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Posts tagged David Rothman

The limits of “Hack the library”: Don’t aim for too much more with too much less—and try harder for more
April 18, 2014 | 10:25 am

Hack the LibraryLess than 12 percent of U.S. public library spending goes for books and other items. Doubt the need for “hacking the library” through ingenious tech upgrades and reinvention of processes, missions and plenty else? I don’t. Nor do the organizers of the 29th Computers in Libraries conference named after the magazine. Much to their credit, this Information Today event borrowed from the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and made “Hack the library” the theme at a gathering of well over 1,000 library professionals at the Washington Hilton. A keynoter, the ever-stimulating David Weinberger, lab co-director, told them April 7: “Libraries are getting squeezed a...

Specialty programming: good news for TV, bad news for books
March 10, 2014 | 4:43 pm

specialty programmingMy friend David Rothman posted this NY Times article on Facebook this morning, with the comment 'good news for TV, bad news for books.' The article talks about this golden age of cord-cutting, specialty programming (like on Netflix) and high-end cable series, with the following aside: "I was never one of those snobby people who would claim to not own a television when the subject came up, but I was generally more a reader than a watcher. That was before the explosion in quality television tipped me over into a viewing frenzy." This was an interesting reminder for me that, amidst...

The most urgent digital library needs are those of Lady Gaga and the Kardashians
December 15, 2013 | 1:07 pm

Lady_Gaga_BTW_Ball_Antwerp_02Just a dream. But what if I really could write the headline above—and not as a joke? Would more Americans, inside and outside the media, care more than they do now about the Hispanics, African-Americans and poor people mentioned in LibraryCity’s latest digital library commentary? Of course, as is evident from the post, you don’t have to be in a minority to benefit from full-strength digital libraries. The challenge is to let people know, “We can make full-strength national digital libraries happen. We don’t have to put up with a crappy $4.20 per capita spent each year on public library content in all...

Voice Dream reader app can now play audiobooks
December 8, 2013 | 12:15 pm

Voice Dream reader appThe new version of the Voice Dream reader app, a superb iOS text-to-speech app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, can now play audiobooks, too. Even at $10, costlier than the typical app, Voice Dream is a Buy, capital B, at the Apple App Store. Voice Dream 2.9.2 can handle zipped MP3s as well as audiobooks in Daisy, thanks to help from a Swiss library organization, and navigation and general usability are excellent, just as in the regular text-to-speech mode for ePub files and others. Dozen of optional voices in common languages work with the app, and my favorite is the UK-accented “Peter” voice...

Jim Duncan, Colorado Library Consortium executive director, speaks out in LibraryCity series on public libraries and the Digital Public Library of America
November 2, 2013 | 9:30 am

What kind of national digital library system—or systems, plural—should the U.S. create? Read Parts One and Two of a new series where Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium delves into the major issues. Is the Harvard-incubated Digital Public Library of America the solution with its “one big tent” approach for public and academic libraries? With museums even included? Or do we need intertwined but separate public and academic systems, so literacy issues, K-12 needs, related digital divide matters, and other national concerns do not fall through the cracks? Could a national digital library endowment, started mostly with philanthropic donations...

Jim Duncan, Colorado Library Consortium executive director, speaks out in series on public libraries and the Digital Public Library of America
October 29, 2013 | 4:14 pm

Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library ConsortiumWhat kind of national digital library system---or systems, plural---should the U.S. create? Read Parts One and Two of a new series where Jim Duncan, executive director of the Colorado Library Consortium delves into the major issues. Is the Harvard-incubated Digital Public Library of America the solution with its “one big tent” approach for public and academic libraries? With museums even included? Or do we need intertwined but separate public and academic systems, so literacy issues, K-12 needs, related digital divide matters, and other national concerns do not fall through the cracks? Could a national digital library endowment, started mostly with philanthropic donations...

