Books, movies and reading ...

  • Roses are red .... the top love stories?February 13, 2014 – One of the nice things about WorldCat is that is has sufficient scale to be a good proxy for a large part of the scholarly and cultural record. The aggregate holdings of thousands of libraries contain not just books, but movies, music, and so on. It is not complete but...read full entry...
  • Names and identities: looking at Flann O'BrienJuly 02, 2013 – Names and identities are a major focus of interest for OCLC Research. I adapt this discussion of our work in this area from the recent OCLC Research Quarterly Highlights. We know very well that names are not always straightforward. Brian O'Nolan and Brian Ó Nualláin are the English and Irish...read full entry...
  • Twit-therapy .. a quick noteMarch 16, 2013 – I am reading Bedsit Disco Queen: how I grew up and tried to be a pop star, a memoir by Tracey Thorn. Here is a quick note to record what I thought was an interesting discussion about Twitter. Thorn writes about frustration with record company and producer, and goes on...read full entry...
  • A fragmented reading experience: locally and anecdotally speaking ..March 04, 2013 – In February 2011 I noted ... A while ago I was interested to observe that I had begun to resist buying paperback novels. ... In thinking about it, I realised that I only wanted to buy the experience not the physical item. My bag and our house is already cluttered...read full entry...
  • Books, artifactually and anecdotally speaking ...June 08, 2011 – Anecdotally speaking ....... it seems to me that the artifactual and design elements of print books are coming more to the fore, albeit in different ways. As the use of ebooks grows this is not really surprising, as this change creates niche opportunities for experiences focused specifically on the possibilities...read full entry...
  • Children's Book Week .... RetreadMarch 17, 2011 – [A discussion about children's book Peepo! on Twitter prompt me to recycle this entry from 2006] To mark Children's Book Week folks here at OCLC are talking about children's books that mean something to them Here are two I like ..... The Wool-pack One of the first 'long' books I...read full entry...
  • The power of pull redux .. with examplesMarch 09, 2011 – I have written about the Power of Pull before, an interesting book by John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison. For a fuller discussion see the earlier blog entry (People are entry points too ... redux). Here is a short version. The authors discuss the shift from managing 'knowledge...read full entry...
  • Buying books and/or experiences: a consumer viewFebruary 27, 2011 – A while ago I was interested to observe that I had begun to resist buying paperback novels. Before that, I would often come away with one from a trip to our local Border's (sadly now closing) or sometimes buy a mystery novel in the airport (especially on the return trip...read full entry...
  • Using Wikipedia February 13, 2011 – We still don't appear to know what to make of Wikipedia. Consider these two cases. First, Edward Glaeser includes a reference to Wikipedia in the acknowledgements to his new book, Triumph of the city. Following common practices, Wikipedia is not listed in the bibliography or citations, because any Wikipedia fact...read full entry...
  • Books about universities ... expansionOctober 04, 2010 – [This is a slightly expanded version of a blog post first published in February 2009. I was reminded of it in a discussion I had during the week with a colleague about publications about universities and thought I would bring it back.] Many of the pages in Worldcat Identities are...read full entry...
  • Changing communications ....October 01, 2010 – I was struck by this comment by Om Malik as he talked about the acquisition of the TechCrunch group of blogs by AOL. Earlier this week, when he announced the acquisition, it dawned on me what a pivotal moment in the history of blog-based media entities it was. Five years...read full entry...
  • Blogging againAugust 29, 2010 – Even if some heat has gone out of the library blogosphere, there is still a fair amount of reading and writing going on. I was asked recently what I tended to look at, going beyond the well-known bigger names. Here are some of the blogs that came to mind -...read full entry...
  • QOTD: ways of seeing: a coverAugust 08, 2010 – In an interesting blog post on the changing nature of the book cover in a digital environment, James Bridle compares the covers of the much-discussed Odyssey Editions with the famous Ways of Seeing cover. The covers are typographic, and hark back in particular to the famous Pelican cover for John...read full entry...
  • Bookstores, curation and managing demand/consumption ...July 25, 2010 – I have just returned to the US from a couple of weeks vacation in Ireland and England. I was more than usually struck by my bookstore (aka book shop) experiences, and this prompted the curation entry I have just written. First of all, an interesting note that I have quoted...read full entry...
  • More reading ... June 21, 2010 – Here are some recent reports/papers produced by OCLC Research or in which we have been involved ... Kroll, Susan, and Rick Forsman. 2010. A Slice of Research Life: Information Support for Research in the United States. Report commissioned by OCLC Research in support of the RLG Partnership. Published online at:...read full entry...
  • A nice dedication to librarians by Rick RiordanJune 20, 2010 – We downloaded Rick Riordan's latest novel, The Red Pyramid, to my son's iPod Touch this afternoon. As he began to read, he came across this nice dedication: To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in...read full entry...
  • We're not going anywhere .... OK, we lied ...June 14, 2010 – Last Friday I attended the RLG Partnership Symposium. The topic - When the books leave the building - reflected the growing discussion around the management of legacy print collections across the academic library system. The balance between local print, offsite print (local or shared), and emerging digitised collections, presents interesting...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Marcus and Morrison June 06, 2010 – Greil Marcus finished an article about the reception of his recent book on Van Morrison with this lovely quote: Not all the stories people tell about Morrison, though, are stories of conflict, confusion, resentment, or regret. "I was talking to my father today," a woman in Portland said. "He asked...read full entry...
  • A web-siting at Yale: other editions and xISBNMay 31, 2010 – I was looking at the Vufind implementation of the Yale University Library catalog - yufind - and was interested to see that it implements a link to OCLC's xISBN service to pull together other editions of a displayed result. Here is an example where several versions of Krapp's Last Tape...read full entry...
  • Return on attention and Current CitesMay 30, 2010 – I was quite taken with the phrase "return on attention" while reading The Power of Pull a while ago. I was also interested in the deprecation of the term information overload. It's not so much about finding which information is most valuable, as many of those who fret about information...read full entry...
  • AuraMay 16, 2010 – John Naughton has a nice column in The Observer today. He talks about how as part of welcoming Dan Cohen to Cambridge, the University Library prepared a display around Newton's Principia. John enjoys the experience ... I've owned a beautifully produced facsimile of the Principia for decades, so it wasn't...read full entry...
  • People are entry points too ... reduxMay 02, 2010 – I have been reading The power of pull by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison. They provide a broad framework for thinking about current changes and how people and firms should position themselves to operate effectively. A major part of this is a shift from managing 'knowledge...read full entry...
  • Interstitial readingApril 11, 2010 – Evan Schnittman of OUP has an interesting post in which he discusses three types of digital reading: extractive, immersive and pedagogic. It is worth a read. Looking at his post, I was reminded of a phrase I used for a while: interstitial reading. We do quite a bit of reading...read full entry...
  • More cover notes ...March 28, 2010 – One of three ... There was a well publicized spat between Anna Ford and Martin Amis which included some discussion of the latter's behavior at the deathbed of the former's husband, Mark Boxer. Coincidentally, somebody asked me last week if I had read any of the books in the A...read full entry...
  • Mission of the library reduxMarch 07, 2010 – I heard Anders Söderbäck of the Royal Library in Sweden speak in Lund last week on the perennial topic 'what is a library'. He reminded us of Daniel Dennett's remark: A scholar is just a library's way of making another library. This in turn reminded me of a post I...read full entry...
  • Cover notesFebruary 11, 2010 – And speaking of The Second Sex reminds me that the Penguin Modern Classic edition is one of those books with an iconic cover which enters deep into the book memory. (Although i could not find this book or its cover on various Penguin sites earlier, which seemed a shame.) The...read full entry...
  • The publisher and the translationFebruary 11, 2010 – I got my copy of The London Review of Books in the mail (aka post) today. I had seen John Naughton discuss the review of a new translation of The Second Sex by Toril Moi (WC Identity) and I turned to read it. The focus of the review is a...read full entry...
  • Digital content quarterlyJanuary 06, 2010 – Digital Content Quarterly is a new publication from the Strategic Content Alliance. In this fast-paced, ever-changing environment the Strategic Content Alliance's Digital Content Quarterly (DCQ) provides a news round-up of digital content issues from around the world, thought-provoking features highlighting key debates in the field and regular columns from leading...read full entry...
  • Being friends with the librarian in the Bibliothèque NationalDecember 29, 2009 – [I bring back this entry prompted by the selection of The Arcades Project in the series of canonical works in the Times Higher Education Supplement. It was originally published on July 13 2007.] There is a passage in a letter from Walter Benjamin to Theodor Adorno where he suggests removing...read full entry...
  • The information, er, protocol society ...December 27, 2009 – The 'information society' is a vague term, but seems to convey enough of something useful to stay in currency. Frank Webster reviews the concept as it is used in the social sciences and communications studies here. Reductively, one might point to two emphases in thinking about an Information Society, which...read full entry...
  • Being foreignDecember 27, 2009 – We have been traveling over the holiday period - to London briefly, and then on to various Irish destinations. One of the consequences of Twitter is that there are fewer incentives for the 'pointer' blog entry, a collection of links to interesting items. However, this is a pointer entry. It...read full entry...
  • The importance of books ..December 20, 2009 – I read the interesting Communicating knowledge: how and why UK researchers publish and disseminate their findings and its supplementary reports (literature review and bibliometric analysis) on a transatlantic flight the other day. (Incidentally, it must have been the most cramped large-plane seat I have ever been on - I could...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Spiders and flies and classicsDecember 13, 2009 – Reading Concerning E.M. Forster by Frank Kermode, I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes, Forster's response to Eliot's criticism of his remarks about D.H. Lawrence ... So they corresponded and respected one another, and after Lawrence died Forster wrote that the regarded him as 'one of the glories...read full entry...
  • Stuff as a service ...December 13, 2009 – First, a note on a couple of recent media experiences ... We went to The boat that rocked (aka Pirate Radio) recently and were determined to enjoy it. For those that don't know, it is a movie set in 1966 on a 'pirate radio' ship broadcasting music into the UK....read full entry...
  • Choice is hard work: an anecdatumDecember 06, 2009 – We got an iMac for family use in the Summer. I never liked the keyboard and the mouse keeps sticking as crumbs and so on get lodged in it. Myself and my son headed off to Micro Center the other evening to explore replacements. They had sold out of the...read full entry...
  • Counting books ...November 29, 2009 – I have been careful in recent posts about numbers to note that the term 'book' has no precise referent. One person's book is another person's pamphlet, or ... Brian Lavoie and I have an article in the current issue of DLib Magazine which uses Worldcat to estimate the number of...read full entry...
  • On the discriminations of availability ... November 02, 2009 – Seamus Heaney famously - and in poetry - complained about being included in an anthology of 'British' poetry. In the course of his poem he invokes Miroslav Holub's 'On the necessity of truth' where a man creates a disturbance in a cinema when he sees a beaver mistakenly called a...read full entry...
