International

Demographic Rambling

Four years of podcasting with LISNews.org has been interesting. The statistics make things even more interesting. Sadly, I do not have a complete set of data points. Those that I do have worry me.

Location is key. When it comes to covering the Library & Information Science world, our main focus is not geography but instead topical matters. Based upon what data I can derive from FeedBurner's limited statistics, we may cover the right topical matters but hit all the wrong areas of geographical coverage.

From the limited geographical data I have, the bulk of listeners to LISTen: An LISNews.org Program happen to be located in places like the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. US listenership actually comes in a bit lower than would be expected. This may also reflect regional preferences in how you subscribe to podcast content since the FeedBurner link is but one way to subscribe. We simply lack data for some means of subscribing to the podcast.

What can I do with having primarily a foreign audience while the content is primarily produced with a domestic US focus? Some changes in content focus may be necessary perhaps. The big problem with that is that we have virtually no budget and are tethered to the south shores of Lake Erie in a township called Ashtabula. We really do not have the assets in place to cover stories in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Expansion of assets would otherwise be necessary and we do not have a way to do so quite just yet.

The fifth year of the program is now underway. I want to make changes this year. A big one would be to secure funding for shortwave distribution. With the lessons of this year in terms of how fragile the Internet is, having a backup is important. Considering how much of the listenership is located outside North America, such would be a viable backup that would also skirt around national blacklists and firewalls.

Getting the resources to cover foreign stories is an even harder thing than simply buying blocks of airtime with money we don't have. Foreign collaborators would be necessary. Without any way to compensate them it is kinda hard to recruit such people. Indigenous correspondents would allow for better coverage anyhow compared to trying to secure a travel budget and visa clearances for international travel. We could previously handle this sort of thing through judicious use of Skype but with as unreliable as Time Warner Cable has been locally we cannot go with that option.

These speed results help illuminate what we are paying USD$39.95 to get:



The easy part is knowing what you want to do. The hard part is finding the resources to bring such to fruition. The search for resources is the big challenge for year five, it seems.

Creative Commons License
Demographic Rambling by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info. -- Read More

British Library Website Defaults to Amazon.com, and Booksellers Aren't Happy

MediaBistro reports: The venerable British Library is being criticized this week for a new suggested sales platform that it is currently testing. The online catalog for the British Library now includes an extra link on most book listings. In addition to request reserve, and checkout a title, patrons can now also find the book on Amazon.co.uk. If Amaozn doesn’t have the title then the page lists a “More titles to consider” link instead.

Naturally this has Amazon’s competitors up in arms. Johnny de Falbe, co-owner of London’s Sandoe bookshop, had this to say: “The British Library, a public institution, should not be offering this link to Amazon, which is not (last I heard) a public institution. And if the British Library, of all people, are not supporting British bookshops, and positively steering business away from independents, then why should anyone else have any faith, or interest, in independents?”

And he’s not alone. James Daunt, managing director of Waterstone’s, was not pleased with the development, saying: “It’s disappointing to say the least that a very British institution is driving readers away from local libraries and high street bookshops."

The British Library is on the record as saying that this was not a deliberate choice; it’s the default option for the platform offered by ExLibris, the company who built the British Library’s website.

16.1 million visits to public libraries - the Movie!

There are 16.1 million visits to public libraries in Ireland each year and the Irish Library Council has produced a nice video publicizing the fact and promoting public libraries - see it on Vimeo.

A Librarian On the Other Side of the World

Interesting profile of Yeri Nurita, a librarian at the National Library of Indonesia in the Jakarta Globe.

Among other subjects, the interviewer asks her about the sort of problems the library deals with...

"First and foremost is maintenance. It’s really essential to fumigate the books frequently to protect them from insects, but fumigants are scarce and we can only do it once every two years. Second, fungi. Fungi appear due to the humidity inside the library. We can’t afford to keep the air-conditioner running 24 hours a day, but it should been on the whole day to keep the room less humid. Also, security issues — books keep going missing, either from being misplaced or by theft."

Thunder in the Libraries

Thunder in the Libraries
Why would a blind person go into a library? Maybe to borrow a book in Braille, or more likely to borrow a talking book, CD or DVD. In Lambeth (UK) the new answer is to learn to use a computer.

