DuraSpace News: Digital Preservation Planning: An NDSR Boston Project Update featuring DuraCloud and ArchivesDirect
From The Signal: Digital Preservation Blog from Library of Congress
Last updated January 23, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on January 23, 2016.
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From the announcement:
Fedora 4, the new, revitalized version of Fedora, was released into production in November 2014. Fedora 4 features include vast improvements in scalability, linked data capabilities, research data support, modularity, ease of use and more. Fedora Camp offers everyone a chance to dive in and learn all about Fedora 4.
Over the winter break I’ve been enjoying The Culture of Connectivity which was recommended by Nicholas Proferes during a talk last fall at the UMD iSchool about his doctoral research. I might have more to say when I finish it, but the chapter that examines Twitter contained a nice description of a tweet that seemed particularly relevant as Twitter considers changing from 140 to 10,000 characters.
Both the quality and quantity of tweets have been vital elements in the dispute of what constitutes Twitter’s essence during the stage of interpretive flexibility. The “tweet” is arguably Twitter’s most distinctive contribution to online culture; a sentence limited to 140 characters flagged by a hashtag has become a global format for online public commentary. This new cultural form has been adopted widely outside the platform proper, for instance in newspapers and on television. Its concise syntax and delimited length render the tweet virtually synomymous with a quote–a citation from a source for which authentication resides with the platform, not the journalist. Aside from figuring in the news the tweet has emerged as a cultural form inspiring poets and literary authors. (Dijk, 2013, pp. 76–77)
This was my first encounter with the notion of interpretive flexibility, a relatively old idea (at least relative to social media) from Science and Technology Studies that technological artifacts can often exist in time periods that support multiple (and possibly conflicting) interpretations (Pinch & Bijker, 1984). In some ways interpretive flexibility sounds like common sense, but maybe not when you consider how easy it is to slip into thinking of technologies as fit for a particular purpose, and scientific findings as facts. I think it’s kinda interesting to consider use or as a form interpretation when it comes to software. Hacking as interpretation.References
Dijk, J. van. (2013). The culture of connectivity: A critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-culture-of-connectivity-9780199970780
Pinch, T. J., & Bijker, W. E. (1984). The social construction of facts and artifacts. Social Studies of Science, 14(3), 399–441. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/285355
Library of Congress: The Signal: Intellectual Property Rights Issues for Software Emulation: An Interview with Euan Cochrane, Zach Vowell, and Jessica Meyerson
The following is a guest post by Morgan McKeehan, National Digital Stewardship Resident at Rhizome. She is participating in the NDSR-NYC cohort.
I began my National Digital Stewardship Residency at Rhizome — NDSR project description here (PDF) — by leading a workshop for the Emulation as a Service framework (EaaS), at “Party Like it’s 1999: Emulated Access to Complex Media Collections,” a panel about software emulation organized by NDSR-NYC alum Julia Kim, at the 2015 AMIA conference in Portland, OR. Software emulation is an important tool for preservation of digital artworks because it allows researchers to experience complex digital materials in their native creation environments, and can thereby enable full access to “software dependent content,” the term offered by Euan Cochrane, Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University, for content that is integral to the overall meaning of a work, but which “requires a particular and limited range of software environments in order to be interacted with, rendered, viewed or consumed.”
The EaaS framework provides a streamlined user experience for accessing a number of different emulated software environments, and the AMIA panel provided an opportunity to examine this approach alongside other recent projects using software emulation, including computer games within the Timothy Leary Papers that are available to play at the New York Public Library Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room, Cornell University Library’s Preservation and Access Frameworks for Digital Art Objects project (PAFDAO), and the Jeremy Blake Papers at New York University. In my workshop presentation I discussed Rhizome’s collaborative development with bwFLA of a cloud-based EaaS implementation allowing users to access artworks via Rhizome’s emulator site, which can also be embedded into other websites such as blogs and social media sites. Since April 2015, Rhizome’s online EaaS implementation has allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the interactive narratives and richly detailed audio and graphics of three video games/artworks created as CD-ROMs in the 1990s by the artist Theresa Duncan.
Even with such promising technical developments for emulation as an access strategy, however, at present intellectual property (IP) rights and software licensing issues remain as primary obstacles to widespread implementation. For example, one of the case studies I examined, Cochrane’s August 2014 post in The Signal analyzing the EaaS implementation at Yale University Library, described three compelling use-case scenarios for emulation across different research contexts, but noted that even given the potential usefulness of EaaS for each project, licensing issues ultimately prevented researchers from actually using EaaS beyond their initial research stages.
Meanwhile, examining and addressing the complex challenges of software IP rights has been included as a key part of the work of the Software Preservation Network (SPN), one of the national digital platform priority projects among nine recently selected for funding by the IMLS. SPN’s project proposal (PDF) includes “articulating a business model and organizational structure through which software licensing and legitimate, ongoing non-profit re-use can operate harmoniously” as a critical step toward preserving software, and therefore a core practice within digital preservation.
