All posts by NSR Editorial

NSR Presents: Ebooks & Tourism — A Passport to Heaven

NSR is pleased to announce that NSR’s Mirela Roncevic will be a keynote presenter at the Tourism in Southern and Eastern Europe Conference in Opatija, Istria on May 4th, 2017. The presentation, titled Ebooks & Tourism: A Passport to Heaven, is strongly aligned with the Conference’s focus on ways in which the Tourism sector can parter with creative industries through innovative ideas and projects.

Mirela’s presentation will center on her Free Reading Zones efforts, explain the benefits of a society in which open virtual libraries thrive beyond physical libraries and zero in on ways in which the Tourism industry can join forces with the Publishing and Library industries to tap into the potential of ebooks to transform the world from one where readers must go to ‘knowledge’ to the one where knowledge comes to readers.

Mirela will invite the attendees to consider turning physical spaces as small as cafes and hotels and as big as cities and countries into Free Reading Zones, where visitors, tourists, and residents can have access to free books via reading apps (supported by private and government sponsors and in cooperation with publishers and libraries).

Roncevic founded and now directs the Free Reading Zones Project, which brings developers, publishers, and sponsors together to turn public and private spaces into zones where people have free and uninterrupted access to books, so that individuals all over the world, regardless of their location, status or education background, can be empowered through knowledge. The culmination of  her FREZ efforts was the turning of the entire country of Croatia into a Free Reading Zone this past December.

The presentation will be streamed live on Facebook and later archived on NSR for future viewing.

ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

According to a press release, ProQuest recently surveyed academic librarians about their needs regarding non-English language content. The results demonstrate a strong interest in making Chinese-language content available to address the needs of researchers:

  • 47% of respondents purchase Chinese-language content.
  • Nearly 30% say Chinese-language content is among users’ most requested non-English language content
  • 24% say they are not adequately supporting patrons’ needs for Chinese-language content.
  • When asked what non-English digital format resources they would like to offer, 30% said frontlist ebooks and 25% said backlist ebooks.

From the same press release:

ProQuest is collaborating with Asian Studies scholars, librarians and Chinese-language publishers to offer a selection of Chinese- language ebooks, enabling libraries to provide resources demanded by researchers. The growing collection spans thousands of titles available on the Ebook Central®, ebrary® and EBL platforms. The platforms’ multi-language interfaces accommodate readers of traditional and simplified Chinese, and other languages. Continue reading ProQuest’s mission to keep up with the high and growing demand for Chinese-language content

De Gruyter and major university presses make 500 books and journal articles across nine topical areas free through 2017

As part of their “Rights, Action and Social Responsibility” initiative, De Gruyter and a number of university presses are making books and journal articles across nine topical areas freely available (to download in PDF) until the end of 2017 on degruyter.com, more precisely here.

The topical areas included in the initiative are:  Constitutional History, Dissent, Truth & Ethics, Environmental Studies, Gender Studies, Geopolitics, Human Rights, Immigration & Urbanism and Islamic Studies.

The content includes more than 500 books and selected journal articles from Columbia University Press, Cornell University Press, Harvard University Press, Princeton University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, Transcript-Verlag and De Gruyter. Access the content via this link.

Broadening access to these areas of scholarship enables more people, including non-academics, to address these issues in an informed manner: it helps to combat false news sources, to reflect on the nature of truth and ethics, and to understand the struggles of all members of society.

“Public debates surrounding immigration policy, climate change, international relations, and constitutional and human rights are currently at the forefront of the national discourse, especially, but not only, in the United States. Together, De Gruyter and its partners are keen to support a thoughtful and informed debate on these sensitive and serious issues,” said Steve Fallon, Director Publishing Partner Program.

Watch rare socialist film footage via “Socialism on Film,” an Adam Matthew resource produced in partnership with British Film Institute

Researchers will now be able to view the world through a communist lens in Adam Matthew’s newest digitized collection: Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, a resource that focuses on rare socialist film footage from the twentieth century.

Unique in nature and scope, and enabling comparative global research, this collection provides access to previously unseen footage captured by film makers from the USSR, Vietnam, Cuba, China, East Germany, Eastern Europe and more. The footage gives a rare glimpse into all aspects of socialist life using documentary films, features and newsreels. “This is a very important opportunity for teachers of propaganda and the twentieth century,” commented Jo Fox, Professor of History, Durham University. “It is a unique visual record.”

