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How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain asks how our culture came to frown on using books for any purpose other than reading. When did the coffee-table book become an object of scorn? Why did law courts forbid witnesses to kiss the Bible? What made Victorian cartoonists mock commuters who hid behind the newspaper, ladies who matched their books' binding to their dress, and servants who reduced newspapers to fish 'n' chips wrap?
Shedding new light on novels by Thackeray, Dickens, the Brontës, Trollope, and Collins, as well as the urban sociology of Henry Mayhew, Leah Price also uncovers the lives and afterlives of anonymous religious tracts and household manuals. From knickknacks to wastepaper, books mattered to the Victorians in ways that cannot be explained by their printed content alone. And whether displayed, defaced, exchanged, or discarded, printed matter participated, and still participates, in a range of transactions that stretches far beyond reading. -- Read More
FRONTLINE and ProPublica investigate the hidden cost that comes with the demand for better and faster cell phone service.
Thomas Pynchon, author of “Gravity’s Rainbow” and “The Crying of Lot 49,” characteristically declined to speak about his decision.
Houston librarians keep a wary eye for counterfeit bills
Waukegan needs Ray Bradbury museum, biographer says
The 24-page issue (43 pages in the single-column version) is PDF as usual. The individual essays are also available in HTML form at http://citesandinsights.info or use the essay name links below.
This issue includes:
The Front (pp. 1-4)
Announcing Give Us a Dollar and We'll Give You Back Four, a study of public library benefits and funding designed to help libraries see where they stand and work to improve funding.
Also noting "the books your library needs"--two recent books published by professional library-oriented publishers that I believe are essential for, respectively, every academic and most special (and some public) library and every public and some academic and special libraries.
The Middle: Forecasts (pp. 4-12)
Following up the May essay on futurism with a whole bunch of specific forecasts--the one-year kind that can be tested and usually found wanting.
A librarian friend of mine who makes thoughtful book recomendations said that - Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internetwas an excellent and timely read.
The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published
Humanities editor Skinner, who is on the usage panel for the American Heritage Dictionary, offers a highly entertaining and intelligent re-creation of events surrounding the 1961 publication of Webster’s Third New International Dictionary by G. & C. Merriam. The dictionary, assembled at a cost of $3.5 million, included a press release from Merriam’s president Gordon J. Gallan, which said the work contained “an avalanche of bewildering new verbal concepts.”
Starred review at Publisher's Weekly
About 15 years ago I wrote a very niche, specialized book about library automation. Most of the time since then I've had the feeling that I got that ticket punched and I could move on. Last winter, however, I had the feeling that there was another book in me. I started working up a treatment for a book about the dozens of small specialized libraries on the island of Manhattan. Just when I was ready to start contacting publishers about that I got an email from Chandos Publishing in Oxfordshire. They were interested in books of a practical nature written by librarians. I realized that the Manhattan book wasn't write for them, so I sent them two ideas. The first was to be a book about the world of discovery platforms. The second was a book about how libraries should get up to speed about using social media. This was to be a very personal book about how library automation changed my life the past 50 years. Bingo!
Hachette returning e-book access to some libraries in pilot program
Libraries change with the digital times
Reddit debunks Wikipedia-fooling college class hoax in 26 minutes
As a Newsday journalist, Mr. McGrady led his colleagues in the creation of “Naked Came the Stranger,” a steamy parody novel.
The Swiss Army Librarian often does a “Reference Question of the Week” post that I always think is really interesting. Then I get jealous because I feel like he gets more interesting reference questions that I do. Thankfully, I do occasionally get those gems that really make you realize that you need a good librarian and that google can’t tell you everything, or if it does, you may need a second opinion.
I got a phone call recently from a frantic-sounding mom who asked me “Can you tell me where the WPA plaques are in Providence?”
Full story at: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3371
About the book: As corporations and government agencies replace human employees with online customer service and automated phone systems, we become accustomed to doing business with nonhuman agents. If artificial intelligence (AI) technology advances as today’s leading researchers predict, these agents may soon function with such limited human input that they appear to act independently. When they achieve that level of autonomy, what legal status should they have?
Samir Chopra and Laurence F. White present a carefully reasoned discussion of how existing philosophy and legal theory can accommodate increasingly sophisticated AI technology. Arguing for the legal personhood of an artificial agent, the authors discuss what it means to say it has “knowledge” and the ability to make a decision. They consider key questions such as who must take responsibility for an agent’s actions, whom the agent serves, and whether it could face a conflict of interest.
Cites & Insights 12:4 (May 2012) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i4.pdf
The issue is 44 pages long. It is also available in a 6x9" single-column version, optimized for viewing on edevices (and idevices bigger than phones) and available at http://citesandinsights.info/civ12i4on.pdf. That version (exactly the same text, but somewhat cruder appearance) is 82 pages long; if you plan to print, please download the regular version!
The issue includes the following (each essay also available as an HTML separate, noting that the single graph in the second section may not appear properly):
The Front (pp. 1-2)
Breaking down The Middle: why there won' be a long series of wholly miscellaneous sections with that heading. Also some notes on the reality since I took action based on reader polls (including the truth about people's willingness, so far, to pay the lower suggested donations).
Excerpt: If Amazon had wanted to go head-to-head with Apple a few years ago — a giant who enjoyed monopoly control over both the online music business and the market for related hardware like the iPod — it might have offered record labels the opportunity to cut a deal that would have guaranteed them higher prices, just as Apple has done with publishers and the agency-pricing model. And presumably Apple would have argued that it was trying to stimulate a burgeoning market, and Amazon would have protested to regulators about the horrible monopolist who was treating content producers so poorly.