Ebook Access and Privacy Concerns with Adobe Digital Editions

It has recently come to our attention that Adobe Digital Editions, the software we use to allow access our ebooks, has been transmitting unencrypted reader data. The information Adobe is collecting includes the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book you have downloaded, and the information is being sent to Adobe’s server in plain text. We stand with our colleagues at other libraries in opposition of these practices, arguing that this is not only a violation of privacy but also a security concern since it allows for the potential interception of the data. The vulnerability is limited to the newly released Digital Editions 4, which is a requirement for downloading ebooks.

If you are concerned about your right to privacy, we recommend that you uninstall Adobe Digital Editions 4 from all of your devices and contact either your subject specialist liaison or our electronic resource services unit for possible print options. You can also download an earlier edition of Adobe Digital Editions.

The UConn Libraries values your right to privacy and have expressed our concerns to our ebook vendors, asking them to advocate on our behalf. We are also members of the American Library Association, which is working with Adobe to correct this issue.

More Information:
Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries
“Adobe is gathering data on the ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.”

Adobe’s e-book reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe—in plain text
“Adobe’s Digital Editions e-book and PDF reader—an application used by thousands of libraries to give patrons access to electronic lending libraries—actively logs and reports every document readers add to their local “library” along with what users do with those files. Even worse, the logs are transmitted over the Internet in the clear, allowing anyone who can monitor network traffic (such as the National Security Agency, Internet service providers and cable companies, or others sharing a public Wi-Fi network) to follow along over readers’ shoulders.”

Adobe Responds to Reports of Their Spying, Offers Half Truths and Misleading Statements
“Adobe hasn’t addressed all of the evidence against them, but they did admit that they were gathering info from users. They won’t admit to scraping my library, but they did admit to tracking a user’s activities.”

Library Resets Fall Schedule for Homer Babbidge Library

open late signIf you have walked around the Homer Babbidge Library at various times of the day you know the vibe changes depending on what time it is. The morning hours are a flurry of students printing out their paper before class, adding that last citation, or grabbing a cup of coffee at Bookworms and checking what happened on Instagram last night before starting the day. We also begin to see the serious researcher who will spend the better part of the day with us and as the day progresses a bustling space that serves as a central location to meet up with friends and classmates, picking up interlibrary loan requests, asking subject specialists for help on research projects and completing short bursts of work between classes. In the evening, the mood turns more serious, when we become the place where students hunker down, setting up in their favorite spot for the night.

Each and every stage of our daily usage is important to us and we heard from our users that closing at midnight instead of 2am was cutting into that late night serious study time. It is for that reason that we are resetting our fall hours to better serve those late night patrons. Starting this Sunday, October 19th the Homer Babbidge Library will reopen until 2am every Sunday-Thursday in the academic year.

And what happens during finals? All bets are off! During the 2013-2014 academic year we tested extending our 24/7 hours to two full weeks at the request of the Undergraduate Student Government. In the interest of working with them again this year we will once again provide that service. So starting on December 1st, the Homer Babbidge Library will open and remain open until 6pm on Sunday, December 14th.

We take our responsibility as part of the academic hub of the university with great importance. We continue to work towards providing resources and services online with the realization that our resources are valuable on and off campus. We are also aware that there are students who would like more time in the library, even after 2am and are currently working towards increasing available quite study space when the library is closed. When we have more finalized information about that we will share.

Teale Lecture Series Begins this Thursday – 9/25

pickettThe 2014-2015 Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series begins this Thursday, September 25th with a lecture by Dr. Steward T.A. Pickett. Dr. Pickett is the Distinguished Senior Scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. His talk is titled “The Global Urban Crisis and an Ecological Way Forward” and will be at 4 pm at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Konover Auditorium, at UConn. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Urban areas today are expanding at an unprecedented rate across the globe. There are more and more new cities by the year, and the largest of existing cities are growing still larger. On the one hand, cities can be the epitome of sustainability, reaping the benefits of proximity, efficiency, and innovation. On the other hand, they can be graveyards of dreams and sources of contamination. As cities grow, change, and become ever more connected to global networks, societies are presented with choices. Cities are in crisis: do they move toward sustainability, or do they slip backwards into unsanitary and vulnerable states?

The Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series brings leading scholars and scientists to the University of Connecticut to present public lectures on nature and the environment. The lectures are open to the public and do not require registration. For additional information please call 860.486.4460 or visit http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/events/teale/teale.htm.

For more information, contact: Natural History Museum at 860.486.4460 or visit http://doddcenter.uconn.edu/asc/events/teale/teale.htm

Library Works Towards Reinstating Early Morning Hours

Interior views of the Homer Babbidge Library.This fall we altered the hours in our flagship facility – the Homer Babbidge Library. The new hours included closing at midnight on Sunday and weeknights instead of 2am, closing an hour earlier on Saturday night and opening both weekend days at 10:00am.

Since the change took effect we have received both thoughtful and constructive feedback from the students regarding the impact of the changes. Taking that into consideration, as well as the data our staff has collected and coordination with representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government, has led us to work towards reinstating early morning hours this fall.

The process for which we used to make the original decision and the information since has been reported in the Daily Campus in various articles and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the reasons behind our original decision and what has transpired since then.
The decision to alter the hours was not taken lightly but instead based on three key factors – low usage, fiscal resources, and security concerns.

Low usage data. The gates that patrons enter and exit from are not just for security of physical items in the collections but also serve as counters, providing valuable data for when our facility is busy and when we are not. Our gate counts during 12-2am over the 2013-2014 school year show that on average 2-4% of our total seating capacity of 3,174 is being used. We felt that those patrons had an equally viable option for study space in Bookworms Café and the 24-hour quiet study room. Combined these spaces offer more than 200 seats, 18 computers, a tv lounge, and public restrooms.

Fiscal resources. There isn’t a successful organization today that doesn’t consistently and methodically look at their resources and how they can better apply them to what their users need. Through outreach with our users, which include undergraduates, graduates, faculty, staff and the public, we know that one reoccurring theme is the need for more electronic resources. Streaming content for classes, electronic journals for research, and access to multiple databases with online content are just a few of those resources we devote significant funding to. We are committed to ensuring that our electronic materials are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through both our website and SkyBox@UConn. As we continue to expend significant funding for these electronic resources, physical upgrades to the building (like more seating and power), and improving services and outreach we are shifting financial resources from other places like staffing. These are challenging decisions that are necessary as stewards of collections and facilities.

Security. We are responsible for a half a million square feet of space within the facility. Securing that space with few people in the building and limited staffing early in the morning is a significant challenge. The change of hours was one method in a series of other changes we will be making going forward to improve our security which will include security cameras and piloting a program limiting access to only students in the late evening.

After the semester started, we began receiving comments from students who were concerned that the hours change was affecting valuable study time. We asked students to share their experiences in the facility during the early mornings to determine what was really necessary, including an exit survey at midnight. With a resounding voice, students indicated that they are not looking for services at that time but quiet study spaces.

With that information in hand, we invited representatives from USG to talk with us about our feedback and the feedback that they had received. It gave us an opportunity to open up the lines of communications with USG to discuss not only hours, but how this decision and others we make on services fit into the larger picture of identifying student needs to focus our resources on.

The meeting was very productive and collegial. The comments and suggestions from USG President Claire Price and Academic Affairs Committee Chair Tim Lim and their colleagues were thought-provoking and provided great insight that we had not considered previously. For example, we had seen a small increase in the late night usage compared to the same time in the fall of 2013 and they suggested that things like later science labs, more group work, less study spaces on campus, and students simply being more involved on campus was at play. They also indicated that the library is part of the mindset of the students, and that it is an important resource even just when being used as study space.

