Educating cultural heritage information professionals for Australia’s galleries, libraries, archives and museums

“This research explored the skills, knowledge and qualities, and professional education needs, of information professionals in galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) in Australia.”

Source: Educating cultural heritage information professionals for Australia’s galleries, libraries, archives and museums

This paper by Katherine Howard is a great continuation of the previous discussion initiated in the 2015 Whyte Memorial Lecture (see previous post). There is now more than ever increased opportunities for “collaboration and convergence between institutions” in the GLAMR sectors, and thus a need to educate professionals to work across these blurred boundaries. While it is unlikely that the different areas will all become one, the research in this article shows the intersection of skills across sectors and the similarities are quite interesting – there is so much we can all learn from each other!

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Two Interesting Stories: Harvard Law & Pesky Stains

Here are two very interesting and LARGE projects being undertaking by two different libraries.

First, Harvard Law Library is digitising around 40 million pages to create a searchable and FREE database of American case law! Usually you have to pay a lot of money for subscriptions to databases that supply this information, so this is an exciting step in providing knowledge to the public as well as increasing access to justice. Entitled the ‘Free the Law’ project, I hope to see other institutions follow suit, as well as the incorporation of other legal information in addition to case law. As a law graduate and a librarian, it is worrisome to see how little the layman understands and can source information on their own rights within our society.  This leads to a lack of autonomy and power over ones life and choices, as well as fear due to lack of knowledge, which in the end means large corporations and governments have the ability to take advantage of the general public.

Of course, the thought of all those books spines being ‘chopped off’ to enable scanning is a little unsettling, but such is the price of progress! They do say all the spines are re-attached though thankfully. You can read about the project, due to be completed in 2017, in the New York Times article here.

Second, The National Library of Australia’s preservation team has managed to very cleverly remove stains from old adhesive/sticky-tape on many of their items in the display for their William Strutt exhibition, Heroes and Villains: Strutt’s Australia. Seeing the comparison photo’s makes it look like the team has waved a magic wand – I hadn’t realised it would be possible to so perfectly remove such stains without affecting the works in any way!

Reading the process is fascinating, the library must have had a team of scientists helping – I can barely even pronounce the chemical names let alone fully understand how it worked! You can read their blog post about how they achieved this feat and see some pictures.

These projects show the amount of care and patience librarians have for their collections and their work. We are a fabulous bunch aren’t we? 😉

Until next time,

Michelle De Aizpurua

Google Books & Copyright

An interesting U.S. court decision recently; where authors sued Google for scanning their books and making ‘snippets’ of them available online through Google Books.

Read the Reuters article here.

The court found that “the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.”

Because:

“Google’s division of the page into tiny snippets is designed to show the searcher just enough context surrounding the searched term to help her evaluate whether the book falls within the scope of her interest (without revealing so much as to threaten the author’s copyright interests),” Circuit Judge Pierre Leval.

I’ve always found Google Books to be useful for research, however have noticed I can sometimes find enough information from the snippets to avoid sourcing the entire book. Usually though, I would have borrowed it from a library rather than purchase it anyway, so I suppose that doesn’t amount to any extra loss for the authors!

What do you think? Is it a great initiative in enhanced access to and sharing of knowledge, or is it a breach of authors rights? Are existing rules of copyright irrelevant in the new information environment? “How can we foster innovation and access to content while ensuring respect for those who have created it?” (IFLA Insights from the Trend Report)

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Building a Library Homepage/Website using LibGuides

At one of my school library positions, I was solely responsible for designing, creating and maintaining a new library webpage using LibGuides.

This system is used by many school and university libraries for an array of purposes. LibGuides can be used within a university’s website to create individual subject guides. For example, the Law Library at a university may link to individual LibGuides for Criminal Law, Tax Law, Writing a Research Project, Finding Case Law etc while still sitting within the larger institution’s website (run by another vendor). I have helped with some guides like this while working at a university library, as well as other e-learning systems such as Moodle (creating quizzes for students and online tutorials etc).

However at the school library, the LibGuide constituted the entire library website, linked over from the school’s webpage. Here I will briefly discuss the functionalities of such as system and my experiences in using it to create a website from the ground up.

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