Category Archives: ND State Library

EBSCO Under Fire

It has recently been brought to our attention at the North Dakota State Library that EBSCO databases have been under fire from groups based in Colorado, alleging their databases contain pornographic material. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure worried librarians, teachers, and parents that these accusations are false. When this came to our attention we did our own research into the EBSCO databases accused of harboring this type of material. We did not find anything inappropriate.

The group that was cited when this was brought to our attention is the National Center for Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), formerly called Morality in Media. It is our goal at the State Library to help librarians and teachers identify credible resources that show both sides of an issue. This organization is not what we would consider a credible resource. When reading the site you can see that the organization is presenting their side of an issue rather than all sides involved. The National Center for Sexual Exploitation has what they call a “Dirty Dozen List” that is published each year to highlight the companies they consider “facilitators of sexual exploitation.” EBSCO has been on their list for several years now and other notables on the list are the American Library Association (ALA) and Amnesty International.

EBSCO databases have both scholarly reviewed materials and popular publication materials. The content of these popular press magazines are what have brought EBSCO under fire. One of the most common examples that NCOSE likes to use is the article “How to be a Better Bottom.” This article was published in April 2017 by Dr. Evan Goldstein in the periodical The Advocate. This article is from a popular press magazine, not a scholarly reviewed one. When we teach students, teachers, and other librarians how to do proper scholarly research, we always make sure to tell them to search by ‘scholarly reviewed’ items. This article does not appear when a search is done in that way. However, this article may be useful to those who are studying sexual health or those who are exploring their sexuality. Therefore, it should not be censored from databases.

As librarians, our goal is to never censor information from the masses. School libraries have firewalls and filters in place to protect students from material that could be harmful to them. Public libraries do not filter to the same extent, because they serve people of all ages. I would like to share a small portion of a letter from the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, James LaRue. In this letter to a different public library LaRue states,

“Our office is aware of no reports of any minor seeking or finding illegal or even pornographic content through EBSCO. Thus far, the searching [by NCOSE] is done by adults, usually following relatively sophisticated searching techniques that involve multiple steps. Moreover, these searches are conducted at home, where the internet connection is not filtered. If minors were in fact seeking sexual content, it’s unlikely that they would start with EBSCO. Nor would they start with filtered library catalogs. They would use their home computers or mobile phones and Google.”

Libraries are now falling between a rock and a hard place. Which really is not a new position for libraries. Librarians want to respect everyone’s wishes but in doing that, some are left unhappy. This is a tight-rope that librarians walk every single day. While we at the State Library suggest you should always listen to the concerns raised by patrons, we do believe that you should do your own research as well.

Even though the concerns about EBSCO were raised by what seemed to be a spam Facebook account (which has since been deleted), we take any challenge to the appropriateness of library materials seriously. We always hear the person out and explore their claim. In this case, we have found no evidence supporting the accusations against the EBSCO databases. We used the search techniques we teach and found none of the material that EBSCO is accused of promoting.

In this case, the situation boiled down to a simple choice for us. We could bow to political pressures leveraged by an out-of-state organization seeking to discredit schools, libraries, and the resources they provide. Or we could stand by the principles of Intellectual Freedom and affirm the right for everyone to have access to high quality research tools. We chose the latter.

If you have heard about this and would like to discuss ways to assure your patrons and parents that EBSCO is a reputable database please give us a call at the State Library. Your library development specialist would be happy to help.

 

**Special thanks to James LaRue for sharing his letter to the Arapahoe Libraries from July 2017.

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State Library Has A Drone!

