Category Archives: ALA WO

Juxtaposition: Mobile Devices, Libraries, Public Policy

Looking for input to share on a forthcoming report

The report aims to draw from rapid spread and eventual ubiquity of mobile devices, like smartphones, e-book readers, multimedia delivery tools, looking towards the future of mobile devices from a public policy perspective with regards to libraries

  • Examine briefly the social trends and changing norms in using mobile devices
  • Examine library environment in how libraries use mobile devices
  • Goal is to explore potential benefits
    (Broadly how can mobile technologies serve library users better and get them the information they need and want?)
  • Challenges:
    • Copyright considerations and content licensing for mobile devices
    • Privacy (digital technologies can track user activities, analog books can’t) and location awareness technologies (GPS and location broadcasting services)
    • Security and bandwidth considerations for library networks (increasing mobile delivery of content, and rich multimedia content—how does this affect bandwidth planning if I want to be able to download a ebook or audiobook or film from a library to my mobile device?)
    • Access and openness issues in platforms and information standards and compatibility, DRM
  • More

What sorts of trends and/or issues do you see at the intersection of mobile devices, libraries, and existing public policy (copyright, fair use, DRM, anti-circumvention, etc.)?  What pieces of current public policy (laws, interpretations, policy decrees, etc.) support or block or run counter to user trends and/or technological abilities should an educational / informative report cover to better educate / inform legislators and policy wonks?

CopyNight DC

1. The ALA Washington Office will host the DC CopyNight meetup on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. The event will run from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.  There will be food, refreshments, and free copyright sliders.

Discussion topics: Georgia State copyright lawsuit and other current copyright news and issues.

If you’re interested, please take a minute to RSVP so we know roughly how many people are coming. The ALA Washington Office is located at 1615 New Hampshire Ave NW, 2 blocks from Dupont Circle. Hope to see you there!

Cribbed from the District Dispatch Blog

Virtual Library Day on the Hill

The ALA Washington Office will host Virtual Library Day on the Hill at the ALA Annual Conference.

Virtual Library Day on the Hill will take place on Tuesday, July 1 from 8 a.m. to noon. Conference attendees will have the chance to both email and fax their Members of Congress on important library issues and learn how they can register to vote, using computer terminals located on the exhibit floor.

If you’re familiar with CapWiz, ALA WO’s Legislative web tracking service, please consider volunteering to help new CapWiz users — details about this on the District Dispatch post above.

EPA Dialogue on Access to Enviornmental Information

In case you didn’t know, the EPA is putting on a “National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information.”

The dialogue is an on-line discussion among EPA’s partners and the public to foster collaboration on information access. Everyone is invited to use the EPA Dialogue site to identify and share their best resources, tools, and ideas for improving access to EPA’s environmental information.

Their blog will only be accepting comments for one week – from June 9-13, 2008 – so be sure to visit and add your comments and ideas asap.

EPA has broken topics out a little to start the dialogue:

Understanding Information: Putting environmental information into context for our customers.
Finding Information: Making environmental information easier to find or access.
What Works: What is working for your organization?
Building to Share: How do we leverage our collective strengths and capabilities?
Going Beyond the Web: Reaching people who don’t have Internet access.

This is too good an opportunity to pass up for providing comments to EPA which will at least be summarized in a report and possibly acted upon…

ALA WO still speaking up for the Public Interest

Ars Technica has cited pieces of ALA Washington Office’s comments to the FCC (regarding Comcast’s actions toward BitTorrent) highlighting how “libraries now provide an enormous stream of legal digital material to millions of patrons, including huge collections of pictures and music.”

Why is ALA WO even getting involved? one may ask… The closing statement in ALA WO’s comment addresses how libraries “need to be assured that they will be able to access legitimate Internet content or use Internet services or applications without fear or concerns that such access or use will be blocked or degraded by any entity with the means and control to do so.”

