Tag Archives: copyright law

Crossing the streams: using lessons from fandom to talk about digital life

Crossing the streams is an expression that I first heard in fandom, which means when two fandoms intersect in a way that you didn’t expect. An example of it from my work this year was when due to some odd light, there was a strange shadow under one of the library tables. Many of my students are Doctor Who fans and immediately thought of Silence in the Library, an episode where extra shadows appear in a planetwide library and signal enemies. When I got the reference, the students were amazed and then loved it as we all tried to figure out what was going on with the shadow. We never did but it was a powerful moment of the world of fandom becoming part of the life of the library.

This is a fairly simple example and a nice one, where my knowledge of Doctor Who became another way for me to understand what was going on with my students. In terms of their lives online, it becomes complicated but I think is no less important.

Two of the main concerns I see brought up when educators talk about life online are safety and creation and consumption. The worry is that young people are consuming too much online and not creating enough, that the internet is too passive. This will make them not as thoughtful about information online or what they post online. I think these are important concerns and have an idea of how to approach them.

I think crossing the streams and using the understanding of how young people are creating and posting their work online as well as how they live online can be a way to help teach them about issues of safety and copyright. What’s key about this idea is to make certain that its coming from a place of understanding and in a safe environment for the students.

Since high school, I’ve been involved in fandom and friendships online and have seen platforms change plus how those platforms are used. I know that I don’t consider myself an expert, there are parts of the online world that students will know better than I will. Yet I’m older and have more experience in terms of what will work and what won’t in a greater sense of the world. I learned this year when I was talking with students, observing them and trying to help them make good decisions that one of the best ways to begin was to listen. When you’re a teenager and an adult takes the time to listen to you and respect your opinion and understanding of what you’re doing, that’s powerful. Libraries are a space where there isn’t as clear a hierarchy between young people and adults, which means they’re a good place to have these sorts of conversations. These are risky conversations because much of what’s shared online and explored isn’t easy, teenagers are using fandom to explore their desires as well as their dislikes. I know I would have to begin any of these classes with an important disclaimer that what’s shared is what’s chosen to be shared or else no one will feel comfortable. Once that safe space has been created, then its possible to look into the mechanics of sharing and creation and consumption online. Since its important to realize that young people are going to not choose to share everything with all adults but talking with them about choices and giving them ways to think about them will help.

I wish these thoughts were more complete but I don’t think there are any right answers. Instead its important to get these discussions going and make certain that they spread from those living online to those who don’t understand what’s online.

Leave a comment

Filed under online life, roeper reflections, Uncategorized

The Power of a Link

One reason I haven’t fully blacked out my blog today is that I want to use it to write about the power of connecting, which is what SOPA and PIPA are threatening. The strength of the internet is that it is a web of links and it’s possible to trace a link back to its original source. Sometimes this is harder than others but if links in these chains began to disappear then conversations and sources would be lost. It is important to protect the property of creators, but creativity also requires connections to shift and grow. None of these are new ideas, but they’re important to recall when the discussion becomes one of right and wrong.

My professional life and my personal life are enhanced and grown by links to people, organizations, authors and patrons. I want to look into how some of these links have added to my profession as a librarian and my growth as a person, because mine is just one of many stories of linkages across the internet.

As a reference librarian who works primarily for students along with researchers at the University of Michigan, my job is to help along the path of searching out sources. In this moment in time that is mainly done by tracing a citation to a full text article or learning to navigate a database or catalog to find what’s needed. Each step of the process is made up of links beginning with the researcher explaining what they’re looking for, I need to understand them and we create a human connection. From that point, we have to translate questions into language that will be understood by our search tools such as Proquest and there the links become incredibly powerful. Once the right phrase is found, it’s possible to go ever deeper and seen multiple pathways to explore a question and follow the chains of thoughts. The reverse of this is using a citation to trace back to a source and here the power of links is staggering. I’ve had people grading papers ask for my help to track back a citation and when the right one is found, there’s a moment of oh, I see how they got there.

