News from the Reference Desk Category: Technology

December is National Write a Business Plan Month

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, budding small business owner or seasoned veteran of owning your own business, one thing you’ll definitely appreciate is the importance of having a solid business plan. Just in time for December–National Write a Business Plan Month–MPPL is here to help. Check out our collection for books on writing business plans, or dive right in by accessing Gale Small Business Builder from our list of web resources! GSBB is a user-friendly database that walks you through a step-by-step process for writing a business plan. It even works in tandem with related Gale Business databases to help you create a comprehensive plan designed for whatever your business, from retail to consulting and beyond. Try it this month and check out this video tutorial!

Copyright Trends: Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez

Copyright infringement has been a hot topic since the 18th century for print materials and exceedingly relevant  for digital files since the era of Napster in 1999.  In recent years, entities like copyright trolls and other digital watchdogs are always on the lookout to acquire significant monetary gain through litigious means, even if the accused is not the infringer but unknowingly provides the means to do so.  For example, libraries safeguard against infringement liability by requiring patrons to acquiesce to not partake in ‘Conduct which violates Federal, State, or local law including copyright and licensing infringement. before using our internet services.’  Copyright Trolls frequently win cases against service providers, but a recent ruling is fighting this trend.

On August 27, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) decided that the owner of a senior living home which provides internet service to occupants will not be held responsible for copyright infringement inflicted by an unnamed guest or occupant.  Here is a synopsis by Stanford University Libraries and here is the Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez court publication itself. Whether or not the results of this substantial case will make any lasting changes to copyright policy remains to be seen.

Avoiding Bitcoin and Virtual Currency Fraud

Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are the newest buzzword for more and more investors–even if you can’t exactly explain what a Bitcoin “is,” you may still recognize the potential for return. However, as with all new technologies and financial endeavors, the fraudsters are keeping pace in their unrelenting mission to separate you from your money! One place to start before taking the Bitcoin plunge is at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are classified as commodities, the CFTC is the government agency tasked with regulating them. Subsequently, they provide a wealth of information on their website HERE for consumers to help avoid being defrauded and make safe investments in legitimate companies. If you’re considering getting into this financial area, cruise over and check it out!

Making Rare Materials Visible to the World

Scanning all kinds of material has become a common task thanks to the availability of devices like Flip-Pal and special phone apps like Pic Scanner for iphones or Google PhotoScan for android phones.  But what do you do with a book that is nearly 6 feet by 7 1/2 feet when opened?  The British Library recently faced this challenge when it digitized its copy of the 1660 Klencke Atlas, one of the world’s largest books.  The library made a video of the process available on YouTube recently. The Klencke Atlas contains 41 wall-sized, extremely rare maps.  These maps reveal what Dutch cartographers knew about the world during the High Renaissance period.  The public domain images of the atlas are part of the British Library’s Picturing Places online resource.

If you are looking for a digitized collection of items closer to home, go the the MPPL digital collection Dimensions of Life in Mount Prospect.  This collection includes an image of an 1873 map of Mount Prospect.

Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently proposed rules regarding net neutrality or an open internet. They are seeking public comments to assist them in making these very important rules.

From the FCC website:

The FCC has previously concluded that broadband providers have the incentive and ability to act in ways that threaten Internet openness. But today, there are no rules that stop broadband providers from trying to limit Internet openness. That is why the Notice adopted by the FCC today starts with a fundamental question: “What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?”

Initial comments to these proposed rules opened on May 15 and will close on July 15. Replies to comments will be open until September 15. Comments (termed “filings”) may be submitted on the FCC website.

For further reading:

American Library Association: Network Neutrality
Consumers Union on FCC Plan for New Net Neutrality Rules
Consumers Union: What is Network Neutrality?
New York Times: FCC Backs Opening Net Neutrality Rules for Debate
Washington Post: FCC Approves Plan to Consider Paid Priority on Internet
Washington Post: ‘Net Neutrality’ Puts FCC at Center of Storm
Washington Post: Why the Death of Net Neutrality Would be a Disaster for Libraries

Making the Most of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the social media tool most thought of when it comes to professional networking.  But beyond creating an account, there are many users who underutilize its features.  To help direct you to the online training that will boost your profile and help you actively reach business contacts, please take a look at their Learning Center.  There you can easily find user guides and suggested steps for using LinkedIn as a job seeker. You may also register for one of their weekly and free webinar training sessions by clicking on Training Resources.

Another helpful site to create a resume using LinkedIn is from Inbound Marketing.

The Library continues to order current titles on different applications of social media and choosing which best serves you in your job search.