Submitted by Blake on January 6, 2016 - 9:22am
I feel that now is the time when I should devote as many of my waking hours as possible to doing what I'm good at, and to minimize time spent reading comment threads and viewing pictures of other people's cats. So far, it's been working well; I completed SEVENEVES recently and have three other novel projects in the works. Somewhat perversely, however, using social media has now become part of a novelist's job. It's one thing if you stay off social media altogether and cultivate an identity as a Luddite or recluse. But if you have a public Facebook page, Google+ identity, and Twitter feed, as I do, and you don't actively use them to talk about and promote your work, it strikes people as being a little weird--it sends a mixed message.
From Neal Stephenson - Social Media
Submitted by Blake on January 5, 2016 - 12:27pm
Submitted by Blake on January 5, 2016 - 11:44am
We probably do not need to spell out why we are disappointed by this but, just for the record, we have two major problems:
These were not superficial changes and the editors at American Libraries should have spoken to us before publishing them.
More substantially, we feel it is grossly inappropriate for a magazine that is supposed to represent libraries and librarians to insinuate a vendor’s perspective directly into an article without the authors’ knowledge or permission. This is especially true when the vendor has a very obvious financial motive for being part of the conversation.
Let us state for the record that we did not speak to anyone at Gale/Cengage about this article, we had no role in developing or carrying out the survey, we did not see those quotes prior to publication and would not have included them in our article if we had.
Importantly, our problem is not with Gale/Cengage but with the way American Libraries is handling their relationship with them in the context of the article we wrote.
From Um … about that American Libraries article we wrote | Stewart Varner
Submitted by Blake on January 5, 2016 - 11:32am
Hanel, a psychologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, posted a manuscript recently calling for anonymity in science articles. More than that, Hanel suggests stripping identifiers from virtually all academic output: doing away with name-based citations, CVs on researchers’ web sites, author names on book chapters, titles on academic journals, and more.The immodest proposal — made available on arXiv, a preprint server, before peer review — is akin to destroying the academic village in order to rid it of pests. But while some of what Hanel recommends is impossible at best, and perhaps even counterproductive, his overarching point seems pretty solid. When it comes to protecting the scientific literature from bias, the safeguards that academics now use are sorely inadequate.
From Should scientific papers be anonymous? - STAT
Submitted by Blake on January 5, 2016 - 8:00am
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was also a member of the task force, took matters into its own hands. It released a final version of a free plugin called the Privacy Badger for Firefox and Chrome browsers in August. Whenever a user turns on Do Not Track within the browser setting, Privacy Badger acts as an enforcer — it scans any website to determine if the publisher has agreed to honor this privacy request. If it can’t find a policy, it scans for third-party scripts that appear to be tracking — and blocks them.
“At the core of our project is the protection of users’ reading habits and browsing history,” the EFF wrote in introducing Privacy Badger. “And a conviction that this is personal information that should not be accessed without consent.”
From How ‘Do Not Track’ Ended Up Going Nowhere | Re/code
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 7:11pm
Scholarly HTML is a domain-specific data format built entirely on open standards that enables the interoperable exchange of scholarly articles in a manner that is compatible with off-the-shelf browsers. This document describes how Scholarly HTML works and how it is encoded as a document. It is, itself, written in Scholarly HTML.
From Scholarly HTML — Markedly Smart
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 7:09pm
Was looking at the back of the book to see who had previously checked it out an invasion of their privacy? The Kobe Shimbun had discovered Murakami’s reading when the old books with their library slips were being discarded. That was not intrusive hacking but something closer to dumpster diving.
That information about readers still exists but is now hidden within the library, its access confined to those who operate the check-out system. The system is more efficient but I miss seeing how many readers preceded me. My reading is a bit more isolated as a result, the literary equivalent of Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. But my reading choices are no longer public knowledge.
From History News Network | Why I Miss Old Fashioned Library Cards
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 6:38pm
Rhizome is thrilled to announce today that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the institution a two-year, $600,000 grant to underwrite the comprehensive technical development of Webrecorder, an innovative tool to archive the dynamic web. The grant is the largest Rhizome has ever received and arrives at the start of its 20th anniversary year in 2016.
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 10:52am
The program makes great sense in urban communities, which thrive on publicly connected spaces and resources. Other cities have similar services—the Berkeley Public Library, for instance, created a Tool Lending Library stocked with weed eaters, hedge trimmers, demolition hammers, and electric plumbing snakes.
Reddit users discussed the idea in the Today I Learned community. They noted some of the non-book items they can check out at their own local libraries.
From Sacramento’s ‘Library of Things’ Lets You Borrow GoPros, Sewing Machines, and Ukuleles | Upvoted
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 10:50am
Submitted by Blake on January 4, 2016 - 9:39am
We’re a few days into the new year and I’m sick of it already. This is fundamental web usability 101 stuff that plagues us all and makes our online life that much more painful than it needs to be. None of these practices – none of them – is ever met with “Oh how nice, this site is doing that thing”. Every one of these is absolutely driving the web into a dismal abyss of frustration and much ranting by all.
