Information gatekeeping – Professional lit behind the pay wall

Want to view the latest peer reviewed top industry publication for free? Generally the answer is….

Whilst it seems that we have as an industry embraced blogs, twitter, tumblr and everyother online social tool for sharing our ideas I’m always more than a little bit frustrated when someone says ‘you should turn that into an article for [insert the name of a paid publication here]’.

These paid publications seem to regarded above all else. But why? The answer seems to be a bit ‘thats how its always been done’ and a bit they’re edited and peer reviewed. Now this is fine but I don’t like the final criteria that often comes hand in hand with the other two – that it costs. Don’t get me wrong – the cost doesn’t equal presitige but it also doesn’t make sense. Outside of a minimal maintenance cost (cos I know urls etc cost $$) it doesn’t make sense that there should be a paywall in place. Why? Well 99.999% of the time the writer isn’t paid, the editor isn’t paid, the peer reviewers aren’t paid. Who are paid (and make a profit) – the publishers. This cost is generally justified by the fact that you get a hardcopy subscription.  So here’s my little idea – lets ditch the paper subs – and make our work free or so cheap its practically free because it really doesn’t make sense that we are putting our stuff behind a paywall.

Okay so there’s my rant. Just to let you know I’m an idealist but also a realist. Often it does make sense to publish in a paywall publication cos thats where your target audience is. If you make that choice (like I have) fine. But I also make a choice that I have and retain all rights for republication and use that right. Publish your work in that journal but also make it freely available either on your blog or another open access publication. Looking for an open access journal? Take a look at

Lets make our professional/industry lit free!


Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality – The UK has it, the US now has it. Hurry up Australia you’re late!!

On a more serious note, equality will happen, its up to us to decide whether it happens sooner or later.  To quote the landmark decision in Obergefell v Hodges

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

The complete decision is available here.

Our Future is Bright!

Never forget!

On Firmer Ground

Time to celebrate!
In fact, it’s a double celebration. The Private Law Libraries-Special Interest Section (PLL-SIS) of AALL is now officially Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals-Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS); we also have a newly redesigned website for our SIS!
Our new name aptly merges our legacy of the past with our hopes and goals for the future, positioning us to forge ahead and continue to further define and promote our value as information professionals far into the future.
Also, today is the official launch of our redesigned website and logo! A great big and special thank-you to our dedicated Webmaster team – Linda-Jean Schneider, Kevin Miles, and Heather Williams! They rock!
Our future is bright, however, in the words of Bob Marley “in this bright future, you can’t forget your past”, for it is what brought us to where we are today and has equipped us to mold and…

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Working in 2030

What will the information industry look like in 2030?

Whilst I don’t know what my role will look like I’m more than optimistic about the status of the information industry and my (and every other info professionals) role within it. Information is being created at such a rate that provided we continue as a profession to adapt to and adopt this changing environment we will do awesomely.

But remember that doesn’t mean any slacking off….

As an industry we have a bright future and 2030 is filled with promise. What I spent today’s blog time wondering is how will we operate in that future?

What will the workplace look like in 2030? So I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you my predictions.

1 – The 24/7 connectivity will snap back

Since 2000 the 24 hour elastic band of connectivity has been stretching and I think that well before 2030 it’s going to snap back and we will see a workforce that has a bit more of a division between work and home time. Whilst I don’t think we will be progressing back to the 9-5 I think there will be a snap back because this 24/7 connectivity thing isn’t sustainable

2 – Extinction of the luddite/change averse

With millenials bringing home the bacon (i.e working) and a rapidly changing technological world 2030 won’t be kind on luddites. This is primarily because technology is driven by change and the rate of change, I think, isn’t going to get slower. If you don’t cope well with change I don’t think the agile working environment is going to be fun. Need help accepting change? Here are some great articles from Huffington Post

3 – Rise of the creative thinker

Forever learning, agile to change, aware of the world around them and informed – 2030 is the realm of the 2030 will be the time of the creative thinker….Okay. Thinking about it I think this part is already here.

Unsure about your creative thinking? Take a look at hbr’s article on reclaiming your creative confidence

The anatomy of size

Everything is shrinking. More and more our computers are resembling tablets and the smartphone has morphed away from Bell’s dream “Cos hey, who calls any more?!”