  • Community bibliographyNovember 01, 2009 – I prefer 'crowdsourced' to 'user contributed' but neither works very well for me. In particular 'user contributed' does not seem a good term at all for a variety of reasons. Anyway, I was looking at the new catalogue at Ottawa Public Library powered by Bibliocommons earlier (following a mention by...read full entry...
  • Government URIs: a write to replyOctober 17, 2009 – Tony Hirst alerted me to an interesting document on the structure of URIs in UK government websites. There were two things of immediate interest. The first was the emphasis a Government agency was putting on information architecture in a web environment. Other documents will follow. This is from the introduction:...read full entry...
  • Waking the unreadSeptember 23, 2009 – While looking at Google Book Search the other day I was intrigued to discover that parts of my early oeuvre, such as it is, have been digitized from the University of Michigan collections. I was particularly struck by the word clouds. Here is a word cloud from a 1991 work...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Books and bitumenSeptember 18, 2009 – A very nice reference from the blog of husband and wife writing team Nicci French: I've just finished On Roads: A Hidden History by Joe Moran. It's one of those books you keep stopping in order to tell someone the interesting fact you've just learned. That the Chiswick flyover was...read full entry...
  • Libraries and publishing: a couple of examplesSeptember 04, 2009 – As interaction with the book literature, publishing, the role of large print collections, and research and learning behaviors are all changing in a network environment, academic libraries have been looking at their role in the scholarly communication and publishing process. I came across two examples of library activity which prompt...read full entry...
  • Muldoon and ColbertSeptember 03, 2009 – I have mentioned Paul Muldoon in these pages several times. I could not resist linking to this appearance of the Northern Irish poet, Princeton faculty member, and poetry editor of the New Yorker, on The Colbert Report. The best bit is at the end. The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm...read full entry...
  • Strategic reading and bouncingAugust 30, 2009 – I was very taken by Timothy Burke's presentation at the first open meeting of the Library of Congress Working Group on Bibliographic Control. What was especially interesting was how he outlined a variety of ways in which he needed to interact with the literature. In his own specialties, he expected...read full entry...
  • On books againAugust 23, 2009 – 'Book' is a big word. It has a lot of power as it is intimately bound up with our intellectual and imaginative histories. More parochially, the book is also strongly bound up with the professional practice and identity of the library and librarians. At a more prosaic (sic) level, the...read full entry...
  • Counting titles and authorsAugust 16, 2009 – The proposed Google Books settlement has created a strong interest in quantifying publications and authors, to get a better sense of the scale of impact. We have been looking at Worldcat and hope to publish an analysis later this year. Here is an issue that came up this week: how...read full entry...
  • QOTD: small books August 06, 2009 – From Larry McMurtry's reminiscences as a bookseller: Books: a memoir. At Booked Up one of our favorite eccentrics was a gentleman we called the "little book" man.Once or twice a year this customer would show up at the shop with a ruler and work his way around the main room,...read full entry...
  • BloggingJuly 26, 2009 – [I am on vacation the latter couple of weeks in July, so not much blogging happening.] I was not registered for ALA at Chicago and only dipped in briefly to present on one panel. Afterwards, I continued congenial conversation in the bar in the Hilton, Kitty O'Shea's (see the entry...read full entry...
  • Reading books on the move ...June 16, 2009 – I have just read M-Libraries: Information use on the move: a report from the Arcadia Programme [pdf] by Keren Mills. It provides an overview of recent trends in 'mobilized' library services, library services which use mobile communications. It reports the results of a survey of library users about their preferences...read full entry...
  • Audience levelJune 05, 2009 – I have written about the Audience Level measure in these pages a few times. In this initiative we are using the pattern of holdings across different types of libraries (school, research, etc) to give a 'hint' about the level of interest of an item (juvenile, research/specialist, ...). You can read...read full entry...
  • QOTD: studio workMay 09, 2009 – The NYT describes James Patterson's work practice ... ... an author who so towers over the best-seller lists that a couple of years ago he estimated that he earned royalties on one out of every 15 hardcover books published in this country. In fact, Mr. Patterson now publishes so many...read full entry...
  • Tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet .....April 28, 2009 – I have just got the latest issue of one of my favorite publications, the London Review of Books, which has an article by one of my favorite critics, Frank Kermode, on one of my favorite writers, Jane Austen. I paused over the following sentence and admired how he kept it...read full entry...
  • QOTD: books: the last frontier for adsApril 25, 2009 – Fintan O'Toole writes about the Google books settlement in the Irish Times. He wonders which ads will be shown to accompany which texts. My favorite is the third, the opening of Ulysses .... PICTURE THIS. You read "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of...read full entry...
  • Larkin, work and librariesApril 23, 2009 – Philip Larkin on being a librarian .... "I hate work. Libraries are a quite pleasant way of earning a living. Dismal prospects though! Jobs connected with books like publishing are not good for creative writing. That's why libraries, all technical and administration, are so good." [Larkin's first interview John Shakespeare...read full entry...
  • Book covers and the scholarly recordMarch 31, 2009 – There have been various discussions among research libraries recently about the management of the collective print collection as pressures on library space coincide with shifting research and learning behaviors in a network environment. This will create interesting questions about preserving the print scholarly record over the next few years: what...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Content economy and attention economyMarch 28, 2009 – We are catching up on the The Wire on NetFlix so I was interested to see these remarks on the newspaper industry by its creator, David Simon ... In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the award-winning writer and producer launches a tirade against newspaper owners who, he says, showed...read full entry...
  • Reading, Starbucks and imbricationMarch 19, 2009 – Jim has a very interesting account of a discussion at an AAAS panel about the future of the book, publishing and libraries over at HangingToghether. (It was part of a symposium on Information technology and the public good.) One note jumped out at me. He quotes Dan Clancy, of Google,...read full entry...
  • Convergence ...March 12, 2009 – I have been glancing through the contributions to HANSON, T. (2005). Managing academic support services in universities: the convergence experience. London, Facet. They examine convergence between libraries, IT and other support services in universities. This is a phenomenon more common in the UK than elsewhere: more than half of UK...read full entry...
  • Indiana tags, books, cloudFebruary 27, 2009 – Indiana University Bloomington Libraries has a nicely produced Annual Report on the web. We are growing used to seeing tag clouds used in various contexts. I was interested to see this page in the report ..... The report focuses emphasizes change, asking in its title "when does change become transformational?"....read full entry...
  • Books about universitiesFebruary 16, 2009 – Many of the pages in Worldcat Identities are for corporate authors, Ohio State University, for example. It is interesting in these cases to see what the most widely held items about the institution in question are. Here are some examples from universities ..... So, the list of most widely held...read full entry...
  • QOTD: "the occasional young adult Christmas paranormal love story mystery"February 10, 2009 – The Public Lending Right is a mechanism for distributing funds to authors based on circulation of their books in UK public libraries. It provides an interesting measure of popularity. The PLR has just released the list [pdf] of the highest circulating authors in 2007/2008. James Patterson is now the most...read full entry...
  • Looking at DarwinFebruary 02, 2009 – I was interested to look at Charles Darwin's Worldcat Identity given his bicentenary next week. The event is being widely marked and there is a long list of celebratory activities at Darwin Online, the site of his digitized papers. The year 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of...read full entry...
  • Phone homeJanuary 23, 2009 – Mike Leigh's film Happy-go-Lucky has been doing well, and Sally Hawkins who plays the lead won a Golden Globe for her performance. We liked it much less than the critics appeared to, including the excellent Philip French. (French reviews it in the Observer; while looking for this I came across...read full entry...
  • Reading, skimming, avoiding ...January 17, 2009 – I have been meaning to mention Carole Palmer's observation that we are seeing 'reading avoidance' as an emerging behavior among researchers, as they increasingly depend on abstracts, citations, and other reading cues and clues to 'avoid' full engagement with the materials themselves. Here is what I wrote in my recent...read full entry...
  • QOTD: News futures and brands of oneJanuary 11, 2009 – Michael Hirschorn speculates about the future of the New York Times in The Atlantic. Update: Perhaps the introduction of Bono as an occasional NYT op ed writer is a sign of things to come. The Guardian news blog summarises responses to Bono as a journalist. I like the phrase "brands...read full entry...
  • Bibliotherapy at the School of LifeJanuary 09, 2009 – If you visit the School of Life, you might stay a while; its tagline is "ideas to live by". Useful services include sermons you can listen to and experts you can talk to on the big questions of life. What was really interesting were the Bibliotherapy services. Unfortunately, we didn't...read full entry...
  • Holiday note 2: QOTD: video gamesDecember 31, 2008 – John Lanchester has an article on video games in the current London Review of Books. Because of the cultural segregation between audiences that he describes below, it is unusual to see a serious treatment of video games in a venue like this. I was particularly interested to see this given...read full entry...
  • QOTD: putting book info in the flowDecember 17, 2008 – Mike Shatzkin writes about the changing environment for publishers in Publishers' Weekly. There are some familiar themes ... Network concentration (Amazon) and diffusion (recommendation and referral from social sites, widgets, ...) ... Print book review media and subscription book clubs are fewer in number and, most critically, bricks-and-mortar retail shelf...read full entry...
  • Sustaining the digital investmentDecember 17, 2008 – The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access was launched last year by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with the Library of Congress, JISC, CLIR, and NARA. It is jointly chaired by Fran Berman of the San Diego Supercomputer Center...read full entry...
  • It's not there ...December 08, 2008 – I was going to do a short entry quoting from Benjamin Schwartz's review of David Thompson's Have you seen? : a personal introduction to 1,000 films in the November issue of the Atlantic. I went looking for it a few days ago but there appeared to be a mistake: the...read full entry...
  • Penguin datingDecember 06, 2008 – I have just come across PenguinDating "where book lovers meet", a partnership between Penguin and match.com. You can go on singles nights in libraries and there's even a hybrid speed-dating book club in a pub. Here at Penguin Books we’ve teamed up with match.com to create penguindating.co.uk. You can be...read full entry...
  • LabLitDecember 01, 2008 – A little off topic ... I was interested just now to come across LabLit.com magazine, an online presence devoted to the representation of science in literature. LabLit.com is dedicated to real laboratory culture and to the portrayal and perceptions of that culture – science, scientists and labs – in fiction,...read full entry...
  • Holiday and RSSNovember 26, 2008 – No posts for the next few days over the (US) holiday period as we are travelling. A parting note on reading feeds. I have shifted to Chrome for much of my web use. Although there are a few things I miss, overall I like the snappiness of its response. This...read full entry...
  • A network generation ...November 17, 2008 – Further to notes about NetGen, Fintan O'Toole's wonderful remarks on public libraries, and networking and the Obama campaign, here is Fintan O'Toole on generations, networks, and the election. Thirdly, and closely related to this change, is the cultural impact of the internet. The fears expressed about the internet even a...read full entry...
