Last April, after discovering that I could, I decided to add my MFA thesis to Iowa Research Online, the institutional repository at the University of Iowa, where I got my degree. For good measure, I slapped a Creative Commons license on it (and was told that I was the first person ever to request one at Iowa). I did all this not so much because I think you should read my thesis as because I believe in open access and I want to support it however I can. Iowa instituted its open access policy (since amended with various opt-outs) requiring the electronic deposit of theses and dissertations after I left, and I’ve written before about why I felt most of the outrage about it was hypocritical at best. The people who don’t want to make their theses open access are often the very same people who get snitty about why can’t they just make a bunch of copies of a New Yorker essay for their class. I rest my case.
Since I added it to the IR, it’s been downloaded 38 times, which is rather more than the one time the physical thesis has been checked out, so if my goal were to increase my readership, it’s certainly the way to go.
As I learned the other day, though, it’s also clearly the way to go if you want to get academic spam. Like many people out there (just look at the comment thread on that post, or heck, just Google Lambert Academic Publishing), I, too, was targeted by an academic vanity press with pretensions of scholarly greatness. I reproduce the full email below:
Dear Laura Crossett,
While researching dissertations and theses listed on the University of Iowa’s electronic library for publication, I became aware of the paper you submitted as part of your postgraduate degree, entitled “Encounters with dead white men and other excursions”.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is an academic publisher, which specializes since 2002 in the publication of high quality monographs, master theses, diploma theses, dissertations and postdoctoral theses from renowned institutions worldwide.
I am therefore inquiring whether you would be keen on publishing your academic work with us.
In other words, we would make your work available in printed form and market it on a global scale through well-known distributors at no cost to you.
I would appreciate if you could confirm your interest with a reply email and we will send a detailed brochure to you.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing is a trademark of:
OmniScriptum GmbH & Co. KG
66121, Saarbrücken, Germany
d.daniels(at)lap-publishing.com / www.lap-publishing.com
Handelsregister Amtsgericht Saarbrücken HRA 10356 Identification Number (Verkehrsnummer): 13955 Partner with unlimited liability: VDM Management GmbH Handelsregister Amtsgericht Saarbrücken HRB 18918 Managing director: Thorsten Ohm (CEO)
I was tipped off by the mere phrase “academic work.” One can only assume they did not read my thesis very closely, since, although it was submitted as part of an academic degree, it is a creative work, not an academic one. I am also not interested in publishing it: I already have published it. You can download it for free or borrow it through interlibrary loan. If you want to support my work as a writer, you can buy my book. I would suggest, if you are the recipient of a similar email, that you delete it, ignore it — or, better yet — put it out there for all the world to see. We escape scams through constant vigilance. Together, we can do it better.
I love the Freedom of Information Act (United States) (FOIA)! It's a vital tool to researchers, journalists and the public -- so much so that there are now several sites that try to help manage the sometimes long and arduous FOIA process (see MuckRock and FOIA Machine). So I'm constantly on the lookout for sites that post FOIA'd documents that I can add to my FOIA web harvesting archive.
One such site that has long had a place in my govt documents heart is the Government Attic. This is a truly amazing site in which to "rummage." The site has posted thousands of documents(!) from their many FOIA requests including:
- FOIA logs (FOIAs about FOIAs are really handy!)
- documents across a wide swath of government activity like Inspector Generals of various agencies
- internal agency Websites
- agencies' self-identified interesting documents
- FBI high visibility memos
- DoD resale activities border review (reviews which videos and magazines could be sold on military bases)
- a compilation of FBI documents concerning the security of telephone services, 1952-1995 (this one was so interesting that I have stored a local copy and had it cataloged for our library!).
They also have a Links page which includes information about FOIA, guides on how to submit FOIA requests, etc.
Government documents can contain the oddest things! The CIA declassified its U2 flight handbook in 2012. Graphic designer Jack Curry noticed something "delightful" about the manual: "little cartoons of an anthropomorphized U2 at the beginning of each section" and posted copies of them on his personal blog.
Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has released its fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe. It covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013.
- Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates. (press release, interactive maps, etc.).
This edition's findings indicate that internet freedom worldwide is in decline, with 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year.
- Freedom On The Net 2013: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media ("summary of findings" 45pp PDF) edited by Sanja Kelly Mai Truong Madeline Earp Laura Reed Adrian Shahbaz Ashley Greco-Stoner. (October 3, 2013).
