Journals & Magazines

She Wanted To be a Librarian, But She'll Have to Settle for Being a Star

Jennifer Garner tells Oprah Magazine, that when she was a young’n growing up in West Virginia she always wanted to be a librarian.

“I had a very rich imaginary world,” said Garner, who is 37. “And my dream was to grow up to be a librarian, because I had a librarian named Mrs. McCann who I thought was the most magical woman on the planet. She used to publish little versions of my stories, typing them on manila folders and illustrating them with pictures of me and my teddy bear.”

Why The Associated Press Plans to Hold Some Web Content off the Wire

In a break with tradition, The Associated Press plans to prevent members and customers from publishing some AP content on their websites. Instead, those news organizations would link to the content on a central AP website — a move that could upend the consortium’s traditional notions of syndication.

That’s one revelation from a document we obtained (labeled “AP CONFIDENTIAL — NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION”) that offers new insight into how the AP is planning to reinvent itself on the Internet according to Neiman Lab, Harvard University.

The seven-page briefing, entitled “Protect, Point, Pay — An Associated Press Plan for Reclaiming News Content Online,” was distributed to AP members late last month. It provides greater detail about the tracking device that will be attached to AP content and describes their plans to create topic pages around news stories to rival Wikipedia and major aggregation sites. And in an hour-long interview last night, the AP’s general counsel, Srinandan Kasi, also shed light on how the consortium views reuse of its material across the Internet.

Cites & Insights 9:10 (September 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:10 (September 2009) is now available.
This 28-page issue includes the results of two followup "research" projects and a certain amount of summer silliness. The issue is PDF. While three of the four essays are available in HTML form (as links from the essay titles below), I really don't recommend viewing either of the research projects that way--they're heavy on tables, and it's fair to say that Word's HTML converter was overzealous in its preparation of tables: They may or may not look very good, and they result in quarter-megabyte downloads. The PDF version is much easier to read...

Here's what's in the issue--and yes, some of the "regular" features may return soon:
Perspective: Public Library Blogs: A Limited Update

I looked at May 2009 posts and comments, and the most recent post prior to May 31, 2009, for all of the public library blogs in the book Public Library Blogs: 252 Examples (based on blog activity March-May 2007). This update considers currency, frequency, comments and conversational intensity and how those have changed from 2007 to 2009--and includes brief notes on pioneer blogs and some of the blogs I found particularly intriguing. (The HTML is large and may not look all that great.) With this update, my work on these blogs is complete--and the spreadsheet's yours for the taking, if you're so inclined. -- Read More

Remember Shorthand?

NY Times: Shorthand wasn’t always just for secretaries and court reporters, Leah Price writes in her essay on the history of shorthand in the London Review of Books.

Before the 1870s, it was used more for writing down one’s own thoughts or discretely noting the conversation of others. Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens used it, as did legions of “spirit-rappers, teetotalers, vegetarians, pacifists, anti-vivisectionists, anti-tobacconists,” and other members of a “counter-culture of early adapters” who generated something of a shorthand craze in mid-19th-century Britain. Isaac Pitman, creator of the wildly successful “Stenographic Soundhand” method still used today, made arguments that don’t sound so different from the tweeting techno-evangelists of our age. When people correspond by shorthand, he declared “friendships grow six times as fast as under the withering blighting influence of the moon of longhand.”

I remember my mother with her spiral top notebook and two columns of lines writing down what seemed to me to be completely indistinguishable marks. Anyone out there know shorthand? Is it of any value today?

Library Journal, School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly For Sale

Reed Business Information is putting Publishers Weekly and its affiliated publications, Library Journal and School Library Journal, up for sale. The sale of the group is part of RBI’s strategy to divest most of its trade magazines in the U.S. Last year, Reed Elsevier, parent company of RBI, tried to sell all of RBI but dropped the sale when it couldn’t get the price it wanted in a depressed market for media properties.

In a related announcement, Tad Smith, CEO of RBI US, has resigned. John Poulin has been named acting CEO and he will head the sales process.

Who wants to buy some professional journals...Blake?

Science moves from the stacks to the Web; print too pricey

If information isn't online, it may as well not exist. In the latest sign that the world of traditional print has become a world of hurt, the American Chemical Society is reported to be planning to switch to an online-only publishing model for its journals.

