read The Z 'DayStream' article,    Kafka In The Library"

Kafka In The Library" is dedicated to librarians everywhere who fight fierce battles to secure free and open access to our literary and cultural history — keeping our libraries vital and relevant; fighting censorship in all its guises, preserving the inventory of rapidly decaying historical and other important documents and speaking out against the seizure of our common heritage and its delivery into private hands.

Often they do this with little support and no compensation. Yet they stand as our first line of defense and last, best hope for awakening the human imagination and the future of the human project. Not to mention they spend a lot of time nurturing, inspiring and babysitting an awful lot of our children. Support them.

— red slider & the stewards of The Sacramento Z


"THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR AGAINST THE IMAGINATION"

— Diane di Prima



The Privatization of Culture



[The mission of our public and university libraries has always been to offer the broadest public access it can to the widest possible number of people. The documents in our libraries is the stuff of which our culture is made. It either belongs to all of us, or it belongs to none. That is the meaning of culture.]



There was a time that some libraries restricted access to some materials and stacks, especially university and public collections with rare or frequently used research materials. This was done to insure that researchers and students could access these materials when they needed them and that the collections would be preserved. However, the need to do this ceases when these same materials are digitized. Everyone, then, can and should be able to access such materials online without regard to their purpose, status, class or or other qualification for doing so.

Though digitization of our library materials proceeds at an ever increasing pace, widening access is not what is happening. Instead, our universities and public collections are being bound by third-party contracts to deny access to all but certain classes of people. This is as true for large tax-supported public institutions like the University of California, as for smaller private collections. People without '.edu' accounts or other "research" credentials are increasingly being denied access. Many online humanities and scientific data-bases, newspapers and other information resources are also excluding large numbers of people merely for lacking such qualifications, or are closed to those who cannot afford the multiple subscriptions it takes to conduct research or access our cultural legacy. This is as true for public domain works, as for recent journal articles and published works.

Yet it remains true that these 'unqualified' individuals are the same people who contribute the most to our cultural heritage. They are the ones who write our novels and poems, inform our newspapers, provide the reasons for academic research, invent the products, pass along the stories of their lives, the ones that fill the content of our libraries and, yes, raise our children on the information they glean from public sources. Without them, there is no culture.

In short, our cultural heritage and the repositories that were once intended to preserve and distribute these materials for the benefit of all are now being privitized and looted by those who would restrict access from those they deem "unqualified" or who cannot afford their supply and demand prices. It turns democracy into an exercise of privilege and information into the selective narrative meant only for those few who can exploit it. Or, as Kafka once wrote, "It turns lying into a universal principal."



Kafka In The Library

Qwidget: I'm trying to find a downloadable pdf/text copy of Ardis Manly Walker's "Francisco Garces Pioneer Padre of Kern" -- several online collections have it and say they got it from the UC digitized collections - but all (like Hathi Trust restrict access or charge fees), can you help me - Red


