Monday, January 31, 2011

Egypt: Revolution at Hand?

By Denis J. Sullivan and Kimberly Jones  

Egypt is undergoing a major social and political transformation—perhaps even of a revolutionary nature. This process, characterized by mass, popular protests (largely nonviolent) has been cause for much speculation and collective head-scratching by those watching from the sidelines. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets in the last several days calling for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and his government, dominated by his National Democratic Party. Journalists and regional analysts have raised several excellent questions, for which there are frequently a lack of definitive answers. Here are our own observations.

The “new” government — The reconstitution of President Mubarak’s government is too little too late. Vice President (and former spy chief) Omar Suleiman is an interesting choice because he is palatable to the military (far more so than the once heir apparent son of a Mubarak — Gamal) and offers some Egyptians stability. Egyptians’ real need for stability should not be overlooked in contrast to the perceived need for radical regime change. However, he is a Mubarak appointee, and his human rights record leaves much to be desired.

The Muslim Brotherhood  — The MB have largely been on the sidelines, and many have wondered why. Did they miss the revolutionary boat as it left the dock for Tahrir Square, or did they strategically decide to let the protests take their course without their leadership or organizational savvy? Without the Brotherhood at the helm, the Egyptian government (and those who support them) has been prevented from raising the specter of an (other) Islamist government in the region. Key, however, is that the MB is still Egypt’s largest organized opposition movement, and although they have suffered from their own internal divisions, they remain popular and populist in orientation. They may not (by their own choice) dominate a future Egyptian executive, but they could certainly command a significant block in parliament.

The next government — Former presidential contender Ayman Nour and former International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohammed El-Baredei are the oft-mentioned non-Mubarak contenders. Both have positives and negatives, and either would be a gigantic improvement over Mubarak. Nour has not been heard much and he is unlikely to be a contender anymore. El-Baredei has far greater visibility, literally, in the streets of Cairo as well as internationally.

Looters — Egyptians of all classes, all socio-economic walks of life, are on the streets as we write; they are protecting their families and their personal property with whatever “weapons” they have — golf clubs, sticks, pistols. The looters? They are largely seen as government “thugs”; indeed, many reports confirm that many are undercover police, the mukhabaraat.

Human rights — The Egyptian people are being beaten and killed while clamoring to have their rights respected. This uprising should serve as a lesson for those who try to portray human rights as Western and Arabs and Muslims as undemocratic. These rights must be understood within each country’s historical, social, and political context. Key is that there is a connection between security and stability and respect for human rights, and understanding, at the same time that real democracy is not Cup-a-Soup — it’s not a quickly assembled short-list of ingredients but a lengthy and difficult process.

The role of the United States — The U.S. is finally calling out the Mubarak government for what it is — although in much more diplomatic terms than many Egyptians are using. It’s putting its democratic and human rights rhetoric where its foreign assistance reality is — on the table. While in some respects this is also too little too late, it is a welcome shift in policy which is better late than never given our strategic relationship with Egypt and its neighbors.

Egypt’s future — Mubarak’s refusal to abdicate thus far is not terribly surprising but also worrying, and it is difficult to imagine the maintenance of his much weakened presidency into the future. Notably, the longer he stays in power the more unstable the state becomes, which worries some neighbors and allies. Key, however, is that Egypt’s stability has been a well-crafted illusion maintained through an authoritarian and repressive executive and hegemonic party politics. Pulling down the curtain on this decades-long effort can bode well for both internal Egyptian politics and regional relations, eventually resulting in a truly democratic Egypt that is genuinely stable.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not the Islamist boogeyman that some have made it out to be. They are a pragmatic, socio-political movement, albeit one with an Islamist agenda. The organization is very unlikely to make a radical play for power, and further destabilize the situation, but it should remain a key actor in Egyptian politics in the near-term.

At the end of the day (or the revolution), Egypt’s future lies in the hands of ordinary Egyptians. This is the first time in a very long time that Egyptians have not only had a voice, but made their voices heard. It is up to the world, and more importantly, the government of Egypt to listen.


