Readers and Authors, More Connected Than it Would Seem

From The New York Times: WE ARE FAMILY:

When a book saturates the culture as pervasively as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” — at No. 15 on the combined nonfiction list after 56 weeks — it can be hard to imagine there are readers left who haven’t encountered it. But when a Pennsylvania woman checked “Wild” out of her local library recently, she was surprised to find far more than the travel adventure she was expecting.

“I often get e-mails,” Strayed wrote on Facebook last month, “from readers who tell me we’re connected because their lives are so very much like mine — similar childhoods, similar losses, similar struggles. This experience has been a great reminder to me how very connected we are, in spite of our differences. As I read one such e-mail recently I thought I was reading the usual until I came to the part about how the e-mailer sat bolt upright in bed as she read ‘Wild’ because halfway into Chapter 1 she realized we have the same father. My half sister, who came upon my book by chance, who knew of my existence but not my name, found me.”

Strayed told me she had made efforts over the years to locate her half sister and -brother, but online searches turned up nothing. But when her half sister started “Wild,” she “knew just enough about me and my siblings that she put it together. She read the rest of the book and then she wrote to me. She was stunned. I was, too, and yet I always knew our paths would cross. Life is like that. There’s always more, always a reveal.”

Libraries' Leading Roles: On Stage, On Screen And In Song

From Doctor Who to Buffy to Borges' Babel, we visit some notable libraries in popular culture.

Piece on NPR

A Masterpiece Book on Color Theory Is Now on the iPad

From Wired, "When Josef Albers published Interaction of Color in 1963, it was nothing less than the gateway to an entire way of thinking...But the physical version of the book, which has been circulated primarily in paperback for the last four decades, needed an update. Yale University Press has just done that, by releasing a new iPad version of Albers’ famous texts and color studies. Designed by New York City-based Potion Design, the Interaction of Color app is about as close as most of us will get to the original version of Albers’ masterpiece, which today primarily lives in special collections and museums. The app is nearly an exact digital replica of the 1963 version of the book, down to the original Baskerville typeface and layout of the text columns—but with some 21st century upgrades. “We were really thinking, how can we go back to the original intent of Albers’ book, and make something that he would’ve made today,” says Phillip Tiongson, one of the founders of Potion."

Library Theft Items Need Identification

The FBI has posted images of 57 rare books and maps in hopes of finding the owners:
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/july/fbi-seeking-owners-of-stolen-artwork/fbi-seeking-o...

After a well-known dealer of rare maps was caught stealing from a Yale University library in 2006, a subsequent FBI investigation revealed that the man had stolen antique maps and other valuable items from institutions around the world. Most of the pilfered material was eventually returned to its rightful owners—but not all of it.

*We are still in possession of 57 rare maps and books—some dating to
the 17th century—and we would like to return them.* To that end, we are posting pictures and information about the items in the accompanying photo gallery in the hopes that the individuals or institutions who own them will come forward to claim them.

“These items have been legally forfeited to the U.S. government,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the FBI’s Art Theft Program. “Technically, they belong to the Bureau now, but we don’t want to keep them. Even though we have tried to find the rightful owners over the years, we are making another attempt.”

After Edward Forbes Smiley, III was arrested for the Yale library theft http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/september/maps092806,
he admitted stealing and selling nearly 100 rare maps from international collections over a period of seven years. With Smiley’s cooperation, we tracked down most of the dealers and collectors who purchased the approximately $3 million worth of stolen material. But returning the maps to their homes proved to be a daunting task. -- Read More

Jeff Bezos To Buy Washington Post

Unexpected breaking news on a late Monday afternoon right before markets close in New York City:

The New Explosion in Audio Books: How They Re-emerged as a Rare Bright Spot in the Publishing Business

Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2013.

Mr. Hewson has discovered that writing for audio requires different techniques from prose writing. Word repetition becomes glaringly obvious. So do unintentional rhymes. Location changes have to be telegraphed at the beginning of the scene, so that listeners aren't confused.

