The theory behind the Free Library

The theory behind the Free Library is that, certainly in the long run, it benefits an author to have a certain number of free or cheap titles of theirs readily available to the public. By far the main enemy any author faces, except a handful of ones who are famous to the public at large, is simply obscurity. Even well-known SF authors are only read by a small percentage of the potential SF audience. Most readers, even ones who have heard of the author, simply pass them up.
Baen Free Library is an area that Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format.
The theory is a very interesting read.


Data Gaps

The Data Gaps Project is a collaborative effort to address unasked and unanswered questions related to transportation. The project, which is being administered by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), is now in the initial information-gathering phase of identifying critical data gaps and important questions. To view the current list of data gaps, search the database.
What are Data Gaps? planners, policy makers, managers, researchers and other transportation data users don\'t always have the information they need to make the best informed decisions---there are gaps in the data.

While the subject matter of this project isn\'t library related, I think the theory behind this project could easily be applied to Library Science.


Creating a framework of guidance for building good digital collections

From the new issue of First Monday, with thanks to Library Juice:

As technologies to digitize primary source content mature and become better understood, more widely accessible, and more efficient, the volume of available digital content increases and issues of integration and aggregation become more important. Today\'s digitization project managers must give high priority to factors such as reusability, persistence, interoperability, verification, and documentation when planning their projects. Digitization project funding agencies, like the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), must give substantial weight to these same factors when assessing programs and evaluating project proposals. A Digital Library Forum convened by the IMLS and working in collaboration with participants from the NSF\'s National Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education Digital Library program has released a Framework of Guidance for Building Good Digital Collections to serve as a resource for practitioners and funding agencies . . .



The Future of Publishing?

Wired has an interesting Bet Running between Jason Epstein and Vint Cerf, here\'s the bet:

By 2010, more than 50 percent of books sold worldwide will be printed on demand at the point of sale in the form of library-quality paperbacks.
The Stake: $1,000
Jason says yes, and vint says no.

\"Nothing is as inexpensive, easy to carry around, and indestructible as a physical book. And readers don\'t want to have texts augmented with sound and pictures and all sorts of other things; you\'re supposed to imagine all that when you read - that\'s what the writer\'s there for. Plus, habits don\'t change that quickly. If you\'re in business, you have to approach the market as it is, rather than as it might be, or should be, or will be someday.\"


How Should Reading Be Taught?

Lee Hadden writes:\"
A new article in Scientific American may be of interest to librarians.
Although this article discusses the various methods of teaching reading,
many librarians are interested in literacy education, and have to answer
reference questions about different methods of teaching, hyped by
television commercials aimed at anxious parents and grandparents.
One interesting example is that people are asked if the following
words refer to a flower. Then a series of words on flash cards are shown.
While \"rose\" is often chosen, surprisingly, also the homophone \"rows\" is
chosen as well.
Red [sic] more about it at:

Scientific American, March 2002, page 85 et seq. \"How Should Reading Be Taught?\"
AND MARK S. SEIDENBERG Also of interest are some articles on the teaching of Creationism in
schools on page 30, and a brief historical note on page 16 from their March
1952 issue, on the introduction of logic machines. \"First formulated in the
19th century by the English mathematician George Boole [of Boolean logic
fame], symbolic logic has been developed into a powerful tool for dealing
with complex problems in mathematics and business...\" and libraries, I
might add.


From Aristotle to the Semantic Web

From the Library Association Record:

Most of the content of today\'s world wide web is designed for humans to read, not computers to manipulate. Alan Gilchrist explores the principles of classification and indexing that underlie the concept of the \'semantic web\', which might one day lead to much more accurate and targeted automatic searching and retrieval than is possible at present . . .

More - apologies if this is a repost.


The Anti-Thesaurus Part 2

Nicholas Carroll writes: \"Pleasant emails from librarians inspired me to flesh out
the anti-thesaurus proposal, which you linked on Nov. 23.

Here Is The Exansion.\"

If you missed the Anti-Thesaurus Proposal For Improving Internet Search While Reducing Unnecessary Traffic Loads, there it is. In short, he says there should be a metadata standard allowing webmasters to manually decrease the relevance of their pages for specific search terms and phrases.

If you liked the first one, The Anti-Thesaurus Part 2 will be just as interesting.


Examining the negative aspects of the social dynamics of science

Close Minded Science is a collection of links that aims to \"to take a middle road between total close-mindedness and total gullibility. Practice pragmatism, pursue humility, and maintain a clear, honest, and continuing view of ourselves and the less noble of our own behaviors.\"
See also: Against Excessive Skepticism: Collected Quotes.


Most Inflammatory Issues are the Library\'s Greatest Strength

Susan Fuller has written a lecture on the changing face of librarianship, and how libraries are perceived by the public. More


Conspiracy Theories A Go-Go

I think it was Mefi that pointed me to and This Huge Collection of alternative theories on the 9-11 tragedies. They have a collection of links and questions you\'re not likely to find anywhere else.

Did the U.S. know that the attacks were going to happen?

What are the Bush family\'s business connections in the Middle East?

Who is investigating this travesty?

Who benefits from this war?

And so on...



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