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Harvard plans to consolidate library, reshuffle employees

Boston Globe – “Harvard University revealed its long-awaited plan for restructuring its library system this morning, calling for “changes that affect staff at every level” that are likely to include consolidating many services, reshuffling some employees, and offering buyouts to others. Details will be finalized over the next few weeks, according to a statement from Provost Alan Garber, but the plan will surely include “adjustments in how and where many staff members perform the work that has made the library one of the university’s greatest treasures.”

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Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive

Publishers Weekly – “Penguin, which only offered backlist e-book titles for library lending, is terminating its contract with OverDrive, the library digital vendor, and starting February 10 will cease to offer any of its e-books or audiobooks to libraries. Penguin is negotiating a “continuance” agreement that will allow libraries that have already purchased Penguin e-books to continue to loan them.”

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Kickstarter Project Envisions A Mini-Brownstone Library In Cobble Hill Park

Village Voice – “About a year ago Julia Marchesi, a 32-year-old documentary film producer, saw a picture in the New York Times of sculpture in Berlin made up of a carved out tree trunk filled with bookshelves. “I just thought it was a really cool idea,” she said. “A little library.” That image helped to serve as the inspiration for a project Marchesi is now raising money for on Kickstarter. Noticing a Brooklyn trend of leaving books on stoops, Marchesi, who lives in Cobble Hill, enlisted the help of Brooklyn-based public artist Leon Reid IV to design an “honor system lending library” in Cobble Hill Park. Called “The Hundred Story House,” the library, if built, will look like a down-sized brownstone.”

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Wolfram, a Search Engine, Finds Answers Within Itself

NYT – “The new version of Wolfram Alpha arrives Wednesday afternoon. Its formal name is Wolfram Alpha Pro, and Dr. Wolfram calls “Step 2, the next step of what can be done with this approach,” which he describes as a “computational knowledge engine.” This is a premium version of the search engine: $4.99 a month, or $2.99 for students. The new version handles data and images. In a recent demonstration, Dr. Wolfram, using his computer mouse, dragged in a table of the gross domestic product figures for France for 1961 to 2010, and Wolfram Alpha produced on the Web page a color-coded bar chart, which could be downloaded in different document formats. He put in a table of campaign contributions to politicians over several years, and Wolfram Alpha generated a chart and brief summary, saying that House members received less on average than senators.”

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Libraries to be “pop-up” tourist information points during Olympics

Surrey News – “Libraries and museums will become “pop-up” tourist information points for the 2012 Games to help cater for the influx of tourists. The move was inspired by the “pop-up” phenomenon, which has seen temporary restaurants and retail stores appear in homes, businesses and street corners across the world.”

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Goodbye, state funding for California libraries

KALW – “The bad news is that state funding for California libraries has been completely eliminated. There’s not really any good news about that except that it was expected. This past July, state library funding was sliced in half, and there was a trigger amendment attached to the budget that would eliminate state funding for public libraries at midyear if the state’s revenue projections were not met. Needless to say, they weren’t.”

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The UK’s highest court launches a Twitter account to broadcast its latest rulings

The Next Web – “The highest court in the UK has launched a Twitter account and will begin tweeting news about its latest judgements imminently. The @UKSupremeCourt account has yet to tweet, but the court’s Twitter ‘broadcast service’ will kick-off by tweeting live coverage of the new justice Lord Reed being sworn in at the Supreme Court later today. It will tweet updates during the brief ceremony at the building in Parliament Square, London, to explain proceedings to those watching via a live Web stream. The ceremony start at 11.30am.”

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With grant, libraries make tool to simplify citations

Columbia Spectator – “For most Columbia undergraduates, making bibliographic citations boils down to a few formatting styles, like MLA and Chicago, to learn in University Writing. But for professors, researchers, and graduate students, there are over 1900 different styles to contend with. Their lives might be about to get a little bit easier—the Columbia University Libraries received a $125,000 grant last month to build a new digital tool to help manage existing styles and make new ones. In collaboration with Mendeley, a private developer of reference management software, the Libraries hope to develop a simple, graphical interface with which authors can navigate the maze of styles available, and modify them to create their own.”

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The Reading Life: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ turns 50

LA Times – “”Cuckoo’s Nest.” Sure, everyone’s heard of it. But is it worth reading? Before Jack Nicholson won his first Oscar, before there was a bus full of merry pranksters, there was a writing student with a swing-shift job in a mental ward. It’s the Ken Kesey of that era who stares from the jacket flap of the 50th anniversary edition of his debut novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”: His curly hair is cropped short, he wears a cotton work shirt and his gaze is steady.”

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FCC Pushes E-Textbooks on U.S. Schools Facing Budget Crunch

Bloomberg – “A Federal Communications Commission effort to bring digital textbooks to U.S. students faces resistance from schools with limited budgets for buying devices such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad tablet computer. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced plans yesterday to get all U.S. students from kindergarten through the 12th grade using electronic titles within five years. The initiative, which doesn’t involve any additional U.S. government funding, is meant to speed adoption of e-textbooks. The U.S. spends $7 billion a year on textbooks, and digital versions are the exception, rather than the rule, Genachowski said.”

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