Socialism on Film provides a counterview to Western perceptions of communist states and their actions, while illuminating how socialist countries saw themselves and the world around them during major political and social events of the twentieth century. Students and scholars can now watch such significant history as:

  • Soviet fears on President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defense initiative
  • Interviews with imprisoned American pilots shot down and captured over Vietnam in Pilots in Pyjamas
  • Vanessa Redgrave’s emotional response to nuclear testing in The Nuclear Plague
  • Footage previously banned from general release in Britain

Continue reading Watch rare socialist film footage via “Socialism on Film,” an Adam Matthew resource produced in partnership with British Film Institute

Alexander Street’s Social Work Online encompasses 100 hours of video

Encompassing 100 hours of video, Alexander Street’s Social Work Online is a multimedia resource that combines compelling documentaries, original training videos and client demonstrations with relevant text to illustrate the complex and challenging realities students of social work will face as practitioners.

This content addresses 12 of the most critical subjects in the social work curriculum:

Children and Families
Diversity
School Social Work
Older Adults
Substance Abuse
Criminal Justice
Mental Health
Health Care
Poverty
Crisis and Trauma
Social Welfare
History of Social Work

Created in collaboration with expert advisers comprised of faculty and librarians, Social Work Online supplements its video with 50,000 curated pages of text to deliver insights that go deeper than traditional social work textbooks. Continue reading Alexander Street’s Social Work Online encompasses 100 hours of video

Leanpub Podcast Interview with Mirela Roncevic on Free Reading Zones and her vision of the future (for books)

A few weeks ago, NSR Director Mirela Roncevic talked with Leanpub about her Free Reading Zones efforts and explained the experience of turning an entire country into an open virtual library as a way of showing the potential of ebooks and digital content to democratize the written word, transform the publishing industry, and envision a future in which libraries serve people beyond the confines of their buildings and assigned zip codes. She has written about it in her Lessons from Croatia Reads series on NSR (the  Sponsor of the countrywide initiative in Croatia to spread free reading) and is in the midst of writing a lengthy case study/report on the project, to be published by ALA later in 2017.

This is the most revealing (audio) interview on the project thusfar, in which she sheds light on the challenges she and her team encountered and why she believes the future of reading will look radically different than it does today.

Excerpt:

Len: I was wondering if you could talk, just for a few minutes, about your current vision. I mean, of course, there will still be experiments, but what is your vision of a global open virtual library? How would it work? Would it have a sort of single, central administration or?

Mirela: I have visions of it. Somebody asked me in an interview, “What is the ultimate Free Reading Zone?”  And I answered, “Oh, the entire world is the ultimate Free Reading Zone.” Not a particular country.

But I do think that for many, many reasons, we have ways to go to get there. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s probably not going to happen in my lifetime. Continue reading Leanpub Podcast Interview with Mirela Roncevic on Free Reading Zones and her vision of the future (for books)

In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive

Gale has just announced the first collection in its new Women’s Studies Archive. The archive is the third offering in an effort to publish material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. This archive follows recentl launches of Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender (the largest digital archive of LGBTQ History and Culture) and the American Civil Liberties Union Papers (ACLU).

Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities traces the path of women’s issues from past to present—pulling primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles and triumphs.

Full press release below.


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Gale, a Cengage company, has launched a new archive on women’s studies that explores the many contributions of women throughout history.  Part of the growing Gale Primary Sources program, the Women’s Studies Archive represents Gale’s focus on publishing material that supports diversity studies and provides historical context around current topics. Continue reading In time for Women’s History month, Gale releases Women’s Studies Archive

Audiobook Review—The Big Break: The Greatest American WWII POW Escape Story Never Told (Stephen Dando-Collins)

The Big Break: The Greatest American WWII POW Escape Story Never Told

By Stephen Dando-Collins; Read by Paul Woodson

Recorded Books, 2017; 8.25 hours


World War II prisoner-of-war escapes immediately conjure Hollywood images of captured but undefeated allied soldiers outsmarting their evil Hun overlords. Close, but now picture the prisoners half starved; unbathed with scruffy beards, long matted hair; and dirty, ragged clothes. Quite a different impression.

Paul Brickhill chronicled that war’s most famous POW break in his 1950 volume, The Great Escape, later morphed into the all-star 1963 film. Here, military historian Stephen Dando-Collins chronicles the even greater escape of American officers from German prison camp Oflag 64 in Schubin, Poland, a year before, which proved a development and testing ground for many of the methods for the clandestine digging and hiding of dirt, and shoring and ventilating tunnels employed by the multinational servicemen staging The Great Escape.

Dando-Collins follows a linear course beginning with an intricate escape plan via tunnel leading from one of the camp’s latrines—there’s no more powerful testament to the POW’s desperation than crawling through their own waste inch by putrid inch to construct a tunnel to freedom. It was impossible to clean clothes daily in a camp where bathing was luxury enough, leaving the tunnelers reeking of human excrement day and night. Continue reading Audiobook Review—The Big Break: The Greatest American WWII POW Escape Story Never Told (Stephen Dando-Collins)

Knowledge Unlatched, supported by libraries, and made available in PDF to any reader, anywhere in the world

This week, I’d like to highlight Knowledge Unlatched (KU),  a nonprofit in the U.K. that “offers a global library consortium approach to funding open access books” (according to Wikipedia). It shares a number of similarities with the HathiTrust Digital Library, featured on NSR last week, and provides a backdrop to KU’s business model.