Ouch! Text to speech is also AWOL from this year’s Amazon Paperwhite
September 3, 2013 | 4:18 pm

Amazon PaperwhiteDrat! The newest Kindle Paperwhite E Ink reader from Amazon is still missing text to speech—among the features Jeff Bezos touted when he unveiled the second Kindle in 2009. Doubt me? Just look at the Paperwhite users guide and see what’s AWOL. Click here for a better view, with a list of not-overlooked improvements in the newer Paperwhite model. It’s to start shipping Sept. 30. Like the first Paperwhite, the basic version will sell for $119 and up, and supposedly the newer PWs will offer “higher contrast” between text and background. I found last year’s Paperwhites to be still somewhat lacking in contrast despite a noticeable improvement over earlier models. On...

The DPLA and the risks of gentrifying America’s public libraries
August 29, 2013 | 9:26 pm

DPLAJim Duncan, now executive director of the Colorado Librarian Consortium, offered some needed candor about the Digital Public Library of America for NPR reporter Laura Sydell’s August 19 segment on the DPLA. The reaction from certain NPR commenters online? Nasty bashing of Duncan and other public librarians. One listener, for example, accused public librarians of "hopping on board the ‘library patrons only read trash and would rather make this a rec center’ train.” Now back to reality. Duncan himself used to be an academic librarian, and he hopes that the DPLA will succeed hugely and offer a wealth of cultural and historical riches, in line with his...

E-Books and the Miami-Dade Library Crisis: One way to help thwart the misers
August 28, 2013 | 1:19 pm

libraryAll of Miami-Dade’s library branches will remain open, apparently, despite Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez's earlier talk about closing 22 branches in the Miami-Dade system. But 169 librarians will lose their jobs, and hours will shrink under his newer plan if this foolishness becomes reality. The public uproar against Gimenez’s stinginesss goes on. Please join more than 5,000 library fans in "liking" the Save the Miami-Dade Public Libraries page on Facebook, no matter where you live. Might greater reliance on e-books and other digital content end the crisis instantly? Of course not. Even now, it isn’t as if the Miami-Dade system has ignored all the possibilities. Still, according to...

Free ePub Book Shows Potential of Local Librarians as Content-Providers (Video)
August 16, 2013 | 3:28 pm

librariansWhale Bombings, Pearl Harbor and Other Stories Enliven Q&A with Now-Dead Airman * * * Some unlucky whales died in certain stretches of the Pacific because inexperienced U.S. airmen mistook the long shapes in the water for Japanese submarines. More than a few offbeat recollections of this kind liven up an extended interview with the late Attilio F. Caporiccio, a B-17 crewman before and during World War II. The Q&A is now a free ePub book licensed under Creative Commons; just click on the link to download it. "Cappy" also recalled seeing the faces of Japanese pilots attacking Hickam Field—next to the Pearl Harbor naval base—because...

Smart Move: The Graham’s spin-off of The Washington Post
August 6, 2013 | 9:30 am

The Washington PostJack Shafer, the Reuters columnist, wrote last year that Graham family should spin off the Washington Post newspaper from the company of the same name. As the buyer he suggested Michael Bloomberg. “Not so crazy an idea,” I said on the Solomon Scandals site and in the Georgetown Dish. Now the spin-off will become a reality, except that the billionaire is instead Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon (photo), who is buying the Post personally rather than for his company. The Grahams will keep some publications. But not the flagship paper itself. The price of $250 million might have seemed shockingly low once, but not today, when the Post isn’t...

Obama speech and PTA-Amazon alliance validate LibraryCity’s K-12 priorities
June 19, 2013 | 3:30 pm

PTA-AmazonK-12 led my list of priorities in the 1990s for a well-stocked national digital library system blended in with local schools and libraries. Along the way, I suggested that Washington nudge Silicon Valley to come up with affordable iPad-style devices with high-resolution color screens and multimedia capabilities. Originally called TeleRead, this vision has evolved since my 1992 Computerworld article, but a major constant has remained, among others—the need to make it affordable, easy, and enticing for K-12 students and their parents to read books. That must have been on Al Gore’s mind, too, when he called for the digitization of the Library of Congress. Now let’s...