Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Want a million bucks, read Atlas Shurgged

A businessman gave $28MM to various colleges with the requirement that they teach a class and include Ayn Rand material.

Of course some of the professors, as they are wont to do, objected. The term academic freedom was tossed about. Some schools even rejected the money.

A million bucks, or allowing students to read Ayn Rand and compare that work with other authors.

See the amazing report by Pam Kelley and Christina Rexrode, staff writers at the Charlotte Observer.

EPA may have lost data in hasty library closures

FCW Reports The Environmental Protection Agency moved too quickly in closing some of its research libraries and may have lost some files as a result, government auditors recently testified before a House panel.

EPA’s push to digitize its libraries led to the rushed closings, said John Stephenson, director of natural resources and environment at the Government Accountability Office in testimony March 13 before the House Science and Technology Committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Librarians on the streets to find common ground with book lovers

Striking Librarians in Victoria BC are spending a few hours this week and more next week walking the downtown streets, talking books to people. "We don't stop caring about literacy in Victoria because we can't be doing the jobs we love," Andersen said yesterday, as she walked downtown, asking people what they've been reading.

Library Plans Online Story Time

I know that there are quite a few parents who can't bring kids to story time simply because they're at work when the library holds story time.

Perhaps others might make use of an idea being tried by the Gadsen Public Library. They're planning to make story time into a webcast available online and also on public television.

More from The Gadsden Times.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Magical Pictures

by Great Western Dragon

At first, it may seem strange to direct library folks to a set of fantasy pictures featuring odd scientists, wizards, and strange beasts. Yet not only are they beautiful images, all of them are set within libraries just as fantastic as the characters in them.

What is is a system for matching readers to books through an analysis of writing styles, similar to the way that matches music lovers to new music. Do you like Stephen King’s It, but thought it was too long? The technology behind BookLamp allows you to find books that are written with a similar tone, tense, perspective, action level, description level, and dialog level, while at the same time allowing you to specify details like... half the length. It’s impervious to outside influences - like advertising - that impact socially driven recommendation systems, and isn’t reliant on a large user base to work.

Check out detailed video on their site.

Physicists slam publishers over Wikipedia ban

Scientists who want to describe their work on Wikipedia should not be forced to give up the kudos of a respected journal. So says a group of physicists who are going head-to-head with a publisher because it will not allow them to post parts of their work to the online encyclopaedia, blogs and other forums.

The physicists were upset after the American Physical Society withdrew its offer to publish two studies in Physical Review Letters because the authors had asked for a rights agreement compatible with Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

First spam felony conviction upheld: no free speech to spam

by Blake

First spam felony conviction upheld: no free speech to spam: Virginia's Supreme Court on Friday upheld the first US felony conviction for spamming. The spammer will serve nine years in prison for sending what authorities believe to be millions of messages over a two-month period in 2003.
Jeremy Jaynes is the man who will make history. A Raleigh, North Carolina, resident who made Spamhaus' top 10 list of spammers, Jaynes was arrested in 2003 even before the CAN SPAM act was passed by Congress. Jaynes was convicted in 2005, but his lawyers appealed the conviction. This past Friday, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld that conviction, but the vote was a narrow 4-3.

Quick Reads for World Book Day

by birdie

Coming up later this week (March 6), World Book Day is being observed by Quick Reads with the publication of ten new 'quick reads'..."fast-paced, bite-sized books by bestselling writers and celebrities for adults who have lost or never had the reading habit, or avid readers wanting a short, fast read." Read (quickly) all about Quick Reads.

The Question Box- Internet for the Third World

by Great Western Dragon

How's this sound?

Press a button, ask a question, get an answer.

That's the simple idea behind The Question Box, a project out of UC Berkeley to place some form of Internet access to villages in Africa where Internet access simply doesn't exist.

More from via BoingBoing.

In California, a New ATM for Books Debuts

Lynn Blumenstein -- Library Journal, 2/26/2008

  • Machine at transit station
  • Up to 400 books
  • It started in Sweden

Self-service gets a boost with the nation’s first Library-a-Go-Go machine, to be installed in April in a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) location, before the fare gate, thanks to the Contra Costa County Library (CCCL), Pleasant Hill. CCCL plans four stand-alone dispensing units around the county, part of a model program funded by the California State Library, Bay Area Library Consortium, and Baker & Taylor.

The Library-a-Go-Go units, which cost about $100,000 each, come from the Swedish company Distec (source of the photo) and were noticed by a former CCCL staffer in a Stockholm library. Totally operational with an integrated library system, CCCL deputy county librarian Cathy Sanford told LJ, the unit connects to a library network, authenticates library cards, and records real-time transactions.

Depending on the type of book stocked in the machine, each freestanding unit, which measures approximately 8'6.5"h x 4'9.5"w x 3'9.5"d, can hold 270–400 books. Patrons use a touch screen similar to a bank ATM to choose from a list of genres. Once a library card is authenticated, a robotic arm delivers the book, which is encased in a hard plastic cover. Books can be returned to the same machine and are made instantly available to other patrons; each transaction generates a receipt. While CCCL will stock the BART location with adult and YA fiction and nonfiction titles, a Library-a-Go-Go to be placed in a shopping center will include children’s materials.