From Soup to Nuts: Copyright, Electronic Surveillance and Social Networking Technologies (Invited Paper)

This was the only invited paper session that I attended. The content was useful. I wish it would have happened a bit earlier in the day. It was given during the last time slot on Saturday and I was mentally wiped out by 4:30. Tracy Mitrano is the Director of IT Policy and of Computer Policy and Law Program at Cornell University. Her talk covered many of the concepts included in information literacy competency standard 5. I found the portion of her discussion on copyright to be the most interesting.

She started by talking about how copyright has not kept pace with technology and how our users want to use and reuse content. The AAP's letter to Cornell about course reserves was discussed along with the development of Cornell Electronic Course Content Copyright Guidelines (PDF). She recommended that we read Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyright Material in the Digital Age from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. A recent public policy report, Intellectual Property And Free Speech In The Online World (PDF), provides an overview of P2P file sharing lawsuits brought by the RIAA and how IHEs are handling the situation.

The remainder of Tracy's talk covered social networking and electronic surveillance (Patriot Act). The social network portion included familiar ground: students putting things on their profiles they shouldn't; criminals using these tools to commit crimes (e.g. pedophiles on Myspace); and politicians over reactions to ban social networking sites. The electronic surveillance section provided a concise review of how we went from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 to the USA Patriot Act.  

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Video IM – The Next Step in Virtual Reference (Cyber Zed Shed)

It's always nice to see a member of the family present at a national conference. Char Booth from Ohio University presented on a video reference service that is currently being prototyped in Athens. Char has posted her presentation on-line. You can also listen (MP3 deep link) to an interview with her courtesy PALINET

The reference team installed a web camera and chat software on a computer on an upper floor of the library. The team hoped to be able to help people on the upper floors so they didn't have to make the trek down to the reference desk. Four video chat clients were tested: Trillian Pro, Windows Live Messenger, Skype, and iChat. Skype was chosen as the preferred client. Future plans include adding video IM as an option on their Ask a Librarian page and installing a walk up video IM kiosk in the newly built student center.

I think video virtual reference is a very cool idea. It may be a challenge to implement at a small academic library based on staffing levels. I do think that video IM would be a good tool for consortial work. 

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Make You Services Smarter: How Smartphones Extend Your Services (Cyber Zed Shed)

Michelle Jacobs from UC Merced shared her use of a smart phone to provide service to students and faculty. She is able to search the catalog, databases, and answer questions via instant message. Her smart phone is Bluetooth enabled and she purchased an external keyboard to make typing easier. She recommended looking at CNet for smart phone reviews

Michelle told us about answering a reference question during the conference using the internet browsing and IM features of her smart phone. This anecdote was rehashed at the beginning of the April 20 Chronicle article (subscribers) describing the reference panel session

PALINET has posted an interviewer with Michelle (MP3 deep link).

I'm interested in trying this out, but may wait since EVDO has not been rolled out locally. I do think this makes a lot of sense. I could have used something like this multiple times this semester when I was working with a student in the stacks or visiting with a faculty member outside of the library (and not near a computer).   

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