Thursday, January 20, 2011

my thoughts on the LITA streaming incident

As many librarians know, there was an incident at the LITA board meeting at ALA Midwinter in San Diego, during which the board voted to shut down a live stream of the meeting. This article provides a good summary of the incident and references to some editorial pieces on it.

I did not have a strong feeling about this incident going into the LITA Town Meeting on ALA Monday morning. I did, however, ask questions about it at my large table, because I had, in the previous two days, read Twitter posts describing the incident. The answers that I heard, the discussion at the meeting (including info provided by several board members taking the floor and speaking) and the message that Karen Starr sent me (as a LITA member) yesterday all had the same effect on me: the longer they talked, the angrier I became with the LITA board's cutoff decision and with its attempts at moving beyond the incident.
  • The primary remedy described in the letter, the proposed creation of a content streaming task force, appears, from the charge, centered on programs - not meetings; it was a board meeting that's at issue in this incident. The "ancilary events" mentioned at the conclusion of the document also seems program-centered ("author/presenter chats").

  • There is no suggestion that LITA member input is needed - or even wanted - in determining the composition of the content streaming task force. It's implied that "the Board" will draw upon the talent available in LITA - but only as its current members choose.
Really, each LITA member must decide his or her own response. I trust that members will do what's best for themselves and do what they think is right. There are opportunities for service in LITA, in non-library technical associations, and in organizations like ACRL. I believe that the January 19 letter, apparently the product of careful reflection by the current LITA board, illustrates the limits of contributing through LITA more clearly than the streaming cutoff decision itself.

Also, I urge librarians who have not yet seen the tape of the board meeting and the cutoff decision to watch it: URL

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