Shushing the Librarian

By , February 12, 2013 10:02 am

by Philippe Cloutier

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Law Library blogs and print mediums often take stabs at vendors for mishandling communications, products, billing, and general practices. More often than not our articles serve to educate and raise awareness. Sometimes these posts are nothing but cathartic outlets for reader and writer. So it comes as a great shock to hear that in Canada a publisher is suing a Librarian Professor for his blog post:

In 2010, Dale Askey was a tenured associate professor at Kansas State University (K-State) when he made a blog post about Edwin Mellen Press. Since removed from the blog, but available via the Internet Archive, the post called Mellen a “dubious publisher,” saying that the press occasionally publishes a worthy title and is not technically a vanity publisher, but that “much of what they publish is simply second-class scholarship.”

Askey removed the post in March 2012, something he told LJ “was a personal choice.” Three months later, Edwin Mellen Press filed two libel lawsuits in Ontario’s Superior Court. (Neither suit has yet received a court date; for the court filing and the most current updates, see Gary Price’s roundup on infoDOCKET.com)

Dale Askey’s original article doesn’t reek of libel in the slightest. Rather, he captures a mood felt by libraries across the world, frustration at: rising costs and shrinking budgets. He goes on to support these sentiments with hard fact and experience. A lawsuit in this case seems more like bully tactics and serve only to hurt a business’ reputation and bottom-line. More information on this story and a developing petition in support of Dale Askey can be found at Tame The Web.

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