[librarian 17:17:45]: (UCI librarian)' has joined the session.
[librarian 17:18:25]: I'm a Research Librarian @ the University of California Irvine. We work with your school as part of this consortium.
[library patron 17:19:04]: Can you help me?
[librarian 17:19:09]: I can
[librarian 17:19:36]: Sorry I had another call on the line. Just finished up.
[library patron 17:19:54]: We're not connected with the school - we just publish an online (free) newspaper for our community.
[librarian 17:20:58]: Ok -- Let me do some searching ... You might be able to access an eBook if on campus but download ... Very unlikely unless the item is "public domain" or something like that. If you give me a moment, I'll see what I can find.
[library patron 17:21:34]: The item is public domain (or was so listed at the sites I checked)
[librarian 17:21:40]: Quickly
[librarian 17:21:47]: Always consider -- If this is a "classic"
[librarian 17:21:53]: Is it available in a repository like Internet Archive, Hathitrust, Google Books.
[librarian 17:22:15]: Here's a link to the full text from Hathitrust.
[librarian 17:22:19]: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31822031032881;view=1up;seq=11
[librarian 17:22:43]: You'll see that it's "Copyright: Public Domain, Google-digitized."
[library patron 17:22:51]: I've tried those - and access was restricted - at Hathitrust and other places (even though they indicate its "public domain"
[library patron 17:23:30]: Yes, they also mentioned it was digitized for UC by google - does that make a difference in finding a free accessible copy?
[librarian 17:24:58]: I think, frankly, if you could get to a UC campus, you could access this full text. Hathitrust is not asking me to login as a UCI affiliate, it's simply recognizing my work station is on a UC campus.
[librarian 17:25:22]: I see i get asked to login when i try to download the complete item. So do you know anyone at a UC?
[library patron 17:25:39]: Yes, me to.
[library patron 17:26:06]: My niece is coming for her phd interview next week
[librarian 17:26:42]: I checked Google Books as well. Give me a moment to check Internet Archive.
[library patron 17:27:38]: I find this all disturbing. UC has this in their digitized collection (a state supported institution) and others take it from UC and then don't let others freely access it -- Am I wrong in thinking something is wrong with this picture?
[librarian 17:27:49]: http://bit.ly/16J0a5P
[library patron 17:28:13]: trying that one - a moment....
[librarian 17:28:23]: The book is available full text from the Online Books page
[librarian 17:28:53]: Funny -- It takes you to Hathitrust.
[librarian 17:29:01]: But you can read the full text online, yes?
[librarian 17:29:09]: Just can't download the entire artifact?
[library patron 17:30:23]: no, can't get there - and I do need to download the full text/pdf
[library patron 17:30:59]: If they copy it from UC, isn't it available somewhere in your collections in digitized format?
[librarian 17:31:54]: It is not, for example, We at UCI have access to the full text Via Hathitrust but our catalog database only reflects our print copy: Permanent link to this ANTPAC record http://antpac.lib.uci.edu:80/record=b1530162~S7
[librarian 17:34:33]: So, I believe you can't download this work freely and completely.
[library patron 17:34:36]: Well I am disappointed. Should I be a little grumbly -- a public domain work, held by a public university in digitized form is not publicly available - what do I pay my taxes for? (not your problem, but....)
[librarian 17:35:46]: Is it a public domain work ... It seems so though 1946 ... It could almost fit into the black hole of "Orphan Works" in copyright law. It's true though -- I'm with you. You should be able to download this work.
[librarian 17:36:46]: For that matter, Google has digitized millions of items that are likely out of copyright that they have not yet made available full text, even though it's likely they could, and without being sued.
[library patron 17:37:45]: I do have contacts at UC davis - I'll see if they can get it for me. Meanwhile, do pass on my complaint (on behalf of everyone who runs into the same road blocks) that this is really outrageous restrictions on public access - time we pushed back, yes (and I know you librarians have been in the front lines of this battle for a long time -- my thanks for that)
[librarian 17:38:58]: I am happy to. So sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
[library patron 17:39:23]: much obliged - I'll let you go now -- as Diane di Prima said, "THE ONLY WAR THAT MATTERS IS THE WAR ON THE IMAGINATION" - take care, stay vocal
[librarian 17:40:47]: That's fantastic === Thanks for sharing. Some day I believe the common good -- the impetus for creating these giant repositories -- will be the first principle, not copyright fear & loathing.
[library patron 17:42:13]: hmm our newspaper is the Sacramento Z - http://saczee.com - if you care to take a look -- I'm just getting the new edition out (and you'll see in that one why Garces was so important (in the Arts section) - enjoy - over and out.
[librarian 17:42:51]: Thanks for the referral. I will jump there and check it out.
[library patron 17:43:24]: omoiyari, my friend.
[library patron 17:43:33]: Patron ended chat session.

Please take a moment to fill out a survey at: http://www.questionpoint.org/crs/servlet/org.oclc.ask.PatronSurveyForm?&language=1&type=chat&qid=10232776


jump to chapter 2






Kafka In The Library - CHAPTER (The Labyrinth) #2


Back into the Labyrinth - revisiting HathiTrust


After our first attempt to access and download Walker's volume, we returned to the HathiTrust website to send them a note asking if they could explain why we could not access and download this public domain volume.

While there we searched a little more to for information concerning access and restrictions. We read a lot about the access privileges of "partnering institutions (which we are not) until we noticed a linked query, "Not a partner institution?" in one of their sidebars. We read through some more material on "partnering organizations and institutions" and establishing an account until we came to a section indicating if we did not qualify for an account we might go to the University of Michigan website and obtain a "friend account" with them (which somehow related to having an account with HathiTrust.

Great. Now we were getting somewhere. At the U.Mich. site we had to read a little more and find our way around, but finally figured out how to get a "friend accound". It was simple. Just provide an email address, choose a password and confirm opening the account. We did that, and it seemed to work. So we returned to the HathiTrust website to see what that did for us.


Almost there...


Returning to Hathi, we logged in and, voila!, it recognized our "friend account" from U.Mich. [why on earth HathiTrust couldn't have simply opened up an account that required nothing more than an email address and choosing a password mystifies us.] The obscure route and work to do this toes-up to a round about way of denying access to most of the public, but never mind, we seemed to be closing in on our goal, downloading a copy of a public domain volume we needed to research.

After recalling the catalog entry for the book, we pressed the little icon and there it was, the full view of "Francisco Garces - Pioneer Padre of Kern". All that remained was to download it, print it and start reading.

