Without further ado, 5 things:
Without further ado, 5 things:
Posting to Autocat
On 9/5/2015 5:26 PM, Bowers, Kate A. wrote:
I also think “Hate speech” for instances of hate speech should be a form-genre term. It may never appear in LCSH but there are other thesauri where it would be useful. This suggestion that “hate speech” is somehow too subjective to be identified is just plain wrong. Most libraries won’t be collecting hate speech, but if you are a research library or special collection you very likely will collect it and need to identify it as such. For example, it’s likely that there are researchers out there right now making collections of hate speech (websites or tweets) and that they are writing books about it. Those books will get the subject heading “Hate speech” but eventually the original research material will find its way into archives and special collections, where it will need to be identified. In fact, there is already a close term in
I’m afraid we have a serious disagreement. If I am the compiler (creator) of a collection of hate speech, I can decide whether individual examples of speech should be labelled as “hate speech” or not. Let’s consider a recent instance: Donald Trump’s characterization of “undocumented immigrants” from Mexico, as well as his pledge to build a wall and deport 11 million people. Is this an example of hate speech?
From the regular and social media, I have seen people come down on both sides: some will say yes, and others will say no. There is, and can be, no objective, definitive answer. I am 100% certain that if someone asked Mr. Trump himself, he would reply that it is definitely NOT an example of hate speech.
If I am the compiler of a collection/archive of hate speech, I am perfectly free to consider Trump’s statements as hate speech and add them to my compilation/archive and give it a title like: “A compilation of examples of hate speech”.
If I am a compiler of a collection/archive of freedom of speech, I am just as free NOT to consider his declarations as examples of hate speech, add it to my compilation/archive and give it a title like “A compilation of examples of freedom of speech”.
If I am a reader of these compilations/archives, I can agree or disagree whether Mr. Trump’s speeches are examples of hate speech or freedom of speech. But they are definitely not hate speech simply because some compiler somewhere decided to put it into a collection of hate speech–any more than a book is immoral because it was on the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books. As a reader, I make up my own mind on these issues.
Now comes the tricky part: if I am the cataloger, what do I do?
First, I must acknowledge that I have my own opinions on these matters. (When a cataloger has no opinion one way or another, everything becomes much, much easier) All I need to do is understand that I have opinions and what those opinion are, so I can set them aside for the moment.
Second, it depends on what I am cataloging. If I am cataloging the compilation, and it has a title, or in some way characterizes itself as a collection of hate speech, I will catalog the compilation as a compilation of hate speech, because I am following how the creator presented it. I do this no matter what my opinion is of the collection itself: in my personal opinion, I may consider the collection actually to be examples of statements of freedom of speech. But I must set my own opinions aside–when, and only when, I am a cataloger. When I become a reader like anyone else, I can speak my own opinions, and I could even write a reader review where I can do so.
But, if I am cataloging the individual pieces of the collection, I must once again take each piece as it characterizes itself. To return to one of Mr. Trump’s speeches, to say that it is “hate speech” when he (supposedly) would say it is not hate speech, and then to justify my determination that it is hate speech on the fact that it is in a collection of hate speech, then this would be just like saying that I must catalog the works of Galileo, Copernicus, Bruno, Sartre, Voltaire, Milton, Locke, etc. as “immoral works” because they happen to be in a collection that declares them to be immoral (The Index).
Yes, I realize that this seems inconsistent: in the catalog the same item may be characterized in different ways. When it is in the catalog an item is characterized one way, but individually that same item may be characterized in a completely different way. Nevertheless, when looked at in the aggregate, it is an entirely consistent treatment. This may seem weird to us today because the catalog itself is becoming a strange tool to 21st century eyes.
Of course this method has never been perfect and in other posts, I have pointed to several examples where it has fallen apart. Perhaps someday, someone will come up with other methods that are better. As Ann mentioned, reader opinions may take precedence (for good or ill), but that has yet to happen and so far I have seen nothing except concerns that we are finding ourselves more and more into our own personal “Filter Bubbles” where the technology silently makes us aware only of things that make us happy and comfortable. There has been a debate about this, but (in my opinion!) I think it very well may be true.
That is not the purpose of the catalog and it is one (forgotten?) powers of the catalog that I think could become appreciated if it were widely known and–more importantly–if our catalogs functioned differently so that people could actually see it in action.
Posting to Autocat
On 9/5/2015 12:30 AM, John Gordon Marr wrote:
… but if we can use “Controversial literature” in relation to religious works, we could at least employ its use under */any /*”names of individual [groups and ideologies] and uniform titles for works that argue against or express opposition to those groups or works” without being overly subjective.
