Submitted by birdie on June 13, 2014 - 10:13am
In a New York Times review by William Grimes, entitled "A History of Awesome in One Room", the JP Morgan Library's new exhibit from Oxford's Bodleian Library is described as featuring "some of the loftiest texts ever recorded"; the poetry of Sappho, the Magna Carta, the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Euclid’s Elements, Newton’s Principia Mathematica, Shelley's Frankenstein and an illustrated score by Felix Mendelssohn.
"Marks of Genius” works hard at its theme. Stephen Hebron, the Bodleian’s curator of the exhibition, carefully traces the changing meanings of genius since antiquity in a concise but wide-ranging catalog essay. The exhibit runs through mid-September at The Morgan Library.
Submitted by birdie on June 12, 2014 - 4:05pm
From Marketplace.org: I was at a dinner table about a year ago, right after the first Edward Snowden leaks, when I heard for the first time an argument I've heard many times since.
"Why should I care? I'm not doing anything wrong." This appears to be the opinion of the majority when it comes to the idea of the government using surveillance to fight terrorism. By Pew Research's estimates, 56 percent of Americans support the government listening in while it fights the "bad guys." And it has been this way for something like 12 years -- right after the September 11th attacks and the beginning of the war on terror.
All of this thinking about surveillance, government, and legislation has also reminded me of a chapter in my own history that I haven't thought of in a while. During my junior year of college in 2003, I worked in the D.C. office of a moderate Republican Congressman. My main job was to answer constituent correspondence with letters that represented the Congressman's policy positions, which he would then sign. One day near the end of my spring semester, I had an assignment I couldn't complete: I was supposed to answer a constituent letter about a proposed expansion of the Patriot Act. The letter had been sent, and signed, by librarians throughout the Congressman's home state who were opposed to the Patriot Act's allowance of officials to access library records. They were asking the Congressman to oppose any extension or expansion of the legislation, and really to roll it back entirely. As I was preparing to tell the librarians that the congressman fully supported the legislation, I made a discovery. One of the librarian signatures on the constituent letter was familiar to me. It belonged to my mother.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 12, 2014 - 12:14am
The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Yes, some hackers are bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights. By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world.
Submitted by Blake on June 11, 2014 - 3:34pm
At the core of Pollen is an argument:
First, that digital books should be the best books we’ve ever had. So far, they’re not even close.
Second, that because digital books are software, an author shouldn’t think of a book as merely data. The book is a program.
Third, that the way we make digital books better than their predecessors is by exploiting this programmability.
That’s what Pollen is for.
Submitted by birdie on June 11, 2014 - 2:43pm
Laurence Copel, youth outreach librarian and founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library in New Orleans, is the inaugural recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. On June 29, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) will present her with a $3,000 check, $1,000 travel expenses, a certificate and "an odd object from Handler's private collection" during the American Library Association's Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.
"Copel is recognized for her extraordinary efforts to provide books to young readers of the Ninth Ward," said ALA president Barbara Stripling, adding that she "is a brilliant example of how librarians can serve as change agents. Her leadership and commitment show the vital role that librarians and libraries play in energizing and engaging the communities that they serve."
Known to the children in the Lower Ninth Ward as the Book Lady, Copel moved to New Orleans from New York City in 2010 and opened a library in her home through self-funding and small donations while living on $350 a week. She also converted her bicycle to a mobile book carrier allowing her to reach children and families that could not travel to her home. Story via Shelf-Awareness.com.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 11, 2014 - 10:03am
A U.S. appeals court says a digital library of more than 10 million scanned and searchable texts amounts to "fair use," ruling against a group of authors who claimed copyright infringement.
More info here
Submitted by Blake on June 10, 2014 - 10:12am
“Anyway,” I said, when we were finished, “Nathaniel Hawthorne once wrote an ornery letter to his editor complaining about popular fiction. He went on and on about all the ‘scribbling’ women who sold hundreds of thousands of copies while he sold none. He thought they were dumb simply by virtue of being popular. Don’t you understand?” I scooped a lock of hair behind her ear in a way that said I would support her if she decided to have our baby. “You don’t gain credibility by being widely read, Ruth, you gain credibility by being accepted by rich, white, men.”
Submitted by Blake on June 10, 2014 - 9:29am
"I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions — such as the passage of time — are met? Libraries and archives could offer such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the 'Belfast Project' situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely. Some suggested solutions are very much out of the box."
Submitted by Blake on June 10, 2014 - 9:27am
Indeed, Academia.edu, PLOS, and Arxiv.org are doing something remarkable: They’re mounting a full-frontal assault on a multi-billion-dollar industry and replacing it with something that makes much, much less money.
They’re far more efficient and fairer, and they vastly increase the openness and availability of research information. I believe this will be nothing but good for the human race in the long run. But I’m sure the executives of Elsevier, Springer, and others are weeping into their lattes as they watch this industry evaporate.
