Blogs

Wanted: Your Ideas on How to Build a Digital Public Library of America

From the Chronicle of Higher Ed
May 20, 2011, 12:01 am
By Jennifer Howard

Think you know what the proposed Digital Public Library of America should look like? Now’s your chance to weigh in. The project’s steering committee has just announced a “Beta Sprint,” inviting the public to contribute “ideas, models, prototypes, technical tools, user interfaces, etc.” Anyone who wants to take part must submit a statement of interest by June 15, and final submissions are due September 1. Read more here

At Home on the Farm and in E-Books

Susan Orlean’s new book, a long essay called “Animalish,” about her love of animals, was written for Amazon’s Kindle Singles collection.

More here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/books/susan-orlean-writes-animalish-as-an-e-book.html?ref=...

"Yes, Virginia, Google was Screwing with You." (The Filter Bubble)

In 2009, I wrote posts where I suspected that Google was screwing with me when it showed me search results.

"Do a search for yourself one day and Google will use its standard search algorithm to find standard results. But do that same search a different day, and Google will run its special beta algorithm and return results that it thinks you want. Then it looks to see what you do next. If you click on page after page of results, it assumes you, the person, are somehow related to those results since you read through more of them than a casual searcher might. And Google learns from this and becomes smarter."

So I'm glad that the new book, The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, is confirming my suspicions: the internet knows who I am, but it loves me, anyway.

But as librarians, this hidden internet sucks. What happens when you share a computer at the service desk? And you do a search and click some links and the Google wraps you in that safe, protective bubble? What happens at the shift change? A second librarian sits at the desk and enters your bubble. And now all the searches are filtered for you, but the second librarian isn't you... won't is seem to the second librarian that Google suddenly started sucking? That it can't find anything the second librarian wants? -- Read More

Why love books.

Yes, your iPad is great. And your PS3 with Blu-ray is awesome. And your Kindle kicks ass. But these technological marvels are nothing compared to a book.

A book challenges us on a personal level. We meet the challenge of new words and ideas and we either find agreement or argument, but we rarely remain the same person we were before.

A book requires no power but sunlight and your mind. There is no controller to blame for your crappy performance on Call of Duty, or whatever games you play. There is no wifi hotspot to go down. There is nothing to buy. A book is the object and the exercise and the reward, all rolled into one.

Apple and Amazon and Sony and Google tell us that their technology will change the world. And I keep waiting. But books have already changed the world and continue to change it.

Some technologies are perfect in design and function. A book is one.

It would be nice to be able to find things in them faster. But maybe I'm just impatient.

Cites & Insights 11:6 available

Cites & Insights 11:6, June/July 2011, is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ11i6.pdf

More info here: http://lisnews.org/cites_amp_insights_116_available

McGraw-Hill Unveils Major Digital Library

McGraw-Hill has launched a platform for accessing its wide breadth of content online at www.MHeBookLibrary.com. The site will deliver content to institutions globally and contains over 1,000 titles. The publisher said the library was created to serve the growing digital demands of library patrons and give easier and quicker access to its content.

More at Publisher's Weekly

Houston Public Library To Lay Off 39 Employees

The Houston Public Library is going to lay off 39 employees effective July 1 as its budget continues to shrink.

The layoffs will mean that the 42-branch system's staff will have shrunk from 558 FTEs in FY10 to 469 for FY12, a 16 percent reduction.

Full article in Library Journal

Library selling new books?

I found a library that on their website mentions that they sell new books in their bookshop. I have seen numerous libraries that have a bookstore inside them that sells used books but have not seen many that sell new books.

From the website:

The Library Bookshop, a concept pioneered by the Drayton Valley Municipal Library, is continuously expanding service geared toward the specialized need of our users. We retail new books to our customers at discount prices. If you have a book you would like to order, call the library and place an order. Delivery is dependent upon availability and the timing of our orders.

Authors@Google: Sherry Turkle

Consider Facebook—it's human contact, only easier to engage with and
easier to avoid. Developing technology promises closeness. Sometimes
it delivers, but much of our modern life leaves us less connected with
people and more connected to simulations of them.

In "Alone Together", MIT technology and society professor Sherry
Turkle explores the power of our new tools and toys to dramatically
alter our social lives. It's a nuanced exploration of what we are
looking for—and sacrificing—in a world of electronic companions and
social networking tools, and an argument that, despite the hand-waving
of today's self-described prophets of the future, it will be the next
generation who will chart the path between isolation and
connectivity.

Bezos hints at Amazon tablet in interview

For months we've been talking about the impending arrival of an Amazon Android tablet and Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos didn't quite let the cat out of the bag--but he came close.

In an interview with Consumer Reports, when asked about the possibility of Amazon doing a tablet, he replied, "stay tuned."

Bezos also said that if Amazon were to do a tablet, it wouldn't replace the Kindle but be sold alongside it. That seems rather obvious, but that he was even talking hypothetically about such a scenario strongly indicates that a tablet is coming; it's only a matter of when, what size it will be, and how much it will cost.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/bezos-hints-at-amazon-tablet-in-interview/8301-17938_105-20062358-1.htm...

