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But You Get Badges And Networking Opportunities…

Posted February 7, 2017 By Abigail Goben

*Note 2/8 at 5 p.m., if you’re just joining us– ACRL did respond to a few of the privacy questions in the comments. I have not seen the Lightning Talks voting addressed as yet.*

I was troubled this week to learn that ACRL is promoting an app specific to those of us attending ACRL 2017. It struck me as a waste of phone space and of limited use. But what particularly surprised me was that in a “Welcome to the Conference” email, I was informed that the only way I could participate in voting for Lightning Talks was to download this app.

A colleague of mine has a lightning talk that I’d really like to see presented–and this then backs me into a corner. No alternate option was given, nor was there a specific contact on the email (the response email went directly to ACRL’s general inbox). So I tried to download it. A waste of phone space, yes, and annoying…

And also attempting to invade my privacy.

On my Android device, the app aggressively pushes for access to my device’s contact list. There is no apparent need for this and when I chose “Deny” the app kept rerouting me to try and get me to agree. **See the screenshots at the bottom for what it looks like**  Android has the option to “Deny and check here to stop it asking this again.” 

Once you finally get those pop ups to stop, now you are required to fill in at least some part of the manually entered profile to get to the app. Again, no clear way around this and no apparent need for this. You can’t click on a “do this later” or anything like that. Trying to get out of the Profile page sends you back on a loop of “we need to access your contacts.” So at minimum they have an email address, first name, and last name and even then you have to guess/try to figure out how to get to the full application. (Note: A hard return will do it after you fill in the last name) I leave it to the usability experts to clarify how this might also be a usability issue.

By the time I actually got into the full app, I was more than a little suspicious of what else it was signing me up for, so I went to check the settings. The default is that all of them are turned on. This includes a variety of notifying people when I/others check in, automatic blue tooth beacon alerts, and receiving private messages from anyone else with the app. What it didn’t include was any information of what was being done with information we put into this app.

The responses I got from ACRL when I shot off a few questions were not adequate.

  • They were surprised to hear about the Contacts requirement that the app was asking for. I sent the screenshots below but how do you not know what happens when the app is installed?
  • They said the app could be used at more than one ACRL event. But the conference is every two years and I really don’t want an ACRL app, LITA app, ALA app, STS app, etc. Nor do I want my other organizations to suddenly jump on this bandwagon so additionally I end up with an RDAP app, IASSIST app, Code4Lib App…
  • They went with an app rather than a mobile site due to feedback from last year. I am not convinced of the tradeoff for a universal ALA/Divisions mobile website for conferences.
  • In response to my question about the all Opt-Out settings, I got a generic statement about respecting people’s privacy. Considering the profile information being required and the settings, I am not convinced of this.
  • Regarding the Lightning Talks–both the email I got from ACRL and a lovely person on the Innovations Committee on Twitter offered to take my votes in some other way and ensure they get counted. This is not a viable option, only available to those of us frustrated on social media. There should be an option for those who do not have a smartphone or other device or who just do not want to use the app.

The latest Pew report I could find from 2015 tells me that we have ~64% saturation of some type of smartphone. That is by no means universal and I find that presumption from ACRL incredibly off-putting. This tells attendees who don’t have a Android/Iphone smartphone that they cannot participate in shaping the Lightning Talk session.

This app is also asking for my contact information and a suspicious depth of profile information in exchange for notifications I probably don’t want. Where is that information going and who has access to it? How much does the app maker DoubleDutch get? Should I expect vendor spam from them now that they have my work email? Is someone archiving all of the content captured in the app and if so, for how long and will that be searchable? None of this is clear. LITA and the ALA Information Freedom Privacy Subcommittee just put out checklists for Patron Privacy. Perhaps we need one for organization privacy as well?

ETA: Eric Hellman tells me the screenshots may not be embedding. I’ve also shared the Google Album here: https://goo.gl/photos/kdHvrSbUSGimy8wG7

 

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Book Review: Romancing the Inventor, Gail Carriger

Posted November 1, 2016 By Abigail Goben

This book was reviewed from an Advanced Reading Copy that I received. This review will have spoilers.

romancingtheinventor_ebook-684x1024

Carriger returns with another one of her romantic short stories, taking readers familiar with and new to her world on a side path and finding a happy ending along the way.

