Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

So in the last few days I have had some conversations about the reuse of tweets, whether it is ethical to quote them, have you published when tweeting and generally around the whole concept of privacy and ethics.  I have had a few thoughts which I am going to share. Feel free to leap in and let me know where you think I have got it wrong.  O, and I am putting this on my writers’ blog The Worlds of Michael J Parry and my library blog The Room of Infinite Diligence because of many intersections.

The first question I considered is: “Is tweeting publishing”. The OED first defines publishing as “To make public”, or in fuller “To make public or generally known; to declare or report openly or publicly; to announce; (also) to propagate or disseminate (a creed or system). In later use sometimes passing into sense.” Which makes sense to me although from that you could say the act of speaking is publishing.

To me the act of publishing is when you take a thought, which up until that moment is privately held within your mind, and you then express it in some way that makes the thought more permanent and transmittable to others by some form of media.

By this definition, and by my way of thinking, then yes Tweeting is a form of publication.

So then the questions become even more complex. What rights do you as the originator of the tweet have other how the tweet is used? What responsibilities do the reader and potential re-user of the tweet have to you as the content creator?

For me it comes down, as it often does, to context. Do you have an expectation of privacy around your tweet? If you are tweeting from a locked account yes. You control who can see and read it. If you have a public account I don’t see how you can. A public account is by its nature, public.

To my mind, if you publicly tweet something, you are publishing it and giving it to the world for free to read and then potentially reuse. We implicitly agree to this through using the service and through our acceptance of such functionality as the ability to re-tweet.

Does the reader have any responsibility or special ethical considerations for the re-use of your tweet? Should a journalist say ask you permission before quoting? I would say if you have publicly tweeted then no.  They have no ethical considerations beyond the usual they should have when preparing a story.

But what about copyright? Fair use? Is a tweet a work, or a part of a work? Especially if it is published! This is a bit of a grey area for me.  It seems to me there is an implicit release of copyright in the act of tweeting. Especially in a public feed.


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For your Monday happiness or sadness you are presented with the Lego Librarian Minifig. When I first saw a link I was all Lego librarian happy, until I landed on the page. I may be being oversensitive but… Any way here it is with bio…

legolibminiThe Librarian “Shhh!”

Books are just about the Librarian’s most favorite thing in the entire world. Reading them can take you on exciting adventures in far-off lands, introduce you to new friends and cultures, and let you discover poetry, classic literature, science fiction and much more. If only everybody loved to read as much as she does, the world would be a better place…and quieter, too!

The Librarian feels that it’s extremely important to treat a book with the proper respect. You should always use a bookmark instead of folding down the corner of the page. Take good care of the dust jacket, and don’t scribble in the margins. And above all else, never – ever – return it to the library late!

UPDATE: Mr Library Dude had some fun with custom Librarian Minifigs: http://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2013/07/

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Joann has posted an update on the status of the Koha trademark application for New Zealand. Since there was a lot of interest in this I am going to repost here. 🙂 I am sure she won’t mind…

Update 2 on NZ Koha Trademark

Well things have been very quiet on this front while the lawyers work through the process.

We are being represented by Andrew Matangi from Buddle Findlay with  input from Rochelle Furneaux and feel very confident that he has a good  understanding of the Koha journey over the last decade or so and how we  have got to where we are. He is also a specialist  in this area so we have been quite relieved to have his hand on the  tiller and plotting the course. These things take time and have to be done discretely of course, but a  key date has passed and I think it is okay now to update everyone on  progress.

A letter was sent to PTFS on the 19th January essentially outlining the grounds on which our objection to their NZ trademark application is based and asking them to assign their NZ trade mark application to the Trust.  We also attached a Koha Trademark Usage Policy  which the Library Trust recently adopted, following consultation with  the Koha Subcommittee. We advised that unless a response was received by noon NZ time on the 1st of February we would file formal opposition.

Well that date has passed without word and so a formal Notice of Opposition is being prepared. The process from here is set out on the IPONZ website.

So there it is, due process being followed and no resolution in sight  but we are still very confident that the right decision will be made.

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There is an elephant in the room and his name is Ian Wishart.