  • QOTD: MurdochNovember 16, 2008 – Some interesting quotes from a Rupert Murdoch lecture on the current media landscape on CNET. He talks about "compacency and condescension" in newsrooms. "The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show...read full entry...
  • The book and the cover upNovember 15, 2008 – I spent a couple of hours in Heffer's in Cambridge a while ago. Turning a corner I was pleasantly surprised by a set of handsome books in fine covers especially set out for inspection. It turned out they were a special issue to mark the 30 year anniversary of the...read full entry...
  • Blogging and Montaigne: musing and raving, humours and conceitsOctober 19, 2008 – I returned from my travels last night to find a new edition of the Atlantic waiting for me. It grabbed attention as it has been redesigned, and I liked the redesign. But also, my eye was caught by the title of Andrew Sullivan's essay 'Why I blog'. Sullivan's whole essay...read full entry...
  • Books as HistoryOctober 12, 2008 – I have just read with enjoyment David Pearson's finely produced Books as history [Oak Knoll Press][Worldcat]. His theme is that the artifactual properties of books have historic, aesthetic or other interest independent of the texts they convey. He opens with some consideration of the place of the book in the...read full entry...
  • Web 2.0 againOctober 05, 2008 – I have just got around to looking at Programming Collective Intelligence [O'Reilly][Worldcat] by Toby Segaran. This fascinating book demonstrates how you can build web applications to mine the enormous amount of data created by people on the Internet. With the sophisticated algorithms in this book, you can write smart programs...read full entry...
  • The flatpack wealth of nationsSeptember 19, 2008 – Robert Crawford's poem Digital Library, St Andrews, finishes with these lines .... Where laptops open like thick-leaved books The flatpack wealth of nations. I know this because I listened to him talk to John MacColl in the latest PARCast ... Robert Crawford, Professor of Modern scottish Literature at the University...read full entry...
  • Naming opportunitiesSeptember 18, 2008 – [warning: retrospection ahead] In a longish and intermittently productive professional writing career, I have had lots of opportunities to come up with titles for publications. With variable results. Some I like. Full disclosure captured, I thought, the gist of the report to which it is attached [pdf]. This was a...read full entry...
  • QOTD: reading is community workSeptember 15, 2008 – The University of Bristol has an interesting offer: A BA in English Literature and Community Engagement. I wonder if any of the students work with or through libraries. The Department of English offers a part-time BA (Hons) in English Literature and Community Engagement. This is an undergraduate degree, taught entirely...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Books on the webSeptember 07, 2008 – An interesting story about an academic imprint from Bloomsbury with a different business model .... The imprint will use Creative Commons licences to allow non-commercial use of all its titles on publication. Pinter described it as "a major commitment to spreading knowledge more easily throughout the world, with a sustainable...read full entry...
  • Above the FoldSeptember 05, 2008 – I am pleased to point to Above the fold, a new awareness resource .... Above the Fold consists of a compendium of articles that relate to the work of the RLG Partnership and the information context in which we're all operating -- but readers might not see in the course...read full entry...
  • Article history and Enid BlytonAugust 31, 2008 – It is nice seeing the Guardian record article history on the web version of articles - when was it originally published, what are the details of print publication, revisions. This shows that they are serious about what they publish as part of an ongoing part of the historical record. Incidentally,...read full entry...
  • The future of media?August 20, 2008 – As we have been traveling I haven't been watching a lot of TV, I thought I would go and have a look at a few videos of discussed Olympic events. The BBC is usually my first port of call for things like this, but of course, as noted previously, they...read full entry...
  • Selecting snippetsAugust 02, 2008 – Her Worldcat Identities page currently appears on the first page of results in a search for Eavan Boland Thom Hickey mentioned steps that his group is taking to make Identities more crawler-friendly in a recent post. Looking through various results with him the other day, the Boland snippet caught our...read full entry...
  • Buying books ... sometimesJuly 27, 2008 – When I was in Edinburgh recently I spent some time trying to find Dai Smith's recently published biography of Raymond Williams (which was published in the UK, but not yet in the US). It was not to be had in Blackwell's or Waterstones and I was surprised not to find...read full entry...
  • Van the ManJuly 25, 2008 – Something for the weekend ..... I have been interested to observe the disappearance of many Van Morrison songs from YouTube over the last while. I used to look at some from time to time. For example, there were a couple of videos of Cassandra Wilson's wonderful interpretation of Tupelo Honey...read full entry...
  • Quotes of the day: scholars on Google Book SearchJuly 23, 2008 – Here is John Sutherland on Google Book Search .... What we are witnessing this year is the beginning of the greatest act of recovered memory in the history of our species. The next decade will be the age of the unimaginably vast archive. More particularly, the dynamic and usable archive....read full entry...
  • The professional poetJuly 20, 2008 – Going a little off topic for this weekend message. Put aside your prejudices about the poet. Eavan Boland (poet and Stanford professor) writes about the 'skills' modern poets require if they are to thrive. Perhaps an opportunity for business schools to diversify into professional development courses for poets? Whether we...read full entry...
  • Reading and writhingJuly 20, 2008 – The Nicholas Carr article in the Atlantic - Does Google make us stupid? - has generated a lot of commentary. Carr himself has just pointed to an Edge discussion and an Encyclopedia Britannica discussion. I have commented on the perils of distraction a couple of times recently. Once when talking...read full entry...
  • Yeats againJuly 19, 2008 – I mentioned visiting the very nicely done Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland in these pages a couple of years ago. There is a very positive story about it in the NYT today. They highlight some of the digital elements of the exhibition ..... The notebook is one...read full entry...
  • Libraries and the interwebJuly 16, 2008 – Nick Carr has made a list of his favorite 'album' of each year since 1966. Some more detail: Over at The Gaping Silence, Phil Edwards picks up the challenge of listing "a favorite album for every year of your life." I'm definitely game for this game, though, like Phil and...read full entry...
  • Hot air ... thoughts from a blog boreJuly 12, 2008 – I fear that I am becoming a blog bore! At work, I find myself often wanting to say, and sometimes actually saying, "as I said in my blog entry the other day ...". Now, I am a bit self-conscious about this. If I don't say anything, and somebody has read...read full entry...
  • We enjoy visiting with our users while there is no place like homeJuly 10, 2008 – How libraries reach into the flow of their users has been one of the recurrent themes of this blog. Recently, I have been interested to see libraries begin to systematise this and to understand the issues around particular approaches. I mentioned the National Library of Scotland's presence on YouTube the...read full entry...
  • Uniform titlesJuly 05, 2008 – Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, librarian and writer, has a review of The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel in today's Irish Times. Mirroring what an eclectic, beautiful library is like, this volume assembles its reflections in a systematic way, under 15 uniform titles, ranked up like handsome spines, all in a...read full entry...
  • QOTD: All the news that is fit to print ....June 06, 2008 – All the news that is fit to print is not enough any more .... From the Yahoo! developer network blog. Lately there's been quite a few changes in "old school" media, with radio stations and TV channels starting developer programs. The newest wave seems to be newspapers embracing the new...read full entry...
  • Google and virtual bookshelfJune 05, 2008 – SEO by the Sea wonders about Google's plans for what it calls a 'virtual bookshelf site'. It presents a list of 13 such sites, from GoodReads to BookJetty. It then reviews a pretty interesting patent application from Google. A patent application for a virtual bookshelf program from Google was published...read full entry...
  • Long Room HubJune 04, 2008 – The picture selected to accompany Robert Darnton's article about research libraries in the New York Review of Books was of the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin. Robin Adams mentioned this at the RLG Programs Digitization and the Humanities: Impact on Libraries and Special Collections Symposium earlier today. He also...read full entry...
  • A decade of booksMay 27, 2008 – The literary festival at Hay-on-Wye is in mid-flow. For unfamiliar readers, Hay is a Welsh town famous for being home to many second-hand bookshops (aka used book stores). It has over thirty bookshops [Wikipedia]. Robert McCrum writes about this, and other, literary festivals in his retrospective review of ten years...read full entry...
  • Some readingMay 07, 2008 – Here are links to several unrelated publications ..... Reconfiguring the Library Systems Environment portal: Libraries and the Academy, Vol. 8, No. 2, April 2008. http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/archive/2008/dempsey-portal.pdf (.pdf: 195K/18 pp.) [Lorcan Dempsey: Selected publications [OCLC]] This is a short piece adapted from an earlier blog entry. Lavoie, Brian, and Günter Waibel. An...read full entry...
  • On gurus: reputation management and digestibilityMay 05, 2008 – Tom Davenport has created a list of the top 20 management gurus for the Wall Street Journal. Psychologists, journalists and celebrity chief executives crowd the top of a ranking of influential business thinkers compiled for The Wall Street Journal. The results, based on Google hits, media mentions and academic citations,...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Trees, books, rightsMay 01, 2008 – There is an interesting short article on book swapping sites in the Guardian, placing them in a 'recycling' context. For eco-aware readers, the environmental benefits of swapping rather than buying are clear. In 2003, Greenpeace launched its book campaign, producing evidence that the UK publishing industry was inadvertently fuelling the...read full entry...
  • Making tracksApril 30, 2008 – We got a present of a couple of children's books from Australia and were intrigued to discover their relationship to the collections of the National Museum of Australia. Making Tracks takes young readers on a fictional journey through some fascinating Australian stories, inspired by objects from the National Museum of...read full entry...
  • QOTD: mobileApril 28, 2008 – I am writing a short piece on mobile communications at the moment and have been interested to see that the whole world is writing about the impact of mobile. The Economist has a very nice special section with articles on a range of topics (see the display panel on the...read full entry...
  • Blake's sevenApril 25, 2008 – I have noticed that any self-respecting blog has to have the occasional science fiction reference. So here is an off-topic post for Friday. A remake of Blake's Seven is being discussed. LONDON -- Hoping to cash in on the success of classic sci-fi revamps such as the BBC's "Doctor Who"...read full entry...
  • Let me recommend ....April 23, 2008 – Lovereading is a site for readers ... Lovereading was founded for book lovers by book lovers in 2005. These days, it is harder than ever to find the book you want to read next - particularly because of the sheer volume and choice of books you can find on the...read full entry...
  • Black and white movies again ....April 20, 2008 – A late Friday afternoon note ..... I was watching an old episode of 8 simple rules this morning. Rory had to do a book report on To Kill a Mocking Bird. His father got the Gregory Peck movie, but his mother suggested he actually read the book, or read the...read full entry...
  • QOTD: predominant transportation method, texting and readingApril 20, 2008 – Having moved from London to the Mid-west we are very aware of the impact of location on life-style, the switch from public transport to the car being a major example. In this context, I was interested to read this paragraph by Castells et al in Mobile communication and society: a...read full entry...
