Book of the Week: Sanction (William Hunter)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Sanction

William Hunter grew up on a farm in South Carolina.  After college he eloped and traveled with his wife around Europe for several years before re-enrolling in school at the University of Cambridge where he earned a Ph.D in history.  He taught American and Revolutionary War history at several universities before returning to North Carolina where he now writes full-time.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Atlas Obscura highlights top digitization projects of 2017

Great post on Atlas Obscura on some of the best digitization projects—i.e., “amazing archival treasures” digitized in 2017—some unveiled for the first time this year, others expanded significantly with new content—including:

Read the full article for more information on each institution’s digitization efforts and growth in 2017 here.

Book of the Week: Unloved: A Love Story (Katy Regnery)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

UNLOVED: a love story

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract and Katy’s first novel was published in September 2013. Thirty books later, Katy claims authorship of the multi-titled, New York Times and USA Today Blueberry Lane Series; the six-book, bestselling ~a modern fairytale~ series; and several other standalone novels and novellas. She lives in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, with her husband, two young children, two dogs, and one Blue Tonkinese kitten..

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

End of the Year Listening

This week we take a half-step east of audiobooks per se to listen to recordings of live performances by a poet and a comedian. Both expressive forms are intended for auditory consumption and, in these selected cases, offer a shot of wry retrospective to go with current day events.

First up, Allen Ginsberg—Beat poet, comfortable performance artist, and more truthsayer than the provocateur he was accused of being—reads America. From atom bomb talk to TIME Magazine obsessing, this over-60-year-old invocation of the United States as hazard zone currently requires no historical explanation even to those a quarter of the poem’s age.

George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” routine, here as recorded in “Occupation Foole,” recorded in 1973, tracks the words involved in what became a First Amendment case arising when Carlin was arrested the previous year for speaking seven particular words aloud to an audience during his comedy performance. Last week’s news about a demand made of the Centers for Disease Control by Executive Office policy analysts included a different set of words, and yet the number of them—seven—puts a nearly biblical twist on US government suppression of vocabulary choices.

Among the delights of listening to such recordings is hearing the speaker’s actual delivery. This is a far cry from being left to read what a student wrote down as he heard Plato speak. We hear the places that matter to the speaker, even under the audience’s responding laughter. The leverage of direct access to intonation and pacing proves to be more than extra; in these two cases, the speakers’ good humor can give us some hope in light-heartedness itself.

De Gruyter and United Nations cooperate on Open Access book project

news from De Gruyter:

Berlin/Boston, 18 December 2017 –De Gruyter and the United Nations are cooperating on the publication of two open access books on mathematics. The UN promotes international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of outer space, and among its responsibilities are the UN-affiliated Regional Centers for Space Science and Technology Education (located in India, Morocco, Nigeria, Mexico/Brazil, Jordan and China). The Regional Centers are responsible for the development of skills and knowledge for university educators and research and applications scientists. To do this, they use rigorous theory, research, applications, field exercises, and pilot projects in those aspects of space science and technology that can contribute to sustainable development in each respective region.

Both books are open access titles accessible to anyone, anywhere and will form the basis of the mathematics foundation courses within the curricula of the Regional Centers. Both are designed for physicists and engineers. The first volume covers Linear Algebra and the second volume focuses on Probability and Statistics.

“We are very pleased to have had the opportunity of working with the UN to help support the valuable work they do and to help contribute to accessible, timely information for researchers,” said Dr. Anke Beck, Managing Director, De Gruyter. “As one of the largest open access book publishers, we are especially pleased to add to the corpus of quality research available to anyone on degruyter.com.”

Continue reading De Gruyter and United Nations cooperate on Open Access book project

This week in Literature and Arts

Monster kids, join me in birthday wishes for Vampira, born Maila Nurmi December 11, 1922 either in Gloucester, Mass. or Petsamo, Finland depending upon who you ask.

The legend surrounding her becoming the first horror host is that her curvy figure caught the eye of TV producer Hunt Stromberg who spied her dressed as Morticia Adams at a costume party and later offered her a gig hosting B movies while performing shtick on KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Frankly, I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s a damn good story so I’m sticking with it.

She parlayed the horror-host routine into appearances in films, most notably the Ed Wood shlockers, and numerous television performances. A TV pioneer.


Happy birthday to Jersey boy Francis Albert Sinatra, born December 12, 1915 in Hoboken. Apparently a bit of a scumbag in real life (most artists are, alas), but a voice that comes only once.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Thousands of images from Gabriel García Márquez Archive Now Online via University of Texas at Austin

Most important part first: view the images here. The Archive, belonging to the University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, was acquired in 2014 and has been opened since 2015. The digitalization, which, the university reports, took 18 months to complete, involved the efforts of archivists, students, librarians, and conservators, among others.

