March 2009

not_equal1While a number of previous LIBlog entries have emphasized the impact that social-web tools have had on the authority of web-based resources, this blog entry from  “Is Britannica Going Wiki?”  is a good example of why opening a reasource up contributions does not automatically devolve into Wikipedi-mania.

…[T]rend-spotters of the media and blogosphere detect a harmonic convergence between the two antipodes of the encyclopedia world, and they were happy to proclaim, almost as one:  Britannica, Wikipedia, each becoming more like the other.  How perfectly symmetrical. The truth, as usual, was far more complex. 

7a2c79b2eab94b2488c49fe0521907f5Have an overdue library book? A fine you still need to pay?
Why not make a donation of  food to the library and erase that
overdue fine while helping a family in need!

Here’s how it works:

In honor of the Easter season, students who return their overdue books to either the Queens or Staten Island Circulation Desks between 4/1 – 5/17  with donations of non-perishable food items will have their fines waived (see Suggested Food Items ).   One food item will erase one overdue fine regardless of the fine amount (multiple fines will be waived from lowest to highest amount).   Pre-existing overdue fines are also eligible.   NOTE: Fines and fees resulting from lost or damaged library materials are NOT eligible for the Food for Fines program.

How would you want to be remembered? How would you go about writing an obituary for someone you loved? How about for someone you had never even met?   mjohnson-390-resizemjohnsonJoin us on Thursday, 4/2 during common hour to talk to Marilyn Johnson,  a lively speaker, and author of the award-winning book The Dead Beat: lost souls, lucky stiffs, and the perverse pleasures of obituaries.   She visits with us to talk about the research process , crafting engaging works, and the awesome responsibility of capturing “the essence” of the life of another with wit and heart – and all with quick deadlines.  She has most recently been featured on NPR’s “Leonard Lopate” show and “Here on Earth” show, as well as WNYC’s feature on “Bringing Obituaries to Life”  and is currently finishing up a book “about research, librarians and archivists in the digital age, This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.  Learn more about our speaker through her site: (

Cover of Billy Budd Video
Cover of Billy Budd Video

The Law, Liberty and Moral Responsibilty Film Series resumes  on Monday evening (3/16)  with the film Billy Budd.  In the last film, just prior to midterms, “The character of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons says that one must not sacrifice one’s private conscience for one’s public duties. Captain Vere in Billy Budd argues, however, that we dare not put our private morality above our public responsibilities. According to Vere, the law serves an end different from that of morality. This tale of tragedy reveals the possibility of conflicting responsibilities. Could a morally legitimate legal code require that a morally innocent man be hanged? What is the difference between law and morality?”  Dr. Doug Rasmussen of the Philosophy Department will facilitate the post-film discussion.

The film series is co-sponsored by the Honors Program and the University Libraries and is open to all St. John’s Community members.  The film starts at 7:00 in the Honors Commons, at the back of the Academic Commons. All  St. John’s community members are welcome.

imagesFollowing up on a previous blog entry on Google’s efforts to mass-digitize books, including copyrighted and “orphan” works, is this story at the New York Times, regarding Google’s mass-print effort to reach authors of otherwise orphaned works.

Since the copyright holders can be anywhere and not necessarily online — given how many books are old or out of print — it became obvious that what was needed was a huge push in that relic of the pre-Internet age: print.  …the bulk of the legal notice spending — about $7 million of a total of $8 million — is going to newspapers, magazines, even poetry journals, with at least one ad in each country. These efforts make this among the largest print legal-notice campaigns in history.

599px-courtgavelOur previous blog entry on Scholarly Publishing and Open Access in HE  indicated that Harvard’s move toward scholarly repositories was the beginning of a crack in the academic publishing realm.  Nearly a year later,  all of the schools and faculty at Boston University Faculty  followed suit.  Now, we are seeing alliances across Law schools and Law Libraries as well:

In a broad call to action, a group of the nations’ law schools and law librarians have signed the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship.
More in the Library Journal article on 3/3/2009