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A recent article at the tech news blog, Gigaom, provides food for thought for libraries. In the piece, the author describes the value of simplicity and delivering what users want in terms of content, using the example of a news service called Evening Edition. One of the quotes from this post that stands out is "Of course, sifting through vast quantities of information in order to show people the important stuff is what newspapers are supposed to do..." Substitute the word 'newspapers' for 'librarians' and we are talking the same language.
With the publication of the Freeh report relative to the child abuse scandal at The Pennsylvania State University, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Morrisey is calling for the outright physical destruction of many campus monuments to coach Joe Paterno. Not mentioned in the piece by Morrisey is Paterno Library on-campus which otherwise bears the coach's name.
More interesting than the beta launch of a news aggregator called Wavii, is the recap of of such things in Science Fiction novels and stories of the past at Technovelgy.com
"This same idea was first explored in science fiction decades ago. In his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise. Arthur C. Clarke described the personal interest profile that could be used to gather all relevant items of information from news feeds."
To the Editor:
Like innumerable writers and researchers over the years, I have experienced the joy (many times) of entering the New York Public Library with a near-hopeless citation in hand only to find the very material I was looking for in just minutes. It is a euphoric moment to which many writers can attest, and it has enriched the quality and content of books beyond counting.
That which gets put off to tomorrow rarely gets done, yet the library administration, under its new plan, would move a huge chunk of its research collection off site, ostensibly available some other day, when a researcher makes a request. The splendor of the library is not only the vastness of its collection but also the immediacy of it.
If there remain any wonders of the world, the New York Public Library is one of them. Please don’t change it.
New York, April 16, 2012
The writer is vice president and editor in chief at Tarcher/Penguin.
To the Editor:
There’s a comfort level in keeping the status quo, yet the 21st century offers us so many new ways of doing research. Without looking at possibilities for the future, we deny ourselves those opportunities. -- Read More
They include work related to his most famous formula — E=mc² — and personal papers, such as letters to and from his former mistresses.
The NPR piece suggest that this gallery is a good place to start browsing.
They have collaborated on a text dating to Biblical times and revisited each year by millions of Jews worldwide. "New American Haggadah," just published by Little, Brown and Company, is a new edition of the Passover narrative that has been edited by Foer and translated by Englander.
They are a contrast — the earnest Foer and the expansive Englander — but they share skepticism about organized religion and anxiousness about what it means to be a Jew. Both have included Jewish themes in their fiction, whether the grandson of a Holocaust survivor seeking answers about the past in Foer's "Everything Is Illuminated" or the tug of war between religious and secular culture in Englander's "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges."
Foer, inspired by Seders (the traditional Passover gatherings) he has attended, says he thought of the project about six years ago. -- Read More
[Edit 2/23 9:15am] It's now on the site: http://insideedition.com/news/7713/inside-edition-investigates-whos-lurking-in-your-library....
To be broadcast Wednesday, Feb. 22
New York, NY – Feb 22nd – It’s the last place you think you’d be a victim – the public library. But an INSIDE EDITION investigation found that crimes are being committed across the country in these supposedly safe havens, from petty thefts to violent, sexual assaults. Also disturbing is that library computers are being used by some patrons to watch graphic, adult videos, which is perfectly legal and often even permitted in libraries.
Lt. Curt Stoldt of the East Harford, CT Police Department tells INSIDE EDITION that criminals count on library patrons to have a false sense of security.
STOLDT: “The bad guys know that they are not going to get much resistance for their crimes. People that go to libraries think that it’s a safe place, a place of learning, reading, not a place where criminals go to commit crimes. You should always keep your guard up.”
INSIDE EDITION’s I-Squad reviewed incident reports from libraries in 10 large cities from the last 2 years and the findings may surprise people. For example,
In Austin, Texas there were 612 incidents of harassment /sexual harassment.
In Milwaukee, Wis. there were 351 incidents of theft.
In San Francisco, Calif. there were 62 cases of assault.
INSIDE EDITION is produced daily by Inside Edition Inc. and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.
Check local listings for stations and times.
Troops at a US base in Afghanistan mistakenly burned Korans and other religious texts, in an effort to eliminate materials containing "extremist communications." This has sparked riots reminiscent of those caused by pastor Terry Jones burning a Koran in his church last year. Read the latest at The New York Times; CNN; MSNBC.