Included in the Archive are 27,000 images and 22 personal scrapbooks and notebooks, among them a memoir, screenplays, photos, etc.

From the university’s site:

The papers (English | Spanish) of Gabriel García Márquez, acquired by the Ransom Center in 2014, include original manuscript material, predominantly in Spanish, for 10 books, more than 2,000 pieces of correspondence, drafts of his 1982 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, more than 40 photograph albums documenting all aspects of his life over nearly nine decades, the Smith Corona typewriters and computers on which he wrote some of the twentieth century’s most beloved works, and scrapbooks meticulously documenting his career via news clippings from Latin America and around the world.

An inventory of the papers can be found in the following finding aids:

Read the full press release on the university web site here.

Book of the Week: Gynecologist Reflections (Robert A. Siegel, M.D.)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Gynecologist Reflections

Dr. Siegel was born and raised in New York City.  He received his BS from Howard University and his M.D. from The University of Guadalajara.  He earned the Physician’s recognition Award from the American Medical Association and the New Jersey Medical Society for his participation in continuing medical education.

BlueInk Review was founded by Patti Thorn, former books editor of the Rocky Mountain News, and Patricia Moosbrugger, literary agent and subsidiary rights specialist. It offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books. Reviews are penned largely by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine.

 

Closeup Listening

Oral history projects organized, performed, and/or administered by archives and libraries create opportunities for audiences dispersed by geography and date to hear first person accounts of personal and public events. Typically led or encouraged by a prepared interviewer who prompts for details or expansions on the featured speaker’s memories and observations, these histories arise without a pre-written script and so arrive in fully oral vernaculars: the pitches and tones of the subject, of course, but also the cadences of unfolding oral expression, and regional and idiosyncratic word choices that have become second nature to the speaker rather than being carefully selected to impress or hide from the audience.

A variety of public and arts and culture agencies have utilized the method for acquiring and preserving elderly community members who have experienced contrasting eras, been present through public disasters, or witnessed momentous political and/or social events. Unlike the historian or the journalist, the subject providing the oral history’s content comes to the table with a personal understanding from which the account is told, providing contemporary and future audiences with direct access to how the reported events and observations were experienced. Continue reading Closeup Listening

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 85th birthday to Little Richard, born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia’s Pleasant Hill section December 5, 1932. One of rock ‘n’ roll’s inventors and certainly its most flamboyant founder—Richard was pioneering glam rock when David Bowie was still in high school. He influenced rockers as wide ranging as the Beatles to Patti Smith.


Continue reading This week in Literature and Arts

Cengage’s new e-textbook subscription service seems reasonable, but the question lingers: Who needs textbooks anymore?

As reported by Inside Higher Ed (IHE) on December 5, 2018, Cengage has just introduced a Netflix-like subscription service giving students access to e-textbooks (in Cengage’s digital portfolio) for one set price, regardless of how many materials they use.

According to IHE, the new service, called Cengage Unlimited, “will give students access to more than 20,000 Cengage products across 70 disciplines and 675 course areas for $119.99 a semester. For 12 months’ access the price is $179.99, and for two years the price is $239.99. For students taking three or four courses a semester with assigned course materials from Cengage, the subscription could offer hundreds of dollars of savings a year, versus buying or renting the products individually.” [Read the full article here.]

As stated on Cengage’s site, this is “the first-of-its-kind digital subscription that gives students total and on-demand access  to all the digital learning platforms, ebooks, online homework and study tools Cengage has to offer – in one place.”

For added context, over 2,000 institutions in the United States reportedly assign Cengage materials in more than 10 courses; some 1,400 institutions assign Cengage materials in more than 20 courses; and some 600 institutions assign Cengage materials in more than 50 courses.

Given these numbers and given the steep price of educational materials, a Netflix-like subscription for course materials sounds logical. But, as Nate Hoffelder points out in The Digital Reader, it really comes down to how many textbooks students need a year.

Speaking of ‘use,’ I’m using this opportunity to put the spotlight (back) on the utility of digital textbooks in an age of interactive learning and massive amounts of (quality, reliable) educational information available freely on any given subject all over the Internet. Questions arise (in my mind, at least): Continue reading Cengage’s new e-textbook subscription service seems reasonable, but the question lingers: Who needs textbooks anymore?

Book of the Week: Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well (Frank Marcopolos)

In an effort to draw attention to quality self-published literature and in agreement with BlueInk Review, NSR highlights reviews published on BIR’s site each week, including a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:


Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well

A young man with the weight of the world resting on his shoulders is the focus of the excellent novel Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well by veteran author Frank Marcopolos.

