I came across an article today at techno-geek site Ars Technica about a new initiative by the German National Library. The Library wants to archive blogs, which is reasonable enough, but through an odd piece of legislation, it appears that they have the authority to require that bloggers deposit their writing in the archives. If bloggers don’t comply, they could face a fine of up to 10 000 euros. From Ars Technica:
The law indicates that interfering with the Deutsche Bibliothek’s activities is an administrative offense, one punishable by fines of up to €10,000. Fears apparently spread that the bloggers would be facing a stark choice: hand over all their past material in an archive-worthy form, or face a hefty fine.
I’m all for archiving blogs – it’s great that national libraries are considering online material as an important source of information. If anyone wants to archive the posts I’ve made public on this blog, they’re certainly welcome to do so! Fining bloggers for not actively submitting their material would be silly, but fortunately it doesn’t seem that this will actually happen. It’s important to be aware of the power held by institutions, but we also need to realize that no one from the German National Library has actually threatened to take advantage of this power.
As I briefly mentioned earlier when writing about Zotero, Thomson Reuters, owners of EndNote, is suing George Mason University, creators of Zotero. It seems that the lawsuit is going ahead, with recent statements having been released by both parties. As reported by Disruptive Library Technology Jester:
George Mason University issued a statement this morning regarding the lawsuit filed against it by the Thomson Scientific division of Reuters. It looks like GMU intends to fight the lawsuit. It has restored the functionality that allowed Zotero to understand the EndNote® citation style file format and announced that it will not renew its site license for Zotero.
In a comment to this post, Allison noted that Thomson Reuters has issued a response:
The Scientific business of Thomson Reuters has initiated a law suit against George Mason University (GMU) because of violations of the terms and conditions of the EndNote® Desktop license agreement.
Thomson Reuters VP, Business Strategy and Development, Dave Kochalko said, “Simply put, we strongly believe that the creators of Zotero have reverse engineered our software code which enables EndNote’s bibliographic formatting capability. These format files only exist as software code; there is no content or information independent of lines of code and these files can only be interpreted by the computer. A key value of EndNote is its ability to format a bibliography within a manuscript and the format files are integral to that capability. We have talented employees who have invested many years in building this resource for the EndNote community.”
Librarians, future and current, listen up! When you see adorable little grade 3 students in your library, do you fear for the security of your collections? You might change your mind after reading this story of schoolchildren turned hardened criminals (via Life as I Know It):
Our elementary principal broke up a crime ring last week.
She happened upon some 2nd and 3rd grade students, participants in an after school activity, who were “stealing” from the library. The object of their villainy? Not books, but the old sign-out cards still found in some of the volumes.