Wednesday 28 July 2010

A copyright version of

Brandon Butler of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has an interesting article called "Urban Copyright Legends". He says that as a copyright lawyer, he sometimes wishes there were a copyright law version of Snopes dot com, the Urban Legend dispeller. He goes on to discuss some "urban legends" about copyright law that are not correct, and that are misunderstood by librarians and educators as well as copyright holders.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Barco at the American Assn. of Law Libraries annual conference.

Many of the Barco librarians recently returned from the annual conference of the American Association of Law Libraries, which was held in Denver this year. We have all returned with a lot of enthusiasm, knowledge and ideas that we hope to use to make the Barco Law Library even better.

Barco librarians presented two programs at the conference this year. Library Director George Pike, who among other things is the noted Legal Issues columnist for Information Today, presented a program called "Ten Things Every Librarian Should Know About Copyright". This lively program was presented in the format of a radio talk show called "Copyright Corner". Attendees acted as a "studio audience" for the broadcast, as radio talk show host George Pike (who clearly enjoyed playing the role of an irascible and argumentative conservative!) interviewed special guest James Heller, author of The Librarian's Copyright Companion. Heller shared ten things every law librarian needs to know about copyright, while the Copyright Players (played by other law librarians) illustrated some important do's and don'ts regarding copyright issues that might arise in a law library. Members of the audience had an opportunity to ask Heller about their real-life copyright dilemmas. Video of the program is available on the AALL Learning Center website.

Librarians Sallie Smith, Pat Roncevich and Susanna Leers presented a program called "Database Ownership: Myth or Reality?". The program description: For some databases, vendors advertise the option to purchase data outright so libraries "own" the content if the vendor goes out of business or the library cancels its subscription; this option is expensive but promises perpetual access to the data. Join Barco Law Librarians as they explain the hidden costs of "owning" a database and the difficulties of storage and access when a subscription was cancelled and the vendor provided content as promised.. Video of their presentation is embedded below.


WaPo's new investigative report & website: Top Secret America

The Washington Post published a large interactive website today called Top Secret America. This impressive site is a result a two year investigation by more than a dozen journalists at the Post. It details the companies and government agencies currently doing top secret work in the United States.
The Post divided top-secret work into 23 different categories, from border patrol to psychological operations to weapons technology. The Top Secret database was put together by compiling hundreds of thousands of public records of government organizations and private-sector companies. The Post has identified 45 government organizations (e.g. the FBI) engaged in top-secret work and determined that those 45 organizations could be broken down into 1,271 sub-units (e.g. the Terrorist Screening Center of the FBI). There is a catchall category called "unknown” that contains companies doing work for a government organization that could not be determined. At the private-sector level, The Post identified 1,931 companies engaged in top-secret work for the government. Private-sector companies were grouped together and listed by a parent company's name
To tell the story of top secret America, the Post has "created an immersive online reading experience that combines all of the elements of our two-year investigation together into a single frame. Page horizontally through our stories and view photos, video and graphics without leaving the package."