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Library Archives

Library Archives published on No Comments on Library Archives

Did you know that Libraries have collections of truly interesting and rare materials?  That these libraries often digitize and create online collections accessible to anyone?  That because of library websites/catalogs and their interaction with search engines most of this material is impossible to simply stumble upon?  Allow me to help you trip, with a selection of awesome digitized archives.

Not everyone can be a library however, the Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps Inc. has some fabulous antiquities and curious illustrations to peruse.  Some of them may even be affordable to some people.  And we can never forget the, ever more fabulous, Internet Archive.

“Guerilla Open Access Manifesto”

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If you are in academia you are probably at least aware of the growing Open Access movement.  I think of it basically as Creative Commons for scholars, and this doesn’t really mesh well with the pre-existing publishing model that scholars and academics have been using for ages. The Internet Archive has full text of the “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto”.  It’s short and sweet and strong and well thought.

"Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for 
themselves."

The Fantastic in Art and Fiction

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Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections:  The Fantastic in Art and Fiction is a gorgeous and curious assortment of images and illustrated book pages having to do with Demons, Death, Magic, and all things fantastic.

Yes, something like a second hand item from the GReader starred list.  Though, it gives me an idea.

Our lives with books

Our lives with books published on 2 Comments on Our lives with books

I am finally back in the saddle of keeping up with my fellow library schmucks and I’ve scrolled through enough news items for the ‘e-books not print books,’ ‘death of libraries in face of digital materials,’ ‘no one has personal libraries anymore’ chants to finally give me a headache. I understand it’s posh and edgy to make such sweeping pronouncements but it’s only done to get a rise.  I mean, isn’t it?  You all don’t really believe that digital literature will replace all things print?

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Lo and behold, my personal library.  I weed it often but it never decreases appreciably in size.  And you know what?  My collection of digital literature, some duplicating but most unique, is probably growing to be just as big.  Arguments abound from people who rose to the bait of the digital over physical headlines generally go like this:

PRO Digi:

  • multiple books accessed through one light weight and portable device
  • less storage space
  • fits into already increasingly digital world

PRO Print:

  • art books and often comics are not made for digital interface
  • like the feel and smell of books
  • not everything is duplicated, therefor how can print be replaced

I find I use print and digital books in different ways.  I used to keep list of books I wanted to read but didn’t have the time right now, you know, the ones libraries don’t reliably carry.  Now I buy the e-book because, although it is a purchase, it seems like less of a commitment.  It doesn’t take space in my home and when I am done with it, deleting it will feel a whole lot less of a waste than trying to donate a print copy in a responsible way.  E-books equal easy to dispose equals somehow easier to buy.  I buy print books when I know I will want to revisit the thing many many times, when I know I will want to lend it to a friend.  A lot of my print collection is picture heavy, harkening back to a standard print pro.  Increasingly my print collection houses several indie publications, not only rare for their small printing, but because the indie comic and zine making community is still very hands on.

People who cultivate personal libraries will probably just add digital material to their print collecting.  Libraries are a multimedia experience after all.  People who bought the best seller, or the book their friend recommended, to read and then discard, or sit on an ignored shelf in the family room, will probably move their habits to digital if inclined in that direction.  My point:  there is no either or decision to be made, and each circumstance will be different for each consumer.  If we’re talking about publishers making calls to best sell/market their material, maybe format on demand will be the fashion, where the consumer can choose what format they would like at checkout.

Finally, I buy print because when the big electromagnetic bombs go off and plunge our world back into the middle ages, I am going to have the most kickin’ access to entertainment all in my spare room.

Think about what we do

Think about what we do published on No Comments on Think about what we do

In my library news streams was an article : Oakmont Regional High librarian eyes ditching Dewey Decimal System for new classification – Sentinel & Enterprise.  The librarian at Oakmont points out that the Dewey Decimal system isn’t giving the right message to the kids.  Examples:  Homer’s ILLiad in nonfiction and books on homosexuality next to those on incest and prostitution.  I had never thought about it before and am surprised at myself.  Also impressed when people don’t simply accept something because it is custom, traditional, or whatever.

Public Domain treasures

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Did you know that the Internet Archive has digitized wonderful wagon loads of interesting odds and ends?  Check it out:

Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase : Ware, James Redding : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.

Did you know that one of my characters, soon to appear in “Levi Levi and the Time Machine,” develops a quirk where he only speaks in outdated slang?

Well, he does.  I gotta study up.

super librarian

super librarian published on No Comments on super librarian

Shamelessly cliche.  I know, but I had to do it.

More mapping?

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I’m trying some new stuff because I had an idea that ‘The Brain’ would be good for encapsulating and displaying a concept that is as web like as I have found interlibrary loan to be (yeah, this is library stuff).  But ‘The Brain’ is not so accessible when you’re traveling from computer to computer.  So, I wanted to scope out some other ways of concept mapping.  I found  bubbl.us.  It’s pretty good and a free account gets three maps worth of storage that you can share and link to.  (Yes, this is all about Interlibrary Loan – it’s what I do)

What I’m really after, now that I’ve been shopping around, is a way to insert the finished mind map into my web site.  There I could host and share it forever (even password protect it if I wanted).  Unfortunately bubbl.us ‘s HTML export just looks like a colorful list with anchor tags:

So I am still looking.  Though, to be completely on the up and up I have to admit that a pro version of the brain offers an HTML export that creates a working online brain when loaded into a web server.   It might very well be what I am looking for if I could just be satisfied with what I’ve already found.

