Showing posts from October, 2014

Oh Adobe

Here's the problem: a lot of our "stuff" - both individual and business - is now in the cloud. Leaving aside the security of servers, there are also potential compromises in the transmission to and from the servers.

The issue for libraries is patron confidentiality, which we are both professionally and legally (in all 50 states) bound to preserve. (See Andromeda Yelton's impassioned post about the quandary.) Adobe, for quite some time now the near-monopolistic provider of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for ebooks in libraries, has been outed as having problems with the clear text, unencrypted transmission of user information (probably more than is strictly required to enable syncing across devices, if the usually well-informed Eric Hellman is to be believed, and I do believe him). It's possible that Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4 is also doing a little snooping - rummaging around your hard drive looking for other ebook information, although that's still in…

Bulgaria 10 years later

My first trip, a State Department grant, happened back in 1994. Nancy Bolt, then State Librarian of Colorado, teamed up with a former legislator in Iowa to arrange for a series of workshops and travel exchanges. Back then, Bulgaria was still throwing off the Soviet influence. Libraries had been tools of the state: a mechanism for the distribution of propaganda. Perhaps as a consequence, they did not enjoy a lot of public use or support.
There was also a parallel institution: the chistalistes. Think "culture center" - a place to celebrate the folk programs and activities of a country very rich in history.
The purpose of that first visit was to present a model of library as community information center. We talked about helping libraries begin to consciously collect and promote their collections to distinct market segments. We tried to encourage our colleagues to become not just passive distributors of state literature, but active, engaged, and visible "players."

From community reference to library as leader

A few weeks ago (Sept. 14-19) I made a trip to Bulgaria. (Another blog with more about that to follow!) I was a guest of the Bulgarian Library and Information Association, speaking in the national capital of Sofia to about 30, mostly public library directors about what I've called "community reference," and others call "embedded reference." 
Incidentally, as I think more about this, I've decided it might better be called "library as leader." I advocate a process that follows seven stages:
1. Brainstorm the names of community leaders. "Community" here doesn't mean just public leaders. The community could be a university, a public school, or a corporation. "Community" just means "operating environment." And "leaders" means decision-makers or influencers. 
2. Interview them. One of the fundamental skills of librarianship is the reference interview. I suggest three questions:  - what are the key concerns of…

A rebirth of blogging

Since January, I've been blogging about ebook issues for American Libraries. But since I was nominated to run for ALA president, I suggested that this might be seen as a conflict of interest, as favoritism for a candidate. ALA officials agreed, and I am on hiatus.
So I'll try to do a little more blogging here.
Note: I am, however, now writing a monthly column in Library Journal about self-publishing, which I continue to believe is the Next Big Thing for libraries. Here's the first column.