- U.S. ranks fourth in Internet freedom as surveillance grows worldwide, By Colin Neagle, Network World (October 04, 2013).
Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.
The 2013 edition of the Secrecy Report from OpenTheGoverment.org is now available.
- Secrecy Report 2013 --The Tip of the Iceberg (announcement) OpenTheGoverment.org (October 1, 2013)
Today's release of the 2013 Secrecy Report, the 9th annual review and analysis of indicators of secrecy in the federal government by OpenTheGovernment.org, comes amid shocking revelations that cast doubt on the accuracy and the meaningfulness of the government's statistics about surveillance.... [T]he government's insistence on keeping interpretations of the law secret and a lack of oversight by Congress and the Judicial Branch helped set the stage for a surveillance program that is much broader than previously believed.
- Secrecy Report 2013: Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Government. by Patrice McDermott, Amy Bennett, Abby Paulson, and Shannon Alexander, OpenTheGoverment.org. (2013)
As a result of the disclosures [by Edward Snowden through the Guardian and the Washington Post], the intelligence community has been forced to declassify and release documents that, until recently, they (and the FISA Court) averred could not and should not be declassified. The misdirection in which our government has engaged and the use of secret law are, for us, as disturbing as the activities they have hidden.
- The Must Read 2013 Secrecy Report is Out, by Nate Jones, Unredacted: The National Security Archive (October 7, 2013).
*I will be relaxed and free of all restrictions, free of all coordination tensions in running.*I will feel buoyant and strong while running.*I will run in a perfect pacing coordination form.*I will be at ease during the morning of a/the race and my pulse will not accelerate before or during the pre-race physical examination.*I will run hard and enjoy the effort.*My gastro-intestinal system will remain normal in function on the day of a race and especially during a race.*On the day of a race all body organs will function perfectly, especially the heart and digestive systems.
Ted was considered to be one of the greatest American runners, and was an active and incredible marathoner and ultramarathoner. His friends honor his spirit and accomplishments with this 24 hour ultra.
I originally didn't want to do this race, because it was a week after Hinson Lake 24 Hour. Well, duh, of course I can do two ridiculously-long races two weeks in a row. So says Ray K. And I'm stupid so I listen and I signed up.
The race was located in Juniper Park, less than 5 miles from my home. 1.1982 miles was the loop, and you ran it as many times as you could in 24 hours.
I started out and immediately felt the hard miles from the week before. My hamstrings were TIGHT. Ouch. I was tired. I took it easy, walking laps here and there.
My parents showed up, with TWO apple turnovers from the famed Malverne Bakery, and a carrot muffin. I have to say, apple turnovers are AMAZING during ultras. I walked a little with my parents, though they do walk slow (and my legs had already running many miles).
My time was much slower than at Hinson - I could feel the miles of Hinson. Okay, 4:30 for a marathon isn't terrible, neither is a 9:30 50 miler. But this wouldn't be a performance like Hinson. Okay. Well, you can't have two tough long runs two weeks in a row.
I got to meet new friends - this is why I LOVE 24 hour runs. I talked with Emmy a little. I caught up with Erin, chit-chatting with her about the latest in our lives. I met Fred Davis, Jay, Louis, Nick, and others. We cheered each other up, cheered each other on, joked about the tiny hill being a mountain.
me and emmy, pretty in pink!
Wayne stopped by in the early evening, which was a nice surprise. He was in back pain and didn't want to even walk a loop with me. Boo you. I'll run instead. Ouch.
I bantered with the aid station, placing elaborate orders for meals we all knew they couldn't provide, laughing the whole way. The aid station was a step above basic: pbj, chips, pretzels, honeydew, cantaloupe, pasta at night, pancakes in the morning (heavenly!!!), bagels & cream cheese in the morning, broth, tea....
I was running up the hill toward the turn when I heard my name being cheered...by Bomina & John Slaski! I got so excited, I screamed and jumped up and down! They walked towards the timing station and hung out with Wayne for a while, watching me run laps.
The night crew came on in the timing station around 10pm - lots of awesome people, like Phil, Chip, Skye, Shane. All friends of mine so it was lovely to see a cheerful person every lap.
I grew tired. I took my 5 hour energy shot, but it didn't perk me up. Susan's husband made me a perfectly terrible tea (As he put it oh-so-hilariously, "You take a Tetley bag, combine it with bad water and questionable sugar, you get terrible tea." Hahah.) and that actually perked me up, even if it did taste terrible. I ran. I sang to myself aloud. (Sorry, other runners around me!) I even danced while I ran. I tried to avoid the occasional rat. I chatted with my friends as we passed each other.
