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I'm Tired of Talking About eBooks

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 April 2012 available

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

Social Networks: The Social Network Scene, Part 2 (pp. 20-29)

Ten items on social networking topics.

Media: Mystery Collection, Part 5 (pp. 29-36)

Discs 25-30 of the 250-movie Mystery Collection

Extending the life of bookstores is critical, but devilishly difficult

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.

Full blog post:
http://www.idealog.com/blog/extending-the-life-of-bookstores-is-critical-but-devilishly-diff...

When a Parking Lot Is So Much More

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

Why the Amish Matter

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

For Librarians, Librarianship is Still About the Books

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."

Continuing:

"Cataloguing, indexing and shelving is an art; it is not just a matter of putting a book on a shelf," he said.

Continuing:

"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."

Continuing:

"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

New Study Shows that Free Apps Are Killing Your Battery

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.

Read more: http://techland.time.com/2012/03/19/new-study-shows-that-free-apps-are-killing-your-battery/...

'This American Life' Retracts Mike Daisey's Apple Factory Story

The story became the show's most popular podcast, but many of the aspects are fabricated.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/03/16/148761812/this-american-life-retracts-mike-da...

Taxpayers unwittingly encouraging online privatization of U.S. library system?

OverDrive gets loan of up to $1M from Ohio county with budget-challenged libraries: Taxpayers unwittingly encouraging online privatization of U.S. library system?

Full piece at LibraryCity.org

Paperback

The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (Vintage) is now available in paperback. It came out on March 6.

Miniature E-Books Let Journalists Stretch Legs

The Kindle Single is not a promising name. It sounds like a new kind of prefabricated fire log, or a type of person you might meet on the dating service eHarmony — perhaps a lonely independent bookstore owner put out of business by Amazon.com.

Full article in the NYT: Miniature E-Books Let Journalists Stretch Legs

Cites & Insights 12:2 (March 2012) available

Cites & Insights 12:2 (March 2012) has just been published.
The 30-page two-column PDF (designed for printing) represents the new, refreshed Cites & Insights, following the two reader surveys. Contents, available as HTML separates using the links below, include:
The Front (pp. 1-6)

The reinvention or refreshing of Cites & Insights, including results of the two polls, new section names, tweaks to layout and typography, and a discussion of the online PDF alternative, a single-column version (in this case 53 pages) designed for those who read C&I on various sorts of screens--iPads, netbooks, notebooks, Kindles, Nooks and others.

Social Networks (pp. 6-16)

The Social Network Scene, Part 1: Catching up with social network miscellany

The Middle (pp. 16-26)

A range of items that might formerly have appeared in Trends & Quick Takes: the non-death of desktop software; "smarter, dumber or both"; closing the digital frontier (or not); and lots more.

The Back (pp. 26-30)

Notes from the 1%, stereo prices and other snark. -- Read More

Pinterest: Trouble in Pin Paradise Over Photo Copyrights

Pinterest: Trouble in Pin Paradise Over Photo Copyrights
http://www.chow.com/food-news/107370/pinterest/

Using Comics and Graphic Literature to Illustrate Legal Concepts

See page 3 of the newsletter of the Western Pennsylvania Law Library Association.

Newsletter here:
http://www.aallnet.org/chapter/wplla/newslettersp10.pdf

'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

Book story on NPR:

Space exploration will create a thriving culture of innovation, says scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/27/147351252/space-chronicles-why-exploring-space-still-matters

The book discussed on the NPR piece: Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

Hawking Radiation: Figuring Out How Many Books Are Sold to Libraries

It is one of the more peculiar aspects of scholarly publishing that although everyone expects that academic books will find a place in libraries, no one knows how many books actually get there. This doesn’t mean that every scholarly book can be found in every library; far from it. Nor does it mean that the books found in libraries are in great demand (the common estimate is that 40% of all books in academic libraries never circulate, but I would like to see more evidence of this). The problem is simply that when a book is published, it is sent into the marketplace where a host of intermediaries move it along until it gets to the ultimate user. Those intermediaries may or may not let publishers know where the books end up. I am reminded of Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where.

Full post:
http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/02/22/hawking-radiation-figuring-out-how-many-books-...

On the Media

Two stories on the radio program "On the Media"

THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE'S 200TH ANNIVERSARY
This year, The New England Journal of Medicine, the longest, continuously running medical journal in the world, turns 200. Brooke talks to NEJM editor in Chief Dr. Jeffrey Drazen about how far the journal has come and its mistakes and successes.

THE CHANGING NATURE OF KNOWLEDGE IN THE INTERNET AGE
As knowledge moves onto the internet, the nature and shape of knowledge is changing to reflect the new medium. Brooke speaks to David Weinberger, author of Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room. He says knowledge used to be limited by capacity and filters, but not anymore.

C&I Survey Results

For those of you who participated in the Cites & Insights reader survey, I've posted the results.

How Companies Are 'Defining Your Worth' Online

Advertisers collect information with every digital move people make. They then target ads based on that information. Communications scholar Joseph Turow worries that advertisers will use such data to discriminate against people and put them into "reputation silos."

Full piece on NPR: How Companies Are 'Defining Your Worth' Online

Person interviewed is the author of: The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry Is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth

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