"Complex sentences, long subordinate clauses—they don't work, people get bored and confused by them," he says. "You're looking for the writing to disappear so that all people hear is the story."

The rapid rise of audio books has prompted some hand- wringing about how we consume literature. Print purists doubt that listening to a book while multitasking delivers the same experience as sitting down and silently reading. Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that for competent readers, there is virtually no difference between listening to a story and reading it. The format has little bearing on a reader's ability to understand and remember a text. Some scholars argue that listening to a text might even improve understanding, especially for difficult works like Shakespeare, where a narrator's interpretation of the text can help convey the meaning.

Read more about it at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323854904578637850049098298.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_s...

Book News: Battle Rages On In Amazon Vs. Overstock Price War

NPR piece that mentions the Amazon vs. Overstock price war. In addition it mentions the American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson bought a ring owned by Jane Austen last year for about $228,000. Also mentioned is a school in Queens, N.Y., dropped Sherman Alexie's National Book Award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Searching Google For Pressure Cookers and Backpacks Leads To A Visit From Federal Agents

I'll put this in the "It's on the internet so it's true" category, but assuming it IS true.... wow:

pressure cookers, backpacks and quinoa, oh my!:

"It was a confluence of magnificent proportions that led six agents from the joint terrorism task force to knock on my door Wednesday morning. Little did we know our seemingly innocent, if curious to a fault, Googling of certain things was creating a perfect storm of terrorism profiling. Because somewhere out there, someone was watching. Someone whose job it is to piece together the things people do on the internet raised the red flag when they saw our search history."

[Update a few hours later] Unsurprisingly there's more to the story: Updates At The Atlantic Wire.

[And a few hours later another update] Employer Tipped Off Police To Pressure Cooker And Backpack Searches, Not Google

How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy

NPR piece about Carnegie and libraries. The end of this piece has this line - How do you use your local public library? Please tell us in the comments below.

Librarians may have an interest in viewing the NPR comments to see what the response is.

Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

Book: Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

A rousing call to action for those who would be citizens of the world—online and off.

We live in an age of connection, one that is accelerated by the Internet. This increasingly ubiquitous, immensely powerful technology often leads us to assume that as the number of people online grows, it inevitably leads to a smaller, more cosmopolitan world. We’ll understand more, we think. We’ll know more. We’ll engage more and share more with people from other cultures. In reality, it is easier to ship bottles of water from Fiji to Atlanta than it is to get news from Tokyo to New York.

In Rewire, media scholar and activist Ethan Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common. In examining this fundamental tendency, Zuckerman draws on his own work as well as the latest research in psychology and sociology to consider technology’s role in disconnecting ourselves from the rest of the world. -- Read More

NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

The NSA Has Some Really Cool Tools:
• XKeyscore gives 'widest-reaching' collection of online data
• NSA analysts require no prior authorization for searches
• Sweeps up emails, social media activity and browsing history

Google's Data-Trove Dance

Internal Debates Arise Over Using Collected Information and Protecting Privacy.
After much wrangling and many attempts to build the "slider" tool, whose three main settings were nicknamed "kitten," "cat" and "tiger," the idea was abandoned last year, according to people familiar with the matter. Because Google has so many Web services that operate differently, executives found it impossible to reduce privacy controls to so few categories, these people said. Also, allowing people to select the maximum-protection setting, known as the "tin-foil-hat option," went against Google's newer efforts to get more people to share information about themselves on the Google+ social-networking service, they said.

The Ghost Of Melvil Dewey Haunts The Web

Unfortunately, far too many websites feature an information architecture and content strategy more akin to the Dewey Decimal System then to today's users needs. Dewey's classification of books into searchable sections of the library was an excellent service for researchers and library lovers, but it's a poor match for the online organization of information.

The categorical approach inspired by the Dewey Decimal System forces website visitors to spend more time and effort trying to figure out how what they want to learn fits into pre-assigned categories. Let's face it—patience isn't much of a virtue online. Web users want what they want, when they want it. There is no tolerance for designs that force them to forage from section to section. If users can't get their questions answered quickly, they leave.
4 Tips From Google To Make Your Website More Compelling...