Smelling books

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Allow me to preface this little trip to information you most likely have no use for with an explanation of how it came about.  Theseus by Jake Wyatt swaggered into my feed reader for free comics day (it’s been a while I know) and I had to follow it to The Anthology Project where it was included in volume 2.  While there, hitting the ‘add to cart’ button, I felt compelled to add volume 1 as well and possess both.  I highly recommend these books, they are beautiful and chock full of fabulous talent.  The books arrived a few days ago and while I was thumbing through volume 1 I noticed that it smelled amazing.  Now I’m not a book sniffer normally.  I appreciate pleasant inky/papery smells that make it to my nose, while reading, drawing, and whatnot, but I’ve never sought them out.  I work in a library – believe me, the smells that end up on the books I most come to contact with are not the kind I want any where near my face.  This is why volume 1’s scent took me by surprise and why I then proceeded to smell every book in my to-read stack.  Volume 1 of the Anthology Project was definitely the best smelling one.  Volume 2 couldn’t even stand up to it.  I began wondering if paper, in the book printing industry, was marketed with any reference to smell.  This is how it began.

I can’t say I was really surprised to find a whole host of people talking about their love for the smell of the printed book.  Many people have asked the question:  why do books smell in the particular way that they smell?  The answer varies from book to book and printing process to printing process.  For old books, decay of the organic components, especially the lignin (related to vanillin) creates a sweet musky scent many have fallen in love with.  That is, of course, if the book hasn’t molded or mildewed or been in a house with a smoker or a cat.

I was surprised to find that part of the great e-book debate, among consumers at least, was directed towards the fact that e-books didn’t smell like books.  This brings us to book perfumes.  I’ve run into them before.  Specifically, I’d run into CB I Hate Perfume‘s In the Library before.  New Book Smell from Smell of Books seems created specifically for scenting your e-reader.  Other scents are available:  Classic Musty Smell, Scent of Sensibility, Eau You have Cats, and Crunchy Bacon Scent.  Steidl‘s Paper Passion, is by far the poshest of all bookish scents and made quite a few waves when it was created.

However, book perfumes weren’t going to answer my question about the book printing industry’s awareness or use of scent.  I have to admit, I have only searched enough to get a larger picture of the components of a new book’s smell.  I would not term my search exhaustive.  It was more of a lark, really.  I’m not even sure if I’ve managed or can answer my question. Here is what I found.

Paper itself doesn’t seem to be marketed in regards to smell at all, but their are plenty of reasons why the smell of any paper would vary.  First is most likely the type of wood used in making the paper.  There are a handful of pulpwoods (that is, woods often used in making paper):   acacia, aspen, birch, eucalyptus, maple, pacific albus, pine, and spruce.   Balsam fir has been a large supplier of pulpwood for paper in U.S. and aspen is heavily used in Canada.

Canada, thanks to the Swedish Forest Industries Facts and Figures 2010 (http://www.forestindustries.se/facts_and_figures), is one of the world’s largest exporters of pulp and paper.  So aspen woodpulp is most likely found in much of the paper floating around the world. But paper makers are pretty crafty when it comes to getting raw materials.  Pulp and chips from construction byproduct, recycling, forest thinning, and fire damage can all be present in paper woodpulp.

Of course, after the tree is chosen and felled there are a variety of ways to pulp it.  High quality papers are most often chemically pulped – a process that removes the lignin from the wood fiber.  After this the fibers are bleached.  Without as much lignin content, I am guessing that our industrial aged paper books are not going to smell the same as those faintly vanilla antiquarian books.  By the by, chemical pulping is why paper mills often smell like rotten eggs – a sulfur like gas is created as a byproduct.

But then, the paper itself is only part of what makes a new book smell.  There is ink as well, and, as I am a long time collector of pens and user of paints and pigments, I am very familiar with how varieties of ink smell very differently from each other. I found a few mentions of ink that were specifically marketed with scent in mind.  Most of these, or I should say all of these, were devoted to children’s books.  I found smells of rose and citrus first and then I found Smellessence books for children.  Smellessence is creating characters and stories with the intention of weaving together the smell of the story into a child’s reading experience.  This is where my information trip ends.

Basically, I don’t think there is any special reason why Volume 1 of the Anthology project smells so good.  It is a combination of ingredients and timing that sometimes makes for a fantastic olfactory experience in a book.  I did learn a whole lot more about an industry I’ve taken for granted.  Verdict:  learning done for now.