Additional Resources:

Denis J. Sullivan and Kimberly Jones

This book highlights the risk that Egypt will join the insecure states of the Middle East through its comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of both internal (domestic) politics and external risks (military threats and foreign policy problems).

Denis J. Sullivan, PhD, is professor of Political Science, director of the International Affairs department, and director of the Middle East Center at Northeastern University. His research interests include: NGOs and civil society in Egypt, Israel-Palestine, and US policy in the Middle East. Dr. Sullivan’s recent publications include: Global Security Watch—Egypt (Praeger, 2008) and “Egypt” in Countries at the Crossroads (Freedom House, 2007), both co-authored with Kimberly Jones; “The U.S.-Egypt Partnership: Are Human Rights Included?” in Human Rights Implementation Project (U.S. Institute of Peace, 2004); and The World Bank and the Palestinian NGO Project: From Service Delivery to Sustainable Development (PASSIA, 2001).

Kimberly Jones, JD, PhD, teaches in the International Affairs and Middle East Studies programs at Northeastern University. Dr. Jones’ research interests include: the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt; Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland; Hamas and Israel/the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as US, Israeli and UK counterterrorist policies. Her recent publications include: Global Security Watch—Egypt (Praeger, 2008) and “Egypt”, Countries at the Crossroads (Freedom House, 2007).


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Challenger Explosion: Looking Back 25 Years

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff. The explosion killed all seven crew members and delivered a decisive blow to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which some argue has never fully recovered.

The Challenger was the second craft added to NASA's space shuttle program, which was established in the late 1970s as a proposed alternative to the high cost of the disposable rockets previously used for space exploration. Space shuttles were intended to be a more economical way for the United States to explore space, as parts of the crafts could be returned to Earth and reused.

Named for the British naval research vessel HMS Challenger that sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the 1870s and the Apollo 17 lunar module (the last to land on the Moon as part of the Apollo program), the Challenger was first launched on April 4, 1983 and flew nine successful missions before tragedy struck in January 1986. Despite the pleas to cancel the launch by NASA engineers who suspected a faulty booster-joint, the Challenger lifted off as planned. On board were six astronauts and Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher from Concord High School in New Hampshire who had been selected from thousands of applicants nationwide to be the first participant in the Teacher in Space Program.

The world grieved for the lives lost in the Challenger explosion. President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation about the tragedy by saying, "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved good-bye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God.'"

In the wake of the tragedy, investigations cited the cause of the tragedy to be a faulty O-ring seal in the solid-fuel rocket and also revealed a history of design failures, cost overruns, delays, mismanagement, and the sacrifice of safety measures since the inception of the space shuttle program. The American public, already questioning the cost of manned space flight, now also expressed concern for the risk involved.

NASA suspended all missions for more than two years, and America breathed a sigh of relief when the space shuttle Discovery successfully launched on September 29, 1988. However, NASA's reputation with the public never fully recovered. On February 1, 2003—nearly 17 years to the day after the Challenger disaster—the space shuttle Columbia broke up during its descent, and all seven of its crew members were killed.


Weathers, Lori. "Challenger explosion." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2011.

To sign up for a free preview of American History, click here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DNA Evidence Frees Cornelius Dupree: A Look at Texas Exonerations

On January 4th of this year, Cornelius Dupree Jr. was freed from a Texas prison after serving more than 30 years of a 75-year sentence for a crime that he didn’t commit. In 1979, Dupree, now 51, was convicted of rape and robbery in Dallas and would have (with the exception of an unlikely appeal or parole) spent at best the majority of his life behind bars. Although his story seems an implausible miscarriage of justice, it is in actuality a story that has become a recurring narrative in the state of Texas. Dupree is the 41st inmate that has been exonerated in the state since 2001, due in large part to a crime lab with preserved DNA evidence and District Attorney Craig Watkins’ (the first African American D.A. in Texas history) passion for justice that overreaches his passion for convictions. Included in Watkins’ efforts has been the creation of a “Conviction Integrity Unit”, that not only scrutinizes hundreds of DNA cases for consistency, but also examines additional cases with multiple, potential perpetrators. While these efforts can certainly bring a measure of justice to those that have been improperly imprisoned, the enduring constructions of race and class suggest that accuracy in prosecution remains a distant reality.