To learn more about IP rights issues related to software emulation, I reached out to Euan Cochrane, and to SPN’s co-PIs: Zach Vowell, Digital Archivist at California Polytechnic State University, and Jessica Meyerson, Digital Archivist at the University of Texas at Austin, with a few questions about broad challenges within software IP rights, specific licensing scenarios they are addressing, and potential future licensing models. Their observations shed light on the range of avenues they are pursuing to further establish emulation as a viable and practical method for enabling researchers’ direct interaction with valuable software-dependent content that is locked inside legacy media or inaccessible file formats.
Morgan: The SPN’s IMLS project summary cites a 2014-15 survey of archives professionals in which 51% of survey participants identified access to licenses as an obstacle for emulated access to born-digital materials. Could you share your observations about the implications of these findings, and what approaches SPN may take to address some of these challenges?
Jessica: At the most basic level, that survey response pattern indicates that even in a scenario where staff resources and technical constraints are not considered the most significant barrier, organizations are still hesitant to endorse emulation as an institutional preservation and access strategy unless they have some way to reconcile the software licensing requirements. With no systematic software collection program, most institutions do not currently know how they would access the software titles required to provide emulated access. And in terms of systematic software collection, no single institution can possibly collect all of the software titles needed to render/access the digital objects in its collections present and future.
So, unless we want restrictive software licensing to play a crucial role in appraisal and collection development decisions moving forward – as a community we might think about systematic software collection in terms of documentation strategy. In other words, art and design organizations could focus on creative design software such as Adobe Creative Suite and business history focused collections might focus on accounting software such as Quickbooks or business intelligence software such as Tableau. Meanwhile, digital objects created in software only available as a cloud-hosted service will likely require participation from the software industry.
Morgan: How will SPN address software licensing as it relates specifically to emulation? For example, what priority might be given to the creation of allowances for emulation use-cases?
Zach: Academic licensing may provide some protection from infringement claims, but the extent of that protection remains to be seen. (That is, is it good enough for an institution to show a receipt for its license purchase and that covers all software under its care?). Regardless, licenses will need to be well documented and linked to the license keys used to activate the software.
Ideally, we want to establish a licensing framework that directly addresses the emulation use-cases that cultural heritage organizations are facing now (and in the near future). Pursuing such a framework is a high priority for our project, and hopefully, our project’s research can develop the literature on use cases emulation and other born-digital access strategies. Of course, establishing such a framework presupposes a working relationship with software rights holders — to that end, we’ve been discussing three distinct licensing scenarios:
- rights holders are interested in collaborating on a new licensing framework
- rights holders are not interested in collaborating on a new licensing framework
- orphan works
The SPN project will analyze and document the liability to copyright infringement present in each scenario — and potentially produce best practices based on that analysis.
Morgan: Euan, at Yale, you are working to implement the EaaS framework to enable researchers’ access to digitized materials from the libraries’ collections. For example, you’ve described one project that aims to increase overall use of the wealth of (currently underused) digital materials stored on floppy disks and CD-ROMs in Yale’s general collections by making these materials directly available to users on library computers running legacy software via the EaaS framework. What kinds of licensing issues have you discovered in the course of this process, and how are you addressing them?
Euan: Since writing the Signal article, we’ve discovered that existing agreements with Microsoft allow us to use their older software in many contexts, which is great. But, while very useful, that leaves many thousands of other products that we don’t yet have any solution for; and furthermore, our existing agreement with Microsoft may need to be updated to take into account uses that aren’t covered by it. We will implement EaaS into a production environment in coming months, and start using it with the disks that are clearly allowable within that purpose and which only require either Linux or Windows to be accessed (within the terms of our current Microsoft agreement).
To make digitized content from the general collections available via the EaaS framework, we need the following:
- Either: the ability to restrict access to only as many users as we have copies of the software—something the bwFLA team have been working on recently; or: permission to make the content available to as many people as want it, regardless of how many copies we have in our possession/own.
- Either: an understanding of any end-user license agreements (EULAs) associated with each item and what they allow us to do (where applicable); or: permission to ignore the EULAs; or: permission to use the items in this context, even when it is not mentioned in the EULAs.
- Permission to make enough copies of the data to enable this to technically happen and to properly preserve the bits.
- Sufficient software licenses to support concurrent users of the software needed to interact with the content on the disk(/c)s.
Morgan: Could you describe any licensing models you’re looking at which may provide effective approaches to these issues?
Euan: Tools like EaaS and cloud gaming enable software to be treated as a performance, and as a service much like music is treated by streaming music services. As such, we could address licensing by establishing similar organizations to manage it as exist for music. i.e. performance rights organizations (PROs). So my suggestion is that we set up such an organization for licensing old software.
Some of the significant benefits to a performance rights model for software would be:
- Memory institutions could archive software and only ever pay anything (if anything) when it is used, not just for archiving it.
