Some libraries, library organizations, and library managements believe they can "manage" their collections better by first digitizing historic collections of books and other paper and ink information sources and then weeding their collections of these materials. Such projects will reduce the number of copies held in the aggregate by all libraries (Lavoie, Schonfeld, Schottlaender, Yano). One problem that these projects often overlook is the subtle (and not so subtle) differences between the legal standing of paper and digital objects with regard to access and use. Too often, creators of digital objects attempt to impose copyright restrictions on the digital objects even if the originals were in the public domain. Additionally, digital objects are often encumbered with licenses and technological restrictions that limit how they can be used and who can use them. The digital objects are often just not as accessible or as usable as the original print. How bad would it be if we threw away our print collections in favor of digital collections that are less accessible and less usable?
Randal C. Picker, who is Leffmann Professor of Commercial Law and Senior Fellow at the The Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory University of Chicago Law School, has written a paper and created a presentation on just this issue.
- Picker, Randal. 2013. Access and the Public Domain. Rochester, NY: University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics. Coase-Sandor Institute For Law And Economics Working Paper No. 631.
- Picker: Access and the Public Domain (Fordham IP Talk), YouTube (Apr 6, 2013).
"This is a version of a talk that I gave at the Fordham IP Conference on April 5, 2013. It is based on my paper Access and the Public Domain, which was published in the San Diego Law Review."
In the paper, he considers how legal issues affect digitization projects such as The Internet Archive, JSTOR, Google Book Search, HathiTrust, and THOMAS.
His take-aways from the presentation are:
- Access rights and use rights are different animals and operate in different legal settings.
- Even though the public domain is coming online, the financing models for the projects will result in efforts to restrict use ina variety of ways.
- Perhaps a truly public public domain, something like the DPLA perhaps, is required to avoid the path of non-copyright control over the public domain.
Hat Tip: ARL Policy Notes.
Lavoie, Brian F., Constance Malpas, and J.D. Shipengrover. 2012. Print Management at “Mega-scale”: a Regional Perspective on Print Book Collections in North America. Dublin, OH: OCLC Research. http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2012/2012-05.pdf (Accessed July 19, 2012).
Schonfeld, Roger C., and Ross Housewright. 2009. 28 What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization. Ithaka S+R. http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/what-withdraw-print-colle....
Schottlaender, Brian E.C. et al. 2004. 82 Collection Management Strategies In A Digital Environment, A Project Of The Collection Management Initiative Of The University Of California Libraries, Final Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. University of California, Office of the President, Office of Systemwide Library Planning. http://www.ucop.edu/cmi/finalreport/index.html.
Yano, Candace Arai, Z.J. Max Shen, and Stephen Chan. 2008. Optimizing the Number of Copies for Print Preservation of Research Journals. Berkeley, CA: University of California Berkeley, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research. http://www.ieor.berkeley.edu/~shen/webpapers/V.8.pdf.
[Update 3/15/13: Here's the ALA announcement.]
It was just announced that Aaron Swartz will be awarded the American Library Association's James Madison Award awarded annually to "honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s “right to know” on the national level." It is fitting that Aaron win the award -- and be presented by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a strong advocate for digital rights in Congress who won the award last year and who introduced Aaron's Law to try and amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
The ceremony will be webcast live tomorrow (Friday March 15, 2013) at 8:30am eastern time. We'll post the video as soon as its made available.
Lunchtime listen: Lawrence Lessig's Furman lecture titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age."Submitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2013-03-06 13:18.
This will be well worth your time! Listen, grok, act!
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Lawrence Lessig marked his appointment as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School with a lecture titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age." The lecture honored the memory and work of Aaron Swartz, the programmer and activist who took his own life on Jan. 11, 2013 at the age of 26. Swartz spent the last two years fighting federal charges that he violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
On his blog, Lessig wrote, “When a law professor is given a “chair” s/he gives a lecture in honor of the honor. … After Aaron’s death, I asked the Dean to let me reschedule the lecture. But after some more thought, I’ve decided to make the lecture about Aaron, and about how we need to honor his work.”
Some of you may remember that we nominated Aaron Swartz for the ALA Madison award a few weeks ago and asked folks to write in letters of support to the Washington Office. Last week, there was a memorial for Aaron in Washington DC -- Rick Perlstein covered it well for The Nation, "Aaron Swartz's DC Memorial: Radical Brings Bipartisanship to Washington". Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, the 2012 Madison award honoree(!) and one of a number of Congressional members who attended Aaron's memorial, caught wind of the campaign to nominate Aaron for the Madison Award and sent in her own letter in support. She kindly allowed us to post the letter here.
Steve Schultze, Princeton University, Associate Director at the Center for Information Technology Policy, gave this talk as part of a series of 3-minute lightning talks on transparency hosted on Capitol Hill by the Advisory Committee on Transparency, a project of the Sunlight Foundation.
- My Bill to #OpenPACER in memory of #aaronsw -- Open for Comment and Available on Github, by Steve Schultze. Freedom to Tinker (February 1, 2013). (video and transcript with links and downloadable slides).