Despite the narratives by some of a “post-racial society”, race still matters in America and arguably, the matters are greatest within the criminal justice system. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans — particularly those of a lower socioeconomic status, experience overrepresentations in the criminal justice system that are incomparable to almost all other forms of disparate treatment in our society. From policing, to the courts, to sentencing, these groups bear (justified or not) the brunt of the system. And although there are numerous ways to examine these overrepresentations, the presentation of McClesky v. Kemp (1987) seems appropriate to understanding enduring prison exoneration.

In short, McClesky v. Kemp was a Supreme Court case where McClesky argued that his death penalty conviction was unconstitutional due to its administration and application in a racially discriminatory manner. In his attempt, he utilized a study by David Baldus that found a racially charged application of the death penalty in Georgia. The Supreme Court, while recognizing the findings of the Baldus study, stated in the majority opinion “as this Court has recognized, any mode for determining guilt or punishment ‘has its weaknesses and the potential for misuse.’" In other words, while the Court recognized the desire for a color-blind justice system, it also recognized a reasonable expectation of race and class-based discrimination as an expected consequence within the system.

The idea of a post-racial society, coupled with the optimistic presumption of the Supreme Court, should indicate that the influence of race and class on the criminal justice system is minimal. However, racial attitudes — both in and out of the criminal justice system — point to a system that will inevitably continue to incarcerate poor Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans based more upon how they are constructed than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

For example, race and class-based implicit associations — inherent biases and social constructions that individuals carry about groups and cultures — are the potential starting point for prosecuting the innocent (regardless of the race of the person with the implicit associations). It is how poor, racial and ethnic minorities are implicitly constructed that will determine perceived guilt. In an article entitled “Buried Prejudice: The Bigot in Your Brain”, Jennifer Richeson is cited as proposing that strong cultural stereotypes linking young African American men with crime, violence and danger can cause the brain to automatically give preferential associations to African American men in situations that support these associations. More important, additional research suggests that implicit associations can directly affect behaviors. Therefore, when criminal justice researchers examine race and class-based overrepresentations in racial profiling, use and excessive use of force, sentencing lengths, and death penalty application, the implicit associations are the potential gateway to discriminatory outcomes and are far stronger an influence than the Supreme Court argues. It should be noted that the examples provided above are of criminal justice professionals, who are trained in the philosophy of a color-blind justice system. The possibility of poor, racial minorities being constructed as guilty when they are in fact innocent is the primary responsibility of jurors — the defendant’s peers.

Jurors as individuals not only have the potential for uninhibited, implicit biases in their judicial verdicts, but also carry the potential for more overt race and class-based biases. Although Whites are neither the sole jurors in the criminal justice system, nor the sole race of people that construct implicit attitudes towards poor minorities, there is a measure of increased accountability as the majority population and the highest likelihood of juror service. In general, attitudinal research suggests that views of Whites regarding poor minorities are less than favorable. Generally, Bobo and Kluegel found in 1997 that Whites rate Blacks relatively lower in terms of intelligence (54%), laziness (62%), a preference to live on welfare (78%), and a proclivity to violence (56%). Specifically regarding views of the criminal justice system, a 2008 Gallup Poll research suggests that 55% of White Americans believe that racial discrimination in prison rates are either a minor factor or no factor of racism (compared to 17% of Black Americans) and that 46% of Whites say that blacks are treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than Whites (compared to 72% of Blacks). Consequently, there are similar findings for Hispanics and Native Americans. Overall, seeing jurors as individuals with perceived views of a color-blind system and constructed views of poor Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans as “potential criminals” that fit the constructed stereotypes, can only produce outcomes where truth is second to perception.

Until we as Americans, regardless of race, address our views of poor Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans (many of which predate our existing criminal justice system) we can expect to see more Cornelius Duprees exonerated from the criminal justice system. In the spirit of a criminal justice system that is philosophically rooted in blind fairness, it must have higher standards of accuracy for its courts and jurors.