- Appropriate (e.g. academic/non-profit) organizations might be provided with royalty-free licenses to older software, but these could be managed/validated by the PRO.
- Commercial services could go to the PRO for licenses for commercial uses.
- PROs would alleviate the current inefficient situation of organizations issuing separate access requests from each vendor for a needed software product.
- PROs could deal with transnational licensing. For example, a single PRO could enable French-licensed software to be made available in other countries for use in accessing content produced in France using that software.
Morgan: Jessica, what kinds of licensing models is SPN exploring? I’m also curious about what you’re learning about how these issues factor into the use of emulation for creating “virtual reading rooms” for digital materials, and what kinds of models might inform the future development of software emulation. Are there examples of successful current implementations that you’re looking at?
In terms of licensing models, one that has come up in our conversations (and during the 2014 SAA session) was the performing rights licensing model. Again, that model presupposes that copyright holders are willing to opt-in and embrace the model.
In terms of virtual reading rooms, Dragan Espenschied’s work at Rhizome with Theresa Duncan’s Zero Zero is one exciting example of current emulation projects. The 2014-2015 Born Digital Access Survey (referenced in the SPN IMLS project narrative) investigated current efforts to provide access to born-digital collection material and interview questions specifically addressed any attempts by participants to experiment with emulation as a preservation/access method in their institutions—that data set should be available to the community in the spring. Others are working on similar research—but so far, the general impression is that institutions currently engaged in emulation projects are taking a calculated risk by relying on the section 108 fair use exemption for libraries and archives. However, we can only apply that logic to physical installation media (either already in our collections or available by some other means, i.e., purchase or donation). Again, in the current era of cloud-based subscription software we can apply fair use, procurement of the actual software (once the individual or institutional subscription has lapsed) is introduced as part of the larger challenge.
This underscores the need for the SPN project—to serve as a mechanism for the coordination of existing but disparate collection efforts, as well as a vehicle for collective licensing negotiations. SPN’s emphasis is distinctive but complementary to the UNESCO Memory of the World PERSIST project, which is working to address the broader challenge of “sustainability for the information society” by focusing on several key areas, including the development of technical infrastructure in the form of the Software Heritage Platform (PDF).
Happy Friday everyone! This is part five of my Linked Data Series. You can find the previous posts by going to my author page. Last week I was fortunate enough to attend Mashcat 2016 in Boston. It was a wonderful one-day conference. We had some very interesting conversations aimed at breaking down communication barriers in libraries (archives and museums), and I was able to meet some fantastic professionals (and students).
In addition to attending, I also presented a talk titled Finding Aid-LD: Implementing Linked Data in a Finding Aid Environment (slides). During the presentation I identified various Linked Data publishing strategies that are currently being implemented. I thought this would be a neat topic to post here as well, so today I’m going to give you the deets on Linked Data publishing strategies.Survey of Publishing Strategies
Note that these strategies are not mutually exclusive. You can combine these strategies for any particular solution.Data Dump
A data dump is a zipped file or set of files that contain the complete dataset of a provider.
Somebody wants to download a provider’s full dataset for research, reuse, etc.
A subject page is a document or set of documents that contain all the data about a resource. Subject pages are very similar to traditional metadata records. Common practice is to use content negotiation so that when you go to a URI, the URI will redirect to a human-readable or machine-readable document based on the HTTP ACCEPT header. A newer and increasingly popular practice is to embed RDFa into HTML documents. Google and the other big search engines index RDFa and other types of embedded metadata. RDFa is becoming an added layer to content negotiation, and in many cases an alternative altogether.
A person wants to dereference a resource URI and discover new knowledge by browsing through resource links.
Triplestores are databases for storing RDF triples/data. SPARQL is a query language for RDF and most commonly accesses RDF data through triplestores. SPARQL can run very complex, semantic queries on RDF and can infer new knowledge based on the complex queries. A SPARQL endpoint is a server access point that you go to to run queries on a triplestore.
A researcher wants to run complex, semantic querying of the data. A reference librarian needs to perform a complex query during a reference session.
A relatively new strategy is through Triple Pattern Fragments (TPF). TPF aims to be an efficient solution for querying RDF data (you can read more about what I mean here). TPF breaks queries down into triple patterns (subject predicate object). Example:
Give me all the resources whose birthName is “Christopher Frank Carandini Lee”.
?subject <http://dbpedia.org/ontology/birthName> "Christopher Frank Carandini Lee"
There are currently two types of TPF software: TPF servers and TPF clients. The server runs simple triple pattern queries as shown above. The client uses triple pattern queries to run complex, SPARQL-like queries. According to their website, TPF clients have lower server cost and higher availability when compared to SPARQL endpoints, which means that the former might be a good alternative to the latter. The only caveat is that a TPF client uses more bandwidth and has a higher client cost.
