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Category Archives: Libraries

Libraries After Charlie Hebdo: The Threat of Violence, The Fear of Self-Censorship

Lisa Peet – Library Journal – “Although written texts often evoke strong, sometimes contentious reactions, political cartoons and caricatures can be equally incendiary. According to Barbara Jones, executive director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association. (ALA), “Cartoons are a particular problem in our office—graphic novels and books with cartoons often get [verbally] attacked.” In 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a collection of 12 editorial cartoons by different artists, most of them depicting Mohammed, creating an image of whom is considered blasphemous by many in the Islamic tradition, though Persian and Turkish Muslims have a tradition of artwork depicting Mohammed that goes back hundreds of years. Jyllands-Posten had printed the cartoons, it said, to further dialogue, but the final product was offensive to many Muslims. Protests occurred in a number of Muslim countries, many turning violent. Embassies were attacked, some 200 deaths were reported, and in 2010 four men were convicted of planning a terrorist attack against the newspaper in revenge for the cartoons’ publication. The cartoons were reprinted in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including Charlie Hebdo in 2006, an act criticized by then-president Jacques Chirac as a “manifest provocation.” When Yale University Press published a book on the subject in 2009, The Cartoons That Shook the World, it included none of the cartoons themselves (and removed several other images of Mohammed as well, including a 19th-century engraving by Gustave Doré from The Divine Comedy). Yet the cartoons did indeed open up a dialog. The controversy spurred the Danish Royal Library to conduct an internal evaluation of its collection policies, concluding that coverage of Muslim communities and ethnic minorities in Denmark needed to be increased. In 2008 the Royal Library met with several Muslim organizations. At this meeting, Steen Bille Larsen, assistant to the Royal Library’s director general, told LJ, “it was discussed how to intensify the acquisition of written cultural heritage from Muslim organizations and from leading spokesmen and religious persons in Denmark. In the discussion the Royal Library underlined that a national library has obligations toward the whole nation. Therefore the activities of the library have a wide range: from collecting and preserving the output from Muslim organizations to collecting and preserving the original drawings of Danish cartoonists in the Museum of Danish Cartoon Art. The result was very positive and after the library received several prints that were not already in the collections.” In fact, the incident helped promote the inclusion of comic art in libraries worldwide. “An argument comes up that cartoons and graphic novels aren’t really worthy of being in library collections,” said Jones. “In the 21st century, that just is not true. As we saw with Charlie Hebdo…some of the most profound work is best done as illustrations, and we urge libraries to collect graphic novels and cartoons.”

Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job

Andy Baio, The Medium:  “Two months ago, Larry Page said the company’s outgrown its 14-year-old mission statement. Its ambitions have grown, and its priorities have shifted. Google in 2015 is focused on the present and future. Its social and mobile efforts, experiments with robotics and artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and fiberoptics. As it turns out,Continue Reading

Exploring Compatibilities Between the Linked Data Models of the Library of Congress and OCLC

“Jointly released by OCLC and the Library of Congress, this white paper compares and contrasts the compatible linked data initiatives at both institutions.  It is an executive summary of a more detailed technical analysis that will be released later this year.  The white paper summarizes the recent activity of the Bibliographic Framework Initiative at the LibraryContinue Reading Built & Run by Libraries

“ is a service, currently in beta, that allows users to create citation links that will never break. When a user creates a link, archives a copy of the referenced content, and generates a link to an unalterable hosted instance of the site. Regardless of what may happen to the original source, if the linkContinue Reading

The Cobweb Can the Internet be archived?

Jill Lepore, The New Yorker:  “The Wayback Machine has archived more than four hundred and thirty billion Web pages. The Web is global, but, aside from the Internet Archive, a handful of fledgling commercial enterprises, and a growing number of university Web archives, most Web archives are run by national libraries. They collect chiefly what’sContinue Reading

Monographs and open access

“The Monographs and Open Access Project was set up to consider the place of monographs in the arts, humanities and social science disciplines, and how they fit into the developing world of open access to research. The project was led by Geoffrey Crossick, Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University ofContinue Reading

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy

“A library is many things,” E.B. White once wrote in a letter to the children of a little town to inspire them to fall in love with their new library. “But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books… BooksContinue Reading

OCLC Research launches Terms of Use and Reuse for Finding Aid Metadata project

“OCLC Research is facilitating a focused discussion about metadata in finding aids within a scoped effort to produce guidelines for terms of use and reuse of finding aid metadata. We have convened a working group whose members are in contact with archival authorities and associations internationally, such as the Society of American Archivists and theContinue Reading

The Cobweb – Can the Internet be archived?

The New Yorker – Annals of Technology. January 26, 2015 Issue. The Cobweb Can the Internet be archived? By Jill Lepore “…The Web dwells in a never-ending present. It is—elementally—ethereal, ephemeral, unstable, and unreliable. Sometimes when you try to visit a Web page what you see is an error message: “Page Not Found.” This isContinue Reading

Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias?

Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia. Shane Greenstein, Feng Zhu. Working Paper 15-023. October 10, 2014. “Britannica and Wikipedia are sources that aspire to provide comprehensive information. They both face similar challenges over the length, tone, and factual basis of controversial, unverifiable, and subjective content. SuchContinue Reading

NAL Unveils New Search Engine for Published USDA Research

“The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has unveiled PubAg, a user-friendly search engine that gives the public enhanced access to research published by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). PubAg, which can be found at, is a new portal for literature searches and full-text access ofContinue Reading

New on LLRX – Step 1 to Information Literacy

Via – Step 1 to Information Literacy – This is the first of a three part series by Lorette Weldon. She discusses the role of “The Three T’s” – talking, tinkering, and traveling, in relationship to building a bond between librarians and customers seeking reference and research services.