...the courts offer electronic records through the PACER web site, which charges for search results, docket lists, and documents.
...PACER is making a killing, with $120 million dollars in revenue for 2012. Even with a highly inefficient system architecture, they only manage to spend about $20 million dollars on PACER expenses per year. Where does the rest of the money go? They spend it on other stuff.
This is illegal. In 1992, Congress passed a law saying that the courts could charge only to recoup costs. Ten years later, Congress strengthened that law and said that it expected the courts to move to a free system. PACER fees have increased 42% since then.
...Open PACER is a bill that, once and for all, mandates that the courts provide free access to our public record. The bill is open for comment at openpacer.org. It is written in GPO-compliant Legislative XML, which anyone can edit and submit for incorporation via a tool called github.
I just noticed this post over at Wired Magazine's Threat Level blog, Activists Flood Government Agencies With FOIA Requests in Tribute to Aaron Swartz. Last week, Muckrock, the site that helps journalists, lawyers, and the public submit FOIA requests for a small fee ($20 for 5 requests), waived their fees in tribute to the transparency fights of computer programmer and internet activist Aaron Swartz who committed suicide a few weeks ago. I hope Muckrock will post all of the documents received via these requests. According to Muckrock:
MuckRock has begun processing 153 free FOIA requests submitted in honor of Internet pioneer and transparency activist Aaron Swartz, who died earlier this month at age 26.
Swartz, among MuckRock's first users and supporters, used public records laws to attempt to find out more about why the federal government was pursuing Internet piracy charges against him. He also filed requests related to alleged WikiLeaks collaborator Bradley Manning and the U.S. Mint, among many other topics.
In a Jan. 18 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking about Swartz’s prosecution, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) asked, “was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?”
As a way to honor Swartz’s legacy and to further his transparency work, MuckRock encouraged users to file requests in his honor free of charge. The requests cover all corners of government, ranging from the Department of Homeland Security’s documents relating to the high profile Tar Sands Blockade to the city payroll for Everett, Mass.
The great technology publisher O'Reilly is making its Open Government book files available for free for anyone to download, read and share. The files are posted on the O’Reilly Media GitHub account as PDF, Mobi, and EPUB files for now.
- We're releasing the files for O'Reilly's Open Government book: A #PDFtribute to Aaron Swartz (announcement) by Laurel Ruma, O'Reilly Radar (January 18, 2013).
- Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice, Edited By Daniel Lathrop, Laurel Ruma, Foreward by Don Tapscott. O'Reilly Media (February 2010).
Be sure to check out Chapter 25, "When Is Transparency Useful?" by Aaron Swartz.
Even before we learned of Aaron Swartz's passing last friday, several colleagues and I were in the midst of writing letters nominating Aaron for the ALA James Madison Award which was established by the ALA in 1986 to "honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s “right to know” on the national level."
We write now to ask all of our readers to also submit letters in support. The deadline for letter submission is January 16, 2013, so get a move on!
Send e-mail nominations to Jessica McGilvray, Assistant Director for the ALA Office of Government Relations, at email@example.com. Submissions can also be mailed to:
James Madison Award / Eileen Cooke Award
American Library Association
1615 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-2520
To help you in your letter writing, below are the nominating and seconding letters we submitted. Feel free to copy/paste for your own letter of support.
Many thanks go to Bruce Sanders, librarian at DePauw University, and Kelsey Kauffman, the mother of Aaron's partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, for putting the idea of nominating Aaron for the Madison Award out in the universe and doing much of the work that went into the nomination.
To: Jessica McGilvray
Re: Nomination of Aaron Swartz for ALA James Madison Award
Dear Ms. McGilvray:
I am writing to nominate Aaron Swartz for the 2013 American Library Association James Madison Award. Aaron was the computer programmer who in 2008 downloaded nearly 20 million pages of text from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records System (PACER), and then donated the pages of public domain US Court documents to public.resource.org in order to make those documents truly open access. This act was the epitome of promoting open access of government documents.
Like many earlier Madison honorees, Aaron has been an outspoken advocate and practitioner of open access. In fact, it is fair to say that much of his life was devoted to open access. Through his online organization DemandProgress.org, now a million members strong, Aaron educated a large segment of the population about the dangers of PIPA and SOPA and led highly effective campaigns in opposition. As a result, he engaged millions of ordinary citizens in the political process and put Congress on notice that Internet censorship will be vigorously opposed by large swaths of the voting (and soon-to-be-voting) public. In 2007, at the age of 20, he founded Open Library, an ongoing project to provide information free-of-charge on every book ever published. In 2008 he penned “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto.”
Aaron also conducted a study on “Who Writes Wikipedia” that exploded the myth that a small core of Wikipedians is responsible for most of the content (though they are responsible for most of the edits). The reality --- that Wikipedia is, in fact, the creation of millions of mostly one-time contributors --- has provided us with one of the best examples of the power and quality of open source collaboration.
