What books were taken to the Antarctic 100 years ago?

When Sir Ernest Shackleton set off for Antarctica on his ship Endurance, he made sure he had plenty of reading material. But details of precisely what books he took have remained hidden in this photograph - until now.

From What books were taken to the Antarctic 100 years ago? - BBC News


Lebanese refuse to turn the page on public libraries

Beirut: Lebanon boasts the highest rate of reading among Arab states and ranks an impressive 37th globally. But, despite its 95 per cent literacy rate, many believe that the pursuit of knowledge remains an elitist privilege in the country as many Lebanese cannot afford to buy books.

This is why public libraries have always been and continue to be an important resource for Lebanese.

From Lebanese refuse to turn the page on public libraries | GulfNews.com


The Plan to Give Every Cellphone User Free Data

“I felt conflicted, frankly,” said Steve Song, a telecommunications policy activist. “I do think it’s problematic to have one of the largest companies in the world managing a large chunk of the world’s personal data. It’s clearly an issue that we need to be thinking about, and we don’t want to—in the name of doing something good—unintentionally do something bad by creating a de facto monopoly. At the same time, I felt that it just didn’t seem ethical to say, ‘You should just turn this service off.’”

From The Plan to Give Every Cellphone User Free Data - The Atlantic


What Are the Most Beautiful Libraries in Washington, D.C.?

For many, the Library of Congress is the most beautiful library in Washington, D.C., if not the DMV area. Maybe even the nation. But there are plenty of other libraries in the nation's capital that deserve some extra love and maybe an Instagram pic or two.

To help put together a guide to the most gorgeous libraries in D.C., Curbed is turning to the readers for some advice. Which libraries do you like? And why?

From What Are the Most Beautiful Libraries in Washington, D.C.? - Curbed DC


Online Privacy and the Invisible Market for Our Data.

Abstract: Consumers constantly enter into blind bargains online. We trade our personal information for free websites and apps, without knowing exactly what will be done with our data. There is nominally a notice and choice regime in place via lengthy privacy policies. However, virtually no one reads them. In this ill-informed environment, companies can gather and exploit as much data as technologically possible, with very few legal boundaries. The consequences for consumers are often far-removed from their actions, or entirely invisible to them. Americans deserve a rigorous notice and choice regime. Such a regime would allow consumers to make informed decisions and regain some measure of control over their personal information. This article explores the problems with the current marketplace for our digital data, and explains how we can make a robust notice and choice regime work for consumers.

From Notice and Consent - Schneier on Security You can read the Paper Here.

Amazing Photos of the Sahara Desert's Lost Libraries

Polish photographer Michal Huniewicz, 31, has been traveling the world for the last seven years with the goal of visiting and photographing some of the most interesting - and remote - places on earth. And while on a trip through Mauritania in West Africa, Huniewicz discovered the ancient stone city of Chinguetti, a remote destination home to to one of the world’s most impressive collections of ancient Islamic manuscripts.

“I love libraries and old books,” Huniewicz told weather.com. “I felt like I had found treasure within the stone labyrinth of Chinguetti [seeing] all those old manuscripts and vellums.”

From Amazing Photos of the Sahara Desert's Lost Libraries (PHOTOS) | The Weather Channel (Pretty sure this is the first time in almost 16 years I've posted a link to The Weather Channel)


Yahoo Webscope: A reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets

The Yahoo Webscope Program is a reference library of interesting and scientifically useful datasets for non-commercial use by academics and other scientists.

All datasets have been reviewed to conform to Yahoo's data protection standards, including strict controls on privacy. We have a number of datasets that we are excited to share with you.

Yahoo is pleased to make these datasets available to researchers who are advancing the state of knowledge and understanding in web sciences. The datasets are only available for academic use by faculty and university researchers who agree to the Data Sharing Agreement.

From Webscope | Yahoo Labs

Sci-Hub as necessary, effective civil disobedience

Besides saving lives by making 48 million research papers accessible to patients and doctors, Sci-Hub to me signifies that the scientific community (well, admittedly, a tiny proportion of it), is starting to lose its patience and becomes ready for more revolutionary reform options. A signal that the community starts to feel that it is running out of options for evolutionary change. To me, Sci-Hub signals that publisher behavior, collectively, over the last two decades has been such a gigantic affront to scholars that civil disobedience is a justifiable escalation. Personally, I would tend to hope that Sci-Hub (and potentially following, increasingly radical measures) would signal that time has run out and that the scientific community is now ready to shift gears and embark on a more effective strategy for infrastructure reform.
Although I realize that it’s probably wishful thinking.

From bjoern.brembs.blog » Sci-Hub as necessary, effective civil disobedience

What Does It Take To Be A “Bestselling Author”? $3 and 5 Minutes

Gone are the days of having to be selected to put out a book. Gone are the days of having to go to a bookstore to see what is available. Now you can check online, with real time reviews, AND, real time “bestseller” rankings. It’s unsurprising that as the barriers to entry for the book business went down, so did the quality of the books being produced. These days, over one million books are published each year, with at least half of these self-published. So it’s almost obvious that, given the volume, you could game your way to the top of a category with very few sales. And yet, in spite of the fact that it’s as easy as I’ve shown to become an Amazon best-seller, those same people get to cash in on the goodwill and prestige build up in the title “bestselling author.” 

From What Does It Take To Be A “Bestselling Author”? $3 and 5 Minutes. | Observer


IFLA issues Statement on Right to be Forgotten

IFLA urges library professionals to participate in policy discussions about the right to be forgotten, while both supporting the right to privacy for individual citizens and assisting individuals in their searches for information.  To this effect, library professionals should:

Raise awareness among policy makers to ensure that the right to be forgotten does not apply where retaining links in search engine results is necessary for historical, statistical and research purposes; for reasons of public interest; or for the exercise of the right of freedom of expression.

