Selections from American Libraries Direct. July 16, 2008. 1

The e-Newsletter of the American Library Association – July 16, 2008:

Colorado book thief sentenced
“Thomas Pilaar, 34, who pleaded guilty in May to stealing thousands of items from Denver Public Library and the systems in nearby Aurora, Arapahoe County, and Douglas County, was sentenced July 8 to 10 years in prison and $53,549 in restitution. Pilaar took about 1,400 books and DVDs by checking them out on his own and other people’s library cards…”

Highsmith purchased by W. W. Grainger
“Library supply company Highsmith, headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, has been purchased by Lab Safety Supply, a direct-marketing subsidiary of Chicago-based facilities maintenance supplier W. W. Grainger. Terms of the acquisition, announced in the business press July 10, were not disclosed. The company is an ALA Library Champion and funds two ALA awards-PLA’s Highsmith Library Innovation Award, and AASL’s Highsmith Research Grant….”

Digital copyright slider
“The Office for Information Technology Policy is now offering a digital copyright slider to go alongside its physical one. Thanks to Michael Brewer, OITP Copyright Advisory Committee member and designer of both tools. Simply align the arrows by date of publication to determine a work’s copyright status and term…”.
District Dispatch, July 16.

Libraries and e-government services
“ALA Council passed a resolution at Annual Conference urging Congress to reemphasize its commitment to support the role of libraries in delivering e-government services. The Public Library Funding and Technology Access study (PDF file) found that, every day, 74% of public library staff assisted federal, state, and local governments in achieving their missions….”

Featured review: Reference

Smith, Bonnie G. (editor). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Feb. 2008. 2,752 p. Oxford, hardcover (978-0-19-514890-9).

“Aiming to survey “women’s history in all parts of the world and at all times in the past,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History contains nearly 1,250 entries and subentries covering not only individual women but a very wide range of other topics, from Brazil to Buddhism, Feminism to Footbinding, and Welfare state to Witchcraft. Biographical coverage is ‘representative rather than exhaustive.’ The biographical entries are among the shortest-generally less than a page in length-and, with a few exceptions, cover women who are deceased. Under Polygamy in the index, readers will find references to the practice in ancient China and Egypt, in Iraq, in Russia, and among the Aztecs, to name just a few. This global perspective, bolstered by the fact that the 900 or so contributors represent “some fifty countries around the world,” is one of the set’s most important contributions….”

Five things you should read about copyright

“The ACRL Instruction Section’s Research and Scholarship Committee has launched a “5 Things” series of publications that focus on topics of importance to instruction librarians. The first is “5 Things You Should Read about Copyright and Sharing Instructional Materials” (PDF file), which offers material that helps articulate why sharing is important and gives concrete examples of successful sharing projects…”

.Google and Viacom agree to preserve user privacy
“The Google-Viacom showdown over the handover of YouTube user data appears to be over. The two sides agreed to changes in a previous ruling that would have required Google to hand over user ID’s, IP addresses, and a list of all viewed YouTube videos to Viacom in connection with their ongoing copyright infringement litigation. The new order, filed July 14, states that Google will substitute user ID’s and IP addresses for anonymous but unique identifiers..”
TechCrunch, July 14

Book collector claims innocence in Durham Shakespeare theft
“A British man arrested over the theft of a First Folio edition of Shakespeare insisted July 13 he was the owner of a different book. Raymond Scott, 51, walked into Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., two weeks ago with what experts say is a book stolen from Durham University Library in England in December 1998. But Scott claims the book seized by police in Sunderland was a different copy of the folio that he came across in Cuba through a friend of his 21-year-old fiancĂ©e…”
Newcastle (U.K.) Journal, July 14

Bush Library suspends foreign donations
“Faced with a report that a rogue lobbyist urged an exiled Central Asian leader to support the George W. Bush Presidential Library to curry favor in Washington, library officials promised that no foreign money will be accepted until President Bush leaves office. The Houston-based lobbyist Stephen Payne resigned July 15 from a Homeland Security advisory committee studying border policy after he offered access to senior administration officials to two men posing as agents of Kyrgyzstan’s former president if they donated to the Bush Library..”..
Dallas Morning News, July 17

Socially awkward? Hit the books
“A group of Toronto researchers have compiled a body of evidence showing that bookworms have exceptionally strong people skills. Their years of research-summed up in an article by Keith Oatley in the June 28 issue of New Scientist-has shown that readers of narrative fiction scored higher on tests of empathy and social acumen than those who read nonfiction texts. And follow-up research showed that reading fiction may help fine-tune these skills: People assigned to read a New Yorker short story did better on social reasoning tests than those who read an essay from the same magazine….”
Toronto Globe and Mail, July 10

LC releases report on copyright and digital preservation
“The Library of Congress has released an International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital Preservation (PDF file), a joint effort of the LC National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, the Joint Information Systems Committee, the Open Access to Knowledge Law Project, and the SURFfoundation. One of its recommendations: ‘Allow preservation institutions to proactively preserve at-risk copyrighted materials before they deteriorate, are damaged, or are lost, and before any software or hardware required to access and use the material becomes obsolete.’ “…
Library of Congress, July 14
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