MIT Didn't Target Swartz; Missed 'Wider Background'

Aaron Swartz, an advocate for open access to academic journals, committed suicide in January after being charged with hacking into MIT computers and illegally downloading nearly 5 million academic journal articles from JSTOR, one of the largest digital archives of scholarly journals in the world. At the time of Swartz's death, the 26-year-old faced 13 federal felony computer fraud charges — and the near certainty of jail time.

In this NPR blog All Tech Considered, MIT denied "targeting" the programmer and claimed no wrongdoing. But the report raises concerns about existing university policies and whether MIT should have been actively involved in supporting Swartz.

The Story Behind Ten Tiny Libraries That Popped Up in NYC This Summer

The Story Behind Ten Tiny Libraries That Popped Up in NYC This Summer
This summer, ten small libraries mysteriously appeared throughout New York City's Lower East Side and East Village. But who paid for them? Who designed them? And what was the point? In a short film published today, the creators finally answer our many questions about how the Little Free Library came to be.

See How Book Covers Are Designed

Book Covers: Before and After
Four designers discuss their work on recent book covers: first concepts that didn’t make the final cut, and then the cover as published.

Call for Speakers Open - Computers in Libraries 2014

Hack the Library!
http://infotoday.com/cil2014/
This is your chance to share your ideas!
Deadline is September 16, 2013

Information Today, Inc., a key provider of technology conferences for more than thirty years with Internet Librarian and KMWorld, is pleased to announce the 29th annual Computers in Libraries - the most comprehensive North American conference and exhibition concentrating all aspects of library technology.

Our theme, Hack the Library!, highlights the creative solutions, technologies and practices that those working with computers in libraries or libraries in computers are dealing with today. Libraries are changing - building creative spaces with learning commons and makerspaces; engaging audiences in different ways with community managers and embedded librarians; advocating for learning and literacy in new and exciting ways.

The focus of the conference is on leading edge technology that allows us to engage with, and bring strategic value to, our user communities. It provides the latest information and practices for you to make informed choices for your community -- whether it is an academic, corporate, non-profit, public, or school library community.

If you would like to participate in Computers in Libraries 2014 as a speaker or workshop leader, please submit a proposal as soon as possible (September 16, 2013 at the very latest).

Book News: Outrage After Fox News Interview With 'Zealot' Author

Charges of anti-Muslim prejudice flew thick and fast following Fox News anchor Lauren Green's interview with Reza Aslan, a religious scholar and the author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth in which she repeatedly asked Aslan why, as a Muslim, he is interested in writing about Jesus' life.

Full piece here.

OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t

How TCP/IP eclipsed the Open Systems Interconnection standards to become the global protocol for computer networking
Beyond these simplistic declarations of “success” and “failure,” OSI’s history holds important lessons that engineers, policymakers, and Internet users should get to know better. Perhaps the most important lesson is that “openness” is full of contradictions. OSI brought to light the deep incompatibility between idealistic visions of openness and the political and economic realities of the international networking industry. And OSI eventually collapsed because it could not reconcile the divergent desires of all the interested parties. What then does this mean for the continued viability of the open Internet?

Respect your library, and public restrooms

Respect your library, and public restrooms: “Potty talk, or What They Don’t Teach Us in Library School” is a topic on which I’ve lectured several times at librarian conferences, and I was able to point to Noel Wien Library’s restrooms as models of improved design. Several years ago we brightened the restroom lighting considerably, replaced old, dark wall tiles with lighter ones, added timers to the toilets, urinals, and faucets, as well as stainless steel dividers, and new air blade hand dryers. Old-style blower dryers, for example, were used by those bathing in the sinks, and thereby flooding the whole room, to dry body parts other than their hands; that’s impossible with the blades, which are also quieter and use far less electricity.

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