Copyright infringers to have their service cut off

Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh 1904 -1967 who's estate had been subject to copyright issues.

Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh 1904 -1967 who's estate had been subject to copyright issues.

On my recent visit to Dublin I was interested to read in the Irish Times on Monday  24th May, about what appears to be a highly-significant ruling by the Irish High Court and one which could set a precendent across Europe for curtailing online music theft and intellectual property right infringment. The Irish internet service provider Eircom Ireland (defendent) reached an agreement with plaintiffs; EMI Records Ireland Limited, SonyMusic Ireland, Universal Music and Warner Music, whereby copyright infringers are identified and after a warning letter their connection to the internet will cease. Eircom (not the only internet service provider in Ireland) has undertaken to clamp down on a percentage of offenders as part of the settlement. The implications are potentially far reaching and many are watching closely to see how workable the arrangement might be. If it proves to be a deterrent then it is likely that other ISPs across the EU may come under pressure to put similar systems in place.

The Irish Times paper reported the court ruling here.

The full ruling from the Irish High Court can be found here

The digital information seeker, the library and the future.

Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Timothy J. Dickey, from OCLC Research have authored a paper for JISC on information seeking behaviours in academic libraries titled: The Digital Information Seeker: Report of the Findings from Selected OCLC, RIN, and JISC User Behaviour Projects available here

The now sadly typical, yet nonetheless critical, issue of information literacy is of course evident in this report but of equal interest is what seems  like a list of issues emerging for academic libraries, which are repeated below.

  • Library systems must do better at providing seamless access to resources such as full-text e-journals, online foreign-language materials, e-books, a variety of electronic publishers’ platforms and virtual reference desk services
  • Library catalogues need to include more direct links to resources and more online content
  • Libraries should provide more digital resources of all kinds, from e-journals to curated data sets, as well as emerging services such as virtual research environments (VREs), open source materials, non-text-based and multimedia objects, and blogs
  • Library systems must be prepared for changing user behaviours, which include advanced search options, demands for immediate access and quick perusal of resources
  • Library systems need to look and function more like search engines (eg Google) and popular web services (eg Amazon.com), as these are familiar to users who are comfortable and confident in using them
  • High-quality metadata is becoming more important for discovery of appropriate resources
  • Librarians must now consider the implications of power browsing behaviours
  • Students need more guidance and clarity on how to find content and how to assess its worth as well as its relevance
  • The library must advertise its brand and its resources better to academics, researchers and students, demonstrating its value clearly and unambiguously

Could “Edgeless University” debate begin to shift the sector?

• Collaboration is vital for the survival of universities

• Existing funding arrangements stifle universities’ potential for creativity and innovation

• The US model of higher education is an example of how cooperation and competition can breed excellence

• The most competitive institutions are the most collaborative

Just some of the discussion points from a recent symposium on the future of Higher Educaiton facilitated by Education Guardian and JISC see here for the Guardian’s report.
‘The context for discussion was set by the recent Demos pamphlet by Peter Bradwell, The Edgeless University, which argues that the current financial crisis in higher education presents an opportunity for the “rebirth” of universities if they are willing to collaborate, embrace technology and offer more flexible provision.’
The Edgeless University –  is well worth a read and while it only begins to scratch the surface (presumably it had to be in the ‘quick reads’ category for important people to find the time to read it) it does make a good start. The Guardian debate itself seems to have taken it further even if the timing is not good with UK Higher (and Further) Education, sandwiched bewteen economic gloom and a general  election. The  danger is that what should be seen as a great  opportunity may instead be seen as a threat.

Note: The original article in the Education Guardian listed the participants and these can be found by following this link to the “At the table” article

Into the Woods – David Hockney in Yorkshire

David Hockney, Bigger Trees Near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post- photographique, 2007.

David Hockney, Bigger Trees Near Warter or/ou Peinture sur le motif pour le nouvel age post- photographique, 2007. Photo by David Hockney / Richard Schmidt, © David Hockney

The frontcover of the latest edition of the journal Modern Painters (April 2010), shelved face-on in the serials section of the Art Library, 6th Floor Grove Library, caught my eye as it carries a photograph of our most distinguished alumnus – David Hockney. Marina Cashdan’s feature article on the 72 year-old Bradford painter and digital technology enthusiast is based on a recent interview at the artist’s home in Bridlington.

While the piece carries some interesting aspects of Hockney’s character (where perhaps his Englishness is accentuated by/for this New York-centric journal) what is of real interest to me are the techniques he uses to construct his paintings. The image above is compiled of 50 smaller canvases (36×48 inches).

