea that it’s a neutral platform. That its magic algorithm waves its magic wand and delivers magic results without the sullying intervention of any human. It desperately does not want to be seen as a media company, as a content provider, as a news and information medium that should be governed by the same rules that apply to other media. But this is exactly what it is.[…] And our failure – the failure of our politicians and the mainstream press – to reckon with it makes us an accessory to the crime. We are colluding with it in broadcasting hate speech and lies. Carole Cadwalladr, The Guardian

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Artificial intelligence sheds new light on classic texts [...]

> Such ‘computational folkloristics’ raise a big question: what can algorithms tell us about the stories we love to read? Any proposed answer seems to point to as many uncertainties as it resolves, especially as AI technologies grow in power. Can literature really be sliced up into computable bits of ‘information’, or is there something about the experience of reading that is irreducible? Could AI enhance literary interpretation, or will it alter the field of literary criticism beyond recognition? And could algorithms ever derive meaning from books in the way humans do, or even produce literature themselves?

Aeon: When robots read books

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Pope warns media over ‘sin’ of spreading fake news [...]

> Francis told the Belgian Catholic weekly “Tertio” that spreading disinformation was “probably the greatest damage that the media can do” and using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin. source: Reuters

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Precision of language: climate change dissenter vs. climate change denier [...]

On 8 Dec. 2016, the bot “Editing New York Times” documented how the online editors changed the wording of a headline about climate change from “dissenter” to “denier.”

The Berlin Translators’ Stammtisch, an association of German-to-English translations, recently debated this wording, coming to the conclusion that “dissenter” is inappropriate because one dissents from an opinion. Someone who argues against widely accepted facts should be designated as a denier, as in “Holocaust denier.”
Documentation on Twitter

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International Librarians Network facilitates peer mentorships between librarians from around the world. [...]

> The International Librarians Network (ILN) peer mentoring program is a facilitated program aimed at helping librarians develop international networks. We believe that innovation and inspiration can cross borders, and that spreading our networks beyond our home countries can make us better at what we do. (Source)

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Tumblr for librarians: it got one LIS student her first job [...]

Being intimidated by the prospect of a “full-size” blog, I joined Tumblr in February 2011. Since then I’ve shamelessly promoted my “name” and stalked down as many libraries/librarians on the site as I could find. I’ve connected with libraries, librarians, library students, publishers, writers, readers, Doctor Who fanatics, and cat lovers. I even linked up with LJ and got to write my first “Backtalk” piece.
Days later, my now current employer reached out after reading the piece, complimented my writing, and told me about an opening at their company. I was in immediately for an interview, and a week or so after that, received an offer. Just like that, I’m a working librarian. source: Library Journal

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Meme librarian is a real job — and it’s the best one on the Internet – The Washington Post [...]

Brennan’s career in meme librarianism began in graduate school at Rutgers, where she received a master’s in library science […]. But instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar library, Brennan continued documenting online phenomena at Know Your Meme and then at Tumblr, where she solidified her profession as information desk for doge, mmm whatcha say and the other viral Internet sensations in need of classification, categorization and preservation.
I think of the Internet as its own community, and if you want to compare it to a local library, they’re going to catalog all the small things that happened. If you want to know what happened in a part of New York City in the 1700s, I know a library would have cool letters, or maps or something like that. Something like Star Wars Kid, you had to download the video and had to be involved in some weird Internet pocket to see it. But now a viral video gets posted six times and it becomes a vine, it becomes a gif set, and you kind of can’t escape it. I think it’s important to catalog these things because you know the history of the Internet.
I love metadata. I took so many metadata classes. I just love the idea of using tags to add more context. Yes, there’s the traditional metadata of saying, “Yes, this book is about Alexander Hamilton, and history, and World War II.” But when people start adding personal metadata to it, this extra level of — we see that more online than in a traditional library setting. (Source)

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The year “elite” changed its meaning: linguistic developments in 2016 [...]

> Thus, the billionaire New Yorker Donald Trump portrayed himself as an outsider battling against the elite. Similarly in the UK, the pro-Brexit Nigel Farage (who was educated at an expensive private school), condemned the elite, as he attended a party in his honour at the Ritz Hotel organized by his millionaire friends. None of these people, apparently, belonged to an elite. Conversely, those who voted against Brexit – almost half the population – are characterized by their opponents as an elite who are out-of-touch with “real people”. So if I had to nominate a WOTY, it would be elite – not only because its frequency reached new heights during the year, but because it now seems to mean whatever anyone wants it to mean. source: MacMillan Dictionary Blog

emphasis added

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Central Library Creates Online Platform for Berlin’s City Stories [...]

> Im Projekt [Berliner Grossstadtgeschichten] erzählen Berlinerinnen und Berliner an „Collection Days“ ihre ganz eigenen Großstadtgeschichten und digitalisieren ihre Erinnerungsstücke. Verknüpft mit Geoinformationen und schon digitalisierten Beständen der beteiligten Einrichtungen – u.a. den Einträgen der Berliner Telefon- und Adressbücher, historischen Stadtplänen und Fotografien sowie den, noch nicht digitalisierten, „Großstadtgeschichten“ vom Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts – werden diese in Virtuellen Ausstellungen im Internet veröffentlicht. (Source)

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Ad of Polish man teaching himself English to visit émigré family goes viral [...]

NPR article with video of ad

How many families today are divided by not just borders and distance, but also language? How has this increased over the past decades? Centuries? I have always had close relatives who do not speak the same language as each other, or as me. My mother and her mother in law shared no common languages, my parents and my in-laws barely do.

