Where do writers get all their facts?

The New York Times has a nice article about David Smith. His official job is “officially a supervising librarian in the Allen Room and the Wertheim Study at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street” but friends and others call him Librarian to the Stars.

Some authors refer their friends to Mr. Smith, but David Nasaw, a biographer of Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst and a history professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said they met entirely by chance.

β€œHe was standing behind the main reference counter fielding questions from the masses,” Mr. Nasaw said. β€œI had difficulty understanding an entry in one of the big catalog books, so I waited on line until my turn came. He answered my question and then told me that he knew and admired my work, and that if I ever needed help to contact him directly.” Mr. Nasaw did.

New (YPL) favorite blog

Not super fleshed out, but how cool is it that one of our venerable library institutions has a blog outlining some of the new things they’re trying and evaluating what they’ve already been doing? Please subscribe, right now please, to labs.nypl.org. [thanks pk!]

Jay Datema’s got a brand new bag

While I’ll miss Jay Datema’s editorial insights over at Library Journal, I’m thrilled as hell to see that he’s going to be working with the whizkids over at NYPL now.

open records and open cataloging data

Keep in mind that while it is in the best interests of librarians to access to bibliographic records be as open as possible — to facilitate record-sharing, search and retrieval of items in a library and just our collective knowledgebase generally — it is often NOT in the interests of library companies, or libraries who act like companies, to share their data such that other people or libraries can use it to do what they want with it. So goes the saga of NYPL vs ibiblio, a long and not at all complicated tale concerning their records and what is or is not copyrightable about them. Special appearance by OCLC and their revised policies about records sharing.

where does the money go, NYPL?

The president of NYPL makes over $800,000 a year even as NYPL is selling assets to raise needed funds and NYPL has some of the lowest starting salaries of any urban library system. For shame. [juice]

NYPL sells art to raise money for books, sort of

I rarely get my news, library or otherwise, from the Drudge Report. But when the headline blares NYC PUBLIC LIBRARY TO SELL ARTWORKS; MONEY FOR BOOKS… I just had to click that link.

“We’re not a museum,” [NYPL president Paul LeClerc] said. “We don’t have a staff devoted to paintings and sculptures. One of the thrills of running a great library is keeping up with the explosion of information. If we don’t grow, we cannot maintain the claim that we are one of the greatest libraries in the world.”


librarians are cool about copyright … or aren’t they?

A quick back and forth over at Copyfight concerning the much touted NYPL Digital Archives. Taking images that are in the public domain, and then restricting their use … isn’t that sort of uncool, and unnecessary?

jeff tweedy + lawrence lessig @ the library

Jeff Tweedy [you know the guy from Wilco and Uncle Tupelo] and Lawrence Lessig [you know, the guy from The Future of Ideas and Free Culture] will be appearing at the New York Public Library on April 7th. Topic: Who Owns Culture?