As the article explains “He transports the canvases to the woods and paints en plein air, mounting one or more at a time onto easels. Returning to his studio at the end of the day, he combines them to form giant multicanvas pictures. Bigger Trees Near Warter, 2007, which debuted in the Royal Academy’s 2007 summer show, is composed of 50 canvases measuring a combined 15 by 40 feet and controversially took up an entire wall in the main gallery (“I didn’t want any other works to go up next to it,” Hockney says mischievously).”

The current issue of Modern Painters is available in the College Grove Library along with a number of other art journals and an excellent collection of art books. To access the journal online visit the ArtInfo website.

Appleton Academy and the Public Library

As noted in an earlier post, with Bradford College as the sponsor, I am on the governing body of the Appleton Academy. I also attend the design group meetings where for the past year or so we have been looking, along with representatives of the Bradford public library service at the feasibility of developing a joint-use facility. With the high number of stakeholders involved the process has been complex and at times difficult. The local public library in Wyke has been in need of repair for some time and the main impetus for the local authority has been to see a new library for the community. The Academy, unique for its all-through provision,  in turn sees benefits in having a prestigious community library provision within its building offering extended out of hours services. Bradford College sees the potential for lifelong learning provision within this community venue.

The potential for economies of scale through linkages, both physical and strategic , between the Academy’s learning resource centre and the public library will now be realised following a decision by the Bradford Council’s Executive on March 30th to go ahead with its part of the scheme.

Professionally the challenge for those of us involved is to design and deliver a superb facility fit for the local community.

Bradford Textile Archive

I was very pleased to be invited onto the board of the Bradford Textile Archive and to be involved in its future. As a librarian it is deeply exciting to come into contact with primary source material and a professional challenge to ensure the integrity of the collection is not simply preserved but, rather more importantly, is exploited to the full for the local people and for those further afield who have a genuine interest in the collection. Moreover the technical difficulties of digitising materials that are essentially appreciated through 3D rather than 2D photography make for interesting times ahead.

No time has been wasted in getting a bid organised to a national agency for some funding to digitise the collection and that has already been submitted. Also on the international front we are developing a bid through a consortium of educational establishments including Universities from Serbia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Japan to digitise and disseminate the collection more widely.

A brief description of the Bradford Textile Archive is reproduced here from its publicity brouchure:

The wide assortment of material comprising the Bradford College Textile Archive is symbolic of Bradford’s rich heritage and current regeneration. The collection has steadily been accumulating since the Bradford Technical School opened its doors in 1882, to deliver textiles education and training to support local industry and owes much to the support and patronage of former students of the College and also to those in the local textiles industry who have over the years generously donated materials and artefacts. The collection continues to be used by local students and in turn, they contribute examples of their own work, thus continuing to build the collection with contemporary products. Community members are continuing to donate to the archive, the most recent being costume from a member of Bradford’s German community. The Bradford College Textile Archive consists of a diverse range of textiles and related materials from fine silk jacquards, rayon, velvets, mohair and woollens and worsteds dating from over the last 150 years. The collection includes twenty-six bound volumes of Textile Fabrics of India, demonstrating the strong ties between the Bradford Textile industry and the Indian sub continent; unique student work books dating from the mid to late Victorian period; a comprehensive range of text books, journals and other printed publications; approximately 10,000 samples drawn from manufacturers pattern books including Bilbille and other international forecasting references, a large number of fabric sample books including the collections of Hind Robinson and Denholme Velvets; and a collection of records, minute books, ledgers and cash books from various textile organisations. The collection has recently been re-housed in the college building affectionally known as The Old Building which was originally built in 1882 for the “purpose of imparting to youths, artisans and others, technical and scientific, artistic and general instruction” in textile manufacturing.

Art Libraries Quarterly

Two articles in the quarterly Art Libraries Journal Volume 35, No. 1, 2010, published by ARLIS caught my attention. It is actually a special issue titled Plus ca change? and carries (mostly revisions of) papers form the ARLIS UK & Ireland’s Cambridge conference 2009: Tradition and transformation.

The first piece to attract my attention was by  Karen Latimer Librarian at Queens University Belfast Medical Library – Redefining the library: current trends in library design. This a very well written overview of recent library architecture in the context of changes to learning and teaching brought about by technology.

The second piece is by Melissa Terras – Senior Lecturer at the Dept. of Information Studies at UCL – Should we just send a copy? Digitisation, usefulness and users. This tells the story of digitisation using the popularity of the Mona Lisa image as a device for explaining the issues associated with the preservation or representation of cultural heritage; it also touches on issues of retrieval – but the central question “Should we just send a copy?” remains fundamental to many other aspects of our profession.