Romancing the Inventor is set later in the Parasol Protectorate series and brings a love story for the complicated Madame Lefoux, the French inventor. Though not the first lesbian romance to which Carriger has introduced, this is the first time it has been the focus of the story.

The tale is from the perspective of Imogene, a country maid who takes a job at the hive both for much needed wages as well as a goal of perhaps finding others who like herself share a same sex interest. Carriger does carefully frames the challenges a village woman with little power in the Victorian era might have had in finding a lover of her own preference.

Once at the hive, Imogene comes across Genevieve Lefoux and over a number of months their flirtations grow to something far deeper. Class differences are noted by Imogene, who feels overwhelmed at how far apart they are socially and there is a nod to the above/below stairs divide that may appeal to fans of Downton Abbey.

Several aspects worked quite well in this book. Despite the brevity of the story, time passed. This was not a three week romance one often finds in shorter stories, nor was there an unreasonable number of years going by. Instead a few weeks passed here and there, long enough for the heroines to actually get to know each other–not just fall madly into bed.

Imogene was an active heroine. There were aspects that were out of her control and the resplendent Lady Maccon charges in to save the day at one particularly frightening moment but overall, Imogene does her best to hold her own and act on her interests. At the beginning she displayed a combination of heroine worship and puppy love that could have made her unbearably sweet but Carriger develops the character to be more active and complex and therefore more suitable counterpart to Lefoux.

While I’m not much of one for reading sex scenes, the ones in this story were much better than what was in the last story. It was sweeter and consensual desire and affection was apparent. While Genevieve was resisting, it was out of emotional self-protection.

There were a few minor quibbles. Imogene’s family is mentioned several times at the beginning but then dropped rather cavalierly about 60% of the way through the book. Considering she is a primary source of income for them and a potential driving force for her work, this was a loose end flapping.

I also found it a litle odd that in a family with many children and a large amount of poverty, Imogene was only just going to work at age 28? Alexia was odd at 26 being a dedicated spinster in Soulless, it seemed almost impossible that a country girl would be unemployed, unmarried, not in the church, etc by two years older.  Sexual violence is present in the book–though more as threat than activity, and I didn’t care for Imogene later seeming to partially excuse it.

A final delightful aspect was seeing Major Channing a somewhat warmer light. One has the suspicion that Carriger has a romance planned for him and perhaps the relevation of a lost love as well. He was kind to Imogene and their interactions were heartfelt and comfortable.

Carriger is more confident in this second romance offering and returns with ease to Alexia’s world, which will bring longtime readers along easily. Newer readers will notice the allusions to other characters and stories but these do not distract overall.

Overall, this is a charming addition to the canon.

Open Access Tenure: Hurdle In Sight…

Posted October 24, 2016 By Abigail Goben

Thursday is the last Library vote on my tenure dossier. It’s my final College vote where my tenured Library colleagues will recommend to my Dean whether or not my package goes forward to campus in January. They’ve been deliberating all fall, so hopefully it will be a fast meeting? I don’t know when exactly I’ll get the results, probably within a week or two.

My external reviewer letters were back in September* and the fall has seen myriad rounds of edits and not a little process frustration squeezed into the usual chaos that is Fall Semester. Teaching, new students, new research, new projects–and proofreading my papers another time, one more time, tweaking a date here when something comes out, moving two more book chapters from the accepted column to the published column.

At the moment I feel very abstracted from the process. My “final” dossier went to the library a week and a half ago and since then I’ve been through a conference, a personal trip, and a B1G Homecoming Weekend (minus the actual football game itself). I know the vote is coming but it still feels far away. That will probably change Thursday morning.

I am putting together my 6Y-Public-Dossier for those who are following along and I’ll have that up for download after I hear about the vote.

In the interim, I’m not writing enough…but what academic ever is?

*I wish I could read those. Could they strip out the names?

A Decade.

