Tag Archives: books

What Book Should You Read Next? Putting Librarians And Algorithms To The Test

“When I received the Brooklyn Public Library’s recent email newsletter promoting a new service called BookMatch, I was both delighted and dismayed. On the one hand, it was a great idea. All I had to do was fill out a short web form letting the librarians know a bit about what I wanted to read and what I liked to read, and one promised to write back with five personalized recommendations tailored to my interests and tastes. On the other, the fact I was so delighted was exactly what was dismaying.” (via Co.Exist | ideas + impact)

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Reanimation Library Breathes New Life Into Old Books

“There exists a book, published in 1955, called A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates, which is exactly what it sounds like. Aside from the front matter — copyright materials, the publisher’s name — it contains nothing but lines of numbers, arranged into columns. Its creator, the RAND corporation, explains the text’s initial function: physicists, cryptographers and the like often need to use random strings of numbers for “experimental probability procedures.” But now, with the existence of online password generators and sites such as random.org, the thought of any scientist manually copying text from a physical book into an equation is laughable. Thus, the text has been deemed obsolete. For that reason, Andrew Beccone, creator of the Reanimation Library, had to have it. (via Huffington Post)

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Libraries may digitize books without permission, EU top court rules

“European libraries may digitize books and make them available at electronic reading points without first gaining consent of the copyright holder, the highest European Union court ruled Thursday. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in a case in which the Technical University of Darmstadt digitized a book published by German publishing house Eugen Ulmer in order to make it available at its electronic reading posts, but refused to license the publisher’s electronic textbooks.” (via PCWorld)

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Paul Otlet, Google, Wikipedia, and cataloging the world

“As soon as humanity began its quest for knowledge, people have also attempted to organize that knowledge. From the invention of writing to the abacus, from medieval manuscripts to modern paperbacks, from microfiche to the Internet, our attempt to understand the world — and catalog it in an orderly fashion with dictionaries, encyclopedias, libraries, and databases — has evolved with new technologies. One man on the quest for order was innovator, idealist, and scientist Paul Otlet, who is the subject of the new book Cataloging the World. We spoke to author Alex Wright about his research process, Paul Otlet’s foresight into the future of global information networks, and Otlet’s place in the history of science and technology.” (via OUPblog)

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Caveat Lecter

“Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin. Harvard conservators and scientists tested the binding using several different methods. According to Senior Rare Book Conservator Alan Puglia, they are 99% confident that the binding is of human origin. Microscopic samples were taken from various locations on the binding, and were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting, which identifies proteins to create a “peptide mass fingerprint” (PMF) allowing analysts to identify the source.” (via Houghton Library Blog)

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Indigo Love of Reading Foundation Marks 10 Year Anniversary

“During the past 10 years, more than 1.5 million books have made their way into the hands of children through the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation. If the amount of books supplied were stacked on top of each other they would equal the height of 20 CN Towers, or laid end-to-end, they would span the length of PEI. The Indigo Love of Reading Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary by announcing the 20 new recipients of the 2014 Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund grant. The Foundation will once again donate $1.5 million to 20 high-needs elementary schools in an effort to bolster literacy and transform school libraries across the country. To date the Foundation has committed more than $17 million to 1,600 elementary schools in Canada through its Literacy Fund grant and community Adopt a School program. The Foundation continues to ensure that all children have equal access to books and encourages a lifelong love of reading.” (via CNW)

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Books-A-Million Is Helping Give Away Half A Million Free Books

“On April 23, 2014, 25,000 volunteers from Kodiak to Key West will give away half a million free books in more than 6,000 towns and cities across America. World Book Night U.S. (WBN) is an ambitious campaign to give thousands of free, specially-printed paperbacks to light or non-readers. Volunteer book lovers from 258 Books-A-Million stores across the country will help promote reading by venturing out into their communities and giving away free copies of a book they love, often to those without means or access to a printed book. With the organizational support of Books-A-Million, along with other community partners and libraries, volunteers will be sharing books with non-readers in locations such as hospitals, mass transit, nursing homes, food pantries, underfunded schools and more.” (via WSJ.com)

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Library cuts are forcing tough decisions on children’s books in Miami-Dade

“Third graders love reading about Lulu and her habit of adopting strays, be it a duck in a park or a cat in a bag. The fictional seven-year-old’s strong following made her latest adventure, “Lulu and the Dog by the Sea,” an easy pick for Elizabeth Pearson, head of children’s titles for the Miami-Dade library system. Then came the tough decision: Which libraries wouldn’t get the popular book?” (via MiamiHerald.com)

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The Future of Books Looks a Lot Like Netflix

“Struggling against plunging prices and a shrinking audience, book publishers think they’ve found a compelling vision for the future: magazines. oday, the San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched an online fiction service called Rooster. It’s sold by subscription. It’s priced by the month. And it automatically delivers regular content to your iPhone or iPad. In other words, it’s a book service that’s packaged like a magazine service. And it’s just the latest example of how books are being packaged like magazines. With Rooster, readers pay $5 per month in exchange for a stream of bite-sized chunks of fiction. Each chunk takes just 15 minutes or so to read, and over the course of a month, they add up to two books. The service builds on the success of Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails you classic literature in five-minute installments.” (via )

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Publishers Are Warming to Fan Fiction, But Can It Go Mainstream?

“Kady Morrison’s debut novel, Juniper Lane, won’t be on store shelves for months, but already her fans number in the six figures. They’re familiar with her work from Archive of Our Own, a fanwork site where Morrison writes fanfic under the handle gyzym. Her publisher, Big Bang Press, is well aware—in fact, it links to her Ao3 page directly from its website. For a conventional publisher to acknowledge, let alone link directly to, a writers’ fan fiction is unprecedented, but Big Bang specializes in original works by authors recruited from the fan-fiction community.” (via Wired.com)

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