And before anyone retorts with “Oh you can just install this do-whacky plugin which rewrites the page or changes the behaviour”, no, that’s entirely not the point. Not only does it not solve a bunch of the problems, it shouldn’t damn well have to! How about we all just agree to stop making the web a less enjoyable place and not do these things from the outset?
From Troy Hunt: It’s 2016 already, how are websites still screwing up these user experiences?!
Submitted by Blake on January 3, 2016 - 8:16pm
X-Rated at the Library
The New York Public Library’s erotica collection (yes, it has one) includes seedy Times Square ephemera, early transgender magazines and copies of Playboy.
From X-Rated at the Library - Video - NYTimes.com
Submitted by stevejzoo on January 3, 2016 - 7:33pm
Submitted by Blake on January 3, 2016 - 4:29pm
The purpose of this website is to provide a secure, permanent URL re-direction service for Web applications. This service is run by the W3C Permanent Identifier Community Group.
Web applications that deal with Linked Data often need to specify and use URLs that are very stable. They utilize services such as this one to ensure that applications using their URLs will always be re-directed to a working website. This website operates like a switchboard, connecting requests for information with the true location of the information on the Web. The switchboard can be reconfigured to point to a new location if the old location stops working.
There are a growing group of organizations that have pledged responsibility to ensure the operation of this website. These organizations are: Digital Bazaar, 3 Round Stones, OpenLink Software, Applied Testing and Technology, Openspring, and Bosatsu Consulting. They are responsible for all administrative tasks associated with operating the service. The social contract between these organizations gives each of them full access to all information required to maintain and operate the website. The agreement is setup such that a number of these companies could fail, lose interest, or become unavailable for long periods of time without negatively affecting the operation of the site.
From w3id.org - Permanent Identifiers for the Web
Submitted by Blake on January 3, 2016 - 4:28pm
On the other hand, the sociological questions that lie behind what might be called the origins of the literary sensibility are a great deal less easy to answer. How do people learn to read? How do they fashion their own individual tastes? How do they establish why they prefer one type of book to another type? Where do they acquire the information that enables them to make these selections, and, having acquired it, what do they do with it? After all, there are no hard-and-fast rules about aesthetic choice and how it operates: it was Anthony Powell who, presented by an admirer of his novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time with an ornamental clock on which the names of Poussin and Proust had been engraved, truly remarked that books “have odd effects on different people”.
From How the books we read shape our lives | Features | Culture | The Independent
Submitted by Blake on January 2, 2016 - 3:29pm
For years, Mr. Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who now focuses on the philanthropic work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, had been scribbling notes in the margins of books he was reading and then emailing recommendations to friends and colleagues.
Then he began to post these recommendations and critiques on the blog. “A few years ago I started thinking it would be fun to share some of these notes with the public,” Mr. Gates wrote in a recent email interview. “I have always loved reading and learning, so it is great if people see a book review and feel encouraged to read and share what they think online or with their friends.”
From Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic - The New York Times
Submitted by Blake on January 2, 2016 - 11:33am
EMW's Drink Salon on Tech and Ethics brings together a community and a supportive space to spark challenging discussions on the role of technology in our everyday lives. Each month, we invite featured speakers to lead a conversation. We encourage salon guests to make new connections and to think critically about how technology relates to some of the most important questions we ask humanity.
From EMW Drink Salon: Libraries - Splash
Submitted by Blake on January 2, 2016 - 11:31am
Open collaboration systems like Wikipedia need to maintain a pool of volunteer contributors in order to remain relevant. Wikipedia was created through a tremendous number of contributions by millions of contributors. However, recent research has shown that the number of active contributors in Wikipedia has been declining steadily for years, and suggests that a sharp decline in the retention of newcomers is the cause. This paper presents data that show that several changes the Wikipedia community made to manage quality and consistency in the face
of a massive growth in participation have ironically crippled the very growth they were designed to manage. Specifically, the restrictiveness of the encyclopedia’s primary quality control mechanism and the algorithmic tools used to reject contributions are implicated as key causes of decreased newcomer retention. Further, the community’s formal mechanisms for norm articulation are shown to have calcified against changes – especially changes proposed by newer editors.
From [PDF]How Wikipedia’s reaction to popularity is causing its decline
Submitted by Blake on January 2, 2016 - 10:01am
One silver lining is that the technological democratization of social media has effectively deconstructed the one-sided power of the Big Bad Media in general and influential writing in particular, which in theory makes this era freer and more decentralized than ever. One downside to technological democratization is that it hasn’t lead to a thriving marketplace of ideas, but a greater retreat into the Platonic cave of self-identification with the shadow world. We have never needed a safer and quieter place to collect our thoughts from the collective din of couch quarterbacking than we do now, which is why it’s so easy to preemptively categorize the articles we read before we actually read them to save ourselves the heartache and the controversy.
From How the Internet changed the way we read
Submitted by Bibliofuture on January 1, 2016 - 2:49pm
It's been more than 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, but by a fluke of fate — and international copyright law — two stark reminders of the genocide may be entering the public domain in Europe on Friday. Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto, sees its European copyright expire after Dec. 31; so too for Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, according to several French activists.