Morning came. People were running on the track, walking their dogs, chilling in the park, way before dawn. People, what is wrong with you? Go back to bed! I slogged around.
100 miles in 21:50. Not bad. Not bad. I napped in a chair for 15 minutes, then ran some more. And walked when it hurt. And ran.
this is how i run an ultra
I ran 108.56 miles, not bad. Third woman. The blisters on my feet were horrendous, and I couldn't fit my feet in shoes after. But I learned a lot, I had a lot of fun, spent some good time with good friends, people watched in a super interesting park for 24 hours. How much more fun could one have in 24 hours? Normally, not this much - you'd be sleeping, missing out on all of those hours and hours of fun!
Hinson Lake 24 Hour is one of my favourite races - the people are just wonderful, helpful and energetic. I have never been to a race and met so many new friends. The race entry fee is only $24 ($1 a mile), and the support - the volunteers, the food, etc - is outstanding. You also get a tshirt and a pint glass and sticker. (Pint glasses are good, since our house we break them a lot.)
I was really excited to run here again - it's such a fun race, and I get to combine it with a visit to my baby sister and her absolutely adorable baby. We had a complete blast and her baby is now a toddler and in love with me and she's SO much fun!
I got up at 430am & headed out to drive from my sister's in Raleigh to the race. I freaked out when there was some weird closure and no one had any clue what was going on and we were stopped for over 30 minutes.
The start of the race was a reunion with friends from last year. A lot of people remembered me (my signature buns and pink running skirts) and I was delighted to see my two favourite Hinson-ites, Alyssa and Hailey (sp?), daughters of Joe Fejes and Kelley Wellls (not together - they are daughters of them separately) who are BFF at races and they are super cute and yell, "GO PINK LADY" at me when I run by. They made me a bracelet they presented to me on one of the early loops and I really treasured it. Ultrarunning is really special.
Everyone was chatting and helping each other out. Because I came from NY, instead of having a shade structure and chairs and coolers, I had a bunch of plastic and tote bags. Ghetto fabulous. A random runner (turned out to be women's winner Andrea) invited me into her shade structure and she and her husband were super nice - "Oh, use our cooler if you want." "Sit in the chairs."
After around 30-something miles, I was maintaining a comfortable lead, feeling good. And then, a blister...ouch. I had to stop. I pulled a safety pin out of my bib (ouch, not that hygenic!) and popped my blister. I put moleskin on it and tried to run. Not happening. Kelley, who was not running this year due to injury, duct taped my toe and I must admit, it was better than a band-aid. Maybe she should try this in her role as a nurse? Ha. After a lap, it was still bothering me and I knew what I needed to do: have a Ray K operation performed. Eric, Andrea's husband, cut my shoe for me so there's nice big hole in the side of the shoe, next to my big toe. Air conditioning! But seriously - it worked and my blister didn't bother me the rest of the race.
I was running pretty solid, chatting with lots of people. I was pushing the pace, but it felt do-able. I ran a 4 hour marathon, 5 hour 50k, and sub 8:30 50 miler...which is pretty freaking good considering my PR for 50 miles is 8:31 at Lake Waramug. I ate a mixture of gus, a few random aid station snacks, and lots and lots of ginger ales.
I kept going. I felt good, but as the sky grew darker, a pain popped up in my groin. A pain that I've never had before. I began to get worried. It hurt too much to walk - and running was hardly pleasant either.
I made a tough decision - having 3 more 24 hour races this season, and 2 marathons, I decided to stop at 17.5 hours. I was sad, and actually cried quite a bit about this. This was after I tried to lie down and couldn't - I was in too much pain. I walked to the car, devastated, but at the same time, hoping I was making the right decision.
After some time off, my groin is totally better. Whew. Was I overcautious? I don't know. But I do know I'm not hurt, which is really huge. So I'm glad that I"m not, but disappointed I didn't get to do the famed banana lap.
LCSH & SACO Month 8: In which Racially mixed youth are embraced, but Racially mixed college students are given the boot
HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY SANDY BERMAN! This goofy series wouldn't exist if you didn't exist.
I'm in a bad mood and don't have a descriptive review in me. Basically, Lily (I can call her Lily because she interviewed me for a story once) provides a bio-history of the 1960s and early 70s space program from the point of view of the women married to the astronauts. The wives always had to be perfect and patriotic, and any display of insecurity or anger could threaten a husband's job and what assignments he might get. Indeed one astronaut did get fired after he left his wife for a Susie. (Susie was a popular name for Cape Cookies, it seems.)
