LibraryBox & Google Summer of Code

I am thrilled to be able to announce that The LibraryBox Project has been invited to be one of the projects included in the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Google Summer of Code.

If you aren’t familiar with the Google Summer of Code, it is a program that gets undergraduates connected to open source projects via mentor organizations. The goal is to give the students experience working on useful open code, while projects benefit from their skills to set and meet development goals. Google pays the students a stipend, and the whole open source community wins.

From LibraryBox & Google Summer of Code | Pattern Recognition

A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World

This renowned mathematician is bent on proving academic journals can cost nothing

But in the four years that have passed, little has changed. Despite a decades-old "open access" movement — which aims to put research findings in the public domain instead of languishing behind expensive paywalls — the traditional approach to publishing remains firmly entrenched.

So Gowers is now launching his second attack, this time with a lot more intention.

This week, he debuted a new online mathematics journal called Discrete Analysis. The nonprofit venture is owned and published by a team of scholars. With no publisher middlemen, access will be completely free for all.

From This renowned mathematician is bent on proving academic journals can cost nothing - Vox

The Searcher of Patterns and the Keeper of Things

For Pasanek, finding 18th-century descriptions of the mind also involves a search process performative of his topic. The first decade of his database’s existence maps closely to the history of keyword-searching in the electronic archives, a process no 18th-centuryist today can avoid. While looking for metaphors of mind might once have involved tracking down known examples and following up scholarly hunches, now it involves weighing evidence that accumulates on very different scales. Like the “desultory” readers Pasanek recalls flicking, rifling, indexing their way through books, making connections that never quite line up or that exhaust those that could be made, Pasanek himself works with a large and still-growing stock of somewhat random examples.

From The Searcher of Patterns and the Keeper of Things - The Los Angeles Review of Books

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Time to Make, and Eat, a Book!

The 8th Annual Edible Book Festival is a super fun way to get to know others in the community who have a bent for books, and baking prowess to boot. This is a world wide festival that promotes the book arts. It’s a family friendly adventure, where kids are encouraged to participate from start (creating the book) to finish (eating the book). Judging is based on Best Book, Best Tasting, and Most Creative. In the end, all proceeds go towards WNY Book Arts Center. 

8th Annual Edible Book Festival

Saturday, April 2, 2016 | 3 PM – 6 PM

Western New York Book Arts Center | 468 Washington St, Buffalo, New York 14203

From Time to Make, and Eat, a Book! – Buffalo Rising

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Tim Tierney's call for 'fair' e-book prices for Canadian libraries adopted by FCM

Canadian municipalities are asking the federal government to find ways to bring down e-book prices for their public libraries, a move led by an Ottawa councillor. 

From Tim Tierney's call for 'fair' e-book prices for libraries adopted by FCM - Ottawa - CBC News

Library workers oppose 'precarious work'

A group of unionized employees still in contract talks with the city is challenging Mayor John Tory to end what it calls “precarious work” being carried out by a large chunk of the city’s library staff who work part time, have limited access to benefits, and face unstable work hours.

The Toronto Public Library Workers Union, Local 4948, whose contract expired Dec. 31, launched a campaign Friday, including a four-minute horror movie spoof, to get its message out.

Local president Maureen O’Reilly called precarious work “the epidemic of our time” and said Toronto is “one of the biggest offenders, especially in the library.”

From Library workers oppose 'precarious work' | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun

The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science

As a beginning graduate student in the social sciences, what sort of software should you use to do your work? More importantly, what principles should guide your choices? These pages offer some answers. The short version is: you should use tools that give you more control over the process of data analysis and writing. I recommend you write prose and code using a good text editor; analyze quantitative data with R or Stata; minimize error by storing your work in a simple format (plain text is best), and make a habit of documenting what you’ve done. For data analysis, consider using a format like RMarkdown and tools like Knitr to make your work more easily reproducible for your future self. Use Pandoc to turn your plain-text documents into PDF, HTML, or Word files to share with others. Keep your projects in a version control system. Back everything up regularly. Make your computer work for you by automating as many of these steps as you can.

From The Plain Person’s Guide to Plain Text Social Science

How Presidential Libraries Work

“They’re really getting big,” says Hufbauer, who points out that the private funding allows “presidents to build gigantic temples dedicated to themselves.”

That means that presidential scandals or mistakes may get glossed over, and presidential successes highlighted. “The decision about what to display in the very first exhibits is made by the president, along with the National Archives and key advisors who help determine the story and presentation of those artifacts,” says Susan Donius, director of the office of presidential libraries.

From How Presidential Libraries Work

Data Is a Toxic Asset

We can be smarter than this. We need to regulate what corporations can do with our data at every stage: collection, storage, use, resale and disposal. We can make corporate executives personally liable so they know there's a downside to taking chances. We can make the business models that involve massively surveilling people the less compelling ones, simply by making certain business practices illegal.

From Data Is a Toxic Asset - Schneier on Security

'Libraries are vital to freedom of speech'

"Librarians are much needed as valuable guides: to help students and other readers to learn techniques to sift information, question its validity and measure its importance," Jolley said. "To understand what to trust and what to question; and that all information is not equal. Students need to be able to weigh up and sift different sources of research. The University of California Library System saw a 54% decline in circulation between 1991 to 2001 of 8,377,000 books to 3,832,000. It is shocking that some students are failing themselves by not using a broad range of books, and journals that are free from their university libraries to widen and deepen their understanding."

