social software


info graphic on change of Congressional position by ProPublica.org

As a follow-up to the earlier entry,  SOPA and PIPA were pulled from congressional vote in their current form. The sponsors of the bills acknowledged that a more nuanced discussion is required prior to putting more legislation forward.   To get an idea of what the critics of the old legislation would like to see addressed in new talks and legislation, a  CNN-Panel discussion addressed the lack of understanding that proponents of the old bill had, and questioned the feasibility and efficacy of the proposed solutions in the old legislation.

“Activists talked about the potential consequences if the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are approved by Congress. Both pieces of legislation are similar and target Web sites that commit or facilitate online piracy.”

Although the panel convened before the vote was pulled, their discussion points offer an overview of what major concerns would need to be addressed in any future legislation.

Speakers:
Markham Erickson, Partner, Holch & Erickson LLP, and Executive Director, NetCoalition
Michael Petricone, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Consumer Electronics
Association
Mike Masnick, Founder and President, TechDirt
Casey Rae-Hunter, Deputy Director, Future of Music Coalition
Christian Dawson, Chief Operating Officer, ServInt

If you are wondering why some sites are blacked-out today, or why some sites have blocked out their logos/name, it is in protest regarding bills in congress which are aimed at stamping out piracy / protecting intellectual property (a good goal) but proposing to do it by way of censorship and/or surveillance (a questionable means). There are a number of petitions going around, but for a little more info on why there is such an outcry, here are a couple of quick, reliable resources:

The google graphic shows the variety of people and organizations who oppose the bills and why; and offers the opportunity to add your name to their petition. The American Library Association has put together a quick reference guide to explain the PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Acts (pdf).   It indicates who initiated the bill and where the bill would impact free speech and/or free enterprise.

…the ALA deplores any legislation that would incentivize and likely increase surveillance of online activity promoted by these bills.  These bills, if passed, would likely blanket Internet activity with an immediate chilling effect – on first amendment free speech rights, intellectual freedom and privacy rights, among others.

 

Refworks 2.0 link in upper right corner, next to Home

RefWorks is one of a number of bibliographic management programs that are available to the staunch researcher.  If you are a dedicated RefWorks user, you might want to take a look at the new RefWorks 2.0 interface that launched earlier this week.  The “Classic” interface  will be accessible until the end of the year (so you have an adjustment period), but if you want to review some of the highlights of the new interface, check out this video which highlights the differences between the old and new interfaces.

Also, if you want to play with the new interface before the end of the semester you will see links to access RefWorks 2.0 in the upper, right-hand corner at the log-in stage (pictured left, above)

Additionally, after you are logged in,  there is a link that lets you toggle back and forth between the classic and 2.0 interfaces in the upper, right-hand corner of your account screen (pictured right, below).

Toggle link lets you switch between classic and 2.0 interface

If you are new to RefWorks, you might consider looking into the new interface from the start — this preview video for new users will show you some of the features.

For those who like to learn on their own, but would like some extra help, there are free webinars and tutorials available from RefWorks.

Of course, for those of you who like a hands-on workshop, we offer in-library workshops on RefWorks and Zotero (another, open-source Bibliographic Management system)– among other topics. Register for one today!

Leaf used as a bookmark, CC image courtesy of emrank

"bookmark" CC image courtesy of emrank

In case you haven’t heard the news, this week, two big e-resource-sharing platforms announced changes that may impact (and hopefully improve) your ability to find and share information within the next few months.

About a week ago, Kindle announced that it is finally working with libraries to offer the ability to share/lend books — this is great news, as Kindle was one of the last “holdouts.”  At this point it is working primarily with Overdrive — the main vendor for e-books in public libraries — but we will keep an eye on the efforts to share with academic and special libraries as well.   Using  Kindle would make bookmarking, note-taking and highlighting in a borrowed book easier.

Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced

In other “bookmarking” news, Delicious has been saved from the chopping block!  On Wednesday, AVOS announced that they acquired Delicious from Yahoo.  In order to have your account continue to work after June, you need to “opt in” to the transfer of your bookmarks… loads of details on the delicious transition page.

The United Nations established 2/20 as World Day of  Social Justice Day in order to “support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.”  The UN also uses the day to ask world citizens what does Social Justice mean?

Part of St. John’s Social Justice mission is to make the Social Justice dimension of research/action more explicit in various “academic” disciplines, and to  promote awareness of Social Justice issues/actions, on pastoral, academic and diplomatic levels.  Our efforts are “academic” only in the sense that we can use the time and mental-space that University life affords to explore  the “big picture” of Social Justice principles, (and what they mean), in order to enact social justice in concrete applications for our students and communities.

The  Catholic Church’s presence at the UN — the Permanent Observer Mission of Holy See Mission to the UN — tries to help to answer the question at the diplomatic level during UN deliberations; The UN Mission submits statements to help remind the  UN body that worthwhile goals of  peace and development are authentically pursued only when the means are consistent with the principles of Social Justice found in Catholic Social Teachings:

  • Respect for Dignity of the Human Person
  • Call to Participation based on the Social Nature of Humanity
  • Rights and Responsibilities of individuals, towards the benefit of the Common Good
  • Protection for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • Respect for Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  • Subsidiarity in Government (so that problems should be effectively handled at the lowest possible level of governance)
  • Solidarity
  • Care for the Environment – Stewardship of Creation

As part of World Social Justice Day, ihe UN’s International Labor Organization is promoting the “The Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization” and is calling for people to respond to the question “What does Social Justice mean to you?” There is also another local opportunity to add the collection of voices promoting Social Justice in various disciplines via the Libraries’ Applied Social Justice Essay Competition (the deadline for submitting abstracts for is this coming Tuesday 2/22). We encourage you to respond to these calls; by doing so, you can help inform the notion of social justice as is applies to the “real world.”

Image courtesy Vatican Radio Website

Social Communication has been squarely in the spotlight this week, starting with the Pope’s message on World Social Communications Day.  You can read his message Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age” on the Vatican website, or you can listen to an interview with Archbishop Claudio Celli (who heads the Pontifical council for Social Communications) on the importance of the message on Vatican Radio. (1)

This emphasis on Social Communications  is a wonderful correlation with our call to “Be Vincentian” this week.  How is it that we reflect our Vincentian mission in our real-life and extended virtual worlds?  How can our studies, and the direction of our research, reflect a commitment to the most vulnerable, both in our local communities and around the world?  How do we use the Social Communications tools at our disposal to promote quality research and access to the information necessary to be active participants in our communities and world?

A couple of related stories bring these social communications & social justice issues to light.  Catholic Relief Service’s Fair Trade branch has posted a crowd-sourced “Request For Proposals” (via blog, Twitter and Facebook) calling on all “Solutionaries” to suggest proposals on how CRS should invest  up to $50,000 each “in action-oriented research and/or pilot initiatives to tackle the persistent questions” in development work.

Global Voices Online (a community blogging site funded by Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Reuters and the MacArthur foundation among others) is reporting on the roles of, and blockages of, Facebook, and subsequently twitter during planning of “Day of Anger” protests in Egypt .  ***Update 1/28 *** Subsequently, CNET, (among several news sources) indicated that the Egyptian government shut down the mostly-state run internet service providers, and instructed all other ISP and mobile connectivity providers to suspend activity, prompting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications.”

