International

Libraries Lead the eBook Revolution

Have you read an e-book yet? Do you think it means the end of bookshops and libraries as we know them? Will book people have to turn into e-book people to meet the brave new world? It's all a bit early to say.

I [Philip Harvey, see below] haven't read an e-book and when asked by borrowers if I feel that my profession of librarian is under threat, I ask them if they themselves have used an e-book. No, is the consistent reply. But they know chapter and verse about the developments, usually from what they have seen on the internet. The new slimline gadgets can display everything a text maniac wants to get their hands on. Or so it seems.

More on ebooks, Google, digitisation, and the Information Revolution from Philip Harvey, President of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association in Australia's Eureka Street.

Online Storage Site Ordered To Filter Books

From the article:

Six book publishers have gained an injunction against file-hosting company, RapidShare. The Swiss-based ‘cyberlocker’ service must monitor user uploads to ensure that around 148 titles, many of them textbooks, are never made available to its users. Failure to do so could result in $339,000 fines, or even jail time for company bosses.

For those who don't know, RapidShare is site where one can upload files for off-site storage and distribution. It's that "distribution" that it's well known for as thousands of people upload larger files to the service with the intention of allowing others to download. Though it's well known in certain circles for hosting pirated content, it's strange that the first shot fired against it should come from the publishing industry rather than the recording or motion picture industries.

More from TorrentFreak.

Library Signals Hope for Tamil Minority in Sri Lanka

Decades of civil strife have left their mark on Jaffna, the heartland of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Bombed-out buildings are a reminder of the fierce battles waged over the historic city.

The most potent symbol of the struggle, and the uneasy peace since fighting ended last May, is Jaffna’s public library, which was torched in 1981 by an anti-Tamil mob. Nearly 100,000 books and manuscripts, including irreplaceable palm-leaf Tamil texts, went up in smoke. It was an act of cultural vandalism that fed the Tamil resistance movement.

Eventually the library was rebuilt by Sri Lanka’s government and reopened in 2003. It has plenty of new books in Tamil and English on its wooden shelves. But restoring the spirit of the library presents a far greater challenge, says the chief librarian, S. Thanabaalasinham.

C.S. Monitor has the full story.

Casanova Memoirs Donated to the French National Library

...the definitive sexy librarian...

PARIS — France's national library has acquired the memoirs of Casanova, a moving narrative written in French by the 18th century Venetian-born lothario. Times Online reports.

The memoirs, "The Story of My Life," had been in the hands of one of Germany's most prominent publishing families for nearly two centuries.
The manuscript was acquired by the Brockhaus family in 1820, hidden by Frederic-Arnold Brockhaus during World War II, then carried by an American military truck in 1945 out of Leipzig. It was finally published in 1960.
...it seems there's quite a bit he scratched out...

The manuscript was donated to the French National Library. Casanova, who was born in 1725, wrote his memoirs between 1789 and 1798, the year of his death. Here...a bit excerpted:

"(I have had) exploits with 120 women and girls, including a nun. As for women, I have always found that the one I was in love with smelled good, and the more copious her sweat the sweeter I found it."

Artist Chosen for Philip Larkin Statue

BBC reports: Sculptor Martin Jennings has been chosen to produce a bronze statue of the poet Philip Larkin for the Paragon Interchange in Hull.

Jennings was one of three sculptors invited by the Philip Larkin Society to submit designs for the artwork. Larkin, who lived in Hull for 30 years before his death in 1985, combined a celebrated writing career with his role as librarian at Hull University.

Designs by sculptors Graham Ibbeson and Jemma Pearson were also considered.

Jennings' work includes the statue of poet St John Betjeman at St Pancras station in London. He said: "I'm absolutely delighted to have been commissioned to make this sculpture of one of Britain's greatest poets.

IREX Fellowship for International Librarianship - Summer 2010

IREX announces a unique opportunity for three Library and Information Science graduate students with an international orientation to take part in a fellowship focused on impact assessment and community building in two national library development programs in Romania and Ukraine.

The selected fellows will serve for three months during the summer of 2010 in the Washington, DC headquarters office of IREX and visit one of the participating countries for one to two weeks during the summer for hands-on research. Each fellow will be expected to produce one scholarly article on a topic related to impact assessment or community building, as agreed on with IREX staff. One of the fellows will be selected to submit a proposal to co-present with an IREX staff member at IFLA 2011. If accepted, the trip would be funded as part of the fellowship.

Application deadline is March 15, 2010

Full details here: http://irexgl.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/fellowship/

Casper the Commuting Cat to be Immortalised in New Children's Book

Dewey was a great one, but he will not be the only cat to be remembered in a book. Such a fellow was Plymouth U.K.'s Casper, who sadly was run over by a car while crossing the road to queue up for his daily bus ride last month.

Casper was an amazing cat who fancied himself a daily commuter. His life on the buses came to international attention last year. It turned out that for four years he had been riding the no 3 bus, passing the Devon city's historic dockyard and naval base, en route. He tended to curl up on a seat or sometimes purr around fellow passengers' legs, all the way to the final stop, stay on and make the return journey. Drivers got used to letting him off at the correct stop.

Owner Susan Finden, 65, said she would be donating any money she makes from the book to animal charities. She said: 'It's lovely to think he will go on in memories - and with this book his story will live on forever. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster next summer.

More on Casper in The Guardian and The Bookseller UK.

South Africans Torch Library Outside Johannesburg

Dateline JOHANNESBURG: Here's an update from News 24 about the burning of the Balfour Library.

Protesters have torched a library in an impoverished area of South Africa in what began as a march to call for more jobs. The South African Press Association says Tuesday's attack came on the third day of violent protests in Siyathemba, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Johannesburg. Story from AP.

This article from Spero News lends some detail to the situation in South Africa, where refugees and immigrants, particularly Ethiopians, are the object of attack by the local population.

Retailing Pressure and Emergence of the ebook are Threatening the Future of Authors and Their Work

Political espionage author and journalist Henry Porter solemnly points out: "To begin to write a book these days seems more than the average folly. Publishing appears to have been hit by a storm similar to the one that tore through the music industry a few years ago and is now causing unprecedented pain in newspapers We are told that fewer people are reading, that book sales are down, that the supermarkets which sell one in five copies of all books care more about their cucumber sales, that the book is shortly to be replaced by the ebook and electronic readers sold by, among others, Amazon, which seems bent on reducing publishers to an archipelago of editorial sweatshops and the writer to the little guy stitching trainers in an airless room.

Publishing seems to be one of the great mysteries of commerce. Despite the large numbers involved – a total of £1.752bn was spent on 235.7m books in 2009 in the UK, that's nearly four books for every man woman and child – the business today is a testament to self-deprecation, with only a few people willing to assert the unique value of books and their content."

More from the Guardian Observer.

Ex-President Alfonso Portillo arrested on charges of laundering money meant to buy children's books

Police captured fugitive former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo in the northern part of the country on Tuesday, a day after U.S. prosecutors indicted him on charges of laundering money stolen from foreign donations meant to buy children's library books. NPR

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