A Reluctant Father of the Digital Age

MIT\'s Technology Review profiles the pioneering information theorist Claude Shannon:

The entire science of information theory grew out of one electrifying paper that Shannon published in 1948, when he was a 32-year-old researcher at Bell Laboratories. Shannon showed how the once-vague notion of information could be defined and quantified with absolute precision. He demonstrated the essential unity of all information media, pointing out that text, telephone signals, radio waves, pictures, film and every other mode of communication could be encoded in the universal language of binary digits, or bits—a term that his article was the first to use in print. Shannon laid forth the idea that once information became digital, it could be transmitted without error. This was a breathtaking conceptual leap that led directly to such familiar and robust objects as CDs. Shannon had written \"a blueprint for the digital age,\" says MIT information theorist Robert Gallager, who is still awed by the 1948 paper.

A statue of Claude Shannon was erected in his hometown of Gaylord, Michigan on October 6, 2000.

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The automated cataloger is here

The \"digital librarian\" referred to in this story from the Jerusalem Post is actually Gammasite, automated cataloging software which apparently learns to \"work like the human mind\". The notion is a little misleading as it \"catalogs\" only digital material (word-processed documents, intranet pages, web pages etc.), but it has a number of major clients who use it as a knowledge management tool.

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Town gets its first library

The town of Washington, La. will soon have its first library, thanks to donated books, town government initiative and a former librarian alderwoman, reports this story from The Advocate (which - following the recent comments on difficult-to-identify local newspapers - has a helpful page with its full postal address in Baton Rouge, La. and area codes in the contact numbers).

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Library turf war in Michigan

The governor of Michigan is creating a Department of Arts, History and Libraries, which sounds lovely, but apparently the plan includes placing the Library of Michigan under the governor\'s control rather than the Legislature and this is causing a bit of a ruckus, according to this story from the Detroit Free Press.
The governor has made certain concessions to get the bill through, including the requirement that the state librarian be \"degreed\" (what a strange word) and the Michigan Library Association is no longer opposing the change.
I\'m thinking of getting the quote \"you don\'t mess with libraries on the Capitol\" printed onto t-shirts.

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Project to digitize early English texts

A number of academic libraries, in partnership with ProQuest, are working on a fully-searchable database containing 25,000 early English texts. The full story from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
\"The unusual project -- making business partners out of parties that are sometimes at odds with each other over pricing and access issues -- could eventually be a model for future collaborations between libraries and other content companies.\"

Squeamish Librarians

Mary Minow sent along This Story from Reason.com on the MN 12.

Something I learned from this story, that I don\'t recall from all the others was According to press accounts, the EEOC is encouraging the library to settle the case by paying the librarians a total of $900,000.
The author sympathizes with the librarians, but says under the First Amendment, the librarians ought not be able to use the federal government, and the threat of massive legal liability, to force the library into making this decision.

\"This is just the latest great leap forward for harassment law. Harassment law already forces employers to suppress sexually suggestive displays (not by any means limited to pornography), sexual jokes, politically offensive statements, and religious proselytizing.\"

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Who Decides Which Book Is \'Bad\'?

There\'s a follow up to This Story at the Washington Post.
The Fairfax County School Board is ground zero for PABBIS. The library board said that only certain children will be permitted to read Ken Follett\'s \"The Pillars of the Earth\" by a 7 to 4 vote. Librarians are to restrict circulation to students in 10th through 12th grades.

\"Cathy Belter, a librarian, was one of the few board members to consider the radical notion that other times had other values and that violent scenes in a 1,000-page tome on medieval architecture do not necessarily mean Fairfax teenagers will arrive at school bearing crossbows and catapults.\"

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Discovery of Moldy Books Leads to Some Serious Weeding

Maybe everyone should go on a toxic mold seeking expedition. The discovery of some moldy books in the Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School Library in Pennsylvania, led the librarian to uncover the fact that much of their collection was outdated and needed to be discarded anyway. [more...] from The Mercury.

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More Than 800 Residents Seek Removal of Library Board Members

This one comes from Lake City, MI. It\'s a couple of months old, but I\'ve never heard of anything like this happening. [more...] from Cadillac News.

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Porn sneaks past search filters

News.com is running This Story on the shortcomings of porn filters, and the rather daunting task they have keeping up.

It seems the new search engine for images at Google misses more than a few naked bodies, with the saftey turned on.

\"If you do some sort of flesh detector, what color is flesh?\" Wilde asked rhetorically. \"It\'s really that complex. And then what\'s pornographic? You have different sensitivities, especially internationally. Then there\'s hate, weapons and violence. It\'s a really, really difficult problem to solve.\"

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3 Million Pounds of History

A great profile in the New York Times of the trials, travails, and impressive holdings of the Municipal Archives of the City of New York.