We’d just be alerting patrons to the presence of controversy as to the factual validity of what they chose to read. Note that religion is just one particular form of ideology. One might say, relatively neutrally, that ideology itself is the major divisive element of societies.
Perhaps, although I would want to find out what others think about it. I guess this would also mean that the subdivision –Apologetic literature that would defend the group, would also be usable.
My first question is: what do we mean by groups? –Controversial literature already works for religious groups (http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/H1472.pdf), but should it be for e.g. ethnic groups,
Indians of North America–Controversial literature
or political groups
or should it apply not to the group but to the doctrines:
National socialism–Controversial literature
Should it apply to professional groups, e.g.
College teachers–Controversial literature
although here we would seem to run into the subdivisions already used: –Professional ethics and –Moral and ethical aspects, (e.g.
and it would normally be
Medical care–Moral and ethical aspects, but we are told to use Medical ethics)
A usage such as Physicians–Controversial literature would seem to be a different topic, since this would assume an attack on physicians while Physicians–Professional ethics would be something different.
Nationalities and related groups?
(these could be used for much of what is happening today)
Microsoft Corporation–Controversial literature
Dow Chemical Company–Controversial literature
Monsanto Company–Controversial literature
(but there is already –Corrupt practices)
And all of these would also have –Apologetic literature.
In sum, I sympathize with wanting to give this kind of access but when it comes to actually adding a heading, I hesitate because I worry that I would just be recording my own opinions. If the title of the book were clear and read something like: “I hate [fill in the group]”
“A hearty defense of [fill in the group]”
I might go along. But otherwise, a resource that strongly criticizes some kind of group, I think is best handled by the various forms of –Public opinion.
For instance, the book by Naomi Klein against excesses of the big brands:
No logo : taking aim at the brand bullies / Naomi Klein.
got the subjects
International business enterprises–Political aspects.
International business enterprises–Public opinion.
Brand name products–Political aspects.
Brand name products–Public opinion.
Of course, “Public opinion” here means her opinion.
Could we add here:
International business enterprises–Controversial literature
Posting to Autocat
On 9/4/2015 7:09 PM, John Gordon Marr wrote:
Could we please pause here and ask, about such journals: what makes them “predatory”, and can a line be drawn between opportunistic (but “legal”) business practices and genuinely harmful (but not illegal) activities?
Once again, these are very tough issues. Since I tend to see matters in their historical contexts, I think Beall’s list could be compared to the “Index of Forbidden Books” that the Catholic Church put out for a few centuries, and that list included some books that we now consider to be the greatest works of Western Civilization.
I have the greatest respect for Mr. Beall and his work, but I am also highly concerned about catalogers putting a code in the bibliographic record for “predatory publisher” just because it happens to be on his list, just as I would hesitate to add a code because a book happened to be on some other form of “Index of Forbidden Books” put out by the Catholic Church or any other agency, and there are lots of materials that all kinds of powerful agencies do not want you to know about.
That said, would it be good for the public to be aware that some item has been deemed harmful for whatever reason? Sure, and at one time that was the role of the arrangements of the catalog. We can see it in things like von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” (where the author believed that aliens came to the Earth in ancient times) where if you search for him as an author, you get all the editions/manifestations http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=au%3Adaniken+au%3Aerich
but it is just as important when you search by subject, you find out there are many other opinions about von Daniken’s work, and this is one point where the catalog was designed to open your mind to other ideas. http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=su%3Adaniken+su%3Aerich
Strangely enough, because of those arrangements, to see these juxtapositions was much clearer in the card catalog than it is today. The subject cards would (usually) be found right after the author cards and people could see the disputes right in front of their eyes just by browsing the cards. You can see it even more clearly with really outrageous things, such as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The catalog really is a powerful tool when used correctly.
But those days are gone and it seems as if nobody has any interest to rethink those capabilities for a new epoch. That is why I suggest doing things with APIs and linked data, to restore at least some of the powers of the card catalog. I suspect that letting people know that an item was on the Index could perhaps be even more interesting for the public than that it is on Beall’s list.
(Yes, I know lots of people will be laughing at me out there as a dinosaur, once again talking about how powerful the card catalog was, but I reply that perhaps there are good things that have been forgotten for a long, long time….)
“Oral communication — Social aspects” and “Freedom of speech” seem to me way too broad, timid and “politically correct” as sole references to examples of predatory “Propaganda” that researchers may be seeking. Of course, predation (and propaganda) do exist on scales, but parameters can be established (e.g., */how thoroughly/* manipulative, veering from fact, and/or damaging).
