Vol 2 (2016)
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.
Article on the Radical Librarians Collective, co-written with Sarah Arkle, Katherine Quinn and Lauren Smith. [Read more.]
Understanding digital behaviour can help us improve the way we deliver and facilitate access to information. [Read more.]
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]
A write-up of a social media workshop conducted at the National Acquisitions Group conference in 2014. [Full text]
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]
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]
An article about how Twitter was launched and utilised at Canterbury Christ Church University. [read more]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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].
An article on the Mobile Technology: Lending It, Using It And What To Do Next event I helped co-ordinate for CPD25.
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].
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]
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]
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]
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]