A Linked Data API is an effort to transform complex RDF data into simple RESTful APIs. The only such software that I’ve found is aptly named Linked Data API. According to the documentation, Linked Data API is an API layer that sits on top of a SPARQL endpoint. It can generate documents (subject pages) and run “sophisticated queries” (though, I don’t think they can be as complex as SPARQL queries). I’ll confess that this strategy is the one I’m least knowledgeable about, so please feel free to delve into the documentation.
- Cool URIs for the Semantic Web
- Apache Jena
- Linked Data Fragments | In depth
- linkeddata.org, Tools
- Linked Data Platform
- SPARQL By Example
I hope this gives you a good idea of the plethora of ways to publish Linked Data. If you know of any others please list them in the comments. As always, I invite you to post questions and comments below or send them to me via email. Thanks for reading!?
I’m not talking about a spooky looking monster, dead set on ending the world as we know it, or a sticky ooze that slowly trickles over the planet because we destroyed the rainforest. Copyright creep is an expression that refers to the expansion of copyright law and policy, inching and slinking its way into aspects of life that surely James Madison did not anticipate. Copyright extension, end user license agreements (EULAs), automatic copyright, digital rights management (DRM)…and the list goes on.
DRM, for example, which was initially employed to limit copyright infringement in the digital environment (“don’t open that lock, if you don’t have the key”), has become a way of limiting competition and consumer choice in the marketplace. And not just copyrighted works. We have light bulbs, printer cartridges, pods of coffee, and cat litter boxes that are protected by DRM because there is software or some other digital technology inside the product that makes it operate. If you want the product to operate in a different way—say use water rather than the industry specified cleansing solution to clean your litter box– well think twice. This is a violation of copyright. Copyright creeped into the life of the everyday coffee drinker, the lawful owner of the Keurig machine, but evident examples of the way the Internet of Things has implicated copyright law is only part of the story.
Copyright creep has affected the way people perceive risk, even in the non-digital world. I get questions from librarians who are wondering if it’s okay for the school principal to read a poem aloud at commencement. I’ve been asked if children can draw pictures of Garfield, because some kids can draw a picture that looks so much like Garfield, it must be a copy. One teacher wondered if she could tape 2nd grade students singing Christmas songs. Why are people concerned with these things? Did they develop overly cautious and sometimes irrational rules to protect themselves, their jobs and their institutions? Copyright lawsuits, with huge statutory damages sought from mothers videotaping their toddlers dance to music, seem to be an everyday occasion. I believe people fear copyright like they never have before. Hey, the Girl Scouts were sued for singing Happy Birthday—a song that some proclaim is still protected by copyright (it’s not)—so no one is safe from the copyright creep.
The copyright creep may be the most dangerous when it crushes intellectual and artistic freedom. There are lots of examples of documentary filmmakers who worry about the risk of liability when music or television is playing in the background of their films. How about the dancer becoming concerned about copyright when she notices she may be dancing too much like Martha Graham. Is she infringing Martha Graham’s copyright? A public library in Connecticut was forced to take down a painting that included a depiction of Mother Teresa among other famous women, with one in the group holding a Planned Parenthood sign. A conservative elected official didn’t like seeing Mother Teresa standing with a pro-choice advocate, so why not use copyright law to take care of the problem? Apparently Mother Teresa is protected by copyright, and depictions of her without the prior permission of Mother Teresa are forbidden. Didn’t you know that?
Yet, I see hope on the horizon for eradicating copyright creep. Education is part of the solution. We need to better inform people so they have a clearer understanding of what copyright is. It was created to advance learning, creativity and innovation. By understanding that technology is not inherently bad, the courts have made sound decisions about fair use. People can do things with technology that they never could do before (like making YouTube videos), and that’s okay. Congress is considering ways to limit the reach of anti-circumvention DRM so people can use their lawfully purchased products in the ways that they desire. Communities have developed fair use best practices to provide copyright guidance. Balanced copyright advocacy has grown.
We have seen the copyright creep and understand its purposes and targets. You can see it in the daytime as well as at night so it is easier to report sightings. The creep emits a bad smell from its murky dealings so we know if it is right behind us. We will learn more about the creep by remaining diligent. And we will be ready. We have a slew of library and user advocates ready to do their part to get rid of the creep, or just make it go away… far, far away.ALA is taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what’s at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
From Scott Siddall, Longsight Longsight has developed enhancements to the DSpace storage system, providing a system for cloud storage of assets, that has now been officially merged into the DSpace 6 code base. Sites using DSpace can now more easily scale their DSpace instances to the cloud through the addition of a storage connector that uses Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (AWS S3). Using S3 storage provides institutions a low price, extremely durable, highly available, and infinitely scalable storage facility provided by S3.