Past recipients of the Madison Award, such as Senator Patrick Leahy, Steven Garfinkel, Thomas Susman and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, have usually been established and highly effective advocates either within government or organizations close to seats of power. But in many ways the driving force today behind the open access movement is a younger generation raised with the understanding that knowledge can and should be shared not just nationally, but also globally, and without paywalls.
Aaron Swartz embodied this younger generation’s passionate commitment to open government, free and universal access to knowledge, and an informed civil society. He is truly deserving of receiving this award posthumously.
Head of Cataloging and Processing
Roy O. West Library
To: Jessica McGilvray
Re: Nomination of Aaron Swartz for ALA James Madison Award
Dear Ms McGilvray,
The nominating letter by our colleague Bruce Sanders discusses reasons why Aaron Swartz should be nominated for the 2013 James Madison Award for his articulate and passionate leadership against SOPA and for devoting his life to promoting open access to scholarly and government information. As the New York Times described him in a 2011 front-page article, Aaron was “an Internet folk hero … a civil liberties activist who crusades for open access to data.” Aaron, in the spirit of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, believed that academic work and government information should not be commodified but instead distributed freely. He devoted his short but unimaginably prodigious life to his ideals. We wholeheartedly second Aaron’s posthumous nomination.
As noted in the nominating letter, Aaron was a pioneer in the new academic research methods of large-scale data collection and analysis. Aaron had extensive experience downloading and analyzing massive data sets, and in the process greatly enhanced our understanding of who controls access to knowledge—from correcting erroneous assumptions about who in fact authors most material on Wikipedia to raising alarms about undue corporate influence over legal scholarship. Aaron was studying the corrupting influence of money on a wide range of institutions including academia and government when his JSTOR troubles began.
His act of downloading articles from JSTOR for intellectual pursuit should have been encouraged and supported. Instead, it led the US government to indict and threaten him with 35 years in prison and a million dollar fine for wire- and computer fraud even after JSTOR refused to pursue criminal charges. Yet, until the end, Aaron never wavered from his ideals nor gave up his integrity.
The world and Libraries need more Aaron Swartz’s. We hope that the ALA will join us in honoring Aaron’s leadership in protecting the Internet from censorship and corporate interests and his life-long commitment to open access to scholarship and government information for every person on the planet. Aaron’s passing this week has motivated many people around the world to carry on his torch by uploading and freely sharing their writings on the Internet in his memory. We hope that ALA will honor Aaron by not only giving him the 2013 Madison Award, but also fostering his ideals and forwarding his work.
PhD candidate and co-founder of Radical Reference and Free government Information
Government Information Librarian and co-founder of Radical Reference and Free government Information
Brief Biography of Aaron Swartz:
Aaron Swartz’s, brief biography:
• Born 1986, Chicago, Illinois
• 1999 at the age of 13 creates a program for an open source encyclopedia, theinfo.org
• 2000 co-authored the RSS 1.0 standard for news aggregation
o joined the founding team of Creative Commons and developed their metadata system
o joined the RDF Core Working Group, the standards body for the Web
o worked on the semantic web writing popular guides as well as specifications and co-wrote the article, “The Semantic Web: a Network of Content for the Digital City,” Proceedings Second Annual Digital Cities Workshop, Kyoto, Japan, October, 2001.
• 2002 wrote, “MusicBrainz: a Semantic Web Service,” IEEE Intelligent Systems, Jan./Feb., 2002 pp. 76-77.
• 2004 attended Stanford University for one year.
• 2005-2006 works for Reddit and develops the Python web framework, web.py, and releases it as an open-source project and also conducts study “Who Writes Wikipedia”
• 2007 developed Open Library, an open access project to collect metadata about every book ever published
• 2008 downloaded 20 million pages from PACER and made them truly public access
o founds Demand Progress and begins activism that eventually defeats COICA, SOPA and PIPA bills
o fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
o charged for crimes in relation to downloading 4 million JSTOR articles
• Dies January 2013
Shinjoung and I were stunned when we heard the news early yesterday morning that our friend -- and supreme friend of libraries and the Internet! -- Aaron Swartz left this world late friday evening. Aaron was deeply committed to and passionate about internet freedom and making information and knowledge as available as possible. To those ends, he worked on many projects large and small in his short but influential life. He was 26.
The *many* heartfelt remembrances from communities as diverse as journalism, law and open source tech -- witness Rick Perlstein, Lawrence Lessig, Glenn Greenwald, Karl Fogel -- attest to Aaron's supreme impact on the world at large (and that's no hyperbole!).
Before I had even heard of his tragic demise, a few colleagues and I were in the midst of writing letters of support for Aaron's nomination for this year's James Madison award from the American Library Association (ALA). This award, named in honor of President James Madison, was established by the ALA in 1986 to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s “right to know” on the national level. I hope now that ALA will award Aaron posthumously!
We're helping Archive-it staff harvest a Web archive of Aaron's work, writings, images, videos, and remembrances. If you've got a URI that you'd like to be included in the archive, please paste it to this Google Doc.
Remembrances of Aaron, as well as donations in his memory, can be submitted at http://rememberaaronsw.com
The world will miss you Aaron. Be at peace my friend!