ER&L 2014 — Mining and Application of Diverse Cultural Perspectives in User-Generated Content

“Coal Mining in Brazil” by United Nations Photo

Speaker: Brent Hecht, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

His research is at the junction of human/computer interaction, geography, and big data. What you won’t see here is libraries.

Wikipedia has revolutionized computing in two ways: getting users to a large repository of knowledge and by being hugely popular with many people. In certain cases it has become the brains of modern computing.

However, it’s written by people who exist in a complex cultural context: region, gender, religion, etc. The cultural biases of Wikipedia have an impact on related computer processes. Librarians and educators are keenly aware of the caveats of Wikipedia such as accuracy and depth, but we also need to think about cultural bias.

Wikipedia exists in a large number of languages. Not much has been understood about the relationships between them until recently. Computer scientists assume that larger language editions are supersets of smaller ones and conceptually consistent across them. Social scientists know that each cultural communities defines things differently, and will cover unique sets of concepts. Several studies have looked into this.

A vast majority of concepts appear in only one language. Only a fraction of a percent are in all languages.

If you only read the English article about a concept that has an article in at least one other language edition, you are missing about 29% of the information that you could have gotten if you could read that other article.

Some of the differences are due to cultural factors. Each language edition will have a bias towards countries where the language is prominent.

What can we do if we take advantage of this? Omnipedia tries to break down the language silos to provide a diverse repository of world knowledge, and highlights the similarities and differences between the versions. The interface can be switched to display and search in any of the 25 languages covered.

Search engines are good for closed informational requests and navigational queries, but not so great for exploratory search. Atlasify tries to map concepts to regions. When the user clicks on entities in the map, it will display (in natural language) the relationship between the query and the location. They know this kind of mapping doesn’t work for every concept, but the idea of mapping search query concepts can be applied to other visualizations like the periodic tables or congressional seat assignments.

Bear in mind, though, that all of these tools are sensitive to the biases of their data sources. If they use only the English Wikipedia, they can miss important pieces, or worse, perpetuate the cultural biases.

NASIG 2013: Model Licenses and License Templates — Present and Future

“Files” by Claire Asher

Speaker: Liane Taylor

Don’t make it into a spreadsheet when creating model licences. Think creatively. Check lists, ERM records, HTML pages, etc. Does it need to be shared? Will you be copying from it to send to licencors for negotiation? Also, find out if there is standard language for IT that your institution uses. Review model licenses from the field.

LibLicense (2008) is a great site for model licenses and examples, but instead of keeping it up to date, Ann Okerson has updated NERL (11/2012), so that’s the most recent example to use. Licensing Models (10/2009) was created by John Cox to host a series of model licenses based on library type, and has been kept updated. California Digital Library licensing kit is from 2011, but is mostly kept current. Taylor has compiled how each model handled each section, and will be making it more public soon.

Things are changing, though, and we’re licensing new things that we don’t yet know how to handle them. Data, images, streaming collections, etc. When exceptions become the rule, what do we do?

If you have all of this figured out, put it out there in a discoverable way so the rest of us don’t spin our wheels reinventing your brilliance. Community! Communication! Collaboration!

Do we need to have new standard licensing language for….? Autorenewal — replace it with language about mutual written agreement. Alumni might have access three months post graduation because of the way IT is set up, which might be a license violation. New vendors might not be familiar with libraries and who our authorized users might be. New uses/rights: repository, text mining, use on website/promotional materials, rip & stream on secure server, cloud hosting/distribution of CD-ROMs.

Where do we go from here? How do we as a community keep our resources up to date? Should we have more of a shared collection of exceptions? What can we do to help each other?

thing 16: wikis

One thing I have learned from participating in several wiki projects — from Wikipedia to my libraries’ FAQ/Policies wikis — is that it takes a lot of work to populate and maintain a useful wiki. One of my favorite uses of a wiki is Whole Wheat Radio (which seems to have disappeared recently).

The streaming radio station out of Talkeenta, Alaska, switched over to using a wiki to maintain information about the artists played and available albums/tracks. Users could contribute as much information as they wanted to. For a while, I was addicted to adding content to it. Part of why I haven’t listened much in the past few months is because I would easily spend an hour or two adding data to the site every time I turned on the stream.

If the site ever comes back, I recommend you check it out. Aside from the wiki aspect, anyone can play DJ and pick the songs they want to have broadcast. Pretty cool!

side note: It appears that the music, at least, is still streaming.

Learning 2008: Copywrong – Web 2.0 and Collaborative Multimedia Resources

Presenters: Paul Porterfield, Allison Czapracki, & Linda Fairtile

Fair use is not a right, it is a legal defense. That is something to keep in mind when using copyrighted materials in the classroom. Make sure you understand the circumstances and restrictions that allow for fair use before you do anything with copyrighted material.

PD Info is a website that provides information about music that is in the public domain, but they note that while some printed music is in the public domain, there is virtually no recorded music that is not covered by copyright. (Creative Commons licensed music is still covered by copyright, but the owner has assigned certain aspects of those rights to others.)

The UR Music Library maintains a server that provides streaming audio of recordings for educational use for specific courses. There are also resources such as Alexander Street Press’ American Song collection that provides streaming audio, as well as additional information about the recordings.

Public domain resources can be found all over the web. LibriVox is a site that provides free audio recordings of public domain works. Project Gutenberg provides ebook versions of public domain works.

Creative Commons is a way to allow others to use your work in whatever way you allow. This is a great tool for collaboration and new creations derived from old, just like the old days before copyright. Students need to know that they can use many CC licensed works in their assignments and presentations, and as long as they follow the license terms, they don’t need to worry about whether or not it falls under fair use. Allison has several sources for locating CC licensed or copyright-free media.

#7

Heads up, librarians — this may be of interest to you. My review of Wikipedia – the Missing Manual by John Broughton was published this weekend on Blogcritics. There has been some discussion among the profession about our relationship to Wikipedia, ranging from warnings against using it to calls for librarian contributions to the content. For those interested in the latter, I recommend picking up a copy of this book (your library should have one, too).

…Wikipedia has plenty of documentation on how to edit itself, and if you are willing to find your way through all of that, you may not want to read this book. I have muddle through a few Wikipedia contributions (both new pages and copy edits on existing ones) without this book, but in reading it, I frequently found myself making notes of things to look up later or tweaks I could do to make editing easier. The book does not contain anything you probably would not find on Wikipedia. Instead, it takes that information and lays it out in a workflow that is designed to take the novice user from ignorance to full-on Wikipedia-obsessed editing.