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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.
Pocket Ref 4th Edition The concise all-purpose pocket-sized reference book featuring abundant information on many subjects, hundreds of tables, maps, formulas, constants and conversions. If you need to know it, it is in this book!
Is this what it felt like to those librarians in the profession when the internet came about? When I started this blog in 2008, I felt like I would never run out of things to write about. This profession is so varied and vast, how could we possibly cover it all? Now, all I read is more and more about eBooks. Certainly, this is something we all need to talk about, because libraries are getting royally screwed, but I also feel like being so singularly focused on one thing that’s not really working out, is talking the wind out of my sails.
Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I don’t think I am.
Read More: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3364
Cites & Insights 12:3 (April 2012) is now available.
The 36-page issue is a two-column PDF, as usual; a single-column 6x9 PDF designed for ereading is also available (66 pages: please don't print!). HTML versions of each essay are also available--click on the essay titles.
This issue includes:
Libraries: Public Library Closures: On Not Dropping Like Flies (pp. 1-13)
Original research! The long-winded version of my investigation into actual public library (agency, not branch) closures in 2008 and 2009, as reported by IMLS, where the libraries appear to still be closed. Hint: There aren't many.
The Middle (pp. 13-20)
Another handful of items on a variety of topics that formerly belonged in Trends & Quick Takes
Ten items on social networking topics.
Media: Mystery Collection, Part 5 (pp. 29-36)
Discs 25-30 of the 250-movie Mystery Collection
I’ll admit that I would have thought a few years ago that by the time we got to the point when more than a third of unit sales for major houses had gone digital — and perhaps more than half for fiction — that the future shape of the book business would be discernible. But, at least according to what I learned from one Big Six house last week, we have reached that level of ebook uptake and despite that, the business still looks very much as it has. It seems impossible to me that it will stay that way.
Opinion piece in the NYT - When a Parking Lot Is So Much More - by the author of ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking
The following article was published at http://theantiquarianlibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/03/why-amish-matter.html
Someone posted a question on Twitter that got me thinking: What's up with all the Amish books? I did not join the discussion because it was addressed to Christian book authors, but it made me think about the topic for some time.
The most crass and commercial answer is to say that bonnet fiction sells, but obviously there is more to it than that.
The first Amish stories were collected by Mennonite publishers beginning circa 1970 to preserve the stories of the old ways in which many Mennonites once lived. As the Anabaptist peoples plodded slowly to modernity many wanted a reference point to the past. Writers included both historical and fictional accounts of Amish stories to remind the young of the life they once had, and that some still practice. I became acquainted to this literature while in seminary.
Amish literature takes a fresh look at the church and contemporary Christian life. It is a critique of both Amish legalism and contemporary license. For some fundamentalist groups, the act of writing fiction is taboo. On the other hand, it is faith affirming to view a faith that matters to the community. This is rare in our increasingly secularized society. -- Read More
This article was originally published at http://theantiquarianlibrarian.blogspot.com/2012/03/for-librarians-librarianship-is-still.html.
While technology and gadgets seem to be overtaking much of library work, the love of words, the love of books is at the heart of librarianship for librarians around the world. The article "Internet is Discouraging Book Reading, Librarian Says" http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/internet-is-discouraging-book-reading-librarian-says tells the story of Abdul Razak Al Khumairi of the UAE and Arabian Gulf Library. The following quotes from the article demonstrates that for librarians everywhere it is still about the books.
"Oh, I know people think it is the most unprestigious job out there, but to me it is the most rewarding as books have been my teachers, my solace and friends in my darkest hours," he said.
"They have given me a second chance in life."
"Cataloguing, indexing and shelving is an art; it is not just a matter of putting a book on a shelf," he said.
"Unfortunately, the questions are often about internet access," he said, laughing. "The internet is a curse in many ways. It is killing our Arabic language and has made people too lazy to go check out a book for information."
"Parents need to come to the library with their kids. That will change everything," he said, fondly recalling a frequent childhood image of his mother with a book, sitting across the kitchen while the food was cooking.
Finally: -- Read More
Is it worth it to buy the paid version of an app if you can download another version for free? If you value your battery life, it very well could be.