No Shelf Required founder Sue Polanka gets an award for contribution to academic libraries in Ohio

Sue Polanka

It is such a pleasure to publish a post here on NSR about our very own Sue Polanka, the academic librarian from Wright State University (OH), who has been instrumental in transforming the coverage of ebooks in libraries and who, in fact, founded and launched No Shelf Required almost (hard to believe) ten years ago. The blog quickly became THE site on all things ebooks for librarians of all walks of life: public, school, and academic.

As noted on WSU’s site, Sue was honored by her peers for her contributions to the university and with academic libraries in Ohio. She received the Jay Ladd Distinguished Service Award from the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) at its annual conference on Oct. 27 in Columbus.

The award recognizes an individual who has promoted academic libraries and librarianship around Ohio and who has provided leadership in the promotion of the association through service, including committee membership, executive board office or interest group office.

“No one wins these awards alone. I couldn’t have accomplished all I have without the support of my colleagues at Wright State and so many talented librarians across Ohio and beyond,” Sue said.

An expert on ebooks, Polanka is the editor of several books and publications on ebooks including “No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries,” “No Shelf Required II: The Use and Management of Electronic Books” and “E-Content in Libraries: Marketplace Perspectives.” She was also a columnist for EBook Buzz in Online Magazine and Off The Shelf in Booklist. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2011.

I had the privilege of collaborating with Sue many times and on several projects over the years (we edited a book together, worked on a quarterly journal together, etc.) and I consider her one of the most knowledgeable librarians around. I also consider her a dear friend.

It is an absolute honor to carry on the mission of No Shelf Required (which she entrusted me with two years ago) and to be part of its story.

Sue, congratulations. Well deserved.

Two million open access nature illustrations available on Flickr via Biodiversity Heritage Library

From Open Culture:

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an ‘open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives,’ has for many years been making it easy for people to connect to nature through nature writing and illustration. In 2012, they announced the “success story” of their Flickr streams, both containing thousands of illustrations and photographs uploaded by the BHL staff and readers from their huge collections of books.

The first stream, currently at 122,281 images, has been carefully curated, and includes searchable galleries and albums divided by book title or subject…The second stream, consisting of over 2 million images, is a massive grab-bag of photos, illustrations from nature, advertisements, and imaginative renderings.”

Read the full article here.


More about BHL, as noted on its web site:

“The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” The BHL consortium works with the international taxonomic community, rights holders, and other interested parties to ensure that this biodiversity heritage is made available to a global audience through open access principles. In partnership with the Internet Archive and through local digitization efforts, the BHL has digitized millions of pages of taxonomic literature, representing over 120,000 titles and over 200,000 volumes.”

Spain will be the Guest of Honor at 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurter Buchmesse and Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, in the presence of the Spanish Publishers Association, have signed a joint memorandum of understanding to prepare for Spain’s participation as Guest of Honour at the Frankurter Buchmesse (20-24 October 2021). This means Spain will be Guest of Honour in Frankfurt exactly 30 years since it was last present in this role. Spain’s most widely read and important contemporary authors include Fernando Aramburu, Dolores Redondo, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Javier Marías, Almudena Grandes and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Some 500 million people speak Spanish, making it one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

The partners describe Spain’s appearance as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurter Buchmesse as an excellent opportunity to showcase the developments and trends in Spanish culture in recent decades and to present Spanish literature and authors to an international audience. Another goal of Spain’s participation is to create an international network for the Spanish creative and cultural industries. Continue reading Spain will be the Guest of Honor at 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair

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.

Book of the Week: Starswept (Mary Fan)

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:


Starswept (Mary Fan)

Although partially nodding to Brave New World, Logan’s Run and The Hunger Games trilogy, the science-fiction dystopian YA novel Starswept is its own blazingly unique creation. Prolific author Mary Fan (12 books published to date) spins a riveting tale against a backdrop of intergalactic human trafficking, brainwashing, corporate greed, freedom fighters, and the backstabbing culture of an exclusive performing arts academy.

In the year 2268, everything has been working well with the trade deal that Earth and humanoid alien planet Adrye established in 2157. Adrye shares its technology with Earth; Earth reciprocates by offering up its best/brightest young performing artists.

Read the full review here.


About the Author

Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series.In addition, she is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.  Mary graduated Magna cum Laude from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music, specializing in composition. Although she is currently focusing on writing, music is still her first love, and so in her spare time she composes songs and soundtracks.


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.