Afghanistan and Multiculturalism in Khaled Hosseini’s Novels

An article published by Emerald Group Publishing in Multicultural Education & Technology Journal focuses on the novels of best selling author Khaled Hosseni. The paper analyses how his novels ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ have affected the American secondary school curriculum with themes of multiculturalism stemming from Afghanistan and the world that surrounds it. Today this world is more mediated than ever by various computer technologies.

Entitled ‘Afghanistan and Multiculturalism in Khaled Hosseini’s Novels: Study of Place and Diversity’, this conceptual paper was written by Mary F. Agnello, Reese H. Todd, Bolanle Olaniran and Thomas A. Lucey. This study considers Hosseni’s novels which depict his homeland Afghanistan. Through his novels, Afghanistan has now become more accessible to the outside world, particularly in international and US classrooms.

As these novels have been banned in schools in both Afghanistan and the US, this study discuses how certain cultures censor literature they believe conflicts with their values or way of life. Globalisation has helped to transform how an individual perceives their national identity and culture, this has been strongly affected by the fluidity of existing cultural boarders, and therefore the need to manage these differences is increasingly important with the creation of a new educational agenda. -- Read More

Cites & Insights 9:9 (August 2009) available

Cites & Insights 9:9 (August 2009) is now available--just in time for the 2009 ALA Annual Conference. That's not a coincidence, to be sure; although the issue may not be directly relevant to the conference, if I didn't publish it now, it wouldn't be out until at least July 19.

This one's 32 pages, PDF as usual, but those who detest PDF or otherwise really need HTML can download the three articles separately.

The issue includes:
Perspective: Writing about Reading 3

The theme for this installment: Rethinking books and rethinking reading. Which means most of the long essay is about ebooks and ebook devices. (How long? A little more than half the issue, that's how long.)

Offtopic Perspective: 50 Movie Comedy Classics, Part 1

What's funny is generally in the eye of the beholder, although I suppose there may be objective criteria for labeling a flick a comedy. Watching the many early shorts and early movies in this first half of a 12-DVD collection was sometimes hilarious, frequently a little painful. (If I never see another East Side Kids "comedy" that will be just fine with me.) There's some gold here--and some dross as well.

Making it Work: Library 2.0 Revisited -- Read More

Keeping a Story Out of the News For the Safety of Kidnap Victims

For seven months, The New York Times managed to keep out of the news the fact that one of its reporters, David Rohde, had been kidnapped by the Taliban. Thankfully, he escaped by climbing over a wall on June 19.

Days after Mr. Rohde was kidnapped in November, editing tussles began on his Wikipedia entry.

NY Times executives believed that publicity would raise Mr. Rohde’s value to his captors as a bargaining chip and reduce his chance of survival. Persuading another publication or a broadcaster not to report the kidnapping usually meant just a phone call from one editor to another, said Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times. But that was pretty straightforward compared with keeping it off Wikipedia.

Wikipedia, which operates under the philosophy that anyone can be an editor, and that all information should be public, is a vastly different world. More on how the story was treated by Wikipedia from the New York Times.

Texas Tech Librarian Proves Existence of Spider-Man

Yes, Mary Jane (what happened to Virginia?), there is a Spider-Man.

According to Newswise, that’s what pop-culture guru and associate humanities librarian for Texas Tech University Libraries Rob Weiner set out to prove in an article published in the International Journal of Comic Art.

In much the same way that editor Francis Pharcellus Church proved the existence of Santa Claus in his famous 1897 New York Sun editorial, Weiner contends that Spider-Man and his costumed peers have entered mankind’s collective consciousness, filling a shared need for heroes.

“When I started reading graphic novels, I was struck by the fact that stories about Spider-Man or Batman and Superman could have as many plot twists and turns as any story by Shakespeare, Stephen King or Leo Tolstoy,” he said. “I was struck by how good some of the writing was for these so-called “kiddie” books, and that somehow these archetypical characters like Spider-Man were replacing Odysseus and Zeus as part of modern mythology.”

A copy of Weiner’s article is available as a pdf upon request, or a copy of the journal can be purchased at the International Journal of Comic Art.

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