Emerging technologies

Mitigating the Real Dangers of 3D Printing

Lulzbot Taz 6

The current debate circling 3D printing guns and the arguments surrounding the assertion that “code is speech; speech is protected by the first amendment” represent an interesting point of clarification in our culture which will force us to redefine or reclassify words, ideas, and objects to make our language match our reality. In a world where speech/language can be machined into tangible objects, we must define an objective boundary for when an idea ceases to be “speech” as it becomes a physically tangible object. This isn’t gonna happen in a blog post, but — dear reader — feel free to send me book deal offers and I’ll see what I can do. Until we can come to a consensus on what type of information “code” is, we cannot constructively proceed down the rabbit hole that is this debate. (Is it speech? Is it protected? When does it stop becoming speech?…

Original Content

A Chinese and American librarian talk user research and intellectual property

students studying in the library

In April 2018, I traveled to China and presented research on user research and information literacy at the Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing. Both universities have relationships with the University of Montana, and ours was one of many diplomatic/academic trips that zig-zag across the Pacific Ocean. In Beijing, I presented a paper that connected my teaching with my experience doing user research, particularly usability testing of the library website at the University of Montana’s Mansfield Library, where I am based. My interpreter while at BNU, Ran, has been an instruction librarian there for ten years, during which the library has never used user research or UX methodologies to inform any of its decision-making. This difference of experience between us and our institutions fostered fascinating and enlightening conversations. “In China, most librarians want to lead (or guide) students’ behavior but not…