While at ALA Midwinter, I spoke with Michael Blackwell, director of the St Mary’s County Library, about ReadersFirst, an informal organization of librarian volunteers interested in providing outstanding user focused e-book service. ReadersFirst has been around since 2012, but for those who might be unaware of their efforts, here’s the scoop:
ReadersFirst is an international coalition of some 300 libraries that believes that librarians have a responsibility to provide library e-book readers with the same open, easy and free access to content they have with physical books. They advocate for a simpler, more streamlined and effective library e-book experience. For ReadersFirst, the library catalog should be the source for all transactions, allowing content from all vendors to be accessed on any device, ultimately by the adoption of standardized e-books formats and APIs. Their work began with an evaluation of library e-book providers. They then developed principles that they hoped all vendors could endorse, and approached vendors about platform changes and support for library-led initiatives, such as SimplyE, LibrarySimplified, the Library E-Content Access Project, and Open Books Initiative.
Moving forward, ReadersFirst hopes to establish themselves as an official non-profit (currently they run as an all-volunteer organization under the aegis of the New York Public Library). In addition, their plans include the development of partnerships with other organizations to improve and expand the library e-book experience, create standards which publishers, vendors and libraries can use to ensure interoperability, engage with academic library e-book concerns, and update our Guide to Library e-book Vendors.
Sound like something you might be interested in? Here’s your chance because ReadersFirst is seeking new members. There is no fee to join. Libraries may become involved in two ways. Libraries may simply state that they support ReadersFirst principles. Then you will be added to the list of members and your library director—or director’s designee, meaning you—may sit in on biannual virtual updates. In addition to joining, you can become part of a working group and contribute to the combined pool of thoughts and expertise.
If interested in either type of membership, please email Michael Santangelo, Electronic Resources Coordinator for BookOps–Library Services Center (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions about ReadersFirst, please email Michael Blackwell, Director, St Mary’s County Library (email@example.com).
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.
New This Week:
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
Last updated January 20, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on January 20, 2016.
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Join us for a demonstration of new features in the 1.5 QA release of Archivematica! We'll also discuss how you can get involved in the QA process, and what's on the horizon next for Archivematica.
Date/time: Jan. 26th, 2016 9 am PST. On January 25th you will receive an email link to the webinar.
Yesterday library executives, mayors, county executives and school superintendents met with White House officials in Washington, D.C. to discuss their participation in the ConnectED Library Challenge designed to get a library card in every student’s hand. The national initiative is gaining momentum with approximately 60 cities and counties currently participating, 50 of which were represented at the convening. The White House and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) worked with the American Library Association and the Urban Libraries Council to develop the program, one where each participating jurisdiction must have “buy in” from their local government, the school superintendent and the local public library system to support providing a public library card to students. It leverages the ability of libraries to transform the learning experience for students of all ages, not only sparking a love for reading, but offering ready access to computers to gain basic online research skills and digital literacy as well as a place to create and innovate.
ALA President Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, commented:
I know from my experience that when you link the school library, the school and the public library, that collaboration gives every student access to a rich collection of resources that improves their education.
An important factor of this initiative is that each jurisdiction is able to decide how best to provide this library access. Two examples of this are:
- In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC, they have created ONE Access, a program that uses students’ school identification numbers to access public library materials instead of a separate library card. Of the 147,000 students in their county, 100,000 have accessed Library services through this new program.
- In Washington, D.C. they have the D.C. One Card that provides access to District government facilities and programs, including public schools, recreation centers, libraries and the Metro. In an effort to increase usage, many areas including D.C., have chosen to eliminate fines for the participating students.
Some of the communities participating in this program are: Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Clinton Macomb, Columbus, Cuyahoga, D.C., Denver, Hartford, Hennepin County, Howard County, Indianapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, New Haven, Oakland, Pierce County, Pima, Pocatello, Pueblo City, Ramsey County, Columbia, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Skokie, and St. Louis.
If you were not able to participate in the live event, the morning session is available on YouTube.
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is very pleased to announce the release of its second group of Primary Source Sets about topics in US history, literature, and culture, along with new features for navigating our growing project. These sets were developed and reviewed by our Education Advisory Committee for use by students and teachers in grades 6-12 and higher education. Each set includes an overview, ten to fifteen primary sources, links to additional resources, and a teaching guide. This project was generously funded by the Whiting Foundation.
DPLA will continue adding new sets and new features to the project through Spring 2016. To learn more about DPLA’s education work, read about education projects, sign up for the education news list, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Whiting Foundation
The Whiting Foundation (www.whitingfoundation.org) has supported scholars and writers for more than forty years. This grant is part of the Foundation’s efforts to infuse the humanities into American public culture.
About the Digital Public Library of America
Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la) is a national digital library that provides access to millions of primary and secondary sources from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States.
I’m Michelle Callaghan, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.
It’s nearing the end of January and you’re probably kicking yourself for not keeping up with those New Year’s resolutions – and if you did keep up, my apologies and congratulations, but I’d say most of us have either fallen off the wagon or never had resolutions to begin with.
Resolutions are just too big!
Small goals for small periods of time that build into aspirations, on the other hand, are not only achievable but totally healthy. It’s the second week of the new semester, so the real work has probably kicked into gear. Do you know what your goals for this week are?
My goals for this week are to wrap up a short essay and ramp up thesis research.
My goal for the month is to get a chapter of my thesis written.
