Will libraries outlive books? A future tense event recap.

Predicting what libraries will be like in a century is difficult in part because it inevitably devolves into speculation about what people will be like in a century. Indeed, the panelists jointly hinted that the real task of libraries—now and later—is to help us forge our own futures. There is, in any case, no single future for libraries. They are, Figueroa observed, adaptive institutions, powerful precisely because they are never tied to a single trajectory.

From Will libraries outlive books? A future tense event recap.

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Librarians! Who’s Ready For A Game Of Library Bingo?

Librarians! Who’s Ready For A Game Of Library Bingo?

From Roz Warren
Roz Warren, "the world's funniest librarian," writes for the New York Times and the Funny Times and she's been featured on the Today Show. (Twice!) Her latest humor book is OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES: A COLLECTION OF LIBRARY HUMOR. http://ow.ly/LpFgE

From Librarians! Who’s Ready For A Game Of Library Bingo? | HumorOutcasts

How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting

Our cultural history is crumbling. Not because of bad education—though one might make that argument—but because of chemistry.

Between the late 60s and the late 80s, much of our culture—from the Nixon trials on television to unreleased music from famous artists like the Beatles—was recorded on magnetic tape, and this tape is starting to disintegrate. Some of the audio and visual data has already been safely adapted to digital storage, but the majority hasn’t—and it’s a problem of massive proportions.

From How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting - Facts So Romantic

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Judging a Medieval Book by its Cover

What a clever device the book is. It is compact and light, yet contains hundreds of pages that hold an incredible amount of information. Moving forward or backward in the text is as easy as flipping a page, while the book’s square shape and flat bottom facilitates easy shelving. Still, the object is useless if the information it contains cannot be found. And so tools were developed to help the reader do just that, such as page numbers, running titles, and indices. As familiar as these aids may be, they are older than you think. The page number, for example, is encountered in papyrus manuscripts made some two thousand years ago (see this older blog post).

From Judging a Book by its Cover | medievalbooks

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On The Dark Matter Of The Publishing Industry

The problem with their legacy universe is that you just can’t *control* digital things the way you can paper things, and that’s the real reason the traditional publishing industry is cutting off its nose to spite its face when it comes to ebooks. It’s precisely what DRM represents: an absurd and pathetic attempt to recreate in the digital realm a command-and-control system that profits off the characteristics of *paper.*

To be clear, what I’m saying is that traditional publishers actually make their money not from the traits of novels, or biographies, or any other kind of *text:* they make their money from bundles of paper that can essentially be seized or held up at the border, or be pulped, or burned, or just deteriorate in ways a digital file can’t.

From On The Dark Matter Of The Publishing Industry | TechCrunch

The Statistical Dominance of Dr. Seuss

Nearly twenty-five years after his death, Dr. Seuss continues to dominate the world of children’s books to an astonishing degree.

Today, one in four children’s first book is one penned by Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s given name). The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, all published prior to 1970, remain among today’s bestselling children’s books. The Grinch might have stolen Christmas, but Geisel stole all our hearts.

From The Statistical Dominance of Dr. Seuss

Death by a thousand likes: How Facebook and Twitter are killing the open web

The answer is simple, but it isn’t easy. We need to stop pretending that content is free. Publications need to ask readers to pay for their content directly, and readers need to be willing to give up money, as opposed to their privacy and attention. This means that publications will have to abandon the rapid-growth business models driven by display ads, which have driven them to rely on Facebook for millions of pageviews a month.

There’s a lot to be gained in this scenario.

From Death by a thousand likes: How Facebook and Twitter are killing the open web - Quartz

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Dori: Libraries waste $9K on bike stations in Seattle

"They said, 'We're putting a bike shop in there,'" he said. "I started laughing because I knew management was goofing on me. Even though I'm an avid cyclist, I'm not a huge fan of the zealots around here that have taken over the streets. I thought they were joking. They weren't. They put a bike rack in our old office. There is usually one bicycle in there. We lost our office so we could appease one bicycling co-worker."

From Dori: Libraries waste $9K on bike stations - Dori Monson | MyNorthwest.com

Do Librarians Swear? F-yeah They Do

Do Librarians Swear? F-yeah They Do

Wanted: Library director able to fix problems in Virginia’s largest system

With stellar health benefits and an annual salary of as much as $183,665, the job overseeing Virginia’s largest library system would seem easy to fill.