The collection — three million pounds of material, ranging from the original 1654 Dutch sales slip for the purchase of Coney Island, to a trove of stereoscopic Victorian pornography assembled by an antivice crusader — has weathered centuries of profound neglect. It has been appallingly lodged in a succession of makeshift spaces, including a city pier and the attic of a fire-prone pizza parlor. . .an improbable thing has happened as archivists have made these records available to scholars in recent years: New York City\'s history has been rewritten.

Pet peeve about newspapers\' online sites

Kirstin Dougan writes \"As a LIS student and someone who reads a lot of news-related blogs, I have noticed a disturbing trend.


A lot of online newspaper sites don\'t clearly indicate what city or state they are from. Of course, some of them are obvious (e.g. Detroit Free Press), but some, like the \"Journal-Standard\" (in the LISNews article on the Freeport Public Library), give no indication what city they are published in.
Often the byline includes the city and not the state, which, if it is a small town, is not usually enough to pinpoint what state it is in. Perhaps they assume that only locals read the online stories, however, with the proliferation of blogs and ezines, this is not true. Am I the only one who wants to know _where_ some of these stories are occuring? (without having to dig for a colophon that may be many clicks away or non-existent)

More....

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Guinness Book of Records Sold

From The Dispatch Online (London, UK)...

\"The Guinness Book of Records, the benchmark reference of the world\'s feats and sporting facts, has been sold to a new owner for about R5 billion.\" Geez. I wonder if they\'ll change the name? [more...]

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Free Online Scholarship Newsletter

Peter
Suber
writes \"LISNews readers might be
interested in the Free Online Scholarship (FOS)
Newsletter. It is devoted to the migration of print
scholarship to the internet, in all the fields of the
sciences and humanities, and to efforts to make it
available free of charge. Subscriptions, of course, are
free.


ht
tp://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/index.htm
\"

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A Non Research Doctor of Library Science?

Elizabeth Christian writes:\" A one year ALA
accredited degree is just the beginning of library
education. However, what is available after
that is the choice, either a research based library
school research degree that is applicable primarily to
teaching in a library school, not to practice.


There have been some practice based doctorates, but
it is now time to encourage library schools to move into
this area. New options for web based education make
this now easier for library schools to provide this
degree to practitioners.


This is a survey to determine if in fact there is an
interest and what kind of degree would be desirable
from the practioners\' perspective. \"

Here\'s A Link to the survey, or you
can reach her by email @ echristian2 at yahoo.com

How I now ended up packing to move to Aruba!

Richard R.
Shook
has written a nice look at how he found a
job in sunny Aruba. If you\'ve ever thought of getting out
of North America, see how he did it, and maybe you can
join him!
He writes:

\"On March 3 I signed a contract to be the
Librarian at the International School of Aruba. On my
school librarians‚ listserv (lm_net) over 30 librarians
asked me questions and then I was asked to jot a few
notes about the experience of finding an international
school job. Here, I\'ll try to address these requests.

\"20,000 librarians with credit cards . . . \"

Publishers Weekly\'s assessment of ALA 2001:

An upbeat spirit on the show floor was directly related to reports that, with few geographic exceptions, library budgets continue to grow. And although libraries are spending more money on electronic equipment and digital information, they are also buying more books. George Coe, CEO of Baker & Taylor Library Services, said his company\'s library business continues to expand: \"Our business is up considerably over last year. This is a great show for us.\"

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NYT Book Reviews back issues before 1996 Gone

Mary Minow writes \"One of our eagle-eyed bibliographers found This Today on the NY Times site:

\"Search The New York Times on the Web Books


* Books Archive: For the past four years, it has been our pleasure to provide a full-text search of the New York Times Books archive of reviews, news and author interviews dating back to 1980.


To comply with a recent United States Supreme Court decision, we are limiting that search to the period from January 1, 1996 to the present. In the period prior to 1996, The Times typically did not have written agreements with freelance book reviewers to permit republishing reviews in
electronic form.

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Anchorage Mayor to ban all nonlibrary displays

Mary Minow passed along This Story from the Anchorage Daily News on the big gay pride exhibit at the Anchorage city library. It seems his lawyer said \"Don\'t put it back up and don\'t allow displays by other nonlibrary groups\", so he did.
The group will begin to review the exhibit policy.

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Library Operations Outsourced in TX

Mary Musgrave passed along This Dallasnews.com Story on the decision that will hand over operations of its new Lancaster Veterans Memorial Library to a company based near Washington, D.C. [LSSI].

They say the facility still belongs to the city and the council still makes all policy decisions and library employees would keep their jobs.

\"They wanted to make the hours the library was opened more in line with what the community wanted – maybe Sunday afternoons,\" Mrs. Filgo said. \"We haven\'t had a library director since February, and I feel like we\'re to a point where we need some professional help. We\'ve had good professionals, but [LSSI] brings expertise from a national standpoint.\"

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