So far my columns have focused on the online or mobile/smart devices. For a change I am going back to the hardware basics This month’s column is about the size and memory capacity of your computer. It’s a mash up of:

  • what those computer spec and figures actually mean,
  • what all these figures mean in todays technology, and
  • what the basic anatomy of your computers

If you are an expert on computer hardware or were forced to become an expert recently when you had to buy a new computer sorry this months column may not be for you. But for everyone else who just smiles and nods when someone says cache …it’s time to go down the rabbit hole so please read on.

To start with a bit about bytes.Most of you will know that a GB is bigger than a MB and a MB is bigger than a KB but here’s what they actually mean.

There are 8 bits in a byte (B).
The smallest unit of memory, the Bit. In the computer world the Bit is an atom.The smallest unit of measurement its either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’What does a byte make?

There are 1, 024B in a kilobyte (KB)
These days a KB doesn’t make much. A five page paper (no pictures) is approximately 100KB.
If you cast back to 1981 the KB was a bigger deal. In 1981 the first remotely affordable home computer had a capacity of 16 kilobytes. If you splurged you could bump it up to 256 KB.

There are 1,048,576 bytes or 1,024 KB in a Megabyte (MB)
Which is just under 1000 pages of plain text. (4)

There are 1,048,576 KB or 1,024 MB in a gigabyte (GB)
Now: 2GB is the approximate size of a high quality legally downloaded 90 minute movie or approximately 341 digital pictures. (4)

And finally, there are 1,048,576 Megabytes or 1,024 Gigabytes in a terabyte (TB)
A terabyte is 233 DVD’s, bonus features and all, or Peter Jackson’s entire directing career line up.

There’s also the crazy sizes, a petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte and yottabyte.

and now for a curve ball

Whats the size of the internet?
With approximately 3 billion users (2) its hard to put a number on it. Back in 2010, Google said it had indexed 200TB of data which was estimated to be about 0.004% of the internet(3). It’s hard to put a number on it but is big. Really, really big.

The Opte Project created visualisations of the internet at 2003 and 2010. Personally, thinking about all these figures and trying to visualise the internet results in that sinking feeling I get when thinking about how big the universe is.

The internet in 2003
© 2014 by LyonLabs, LLC and Barrett Lyon

The Horsehead nebula
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

One thing about computers is this size doesn’t mean anything if there is nowhere to store it. There are two key types of computer storage: volatile memory and non-volatile memory.

Volatile memory is unstable and impermanent. It is the memory that disappears when your computer shuts down. On your computer the volatile memory is the Random Access Memory (RAM) and the cache memory.

Controlled by the computers Central Processing Unit, or CPU, the RAM is the computers primary memory sequence. A lot of RAM’s purpose and advantage is in the name. The data stored in the RAM can be accessed at random and is used by the CPU in the computers general operations. Before the CPU looks to the RAM however, it first checks the cache.

Closest to the CPU, the cache memory is the CPU’s first point of call when its looking to access data. Smaller and faster than the RAM, the “basic purpose of cache memory is to store program instructions that are frequently re-referenced by software during operation.”(1) Rather than retrieving the data directly from the RAM every time the cache stores frequently required data/instructions. What does this do? It makes your computer faster.

Unlike the volatile memory, you as the user have more of a say regarding the activities and contents of your computers non-volatile memory. The non-volatile memory is the stuff that stays where you put it unless you delete it or tragedy strikes and it gets corrupted. The primary piece of non-volatile memory is your computer hard drive. The hard drive stores everything, programs, files, everything that makes your computer yours when you turn it on.

Other examples of non-volatile memory are external hard drives, memory sticks (aka USB sticks or thumb drives), CD’s, DVD’s and the venerable, ye olde floppy disk.

References & Further reading
(1) Tech Target
The difference between RAM and Cache –

Further reading

LinkedIn – Be active not just present 


Alex Cato is back with more tips on about managing your professional presence on social media. For more advice, discussion and tips about making the most of these channels, register for NLS7. You can follow Alex on her blog or @curious_meow.

Looking for a job? If you are on the hunt its highly likely (if not certain) that you will update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a great tool for letting the industry know you are there and create an additional awareness point for your skills and experience. It is also a valuable tool for when you aren’t looking for a job. Given its targeted purpose and user group, that is, professionals being professional, LinkedIn is a great place to keep up to date with the latest developments in the industry, to share your latest professional discovery/experience and to learn from the experiences of others.

Constant LinkedIn activity can help you in the present and in the…

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