The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Friday, May 31, 2002

Adult Filtering Unconstitutional

More on Library Filtering from Volokh - The Child Internet Protection Act Decision

"A few key points:

  1. The court held that under the First Amendment, public libraries, whether or not funded by the federal government, may not filter access for adults.
  2. The court did not resolve whether public libraries or school libraries could filter access for children (see pp. 130-131 and footnote 32).
  3. ...The Supreme Court must consider the appeal; it can just affirm the lower court decision using a one-line affirmance, but it has to consider the merits of the case to do so. And in a situation like this one, where the lower court struck down a federal statute, it's highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will agree in a one-line opinion. The Supreme Court will almost certainly have to rehear this case, a prediction that I very rarely make.
  4. For now, the federal government is enjoined not to enforce CIPA. What about public libraries, which are virtually all run by state governments? May they continue filtering adult access (and I don't know how many do -- I suspect that many don't, given a trial court decision four years ago in the Mainstream Loudoun case that also held library filtering of adult access to be unconstitutional), or must they stop?..." [The Volokh Conspiracy, via Ernie the Attorney]

Here's what I think is his key statement, though:

"But in any event, the result of the court's reasoning is that filtering, at least of adult access, is unconstitutional -- at least until the Supreme Court revisits the question, probably by early July of 2003."

I hope this is correct. Maybe ALA will post something to this effect.

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"Announcing: The RadioPoint Tool. "It turns the outliner into a presentation authoring program." [Scripting News]

Gah*. Tie this in with the latest Flash tool that lets the page read itself to you, and you have have a presention that can deliver itself to the viewer. But wait, how do you get all the text that the presenter would normally read into the file, without it being visable to the audience? Set it to match the background color and shrink it so that it fits in the space allotted. Convergence.

Use it for kiosks, remote learning, etc. Since you render the page with CSS, you can have the text appear as well with a button on the side of the browser that the user can control. use it combined with a wearable for step by step instructions for technicians, that can be updated in real time. Adjust the text size with CSS driven buttons on the side menu as well.

Again I say, Killer App. This will take KM to a whole new level. Need to do a presentation of your project plan? No problem, update the plan, and drop it in the apropriate place, five minutes later, you are done. No more messing about with PPT files, nothing lost in translation, and it just works.

*Gah means that I have an idea, and it's forming faster than I can type. Think Zeus with the birth of Athena and you get an idea of what it's like." [Ryan Greene's Radio Weblog]

I haven't read the documentation yet, but can you include images? If so, I'll be putting my "Information Shifting" presentation in this format!

This would also make collaborative presentations easier at work if I get to realize my Radio vision at SLS!

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Too Damn Cool

"UC Berkeley has a class for Weblogs in the School of Journalism." [Scripting News]

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How to Track a Meme

Matt Griffith + Mark Pilgrim + Ben Hammersley + Dave Winer =

"A new macro and howto shows Radio users how to add a link element to weblog and category home pages, pointing to their associated RSS feeds. The equivalent feature is in progress for Manila." [Scripting News]

I don't know enough about any of this to understand where it's all going, but I'm still excited.  :-)

Check out all of the cool things that Mark Pilgrim is documenting are happening as a result.

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I Got Mail!

picture of the Otis MP3 playerGot my Otis from Audible. Now I can fit a whole book on the player, and if I get an additional card for it, I can have two books with me at any given time. The Otis is about half the size of my Rio 500, too. It's quite a nice little player.  :-)

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Google Me This, Batman!

Google's Search for Winner Ends

"A 27-year-old New York computer scientist was named the winner of Google's first programming contest on Thursday for creating a location-based search tool that could allow Google users to restrict their search results to specific geographic regions.

Daniel Egnor won $10,000 in cash and a trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, where he'll have the chance to run his code on some of Google's systems. According to the contest's rules, Google can now use his code in its own systems, but company representative said they had no plans to implement the tool in the publicly available search engine.

If added to Google, Egnor's code would allow a searcher to ask for pages that match a keyword and are based in a particular location. The usual million-plus results that come up for the ever-popular search of 'Britney Spears,' for example, could be shortened to just a few hundred thousand if all one really needed were Britney pages based in Bangladesh.

But Egnor wrote in an e-mail that his program would be more practical as a kind of Google-powered Yellow Pages for the Web....

'I wanted the same geographical search ability -- find stuff that's near me -- but on the Web as a whole, so I could find not just big stores but smaller stores and parks and events that are going on and just whatever anyone wanted to make a Web page about. So if somebody out there wanted to make a Web page that listed all the coffeeshops that also offer 802.11b Internet access, I could search for that and get a map of the ones nearest me.'

The program determines where a page is located by scanning it for street addresses. 'It has a thing that can recognize a lot of different ways people format addresses in text, and it uses a database the U.S. Census Bureau puts out to turn those into geographical coordinates,' Egnor wrote." [Wired News, heads up from Gary]

Here's the official Google announcement, which also lists five honorable mention submissions, two of which are related to pagerank and two of which are related to semantic concepts.

I'm sure the Google folks got some great ideas out of this contest. At this rate, I'm hoping to see a Google logo that incorporates Inspector Gadget into it.

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Mazel Tov!

Score One for Free Speech!

Bulletin: CIPA Overturned.