The other side of this story for me is the links of the world of fandom where thanks to the internet creators and fans find new ways to connect and fans are constantly connecting with each other. It’s possible for me to let an author know that I loved their newest book through a tweet and know they received the compliment. I can also find new shows and books thanks to the web of connections of my friends who all have different networks and we touch at many points. We encourage each other to keep looking and searching and make the world smaller. As I’ve learned, you never know what image or music will inspire you or change your day, but I know that on the internet if I find something that touches me, I can find where it began. From that source I can found out how to follow the creator or purchase from them just as a citation shows a teacher how you began. We can’t lose any links in these chains.

A difficult part of this is figuring out which links to present for extra information as there are some incredibly good ones out there. I’m going to link a lot of them.

From Wikipedia, definitions: SOPA, PIPA

From Pajiba.com, one of the best write ups I’ve read: The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act explained with profanity

From Google: Take Action

From WordPress.com: SOPA Strike

Please think on how you connect and trace links and take action.

Leave a comment

Filed under goals and career, links

Class Reflection-Digital Books and Embedded Librarians

Class this week started with a wonderful talk by Paul Courant, who helps to run the Michigan Library. His talk about how complicated the world of ebooks is was really good to hear and understand all the different players. I know as a librarian that many times people get disappointed because they can only see parts of a book, which seems strange when they’re all digitized. My take is that ebooks and digital books are going to keep changing. We haven’t found a good balance between copyright, orphan works and those who wish to profit from books yet. I don’t know where the solution is going to come from, but I’m pretty sure that libraries are going to play a big part.

We then spoke about embedded librarians and what that means in large and small groups. It seems to be one of those phrases that means something different depending on the person and the situation. What I took from it is that an embedded librarian needs to know how to balance the needs of the community they’re in and the library community. This is something that any librarian should know how to do and that its just more obvious for embedded librarians as they don’t spend their time only with librarians. I liked thinking about how their are different ways to be an embedded librarian from on the webpage to in the classroom and that sometimes a balance is the best way to do your job.

Class ended as we found groups to start to plan our webinars. My group is going to be looking at programs for the unemployed and we went from three to four people in our group. At this point, I’m not really sure how its going to end up as the webinar feels much newer and more complicated than the other projects.

4 Comments

Filed under professional practice reflection

Class Reflection-One Shot Workshop

My first thought about this class was I really wish we’d had more time. Twenty minutes even with the time planned out just feels far too rushed. The five groups covered an array of great topics, two takes on copyright policy from the point of view of K-12 teachers and academic librarians, balancing the library culture and then talk of the Code of Ethics. Kayla and I presented on the issue of accessibility in libraries, which was a great topic since it really got everyone thinking.

All of the workshops were run in really different ways, a few of us had powerpoint presentations as the hear of our workshops while some of them focused on just discussion. I think a combination of the two along with handouts seems to work the best in terms of keeping the audience involved and make sure they’re getting the most from the experience. Since too much of the one or the other can be either boring or end up rather chaotic since discussions can get out of control and take over while slide presentations can veer into the lecture format. I think after this I would be able to run a workshop since it left me feeling confident about connecting with an audience in this format and I learned some new ideas of how to present information.

2 Comments

Filed under professional practice reflection

Books Clubs and Socratic Seminars

All of the reading this week is about how to run book clubs and Socratic seminars. I’m curious to see what these articles say because one of the things that’s helped my parents get socially active in the community they retired to was book and movie clubs. Currently they’re members of a large one where not everyone reads the book but it sets off fascinating discussions and feels like a Sunday brunch with talk of books. My mother is a member of a small woman’s book club that reads a real variety of books and two librarians are active in it. Then my parents are also part of a small movie club, which is low key and they talk over dinner and enjoy each other’s company. one idea that I found wonderful is doing a thematic book club so that everyone’s reading connected works but not the same ones since it creates new approaches and at the end of the club, each person will have a list of what they want to read next.

I started out by reading the Hoffert article from Library Journal about book clubs and the various methods that public libraries use to pull the local community in and keep them active. This article is full of thoughts about book kits and videoconferencing and helping readers move beyond the book. It makes me rather excited and curious to go out and get involved with book clubs.

One the other hand the Metzger article about using something called a Socratic seminar to help students feel more comfortable reading bothers me. The reason it does is because I studied Classics as an undergraduate and from the description of two circles inner and outer which would go back and forth between discussion. This sounds like a useful way to help students take control of their reading and learning but not Socratic. Socrates focused on the use of questions that he would use to push the discussion in specific ways so maybe this is like that but from the description it seems more like a book group. From Metzger’s description, it seems like it can be a powerful tool to teach students how to know their own opinions, think about reading and think about how they interact with each other. It seems like some lessons from this would be useful in Hoffert article which focuses on the good parts of book clubs and doesn’t mention how tricky group dynamics can be.

