Drawing a Line…In the Ether

Transparency VS Anonymity
Transparency VS Anonymity
Right to Privacy?

As scholars and professionals, many of us spend a lot of time in the connected digital realms of the interwebs. While the Internet allows us access to information and entertainment of all kinds, individuals and companies – both benign and malicious – are getting much more savvy about finding, tracking, and collecting information in the other direction — about you!

While this infographic (left) is positively ancient at nearly a year old, it gets to an important issue of how the web is used as a communication tool and it got me wondering about how folks in our community feel about the topic, whether they’re aware of the issues, and what precautions they take – or don’t care about!

Poll results from Mashable
Results of Mashable's Anonymity Poll

According to this poll  (right) from Mashable which shows nearly 80% support, people overwhelmingly feel that anonymity is an important quality for their web experience. Pseudonyms are a common and time-honored  strategy used by folks to maintain a kind of privacy/anonymity. Would we have the published works of George Elliot or the Bronte sisters had they not committed this subterfuge? And what of the “victims of fame” like Charles de Lint who, after gaining a devoted following as a fantasy author, used an alternative name to publish a series horror stories.

Many people whose professional work all-but-requires them to have an online identity (including myself) have created separate online personas where they can interact with non-work related communities. Some long-time bloggers who have shared extensively about their expertise and life have come to regret the decision, despite what they and others may have gained from their open sharing. This evidence notwithstanding, Internet giant Google has made it clear that the only way you’ll use their Google+ services is with your “real” identity.

How do you use the web? Do you fall more to the side of supporting transparency or anonymity? In between? Tell us in the comments!

Down Low on Downloading Free Audio Books


Many busy Geneseo students may not have time to sit down and read a book for pleasure during the semester, but are still interested in a good “read.”  That’s where audiobooks and podcasts can help.

In addition to purchasing audiobooks from sites like Audible, Amazon, and The Audio Bookstore, you can download free audiobooks from several sources.

A few of these include:

  1. The Wadsworth Library , and The Monroe County Library System both offer OverDrive, a service for downloading popular digital audiobooks using your library card.
  2. LibriVox, is a website that provides free audiobooks from the public domain.
  3. Openculture provides free MP3 downloads of great works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  4. Free Classic Audiobooks Downloads are available in mp3 and in m4b audio book format for iTunes and the iPod.
  5. An iTunes search for “podiobooks” (provides downloads to audiobooks available at podiobooks.com).
  6. Fictionwise.com has audio and ebooks, some of which are free.
  7. Mobipocket.com has audio and ebooks, some of which are free.

If you’ve found other sources that you’d like to share, please do so using our “Post a Comment” option below!

Milne Librarians Teach Tech & Gadgets

Keeping up with the latest technologies can be very time intensive so finding a good conference that introduces some of these technologies can be a time saver. Rochester Instititute of Technology (RIT) recently hosted an event – Tech Camp – which was sposored by the Rochester Regional Library Council.

Tech Camp featured a full day full of mini-sessions on different technologies, tools, and gadgets for librarians and library users. For a small fee attendees were able to attend various technology rich sessions and had the opportunity to visit the “Extra Helpings Bar”. This “bar” featured many of the newest gadgets (iPads, Kindle Fire, iPhones) and an expert able to answer questions about the devices.

The sessions ranged from using Google Docs for Collaboration, to Free Cloud Computing, to Augmented Reality and Libraries. Many of the workshops involved a hands-on section so attendees could try out the technologies being introduced during the session. Two Milne Librarians (Kim Davies Hoffman and Michelle Costello) presented the workshops, Storytelling with Animoto and Animating with Xtranormal and another Milne librarian (Corey Ha) served as an expert at the “Extra Helpings Bar”, helping attendess with questions about their iPhone.

If you are interested in learning about any of these technologies, fill out a research consultation request for a one-on-one meeting with a librarian.

Listening to a Theorbo?

Every once in awhile, I find myself browsing  selections available through our streaming service,  Naxos Music Library, looking for new classical music. Recently, I stumbled upon this recording of Bach’s Cello Suites (a favorite of mine) played on.. the theorbo? What could that possibly be? and who could want to use any other instrument than a cello for these pieces? Blasphemy, I say!

Bach Cello Suites played on the Theorbo


Still, I was intrigued and needed to learn more. As I listened, I began searching for information. According to Oxford Music Online,  it is “An instrument of the Western lute family with stopped courses considerably longer than those of a lute … During the 17th century and part of the 18th the theorbo was popular as an accompanying instrument, and in the 17th century a certain amount of solo music in tablature was published for it.”

Digging a little deeper, I was able to find several images of the instrument in the Bridgeman Art Library Archive merely by searching it in Credo Reference. Who knew a lute had so many configurations?

Of course, I kept searching the web for some more background information and ended up watching a video that explains a little more about the instrument and its tuning:

All in all, it was a successful journey! I discovered a hidden treasure in this recording (now currently my favorite!) and learned more than I had expected about the intrepid theorbo.


SOPA? What’s the big deal?

On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, many popular websites went dark in a virtual protest against the Research Works Act. Websites who participated in the blackout included Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla, WordPress, MoveOn, Twitpic and more.

The Research Works Act was introduced in Congress early this month and seeks to deny Americans free access to research funded by taxpayer money.  The law, if passed would prohibit federal agencies from conditioning their grants to require that articles reporting on publicly funded research be made accessible to the public.

How would this affect higher education? Anyone who used publicly funded grants to do research and studies are required to make their findings freely available 12 months after they are published. Publishers would like to have this mandate removed so that they do not ever have to make the information free.  Rather, anyone who needs the research must continue to pay for it.

Many colleges and universities are already in economic crisis and could not afford to pay for access to this research. This has many in the academic community in an uproar, many of which are sending out calls to action urging stakeholders (parents, students, teachers, doctors, and researchers) to contact Representative Maloney and ask her to withdraw her sponsorship of the bill.

More information about the controversy can be read at:
Discover magazine
Blogger Kristina Chew
Scientific American
UC Biologist Michael Eisen