Thursday, December 08, 2005

Patriot Act News

it's bad, but not as bad as it was before. These days, I take small improvements in the land of suck as good news:

The provisions that drew objections from lawmakers included one that allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to subpoena business and library records to gather information for a counterterrorism investigation. The agreement requires the FBI to show the information it seeks is relevant to a counterterrorism probe, a claim that is reviewable in court, Specter said. (from Reuters)

To clarify: before, FBI could take any library records for any reason (and you can be damn sure they weren't handing out reasons like it was Christmas). Now, they've got to have a reason directly related to counterterrorism (though who defines what that means is a whole 'nother pot of worms).

Also, this provision is one of the few that won't go perm. 4 more years to fight against it.

Better coverage from npr.

It's still not a done deal, so if you are a voice raiser, the time is now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

conference blogging - CMTC - Copyrights (and Wrongs) in a Digital Age

CMTC 2005
Susan Adams, Educational Technology Coordinator, NHPTV

  • Overview of patents, trademarks, and copyright
  • No real laws per se, guidelines that have been interpreted by judges in court cases
    • Article 1 Section 8 U.S. Constitution
    • Copyright Act of 1790
    • and so on . . .
If something is created when the person is "on the clock" it is owned by the employer. So for teachers, anything created at work or during work hours - lesson plans, curriculum - is owned by the school district.

5 rights of a copyright holder:
  1. reproduction right (copy, transcribe, imitate the work)
  2. modification right (create new or derivative work) with the notable exception of satire or parody
  3. distribution right (sale, rental, lease)
  4. public performance right (musical, play)
  5. public display right (on the wall, on tv)
Everything prior to 1923 - public domain

Fair Use based on 1841 Supreme Court Case Folsom v. Marsh
  • nature, quantity, and quality
1976 Revision, section 107 fair use, section 108 library/archival copying

Fair Use:
  • criticism
  • comment
  • news reporting
  • teaching
  • scholarship
  • research
4 Fair Use Factors
  1. Purpose and character of use (entertain or occupy not cool)
  2. Nature of the work
  3. Amount and substantiality of portion used.
  4. Effect of use on potential market for or value of work
Taping Off Air
  • may be used in face-to-face for 10 consecutive school days and then held for review 45 days after
  • only broadcast, not cable channels
  • may be used once in a class, may be repeated once per class
  • programs can not be recorded in anticipation, only by specific request of a teacher
  • no broadcast program (like wizard of oz or something) can be recorded off air more than once at the request of the same teacher (you can get it every year)
  • complete article, story, essays less than 2,500 words
  • excerpt from prose not more than 1000 words or 10%
  • no more than 5 poems from an anthology
  • only 3 poems per poet
Motion media
  • up to 10% or 3 minutes, whichever is less
  • must be used in their entirety
  • no more than 5 images of an artist's work
  • no more than 10% of 15 images from a collection, whichever is less
  • Up to 10% of a copyrighted composition, but no more than 30 seconds

Playaway, review by Brendan

B just sent me a written review of his experience using the Playaway we bought last week:

My Review of the Playaway digital audio book.

I was skeptical at first. To be honest it looks a little cheap and is powered by a normal AA battery, but it wound up being very good. I have a couple of issues with the design. I found the earphones too big so I switched them out for my apple ear buds. The Apple ear buds are too big for most people I know so I doubt that these earphones would fit in most people. To minimize the number of buttons there is only one volume button, which to be honest you only really need to set once. This poses a problem that if you want to turn it down you have to go all the way up and blow out your ears to get to the lowest. The other buttons work well skip forward and back, fast-forward and rewind, and Play and pause all work well. I was nervous that there was no hold lock. I thought that when I tossed it into my bag the play button might get pressed and I would lose my spot or run down my battery, but that did not happen. You have to press the play button twice to activate it, once for it to load your last place, which takes a couple of seconds, and again to play. The buttons don’t seem too prone to accidental pressing.