Of course, this is strictly a political matter. The term “propaganda” means different things to different people. Even back in the 1940s, the term “propaganda” did not have the strictly negative connotation that we think of today. Edward Bernays’ classic book “Propaganda” (1920s) did not have that negative slant to it, and it meant simply “public relations”. In several languages today, it still doesn’t really have a negative connotation.
For some, Fox News and Glenn Beck are the purest propaganda. For others, they are the closest thing to truth, and propaganda is Democracy Now and Noam Chomsky.
Cataloging must stay away from this and strive to be “objective”. So far, the only way to achieve this has been to describe an item as it describes itself. Therefore, something that denies the Holocaust but claims it does not, should not be described as Holocaust denial literature. A text that catalogers (and any reasonable person) would say is outrageously racist, bigoted, etc. but claims it is not, should not be described by the cataloger as “Hate speech”.
In the future, other methods may be discovered besides describing an item as it describes itself. But even then, cataloging should stay as far away from those matters as possible, and trust that it is the individual users who are the best people to decide. We should not decide for them.
And if the only solution is to have, as you put it, “broad, timid and politically correct” subject headings, then so be it.
Posting to Autocat
On 9/4/2015 1:10 AM, J. McRee Elrod wrote:
“Hate literature” or “Hate speech”as a genre term would be very subjective, and applying it would require the cataloger to make a value judgment about the work.
Agreed. Applying a code to “predatory” journal records has the same problem, in addition to the time consuming research required to identify such resources.
When I suggested leaving it to the professor, I was thinking more of acceptance as a valid citation, e.g., some will accept “Wikipedia”, and some won’t; it is a value judgement.
Yes, there is a clear delineation of responsibility of the selector/person responsible for collection development and that of the cataloger, who is responsible for describing and organizing the items into the collection in ways that are as consistent and unbiased as possible. Sometimes there are reasons to make it more difficult to access certain materials because of possibilities of theft or damage to sexually explicit or controversial materials. Perhaps some materials should be withdrawn altogether, but it is nevertheless the job of the catalogers to remain as unbiased as possible, and they should not try to make materials more difficult for the public to find in the catalog based on the cataloger’s own opinions.
For instance, I can imagine using the term “Hate speech” only if it is used pretty much explicitly on the item I would be cataloging, e.g. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/32590695 but even in this case, the cataloger did a good job by adding the subjects:
Oral communication — Social aspects
Freedom of speech
By the way, even the Wikipedia page says: “The neutrality of this section is disputed” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech) I don’t know how it could be anything else!
OCLC printed its last library catalog cards today, officially closing the book on what was once a familiar resource for generations of information seekers who now use computer catalogs and online search engines to access library collections around the world.
And now, five things:
- Another DAM Podcast interview with Jennifer Veiga and Theresa Honig of American Media.
- Clean up your DAM.
- The strange history of the East Village’s most famous street.
- What is metadata-driven design and how does it apply to mobile apps?
- How a collection of sci fi fanzines helps us understand life before the Internet.
BONUS: Metadatabetween Archivists’ Toolkit and…
Posting to Autocat
On 30/09/2015 8.56, Fatima al-Bazzal wrote:
I have some concerns about using “History” as a free floating subdivision and i want to share them with you, my question is divided into three parts:
Many of your questions are answered in the SCM for History http://www.loc.gov/aba/publications/FreeSHM/H1647.pdf. The entire procedure is important, including the end, “Subdivisions not further subdivided by –History”
Also, if a heading is authorized, it can be used, e.g.
i- International relations–History–20th century versus International relations–20th century
If you look in the NAF, International relations–History is authorized while International relations–20th century is not. Use the form that is authorized.
All of this is terribly complicated, much of it is arbitrary and there are mistakes everywhere in our catalogs (understandably enough). Also, while such procedures were absolutely vital in a card catalog, it is difficult to determine how much of this is really necessary in today’s keyword environment, or how it could all be made easier for catalogers and users.
Comment to LinkedIn message about the article from the Atlantic Magazine The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead
A more in-depth discussion about these numbers is here: http://authorearnings.com/report/september-2015-author-earnings-report/ In short, they found:
“So far in 2015, the AAP’s reports have charted a progressive decline in both ebook sales and overall revenue for the AAP’s member publishers.”
“During that same period in 2015, Amazon’s overall ebook sales have continued to grow in both unit and dollar terms, fueled by a strong shift in consumer ebook purchasing behavior away from traditionally-published ebooks and toward indie-published- and Amazon-imprint-published ebooks.
These “non-traditionally-published” books now make up nearly 60% of all Kindle ebooks purchased in the US, and take in 40% of all consumer dollars spent on those ebooks.”
