Subject Librarian


Vol 2 (2016)

The digital divide in the post-Snowden era
Journal of Radical Librarianship

Edward Snowden’s disclosure of mass surveillance of the internet has necessitated a re-examining of our relationship with the internet. Rather than a tool that broadens democratic engagement, the internet is increasingly used as a tool to manage and direct citizens, particularly via the mass collection of personal data by both the state and large multi-national corporations. Although online tools are available to protect intellectual privacy and ensure individuals can fully engage in the democratic process, they are subject to the same limitations as other aspects of the digital divide in terms of social, economic and cultural capital. Regarding online intellectual privacy, the evidence suggests there are more efforts by the library profession to protect the rights of the individual in the United States, the home of the NSA, than in the United Kingdom. This paper seeks to investigate the state of this aspect of the digital divide and what is being done to address it.

[Journal article]

July 2015

What is the Radical Librarians Collective

Article on the Radical Librarians Collective, co-written with Sarah Arkle, Katherine Quinn and Lauren Smith. [Read more.]

July 2015

Visitors and residents: understanding digital behaviours
Information Today Europe

Understanding digital behaviour can help us improve the way we deliver and facilitate access to information. [Read more.]

June 2015

Net neutrality – internet that serves the many or the few?
Information Today Europe

For many years there has been a battle waged over the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and government should ensure that all data on the internet should be treated equally. Opponents of net neutrality in the US include a significant number of tech companies, including Cisco, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Verizon and many more… [read more]

Winter 2014/2015

Social media and its uses within a library setting
Taking Stock

A write-up of a social media workshop conducted at the National Acquisitions Group conference in 2014. [Full text]

April 2014

Future for Public Libraries
Russian International Affairs Council

Libraries across Europe are currently facing very serious challenges in the face of the wave of austerity sweeping across the continent. As governments sell people on the notion that public spending needs to be curtailed to overcome the effects of the 2008 economic crisis, public libraries are increasingly seen as an easy target, one that is unlikely to rally the people in quite the same way as cuts to other services where the outcomes of such cuts appear more immediately tangible. [read more]

February 2014

U.K. Libraries Offer Free Article Access to Walk-Ins
Library Journal

Public libraries in the United Kingdom are set to play a role in expanding public access to academic research via the recently announced “Access to Research” plan. Thousands of research journal articles will be made available for free: but only on computers located physically within a public library, not remotely. [read more]

January 2014

Twitter at Canterbury Christ Church University

An article about how Twitter was launched and utilised at Canterbury Christ Church University. [read more]

August 2013

UK Report Recommends Author Payments for Library Ebook Lending
Library Journal

Publishers worried about public libraries lending ebooks have not been restricted to the U.S. In 2010, the UK’s Publishers Association (PA), warned libraries that they were considering preventing remote borrowing of ebooks unless certain protections were put in place, an announcement which caused a great deal of concern on the part of librarians and library ebook distributors. [read more]

July 2013

Professional bodies in the information age
Information Today Europe

The recent debate within the profession regarding the proposal to rebrand CILIP got me thinking about how a professional body for information professionals could (and perhaps should) be structured in the information age.  Whilst I am not currently a member of the professional body, I wonder whether a different approach might encourage me (and others) to fully embrace and engage with such a structure and thus strengthen the profession as a whole. [read more]

May 2013

Massive and Open – MOOCs and the transformation of HE
Information Today Europe

The growth of massive online open courses (or MOOCs) has certainly given the sector much to ponder.  MOOCs first emerged in 2008, offering students a unique opportunity to study courses with prestigious universities across the globe.  Hosted online, these courses enable thousands of students to take part in any course and encourage them to engage with a broad range of online tools to support their studies and broaden their learning. Furthermore, they empower students to engage in independent study, whilst garnering support from the online learning community rather than academic staff. It’s not difficult to see why they present a challenge for the HE sector. [read more]

February 2013

Not everyone is on the internet, Iain Duncan Smith
The Guardian

It is unclear how widespread this practice is, or how many people have been affected, but the penalisation of those not online in seeking work is grossly unfair, punishing those without an internet connection for applying for jobs by other, legitimate means. Rather than eliminating the so-called “benefits trap”, this government’s overhaul of the benefits system is in fact creating a trap for thousands of job seekers. [read more]

February 2013

Europe’s digital divide
Information Today Europe

Although it is certainly encouraging that the digital divide is being treated seriously as an issue, current developments suggest that the divide will become more complex and entrenched for the foreseeable future. The divide within the EU between the strongest and the poorest economies is clearly at risk of growing…[read more]

January 2013

Voices for the Library – communicating impact
Information Today Europe

I would argue that a central plank in the amateurisation of the library service has been the failure of the profession to adequately communicate its value.  We have not become irrelevant overnight (indeed, our role is possibly more important now than ever), but we have failed to communicate our relevance effectively, coherently and in a way that challenges some of the myths that have been allowed to grow. [read more]

September 2012

Sock Puppets: A Necessary Evil
ORG Zine

The revelations regarding authors using “sockpuppets” to post fake reviews and praise their own books, has sent ripples throughout the publishing industry.  Ostensibly designed to either enhance their own sales or damage a rival’s, the practice inflicts serious damage on the symbiotic relationship between reader and author [read more].

August 2012

Using technology to explore new ways of working
Multimedia Information & Technology journal

An article on the Mobile Technology: Lending It, Using It And What To Do Next event I helped co-ordinate for CPD25.

June 2012

The Olympics Organising Committee Run Rings Around Transparency
ORG Zine

The 2012 London Olympics is shaping up to be the largest sporting event ever held in this country.  Not only will it be the largest, it is also likely to be the most expensive sporting event hosted in the UK.  Current estimates place the overall public sector funding package for the Games at £9.298bn…[read more].

May 2011

The danger of the Kindle lending library
ORG Zine

Amazon has recently announced that it would allow its ebooks to be available for lending via Overdrive and, consequently, Kindle owners would be able to borrow ebooks from their local libraries ebook service.  Of course, for those of us that have been keen to support ebook availability in public libraries, this was good news…[read more]

April 2011

ORG Zine

Towards the end of last year, Ed Vaizey addressed a telecommunications conference in London organised by the Financial Times. In his address, he pointedly failed to give his support for ‘net neutrality’. In fact, although he has denied it, it would appear that he supports scrapping it altogether…[read more]

February 2011

Love your librarian
ORG Zine

Libraries are facing an unprecedented assault from local councils up and down the country, and the government appears unwilling to intervene despite library cuts that may be in breach of the Public Libraries and Museums Act. Some 400 libraries are threatened with closure over the course of this year, with services in Doncaster, Gloucestershire and the Isle of Wight amongst many threatened with devastating cuts. Many councils seem to believe that volunteer run libraries are an adequate solution to funding issues. In the age of the digital library this is a gross error…[read more]

July 2010

We still need libraries in the digital age
The Guardian

With the government axing public services, librarians are being forced to defend their existence against accusations of irrelevance in modern society. As one adviser on Newsnight put it during the BBC’s recent “mini-consultation” on the proposed cuts, why do we need libraries when everyone has broadband…[read more]