Fix the CFAA

You may have noticed the “Justice for Aaron Swartz” badge added to the sidebar.  I’ve added it to support the campaign by Demand Progress and the Internet Defense League that is trying to reform the CFAA.

From Demand Progress:

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the law under which Aaron Swartz and other innovators and activists have been threatened with decades in prison. The CFAA is so broad that law enforcement says it criminalizes all sorts of mundane Internet use: Potentially even breaking a website’s fine print terms of service agreement. Don’t set up a Myspace page for your cat. Don’t fudge your height on a dating site. Don’t share your Facebook password with anybody: You could be committing a federal crime.

It’s the vagueness and over breadth of this law that allows prosecutors to go after people like Aaron Swartz, who tragically committed suicide earlier this year. The government threatened to jail him for decades for downloading academic articles from the website JSTOR.
Since Aaron’s death, activists have cried out for reform of the CFAA. But members of the House Judiciary Committee are actually floating a proposal to expand and strengthen it – that could come up for a vote as soon as April 10th!

The changes proposed by the House Judiciary committee (as outlined by TechDirt) are disturbing, and I strongly recommend that you click on the photo of Aaron and use Demand Progress’s tools to let your legislators know that these changes are unacceptable.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation has outlined their recommended changes to the CFAA as well, and Representative Zoe Lofgren seems to be taking notice.  Let’s help the Internet Defense League and Demand Progress to support these reforms and remind Congress that the internet is watching.

Eleven years ago today….

Eleven years ago today, I was a junior in college. I was sitting in my class that morning, when the professor’s daughter put her head in and said “a plane hit the World Trade Center”. It was a computer class, so immediately we all started trying to log on to our favorite news sites to see what was going on. None of us could get more than the most basic headline to load. We left class (maybe early, I don’t remember) and I remember joining a crowd of students standing in the university center, staring up at a small television that was showing the footage. We still weren’t sure what had happened exactly. I went on to my next class, where the professor proceeded to inform us that, despite the morning’s events, we were having class as normal. I was grateful for that – it helped keep me for freaking out about it.

I don’t really remember much of the rest of that day. I remember bits and pieces of the weeks and months after… I remember standing again in the university center sometime after and watching President Bush speak, again in a crowd of people. I remember many conversations with my roommates about the state of things, and politics and what we would do if Oak Ridge was attacked (I was in Chattanooga at the time).

I also remember how much I missed having those roommates around when I was in grad school and one of the anniversaries came around. I missed the shared experience of watching the news and talking about it, and of simply having someone there.

I struggle with these kinds of anniversaries. I always have. I can’t bring myself to watch all the dozens of documentaries that have been on television over the last week – it’s too intense and too much voyeurism for me to watch the something like the special made up of the phone calls of those who were on the planes and in the towers. Those conversations were meant for their loved ones, not me. The same with the other specials. I still remember and see the footage clearly in my mind. I don’t need to relive those moments.

So, today I will be scarce on social media and try not to listen too closely to NPR on my commute and I will think especially of those who lost a loved one today and honor this day in my own quiet way.

Getting Involved

How to get involved, networking and other related topics have been on my mind lately.  Getting involved in library associations can seem intimidating, difficult and confusing, but it’s not as hard as it might appear.  If you look around this site, you might notice that under Professional Activities I’ve had a pretty busy couple of years.  I’ve been heavily involved in my state library organizations and also in ALA committee work.  If you’re like me, you look at people who are so involved and go “How do they do that?” or “How can I get involved?”.  I want to tell you how I got here.

In 2006, just before I started at my current job, I made a few professional resolutions.  These were the result of a conversation with a friend of mine who is perpetually challenging me (and others, I’m sure) to do better and do more.  One of those resolutions led me to this position!  Another one led to my increased activity in library related organizations.   Of course, that’s not to say it was an immediate thing (see my post about “stupid conferences” and my lack of networking skills).  One of the first steps I made was to start submitting program proposals to my state library association.  That helped to get my name out there and to encourage other people to approach me (the Speaker ribbon is a great conversation starter at a conference!).  (Want to see my follow-up resolutions? They’re here)

Another thing I did that helped with the national conferences was to get involved with the Library Society of the World.  This group of librarians from around the world (literally) gave me a great group of people to look for at national conferences and helped ease my “networking” pain.  By allowing us to meet virtually and communicate nearly every day, the LSW allows librarians to get to know one another and “meat” each other at conferences.  That means that we already know each other and can pick up where we left off when we see one another in person!  The person I don’t recognize isn’t really a stranger!  This group has been an amazing help to me at conferences – it’s a good sized group, which also means that there’s nearly always someone to hang out with, talk to, or go to dinner with.

So after I started meeting people at the state and national conferences, I started getting asked to do things!  Since many of our organizations are volunteer-run, they’re desperate for people to do things.  So, many times, all you have to do is show up and say yes!  So I did.  Now, I’m trying to learn to say No!

Just because an organization is run by volunteers doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to be run well.  Just because you’ve said “yes” doesn’t mean that your commitment has ended there.  Volunteer organizations need quality work, just like your place of work.  So…say “yes’ and do your best work!  (you can see how it’s easy to get over-extended, right?)

After such a busy couple of years, I’ve decided to practice saying “No” for a little while. I ‘m starting to feel the pain of burn-out, and that’s not where I want to be.  So I’m scaling back on new commitments and trying to focus on balancing my life a little better.  I’m going to stay involved, but I’m also going to work on my hobbies – sewing, gardening, etc.  I’m also going to try to increase my involvement in my community.   I’d like to pick up my Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity volunteering and maybe meet some new people who aren’t librarians!