Attention North Dakota libraries! The State Library now has a drone! The DJI Phantom 3: Drone Kit is available in KitKeeper. The kit includes a drone and an iPad for shooting and editing digital video. The kit only circulates to public and school libraries in North Dakota, and it be checked out up to 8 weeks. To reserve the drone kit or to learn more about it, visit KitKeeper at: http://www.eventkeeper.com/kitkeeper/index.cfm?curOrg=nodak

drone

Digital Horizons – New Collection featuring Pembina County Historical Society items

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We recently partnered with the Pembina County Historical Society to bring you a snapshot of what the Society has to offer. The new collection, North Dakota Memories, will include North Dakota items that are scanned from collections not housed by the North Dakota State Library. I have started adding items that I scanned in June from the Pembina County Historical Society museum in Cavalier. To this point, the Pioneer Women’s Histories have been uploaded to the Digital Horizons North Dakota Memories collection. This selection of materials contains biographies of pioneer women in Pembina County that was gathered in the 1930’s and 1940’s as part of the WPA program. The text is searchable and contains information on the life of the pioneers, genealogy, and history of the towns and settlements.

I have a lot more material to add so keep your eyes open for more images, artwork and objects from Pembina County in the North Dakota Memories collection!

If you know of a collection that could be part of North Dakota Memories, please contact me-Stephanie Kom at sbaltzer@nd.gov or 701-328-4629. We will provide equipment and training for a period of time and catalog and upload the objects for display on Digital Horizons.

A taste of things to come. Funeral procession in Cavalier, N.D. early 20th century.

A taste of things to come. Funeral procession in Cavalier, N.D. early 20th century.

New Digital Horizons Website

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Digital Horizons launched its new website last week! It now supports enhanced viewing and searching capabilities. For objects with many pages, you can switch to the Page Flip View and view it like an actual book rather than clicking on each individual page. You can browse all the collections or choose one collection and browse. There is also a handy feature that will send you updates on the collections that you choose to follow.

CountyTownsnip

This is the County and Town Histories landing page. You can see recent additions on the right and subscribe to update.

In our collection of County and Town Histories, you can conduct an advanced search using counties or towns as your search term. There is also faceted searching on the left side of your results screen that will allow you to narrow your results. It is limited as it will only show you the top 10 items in each facet for the collection.

facets

This is a screenshot of the faceted searching box that will appear on the left side of your screen beneath the collection boxes.

This is just a broad overview of some of the enhancements seen with the new Digital Horizons website. Please contact me-Stephanie Kom at sbaltzer@nd.gov or 701-328-4629 if you have any questions or comments. Happy hunting!

Digital Horizons

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As you may or may not be aware–the North Dakota State Library (NDSL) began participating in Digital Horizons about a year ago.  The previous link will take you to our current website where you can read up on the consortium if you aren’t familiar with the local institutions that are currently participating. NDSL is currently scanning county and town history books so that they are available online and are keyword searchable.

If you are a user of Digital Horizons, be on the lookout for some changes in the upcoming weeks. We will launch a new website that will be using the most up to date CONTENTdm software. This will make searches and viewing easier. There is also new content. We are hoping for an early October launch and I will keep you informed as changes occur.

I geek the North Dakota State Fair

FairLogo

I helped man the State Library booth at the North Dakota State Fair yesterday and had the distinct privilege of seeing what other people geeked. Geek the Library is a way for libraries to share their value with their communities. “Geek” as expressed in this campaign means:

  • To love, to enjoy, to celebrate, to have an intense passion for
  • To express interest in
  • To possess a large amount of knowledge in
  • To promote

Here are some photos I took of some items that people might geek– (don’t judge the photography skills 🙂 )

Grandstands

Grandstands

Fur Traders Rendezvous

Fur Traders Rendezvous

Dairy Barn

Dairy Barn

Library Booth

Library Booth

Construction equipment

Construction equipment

Tractor

Tractor

Photography

Photography

Dr. Seuss Quilt

Dr. Seuss Quilt

Legos

Legos

Scrapbooks

Scrapbooks

Model

Model

If you are going to the State Fair take some time and stop by our booth in Commercial II and share your geek with us!

P.S. For those of you that geek Twitter, the Fair has a Tweasure Hunt that you can follow @NdStateFair #TweasureHunt. They tweet clues to a location where you can find free tickets. Happy Hunting!