My goal for the year is to graduate from this Master’s program.
Do you see how this kind of scaffolded structure might be more useful to you than one overarching resolution? For one thing, goals for the week keep you working. Goals for the month give you a sense of application for that weekly grind. And your yearly goal, given it’s a goal you feel strongly about, can motivate you when your weekly goal–or even your daily goal or your hourly goal–feels all but impossible.
Context is important for motivation. What are you working toward? What do you really want, and what are you doing to achieve it?
As the wisest man among men* once said, “Do it. Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just do it. Make your dreams come true. Just do it! Some people dream of success, while you’re gonna wake up and work hard at it. Nothing is impossible. You should get to the point where anyone else would quit and you’re not going to stop there, no! What are you waiting for? Do it! Just do it! Yes you can! Just do it. If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.”
*Shia LaBeouf – I do hope the sarcasm is palpable.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
I know a lot of librarians who’ve suffered with depression or anxiety, take psychotropics, or who go to therapy. It makes me wonder if people with mental illness are drawn to librarianship in greater numbers than other professions. I was very happy — and a little trepidatious — when I saw that two fantastic librarians were organizing an LIS Mental Health Week. I think it’s great that we stamp out the stigma surrounding mental illness. Many of the most creative, brilliant, and productive people in our society have suffered from mental illness, yet admitting to being a fellow-sufferer can feel like career suicide. But it shouldn’t be, not just because it’s illegal to discriminate against people with a mental illness, but because many of the most talented and productive librarians I know suffer from mental illness. Myself included. I wonder if we’re so productive because of the tendency among the depressed and anxious to feel like we’re never doing enough. We’re never good enough. My boss recently reminded me that “this isn’t the tenure track” and that I really didn’t have to worry about getting continuous appointment. But that’s not why I work so hard. I do it because of what I might think of myself if I don’t.
I’ve never felt comfortable talking about my depression (or admitting to it) when I’m experiencing it. It’s only after I’ve clawed my way out of that hole that I can admit it ever happened. And the funny thing is that once you’re out of it, it’s hard to really make sense of the experience. A big part of depression for me involves shame. Deep, viscerally painful shame at my weakness; my inability to man up and either fix myself or seek help. Intellectually I understand that this is brain chemistry and illness and not a failure on my part, but it doesn’t change how I feel. And that’s the problem with depression. It doesn’t matter what you think and what you know, because this other irrational part of your brain is now in control of you. You make self-destructive choices that you’d never make under any other circumstances and its all driven by the fact that you feel unworthy of even feeling better.
I’ve had four bouts of major depression in my life and suffer from social anxiety (the latter of which I’m sure many who know me would find surprising). I’ve found ways to cope with the social anxiety and even to overcome it in some situations, but depression is much more problematic. I have a hard time remembering when I first started feeling depressed, but I think it was in 9th grade. I had lots of friends and fit in well and loved the arts school I was attending, but I felt alone, apart from everyone. I felt unloveable. That was when I started cutting myself, something I did on-and-off until age 20, and the scars criss-crossing my left arm are a constant visual reminder of how I tried to turn my pain inward and make it physical because that was somehow easier to process. I don’t think I really understood what depression was at the time, and at some point, I came out of it naturally and had wonderful experiences with people I’m lucky to still call my friends.
Major depression again settled on me like a shroud towards the end of my Freshman year of college, but now I had the self-awareness to know that something was wrong. By the middle of my Sophomore year, I was sleeping 12 hours a day, barely eating, and, in my waking moments, fantasized endlessly about different ways I would kill myself. That was when I called my dad and begged him to institutionalize me. He got me therapy and medication, which didn’t help, and I spent another 6 months spiraling out of control on the inside while playing the part of a successful college student on the outside. My grades never dropped. Maybe it was for the best that I stayed in school and toughed it out, but it was the most painful experience in my life and all I wanted was to take a vacation from myself. I came out of my depression the summer before my Junior year and feeling ordinary again was the most extraordinary feeling in the world.
I didn’t have another issue with depression for a decade until I had my son. I have a Masters degree in Social Work and have actually diagnosed and provided therapy to people with depression, but I still couldn’t do anything for myself. I just made myself and my husband (and probably my baby in some way) completely miserable for six months. Again, I didn’t seek help until things were so bad that I didn’t think I could be in my life anymore. This time, though, a low dose of Zoloft actually did the trick within days, and I felt like the biggest idiot in the world for spending six months suffering so horribly when a little pill could fix it for me. But that’s depression. It pulls you away from your loved ones and from your rational brain.
My last episode of depression was actually related to something that happened at Portland State. I won’t go into details, but the experience made it very clear to me that 1) allowing my work to define me was a huge problem and 2) I really needed to leave my job. 6 months later, I heard about the opening at PCC and my depression lifted as soon as I knew I had a way out. Here, I feel so supported by my colleagues and part of a team that’s doing great work for students. I also struck a healthier work-life balance when I got off the tenure track. 1.5 years in and I couldn’t be happier. This was the only depressive episode I had that was caused by a specific situational event (I suppose you could argue postpartum depression was too, but that’s really chemical/hormonal). I was ok one day and then I wasn’t. My world was full of possibilities and then it wasn’t. There was no slow ramping up to major depression; the trauma happened and BAM. I truly thought at the time that my career was over… even as I was winning the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award.