SOPA, PIPA and protests

So there’s all kinds of stuff going around right now about SOPA and PIPA and RWA.  I’m glad to see that heavy hitters on the internet like Wikipedia are paying attention to Congress.  I’m hopeful that RWA will get similar responses, but it’s not looking likely.

I wanted to draw some attention to what the Library Society of the World is doing, particularly.  Iris and Steve have created Protest Coupons to leave at the ALA Midwinter booths of the vendors that Andy has identified as supporters of SOPA/PIPA. However, I will not be at Midwinter, so the coupons aren’t going to work for me.  So I made a postcard.  I’m working on getting a way for people to click and send postcards, but I’ve had actual work stuff come up :)  So, hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have that worked out.

I encourage you to print out the coupons if you’re going to ALA Midwinter or the postcards if you’re not and send them to the vendors who are supporting these bills. 

Also, be sure to contact your congress people and let them know how you feel!  Congressional support seems to be dropping for SOPA, but PIPA (the Senate version) still has support.

On that note, I also want to point out this post from Read Write Web about what Joe Brockmeier wishes people were saying about SOPA/PIPA and congressional actions.  The gist is: Americans are unaware of congressional actions until someone points them out.  The mainstream media aren’t going to be pointing out things like SOPA/PIPA because they are supporters of the bill.  So, it’s up the the American public to keep up with Congress on their own.  Check on your Congressional reps regularly!  Write to them often!  We are a democracy and those only work with an educated population that is willing to speak up!  So SPEAK UP!  (and not just about SOPA/PIPA).

 

It’s that time again!

I can’t believe it’s here (and I’m tired already, just thinking about it!), but ALA 2011 starts on Friday!  I’ll be heading out Friday morning, with a mid-afternoon arrival in New Orleans.   As usual, my calendar is entirely impossible! Send me a message if you’d like to meet up.  I’ll hopefully be tweeting and such a bit more than usual while I’m at the conference.

And this year, I resolve to actually post a conference wrap-up instead of just thinking a lot about posting one :)

NOLA Attending

I'm Attending ALA 2011

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks.  I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours.  Now it is your turn to take a stand.  To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others.  Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work

 

Electronic Resources & Libraries

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading to Austin for the excellent Electronic Resources & Libraries conference.  It’s one of my favorite conferences because it’s small and friendly and eminently useful to my day to day job.  I enjoy ALA Annual, mostly because I get to see people I rarely ever see in person and because I get to talk about and hear about some of the larger issues facing libraries.  Electronic Resources & Libraries, though, is focused in a way that I haven’t seen in any other conference.  Nearly everything is useful, and there are lots of wonderful conversations that happen with other librarians and vendors.

If you’d like to see my schedule, it should be embedded below.  If not, here’s the PDF version.

ER&L 2011 Schedule

ER&L 2011 Schedule

Library Day in the Life #6

I’m participating in the Library Day in the Life project again this year!  Started in 2008, the Library Day in the Life has really taken off…It’s grown from a single day snapshot of what librarians are doing all day to a week long look.  Librarians from all over the world have participated, and from all variations on the librarian job.  It’s a fascinating project, and I’m happy to participate.  I’ll probably be posting at least twice this week, because this week actually includes our state’s “Library Legislative Day”, so I’d like to talk about that this week as well.

For my past “Day in the Life” posts, you can check out my “Day in the Life” category.

New Year’s Resolution(s)

I’ve made a variety of New Year’s resolutions in my life….some of them successful (taking better care of my mental health) and some not very (see various failed exercising attempts).   The most successful “resolutions” I made weren’t even New Year’s resolutions, but goals I set for myself.  Since it’s that time of year, I thought I’d take a look and see how things were going.

In March of 2006, I set the following goals:

1. Figure out Library 2.0
2. Get involved in local and maybe national associations
3. Find out about the Alumni Board
4. Learn about web/electronic services librarian positions

Results:

  1. Well, I’m not sure anyone can really “figure out Library 2.0″, but I’d say I’ve done about as well as most of the librarians I know.  I’ve helped quite a few librarians around the state figure out this “Web 2.0″ thing as well.
  2. I’d say I’ve pretty much blown this one out of the water…I’ve been incredibly active in several state library associations, and I’ve been pretty involved in NMRT (ALA) stuff as well.  I’ve learned that I enjoy the state level stuff much more than the national level, so I’ll be focusing more on that for a while.  I’m not dropping my ALA membership, but I’ll be exploring more options there to find a better fit for me.
  3. Since these goals were the result of an Alumni Day at my library school, this made sense at the time.  I’ve since learned some things about the Alumni Board that have made me change my mind.  I also haven’t really had time to pursue this, since #2 went so well.
  4. Again, hit this one out of the park.  I’m now an Electronic Resources librarian.  Is it all I thought it would be?  Maybe not, but it’s where I am, and I’ve made the decision to stay here for a few years longer.  I’ve enjoyed it, and it’s certainly been a challenge (and still is).  I’m just not sure it’s where I want to be forever.

It’s now been over four years since I set those goals.  I’d say it’s time for some new ones!

  1. Get a second master’s in instructional technology or non-profit leadership.
  2. Find a better fit for me in ALA, if there is one.
  3. Continue to be active in statewide library activities.
  4. Find more opportunities to teach or train.

I’m not going to say that I’ll be a better, more consistent blogger in the new year.  That’s just not me.  At least not right now.  It’s just not the most comfortable way for me to interact online.  I much prefer FriendFeed (and Twitter), so if you’d like to hang out virtually, you can find me there.