Open Library

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Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive. Its goal is to have a web page for every book ever published. It is an open project which means the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open, and they welcome your contribution. You can add catalog data, add a book, fix a typo or write a widget.

As part of those web pages, they have many scanned books available as free ebooks if they are in the public domain (typically before 1923). They have many other scanned books that fall after 1923 and you can gain access to them by coming to the ND State Library building. We are participating in their ebook lending program. Those books can only be accessed at our location because they are still protected by copyright and the restricted IP addresses keep Open Library within rights.

The post 1923 books that have been scanned are typically books that have been withdrawn from other library collections so most aren’t what you’d consider recent best sellers. However, if you are looking for something older–especially for research–there is a chance that you can find it in Open Library.

Open Library also has a collection of DAISY talking books–The Digital Accessible Information SYstem (DAISY) format is a means of creating digital talking books for people who wish to hear–and to navigate–written material presented in an audible format. DAISY helps those with “print disabilities,” including blindness, impaired vision, and dyslexia, to read electronic texts that have been converted into its format. As this is restricted to those with print disabilities, a person will need a device that can read DAISY files.

A great place to start with Open Library is the HELP menu. Here you will find FAQ’s and other useful information for navigating the website.

 

NoveList Plus: a Great Tool for Book Discussion Groups

NoveListRunning a book discussion group may sometimes seem like a thankless, time-consuming job. Recruiting (not to mention retaining) group members, organizing meetings, selecting book titles, coming up with discussion questions and researching prior to the discussion…just thinking about all this organizational leg-work is enough to keep your head spinning for weeks before the day of the group meeting even arrives. Whether you are currently running a thriving, successful book discussion group, or you’re considering starting one up with your friends or at your local public library, knowing where to turn to choose titles and to find fodder for your actual book discussion is half the organizational battle. The NoveList Plus database, available through the North Dakota State Library and your local North Dakota public library, is a great one-stop resource to help you find what you need to choose a book and jumpstart your discussion.

Continue reading

Calling All North Dakota Book Clubs

The ND State Library began lending book club kits last spring, and with the great initial success of this program, we’re looking to expand our offerings over the course of 2014. We will be focusing on adding kits featuring a North Dakota theme or North Dakota author, but we’d also like to add more kits based on what book clubs across the state are interested in reading. To this end, we’ve opened a SurveyIconsurvey to solicit suggestions for future book club kits from ND library staff members and citizens. What genres of books does your book club like to read and discuss? Are there any specific titles you’d like to see us add? Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction titles? Please take a minute to take our survey – we want to make sure we’re providing kits that will be of interest to the book clubs in our state.

 NDSL book club kits are available for loan to libraries and individuals in North Dakota. Check out our online catalog for a current list of kits available and to reserve a kit for your club (just do a search for book club kits). Contact our Reference Department with any questions or for further information on our Book Club Kit program.

October is National Reading Group Month

Book clubs and reading groups bring people together to experience great books, great discussion, and great friendships, all centered on a love of reading. They are open forums for new knowledge and ideas, building relationships, and experiencing the joy of discovering new books and authors.

book club month

Each October, the Women’s National Book Association sponsors National Reading Group Month, an event to “promote the value of books and reading,” and to “foster the values that reading groups encourage: camaraderie, enjoyment of shared reading, and appreciation of literature and reading as conduits for transmitting culture and advancing civic engagement.” As part of this initiative the WMBA presents Great Group Reads, a list of selected titles recommended for book clubs. This year’s list includes 21 titles, including recent popular titles like Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, along with a number of lesser known gems. This list is a great resource, whether you are part of a long-running book club, interested in starting a new group, or are just looking for something new to read yourself. Booklist has made its reviews of all the titles on this year’s list freely available – check them out on their Great Reads page. 

For North Dakota libraries and citizens, the North Dakota State Library has Book Club Kits available for checkout. We currently offer fourteen kits, including three that are newly available:

  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon

Check out our online catalog for more details and to reserve a kit for your book club.

Do you have any tips or hints for running a successful book club? Share your wisdom and experiences here!