Blogs

E-Reserves Lawsuit / Kindlefish

Judge Sets Trial Date in Georgia State University E-Reserves Lawsuit
http://bit.ly/hnKdZM

Kindlefish Turns Kindle Into Worldwide Translator
http://bit.ly/dHbOfG

FeedSync Test

The nuclear option is being employed on the FeedBurner side of things to realign a major feed. For those getting this as an e-mail digest, apologies for the repeat e-mail. For those seeing this in iTunes...I hope this fixes things...

Deciphering Old Texts, One Woozy, Curvy Word at a Time

this was interesting.... makes those "capthcas" slightly less annoying, but not totally.

From the New York Times.
By GUY GUGLIOTTA
Published: March 28, 2011
In the old days, anybody interested in seeing a Mets game during a trip to New York would have to call the team, or write away, or wait to get to the city and visit the box office. No more. Now, all it takes is to find an online ticket distributor. Sign in, click “Mets,” pick the date and pay.

But before taking the money, the Web site might first present the reader with two sets of wavy, distorted letters and ask for a transcription. These things are called Captchas, and only humans can read them. Captchas ensure that robots do not hack secure Web sites.

What Web readers do not know, however, is that they have also been enlisted in a project to transform an old book, magazine, newspaper or pamphlet into an accurate, searchable and easily sortable computer text file....Read the rest here.

How Much Can a Professional Degree Teach?

The biggest complaint lobbed at the MLIS by myself and others is that it’s too theory-driven, too abstract, it doesn’t actually teach us how to do what we will do as librarians. You graduate, having read a bajillion articles about privacy, building a balanced collection or library 2.0; but if you haven’t worked in a library, that first day on the job can be a shocking experience.

The overabundance of theory in MLIS programs may be the degree trying to sell itself as academic rather than professional, but I’m not going to get into all of that. The debates that have been floating around the interwebs about what library school need to do with their students all seem to point firmly in the direction of practical skills. This is what we need to be successful in the field, therefore, this is what the course of study should give us. But how much can we possibly expect from a 30-42 credit program? In fact, how much can we expect from one or two internships?

Full Story at Closed Stacks: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3283

Should physical & e-book sales be protected from the elusive danger of library e-book checkouts?

Radio story

When a library buys a book, it buys it once. This was the case for e-books as well. Now, HarperCollins is making its e-books expire for libraries after 26 checkouts. In other words, it’s treating an e-book like an e-subscription to a magazine, such that the library never actually owns the book outright. And libraries are outraged; some are even boycotting all HarperCollins books, which include those by Anne Rice, Sarah Palin, and Michael Crichton. Libraries claim that, as demand for e-books skyrockets, they cannot afford to re-buy e-books. HarperCollins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, claims that this move is necessary to protect e-book retail sales, physical book sales, and brick-and-mortar bookstores. Do you think that all publishers should take this move to protect book sales? Or do you side with libraries, which are already pinched for money as state budgets are slashed across the country? Would you like to see the price of e-books be kept from going too low or do you see e-books as a natural progression that should not be tampered with?

Download MP3 here

Webpage of story here.

Creating a digital public library without Google's money

Like other authors and researchers, I'm conflicted about the project. On the plus side, the vision of a widely accessible digital library is a worthy one that is, for the first time in human history, technologically achievable.

On the other hand, Google was plotting to acquire effective control over millions of works whose copyrights belong to others.

Full article in the LA Times

OMG, the Oxford English Dictionary Added New Words! We ‘Heart’ It! LOL!

by Brenna Erlich on Mashable

"Before you take to the comments to ream us out about the above headline: “OMG,” “LOL” and the symbol for “heart” have all been added to the Oxford English Dictionary Online.

According to the OED‘s site, the newest edition of the dictionary (which comes out online today) revises more than 1,900 entries and includes a ton of new words — including the neologisms above....." Read the rest here

Help for the (Casual) Book Hoarder

by by Elissa Lerner at the New Yorker

"Are you a book hoarder? Mark Medley of the National Post is one, and he wants fellow hoarders to share their stories. As he points out in his essay “Confessions of a Book Hoarder,” hoarding is having its moment in the sun, largely thanks to A&E’s unlikely hit “Hoarders.” Medley acknowledges that his “morbid fascination” with the TV show is likely due to his own inability to get rid of a single book. He admits the issue is not the number of books he owns, but rather the fact that he can’t part with any of them. (Medley guesses that he and his girlfriend share a library upwards of one thousand books, a number he considers “rather paltry.”)"

Read more here

Google as ENEMY

The United States of America has a history of uniting its often uncooperative and sometimes antagonistic citizenry in profound and unthinkable ways when the country perceives an outside threat to its peace and safety.

For the most part, the recent history of this country has been one of success and prosperity, or at least one where the prosperous became more so, and because of that complacency spawned from prosperity, this country has never seen the need to create a National Digital Library. (Also, because Capitalism is good for America. I claim poetic license for hyperbole.)

[see: "Why We Can't Afford Not to Create a Well-Stocked National Digital Library System" or any of the other posts lamenting this American FAIL.]

But Google saw the need. Well, if not the need for the country, then the need for Google. As Google digitized books, it increased its digital domain and lay the groundwork for new continuous streams of ad revenue.

So Google did what the rest of the country could not and went ahead with the project. And the people cheered. Until some others pointed out what was really happening.

So now, in the most recent history, the hero of American and even worldwide book digitization, has been declared a villain as the Google Settlement was struck down in federal court. -- Read More

Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road to Widespread Digital Access
By Jennifer Howard

Tuesday, a federal judge tossed out the proposed settlement in the lawsuit over Google's vast book-digitization project. Still, research libraries with a stake in that work said they were undeterred. They emphasized that widespread digital access is key to scholars' work, and reiterated their commitment to making as much material available to as many people as possible, whether or not the settlement is revived in some form. And they said they hoped the ruling, by Judge Denny Chin, would galvanize efforts to solve the vexing problem of orphan works, which are under copyright but whose rights-holders are unknown or unfindable......Read the rest here.

