From a transcript of a talk between Paul Krugman and Charlie Stross, from WorldCon
“As for the intellectual property, I try not to get too worked up about it. There’s a lot of people angsting about piracy and copying of stuff on the Internet, publishers who are very, very worried about the whole idea of ebook piracy. I like to get a little bit of perspective on it by remembering that back before the Internet came along, we had a very special term for the people who buy a single copy of a book and then allow all their friends to read it for free. We called them librarians.” [thanks karl]
I’ve been blogging less because I’ve been reading more. One of the things to catch my attention lately was The Lion and the Mouse (printable), a months-old piece from the new Yorker about Anne Carroll Moore, the woman who “more or less invented the children’s library.” At the same time as she was opening up libraries to and for children, she was also exerting her considerable power over what books got purchased at NYPL at elsewhere. The essay concerns
the end of Moore’s influence [which] came when, years later, she tried to block the publication of a book by E. B. White. Watching Moore stand in the way of “Stuart Little,” White’s editor, Ursula Nordstrom, remembered, was like watching a horse fall down, its spindly legs crumpling beneath its great weight.
It’s a wonderful read; even though the librarian in it is wincingly marmish and pretentious, she’s also well-read and driven. It’s a great look at an imperfect person in an imperfect profession with some bonus trivia about Stuart Little in there for good measure. Please consider reading it.
A very nice obit about Allen Smith, Simmons library school professor.
Allen was a fan of Webster’s Second (the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary, published in 1934), bow ties, motorcycles, and sailing. He abhorred exclamation points (one quote I have written in my notes from his class reads “If you were born before 1960, you have three exclamation points to use in your life; if born after 1960, you have six, because of inflation”).
I enjoyed the panel presentation. Jenny Levine and Kate Sheehan were both there blogging along with me. It was fun to keep an eye on twitter/chat/email and still pay enough attention to manage to ask a few questions and just learn things. Here is a slightly edited version of what I was writing during the event. My apologies of the lateness of this post. As I was heading home my own local library where I am a sometimes employee was dealing with their own privacy and law enforcement issue. Tough stuff. Click through for details, didn’t want to put this all on the front page. (more…)
I got back Monday night from a weekend which included ROFLcon and a talk at the Central MA Regional Library System. It was fun getting to do both. ROFLcon is sort of a laugh a minute and the CMRLS talk was particularly gratifying because the people in the audience (who had driven through a DELUGE to get there) were engaged and interesting and brought a lot to the table. CMRLS is also the system for my hometown library in Boxborough, so I enjoyed getting to see their tag for the boxes of materials that went to the library from the regional sorting facility. My talk notes are here
This post is a day or two late because I already wrote this post yesterday, but due to some confusion about how to differentiate between a draft and an actual published post in WordPress 2.5 I managed to delete it before it went live. This is entirely my own fault and yet the interface to the new WordPress [if you haven't upgraded, do so quicklike] is different enough that it makes certain parts of WordPress operate differently. This, in turn, changes my user behavior because my muscle memory wants to click certain places and look for certain visual cues for things. And again, when I’m wrassling with confusing interfaces — and this one is mostly that way because it’s new and I’m not used to it — my thoughts turn to the OPAC and the small wonder that people even come to our libraries at all sometimes when we make our materials so difficult to retrieve, sometimes.
In any case ROFLcon was a good time not just because it was fun and I got to see my boss Matt Haughey speak on a panel but also because there were a lot of librarians there. It was a pretty small conference but in addition to Casey Bisson who took some great photos, I also got to meet Wikipedian librarian Phoebe Ayers and Nathan from Shushing Action as well as some Simmons library students and just a few people who were like “You’re a librarian, that’s SO COOL!” It’s always gratifying to be somewhere where the nerd and librarian forces are strong.
I don’t know about you, but my worst nightmare is more along the lines of someone vomiting (or worse!) in the overnight book drop, but Slate has an article about Yahoo Answers and how librarians hate it. Of course the writer doesn’t seem to have talked to any librarians, he just likes to rail against the wisdom of crowds — with some valid points, certainly — and make fun of stupid answers on YA which is of coruse the opposite of what any decent librarian would do. There is a lively back and forth in the disucssion section which is hard to follow and hard to find but if the topic is as near and dear to your heart as it is to mine, I suggest you dig it out. I commented. [thanks alexandra]
My web friend Mat Honan does a lot of neat stuff. He does triathalons, he writes for Wired, he goes traveling to interesting places. I follow him virtually via Vox and Flickr and other random places, not in a stalker-y way but just in a “hey this person is interesting” way. I think we have friends in common, but I don’t know him in person. So, when he started doing pay-per-post posts to his blog, I wasn’t sure if he was making a big joke or earnestly trying to make some money. His posts were definitely interesting and amusing, not taking themselves too seriously it seemed. However, I was and still am a little skeptical about this whole pay-for-placement thing. I keep an eagle eye out for it in libraryland, and I think many of us do. While I don’t think we’re perfect at this game by any stretch I like to think that you go to the library, and your librarian, to get objective information not filtered through shopping incentives, advertising and viral marketing.
I thought this was a worthwhile point to make, so I decided to pay Mat Honan to make it for me. Ten dollars well spent, I think. Don’t you?