What's interesting today

Library Journal: EBSCO Releases Ebook Academic Subscription Collection
I’m sure I glossed over this when the information was released in early March, but I just read the print version of this blurb in the 4/1 issue of Library Journal and I’m highlighting it here for one reason: “. . . each title is offered with unlimited, simultaneous users.” This is important and I’m glad to see a publisher like EBSCO embracing this model. As the rep states, students don’t get it when an ebook is “checked out.” (And honestly, I understand the hows and whys of this and even I am annoyed that the waiting lists for ebooks are so stupidly long, it’s dumb.)

The Note On My Door: Counterintuitive digital media assignments
A post from a professor teaching a digital media class, who made his students do an assignment where they had to find a something that didn’t exist digitally. Librarian reactions are pretty much right on target, but I’m glad to see that the students found value in the assignment. Interestingly, this may get more and more difficult as libraries jettison unused print holdings or send them to off-site storage.

What's interesting today

American Libraries: Sacramento Public Library unveils award-winning National Library Week campaign
This is totally rad. They got a grant to work on the campaign, which is focused on outreach to the LGBT community. They partnered with some community groups – including Sac City Roller Derby – and got design work from LGBT designers. But what I love most of all about this campaign is the joy that the photos capture. The library is a place where you can come to find whatever it is makes you happy, and we don’t care how you identify yourself. In fact, we consider it none of our business, much like it is none of anyone’s business what you read, unless you choose to tell them.

The Telegraph: Birth of a Book: A tour of Smith Settle’s handmade bookbinding process
If you have two minutes, you have enough time to watch this lovely video about the creation of a special-edition book. For all that we talk about digital these days, I do believe that there is still a place for books like these, which are little works of art.

The Atlantic: The Missing 20th Century: How Copyright Protection Makes Books Vanish
Very interesting chart that shows that right now on Amazon, there are twice as many books published in the 1850s for sale as there are from the 1950s. You can really see the impact of copyright protections here, for better or worse.

North Baltimore Patch: Archdiocese Unhappy About Good Friday Baseball
I’m sorry, but baseball is secular. Since when does the church get to call the shots here?

Harpoon Brewery: Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA
One of the 100 Barrel Series brews from last year is being added to the year-round rotation this month! This was developed by the brewery’s cofounders as a celebration of Harpoon’s 25th anniversary, and it was so popular that they decided to keep it around. Looking forward to trying this one.

What's interesting today

The Ubiquitous Librarian: How do we want students to feel about the library?
Mathews makes an interesting point that had never occurred to me before, even when I was working as a marketing/outreach librarian – once students make up their mind about how they feel about a place, that’s really hard to change. And that starts before they get to campus. As we all know, if you have one or two bad or uncomfortable experiences at a place you can choose to avoid, it takes a big push to give them another chance. (If your campus tour guide isn’t allowed to bring your group in, and this is communicated by the security person yelling at the group – yes, this happened at my library – are you really going to go back there as a nervous freshman? I think not.) The other thing is that students don’t care that we can show them how to research better – I feel like I’m constantly reading articles and reports where students surveyed ranked their ability to find stuff way higher than it actually was. It’ll vary on every campus, but we need to position ourselves in a new way to get them in the door. Once they’re there, if we make it easy for them to figure out how to get help if they’re confused, so much the better.

New York Public Library Milstein Suspense Trailer
Cute video from the NYPL, highlighting their history & genealogy collections. Very high production values!

Peer to Peer Review: Authentic Librarianship and the Question of Service
A great post that explores customer service in libraries from a slightly different angle than I usually see. This is a good thing to discuss. Thanks to my classmate Laura for bringing this to my attention.

What's interesting today

The Devil’s Workshop: So My Students Can Eat
A community college professor writes about how his students have to choose between paying tuition and paying for groceries. I had never even thought about this in any kind of depth, and I’m not alone in that. So fundamental.

John Green’s tumblr: Why Libraries Are Different From Piracy
John Green is an author. In this post, he talks about the differences between getting a book from the library and pirating it, and why he thinks it’s better to do the former than the latter. An interesting take on this from the author’s perspective.

What's interesting today

Library Journal: Statistical Abstract Saved by ProQuest and Bernan Press
While it’s very, very good news that the Statistical Abstract won’t completely disappear now that the government has pulled the funding plug, as the author states at the end – it’s sad that was used to be a free online resource is now going to be tied up behind a paywall. And this will do no good for libraries who can’t afford the subscription.

New Media Consortium: NMC Horizon Connect Session > Howard Rheingold is Net Smart
I attended this free webinar today, and it was a great presentation (not just because I won Rheingold’s newest book, Net Smart, which will be released tomorrow). In the presentation, he outlined five literacies that aren’t being taught in school much, if at all, and that he thinks people need in order to survive and thrive online: Attention, Participation, Collaboration, Crap Detection, and Network Awareness. I’ve got some notes from this that I’ve posted under separate cover, but if you’d rather just watch it yourself the recording is here, it uses Adobe Connect. I believe they also said they will get it up on their iTunes U site.

What's interesting today

In the Library With the Lead Pipe: Out of the Library and Into the Wild
A great piece about putting your library skills to use elsewhere in the community. This was written by a library school classmate of mine, so my initial surprise at how many of the folks in the photo I recognized was quickly explained!

NEH announces $17 million in awards and offers for 208 humanities projects
The title says it all, today the National Endowment for the Humanities announced grant recipients for a variety of projects across the country. My eye was drawn to this due to some chatter on Twitter about one of the Virginia winners, George Mason University. They’re working on building out a mobile tour that provides a history of the National Mall. I scrolled through most of the PDF that gives brief details on the winners, and there’s a lot of great stuff being funded.