Personally, the ALA Washington Office is a large part of why I rejoin ALA every year (to the tune of >$340/year). Policy battles are where the fight for network access is and libraries are right at the forefront. The public at large isn’t really tracking the debate, but I’m glad we (libraries & ALA) are in there shaping (or at least informing) the debate.

ALA OITP Public Library Connectivity Project: Findings and Recommendations

As alluded to in previous posts, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy has released a magnum opus, the Public Library Connectivity Project: Findings and Recommendations, (153 pages long, 57 pages of report and 96 pages of appendicies) which was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (I hope this will help guide their future library funding efforts). The report builds upon the findings of the Public Libraries & the Internet Reports (PLIP) and numerous site visits, interviews, and questionnaires conducted over the course of this project.

Grab a beverage, this summary/teaser is long enough to warrant it.  If you plan on digging through the full report, you may want to order in some sustenance, too!
Spoiler alert!
Highlights from the Public Library Connectivity Project: Findings and Recommendations below the fold… Continue reading ALA OITP Public Library Connectivity Project: Findings and Recommendations

D’you wanna be a “Copyright Scholar”?

The ALA Washington Office, Office for Information Technology Policy is looking for a few good volunteers to learn and earn the moniker “Copyright Scholar” on the Copyright Advisory Network.

Here is their announcement (pasted from email and re-formatted)
[begin quoted text]
Call for Copyright Scholar Nominations

The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy is seeking individuals interested in serving as a Copyright Scholar for the Copyright Advisory Network.

The Copyright Advisory Network (CAN) is a Web site ( and network forum where librarians discuss copyright dilemmas and concerns online. Since 2005, eight librarians have served as Copyright Scholars on the forum. It is time to recruit a new batch of librarians who are keenly interested in copyright and want to volunteer their time to the Network.

Selected individuals will attend an all expenses paid 2-day orientation meeting in Washington, DC, train with the Copyright Scholar class of 2005, and help craft new improvements to the Network. Once you become a Scholar, you agree to devote a small amount of your time (estimated 2 hours a week) responding to copyright queries posted to the Network.  You can decide how long your commitment to the Network will last but it must be for at least one year.

Qualifications for interested applicants:

Expertise in US copyright law and its application in libraries and educational institutions
Excellent writing skills
Flexibility in scheduling time to serve on the Network
Experience working in teams
Permission from your institution to participate

All applicants must be ALA members.

To be considered, send a letter expressing your interest in becoming a Copyright Scholar. Tell us of any special training or expertise you already have that would make you a good candidate for the job.  The Copyright Advisory Committee will select the lucky applicants from the pool of letters received.

Send your letter or any questions you have to Carrie Russell via email at [crussell @].  Deadline for applications is August 31, 2007 (deadline extended).

[End copied text]

If you regularly work with or are at all interested in copyright, please consider submitting yourself for consideration.

OITP/OGR Telecommunications SubCommittee

OITP/OGR Telecommunications SubCommittee
Sunday 24, 2007 @ 4-6pm
WCC 209A

1. Welcome and Comments
Bob Bocher, Lynne Bradley, Rick Weingarten

Rick:  Gave overview of OITP efforts
(link to oitp & telecom pages & atl posts)

2. Gates Connectivity Project Update (will blog it when I get a copy)
Rick Weingarten

The research part is done and the report is mostly written – OITP will release in a few weeks.

3. State Telecommunications Policy preconference
Report and next steps

Educate some state-level actors or interested parties to watch for and advocate for library inclusions in telecom discussions

4. Discussion of Telecommunications
John Windhausen

— Rural Utilities Service in the Department of Agriculture is a loan program to develop broadband in rural areas.  The funds are not being disbursed, as many applicants don’t show financial ability to pay back loan.  Plus broadband providers are squaking that too much money is being disbursed which fund their competitors.  Language is being proposed by ALA to modify this program to enable libraries to participate in this program.

— Universal Service Fund in FCC is a grant program funded by traditional telecom companies. ~65% goes to hich-cost rural telecom companies, ~35% to E-rate.  Many wireless companies are recipients of this funding.  Wireless satrtups oppose proposed caps, established, traditional telecom companies want the caps.  FCC Chairman is likely to approve the caps, to protect the Universal Service Fund.

