Libraries

Libraries

Memory of Mankind: All of Human Knowledge Buried in a Salt Mine

In Hallstatt, Austria, a picturesque village nestled into a lake-peppered region called Salzkammergut, Kunze has spent the past four years engraving images and text onto hand-sized clay squares. A ceramicist by trade, he believes the durability of the materials he plies gives them an as-yet unmatched ability to store information. Ceramic is impervious to water, chemicals, and radiation; it’s emboldened by fire. Tablets of Sumerian cuneiform are still around today that date from earlier than 3000 B.C.E. “The only thing that can threaten this kind of data carrier is a hammer,” Kunze says.
From Memory of Mankind: All of Human Knowledge Buried in a Salt Mine - The Atlantic

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Hacker cripples Hardin County Schools library system, demands ransom

“If we can’t, we’re going to have to rebuild the system from scratch. We won’t have to go back and re-scan every single book in the system because we have some listed on other files, so we won’t have to start from zero – but we won’t be starting far from zero either,” he said. In a complication, Edwards said school IT workers were backing up the library server files to an external hard drive when the  attack occurred. This resulted in the back-up also being corrupted. Regarding thwarting potential future hacking attempts, Edwards said, “We’ve had several conversations about really looking into where any and all of our vulnerabilities are at. This really makes you reevaluate computer security – it’s been an eye-opener.”  
From Hacker cripples Hardin County Schools library system, demands ransom
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How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity

Wolfe is an accidental sleuth. Her scholar’s passion is as much for old manuscripts as for the obscurities surrounding our national poet. Project Dustbunny, for example, one of her initiatives at the Folger Shakespeare Library, has made some extraordinary discoveries based on microscopic fragments of hair and skin accumulated in the crevices and gutters of 17th-century books.
From How ‘Sherlock of the library’ cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity | Culture | The Guardian
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A look at the Utah State Prison's banned-books list

Prison spokeswoman Maria Peterson said those details were lost in the shuffle when a new executive director started shortly after the ban was instituted; other leaders also retired and were replaced about the same time. "All of the people who were here, are no longer," she said. The ban was categorized as a security measure, accompanied by a brief explanation. Prison officials feared the books, Jensen said, could show inmates "how to control people, how to get people to do exactly what you want them to do."
From 'What is it about these two books that is so dangerous?': A look at the Utah State Prison's banned-books list | The Salt Lake Tribune
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Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’

Donald Vass, who has spent the past 26 years mending and tending to books for the King County Library System, has seen mechanical and human-inflicted damage and more. At 57 and with not many years left before retirement, he says he believes he will be the last full-time traditional bookbinder ever to take up shears, brushes and needles here. The skills take too long to learn, he said, and no one is being groomed to take his place in “the mendery,” Room 111 at the library’s central service center, where not so many years ago, 10 people worked.
From Issaquah bookbinder among handful at libraries nationwide still operating a ‘mendery’ | The Seattle Times
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Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era

In such an environment, how is a librarian or faculty member supposed to respond to a bright student who sincerely asks, “How can you say that a blog post attacking GMO food is less credible than some journal article supporting the safety of GMO food? What if the journal article’s research results were faked? Have the results been replicated? At the end of the day, aren’t facts a matter of context?”
From Information illiterate: Challenges libraries face in this fake news era - Salon.com
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Internet history is fragile. This archive is making sure it doesn’t disappear

What’s online doesn’t necessarily last forever. Content on the Internet is revised and deleted all the time. Hyperlinks “rot,” and with them goes history, lost in space. With that in mind, Brewster Kahle set out to develop the Internet Archive, a digital library with the mission of preserving all the information on the World Wide Web, for all who wish to explore. Jeffrey Brown reports.

Full story
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Fake readers help save books

After allegations by an unidentified person made in November, an investigation by the Lake County clerk of courts' inspector general's office concluded that Finley was a fake, and the county has since requested a systemwide audit of its libraries.

The goal behind the creation of "Chuck Finley" was to make sure certain books stayed on the shelves - books that aren't used for a long period can be discarded and removed from the library system.

George Dore, the library's branch supervisor who was put on administrative leave for his part in the episode, said he wanted to avoid having to later repurchase books purged from the shelf. He said the same thing is being done at other libraries, too.

http://www.newsherald.com/news/20170102/fake-readers-help-save-books

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UC Santa Cruz "De-Duplicates" 80,000 Volumes

From Mercury News, a math professor protests after the library rids itself of a majority of its book collection.

Koch Brothers Anti-Library Stance

Via Wonkette:

When you think of Charles and David Koch and their dreams of remaking America into a libertarian paradise, you generally associate them with campaigns to elect rightwing candidates.

And now they’re going after public libraries, because if people want access to books and videos and computers and children’s story hours and public meeting spaces, they should damn well pay for them themselves, not leech taxpayer dollars for the “good” of the “community.”

Little Free Libraries, Good for the Neighborhood?

From Salon, a tale of the down-side of Little Free Libraries.

Dan Greenstone writes: "The lesson was clear. I wasn’t running a library. Libraries are built around the idea of circulation. And circulation implies a circle. What I had, aside from the contributions of a few kind neighbors on my block, was a one-way street of literary handouts. So it wasn’t long before I concluded that if I was going to stay in business, I had to reduce the outgoing volume."