Image of precipitous drop in internet activity, as depicted by Arbor Networks -- click image to see graphic in original context

It also prompted Leslie Harris, president of the DC-based Center for Democracy and Technology to state: “This action is inconsistent with all international human rights norms, and is unprecedented in Internet history. ****

In an effort to answer this call to “Be Vincentian,” to be “solutionaries,” and to be “social communicators” in a positive way, the University Libraries & Friends of the Libraries are proud to sponsor the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Applied Social Justice Essay Competition, which seeks entries from among undergraduate researchers whose essays incorporate and/or inform a social justice dimension within the essayist’s chosen discipline.  In addition to encouraging these students to explicitly examine the social justice dimension of their research, with a faculty member as a mentor, the libraries are promoting the use of  a variety of scholarly resources (in both traditional and Social-media venues) which contribute to the creation and distribution of the student’s university-level research. Winning essayists receive a cash prize (1st = $500, 2nd=$300), and  the winning essays then become available as a social-web-scholarly resource to other researchers and the public through open-access publishing via this library blog. (2)

The first deadline for this year’s contest is fast approaching, this Monday Jan 31 Tuesday, February 22. If you are an undergraduate student, please consider writing or revising a paper, in conjunction with your mentor; if you are a faculty member, please notify those students you think would be interested in this contest. For application details, see the Competition posting.

(1) To discover how some other Vatican & Catholic news agencies make positive use of Social Web tools, you may want to visit this GDSJ Blog entry, or to learn more about Social Web tools in this LibGuide.

(2) We are pleased to report that the winning essays from last year garnered over 1300 blog views, and elicited many positive comments from readers outside the University community.

UPDATED:  deadline for application is 2/22, final submission due 3/15.

While we have covered facebook privacy issues before, a network’s platform privacy settings are only one part of your battle to protect privacy.

Most folks know to not send financial information over unsecured wireless networks, but accessing your social network using that free wi-fi in a park or coffee-shop may leave you more vulnerable than ever, thanks to a new browser plug-in “Firesheep” that lets others “eavesdrop” and even take-over your account via your cookies.  The unsettling development allows even the least-sophisticated user a potential hacker.  The folks at techcrunch have an article that goes over some of the details, and lists a number of popular sites that the plug-in can  hack:

Apparently many social network sites are not secured, beyond the big two [Facebook and Twitter], Foursquare, Gowalla are also vulnerable. Moreover, to give you a sense of Firesheep’s scope, the extension is built to identify cookies from Amazon.com, Basecamp, bit.ly, Cisco, CNET, Dropbox, Enom, Evernote, Facebook, Flickr, Github, Google, HackerNews, Harvest, Windows Live, NY Times, Pivotal Tracker, Slicehost, tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, Yahoo, Yelp. And that’s just the default setting— anyone can write their own plugins, according to the post.

Note: at the time of this posting, over 5,000 people had either tweeted the story or “liked” the story on Facebook!

UPDATE: As of  11/02, Microsoft has added Firesheep to its “malware” list:  Look here for more information from Microsoft on how to protect yourself.  (thanks to Frank Corrigan of Liberation Technology list-serv for this update information)

The recent  article from 8/31/2010 issue of CHE takes up a new wrinkle in the Google Books project.  The article “Google’s Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars” recounts the issues surrounding the big-buzz question “what will Google do with the books once scanned” and goes on to another practical question: “Can Google possibly live up to the professed goals of the ‘Google Books Library’ project?”  If Google scanned all the scholarly-library-donated-books in order to facilitate  discoverability of  lost treasures, the metadata needed to facilitate a scholarly search needs to be reliable and standardized enough (think library cataloging by subject specialists) to help the researcher find the relevant material across the database objects.

But to pose those [research-based] questions, you need reliable metadata about dates and categories, which is why it’s so disappointing that the book search’s metadata are a train wreck: a mishmash wrapped in a muddle wrapped in a mess.

Jon Orwant, the person responsible for metadata in the GoogleBooks project has posted his own thoughtful responses in the comments area of Nunberg’s  “illustrated” version of the article (and in keeping with web-2.0 publication vagaries, the illustrated version and comments are dated 8/29!)

