March 29, 2005
KSL acquires new scanner
Kelvin Smith Library is pleased to announce the installation of a AIAXact High Resolution Digital Reprographic Workstation to scan books, maps, posters, and other materials for preservation, archiving and electronic dissemination. Currently located in the Preservation Department, the workstation will be a part of the libraryâ€™s Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning and Multimedia Services Center, scheduled to open Fall, 2005.
Because the camera scans from above, the system is less damaging to library materials than a flatbed scanner as the materials can be kept â€?face-upâ€? during capture. Once the images are captured, they are passed on to a second workstation for processing. Case Western Reserve is one of the first major universities to install the OPUS Production Digitization Workflow System for Preservation and Access developed by Image Access of Boca Raton, Florida. The software facilitates workflow management, remote image processing, and metadata creation using a suite of customizable templates.
Grokster and the Supremes
Today the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral argument in a case that pits the online peer-to-peer software company Grokster and others against M-G-M and the major recording and motion picture companies. (Here is the New York Times coverage.) There are stars on both sides of the debate, both for and against file sharing. It is estimated that tens of millions of songs and movies are illegally downloaded every day.
Grokster will base its arguments on the so-called Sony Betamax case of 1984, in which the Supreme Court ruled that Sony could not be ruled for infringement even though some consumers used it to make illegal copies of copyrighted movies. What may influence this case, however, is the large scale piracy that has proceeded from the various file-sharing, and the fact that the digital copies are "perfect" (in contrast to multi-generational videotape copies, which lose quality with each succeeding copy).
As the New York Times correctly points out,
Regardless of the outcome, it still won't be legal to download copyrighted materials over the Internet without permission, though tens of millions of computer users do so each day. And any ruling won't affect thousands of copyright lawsuits filed individually against Internet users caught sharing music and movies online.Even if Grokster wins, it is still illegal to download somebody else's property onto your computer. Pay a visit to the iTunes store or the reincarnated Napster or Rhapsody or one of the other services instead and get out your credit card.
March 23, 2005
A lesson on why it sometimes pays to keep one's mouth shut
In a stunning example of why managers should not offer commentary on personnel matters, the Associated Press today reports the case of a Harvard University librarian who is suing the university, claiming that she has been repeatedly rejected for promotion because she is black and is perceived as just a "pretty girl" whose attire was too "sexy." The librarian, Desiree Goodwin, said that she had been rejected for 16 jobs at Harvard since 1999, when she received a master's degree in library science. (The implication in the short AP story is that Ms. Goodwin was working in a non-professional staff position at Harvard, although it is not specific.) Apparently in late 2001 Ms. Goodwin's supervisor told her that she would never be promoted because she was seen "merely as a pretty girl who wore sexy outfits, low-cut blouses and tight pants."
If the supervisor did as Ms. Goodwin alleges--the case is currently at the beginning a jury trial, which means that Harvard has not been able to settle with Ms. Goodwin--it is a textbook case of how not to behave as a supervisor. It has potential racial and sexual discrimination written all over it. (In fairness, there are always at least two sides of stories such as these, so we must wait for the court's decision to know more.) Those sorts of comments should presumably not even be offered to anyone else. My sympathies to that personnel administrator, but it sounds like there is a lot of room for managerial education at that institution. Case's HR Department has historically been proactive about providing training to supervisors through the frequent supervisory briefing sessions in order to avoid these kinds of situations. But, still, it takes come common sense--when a supervisor considers hiring or promotion, one does not make derogatory comments about attire, race, religion, personal appearance, marriage status. Stick to the facts of qualifications.
Stanley Sadie, musical scholar and editor of the New Grove, dies
Today's New York Times reports that Stanley Sadie, British musicologist and editor died on Monday, March 21, in London at the age of 74. Although he had a wide-ranging career as a music history scholar, Sadie will be most remembered as the general editor of the last two editions of the monumental New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. (The Case community has free access to the online version of New Grove from campus network computers or using VPN. This access is provided by the Kulas Music Library, a branch of KSL, and the Cleveland Institute of Music Library.)
