Copyright and Licensing knowledge key elements of an Info Pro’s skills porfolio

Lesley Ellen Harris is an attorney specializing in copyright and licensing and she has an excellent newsletter and website at copyrightlaws.com I highly recommend. Recently she focused on what she titled “Positions and Job Functions in Copyright & Licensing: The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter”. The PDF of a special issue on jobs that include licensing and copyright elements can be downloaded from the website.  Included is an  overview of interviews with several librarians who have copyright and licensing issues as part of their responsibilities.

As noted in the article, the expansion of electronic content licensing demand information professsionals be able to understand and negotiate licenses. Of course, we also need to know when to consult with legal counsel to ensure awareness and (we hope) compliance of coworkers within our institutions.

As a museum librarian I am providing services in a research institution that is similar to an academic environment but also has elements of what is experienced in a corporate scene as well. I see a blend of the need to be copyright compliant and yet also take full advantage of what ‘fair use’ enables. At the same time, it astounds me to witness how so many people really don’t understand where ‘fair use’ begins but also ends. More on that topic in another post!!

Visualization of relative popularity of Internet sites

Saw a Tweet about a very interesting site I recommend looking at: “Infographic of the Day: The 288,945 Most Popular Sites on the Internet”. I am always interested in how information can be shown in more ‘visual’ ways instead of a list of alphanumerics, even if that data is put into a fancy table format. Take a look at the infographic done by Nmap and see what you think.

Popular Internet Sites

This tool is interactive and enables you to search for a particular site, but you must put in the entire site URL for the search to work. Putting in the name of the app (i.e. Foursquare) will yield a ‘not found’ result. Also, it will take a while to navigate around and find the site you searched for relative to the most popular sites. Still, it is an interesting visual way to represent what most times is a boring list of data.

Marketing our value: the SLA Alignment Initiative

Be sure to check out part one of my article in the March/April 2010 issue of  MLS Marketing Library Services on marketing the value of librarians and information professionals. In it I talk about the background of the SLA Alignment Initiative, the highly discussed and volatile proposal for a name change to SLA, and how the initiative has provided information and tools to help us market our value to our managers, leadership or whomever.

MLS Marketing Library Services Newsletter March-April 2010

In the second part of the article, to appear in the May/June issue, I will discuss the next phase of the Alignment Initiative and how you can apply all this information to your own working environment. Watch for it!!

Librarians and eco-conscious culture and practice

Librarians manage a lot of information, much of it still in paper or other ‘analog’ formats (microfilm, videotape, etc.). There are many ways we can help minimize the impact of information services on the environment. It can be just what we do personnally, in our departments, in conjunction with others in our organization and also how we help to promote a culture of eco-friendly practices. I recently was an invited speaker to address this subject at the Southern California Association of Law Librarians (SCALL) Institute in Ventura, CA.

Going ‘digital’ is a good way to reduce and minimize the use of paper and the environmental impact paper has through its production, distribution, storage and disposal. At the same time, we have to understand that digital content and its access also has an environmental impact. For instance, in the article “Revealed: the environmental impact of Google Searches” in the London Times Online January 11, 2009 ” “a one-hit Google search taking less than a second … produces about 0.2g of CO2” according to Google. The article has an interesting overview of the environmental impact on searching and there are a number of others available. This is all a work in progress, but it is good that we examine the issue holistically and each do our part, however small or large, to counter-act the impact our presence and practices have on the environment.

Vendor negotiations and partnerships SirsiDynix Institute webcast

One of the key relationships in the information business is that between buyers and vendors of information products and services. The relationship often starts out simply as a buyer-seller connection, but because of the complexities of purchasing or licensing content in print or electronic form, the connection typically grows stronger. Negotiating licensing contracts becomes a key component and knowing how to conduct a good negotiation is important for any information professional responsible for obtaining content. Sometimes a more cohesive relationship between buyer and services provider is needed and that is where a partnership comes into play.

On Tuesday, February 9th, I gave a webcast on these points as part of the SirsiDynix Institute series. The webcast was recorded and you can see it by clicking on the image of my first slide of the presentation below.

Negotiating and partnering with vendors a key skill

You will have to register with the Brighttalk webcasting service to view it if you aren’t already registered, but registration is free and it is likely you will want to play other webcasts in the series as they are a great way to broaden knowledge about information services-related topics. Please make comments about the webcast as I’d be very interested to hear thoughts about it.

Librarians and Info Pros need to focus on services

In an article in the NY Times about I.B.M.’s continued success due to more focus on services and less on hardware and software, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a former senior technology strategist for I.B.M., is quoted saying “As the components of technology — especially hardware — become inexpensive and commoditized, you want to focus less on the components and more on how customers want to use technology.” The article is: “Huge Payoff for I.B.M. After a Shift” – http://nyti.ms/62TKeb

Substituting the words information and ‘print materials’ or other formats for content in this quote, I think you get an interesting thought: “As the components of [information] — especially [print materials?] — become inexpensive and commoditized, you want to focus less on the components and more on how customers want to use [information].”

It is very easy for information professionals to focus on managing objects, ensuring they are in their right place for retrieval, etc.. But the harder, and frankly more interesting work that is likely also much more valuable is collaborating with clients to help solve their questions — being an active services provider. Something we should all keep in mind as we see the increasing pace that information is being made available to all via e-books, Twitter and whatever else is on the horizon in our future. It is not about the format, it is about the information in whatever container it happens to reside. With this bit of a shift in focus, which a number of  information professionals across all kinds of libraries and services are already doing, our value can be made that much more evident.

KMWorld redux, Cloud Computing, Mobile info access, SLA alignment & name change vote

Lots of topics to blog about and I’ll do that soon. Just wanted to post this to show some things I’m thinking about. Heard a lot of interesting things at KMWorld in San Jose this past week and will blog shortly with more details.
Meantime, if you are a member of SLA, please be sure and vote regarding the name change from SLA to Association for Strategic Knowledge Professionals. I am voting FOR the name change as it is more inclusive and sets a direction for the future. More on that topic soon too!