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The Purpose-Based Library

In the years since John Huber’s trailblazing Lean Library Management was published, budget pressures on libraries have only increased. Yet libraries who have adopted his strategies have turned conventional management thinking—that if budgets are reduced, customer service suffers—on its head. These libraries have proven that by streamlining and improving customer services, they can eliminate wasteful activities and bring down costs. In The Purpose-Based Library, Huber and seasoned public library administrator Potter build on insight gleaned from decades of experience to demonstrate how libraries can create real growth opportunities through concentrating on their true mission and purpose, and without spending a lot more money. With a focus on putting ideas into action, they point the way towards

New ways to think about metrics
Reexamining customer self-driven services
Effectively leveraging the considerable footprint of libraries
Identifying and assessing community needs and realigning library services accordingly
Actively encouraging community fundraising
Offering cutting-edge services and programs
Packed with boots-on-the-ground commentary, this book presents strategies to help libraries survive and succeed.

http://amzn.to/2ieGUVp
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Modern libraries should be a '3rd place’

Over the last 100 years, the local libraries have changed from books behind a counter to open shelves and self-service. Modern ideas about libraries in 2016 indicate that they should be ‘a third place’, a meeting place which is neither a home nor a workplace. Increasingly the users themselves are not only active participants, but also those who generate content.
From Time for change: | Scandinavian Library Quarterly
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SF Public Library revives plan to install microchips in books

But a spokesperson for the ACLU Northern California said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner on Monday that the organization continues to oppose the technology and urged The City to reject the effort. “RFID has profound implications for civil liberties in San Francisco, including for immigrants’ rights. It’s more important than ever that San Francisco safeguard privacy, free speech, and civil liberties for all,” Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties policy director of the ACLU of California, said in the statement. EFF spokesperson Rebecca Jeschke told the Examiner on Monday “we do have some concerns about this proposal, but we haven’t looked at it as closely as we’d like.”
From SF Public Library revives plan to install microchips in books - by j_sabatini - The San Francisco Examiner
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Which English Wikipedia articles were edited most in 2016?

A number of celebrities, politicians, and household names passed away, like David Bowie, Prince, politician Jo Cox, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, boxer Muhammad Ali, and singer Christina Grimmie. All showed up in either the full list of most edited by year/by month breakdowns, but are dwarfed by the article on deaths in 2016. Similar to last year, it was by far the most edited of the year.[1]
From Death, politics, and Vincent van Gogh: 2016 as seen through the lens of Wikipedia – Wikimedia Blog
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The American Public Library and the Problem of Purpose

The American Public Library and the Problem of Purpose
http://amzn.to/2hWCocX

The problem of purpose in the title is the 130-year debate within the library community over the proper place for the library in society. Chapters discuss roles for public libraries from the founding of the Boston Public Library with its clear educational purpose through attempts at rational planning for library roles in the 1980s. The controversy about the place of popular fiction in American libraries in the late 19th century; the militant outreach efforts during the early decades of the 20th century; the adult education phase during the 1920s to 1940s; and the library as an information nexus for the people during the late 1960s and 1970s are additional topics covered. The style is highly readable and provides important historical insights that should be of interest not only to library educators and students, but to any public librarian concerned with current service roles.

You can see the table of contents and read the preface here.
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Ten Stories That Shaped 2016

Can you believe we're closing in on 2017? It's time once again to look back at the notable library-related stories from the past year.

Dishonorable Mention: Librarian Arrested in "First Amendment" Issue
In May, an altercation with security personnel at a Kansas City Public Library event led to violent arrests against several people, including the programming director.

10. Google Books Case Finally Ends
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the last appeal of the Authors Guild in the nearly decade-old Google Books copyright case.

9. Open Data Initiatives
This year saw continued growth of efforts to make research data freely available.

8. Libraries Catch Pokémon Go Fever
Many libraries got on board with the latest augmented reality app based on collecting and fighting with other Pokémon creatures.

7. Intellectual Property Disputes Aplenty
Legal cases involving everyone from Anne Frank to the NFL made headlines this year.

6. Libraries Fund Open Access
More libraries now offer to pay author fees for open access publications.

5. Welcome, Robot Overlords
This year AI agents won a game against a grandmaster of Go, made medical diagnoses, and drove a truck across the highway. Time will tell how these advances impact libraries.

Hay-on-Wye: The Town of Books

Hay-on-Wye, also known by its Welsh name Y Gelli (“The Grove”), lies on the border between Wales and England, and is about halfway between the English cities of Bristol and Birmingham. Its English name is derived from the Norman word for an enclosed field (“hay” or “haie”) and from its setting on the banks of the River Wye. Earlier on in its thousand-year history, the town was the scene of immense political upheaval owing to its strategic location between Wales and England. The history of the castle at its center illustrates how tumultuous those times were. Built in A.D. 1200 by the local ruler, William de Breos II, Hay Castle replaced an older, smaller castle. After displeasing King John of England, William was forced to flee to France in 1211, and his wife and son were imprisoned.
From Hay-on-Wye: Interesting Thing of the Day
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Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either

Contrary to what a couple of people I talked to at the time intimated might happen, my scientific world didn’t immediately collapse. The only real consequences I’ve experienced as a result of avoiding Elsevier are that (a) on perhaps two or three occasions, I’ve had to think a little bit longer about where to send a particular manuscript, and (b) I’ve had a few dozen conversations (all perfectly civil) about Elsevier and/or academic publishing norms that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have had. Other than that, there’s been essentially no impact on my professional life. I don’t feel that my unwillingness to publish in NeuroImage, Neuron, or Journal of Research in Personality has hurt my productivity or reputation in any meaningful way. And I continue to stand by my position that it’s a mistake for scientists to do business with a publishing company that actively lobbies against the scientific community’s best interests.
From Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either – [citation needed]

English Wikipedia is in decline

English Wikipedia is in decline. As a long-time editor & former admin, I was deeply dismayed by the process. Here, I discuss UI principles, changes in Wikipedian culture, the large-scale statistical evidence of decline, run small-scale experiments demonstrating the harm, and conclude with parting thoughts.
From In Defense Of Inclusionism - Gwern.net
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