Book Thing #34: No Place to Hide

This Month’s BookThing we’re diving into the issue of Edward Snowden and the NSA with No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald.

From Amazon.com:

No Place to HideIn May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agency’s widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowden’s disclosures.

Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity ten-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSA’s unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.

Going beyond NSA specifics, Greenwald also takes on the establishment media, excoriating their habitual avoidance of adversarial reporting on the government and their failure to serve the interests of the people. Finally, he asks what it means both for individuals and for a nation’s political health when a government pries so invasively into the private lives of its citizens—and considers what safeguards and forms of oversight are necessary to protect democracy in the digital age. Coming at a landmark moment in American history, No Place to Hide is a fearless, incisive, and essential contribution to our understanding of the U.S. surveillance state.

About Glenn Greenwald:

800px-Glenn_greenwald_portrait_transparentGlenn Edward Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American lawyer, journalist and author. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013. He was a columnist for Salon.com from 2007 to 2012, and an occasional contributor to The Guardian. Greenwald worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator. At Salon he contributed as a columnist and blogger, focusing on political and legal topics. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times. In February 2014 he became, along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

Greenwald was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013. Four of the five books he has written have been on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Greenwald is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland. He frequently appears on various radio and television programs. (Wikipedia)

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #85: Digital Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. Reading and sharing stories is big part of our lives. And digital storytelling is a great way to tell your own stories by creating something that’s visually stimulating, compelling and engaging.

For this month’s Thing, we’re going to share our library stories with digital storytelling, a form of storytelling that uses computer based tools to create a story that is then shared online.

What is digital storytelling?

Digital stories combine the art of traditional storytelling with multimedia aspects. The result is short multimedia movies that combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and narration. These stories are then uploaded to the internet to share with others.

These tales usually have a strong emotional impact because they are interpretive movies that include personal stories that the viewer can identify with in some way. The documentaries of Ken Burns, such as Baseball and The Civil War, are a longer version of digital storytelling. He uses a combination of personal writings, still photographs, original video footage, and historical information to create a deeply emotional experience for viewers.

Digital storytelling can have many uses: sharing family history, creating local history and oral history projects, presenting business research and information to engage stakeholders. Those are only a few basic ideas, as any topic can be made into a digital story.

Tools to create your own digital story

Inanimate Alice and Snappy – Alice is a photo story you can read. Snappy is the program you can use to mashup photos, video, audio and art to make your own story.

My StoryMaker – Guides you through character choice, settings and plot development.

Storify – Create stories by collecting updates from social networks.

Storybird – Reverses storytelling by starting with the image – you write your story inspired by the image.

ZooBurst – Create an interactive 3D pop-up book.

Museum Box – Build the story of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box.

More resources

To learn more about digital storytelling, check out these sites:

Center for Digital Storytelling

Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling – University of Houston

Digital Storytelling for Communities

Digital Storytelling – Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything

Assignment

1. Pick one or more of the tools to explore digital storytelling. Create your own story or a story for your library.

2. Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your final product into your post or include links to anything you’ve created. Some things to think about:

What tools did you use? How did they work?

How might you use these tools in your library?

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Book Thing #33: This Book is Overdue

This Month’s BookThing we’re going to bring it back home as suggested by Susie Dunn and read This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Mariln Johnson.

From Publishers Weekly:

This Book is OverdueStarred Review. In an information age full of Google-powered searches, free-by-Bittorrent media downloads and Wiki-powered knowledge databases, the librarian may seem like an antiquated concept. Author and editor Johnson (The Dead Beat) is here to reverse that notion with a topical, witty study of the vital ways modern librarians uphold their traditional roles as educators, archivists, and curators of a community legacy. Illuminating the state of the modern librarian with humor and authority, Johnson showcases librarians working on the cutting edge of virtual reality simulations, guarding the Constitution and redefining information services-as well as working hard to serve and satisfy readers, making this volume a bit guilty of long-form reader flattery. Johnson also makes the important case for libraries-the brick-and-mortar kind-as an irreplaceable bridge crossing economic community divides. Johnson’s wry report is a must-read for anyone who’s used a library in the past quarter century.

About Marilyn Johnson:

Marilyn JohnsonMarilyn Johnson is the author of three books: Lives in Ruins, about contemporary archaeologists (coming in November from HarperCollins), This Book Is Overdue! about librarians and archivists in the digital age, and The Dead Beat, about the art of obituaries and obituary writers. The Dead Beat was chosen for the Borders Original Voice program and was a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Johnson is a former editor at Esquire and Outside magazines, and a former staff writer for Life. She lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Visit her websites at http://www. thisbookisoverdue.com and http://www.marilynjohnson.net.

To earn 2 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #84: Timeline JS

Timeline JS logoThis month we’re going to take a look at a service from Northwestern University’s Knight Lab: Timeline JS.

While there are several different online timeline creation services available this is the one that I’ve found the most flexible and easiest to use. However, I will admit that there is a small learning curve but in the end, if you can fill in in a spreadsheet, you can use this to make a timeline.

