Pew Research Center’s “Libraries at the Crossroads” Report

The Pew Research Center has released

Libraries at the Crossroads: The public is interested in new services and thinks libraries are important to communities (September 15, 2015)

The “Summary of Findings” reads:

American libraries are buffeted by cross currents. Citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities. Yet, even as the public expresses interest in additional library services, there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend.

A new survey from Pew Research Center brings this complex situation into stark relief. Many Americans say they want public libraries to:

  • support local education;
  • serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
  • help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
  • embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.

Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

No Valid Copyright in the “Happy Birthday” Song Lyrics

In a decision filed yesterday, Chief Judge George H. King of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has held there is no valid copyright in the “Happy Birthday” song lyrics — please see here.

For some news coverage of the case, please see here.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

2015 Global Peace Index

The Institute for Economics and Peace has released:

Global Peace Index 2015

Some highlights from the Executive Summary:

This is the ninth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks the nations of the world according to their level of peacefulness. The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 per cent of the world’s population. …

In addition to presenting the findings from the 2015 GPI and its eight-year trend analysis, this year’s report provides an updated methodology to account for the economic impact of violence on the global economy. …

Last year the global GPI score remained stable. However, while the average level of global peacefulness was stable, a number of indicators and countries did deteriorate while others improved. Four out of the nine geographical regions experienced an improvement in peace: Europe, North America, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean. The other five regions became less peaceful. The most substantial changes in the Index occurred in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, resulting in the region being ranked as the least peaceful in the world.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Continuing Addition of New Features to Based on User Feedback

Please see:

New Features Added to Based On Your Feedback

From the above blog post, note in particular the intent of the Law Librarians of Congress:

“Since the unveiling of in September of 2012, we have been constantly adding new features with each release, and many of the features in this release are based directly on your feedback.

We want to make more accessible…. [Emphasis added]”

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New U.S. Copyright Office Report: “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization”

The United States Copyright Office has recently issued a new report on “orphan works,” or copyright-protected work for which rights-holders are not determinable or contactable, as well as on digitization en masse.

Please see:

Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights (June 2015)

From the Executive Summary on page 1:

This Report addresses two circumstances in which the accomplishment of [the] goal [to facilitate the dissemination of creative expression [as] an important means of fulfilling the constitutional mandate to “promote the Progress of Science” through the copyright system] may be hindered under the current law due to practical obstacles preventing good faith actors from securing permission to make productive uses of copyrighted works. First, with respect to orphan works, referred to as “perhaps the single greatest impediment to creating new works,” [footnote omitted], a user’s ability to seek permission or to negotiate licensing terms is compromised by the fact that, despite his or her diligent efforts, the user cannot identify or locate the copyright owner. Second, in the case of mass digitization – which involves making reproductions of many works, as well as possible efforts to make the works publicly accessible – obtaining permission is essentially impossible, not necessarily because of a lack of identifying information or the inability to contact the copyright owner, but because of the sheer number of individual permissions required.

Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy White Paper: “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model…”

Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access

A Max Planck Digital Library Open Access Policy White Paper

Published: 28 April 2015
License: CC-BY 4.0,

Authors: Ralf Schimmer¹, Kai Karin Geschuhn¹, Andreas Vogler¹

¹ Max Planck Digital Library, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany


This paper makes the strong, fact-based case for a large-scale transformation of the current corpus of scientific subscription journals to an open access business model. The existing journals, with their well-tested functionalities, should be retained and developed to meet the demands of 21st century research, while the underlying payment streams undergo a major restructuring. There is sufficient momentum for this decisive push towards open access publishing. The diverse existing initiatives must be coordinated so as to converge on this clear goal. The international nature of research implies that this transformation will be achieved on a truly global scale only through a consensus of the world’s most eminent research organizations. All the indications are that the money already invested in the research publishing system is sufficient to enable a transformation that will be sustainable for the future. There needs to be a shared understanding
that the money currently locked in the journal subscription system must be withdrawn and repurposed for open access publishing services. The current library acquisition budgets are the ultimate reservoir for enabling the transformation without financial or other risks. The goal is to preserve the established service levels provided by publishers that are still requested by researchers, while redefining and reorganizing the necessary payment streams. By disrupting the underlying business model, the viability of journal publishing can be preserved and put on a solid footing for the scholarly developments of the future.

Library of Congress (LoC) Launches New Web Archive Content on Its Website

Please see:

A New Interface and New Web Archive Content at

A total of 21 named collections on wide-ranging subject matter are now available in the new archive interface.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Some Rather Differing Takes — in Two Recent Law Library Journal Articles — on the Future of [Academic] Law Libraries…

Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries Are Doomed vs. Like Mark Twain: The Death of Academic Law Libraries Is an Exaggeration

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

American Library Association (ALA) Report: The State of America’s Libraries 2015

The American Library Association (ALA) has issued the report:

The State of America’s Libraries 2015

For the associated press release, “New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries,” please see here.

From the press release:

[A]cademic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished spaces.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Long-Standing Rise in Economic Inequality in the United States along with Failure to Create Jobs

The Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research earlier this year issued:

Failing on Two Fronts: The U.S. Labor Market Since 2000 (January 2015) by John Schmitt

From the Introduction:

For almost four decades and by almost all available measures, economic inequality has been increasing in the United States. For a portion of this period, the United States could console itself, in part, by celebrating its success as a “jobs machine.” Indeed, the two issues were often linked in the standard economics account of the post-Reagan era: widening wage inequality rewarded the skills of those at the top, while providing job opportunities for those at the bottom. In countries where inequality did not increase, the story went, employment suffered.1 But, for almost 15 years, that story has not held. The U.S. jobs machine has broken down. The employment-to-population rate at the peak of the business cycle in 2007 was substantially lower than it had been at the peak of the preceding business cycle in 2000. The employment rate has barely increased in the five years since the official end of the “Great Recession” in the summer of 2009. And almost the entirety of the decline in the unemployment rate since 2010 is the result of workers giving up on job search rather finding new jobs.

The long-standing rise in inequality, now joined by an extended period when the economy has been unable to generate jobs for the country’s growing population, constitutes a deep failure on two fronts: steeply rising inequality combined with a poor employment performance. This paper argues that a key driver of both of these developments is conscious economic policy, with a particularly important and under-appreciated role for macroeconomic policy. The paper first demonstrates the remarkable “flexibility” of U.S. labor markets relative to the situation in other rich economies. The paper then links this policy-induced flexibility to high and rising inequality and shows that such flexibility ceased long ago to contribute –if it ever did– to greater job creation.

The recent experience of the United States stands as a sober warning for European economies seeking to escape from their own immense employment problems.