Category Archives: News

NYT’s Tobin Harshaw to Lecture at UW on Thursday

From UW-Madison Libraries:

Tobin Harshaw, senior staff editor for the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times, comes to campus Thursday, Oct. 18, to give a 4:30 p.m. lecture for the Friends of the Libraries and the School of Journalism. Harshaw’s talk, “The Pundits and the Power: Behind the Rise of Opinion Journalism,” will cover the origins and evolution of opinion journalism. The lecture is in 976 Memorial Library on campus.

Tenant Resource Center May Close Due to Lack of Funds

Channel 3000 reports that the Tenant Resource Center is in danger of shutting down.

For 30 years, the Tenant Resource Center has offered free rental housing counseling and legal advice to thousands of people across the state.
In April, the center lost $55,000 of its funding from the University of Wisconsin student government. A phone message at the TRC revealed that the group has again lost funds, but this time from the federal government, WISC-TV reported.
A recorded message on the TRC phone line said, “Due to a cut in funding from the Housing and Urban Development of $40,000, we are forced to temporarily shut down this line.”
That line is the toll free phone line for people living outside of Dane County. TRC officials said that up to 50 calls a day were received on the toll free line, which counselors will no longer answer. Officials said the significant cuts could force the center to shut down completely.

Thanks to my colleague, Vicky Coulter for the tip.

New York Times Content Now Free on Web

Beginning this week, The New York Times will stop charging for access to TimesSelect content. InfoWorld reports that, in addition to opening up its content to all visitors, The New York Times will also offer free access to its archives dating back to 1987, as well as access to stories published by the paper between 1851 and 1922. The site will still charge for access to stories published between 1923 and 1986. Print subscribers will get free access to the complete archives, however, the paper said.
Why? According to the NYT article,

…Many more readers started coming to the site from search engines and links on other sites instead of coming directly to NYTimes.com. These indirect readers, unable to get access to articles behind the pay wall and less likely to pay subscription fees than the more loyal direct users, were seen as opportunities for more page views and increased advertising revenue.

TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators. Those who have paid in advance for access to TimesSelect will be reimbursed on a prorated basis.

Odd Wisconsin: The Book


If you’re an Odd Wisconsin fan like me, you’ll be interested to know that the Wisconsin Historical Society has recently published a book entitled, Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Wisconsin’s Past.
From the Web site:

This unique book unearths the stories that got lost to history even though they may have made local headlines at the time. No mythical hodags or eight-legged horses here! Odd Wisconsin features strange but true stories from Wisconsin’s past, every one of which was documented (albeit by the standards of the day). These brief glimpses into Wisconsin’s past will surprise, perplex, astonish, and otherwise connect readers with the state’s fascinating history. From “the voyageur with a hole in his side” to “pigs beneath the legislature,” Odd Wisconsin gathers 300 years of curiosities, all under the radar of traditional stories.

The 200 page book sells for $16.95. Author Erika Janik will be discussing her new book at the Barnes & Noble West in Madison on Thursday, August 9th at 7:00 p.m.

2006 Wisconsin Distinguished Document Award

Each year, the Wisconsin Library Association Government Information Round Table presents the Wisconsin Distinguished Document Award. It is presented each spring to a Wisconsin state or local government document published during the preceding year that, among other criteria, contributes significantly to the expansion of knowledge; provides inspiration and pleasure to an identifiable readership; contributes to public understanding of government agencies; and is distinguished by the clarity of its presentation, its typography and design, and its overall appeal.
This year it was a tie:

Honorable mentions:

  • The Forest Where We Live: Growing a Legacy. Produced by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; written by Natasha Kassulke. [Madison, Wis.?]: Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, 2006. 24 p.
    WiDocs number: FOR.6/2:U 72/2/2006
    Also in the August/September 2006 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources, WiDocs number NAT.4:1977-

  • Building Safer Communities. Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, [2006]. 20 p.
    WiDocs number: CRI 2.6/2:C 66/2006

  • Wisconsin Ethics Board website. [Madison, Wis.: Wisconsin Ethics Board.]

NYT Rethinks Free Access to Colleges Based on Librarian Complaints

The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports that the New York Times has altered its offer to make Times Select, which includes columnists and archives going back to the 1800s, available to college students for free.
After librarians complained that they already pay tens of thousands of dollars for access to premium New York Times content through database companies like ProQuest and Lexis-Nexis, TimesSelect will now be available only to students of colleges that subscribe to database companies that carry Times content. Currently non of the pre-1980s archives is available to students for free while NYTimes.com is working on a patch that will recognize colleges that are subscribers to databases.
Boy, this is a tough one. I can certainly identify with the librarians who are upset that they shelled out big bucks for a resource that was later offered for free. BUT, for the Times to restrict access because of it is just a Lose-Lose situation. It’s all so painfully ironic since librarians are all about the free sharing of information.
The comment of Barbara Fister, one of the librarians quoted in the article, is illustrative:

This is not the outcome I’d hoped for, and I certainly was not lobbying against information being free. I simply felt taken for a ride when the publisher who had made a deal with a third party to sell content at a large price tag to libraries turned around and marketed the same content to our students as “complementary”. (It wasn’t free to everyone, just students and faculty with .edu e-mail addresses. The people we spend many thousands to provide it to.) I’m sorry they turned off the access and I’d be much happier if they made it available to everyone.
Frankly, I raised the question because it seemed underhanded of the Times to do business this way.
Librarians are in favor of open access. We’ve fought hard for it. Don’t let the Times’s response to a question asked in good faith make you think librarians are against information being widely and freely available. It’s what we do, after all. I just don’ t like getting soaked.