It’s time to do a midyear check-in on the topics that have been top of mind for NewsBreaks and Information Today writers this year. Please let us know in the comments what topics you’d like to see covered in the future.
Check out the tables of contents for each Information Today issue so far in 2023, listed below. If you would like to order any back issues, please contact editor Brandi Scardilli at email@example.com. To subscribe to the newsmagazine in print, PDF, or print-plus-PDF, visit our online store and choose your preferred option:
The following are the 2023 issues to date:
January/February | March | April | May | June
The topic on everyone’s mind this year has been artificial intelligence (AI). Most of the Information Today columnists have wanted to test out at least one of the generative AI tools making a splash, such as ChatGPT—and see The Help Desk in the June issue for a step-by-step look at Bard by Google. I don’t think the interest in these tools will die down anytime soon.
AI Ethicist column: “The AI Bill of Rights: A Small Step in the Right Direction” by Kashyap Kompella (January/February issue)
The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights: Making Automated Systems Work for the American People in October 2022.
“ChatGPT News Roundup” by Brandi Scardilli (March 28 NewsBreak)
NewsBreaks has been keeping tabs on ChatGPT, the generative AI chatbot tool from OpenAI, since its buzzy launch toward the end of 2022.
The Help Desk column: “How Info Pros Can Use ChatGPT” by Sophia Guevara (March issue)
After reading several stories about ChatGPT online, I decided to learn more about this AI-based language model from the OpenAI research and deployment company.
Let’s Get Strategic column: “ChatGPT: Opportunities and Risks Related to AI-Generated Content” by Linda Pophal (March issue)
AI-driven content-generation tools are nothing new. But if the hype around the release of ChatGPT is to be believed, this new offering is something special.
AI Ethicist column: “Artificial Intelligence Versus Artists?” by Kashyap Kompella (April issue)
Artists using software tools as aids in their creative pursuits is nothing new, but generative AI tools are challenging some of our notions about art—starting with whether such computer-generated images can really be called art.
Legal Issues column: “The Intelligence of Artificial Intelligence” by George H. Pike (May issue)
Since its release, a number of communities have both embraced and expressed concern about ChatGPT. At a recent faculty meeting at my school, the consensus was that ChatGPT could probably write a decent (“maybe a B”) law school exam answer.
Let’s Get Strategic column: “Opportunities for Building Generative AI Into Work Processes” by Linda Pophal (June issue)
Here are some … content marketing applications for generative AI tools (such as ChatGPT) to get you thinking about how they might aid in your content creation processes.
BOOKS, BOOK BANS, AND LIBRARIES
The current rise in book bans is scary for anyone who loves reading. Reading about other cultures and lifestyles is the only way some kids can be exposed to both people who are different from them and people they can identify with as part of the same marginalized group, especially if they live somewhere without a lot of diversity. Study after study shows that reading fosters empathy. By all accounts, the banning isn’t actually coming from a desire to protect kids—it’s a desire to maintain the white, cisgender, heteronormative hegemony. And until that changes, we’re going to be covering book challenges and book bans. You’ll find more information about book banning in our U.S. Book Show articles under the Conferences section of this NewsBreak and in the March 2022 issue of Information Today.
We also write about all kinds of other aspects of books, reading, and libraries. I’ve shared a few examples from 2023 here.
“Taking the Temperature of a Profession: Libraries in 2023” by Brandi Scardilli (Jan. 17 NewsBreak)
There has been much talk of the existence of a new normal since the pandemic began, because libraries have had to pivot and adjust in many different ways.
“Great Reads for 2023” by Brandi Scardilli (Jan. 24 NewsBreak)
To celebrate the new year, NewsBreaks and Information Today contributors and staffers are sharing the (already published and to-be-published) books they’re most looking forward to reading in 2023, whether for pleasure, for education, or both.
“The Poison Book Project Spreads Awareness of Arsenical Books” by Patti Gibbons (March 14 NewsBreak)
In 2019, while preparing materials for an exhibition at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, book conservator and University of Delaware associate professor Melissa Tedone noticed that the surface of a vibrant green cloth book binding was brittle in an uncharacteristic way.