Poo, I have to go if I’m going to be able to get to everything else today – I should have driven in this morning (sorry) 😦

5. Legislative / Regulatory Update (OGR)
Current legislation
Key Issues
Recent FCC filings

6. Update on Public Library Net Survey and State Data Tool
Mark Bard

7. Pending Agenda for 2007-08

Had to leave 2/3rds oif the way through 😦

State Telecommunications Policy Workshop

I was late to this, because I dropped “Girl Scout the younger” at GS day camp on the way to DC.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
9:00 – 4:00pm
Washington Convention Center, Room 147 A/B

9:00-9:30 Welcome and introduction
Lynne Bradley, Director, ALA/OGR
Rick Weingarten, Director, ALA/OITP
Michael Dowling, Director, ALA Chapter Relations

9:30-12:00 Issues exploration
Christopher McLean, e-Copernicus
John Windhausen, Telepoly

—I arrived here—

Mark Lloyd, Center for American Progress

Mark was speaking about the necessity of urban library support for the rural libraries provisions in this year’s Farm Bill. Please say to your Senators and Representatives: “Please support the rural library provisions in this year’s Farm Bill.”
12:00-1:00 lunch and keynote
Gloria Tristani, Spiegel & McDiarmid (former FCC Commissioner)

Gloria spoke about the importance of sufficient bandwidth for public libraries, wherever they are. She spoke about ALA WO efforts to simplify the E-rate for libraries, modify “poverty calculations” to bring libraries into parity with school districts and respond to “Notices of Inquiry” from the FCC.

(I got to review three Telcom-related responses in my positions on the OITP Advisory Committee or the OITP/COL Telcom Subcommittee)

Though FCC comment periods may say they are “closed,” if you have a comment you should send it in anyway (up until a decision is made). Grassroots advocacy and grassroots comments count with the FCC when they come in significant numbers.

While we are all here in DC, we should take the opportunity to drop in on the FCC Commissioners — we are competing with many other players and a massive drop by of interested parties. Take the time to have a few relevant statistics about library connectivity to hand and encourage the FCC. Wisconsin specific data here for example.

1:00-2:30 Broadband deployment models that work

Bob Bocher Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Described development of BadgerNet and follow-on departments. Partners: between state gov’t, K-20, libraries, tribes, telcos. Funding: costs are “postalized” same cost anywhere — benefits rurals *big time* T-1=~$100/month, higher=~$250/month. Centralized purchase of access and divvied internally. Services: Video distance Ed, 24/7/365 Tech Support. Statewide VoIP soon, internet via WiSCnet, shared ILS in ~90% of WI libraries for resource sharing etc. Challenges: WAN circuts insufficient, State USF has had 6 years of no growth, Web 2.0 interactions loading network, working to improve funding, general sys admin stuff (security, spam, remote mgmt, etc) Success because: strong state network office, strong legislative and executive support, governor support, collaboraive environment (inclusive), state-wide funding of connections.

Steven Hedges OPLIN

Discussed Ohio’s path to a working state-wide network INFOhio, OSCnet, OhioLink, MORE. OPLIN also provides “postalized” pricing, same anywhere. All 3 agencies are now working together as Libraries Connect Ohio.
Policy issues about funding of bandwidth for gaming may crop up if legislators ask about what kinds of trafic are being funded.

William Giddings MOREnet

MOREnet started in 1986, REAL started in 1994, now 131 libraries with 107 branches. Connection depends on tax revenues for service area — you get the connection speeds you need (smaller libraries pay ~$300/year, largest pays ~$12,000 per year) no questions asked. T-1 to 45 MBps. Partners: Governor, State library, Dept of Ed, Dept of Higher Ed, U Missouri One network to rule them all (wait, no, There can be only one) in Missouri. Funding: Dept of Higehr Ed, Sec of State via State Library, participant fees, E-rate reimbursements. Services: Network Svcs, Video, Securoty, Resources, Training, more Challenges: growing demand for bandwidth, term limits, site visits by MOREnet (to keep issues tied to local issues), Techies resistant to loosening local control Successful because: Shared Leadership, program manager, single state-wide network, level playing field, public procurement.