I have watched the furore over Ian Wishart’s latest book Breaking Silence with a small amount of trepidation. I don’t think it is the death of free speech, seeing as no one is actually banning Wishart from publishing the book. As a free speech advocate I support his right to write the book (even though I have no desire to read it, and find the whole concept distasteful). I also support the right of  those against it to advocate boycotting the work.  I also support the bookstores in their decision to not stock the work. And yet I still have a sense of unease. I think Craig Ranapia’s post over at Public Address on this sums up some of what I think, if in language I couldn’t bring myself to use.

What I dread is the potential outcry when the book hits the library shelves. I am of course assuming that libraries will buy it, seeing as with all of Wishart’s books there is likely to be a demand. There is the other fear though, that libraries won’t stock it using the justification of collection development policies.   For a while now I have held the view that despite many librarians justified promotion of the free speech/anti-censorship causes, we practice a form of censorship. We just call it Collection Development. This could be the lightening rod that exposes that.

Those are the elephants stomping around in my library, which keeps knocking over shelves. I hope I am wrong on both counts, but could too easily be right.

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Let’s start with a definition from a “Tomorrow People” fan:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.1

Soon after local government reform in New Zealand created my current employer, two blogs were created with the aim of spending a year touring and reporting on each branch within the system. As one of the staff members running a legacy online profile I was privy to some of the discussions, and suffice to say we were collectively excited but not entirely sure how, if at all, to respond.

Perceptions are what its all about, particularly in the online world. Don’t acknowledge people this enthusiastic, and one risks the appearance of being aloof. What about the other path. Can one become overly involved?

I think so. Let’s get a definition from another source. The now defunct webcomic Genrezvous Point had a set of characters who were the “seven plagues of cinema”. Plague five was fandom:

arguably the most repulsive of the plagues, a swarm of leeches that attempts to latch on and seize control of their target, refusing to accept any deviation from their will and loudly decrying any attempt at disputing their collective ‘wisdom’ and influence on their target.2

As a member of a number of fandoms, I can affirm that the above holds at least a grain of truth. I’ve regularly watched fellow mulitplayer gamers rail vituperously at the creators of a game world inside that world. Any amount and kind of protest, other than simply finding other pursuits, can be deemed appropriate by a dissatisfied fan simply because they will feel that they are pursuing a significant cause.

There’s also seems to be a relationship between this phenomenon and media interest. A number of stories have been published in our city’s paper of record about our service. The stories themselves are almost meaningless to those of us who have been in the profession for a significant time:

If they’re not about anything new (and therefore are not news in the truest sense), what holds these stories together? I believe they’re talking to the fandom in the sense that  they are aimed at a growing common interest in the organisation, and in that they suggest a canonical set of beliefs around what kinds of places libraries should be.

If all our organisations and services have fans, what does that imply? I’m going for an “I don’t know” on this one. We should definitely welcome the opportunity to hear what people think about us when they’ve got the comfort that relative anonymity can bring, but we’ve got to be mindful that our fandom and our users are two blended but distinct groups. To live by the word of the former is to risk doing disservice to the latter.



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I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple of months now . . . the subject still bothers me, so I thought why not publish it anyway . . . so here goes! My first post for the Room of Infinite Diligence.

I work in a research centre, and go out and about in the community a heck of a lot too, delivering presentations on my specialist subject and my collection’s resources.

I am fairly active on the social media front, mostly trying to inform and update people, and networking. But I have a bit of fun with it too.

I am very passionate about user-education and information literacy. I see this as my primary role, when out and about, and also in the Centre.

As part of my job back in the research centre, we also do paid research, for those customers who can’t come in to the centre, or who can’t do the research themselves. Its a great service, and also a part of my job that I enjoy.

I was a bit taken aback a while ago, to receive a phone call from a customer, who wanted to pay me to do the research for her daughter’s high school “dissertation”.

The daughter was much too busy to do her own research, as she spent many hours a week on sports training. Apparently she was a top athlete, represents her country, and couldn’t spare the time to come in to the library to do her own research.

The subject of the school project was outside my department’s specialism, but as a researcher and librarian, I offered to recommend some resources, send some books free to her local library via our reservations service – but, no her daughter was much too busy, she wanted me to actually do the research for her.

The customer service side of me battled furiously with the educator side of me. For a moment.

I took a deep breath, and explained very politely, that it would be better for her daughter to do the research herself, as it helped her with her learning and set her up for a lifelong learning path.

I was told that she always got librarians to do the research for her daughter (and named someone and went into specifics about a particular incidence) . . . that she’d used our research centre before, and that it was money well spent.