  • Platforming a library network: destination and switchApril 18, 2008 – I recently came across xignite, a financial web services company. Here is their blurb .... Financial events around the world impact not only finance professionals but every business. This is why successful businesses integrate key financial information into the processes and applications their employees or clients use every day. Until...read full entry...
  • The network levelApril 07, 2008 – Jeremy Frumkin of Oregon State University talks to Merrilee Proffitt about library services and moving to the network level in the second Parcast [file is here]. This is in response to the question "what keeps you awake at night?". What is a Parcast? Welcome to the OCLC Programs and Research...read full entry...
  • SSEO for librariesMarch 24, 2008 – Well, another very fine issue of the Code4Lib Journal has appeared. Jody L DeRidder has an interesting piece describing how they used browsable link pages (by subject, name, ..) and sitemaps to improve the visibility of a particular resource to search engines. The discussion gets into some of the issues...read full entry...
  • You're so vain ... you probably want to look at your h-indexMarch 16, 2008 – And speaking of Elsevier, several colleagues and I received an email invitation from "the Scopus team" to look at our h-index [Wikipedia entry] on our very own Scopus profile page. Here is some of the text from the invitation: The h-index * can help you evaluate and benchmark your research...read full entry...
  • MashupsMarch 13, 2008 – Raymond Yee is the originator of the useful triple "gather, create, share", and is known for his work on the Scholar's Box. He lectures at the UC Berkeley School of Information. I have just got a copy of his book: Yee, Raymond. Pro Web 2.0 Mashups: Remixing Data and Web...read full entry...
  • Blog rollMarch 12, 2008 – Here are some blogs of potential interest, two from OCLC and one from JISC. From OCLC: The Developers' Network blog This provide updates about services which allow applications integrate OCLC services and data. And Andrew Pace reappears in a new location: Hectic Pace JISC now has a blog from the...read full entry...
  • Churnalism: link baiting list of 50 most influential blogsMarch 10, 2008 – Today's Observer has a list of the world's 50 most powerful blogs. There is no indication of how it was put together. I wasn't familiar with all of the 50. No great surprises in the top few (Huffington, Boing Boing, Techcrunch, Kottke). I was surprised to see Crooked Timber on...read full entry...
  • Harvard business blogsFebruary 19, 2008 – I did an interview about blogging a while ago for Information World Review. One of the things that got left out of the final version was a list of blogs from outside the library world which I read from a work point of view. Here are the blogs I listed....read full entry...
  • The afterlife of mediaFebruary 14, 2008 – I was playing with Rock Band at home the other day - well, moving my fingers anyway. I was struck by the way in which it gave renewed life to old songs. Who would have imagined, for example, that the youth of today would strum, drum and hum along to...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Reading againFebruary 08, 2008 – Steven Johnson, author of Everything bad is good for you: how today's popular culture is making you smarter, writes about a couple of recent discussions of reading, including the much discussed NEA report. : The problem with both arguments is that they're fundamentally rehashing the technological opposition of the television...read full entry...
  • QOTD: a lifted study-storehouseFebruary 01, 2008 – I mentioned the other day that the Times had nominated Philip Larkin, poet and librarian ("the toad work") as the greatest British writer since 1945. Through the wonders of resource sharing I have got hold of a copy of his history of the library at the University of Hull, updated...read full entry...
  • Find the gapJanuary 27, 2008 – On page 3 of Helen Vendler's Our secret discipline: Yeats and lyric form I read: And since there is no better motive for writing on a subject than a gap on library shelves, I began in earnest, some years ago, to study Yeats's lyric style. I wonder is there a...read full entry...
  • Librarian tops pollJanuary 18, 2008 – OK, I am cheating a little. The Times has produced a list of the greatest British writers since 1945, and Philip Larkin heads the list. Larkin was of course Librarian at the University of Hull for many years. "My job as University Librarian is a full-time one, five days a...read full entry...
  • The less common readerJanuary 06, 2008 – The much-discussed, and somewhat contested, NEA report on reading came out at around the same time as The Uncommon Reader, a fictional account by Alan Bennett of the late discovery of reading by the Queen (of England). The conjunction was discussed in the New York Times: PERHAPS the most fantastical...read full entry...
  • What the reader intends ...January 06, 2008 – From the ever-suggestive William Gibson .. Did Borges ever imagine a library in which we could know which volumes users were thinking about consulting? [William Gibson] He is pointing to a recent article about the analysis of user data by Google and the types of intelligence they can derive from...read full entry...
  • Google Book Search and document understandingJanuary 03, 2008 – Google Book Search: Document Understanding on a Massive Scale [PDF] is a brief treatment of issues faced by Google as they grow their corpus of digitized books and work to make it useful in various ways. Luc Vincent of Google discusses OCR (issues of many languages occurring unpredictably in variously...read full entry...
  • Reading ... or not?November 28, 2007 – Is listening to an audiobook 'reading'? I remember asking this question at a conference last year and getting some diversity of response. Like many others, our children's school uses Accelerated Reader. They can do the quizzes on books that they hear in the car as well as on those that...read full entry...
  • John Wilkin's blogNovember 17, 2007 – It is always worth hearing what John Wilkin has to say so I was interested to see that he has begun a blog. He has got off to a good start and has written two intriguing entries which tackle difficult topics with a combination of nuance and authority, scruple and...read full entry...
  • Library History againNovember 13, 2007 – A long time ago I wrote .... If you have $495 to spend, or £261.25, you can acquire The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland. The publisher claims that this is "The most comprehensive history of libraries from their beginnings to the digital age". Three volumes, 2072 pages,...read full entry...
  • WorldmapNovember 03, 2007 – Future reading: digitization and its discontents, an article by Anthony Grafton in the New Yorker, was widely noticed this week. It was nice to see him mention the Worldmap. This was a project we undertook in the context of the Changing Global Book Collection Patterns in ARL Libraries study. Coincidentally,...read full entry...
  • The experiential gap: that Rhino againOctober 23, 2007 – Stephen Abram gave a lively presentation to OCLC Members' Council on Sunday night. Several times he remarked that somebody has to have tried a service, Second Life or Facebook for example, and 'had the experience' if they are to speak sensibly about it. This reminded me of a favorite image...read full entry...
  • Organized, internationallyOctober 13, 2007 – There was some discussion a while ago in various places about the relative merits of bookstore and public library shelf organization. I was thinking of this as I was looking at music in Borders earlier today. Borders used to have Irish music in a section called World. Now they have...read full entry...
  • Open UniversityOctober 08, 2007 – The Open University has one of the best logos I know. It does actually communicate something about the institution. And as an institution it is a significant achievement. At one time, TV programs were a major way the OU delivered courses. And for people of my generation, the off-peak OU...read full entry...
  • Discovery happens elsewhere, againSeptember 18, 2007 – The decision by the New York Times to open up for general reading the formerly for-fee TimeSelect parts of its website is being widely discussed. The rationale given is interesting. Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well...read full entry...
  • Knowing about libraries and services in the networkSeptember 13, 2007 – I bought the following book in the congenial City Newstand in Cheyenne this afternoon. The back cover tells me that it was the Wyoming Historical Society Book of the year ... I like the 'get it', 'save it', 'add to it', and 'share it' features. Because I am sitting at...read full entry...
  • WesternsSeptember 13, 2007 – I am writing this in the very fine new public library building in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was speaking to the Wyoming Library Association conference this morning. I have been travelling this week, hence no posts. In the few minutes before the library closes .... When I told the children I...read full entry...
  • Ambient fulfilment and on-demand spaceSeptember 06, 2007 – The iPod hookup with Starbucks has had a mixed reception. I thought that it was intriguing as one of those little newsflashes from the future. From a story about how the current iPod form factor will be replaced by one based on the iPhone. In a curious marketing twist, Apple...read full entry...
  • Give us a subject heading ...September 02, 2007 – I was interested to read the following in Susan Gibbons' The academic library and the Net Gen student. As gaming becomes a more mainstream pastime and an important element in popular culture, academic libraries should begin to develop collections of books and journals about gaming. To find some recent monographs,...read full entry...
  • The academic library and its usersAugust 30, 2007 – I mentioned Jim Collins' book on the social sectors the other day. I have just acquired Susan Gibbons' book, The academic library and the net gen student: making the connections. I was interested to see her make use of Collins' material in the opening chapter where she suggests the following...read full entry...
  • CommunicationAugust 20, 2007 – Update: my comments about the published literature below are about the library literature, a very specific set of journals and organizations. I am not trying to make any statement about the general value of the 'published literature' relative to blogs or other media. We have lots of places to 'publish'...read full entry...
  • Long playing videoAugust 18, 2007 – An off-topic weekend entry .... I loved the nice conceit in this youtube video. A retro moment for mature readers. This is Redwood Tree from St Dominic's Preview, the Van Morrison, er, LP. I was interested to see that embedding was disabled by request, something I had not seen before....read full entry...
  • Bright is the old grayJuly 23, 2007 – Reading Walt's latest Cites and Insights this jumped out at me: I believe that gray literature—blogs, this ejournal, a few similar publications and some lists—represents the most compelling and worthwhile literature in the library field today. [Cites & Insights 7:9 - On the Literatyre] Gray? Gray! Blogs, reports published on...read full entry...
  • HPJuly 21, 2007 – A little off topic, but here is a post for the night that is in it .... We live in Clintonville, Columbus, among whose amenities are the independent Cover to Cover bookstore for children and the independent Studio 35 movie theater (picture) (where you can have beer and pizza while...read full entry...
  • Narnia, memory organizations and public diplomacyJuly 12, 2007 – Cultural diplomacy is a report from the UK think tank Demos which I finally read on a plane ride this week. It talks about the role of cultural institutions and manifestations in international relations and,while charting international differences of approach, notes that cultural diplomacy is sometimes underappreciated as a 'soft'...read full entry...
  • QOTD: keeping Wittgenstein out June 28, 2007 – Off-topic, but as it is nearly Friday. Here is Frank Kermode reviewing A.E.Housman's letters in the LRB. I wonder how Wittgenstein felt about this exclusion? The life of a bachelor fellow of Trinity could hardly be described as arduous; the company was distinguished, the wine excellent, the menus subject to...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Facing and spacingJune 22, 2007 – Facebook is everywhere. I liked this paragraph from the Guardian business pages: The success of Facebook has not gone unnoticed at News Corp. Asked earlier this month by the Wall Street Journal - which he is looking to buy - why he had not made an offer for another North...read full entry...
  • Joyce booksJune 17, 2007 – So, given that yesterday was Bloomsday, here is a quickly produced list of books about Joyce. It is a selection of a hundred or so titles from a Worldcat search with 'james joyce' in the title. It was created using the new Worldcat lists feature....read full entry...
  • Bloom in DublinJune 16, 2007 – Today was Bloomsday, the day on which James Joyce's Ulysses is set. This has gone unremarked on the homepage of the National Library of Ireland, an institution which barely appears to have noticed the web. There is a link to a Joyce e-card gallery on the Dublin City Library homepage...read full entry...