The book that I was listing to was a double feature Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Road Dahl and read by Eric Idle. This gave me the opportunity to use another feature of the Playaway. While the first book is good and fun the Glass Elevator is not that great of a book so I used the speed up button. There are three speeds you can listen to book in, normal speed, one star, which is a little faster, and two stars, which is much faster. It speeds up the rate at which the book is played back. At first it sounds a little “chipmunky” but you get used to it real quick. This is such a cool feature. I wish I were able to do it with my iPod.

The one button I did not use was the bookmark button. I did not have to. It remembered exactly where I was when I restarted. I would be cool if it rewound a couple of seconds before you played so your not immediately thrown into new stuff, but that’s not that big of a deal.

Hears another kicker. I listened to both books, total time 7 hours (it is closer to 5.5 since I listen to the second double time); the battery is still _ full. If I was to listen to this on my iPod it would have taken 7 hours and I would have had to charge it at least once, or kept it plugged in. The price is comparable with both the CDs and the MP3s available from the iTunes music store.

The sound quality was quite good, but this book was rather short. I wonder if for longer books, like The DaVinci Code, if the storage inside is expanded or the audio is compressed. I don’t think it would be as good if it were more compressed and tinny.
To answer his last question, according to the Playaway website the audio is never compressed - the memory inside is expanded to accomodate longer books. And just to mention a previous point, some of the books are comprable pricing, but some Playaways are much more expensive than the ITunes version.

conference blogging - CMTC - iPods across the curriculum

CMTC 2005
Stephanie Estes, South Portland High School (Maine) Special Superstar Apple Technology Educator.

“There’s a coolness factor to an iPod” (I say this all the time, and my coworkers shrug me off and laugh at me - so it was nice to hear my words come out of someone else's mouth.)

Using ipods for recording oral exams for world languages – kids just step out into the hall, record for a few minutes, come back in, pass it off to the next kid. On average, every two weeks. 5 world languages teachers share 2 ipods. Before, oral exams only done twice a year because it was a long involved project.

Local oral history projects.

Audio tour of neighborhoods – uploaded to community website.

NHS students reading books – creating audiobooks – chapters reflect actual chapters in book – ok copyrightwise according to people in the room if you don’t distribute and if you own a physical copy of the book.

One audience member shared examples – has so integrated it into the classroom that the kids are asking/letting the teacher know when they should be recording – kids read their own written work aloud, want it recorded to hear again – special guests come and read books, kids suggest that it be recorded so they can listen later.

Got my hands on an ipod video for a few moments – tres cool. Video is so clear. Bright enough for daylight. Sold.

conference blogging - Christa McAuliffe - Moodle

CMTC 2005
Daryl Hawes presenting on Moodle, opensourse web-based course management system, to a totally packed house - floor sitting space only.

  • Available online but really need a local server.
  • - free support and very strong online community
  • - business side
  • Instant Messaging! within the class - also just general messaging - so I can see who else in my class in online right now, and message with them - also, I can send them a message and they can either get it when the login or they can set their preferences to have those messages emailed. HOT! (and I really really really want it for my own online learning - ecollege bleck)
  • RSS feeds (created by Daryl himself) Also something I want.
  • Coming soon - blogs and podcasting features
  • Read/Unread tracking that narrows it down to the actual conversation (Daryl uses the word 'forum') and highlights it for you.
  • coming soon - better wiki module
  • set preferences for emails whenever something new (a post, a news item, etc.) appears. You don’t have to check if there is something new, it tells you and then you go read it.

A lot of my enthusiasm here is not how could this be applied to mpow in the near future, but how realizing for the 20th time how crappy my courseware for grad school, ecollege, is.

Monday, November 28, 2005

love my library, but . . .