The result was an agreement from Vice Provost Martha Bedard to find the resources needed to reopen through 2am. We expect that it will take us through October to go through the hiring process for the staff member needed to fulfill those hours. She also shared with USG some ideas she has for improving the current 24-hour study spaces. Those include the possibility of reconfigure the spaces and adding new furniture that allows for increased seating, the possibility of allowing access to the staff lounge in the evenings for more quite study space, and considering closing off parts of the library in the late/early evenings. All of these would require funding so we are currently investigating the feasibility of all of them.

We would like to thank all of the students who reached out to us and the members of USG who took time out of their busy schedules to work towards a solution. We will continue to meet with them to discuss the possible change to the 24-hour study spaces and other areas of interests to the students.

Northeast Children’s Literature Collection Reception A Success

On a wet but warm Saturday afternoon in early August the UConn Libraries’ co-hosted a reception with Billie Levy for friends of the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection. The history of the collection begins as far back as the 1960′s with the purchase of approximately 600 volumes of 19th and 20th century children’s books from author/illustrator Nonny Hogrogian. During the 1970s the library engaged in the selective addition of the best historical and contemporary children’s books and manuscripts, focusing on prize-winners and works by New England authors and illustrators. In 1983, Billie M. Levy began the process of donating thousands of children’s books illustrated by American artists over the last 200 years. Her generosity and dedication to the collection has been on of the many reasons why this collection has grown into one of the top children’s literature collections in the country.

The reception included a glimpse at some of the new items that have been acquired as well as a special donation of materials from Billie Levy with the signing of her donation of Maurice Sendak materials to the collection.

“Seeing so many “builders” of the collection together, and celebrating-marking- Billie’s contribution was especially heartwarming”

We are pleased to have passionate donors to such a special collection and we look forward to more opportunities to engage with this community and continue to build the archives for future generations.

“Although my papers are in the collection, I had not understood the full scope of the libraries work. It is so nice to know that my artifacts are safe and in such good company.” 

 

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Billie Levy signs her donation of Maurice Sendak materials to the Libraries’ Northeast Children’s Literature Collection

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Greg Colati, Director of Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation speaks with Bill Grey.

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Guests Kat Lyons and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

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Event planners – Kristen Jones, Office of the Vice Provost; Martha Bedard, Vice Provost for UConn LIbraries, Jean Nelson, Marketing, Communications & Public Programming

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Martha Bedard with co-host Billie Levy and guest Elizabeth Payne

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Martha Bedard with the stuffed Martha from the illustrated series ‘George and Martha’ by James Marshall

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Authors Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weil look over the illustrations in the collection for their book “Ten Mice for Tet!”

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Terri Goldich, Archivist for the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection gives the guests a glimpse of new materials in the collection.

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Terri Goldich and Martha Bedard

 

 

Average Joe Photo Show, a Photo Exhibit/Benefit for Water.org

 

small Gleicher, Water Bottles Ethiopia

Children of the Daasanach people, like all the tribes in Ethiopia, want your empty water bottles as they serve as an easy method to carry small amounts of drinking water. Water is in short supply in this part of the world. The tribal people drink and bathe from rain puddles, and so do their livestock. I will think about this every time I let water run in a sink.

- Leighton Gleicher, Average Joe Photo Show 2013

Leighton Gleicher’s observation accompanies her image of two smiling Ethiopian children, plastic water bottle in hand, posted above a display showcasing dozens of empty water bottles in the Average Joe Photo Show now on view in the Homer Babbidge Library’s Norman Stevens Gallery.  The show, which includes 234 eclectic images taken with cell phone or mobile device by professional and amateur photographers from this country and well beyond, all feature water and the human figure and were the result of an online appeal issued by two friends, one an accomplished artist and gallery owner, Lori Warner, the other an art historian, Rebecca Steiner, both from Lyme, Connecticut.  In devising the project, the two sought to examine the increasingly important role technology plays in our daily lives and to consider our use of water, something we simply cannot live without.