“What It’s Like to Run a Library TikTok” by Justin Hoenke (April issue)
To learn more about TikTok, how libraries are using it, and what it’s like to start and keep up with a library TikTok account, I spoke with Bailey Randolph … , head of children’s services at the Grande Prairie Public Library in Alberta, Canada.
“A Roundup of the Latest Book-Banning News” by Anthony Aycock (June 13 NewsBreak)
You’ve seen the reports. You know what’s happening. In 2021, ALA tracked more than 700 book challenges, the most in 2 decades. In 2022, that number nearly doubled. Each day, it seems, brings news of another school or library facing a book ban.
MENTAL HEALTH AND GOOD WORK ENVIRONMENTS
Mental health and well-being, especially at work, has been a major focus for NewsBreaks and Information Today lately—is it any wonder, with the state of the world as we are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic? And with the current threats to librarians just trying to do their jobs? And people of color and LGBTQ+ people being roadblocked from simply living their lives? We want to uplift readers, so expect mental health to continue to be something we, well, keep in mind. You’ll find even more information about mental health and working in libraries in the September 2022 issue of Information Today.
“The Importance of Recognizing Disability Representation in EDI Work” by Abigail L. Phillips (Feb. 7 NewsBreak)
In this brief NewsBreak, I will delve into what is often left out of the EDI discussion: disability, particularly when thinking about neurodiversity and other, often called invisible, disabilities. …
Notes on Digital Transformation column: “We Need to Talk: Five Essential Conversations That Make Good Teams Great” by Marianne Kay (March issue)
[T]he transition from a group of individuals to a team that truly supports each other and works well together is not without its challenges. Here are five key conversations that can help on this journey.
Let’s Get Strategic column: “Vetting Freelance Talent in 2023” by Linda Pophal (May 2023)
The use of freelancers and contractors is on the rise, and this trend is likely to continue as hordes of workers are laid off or decide they simply aren’t willing to give up the freedom and flexibility of remote and hybrid work to return full-time to physical workplaces.
“We Are Not Safe From Mass Shootings … But We Could Be” by Alison A. Trotta (May Spotlight)
We can’t undo the damage that was done at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, or a concert in Las Vegas. Sadly, there’s no time machine. And no one is coming to save us. However, we can—and will—save ourselves.
“Librarians as Second Responders: Resources for Mental Health Awareness Month” by Patti Gibbons (May 2 NewsBreak)
Libraries support their communities in numerous ways, but increasingly, librarians are finding themselves in a position to provide mental health information and emotional support during crisis situations.
“How to Beat the Burnout Phase” by Amber Boedigheimer (June 20 NewsBreak)
Burnout refers to a syndrome caused by work stress that has not been managed well.
“Overcoming Burnout at Work” by Marianne Kay (June 20 NewsBreak)
Current rates of burnout in tech are worryingly high. In February 2023, U.S. think tank Future Forum released a study finding that more than 40% of workers worldwide reported burnout.
Outside the Box column: “Six Groups Making the Tech Sector More Inclusive to LGBTQ+ Workers” by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig (June issue)
Blind, a platform whose mission is to inspire change in the workplace, reports that only 35% of LGBTQ+ and 41% of trans or gender-nonconforming workers say they feel “represented in upper management at their company.” So how do we create safe and supportive spaces that encourage LGBTQ+ employees (and prospective employees) to want to climb the ladder to positions that allow them to reach back and help others?
George H. Pike writes a regular Legal Issues column for Information Today, and we have several law librarian contributors to both NewsBreaks and Information Today, so we like to keep tabs on the latest legal news, which often affects all types of info pros. In 2023, Pike has written about the new California data privacy law, the right to repair and digital technology, issues of parody and trademark violations, AI (as mentioned previously), and controlled digital lending.
“The Pitfalls of Publishing Personal Letters” by Anthony Aycock (Feb. 14 NewsBreak)
Several news outlets reported in December 2022 that Donald Trump plans to release a book this year that reprints his private correspondence with celebrities. … One thing I wonder is whether Trump will seek permission from these celebrities or their estates to publish letters written by them. He should, because U.S. law is clear on this matter: The copyright for these letters rests with the writers, not Trump himself.