Then I read an article by Tredway about Socratic Seminars which is from three years before the Metzger article so hopefully it will answer some of my questions. According to Tredway the seminar is based around the reading of a common text and a pointed question asked by a teacher. There’s a mention of voting which seems strange to me, because I could see Socrates feeling confused that people are voting in a seminar. Though the voting is used to start discussion and get students defending their opinions which makes more sense. My reading of Socrates was always that it wasn’t about being right or wrong, but if you felt one way about something, be able to say clearly why. One aspect I find interesting of these Socratic seminars is the idea of there being a group who observes the discussion and then comments on it. That type of feedback is a tricky thing to give but quite important since it can be hard to see group dynamics when you’re inside of a group. These types of seminars seem tricky to begin because they require a lot of trust from the teacher to the students that they will focus on the text and from the students with each other to be polite and also truthful.

The last article I read is The Three Jeremiads by Robert Darnton that I last read in my Digital Libraries class. Apparently a Jereemiad is a long literary lament on society and in this case, his is focused on the state of university libraries. Darnton begins with a Jeremiad about the price of journals and how they become harder for research libraries to buy especially in smaller topics. His plan to try and finance theses that pursue little known topics seems like a fine way to help students wish to write more by showing there will be a place that they can be read. His second Jeremiad is from when he led the Harvard University library and focuses on the exact costs of buying periodicals for that library and how their budget works. He points out how scientific journals especially put university libraries in a bind because they make great profits because scientists insist on access and need to be published to show that they’re relevant. There is a move towards open access journals but its not easy because the history and weight of the publishing world makes it difficult for them to be viable. His last Jeremiad is on the matter of Google and how they control so much information and require libraries to contribute. The idea of a national digital public library seems so much closer now thanks to Google Books but currently Google and publishers hold more power in terms of copyright. I find this article fascinating but also coming from a specific place from someone who has access to a lot of resources anyway so perhaps not the best at seeing an even larger picture.

6 Comments

Filed under professional practice reflection

Ethics

This seems to be the week for discussing ethics, we spoke about them too in my archives’ class. That professor used a phrase that I hadn’t heard before connecting with ethics, but makes a lot of sense, risk management. Ethics are about defining the expectations and risks that we’ll take in our chosen professions and one of the fascinating things about being in a library school is seeing just how diverse those risks are. So a librarian or an archivist is worried about privacy as is a school librarian. Yet a school librarian also is concerned about the mental and physical safety of the young people who are their charges, which is not really looked at in any depth in the ALA Library Code. So the challenge is to understand how to educate and protect without protecting too much since there’s always the risk that if you shelter someone so much than they won’t learn yet if you don’t pay attention, things like bullying happen. I think one of the real ideas that came through the lecture is how much schools are rushing to keep up with all the changes happening in the world of social networking and just trying to understand what students are doing online. As we read through the agreement for using the technology in the school, I kept thinking about how do students perceive these documents when they’re old enough to read them, is it just a thing to use the computer or more.

Another issue that arose in both classes was copyright, but taken from two very different angles. The archivist wonders about what they can publish while the school librarian tries to protect student’s copyright and also make sure that things from online are respected. Before these classes, I hadn’t really made the obvious connection that copyright is literally the right to publish or reproduce something. I knew it but talking about it in depth was quite enlightening especially as I realized how over time, its been extended and strengthened. One of the ideas about copyright that struck me was that the idea was to make it easy to share ideas, but that’s much harder than it seems. I think its a bit like collaboration, everyone agrees, yes, ideas should be accessible and usable by everyone, but in theory everyone wants their cut of the pie. In terms of students, I think that this importance of ownership does get forgotten sometimes, because schools want to show off their students’ work. Now this makes a lot of sense, but its also key to teach students that this is your work and you can claim it, it might not have a copyright symbol next to it, but its still yours. I was curious how copyright is taught and discussed in classrooms? Does it all revolve around the mighty citation or is there more to it especially when students are doing creative work?

2 Comments

Filed under school library management reflection