I don’t think I’ll ever let myself get to a place where a work-specific trauma (save an actual disaster) could cause depression again, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never be depressed again. I’ve done what I can to depression-proof my life, but none of us can control everything. I just hope I’ll have the strength to seek help earlier if it does happen to me again.
When my depression is at its worst, I immerse myself in work even more, so it can sometimes be difficult for colleagues to know that something is wrong. I’m super-productive, which isn’t very different from what I normally am at work. I guess the bright side of this is that I don’t inconvenience colleagues, but, while I’m getting everything done (and sometimes more), I feel even more isolated from everyone around me. It almost feels like I’m acting, playing the role of a good employee. I think I’m pretty good at it, because no one outside ever seemed to notice that I was falling apart; not when I had postpartum depression at Norwich, nor when I was at PSU. I was completely empty on the inside, but somehow still managed to look like me on the outside. What a trick.
When I’m depressed, work is almost a gift; something I absolutely have to do that keeps my mind from spinning out of control. It’s the unscheduled moments that are the worst. The evenings. The weekends. Those moments when you don’t have anything you absolutely have to do, so instead you sit and essentially bask in your pain. I have terrible memories of sitting in the dark in college staring at nothing for hours as my mind spun and spun. Being depressed is so much more difficult when you have children, because you have to try and keep things together, even at home. I think that was the hardest part with my last experience of depression; that my son knew something was up. Shame upon shame.
If people learn anything from this, I hope it’s that not seeking help when you’re starting to be depressed is the worst thing you can do. It’s easy to ignore depression as it slowly creeps in or to think it’s something you can just power your way out of. Often it’s not until things are really bad that you realize you need help, and by then, you’re often at a place that is both dangerous and hard to come back from. I have a hard time asking for help even when I’m not depressed and this is a character flaw of which I’ve been trying to cure myself. There is no shame in seeking help; in fact, it takes great strength to do so. Don’t let shame or denial or negative self-talk keep you from things that could help you get out of depression.
To those who aren’t depressed, you should know that people manifest depression in many different ways. Not everyone fits the stereotype of the weepy zombie who can’t get out of bed. Depression can look like anger, insecurity, numbness, overcompensation, extreme sadness, etc. We all cope (or try to cope) with it in our own ways. Also, don’t assume that a colleague who is depressed is a liability, though, yes, some people may not perform at 100% when they’re depressed, like anyone with a physical illness. You may be surprised that some of the most productive librarians you know and maybe admire are suffering from depression, and that relentless productivity is just a symptom. Your best bet: 1) don’t make assumptions and 2) if you see a colleague’s behavior changing in a way that seems concerning, talk to them. I would have been so grateful if someone (other than my husband who is a saint) had reached out to me.
To everyone suffering from depression right now: you are not alone. Get help.
Some other great blog posts from this week so far:
- When burnout obscures major depression: a #LISMentalHealth week post
- #LISMentalHealth and the state of me
- (My) Chronic and Mental illness story – #LISMentalHealth
- Working on it
- All that you leave behind
And follow (and participate if so inclined) in the Twitter discussion: #LISMentalHealth.
Gratitude to Cecily Walker and Kelly McElroy for calling us together for LIS Mental Health Week 2016.
Pondering my bona fides. I will say this: the black dog is my constant companion. I cannot imagine life without that weight.
I am afraid to say more too openly.
I will deflect, then, but in a way that I hope is useful to others.
Consider this: I am certain, as much as I am certain of anything, that my profession has killed at least three men of my acquaintance.
A mentor. A friend. A colleague who I did not know as well as I would have liked, but who I respected.
All of whom were loved. All of whom had the respect of their colleagues — and the customers they served.
All of whom cared, deeply. Too much? I cannot say.
I have been working in library automation long enough to have become a member of that strange group of folks who have their own lore of long nights, of impossible demands and dilemmas, of being at once part of and separate from the overall profession of librarianship. Long enough to have seen friends and colleagues pass away, and to know that my list of the departed will only lengthen.
But these men? All I know is that they left us, or were taken, too soon — and that I can all too easily imagine circumstances where they could have stayed longer. (But please, please don’t take this as an expression of blame.)
I am haunted by the others whom I don’t know, and never will.
I cannot reconcile myself to this. If this blog post were a letter, it would be spotted by my tears.
But I can make a plea.
The relationship between librarians and their vendors is difficult and fraught. It is all to easy to demonize vendors — but sometimes, enmity is warranted; more often, adversariality at least is; and accountability: always. Thus do the strictures of the systems we live in constrain us and alienate us from one another.
