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Posts tagged librarians

A whale of a tale: Why off-line research matters
March 12, 2014 | 5:30 pm

spermwhalemouthA long time ago, in some book of weird tales, I ran across the story of a man who had, allegedly, been swallowed alive by a whale, and later retrieved alive from its stomach. He was supposedly catatonic for two weeks, then finally able to resume his duties, with the side effect that his skin had been bleached white by exposure to the whale’s digestive juices. Some ministers used this tale as “proof” that the Biblical story of Jonah was plausible. But one fellow—Edward B. Davis, Associate Professor of Science and History at Messiah College—heard the story and got...

Rare Books? See Naples and Die. Whoops!
December 3, 2013 | 10:46 am

rare booksHere's someone you do not want to let inside your library. As reported in the New York Times and across Italian media, Massimo Marino De Caro, sometime director of the Girolamini Library, Naples's 16th-century foundation, is now under investigation, together with a circle of associates including a priest, for the systematic looting and resale of the rare books under his care. The Library itself never had a systematic catalog of its collection of some 160,000 volumes, so the full extent of the losses may never be known. But they probably run into the thousands. What's more, the De Caro case provides...

First all-digital public library system a hit in Bexar County, Texas—with hundreds of e-reader gizmos and an eager young crew to explain them
October 20, 2013 | 1:11 pm

bibliotechLast year LibraryCity.org knocked the library system in Rockford, Illinois, for planning to spend around a quarter of its $1.19-million collection budget on e-books. A third of Rockfordians were living below the poverty line in 2009 by one estimate. And yet the local library initially wanted to start out with just 50 Kindle e-readers---hardly the best solution for people too poor or technophobic to buy and use e-book devices. The local NAACP and other groups yelled foul, just as they should have. So what’s happening down in Bexar County, Texas? BiblioTech, the world’s first all-digital public library system, opened there September 14...

How to get the most out of library ebooks via the right gadget, text to speech, and otherwise
October 18, 2013 | 6:26 pm

FireVergeWant to hear text to speech from free library ebooks on your 50-mile commute? Even if you own an Android machine and the usual OverDrive app can’t do “read-aloud” unless audiobooks count? Also, what if you haven’t even bought an e-reading gizmo for library use, but want to? Which model to go with? In those cases and others, the guidance here is for you. Most tips will work even with low-cost, no-name tablets. But let’s pay special attention to the new Kindle Fire HDXes. They are among the top choices if you care more about reading than about tech and can stomach...

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...

Self-Published Books Not a Solution for K-12? Don’t Be So Sure…
May 6, 2013 | 2:37 pm

self-published Christopher Harris has a thought-provoking essay up at The Digital Shift in which he argues that self-published books are "not a solution" for K-12. He argues that publishers "serve a critical role in the information ecosystem" by vetting and recommending quality books to school librarians, who often work alone without the benefits of a large paid staff to assist them in their book-buying choices. I sympathize with the task Harris, and other school librarians, face. But I think he misses the point that publishers have the prominence they do simply because until recently, we lacked the technological abilities for anyone else...

Was librarian David Faucheux the world’s first blind blogger?
February 25, 2013 | 11:25 am

librarian David FaucheuxWas my friend David Faucheux—a library and information science graduate—the world’s first blind blogger? Any librarians or others know the answer? I set David up in May 2004 on a commercial audio service, which he dialed up to submit recordings, often augmented with text. For the next four years David gave us an inimitable slice of America as seen through his own “eyes.” Where else could you have found such MP3s as Gaming the Shows: How to Be a (Blind) Millionaire? My favorite segment from David Faucheux, however, was Seeing eye dog etiquette—and a few recollections of Nader. Said animal, owned during David’s library...

Morning Roundup — Stories you may have missed
December 14, 2012 | 8:30 am

The Wrong War Over Libraries: Publishers vs Libraries (Forbes) The European Union Strikes Down Agency Pricing (Good E-Reader) Let Congress Know That Now is the Time to Fix Copyright, Not Put Their Head in the Sand (Techdirt) Librarians Use Social Networking More Than Teachers and Principal (The Digital Shift) Kindle Daily Deal: Swimming Home by Deborah Levy {and} three other choices * * *  ...

$1M DPLA grant from Knight Foundation: The beginning of more synergy between libraries, schools and newspapers?
October 22, 2012 | 10:45 am

John S. Knight Jr. and his brother supplied the first name in Knight Ridder, one of America’s best newspaper chains. Pre- and post-merger, the company’s papers won a total of at least 84 Pulitzer prizes. Years before most competitors, Knight Ridder’s people were envisioning digital newspapers displayed on iPad-style tablets. Knight himself, in character for the chain at its greatest, was fact- and conscience-driven. He was a conservative Republican, but his columns against the Vietnam war helped win one of the Pulitzers. The chain is gone now. But the brothers’ legacy lives on through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with something like $2 billion in assets. Last week,...

Libraries change with the digital times
May 20, 2012 | 10:15 pm

ghostbusterslibraryI watched Ghostbusters with my parents recently, and as I was watching the first five minutes, featuring a ghost in a big old library, I was struck by how dated that part of the movie is now, with those big card catalog drawers opening and cards spewing out all over. You’d be hard-pressed to find a physical card catalog in many libraries these days; even the small public library from the town where I grew up is all computerized now. And that thought again came to mind when I came across Ars Technica’s look at the present and future...

Rare has different meaning in digital age
August 27, 2011 | 3:15 pm

rare-steak-797265At the Nieman Journalism Lab, Maria Popova writes about how the meaning of “rare” is changing in the digital age. The physical possession that is a work of art might be “rare”—but once it has been scanned or photographed, anyone can see it. (This put me in mind of the matter of a rediscovered lost work by Shelley that was purchased by a private collector and not released into the public domain.) She touches on an issue of motivation, as well: it’s human nature that if something is hard to obtain, it is going to be more attractive—but if...

Q&A Interview With Harvard University Librarian, Dr. Robert Darnton, About National Digital Public Library
July 24, 2011 | 4:07 pm

Here are three questions and answers from the complete interview that appears in the July 24, 2011 edition of the Boston Globe: IDEAS: So why not leave it to Google? DARNTON: It became clear, as Google's project evolved, that it would be a commercial enterprise, and in fact an enterprise attached to a gigantic monopoly. A monopoly, perhaps, with the best intentions, but that would not necessarily serve the public good, because of course Google's primary responsibility would be to its shareholders .[Clip] IDEAS: So what would a digital public library be like? What would it do? DARNTON: It doesn't look like everybody's image of...