Category Archives: General Interest

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.

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

Listening to Speak Well

November 19th marked the 154th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln delivering his Gettysburg Address, an event that, of course, was not recorded by any mechanical means. However, because of its brevity, powerful prosody, and stark imagery, it continues to live not just as a document but also as script for oral performance.

The flip side of listening to read is listening to learn how to speak, and listening to stellar deliveries of careful language choices to learn to speak well, compellingly, and clearly in terms of conceptual communication. Without practiced listening skills, speakers lag in oral communication skills, a situation that can lead to frustration, alienation, and exclusion from power.

While the writing of Presidential speeches has evolved over time to comport more popular styles of grammar, phrasing and word choices, how we experience them has also changed. We tend to read them in full and listen to only moments of the whole. Often that listening, truncated as it is, also comes via video and thus invites visual appraisal of postures, faces, and other details beyond the spoken words. Except for those who elect to join forensics teams or involve themselves in school drama departments, young students now rarely, and most never, have the opportunity to experience delivering speeches or master communication intended to be heard (beyond music).

After millennia of human ideas and ideals being shaped aloud, are we now in the Age of Unspeaking?

Ebook Friendly celebrates 10 years of Kindle with an educational infographic

“Since 2007, Kindle made millions of people rediscover the joy of reading. But it’s not only e-readers that changed the way we read. It’s the entire ecosystem that includes ebooks, services, and innovations,” writes Piotr Kowalczyk on Ebook Friendly this week in a post that features an infographic listing the most significant events in the development of the Kindle, starting with the launch of the first-generation Kindle in 2007 and ending with the launch of Kindle Oasis 2 on October 31, 2017.

Note the quote at the very bottom of the infographic: “Ten years after the first Kindle, e-ink remains the best technology for the devoted e-reader” (Brian Heater).

We thank Piotr for sharing the infographic with the world and allowing us to post it on NSR.

StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Besides engaging with what authors and performers have created through audiobooks, the sound of storytelling extends to creating and listening to family stories, neighborhood stories, captured memories of unwritten, and otherwise unscripted, events, and conversations. The work of StoryCorps addresses this by providing both structure for and preservation of such recordings. Recordings made in StoryCorps booths, which pop up around the country on well publicized schedules, are accepted by the Library of Congress as part of the American archives of cultural and popular history. StoryCorps has won a variety of humanities distinctions, including the Peabody Award (2007).

For several years, StoryCorps has been promoting The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a guided opportunity for those gathered with multiple generations to celebrate the holiday. With the goal of creating “a culture of listening,” this effort points directly to the power of listening in communication, intergenerational honor, and understanding. Directions are specific, simple to follow, and require virtually nothing to attain satisfying results. The event is suggested for families, classes of all ages, and neighborhood gathering places. Continue reading StoryCorps and the Great Thanksgiving Listen

Less than the Sum of its Parts?

In its grasping attempt to move from ubiquitous to monopolizing, Audible’s new come-on for romance genre consumers apparently leaves the concept of audiobook—as in book—behind. Having sliced and diced the genre’s presentation for paying consumers in more ways than the Kama Sutra suggests positions, they’ve just gone to a level of servicing that might leave both authors and narrators—to say nothing of narrating authors—with the frank understanding that it’s not the books that Audible is moving here, just what the company coyly calls the “good parts.”

Audible Romance already has allowed the fans of this one genre to dine freely at their subscription rate while listeners with interests in other genres or topics are kept to a single subscription “free listen” per month. Beyond that, Audible has parsed its romance genre fare and labeled titles for consumers by every imaginable plotting and character trait. In short, Audible makes sure those romance consumers don’t have to make too many discoveries by actually listening to entire audiobooks, eros forbid they might be confronted by unanticipated kinks, lack of kinks, or casting that wanders outside their comfort zones. Continue reading Less than the Sum of its Parts?

Publishing and bibliographic jobs below the radar

Some years ago, I was impressed by a speaker at a youth enrichment services providers roundtable who came from a vocational training background and currently worked in publishing house dealing mostly with career preparation materials. The materials she shared included, surprisingly to most of us gathered, board books for toddlers as well as interactive books for older children. These were not the “When I grow up, I want to be a firefighter” flavor: instead, they exposed kids to the actual doing of things that could eventually engage their interests in jobs beyond the Top 10 every high school student recognizes as the likely “only” options.*

A few industries are good—usually at the behest of union pressure—about exposing the fact of certain jobs existing. Think about the rolling credits after a movie. While such denominating for public view doesn’t explain what exactly the key grip or best boy does functionally, the job titles are there. And there are jobs called out in the credits as well that make intuitive sense while not, more than likely, getting much air time when the conversation turns to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Once it’s noted as a possibility, however, costume designer strikes a chord that could turn into a wholly satisfying career. Continue reading Publishing and bibliographic jobs below the radar

EU withheld a study that shows piracy doesn’t hurt sales [in some cases it actually enhances them]

From Engadget:

“In 2013, the European Commission ordered a €360,000 ($430,000) study on how piracy affects sales of music, books, movies and games in the EU. However, it never ended up showing it to the public except for one cherry-picked section. That’s possibly because the study concluded that there was no evidence that piracy affects copyrighted sales, and in the case of video games, might actually help them.

