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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.
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.
Care to guess who America's best-loved novelist is?
Yes, it's Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, who is profiled in this week's New Yorker.
Also for your audio buffs, a podcast with Lauren Collins which describes the history of the romance novel, why the genre gets no respect, and how Roberts has domesticated romance.
Follow up on a story we posted last week about the Rapid City Regional Hospital removing its librarian and closing its library (I like to think that maybe LISNews contributed to what LJ is calling the 'backlash'...)
Library Journal reports: Rapid City Regional Hospital (RCRD), SD, has ended public access to its medical library and fired its longtime medical librarian, provoking a negative reaction to the decision.
In response to a story in the Rapid City Journal June 9, some 70 people wrote about their displeasure with the hospital, bringing up salient points about the nature of libraries and librarians.
Unfortunately, closing libraries is an increasingly common occurrence in the private sector. But in this case, the public has been affected, and they’re making sure their displeasure is heard.
"A library is about INFORMATION, not about books," wrote one poster. "Librarians are skilled in helping people connect with the INFORMATION they need, AND they help to make the information accessible too," she continued.
Many posters made well-informed arguments for the profession. A past hospital employee wrote, "[Other hospitals] understand that the librarian is the key to making these electronic resources work, finding the best resources to buy, at the best prices, continuously teaching users and making the databases work well for the employees, doctors, and patients." -- Read More
I've just published Cites & Insights 9:8 (July 2009).
The 30-page issue, PDF as usual but with HTML versions of most essays, includes:
Bibs & Blather
Notes on sponsorship for C&I, the status of four possible future projects--and the move of Walt at Random to ScienceBlogs.
Continuing the discussion of blogging philosophy and practice that began in Cites & Insights 9:5 with a focus on reasons for blogging.
Seven individual items and technologies, plus eight editors' choices and group reviews. From high-def Bluetooth to whether you can call a $1,500 computer a netbook...
Musings on whether Charles Dodgson had the proper theory of language (as stated by his character, noted wordsmith H. Dumpty), plus unaltered copies of the two blog posts (and most of the comments) at issue.
Is everything on twitter 100% accurate? Far from it. And can a journalist chronicle a court case 140 characters at a time?
Lawyers Weekly (Canada) asks us to judge for ourselves. Follow trials in Ottawa and London, ON where judges in both cases are letting journalists stream events from the courtroom to the Internet via Twitter. Here are two cases to follow: In Ottawa, the bribery trial of Mayor Larry O’Brien and in London ON, the Bandidos trial.
Many lawyers aren’t yet sure what to think. “This is evolving rapidly,” says Toronto-based Daryl Cruz, partner and leader of th litigation practice group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. “Six months ago, we probably wouldn’t have had this conversation because it wouldn’t have crossed anybody’s mind.”
Says law librarian Connie Crosby: "It (twitter) doesn’t give a lot of room for clarifying context and giving facts" principal of Toronto-based Crosby Group Consulting. She adds that tweets can be taken out of context, as happened when somebody mistakenly attributed an inflammatory tweet about Tamil protesters to Toronto Mayor David Miller when, in fact, the comment was merely addressed to Miller. She tells us that news organizations like The Wall Street Journal are now sending their reporters guides that cover Twitter as a medium for reporting. -- Read More
Cites & Insights 9:7 (June 2009) is now available.
The 48-page issue is only available in PDF form (it includes 16 graphs and more than 60 tables, and it just wasn't worthwhile to generate the HTML version, which would probably run 65-80 pages).
It's another special issue:
The Liblog Landscape 2007-2008: A Lateral Look
Chapters 1 through 11 of the book of the same name, complete (except for chapter numbers and one secondary column in a few tables). It's the equivalent of 121 book pages.
- Larger, easier-to-read graphs (30% wider, 30% taller).
- One extra data column in some tables (a data column that just could not be squeezed into the narrower column width of C&I, even by reducing type size)
- Larger type for all tables
- And, to be sure, Chapter 12, Liblog Profiles--147 pages containing 607 individual liblog profiles. The book also has an index of blog titles and authors.
If Andersonomics really works, a bunch of you will rush out to order the book after you've been enticed with this free version...
In most cases, unless a medical professional or researcher works for an organization that can afford subscriptions to medical journals, much research remains beyond their reach. There are thousands of different journals, and access to just the most well-regarded can run thousands of dollars a year.
Now, with Washington rushing to transform health care, a debate often limited to hospital wards, medical schools and Internet forums is pushing to the fore. It's a debate deeply rooted in beliefs about access to information -- medical research. Increasingly, a generational gap is emerging.
[Story @ AB News]
Ouch. In the May 2009 issue of Body + Soul magazine--"A Martha Stewart Publication"--"renting a book" via BookSwim is #1 on a list of "6 Simple Ways to Better Your Life and the Planet."
The magazine copy reads, "Looking for a good read? Try renting books Netflix-style with bookswim.com. It's easier than going to the library and greener than buying from the store. Log on and have your picks delivered to your door in recycled packaging."