Journalist and librarian Marcus Banks discusses the role, relevancy and impact of librarians in all sectors as we are increasingly overwhelmed with information and yet access to actionable resources is often blocked by fees and paywalls, and the goal of knowledge sharing is subsumed and often ill served by conflicting agendas. Librarians remain critical advocates for open access, teachers of digital literacy skills, proponents of services to all Americans, and touchstones for identifying truth in an increasingly growing sphere of fake news and information that fails to serve democracy, education, and commerce.
Chris Meadows calls our attention to a Yale Law Journal by Lina M. Khan published in January 2017 titled Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox. The author presents an argument in favor of modifying antitrust law in light of the realm of competition created by a burgeoning, powerful and often narrow group of players in specific e-commerce marketplaces. For librarians, researchers, professors and student among others, the issue of pricing and competition in the ebook market is particularly salient.
This is an introduction to a critical effort to support local public libraries throughout the United States, not in competition with any other efforts, programs or initiatives, but with the goal to fund a robust, long lived and essential endowment in response to ongoing defunding of critical library staffing and resources in our communities, especially poor land rural localities.
An Amazon Echo device is the subject of a prosecutor’s search warrant related to an Arkansas murder case. Nicole Black illuminates how such devices are complicating issues related to consumer privacy and vendor responses to search warrants. The ubiquity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in homes will no doubt result in more warrants for the data they collect.
David Rothman addresses an often overlook paradigm shift – using a smartphone for slow reading. You almost always have your smartphone with you. And with an estimated 190 million smartphone users in the US, Rothman posits that the discipline of reading on a small screen device can be learned, absent distractions (such as email and social media intrusions). Reading is fundamental (RIF), but the way we read has fundamentally shifted. Read on!
David H. Rothman writes about the multiple uses of voice recognition software from the perspective of an expert writer, speaker and typist. Rothman also advises readers on the requisite microphone and boom to enhance the use of voice recognition technology.
David Rothman warns of a new trend exemplified by a Kansas school district. It is replacing licensed elementary school librarians with regular teachers with technical training who oversee makerspaces.
David Rothman argues forcefully for uniform, immediate government and industry support for and implementation of text-to-speech technology. Rothman highlights Amazon’s use of Bluetooth-based TTS in the new $80 Kindle. The reader permits blind individuals as well as those with reading challenges to use Bluetooth headphones to hear the TTS via a wireless connection without the requirement for any special adapter.
David Rothman has been proactively and consistently engaged in an effort to increase visual usability of the Kindle for K-12 kids, the elderly and others with contrast-sensitivity problems. He has requested the company implement either an all-text-bold option or the ability to use a slider to vary the boldness.
E-book pioneer and advocate David Rothman’s commentary shines a critical light on the reading habits of Microsoft founder Bill Gates who reads his average 50 books each year, in print format. The potential impact of Microsoft in the e-book market as well as in funding support of e-books for public libraries has been muted. Rothman’s insights include hope to win over much needed support for free public sector digital libraries.