Done by Dutch organization Ecorys, the study might have been lost altogether if not for the effort of EU parliamentarian Julia Reda. She submitted a freedom of information request in July 2017, and after stalling twice, the commission finally produced it. The conclusion? “With the exception of recently released blockbusters, there is no evidence to support the idea that online copyright infringement displaces sales,” Reda wrote on her blog.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Canadian libraries and academic institutions join forces to give access to sources exploring Canada’s history

Institutions across Canada can now benefit from full access to Frontier Life: Borderlands Settlement and Colonial Encounters, a digital collection of primary sources offering a glimpse into Canada’s historic past.

Consortia Canada, Adam Matthew and 18 leading academic institutions have collaborated to open this content to libraries and educational institutions across Canada, including all library types: public, post-secondary, special, archives, museums and K-12 schools. The collaboration unlocks important primary sources to provide the broader community with a comparative view on the various colonial frontiers across the globe. Continue reading Canadian libraries and academic institutions join forces to give access to sources exploring Canada’s history

NC LIVE Partners with Credo to provide users with a research tool to combat fake news

Just in:

Conducting research in the 21st century often means navigating fake news sites, biased media, and contradictory online information. Information literacy has emerged as a critical skill to achieve academic, professional, and personal success. Thanks to a partnership between the state’s library consortium NC LIVE and Credo Reference, Credo Online Reference Service will offer North Carolinians a starting point to find information about their research or personal topics of interest.

Credo provides background knowledge, illustrates relationships between topics, and cites the information they provide simply and consistently. North Carolinians won’t need to worry that what they are reading is bogus. Continue reading NC LIVE Partners with Credo to provide users with a research tool to combat fake news

Defending the honor of ebooks (and innovation)

Is the ebook a dead format? How eBooks lost their shine. The Reason Actual Books Are So Much More Memorable Than Ebooks. US Ebook Sales Decline. These are some of the headlines I’ve seen recently perpetuating the (suddenly popular) notion that ebooks are not ‘in’ anymore. That they have somehow failed us. That nothing compares to the reading of actual physical objects in the world. That the challenges the publishing industry has seen with ebooks (i.e., declining sales) point in the direction of a ‘format’ on the verge of dying.

Such articles aren’t only written by informed bloggers and journalists but also by industry professionals with significant experience in the publishing and library and information science markets, particularly those catering to consumers and public libraries. They exhibit a great deal of knowledge and sensible arguments about the challenges the publishing community (trade, in particular) has had with ebooks, focusing largely on the shortfalls of various business models to deliver revenue as predictable as revenue from print, the technological issues associated with ‘formats’  that haven’t been able to deliver a fully satisfying reading experience, and, not to be overlooked, the fierce competitiveness within the market itself, which has often resulted in ‘the powerful’  thriving even if their offerings were inferior to those by various start-ups (most of which perished in recent years).

In short, technology has not been able to ‘disrupt’ book publishing the way it has disrupted other industries in the not-so-distant past (e.g., music, news), and here we are at a crossroads again, asking some existential questions. Continue reading Defending the honor of ebooks (and innovation)

Ingram acquires Book Network Int’l Limited, international print and ebook distributor

With this move, Ingram expands its UK footprint. Full press release below:

NASHVILLE, TENN. June 30, 2017 – Ingram Publisher Services LLCan operating unit of Ingram Content Group, has acquired Book Network Int’l Limited (“NBNi”); an international physical and digital book distributor, based in the UK.  NBNi’s client service business will stand alongside Ingram’s wide range of digital, physical and print-on-demand solutions to create a premier global services offering. Continue reading Ingram acquires Book Network Int’l Limited, international print and ebook distributor

When ebooks are ‘free’ through libraries for two weeks (like Harry Potter)

We learned last week that Pottermore will make J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ebook available to UK library users for two weeks in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its publication. The ebook will be available through library distribution apps OverDrive, BorrowBox from Bolinda and Askews & Holts from June 26 until July 7. During that time, the U.K. library system (which signed an agreement with Pottermore) will offer unlimited number of loans to the first book in the massively popular series.

