International

Some Books Saved by Egyptian Protestors at the Institut d'Egypte

Further to our earlier story on Cairo's library fire, here's some positive news:

From Al Masry Alyoum (Egypt Independent) :

In the wake of the fire that destroyed much of the manuscript collection at the Institut d'Egypte on Saturday, scores of pro-democracy protesters have told of their efforts to salvage books and other rare documents from the smoking ruins.

The institute, which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte on Qasr al-Ainy Street, was set ablaze during fighting between security forces and pro-democracy protesters on Saturday morning. Many rare documents dating back to Napoleon's campaign in 1789, including an original copy of the Description de l'Egypt, were damaged by fire or else by water used to put out the flames.

Protesters began salvage operations later on Saturday, as fighting continued around them, removing books and manuscripts from the building and arranging them on the pavement outside. They made contact with officials at the Ministry of Culture, who arranged to collect the works and remove to the safety of the Dar al-Kutub building on the Corniche.

Death and Destruction at Cairo Library During Political Clashes

Cairo (CNN) -- The new round of bloody clashes between pro-democracy protesters and Egypt's security forces left 10 people dead Saturday, including six by live ammunition, even though the new prime minister denied that live fire was being used by his forces.

Meanwhile, 213-year-old Egyptian maps and historical manuscripts -- described as "irreplaceable" -- were destroyed after a library in Cairo was among structures set ablaze during the clashes, officials said.

Egypt's Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, appointed by the military earlier this month, condemned the library attack, which he called an "arson committed by the protesters who portrayed no patriotism in protecting the symbols of the historical civilization of this nation." The 200,000-book library is called the Scientific Center.

Destroyed in the fire were the original manuscript of the "description of Egypt" and "irreplaceable maps and historical manuscripts preserved by many generations since the building of the Scientific Center in August 1798 during the French Campaign," Ganzouri said in a statement

Reports from CNN and DP News.

CILIP/National Literacy Trust Press Release on School Libraries

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the British counterpart to the American Library Association, issued jointly with the UK's National Literacy Trust a press release condemning the announced 2012 closure of Hertfordshire Schools Library Services.

Killing It With Legislation, Not Force

Rik Myslewski reports in The Register that Wikipedia is looking at a possible upcoming blackout. Declan McCullagh at CNET notes that this is part of a possible protest response to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act being debated by the United States Congress that has potential extraterritorial effects. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt characterizes SOPA as criminalizing the fundamental structure of the Web and all its interlinked nature.

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.

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.

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.

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