  • Systemic change: CIC and GoogleJune 06, 2007 – Today Google and CIC announce an agreement to digitize ten million volumes across the CIC libraries. Google has been adding new partners since the first announcement was made about the Google 5. Some folks have wondered what rationale has governed selection of partner opportunities. We do not know, but they...read full entry...
  • QOTD: a medium of few wordsMay 29, 2007 – It has been interesting seeing how quickly the 'long tail' has been adopted as a phrase in a wide range of discussion and analysis. There is an article in the current First Monday by Kalevi Kilkki which applies a long tail model to data in several different areas. This paragraph...read full entry...
  • Social mediaMay 27, 2007 – I have just watched the video [video opens on a web page] of a fascinating talk by Joshua Prince-Ramus, the principal architect of the Seattle Public Library. He talks about two core positions. The first is that books are a technology, something, he suggests that people tend to forget. They...read full entry...
  • Day-Lewis stockMay 13, 2007 – Andrew Motion, current UK poet laureate reviews the biography of one of his predecessors in that role, Cecil Day-Lewis:Various attempts have been made to lift the reputation of Cecil Day-Lewis since his death 35 years ago, but none of them has met with much success. The poet, who was esteemed...read full entry...
  • Old media got socializedMay 08, 2007 – Rupert Murdoch's short article in the current Forbes is being noted around the place. It is a quick read and worth a visit. Those of us in so-called old media have also learned the hard way what this new meaning of networking spells for our businesses. Media companies don't control...read full entry...
  • Google authorsApril 28, 2007 – I just came across Google Authors, a series of videos of guest speakers at Google. An interesting variety and different formats (lecture, interview, ...). Many are interviewed by Eric Schmidt. Some household names (if you live in a BoBo household, to use the term coined by David Brooks, one of...read full entry...
  • RLG DigiNewsApril 25, 2007 – One of the characteristics of the digital library phase has been the emergence of several web-based journals and magazines focusing on the digital turn in libraries and related institutions. Of course, there has been DLib Magazine, and, in the UK, Ariadne. RLG DigiNews has been an important part of this...read full entry...
  • Fan fictionApril 21, 2007 – The ever-interesting Hitwise blog has a post talking about what 18 to 24 year olds do online. Yesterday I spoke at the the Millennials Conference in Los Angeles. I talked about some websites that have a high concentration of users in the 18-24 age group, and are enabling users to...read full entry...
  • Library collectionsApril 20, 2007 – On my way home through Hong Kong airport, I bought A case of two cities, one in a series of novels by Qiu Xiaolong about Shanghai poet and detective, Inspector Chen Cao. Chen ends up leading a delegation of Chinese poets to the US, an activity that criss-crosses with the...read full entry...
  • A perspective on the academic libraryApril 16, 2007 – The pattern of central funding for education and cultural areas in the UK has led to the emergence of a rich centrally managed support, policy, planning and service environment. One might have an interesting discussion about where this modus operandi is successful (removing redundancy and fragmentation by providing service at...read full entry...
  • Books are technology tooApril 16, 2007 – The Google digitization of books appears to have caught the public imagination. Recent weeks have seen high profile articles in The Economist [subscription required]and The New Yorker as well as several newspaper pieces (see the links and response on this OUP blog entry for example). Google Book Search is a...read full entry...
  • Discovery at the network levelApril 10, 2007 – Evan Schnittman of OUP responds to an article in the FT (now behind a subscription wall) on Google digitization:The reality is we are not running scared from Google - frankly it's quite the opposite. Through initiatives such as Google Book Search, Amazon's Search Inside the Book, Microsoft's Windows Live Book...read full entry...
  • MemeticApril 05, 2007 – Memes. Memetic? I quite liked doing the list of fours. I passed over the invitation to disclose five things you don't know about me. However, I cannot decline Ms Chrystie Hill who prompts me to list five non-library blogs. I think the meme meme is getting tired, but this was...read full entry...
  • Wales, Ohio and library poemsMarch 26, 2007 – The National Library of Wales is celebrating its centenary with a series of events and exhibitions, and with a new website. I discovered this as I stumbled across the Wales-Ohio project, no less. As a resident of Columbus, Ohio, I need to watch how this develops!The experiences of the Welsh...read full entry...
  • Gaming and the Rhinoceros in the RoomMarch 21, 2007 – Jenny Levine spoke about gaming and libraries at Getting in the flow. I hadn't seen this presentation before and liked that she approached it from several angles. The presentation is on her presentations wiki. I was struck by a comment she made about socialization. If large numbers of people engage...read full entry...
  • A book cloudMarch 15, 2007 – My marketing colleague Andy Havens suggested that we think about making the Top 1000 works in Worldcat list that we did a while ago visible in del.icio.us. My research colleague Andy Houghton looked into it and here is the result. The list is findable by ISBN, OCLC number, language, genre...read full entry...
  • Paper platformsMarch 14, 2007 – From BuzzMachine:Yesterday, Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, told the staff of his newspaper that now “all journalists work for the digital platform” and that they should regard “its demands as preeminent.” [BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » ‘The web is preeminent’]Folks will notice that I occasionally quote from the Guardian...read full entry...
  • GBS FRBRMarch 12, 2007 –  I mentioned Augustine of Hippo the other day, in the context of the interesting work that Google is doing to develop a contextual page for each book (resources about it, resources related to it, etc. See this Penguin Classic with the nice cover, for example). Searching for the 'City...read full entry...
  • The publication profile of the Divine BohemianMarch 06, 2007 –  From an article in Sunday's NYT:A FEW brush strokes have come to define the otherwise obscure 18th-century composer later known as Il Divino Boemo, or the Divine Bohemian: Josef Myslivecek. [Josef Myslivecek - Music - New York Times]The article discusses Myslivecek's influence on Mozart and his decline in popularity....read full entry...
  • QOTD: Google booksMarch 06, 2007 – Peter Brantley, the new Director of the Digital Library Federation writes about the library digitization initiatives with Google:We poisoned our hand before we played it. We were approached singly, charmed in confidence, the stranger was beguiling, and we embraced. For the love of selfish confidence, we spoke neither our fortune...read full entry...
  • Libraries, books and network level servicesMarch 03, 2007 – The growth in variety and volume of sites for personal collection management is fascinating to watch, especially those where addtiional value is created by pooling choices and preferences across users. Sites for music and books especially. Typically these sites display network effects, they improve as more people connect and share...read full entry...
  • Using intentional data becomes routineFebruary 28, 2007 – I notice that IMDB has had a facelift. We use it a lot to see what folks think of movies - before renting or borrowing DVDs. We have a rule - rarely enforced ;-) - that we only watch movies with a score of 7 or over. A part of...read full entry...
  • QOTD: A new literacy?February 18, 2007 – In typically portentous tones, George Steiner notes the declining influence of the humanities and proposes a new literacy based on mathematics, music and architecture:A new literacy, as I imagine it, would have a core syllabus in mathematics, in music, and in architecture. The three domains of the human spirit can,...read full entry...
  • The anxiety of influenceFebruary 18, 2007 – We are lucky to live a short walk from the Whetstone branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library. I was there a few months ago browsing in the literature section. I was interested to see the strong presence of Harold Bloom. There were both books by him, and collections of critical essays...read full entry...
  • It's a small(ish) worldFebruary 11, 2007 – George Bernard Shaw is famously said to have said that England and America were countries separated by a common language (of course, Shaw was neither English nor American). Here are a couple of very small things that I ran into recently, not about language as such but about little cultural...read full entry...
  • Communicating communications researchJanuary 30, 2007 – While looking at the Open Journal Systems pages I came across a link to the International Journal of Communication. This is probably old news to folks but I thought it quite interesting. It is a publication of the USC Annenberg Center. It is edited by Larry Gross and the distinguished...read full entry...
  • Tundish, maps and emergent knowledgeJanuary 27, 2007 – There is a famous passage in A portrait of the artist as a young man where Stephen Dedalus is talking to an English priest and is made uncomfortable about the Irish way in which he speaks English. Stephen uses the word tundish for funnel, a word unfamiliar to the priest....read full entry...
  • Library bloggingJanuary 15, 2007 – Walt does a nice job describing Michael Sauer's Blogging and RSS: a librarians guide (here and here). I too was pleased to receive a copy over the holiday period. I should not have been so formal in my interview responses ;-) As I say in the book, I tend to...read full entry...
  • Airplane reading: smelling the wineJanuary 13, 2007 – A busy week with a trip at the end meant little posting. Here is a note on travel reading. I received When red is black by Qiu Xiaolong over Christmas and finished it on the way back from New York City yesterday evening. Chen, the detective with literary interests is...read full entry...
  • Intentional data, and book salesJanuary 06, 2007 – I wrote about intentional data the other day. Here is a small example I have just come across. Tim O'Reilly is talking about Asterisk, an open source PBX solution. he wonders why it is not more discussed. It seems a bit like the early days of things like Perl and...read full entry...
  • Justifying your place on the shelvesJanuary 01, 2007 – The Washington Post is carrying a story on collection development at Fairfax County Public Library. Collection development? Well, the hook is more their 'data driven' policy on discards. "We're being very ruthless," said Sam Clay, director of the 21-branch system since 1982. "A book is not forever. If you have...read full entry...
  • Library historyDecember 31, 2006 – If you have $495 to spend, or £261.25, you can acquire The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland. The publisher claims that this is "The most comprehensive history of libraries from their beginnings to the digital age". Three volumes, 2072 pages, 4.99 lbs. I would be interested in...read full entry...
  • Circulation and the collective collection againDecember 27, 2006 – I stumbled upon the pages at Swarthmore College Library devoted to WH Auden's spell as a teacher there earlier today. There are a few nice pages pointing to his use of the library.Auden was a great poet and a provocative professor, but he was not always the ideal library patron....read full entry...
  • Mass digitizationDecember 17, 2006 – In preparation for my trip to France recently, I read, in English, Jean-Noël Jeanneney's critique of the Google digitization of library books, Google and the myth of universal knowledge : a view from Europe ('available' here, on, er, Google Book Search). Whatever one's response to his argument, it is a...read full entry...
  • Finding fictionDecember 16, 2006 – FictionFinder has been available for quite a while. Check out the new version. This is a prototype which has several motivations. It takes fiction records from Worldcat and shows how the data can be made 'work harder' to create useful and interesting experience. It offers a 'frbresque' view of the...read full entry...
  • Chicago: a gallimaufry of observationsNovember 26, 2006 – Light posting this week as we spent Thanksgiving and a couple of additional days in Chicago. Here are some vaguely work-related remarks, and some less so:Discovered in Chicago Comics on North Clark St the following volume: The Illustrated Librarian: 12 temporary tatoos for librarians and booklovers. Includes 'I love Dewey...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Reeling and writhingNovember 20, 2006 – From William Gibson's blog:I would add that talented writers begin as talent readers, though I've scarcely heard it remarked upon. [William Gibson]...read full entry...
