Friday, October 31, 2008

Spring Course Offered

Once again, the library will offer a .5 credit course, NDL 301: Information Fluency, in the spring semester. This course is focused on how information is produced, how it is handled by libraries, and how different disciplines use it. It is intended for students planning on graduate school, or who are simply interested in honing their research skills. Last year's syllabus information can be found in the links on the right-hand side of this class blog:

It meets Mondays from 2:30 to 4:30, but can also be taken by arrangement if that time doesn't work. For more information, contact Barbara Fister (x7552 or

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Google Settles

Today Google settled with publishers and authors who sued them over their library digitization project. Google will pay a $125 million settlement and will develop a registry that will enable publishers and authors to receive payments for use of their work - payment based on, among other things, libraries paying for access.

What it does not do is resolve the underlying copyright issues, according to The New York Times.

Jeffrey Toobin predicted this outcome some time ago in The New Yorker. And in his analysis, it's not good news for the rest of us.

“If Google says to the publishers, ‘We’ll pay,’ that means that everyone else who wants to get into this business will have to say, ‘We’ll pay,’ ” [Lawrence] Lessig said. “The publishers will get more than the law entitles them to, because Google needs to get this case behind it. And the settlement will create a huge barrier for any new entrants in this field.”

In other words, a settlement could insulate Google from competitors, which would be especially troubling, because the company has already proved that when it comes to searches it is not infallible. “Google didn’t get video search right—YouTube did,” Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, said. (Google solved that problem by buying YouTube last year for $1.6 billion.) “Google didn’t get blog search right— did,” Wu went on. “So maybe Google won’t get book search right. But if they settle the case with the publishers and create huge barriers to newcomers in the market there won’t be any competition. That’s the greatest danger here.”

The full settlement agreement - which is pending judicial approval - is available here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Folke Bernadotte Library's Ghostly Connections

Are you a Halloween fanatic? Is it your favorite holiday? For some this is an obsession. The anticipation of truly scaring someone else, or themselves, is cause for exorbitant enthusiasm.

Our library has a past with a few ghost stories.

Although the article above claims that there hasn’t been a sighting since the tornado in 1998, a library student employee (class 2008) claims to have seen the ghost in the south stairwell of the library.

Think about this in the wee hours of the morning as you move from 3rd floor to second through the dimly lit stairwells.

Monday, October 20, 2008

UPDATE: Database Access Work

We've completed our transition to a new system for providing off-campus access to our electronic resources. You should now be able to access resources through our web site from off campus. If you encounter any problems with remote access or need assistance in changing any outdated links to our resources that you may have on your web browser or on your web pages, please contact

Friday, October 17, 2008

Database Access Work

On Monday, October 20, during Reading Days, the library will be switching to a new system for providing off-campus access to our electronic resources. We anticipate some intermittent disruptions to off-campus access while we make the transition. We'll post a message to let you know when the transition is complete. Thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Laptop Search & Seizure

File under "Information in the News..."

Today the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued an alert about internal policies in the Department of Homeland Security regarding border crossing. Under previous policies, Customs and Border Patrol agents were authorized to seize any electronic and print materials if they had probable cause of illegal activity. Under current internal policies, agents have the authority to retain print and electronic materials indefinitely at the borders regardless of probable cause.

AAUP notes special concern for professors conducting research and traveling across borders, citing possible threats to those conducting research (or collaborating with colleagues) around the world. The policies are also alarming for libraries, information professionals, and anyone concerned with protecting privacy rights and defending civil liberties.

Read more:

Expanded Powers to Search Travelers at Border DetailedWashington Post, 9/23/08

Search and Replace” [editorial], Washington Post, 8/13/08

US Border Agency Says It Can Seize LaptopsPC World, 8/3/08

Travelers' Laptops May Be Detained At Border: No Suspicion Required Under DHS PoliciesWashington Post, 8/1/08

Monday, October 06, 2008

Scandinavian Crime Wave

In the last decade, a number of talented crime fiction writers have appeared on the Scandinavian scene, following on the heels of the mega-popular Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell (which is currently being made into a BBC television series with Kenneth Branagh in the lead role). Fortunately for readers in the U.S., this coincides with a trend to publish more works here in translation, so many of them are being translated into English.

We've compiled a Website that lists authors and their works by country, with a bit of biographical information and links to reviews. We plan to add to it as more books become available - and in between, we have a companion blog to keep up with new reviews, interviews, and events.

Though why mysteries are so popular in countries with such low crime rates remains something of a mystery.