The Education of Oronte Churm: Mike Daisey is a Liar, and So Am I and More About Mike Daisey, This Time With George Clooney!
Ponderings on why Mike Daisey did what he did with that Foxconn monologue, and why it matters.




What's interesting today

More like “What Was Interesting Yesterday.” I had time to collect these links but that was it.

The Digital Shift: Large California Consortium Joins Movement Toward Library EBook Ownership
A system in California is among the first libraries and consortia to invest in the hardware infrastructure necessary to purchase and lend ebooks, rather than lease and lend, which is the (current) primary model. There’s also some info about a very smart publishing house that’s signed on with libraries doing this. I hope that this winds up working well, and that the Big Six follow suit. If nothing else this is going to expose this publisher’s catalog to a lot of people who might otherwise not come across their books. I know for myself, if I just really want an ebook or two to read for a trip, I’ll search for a few things on my to-read list but once that gets tiresome because it’s not available, I’ll just start browsing the system for anything that sounds interesting.

New Rambler: How do we explain patron privacy in a world of target markets?
She’s right, people are surprised that this is our standard operating procedure. When someone discovers this it’s a great opportunity to mention that we do things this way because we believe in intellectual freedom, and a good part of that is your right to read whatever the hell you want without worrying about Big Brother or a relative finding out about it. That said, libraries can and should be doing a lot of this stuff. The trick is to do it on an opt-in basis. Opt in to have us save your borrowing history, pick up your partner’s books, and send you information about things you might be interested in.

But then again. . .
Wall Street Journal: Stores Smarten Up Amid Spam Flood
There’s a limit to the usefulness of this kind of thing. I have unsubscribed from email lists of more than one company that I have shopped at due solely to the sheer volume of email they send. I want to know about your sales but you do not need to remind me of your existence every day.

New Media Consortium: NMC Horizon Connect Session > Howard Rheingold is Net Smart
Free webinar coming up next week, hopefully it will be an interesting discussion of how new/digital/social technology is affecting our lives.

Brainstorm: Plumbers Need Postsecondary Education, Too
Very true, and it’s too bad that this type of education gets lost a lot of the time. Not everyone wants to go the traditional four-years route, and not everyone should.

Wired Campus: TED, Known for Idea Talks, Releases Educational Videos
This is a very cool initiative! Take a few minutes to watch that promo video.

What's interesting today

Digital Shift: Librarians Feel Sticker Shock as Price for Random House Ebooks Rises as Much as 300 Percent
Random House has increased the price they charge libraries to purchase ebooks for lending. I could understand this if they were also changing their lending model such that more than one person at a time could use a single copy of the book. But it remains a “single-seat” model. Oh, and as David Lee King points out – libraries don’t actually OWN these books, and the price increase isn’t due to a change to an ownership model. I think that for most libraries, this price hike is ultimately going to mean fewer copies of popular titles available, and fewer ebooks purchased in general. I know the publishers need to make money to stay afloat, but do they really think this is the way to do it?

Unofficial SXSWi Primer for Rowdy Librarians
A quick take on how to make the most of SXSW. This includes some great general tips for any conference, and for any time when you need or want to try and strike up a conversation with someone. It seems so obvious but I rarely think to ask “so what brought you here?” which will really work in ANY situation.

The Hairpin: The Contraception “Debate”
This is a brief post on what’s been going on lately with the debate around contraception. I find it disheartening how conservatives (well, at least the loudest ones) seem to only see the issues around “separation of church and state” from one angle. I have no problem if someone chooses not to do something because of their religious beliefs.  But trying to impose those beliefs on others is where I draw the line. A few stray thoughts I’ve had in the last week or so as I continue to hear and think about this issue:

  • What do conservative women think and feel around this topic?
  • As far as the politicians involved are concerned, I keep thinking to myself “did they forget women got the vote?!”
  • Imagine what things might be like if our elected officials spent this much energy on something like job creation.
  • Would we be having this discussion if men could get pregnant?

What's Interesting Today

Library Journal: OverDrive to Distribute Harry Potter eBooks
Very cool news, starting later this spring libraries that subscribe to the OverDrive ebook platform will be able to offer the Harry Potter series! As is noted in the article, you’ll only be able to get them through OverDrive or on the Pottermore website – the ebooks aren’t available through booksellers.

Triple Canopy: Anonymity as Culture: Treatise
I’m not all the way through this, as it’s long and it being the workday, I got interrupted. But so far it’s a really interesting exploration of the history of anonymity online. Also the design is really cool, it’s very easy to read.

Library Journal: Elsevier Backs off RWA Support; Still Opposes Mandated Open Access
Elsevier has dropped their support of the Research Works Act (which, in true government style, would not actually make research work). They also opened up access to 14 mathematics journals. But don’t let this fool you.

What's interesting today

The New York Times Magazine: How Companies Learn Your Secrets
A fascinating look at habits. The psychology is framed with a discussion about how Target has learned how to mine their data to identify the best possible time to get you to change your shopping habits in their favor.

Petition to Oppose HR 3699, The Research Works Act
Federally funded research shouldn’t be locked up behind publisher paywalls. Scientific American’s Doing Good Science blog has a quick, clear writeup on this. If you agree, please sign the White House petition linked above.

This is What a Librarian Looks Like
Inspired by This is What a Scientist Looks Like. I know all kinds of scientists and librarians who do cool stuff in their non-work lives, but I still enjoy looking at little tidbits of people’s lives, especially when the photo shows them doing some activity that’s unrelated to their professional life.