She replied that her daughter was a top student that got top marks for her projects at an IB school. Another deep breath. I offered more suggestions, more resources. Not interested “good bye,” she hung up.

I felt very sad. I did a bit of soul searching  to see if I could have dealt with it differently, better. I worried about whether I had given good customer service.

Then I wondered about parents who think its ok to pay someone to do their child’s homework.

That sports practice is more important than academic “practice”.

Then I felt perhaps I’d failed, because I hadn’t delivered “user education” adequately. Or that maybe another librarian would have got a better result.

That perhaps I’d failed because I hadn’t made her understand (conflicted eh?)

But then this high achieving, high school sports star, also apparently achieves top marks on her projects. Perhaps that’s because she gets librarians to do the bulk of the work for her?

Question is, should I have stuck to my guns? If the mother hadn’t been upfront with me, I’d have done the research anyway, blissfully ignorant, unaware (you can still snow the best “reference interviews”).

Maybe that is what had happened previously, if other librarians had really done her research for her. Is it poor customer service to assert your opinion in such matters?

Did I discriminate in some way, by not quietly just doing the research for this student regardless? I wondered what the student’s teachers would have said if they had known. Should I have rung the school and given them the heads up? Or is that a bridge too far? Was I right not to? Is it any of my business what someone wants to do with the research they commission from me?

A colleague I discussed this with asked “what is the difference between arranging a contract with a paid researcher, and a well-off student going online to a paid assignment writing service?”

Could I have handled this differently?

What do you think? What would you have done?

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So I was thinking this as my industry peers are tweeting at 10.24pm on a Wednesday evening.

Corin just used the acronym, ‘LMAO’, (reference) and I felt I just had to comment.  Part of me wanted to reply immediately and say, “ewww you used geek lingo!” and the other part said, “yeah, it’s so common on the internets, Hana.  I’m surprised you’re not using it yourself. It’s the done thing.  Keep up will ya?!”  And I am going to say, no, it’s not the done thing.  Just because someone else does it, does not mean you have to join in too.

I have a friend who back in high school, when the terms ‘lol‘, ‘lmao‘ and ‘rofl‘ etc, were in full swing and had been for at least two years, (probably much much longer, go on, correct me *rolls eyes*), had an eclectic taste in music and a very unique sense of humour.  He was and is awesome.

I clearly remember an evening with a bunch of friends having a good old gag, and he was sat there on the couch saying, “Lol, lol, lol, lol”.  It was funny I tell you.  I mean who says “lol” (and not ‘laugh out loud’ though that would rightly be funny too) in normal conversation?!  Needless to say, I loved his sense of humour.

On to my point.  I think grammar is important, and grammatical correctness.  Granted most of the time I do not get it correct, however I am a stickler for punctuation when I know it’s needed.  Granted, my assignments that I submit are never in tiptop order either, but the intention is there.  To me, grammar matters.  Punctuation matters.  Spelling things correctly matters.

I even try to get my punctuation correct in text messages!

In fact, right now, I’m tempted to link to dictionary.com or urbandictionary.com…   in fact, going back and proofreading this, I did in fact link to urbandictionary.com.

In doing so, I found that lol has a number of definition entries.  I get the feeling urban dictionary is actually a wiki… (brain is clicking).

Ok, any more mentioning of dissecting the use of geek lingo or ‘lolspeak’ <— get that! There’s even a name for a spinoff of this language! , and people are going to start hunting me down.  Please don’t.

FYI #1  I am not against geek lingo, I just think it is interesting linguistically.   I often find myself asking people for the definition of an acronym they’ve just used in electronic conversation with me, because I haven’t heard it before.  I’m not actually up with the play.

FYI #2 I keep a te reo maori dictionary in my handbag if I can redeem myself in some way.  I am trying to learn one language other than English.

Sigh. ok, I’m done having a blat. ttyl. thxkbai.


nb: I wrote this post on Wednesday the 8th of June, exactly 4 days after I should’ve written it.  This post is dated the 4th of June to keep in line with the other posts, (and to make it look like I wasn’t letting the team down) however it contains a reference to a tweet of Corin’s on Wednesday the 8th, therefore theoretically referring to something occurring in the future My apologies for messing with your brain and letting the team down.


Nāku noa,
na H.

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