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Posts tagged digital public library of america

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...

National digital libraries for Carmela Hernandez and family—not just the American elite
December 6, 2013 | 2:15 pm

national digital librariesLibraryCity has just posted a major series telling how an initiative for national digital libraries could serve ordinary people here in the U.S., not merely the American elite. Sounds like a given. But it isn’t, alas. The Digital Public Library of America is a wonder, but judged by the Five Laws of Library Science, it is more for academics and others in the elite than for the country as a whole. I’m reminded of the old Literary Digest poll saying that Alf Landon would wallop FDR in the 1936 election. The Digest relied too much on well-off respondents and was out of...

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...

Family literacy and K-12 success: How a well-stocked public e-library system for the U.S. could help our students catch up with ‘The Smartest Kids in the World’
October 21, 2013 | 5:48 pm

smartestkidsvideoAmanda Ripley, who has written on education for Time Magazine and the Atlantic, is out with a new book that might upset some traditional PTA stalwarts and other boosters of after-school activities if they don’t pick up the nuances about literacy here. No, Ms. Ripley, a fellow at the New American Foundation, isn’t anti-PTA. She appreciates “the contributions” that a local PTA chapter can make to a “school's culture, budget, and sense of community." But in The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way (video here), she asks whether American mothers and fathers shouldn’t increase time for another activity---enjoying...

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...

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...

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...

Morning Links — The Digital Public Library of America has arrived
April 23, 2013 | 9:11 am

Morning LinksThe Digital Public Library of America has Arrived (Scholarly Kitchen) Debate Continues Over Enhanced, Interactive eBooks (Good e-Reader) Span Admits New Copyright Law is Designed to Keep it Off US Naughty List (Techdirt) Should Indie Authors Reach Out to Bookstores? (GalleyCat) Kindle Daily Deals: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (and 3 others)  ...

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 LibraryCity.org 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...

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....

Dwarf-Sized Public E-Libraries vs. Abundance
January 21, 2013 | 12:00 pm

People in Bexar County, Texas, should be excited about the 10,000-e-book “BiblioTech” library system that the country is starting from scratch—without paper books. This is reportedly the first U.S. public library system to shun paper, cardboard and ink, except for computer printouts. Any books are better than none, and besides, the 10K figure encompasses only copyrighted books, not the tens of thousands of free classics that library patrons will be able to read electronically. What’s more, Bexar will add to the 10,000. County Judge Nelson W. Wolff, the main brain behind the plan, deserves praise for his open-mindedness about e-books, their cost-saving potential and other advantages. Many people, especially dyslectic Americans and...

Need Library E-Books to Feed Your New Gadget? Here’s the Answer
January 1, 2013 | 9:15 am

If you can’t find the right library e-books for your new Kindle, Nook, iPad or other gizmo, you’re not alone. More than 100 patrons of the District of Columbia Public Library were lined up electronically today for 10 e-book copies of The Racketeer, John Grisham’s new novel about the murder of a federal judge. Some 400+ D.C. library users awaited 60 electronic copies of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the best-selling fiction title on the New York Times list. And a digital version of The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, was not even in the catalog of the D.C. public library system. Could a well-stocked national digital library system—in...

Southern librarian’s thoughtful criticism of Gates Foundation survey unwittingly shows need for TWO national digital library systems—one public, one academic
December 4, 2012 | 9:30 am

Mindful of the record number of poor Americans, a thoughtful “Front Line Librarian” in a Southern state is asking an essential question in effect: Why care so much about library e-books and the rest when millions of low-income people lack computers or at least the skills to use them? Front Line says more reliance on the Net will make their lives harder, not easier. “The digital divide has not gone away,” he writes in response to my suggestion that library-lovers fill out a Gates Foundation survey on the needs of future, more digitally oriented libraries. “If anything, it is worse now than it ever has been… “On a daily basis I...

Hurricane Sandy and the national digital library issue: With smartened-up journalists and voters, could we have stopped or slowed down global warming?
November 13, 2012 | 10:30 am

Canned and dried foods, flashlights, radios, cellphones and good UPSes aren’t the only essentials that the wired might buy in an anticipation of the growing number of weather-related exigencies like Hurricane Sandy. I’ve also purchased a $99 battery-powered portable hotspot through which my iPad and other Wi-Fi-equipped devices  can stay in touch with the rest of the world when the power goes off. In the best-served locations, optimal speeds supposedly should reach 1.4 Mbps with the company’s current technology, perhaps even making Skype possible. No need for a cellphone with tethering capabilities, and my wife and I will be able to recharge the device with...

New easy-to-use iOS app works with library-owned e-books and eliminates need for browser-based downloads
October 9, 2012 | 9:48 am

The innovative Douglas County Libraries system in Colorado has done it again—with the release of a new iOS app for iPads, iPhones and presumably Touches and the forthcoming iPad Mini. Significantly, the app makes it a snap to check out library books, without forcing you to download through a Web browser. Talk about the path to Kindle-simple! DCL’s Android equivalent of the iOS app was promising, but not a smooth enough patron experience when I tried it earlier this year. But DCL will be improving the Android version. And the iOS app, judging by a quick test drive on my iPad after a download of the DCL...

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