Maybe they can get together with newspaper executives to commiserate.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 6, 2014 - 8:26pm
Despite having dozens of best-selling titles to his name, author James Patterson is very worried about the present and future of books in America, as the publishing world continues to grapple with the rise of ebooks and their major distributor, Amazon.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 6, 2014 - 8:19pm
A look at BookExpo, just held in New York.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 6, 2014 - 1:44pm
Submitted by birdie on June 5, 2014 - 12:20pm
The Greensboro (NC) News Record reports that the 16 year old shop will be closing down due to lack of staffing and management.
The Friends of the Greensboro Public Library runs the shop, and like many nonprofit groups, it is struggling to remain relevant in a fast-changing world of information. Lea Williams, the group’s new president, says the decision to close the Booklovers Shop had nothing to do with money. The shop has been struggling for years, but it was making a tiny profit, no more than $1,300 in its last fiscal year. The shop’s shutdown had everything to do with managing the place, she says. It was too time-consuming, and after a year of discussion, Williams says, Friends’ board of directors felt the group had steered away from its role of supporting and funding the library’s programs and recruiting new members.
Members of the friends organized a meeting last month with other supporters of the shop, and they came together to vent and talk to Brigitte Blanton, a 27-year library employee and its new director. They also came together to figure out a way to keep the shop from becoming a canteen. They want to find a way to keep the shop open and viable.
“What this shop first started was magic,’’ says book lover Prudence Strong. “Why destroy something so perfect?’’
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 5, 2014 - 9:36am
The three-finger salute from the Hollywood movie "The Hunger Games" is being used as a real symbol of resistance in Thailand. Protesters against the military coup are flashing the gesture as a silent act of rebellion, and they're being threatened with arrest if they ignore warnings to stop.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 5, 2014 - 9:29am
Commentary on the Amazon-Hachette fight by publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin.
Shatzkin says - My “position” on all this is that it reveals an imbalance that only the government can fix.
Another point he makes: Amazon, at great expense and with great vision, made the ebook business happen. Before the Kindle, the ebook marketplace was small and unambitious. The biggest player in terms of sales was Palm, which wasn’t really interested. The most interested party was Sony, which repeatedly tried over more than a decade to establish some sort of ebook device and ecosystem. But Amazon made a significant corporate commitment — creating the Kindle device, pressuring the publishers to make much more of their catalog available as ebooks, and investing heavily in discounted sales and screen real estate to build the consumer market. When B&N with Nook in late 2009 and Apple with iPad and iBookstore in early 2010 entered the market, they were attempting to capitalize on a product class that Amazon had pretty much single-handledly created.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 5, 2014 - 12:08am
Last week, we talked about how Amazon was delaying orders of Hachette books as a negotiation tactic in a pricing argument with the publisher. Walmart has now announced that they'll offer customers 40% off on all Hachette books and quick shipping.
Full piece at -- On The Media
Submitted by birdie on June 4, 2014 - 3:13pm
From the Sunday Times UK: (subscription required after third paragraph, but there's enough there to get the gist of this opinion piece by historian and author Amanda Foreman).
"One of the greatest monopolies in history was the medieval Catholic Church. Its religious and temporal power was absolute until confronted by an even more potent rival: the printed book. Today, print is once more at the centre of a cultural revolution. Only this time it is not the challenger to a global monopoly but its most successful weapon.
Amazon, founded and controlled by Jeff Bezos, used the humble book to leverage itself into becoming the world’s largest online retailer. It took 20 years for Amazon to emerge as a monopolistic power. Last week, by creating an effective blacklist of authors for use as a bargaining tool against Hachette Book Group, the company showed us how far it would go in its abuse of that power."
"Amazon's real attitude to the book industry was revealed in its public statement last Tuesday. This referred to books as 'demand-weighted units.' They are not. A customer looking for Tolstoy's War and Peace won't buy Talshoy's Peace and War because it is cheaper. Despite what Amazon would like us to believe, Tolstoy's book has value, the other simply a price."
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 3, 2014 - 12:31pm
For years, the Iowa City Public Library has provided computers in its Children's Room where youngsters can put on headphones and play video games.
Now, they can stand around an interactive touch table that looks like a giant iPad and play games together.
The Ideum PLATFORM 55 is the final piece of the Children's Room technology upgrade, said Susan Craig, director of the Iowa City Public Library. The 55-inch table, which cost about $15,000, made its debut Monday.
Full story with video
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 3, 2014 - 12:26pm
A plan to offer $100 million in tax dollars to lure Barack Obama's presidential library to Illinois is on the shelf, as lawmakers wrapped up their spring session without advancing the idea.
Democrats in the president's home state pushed the proposal to compete against rival bids from Hawaii and New York. But it faced opposition from Republicans wary of an expensive and precedent-setting gift — with no immediately identified funding source — for a mostly private endeavor when the state faces serious financial difficulties.
Not all Democrats were on board either. Both the Democratic-controlled House and Senate adjourned without calling for any final votes on the measure.
Submitted by Bibliofuture on June 3, 2014 - 11:55am
The Hachette/Amazon story is well played but the following Teleread piece discusses and links to several articles and brings together some interesting ideas.
* Independent booksellers appear to be opening more stores than closing them
* From an independent publisher’s point of view, Amazon is a forest in which a thousand flowers bloom
Full article here.