As the New Grove's editor Stanley Sadie presided over the transition of this authoritative source from first a 20-volume set (in its 1980 edition) to 29 printed volumes and a constantly updated online version in 2001. He also knew the gold mine of data he was presiding over and expanded the the New Grove's range of activity to a large number of separately-published composer and musical topic monographs, by many of the leading scholars of the day. He also established more in-depth special dictionaries (one for opera; others for musical instruments and American music).
Stanley Sadie's final two books will be published in May and December this year.
March 22, 2005
A debate about personal technologies and societal impact
In this week's New York Times Magazine, there is a very interesting essay by Christine Rosen about how personal technologies such as cellphones and TiVo have changed perceptions of the manners of public life. She makes a comparison to the 19th century Industrial Revolution, in which machines prompted concern about the effects of dehumanizing the individual. This industrialization was the basis of Karl Marx's writings. Today's personal technologies, on the other hand, have not caused similar worries, according to Rosen.
The author proceeds to discuss commonly observed rude behavior, and how placing a cellphone call (or taking a cellphone call in public) "instantly transforms the strangers around you into unwilling listeners who must cede to your use of the public space, a decidedly undemocratic effect for so democratic a technology." She also describes the "publicization of emotional fulfillment"--answering the phone and entering into conversation informs everyone around that we are in demand by others--a kind of public security blanket.
Ms. Rosen concludes with an observation about the need to engage in debate about how these personal technologies can lead to collective societal problems. She makes the example of how in the debates about abortion and Social Security, claims of the individual good are made over others. How is our overall quality of life affected if the bombardment by others' phone calls makes our lives miserable? Maybe we would be better off just to turn the phones off.
In the interest of full disclosure, the Kelvin Smith Library has articulated a policy of no cell phone use in the library except outside the security gate in the main lobby. Library users are encouraged to request that others ignoring this policy move outside study and stack areas. We value your ability to study and work in a quiet environment.
March 17, 2005
RSS Feeds Coming from KSL
The Technology Team of Kelvin Smith Library is in the midst of preparing several RSS feeds from content on the KSL web site. The first feeds will likely be the news and highlights that appear on the library's home page. Other feeds in the future will include current acquisitions lists (books and video lists are contemplated at the moment; others may come in the future.)
There is no firm release date for this new feature, but soon you'll be able to get the news from KSL without having to go to our web site. We have more features to come. Watch this space.
March 15, 2005
Library offers SAGES assistance
Today the Faculty Senate Committee on University Libraries met with several staff from KSL and with Prof. Peter Whiting, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences for SAGES, to discuss ways in which the library can assist faculty in helping students with their information literacy and research skills. The library can come to the SAGES classroom, or the faculty member can elect to have the class come to the library, which has the advantage of getting students into KSL and seeing how the place works "on site." Bill Claspy along with Reference Head Catherine Wells are the librarians heading up KSL's efforts to assist faculty. The Faculty Senate Committee also offer several useful pieces of advice for involving faculty and librarians in mutually beneficial partnerships in undergraduate student learning.
March 08, 2005
Welcome to Ann Vander Schrier, New KSL GIS Manager
Please welcome Ann L. Vander Schreier, who starts work this week as the Manager of GIS Systems and Numeric Data Services at Kelvin Smith Library. Ann holds a Master of Science in GIS/Remote Sensing from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a BS in Geological Sciences from Cleveland State University. Ann comes to Case from GAI Consultants in Pennsylvania, where she was Senior GIS Specialist.
Ann will be working with faculty, staff and students in the KSL Center for Statistics and Geospatial Data (CSGD). She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 216-368-8689. Her office is located at Kelvin Smith Library, Room 201-P.
March 07, 2005
English Accents at the British Library
Yesterday NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday program featured a story about the British Library's collection of digitized audio recordings following the transformations of English accents over the twentieth century. This is an excellent example of how a digital library can enhance scholarship and entertain as well. Scroll down the page and listen to the sample of the lady from Yorkshire describing baking bread.