The Most Stolen Library Books

According to MainStreet, by Jeanine Skowronski:

MainStreet was determined to find out whether or not our preconceived notions on library theft were actually true. (I pictured a hapless thief stealing a heavy Encyclopedia Britannica, while my editor thought everyone wanted The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.)

MainStreet talked to librarians, who filled us in on which books frequently go missing.

Many of these are not specific titles, but areas or genres...

Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition
Runner up: "'Anything by Zane is gone in a flash,' [says] librarian Ingrid Abrams."

I agree with Zane. I think 95% are missing in our library. But surprisingly, a lot of our sex instruction books are still on the shelves. Although I haven't checked to see if the illustrations have been removed. But I know for a fact that the illustration for the "male hare and female elephant road to passion" has been razored out of the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana because it's in my wallet.

Art Books
"According to Jean Dickson, a reference librarian for Lockwood Library at the University
at Buffalo, [books with nudes] are often stolen, mistreated or abused."

Test Prep Books
"ACT, GED, GRE or SAT."

And it's impossible to find an ASVAB book in our library or anything on Nursing.

Non-Circulating/Out-of-Print Reference Books -- Read More

Drunk on our own Power

...Cornell University Library recently released a statement saying that they will no longer do business with publishers who refuse to let the library disclose the price they pay for what they get from those publishers: “It has become apparent to the library community that the anticompetitive conduct engaged in by some publishing firms is in part a result of the inclusion of nondisclosure agreements in contracts.

Full blog at Closedstacks.com
http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3288

Does Using the Library Make you a Bad Doctor?

I can see why some people might think that by using the library you are saying you’re bad doctor. Because visiting the library means you are admitting you don’t know the answer. Some doctors are like that; they refuse my help because they won’t admit they don’t know or that they aren’t sure. But do you, as a patient, want that doctor?

Full Post at Closed Stacks: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3285

Noted Self-Publisher May Be Close to a Book Deal

Amanda Hocking, the darling of the self-publishing world, has been shopping a four-book series to major publishers, attracting bids of well over $1 million for world English rights, two publishing executives said.

Full post at NYT.com

"The Rise and Fall of the Bible": Rethinking the Good Book

Recently I found myself explaining to a group of surprised friends from Protestant and secular backgrounds that, despite being educated in the Catholic faith up to the sacrament of confirmation at age 14, I didn't read the Old Testament until I was assigned it in a college literature course. Traditionally, the Catholic Church did not encourage its congregation to read the Bible; we had the priests to explain it to us. In fact, the church once took such a dim view of the idea that, in 1536, the English reformer William Tyndale was tried for heresy, strangled and burned at the stake, largely for translating the Bible into English for a lay readership. Tyndale House, a major American Christian publisher, is named after him. -- Read More

Eisler’s decision is a key benchmark on the road to wherever it is we’re going

I wasn’t planning to write a post this past weekend for Monday morning publication. But then Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler contacted me on Saturday to tell me what Barry is up to. I’ve read their lengthy conversation about Barry’s decision to turn down a $500,000 contract (apparently for two books) and join Joe (and many others, but none who have turned down half-a-million bucks) as a self-published author.

To use a metaphor that connects with the current news: this is a very major earthquake. This one won’t cause a tsunami and a nuclear meltdown, but you better believe it will lead everybody living near a reactor — everybody working in a major publishing house — to do a whole new round of risk-assessment. Because, in its way, this is more threatening than the earthquake that just hit Japan. This self-publishing author will much more assuredly and directly spawn followers.

As news of Eisler’s decision spreads, phones will be ringing in literary agencies all over town with authors asking agents, “shouldn’t I be doing this?”

Full blog post

Renee Zellweger Grabs Some Inspirational Reading in NYC

Newly single Renée Zellweger spent some time shopping at a local book store on the Upper East Side where she bought an interesting choice: The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks. Looks like her break from Bradley Cooper has her searching for some guidance!

http://www.okmagazine.com/2011/03/renee-zellweger-grabs-some-inspiration...

Colorado Publishers and Libraries Collaborate on Ebook Lending Model

Libraries would own ebooks and offer purchase through catalog.
http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/home/889765-264/colorado_publishers_and_libraries_collabora...

Libraries, the Universe and Everything

I'd like to take this time to put forward a grand unifying theory of libraries:
Librarians are not unified.

I was reading a discussion of at the Annoyed Librarian and some librarians continue to follow the dream of believing in a world where all librarians share the common goals of service to the customer, preservation of materials, intellectual freedom and open access to information.

And they are completely and totally wrong.

The primary goal of a librarian is to be a librarian. And that means getting paid to do it.

If you're not getting paid to be a librarian, then you're not a librarian. You might have a degree, but currently you're a barista. Or a teacher. Or a consultant.

But your number one goal is to get a regular paycheck.

And that is the dilemma.

Because to earn that paycheck, you have two main avenues of service: the private sector or the public sector. And that is where the problem exists.

The goals of the private sector are almost completely antipodal to the goals of the public sector. Since the public sector relies on public monies, or taxes, that are paid by the private sector, there's almost a perpetual battle to divide those assets. Because the private sector would prefer to pay less in taxes while the public sector would benefit from more being collected. And as one side grows stronger, the other tends to weaken.

Public. Private.

From where does the money come? -- Read More

James Gleick’s History of Information

Review in the NYT Sunday Review of Books

Book on Amazon: The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood

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