But several candidates being considered by Fairfax County have decided they do not want the job— a reflection, officials and advocates say, of the challenge of finding a top-notch leader at a time when budgets are tight, experts are in high demand and the public is divided over the extent to which libraries should embrace a more digital approach.

From Wanted: Library director able to fix problems in Virginia’s largest system - The Washington Post

The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library

“The idea is that you’re not just conserving the image digitally—you can actually restore it digitally,” Seales explained, in his earnest, go-getter way. The potential struck him in 1995, when he was assisting Kevin Kiernan, an English professor, on a digital-imaging project involving the only extant copy of “Beowulf,” the medieval masterwork, which is in the British Library. The manuscript was damaged in a fire in 1731. The Kentucky team used a variety of techniques, including one called multispectral imaging, or MSI—developed by NASA for use in mapping mineral deposits during planetary flyovers—to make the letters stand out from the charred background. The basic principle is that different surfaces reflect light differently, especially in the infrared part of the spectrum. Inked letters will therefore reflect at different wavelengths from those of the parchment or vellum or papyrus they are written on.

From The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library - The New Yorker

Reading Practices Analyzing manuscript annotations

Bio-bibliographical investigations by MEI-editors on the identified owners refine their detection.

Among the material evidence of the users’ traces on books and pages, much space is devoted in MEI to the description of manuscript notes.

Their analysis and description is thoroughly articulated in thirteen typologies: corrections, completions, supplements, extraction of key words, collation, translation, structuring the text (pagination etc.), comments, censorship, reading marks (underlining and pointing hands), drawings, corrections/notes by the printer, lecture notes.

From Reading Practices | 15cBOOKTRADE

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TPP's Copyright Trap

One of the defining battles in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is whether its signatory countries will standardize copyright terms lengths to a minimum term of the life of the author plus 70 years. This would effectively set the maximum duration of copyright holders' monopoly rights to over 140 years. This is the demand from rightsholder groups such as the RIAA and MPAA who advise the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). A precedent for such a provision has been set in previous Free Trade Agreements with countries like Australia and Singapore.

From TPP's Copyright Trap | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Google’s New “About Me” Page Lets You Control What Personal Info Others Can See

Worried that Google has too much of your personal data, thanks to the way it has pried into your life over the years as you steadily adopted more of its services, ranging from search to email to productivity apps to YouTube and more? The company is now attempting to address those concerns with the launch of a new online tool called “Google About me” which allows you to change what information other users of Google services (aka “the world”) can see about you, including personal info like your birth date or phone number, for example.

It's at https://aboutme.google.com/

From Google’s New “About Me” Page Lets You Control What Personal Info Others Can See | TechCrunch

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Elementary parents notified of gay character in children's book

Rockford Public Schools notified its elementary parents that a book that will be available at its upcoming Scholastic Book Fair includes a gay character, according to Superintendent Michael Shibler.

From Elementary parents notified of gay character in children's book | MLive.com

Digitizing The World's Libraries Using Smartphones

What if we crowd sourced the work of digitizing libraries? Instead of libraries relying exclusively on dedicated staff who sit at specialized machines costing tens of thousands of dollars and scanning just a few books a day, what if we empowered ordinary smartphone-wielding citizens around the world into a vast army of volunteer book scanners?

From Digitizing The World's Libraries Using Smartphones - Forbes

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Bike-repair stations coming to 9 King County (Seattle) libraries

Bicycle pumps and tools are being installed at nine King County libraries, which are expanding their mission to promote eco-friendly travel.

The Renton branch will be outfitted this week with the do-it-yourself repair station, while Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Kenmore, Newcastle, Federal Way, and Burien branches, as well as the administrative center in Issaquah, already have theirs, said spokeswoman Marsha Iverson.

From Bike-repair stations coming to 9 King County libraries | The Seattle Times

Bedbugs found in Delaware library books

A few bedbugs have been snuggling into the pages of Delaware's library books.

Six to eight months ago, librarians at downtown Wilmington's main branch started noticing the bugs in books that were returned to the library, said the director of the city's library system, Larry Manuel. The bugs went away after the returns counter was treated, but they returned in the past week. It has been, "one here, one there – we're not talking about hundreds," Manuel said.

From Bedbugs found in Delaware library books

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Libraries need to protect patron data as they turn high-tech.

The extent of libraries’ reliance on third-party services raises the question of survival. A library that is no longer in control of how its data is managed creates a false sense of safety for its patrons. A library that cannot preserve the integrity of data flows within and between its walls imperils the trust that patrons have for this long-standing institution.

From Libraries need to protect patron data as they turn high-tech.

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