KU began in 2012, after two years of exploratory work by founder Frances Pinter, who has owned a publishing house since 1973 (when she was 23). The Wiki on KU details its beginnings and growth, also well-covered in two blog posts (Griffith University and The Bookseller). What is of particular interest is that both collections rely on consortia of universities and colleges to maintain their services. Continue reading Knowledge Unlatched, supported by libraries, and made available in PDF to any reader, anywhere in the world

Book of the Week: Nickerbacher (Terry John Barto)

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. Books highlighted include a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

Nickerbacher

About Author

Terry John BartoNickerbacher’s award–winning author Terry John Barto is a director and choreographer of 200+ regional theater productions, industrials, television, and cruise ship shows throughout the United States and abroad. As creative director for Wings of Dreams Productions, he honed diverse ideas into compelling fiction family stories, wrote screenplays for animation features, and inspired a team of artists to develop dolls and action figures. Nickerbacher will inspire kids of all ages to dream big.

He lives in Los Angeles, California and enjoys pilates, yoga, and hiking with his dachshunds, Hunter and Mazie. Terry John Barto is also the author of Gollywood, Here I Come!


About BlueInk Review

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.

 

A necessary reminder: Sci-Hub continues to grow and more and more of its users attend affluent universities

“A research paper is a special publication written by scientists to be read by other researchers. Papers are primary sources necessary for research – for example, they contain detailed description of new results and experiments. Papers we have in our library: more than 58,000,000 and growing.”

So states the homepage of Sci-Hub, “the first pirate website in the world to provide mass and public access to tens of millions of research papers.” Just who is downloading all these pirated papers? According to this article in Science Magazine, which is almost a year old but still intriguing and highly recommended to NSR readers not familiar with the unstoppable force of Sci-Hub: EVERYONE. Continue reading A necessary reminder: Sci-Hub continues to grow and more and more of its users attend affluent universities

HathiTrust Digital Library, a major source of open scholarship with legal issues seemingly behind it

This week, we take a closer look at the HathiTrust Digital Library. This collection is likely the most oriented towards academic researchers, largely because it was the product of 13 universities that made up the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (renamed the Big Ten Academic Alliance last year) and the University of California.

The Trust began in 2008 as the result of the digitization of “orphan books,” which started in 2004 by the Google Books Library Project and now consists of a partnership of 60 research libraries located in Canada, Europe and the U.S. (See www.hathitrust.org/community). The University of Michigan currently provides the infrastructure on which the digital content resides. The collection includes 15 million volumes, of which about half are books. Of those 7.5 million books, 5.8 million are in the public domain. Continue reading HathiTrust Digital Library, a major source of open scholarship with legal issues seemingly behind it

Book of the Week: My Guardian Angel (Hsiao-Yen Chi)

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. Books highlighted include a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

My Guardian Angel

About Author

Hsiao-Yen ChiHsiao-Yen is an author, illustrator and graphic designer living in California with her husband and two daughters. She was born in Hong-Kong and grew up in Taiwan. She started doodling at a very young age and early on developed a great interest in drawing and painting. Yen has both BFA and MFA degrees in illustration from Academy of Art University in San Francisco . She has been publishing children’s books since 2010. She now works for Volare studio/Volotot as a graphic illustrator of children’s products.


About BlueInk Review

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.

University Press Scholarship Online continues to grow, Princeton and University of Illinois now on board as partner presses

Oxford University Press (OUP) has just announced the addition of two new partner presses to its growing University Press Scholarship Online (UPSO) platform: University of Illinois Press and Princeton University Press. 

The University of Illinois Press will go live on UPSO in April 2017. Illinois Scholarship Online site will launch with 350 titles across a range of subject areas including sociology, music, history, society and culture, film television & radio, and literature.

Princeton University Press will be joining UPSO in October 2017.  The Princeton Scholarship Online site will go live with over 400 titles across the humanities and sciences with strengths in Biology, Classics, Economics, History, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Sociology.

Comprising over 23,000 titles in 31 subject areas, UPSO is available to university libraries around the world. Participating presses include, among many others, OUP, British Academy, Chicago University, Cornell, Fordham, MIT, NYU, Stanford, and Yale.

SAGE Video grows with two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

SAGE Publishing has announced that it has expanded SAGE Video, its library of streaming videos across the social sciences, to include two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice. Hosted on SAGE Knowledge platform and designed to enhance research, teaching, and learning at all levels, the new collections contain 115 hours+ of streaming video content each, more than 65% of which is exclusive to SAGE.

