Posts Tagged ‘british library’

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Alan Moore knows the score on Thing 4

In CPD23,Uncategorized on July 5, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

An excellent outing last night to the British Library for the latest talk accompanying the Out of this world exhibition.  A nice illustration of the benefits of CPD – I was looking around the BL site for upcoming events for the CILIP in London Google Calendar of interesting stuff in London (fancy contributing? get in touch) just when they were adding the events listing.  The result was myself and a mate were in a packed crowd for Alan Moore in conversation with Stewart Lee.  I suspect tickets would not have come my way if I had heard about it through slower channels.

It was a fascinating discussion ranging across scifi, science, religion, technology, genre, labels and who can remember what else.

There were demonstrations of IP red in tooth and claw – for example why some comic books are movies and others are not.  And how clashes over IP have impacted on the quality of writing in comics.  Alan Moore apparently gets no money from the sale of V for Vendetta Merchandise – but does get an enormous sense of personal well being from seeing them at demonstrations around the world (DC less so – apparently we won’t be getting any more V movies as a result).

Moore takes an interesting position on technology being extremely interested and reading widely about it but largely refusing to adopt it.  He no longer has a television since they dropped the analog signal in Northampton, refuses to have a mobile and has no email address.

There was a fab quote from Stewart Lee “what is twitter if not voluntary surveillance” that gave me a wry chuckle thinking of all the people who might be signing up for CPD23 over this week.  I originally joined Twitter as part of my involvement in the CILIP Defining our Professional Future exercise so I must be slightly past my one year of involvement.  I do find it useful (as well as entertaining) but access at work is limited which prevents me integrating it into the flow of my day in the way I might like.  I recently signed up for TweetyMail that has helped with some of the link sharing issues caused by using Twitter predominantly via Snaptu.

RSS is not a new thing for me.  I had a long love affair with Bloglines that I used for a good six years and I have commented already about my current RSS consumption.

I was surprised to find that I was able to get Pushnote installed on my work computer.  I say installed as I am struggling to decide if it is working or not.  I follow a fair few people on Twitter but there is little sign of them being involved in this and I cannot really see the point.  I do not seem to be alone in this based on peoples tweets.  Maybe a use will become apparent.

You can find some other Alan Moore & Stewart Lee footage on the web.  At the time of writing there a still tickets available for R.U.R. on the 6th of July – it has been a brilliant series of events.


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Glyn Wintle pub talk: Copyright, privacy & the British Library

In Copyright,Digital Economy Bill,Digital Rights Management on June 25, 2010 by Danielle Tagged: , , , , , ,

Note: This post was updated on Sunday 27 June, 2010 to add a discussion on digital rights management and the British Library

LIKE 15 featured a talk by Glyn Wintle of the Open Rights group (ORG) about digital rights management, the Digital Economy Act and…knitting. More precisely, how BBC’s legal department tried to shut down a knitter’s website because she had the audacity to post free patterns to make knitted Daleks and suchlike. Long story short: BBC ended up with egg on their faces and no knitters were harmed. (Full disclosure: this story was picked up by the Telegraph, Guardian and others in 2008 thanks to the efforts of the Open rights group.)

Another highlight for me was learning that say popping your Tragically Hip CD into your computer and copying the songs to your mp3 player is quite illegal! Glyn compared the attitude of companies producing media to giving you the lock, the key, and then telling you not to open the lock. Hmm.

Altogether it was a fantastic, dynamic and inspiring talk in the sweltering upstairs room of the Perseverance. It seemed impossible that the discussion around our table would compare to Glyn’s talk, but it did. I learned a lot about patent hoarding, who lobbies and who doesn’t (the music industry and apparently the British Library lobby; however CILIP and BCS don’t lobby), and even a tip for getting more web traffic. The tip is- sign up to Wikipedia to be able to edit content, and then add your organisation’s photos to wherever they are appropriate. Wikipedia is a very good driver of web traffic.

Oh, and back to British Library being a better lobbyist that CILIP- this surprised me only because of what Peter Murray-Rust’s blog says about the British Library (and librarians in general) sitting down and accepting digital rights management (DRM) as “a public good.” Accused of “demonising” librarians, Murray-Rust explains his stance, and again I find myself agreeing:

“You argue that I demonize librarians. I do not. I have some limited sympathy for the constraints on them. But UK librarians have done absolutely nothing in public to show that they care about DRM. From casual conversations over the last 2-3 weeks with librarians I believe that they do not know about or do not care about DRM applied by the BL. Where they know about it they accept it as inevitable without even publicizing the problem.”

Having more of a poke around finds us an interesting blog post, quoted by Murray-Rust, by an information professional named Bethan. She observes that library users are not given a rationale for DRM at most universities (from a convenience sample of top unis) in the UK. Even the British Library itself buries information about Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) in its FAQ section– technical information yes, but no reasons why. To quote Bethan:

“…without the ‘why’, it appears that we are restricting access to information for our own fun and amusement.”

Glyn’s talk is a call to arms to librarians and information people. He said that when we get mad (and we don’t get mad that easily, it’s true) we get very mad and take action. There is a short list of actions to take on the ORG website, such as signing a petition to repeal sections 11-18 of the Digital Economy Act (the bit that disconnects you if you download anything from t’internet, basically). I also think that questioning publishers and libraries (I’m an info professional that relies on our organisation’s library for IP access to journals, and the BL for anything ‘exotic’) about the reason for DRM will help us ensure proper access to information for ourselves and our users. Joining Open rights is only £5 per month if you’d like to support them, or would rather let them take action.