Scott Bowman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, Texas State University, San Marcos. He received his PhD in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. His research focuses on the intersectionalities of race and class, the influences of race and class on criminal behavior, and race, class, and juvenile justice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Carrie Underwood

By Vernell Hackett

Carrie Underwood is one of the most successful singers in country music. She didn’t come up through the ranks like Reba McEntire or George Strait, who performed in nightclubs or at fairs, festivals, rodeos and other events in order to hone their chops as singers and entertainers. Instead, Carrie came up the new way, via Fox’s popular show American Idol.

Although she did perform at local and regional events, she did not have the years of performing experience behind her that a Reba or George might have when she was required to hit the stage to perform before her fans. Carrie is quick to point out that going through the rigors of American Idol was no easy task. Contestants had almost no time of their own as they were constantly in rehearsals and interacting with the full Idol cast, among them trainers, makeup artists, hair dressers, all trying to shape her into the next star and changing her look on a weekly basis, from cowgirl in boots and jeans to country diva in gown and heels.

The young woman from Checotah, Oklahoma is a perfect inclusion in ABC-CLIO’s Greenwood Biographies series. She seems, and is, the girl next door, who likes to relax in her sweats around the house, play with her pets and have lunch with friends. The other side of Carrie is the woman who loves to play dress up with numerous costumes and looks when she’s onstage belting out those number one hits like “Jesus Take The Wheel,” “Cowboy Casanova,” “Before He Cheats” and “Temporary Home.”

While ascending to the top in the world of country music, Carrie managed to carve out time for romance, marrying Canadian hockey star Mike Fisher, of the Ottawa Senators, in the summer of 2010. She also made the time to graduate from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, as well as found time to donate to charities that are close to her heart, including the Checotah Animal, Town and School Foundation. She has also helped spread the word about the Humane Society of the United States, PETA (who has named her Vegetarian of the Year for two years), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Project Clean Water, and Habitat for Humanity.


Read more on Carrie in Hackett's new book Carrie Underwood: A Biography. The book is not only an overview of Carrie’s whirlwind climb to success, but also offers a view of Nashville’s music industry and what it takes to tackle being a singer, songwriter and entertainer while keeping true to oneself throughout the process. The book also includes a glossary of music terms and a timeline for Carrie’s career.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

Fifty years ago, on January 20, 1961, newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy delivered his inaugural address. Some of us are too young to have witnessed this speech firsthand; but, I believe we are all familiar with JFK's famous phrase, "ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." Take a step back in time to that turbulent and exciting moment in American history by reading the speech in its entirety.

I can recall, even at a young age, my mother revisiting her memories of JFK and the impact that those years had on her life. She said JFK was young, fresh, full of new ideas, and immediately loved by this country. Like many, she can also remember every minute of Friday, November 22, 1963, when she heard the tragic news that he had been assassinated. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to people replicating Jackie O's classy style – the Kennedy administration definitely left its mark on her generation and the generations to come.

Gain more insight into one of the most famous and popular presidents in American history with the resources in ABC-CLIO's American Government database. If you don't already subscribe, sign up for a 60-day preview to the entire collection of databases.

Do you remember listening to this timeless speech? If so, what did you think? How did it affect you? We'd love to hear from you!

Coming Soon...

John F. Kennedy: A Biography
Michael Meagher and Larry D. Gragg
July 2011

This biography examines the life and political career of a president whose idealism and policies continue to impact the world today despite his brief time in office.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Customer Service Meltdown


Service leadership or customer-focused leadership is my characterization of a leadership style that gives life, through its actions, to an organization’s customer focus. Successful service leadership can not be produced by the blind mirroring of the norms established for the leadership of the industrial age. I believe most executives today understand that new market forces have changed the economic landscape in dramatic ways. I also believe, however, that few executives grasp the consequent impact of these economic changes on their own leadership actions and by extension on their organizations’ service behavior. This disconnect, in my view, has rendered many companies institutionally incapable—incapable organizationally, behaviorally, culturally—of delivering excellence in service to the customer as leadership models of old remain prevalent. To be blunt, these companies have made a habit of rendering mediocre service. As with most habits, this pattern of behavior will be hard to break. Unfortunately, these organizations might already have fallen too far behind to realistically entertain the prospect of challenging the service leaders in their peer industry group.