Mentioned in the search:

  1. US Forest Service
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Swedish Forest Industry

 

In-Library eBook Lending Program Expands to 1,000 Libraries | Internet Archive Blogs

In-Library eBook Lending Program Expands to 1,000 Libraries | Internet Archive Blogs published on No Comments on In-Library eBook Lending Program Expands to 1,000 Libraries | Internet Archive Blogs

The internet archive finally did it – or did it while I wasn’t looking.  If you are not aware of the internet archive then I suggest checking it out.  There are tons of public domain books, recordings, and videos there as well as the way-back machine.  Ever wonder what a website used to look like years ago?  The way-back machine has got you covered.  Well, as long as the images still exist – but the code is saved.

Anyway, e-books aren’t as easy for libraries as you might think and there haven’t been many lending platforms that make library lending possible and easy with e-books.  This one is awesome and promising:  In-Library eBook Lending Program Expands to 1,000 Libraries | Internet Archive Blogs.

How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques

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How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell’s awesome Google search techniques is the most fantastic thing I have read in a while.  I am often swimming in search results pages, looking for something that other people can’t find and just when I’ve got a whole list of tips and tricks – I don’t know what to search for first.

But I just like this so much

But I just like this so much published on No Comments on But I just like this so much

I must talk some shop here ’cause Ask a Librarian (that is a library chat service/community in Florida) has launched an ad campaign that I find absolutely scrumptious.

Your brain on your computer

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How did I not know about this?  Years moaning over the inability to affix tags and notes to word and excel documents to make file browsing more coherent.  Years of making lists and documenting and organizing my creative pursuits in unwieldy Microsoft folder systems.   How did I not know or even consider that someone with more code intelligence than I had already tackled the problem?  HOW?

Can you tell I’m broken up about this?  I am both frustrated and excited.  So this is how it works.  Somehow, in the midst of looking for something else I found code {4} lib.  And I thought, ‘Wow, this is a fabulous online journal on stuff I’m professionally interested in, in speak that’s a little over my head’ – which translates to: learn new things LeEtta, go go go!   code {4} lib is also a blog, conference, community and listserv.  I promptly subscribed to the listserv because I could find no other way to feed information from code {4} lib into my head and I didn’t want it to be forgotten in my plethora of bookmarks.

The listserv lead me to The Brain -a mind mapping software that allows for mapping and organizing files and thoughts, interrelating those thoughts, adding notes and tags to those thoughts, and finally, making everything searchable.  It’s fabulous.  The introductory webinar recording (oh, and they have live webinar question/answer sessions weekly), mentioned a few other products.  One of these was FreeMind – an open source and free mind mapping software.  FreeMind is also nice enough to list out alternatives so I’m not going to go into them here.

I’m thinking of trying out The Brain‘s free version/trial.  It looks a little more like what I wanted to do with my filing system to make it more navigable.  But I’m kind of inspired by FreeMind‘s 2D-ness.  It would’ve been indispensable when I was trying to map out a choose your own adventure story.  That was a clunky challenge.  I’ve got another one in the works, so…I will explore.  And, I’ll probably report back.

 

Email from my sofa

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So…remember when I said I’d be updating all my comics (that’s three + the drawing board, so four technically) once a week?  I suppose you noticed that I failed big time on that goal this month.  I have been away from my sofa, the place where I do all my drawings, sitting cross legged with a stack of sketchbooks on my lap and NCIS playing on the TV.  Instead, I have been spreading the good message of longer resource sharing due dates.  And yeah, I know that makes no sense to people not in the business.  But I gave 1/3 of a presentation at an international conference!  I manned poster session at another conference!  I made great improvements to my resume!  I’ve been traveling way too much!

But enough excuses!  This past weekend I was able to spend some quality time with my sofa.  I have finished the first chapter of No Evil.  I will scan this and get it running here for your pleasure and then I will concoct the next chapter with the story telling help of doomedmoviethon Richard.  I have made great headway on the story of Ramone, Joy, and Gee (that’s Flip Side to you) as well as Levi Levi (which is also winding up a chapter).  They will be back in force.  And I finished a sketchbook.  That means that I’ve got a whole bunch of newly scanned artwork just dying to worm it’s way into your eyeballs.  Are you ready for all of this?  Well?

Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday

Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday published on 3 Comments on Dickens World – Dickens’ Birthday

So, the Google banner tells me it’s Dickens’ birthday today.  Back in ’07 I was dreaming about visiting  Dickens World.  All my previous writing may be stripped from the web, but I still have copies of it.  Allow me to resurrect:

 “Maybe one of the most innovative ideas for a theme park is opening May 2007 just outside of London in Dicken’s childhood home of Chatham. Dickens World is based wholly on the stories and characters of Charles Dickens. Costumed characters will walk among the park goers to populate the fantasy city. Rides, themed restaurants, and cinemas will entertain during the day with a burlesque show at night offering naughtier entertainment.”

I have both been terribly bored and amused by Dickens; regardless of my literary experiences, a park built on classic literature is like a happy dream.

Hey! speaking of Dickens World there’s also Dickens World!  Wiley Blackwell publishers are putting on a free online conference March 7th and 8th to celebrate Dickens.  If Dickens scholarship is up your alley then go!  Go and enjoy!

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