So, they conclude that the traditional publishers are losing market share, but that the independents are doing much better, and that actually, ebook publishing is higher than ever. What is happening is that people are turning away from the traditional publishers. The main publishers’ decision to raise prices hurt their sales seriously. People have found that they have a choice.
I love printed books, but I think we are living on borrowed time. The Google Books-Publishers agreement was not implemented, but if it had gone through and there was full access to all of Google Books–through libraries!–the information world would be completely different than it is now. If all of those Google Books were available electronically, it would have to hit circulation numbers somehow. I wonder how much?
Those scans in Google Books will be made available sooner or later, no matter how much the publishers want to stop people from accessing them. And that will be the moment of real change. I hope libraries will be up to the challenge.
We are excited to announce that the first face-to-face Mashcat event in North America will be held on January 13th, 2016, at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. We invite you to save the date, and we hope to have registration and a schedule for this low-cost (less than $10), 1-day event announced in November.
At present, we are accepting proposals for talks, events, panels, workshops or other for the Mashcat event. We are open to a variety of formats, with the reminder that this will be a one-day, single-track event aiming to support the cross-pollination goals of Mashcat (see more below). We are open to proposals for sessions led virtually. Please submit your proposals using this form. All proposals must be received by November 1st, 2015, midnight, and we will respond to all proposals by November 8th, 2015.
Not sure what Mashcat is? “Mashcat” was originally an event in the UK in 2012 which was aimed at bringing together people working on the IT systems side of libraries with those working in cataloguing and metadata. Three years later, Mashcat is a loose group of metadata specialists, cataloguers, developers and anyone else with an interest in how metadata in and around libraries can be created, manipulated, used and re-used by computers and software. The aim is to work together and bridge the communications gap that has sometimes gotten in the way of building the best tools we possibly can to manage library data.
Thanks for considering, and we hope to see you in January.
Posting to Autocat
On 9/3/2015 1:40 PM, Marcel Plourde wrote:
It appears that DOAJ allows the distribution of hundreds of journals published by predatory publishers that are listed by Jeffrey Beall (http://scholarlyoa.com/2015/01/02/bealls-list-of-predatory-publishers-2015/).
This situation is known, although difficult to manage with the resources we currently have.
We can either disable the target DOAJ which would deprive our users to thousands of open source journals, or disable only all predatory titles after long bibliographical research to be sure of every title.
However, it is reluctant to us to offer through our research tools access to poor quality journals.
That is a really tough decision. Putting a code into the record raises the concern that a library could be put at risk of legal action. Publishers have threatened Jeffrey Beall (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/15/another-publisher-accuses-librarian-libel), so I would certainly want to run this by the legal department of my institution before I did anything like that.
This seems to be a great example of how the principles of linked data could help, although an API to make a webservice would probably be easier to implement. If the list were made available in certain ways, the data could be worked with so that, e.g. when someone saw a record from one of these predatory publishers, the record could display that fact, plus whatever information the library would want, and the individual searchers could decide what to do for themselves.
It would work similarly to how the Google API operates. It automatically searches Google Books, sees if there is anything that matches, and feeds the information back into the catalog display. The catalogers don’t have to add anything to the records.
To see it in action, this is how it works in the catalog at Princeton, when the searcher clicks on the catalog record, behind the scenes the catalog is searching Google Books and bringing back links and book covers, while the searchers are unaware that they are searching two databases at once. http://bit.ly/1Flg0iu
We would just have it search the Jeffrey Beall API (which would need to be built) along with the Google Books API!
After about a month of working with the headings validation tool, I’m ready to start adding a few enhancements to provide some automated headings corrections. The first change to be implemented will be automatic correction of headings where the preferred heading is different from the in-use headings. This will be implemented as an optional element. If this option is selected, the report will continue to note variants are part of the validation report – but when exporting data for further processing – automatically corrected headings will not be included in the record sets for further action.
Additionally – I’ll continue to be looking at ways to improve the speed of the process. While there are some limits to what I can do since this tool relies on a web service (outside of providing an option for users to download the ~10GB worth of LC data locally), there are a few things I can to do continue to ensure that only new items are queried when resolving links.
These changes will be made available on the next update.
Posting to RDA-L
On 8/26/2015 10:54 PM, Amanda Cossham wrote:
‘Real research’ is a pretty elitist term that I don’t think is at all helpful. Of course we don’t want to exist in a filter bubble, but things slip through the cracks regardless, because there is no perfect system, no perfect (re)searcher, no perfect indexer or cataloguer, no perfect search. And the needs of a first year history student or someone investigating a land claim are in different places on a continuum that might have Nobel Prize winning research at the other end and a casual ‘What’s the latest gossip about Lorde’ at the other.