The fundamentals of the industrial age are very much different from those of the service and information age. The industrial age emphasized regimented labor, and swift capital formation for investment in plant, property, and equipment as the primary factors of production; bulk mattered. Industrial-age models of economic behavior focus on efficiency, short-term thinking, uniformity, and mass production. In contrast, human potential, creativity, and information are the primary resource strengths of the service and information age enterprise. These two views offer a graphic contrast of the deep business philosophical and cultural divide that has been with us for some time and which will take effective leadership to eventually bridge.

When I was a young computer consultant working for Big Eight accounting firm Touche Ross & Co., the singular focus was on client-billable hours. Few things mattered more to the firm and it set off fierce competition among staff to be among the leaders in billable hours. Kudos and bonuses—more of the former and less of the latter if you were a young staff member—came your way in direct proportion to your billable hours. In later years, I was to fire the consultants of accounting firm Arthur Andersen on two different occasions – I guess I didn’t learn my lesson the first time! — for “running the meter” on our company. Andersen’s demise in 2002, not unexpectedly, came at the expense of the public’s interest —that is, the customer’s interest—as it pursued a culture that demanded ever increasing levels of billable fees no matter what.

In the industrial age, workers were understood to be fungible. Corporate strategy, such as it was, focused on efficiency of production. The principal tool of strategy thus became the learning curve—factories could reasonably be expected to drop their unit cost predictably with each doubling of production volume. In service work, adherence to this model is assuredly counter-productive. One of the largest Internet Service Providers in the nation, for example, requires its call center teams to meet a quota of numbers of customers served each hour or risk losing their incentive bonus. Not only does this approach fly in the face of the need to devolve power to the front line for effective customer service, but it also fails to recognize that production incentives and quotas—in lieu of a practice that ensures that customers have all of their questions answered without a quick brush-off—are vestiges of a time long past.

Even U.S. military doctrine, to this day, is a vestige of our industrial past, reliant as it is on industrial and logistical strength, overwhelming force, and power on power—qualities which have been rendered obsolete by the small wars of the 21st century. Service-and-information-age models, both in commerce as in the military, stress effectiveness, knowledge, access to information, high-speed communications, and small, tailored volumes of production.


For some time now we have been a witness to the collision of industrial-age views of enterprise management with those of the service and information age. Few doubt that the former will eventually falter. But, make no mistake about it, industrial-age views are prevalent now and will, for some time to come, continue to dominate the thinking and actions of individuals in virtually every business sector. I have been a participant in many spirited boardroom debates dealing with everything from service company valuations, to the expenditure of funds for service initiatives, to the justification of payrolls for service management executives, and much more—enough to know that there is still a great deal of industrial-age Kool-Aid to go around. An executive who takes a long-term view, especially if such a view runs the risk of impinging on short-term financial objectives, will not be endeared to industrial-age constituencies and thus will have to fight for every inch of ground.

Constituencies that include boards of directors, institutional shareholders, investment bankers, research analysts, and accountants, all seem to have a genetic disinclination to take the long view which is required to allow the customer-focused provider to establish solid relationships in the marketplace. These constituencies are all a product of the same financial ethos that demands hard, easy-to-measure, financial results now. Enterprise executives, for their part, know on which side their bread is buttered: short-term financial objectives are just fine so long as executive short-term incentives and bonuses are in keeping with such goals!

Frederick Reichheld in his book, The Loyalty Effect, agrees. Reichheld says that “the tendency to regard short-term profit as the primary business objective has become more and more pronounced in both business schools and boardrooms.” The customer-focused provider with the core of its strategy resting on people, processes, and other intangible assets needs to free itself from the claustrophobic grip of short-term financial measures if it is to make its service vision a reality. This all takes time, but it must begin with executive leaders as change agents.

Effective and courageous leadership is needed to counteract – counterattack is a better word—the obsession with short term performance metrics and hard asset accounting yardsticks in the face of the challenges of the service and information age. I believe these measures as exclusive metrics of enterprise value and performance should be relegated to the archaeological dust bin of the industrial age. Until such time, however, the full value of the intangibles of the enterprise, as the driving force behind a business strategy based on service, will never take hold. If there is an elephant in the room that keeps firms from rendering excellence in service, I believe it is the industrial-age fixation with financial performance.