Oops. Not so fast buster. The work showed up alright, but downloading it was another matter: "Full PDF available only to authenticated users from HathiTrust partner institutions." That's right, public domain evidentally did not mean "public domain". We dug further, and there it was, halfway down another page,

Can I download a whole book?
Users affiliated with HathiTrust partner institutions are able to download full-PDFs of all public domain works, and works made available in under Creative Commons licenses. Users who are not affiliated with HathiTrust partner institutions can download single-page PDFs of all public domain works, full-PDFs of works made available under Creative Commons licenses, and full-PDFs of public domain works that are not subject to third-party agreements (see "Why isn't full-PDF download publicly available for all viewable items" below). There is significant overlap of volumes in HathiTrust and Google Book Search and if a book is "full view" in HathiTrust, it is possible that a PDF of the entire book can be downloaded from Google Book Search. Note that logging in through a Friend account does not enable full-PDF download of Google-digitized materials.

The uses of materials in HathiTrust may be defined by third-party agreements. For instance, libraries' agreements with Google require us to take steps to prevent bulk download of materials they have digitized. We offer full-PDF download of Google-digitized materials to partner institutions because we are able to work with partners to ensure that use is within acceptable parameters. Public domain works deposited in HathiTrust without restrictions and works made available by rights holders under Creative Commons licenses are available for full public download.


Ah, there's the rub. And why didn't we know there would be this kind of string attached to digitized works in the public domain distributed by a public, tax supported university? How stupid of us not to realize this labyrinth has no end and the corporate reach into the rightful cultural inheritance of everyone has no limit. Not as long as there are Googles and other greedy enterprises doing every thing they can to gobble up and own the cultural legacy of the world and control access to it -- monetize it when they can.

We really should have guessed. It was an issue that came up about a decade ago, with Google et. al. going after ownership of every digitized image and copy of every piece of art or book in the world. There was some faint protest and then things went quite. But who could be so stupid as to think they had really given up their rapacious appetite to own every digital copy of everything possible. They just went stealthy, and here it is again, deals with public institutions that aid and abet their ripping off the world's repositories of the very things that make the human project and all of us human.

That's really all there is to it folks. Corporate lawyers doing end-runs around the core of what makes us human. Be assured, "third-party agreements" aren't all there is to this little world-wide scam. There will be dollar signs on it as well. Whatever they can put a name on, they will put a $-sign on. Count on it.


We sent our little note to HathiTrust

despite the fact that we could now pretty well write their response, "Please read our 'Help' page on downloading full versions of works in our collection...If you have an further questions, don't hesitate to..."


Dear HathiTrust,

We recently attempted to access a volume in your collection, "Francisco Garces- Pioneer Padre of Kern" (1946, Kern County Hist. Soc. and Chamber of Commerce), by Ardis Manly Walker.

The volume is listed in the UC collections (Berkeley and Santa Cruz) as a work in the public domain. Your catalog says the same. Yet it was restricted from public access and we could not view or download a copy of the work. This also puzzled the UC librarian who also tried to locate a publicly accessible copy of this work for us. (You may view a transcript of that attempt at http://www.saczee.com/z_current/z_arts/za_works/za_slider/za_slider-kafka.html ).

We understand the need to restrict works which are subject to applicable, active copyright controls, but we are puzzled by the restriction placed on this volume (and other public domain volumes in your collection?). Perhaps you can explain why this restriction exists, especially in view of mission statements on your website concerning the public and world-wide access intentions of the Trust.

In addition, The Sacramento Z Newspaper is a non-monetized, community based educational project that is free and open to all. Can we qualify for open access to your collections? Please provide instructions on how we might obtain HathiTrust collections access."

Thank you,

Red Slider, editor and steward The Sacramento Z Newspaper

That's about it, except

""it is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary."

"A melancholy conclusion," said K. "It turns lying into a universal principle."

"The Door to the Law" — Franz Kafka

Kafka In The Library - Chapter (The Library) #3


One year later...arrest and detention


During a public event Q&A, sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library, community activist Jeremy Rothe-Kushe asked the speaker about the collusion of the U.S. and Israel being an act of terrorism vis a vis the Palestinians. Before he could follow-up on his question, three off-duty Kansas City police being used as private security for the event, and objecting to the content of Mr. Roth-Kushe's question, stepped in to arrest him for trespassing. The library's Director of Programs and Marketing, Steven Woolfolk then stepped in to object to the police interference with free speech at a Library event and was also arrested for interfering with the arrest of the activist.