What you’ll need:

  1. A google account in which to create your spreadsheet
  2. Somewhere to store your visual content like Flickr or YouTube (maybe).

How to do it:

The basic 4-step instructions are completely available on the Timeline JS site but allow me to add a few tips from my own experience that will make you’re experimenting a bit easier.

  • When you first open the Google Spreadsheet template there will be a “Use this template” button at the top of the page. Click that to open it into your account. If you’re not already logged into your Google account, you’ll be asked to do that here. Once you’ve got an editable version in your account you can change it’s title as needed.
  • Before you go any further it will be helpful to not make any changes and continue through the next three steps just to see how it all works. Once you’ve got a timeline of your own based on the template, you can then go back to the spreadsheet and start making changes.
  • In the spreadsheet, if you hover over the cells in row one, tips will appear including telling you which columns are required and which are optional.
  • Do not leave any blank rows in your spreadsheet. If the program encounters a blank row, it will stop looking for new events (rows) and end your timeline there.
  • You do not need to enter events in chronological order. However for organizational purposes it helps if you do.
  • If you update your spreadsheet your timeline will update the next time you refresh your browser.
  • The media column supports many sources for content such as Flickr, Soundcloud, Youtube, Vimeo, and Google Maps. So, as long as your media comes from one of those services, you can just paste the URL into that cell. If you have an image from your camera you’ll first need to upload it to Flickr (video to YouTube) before you can use it in your timeline.
  • If you’re familiar with HTML, you can include some basic code into your description cells such as <b>, <i>, and <br />. Experiment with caution as it can cause the timeline to break if you’re not careful.

As I learned from experience, getting your timeline perfect does take some work and some practice. Below is one that I’ve created for our eBooks & eReaders workshop. You can view the spreadsheet that generated this here.

As you can see from my example, cramming the timeline into the blog post can be a tight fit and some blog platforms don’t like the <iframe> code as it can be a security risk. There is a way to get a URL for a full-screen version. For example: the code for embedding my timeline into this post is

<iframe src=”http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0AlYAZIkPikeRdDc3LWNiNGdXZGUtTjBZaG9QNGEwM1E&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650″ width=”100%” height=”650″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

In this code pull out the URL value for src. In my case that’s

http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0AlYAZIkPikeRdDc3LWNiNGdXZGUtTjBZaG9QNGEwM1E&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

Change the 650 on the end to 100% and then link to that URL. Click this link to see the result of this example.

Assignment:

  1. Go to Timeline JS and create a timeline. It does not need to be as complex as the example or even a timeline of real events. Try experimenting with embedding different kinds of media.
  2. Write a blog post about your experience with timeline creation. Be sure to either embed your timeline your blog post, or include a link to it, so we can all take a look.

Here are some things to think about:

  • What did you like/dislike about Timeline JS?
  • What did you think of the creation process? Was it difficult or easy to create a timeline?
  • How can Timeline JS be used in libraries?
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Book Thing #32: We Are Anonymous

This Month’s BookThing is We are Anonymous: Inside the Hacker World of LulzSec, Anonymous, and the Global Cyber Insurgency by Parmy Olson.

From the back cover:

we-are-anonymousA thrilling, exclusive expose of the hacker collectives Anonymous and LulzSec.WE ARE ANONYMOUS is the first full account of how a loosely assembled group of hackers scattered across the globe formed a new kind of insurgency, seized headlines, and tortured the feds-and the ultimate betrayal that would eventually bring them down. Parmy Olson goes behind the headlines and into the world of Anonymous and LulzSec with unprecedented access, drawing upon hundreds of conversations with the hackers themselves, including exclusive interviews with all six core members of LulzSec.

In late 2010, thousands of hacktivists joined a mass digital assault on the websites of VISA, MasterCard, and PayPal to protest their treatment of WikiLeaks. Other targets were wide ranging-the websites of corporations from Sony Entertainment and Fox to the Vatican and the Church of Scientology were hacked, defaced, and embarrassed-and the message was that no one was safe. Thousands of user accounts from pornography websites were released, exposing government employees and military personnel.

Although some attacks were perpetrated by masses of users who were rallied on the message boards of 4Chan, many others were masterminded by a small, tight-knit group of hackers who formed a splinter group of Anonymous called LulzSec. The legend of Anonymous and LulzSec grew in the wake of each ambitious hack. But how were they penetrating intricate corporate security systems? Were they anarchists or activists? Teams or lone wolves? A cabal of skilled hackers or a disorganized bunch of kids?

WE ARE ANONYMOUS delves deep into the internet’s underbelly to tell the incredible full story of the global cyber insurgency movement, and its implications for the future of computer security.

About Parmy Olson:

Parmy Olson is a journalist for Forbes magazine known for her work on the hacktivist movement Anonymous. She describes herself as covering “agitators and innovators in mobile”. -Wikipedia

To earn 4 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Marilyn Johnson.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

Posted in BookThing | 1 Comment