In this book, an entrepreneur and CEO of a major technology company shares original service concepts that will enable any company to keep customers coming back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday

The establishment of a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King grew out of the numerous localized efforts to honor King in the aftermath of his assassination. During the months following King’s death on April 4, 1968, many communities reacted by naming streets, schools, and other public landmarks after the slain leader. In Chicago, the major avenue on the city’s south side became Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. At colleges and universities throughout the nation, campus buildings and new programs were named in King’s honor.

Some Quick Facts about the Holiday

• Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday, observed on the third Monday of every January (King was born on January 15, 1929).
• The holiday honors famed 1950s and 1960s African American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
• It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on November 3, 1983.
• The first national celebration of the holiday was held on January 20, 1986.
• Illinois was the first state to declare Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday, in 1973.
• New Hampshire was the last state to officially observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, doing so for the first time in 1999.
• Federal Martin Luther Jr. King Day observation was strongly opposed by North Carolina Senators Jesse Helms and John P. East, based on FBI reports of King’s association with communists and adulterous activities.

Excerpted from American Holidays and National Days, edited by Len Travers.


Additional Resources

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Encyclopedia
By Clayborne Carson, Tenisha Armstrong, Susan Carson, Erin Cook, Susan Englander
Greenwood, 2008

Based upon the papers of Martin Luther King Jr., this encyclopedia provides fresh and revealing insights into Dr. King's life, work, family, associates, and opponents.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ALA Midwinter Recap

In case you missed ALA MW (or were busy running from booth to booth) ABC-CLIO's Event Coordinator Mary Anne Knox and Senior Marketing Coordinator Elizabeth Millar share some of the highlights.

Here's to a Successful ALA Midwinter!

We had a sunny start to the New Year at ALA Midwinter in San Diego. The show floor was buzzing with librarians, vendors, mascots, and swag galore! Check out this short video of what you may have missed along with a sneak peek at our upcoming author vodcasts!


Ed Lott and Jim Slattery from our Sales Team were giving database demos every hour in our theater to show off our new and improved databases for schools and academic libraries. If you didn't get a chance to check them out, you can learn all about them on our website and even sign up for a FREE 60-day preview! One lucky winner who attended our ALA demos will receive a year subscription to FOUR databases of their choice!

Our ABC-CLIO booth displayed new releases from all of our imprints: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood, Praeger, and Libraries Unlimited/Linworth. Check out our website to get the latest info on our brand new titles!

You may have noticed that we were all wearing buttons that said, "Ask me about Inquiry and Information Literacy?" Did you ask? If not, we want to let you know that we have an established reputation for providing the best selection of publications from the best authors and scholars on Inquiry and Information Literacy. Check out this handout highlighting some of our key titles and authors that can help students in asking those focused and critically thought out questions. To support inquiry and information literacy, we also filmed vodcasts at the show of Library Media Connection's Gail Dickinson and well-known author Pam Berger providing their take on inquiry and how you can apply it in your library or classroom.

In addition, we also filmed vodcasts of Megan Honig speaking about the importance of Street Lit, Sharon Coatney on librarian leadership, Carol Doll on resilient libraries, and Jessica Moyer on integrated advisory. Stay tuned to our YouTube Channel, ABCCLIOLive, for more on these.

See you at ALA Annual in New Orleans!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


By Hamilton Bean

WTF—that’s the acronym of the CIA’s aptly named WikiLeaks Task Force created last month to investigate the impact of WikiLeaks’ remarkable disclosures. The obscure whistleblower website (established in 2006) rocketed to the headlines of newspapers around the world in April 2010 when it posted classified video footage of a controversial U.S. Apache helicopter strike in Iraq in which two Reuters journalists were killed. Within months, the website had posted 76,900 documents related to the war in Afghanistan (“Afghan War Diary”), nearly 400,000 documents concerning the war in Iraq (“Iraq War Logs”), and began releasing a cache of more than 250,000 documents from the U.S. State Department. The alleged leaker, U.S. Army intelligence officer Bradley Manning, was charged on May 29, 2010 with unlawfully downloading classified information onto a personal computer; he is expected to face a court-martial this year. The eventual fate of WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, remains less clear; legal and political ambiguities complicate the U.S. government’s options to prosecute him.

