June 2008

Piracy-lovin’ librarians: How typical? Not very, as I see it—but read e-novelist Cornelia Amiri’s complaint

Found at Teleread:

“We all love e-books because you can take that one download and send it to all your friends—so you have twenty of them instead of just one, and the publisher can’t track you down or do anything about it.”

Did a librarian from Baytown, Texas, in fact say the above at a “Sci-Fi Fantasy Convention in Houston”? If so, what’s the full context, and might she want to apologize?

The quote comes to us by way of Cornelia Amiri, a fifty-one-year-old novelist with 5,580 friends on MySpace. I don’t know Cornelia, aka the Celtic Romance Queen. But I doubt she’d go out of her way to alienate librarians or fans. If anything, she strikes me as more tolerant of pass-alongs than would be most writers and publishers.

Full article here.

10 Books That Were Better Off on Paper

It’s happened to all of us. We read a novel that blows us away, and a few years later its title appears on posters underneath the face of Harrison Ford or Natalie Portman. But at some inevitable point in that darkened theater, the movie takes a turn we didn’t expect. Our eyebrows go up, our lips turn down, and the disappointment begins. Maybe the wrong director or writer can curse an otherwise excellent project — or maybe some things were just never meant to be filmed. Here are 10 books that io9.com thinks should never have been committed to celluloid.

LexisNexis Moves Into the Public Library Market

Paula J. Hane at Info Today Newsbreaks Notes In what has to be viewed as a surprisingly low-key launch for a product in a brand new market, LexisNexis (www.lexisnexis.com ) rather quietly announced its new Library Express service. This is the company’s first product for public libraries. No advance notice on the news was given to the library press or industry analysts, and there’s been almost no mention of it in the blogosphere. It will be officially available as of today, June 30, and is being shown at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference this week in Anaheim, Calif. It is very similar in features and functions to the company’s Academic library product though it offers slightly less content.

Is it the end of Libraries as we know them?

Sarah Scrafford has written a short essay for LISNews :

Is it the end of Libraries as we know them?

We’re undergoing a revolution in the way information is accessed and disseminated. Traditional models
of learning and acquiring knowledge have given way to new-fangled innovations that are collectively referenced under the umbrella term Web 2.0. Today, encyclopedias have bowed down to Wikipedia, the local grapevine has shriveled with the advent of the blog, books have closed their pages in deference to the germination of OpenCourseWare and newspapers are being forced to maintain an online presence or be forgotten altogether.

In this rapidly changing scenario, one has to ponder the questions –  

  • Is this the end of
    libraries as we know them?
  • How sustainable and
    relevant are they in the midst of this information explosion we are
    experiencing through the world wide web?
  • What do libraries have
    to do in order to keep up and prevent being left out?
  • Does the advent of
    e-books and free information on the Internet spell doom for the paper
    and print books we knew so intimately till now?


The answer to all these posers can be summed up in one phrase – you can’t beat technology, you just have to join it. Libraries must thus be willing to embrace change
as a friend rather than reject it as an enemy without even trying to establish a rapport with it. With computers and digital technology taking over, it’s high time librarians took charge of the digitization of
their archives. This change is not just necessary for survival, it’s also a boon for the preservation of information for posterity – unlike books which erode in quality over time, their digital counterparts are made of zeroes and ones which can be generated as many times as needed
at almost no cost at all.

Digitization allows libraries to stay in tune with the changing times and adapt to changing needs by allowing access through the Internet or via electronic media. Classification
and inventory becomes easier with the introduction of newer technologies like RFID tagging. And at the end of the day, the fact remains that no matter how much of an edge the Internet has over a brick-and-mortar
library, when it comes to authenticity and originality, there’s no beating a library.

It’s ironic when you consider that today, paper is becoming a scare and expensive commodity with the obliteration of trees worldwide, while electronic goods are becoming
cheaper by the day, and also polluting the environment because of the difficulty in disposing of e-waste in a way that’s not detrimental to the earth. Is it reason enough to switch back to the time and tested
tradition of books that we can feel and touch as opposed to bits and bytes floating around in a virtual world? Unfortunately, we can only speculate!


Sarah Scrafford is an industry
critic, as well as a regular contributor on the subject of
top rated online universities. She invites your questions, comments
and freelancing job inquiries at her email address:
[email protected].

How Google Used Librarians…and Got Away With It

Blog post at Library Stuff:

I know when I’m being used. It’s a learned trait after being used many times by friends, family, and colleagues.

Exactly one year ago today, the Google Librarian Central blog was updated. There hasn’t been another blog post since. That’s 365 days of no public communication with the librarian community. I’ve also asked around and found out that Google did not have an exhibit at ALA this year. The last Google Librarian Newsletter was in May of 2007.

So, why all the fanfare in 2006 through 2007 about loving librarians?

Full blog entry here.

I discovered story at Teleread which had this post.

The Lego Library

Gizmodo has some photos of an a-traditional corporate library, the Lego Secret Vault. Here they store examples of all old Lego sets in a climate controlled compact shelving. While this video is meant for Lego fans, it’s interesting to see the storage system. Now I’m wondering if it’s cataloged…

Discovery skills versus evaluation skills

Kathryn Greenhill Wonders Should academic libraries be obsessing so much about teaching the discovery of resources? Should we turn more attention to teaching the evaluation of resources ? Is it encroaching on what academics should be doing as part of their course? Should schools have already taught them this by the time they set foot in our libraries? It’s definitely beyond our traditional brief, but given that we no longer have a monopoly on the best discovery tools, is it time we sold the library as a place that has value because there are smart people who can give you personalised help to evaluate your information needs and the resources you find?