The Unclassifiable Library Remix

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lesser Known MS Shortcuts

  • Double Click And Drag
  • Control-Shift-D will double underline
  • Change the case of highlighted section with toolbar button
  • Alt-Shift-D to add date
  • Control-Spacebar makes font confirm
  • Customize your quick access toolbar
  • Use Quick Parts to add regularly used text with a click

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Random House and the Great Price Hike of 2012

I couldn't agree more with the Free Range Librarian. Publishers are shooting themselves in the foot with this one. Especially considering the current economic environment. This is a huge step backwards from the excruciatingly slow progress that was being made in the ebook realm. It is practices like this that are keeping me firmly tied to print for reading purposes.

Things to Remember before Chucking Print for Ebooks

"We're not one-reader-fits-all."

Ownership vs. access - look for DRM free materials when you can.

"Sometimes you're buying spam."

Caveat emptor - review before buying

"Good luck grabbing our sales and freebies."

Follow author twitter feeds, facebook pages, and web announcements for your best chances.

"Our prices are under investigation."

Ebooks used to be cheaper than print to reflect the low overhead in production, but are now running about the same as a print book as publishers try to bolster confidence in content

"Better watch your data bill."

Enhanced e-books can especially have an impact on your data usage.

"Borrowing isn't as easy as we make it out to be."

Publishers have greatly limited the ability of libraries to lend ebooks with items not available, expiring after a certain number of uses, or not being able to download them to a tablet.

"We don't have much marketing clout..."

You often have to dig to find items that are older or not mainstream.

"...But our presence is still killing bookstores."

Bookstores fear they will go the way of record stores (I do remember those vaguely), but others boosting their draw with wifi, cafes, gaming, and more.

"The extras will cost you."

While some extras are good, others may not be worth the cost. Compare prices and content.

"E-books are the new latte."

Resist impulse buying. Check a library first. Explore your options.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Information Overload

I agree with this author so much. Sometimes the sheer load of information out there and sites to curate is incredibly overwhelming. But for a person that works in an information field, it is not something you can easily turn away from. It would be so great to have some of the tools mentioned in the article so that I could quickly absorb information, and then move on with other things in my life I have to do rather than feel like I am permanently attached to the intergoogles. My favorite mentions in the article that I personally could really benefit from are:
  • A tool to tell me what I missed when I was offline
  • Intelligent calendar to sync with my email, messaging, and social networks to automate scheduling for me
  • Smart email
  • Automation between services
  • "The Siri for everything".

The Disappearing Virtual Library

This quote from the article I think illustrates and summarizes the article beautifully:

" So what does the shutdown of mean? The publishers think it is a great success in the war on piracy; that it will lead to more revenue and more control over who buys what, if not who reads what. The pirates - the people who create and run such sites - think that shutting down will only lead to a thousand more sites, stronger and better than before. But both are missing the point: the global demand for learning and scholarship is not being met by the contemporary publishing industry. It cannot be, not with the current business models and the prices. The users of - these barbarians at the gate of the publishing industry and the university - are legion."

Sacrificing Our Privacy at the Electronic Altar

Should we sacrifice privacy for convenience? Just because information is in a non-print format should that have to induce us to give up our right to privacy?

"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy."

Edward P. Morgan

Does this haven dissipate just because one enters the digital realm?

"I really believe that we don't have to make a trade-off between security and privacy. I think technology gives us the ability to have both."

John Poindexter

I don't believe that we must sacrifice one for the other. In some cases, one should be able to have one's cake and eat it too.

Pottermore as an Example of Successful E-book Agreements?

After discussing Pottermore and an apparent recent agreement with publishers regarding e-books in their forum, the author goes on to talk about e-books and the future of libraries in general. Is this really an example that applies though? Two private companies coming to an agreement? Libraries are unique in their agreements with publishers simply because they are not for-profit. They underscore the common welfare and are open to all. The premise of the title is simply misleading. While libraries can and will remain relevant in the rise of e-books (as the author correctly mentions a lot of books purchased come from people first discovering the author in a library) - I don't think that Pottermore is an example of how that relevancy can be translated to working with our library patrons. And this isn't just the bitterness of the Pottermore failing to deliver and disappointing me talking.

Old Fairy Tales Find New Light

500 New Fairy Tales Discovered - Wish I could find a published version in English since I don't speak German. The Grimms give von Schonwerth high praise.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Why wait? Six ways that Congress could fix copyright, now

Ways copyright can be fixed now: shorten copyright terms, stop DMCA abuse, crack DRM, end copyright bullying, and make "Fair Use" more fair.

What To Do When The Power Goes Out

Yesterday was a rather interesting day at the library. After my usual Thursday morning of checking messages and news, resolving a few reserves and ILL problems, and manning the reference desk, I returned to my office looking forward to a productive afternoon. I had luckily already finished approving time sheets for my staff, and needed only to knock out my monthly report. Then I was going to work on interview questions for my column for the Journal of Access Services while logging in for my Second Life virtual office hours. That's when click the building went dark. At first I wonder whether the new automatic motion sensor lights all just cut off at once, but then it was clear from the lack of intergoogles that it was everything. It's amazing how much white noise you don't notice in a Library until it's absolutely silent. Students talking in whispers, no printers or copiers, no beeping of the barcode reader at the circulation desk - eerily quiet and yet a nostalgic moment as I reflected on how this must have been what libraries of old had for an atmosphere. It was rather nice. However, my productivity for the day seemed doomed. What can I work on without the Internet, word processing, basic computer functions - hell even the telephone goes down when the power is out.

So I brainstormed some things to do with no power:
  • File that stack of papers that has been multiplying like rabbits in the to file box
  • Dust - it's amazing how much dust accumulates around my printers and monitor
  • Organize - stuff just seems to pile up - on shelves, on tables, in files
  • Read some print library literature
  • Clean out the sorting room
  • Inspect the stacks
The thing I noticed is that I always know these things need to be done - and they are among those things that in my myriad of duties always seem to get delegated to the "when I have time" to do list. So I am given a prime opportunity of time unimpeded by electronics, and what did I do?
  • Got more coffee
  • Chatted with coworkers and staff about why the power might be out
  • Tried to see if wireless network would still work on phone
  • Lamented phone battery dying
  • Took a smoke break
  • Took rest of day off
For some reason, despite the chance to unplug and work in the way of librarians of old, I copped out and ran home to where I could plug in my laptop and continue working from there. It was worth taking the leave time, even though I still had to do work things, just so I could have power. I feel so lost without it. I can manage when I go camping, but when temptation is right there in front of me, I find it hard to resist.