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Moises Naim's new book, "The End of Power," aims to track the history of political power and answer why being in charge isn't what it used to be. Ray Suarez talks with Naim, also a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about why power is both harder to use and to keep today.
So I haven't been contributing to LISNews for a long time. Hooray for LISNews.
But the bad news is that I wrote a book. And it's free. Or about a buck, depending on your need to make Amazon richer... I almost wrote reicher, which probably isn't wrong.
But the book exists and you can read the poorly edited version in EPUB for free or pay for the Kindle version which corrected some typos, but probably added different ones.
The free version is here
The Kindle version is here.
here's the blurb:
Billionaire Goldcock is your usual, run-of-the-mill trillionaire time-traveler from another world here to save the Earth from impending doom. But he failed. Sixty-two times. This story tells what happened during the sixty-third attempt. Innocent Peece is the Earth woman who helps him. There's sex, death, rock-n-roll and visits with the President. Then the Sun burns up the Earth and everybody dies. Mostly everyone.
[If you want a shorter URL, http://cical.info will also work.]
The two-column PDF version is 28 pages long, The 6x9" single-column version, designed and optimized for e-reading, is 60 pages long.
Unless you plan to print out the issue, the single-column version may be preferable: the issue includes 31 graphs, each of which is nearly twice as large (40% wider, 40% taller) in that version, frequently with more detail.
The issue consists of one essay:
Libraries: The Mythical Average Public Library
There is no such thing as the average library. That may be obvious--but you might be surprised at just how far away from average most measures for most libraries are. For that matter, for any derivative measure, which average is average?
This essay discusses averages and a few low-level statistical terms, then shows where American public libraries stand--not only for 2010 (the most recent IMLS data) but for changes from 2009 to 2010. I believe you'll find it revealing and interesting.
Announcement links now go to the home page, where I hope you'll note "Pay what you wish" before going on to the issue itself.
Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am
After three Big Serious Issues in a row, and with a Big Serious Essay on the Mythical Public Library coming up in May, it's time for a little break...
It's 34 pages.
The issue includes:
The Front (pp. 1-2)
The Year of Both? My possibly-too-hopeful sense that more and more sensible people, and even some pundits, are recognizing that ebooks and print books are both likely to have substantial roles going forward.
The Middle: Deathwatch 2013! (pp. 2-19)
Catching up with the doomcryers (excluding print books--but see below).
Words: The Death of Books (or Not) (pp. 19-27)
What it says.
The Back (pp. 27-34)
Catching up with miscellaneous snarkiness through 2011 (and more recently for magazine items).
At the risk of raising the ire of more adept catalogers, the last few years it has confounded me that cataloging manuals are so complex, e.g., LC - MARC, AACR2, DDC, etc. Why so much jargon? After all, I'm not defending a dissertation, I'm just wanting to add an item to our catalog in a timely matter. Please just provide me examples of what punctuation is appropriate, what information should go in each field, etc.
In a very rough comparison, if any of you own a Prius, you know that it isn't the simplest procedure to change the headlamps (I'm sure Toyota dealerships would rather us bring our cars to them for any light bulb changes). Heck, even a local mechanic shop took 20 minutes to change one of the headlamps. Well, I found a manual on how to do it and did it in 10 minutes. :)
If I had the time I would compile a manual, preferably online, for the cataloging equivalent to Chilton's Auto Repair Manuals. If there is the "Haynes Owner's Workshop Manual for the Space Shuttle" there sure as heck could be such a title on using DDC. ;)
Cataloging For Dummies (like me)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cataloging (no, none of us are idiots)
Really Simple Cataloging (also me)
PS. I greatly appreciate "Cataloging with AACR2 and MARC21" by Deborah Fritz. :)
George Saunders, a former MacArthur Fellow, talks to Jeffrey Brown about his latest collection of stories, "Tenth of December," and his unique voice and approach to capturing contemporary American culture in a compressed, short form.
Books by Saunders:
The issue is 32 pages long.
For those reading online or on a tablet or ebook reader, the single-column "online edition" is available at http://citesandinsights.info/civ13i3on.pdf. The single-column (6x9) version is 67 pages long.
Note: If you don't plan to print this issue out, the single-column version may be preferable: Graphs and tables take advantage of the wider single column.
