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.
Submitted by Blake on December 31, 2015 - 4:12pm
About the Project
American Panorama is created by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers serve as editors, Scott Nesbit as an associate editor. Justin Madron manages the project's spatial data. Nathaniel Ayers leads the design work.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Richmond have generously provided funding for American Panorama. Stamen Design developed the software for this project.
From American Panorama
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 10:44pm
At the end of every book I loved, I felt transformed. I wanted to tell everyone about it, if not read it again right away. The other books, the ones I didn't care about, I read because I thought they would make me better in some way — more well-read, perhaps, or even more interesting. But reading books I wasn't invested in just made me bored and disengaged; I would have been better off doing something else.
I became a librarian because talking about books is one of the only things I like as much as reading them
From I read 164 books in 2015 and tracked them all in a spreadsheet. Here's what I learned. - Vox
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 5:12pm
Most entries, but not all. Disturbingly, all of the worst entries I have ever read have been in the sciences. Wander off the big ideas in the sciences, and you're likely to run into entries that are excessively technical and provide almost no context, making them effectively incomprehensible.
This failure is a minor problem for Wikipedia, as most of the entries people rely on are fine. But I'd argue that it's a significant problem for science. The problematic entries reinforce the popular impression that science is impossible to understand and isn't for most people—they make science seem elitist. And that's an impression that we as a society really can't afford.
From Editorial: Wikipedia fails as an encyclopedia, to science’s detriment | Ars Technica
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 4:54pm
The best way to pass along books for future generations to value is give them today. They do this better in Iceland than anywhere. An online article by Giulia Trentacosti described Iceland’s Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas book flood,” festival. The majority of Iceland’s books are published around Christmastime when it’s traditional to exchange new and used books. The flood comes from the fact Iceland is so literate.
“With around 330,000 inhabitants, Iceland is certainly one of the smallest book markets in the world. Nevertheless, it boasts one of the highest rates of books per capita.” They also each read an average of eight books annually, and “an impressive 98 percent read at least one.” Giving and reading books in a national pastime.
From The value of books is not restricted to price | At The Library Column | newsminer.com
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 4:43pm
But here’s the thing: Unless you’re stuck in some sort of weird literary torture chamber, nobody is ever going to inject you with library book juice. And modern scientists say that just curling up with a book is not enough to make you sick.
“I have never heard of anyone catching anything from a library book,” infectious disease specialist Michael Z. David told the Wall Street Journal. David says that viruses and bacteria can indeed live on the pages of library books, but that the risk of actual infection is very, very low.
From Just How Gross Are Library Books, Exactly? | Mental Floss
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 4:42pm
This release brings with it some long-needed upgrades, including:
Multi-language support for the user interface and a dozen languages built-in
New CSS-styled file directory listings, including responsive design for tablets and smartphones
Even more hardware is now supported, including our least-expensive hardware ever, the GL-iNet router that lets you build a LibraryBox for less than $25.
DLNA support for playing media from your LibraryBox on your TV or other DLNA compatible device
An improved upgrade process for future code releases that means no more need to SSH into your LibraryBox to upgrade it
General stability and speed improvements that make using LibraryBox even better for everyone
From LibraryBox v2.1 | Pattern Recognition
Submitted by Blake on December 29, 2015 - 11:11am
But even if a deal is struck or funding released, Drury said the cutbacks could continue at the library if that state funding is reduced.
"Depending on what the budget number is we may have to make these reductions permanent instead of reinstating them," Drury added.
Penny Talbert, executive director of the Ephrata Public Library, also in Lancaster County, said state funding for programs like hers has decreased heavily in recent years.
From Tested by budget battle and funding cuts, Pa. libraries buckle | PennLive.com
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 4:16pm
Eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon currently are coloring books designed for adults. These books tend to be much more finely detailed than those for children. Popular topics include animals, fish, flowers and mandala spiritual symbols.
Michael O’Mara Books Ltd., a British publisher, says it got the ball rolling. “A staffer said how embarrassed she was to see her mother coloring and getting enormous enjoyment,” says Michael O’Mara, founder and chairman. “We thought, ‘Why not have a stab producing a coloring book aimed at adults?’ ”
From Adult Coloring Books Test Grown-Ups’ Ability to Stay Inside the Lines - WSJ
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 4:06pm
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 11:01am
It's been a year since the U.S. and Cuba began normalizing relations. Tourism, business and cultural exchanges are booming. And there is another curious benefactor of those warmer ties — Ernest Hemingway, or at least, his legacy. The writer lived just outside of Havana for 20 years, and that house, called the Finca Vigia, has long been a national museum.
But years of hot, humid Caribbean weather has taken a toll on the author's thousands of papers and books. A Boston-based foundation is helping restore those weathered treasures, and who better to lead that effort than the original dean of home repairs: Bob Vila, of public television's This Old House. He tells NPR's Carrie Kahn that he has a personal connection to Cuba. "I'm American-born Cuban," he says. "My Havana-born parents emigrated during the latter part of World War II, and I was born in Miami, raised there and partially in Havana up until the revolution in 1959."
From New Conservation Effort Aims To Protect Papa's Papers : NPR
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 10:59am
Riverby Books D.C., a used-bookstore on Capitol Hill, closed last year after owner Steve Cymrot was hit by a truck and killed. His son Paul reopened the store in the fall — and didn’t hesitate. “The business side of it never gave us a moment’s pause,” he said. “We’ve never had better business.”
And it’s a business with good economics. Used bookstores can beat Amazon and other online booksellers on price, offering shoppers both a browsing experience and a money-saving one. Also, profit margins on used books are better than new ones — so good that many indies are adding used sections.
Sensing a good deal, entrepreneurs are jumping in.
From In the age of Amazon, used bookstores are making an unlikely comeback - The Washington Post
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 10:47am
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has written a forceful defense of the company's plans to offer limited, free internet access in India, comparing Facebook's Free Basics service with libraries and public hospitals. In an op-ed written for The Times of India, Zuckerberg says that although libraries don't offer every book to read and hospitals can't cure every illness, they still provide a "world of good," suggesting that just because free internet services like Free Basics only offer access to a limited number of sites — which third-parties can apply to join but that Facebook ultimately controls — they're still an essential public service.
From Zuckerberg compares free internet services to public libraries and hospitals | The Verge
Submitted by Blake on December 28, 2015 - 10:37am
Libraries cost money. Do we need large buildings, heavily staffed, full of paper, if “everything of importance” is online, in databases, collections, and so forth? For a university accountant, the answer is self-evidently not. A generation may be needed, but those volumes will be sold, the staff dismissed, and the building repurposed.
Such changes in information technology have happened before.
From When will the librarians start to throw offline literature away? at Roger Pearse
Submitted by Blake on December 24, 2015 - 1:47pm
With hundreds of thousands of books published every year, the choice of what to stock can prove bewildering for booksellers. The owner of one small bookshop in Tokyo has taken an unusual approach to the problem: Morioka Shoten, located in the luxury shopping district of Ginza, offers just one title to its customers.
From Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time | Books | The Guardian
Submitted by birdie on December 23, 2015 - 12:49pm
Amanda Brennan is a librarian for the Internet. Her career in meme librarianism began in graduate school at Rutgers, where she received a master’s in library science.
But instead of heading to a brick-and-mortar library, Brennan continued documenting online phenomena at Know Your Meme and then at Tumblr, where she solidified her profession as information desk for doge, mmm whatcha say and the other viral Internet sensations in need of classification, categorization and preservation.
Here's the meme-ish story from the Washington Post.