Andrew McNeill Connect Kentucky

Am having a hard time note-taking (handout being read out loud), will have to scan & post the handout (sorry)

2:30-4:00 You can do it! Concrete approaches to tackling the most important telecommunications issues at the state level

Find out what is important to the person to whom you’re speaking.
Find solid examples to support what you’re saying.
Find a compelling story to share.
“Fiber to the Library” will also benefit the local community, nearby businesses, students doing homework. This initiative (or it should be an initiative) may be a great way to get fiber to the home rolled out. I think the Rural Libraries provisions in this year’s Farm Bill may have more on funding this?
Aim to get something scalable without huge new capital outlay

See ALA WO / Public Libraries and the Internet 2006: Study Results and Findings handout for more suggestions.

  • “We are what we share” (from Jessamyn on Twitter earlier today) seems very appropriate.
  • Way to think about libraries and information technology: “Libraries: Universal Service Providers” (quote from Nancy Kranich)

OITP The Future of Information Technology and Libraries

The retreat consisted of five intense hour-long sessions with ~30 minute panel response sessions covering the following: Policy, Hardware, Networked Public Librarian, Web Applications / Social Networking, and Library Education and Librarians.

Here are bullets from my For Libraries and Librarians notes sections:

Libraries & Librarians foci, Policy:

  • Increase focus on assistance with ordering (organizing?) and finding online information
  • Increase focus on archiving and ordering for future discovery, pro-active archiving functions
  • also need to increase focus on preservation of materials (physical, digital, virtual, etc.)
  • Open internet means more opportunities for developing new services
  • Closed internet locks down information services – we would have to live with the technological status quo for a long time
  • Long-term mission of libraries and librarians requires commitment to open and privacy-conscious internet

Libraries & Librarians foci, Hardware:

  • “Regular consumer” connections to libraries do not provide the bandwidth necessary to serve library users
  • Fiber to the library would be plenty (for now, as bitrates go up and more users use services multiple fibers may be necessary) and ought to be part of a national technology plan
  • Fiber to the library might serve as incentive for providers to provide better / faster connectivity to consumers in the area, as well
  • Governmental policy discussions should be informed by librarians and library users

Libraries & Librarians foci, Networked Public Librarian:

  • Reading and distribution at marginal cost
  • Digitization of collections
  • Expertise and skills
  • Face to face (physical) space for local learners to interact
  • Become “Networked Librarians”

Libraries & Librarians foci, Web Applications / Social Networking:

  • Library should be a bridge between “communities of interest” (micro-interest)
  • Identity management will be important, central to tracking and presentation services anywhere on the web
  • Learning 2.0 initiative ties in nicely with libraries
  • Libraries should consider a standard interface for searching (eBay, Amazon, Google, etc. look pretty much the same from anywhere on the planet) aggregated data of all library holdings (at the Book, Journal, Article, Chapter, and possibly Subchapter levels) – this flies in the face of the “local look for the local library” but it could be a good discussion

Libraries and Librarians foci, Library Education and Libraries:

  • Focus on the information (finding, using, combining ,creating, etc.), not the technology that allows it
  • Assume responsibility for being the information institutions for our society and communities
  • Collections: a prediction of future need. Offer a wide variety of quality, credible collections, both physical and digital. Work on relationships with commercial efforts
  • Access: an equalizing force in today’s society. Offer high-quality, fee-based resources in the physical library, virtual spaces, and digital devices. Provide access to help and other services
  • Place: a local space for congregating and bridging interests. Provide physical and digital services and resources in digital environments to deliver services and resources in the real world

Here are links to copies of the preliminary statements of the presenters:

This is a really long one, see below the fold if you’re interested… Continue reading OITP The Future of Information Technology and Libraries