  • Children's book week ...November 13, 2006 –  To mark Children's Book Week folks here at OCLC are talking about children's books that mean something to them Here are two I like ..... The Wool-pack One of the first 'long' books I remember reading was The Wool-pack by Cynthia Harnett; the richness of its historical description made...read full entry...
  • Web 2.0 : a quick readNovember 04, 2006 – The Guardian supplement has a feature on Web 2.0 where they interview the founders of a set of internet companies (delicious, flickr, bebo, wordpress, blogger, Wikipedia, writely, netvibes, digg, and others). Interviews are short and each is asked what they think Web 2.0 is, what was their 'big idea' (to...read full entry...
  • Pick up a penguin, nostalgicallyOctober 31, 2006 – I grew up in a house with a lot of books. And dominant among them were those published by Penguin. Their orange and green iconic covers are deeply imprinted on my brain, and I remember individual covers in the Classics and Modern Classics series. Here is the Design Museum:The rigorous...read full entry...
  • Keywords and informationOctober 29, 2006 – Steven Johnson - who has featured in these pages before - has an interesting piece in the New York Times Book Review. He plays on the senses of 'Key words'. He notes the well-known work by Raymond Williams called Keywords (first edition in 1976, revised and expanded in 1983) as...read full entry...
  • Retro LorcanOctober 18, 2006 – I mention below that I had bought Horse Latitudes while in the Twin Cities. I had looked for this a couple of times recently in bookstores in Columbus without finding it. I could have ordered it from Amazon, but I hesitated as I thought I might come across it somewhere,...read full entry...
  • A diversion: from Gruen to Zevon via MinneapolisOctober 16, 2006 – I was reading about Victor Gruen several days ago in the Atlantic, and about his work in helping create the US indoor shopping mall experience. The piece describes his work on the Southdale Center, the first enclosed mall in the US. See the Southdale website for the Center as it...read full entry...
  • Library waySeptember 05, 2006 – E41ST uses Flex 2, Amazon web services, and 'your public library' to connect an Amazon browsing experience with a look up in a local public library. E41ST is an attempt at making a corner of the web look the way I like to see it! Named after New York's East...read full entry...
  • Fingering volumesSeptember 04, 2006 – In December 2004 I wrote:Walter Benjamin famously asserted that "that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art". In his terms, the aura is that which is original or authentic about a work. Aura depends on the position of a work within...read full entry...
  • The power of demand aggregationSeptember 02, 2006 – There are a couple of interesting recent posts on Hitwise. First, they note that Flickr is the UK's number one photo site. When they last looked at this in the Spring Flickr was still behind Photobucket. They attribute its improvement to good search engine optimization and searches for what they...read full entry...
  • Writing on the networkAugust 17, 2006 – I have just done a longish summary-sort of entry about Microsoft's take on what Ray Ozzie calls the 'services transformation'. I wrote that entry, and am writing this entry, using Window's Live Writer. This is a nice example of the services transformation in action: I am using a local application...read full entry...
  • Small pieces ....July 10, 2006 – We have been interested in the great interest expressed in xISBN. It receives heavy traffic and seems to show how useful an easily recombinable web service can be. Thom compares the newer thingISBN service on LibraryThing with xISBN. Richard Wallis shows xISBN and thingISBN working with a couple more web...read full entry...
  • A learning experienceJune 17, 2006 – We have just come back from seeing X-Men: the last stand at the very congenial Studio 35 (where you can have beer and pizza while watching movies). In the opening action sequence, Wolverine seems more casual than his life-threatening situation warrants. However, it turns out that they are participating in...read full entry...
  • Obscure Shakespearean gemsJune 14, 2006 – For Prospero, his library was dukedom enough. I verified this through a search of The Tempest on Google Book Search just now. Many readers will have seen that Google Book Search has a Shakespeare page:This summer we're working to make Shakespeare even more accessible with our website at www.google.com/shakespeare, where...read full entry...
  • Guardian on the webJune 12, 2006 – An interesting note on the UK Guardian newspaper:We have come to one of those forks in the road that affect the direction of the entire newspaper industry. From tomorrow, the Guardian will publish stories first to the web, ending the primacy of the printed newspaper. [Guardian Unlimited Technology | Technology...read full entry...
  • Does it exist?June 08, 2006 – abebooks.co.uk has an advert in the current London Review of Books. It suggests that 'if you can't find it here, it doesn't exist' and reports that it has '80 million new, secondhand, rare and out-of-print books'. And here is a note from (both the UK and US) website:With over 80...read full entry...
  • ISBNs: an interesting data pointJune 07, 2006 – About a third of the print books in WorldCat have ISBNs. Brian Lavoie provided me with this number based on the data extracted from WorldCat to support his joint work with Roger Schonfeld of Ithaka on the systemwide view of library collections. (Their presentation to CNI is available [ppt]; an...read full entry...
  • A Friday evening post: a couple of library mentions in early weekend readingMay 26, 2006 – The marvellous Philip French on the Da Vinci Code movie:The one truly funny line, however, is spoken by Hanks and, presumably, it is intended to underpin his intellectual credentials. As he and Tautou are being chased through the streets of London, he is suddenly struck by a major thought: 'I've...read full entry...
  • Starbucks and perceptionsMay 26, 2006 – I finished off my presentation for the Celtic Connections conference last week in a local Starbucks with a wireless connection. This was in the middle of Cardiff. It was buzzing. Stuck for several hours in Newark airport on my way back from Cardiff, I was interested to read the cover...read full entry...
  • How much is that book in the window ...April 18, 2006 – Jack Ammerman has an interesting point in relation to my entry about what 'owning' a book might actually mean (Sharable and licensable). I note that given the restrictions on what one can do with the intellectual content of a book which is still in copyright that the gap between our...read full entry...
  • Sharable and licensableApril 10, 2006 – We have several mass digitization initiatives underway. And there seems to be an expectation that these will continue, that more of our current collective book and journal collection will be digitized. There are a variety of drivers for this, both for libraries and for the other organizations which have stepped...read full entry...
  • Link traffic - the top 1000April 05, 2006 –  I spoke [ppt] about our Top 1000 list at the Reading 2.0 meeting where it was picked up and blogged by Tim O'Reilly. This gave it considerable exposure. See the spike in traffic centred on 3/17. It was picked up in several places, including in a short post on...read full entry...
  • The NYT and the rich texture of suggestionApril 03, 2006 – The New York Times discusses its redesigned web presence:We also wanted to give our readers a greater voice and sprinkle a little more serendipity around the site by providing prominent links to a list of most e-mailed and blogged articles, most searched for information and popular movies. A new tab...read full entry...
  • The organizational shuffleApril 02, 2006 – A while ago I wrote an entry noting the general trend towards decomposition and recomposition of parts at various levels, from metadata schema to organizations: recombinance all the way down, remixing all the way up. As the network moves inside structures, they fragment and recombine. I was reminded of this...read full entry...
  • Reading 2.0March 17, 2006 – I have just returned from the congenial Reading 2.0 conference organized by Peter Brantley. The topic was the emergent contexts of reading and books in a network environment, and a diverse group spoke about issues. I will have some things to say about it anon. In the interim, here are...read full entry...
  • The Long Tail and the used book marketMarch 03, 2006 – Work commissioned by the Book Industry Study Group reports that:"The real story is the dramatic growth of used trade books sold through on-line channels", noted Jeff Hayes, Group Director for InfoTrends/CAP Ventures and principal analyst on the study. "Used books are becoming mainstream as the Internet provides transparency into the...read full entry...
  • A book diversionFebruary 26, 2006 – Flann O'Brien was a man of many names. He wrote, among other things, The Third Policeman, a dark comic novel.Harper Collins describes the book, which was originally rejected by publishers for being too fantastical, as "the story of a tender, brief, unrequited love affair between a man and his bicycle...read full entry...
  • Tenth anniversary issue of AriadneFebruary 08, 2006 – A special decennial issue of Ariadne has just appeared. Here is a list of the articles included: Projects into Services: The UK Experience Peter Brophy reviews the experience of the UK academic sector in turning digital library projects into sustainable services. What Users Want: An Academic `Hybrid' Library Perspective Reg...read full entry...
  • A couple of pubsFebruary 04, 2006 – Just a note about a couple of publications which have recently appeared which highlight the use of bibliographic data to provide 'business intelligence': Brian Lavoie, Lorcan Dempsey, Lynn Silipigni Connaway Making data work harder. Library Journal, January 15, 2006. This briefly reviews some recent data mining work placing it in...read full entry...
  • AriadneJanuary 16, 2006 – I am reminded by John Kirriemuir that Ariadne first appeared ten years ago today. Ariadne is a web-based magazine which has reported on UK and wider digital library developments. It is still going strong. Ariadne was established by John MacColl (now at the University of Edinburgh) and myself as a...read full entry...
  • A book on institutional repositories, no less ...January 07, 2006 – I notice with interest that the Institutional Repository is a sufficiently mature topic for a publisher to publish a book on it and for authors (Richard Jones, Theo Andrew and John MacColl) to write one. Incidentally, this was the first time that I noticed that Amazon.co.uk includes sponsored links. Speaking...read full entry...
  • Changing expecations (again)January 02, 2006 – Over the break I was looking at a couple of directory-type sites. I was interested in how my response to them was different than it would have been a couple of years ago. First, somebody was showing me the Irish Playography site, an impressive accounting of Irish plays and the...read full entry...
  • It was ever thus ...December 19, 2005 – From W.B. Yeats, writing in the reading room of the National Library of Ireland in 1892:The glacial weight of scholasticism is over the room and over all the would-be intellectual life of Dublin. Nobody in this great library is doing any disinterested reading, nobody is poring over any book for...read full entry...
  • On Beauty and communityNovember 26, 2005 – I see that On Beauty is for now on top of the list of 'hot books' at the justly admired Ann Arbor District Library website. It must be because of the Open WorldCat reviews ;-) While I was there, I noticed the Director's Blog, in which there was real exchange...read full entry...
  • Geek novelsNovember 26, 2005 – Jack Schofield, pioneering technical journalist, and Guardian blogger, has polled his readers for their top 'geek novels'. Check out his results. Here is his top fifteen: 1. The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Douglas Adams 85% (102) 2. Nineteen Eighty-Four -- George Orwell 79% (92) 3. Brave New World...read full entry...