At times, circumstances may not permit warmth or even much kindness. But please remember this, if not for me, for the memory of my absent friends: humans occupy both ends of the library/vendor relationship. Humans.
This update includes a new tool, changes to the merge tool, and a behavior change in the MARCEngine. You can see the change log at:
- Windows/Linux: http://marcedit.reeset.net/software/update.txt
- Mac OSX: http://marcedit.reeset.net/software/mac.txt
You can get the update through MarcEdit’s automated update mechanism or from: http://marcedit.reeset.net/downloads/
SAVE THE DATE…
Replacement Parts. The Ethics of Procuring and Replacing Organs in Humans. Friday, January 29 at 3:00 p.m. in Room 205. Scholarship@Villanova lecture featuring Arthur L. Caplan, PhD; The Rev. James J. McCartney, OSA; and Daniel P. Reid ‘14 CLAS. Dr. Caplan, an internationally recognized bioethicist, along with co-editors Father McCartney and Reid, will discuss their collection of essays from medicine, philosophy, economics and religion that address the ethical challenges raised by organ transplantation. Questions? Contact: Sally Scholz
Happening @ ‘Nova
Be sure to check out these noteworthy events that are taking place on Villanova’s campus this week!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration: 1/19
Join the Center for Peace and Justice Education as they welcome MK Asante as the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. keynote speaker on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. in the Villanova Room. MK Asante is an associate professor of English (Morgan State), author, filmmaker, and rapper. He is most well-known for his best-selling memoir, Buck. Questions? Contact: Sharon Discher
Dispatch from the Climate Summit: 1/19
Hear first-hand about the agreement coming out of December’s Paris Climate Summit. Anthony Giancatarino, Policy Director for the Center for Inclusion in NYC, participated in the Summit and will discuss his experience. This is the first event in a series titled “Care for our Common Home: Multi-faith Views on Climate Justice.” The event will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 12:45-2 p.m., St. Rita Community Center. A light Lunch provided – RSVP to email@example.com Questions? Contact: Julia Sheetz
Spring Career Fairs: 2/2 & 2/3
The Career Center is hosting the 2016 Spring Career Fairs on 2/2 and 2/3. Tuesday, Feb. 2: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Communication, Marketing & Media; Tuesday, Feb. 2: 3–6 p.m. Finance, Accounting & Consulting; Wednesday, Feb. 3: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Engineering, Science, & Technology. All fairs are held in The Villanova Room. Questions? Contact: Sheila Doherty
What Could Be Better Than Two New Printers?
Three new printers have replaced the two public printers on Falvey’s first floor. Although the new printers are smaller than the previous ones, their speed is about the same. Most importantly, three machines provide a much greater capacity.
If a printer needs paper, has an error message, has a paper jam, or has any other problem, please notify the Service Desk Supervisor.
Falvey staff received specialized training from the supplier on how to service these new machines. Having only trained personnel service the printers will ensure that repairs are accurate and quick and that the printers will avoid chronic problems in the future.
Library staff welcome this improvement to our services and remain committed to your success!
PICTURES FOR DAYS
Do you like images? How about high quality, copyright-free images? Do you want them right now!? Check out what the New York Public Library has to offer. Spoiler alert: they have 180,000 high resolution images in public domain easily accessible from their website, featuring items from their New York City collection, historical maps, illustrations, texts – “just go forth and reuse!” they say. You can check out Walt Whitman’s manuscript, medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, and 19th-20th century stereoscopic views.
DID YOU KNOW you could be the one who names the next neologism?
From across the pond, Cambridge Dictionaries Online includes the following from 2015:
digital amnesia (“the inability to remember basic things, such as telephone numbers, dates, etc. as a result of over-reliance on mobile phones, the Internet etc. for storing information”),
fitspo (“informal short for ‘fitspiration’; the inspiration to get fit and strong”) and
simulator sickness (“a nauseous feeling caused by moving your head too fast while playing a virtual reality, simulation, game”).
Banished words?—Perhaps calling them “overused” would be more accurate. Lake Superior State University in Michigan publishes a list of words and phrases that should be retired, including manspreading, physicality and “break the internet.”
Whether you’re a logophile, a neophile or just a curious person, you’ll be entertained by these lists of latecomers to our lexicon.
“Who exactly are the ‘intellectuals’?” Human beings have possessed an intelligence beyond that of animals for millions of years. So what separates the intellectuals from the rest of humanity? According to the author of Birth of the Intellectuals, Christophe Charle, the term came into use with the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal in France that divided the country for more than 50 years, and “signified a cultural and political vanguard who dared to challenge the status quo.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Poet and author Edgar Allan Poe was born on this day in 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. Perhaps you are familiar with “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” or “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He is known for his dark, mysterious, and sometimes macabre stories. Did you know there is an Edgar Allan Poe museum in Richmond, Virginia?
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door—
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
from “The Raven”
Have an excellent day! Feel free to comment your thoughts and ideas for future editions of The 8:30 below.