“The Internet Archive Case: A Summary Brief” by Marci Wicker (April 4 NewsBreak)
The publishers allege that Internet Archive infringed their copyrights in 127 books through its National Emergency Library during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in which they lent books to users in digital format without the publishers’ permission. Internet Archive contends that it is not liable for copyright infringement because it made fair use of the works concerned in the suit. … Summary judgment was granted to the publishers. …
“Twenty Years of the Children’s Internet Protection Act” by Anthony Aycock (June issue)
The Supreme Court was right to invalidate pre-CIPA [Children’s Internet Protection Act] bills that skewed too heavily toward compromising First Amendment liberties. And it was right to recognize that, in CIPA, Congress finally achieved the correct balance.
In-person conferences have come roaring back as the threat of COVID-19 has diminished. But people have realized that there are major upsides to virtual conferences too, especially this: Someone without a travel budget can attend an event regardless of location, giving more people the chance to participate.
“NISO Plus 2023: Encompassing the World of Scholarly Information” by Dave Shumaker (Feb. 28 NewsBreak)
If you want catch up with what’s going on in the field of international scholarly communication, you can’t do better than to attend the NISO (National Information Standards Organization) annual conference, NISO Plus.
“An Interview With Safiya Umoja Noble, 2023 Miles Conrad Lecturer” by Dave Shumaker (March 7 NewsBreak)
Safiya Umoja Noble received the 2023 Miles Conrad Award from the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and delivered the annual Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture at the recently held NISO Plus conference.
Let’s Get Strategic column: “Events and Event Planning in a Post-Pandemic World” by Linda Pophal (April issue)
COVID-19 had a massive impact on many aspects of business life, and events were certainly one of them.
“And Now for Something Completely Different: MozFest 2023” by Dave Shumaker (April 11 NewsBreak)
It began at 7 a.m. (U.S. Eastern time) on Monday, March 20 with “a contingent, improvised performance, lecture and creative experience” using music, poetry, and discussion.
“The U.S. Book Show Returns: A Gathering for Literacy at NYU” by Terry Ballard (June 6 NewsBreak)
The U.S. Book Show is the latest iteration of something that began as the American Booksellers Association annual conference in the late 1940s.
“Session Highlights From the 2023 U.S. Book Show” by Brandi Scardilli (June Spotlight)
The third U.S. Book Show, hosted by Publishers Weekly (PW), was a hybrid 4-day event celebrating the role of libraries in spreading the love of reading—and stoking that passion for books with a parade of intriguing upcoming titles in various genres.
Whether you as an info pro are doing research yourself or are helping patrons find the best sources, NewsBreaks and Information Today like to provide some sources that might not be immediately obvious or might be outside the box. Mick O’Leary has a regular column, Database Review, that critiques various databases, websites, and web platforms people can use for research. In 2023, he’s written about SlaveVoyages, Our Bodies Ourselves Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Realtime Inequality, and History Lab.
“Get to Know the Kohler Arts/Industry Residency Program” by Patti Gibbons (Jan. 10 NewsBreak)
The industrial technicians at Kohler make more than a desirable line of plumbing fixtures—they also impart their foundry skills to visual artists who are selected for the company’s prestigious Arts/Industry residency program.
“How NASA Works With Libraries, Schools, and Private Citizens to Explore the Universe” by Terry Ballard (Jan. 31 NewsBreak)
In October 2022, I happened across a notice in a social media post about a limited-engagement art installation in midtown Manhattan.
“The Latest Pew Research Center Reports From 2022 and 2023” by Brandi Scardilli (March Spotlight)
NewsBreaks often covers recent surveys and reports from Pew Research Center, “a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.”
“A Walk in the Open Fields: The Best Tools for Wildlife and Habitat Studies” by David Haden (April 25 NewsBreak)
In this NewsBreak, I offer some starting points for open sources to be used by those undertaking practical work with specific wildlife, plants, or habitats.
“Watergate, 50 Years On” by Anthony Aycock (May 9 NewsBreak)
What’s Watergate’s legacy? What are the best information sources about it? Let’s find out.
“The Energetic Information Superhighway: Reiki and Binaural Beats” by Kelly LeBlanc (May 23 NewsBreak)
Knowledge production and dissemination on a cognitive and subconscious level through the practice of energy transfer using Usui Reiki Ryoho (“Reiki”) and sound healing through binaural beats has the potential to challenge our concept of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer.