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.

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.

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.

Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

The U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services has recently (February 26, 2015) made available

Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community

of the Director of National Intelligence.

“PubAg,” User-Friendly Search Engine, Debuts at the U.S. National Agricultural Library

The U.S. National Agricultural Library (NAL) has debuted PubAg, a user-friendly search engine, which provides “enhanced access” to the public to search for and obtain research published by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The NAL is part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Please see here for the USDA’s press release about PubAg.

EU “Right To Be Forgotten” Guidelines

Europe’s Article 29 Working Party, made up of data protection (or data privacy or information privacy) representatives from individual Member States of the European Union (EU), recently published guidelines for implementing the so-called “right to be forgotten” ruling, which was earlier handed down by Europe’s top court in May of this year.

IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report”

The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has recently released its Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report.

From the first 2 paragraphs of the press release accompanying the report:

Human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed on all continents. If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. However, options are available to adapt to climate change and implementing stringent mitigations activities can ensure that the impacts of climate change remain within a manageable range, creating a brighter and more sustainable future.

These are among the key findings of the Synthesis Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Sunday. The Synthesis Report distils and integrates the findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report produced by over 800 scientists and released over the past 13 months – the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken.

A policymaker-targeted summary is here.

For a previous IPCC-related item on this blog please see here.