A Fair(y) Use Tale

Many of you may have already seen this video, but in case you haven’t I wanted to pass it along. I think it would make a great teaching tool about copyright! We’re always looking for content that addresses a topic such as copyright in a format that will engage students to think about the deeper layers of meaning behind an issue. With this video, you could discuss the nuts and bolts of copyright and fair use, but then could also have discussion about the format in which this is presented and the fact that it has been posted and reposted on YouTube. Thanks Stanford!

A Fair(y) Use Tale | Stanford Center for Internet and Society [beta site]


Wikipedia Wins in PEW Report

On his blog, Tame the Web, Michael Stephens pointed towards the following new report from the PEW Internet and American Life Project: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Wikipedia07.pdf

In this report, “Pew reports that 36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia. A table included in the report details top sites used for reference and education. Wikipedia has 24% use in a table provided by Hitwise of those types of sites.” (from Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: Pew Report on Wikipedia and Reference Sites).

Another interesting fact in this report is that usage of Wikipedia increases in correlation to income. More respondents at higher income levels reported using Wikipedia. Also, not surprisingly, younger researchers were more likely to use Wikipedia than older ones. I was actually surprised that the disparity was not greater. Even 31% of those respondents aged 50-64 reported using Wikipedia.The report mentioned that over 70% of Wikipedia users connect to the site via search engines. Since Wikipedia includes a high number of internal links from article to article, it may generate artificially high results rankings for itself in search engines such as Google.


So what’s a library to do? Most likely, embrace Wikipedia. Michael suggests taking ownership of the resource by creating entries. We are certainly actively teaching students and faculty about its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a librarian reading this, how is your library responding to the rise in popularity and use of Wikipedia?


I really loved the post below from Barbara Fister at ACRLog. I’m picturing our library with giant earbuds. Our library is six stories tall. It would certainly capture students’ interest. The ETS’ ICT exam measures not only computer skills but also information literacy skills. We have been interested in a trial here on our campus. I just hope the jazzy new name doesn’t make it sound too frivolous to spend a lot of money on.


The ETS has renamed its ICT exam to iSkills to make it sound more relevant and hip. At least they didn’t call it iSkillz. I’m guessing people got tired of explaining the acronym – or correcting people when they assumed the C stood for computer. But in the rush to be cool, I wonder: Should UDub rename its LIS program iSchool? Should we drape giant white earbuds over our libraries to make them appear more plugged in? iDoubt it.”

Information Communication Technology Literacy

Back in November, Inside Higher Ed, ran a story about Information Literacy. They linked to a new report the ETS published with preliminary results from its new Information Communication Technology (ICT) Assessment. If you haven’t heard about it, this test assesses students abilities to use information technology to solve information problems using life like scenarios. I really like the concept of “information communication” literacy even better than plain ole “information literacy”. It really gets at the heart of the issue that technology and information are becoming increasingly inseparable. If you google “information communication technology” AND “information literacy” you find mostly British and Australian sites. The US should jump on this bandwagon and adopt this language. I think it would strengthen our arguments urging information literacy initiatives.

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education – Inside Higher Ed :: Are College Students Techno Idiots?
“Overreliance on Google is only one of many technology problems facing college students. A new report released Tuesday by the Educational Testing Service finds that students lack many basic skills in information literacy, which ETS defines as the ability to use technology to solve information problems.”

Educause Gets Net Savvy

Here’s a new white paper published by Educause that is right on the money in describing students’ habits and attitudes and the need for information literacy. I haven’t had time to read the entire paper yet, but just the quote below looks highly promising. Thanks Diana Oblinger! Sorry you couldn’t make it to our CALC Summit in May!

EDUCAUSE Quarterly | Volume 30 Number 1 2007
Constantly connected to information and each other, students don’t just consume information. They create—and re-create—it. With a do-it-yourself, open source approach to material, students often take existing material, add their own touches, and republish it. Bypassing traditional authority channels, self-publishing—in print, image, video, or audio—is common. Access and exchange of information is nearly instantaneous.

The Machine is Us/ing Us – We are the Web

This is the video of the week! Everyone is talking about this video, which was created by Professor Michael Wesch and his class of Digital Ethnography students at Kansas State University.

Some of the important statements he makes in this video are:

  • XML allows us to separate content from form. This is important because content can then be moved around, reformatted, repackaged, reused. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, etc? How much does context effect meaning?
  • We are the Web. The social nature of Web 2.0 technologies means that information we view is not static. It can constantly be rewritten. How does that impact our understanding of authorship, copyright, and truth?
  • Text is no longer the medium of choice. Video and audio are now prevalent means of communication. How does this change our experience and understanding of information? Of ourselves?
  • He says, “We are teaching the machine. Each time we forge a link between words, we teach it an idea.” When read in the context of the last video I posted on regarding Google’s use of personal information, what does this mean for us in terms of privacy and identity? Who is writing the code that allows the “machine” to learn?
  • “The Web is no longer linking information, it is linking people.” In the end, will we no longer recognize any authority? How will we identify authority?

Master Plan – About the power of Google

In his blog, Unit Structures, Fred Stutzman pointed to this site. It is a documentary, a la Googlezon, created by a team of undergraduates from the University of Ulm, Germany. It paints a sinister picture of Google’s intentions and its ability to compromise individual privacy rights. I think it would be a great discussion piece in a classroom setting. Not only is the content interesting and engagingly presented, but it is entirely undocumented. Not a single citation. Therefore, after discussing the allegations the authors make and their truth or falsehood, it would be a logical next step to evaluate the site’s accuracy and reliabilty. Double whammy!

Master Plan – About the power of Google