Barbara Fister

I'm a librarian who works at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and and a writer of blog posts, articles, grocery lists, columns, twitter posts, and mysteries

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The content of the Library Babel Fish blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. I'm grateful to Inside Higher Ed for being so open-minded and progressive about these things. Feel free to share, reuse, and remix. Attribution would be appreciated.

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Most Recent Articles

May 26, 2011
I seem unable to develop a sustained argument about anything right now, so - oh, look, a butterfly! Instead here are some random thoughts. This is more or less my brain on RSS feeds. First, the bad news:
May 17, 2011
For the last couple of weeks I've been acting cynical and complaining about our cult of excess information when what we need is access to information in a way that's sustainable and not quite as likely as the current state of affairs to make my head explode.
May 11, 2011
Last week, I confessed to having something of a crisis of faith. I was attending a fascinating workshop on library publishing services.
May 5, 2011
I am feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance. I just sent off a list of talking points for a board meeting of our friends group, which works hard to support the library and would like to hear some cheering news about what that support means. Because I'm out of town, a colleague will be talking to our friends, and I just remembered--whoops--I had promised to give her some ideas.That's really not hard, because the friends group supports a lot of neat things.
April 28, 2011
Some end-of-the-week reflections on the uses of college students as human shields for stupid decisions:
April 19, 2011
I’ve been mulling over a couple of documents that have generated a lot of chatter in my online circles in the past couple of weeks.
April 12, 2011
I recently returned from a brief encounter with some fascinating ideas at “4Cs” – the annual meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication.
April 7, 2011
My friend Steve Lawson made an interesting discovery the other day as he did the kind of research one naturally does when working as a librarian at a liberal arts college.
March 28, 2011
I am a huge fan of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act. The right of the people to request information from public officials is an important tool for journalism, research, and activism. That’s why, as I read responses to a political group’s request for e-mail correspondence from a state employee, my knee does not begin to jerk convulsively. I don’t think, “e-mail!? That’s outrageous!
March 23, 2011
When Google launched what Jeffrey Toobin called "Google's Moon Shot" - its audacious move to digitize the holdings of research libraries in order to make them searchable, Google argued that they were indexing books, not sharing copies of them, so it wasn't infringement. That argument never made it to court. As Toobin predicted in 2007, Google would settle out of court. And, as Patricia Schroeder, then president of the Association of American Publishers, told Toobin, it wouldn't be a settlement designed for the public good. “This is basically a business deal," she said.

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