"From the AP:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Three federal judges on Friday threw out a federal law that would have forced public libraries to equip computers with software designed to block access to Internet pornography.

In a 195-page decision, the judges said the Children's Internet Protection Act went too far because it also blocking access to sites that contained protected speech.

'Any public library that adheres to CIPA's conditions will necessarily restrict patrons access to a substantial amount of protected speech in violation of the First Amendment,' the judges wrote." [Over the Edge]

Addendum: you can find the opinion at, although it appears the site is getting hit pretty hard at the moment because I can't get to it.

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Follow the Bouncing Meme

Kellner's Interviewer Speaks Out

"Staci D. Kramer is a contributing editor of the USC Annenberg School for Communication's Online Journalism Review [Recommended - ed.] and is the journalist who conducted the interview with Jamie Kellner in which the head of Turner Broadcasting said skipping commercials was theft. See, LawMeme's (Top Ten New Copyright Crimes). She has now written an article about how the interview took off via the Internet (From Acorns to Mighty Oaks). The article is an interesting reaction by a mainstream journalist to how the Internet can grab something from the mainstream and masticate the heck out of it. Full disclosure, she calls LawMeme's post 'particularly clever', but feels we copied too much of her article. [via MetaFilter]" [LawMeme]

An excerpt from Kramer's article:

"But this is different. Itís proof of the power of making an article available free of charge -- even for a limited amount of time -- and the kind of payoff it can bring. It also demonstrates how little control journalists have over how readers perceive their work....

Most linked to the full interview even when excerpts were included; that started to change as people realized the original was no longer available for free....

I donít remember ever having the chance to read so many reactions to something Iíve written....

The greatest irony to me, though, was the way this came about by happenstance just when I needed it to illustrate a point. Iíd been trying to explain to an editor how Internet buzz can influence a storyís cycle and push it into the mainstream. Iíd had plenty of experience with that phenomenon when I was at like the day when I picked up a newspaper in Atlanta and saw a lead story about something that broke on Inside.  At last check, Turner had inquiries about Kellnerís PVR ideas pending from several major mainstream publications." [Online Journalism Review]

As I tracked this same story, I saw a lot of posts asking for pointers to the full article since it was no longer available for free on the Cableworld site. I excerpted quite a bit of the article in my original post because I've noticed how often the original source is unavailable when I simply link to an external article. (Obviously Ms. Kramer hasn't seen how much I excerpted from the article! Now I'm expecting a letter in the mail....) So if Cableworld is enjoying the fruits of a hearty meme, it might just be because folks like Ernest and myself put enough of the article out there to reach a tipping point. Otherwise, it probably would have died faster since no one had access to the "juicy" parts.

Once they saw the story spiking, Cableworld would have been wiser to open the article for free access and provide a discussion area. Then they would have gotten the lion's share of recognition and traffic. It was a failure on their part to accurately react to the situation. Selling one ad on those pages would probably have brought in far more than whatever money they received in individual sales for that article.

Also, this is a wonderful example of how newspapers fail to provide full context for their readers because they feel threatened by libraries providing online access to their archives. If those newspapers that picked up the story (either in print or online) had pointed readers to their local public libraries for full copies of the article, Cableworld would have made a lot more money from licensing their content to a third party service, they would have been mentioned more in citations (as would Ms. Kramer), and readers would have an easy way to judge Kellner's comments for themselves. It's a natural flow between newspapers (that disseminate information) and libraries (that disseminate information). We're complementary, not competitors.

And let's not forget that most people don't have Nexis in order to set up tracking for specific topics in the press. How does the average person do this from home? They search online archives (to which they could not afford access on their own) through their local public library's subscriptions. How would Ms. Kramer have dealt with the tracking without Nexis? Probably a lot more manual work or a librarian.

Final note: sometimes the most obvious links don't get provided in a post, so I'm not sure why Ms. Kellner complains about others not linking back to the Cableworld site. Witness the fact that Ms. Kramer provides several links within the above article, but none back to the Cableworld site itself, and none to the page where readers can purchase a copy of the full article on the Cableworld site. Even the most well-intentioned people forget to add these types of pointers, especially when they're intent is to make a specific point.

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I'm Not So Sure about This One....

" has added a free service featuring thousands of restaurant menus in the following cities: Boston, , New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. You can view menus online, search for menu items, read customer reviews, and make reservations by phone. This service is in beta." [Library News Daily]

Plus, they mean "Chicago" literally, so the suburbs aren't covered. On the other hand, I found a couple of South American restaurants to try.

It's interesting how Amazon is selling to other industries the technology they built to show excerpts from books. I guess it really is the software, stupid.

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Damn, Those Lawyers Are Really Going to Town Blogging!

A TradeMark Law Blog?

"Yep.  I found it last night.  I added it as a Category of law on my site below 'Copyright' but I'm doing that only on the assumption I will get the site's author's permission. The site uses the 'Transmitter' theme like I do, but I think it is clear the site is being run by I wonder if the author is related to David Schimmer?

One humorous thing I picked up from the site was this reference to 'Trademark Barbie'. Check it out. And check the site out. There is a lot of good stuff about domain names etc." [Ernie the Attorney]

Rafe also "discovered Greplaw, a weblog run by the Berkman Center that covers cyberlaw." I love their logo - a shark with a mouse.  :-)

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