Author Archives: yoyology


This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

This Is What a Librarian Looks Like

Librarians look like people, and those of us who don’t wear our glasses on a chain and our hair in a bun get used to being told, “You don’t look like a librarian.”

This is a great collection of portraits taken at the recent ALA Midwinter conference, and also a great story about what libraries are, what they can be, and what they aren’t.

Posted by Karl S.

News site Vocativ uses intelligence-gathering software to dig into the Deep Web.

One of the things that librarians evangelize about is the concept of the “Deep Web”. Search engines like Google only serve up surface information, and there is much more out there. As this FastCompany article explains, “The ‘deep web’ consists of all the things available on the Internet that standard search engines overlook–things like spreadsheets and Word documents, subscription-only journals and pages with dynamic content.”

Librarians, of  course, want to mine this information for their patrons’ research needs, but a news site that launched in October called Vocativ is using software formerly used by bleeding-edge financial analysts and intelligence agencies to dig up highly unusual stories.

Unlike a lot of popular “news” sites, Vocativ is not regurgitating stories found elsewhere. They are using original research and actual journalists and analysts to tell stories that no one else is finding. Here are a few examples:

Some of Vocativ’s stories tend toward the salacious and sensational, but they are never boring, and never what you will see anywhere else.

Posted by Karl S.

Librarians at University of Oregon 3D Print “Backup copies” of Rare, Fragile Fossils

When scientists want to study Oncorhynchus rastrosus, the saber-toothed salmon, they have to treat the fossil skull housed in the University of Oregon’s paleontology department with great care. Its age and porosity make it nearly impossible to handle without damaging it. Displaying it to the public is out of the question.

Lower portion of salmon skull, seen from right side

Lower portion of salmon skull, seen from right side

However, paleontologist Edward Davis did have a CAT scan of the remains, and science librarian Dean Walton has used that data and a MakerBot Replicator II to make a 3D plastic replica which can be handled, measured, and used in displays and demonstrations for the public.

3D Printer at work (image courtesy of UO Science Library)

3D Printer at work (image courtesy of UO Science Library)

Other scientists are lining up to print their own bones. Next up is anthropologist Stephen Frost, who intends to print plastic copies of samples that he usually travels to Africa to work with.

No word on whether UO will make the models available for home printing via Thingiverse or another repository of 3D-printing instructions.

Posted by Karl S.

The library has answers at NSUBA Welcome Week

ImageAlong with several other campus services and organizations, the NSUBA Library participated in Welcome Week yesterday, informing students, faculty and staff of what the library can do for them.

Our “Ask Me Anything” sign drew a lot of attention and provided Pamela and Karl with the opportunity to answer 13 questions ranging from “How can I find essays in the library’s databases?” to “My class starts in five minutes. Where am I supposed to be?” We also issued OK-Share cards to half a dozen patrons, allowing them to use their NSU library privileges at other academic libraries across the state.

If you’re interested in the OK-Share program, or if you have a question of any kind, stop by the library’s 2nd floor desk and let us help you. It makes us happy!

–posted by Karl

Who owns “Happy Birthday to You”? Lawsuit says we all do.

As librarians, we find copyright law pretty interesting. Every day we deal with questions of the legality of lending, sharing, copying, and performing various types of material. One of the most commonly cited ideas about copyright is that a company, Warner/Chappell Music, owns the rights to one of the most commonly performed songs in the western world, “Happy Birthday to You”. According to TechDirt, a documentary film company is challenging that idea in court.

Whenever a song is played before a group of people, especially in a public place, that’s considered a public performance. Whoever owns the copyright to that song is supposed to be paid for that performance. Songs you’ve heard in concerts, at restaurants, and even in church are supposed to be paid for, usually via licensing fees. There’s a reason that restaurants that sing to their patrons usually have their own songs.

If you have sung “Happy Birthday to You” to your nephew at Chuck E. Cheese, you should have paid for the privilege. If you put a video of it on YouTube, you probably should have paid a lot more, because now you’ve distributed that performance. At least, that’s true if Warner/Chappell really owns it.

According to Good Morning To You Productions, a documentary film company, they don’t. The case is complicated, but it boils down to two key ideas. The women that Warner/Chappell claim to have written the song really wrote something else, and the individual copyrights on versions published since then have all expired.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out, not only to clear you for your egregious cases of copyright infringement, but also because it would mean that Warner/Chappell would have to repay millions of dollars it has collected over the decades from film and television producers who wanted to use the song.

Quick-thinking staff rescues books

Maintenance worker dries carpet near plastic-covered library shelves

It was an exciting afternoon at the Broken Arrow library today. Humidity from the stormy weather and a blocked floor drain in the mechanical part of the building caused a small flood, which created leaks in the ceiling tiles and light fixtures over two ranges of books and other materials.

Library shelves covered in plastic sheeting to protect books from water leaks

Fortunately, staff members were quick to act on the situation. Jiles spotted the first falling drops and alerted Tom and Karl. The three of them covered the shelves with plastic sheeting, then worked with Pamela and Rickey to pull materials in danger of being dampened. Maintenance staff also joined in to dry the carpet and set up fans to dry off books.

In all, only about two dozen volumes were affected, and most should be able to be dried and returned to the collection. Great job, everyone!

Posted by Karl G. Siewert

Northwestern Oklahoma State University launches new journal: Civitas

An open scroll with the word CIVITAS printed in all capsNorthwestern Oklahoma State University, one of our partners in the Regional University System, made an exciting announcement today.

The Northwestern Institute of Citizenship Studies has begun publishing a peer-reviewed journal, Civitas: Journal of Citizenship Studies. According to their mission statement, “Civitas is an annual, interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed publishing venue aimed at promoting scholarship concerning the Humanities and Social Sciences as they relate to citizenship matters. The Journal, which is facilitated by the NWOSU Institute for Citizenship Studies, draws upon the talents and perspectives of a diverse Review Board from the United States and abroad.”

Volume 1 is available free for download at the Civitas site, and print copies may be purchased there as well. They are also seeking submissions for Volume 2, with a deadline of July 1. 

Congratulations to NWOSU on this prestigious publication!

-posted by Karl G. Siewert