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New scanner allows nearly 2m-wide scans of Library of Congress’s Panoramic Photo Collection [...]

> The Library first began reproducing the panoramas in the 1990s by taking photographs of overlapping segments and then “stitching” the sections together to show the whole image on laser videodiscs in the Prints and Photographs Division Reading Room. Later, these copy photographs were converted to digital files and re-stitched to make them accessible on the Library’s website. The process was labor-intensive and the panoramas fit nicely on a screen, but it was difficult to see small features. Now, with a recently acquired oversized flatbed scanner, the Library is capturing entire panoramas (up to 6-½ feet long) in a single pass exposure and at higher levels of resolution, so every little detail can be seen clearly.

source at loc.gov

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Magazine asks 8 Tech Companies: Would you help build Muslim registry? [...]

> Facebook: No answer.

Twitter: “No,” and a link to this blog post, which states as company policy a prohibition against the use, by outside developers, of “Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.”

Microsoft: “We’re not going to talk about hypotheticals at this point,” and a link to a company blog post that states that “we’re committed to promoting not just diversity among all the men and women who work here, but … inclusive culture” and that “it will remain important for those in government and the tech sector to continue to work together to strike a balance that protects privacy and public safety in what remains a dangerous time.”

Google: No answer.

Apple: No answer.

IBM: No answer.

Booz Allen Hamilton: Declined to comment.

SRA International: No answer.

CGI: No answer.

This isn’t to say that the companies that didn’t reply to a request for comment or declined that request are tacitly endorsing the Trump agenda in general or a Muslim registry in particular. Still, it’s asking very little of today’s tech companies to prompt them to go on record as unwilling to help create a federal list of Muslims — or so one would very much hope. source: The Intercept

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Lemont High School class reading list questioned by parents [...]

Pretty detailed report by a local paper in Illinois on a current effort to ban books by Arundhati Roy and Maya Angelou from English class, quoting residents, administrators, previous statements from the authors, and ALA Intellectual Freedom office.

Resident Rick Ligthart came with a prepared statement of changes he wanted in the district’s policy.
“Regardless of the books, I’m recommending to the board that no literature whatsoever be inclusive of literal metaphorical, figurative or allegorical words for male or female genitals,” he said. Identifying himself as a former tenured school teacher he said, other than exceptions for state-mandated sex ed, “English classes should not be involved in sexuality in literature for our kids. It shouldn’t be in any books. No books.”

Reader comment following article:

“So it’s not acceptable that the kids of pearl-clutchers be excluded by not having to read the novel, but it’s OK for the same pearl-clutchers to prevent ALL the kids from reading it. Suck my literal, metaphorical, figurative, or allegorial word for male or female genitals.” – Matthew Pullman

source: Cook County Chronicle

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Trump staffers from opaque corporate misinformation network [...]

> Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.

The fake news we should be worried about is not stories invented by Macedonian teenagers about Hillary Clinton selling arms to Islamic State, but the constant feed of confected scares about unions, tax and regulation drummed up by groups that won’t reveal their interests.

As usual, the left and centre (myself included) are beating ourselves up about where we went wrong. There are plenty of answers, but one of them is that we have simply been outspent. Not by a little, but by orders of magnitude. A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want. Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people.
George Monbiot, Opinion, The Guardian

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Fears of Trump prompt Internet Archive to make mirror site in Canada [...]

> “We all hark back to the [ancient] Library of Alexandria as the great library, but it’s best known for not being here anymore,” [Internet Archive founder Brewster] Kahle said. “If they had made another copy and put it in India or China, we would have the other works of Aristotle and the other works of Euripides, so let’s not make the same mistakes of the ancient Egyptians / Greeks.”

Trump’s “statements about privacy and surveillance, net neutrality, freedom of the press, closing up part of the internet — at least we should take him at his word at this point.”
CBC News

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New director brings public library approach to Library of Congress [...]

> Hayden, 64, has a tall order: to bring a library with 3,100 employees, an annual budget of $642 million, and a collection of more than 162 million items, most of which have not yet been digitized, into the digital age.

Unlike her immediate predecessor, James Billington—and all but three of his predecessors—Hayden is an actual librarian by background. After rising through the Chicago Public Library, she spent the last 23 years leading Baltimore’s library system.
Is there one big lesson you’ve learned in your librarian career that’s going to shape the way you do your job?
There’s one thing that has been helpful to be comfortable with: that change is inevitable. Once you become comfortable with the fact that things change, it helps you deal with evolutions in organizations. Libraries have changed over time. Sometimes change is not comfortable, even if it’s good change. Humans are creatures of habit. source: Washingtonian

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Library tech developments free up common space for interaction, coworking, participation [...]

>So formt sich, Schritt für Schritt und analog wie digital, die Bibliothek zur Community of Practice: zu einer Gemeinschaft, in der – so die Definition dieses Begriffs – Wissen konstruiert wird (siehe auch Wikipedia). In der, um es mit anderen Worten zu sagen, miteinander über Rolle und Funktion von Bildung, Wissen und Kultur gesprochen und entschieden wird. [D]ass nun auch deren Nutzerinnen und Nutzer daran verstärkt und uneingeschränkt teilhaben wollen, darf im 21. Jahrhundert wohl als bestes aller Zeichen für die Zukunft von Bibliotheken verstanden werden.

Freie Räume, neue Gemeinschaften
Die Bibliothek als real-digitale Schnittstelle

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