Archive for juli, 2015

juli 28, 2015

WikiLeaks, Or How the Sad Story of Librarians’ Uncritical Attitude Toward Governmental Information Continues

wikileaks logoAbout this blog

Reading the recent extensive interview with Julian Assange in ”Der Spiegel” I cannot help remembering ”The Sad Story of Librarians’ Uncritical Attitude Toward Governmental Information” (see BTS blog July 24, 2015). And vice versa: Anders’ blog-entry inevitably makes me think about WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks is a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents. We give asylum to these documents, analyze them, promote them and obtain more. WikiLeaks has more than 10 million documents and associated analyses now,

notes Assange in the middle of the Spiegel interview. Well, what do we find in this ”giant library” of WikiLeaks, if not the digital equivalent of megatonnes of governmental information (sometimes bundled with corporate files and emails)? In The Library, however, the efforts that WikiLeaks has put in promoting these documents, although widely noted by the media and in governmental circles, have so far not been crowned with success. No, the librarians have showed a hypercritical—actually a more than critical—attitude; they have ignored and rejected the governmental information from WikiLeaks. (In some cases they have even actively blocked access to it through their libraries; click here for an example.)


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juli 24, 2015

The Sad Story of Librarians’ Uncritical Attitude Toward Governmental Information

One proud example of librarians NOT being uncritical and indifferent toward Govt info

The fight against The Patriot Act: One proud example of librarians NOT being uncritical and indifferent toward Govt info

About this blog

I admit having been a crude moralist toward my librarian colleagues for years. It all started back in 2001 when I wrote a book, “-Videst mulig informasjon-” (in Norwegian only) on the sad story of many librarians’ indifferent and uncritical attitude toward governmental information, which is of course very often the propaganda of the majority of the city council or the parliament and government.

My article ‘Information Services and the Independent Public Library’ is a summary in English of this book, published in Information for Social Change (ISC) No. 18, Winter 2003 (pdf). Page 24 ff.


“… by presenting official [governmental] information as a genre of its own similar to fiction and non-fiction and without offering any contrary information on the same subject, librarians are in my opinion failing in their duty. An absence of conflicting views is harmful to social processes and leads to a more superficial democracy.  … I also maintain that public libraries and their staff together with their national professional bodies reveal an attitude towards the authorities and their information activities which is uncritical and sometimes purely subservient. When loyalty is challenged there is a tendency towards self-censorship. Furthermore, any signs of tackling these problems have been ignored by central library forums”.

Read the full text of the book at the National Library, however available for Norwegian IPs only.

Anders E.

juli 21, 2015

The Monroeville HOT TOPICS – Far From Just Another Link Collection

Mark hudson

Mark Hudson with analogue resources in the reference area of Monroeville Public Library

Right at front when you open the website of Monroeville Public Library, Pennsylvania (no, not that Monroeville, fellow literature lovers), you are introduced to the library’s ‘Hot Topics’; i.e. sets of Web resources on local, national and international current issues. It was after my blog post two weeks ago, ‘How a Public Library Can Improve Public Participation and Democracy’, I was informed about ‘Hot Topics’ by Mark Hudson, Adult Services Librarian in Monroeville. He is one of the librarians responsible for Hot Topics.

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juli 15, 2015

The Public Library – The Research Centre of the People

Summer means reruns on all channels. On this blog I have the pleasure of reminding of and introducing to younger readers a much quoted (at least on this blog) article by Swedish author Sven Lindqvist from 1989: “How Public are Public Libraries”. The article is marked by being written about 5 years before the World Wide Web started showing its potential, however Lindqvist’s idea of the public library as the “research centre of the people”, launched in this article and in a number of speeches, stands firm:

“Libraries should become popular research centres which not only supply sources of information, but also produce the basic data one needs to ex­press one’s opinions on different issues. As we know, political power in a so­ciety like ours largely depends on who controls the investigation processes. To­day only the state, local authorities, en­terprises and large organizations have these resources at their disposal. … municipal libraries should be given the resources to help environ­mental groups and other pressure groups, local associations, village com­munities and trade union branches to obtain the information they need, in about the same ways as the parliamen­tary information service helps the parliamentary parties with investigations in various questions”.

“For fifty years Sven Lindqvist’s books have been the centre of literary and political controversy in Sweden”. He is the author of 33 books, mostly non-fiction, out of which 15 are translated to English (see even interview in The Guardian, 2012). He has for decades been a strong library advocate and was for years member of the Board of the Swedish National Library.

The article was first printed in Scandinavian Public Library Quarterly #3, 1989. I republish the article with permission of the author and of the journal (renamed Scandinavian Library Quarterly (SLQ) since 2012). Read the whole article below.

For our Scandinavian readers I even republish my interview with Sven Lindqvist in the Norwegian journal “Bok og bibliotek” #5-6, 1994 (pdf-file). See even at (Norwegian IPs only).

Anders E.

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juli 6, 2015

Bibliotekens eboksamlingar: Var blev dom av?

washington 2001 ala ebøker

Alt i 2001 var bibliotekkongressen i USA dominert av den fantastiske e-boka. Men “Var blev dom av?

En låntagare går längs bibliotekshyllorna och finner boken hon vill läsa. Hon griper efter den, men den upplöser sig och försvinner mellan hennes fingrar. Nästa bok som hon vill läsa går inte att öppna. Helgalet? Kanske det, men så kan det bli i framtidens bibliotek.

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juli 2, 2015

How a Public Library Can Improve Public Participation and Democracy

Manufacturing_Consent_movie_posterAbout this blog

The Library Takes Up the Case (LTC) – this is the name chosen for a new kind (however based on traditional library principles) of Web-based knowledge portal that libraries should start offering to their communities, for the purpose of meeting one of the major challenges of our time; the uncertain future of public participation and true democracy.

The abundance of information on the Web and in media conceals the fact that news and data are often insufficient, unbalanced and/or very complex and, often as a result, poorly or not at all organised. Dealing with such deficiencies has always been part of the library mission and libraries should be the first to take action.

One method may be the LTC – a most concise and user-friendly web portal. In short an LTC portal should contain links to major documents and facts in specific cases and debates.

You find below a suggestion of elements of an LTC.

Why this kind of library service?

Click the link and

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