Shifting plot lines, heroes, and villains make this case too complex to capture fully in this brief blog post, but one thing is certain: WikiLeaks underscores how twenty-first century national security stakeholders confront a complex environment characterized by new and unfamiliar technological artifacts and practices, competing cultural and institutional values, and changing assumptions about secrecy. How officials, policymakers, and citizens have grappled with this new environment is the subject of my forthcoming book: No More Secrets: Open Source Information and the Reshaping of U.S. Intelligence (Praeger, 5/2011). For officials, open source information is “publicly available information that anyone can lawfully obtain by request, purchase, or observation.” Open source intelligence, by contrast, is defined as being “produced from publically available information that is collected, exploited, and disseminated in a timely manner to an appropriate audience for the purpose of addressing a specific intelligence requirement.”

While WikiLeaks’ disclosures were not assembled from publicly available information, they nevertheless illustrate the same paradox that characterizes the open source debate; namely, the blurring conceptions of “intelligence” and “information.” The objective of the Director of National Intelligence’s Open Source Center (established in 2005) is to “redefine ‘open source’ as one of the 21st Century’s most important sources of intelligence.” WikiLeaks turns that objective on its head by making intelligence an important source of public information. In the process, WikiLeaks threatens to destabilize conventional notions of intelligence, as well as institutional secrecy, diplomacy, authority, expertise, and control, which leads to the following questions: What are the distinctions between information and intelligence, and how are these distinctions constructed and enforced? What national security information can (and should) be shared with the public? And how are recent technological developments altering the relationship between citizens and their government? These are among the questions that WikiLeaks’ supporters want audiences to consider; No More Secrets illustrates that these are also questions that the leaders of the U.S. intelligence community can no longer ignore.

Hamilton Bean is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. From 2001 to 2005, he served in management positions for a Washington, DC-based open source contractor that supported organizations within the U.S. intelligence community. Since 2005, he has been affiliated with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Center of Excellence of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His research intersects the fields of organizational communication and national security and appears in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Intelligence and National Security, and International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ALA MW 2011 - Greetings from San Diego

Kickin' Off 2011 with ALA Midwinter!

We had a wonderful start to 2011 with our presence at the American Library Association's Midwinter Conference in San Diego. Our booth was hopping with author signings, database presentations, and book buyers! Take a look at some highlights, brought to you straight from the show floor by our very own Elizabeth Millar, Senior Marketing Coordinator.

ABC-CLIO's Vice President of Editorial Vince Burns and Andrew P. Jackson, African American Experience Advisory Board Member (Click the link above for a video of Jackson discussing Black History Month.)

Sales Director Ed Lott Presenting ABC-CLIO's New Databases for Higher Education

Author Filming (featuring Pam Berger, author of Choosing Web 2.0 Tools for Learning and Teaching in a Digital World). For more author videos, please visit ABC-CLIO's YouTube channel.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ALA Midwinter 2011 - Author Signing Schedule

With American Library Association's 2011 Midwinter Conference fast approaching (January 7-11, 2011), we want to make planning your visit to San Diego a bit easier. Below is our Author Signing schedule for the conference — make sure you swing by the ABC-CLIO Booth to meet your favorite authors!

Janice Gilmore-See, Simply Indispensable, Saturday, January 8, 2011, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • A structured approach to advocacy for K-12 school librarians focuses their energy on an active path that showcases library programs and resources and expresses the essential role librarians serve in school and student success.
Megan Perez, The New Graduate Experience, Saturday, January 8, 2011, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • This book contains invaluable feedback from residency program coordinators and current and former library residents that will benefit program managers, recent graduates and early career librarians, and students of library and information science.
Megan Honig, Urban Grit, Sunday, January 9, 2011, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • This guide to more than 44 street-lit titles aids readers' advisors and other librarians to better understand the genre and collect and recommend titles ranging from romance and coming-of-age stories to action stories and erotica.