In the follow up to Unraveling, teenager Janelle Tenner is once again called upon to race a clock to prevent deaths. I was less into this version and annoyed by the romance angle, which felt thin and inorganic. Upside: Janelle is a powerful badass, taking out adult men with her weapons and even her bare hands.
NYC Runs put on the Narrows Half Marathon, and I have to say, I do love NYC Runs (and it's not just because I am so over NYRR). They put on a low-key race, but with nice treats at the end (bagels, cream cheese, fruit, etc) and nice little trophies (which I ended up winning one of, yay!). There's just a much better vibe at all of the races. It's a shame that so many NY runners are a slave to the 9 +1 (To get automatic entry into the NYC marathon, you have to run 9 NYRR races, volunteer at 1 race, and be a member. Way to fill NYRR's coffers.) because there are so many races that are MUCH better and more interesting and fun and unique than yet another trot around Central Park.
The course is flat and fast. You run out about 2.5 miles, come back to the start. Then you head out about 4 miles, and then come and finish.
I ran most of the race with a woman named Emily (Her teammates would not stop shouting her name so I learned it quickly.) and we tried to push each other through the race, which was nice. I had no clue what we'd ultimately run and when she said she was trying to break 1:35, I thought, "Hmmmm..."
1:35:something was my PR.
I came in at 1:34:46.
With a neat-o trophy.
Wayne drove a very happy Cherie home.
Update #2 10pm PST 10/2/13 : Our friends over at the Sunlight Foundation have an interesting post, "What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?" They explained the .gov shutdown matrix:
...drawn on an agency-by-agency basis, and the specific determination is based on the importance of the function and how illegal ceasing to do it might be. But aside from some obvious ones--national parks would be closed; the CO2 scrubber on the International Space Station would stay plugged in--it'll be agency leadership that makes the determinations.
(and love the unix joke!)
UPDATE #1 3pm PST 10/2/13: Arstechnica, checked 56 .gov sites and found 10 that went dark. See "Shutdown of US government websites appears bafflingly arbitrary."
A bunch of federal websites will shut down with the government, By Andrea Peterson, Washington Post, Published: September 30 at 5:28 pm.
When the first-ever female werewolf is born, the boys are not excited to share their toys with her. There's even some legend about a female wolf causing the destruction of werekind. Dudes can be so lame!
A San Diego teen gets hit by a car and killed. Then she is brought back to life and learns she has about three weeks to stop the world from being destroyed. Yes. I've hit the point in the academic year, when I can really only handle YA dystopias and novels about werewolves.
You know you're in for something from the very first sentence, "I have been stalking my husband's lover." You can tell that a poet wrote this book. The images she chooses are downright provocative. She describes the lover Yvonne's toothbrush, "I didn't come up with much but at least now I know what kind of toothpaste she uses. I bought it. And a toothbrush the same color as hers. Green with those little silver sparkles. The kind that tapers at the tip to fit easily into your mouth. I like it better than the kind I've been using. The square kind." That sets up this crazy opposition and emulation, and in a playful, sexual way. Also: this book reeks of sex.
What's love got to do with it? further thoughts on libraries and collections
Rick Anderson, in his Ithaka S+R "Issue Brief" paper, Can’t Buy Us Love: The Declining Importance of Library Books and the Rising Importance of Special Collections, proposes a radically different vision of the future of libraries in which libraries cede the organization, preservation, and curation of large areas of the information landscape to individuals and the private sector.
“If permanence of legal thought is important to legal scholarship then it must be preserved consciously.”
--Howard A. Denemark, "The Death of Law Reviews has Been Predicted: What Might be Lost When the Last Law Review Shuts Down?" 27 SETON HALL L. REV. 1, 12 (1996).
According to a new study by Jonathan Zittrain and Kendra Albert at the Harvard Law School (Zittrain also has affiliations with Harvard's Kennedy School, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society) "49 percent of the hyperlinks in Supreme Court decisions no longer work. And more than 70% of the links in such journals as the Harvard Law Review (in that case measured from 1999 to 2012), currently don’t work. As time passes, the number of non-working links increases." The study builds off of other great link rot studies such those done annually since 2010 by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group and the more resent one by Raizel Liebler and June Liebert in the Yale Journal of Law and Technology.