Posted August 31, 2016 By Abigail Goben

I’m late writing this post. I kept waiting for the summer to slow down so I could write with my head clear. That never happened and my students have been back for several weeks, so fall is formally underway.

My blog turned 10 in July. Looking back, it’s fascinating to see how much has changed over the past ten years and how I’ve transitioned between careers. Medical publishing to mostly freelance work to public libraries to academic libraries and presently I’m in my final year of the tenure-track process at my current place, one way or another.

I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to and that comes for a number of reasons: there’s other social media for short quick thoughts; I still haven’t gotten good at drafting things on the train on the way to or from work regularly; writing time is much rarer and if I’m not working on the long research project to do list I feel guilty. I have so much writing that I want to do…

There are a number of pieces also sitting in draft because I need to reread them, go through them once more before I throw them out to the world. But I do still find a lot of value in having this space for myself and my voice. The blog has given me a lot of opportunity to connect with other librarians and academic colleagues.

I don’t know whether it will last me another ten years though at present I don’t see why not. WordPress is still humming along; LisHost is still an excellent host. I can see this outlasting many of the social media sites that I use–it’s a more controllable platform and I get to decide on the comments, which helps. But who knows what ten years will bring–if I’ll still be a librarian in the same sense, if I’ll still want to write this way.

Hopefully, in the next 10 years, my most popular post won’t still be about why Playaways break so often and hopefully a decade-from-now-Abigail will still like my hedgehog identity. It’s distinct, at least.

On to the next decade…

June is for Handoff

Posted June 20, 2016 By Abigail Goben

June is for handoff and that’s what we like to do….
(Cookies, however are more satisfying)

A few things are coming off of my current whiteboard of doom at work. While there is a lot of new stuff on the way to fill it up, it’s been nice to see things wrap up this month.

  • ACRL Research Data Management Road Show Curriculum Development
    • I’ve not talked about this a whole lot but it’s taken up a fair amount of spring. I was delighted to get the contract to develop a Road Show with Megan Sapp Nelson of Purdue. We’ve spent weekly meetings working through exercises, imagining what we can get through in a single day, hashing things out with a fantastic volunteer group of Small(er) Libraries representatives. The curriculum has gone to ACRL for review and Megan and I get a few moments to focus on other things before we take it out for a test drive that I suspect is coming in July/August.
  • External Reviewer Packet for my Tenure Bid
    • Today, I sent my external reviewer packet to my paperwork person and she will send it out to whoever it is that will read it. My interdisciplinary and research statements are fixed and done. This comes, of course, after massive rewrites and an emergency trip to see Madame Mentor.
  • Copyright Paper
    • I’ve been collaborating with the Anthropologist this spring on a Dentistry/Copyright paper. We received word just over a week ago that the paper had been accepted! This was excellent timing as it meant the final manuscript could be included in my external packet.
  • Epidemiology Paper
    • Alllllmost there. I’m working with a dental public health/epidemiology/policy team on this one. We got comments back from the reviewers and the last three weeks has been a little bit of editing  and a lot of chat as we try to work through what they said. I wrangled the paper out of the misery that is RefWorks Beta and over to Zotero and that’s made my life exponentially better. Zotero 4ever. One more co-author has some wrangling to do while I’m at ALA and that’s due back to the editors on July 1. Cross your fingers for acceptance.
  • Search Committee
    • I spent the spring serving on a search committee for Dentistry. We’re looking for a new Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. It’s been a very different process from what I am used to in libraries.
  • LITA Education Committee
    • After four very long years, I will be rotating off of the committee at Annual. My Vice-Chair has already started to step in and take over, which has been fantastic. He has a lot plans for next year and a new VP who knows the history and will have his back. It’s been a hell of a ride and at some point when the bandaid rip off is less raw, I need to write about it more.

That’s the pile that is going away and other than some minor threads to tie up, not coming back. The Anthropologist and I are working on another paper, I’ll probably see the Epi paper at least one more time, the Vice Chair and I will have some hand off conversations. But overall…done. As each piece has been sent off, there has been a little more room to breathe.

Immediately, of course, filled by other things where I am dreadfully behind.

I’m still me.