Thursday, December 31, 2009

Abe Books Weird Book Room

And now for something completely different: the weird book room at Abe Brooks.

Included on the page age books about:

  • Jewish chess masters on stamps
  • 50 sad chairs
  • Farting proudly
  • Whether or not Karl Marx was a Satanist
  • Bowling better through self-hypnosis
  • How to survive a robot uprising

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More E-Books Than Print Books Sold On Christmas Day

Amazon claims that for the first time ever they sold more e-books than print books this Christmas Day, but they aren't sharing specific numbers. Interesting.

The absence of hard stats makes me think Amazon only sold more digital content than print with a bit of number fudging. Regardless of whether that's true, we can take the basic fact that Amazon sold a whole lot of e-content this Christmas, more than before, now that the Kindle is more available. Not to me, though! I just ordered a bunch of good old-fashioned print books with some Christmas cash.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Library Flash Mobs, Part Deux

Remember library flash mobs, the groups of students who go into libraries to have a party? Still a cool idea, but mind the pepper spray. Ouch.

Monday, December 28, 2009

All the Lovely Libraries

Seeing this collection of photographs from beautiful libraries makes me want to plan some sort of library-themed trip. Oh well!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


While the article is formatted horribly, a Vancouver librarian offers some Sherlock Holmes trivia for those interested in the movie. From what I understand, some 'purists' don't much like the looks of the movie. Having seen it, what I understand of their problems are unfounded. Hooray! So go out and enjoy it.

Some fun facts about Sherlock Holmes:
  • He played the violin (in the movie)
  • He came back from the dead (not in the movie)
  • He could be a little misogynistic (not in the movie)
  • He had a cocaine problem (not in the movie)
It makes me wonder which current books will achieve this level of popularity - numerous authors borrowing the characters, several movies filmed. It seems doubtful the Harry Potter books will have quite the same longevity and nigh impossible for the Twilight books. At least I hope the Twilight books never get retread, anyway.

In any case, the movie is good fun - even if you don't particularly think it's loyal to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

E-Reader Comparison

Jenn Northington will be writing articles for Shelf-Awareness about her e-reader experiences. In this article, she compares various e-readers via the hands-on approach.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Theft

According to a New York Times article, book stores are experiencing more thefts during this period of recession. The Bible is a pretty popular steal, even at a Christian book store where anyone who asks will be given a copy free of charge. Supposedly, books by male authors are also targets. Anything recommended by staff is a goner. There's even an author out there somewhere in Denver who steals copies of his own books.

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Horse, Gold Dragon

The book White Horse, Yellow Dragon, an account of discrimination against Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic, was not actually written by a nineteen year old girl named Pham Thi Lan but a Czech guy named Jan Cempirek. The book was lauded in the Vietnamese community, though it has lost a little popularity with the lie exposted. A businesswoman in Kladno said,

If the author is a Vietnamese, it is of course a matter of pride for the community of Vietnamese here. But if the author is a native Czech, I still love him because he dared to reflect the society and partly defend Vietnamese people.

Sounds about right. A disappointment, but still a valuable book.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

LISNews: Ten Stories That Shaped 2009

LISNews has helpfully posted a list of their Ten Stories That Shaped 2009. The ten stories cover censorship (like the whole League of Extraordinary Gentlemen saga), e-books and Orwell, the decline of newspapers, Wikipedia, video games in libraries, the death of anti-censorship advocate Judith Krug, good ol' bookless Cushing, the Google Books settlement, Twilight's New Moon mania, and the economy and libraries. In the span of three months, Megducation has covered at least half these topics. That's pretty good for such a recent project. Now if only anyone read this!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mister Splashy Pants For the Win

This is a TED talk from one of the guys who created Reddit about how social media online can be very cool... as long as you're okay with the possibility of losing control.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Paper Is Here to Stay... But Different

Ficbot from TeleRead predicts which media types will move to e-format and which will stick to paper. Two items Ficbot thinks will remain in print are children's books and cookbooks. Agreed. My six month old niece, for example, likes to gum books as she's being read to. That wouldn't work so well with an e-reader. Nor would cooking be suited to smaller screens; it is very much a visual media. People want to see the whole page when they cook.

As for the rest of it - newspapers, magazines, textbooks, manuals, mass-market fiction... Again, I'm seeing the divide between people with computers e-readers and people without computers or e-readers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Library Video Game Collections

Here is a cool little article about video game collections and libraries. Video games are becoming more common in libraries, which I admit is a little puzzling at first but seems like a better idea with further thought. I'd rather a kid was in the library playing a video game than drinking or doing drugs. Which kids have always done, but it seems they've started doing earlier and earlier. They're definitely cheaper than arcades.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Container Neutral

Another piece on all-digital libraries, this one falling on the side of 'not quite yet'. A short article by Jennifer Howard, I felt the last paragraph summed up my feelings regarding e-books:

The conversations Ms. Spiro and Ms. Henry had with librarians also revealed how the culture of librarianship is evolving. They found evidence of a "container-neutral approach," in which it doesn't really matter how information is packaged, as long as it can easily be found by or delivered to users. There's less emphasis on "just-in-case collections," which keep copies of everything, and more on "just-in-time collections" that keep up with user demand... "Ultimately what matters is the service that's provided," Ms. Henry said.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Libraries are for Losers

A gentleman in New Jersey took advantage of his library's amnesty period to return an overdue book he took out... in 1955. The $1,750 dollar fine is waived. Lucky for him! It was an ancient-looking Spanish/English dictionary that, from the looks of it, might get weeded from the collection anyway. So that's interesting, but the part that really got my attention were the comments.

While it seems to be removed now, one commenter posted that libraries are 'for losers'. Just download books to read on your iPhone, okay! I liked some of the replies.

  • Libraries are for students and serious readers. Exactly how many complete novels have you read on your iPhone? That's what I thought.
  • First, in 1955 when the book was taken out, he [couldn't] use his iPhone, you dolt. Second, to say libraries are for "losers" epitomizes culture. Losers beat up their girlfriends like Chris Brown. Losers deify thuggery the way pop culture has. Losers sit on blog boards and get down on libraries. Jerk. How many of those books have you read on your iPhone? Bet you can't name a single one.
I declare the winner to be
  • I dropped my iPhone back in 1972! Its was my invention from a parallel universe. That damn Steve Jobs stole my ideas >:( I'd go back and fix it but I'm out of enriched plutonium. :/

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Lady Saves Us All From Filthy Library Books

Can a man please pull something like this sometime soon? A judge in Lewiston, Maine, has ordered a woman to return two library books or go to jail. This woman at least sent cheques to cover the costs of the books she is not returning, which I guess is somehow better.

Why is it up to the ladies to protect us from pornographic sex-ed books and The Black Dossier? I'm starting to be concerned about the lack of men in the library. Where are the self-righteous grandpas?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who Has the Rights to Old Books?

More continuing e-book drama! William Styron's family believes they own the rights to his books since they were first published before e-books existed. Random House, Styron's publisher, disagrees and intends to get some more cash off those e-books.

Is this being handled like a regular copyright? If a book goes out of print, does the owner of copyright change? Is Random House being legitimate here? My gut feeling says no.

And now, because I have an exam on Tuesday, here is a list of who can hold copyright:
  • the creator
  • the employer
  • the commissioner
  • someone else the rights have been transferred to
And here are some things that are not protected by copyright:
  • slogans
  • themes
  • ideas
  • names
In Canada, copyright generally expires after 50 years. The copyright offices are located in the Library of Congress.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Words?

While the concept of 60 Second Science podcasts sounds neat, I wish there was maybe a longer version that explains things more thoroughly. While this item about a metaphorical 'fingerprint' of an author using 'new words' sounds interesting, they neglect to mention what constitutes a new word. A word they haven't used yet, a word that's only just come into common usage by the public, a word they made up themselves?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Library Flash Mobs

Courtesy of another student in my class, some libraries at academic institutions have been the surprise hosts of dance parties. Students show up and dance. One place had a 'silent dance', where people listened to the music through headphones started at a certain time. That just sounds cool. I can't help but feel bad for the people trying to use the library for library things during the impromptu parties, but I still think it's interesting. Beyond that:

Edwins found the students' antics amusing, though also recognized that stress-relief strategies can play in important role during finals time. She said library staffers felt strongly that it was important to offer additional services to students during the period leading up to exams. The library has developed stress-relief programs, serving cocoa, bagels, and even sponsoring study-break massage sessions.

Massage sessions? Really? Wow.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

F#@K Yeah!

