Monday, April 9, 2012

Mike Wallace Resources

CBS reporter Mike Wallace died over the weekend at the age of 93. Even though he is best known for his work on "60 Minutes," Wallace had a storied career in broadcasting that extended from the 1940s until 2008.

To read and watch some of Mike Wallace's reporting and other works, here are some resources to peruse:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Publishers Oppose FRPAA? No Way!

When I have some down time at the library reference desk, I like to read the Chronicle of Higher Education so I can keep up with the latest education news. On their ticker today, I came across this story about the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which is legislation that is going up in the House and the Senate that would require the results from federally funded research to be made publicly available within 6 months of publication.

It's not a surprise that the major publishing organizations are against this, but when I read how they were justifying their opposition I couldn't help but laugh. Tom Allen, president of the Association of American Publishers, said “FRPAA is little more than an attempt at intellectual eminent domain, but without fair compensation to authors” (emphasis added). I find it funny that the industry that makes its money largely on the backs of academic authors and their university libraries and often leaves them with little more than prestige to show for their work can complain about someone else providing unfair compensation for authors.

I think it is high time that the research our scholars work so hard to produce is made available to them and their students for a reasonable price. The American Association of Publishers is going to have to come up with a better argument than this one if they want anyone to adopt their position.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Wikipedia May Go Dark on Wednesday

If you're like me and you like to look up the occasional obscure fact on Wikipedia, you may not be able to do so on Wednesday, 1/18. According to news reports, the online encyclopedia plans to shutdown for the day to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that is currently under consideration in Congress.

While no one really likes piracy, this legislation has the potential to have some serious repercussions beyond simply stopping unauthorized distribution of content. Blogging for the New York Times, Jenna Wortham notes that SOPA "may force search engines and Internet service providers to block access to Web sites that offer or link to copyrighted material." Basically, if SOPA is passed as it was originally conceived, when a website is accused of containing pirated content, it can be wiped off the digital map without any real due process. Any website can be accused and be essentially shut down. Declan McCullagh writing for CNET put it best: "[SOPA is] kind of an internet death penalty."

So while a day without our favorite online encyclopedia may be a pain, it is for a worthy cause. Imagine an internet with no Wikipedia, ever. Or no New York Times. With SOPA as law, that could be very possible.

For more information about SOPA and its potential impact, see this CNET article.