This issue includes the following:
The Front (pp. 1-3)
On the Contrary: Notes on being a contrarian (or a skeptic)
Libraries: Academic Library Circulation: Surprise! (pp. 3-17)
We all know that circulation in (nearly all) academic libraries has been dropping for years, right? What does (nearly all) mean? Would you believe that a majority of U.S. academic libraries reporting circulation in both 2008 and 2010 (excluding clearly anomalous cases) actually had more circulation in 2010 than in 2008? This article looks at changes in circulation (overall and per capita) by type of library (as broken down in NCES reports--by region, sector, and Carnegie classifications), and also shows the difference between overall average, average of institutional averages, and median figures--frequently surprising differences.
Media: 50 Movie Box Office Gold, Part 2 (pp. 17-26)
Seven discs, 28 movies, all color, some I refused to finish watching.
Libraries: Academic Library Circulation, Part 2: 2006-2010 (pp. 26-32) -- Read More
Meet dot dot dot, an organizational app for all your digital reading
Instant: The Story of Polaroid
In the ballad, told countless times over more than a century, the railroad worker John Henry wins a race against a new steam-powered drill, but the victory is Pyrrhic: he collapses, saying “Give me a cool drink of water before I die.” “Did he win? Did he lose?,” wonders novelist Colson Whitehead. “By the '60s,” remarks Scott Nelson, a professor of history who wrote Steel Drivin’ Man, “John Henry is looked down on, as being an Uncle Tom character. ... The black man who’s always willing to do what the white man wants. There’s a division between brain and brawn.”
Whether or not the story has historical roots — it’s uncertain — his race has come to represent the heroic struggle of men and women to maintain the dignity of their labor against encroaching technology. A chess grandmaster going to battle against Big Blue is compared to John Henry, and The Onion headline reads, “Modern-Day John Henry Dies Trying to Out-Spreadsheet Excel 11.0.”
But it wasn't always so. Studio 360's David Krasnow traces the ballad back to its origins as a cautionary tale, and finds the answer song: a blues about a railroad worker who wants no part of martyrdom. “John Henry was a steel-driving man. He went down,” the song goes. “Take this hammer and carry it to the captain. Tell him I’m gone.”
Listen to full radio piece stream or download MP3 here:
Book Calendar 2013
Now that January is done you can see all the books that were selected for January at once.
The current day can be seen here.
The author of this book also wrote a book on a completely different topic: Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation
The issue is 40 pages long. A single-column 6x9 version, optimized for online reading and intended for e-readers and reading from the screen, is 75 pages long and available at http://citesandinsights.info/civ13i2on.pdf
This issue includes:
The Front (pp. 1-3)
Doing the numbers: notes on C&I readership during 2012 and since it moved to its current website. Also a quick note on the (failed) HTML challenge.
Catching Up On Open Access 2 (pp. 3-40)
The rest of the megaroundup that began in January. This installment includes Upping the Anti, Controversies, Predators, Economics, Elsevier, The Future!, A Little Humor, and a closing note on progress, snipers and inquisitors.
Cites & Insights is no longer available as HTML separates.
Psst: Have you heard the ongoing common knowledge that nearly all academic libraries have had falling circulation for quite a few years now? If your own library had rising circulation, say between 2008 and 2010, did you think you were a special flower?
A March essay looks at the reality behind "nearly all" based on NCES data. Let's just say the common knowledge is just a wee bit off. But for that, you'll have to wait for the March 2013 issue...
De Arbeiderspers/A W Bruna, the largest publisher in the Netherlands, has removed DRM from its e-books for the first time.
Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight
January 14 selection for the Book Calendar: Digital Apollo
Jan 11 Book Calendar - Lincoln's Code: The Laws of War in American History
I probably said it would be out the first week of January 2013, but it was ready, so...
The issue is 40 pages long.
The "online edition," designed for faster downloading and easy reading on most e-devices larger than phones, is also available; it's 77 pages long.
I'm now consistently creating the PDFs directly in Word, which means they may be somewhat larger but willhave bookmarks for all article headings.
This issue includes the following essays--also available as HTML separates at http://citesandinsights.info, although this may be the last issue for which that's true (see the first essay for details)
The Front pp. 1-4
Of books and journals: notes on my forthcoming (or here now?) ALA Editions book, changes in other recent books, the annual edition of C&I--and the results of the reader service. Ends with a straightforward challenge: If you want HTML separates to continue, you'll need to contribute to C&I.
The first half of a roundup on Open Access covering portions of the last couple of years. This half includes citations and commentary on advantages, colors & flavors, repositories, mandates, problems, PeerJ, history, philosophy and miscellany, ethics, tactics and strategies, and scholarly societies. (The second half will appear in the February 2013 issue.)