Top 25: What corporate America is reading, April 2011

800-CEO-READ, a leading direct supplier of book-based resources, compiles a monthly list of best-selling business books based on purchases by its corporate customers nationwide. Here are the best sellers for April 2011, plus descriptions of the Top 10.

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/12/2869349/top-25-what-corporate-america.html#ixzz1MCl3xFgo

The Amazon Kindle Swindle - Authors: People Are Stealing Your Work!

My long-time friend and fellow book author, Ernie Zelinski, alerted me to the Amazon Kindle Swindle - where Amazon.com is making out like a bandit! And providing no relief to book authors whose works are being stolen - and resold by Amazon.com.

It's time to sue Amazon.com! Book authors of the world unite! There's a real case for a class action lawsuit here. Read on . . .

Did you know that your copyrighted work (which took you months or years to write) might right now be sitting on Amazon.com and being sold as a Kindle ebook by some charlatan - and may be sold under your name! But the money is going to someone named Mingfeng Lai or other aliases.

And, worse, Amazon is doing nothing about it but pocketing the money from such sales!

Full piece:
http://blog.bookmarket.com/2010/05/amazon-kindle-swindle-authors-people.html

Are authors pirating their own ebooks to promote themselves?

Peer to Peer file sharing is a hot topic as most people equate the essence of it to be synonymous with piracy. During our research we found that authors are leaking their own ebooks to pirate websites and then capitalizing on the controversy surrounding them. We also will look into how authors share their books on pirate websites in order to gain more exposure.

The spirit of Peer to Peer file sharing was to have many different computers hosting the same file in order to keep download/upload speeds consistent for many different users accessing the file. The stigma of P2P file sharing occurred when Kazaa, Limewire and other companies started offering copyright infringing content. No one can dispute the fact that this changed the landscape of the Music and Movie industry. The music and movie industry had to evolve to offer paid digital content to satiate peoples thirst. The rise of iTunes and Hulu were directly arbitrated to P2P driving up the demand to consume digital content.

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/goodereader-exclusive-are-authors-pirating-th...

Amazon’s Success Explained

Click over to TechCrunch to check out an amazing slide show put together by the consulting firm faberNovel that offers an incredibly detailed look at how Amazon came to dominate e-commerce, expanding from an online bookseller to a household name synonymous with buying stuff on the Internet.

http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/?p=5220

SLJ's 2011 Technology Survey: Things Are Changing. Fast.

Despite the funding challenges nearly all school libraries face, many media specialists are optimistic about the role of technology in the school library, according to SLJ’s 2011 Technology Survey. Maribel Castro, a high school librarian, in Lubbock, TX, spoke for many school librarians when she wrote that even though her library is behind the tech curve, she still feels that “we are at the cusp of great things.”

But in spite of the general optimism, others point to some significant obstacles: technological innovations are often hampered by poor funding, lack of time, and unsupportive administrators. “I feel like I am blocked by my district at nearly every turn,” says an Oklahoma elementary school librarian.

Full article at School Library Journal
http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/890197-312/sljs_2011_technology_survey_things.h...

J. Patrick Lewis Named Children's Poet Laureate

J. Patrick Lewis's wordplay, humor, and technical facility—as well as his love of writing for children—have earned him an important place in history: today the Poetry Foundation named him the nation's third Children's Poet Laureate.

Full article at School Library Journal

Cites & Insights 11:6 available

Cites & Insights 11:6, June/July 2011, is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ11i6.pdf

Barring a pleasant surprise, this is the final issue before ALA. The first essay in the 28-page issue (PDF as usual, but all essays except the last are also available in HTML form from http://citesandinsights.info/) may help explain why that is.
Contents
Bibs & Blather (pp. 1-2)

Where do we go from here?

Trends & Quick Takes (pp. 2-9)

Eight mini-commentaries and three quick takes.

disContent (pp. 9-12)

A twofer: Two of my favorite "disContent" columns.

Interesting & Peculiar Products (pp. 12-20)

Twentyone product discussions (where "product" is interpreted loosely) and two editor's choice/roundups.

The CD-ROM Project (pp. 20-23)

The subtitle says it (almost) all: Some Work, Many Don't. The two that worked are both excellent--but so were some of the eight that didn't.

My Back Pages (pp. 23-28)

One essay that's way too long for MBP and five other chunks of snark.

 

Choose Privacy

Another Choose Privacy week has come and gone and I kind of forgot to/ didn’t know how to celebrate. I think this is my favorite library holiday and one that needs to get more attention than it does because as much of an issue as people oversharing already is–it’s only going to get worse.

Full post: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3321

Father, daughter stay true to reading promise

Single dad bonded with daughter by reading together every night from fourth grade to first night in college dorm.

Full story at CBS News

Book that daughter wrote about this: The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared

Selling Books by Day, Writing Them by Night

Essay in the NYT

Like all good independent bookstores, BookCourt in Brooklyn has a robust section of staff recommendations. There, nestled in with titles by Jennifer Egan, Haruki Murakami and David Foster Wallace, is “Other People We Married,” a collection of short stories by Emma Straub. A handwritten note taped to the wall below reads: “I wrote this book. Please buy it. I love you.”

Full essay here.

Syndicate content