There seems a tension in discussions on this list between what is necessary or ideal in academic libraries and what is necessary or ideal in the rest of the library world.
These have been some very interesting points. My own take is that it is not so much a question of real/elite research vs. academic libraries vs. public libraries and so on, but something else. I realize that it may be distasteful to some, but–perhaps based on my own proletarian background–I have always viewed a library as much more of a machine, or a tool. A very complex machine to be sure, but as with all machines and tools, there are right ways and wrong ways to use them.
So, to get the most out of a collection, if I know how to search a library’s tools: the catalogs, the indexes, etc. searches can be considered as “correct” or “incorrect”. And this works for all libraries, from the largest research libraries to the smallest local ones; that is, IF they follow the same basic method.
And what is that method? Libraries have always arranged their collections based on various interpretations of the rule of “consistency”. This means that similar things are described in similar ways, and that similar things are placed together so that others can find them. This is done so that if I find one item on the causes of WWI, I should–in theory–find all items on the causes of WWI. (I stress: this is in theory and in practice there are many exceptions)
Different libraries from different times and in different parts of the world will do this in different ways: rules, languages, and even concepts vary from time to time and from place to place. As a consequence, in a library it is a searcher’s task to find those points of consistency, no matter what rules, languages or concepts happen to be employed within that specific collection.
For those who attempt to find those points of consistency (and of course, we must assume that all of the information experts who are building these tools behind the scenes are also faithfully following the “rules of consistency”), you can determine definitively that some searches are bad, stupid, fair, good, better, best, or absolutely brilliant. This is similar to different abilities of driving a car (someone like me or a Mario Andretti), or using a power saw (someone like me or a professional carpenter). I am sure that Andretti could drive any car better than I ever could and a carpenter could use any saw better than I can, but put me in a library with them and I am the expert.
Compare this to search engines. I’ve been using them extensively since they began to exist; I have been studying them the entire time and read tons of books on how to search them. I have discovered that while there are definitely some searches that can be labelled “stupid” or “bad” (e.g. I am interested in the causes of WWI but I make a typo and put in WWII or WWIII–but who knows? Even THAT might work!) I have no idea how any search could possibly be labelled good, better, best or brilliant. The reliance on “relevance” makes everything completely different. So, while I can get a result that may appear to be “reasonable”–to me–that’s about the best I can do. There is no principle of consistency to compare it with.
For all I know, Andretti and the carpenter may use search engines better than I do. It is impossible for anybody to know for sure.
“Library consistency” is much easier discussed than achieved for both librarians and searchers, and it can be very difficult to find those points of consistency, especially for those who are not experts and they need help. That is the critical role of the reference librarian who helps people find those points of consistency.
I will also suggest that although an organization may have a huge amount of information, then while that entity may be important, and it may be necessary–yet if it does not follow such a basic principle as consistency, it cannot be called a library.
Using different words, I described this on the Bibframe list sometime back, and someone said that they were not interested in history. I replied that this is not history but still the same way libraries are designed to work today. That has never changed. To talk about the reality today however, we must take away the expertise of the searcher, remove the aids to searching the catalog (our cross-references do not work in a keyword environment) and remove the reference librarian, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that everything breaks down. That’s why the public doesn’t like library tools: we have removed all of the aids to searching them. (That’s far from all the problems, but a big one)
And maintaining that the answer is that everybody in the world should forever take information literacy workshops, is simply living in a world that never did, and never can, exist. From the beginning of establishing those training sessions, people immediately forgot what they learned, and they complained constantly. When the simpler alternative showed up (the search engines) they very naturally turned to them.
At the same time, my experience has been when/if people really understand that there is a genuine power that comes with the rule of consistency, and they can find it nowhere else, they absolutely love it and immediately become less enamored of “relevance ranking”. But nevertheless, saying that users need to suffer through boring IL workshops is actually hiding the fact that our tools need to be made easier.
So to me, the answer is rather obvious: we should design tools that take away the tedium from the library research process. I think modern computers are powerful enough so that there are many, many ways to do it–but the first step is to look at everything not outward from the viewpoint of the individual librarian or cataloger, but from the users’ point of view where the library is only one point of a huge universe. Most users today are rushed, being pulled in 20 directions at once, and overwhelmed with deluges of information/misinformation/irrelevant information, all vying for their attention.
The North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre (hbz), a library consortium in Germany’s most populous state, has signed an agreement with OCLC to add 19 million bibliographic records from the consortium to WorldCat, making these valuable collections more visible and accessible to scholars around the world.