You have a new machine-generated MaRC record in your MyGov inbox

LEARNING LESSONS FROM THE CYBER-ATTACK; British Library cyber incident review

On Friday/Saturday the British Library released a “lessons learned” report into the October ransomware attack that severely damaged their ability to function and is still affecting operations. Whilst understandably a lot of detail is missing, the report is a useful document for anyone interested in cultural memory institutions, government services, organisational cyber security, or public policy.

I've seen a few takes on this on Mastodon, mostly along the lines of blaming the BL for poor security practices and culture. The report admits that their culture was not as security-focussed as it should have been, however I have a different view on this. I'll possibly provide my own lukewarm take in blog form at some point, but in essence I think this highlights a significant problem within all cultural institutions where there is a clash of organisational cultures and values between a short-term focussed future-looking information technology industry and a primarily long-term focussed, past-looking knowledge management profession. I'm probably betraying my bias with how I describe the two, but one doesn't have to view one side of the relationship as inherently better/smarter to understand how this difference in outlook causes problems.

Artificial Intelligence Blog Series: Introducing Our AI Metadata Generator

Wait, did somebody say “tech bros”? In hindsight we probably should be surprised that Ex Libris have taken this long to release an “AI-generated catalogue records” product. They're being cautious with this initially, pitching it as an “enhancement” tool, but I'd say it's pretty clear where they want this to go.

I think it's significant that this product is aimed at the “Alma Community Zone” (i.e. library-created records) rather than vendor-supplied records. The latter are by far the most complained-about and likely to be completely borked “at scale” as they like to say, but there's more long-term money in convincing libraries that they don't need to hire cataloguers any more.

Australia’s chief scientist takes on the journal publishers gatekeeping knowledge

Rounding out our week of depressing libraries and learning news, Chief Scientist Cathy Foley has come up with a great idea for increasing the profits of the North-Atlantic investment companies holding scientific knowledge ransom. According to the Grauniad she will “take on” the journal publishers by the cunning wheeze of offering them a big cheque to keep operating in exactly the same way but with more of the Australian public's money, paid to them directly instead of being laundered via universities. Apparently Elsevier couldn't say “yes” fast enough. Read to the end to get some good takes from people who actually understand what's at stake here and try to ignore Dr Foley's patronising comments about it being “threatening for some”. The entrenched interests here are the people whose pockets she wants to fill with your money.

Libraries and Learning Links of the Week is published every week by Hugh Rundle.

Subscribe by following on the fediverse or sign up for email below.