The BL's dialect web site introduction describes it as follows:
All languages change over time and vary according to place and social domain, as is perfectly illustrated by these extracts taken from two large audio resources held in the British Library Sound Archive: the Survey of English Dialects and the Millennium Memory Bank. Together, they provide a fascinating overview of spoken English during the second half of the 20th century. Its rich diversity documents both continuity and change, offering many insights into local history and the fabric of social and working lives.
The NPR feature is here.
March 04, 2005
Help keep OhioLINK strong!
For the Case community, OhioLINK, the consortium of academic libraries in the state, has become a vital resource for research and teaching. The many services include subscriptions to electronic journals, online full-text databases, and the ability to check out books from other OhioLINK libraries and have them delivered here to Case.
OhioLINK is facing a crisis of funding due to the state's precarious financial status. The following communication was received today on an OhioLINK email list:
The next biennium operating budget is being debated in the Ohio House of Representatives this month. During this time it is critical that legislators, especially members of the Ohio House, receive letters in support of OhioLINK. So please continue to make your campus aware of the need for their support.
Tom [Sanville, OhioLINK Executive Director] will be testifying Tuesday, March 8, in front of the Ohio House of Representatives' Higher Education Subcommittee of the Finance and Appropriations Committee. It is extremely vital that members of this committee understand the importance of OhioLINK and how it benefits higher education and the state as a whole. The more letters in support of OhioLINK that these folks receive the better.
The members of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the Finance and Appropriations Committee:
Chair: Shawn N. Webster (R), District 53
Vice Chair: Jimmy Stewart (R), District 92
- Michelle G. Schneider (R), District 35
- James Peter Trakas (R), District 17
- Dale Miller (D), District 14
- Peter S. Ujvagi (D), District 47 (Ranking Minority Member)
The committee's home page is at:
For legislators' contact information visit
If OhioLINK is important to your research and teaching, please consider taking time to communicate that importance to your state legislator, and especially to the committee chairs listed above.
March 03, 2005
New Case LGBT web site
Today was the official launch of the new Case Western Reserve University LGBT (that's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) web site sponsored by the university's Office of the President and Provost. The party was in Thwing Center, and President Hundert, Deputy Provost Lynn Singer and a quite large group of faculty, staff and students were there to participate in the ceremony (not to mention the free lunch.) President Hundert's presence was an indication of his commitment to a culture of tolerance and respect in our diverse campus population.
Along with the new web site, there is a new organization for LGBT faculty and staff, "Faculty and Staff for Equality" (FASE). The first Co-Chairs of FASE are Victor Groza, PhD, and Marty Gibbons.
Check out the new site.
Printer-friendly versions of web pages now available
A new feature has been enabled on the KSL web site. Each page (except the opening home page) has a small printer icon in the upper right corner of the header bar that, when clicked, opens a "printer-friendly" version of the page, with appropriate Case branding. This should prove to be a useful feature for those who use our site
March 02, 2005
Please Welcome Brian Gray
Kelvin Smith Library welcomes Brian Gray, our new Engineering Librarian. Brian started work on March 1, 2005. Brian comes to Case from the University of Akron. He will split his time between a "virtual library" in the College of Engineering at Nord Hall, and KSL.
Brian can be reached at email@example.com or 216.368.8685. His Kelvin Smith Library office is room 201-H.
I note that Brian's appointment marks the beginning of a long-term goal of KSL to have "college librarians" stationed in the academic units to give more personalized services to faculty, staff and students.
Tim's KSL Blog--Here it is, first post
This is the first post of the blog I will keep at Case on behalf of the Kelvin Smith Library Administration. It will include news of various kinds as well as commentary on issues related to the library. It's also a mechanism to give quick information to KSL staff as well as the outside world.
I will attempt to differentiate between factual news and commentary. Nonetheless, I feel the need to give the standard disclaimer that any opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Kelvin Smith Library, its administration or staff, or Case Western Reserve University. I will label personal commentary with an appropriate blog category. The default template for blog.case.edu is pretty bland, so as I get time I'll try to spruce it up a bit.
Feel free to comment, give us feedback on projects, services, etc that are reported here. We anticipate that there will be other blogs in KSL coming soon, and that we will use blogs as one more tool to provide information to our customers.