The project also includes a philanthropic twist:  a portion of all proceeds from photo sales benefits water.org, an organization providing access to safe water and sanitation to people in Africa, South Asia, and Central America.

“Working on this project I have been continually struck by how much we take for granted – and what is so easily accessible to us — in the developed world,” observed Rebecca Steiner. “Yet for so many people in other countries or walks of life, both ever-present technology and natural elements (like water) are true luxuries. Given how organically the “Average Joe Photo Show” evolved out of an intersection between seemingly contrasting components, perhaps this project will inspire people to see connections in our greater shared global community they might not otherwise have imagined.”

Lori Warner, left, and Rebecca Steiner, right, before their Average Joe Photo Show in Babbidge Library.

Lori Warner, left, and Rebecca Steiner, right, before their Average Joe Photo Show in Babbidge Library.

The Average Joe Photo Show is now on view in the Norman Stevens Gallery in Homer Babbidge Library through October 24.   A public reception will take place on Thursday, Aug. 28, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the project or to submit a photograph, please see the website www.averagejoe photoshow.com.

In addition to the photography exhibit, the Libraries is featuring “Modeling the Art and Engineering of Roman Aqueducts with Legos™,” a series of aqueducts constructed of Legos by UConn Professor of Geology Gary Robbins.

To provide water to crowded cities throughout the ancient Roman world, the Romans built some 600 aqueducts. Not only were the aqueducts marvels of engineering and hydraulics but also wondrous works of architecture and art. Robbins’ original Lego™ models on display exemplify some of the diversity in design of these marvels and demonstrate both how the aqueducts worked and why their ruins still evoke a sense of awe.

For more information on both shows, please visit:  http://lib.uconn.edu/about/exhibits/.

‘Science Boot Camp’ a Big Hit at UConn!

Scott Martin from the University of Michigan and Lauren Olewnik from Castleton State College listen to Clinton Morse's description of a plant in the greenhouse.

Scott Martin from the University of Michigan and Lauren Olewnik from Castleton State College listen to Clinton Morse’s description of a plant in the greenhouse.

The South African “Bug Plant, Fly Bush,” is a carnivore…of sorts.  Unlike the better-known carnivorous Venus Fly Trap that closes on its prey and digests the insects who are unlucky enough to land on them, this plant has sticky hairs that trap insects, but doesn’t eat  them because it lacks the enzymatic activity needed to digest them.  Enter the aptly named assassin bug, Pameridea marlothi, with whom it enjoys a symbiotic relationship.  The assassin bug moves freely about the plant – unhindered by the sticky hairs – and happily eats the trapped insects.

This was just one of the observations shared by Clinton Morse, the manager of growth operations for Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, who led a group of science librarians through UConn’s nationally known greenhouses as part of “New England Science Boot Camp.”   The camp, a two-and-a-half-day educational event was hosted by UConn from June 11-13, and drew 67 participants from New England and well beyond.  In addition to the tour of the greenhouses, faculty from UConn and other universities in the northeast, provided overviews and information on the latest research on the event’s featured topics: computer science, evolution, and pharmaceutical science.

One of the librarians in attendance, Scott Martin, the Bioscience Librarian at the University of Michigan has an undergraduate degree in biology and a Master’s degree in Genetics, thoroughly enjoyed the greenhouse tour and exposure to the diversity of living plants.  “Although Michigan has an arboretum and botanical garden, I support the research in the herbarium, which has preserved and dried specimens.  Seeing them here has been a real treat!”

Among the many plants Morse pointed out to the group included:  tea  (camellia sinensis “the world’s most important caffeine beverage” whose many varieties — white, green, oolong & black – derive from this species but are processed differently after harvest; stevia, Stevia rebaudiana, a plant whose leaves are used as a sweetener and said to be hundreds of times sweeter than sugar;  Egyptian cotton, Gossypium barbadense, which is actually native to Peru, and whose fruit contains seeds covered with cotton fibers.

