As technology changes library cataloging, we look back at its history and forward into its future.

American Library Association • January 15, 2016
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The evolving catalog

A woman using the card catalog in the main reading room of the Library of Congress, circa 1940

Karen Coyle writes: “OCLC printed its last library catalog cards on October 1, 2015, ending an era that lasted more than 150 years. As technology changes library cataloging, we look back at its history and forward into its future. Today when we say ‘technology,’ it is often shorthand for ‘computer technology.’ Of course this is not the only technology in our lives, but it is the one that defines our modern age. A century and a half ago, the defining technology was electricity and all things electric.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Another Story: The last card

Another Story, by Joseph Janes

Joseph Janes writes: “Ah, the memories that flooded back when we all heard the recent news that OCLC had printed the last run of catalog cards. If asked, I would’ve confidently assumed that had finished up long ago. The legacy of the card, though, won’t pass away with that last shipment. The nature of cataloging practice and the MARC format structure are still profoundly influenced by the constraints of the roughly 3-by-5 card, likely derived from playing cards repurposed in revolutionary France.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Newsmaker: Kathryn Matthew

Kathryn Matthew

Kathryn Matthew (right), the new Institute of Museum and Library Services director, comes from a museum background—leadership of the institute alternates between museum and library representatives in four-year terms—but she brings to the position a strong interest in how organizations dedicated to nonformal learning can serve as community anchors. She recently spoke with American Libraries about libraries’ evolving missions and how IMLS can help libraries achieve them....

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

11 questions with Jeff Julian

Jeff Julian

Jeff Julian (right) is off to a running start. After beginning his position as the new director of ALA’s Public Awareness Office on January 4, Julian set off for the Midwinter Meeting in Boston just days later. Prior to joining ALA, he was executive director of communications at Elgin (Ill.) Community College. He chatted with American Libraries for our “11 Questions” series to help introduce himself to ALA members....

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 13

National Readathon Day 2016

National Readathon Day, May 21

ALA has joined with Penguin Random House to support the second annual National Readathon Day on May 21. It is a day dedicated to the joy of reading and giving, when readers everywhere can join their local libraries, schools, bookstores, and on social media (#Readathon2016) to read and raise funds in support of literacy. This year, Readathon Day is presented as part of ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign and will benefit the Every Child Ready to Read initiative....

ALA Public Awareness Office, Jan. 13
AL Direct 10th anniversary, 2016

2016 Amelia Bloomer List

Recommended YA nonfiction titles

Katelyn Browne writes: “We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to action, is a definitive answer to the oft-repeated question, ‘why feminism?’ In a world where this question is still being raised, the Amelia Bloomer Project exists to honor and celebrate the exemplary feminist responses provided in literature for readers ages 0 to 18. The Amelia Bloomer Project members hope this 2016 list inspires you to wear your feminism like a merit badge.”....

Amelia Bloomer Project, Jan. 13

Privacy and information sharing

Acceptability of office surveillance cameras

Lee Rainie and Maeve Duggan write: “Most Americans see privacy issues in commercial settings as contingent and context-dependent. A new Pew Research Center study based on a survey of 461 US adults and nine online focus groups of 80 people finds that there are a variety of circumstances under which many Americans would share personal information or permit surveillance in return for getting something of perceived value.”...

Pew Research Center, Jan. 14
Latest Library Links

Papers, poster sessions for IFLA in Columbus

IFLA 2016 World Library and Information Congress

There is still time to submit your idea for a poster session at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ World Library and Information Congress, August 13–19, in Columbus, Ohio. The deadline for poster session proposals is February 1. Most proposals for papers to be presented at the individual sessions are also still open, with deadlines in late January and February....

IFLA World Library and Information Congress

User data purged to protect privacy

Choose privacy

In early January, with little fanfare, the Graduate Center at the City University of New York did something to protect its users’ privacy: It quietly began to purge its interlibrary loan records. “This policy change is motivated by the idea that libraries should not keep more information about their users’ requests than necessary,” wrote Beth Posner, head of library resource sharing. As legal methods to acquire patron records have increased, librarians have become some of the foremost experimenters in data security in the US....

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 13

Down the rabbit hole of cybersecurity

Cyberphobia, with tabs

Amy Steinbauer writes: “This week, I will be diving into some interesting and current issues brought forth from my current read, Cyberphobia by Edward Lucas. It started as a simple book review, but there is so much pertinent information in this book that I think it would be best to share in multiple posts. Ten minutes into Cyberphobia, I was pulling out little post-it tabs to mark the passages with crazy stats or eye-opening information until the book looked like a psychopath’s notebook.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Jan. 14

UCSB opens a new state-of-the-art library

The remodeled UCSB library features an additional 20% more study space

More than two years after construction began—and a full decade since the project was first proposed—a modernized library at the University of California, Santa Barbara opened for business on January 4. Reimagined as a cutting-edge facility for collaborative, interdisciplinary research and education, the reborn UCSB Library is a far cry from the dark, cramped Davidson Library. The new structure is bright and airy with a soaring entryway (formally called the Paseo) and abundant natural light....

The Current (UC Santa Barbara), Jan. 7; Santa Barbara Independent, Jan. 14

UK librarians call for a digital investment

Cover of Essential Digital Infrastructure report

Library authorities in the UK need to invest about £20 million over three years to replace an outdated IT infrastructure, according to the Society of Chief Librarians. In a report issued January 12, Essential Digital Infrastructure for Public Libraries in England, SCL says that existing IT has severe shortcomings that holds libraries back from making the most of digital technology. It calls for a large-scale investment in a shared infrastructure, including the development of shared data standards and APIs to support a more coherent service nationally....

UKAuthority, Jan. 13

10 great video games about the meaning of life

Life is Strange (PC, Xbox One/360, PlayStation 3/4, 2015)

Keith Stuart writes: “We don’t often look to video games when we’re feeling confused about life, the universe, or anything else. This is traditionally a medium of escape, the place you go to forget about the world and blow stuff up for a few minutes. But since the beginning, games have also been a place to experiment with what it means to be human. So here are 10 games that tell us a little about what life is—often in a very comforting way.”...

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 15

Support for University of Baghdad art library

Wafaa Bilal, “The Ashes Series: Al-Mutanabbi Street” (2003–2013). Image courtesy Wafaa Bilal

Carey Dunne writes: “In 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, looters set fire to the library of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad. Seventy thousand books were reduced to ashes. Thirteen years later, the collection has still not been replenished, and local art students struggle to find books from which to study. In 168:01, an upcoming installation at Ontario’s Art Gallery of Windsor, Iraqi-born, New York–based artist Wafaa Bilal has enlisted the public to help rebuild the library, one book at a time.”...

Hyperallergic, Jan. 14

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