After the past two weeks, there is only one thing I wish could have been different. I wish that I would have had more time to attend more webinars. As it was, I was so pleased with the work that everyone put into their presentations. This is especially true given everything I learned doing my own webinar. The number of moving parts was not underestimated when it was explained in class, but hearing and doing are two very different things. The most difficult part for me was monitoring the chat while I was presenting my portion of the webinar.Russel and I couldn’t be in the same room; I’ve been really sick, fever and all sorts of fun stuff. This meant that he couldn’t give me a heads up about sounds issues when monitoring. I didn’t really have the chance to apologize because then we jumped right into Russel’s portion of the presentation. So, I’m sorry for the sound quality issues everyone. I didn’t know until it was too late.
My favorite part hands down was monitoring; I loved engaging with viewers in the chat box. It was also an amazingly useful feature when I was watching other webinar presentations. In Hard Knock Rights: The Orphan Works Problem, it came in especially handy. I have learned a lot about copyright and fair use this semester, but it had yet to be applied to anything very practical to librarianship. I had learned that copyright limited access, but that headway had been made concerning content. However, The most interesting aspect had to the downsides of copyright, beyond restricting access to works that fall under fair use. The damage possible from even being falsely accused of copyright infringement was eye-opening. Learning about the ways the law can be abused seemed somehow even more helpful than my previous knowledge of the way the actual law can be used.
Alternatives to copyright were touched on in Hard Knocks, but I wanted to know more. This is why I was so happy to be able to attend Copyright Abolition: Critiques and Commentary. The webinar builds on the way copyright protections have been gamed and extended those shortcomings to challenge the idea that strong copyright protection is the best kind. It cut to the root of the actual purpose of copyright to show how it may not be being met currently. I appreciated the stress on the insufficient steps that have been made to counteract this fact.
The second two webinars I attended moved away from copyright law itself toward those populations that the current system is failing, as pointed out previously. The varied populations all introduced in Honing In on the Homeless face so many challenges; it doesn’t seem like access to library resources should be one of them. While the content was eyeopening, I loved how the presenters pointed their audience to articles where they could learn more about the subjects they covered. I actually went and read a few, my favorites were about overcoming the negative perceptions and how to make the library a more welcoming place for both the homeless and (possibly uncomfortable) users & staff.
In the last webinar – Prison Library Services – that I attended, I learned so much. This was the most distant topic from my sphere of understanding and I am so happy that I woke up on time to attend. Again, the chat feature of webinars came through for me and any confusion was quickly dealt with by both the presenters and attendees. The prison population almost seemed the opposite of the homeless population: the latter was free of most censorship and was without a home, while the former had a roof and had only limited access to information. Obviously, there is much more subtly to it and that is a story for another time. Much like there is a gap between the ideal of the library as a welcoming place for everyone in the community and the reality is so clear in the context of prisons. It seemed like everything they should be able to provide was limited or banned.
Webinars seem like an amazing way to find out a little snippet about a much larger issue/subject. After each presentation, I finished wanting to know more. It wasn’t that they did not provide sufficient information, but that they provided the information so well that I had a small foundation on the subject that I immediately wanted to build on. I can only hope they felt the same way about mine 🙂