a shot over the bow – Aaron Swartz indicted for … downloading articles from JSTOR?

I saw this post circulating around facebook and, of course, the word “library” caught my eye. The Boston Globe has a longer explanation about what all the kerfuffle is about, but still uses words like “hacking.” The Demand Progress blog, the organization that Aaron directs, has this statement and some additional blog posts. The New York Times seems to have the most comprehensive explanation of what happened when and has the text of the indictment.

What we do know is that the US Government has indicted Aaron Swartz [who you may know around the internet for any number of things] for, apparently and allegedly, downloading 4mil articles from JSTOR without (I think?) the proper credentials. Aaron turned himself in. At issue are many points of JSTORs terms of service and what sort of access is given to guests of the university. As Aaron is a net activist, I’m certain this is some level of intentional move on his part, I’m quite curious to see where it goes.

Update: JSTORs official statement, Wired article with more details

making a difference, general and specific

I have some odds and ends here that I wasn’t too sure where to put. I try to do linkdumps infrequently. Here are some things I’ve come across in the past week or so that seem to be a few people deciding to improve something and what came out of that decision.

MIT watch out, the librarians are here!

This is a non-library post just to say that I am in Boston for the weekend for the MIT Mystery Hunt. Myself and fellow non-traditional librarian J. Baumgart will be working with Codex Ixtlilxochitl, a giant team of brainiacs all over the world using wikis and IM and Google spreadsheets and all sorts of other high and low tech means to solve puzzles and have fun. The first time I really used a wiki was as part of a puzzle hunt team and I think it really helps with all of this social software stuff to see some of it in action — helping you solve problems — to see why people think some of this stuff is so great. In any case, emails and IMs may go unanswered for a little bit, but feel free to cheer us on from home. We’ve got (at least) two librarians on this team, how can we lose?

update: we came in second by about 90 minutes. The winning team, Doctor Awkward, had some of the famous puzzlers from Wordplay on it. This means that next year they get to make the puzzle and we get to play again. From what I can gather, this was the outcome that a good chunk of my team was hoping for anyhow.

MIT Libraries’ Betas

MIT Libraries makes nifty little tools that are available for people to try out. Check out the MIT edition of LibX [see others], the MIT library Lookup Greasemonkey script for Firefox and the Dewey Research Advisor which is sort of a keyword searchable FAQ for business type research and reference questions.