Rushing from my work library to my public library this afternoon I was thinking how annoying being there near closing time is. At quarter to, when I still think there's plenty of time to gather a couple more books and get them checked out, they go around telling everyone its time to leave. At five of, the lights go off. No joke. At the hour of closing, all the workers are out the front door and walking to their cars.

Now, I understand how terrible it is to be working someplace and be kept late by an annoying and inconsiderate customer. And I understand how these things snowball - five minutes, ten minutes, suddenly its half an hour you've just volunteered at your own work place (believe me, I know - this is what is happening to me at my work/library).

So perhaps, in my dreams, they'd pay the workers an extra fifteen minutes for the closing type tasks. So they could still kick the people out on time, but they could turn the lights off after, and shut down their computers and the copy machine. All those things that don't take long but when added together means you've just worked an extra fifteen minutes after the last patron left.

Just doesn't feel good when people turn the lights out on you.

Seems Jessamyn is talking similar talk over on balancing the happiness (work hours) of staff with the needs and happiness of the patrons.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I read the monstrous article on this new device in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and have been mulling over this little cutie since. Now I am near a Borders, so B and I went over to pick one up. Ours cost $40 for a 7 hour rendition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Glass Elevator, not that much over the $30 Itunes download if you don't have a device. Some others are way overpriced: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was $35. The same is $18 from Itunes, the whole Chronicles was $70 on CD. And the Plain Dealer isn't joking about some of the physical problems - the battery door I find impossible. With a pocket knife, B got it right away.

Another problem I hope they work out - that LCD screen is tooo small. I have sharp eyes, but for people for whom reading is a problem because of sight and want to use the device for that reason, it's a real hurdle.

Bonuses over an iPod shuffle (which is what I'm currently using at my high school library job)- ability to control the speed of narration (well, you can make it faster and faster still, I'd also like to be able to slow it down, especially for my readers who really aren't reading well quite yet), ability to create your own bookmarks for easy reference later, and, duh, any screen at all - even if it only tells you what chapter you're on and how much time is to go in that chapter and how your battery is doing.

I definitely see possibilities for libraries, especially for libraries for whom, for whatever reason, circulating ipods or other mp3 devices wouldn't work. They are small and cute and digital, and erase any need for any kind of player. They would also be easier for libraries to circulate, as they fit into a more traditional model of a tangible thing, easily cataloged, easily checked out, easily returned.

The other thing that strikes me, neither good nor bad but just different - the Playway prominently displays the cover of the book on its front. When you attach the (suprisingly very sturdy and super-high quality) lanyard and wear it around your neck, everyone can see what you are listening to. With any other device, there is a level of anonymity - that iPod or Rio signifies nothing other than you are listening. To music, to audio, to podcasts - we don't know. With the Playaway, it's all right there for everyone to see.

And I agree with this former employee's comment about the sharing. That is so cool. Since the Playaway doesn't involve you loading anything onto the device, you are stuck with the book you bought. What to do? Playaway encourages all kinds of sharing. Give it away, loan it, leave it on a bus - that kind of thing. Mebbe they can include - donate it to your library.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Useful things . . .

My first two classes in library school are very different. One is about information behavior, and is a whole lotta academic journal article reading about different types/groups of people and their information needs and how they react to those needs. It's theory, and right now I am not a fan of theory.

The other class is info tech. In the past two weeks I have doubled my previously cobbled together html knowledge and am making forms, creating cascading style sheets, tables, and frames. The latter two are kinda lame when you know the first two, but I am glad of the knowledge at any rate. I had had this previous thought that forms and css were a huge jump from where I had been. A big step, but just a step, after all.

I love getting my money's worth.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

yet another . . .

blog for me, yet another library school student blog for the web.


Well . .

Being so busy with grad school, I don't have much time for food bloggin'. And I miss blogging. And I find funky fun things that I want to share, and I want to document my experience in some way, and there are a lot of library school student blogs out there for budding academics, and super-achiever types, but not a whole lot for school media specialization kids and regular kids.

So there.