TILT-y Mail #24— Can we innovate our way out of ignorance?
libraries inoculate against fake, satire, conspiracy, bias, junksci
I gave a talk at the Knight Foundation Library Innovation Prototype grant kick-off event this week. Harvard’s Library Innovation Lab was the host. It was two days full of networking and learning how innovation happens. I have complicated feelings about innovation and my talk (PDF) reflected that.
Open eBooks was my main example; amazing-sounding project that dropped off the map after a high profile launch. I assume it’s working, but it’s a shame we’ve heard nothing public about it. Its successes could have been our successes. Instead, like many grant-funded projects, there was money for a showy kickoff and very little for ongoing support or promotion. That is, no promotion outside of their social media streams which are going great guns but … is the Open eBooks’ target demo on Twitter?
So I warned the prototypers about this type of thing, and about the risks of innovating in public. Most of them seemed to get it. Some of them were clearly there trying to find any revenue stream for their projects despite having little to no library knowledge. I heard one winner exclaim how surprised he was to find that elementary schools had libraries! ಠ_ಠ We had a nice chat afterwards and I suggested some resources for him.
As I said in my talk, it’s been a tough month and I am in a MOOD. Many of us are.
A couple of good old fashioned copyright links that I’ve been holding on to. One potentially very good, and one maybe not so good.
- E-books Can Be Lent In Same Way as Traditional Books, Says Court of Justice of the European Union. Links to decision and a lot of other supporting information on InfoDocket. Will be interesting to see this ripple through the US.
- Reclamation of rights under US law does not go as planned for Duran Duran. There’s a rarely-exercised aspect for copyright law where authors, after 35 years, can file for a “termination of transfer” and get their rights back from a publisher who is maybe not doing anything with them, The Authors’ Alliance has been highlighting what rights authors can exercise. People were surprised that when Duran Duran tried this, it didn’t work.
Projects that people have been working on post-election have been coming to fruition. Some good ones:
- A very clear and easy-to-use Action Against Trump page. Curated links to the best places to go to get stuff done. Put together by lawyer and library student Rebecca Fordon.
- A LibGuide about Fake News from KT Lowe at Indiana University. Short and simple. Not just a great resource but lovingly workshopped over on Facebook to be more accessible and more useful.
- Speaking of fake news, check out the B.S. Detector, an open source browser plug-in that puts little alerts next to links that might go to less-than-authoritative sources. Code (including sources list) is on Github and it’s been interesting to watch people debate and talk about media literacy.
Amusingly the full article was swiped by another blog so you can still read it even though ProQuest has taken it down. Their apology was underwhelming and sounds suspiciously like they got scammed by someone getting paid to do SEO for essay mills. This is the LinkedIn page for the essay writer who is self-employed as a “digital marketing expert” and “content marketing specialist”. His GradShare bio said otherwise: a qualified educator, author and scholar. He is experienced in classroom teaching, training teachers and leaders, coaching schools and advising academic researchers. Really?
This type of scam is actually another variant of the Fake News Problem. People try to leapfrog off of others’ reputations to promote their own shady dealings, whether it’s hyping a service or electing a president. Understanding SEO (search engine optimization) as well as link and content farming are an important part of media literacy and one that librarians and library-adjacent folks aren’t always that savvy with.
This link is good for a daily image of resistance. Hang in there and keep doing your good works.