A librarian decided to get some swearing in as part of a lesson in the First Amendment curriculum. He (she?) apparently taught the kids about more than a dozen curse words. (I liked the note by the LISNews editor on the article - 'I bet the kids could have taught her a few more.') I'm with the LISNews editor on this one. Those kids already knew those words, and they got treated to a lesson they'll remember for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So maybe 'RoboLibrary' is an exaggeration, but a library in West Yorkshire has a whole lot of automated machinery. It cost about 26 million pounds, which compares to about 45 million Canadian dollars. Ouch. On the other hand, it's good for old periodicals like newspapers. Those things are very heavy and hard on librarians, who often have problems with injuries caused by repetitive motions. Is that worth 45 million, though? It's not like they'll be building eighteen more like it, so maybe. In any case, all those robotics are pretty cool. (Link stolen from last night's class.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

12 Books to Get a Teen Started on Journaling

Stolen directly from the bibliography of a class assignment, here are twelve journal books a kid 14-16 might find interesting.

  • Alexie, Sherman - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • Cabot, Meg - The Princess Diaries
  • Filipovic, Zlata - Zlata's Diary
  • Flinn, Alex - Breathing Underwater
  • Frank, Anne - The Diary of a Young Girl
  • Juby, Susan - Alice, I Think
  • Pfeffer, Susan Beth - Life as We Knew It
  • Rennison, Louise - Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging
  • Runyon, Brent - The Burn Journals
  • Stewart, Sean, and Jordan Weisman - Cathy's Book: If Found Call 650-266-8233
  • Stoker, Bram, and Maurice Hindle - Dracula
  • Townsend, Sue - Adrian Mole, From Minor to Major

Monday, December 7, 2009

Comic Book Artists Illustrate Sci-Fi Legends

Stolen directly from Wired News, Comic Book Artists Illustrate Sci-Fi Legends, an article about a website called Hey Oscar Wilde! It's Clobberin' Time!!. The illustrations are fun to look at and also educational. Look! Famous sci-fi writers! Though I'm a little unsure about the inclusion of Neil Gaiman, whom I'd identify with fantasy over sci-fi. I like him! I just don't think he's all that suitable for the list.

Then again, he did write the last Batman story... Bless you, Internet. I didn't even know about that one 'til I checked out the related links in that first story.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Google Search Customization Sans Logins

Minus ten points for me, I didn't even realize Google personalized the search results of people logged into their site. Now they're doing it for people who aren't even logged in via cookies. This has some people concerned, as using Google without being logged in was sort of a way to avoid Google's data collection.

According to the article, you can turn this feature off. I'm not sure if I will or I won't. For one thing, I have multiple accounts. I don't run my main email through the megducation address. Otherwise, I wonder if the same problem I have with Amazon's recommendations will come up. The recommendations are all well and good and sometimes useful, but should I happen to buy a book to send to my friend who likes vampires, I'm getting a lot of vampire-related book suggestions I really don't want.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Danish DVD Ripper

From Boing Boing: 'In Denmark, it's legal to make copies of commercial videos for backup or other private purposes. It's also illegal to break the DRM that restricts copying of DVDs. Deciding to find out which law mattered, Henrik Anderson reported himself for 100 violations of the DRM-breaking law (he ripped his DVD collection to his computer) and demanded that the Danish anti-piracy Antipiratgruppen do something about.'

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Library Porn

Now there's a woman in Pataskala, Ohio, wants a sex book banned from the public library. At first she wanted it moved out ot the eyesight of kids, but on further thought decided it shouldn't be in the library at all. Shades of The League of Extraordinary Porn! And just like Sharon Cook in Nicholasville, Kentucky, Marti Shrigley is keeping the book checked out and paying the fines. (Maybe they should find an eleven year old girl to put a request for the book on hold.) And here we go again:

Currently, parents or legal guardians must sign permission statements on card applications submitted by minors.

Other libraries follow similar policies, and Nojonen said libraries find themselves caught in a Catch-22 because what one parent objects to, another parent might not object to.

"Parental responsibility is the foundation of what does and what does not get borrowed," he said.

This is not a difficult concept.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Old Books

Some bits of conversations from the owner of a rare book store.

Hello. I have some old books for sale.
What kind of books?
Old ones.
OK. What subject areas?
Where does it say that?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Going West

I first saw this on Boing Boing and then again on LIS News. So! Excellent marketing from the New Zealand Book Council: Maurice Gee reading a bit from his book 'Going West' with a stunning papercraft video.

The Value of Library Services

Courtesy of a gentleman in my class, here is the Brockville Library's Value of Library Services Calculator. Just type in the amount of DVDs, books, CDs, or other items you've checked out and you will get a total for how much those items would be worth if you bought them.