Using our words: Getting it right on neutrality and libraries

Intellectual Freedom | Neutrality in libraries

by Joseph Janes | American Libraries | 09-01-17

I’ve always been a wordy sort of person. Yes, that too, but I mean word-y. I was the sort of kid who spent time with a thesaurus and dictionary as well as Tinkertoys and Matchbox cars. I was fascinated by words, their uses, and shades of meaning.

Even my amateur lexicographic interest ill prepared me for a world in which one of the more trenchant voices of political observation belongs to the Merriam-Webster Twitter feed (@MerriamWebster). If you don’t follow it yet, do so immediately, for its largely straightforward Word of the Day feature as well as its often wry and acerbic commentary on trending lookups based on “conversations” of the moment, not to mention words that aren’t really words (“covfefe”).

So the Webster’s dictionary has taken a side, or at least a perspective. Based on what I know of Noah Webster’s own colorful history and antipopulist views, I think he might approve. All of which puts an intriguing gloss on an emerging discussion within our own profession on what some may think a bedrock principle of librarianship: neutrality. This discussion includes my fellow AL columnist Meredith Farkas’s excellent piece on the critical librarianship movement (Jan./Feb., p. 70).

In one important sense, we aren’t neutral and never can be—nor should we be. Naturally, each of us has his or her own biases, prejudices, and preferences; we represent a sample of the breadth of society, so this is inevitable and necessary to avoid homogeneity of thought and action. Together, though, we advocate strongly on matters critical to our success. We fight in public for the rights of our patrons to read and think freely without fear of exposure, surveillance, or censure, as well as for open and equal access to a range of materials. We stand for the principle that government and public information shouldn’t depend on the whims of the moment. We are engaged with, represent, and fight for our communities and strive to improve them through our institutions and our work. Read more…

I want to be sure that we’re fighting the right fights on the right terms and, yes, using the right words.

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How values guide our understanding of trends and transition

Center for the Future of Libraries | Library Trends | Core Library Values

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For many futurists and trend spotters, “futuring” is fundamentally about the study of change.

“We can learn a great deal about what may happen in the future by looking systematically at what is actually happening now,” wrote Edward Cornish, one of the founders of the World Future Society.

We study change so we can prepare for the many futures that might happen. We start seeing what’s coming next. We study so that we won’t be surprised. And we study so that we’ll be better prepared to start creating the future.

That’s good news for library and information professionals. We are expert in finding, organizing, processing, and prioritizing information. From wherever we are in our organizations, we all have opportunities to observe changes in our communities and consider the implications over the long term.

But observation is simply not enough. One of the biggest lessons my colleagues and I have learned while developing the Center for the Future of Libraries is that studying change is useless without considering values. We need to look at trends and changes with consideration of our own professional values (confidentiality and privacy, diversity, equitable access, intellectual freedom and expression, preservation) and the values that we seek to provide to our communities (a civic commons, democracy, discovery, education and literacy, public discourse).  And so, looking at changes, we need to ask ourselves what they might mean for intellectual freedom, for education, for equitable access, or for any of the other values that drive our work. Read more….

‘Not Sitting Quietly Anymore’: How Librarians Are Fighting Trump

Librarians | Activism | Social justice

Feb 20 2017 5:23 PM
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Photo by B. Harvey via Stocksy

Though some people may think the job involves more shushing than rallying, many librarians consider “making America read again” to be a radical political proposition.

When Audrey Lorberfeld woke up in her Brooklyn apartment on Saturday, January 28, she was, like much of the country, angry. In the first week of his presidency, Donald Trump had already signed executive orders reinstating an expanded global gag rule, calling for the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico, reopening the possibility of the Dakota Access pipeline, and, on Friday, January 27, barring any travelers into the US from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Within hours of the order’s signing, two Iraqis who’d flown into JFK—53-year-old Hameed Khalid Darweesh, arriving from Iraq, and 33-year-old Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, arriving from Sweden—were detained. Overnight, while lawyers representing the two refugees worked to file a suit for their release, news of their detention spread, and by 11 AM on Saturday, organizations like the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) had put out a call for protesters outside JFK’s Terminal 4.

Read more…

Décodex : notre kit pour dénicher les fausses informations

Fact checker | Journalism | Alternative News

from Le Monde

by AdrienSenecat on Scribd

Preserving U.S. Government Websites and Data as the Obama Term Ends

Archives | Internet |Government websites

Jefferson December 15, 2016

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Long before the 2016 Presidential election cycle librarians have understood this often-overlooked fact: vast amounts of government data and digital information are at risk of vanishing when a presidential term ends and administrations change.  For example, 83% of .gov pdf’s disappeared between 2008 and 2012.

That is why the Internet Archive, along with partners from the Library of Congress, University of North Texas, George Washington University, Stanford University, California Digital Library, and other public and private libraries, are hard at work on the End of Term Web Archive, a wide-ranging effort to preserve the entirety of the federal government web presence, especially the .gov and .mil domains, along with federal websites on other domains and official government social media accounts.

While not the only project the Internet Archive is doing to preserve government websites, ftp sites, and databases at this time, the End of Term Web Archive is a far reaching one.

Read more…

Fake news is real | February 14, 2017

Fake news | Information literacy

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Fake news. You’ve heard about it, consumed it, probably even believed it — at least on occasion. And if, like 92 percent of American adults, you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve quite possibly helped pass it along.* But what is it? Why does it exist? How do we combat it and why can’t it just go away? USC Times invited to lunch two faculty members — David Lankes, director of the School of Library and Information Science, and Ernest Wiggins, associate professor in the School of Journalism — and alumnus Taylor Smith, a journalism and law school grad who serves as the attorney for the South Carolina Press Association. We asked our esteemed panel to discuss this most vexing of 21st century media problems — the rampant spread of fake news, clickbait profiteering and outright propaganda.

So let’s start at the beginning. What is “fake news”?

Read more…

[IFLA-L] Open Societies are Healthy Societies: IFLA rejects unjustified barriers to the free movement of persons

Human Rights | Library ethics & Advocacy | Freedom of Movement

logo-iflaOpen Societies are Healthy Societies

Libraries are at the heart of healthy societies. By bringing people together – students, researchers, creators, citizens – they support learning, sharing, and the creation of new ideas.

They also support the delivery of key human rights, as set out both in national constitutions and international conventions, most importantly the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the right to participate in cultural life and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

Libraries have long supported the flow of ideas and information across borders. IFLA has called for reforms to laws that hold this back. Evidence shows that such flows promote innovation and creativity, which in turn drives growth, jobs and equality everywhere.

However, arbitrary and unjustified barriers to the movement of people jeopardise this situation. Such policies run contrary to states’ obligations under international law, which prohibit discrimination of any kind on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, as set out in the UN’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

Read more:  www.ifla.org/node/11176