In addition to this biodiversity tour of the public collections, Morse led some of the librarians on a tour of the research facility not open to the public.

Aside from learning about the latest developments in various scientific fields, participants discussed use of library resources, research information needs, data management practices, and suggested new ways in which librarians can support their research communities.

Hosted each summer on a different New England campus, the casual ambience of Science Boot Camp promotes learning and camaraderie among librarians from New England and beyond.

According to Carolyn Mills, the Libraries’ Biology, Agriculture & Natural Resources Librarian and prime organizer of the event: “Science Boot Camp is held each year to give science librarians access to science topics from the viewpoint of researchers, and also to meet and network with other science librarians while having as much fun as possible.  Boot camp at UConn was a big hit this year. The campers really enjoyed the friendly welcoming campus, the greenhouses, and the researchers they met!  It made me proud to work at UConn.”

Those interested in learning more may view the presentations online, which are expected to be available sometime in July, at the New England eScience Portal:  http://esciencelibrary.umassmed.edu/

 

Archival Film Series

Homer D. Babbidge, 1971

Homer D. Babbidge, 1971

You are invited to join the Libraries this summer for an archival film series showcasing UConn’s rich history. The series, in conjunction with the “What’s in a Name?” exhibition currently on display, is a selection of recently digitized historic film footage illustrating UConn’s past. The first film in the series is this Friday, June 20th with “Agriculture on Display,” a series of short films including 1936 sheep shearing competitions, wood chopping contests, and the Baby Beef Club Auction at The Big E.

Other films in the series include:

July 11    Teaching the Land
July 18    Diary of a Student Revolution
July 25    Yankee Conference Championship game at UConn, 1970
August 1   Technology and the Farm

All films will begin at noon in Conference Room 162 in the Dodd Research Center and are less than an hour long. Feel free to bring your lunch. (Maybe even some popcorn!)

The exhibit “What’s in a Name?” on display in the Dodd Research Center gallery utilizes the UConn memorabilia collection to illustrate the ways in which the University has used logos, seals, names, and colors to create our identity and affinity for the institution since 1881.

More information on both the exhibition and the film series can be found at http://blogs.lib.uconn.edu/archives

Ebook Pricing Hikes Amount to Price-Gouging – A Letter from the Boston Library Consortium

Since about 2010, the electronic book, or ebook, has rapidly increased its market share in the publishing business, and in 2013 it accounted for 27 percent of adult trade-book sales. Academic audiences have been somewhat slower to adopt this format, but as the general market for ebooks has begun to plateau, the academic market has been picking up. Now – and probably not coincidentally – academic libraries find themselves facing sharply increased pricing for commercially published electronic books.

Like many library consortia, the Boston Library Consortium offers an ebook program to its members. Nine of the BLC libraries – Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts at Boston, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and University of New Hampshire – participate in the program, which includes commercial publishers such as Wiley and Taylor & Francis, as well as a number of university presses. In the BLC program, publishers charge libraries for ebooks based on a model that combines payment for short-term use of a title by a student or researcher with the purchase of the title after a few short-term uses. In this way, libraries pay full price for an ebook that meets the needs of multiple readers, and pay a fractional price for ebooks that are of use to only one or two people. This month the BLC was surprised to learn that a number of the publishers in this program planned immediate, significant, and unexplained increases in price. Even worse, the new pricing goes into effect at a time when library budgets are already committed for the 2015 fiscal year.

These newly announced price increases, amounting to several hundred percent in some cases, are levied on short-term uses, and this regressive pricing model is being adopted by the publishers whose ebooks are already among the most expensive in the scholarly market. More reasonable library pricing – both for outright purchase and for short-term use – is being offered by other publishers and we are pleased to see many (though not all) university presses in this latter category.