Weeding has been getting a lot of attention in library circles of late (or, er, in the library circles I hang out in, which is pretty much the LSW room on FriendFeed). The discussion comes from a story that revealed a major weeding project was underway at the Urbana Free Library and that it was being done hastily and without much librarian supervision.
Read the original story, a followup, and some statements from librarians for more information, but the gist of it is that the director wanted to get a major weeding project done quickly before a new RFID system was put in, and so she decided all the nonfiction older than ten years should be targeted, and librarians were to look only at lists when deciding what to keep, not take time to peruse the shelves. Oh, and much of this was done with temporary employees while the person in charge of the collection was on vacation. The result was that huge swaths of the nonfiction collection were reduced by 50-75%.
At best, this is what we call a major snafu; at worst, it’s a travesty of management, planning, and community relations. I lean toward the latter view, but I respect that, as they say in The Big Lebowski, new shit may come to light.
In the meantime, though, I wanted to talk a little about how to do major weeding in a more thoughtful way and about. As it happens, in my eight years in the library profession, I’ve been involved in three major weeding projects. They’ve varied in size and scope, but in every case, they represented a collection that had barely been touched in a decade or more. In my current job, I’m in the final stages of weeding the mystery and fiction collections. Here, then, is a bit about how I did it and what I’ve learned along the way.
The First Pass
I started by targeting things had not moved at all in the past decade. I ran a report of everything that hadn’t circulated in ten years and had a volunteer pull the volumes and bring them to me for deletion. I looked at these books only briefly in passing; a handful I retained either because they were the sort of classics I could imagine someone walking in the next day and wanting or because I had an immediate idea for a display that I thought would bring the books new life. Out of 500+ books on the list, I saved perhaps half a dozen.
The Second Pass
The second thing I wanted to do was eliminate old books with low circulation. I ran report for books more than twenty years old with five or fewer circulations. I saved more out of that group — sometimes for the reasons mentioned above; sometimes because they belonged to a series that we had all the other volumes of. In one case, eight out of the ten volumes of a series showed up on the list. The remaining two volumes had circulated only six times, just missing the cutoff, so I weeded them, too. There’s nothing more frustrating than a series that’s missing most of its volumes.
The Third Pass
We have enough money at my current library that when a book is very popular, we buy a LOT of copies of it. That’s great, as it means people who want to read the latest book by Janet Evanovich or David Baldacci don’t have to wait months to get it, but several years later, it means we have five or ten or fifteen copies of those books sitting on the shelves not getting checked out and taking up space. I had my volunteer pull so that there were only two copies left of everything. In some cases, I added a few copies back in, but for the most part, reducing duplicates has freed up a lot of space and made for a much nicer browsing experience. It is possible that in a few cases I was a bit overzealous. I was walking through the Bs today and noticed a gaping hole. “What the hell happened here?” I thought — and then, “Oh, Dan Brown.” We had two copies of The Da Vinci Code left, and both are currently checked out. Ooops.
The Final Pass
This is what I’m doing right now, and it’s the only truly time consuming part, since most of pulling was done by volunteers. At this point, I’m going out myself with a cart and walking through the shelves and looking for books that look old and tired. When I have a few dozen, I head back to my office to evaluate them. Now I am handling each book individually, looking it up to see how it’s circulated over the years, who its author is and what else they’ve written, what reader it might appeal to. The books with circs that were low but not quite low enough to have been caught on the second pass often get weeded. They are old and often musty. These are the popular fiction of twenty or thirty or forty years ago. From a cultural history standpoint, they’re fascinating — Fear of Flying was far from the only novel that examined women’s lives in the context of women’s liberation — but most of these didn’t get famous. Some of them may be good books, but in my library, their appeal factor will be limited. Twenty or thirty years from now my successor will be weeding all the issue fiction I’m buying now, as well she should.
The books with excellent circulation numbers I look to replace, if I can. Again, my library has enough money that I can buy new editions of Agatha Christie’s mysteries and Watership Down and the work of Isaac Asimov. We have excellent book menders, but sometimes a book is so old even they cannot save it. If I can’t find a replacement edition, I try to see if there’s something else we can do to clean it up. Sometimes just a new Mylar cover works wonders.
And sometimes I discovered things I had no idea existed, like a series of books about Swedish-Americans that will be perfect for a patron I know — a patron who will likely tell other patrons with similar tastes, and who will thus get these books out and about again.
This project started this past spring, and I expect to be done with it by the end of the summer. It should make our shelves look much nicer and it will, I hope, help get more books into the hands of patrons, which is where they belong.