February 2017

What’s wrong with presidential libraries?

There’s a huge problem with access. The federal government estimates that, at the current pace, it will take 100 years for the national archives to fully open a given presidential library’s records. No record is available under FOIA for five years. Initially they thought all the records could be arranged and processed in that time. It was a stunningly shortsighted view of how long it would take. There are records from the Truman library that are still being withheld. My favorite example: three years ago a researcher requested a single electronic record at the George W. Bush library and received a reply that said it’s in the queue and we estimate that it will be fulfilled in 12 years.

From What’s wrong with presidential libraries? | On Culture | Chicago Reader

Memory and the Printing Press

Before the printing press, memory was the main store of human knowledge. Scholars had to go to find books, often traveling around from one scriptoria to another. They couldn’t buy books. Individuals did not have libraries. The ability to remember was integral to the social accumulation of knowledge.

Thus, for centuries humans had built ways to remember out of pure necessity.

From Memory and the Printing Press

Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments

What, then, are the underlying intellectual, creative, and aesthetic issues that can cause even brilliant critics to misfire? An answer can be found in the tension between what we might call literary time and critical time. Critics, of course, have deadlines. A given review or essay must appear by such and such a date, generally just before or after the book’s publication. But as Terry Eagleton points out in Literary Theory: An Introduction, the designation “classic” or “literary masterpiece” is almost always retrospective. By showing how literary genius can be found in works as diverse as Plato’s dialogues, Bacon’s essays, Keats’s poetry, and Hemingway’s prose, Eagleton establishes that there is no intrinsic property that can safely lead a critic to confer the coveted tag of “literary value” to a work:

From Why Great Critics Make Disastrous Judgments – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Watching Wikipedia’s extinction event from a distance

So what’s the big deal about one tiny little article? Who cares if one little sea squirt on the reef gets destroyed? I care, but not enough to re-engage with Wikipedia’s deletionists. Wikipedia went from people writing an encyclopedia to people writing rules about writing an encyclopedia, or writing bots to defend an encyclopedia, but without enough safeguards to save content from deletionists.

From Watching Wikipedia’s extinction event from a distance / Boing Boing

Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill

That’s a weakness Top Hat Chief Executive Officer Mike Silagadze said he’s trying to exploit. He started by selling software tools to professors that help them engage their students, such as smartphone apps that let them tell lecturers if they understand new concepts in real-time. The company, which launched in 2009, has 2 million students using its products.

The next step is to go directly after the textbooks and digital course content made by Pearson and McGraw, Silagadze said in an interview. In November, they launched an online content marketplace, where professors can create course materials and sell it around the world. The idea is to cut out the publisher and let professors sell directly to students and each other, Silagadze said.

From Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill – Bloomberg

Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts

On behalf of three national library associations, EFF today urged a federal appeals court for the second time to protect librarians’ and students’ rights to make fair use of excerpts from academic books and research.

From Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Roadside Picnic (Rediscovered Classics)

First published in 1972, Roadside Picnic is still widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction novels, despite the fact that it has been out of print in the United States for almost thirty years. This authoritative new translation corrects many errors and omissions and has been supplemented with a foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin and a new afterword by Boris Strugatsky explaining the strange history of the novel’s publication in Russia.

Book: http://amzn.to/2kvqZlb

Wikipedia entry about book:

The New York Public Library is Fashions Latest Runway

From the New York Times. Designer Phillipp Plein has never had a fashion show in the US, his last one of course was in Milan. His associate de Boni began looking for a show venue in August and considered both the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the Statue of Liberty, but the New York Public Library won out and the show is taking place there this week.

Here are Getty Images of the show this week. Madonna and Paris Hilton among others were in attendance.

New Checklists to Support Library Patron Privacy

LITA’s Patron Privacy Interest Group has partnered with the ALA IFC’s Privacy Subcommittee to create new checklists to support library patron privacy policies.

The checklists cover:

data exchange between networked devices and services
e-book lending and digital content vendors
library management systems/integrated library systems
library websites, OPACs, and discovery services
public access computers and networks
students in K-12 schools.

From New Checklists to Support Library Patron Privacy – LITA Blog