The BLC recognizes that the scholarly ebook market is a developing one and that publishers need to ensure that they have a sustainable revenue stream as they invest in evolving digital technologies. However, this move looks like an experiment in predatory pricing, designed to make the most of rising demand, but without justification in terms of either production cost or use value. Academic libraries and the universities they serve have already seen the results of this kind of experiment, in the pricing of scientific journals, which sky-rocketed as publishers transitioned from print to electronic delivery. And although electronic publications have some new costs not attached to print, it is abundantly clear that a small number of commercial publishers, who control over 40 percent of the scientific journals, have reaped major profits in this transition. Price inflation in scientific journals (which has been four times the general rate of inflation since 1986) has taken a major toll on academic-library budgets for books, including ebooks. This shift in resource allocation is not discipline-neutral, either: science and technical disciplines publish primarily in the form of the journal article, but the book remains central to the humanities and the social sciences. These new ebook price increases (by some of the same publishers who have hiked the price of science journals) are unjustified and therefore ethically unacceptable, and they are economically insupportable.

Consequently, the BLC will lower the price ceiling below which individual titles are eligible to be included in our ebook program, we will reduce the availability of back-list titles at high price points, and we will increase the portion of our consortial budget that is allocated to those publishers whose pricing remains reasonable. In this way, we mean to reward what we regard as fair dealing, as we attempt to limit the budget impact of what appears plainly to be price-gouging.

We have no choice but to take action. The acquisitions budgets of academic libraries do not increase at four times the rate of inflation each year, nor are universities scaling back the teaching and research programs their libraries are called upon to support. As a library consortium focused both on purchasing partnerships and pragmatic advocacy for research libraries, the Boston Library Consortium believes it must call out these escalating ebook prices as being inimical to access and contrary to fairness. We’ve seen it before, and we should not stand for it again.

We encourage campus leaders to support their libraries in this and other efforts to control costs, and we ask faculty to keep affordability in mind when next considering where to publish. Finally, we thank those publishers, primarily university presses, who make ongoing efforts to offer high quality ebooks at affordable prices.

Susan Stearns
Executive Director
Boston Library Consortium
Boston

John Unsworth
President Elect, Boston Library Consortium
Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services
Chief Information Officer
University Librarian
Brandeis University
Waltham, Mass.

Originally published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 27, 2014

Connect. Preserve. Share.

In the culture of the Internet, every organization needs to have a visual identity and a tag line. At the CTDA we are developing that visual identity a little at a time. Our first step was to create the minimalist wordmark that was our acronym. This minimalist approach was purposeful. The CTDA is meant to be a service and a resource that others use to preserve and make available their digital material. We wanted something that said who we were but didn’t require a lot of interpretation and did not compete with the content that the CTDA would deliver through the various presentation layers that would leverage CTDA content.

The CTDA's new tagline
The CTDA’s new tagline

As we began working with partners beyond our small implementation group, we found that of course no one knew what CTDA stood for, and in a world of silos and “complete solutions” people did not immediately understand what services we provided.  We are happy to explain that the CTDA is not a destination, but a service that organizations use to preserve their digital content and to make that content available to many presentation applications. The CTDA doesn’t itself own any content, rather it is a means of connecting organizations to preservation services so that they can share those resources with each other and the world.

As this understanding became clearer in our own minds, we got to thinking about how to better express our new sense of the service in a sound bite. We decided that we would alter the wordmark and add a tagline that succinctly explained us.  Easier said than done. After much debate and discussion we chose the three words you see above: Connect. Preserve. Share. Our mission is to Connect participants to preservation services,. We Preserve digital content and metadata for the long term, and we make it possible to Share that content with each other, and with national aggregators like the DPLA.

So there you go. I just took 300 words to say what we hope our tagline says in just three.

Written by Greg Colati
Reprinted from http://ctdigitalarchive.org/