We also learned that Pottermore is supplying participating libraries with posters, flyers, social media materials and competition ideas to help them publicize the free loans (as they are called) and, in essence, help publicize the book and the series in digital format.

Those of us who have worked with ebook vendors and engaged publishers (big and small) to consider alternative ebook business models (for consumers and especially for libraries) have long been aware of the resistance on the part of established, traditional publishing houses to expose their content digitally in ways other than through the one copy-one user model.

So when a publisher such as Pottermore decides to provide a Harry Potter title in ebook format through a library in ‘unlimited’ ways (which means no restrictions are placed on how many readers can read at the same time during the two-week period, and only during that period), the first reaction is certainly one filled with hope that a new trend may be on the horizon showing signs that publishers hesitant to embrace less restrictive ebook models in libraries are embracing innovation by making some bold digital moves. What’s more, some are touting this move as a great way to ‘support’ public libraries in the U.K., which have been struggling.

The second reaction, however, is one of hesitation. Continue reading When ebooks are ‘free’ through libraries for two weeks (like Harry Potter)

Reading by Ear: A superb collection of articles on audiobooks, audio literacy, and the art of listening

A few months ago, NSR launched the Reading by Ear column, written by audiobook and audio literacy authority, librarian Francisca Goldsmith. The column discusses audiobooks as a medium through which contemporary readers are invited to explore literary culture, performance arts, and multimodal literacy capacity building. In her thought-provoking, scholarly yet accessible writing, Francisca addresses why audiobook listening expands, rather than derails, our access to literature and the written word. She also takes on the issue of prescribing audiobooks as a ‘print reading’ support versus listening to audiobooks as a way to build information and aesthetic experiences and critical thinking about auditory experiences in their own right.

Francisca has been working in libraries for many years. Her professional background includes services and collections for teens in public and school libraries, for New Americans, and providing reference services and managing collections for adults and teens. Her contribution to No Shelf Required is immense and we are grateful to have her on board. Continue reading Reading by Ear: A superb collection of articles on audiobooks, audio literacy, and the art of listening

Show a teen how to build a summer listening library

This Thursday heralds opening day for the 8th season of AudiobookSYNC Audiobooks for Teens. Here’s an opportunity to acquire 32 audiobooks for free and to keep for personal use (not for library collections). All comers are granted each week’s pair of free audiobooks, while the program selections target middle and high school aged teens. Last year, the program provided more than 170,000 free audiobook downloads of 30 titles.

What it is: AudiobookSYNC aims to highlight listening as a means to reading both high teen-interest titles and titles either assigned for summer reading or likely to require student attention for curriculum support. The audiobook review magazine AudioFile, hosts the annual program, uses the OverDrive app and computer software for distribution, and acquires its titles through donations from more than a dozen audiobook publishers, including the big guys like Penguin Random House and Recorded Books, and smaller houses like L.A. Theatre Works, Ideal Audiobooks, and Naxos AudioBooks. Continue reading Show a teen how to build a summer listening library

Speeding kills

Ten days ago Quartz published a piece associating America’s “unhealthy obsession with productivity with the rise in audiobook publishing and market popularity. The article puts forward relatively ancient survey data, claiming that the 2006 Audio Publishers Association’s consumer survey is the latest. It’s not and a very quick search of the same site the author used to locate this report leads to 2012 survey results, posted in 2013, and a n online search that takes all of one minute longer leads directly to the Edison Research audiobook consumer research report of 2016.

That not-minor quibble aside, the Quartz writer goes on to characterize audiobook readers as “book lovers in a hurry” and notes the availability of proprietary technologies that “speed listen,” altering the audiobook’s playback by eliminating intentional pauses in the performance’s recording and even tripling the speed of the cadences chosen by narrators and directors. At this point, the writer is no longer really discussing audiobook listening; instead, the subject is the avoidance of listening, and, thereby, the avoidance of actually falling into the audiobook. Continue reading Speeding kills

Not all libraries are created equal. What would the world be if they were?

According to an article I recently read in the New York Times, Merryl H. Tisch, the former chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, and her husband, James S. Tisch, the president and chief executive of Lowes Corporation (who sits on the New York Public Library’s board of directors) will give  20 million dollars to the New York Public Library (NYPL) to “expand and strengthen its education programming, from early literacy classes to technology training.”

The article goes on to explain that owing to this gift, a new position for a director of education will be created and Tisch added that she hoped the money would help the library create more job training courses and other programs to help expose students to the library’s rich collection of resources. Christopher Platt, the chief branch library officer, is also quoted saying that, to his knowledge, “this is the first educational gift to public libraries of this scale in the country.”

