Category Archives: libraries

Thanksgiving in August

file-3We formally gave thanks for Charlotte this afternoon. She’s 3 weeks old today. The opening prayer was encouraging and challenging. It’s something that I hope to live up to for each of my daughters. May my children always love all this is true, noble, just and pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable.

O God, you have taught us through your blessed Son that
whoever receives a little child in the name of Christ receives
Christ himself: We give thanks for the blessing you have
bestowed upon this family in giving them a child. Confirm
their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and
give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to
bring this child to love all that is true and noble, just and
pure, lovable and gracious, excellent and admirable,
following the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

Trouble at Boston Athenaeum

As reported in the Boston Globe.

Strife has erupted at the Boston Athenaeum, a venerable redoubt of Brahmin culture better known for afternoon teas and Beacon Hill reserve than for workplace clashes that spill into the public realm.

Even as the private library has courted younger members and improved fund-raising, it has been rocked by internal divisions and widespread staff departures: Nearly half of the Athenaeum’s roughly 55 employees have departed in the past 3½ years — a striking turn at an institution where tenure is often measured by the decade.

In more than a dozen interviews, current and former employees, board members, and longtime supporters of the Athenaeum described an institution in turmoil, as director Elizabeth Barker seeks to modernize the tradition-bound library she’s led since October 2014 while being accused of disregarding its essential character and expert staff. Read the rest.

Reading in the Digital Era

James McWilliams on how to reverse the decline in close reading.

As the art of close reading—a finely grained analysis of a text—has declined, a cohort of experts has emerged to reverse the trend and encourage stronger reading habits. Their solution has a kind of old-school simplicity to it: We need to allow the physicality of the book itself to lure us back into the pleasures of reading.

Read the rest here.

The Institutional Repository Landscape in 2018

Choice teamed up with the Taylor and Francis Group to produce a white paper on the current landscape for institutional repositories (IR). While the report aims to survey the entire landscape, I should note that 93% of respondents were from academic institutions.

You can read the entire document HERE. Below, I’ve pulled some highlights from the report.

IR instances

there are at least 600 IRs in an estimated 500 organizations in North America.

Market Share

The Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR) indicates that DSpace and Digital Commons (bepress) are the most widely held in North America.

More than half the survey respondents had an instance of Digital Commons (58%), while more than a quarter had CONTENTdm (27%) and/or DSpace (26%).

Institutional Preferences

Larger libraries with technical staff prefer to customize software while smaller libraries depend on a service model (such as Digital Commons) that provides IR and publishing capabilities with less impact on staff requirements. Recent growth among smaller institutions favors a service model.

Staffing

Although half of institutions indicate that faculty and students make deposits, it is clear that the majority of content is mediated or deposited by library staff. Nearly half of the institutions have one or less than one equivalent staff working on the IR. The average staff for an IR is one or two people.

University Presses

About 20% of university presses report to the library, and a larger number are developing partnerships with the library.

 

Matthew Walther on the funding cuts at University Press of KY

“Conservatives of all people should be appalled by the disdain shown for tradition, the life of the mind, and the past itself exhibited by Bevin and his fellow Kentucky Republicans. As I write this, among the many volumes forthcoming from the University of Kentucky Press is a 300-page collection of the letters of Russell Kirk, precisely the sort of project that would be ruinous for any mainstream publisher to undertake no matter how many units the latest Kardashian sisters cookbook shifts.”

Read the rest.

Lever Press

Their has long been growth and development in open access (OA) journal scholarship (both in platform(s) and content), but less so in book-length scholarship. However, Lever Press aims to change that. Find out more here.

Textbook American Revolution

The University of Chicago Press recently issued a two volume narrative history of the United States that is freely available online and reasonably priced ($30) in paperback.

As someone who’s responsible for my college’s history collection (and a former history teacher) I’m both impressed and excited for the future. These sorts of quality and reasonably priced offerings from scholarly presses (see also MIT Press) bode well for the future of scholarly publishing.

Check it out HERE.

Changes WILL be made: Or, does Facebook troll it’s own users?

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Screenshot from Facebook’s Business Manager

The above image is a familiar one to folks who run an organizational/business Facebook Page. A page suggestion is when somebody (though, personally, I’m increasingly beginning to suspect Facebook itself for reasons that I’ll spell out below) suggests a change to your page’s hours, location, category, etc.  Most recently someone suggested that my library’s Facebook page category be changed from “college & university” to “community college.” Over the last few weeks I’ve had suggestions (sometimes repeatedly) that, among other things, our phone number be changed, our hours be adjusted, etc. All of these suggestions have only two things in common. First, they are incorrect and second, Facebook will actually make the change unless we proactively respond. This is maddening. But don’t take my work for it. See this screenshot from Facebook’s “help center.”

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Screenshot from Facebook Business “Help” Center

So, why do I suspect that it’s actually Facebook making some of these suggestions? Well, here goes. First, because the nature of the changes are often partially correct. In the way that something scrapped from the web by an algorithm is often partially correct. For example, the suggested changes to the telephone number is a number that appears on our website but is not the number we want library users to call. Secondly, the changes seemed designed to get the page manager to interact with Facebook. Sites like Facebook are obsessed with getting users to “interact” with the site. One easy way to get Social Media Managers to “interact” is by simply threatening to wreck their page, unless they “engage” with the site. I once sent Facebook Business Help a direct message asking for assistance with a page issue. I received no assistance, but I did get an automated reply thanking me for my contribution and directing me to the Facebook Business Help Page. However, a few days later I began to receive suggestions to add more content and purchase add to “promote” my content.

So, I can’t prove it but I think that I’m being trolled by my own page.

What’s wrong with Peppa Pig?

Anyone who’s gone on YouTube recently knows just how weird it’s become. This is especially true of kids YouTube. James Bridle explains why.

“I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.

But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.”

Read the rest.