What’s new at Knowledge Unlatched and with Open Access in general

Some Open Access news (as drawn from Knowledge Unlatched’s recent newsletter):This October,  usage of Open Access books, funded through Knowledge Unlatched (KU), has doubled within just one quarter, now totaling 228 000 full-text downloads on the OAPEN platform and 67, 068 chapter downloads on the JSTOR platform.

To mark International Open Access Week, KU announced two new partnerships. It launched a new cooperation with Bertelsmann Verlag to make its Open Access titles in social sciences, education, and social research internationally available through KU. In addition, KU’s partnership with transcript makes 200 political science monographs free for reading worldwide. Continue reading What’s new at Knowledge Unlatched and with Open Access in general

VitalSource and Al Manhal collaborate to bring digital content from over 450 publishers to learners in the Middle East

From Vital Source:

VitalSource®, the world leader in building, enhancing and delivering digital course materials, and Al Manhal, the leading publisher of full-text searchable electronic databases of scholarly, professional and peer-reviewed content from the Arab World, are now collaborating to expand the reach and delivery of Al Manhal’s unique content collection from over 450 Arabic language publishers.

By working together, Al Manhal’s expansive collection will now be deliverable through VitalSource Bookshelf®, the most widely used higher education digital-content platform in the world. Continue reading VitalSource and Al Manhal collaborate to bring digital content from over 450 publishers to learners in the Middle East

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

Nearly 1500 high-resolution images of paintings and other works of art made available for free download by the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia has been digitizing its vast collection of objects (4000 and counting) for some time now. It has recently made available for free download in the public domain nearly 1500 items in high resolution,  including paintings by impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern masters like Giorgio de Chirico, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, and Auguste Renoir.

Currently, digital images of more than 2,000 works of art in the Barnes Foundation’s collection are available to the public online. The Foundation encourages “use, enjoyment, and sharing of these images while respecting artists’ rights and copyright.” Each work is assigned a “rights statement” that helps communicate the Foundation’s assessment of the copyright status of the work (e.g., Public Domain, In Copyright, Copyright Undetermined).

According to its web site,  the “Public Domain” categorization is used when the Foundation believes a work of art to be free of known restrictions under copyright law. The Foundation makes those images available for high-resolution download “without charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial.”

Browse the Barnes Collection here.

Follett to sell LEGO Education solutions to U.S. school libraries

From Follett:

In its continuing effort to serve the growing makerspace movement, Follett announced today it will sell a selection of LEGO® Education solutions. These solutions will be offered by Follett specifically for school librarians in the U.S. who are interested in establishing a makerspace in their library.

The announcement was made in Phoenix at the 18th American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference & Exhibition. At Follett’s booth (409), the company is featuring an array of makerspace resources, including LEGO Education solutions. Continue reading Follett to sell LEGO Education solutions to U.S. school libraries

Book of the Week: The Moonshine Wars (Daniel Micko)

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:

The Moonshine Wars: Or My Life In Kincaid, Georgia, by Terry Lee Kincaid III

Daniel Micko is biracial male born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelors of arts degree, majoring in film and minoring in English. After that, he graduated from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, California, with a master of fine arts in filmmaking. He resides in the Bay Area, working on projects and writing in his spare 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.

Cathay Pacific and PressReader partner to bring newspapers and magazines to passengers via an app

From Talking New Media:

“Starting today, all Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon passengers get sponsored access to PressReader. They can choose from thousands of publications to download to their own device 48 hours before their flight… [and]… activate their access to PressReader using the Cathay Pacific app.

After that, it’s all about choice. Users can use PressReader’s award-winning app to download issues, or they can browse them online. They can read the original layouts or check out an enriched text-view optimized for mobile.”

Read the full article on Talking New Media.

EBSCO and BiblioLabs partner to support open access discovery of electronic theses and dissertations

EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) and BiblioLabs have announced the launch of a collaborative open access initiative dedicated to advancing library and industry innovation related to electronic theses and dissertations (ETD). OpenDissertations.org, is committed to facilitating open and free access to ETD metadata and content. In addition to the fully open website, EBSCO will include EDT metadata in EBSCO Discovery Service to facilitate access and improve content discovery.

Project sponsors recognize that ETD authors are faced with an expanding world of discovery and hosting options for their work. EBSCO is committed to easing the path of discovery. By exposing metadata via the OpenDissertations.org website and EBSCO Discovery Service, the project seeks to increase the visibility of ETDs on the open web. Users will be able to link from individual records in the database to partnering host sites, including academic institutional repositories. Continue reading EBSCO and BiblioLabs partner to support open access discovery of electronic theses and dissertations

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?