UP student wins intl award for building libraries in rebel hotspots

UP student wins intl award for building libraries in rebel hotspots
A 16-year-old Filipina Christian-Muslim won an international award for building libraries and distributing books in areas known to be hotspots of rebel and terrorist groups in the Philippines.

In the Riot-Torn UK: Not One More Library Must Close

Boyd Tonkin: If it wished to rebuild mutual trust, social capital and motives for hope and change in the riot-wrecked streets of a nation's cities, where might a truly idealistic society begin? Perhaps its policy-makers, with money no object, would plan a network of more than 4000 dedicated cultural and community centres, their locations scattered throughout urban areas – not just in downtown hubs and comfortable suburbs. It would protect these centres with a core role defined by statute, but give them enough flexibility to innovate, to connect and to co-operate.

Hopelessly utopian, I know. Except that Britain's network of public libraries already exists. Or rather, it hangs on by the skin of its under-resourced teeth. Roughly 10 per cent of the total, more than 400, currently stand at risk of closure. Dozens have already shut.

I know and have heard all the possible objections to a view of local libraries that puts them at the heart of community renewal. Potential rioters and looters don't care about them anyway. To enter a library in the first place identifies a young person as part of the solution, not the problem. Feral teens who trash the shops will not take an interest in the library until the day dawns when it agrees to stock top-brand ,sportswear and flat-screen TVs.

More from The Independent.

Memories of a Library Assistant in Edinburgh

MANY years ago I used to work in a library. Now that you've stopped laughing I'll continue. It wasn't just any library, it was THE library, the numero uno of book depositories, the largest in the nation . . . the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge. Let's face it, if you're going to hand out books for a living you might as well aim for the top.

And that was basically what my job consisted of - handing out books. Apart from the exciting times I got to wheel them on a trolley into the rarefied world of the Advocates Library next door. To be clear, I was in no way ever a "librarian", just a lowly deliverer of weighty tomes to the intellectually-gifted few who were allowed up the hallowed stairs to the Reading Room.

I was just out of school, and to even be considered for such an unskilled job I had to be interviewed by a panel of three people. Yes, a triumvirate of academics to quiz a 17-year-old to discover if she's got the necessary qualifications to deliver a book. Apparently, my limbs were deemed acceptable.

Then, the National Library was a daunting place. The Reading Room was run by a matriarchal character called Ms Deas, straight from the pages of a Muriel Spark novel. She had all her staff living in quiet fear - and God help any general member of the public who tried to get into the place without the necessary paperwork. If you weren't an academic or a PhD student you had no chance.

More from Gina Davidson at the Edinburgh News.

Luis Soriano and "Biblioburro", the Donkey Library

Anyone see this on PBS last evening?

"Biblioburro" follows Luis Soriano as he teaches his regular class of children on a Friday in the village of La Gloria, Magdalena Province, in northern Colombia, "in the heart of the conflict zone between leftist guerrillas and paramilitaries." He rides a burro as he travels to villages to loan books to children.

He asks the children to draw pictures of the bad things that have happened in their lives, then share their stories with the class. He asks them, "Where are we going to leave these bad things?" The answer is, "Behind us."

Soriano builds up the children by telling them they are the ones who will save the country. He is preaching the gospel of education as the way they will overcome the killing and poverty in the region, and his love and care for them shines through in the up-close-and-personal filmography directed by Carlos Rendon Zipagauta.

Zipagauta's award-winning film, in Spanish with English subtitles, has all the elements that make the viewer care: children who have faced terrible events, open-air classrooms where real learning takes place and Soriano himself, who has spent a decade living his faith in education. -- Read More

Britons Sue Government for Closing Libraries

Is closing a library comparable to child abuse? At least one Brit thinks so.

Campaigners are seeking a ruling that decisions to close six libraries in the London (UK) borough of Brent are legally flawed.

The Brent case is expected to be followed in the near future by similar challenges to library cuts proposed by Gloucestershire and Somerset county councils, and on the Isle of Wight.

Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, the Pet Shop Boys and Goldfrapp are among those who have contributed to campaign legal costs.

Playwright Alan Bennett launched a scathing attack when he spoke at a church benefit to raise legal funds to save Kensal Rise library, one of the six under threat in Brent. He compared the loss to ''child abuse''.

Brent campaign lawyers yesterday applied for judicial review, arguing council officers unlawfully failed to assess local needs and the likely impact of closing half the borough's libraries.

From the Telegraph UK.

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