Two days later (9/30/16), the library's Director, Crosby Kemper, and the Kansas City Library made this official statement (excerpted):





It's coming, I can feel it in my bones. There is a fire in library, but nobody is running for a hose or extinguisher, or calling the fire department. It won't do any good. Not with this kind of fire.


A library patron bleeds out on the library floor (presumably in the 800's Literature section ) with a copy of Kafka's 'The Trial' nearby soaked in his blood. "I THOUGHT HE WAS REACHING FOR A WEAPON," says the cop who shot him 16 or 30, or however many times. "Kafka looks just like an assault weapon. In this light I couldn't tell he was just reaching for a book. I feared for my life." (To tell the truth, Kafka is an assault weapon. But not the kind any of our cops would ever recognize.)

How do we know this? How do we know this Mise-en-scene isn't just the hysterical screech of some radical leftist steeped in its own hyperbole? Well, for the same reason we know that a runaway train that has lost its brakes and is barreling 90 miles an hour directly towards the passenger terminal is on its way to a scene of mangle and slaughter.

I've been watching and writing on the encroachment of capitalism and its privatization of our stores of literature, art, history, science and culture for decades. The history of that goes back to the obstruction of public access to books and materials that are being digitized and turned over to the keeping of private corporations. Even materials in the public domain, or ones provided by tax-supported universities wind up in the hands of JSTOR or HathiTrust with a set conditions, prices and denials of access on their acquisitions, set in fine print like flaming swords around The Tree of Knowledge.

It's not the first time the police have been used to obstruct the flow of information and take over stewardship of our libraries and digitized information repositories. Recall Aaron Swartz, who downloaded JSTOR's academic library for a student research project at M.I.T, an act that did zero physical or economic harm to anyone. He was pursued by the police and finally hounded to death by federal prosecutors. Even the supposed "victims", JSTOR and M.I.T. didn't see any harm, an overreach of student idealism perhaps. But the feds went after him with the full weight of the law ("wiretapping", "fraud", etc.) and any excuse they could muster. Under the years of pressure and ordeals of federal persecution, Aaron killed himself.

In another case, the Sacramento City Council, attempted to keep the homeless out of our libraries by concocting a charge that they "smelled bad" and therefore should be barred from access to our public libraries. And, of course, there is the present case, where the author found himself locked out of access to a public domain book copied from the library of the University of California, then removed from open public access by the recipient of the copies, HathiTrust, whose stated mission and non-profit foundation status is predicated on encouraging access to the materials it stewards in the public interest.


Similarly, the looting and privatization of scientific literature and data is also going on at an accelerating pace. In one specialty alone, biotechnology, such captures and restrictions already threaten the very foundations of research and discovery. And this is but one example of the closure of access that is going on throughout the scientific and academic communities.

Such encroachments on the public's right to keep informed about own its own cultural heritage are becoming ever more common and stealthy. However, the case at the Kansas City Public Library is the first instance of police obstruction and violence, the completely unjustified orders gagging the free speech rights of a library patron inside the library, making their arrests over the objections of the actual stewards of the library. It takes little imagination to see that the progress of the private ownership of our culture by the 1% has now devolved into the use of police force to protect and serve special interests over and above the objection of the real owners of that information--the clients and patrons of our online and offline libraries and other public storehouses of cultural knowledge and data.

In the final analysis, these are not simply fights about ownership and distribution of cultural and historical materials. Nor are they mere matters of police abuse of power or excessive force of the kind we have been witnessing of late across the nation. Once the police step into our libraries and public information repositories to lay down their law, an entirely new class of legalized oppression emerges. In 1821, the poet Heinrich Heine wrote, " Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings." We saw proof of that in what followed from the May 10, 1933 burning of 20,000 "unGerman" books (i.e. ones with "Jewish ideas".) No matter if it is the NSA through Patriot Act authorizations to surveil a citizen's library activity , or off-duty police arresting people for reasons of "public safety" at a local library talk, that step has been taken and the free speech and free thought of a free people is in serious jeopardy.

Whether it is censorship and the prohibition of speech, the burning of books, or the exclusion of people from accessing their own cultural memories, history informs us that it is exactly such acts that are the prelude to genocide and culture-cide. Moreover, when the same acts, no matter how small or isolated, not only occur in our streets and political councils, but within the repositories themselves-our libraries and museums, science laboratories, schools and other places where this information is intended for public use and access-then the matter is no longer simply a prelude, the culture-cide has already begun.



Red Slider & The Sacramento Z Newspaper, "Kafka In The Library";2014,2016,2017
This article may be distributed,in any media, provided it is done so in its entirety and without editing, and is not used for any commercial purpose, nor to promote or affiliate itself with any product or service. For other permissions or detailed information, contact the author, or The Sacramento Z Newspaper.



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