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Posts tagged David Rothman

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...

B&N Removes Nook for PC and Nook for Mac Apps
June 8, 2013 | 1:00 pm

Barnes & NobleDavid Rothman tipped me to this one. The Ebook Reader is reporting that the Nook for PC and Mac download links have been removed from the "Nook Mobile Apps" page. I just checked, and yes, they really are gone. The only PC-based Nook app currently available on that page is the Windows 8 version, which won't help very many people. As the article notes, you can still read Nook books on your PC using the browser-based reader, but that doesn't allow you to download books for archival (or DRM-removal) purposes. It's also not helpful for indie and self-published authors who want to...

On Jillian the Tiger Cub and the Power of the American Ego
May 22, 2013 | 2:15 pm

Never underestimate the power and glory of the American ego. Granted, it can show its bizarre sides—for example, in the antics and hairdo of Donald Trump. And yet I see the good, too. We have the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the rest, not “Library Donors Anonymous.” At least some might bristle at this quest for publicity and immortality, as opposed to pure altruism. But let’s remember that despite all the government-and-corporate-enforced conformity around us, we are still in many ways a nation of individualists. Didn’t Walt Whitman title a poem "Song of Myself," notwithstanding such lines as...

E-Book Usability News: Adjustable line spacing now available on the Kindle Fire HD 8.9”
May 14, 2013 | 11:30 am

Kindle Fire HDLibraryCity knocked Amazon for not letting users of the Kindle Fire HDs adjust their line spacing. But guess what I noticed just now within the font-related submenu of my Kindle HD 8.9” model running version 8.3.1 firmware? Alas, on my several files tested, I still couldn’t narrow the spaces sufficiently on the HD even though the Kindle app for Android, as in previous versions for my Nexus 10, pulled off this trick just fine. Apologies if the HD improvement is old news, but Amazon pushes out updates automatically, and this is the first time I myself became aware of the line-spacing change. May Amazon...

Review: Voice Dream Reader e-reading app
May 13, 2013 | 11:49 am

Voice DreamNote: An update of this post on focuses on education-related issues of read-aloud apps. A Catch-22 dogs those of us who most often read e-books visually but also want to hear them when we’re exercising or driving. The usual e-bookware doesn’t always come with or work with text to speech capabilities. Even if it does, we can’t control the aural part as closely as we’d prefer. I myself like the Moon+ Reader Pro Android app, and I’m in love with the added-on “Amy” voice, a British-accented delight from another developer, Ivona, now an arm of Amazon. But I can’t revisit already-viewed text quickly enough while I’m hearing audio by...

Amazon’s Number One Book City, Alexandria, Va., May Cut Library Hours
April 27, 2013 | 9:47 am

AlexandriaAttention library advocates in Alexandria, Va.: Talking points for the local budget debate are here. Leaving us in the dark about the source of this tidbit, a Washington Post headline in the Style section blog says: “Alexandria, Virginia: the most well-read city in America.” Similar words show up elsewhere in the media about my hometown, the oft-paradoxical Washington suburb of some 146,000 where a bronze Confederate soldier stands in the middle of Washington Street despite an African-American mayor and a generally progressive city council. Alas, however, our number one ranking isn’t based on actual books and other items read per capita. Rather our spot at the top reflects what the Post accurately mentions in the...

Promising DPLA debut—but please don’t confuse special-collection items, exhibits and APIs with a full-fledged ‘public library’ demo
April 19, 2013 | 10:00 am

DPLAA caveat first. The Digital Public Library of America is evolving. What’s more, I’m a booster of the organization and of the people behind it, including the new executive director, Dan Cohen, who so decently reacted after the Boston Marathon bombings. But for now, the academic-and-hacker mindset is prevailing at the DPLA over the traditional public library one, judging from the demo’s worthy but rather limited debut yesterday. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. But then, why insist on the P word in the organization’s name? Also, the K-12 appeal so far is not quite as great as I’d hoped despite some...

LibraryCity’s take on K-12 libraries and the DPLA
April 10, 2013 | 3:42 pm

Digital Public Library of AmericaYes, LibraryCity has been on an S. R. Ranganathan kick lately (here and here). Still ahead is a DPLA-related essay on his Five Laws of Library Science as applied to K-12, including school libraries—a follow-up to the LibraryCity post by Apple Distinguished Educator Donald R. Smith, a teacher-librarian with 40 years of experience. If you want to share any relevant thoughts for the next Ranganathan-inspired essay, just e-mail LibraryCity or use the comments area of this post. The essay should be online at in the next week or two, after some crucial research materials arrive. Meanwhile, some other ideas on K-12-related matters: The DPLA should work with state and local libraries toward the creation of a...

Sad fate of ‘Five Laws’ book shows need for DPLA-related efforts to keep old masterpieces alive
April 8, 2013 | 11:00 am

Five LawsOh, the irony! In The Five Laws of Library Science, S. R. Ranganathan argued in the 1930s for libraries as improvers of life for rich and poor alike. Now Google Books has digitized 30 million titles, but you won’t find Laws on the Web in its entirety from Google at any price. You’ll see a teaser instead, just snippets and descriptions of commercially sold paper editions. If you go to Laws’ listing on Amazon, you’ll notice that the price of a new hardback edition now starts at $45.95 from a third-party seller, plus the $3.99 shipping. Just one new hardback copy is in stock from Amazon itself, for $54.99 with free Prime shipping. Amazon itself...

Beyond a Digital Attic: How the DPLA can honor the Five Laws of Library Science
April 1, 2013 | 4:48 pm

This is the era of bits and bytes and multimedia and 3D printing, not just books and other texts. But Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science would still apply today in spirit even after more than eighty years. Educated originally as a mathematician, S.R. Ranganathan was a library-science genius who studied librarianship in Great Britain and worked as the librarian at the University of Madras. Accurately or not, he is said to have beaten out 900 competitors for the job. He peppered his writings with Indian philosophy, dressed Ghandi-simple, and avoided coffee and tea. His laws, spelled out in a 1931 book available from the Hathi Trust in full text, are: 1....

A national digital library endowment: More details
March 26, 2013 | 10:00 am

National Digital Library endowmentLibraryCity inspired mentions on The Atlantic magazine’s website and elsewhere with a call for a national digital library endowment for the United States. Endowment funds would come entirely or almost entirely from philanthropists, in the beginning at least, given the hostility of so many politicians toward new programs. The endowment would be just one source of library funding, but it could make a huge difference. Ahead is a follow-up, an informal FAQ, to which you can speed instantly; and LibraryCity will welcome your own questions, suggested answers, and other ideas via email or in the comments area. But first, some background for newcomers to these issues. Who says...

What was the first book ever written with a word processor?
March 5, 2013 | 4:14 pm

word processorI've always been a sucker for stories about the history of American pop culture. So when TeleRead founder David Rothman sent me an email last weekend with a subject line that read, "This Was the First Word Processor Ever Used By a Novelist. It Weighed 200 Pounds and Had to Be Brought in Though the Window," I bit. Truth be told, I don't know the first thing about the history of typewriters or word processors—or pencils or papyrus or stone tablets, for that matter. Matthew Kirschenbaum, however—an author and associate professor of English at the University of Maryland—has spent years researching the literary...

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