A Few Updates on Previous Posts

Some news this week brings a variety of issues back into focus.

February 5, 2015

Not long ago I wrote about the debate between the Standards for Information Literacy Competency in Higher Education, adopted in 2000, and a new Framework for Information Literacy that takes quite a different shape and approach. The suspense is over. The framework was adopted at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. But because quite a few librarians felt we were rushing to abandon something they found useful for something they found less practical, we’re not replacing the Standards with the Framework, at least not yet.  Scholarship, according to the Framework, is a conversation. Apparently we need more of it to come to a decision that will satisfy academic librarians who were not happy about the idea of having the Standards sunset. Meredith Farkas has some interesting things to say about this.

I've written before about two lawsuits brought in Canada against librarians. Both have been in the news again. Dale Askey, a librarian who shared his professional (low) opinion of Mellen Press on a blog before moving north of the border was sued by the owner of the press, as was the Canadian university that had hired him. Askey has announced that the suit against him is now settled. No win on either side in the courts, but it is a relief for those of us who support Askey and any other professional who shares a considered and informed analysis and shouldn't be punished for it. He's had to go through some harrowing times. My hat's off to him.   

I’ve also supported two librarians who are collectively known as #Teamharpy who have been hit with what many of us consider a SLAPP suit designed to chill speech (something librarians generally oppose).  At this point, the court is considering the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. This involves cross examination of witnesses for #teamharpy, which means they have to travel to the court. The upshot is that this is costing people money, so I’m going to put a little of my money where my mouth is. Other supporters may want to make a donation, too. 

Quite a while ago I wrote about the value I see in net neutrality. The president came out supporting it (after millions of citizens did). Now the chair of the FCC has decided, after his previous middle-ground solution failed in the courts, that the best way to promote net neutrality is by returning classification of the Internet to Title II of the Telecommunications Act, where it had been until 2002. Naturally, the big companies that control so much of our access are raising alarm that regulation will kill their incentives to improve Internet access, but given how crappy our Internet service compared to other countries has been under the less-regulated Title I, the record fails to support their argument. Let’s hope the FCC sees things the same way as the chairman.

Finally in the "good news" department, I've been a long-term fangirl of Project Information Literacy and its principle investigator and visionary, Alison Head. This week sees a new article she has written with Michele Van Hoeck and Deborah S. Garson that analyzes what studies have found about lifelong learning and where there are gaps in the research. I have found Alison Head's previous research in this area so helpful and keep wondering how to make undergraduate research experiences more durably valuable - and whether we actually live up to our claims that academic libraries can contribute to preparing students to be curious and able to explore ideas post-graduation.  

Thanks to all the Tweeters and posters and news organizations that make it possible to keep up with news as it unfolds. Did my formal education and all the hours I spent in the library prepare me to keep learning about these issues using media that didn't exist back in the day? I've always assumed so, but to go by Head et al's meta-analysis, the research is still out. 

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