Of course, while library catalogues and databases try to be slaves to consistent metadata, we often work with whatever we can get in order to make sure that our researchers have access to their needed information in as many venues as possible.  Thus, we note with some pleasure that the earlier Google Scholar project — which deals primarily with scholarly articles and citations from scholarly bibliographies — does not suffer as much on the metadata end, but this is because the basic-but-standard bibliographic metadata is generated by the authors themselves, and therefore tend to be more reliable (as reliable as scholars are careful!) .

Libraries have also worked with Google Scholar to facilitate Check for full text linking to a patron’s “home” university library for full-text access to cited articles (in the preferences options).  St. John’s Libraries and WorldCat are automatically added to  GoogleScholar results if you are using computers in the labs, but if you would like to add this “Check  for Full Text” feature to your work or home computer, and find a way to add GS citations to your RefWorks folder, use this tutorial.

Here’s hoping that the GoogleBooks efforts are fruitful and that we can look forward to Google’s transparency and co-operation with libraries and librarians — who have been their precursors and constant companions in the effort to  promote wider-access-to and reliable-metadata-for the information people seek to improve their research or their lives.

One of the most frequent misunderstandings I encounter when I talk to students about plagiarism is that they think “plagiarism is the same as copyright infringement.”  Same as in “it is a legal issue” rather than an “ethical issue” or a “scholarly communication issue. ”  Same as in  “if it doesn’t have a copyright logo on it, like NBC or Elsiver — or if it isn’t on TV or in print,” it isn’t really “published.” So, they think, freely borrowing the material isn’t a problem…whatever comes from the web or from a friend’s paper isn’t citation-worthy.   Although we do talk about citation-trails in scholarly communication and talk a little about how/when something is copyrighted  (i.e. once a paper/poem/ assignment is in material or computer-readable format, it is automatically copyrighted) , trying to get across the overlaps and distinctions between plagiarism and copyright infringement can be a little tricky.  I am a fan of Venn diagrams, so I use the diagram below, and ask students to come up with examples for each part, and then ask them where a few “case studies” would fall.  For example: One can plagiarize a friend’s idea or a methodological approach without commiting copyright infringement.   One can give the full citation for a copyrighted piece of music, but, lacking permissions, can still be guilty of infringement.

* While there maybe some cases where using the copyrighted materials of others doesn’t infringe –  say, in  a comedy sketch or for  a classroom demo — sometimes publishing a class project on a blog or slideshare can blur the line.  (**Note to hybrid and distance learning faculty:  A student  and the “responsible faculty member” can be guilty of “contributory infringement” by allowing a course page to host a re/posting of  a YouTube clip that one has reason to believe was not uploaded by the original artist)

Best bets in class:  for images:   use “creative commons” materials in ;  for music be sure to get permissions or use “podsafe music” and abide by artists requests. Sources of podsafe music include:  http://podsafemusicnetwork.com/ and http://www.podsafeaudio.com/,  For Videos: look at the “more” section in a video platform to learn about the poster and gain an idea whether the poster has original rights ,  and above all – cite sources ethically.

A couple of alerts for our users: 

Student studying outside library

Library help wherever you are

Queens Campus Library: Due to short-term construction in the basement of St. Augustine Hall, materials in the Queens Library Closed Stacks are unavailable at this time. Please contact the Service Desk in Queens for assistance at 718-990-6727.

Queens & Staten Island Library Online Catalogs:   You may have noticed that the interface for the Main Library Catalog has changed a bit.  As we mentioned last year, the new Library Catalog is an  OpenSource Library system, developed over the past year in conjunction with our WALDO partners and LibLime.  

Give it a whirl!   It has many of the same search features as the old catalog, but with some more robust delimiters and the integration of some Social Web features.  We are starting the intial roll-out now,  so please bear with us as we check for bugs.  If you need additional help finding information, please ask us. If you encounter a bug, and are willing to let us know, please e-mail eservices@stjohns.edu

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