  • 2b?Ntb?=?November 16, 2005 – British student phone service dot mobile is providing a service which compresses classics into a text message idiom to help with revision. Here is the summary of Pride and Prejudice:5SistrsWntngHsbnds.NwMenIn Twn-Bingly&Darcy Fit&Loadd. BigSisJaneFals4B,2ndSisLizH8s DCozHesProud.SlimySoljrWikam SysDHsShadyPast.TrnsOutHes ActulyARlyNysGuy&RlyFancysLiz.SheDecydsSheLyksHim.Evry1GtsMaryd. [Guardian Unlimited Books | News | If you don't want to know how Bleak...read full entry...
  • Blogs, media and voiceNovember 12, 2005 – Ian Buruma, author and Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College writes an interesting piece about the soundtrack of protest, and finishes with some comments about blogging:As the mainstream media, especially in the US, have become part of the same corporate entertainment empires that own...read full entry...
  • A book is a book is a book ...October 30, 2005 – I came across the following lines in Derek Mahon's Selected Poems this morning. They are from The Joycentenary Ode, a poem written in a Joycean idiom ...Everybaddy readsYour wooks now inUnlimited eruditions;Now maybe my ears are especially sensitized to such issues (from our FRBR work) but I wondered if we...read full entry...
  • Reviews ... October 28, 2005 – I have now written two reviews in Open Worldcat.On beauty by Zadie SmithIslandbridge by John BradyIt has spurred me to think of lists of things it would be nice to read again and review. I am currently rereading one of my favorite novels as I am prompted to contribute something...read full entry...
  • Conference, blogs and a bookOctober 20, 2005 – Access 2005 was a conference with a very individual flavor. The geeky concentration mixed with the more general made it a very fruitful experience. Presentations built on each other. A collegial attention to common solutions ran through the meeting. It made one feel good to be surrounded by so many...read full entry...
  • Top 1000 worksOctober 13, 2005 – I am pleased to note that we have updated the OCLC Top 1000 list. This is a list of the most widely held works in WorldCat, which in turn represents the holdings of many thousands of libraries around the world. A work brings together the various editions, translations and so...read full entry...
  • Nobel prizeOctober 13, 2005 – I notice that Harold Pinter has won the Nobel Prize for literature. I also saw the other day a suggestion that the jury had delayed their decision amid reports of disagreement over making the award to Turkish author, Orhan Pamuk. One sometimes wonders what non-literary factors weigh in the balance...read full entry...
  • The reader and OpenWorldCatOctober 09, 2005 – Well, it has arrived! Functionality has gone live in OpenWorldCat which allows us to incorporate user views of materials. Check out the details and reviews tab here, for example. We do not know how this will develop: we think it is really important to provide a central presence on the...read full entry...
  • BibliomysteriesOctober 03, 2005 – Bibliomysteries - a guide to "mysteries that have settings, plots, or substantial characters in them related to the world of books, writers, archives and libraries."...read full entry...
  • BBC AmericaSeptember 01, 2005 – The remaking of Doctor Who by the BBC a while ago was a nostalgic moment for many. Certainly for me, who had grown up with it, it was. Although I have not yet seen an episode of the new version. The BBC -- radio and TV -- has been a...read full entry...
  • UIUC blogsAugust 21, 2005 – My favorite course in library school was children's literature, taught by Pat Donlon, the former National Librarian of Ireland. Having said that, I did not come across our (current) favorite children's author, Mairi Hederwick, until several years later when I was looking in the bookstore in Edinburgh Airport for something...read full entry...
  • Austen, globalization and FRBRAugust 13, 2005 – We just saw Bride and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice recast in contemporary Amritsar, London and Los Angeles. Bollywood meets Hollywood was the tagline. The most interesting and telling shift for me was that Elizabeth Bennett's suitor, the fussy clergyman Mr Collins, who represented financial and social security, was updated here...read full entry...
  • Book handles againAugust 04, 2005 – Herbert left a comment on my note below about the Open WorldCat URL syntax, and there were a couple of comments along similar lines on Karen's FreeRangeLibrarian post. The gist was why not use the OpenURL syntax for these links. Sure .. we see OpenURL as very important moving forward...read full entry...
  • Book handlesAugust 02, 2005 – Look at the URLs in these sentences:I have spoken about the The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman several times recently. It is available in several libraries near where I live. They conform to a URL syntax that OCLC has just published (details here) that will be supported consistently. This...read full entry...
  • BookcrossingJuly 31, 2005 – I came across Bookcrossing a while ago. It is a nice idea. The Guardian describes it like this:The concept is finders-keepers meets interactive virtual lending library. The rules are simple. First take a book down from your shelf. It should be one you love. (Ideally, if you ruled the world...read full entry...
  • Books and marketsJuly 28, 2005 – Hal Varian has an interesting piece in today's NYT about Amazon and the impact of used book sales on new book sales. He concludes that "all in all, it looks like the used book market creates a lot more value than it destroys."Moreover, the presence of lower-priced books on the...read full entry...
  • Libraries and academic booksJuly 17, 2005 – On my travels I have been reading the weighty Books in the digital age by sociologist John B Thompson. He discusses the impact of library budgets on the publication of scholarly monographs in several places. The most important fact in explaining the decline in the sales of scholarly monographs is...read full entry...
  • Book sales - making data workJune 20, 2005 – Tim O'Reilly uses aggregate tech book sales data as a trend indicator. He is looking at the relative 'popularity' of programming languages. Last year at OScon, I gave a presentation entitled What Book Sales Tell Us About the State of the Tech Industry. One of the conclusions I drew was...read full entry...
  • Reading meets social softwareJune 12, 2005 – In an excerpt below, Nick Hornby argues that a person's bookshelves reveal much about them, in fact, he claims, they are the 'fullest expression of self'. Somebody else is thinking along the same lines ... ConnectViaBooks is a social networking service based on reading affinities.In our experience, the books we...read full entry...
  • Cover storyMay 31, 2005 – Penguin book covers are iconic. There is a nice article by Peter Campbell on the design of Penguin books in the London Review of Books. This is on the occasion of a forthcoming exhibition at the V&A [V&A press release in Word]. Market forces made the covers both livelier and...read full entry...
  • Dewey and trivial pursuitMay 29, 2005 – I read Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree on a plane trip recently. It is built on a nice conceit: a month-by-month accounting of books bought and books read. My eye was caught by the following on page 128, as he wrote about some new acquisitions:But as I was finding a...read full entry...
  • Amazon: making data workMay 07, 2005 – I spent a little while just now looking at Amazon's Statistically Improbable Phrases (distinctive patterns of words in a book). And at their other data mining features. I tried some books with which I am familiar. First The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells. Here is the Amazon...read full entry...
  • Desert Island DiscsApril 25, 2005 – Desert Island Discs is a longrunning popular programme on BBC Radio 4. A guest shares details of the eight records they would take with them to a desert island. They also tell the audience about the book they would take with them, and a luxury. When Emmylou Harris was on...read full entry...
  • Aura again: habent sua fata libelliApril 10, 2005 – This post continues the discussion of aura, digitization and 'mechanical reproduction' initiated below, and relates it to remarks of Fintan O'Toole reported in another post. JD is right to suggest that aura is about more than uniqueness. It is about the 'historic testimony' of the object, the traces it bears...read full entry...
  • Public libraries in DublinApril 07, 2005 – Fintan O'Toole has a wonderful essay on the public library in The university of the people: celebrating Irish public libraries. He calls it: "Reading, writing and rebelling: growing up with public libraries". Unfortunately, it does not appear to be on the web. The whole eight pages is almost worth quoting!...read full entry...
  • A utopian place of criticismMarch 23, 2005 – I used two quotes in a (long) article written some time ago of which I am reminded from time to time. Technologists understand that they must build more stable and unobtrusive media. They must establish more coherent contexts into which the technology may disappear. Malcolm McCullough. Abstracting craft: the practiced...read full entry...
  • Reading librariesMarch 11, 2005 – Karen said:The current thinking in LITA is that ITAL is a member benefit and restricting it to members (and later, journal silos) is important or people won't belong to LITA. This isn't a data-driven conclusion, just how current thinking works. I have often wondered why people join and stay in...read full entry...
  • LissadellMarch 03, 2005 – A third entry in a row with an Irish reference ... I recently had cause to look for Lissadell House, featured in the Yeats poem In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz. I was interested to find a picture (� Sligo County Library, Eccles Collection) of the House in...read full entry...
  • Books as commoditiesMarch 03, 2005 – We rejoice in living beside one of the branches of Columbus Metropolitan Library. We are there all the time. Walking in this morning I noticed that on the shelves where they sell surplus library books to the public they had several brown bags. Closer inspection revealed these to be bags...read full entry...
  • Yahoo, Dublin and GulliverFebruary 26, 2005 – I never hear Yahoo! without hearing Gulliver's Travels. I don't know whether the name Yahoo in Swift's work influenced the choice of the Internet company's name - the Wikipedia article on Swift's Yahoo claims it did. This is the context of John Naughton's remarks about the announcement that Yahoo's European...read full entry...
  • Deep linking and JK RowlingFebruary 24, 2005 – Larry Campbell asks about linking direct to a 'record' in Open WorldCat. This is possible: check out Pride and prejudice, The commitments, and I capture the castle. What do these have in common? Well, as I discovered earlier while helping with homework, they are on the bookshelf in JK Rowling's...read full entry...
  • Talis blogJanuary 18, 2005 – Talis is a UK library systems vendor. A group of Talis staff are running a blog called panlibus, which provides some interesting perspectives....read full entry...
  • Data and musicJanuary 17, 2005 – Another example of how data guides behavior. This time in the music business, where apparently record companies are getting automated help in predicting the likely success of tracks. The magic ingredient set to revolutionise the pop industry is, simply, a piece of software that can "predict" the chance of a...read full entry...
  • Aura, Google Print and digitized library booksDecember 14, 2004 – Walter Benjamin famously asserted that "that which withers in the age of mechanical reproduction is the aura of the work of art". In his terms, the aura is that which is original or authentic about a work. Aura depends on the position of a work within a tradition and its...read full entry...
  • Pride and prejudiceDecember 09, 2004 – Pride and prejudice tops fiction list:Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's salty-tongued commentary on the plight of women in the 19th century, perhaps best known today for providing Colin Firth with the opportunity to pose in a wet shirt in front of many grateful viewers, has won the Women's Watershed Fiction...read full entry...
  • Samuel Pepys is bloggingDecember 08, 2004 – In a delightful conceit, Phil Gyford presents Samuel Pepys diary in the form of a blog. This site is a presentation of the diaries of Samuel Pepys, the renowned 17th century diarist who lived in London, England (read more about him). A new entry written by Pepys will be published...read full entry...
  • The people's networkDecember 01, 2004 – An evaluation of the UK People's Network has been published. The People's Network, a €120 million lottery-funded project to connect all 4200 libraries to the internet, represents the biggest single investment in the 150-year history of the public library service and a significant supplement to local authorities' existing annual library...read full entry...