Giving money—especially large amounts of money that can make a lasting impact—to support any organization and institution on a mission to promote literacy, education, and access to knowledge is admirable on every level, yet this article (and story) has left me with unsettling thoughts that I wish to share here, in hopes they are not misunderstood or taken out of context. And these are pervasive thoughts, similar to those I have often expressed on NSR in my effort to draw attention to unequal access to knowledge and books permeating our society. Continue reading Not all libraries are created equal. What would the world be if they were?

NSR invites publishers and vendors to support EveryLibrary’s efforts to protect libraries

every library

EveryLibrary—a nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work on local library ballot initiatives and the only national organization dedicated to political action at a local level to create and protect public funding for libraries—has just put out a statement to all who support its mission to fight for the future of libraries to join its efforts by pledging support.

As part of its efforts, EveryLibrary is working to roll-out a coalition strategy in 2017 that looks to expand, not shrink, library budgets, even in the current political climate. As part of its coalition strategy, EveryLibrary signed on to the One America Coalition to focus on a core part of libraries: services to immigrants and new Americans. In addition, EveryLibrary has been part of a coalition protecting Net Neutrality for over two years and next month it will announce an expansion of its voter registration and ballot access mission.

This is a good opportunity for publishers and vendors working with libraries—public, school, and academic—to consider making a donation to support EveryLibrary’s mission. Efforts like these should serve as a reminder to publishers and vendors that sell to libraries—and whose businesses thrive from their relationship with libraries—that libraries continue to face serious challenges with funding and their livelihood depends on the continued support from the public.

Individual contributions are always welcome and make a difference, but organizational contributions have the potential to make the deepest impact. Hence this post.

More information on EveryLibrary’s 2017 agenda is available here.

Wanna write (to make a difference)?

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Friends and colleagues, I have marched into 2017 eager to continue using No Shelf Required as the ultimate outlet of expression for all who advocate free reading and support projects and initiatives that get us a little closer to that world in which we all have equal access to knowledge and the written word. That world in which knowledge flows freely in all directions to all who want and need it — on their own terms (not the terms of those who think they ‘own’ it).

I am in the process of recruiting various contributors (some of whom will become regular columnists) to write about the ways in which we can ALL do our part in making the world a slightly better place by making it possible for people everywhere to read and learn how and when they want to. And not just read and learn, but also write, listen, teach, and watch. Those of us who have the privilege of working with books and other media (this includes writers, editors, teachers, educators, librarians, and publishers, among others) have that responsibility, I believe.

So join me. Let’s put our heads together and educate each other. No shelf is required, but passion is mandatory. Email me at mirelaroncevic@gmail.com with ideas. Start date: NOW.

MR

News Roundup [October 7]

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Watching Pirate Streams Isn’t Illegal, EU Commission Argues (Torrent Freak)

Google experiments with book discovery…and fails (The Average Joe)

Amazon Removes Titles from Kindle Unlimited in Japan, and No One Knows Why (The Digital Reader)

New Research Article: “Is the Digital Talking Book Program Meeting Librarian and Patron Expectations?” (Infodocket)

More Than 500,000 Books From Benson Latin American Collection (U. of Texas Libraries) Now Available via HathiTrust (Infodocket)

Comixology Is Starting Its Own Line of Exclusive Comics (io9)

First Book Partners with Reading Rainbow to Offer Acclaimed Skybrary to Educators Serving Kids in Need (PR Newswire)

‘Spoken Editions’ Section Makes Official Debut on iTunes (Macstories)

Amazon is Now Collecting 15% Tax on eBooks Sold in New Zealand (The Digital Reader)

TeleRead, the world’s oldest ebook news and views site, makes the Library of Congress Web archives (Teleread)

Kindle Unlimited a Victim of Its own Success in Japan? (The Digital Reader)

Hachette Audio Partners with Booktrack on YA Audiobooks (Digital Book World)

Bowker Now Cites at Least 625,327 US Indie Books Published in 2015  (Publishing Perspectives)

Amazon introduces Prime Reading…and hits a sweet spot for many consumers (I Love My Kindle)

Smashwords Enhances Coupon Manager Tool (Digital Book World)

Introducing Prime Reading – The Newest Benefit for Prime Members (Amazon)

New York Public Library Digitizes 137 Years of New York City Directories (Library Stuff)

E-Book Retail Platform Offers Choice of Watermarking or DRM (Copyright and Technology)

ProQuest Makes English Book Archive Available for Japanese Researchers (InfoToday)