A new study shows that students prefer to read digitally but learn more from print textbooks

From Insider:
“Teachers, parents and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks…Given this trend, teachers, students, parents and policymakers might assume that students’ familiarity and preference for technology translates into better learning outcomes. But we’ve found that’s not necessarily true….Our work has revealed a significant discrepancy. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer…”
Read the rest of the article on Insider here.

Safari, O’Reilly’s learning platform for higher education now available from ProQuest

O’Reilly Media’s completely new version of Safari: O’Reilly’s Learning Platform for Higher Education is now available from ProQuest. This version of Safari features both a new student experience and a new business model that provides academic institutions with easier, more affordable access for their entire student body.

“We designed the new Safari to support today’s students, who expect to learn online, on their own time, and in their preferred way,” said Karen Hebert-Maccaro, O’Reilly’s Chief Content Officer. “No longer just an online library, Safari is a rich, full-featured learning platform. And, our revamped business model allows our higher-ed customers to give all of their students full access to Safari. We are very excited to work with ProQuest, our exclusive distributor in the academic library market, to offer this new platform to libraries around the globe.” Continue reading Safari, O’Reilly’s learning platform for higher education now available from ProQuest

Chapters – Interactive Stories, an innovative new app that introduces gamified fiction

Mobile gaming has exploded in recent years, climbing from $17.5 billion in revenue in 2013 to $36.9 billion in 2016. This represents almost 40 percent of the gaming industry’s entire market and reveals that games designed specifically for smart phones and tablets are rapidly outperforming PC and console games.

A Novel Concept

Entering this infinitely expanding galaxy of mobile gaming apps is one that involves a novel concept: gamified fiction. Chapters – Interactive Stories—created by San Francisco-based Crazy Maple Studios, an iOS/Adroid app developer owned by ChineseAll USA Corporation and known for their game Tap Knights – Idle RPG—is “transform[ing] fiction stories into sustainable mobile games.” Launched in September 2017, Chapters was downloaded 250,000 times worldwide within the first month, and double that amount is projected to occur by mid-2018 as its catalog of game-adapted literature grows. Because the app is exclusively in English, 50 percent of the initial quarter-million downloads have been USA-based, while the remainder have been divided between the UK, India, Australia, Canada, and Brazil.

Available in GooglePlay and iStore, Chapters can be download for free. Once open, the homepage offers an array of genre fiction, with romance, horror, fantasy, and young adult selections principal among them. Supplementary chapters to existing titles become available each week. Currently, the app’s catalog of works includes titles by popular self-published authors, like Yuriko Hime, Gabriela Cabezut, and Jerilee Kaye, each of whom already has a significant following online and has previously released novels in either Kindle format or via the online storytelling community Wattpad. In the Chapters app, new gamified stories from other authors are now in production, a process that takes approximately three months, and these will be added throughout the end of the year. The application’s developers are also looking to significantly expand the scope of their catalog to include not only genre fiction, but literary fiction as well.

Continue reading Chapters – Interactive Stories, an innovative new app that introduces gamified fiction

EBSCO introduces two new magazine archives: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive and Esquire Magazine Archive

November 1, 2017 — Libraries can now enhance their special collections with digital backfiles for two leading magazines, U.S News and World Report and Esquire, through EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO). The new magazine archives, U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive and Esquire Magazine Archive include cover to cover processing, which means each issue is presented in its entirety as originally published.

The two archives provide researchers with extensive coverage of 20th century topics including: business/economics, cultural studies, education, fashion/lifestyle, gender studies, history, marketing/advertising, politics, pop culture and sociology. Continue reading EBSCO introduces two new magazine archives: U.S. News & World Report Magazine Archive and Esquire Magazine Archive

Book of the Week: The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper (Jim Henry)

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:

The Adventures of Willy Nilly and Thumper: Charlie the Cross-Eyed Crocodile

Well known as a successful businessman, Jim Henry has a creative imagination and a love of family that is greater than any business he’s ever built. Willy Nilly stories were passed down from Jim’s father, who told them to Jim when he was a child. Jim continued the tradition by telling bedtime stories (a different one each night) about Willy Nilly, first to his three children and then to his eleven grandchildren. One night, as Jim was making up a new story, he created the character of Thumper. With this single creative burst, the dynamic combination of Willy Nilly & Thumper was born!

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.

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