May 2011

The dpla as a generative platform

The dpla as a generative platform
My take-away from the Amsterdam meeting was that the DPLA needs to think about how it wants to align itself with the Web, and work with its grain … not against it. This is easier said than done. The DPLA needs to think about incentives that would give existing digital library projects practical reasons to want to be involved. This also is easier said than done. And hopefully these incentives won’t just involve getting grant money. Keeping an open mind, taking a REST here and there, and continuing to have these very useful conversations (and contests) should help shape the DPLA as a generative platform.

Open data’s role in transforming our bibliographic framework

Open data’s role in transforming our bibliographic framework
If you also see potential in open library data, now is an excellent time to join in the discussions that the Library of Congress and OCLC are inviting. The more these and other leading organizations in the library community see how open data can advance the goals of the community, and how open data initiatives can get the support needed to be sustainable, the richer the knowledge base that our evolving bibliographic framework will support.

Robots, Not Humans, Retrieve Your Books at $81 Million Library of the Future

Robots, Not Humans, Retrieve Your Books at $81 Million “Library of the Future”
The answer to your question–the books are tightly packed in bins stacked five stories high beneath your feet–is the reason University of Chicago’s new Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is being referred to as the library of the future. An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) involving huge, computer-activated robotic cranes find the book you want, deliver it to the circulation desk, and eventually return it back underground.

E-Business Is the Buzz at Book Fair

This year’s BookExpo America, an annual publishing business trade show, is full of talk of e-reading and other shifts in the industry.

There is a Wild West quality to the book business these days, and it is on full display at BookExpo America, an annual trade show that draws tens of thousands of authors, publishers and booksellers; this year it is at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

Authors are shrugging off publishers to self-publish their work. Publishers are advancing into retail. Barnes & Noble is getting deeper into the gadget business, and Amazon is stepping into publishing.

The search for a minimum viable record

The search for a minimum viable record
The Open Library has run into these complexities and challenges as it seeks to create “one web page for every book ever published.”

George Oates, Open Library lead, recently gave a presentation in which she surveyed audience members, asking them to list the five fields they thought necessary to adequately describe a book. In other words, what constitutes a “minimum viable record”? Akin to the idea of the “minimum viable product” for getting a web project coded and deployed quickly, the minimum viable record (MVR) could be a way to facilitate an easier exchange of information between library catalogs and information systems.

In the interview below, Oates explains the issues and opportunities attached to categorization and MVRs.

How the Modern Web Environment is Reinventing the Theory of Cataloguing

Panizzi, Lubetzky, and Google: How the Modern Web Environment is Reinventing the Theory of Cataloguing: This paper uses cataloguing theory to interpret the partial results of an exploratory study of university students using Web search engines and Web-based OPACs. The participants expressed frustration with the OPAC; while they sensed that it was “organized,” they were unable to exploit that organization and attributed their failure to the inadequacy of their own skills. In the Google searches, on the other hand, students were getting the support traditionally advocated in catalogue design. Google gave them starting points: resources that broadly addressed their requirements, enabling them to get a greater sense of the knowledge structure that would help them to increase their precision in subsequent searches. While current OPACs apparently fail to provide these starting points, the effectiveness of Google is consistent with the aims of cataloguing as expressed in the theories of Anthony Panizzi and Seymour Lubetzky

Barnes & Noble Unveils the Nook Simple Touch Reader

Hot on the heels of Kobo’s launch of a $130 e-ink touchscreen device, Barnes & Noble unveiled the Nook Simple Touch Reader, a $139 black & white e-ink touchscreen device with an upgraded 6” screen, faster page-turns and a battery B&N says will hold a charge for two months. The device will go on sale June 10.

B& president William Lynch and B&N president of digital products Jamie Iannone were on hand to show off the new device at a packed press conference at B&N’s flagship store at Union Square in Manhattan. Lynch said the “all-new” Nook Simple Touch Reader is a device that combines the technology of the two most popular devices in the digital reading marketplace—tablets and dedicated e-ink e-readers. One thing to come out of yesterday’s IDPF forum was that dedicated e-ink devices, b&w devices designed solely for reading, are holding their own in the market despite rising consumer interest in tablet devices like the iPad 2. Tablet devices generally offer touchscreen navigation, full color and multimedia support, while e-ink devices consume less power, have long battery life and can be easily read outside in bright sunlight, unlike the backlit LCD screens of color tablets.

Full article at Publisher’s Weekly

A Censorship Issue

Well, after almost 15 years of having the store, it has happened. A customer asked me to remove a book from my shelves.

This has never happened before. We’ve had people move books they thought were objectionable, but never has someone looked me in the eye and said, “Are you the owner? I want you to remove this book because it makes fun of childhood sexual abuse.” I apologized that she found the book objectionable and gave her a refund.

The book in question is My First Dictionary: Corrupting Young Minds OneWord at a Time by Ross Horsley. Does this book cross the line of good taste? Sometimes, sure it does. But honestly, so do lots of humor books. Parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny, and parts of it made me cringe. I try to warn customers that sometimes it’s a little bleak. There are some letters about abandonment and parental drinking that seem particularly cruel.

Full blog post

Amazon’s news of hiring Kirshbaum is a helluva start for BEA

Amazon dropped a shoe last week when they announced their new mystery imprint, Thomas & Mercer Books, and started signing authors, including self-publishing evangelist, Joe Konrath.

Last night they dropped the other shoe, which turned out to be a very heavy boot. They signed former Time Warner Publishing (the company that is now Hachette Book Group) CEO Larry Kirshbaum to head up a new general trade imprint for them.

Full piece