Enzo Prinziatta’s father has died unexpectedly, his girlfriend is pregnant, and he’s trying to decide whether to pursue his dream of playing major league baseball or to settle down and quietly raise his new family in his home town of New Paltz, New York. Continue reading Book of the Week: Eagles and Hawks and Also People as Well (Frank Marcopolos)

Papers of Florence Nightingale now digitized using Handwritten Text Recognition technology

From Adam Matthew:

Medical Services and Warfare, 1850-1927, the latest primary source collection from Adam Matthew Digital, has transformed access to the personal and professional writings of Florence Nightingale with exclusive Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR). The HTR technology allows these handwritten papers to be fully searchable for the first time.

“[HTR] is going to transform scholarship and the types of questions researchers can ask,” commented Dr Patrick Spero, Director, American Philosophical Society Library, explaining the impact of HTR. “The technology has tremendous potential.”

Along with the Nightingale Papers, thousands of digitized documents from prestigious archives will give students and scholars first-hand knowledge of the development of medical practice as influenced by the wars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Continue reading Papers of Florence Nightingale now digitized using Handwritten Text Recognition technology

This Library Wants Every Book—Including Indies: The Internet Archive’s Open Library Project

What kind of a library would have a totally open collection development policy? If it’s a book, they want it. If it’s a political ad on TV, they want it. If it’s a sound recording—you guessed it—they want it. It’s the Internet Archive. It wants to preserve digital copies of everything and then share them with the world through its Open Library project.

Mirela Roncevic, Director of No Shelf Required, and I have begun work on a book about cutting edge ebook projects and trends. ALA Editions will publish it in the fall of 2018. As part of my research, I am learning about the Internet Archive and their Open Library Project. The forthcoming book will contain a detailed description of the project, including an analysis of the legal issues surrounding scanning and lending copies of books. Mary Minow, the leading authority on library law, will author the chapter. Today’s article will focus on how indie authors can benefit from the Internet Archive and Open Library.

Before diving into the Internet Archive and the Open Library Project, let’s ask ourselves some questions about the value of books and other cultural expressions. If you are an indie author, you may have already asked yourself these questions. Continue reading This Library Wants Every Book—Including Indies: The Internet Archive’s Open Library Project

AudioFile Magazine Names Best Nonfiction & Culture Audiobooks 2017

This is the season when “best” lists bloom like gardens in spring and understanding who declares a publication as best of the year is the first step to deciding why that declaration deserves what amount of attention. Since AudioFile Magazine is the only publication that has been reviewing audiobooks only, and for 25 years, the accumulated experiences of their editors and reviewers puts them in the lead for a demonstrated capacity to judge the best from a year’s output of new audiobooks. AudioFile’s reviews concern themselves with the specifically audio format of the presentation: narration quality, suitability of the written work to audio performance, and directional and engineering attention during the publication process.

This year’s list of more than 100 best audiobooks is divided into topical areas, with Nonfiction and Culture audiobooks accounting for 11 titles on the full list. From the mathematical and molecular delights in the history of CAESAR’S LAST BREATH, written by Sam Kean and read by Ben Sullivan, through the all-the-rage Danish cosy movement discussed in THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE, written and read by Meik Wiking, to the fascination with language shared in WORD BY WORD, written and read by Kory Stamper, this category of Best Audiobooks offers delight for the omnivorous autodidact as well as for listeners seeking comfort or advice. There’s comedy in Paula Poundstone reading her own THE TOTALLY UNSCIENTIFIC STUDY OF THE SEARCH FOR HUMAN HAPPINESS. Contemproary racial bias in policing is examined in journalist Matt Taibbi’s I CAN’T BREATHE, read by Dominic Hoffman. Personal and professional development take center stage in OWN IT by Sallie Krawcheck, read by Ellen Archer, and FINISH written and read by Jon Acuff. Continue reading AudioFile Magazine Names Best Nonfiction & Culture Audiobooks 2017

This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 75th birthday to Jimi Hendrix, born November 27, 1942, in Seattle, WA. His first name actually was John, but his father, James, later changed it to match his own.

Jimmy enlisted in the army in 1961, serving with the 101st airborne “Screaming Eagles.” By 1965 he was a popular session guitarist playing for the leading black stars from Little Richard to Ike and Tina before becoming a headliner.

Alas, Jimi overdosed when he was only 27.


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With the recent addition of Florida’s collections, Digital Public Library of America now comprises 18 million resources

From DPLA:

We are pleased to announce that over 74,000 new materials from Florida’s Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) are now discoverable in DPLA. Please join us in welcoming SSDN partners Florida State University, University of Miami, and Florida International University to the DPLA network.

With this new content, DPLA now makes over 18 million resources available to all, but it’s not about the numbers for us. Each new partner, institution, and collection added to DPLA means we expand the network of people, communities, and stories that we represent and can share with you, our community. Newly added collections from Sunshine State Digital Network provide rich content documenting Florida’s unique culture, landscape, and people, as well as materials that represent and reflect our shared national heritage. Continue reading With the recent addition of Florida’s collections, Digital Public Library of America now comprises 18 million resources