  • The complement of booksNovember 28, 2004 – We spent several days in Washington DC over the Thanksgiving period. We were intrigued by Rachel Whiteread's Untitled (Library) in the Hirshhorn. Since the late 1980s, Rachel Whiteread has used resin, rubber and, as in Untitled (Library), dental plaster to cast overlooked domestic spaces. Like earlier works by Bruce Nauman...read full entry...
  • Top booksNovember 13, 2004 – We have released a list of the top 1000 works in WorldCat. This list is unlike some other lists in that we have consolidated the various manifestations of a work as best we can and factored that into the ranking. To do this we used our FRBR work-set algorithm with...read full entry...
  • AriadneOctober 31, 2004 – A particularly rich issue of Ariadne has just appeared, with a strong international flavor. It includes significant articles on a theses plugin for Dspace, the Dutch institutional repository initiative, Dare, portal frameworks, recent developments at the National Library of Australia, ISBN-13, and learning object metadata. And there is a strong...read full entry...
  • Edinburgh and Harry PotterOctober 31, 2004 – Edinburgh has been named UNESCO's first City Of Literature. JK Rowling supported the bid. The dossier presented to more than 180 UNESCO delegates contained a foreword by JK Rowling, among others. She underlined that the books in the Harry Potter series have been largely created in the city. [University of...read full entry...
  • Embalmed geniusOctober 28, 2004 – I was familiar with Newman's characterization of the library as 'the embalming of dead genius'. Now, I can see it in context in the online collection at the National Institute of Newman Studies....read full entry...
  • Seattle public libraryOctober 19, 2004 – Check out Liz Lawley's photographs of the new Seattle Public Library....read full entry...
  • The librarianOctober 17, 2004 – I read The Librarian, a novel from Larry Beinhart, a few weeks ago. I have used it in external presentations [ppt] and also used the concept of 'fog facts' (see below) in internal presentations. I have been surprised not to have seen much mention of it more widely. Well, it...read full entry...
  • Chronicle alerting service without an RSS feedOctober 10, 2004 – The Arts and Letters Daily service from the Chronicle is very useful. It cries out for an RSS feed though....read full entry...
  • Collecting booksOctober 10, 2004 – I have just had occasion to reread Walter Benjamin's essay Unpacking my library. It is full of memorable lines (from the Zohn translation in the accessible Illuminations collection):"The only exact knowledge there is," says Anatole France, "is the knowledge of the date of publication and the format of books." And...read full entry...
  • General Stumm invades the librarySeptember 25, 2004 – The useful Newscan Daily service includes a section Honorary Subscriber where they discuss a person of interest. The current issue [NewsScan Publishing Inc. - NewsScan Daily Archives] discusses Robert Musil, author of, among other things, The man without qualities. Chapter 100 of this novel is General Stumm invades the State...read full entry...
  • Festschrift for Wendy LougeeSeptember 21, 2004 – I recently came across this online Festschrift for Wendy Lougee, marking her departure from Michigan. Digital libraries : a vision for the 21st century : a festschrift in honor of Wendy Lougee on the occasion of her departure from the University of Michigan / [edited by] Patricia Hodges, Maria Bonn,...read full entry...
  • Top screen scientistSeptember 10, 2004 – The BBC held a Top Screen Scientist Vote and the results are in....read full entry...
  • Wikipedia and reputationSeptember 05, 2004 – Ross Mayfield summarises current discussions about the 'trustworthiness' of Wikipedia.Which brings me to an lingering thought -- that explicitly codifying reputation introduces a cost which can constrain commons-based peer production. Wikipedia was never supposed to work, somehow does because of good club theory and transaction costs, and has gained a...read full entry...
  • UKOLN focus and POIsAugust 27, 2004 – A very nice roundup of news and progress reports in the inaugural issue of UKOLN focus. There is much of potential interest here. Given our involvement, I especially note the report on the use of POIs.The work centres on the use of the OAI Protocol for Metadata Harvesting to exchange...read full entry...
  • Galway BayAugust 25, 2004 – Driving through an area in Dublin (Ohio) with streets named after Irish places the other day, I passed a street called 'Gullway Bay'. There are no gulls in Dublin, Ohio, although there are many in Galway, Ireland. 'Gullway' had the sound of an Old English kenning about it. It prompted...read full entry...
  • Reading RSSAugust 24, 2004 – Steve Gillmor makes an interesting observation about the uptake of RSS. I wonder what proportion of readers of popular blogs consume them via RSS and how many actually visit the website. This phenomenon coupled with the emergence of the search engine as the user's preferred entry point further distances people...read full entry...
  • A SOAP operaAugust 22, 2004 – A SOAP Opera is an "An e-business novel about Web Services & Service Oriented Architectures". Unfortunately, it does not seem to have developed yet beyond Section 3. He knew he was kidding himself. Sure, part of him wanted to go straight home, to go on a ten mile walk and...read full entry...
  • Library spacesAugust 01, 2004 – An article in today's New York Times (free registration) talks about how academic libraries are developing as group learning environments. Education > Education Life > Spaces for Social Study">If digital access pushed libraries to reinvent themselves, it was developments in educational theory that helped turn them into academic town squares....read full entry...
  • Read for funJuly 31, 2004 – People who see FictionFinder occasionally say that it is a public library application. In this context I was interested to come across the Read for fun site at University of Notre Dame Libraries. Students often ask those of us who work in the library at Notre Dame for books they...read full entry...
  • BloomsdayJune 11, 2004 – Next Wednesday is the centenary of the fictional day on which Joyce's Ulysses is set. There are various events to mark it, including several by the National Library of Ireland which figures in the book. The Library episode, 'Scylla and Charybdis', in which Stephen Dedalus meets the librarians of 1904...read full entry...
  • Hal Varian on IT as a commodityMay 09, 2004 – Hal Varian reviews Nicholas Carr's book Does IT matter: Business > Economic Scene: How Much Does Information Technology Matter?">In my view, companies cannot afford to ignore information technology, or relegate it to the back burner. Commoditizing it does not necessarily mean innovation slows. If anything, it could accelerate as more...read full entry...
  • Cringeley on Sun/Microsoft dealApril 12, 2004 – McNealy should have watched "Godfather 3" -- "Never hate your enemies, it clouds your judgement." [PBS | I, Cringely . Archived Column]...read full entry...
  • Tip House on extreme programmingApril 12, 2004 – Tip House has a website on extreme programming:This site is dedicated to all those involved in testing on XP projects, particularly acceptance and functional testing. [xptester.org home page]and a book:This practical tutorial for software builders demonstrates how testing is central to the extreme programming (XP) approach and explains what testing...read full entry...
  • A polarized nationMarch 13, 2004 – Jon Udell notes interesting piece in NYT:Polarized Nation: A study of purchase patterns of political books reveals that buyers of liberal books (blue) tend to buy only other liberal books, while buyers of conservative books (red) usually buy only other conservative books. Nonpartisan titles are gray. [The New York Times...read full entry...
  • OscarsMarch 09, 2004 – Well, sorrow in the Lappin household: In America did not get an Oscar. Lost in Translation got the screenplay Oscar. I saw this on the flight to Australia, appropriately, and again on DVD. I liked the way it showed the dislocating effect of jet lag, and the glancing, uncomprehending sense...read full entry...
  • In AmericaJanuary 27, 2004 – On a personal note ... my brother in law, Arthur Lappin, is the producer of the movie In America. Some excitement in the Lappin-Lennon household on the announcement of the 2004 Oscar Nominations....read full entry...
  • Mind the gapJanuary 25, 2004 – When I had been with OCLC for a few months, I was asked to do a keynote presentation to the biannual JISC/CNI conference. The topic was the difference between US and UK library environments. A topic I was not especially prepared for ;-) I thought I would frame discussion with...read full entry...
  • How good is the catalog?January 25, 2004 – Pretty interesting piece by a member of faculty in the history department at Swarthmore. I quote at length -- follow the link for the full piece.Using our library's catalogue, Tripod, I was both impressed at how generally strong our collection is for a small liberal-arts college (shared with Bryn Mawr...read full entry...
  • Infomotion's booksJanuary 19, 2004 – Check out Infomotions' library of books. This is a catalog of Eric Lease Morgan's personal collection. He is taking a book, pulling a record from LC via Z39.50, and indexing it in Swish-e. Each entry has the MARC record associated with it....read full entry...
  • B&N and Borders do wellJanuary 04, 2004 – An interesting discussion in today's NYT about future of book trade.Investors have certainly warmed to Barnes & Noble, the largest American bookseller, in part because it has adapted in a difficult environment. The company expanded its proprietary publishing unit in 2003 with an acquisition, is rapidly selling its less lucrative...read full entry...
  • The deadlineNovember 25, 2003 – Amazon.com: Books: The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management. Yes, I'll say that again, a novel about project management. Some of you of course will be familiar with DeMarco ......read full entry...
  • Internal digital library blogsNovember 15, 2003 – Interesting to see a couple (there are probably lots more) of digital library blogs maintained by staff at university libraries, presumably for internal communication. There is diglet, Digital Letters of the UCSD Digital Library Planning Working Group (DLPWG). And at Princeton, there is inSilico....read full entry...
  • New issue of Ariadne availableOctober 30, 2003 – I always look out for new issues of Ariadne as I set it up many years ago with John MacColl (now at University of Edinburgh). The October 2003 issue is now available with some interesting articles and trip reports from ECDL, DC2003, and other stuff. Ariadne Issue 37 | Contents...read full entry...
  • Jim Gray on how Microsoft Research operatesOctober 26, 2003 – Most things that Jim Gray, Microsoft Research, writes are interesting. So I was very interested to come across his observations about Microsoft Research itself. These are in a powerpoint presentation to the Senior Information Technology Officer Summit, 2003. Also worth a look is his paper on distributed computing economics: Computing...read full entry...
  • Wired Magazine on Amazon's book indexOctober 23, 2003 –  An ingenious attempt to illuminate the dark region of books is under way at Amazon.com. Over the past spring and summer, the company created an unrivaled digital archive of more than 120,000 books. The goal is to quickly add most of Amazon's multimillion-title catalog. The entire collection, which went...read full entry...
  • Amazon inside MicrosoftOctober 23, 2003 –  By integrating Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com Research Services for Microsoft Office System will provide Microsoft Office System users with convenient and seamless access to Amazon.com from within Microsoft productivity applications via the Research Task Pane. Users will be able to access Amazon.com information and make purchases without launching a...read full entry...
  • The big readOctober 23, 2003 – I wonder what sort of correlation there would be between the top titles in BBCi - The Big Read and top titles by holdings in Worldcat? This is the 'top' 100 novels nominated by a BBC audience. Not clear to me how they are ordered....read full entry...
  • The thematic research collectionOctober 20, 2003 – John Unsworth writes ... ... I predict that the genre of scholarship that will replace the book will be the thematic research collection. [ARL 228: The Crisis in Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities]...read full entry...