From 'Libraries are vital to freedom of speech' | The Bookseller

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Great Summary Of Attacks On Carla Hayden's Nomination to LoC

If this is the best that people can come up with, hopefully it means that Hayden's nomination will sail through. But, boy, people are reaching deep to argue that the American Library Association is either "pro-piracy" or "pro-pornography" by misrepresenting events from over a decade ago, and magically tying them to Dr. Hayden.

From Desperation Shows As Critics Argue That Nominated Librarian Of Congress Is 'Pro Obscenity' | Techdirt

Creating A Public Space: Open Access, Book Theft, and the Epigraphy of Ancient Libraries

Nowadays, I spend a lot of time at the Main Library at the University of Iowa, particularly in the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio. Like the Library of Pantaenus, library patrons at the UI tend to think more about the books inside of libraries than the inscribed surfaces that help to compartmentalize and organize the space itself. However, the various signs, posted maps, and plaques within these repositories help to shape our experience. Moreover the use of locks, doors, and inscribed warnings can communicate something about the institution itself. I have worked for both public and private institutions with adjoining libraries, and I must say that entering a public library is an altogether different spatial experience from entering a private one–which can often feel like entering a prison.

From Creating A Public Space: Open Access, Book Theft, and the Epigraphy of Ancient Libraries – SARAH E. BOND

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Dirty Old Books

Wear and tear is another way in which the manuscript shows that it was used a lot – that it had been popular among a group of medieval readers. It is not uncommon to see pronounced discolouration at the lower left corner of the page. The dark patches that can sometimes be observed there result from generations of fingers turning the page. Pages with such dirty lower corners usually also turn quite easily, as if the structure of the parchment is loosened up by the repeated turning of pages. Occasionally one encounters a page like the one seen in Fig. 4, which is dirty all over its surface. One wonders how clean the readers’ hands were – also after consulting such a dirty book.

From Dirty Old Books | medievalbooks

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The manuscript-editing marketplace

Launched in October 2015 and still in beta testing, Peerwith is a forum through which researchers can find and negotiate with service providers such as editors, translators, statisticians and illustrators to improve their research papers. The site boasts “hundreds of experts”, most of them with expertise in the social sciences and humanities. Users post a job request detailing the subject area of the document, its length and the desired turnaround time. Experts then bid for the job, and both experts and users rate each other afterwards. Peerwith's business model is akin to freelance marketplaces such as Upwork, says co-founder Joris van Rossum, who left the journal publisher Elsevier to start his firm, except with a strictly academic focus.

From The manuscript-editing marketplace : Nature News & Comment

Company Tracks Iowa Caucusgoers by their Cell Phones

So on the night of the Iowa caucus, Dstillery flagged all the auctions that took place on phones in latitudes and longitudes near caucus locations. It wound up spotting 16,000 devices on caucus night, as those people had granted location privileges to the apps or devices that served them ads. It captured those mobile ID's and then looked up the characteristics associated with those IDs in order to make observations about the kind of people that went to Republican caucus locations (young parents) versus Democrat caucus locations. It drilled down farther (e.g., 'people who like NASCAR voted for Trump and Clinton') by looking at which candidate won at a particular caucus location.

From Company Tracks Iowa Caucusgoers by their Cell Phones - Schneier on Security

Aritst renders eerie police sketches of famous literary characters

Via Comic Book Resources, Aritst Brian J. Davis has rendered famous literary characters in the form of police sketches — ensuring that if you run into one of these characters on the street, you know exactly what to expect.

Using “commercially available law enforcement composite sketch software,” Daivs drew accurate sketches based on the characters’ descriptions in their respective books. Take a look at even more on Brian's Tumblr page.

Here's Hannibal Lecter from the novels of Thomas Harris,

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The collective insanity of the publishing industry

Here’s how short-sighted this idea is.  The Big 5 raised their ebook prices, created an artificial resurgence in print sales of their books, and thought they proved print-is-not-dead.  (They actually proved the consumer will buy the cheaper option, but okay.)  One might even think they stuck it to Amazon, somehow, by doing this.

The only problem is this: the largest seller of print books right now happens to be Amazon.  Guess who saw an uptick in print sales in 2015?

From The collective insanity of the publishing industry - Gene Doucette

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Libraries are Leading the Charge in Open-Access Publishing Revolution

There are always ways to free your work for less money, of course. You could start a Wordpress blog and post the whole thing there, or publish with a print-on-demand independent press, or even self-publish on Amazon. Like the rest of the publishing industry fringe, this is a wild and woolly world where things like review standards aren’t always up to academic snuff. Getting people to actually read your stunning work of self-published genius can be something of an uphill battle because you don’t have a big, well-respected name behind your book to certify that yes, this thinker is thinking worthwhile thoughts. Free open access has potential, of course—scads of it—but until a large institution throws its weight behind the concept, it’s likely to remain a fun social theory set in a hypothetical world where things don’t cost money.

From Libraries are Leading the Charge in Open-Access Publishing Revolution — Blog — Foreword Reviews

WI Libraries can now report overdue fines to collection agencies or police

Senate Bill 466 – permits a library to report to a collection agency or, under some circumstances, a law enforcement agency, information about delinquent accounts of any individual who borrows or uses the library’s documents, materials, resources, or services.  Authored by Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls) and Representative Nancy VanderMeer (R – Tomah), the bill passed the Senate on a voice vote and was concurred by the Assembly on a voice vote.  It is Act 169.

From Governor Scott Walker Signs 46 Bills Into Law | Office of the Governor - Scott Walker

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