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As the Elsevier boycott continues to gain attention, a good example of what the company stands for: the Ex Libris bX service is a neat little recommendation tool that displays suggested citations, working from a known item and based on search traffic. It provides researchers with suggestions based on their area of interest, and the items displayed are usually additional relevant articles (similar to Amazon's "people who bought this also bought..." feature). The Elsevier ScienceDirect site embeds this service in their own custom application, but librarians noticed the results it was displaying were only for Elsevier titles. Here is the Ex Libris explanation:
bX itself is entirely publisher and platform neutral and sends and displays all relevant articles regardless of journal, publisher or platform. But those who build their own applications – like Elsevier did - can manipulate the data by filtering before displaying it. For the app on Science Direct Elsevier indeed filters the bX articles by those available from Science Direct.
Is it any wonder this company gets a bad rap?
Nancy Pearl and Amazon.com have struck a deal to republish some lesser recognized titles that are favorites of the Book Lust author and librarian hero.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. As reported in The Seattle Times:
...Overnight, this 67-year-old Seattle grandmother has become a greedy betrayer of the small, sometimes-struggling, bookshops that so supported her. "Yes," says J.B. Dickey, owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop about such an assessment. "By aligning herself with Amazon, she's turning her back on independents. Amazon is absolutely antithetical to independent bookselling, and, to many of us, truth, justice and the American way."
If things sound like they've gotten a little heated over Pearl's latest project, they have.
On Wednesday, Amazon.com announced it was issuing "Nancy Pearl's Book Lust Rediscoveries series, a line of Pearl's favorite, presently out-of-print books to share with readers hungry for her expert recommendations."
About six books a year would be published in versions that include print books and eBooks, says the Seattle-headquartered merchandising Goliath that in 2010 had sales of $34 billion, or about $1,077 per second.
Imagine a research database, that upon searching for "wind energy," gives top results about the benefits of turbine technology to one student, while another student (with a different search history, or in a different state) is instead shown articles that focus on the noise and vertigo that wind turbines produce. Sound fishy? Google has unveiled a more personal search that does exactly this sort of thing, called "Search, plus Your World. Is this more about advertising revenue than providing access to information? For a nice review of the issue, see a competitor's Escape your search engine Filter Bubble! When, if ever, would you want filtered results?
Last Saturday we made first ever Christmas tree from books built in Poland. It is standing in the University Library of UWM in Olsztyn. It's 2,5 meter tall, and made from more than 1600 books. Mainly Orwell's 1984, and Picture this by Joseph Heller.
When we started thinking about doing it some time ago, I couldn't find any tutorial or "how to...". After successfully building this amazing tree, we share our knowledge and experience in this short tutorial text full of videos and photos.
link to ...the making of: http://pulowerek.pl/2011/12/06/o-tym-jak-zrobilismy-pierwsza-polska-choi...
photos also on our flickr channel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pulowerek/6464467027/
The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is dismayed by the reported seizure of The People’s Library, which had been operated by the New York Occupy Wall Street movement, and echos the support of the American Library Association for the volunteers who are working to re-establish the library.
CLA President Karen Adams stated: “The Occupy Movement libraries are meeting the information needs of specific communities, and are documenting the history of those communities. Libraries are critical to an open and democratic society. We support those who are working to rebuild the People’s Library in New York, as well as those who are operating the Occupy Movement libraries across Canada.”
In a rare bit of good news, Milwaukee appears poised to restore some funding to the public library system,
"Milwaukee Public Libraries would be open longer hours and expand their educational programs for children, under the 2012 city budget that Mayor Tom Barrett will unveil Tuesday.
Barrett said he's seeking to roll back the library service cuts of previous years, in recognition of the libraries' importance in helping residents improve their lives.
As recent statistics show increasing poverty in Milwaukee, Barrett said, "I remain convinced that education, and access to education, and access to books, is one of the best things we can do to combat that. We're trying to foster a positive learning environment.""
From Infodocket, news of the passing of Michael Hart, creator of Project Gutenberg.
Here are two passages from an obituary written by Greg Newby:
Michael S. Hart left a major mark on the world. The invention of eBooks was not simply a technological innovation or precursor to the modern information environment. A more correct understanding is that eBooks are an efficient and effective way of unlimited free distribution of literature. Access to eBooks can thus provide opportunity for increased literacy. Literacy, the ideas contained in literature, creates opportunity.
In July 2011, Michael wrote these words, which summarize his goals and his lasting legacy: “One thing about eBooks that most people haven’t thought much is that eBooks are the very first thing that we’re all able to have as much as we want other than air. Think about that for a moment and you realize we are in the right job.”
What led to the decline of news?
Look, this post has a point. By now it should be obvious: One invention did not lead to the decline of newspapers, and one firm did not do it either. The loss of readers and the loss of ads came from the accumulation of a number of events. Who is responsible? Let’s count. We have blamed Craigslist, other online classified sites, Overture, NSF funding, Silicon Valley’s ecosystem, the efforts of many clever computer scientists, and the efforts of many bloggers. And that is just the short version of the story. The problems with newspapers did not arise at the hand of a single invention or a single firm. It was a gang.