Thursday, April 23, 2009

proud colleagues

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is receiving this year's Media Award from the East Kentucky Leadership Foundation tonight in Hazard, Ky. "The Institute serves as a public policy center to help rural journalists grasp the local impact of broader issues, find sources, and develop new story approaches," reports Marie Luby of WYMT-TV in Hazard.

The Institute is being recognized for its role helping rural journalists tackle tough stories and keeping rural communities informed. "It's a lot more difficult to be a good, ethical, hard-nosed journalist in a small town than it is a big city because you never know when someone's going to come in, walk right in to your office, no receptionist or security guard, and start banging on your desk about something you wrote," IRJCI Director Al Cross told Luby.

The Institute was founded by the University of Kentucky in 2001 and staffed in 2004 with the hiring of Cross, thanks to a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Its initial focus was on Appalachia, and though it quickly became a national program, the region and the state are its homes. The university has adopted the program, which is raising money for an endowment to expand its work. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The last post seems to have gotten some heated debate started. Though good debate can be a healthy practice, and we usually live for it, it certainly wasn't the intention of the post to cause hurt feelings. What was also not intentional was to imply that NDNP alone has its finger on the pulse of good preservation or access. Clearly, that's how we were interpreted and, for that, our apologizes.

At it's most fundamental level NDNP has a single directive; to digitize and maintain in perpetuity the nation's public domain historic newspapers. It is not subject to private sector stewardship...There are no sell-offs or acquisitions, no name changes, and no outside funding sources. So, there's little extraneous influence to muddy the waters aside from global developments within the digitization community - which is welcomed and appreciated, most especially by NDNP. A perfect incubator for digital preservation of historic newspapers? Not by a long shot, but there are fewer things to run the train off track.

Mr. Huggins makes a valid point. There is indeed strength in continuity and collaboration. Perhaps, one day when standards and guidelines have been solidified, all digitization participants will make Mr. Huggin's wish a reality. Until that time, the great thing to come from all this is that people are actually reading this blog! So, we'll keep this forum going and hope Mr. Huggins and Mr/Mrs Anonymous will keep reading and posting. You are welcome to say what you think either as yourself or incognito. We welcome both. Just be nice.

Monday, April 20, 2009


In its continuing endeavour to digitize the world - or buy what's already been digitized as it were - Google has apparently removed some much needed and much used resources by way of As reported by the American Historical Association, Google bought the content of the website only to remove that content it found aesthetically inferior or out of copyright. After complaints, Google allowed to resurface but only through academic institutions that subscribe to it. In other words, what you got for free before, you now have to go to a location where they're paying for it. "Hegemony" screams some opponents, while R.J. Huggins, founder and CEO of, feels that Google is the only entity that can handle such an enormous task, financially speaking.

Thank Goodness for the vision of NEH and the Library of Congress to institute digital preservation standards and best practices for the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). We can only hope and pray Google is willing to digitize, maintain, and preserve its papers as properly as NDNP awardees. We're not perfect, no no, but we do have a clue about our long-term service to our constituents i.e. every American or those interested in America from any discipline.

Leading by example - that's one of the best things that libraries and archives can do.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

AP and lawsuits

In February of this year, the Associated Press (AP) found itself being sued by street artist Shepard Fairey. AP was in negotiations with Fairey over the use of an AP photo that was transformed into the Obama image we've come to identify with his presidential campaign of hope. AP, having employed the photographer who's shot was the inspiration for the poster, believes they are owed credit and compensation because of copyright laws.

Now, AP has decided they're going to take on Google and other web aggregators for distributing news without compensation to AP and their member newspapers. Searches turn up newspaper articles that are online, then pair them with ads for which the aggregators are paid These ad monies do not go to the originators of said search hits but only to the aggregator.

Europe has already filed suit against Google, blocking them from distributing articles from certain newspapers. (it's unclear if they're blocked from harvesting ) Trouble is, users don't care about the finances - all they want is the information. Google leads them to X newspaper where they find the story that meets their need. What happens if they don't find what they're looking for? Does that suggest the user will troll the Internet until they find the newspaper's website? Does that mean the user will turn to the more traditional avenues of information searching - gasp- a library? What's a reasonable solution that nets the newspapers credit and money without biting the hand that feeds the user i.e. web aggregators?