SAGE Video collections are developed in partnership with academics, societies and practitioners, including many of SAGE’s own authors and academic partners to provide cutting-edge teaching and research-oriented video.

For more information, visit the SAGE Video information page or visit the SAGE Video platform directly. Sign up for a trial of SAGE Video here. Continue reading SAGE Video grows with two new collections: Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice

More humanities and social sciences books made available for free via Knowledge Unlatched

 Knowledge Unlatched

Knowledge Unlatched has announced the ‘unlatching’ of  147 front list and 196 backlist ebooks from the KU Select 2016 collection. Around 270 libraries and consortia from 21 countries pledged towards the unlatching of this collection. This brings the total to 449 ebooks available as Open Access via KU, since 2014.

The Humanities and Social Sciences titles cover 16 subject areas and can be downloaded for free as PDFs and EPUBs via KU’s official hosts’ platforms, OAPEN and HathiTrust. Continue reading More humanities and social sciences books made available for free via Knowledge Unlatched

Book of the Week: Manly Manners (Wayne James)

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. Books highlighted include a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction. This week’s pick:

https://www.blueinkreview.com/book-reviews/manly-manners-lifestyle-modern-etiquette-for-the-young-man-of-the-21st-century/

About Author

Wayne JamesSt. Croix-born Wayne James, “The ‘Bad Boy’ of Good Manners,” is no stranger to the worlds of style, diplomacy, and courtesy. In March of 1987, while in his last semester of Georgetown University’s school of law, James presented his first collection of fashion at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York’s SoHo. One week later, Bergdorf Goodman bought the exclusive rights to the collection. In May of that same year, James went on to earn his law degree. In 1999 James was elected Senator of the United States Virgin Islands and served as Senate Liaison to the White House. (Wayne James is also no stranger to the world of controversy: In June of 2016, while in Modena, Italy, researching and writing volume three of the Manly Manners treatise, he was detained by Italian authorities acting on behalf of a request from the United States of America for alleged fiscal inconsistencies during his tenure as senator.  James has denied all charges, and the matter is being resolved in a court of law.)


About BlueInk Review

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.

If the only necessary people in the publishing process are the writer and reader, shouldn’t libraries serve both?

self-publishingThe concept of a public library as self-publishing platform for aspiring writers isn’t new and libraries across North America are steadily warming up to it, increasingly becoming the go-to places for aspiring local writers to produce, publish and share their work in their community and nationally. In recent years there has been an explosion of self-publishing platforms available to writers all over the Internet and several are used in libraries in the United States and Canada. The three that stand out include Biblioboard, Pressbooks, and Self-E (by Library Journal).

Stratford Public Library (SPL), Ontario, Canada, provides access to all three of these resources for its card holders who may use them through the library’s website. Clearly, the library is trying to position itself as the place where local residents don’t just get free books but also create them from scratch for free.

Just underneath the “Self Publishing Resources” heading on SPL’s website, one notices this quote by Guy Kawaski: “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader.” Public libraries such as SPL are certainly making the necessary steps to stand as examples of institutions that serve the needs of their patrons in an age that transcends traditional publishing channels and recognize that emerging digital technologies are democratizing the written word like we’ve never seen before. They are making it possible for writers in their community who would normally not be able to get exposure to share their writing and possibly realize their greatest dreams and ambitions. Continue reading If the only necessary people in the publishing process are the writer and reader, shouldn’t libraries serve both?

11 key qualities of a K-12 digital resource for the classroom

child-1183465Through the process of identifying quality materials, AAP (American Association of Publishers)—representing nearly 400 member organizations that include major commercial, digital learning, education and professional publishers as well as independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies—has recently identified the 11 “essential components” to help educators recognize which products are right for their classroom. These include (and are listed in this slide):

Continue reading 11 key qualities of a K-12 digital resource for the classroom

New (but not surprising) AAP findings this week: paperback, hardcover, and audio sales grow; ebook sales decline

AAPAAP has released some new numbers this week that point to the trend we saw in previous findings: that print (paperback and hardcover) and audio sales continue to grow while ebook sales continue to decline. See full report here.

As always, when such reports are released, NSR zooms in on ebook numbers. They continue to go down (not up), as we can clearly see, but as we’ve noted previously on this issue, this may actually be a good thing. At least for those who advocate for more affordable access to books online, and especially for those whose advocate free access to books online (beyond libraries). Although disappointing, numbers like this do not confirm that people don’t want to read and access content in digital format. Instead, they confirm that they simply do not want to pay for ebooks, or at least not as much they’ve had to pay thusfar. Continue reading New (but not surprising) AAP findings this week: paperback, hardcover, and audio sales grow; ebook sales decline