From IFLA issues Statement on Right to be Forgotten

Don't Panic Making Progress On The "Going Dark" Debate

We’re not being asked to choose between security and privacy. We’re being asked to choose between less security and more security.

This trade-off isn’t new. In the mid-1990s, cryptographers argued that escrowing encryption keys with central authorities would weaken security. In 2011, cybersecurity researcher Susan Landau published her excellent book Surveillance or Security?, which deftly parsed the details of this trade-off and concluded that security is far more important. Ubiquitous encryption protects us much more from bulk surveillance than from targeted surveillance. For a variety of technical reasons, computer security is extraordinarily weak.

If a sufficiently skilled, funded, and motivated attacker wants in to your computer, they’re in. If they’re not, it’s because you’re not high enough on their priority list to bother with. Widespread encryption forces the listener – whether a foreign government, criminal, or terrorist – to target. And this hurts repressive governments much more than it hurts terrorists and criminals.

From Don't Panic Making Progress On The "Going Dark" Debate [PDF]

Van filled with $350,000 in rare books stolen in Oakland

That novel, once a prized possession of Van De Carr’s, is now gone, along with around 400 of his other books worth well over $350,000. Someone stole his van while it was parked outside a friend’s Oakland home this week.
“The thing about that book is it was as new as the day it was published. Just a perfect, perfect copy. It glistened,” Van De Carr lamented.
“It’s my livelihood, it’s how I make a living,” added Van De Carr, owner of Booklegger’s Books in Chicago. “Now, I have nothing.”

From Van filled with $350,000 in rare books stolen in Oakland - SFGate

Georgia Tech Discovers How Mobile Ads Leak Personal Data

Researchers found that 73 percent of ad impressions for 92 percent of users are correctly aligned with their demographic profiles. Researchers also found that, based on ads shown, a mobile app developer could learn a user’s:

gender with 75 percent accuracy,
parental status with 66 percent accuracy,
age group with 54 percent accuracy, and
could also predict income, political affiliation, marital status, with higher accuracy than random guesses.

From Georgia Tech Discovers How Mobile Ads Leak Personal Data

Baltimore librarian Carla Hayden nominated as Librarian of Congress: Will her Patriot Act opposition get in the way?

Carla Hayden is President Obama’s nominee for Librarian of Congress. She is CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, an African-American and a former president of the American Library Association.

What a contrast to James Billington, the long-time librarian who retired last year and was temporarily replaced by Acting Librarian David Mao. Billington’s background is from academia. He was not a professional librarian. What’s more, he was so far out of touch that he preferred fax to e-mail; and for the most part, this Reagan-era leftover hated e-books.

From Baltimore librarian Carla Hayden nominated as Librarian of Congress: Will her Patriot Act opposition get in the way? - TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond


Over the past few months, we have been approached by groups leading a charge to recognize patron security and privacy as an important part of library purchasing responsibility. The facts are that many of the platforms licensed by libraries today do not prioritize and sometimes neglect basic steps to ensure libraries can protect patron security and privacy. The reason is simple: Libraries do not demand it.


You Could Look It Up

Book that has just been released: You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf From Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia

"Knowledge is of two kinds," said Samuel Johnson in 1775. "We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it." Today we think of Wikipedia as the source of all information, the ultimate reference. Yet it is just the latest in a long line of aggregated knowledge--reference works that have shaped the way we've seen the world for centuries.

You Could Look It Up chronicles the captivating stories behind these great works and their contents, and the way they have influenced each other. From The Code of Hammurabi, the earliest known compendium of laws in ancient Babylon almost two millennia before Christ to Pliny's Natural History; from the 11th-century Domesday Book recording land holdings in England to Abraham Ortelius's first atlas of the world; from Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language to The Whole Earth Catalog to Google, Jack Lynch illuminates the human stories and accomplishment behind each, as well as its enduring impact on civilization. In the process, he offers new insight into the value of knowledge.

See: http://amzn.to/1Q05Jj5


Charting Literary Classics’ Punctuation, From Austen to Twain

Calhoun was curious to see how the punctuation in his favorite books stacked up, so he wrote a script that strips the words from the pages. Next to Rougeux’s swirling posters, Calhoun’s visualizations are less abstract, more straightforward. In one, he simply leaves them as-is—a block of periods, commas and dashes in all their geometric, grammatical beauty. In another, he assigns each glyph a color, creating glowing heatmaps that show which marks are most prevalent.

From Charting Literary Classics’ Punctuation, From Austen to Twain | WIRED


Fully Implement ESSA School Library Provisions

School librarians are on the front lines of librarianship. For many young minds they are the first contact with both librarians and libraries and provide the kinds of opportunities for imaginative exploration that libraries freely and democratically provide through their books, programs, and services. Children are allowed to explore literature and new ideas freely in school libraries while also developing a love of reading and strong skills in literacy that will help them throughout their life.

From Fully Implement ESSA School Library Provisions - EveryLibrary

New book about New York City special libraries released

Terry Ballard has written the book "50 Specialty libraries of New York City: From botany to magic," published by Chandos Elsevier.

Libraries are for reading not knitting

Warnings about libraries spreading their resources too thin are partly based on the fact that book funds are in decline. But the real issue here is that society finds it difficult to take the authority of knowledge seriously. It cannot find any justification for quiet spaces and rows of bookshelves. The trust’s emphasis on extracurricular activities undermines the purpose of libraries – that is, to foster independence and self-realisation.

It seems the Carnegie Trust no longer wants us to read books – it would rather we drank tea and ate biscuits instead.

From Libraries are for reading not knitting - The Future Cities project



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